Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Yo! Sushi - A Family Affair - Worcester -Review

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

In my older years I have been much more open to experimenting with different types of food, but that was not always the case, as a child I was rather fussy and I wouldn't even eat basic fruit or vegetables. Leo has always been a rather fussy eater himself, and although vegetables are still a sore subject, in the last few years he has been really impressing myself and his Dad with the diverse new foods that he is willing to try.

Granted, he may not always love what he has tasted, but the fact is he has submitted himself to trying new things. 

The other week my little family unit were invited along to the brand new Yo! Sushi in Worcester that has not long opened up it's doors for the very first time. I wasn't sure what Leo would make of the Japanese cuisine, but I knew that he would be very impressed with the Japanese style 'kaiten' conveyor belt! 

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Leo was a little unsure at the idea of the food, but I told him as long as he gave some things a try, if he didn't like anything and was still hungry, then he could have a McDonald's on the way home...

I myself have frequented Yo! Sushi on previous occasions so I had an idea of what to expect, but the other half and Leo were going along for the very first time, and I don't think either of them really knew what to expect. 

When people talk about Sushi, they automatically assume that it's simply raw fish, but I can assure you that is simply not the case (if you are after raw fish look no further than Sashimi!). Yo! Sushi offers traditional Japanese Street Food along side the Sushi, and the chefs even jet out to Japan in search of new ideas to bring back to the restaurants (if you spot 'NEW' in the menu, then you are looking at a newly sourced recipe all the way from Japan!).

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

The new Worcester branch is the best I have visited, it's got a very modern look and has plenty of seating, the staff were welcoming and the ambience was ideal. The bar tables are all set out against the conveyor belt that has an array of freshly prepared food on coloured plates dancing around on it. 

The different coloured plates signify different price brackets:

The food is all prepared on site and because of the setup, you can actually watch the sushi and other dishes being prepared in front of you. While we visited we were lucky enough to watch the head chef Stoyan cut a rather larger piece of Tuna! 

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

I can tell you now that it really does take some know how and a very sharp knife.  

Stoyan was very informative and more than happy to answer our many questions about how the tuna was cut and prepared before it was laid out for the masses to enjoy. 

Leo was incredibly excited, I knew that he was going to love the idea of picking his food off the conveyor belt, and he had been telling me all day about how he was going to try some Tuna Sushi. It was really nice to see how far my little fussy eater had come, and he gave most things a go, his favourite being the safer option of the new Farikake Fries (Of which he had about 2 bowls!), and once he was finished sampling the mains he moved swiftly onto the desserts (and tried the majority of the options on the menu!).

Cathedral Square Worcester Yo Sushi

Luke was equally as impressed and between us we ticked off quite a few of the mains on the menu, they are good to share so that couples can each get a taste for the dishes. My favourites were the Chicken Katsu Curry and the Spicy Pepper Squid.

We had a lovely young man serving us and he helped Leo pick out things that he thought he might like to try, and told Luke was his personal favourites were (because Luke loves a good recommendation when it comes to the best food to eat!).

Overall the 3 of us all had a fantastic meal and Leo had eaten so much Sushi, Streetfood and pudding that we didn't need to call into McDonald's for him on the way back. In fact Leo has been asking me everyday when we can go back and visit Yo! Sushi AGAIN! 

You can see a snippet of our visit below:

Disclaimer: We were provided a complimentary meal for this post. All views and opinions expressed are completely honest and our own.

Wedding Vs. Engagement Ring – What’s The Difference?

Wedding Vs. Engagement Ring

Image by Gena M via Flickr

An engagement ring is an important part of the marriage proposal. Usually, it is a beautiful gemstone that’s set on a band. Sometimes, the engagement ring is referred to as the wedding ring, but this is incorrect. So, let’s look at the differences between the two.

The Wedding RingWedding Vs. Engagement Ring

Image by  diamondcentre via Flickr

Wedding rings are the rings that partners exchange during their wedding ceremony. Usually, these are simpler bands compared to engagement rings and don’t have a prominent gemstone or centre diamond. During the ceremony, both partners normally receive a wedding band and they place them on their third fingers on the left hand. Since the wedding band is put on the same finger as the engagement ring, brides often choose to move their engagement ring over to the right hand just for the ceremony. View the Diamonds for Less custom wedding bands in Toronto to choose the perfect ring for your partner.

Men tend to receive their wedding bands on their wedding day, at the ceremony. The men’s varieties are usually thicker in width and made of one type of metal, such as platinum, gold, or titanium. Some men’s band contain small jewels or diamonds.

The Engagement RingWedding Vs. Engagement Ring

Image by Tambako the Jaguar via Flickr

An engagement ring is presented at the time of the proposal. As tradition, women receive the ring and wear it right from the time of the proposal to indicate she is spoken for. Engagement rings vary greatly in style and price, but diamonds tend to be the most common choice.

What Do the Rings Mean?

The tradition of an engagement ring dates back a number of centuries, when a man would ask his beloved’s hand in marriage by presenting her with a valuable ring in exchange for the approval of her father.

