Sitting in prime location, a short walk from the car parks in the Princesshay area of Exeter you’ll find the relaxed dining experience of an evening at  Giraffe World Kitchen. I’ll admit straight away that wasn’t quite sure what to expect with a restaurant being described as a world kitchen but as a pescetarian (the only meat I eat is fish) who tries to stay on the healthy / clean eating side when it comes to food, I had an inclining it would be my cup of tea.

First Impressions

The evening atmosphere is very different from the busy vibrant mood which I’d witnessed during the day. Greeted by friendly, happy staff we were shown to our table, a booth style lit by funky subdued lighting and somewhat informal vibe. (Party dress and high heels not essential here unless hitting the town afterwards.)   I’m a stickler for how a restaurant lighting determines your mood, harsh bright lights are a real bugbear resulting in a not so relaxed evening, so first impressions were just perfect.

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

We were given our menus and offered table water,  with well-informed staff willing to help you through your choice. There’s plenty of choice and deciding was really difficult so I took all the advice the staff offered. It was great to be able to try some foods I’d never had before, that world kitchen status is no lie!

Giraffe on the menu?

Starting with salt and pepper squid with sweet chilli jam and fresh lime prawn, Prawn Saganaki – King prawns cooked in tasty garlic, chilli, white wine & tomato sauce with crumbled feta, served with toasted flatbread and Sweetcorn Fritter Tacos washed down with a very palatable Malbec red wine, we were ready to sample all The Giraffe had to offer. All getting th thumbs up, portion sizes were perfect and a special mention to the squid, I’m so going back for that someday soon.

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

Hoping on to mains we opted for Blackened Salmon served with brown rice & kidney beans, corn on the cob and mango salad, Sirloin Steak and Katsu Chicken; Breaded chicken and noodles in a mild peanut & coconut sauce, with bok choy,  broccoli and wok-fried vegetables. All hitting the spot and portion sizes perfect. Although we didn’t manage to clear plates as the desert menu looked waaaaaaaaaay too tempting, forward thinking meant we needed to leave room!

a review of the The Giraffe world kitchen restaurant

After much discussion and a recommendation from our final waiter, the very chatty Milan, it was on to a  Whoopie Cookie – Speculoos ice cream sandwiched between chocolate cookies with chocolate sauce, caramel popcorn and pretzels, Salted caramel ice cream sundae, layered with caramel popcorn and pretzel pieces and for me, a White Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cheesecake Drizzled with fresh passion fruit.

And yes, they all tasted as good as they sound.

In a Nutshell….

So to sum it up, if you’re looking for a relaxed dining experience with happy, friendly staff, a great variety  of food with a lean to the healthier side then I’d totally recommend an evening at Giraffe World Kitchen. Not bad prices too! I totally credit my lack of hangover the next day to the fresh food the night before. Well that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!

 

Disclaimer

I received a complimentary meal in return for my honest opinion. All words and photos are my own unless otherwise stated. 

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creating extraordinary moments with Cow and Gate

*This is an advertorial post in collaboration with Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk.*

 

Our bedtime routine is pretty run of the mill; bath, brush teeth and a story.  Sounds easy right? You’d think so, but what tends to happen  is that he gets more lively in the last 30 minutes before lights out, almost like he’s letting off the last bit of steam before he can truly relax and pack in some zzzzz’s (how he has any left is beyond me) he’s pretty good and once he’s asleep, he’s out for the count until morning.

This week we’ve been trying something a little different. We’ve been creating some extraordinary moments with the Cow & Gate Growing Up Milk website.

This week we’ve been on a mission to the moon!

Thanks to Cow and Gate Growing Up Milk our story times have gone all interactive and technological with a personal story book created on their website. After much consideration choosing which adventure he’d like to go on, my rocket loving boy thought it’d be fun to go visit the moon which we look out the window for most nights. So after gathering up the right equipment; a space helmet, some moon rocks and making a discovery bottle full of glitter and sequins we were ready to go!

creating extraordinary moments with an online interactive story book

 

Then at bedtime we swapped our usual collection of books (I say collection, but really mean library, he literally wants to me to read everything he has in his bookcase!) for a personalised story  on the laptop which I’d made earlier. Popping some details (who the story was about, Mummy and Ronnie in our case) adding a landscape photo with some space around the sides and pressing create.

Toddlers love nothing better than seeing themselves on the screen so as we re-lived our mission to the moon, armed once again with his space helmet and moon rocks in hand, he was ready to hear the story about the time Mummy and Ronnie went to the moon. And for a rare moment, my boy was calm and engaged instead of listening to me read while practicing somersaults and headstands.

greating extraodanary moments with cow & gate with your toddler and this really cute online book

Toddlers love nothing better than seeing themselves on the screen so as well relived our mission to the moon, armed once again with his space helmet and moon rocks, he was ready to hear all about the time Mummy and Ronnie went to the moon. And for a rare moment, my boy was calm and engaged instead of listening to me read while practicing somersaults and headstands.

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This is a sponsored post 

 

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how old is old when it comes to being a mum?

When you separate with your children’s / child’s father or mother, so many factors come into play. Such as how often they’ll visit the other parent, will you stay in the family home and how will you manage childcare if you’re working. One thing which is essential in establishing from the start, though, is child maintenance; it offers regular support for single parents raising their child without their partner regardless of what situation the relationship ended.

In the UK, over half a million children benefit from child maintenance and if you are considering setting up such an arrangement it’s worth looking into your options. Here are some of the most common ones when arranging child maintenance. It’s not always a one size fits all.