Over time, engagement rings have become more extravagant as they grew to represent a man’s wealth. While this may be a dated notion, the tradition of offering an engagement ring has continued.

Should You Wear Both an Engagement Ring and a Wedding


Since the engagement ring is often the flashier ring of the two, many women choose to wear the engagement ring on their left hand or they stack their wedding bands beneath the engagement ring. Some women prefer just to wear a wedding band. It’s really down to personal choice.

Often, men prefer to buy an engagement and wedding ring set to ensure the rings match in style and can be comfortably worn together. But, this is not a set rule, and you can buy the rings separately or even have them custom made.

What About the Cost?

Both engagement rings and wedding bands vary in price depending on the metals used, the size, and the diamonds or gemstones. Generally, engagement rings will include at least one diamond whereas most wedding bands don’t have gemstones, which means that engagement rings are usually more expensive than wedding bands. How much you choose to spend on the rings is a personal choice that comes down to budget and preference.

Both rings represent the bond you and your partner have committed to each other. Whether you choose something elegant and understated or flashy and big, it is a piece of jewellery that will show off your commitment to one another.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Summer Holiday Bike Ride Fun With Ridgeback Kids Club & The Bicycle Society

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

The schools have been kicked out for summer just over a week now, and the little man in my life is asking me what fun we have planned for each and every day of the break, and my bank card is wincing in anticipation of what he may wish to do next...

This week though we had something very exciting planned, Leo and I were travelling to London to spend the day with Ridgeback Bikes at the #RidgebackKidsClub event in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 

The Ridgeback Kids Club is something rather special, you can sign up after purchasing a new Ridgeback Kids Bike, and it is a way of picking up some great tips and tricks for your budding adventurer (always great if your little people are anything like my zoom along Leo!). Upon joining you receive a FREE goodie bag worth over £25 and that comes kitted out with a lovely reusable bag, Hi Vis Vest, Sticker sheet, Crayons and water bottle! 

For as long as you are a member you receive exclusive offers and all of the latest news, birthday treats and even invitations to exclusive events! 

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Leo had been counting down the sleeps until this trip, he absolutely adores getting outside into the big wide world, and he loves nothing more than adding a bit of speed to his endeavours, and of course taking part in an adventure bike ride with Ridgeback Bikes and the Bicycle Society... How could his tummy not be somersaulting excitedly!?

So we awoke early and hit the road, quickly whisking away from the sleepy little town we call home, and before we knew it we were on the tube heading into the big smoke of the city. Every couple of minutes Leo asked me 'Are we there yet Mum, are we there yet!?', so when we met Jaime, Joshua and Jacob from The Oliver's Madhouse, Leo was happy to meet someone more of his own age, and the boys very quickly became friends.

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

The sun was shining and the day looked like it was set to impress, and we could not have wished for better conditions. We arrived just before 11am and were invited inside Pave Velo where there were a number of impressive pastries to enjoy and an even more impressive selection of Ridgeback bikes set up to have a look at!

Each of the children in attendance had been assigned a bike for the day, they had taken the measurements of each child ahead of time to ensure that they would be perfect for a good bike riding session on the day. Leo is currently in between sizes, and the initial bike that he was assigned was just a little bit too big for him, and this knocked his confidence slightly. The team noticed this straight away and presented him with a Silver 16" that was just right. As soon as Leo had perched on the seat and one of the guys said 'Take it slow!', Leo had zoomed away at speed to demonstrate all the while modelling a very big smile!

Rob Reed The Bicycle Society

Rob Reed The Bicycle Society

We were lucky enough to have instruction from Rob Reed of The Bicycle Society, and he quickly got a grasp on each of the children's levels of ability (could they ride already/were they learning still), and with this knowledge he set up different teams each with their own objectives (all on their own Ridgeback Bikes of course!). 

The Bicycle Society aim to teach children to ride a bike through fun games, and they even teach children as young as 18 months old. I was really impressed with how Rob was with all of the children and they all responded to his gentle teaching methods instantly. 

It became apparent rather quickly that Leo had a need for speed, I later discovered that Leo was treating the courses as a Mario Kart track, which was plain to see as he weaved through the other children on their bikes (I am just glad he didn't have turtle shells or banana skins!).

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Leo zoomed around the track like he had always known how to ride a bike (and may have perhaps been a little bit too over confident, who needs brakes anyway!?), and you wouldn't have thought that he had just started riding the Ridgeback bike that very morning. He took a few short breaks to get some water, but then it was straight back to business.

Leo started riding without stabilisers last summer, and in true Leo style he literally just took off one day out of sheer determination to prove me wrong. He had been outside playing with a neighbors son and decided to have a go on his 2 wheeled push bike. Of course I had my reservations because we hadn't even taken the stabilisers off of his just yet, but he assured me he could do it, and then he just did. And that was that. 

Learning to ride with balance bikes

I firmly believe that it was all of those years of riding his balance bike that aided his transition so quickly, and we introduced that just before Leo's Second Birthday. By the time Leo graduated this bike, he really had mastered the aspect of balance and could take corners and combine the speed just like a pro.