Family based arrangement 

This is a child maintenance arrangement which is organised by the parents looking for flexibility and avoiding having to go to court.

It’s best if the two parents meet at a time suitable for both, to discuss their financial situations and to decide how much money their child needs on an everyday basis. This should factor in costs such as accommodation, clothing, school uniform, school trips, after school activities and groceries – these costs will vary depending on the age of your child so it’s a good idea to write out a list of exactly what is being spent.

You can then either split the difference of these costs, then the partner not living with the child transfers this money on a monthly basis or you can base it on a means tested basis. It’s a good idea to calculate how much would be expected to be paid if you were to take on a statutory child maintenance arrangement and base the costs around this. For more on what to include in a family based arrangement, take a look at the Child Maintenance Options website.

Statutory child maintenance 

This arrangement is there for parents who cannot come to an agreement or if there is no contact with the partner no longer living with the child. Statutory child maintenance is arranged through the Child Maintenance Service and will require parents using the service to pay a fee of £20 and percentage fees for collecting the money owed.

However, these fees can help encourage a difficult partner to make their payments regularly, and the Child Maintenance Service can also track down the parent if you do not know their whereabouts after separating and also issue enforcement charges for those who do not pay their child maintenance on time or in full. This fee removes negotiation between the parents and instead the Child Maintenance Service will decide how much the other parent pays based on their income and situation. This is sometimes the better option where domestic violence was evident too.

If you have particularly low income, you can also claim child tax credit  from the Government that is dependent on your circumstances. You can read more about these child benefit options here, as well as discovering how to apply for them.

It’s all quite a mine field but there is plenty of support site out there to help navigate these early months. Check out Gingerbread, which is a fabulous website for single parents.

 

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This is a collaborative post 

 

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There are some valuable life skills I've learnt since becoming a single parent, here's 5 of them;

Juggling, winging it, flying by the seat of your pants…..just a few things which sum up my crazy little life lately and I thought it was high time an explanation was probably due. I’m not going to wave the single mum card around too much, but jeepers, have I felt the pressure of being chief in charge these last few months.

I’m an independent soul you see, and pretty rubbish at off loading or asking for help, but last week was the first time, since I hit the road on my lonesome, that I felt the pressure from juggling family, work, studies and social life and I wanted to share that little snippet as I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s finding the whole spinning plates thing little overwhelming.

Yes, I do have the luxury of being able to work from home as a freelancer, which in a nutshell means I spend every spare minute replying to emails, completing tasks, chasing invoices, keeping on top of accounts and everything else that goes with running a blog and social media business. But it might surprise you to know I’m also a part-time student as well as a mum and try hard social butterfly, cramming in as much me-time, appointments and socialising into my child-free days and nights.

When life gets a little crazy spinning plates & juggling work and family heres what I do....

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t looked back since my life took a change in the marriage stakes, I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason and sometimes, just sometimes,

you’ve just got to accept what life gives you. To not stress, worry or fight it, just take a deep breath and accept that everything will come good in the end.

And it is coming good. But not without some serious hard grit to navigate it along the way.

That very though has got me through many a tough moment, especially the last couple of months when things got a little topsy-turvy #stoptheride I want to get off! So what do I do when life gets a little crazy?

A few deep breaths, thats a real stress buster for me. I know I’m reaching burn out when even my breathing’s fast and shallow. The stupidity is I get so busy that I can’t even fit time in to BREATHE properly. Bonkers isn’t it!

Once I’ve got the basics in check, then my next time out is the gym. I plug-in my ear phones, leave the niggling workload behind and run, cycle, walk and lift the stress away. On the days when I’m chief in charge if the toddler, the gym is substituted by a good old long walk and piece de resistance is an extended phone call to someone in my support network. Then I’m good to go again.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is that; yes I’ve been a little distant, more so on here, while I throw what little energy I’ve got left into studying and making sure I can provide for my family without sacrifice. You see, life’s about prioritising, setting short-term goals to reach your long-term goals and occasionally reassessing the path you’re on.

And right now I’m on the right one……

lets talk about post pregnancy hair loss!

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rattan is so on trend for 2017 and this is the perfect, quality set for a busy family

Rattan furniture is usually associated with conservatory furniture, sun rooms and orangeries, the natural style and feel helps give a streamless transition from the outdoor in. Whilst also giving a mediaterrean feel and warmth which you can create with natural materials.

I have neither a conservatory, sun room or orangery, sadly.

That said, I’ve introduced lots of rustic wood to my modern grey colour scheme to warm up the feel of the subtle colours and help give a rustic cottage feel to my home.

The latest addiction is a pride if place, tall abaca rattan storage rack sitting pride of place in my dining room. Like with many other pieces of furniture in my home, you get what you pay for and this is never more evident when choosing rattan. Cheaper, lower quality items tend to consist of a lightweight, powder coated alluminium frame and flimsy drawers which wouldn’t have suited my need.

Extra storage for kitchen bits and bobs was the order of the day, my cupboards are bursting (mainly plastic containers without any lids but that’s a fact of life I have to live with.) So it’s important to choose a weave which will suit your needs. Abaca which this set is made from, is a close relative of the banana plant family, and is the native to the Philippines, known for its exceptional strength and flexibility to bend and shape. Strength being the optimum word here. Flimsy just won’t cut it for my spice jars & ramekins which I need access to regularly.

Rattan is the perfect compliment to the slate topped table and plastic modern chairs in my open plan home where shots of oak and pine take the edge of the modern style and the forest scene wall paper. It’s also on this year’s must have list in interior design trends for 2017 so it’s happy days that I’m keeping on-trend!

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This is a collaborative post  

 

 

 

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