When the time came to make a move back home towards the Cotswolds, Leo discovered that Ridgeback Bikes had very kindly gifted the bike he was riding to him. Leo was so happy, as he had fallen in love with his speedy set of wheels, and he loved that it was a proper 'big boy' bike (it had no stickers unlike his Thomas the Tank Engine Bike that he refused to ride these days!).

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

Ridgeback Bikes: Ridgeback Kids Club

So we thanked the team for an incredible day and Leo navigated the London cycle paths back to Stratford International Station, turning countless heads as he went (he must have been London's youngest cycle commuter of the day!), the sweet little glances that passing pedestrians gave him as he carefully made his way home. 

Upon getting back to the car at Uxbridge, Leo fell straight into a very deep sleep, and slept the entire way home... I can only begin to wonder why he was as tired as he was?

Leo has now informed me that I need to get a bike of my own, as family bike rides are apparently imminent, it would be rude not too though, I can't keep my little speedstar cooped away, he wants to leave me eating his dust as he zooms off ahead of me! 

We have shared our day on our YouTube Channel, you can check it out below!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A New Found Confidence

6 years old

Leo is now 6, and you can really see just how grown up he has become. I have found myself at a crossroads in terms of what I can share online, of course I will continue to share his journey, but when I post things now I have to sit back and consider if Leo would want me to share it, would what I write or the video I post embarrass him?

As with anything I think it is very important to be careful with what you do post online, you just need to read about the Dark Side of Mummy Blogging over on the Daily Mail to see why...

It's for this very reason that I unfortunately cannot share the video of Leo dancing like a champ to Despacito (but I will be saving it for his 18th Birthday!). In all the years of being Leo's Mother, I have never seen him move the way he does in that video, and I slyly managed to point the camera in his direction and get some rather beautiful footage, but I know that he would hate me to publish this, and it is for this very reason that I won't be.

That's something that has really progressed this year, and that is Leo's confidence. I have been amazed to watch him singing and dancing in his school assembly and then the Nativity play over the festive period, and that has just continued to blossom.

There was a point that Leo would have just stood there and not taken part, and that is what makes this video of Leo singing and dancing to Despacito so special. When I showed it to his Granny and Dad, neither of them could believe it, his Dad even rang me up from work to ask me how on earth I had captured such a display!

This confidence is pushing Leo to try new things all of the time, his swimming lessons are coming along beautifully, he's given Taekwondo a try and he even wants to get on a Football team and take part in football tournaments over the summer holiday. 

This year at school has been a changing point for Leo, and I genuinely believe that it is his fabulous teacher who has been the pivotal factor in this. She has been incredible, kind, firm and fair. She has focused on what Leo can do, and not what he can't. She has given him time, supported him , and been an incredibly positive factor in his life. 

In return I have seen Leo progress and start to enjoy learning. His reading is coming along all of the time and just last week he smashed a spelling test on the numbers One through to Five, and he only got 1 of those wrong. If you had seen how hard we practiced for this test, you would have witnessed how difficult Leo found it, you would have seen me writing in Leo's spelling book, that despite how hard we had tried, it had been a real struggle. 

So when his book came home again that night, I honestly didn't expect to find such positive news, but there it was. The practice had gone in, even if I didn't think it had. 

Leo is still delayed (whether it is classes as global development delay, I don't know), and the delay is about 12 months at this stage, but when the school report came out I couldn't help but beam with pride. Leo's teacher had wrote some absolutely lovely words, she spoke of how he was a credit to his Dad and I, how she has enjoyed teaching him and how he is always happy and well behaved. 

It is these qualities that I focus on, so even though he is not where all of the other children are, for me the absolute gold of that report is that Leo is a well liked, polite and happy little boy. I don't think his teacher will realise just how proud reading that report made me, and I cannot thank her enough for the time and patience she has had with Leo this year.

I will be sad to see Leo moving out of her class as I genuinely believe that it is because of her that Leo has made such good progress this year, and she was the perfect teacher for him, giving him everything he needed in the school environment. 

I know he will definitely miss her too.

I am excited to watch this confidence and desire to try new things develop, and I am so very much looking forward to the summer holiday's with my clever, little man.

Things to think about before committing to a puppy

Things to think about before getting a puppy

This time next month, I will have had Lux for an entire 12 months. 1 whole year.

Seriously though, what year it has been. 

Has it been easy?

Has it been hard?
In a word....YES.

Has it been stressful?

Has it been eye opening?
Hell yes.

Would I ever have another puppy?
Erm, no.

But has it been worth it?
Yes, it's been so worth it. It's been a complete eye opener, but the love little Lux conveys for his humans, and the bond that we all have with him has made everything else so worth it.

I am going to be sharing some of my personal highlights over this last year, but if they aren't enough to make you really consider 'is a puppy right for our family', then maybe these 10 points to consider before getting a puppy will help...

Although it was rather funny when Leo and Lux accidently went viral earlier this year. If you missed them, check Lux out over on the Daily Mail, and you may recognise them both from this video...

Puppies are hard work, they will push buttons you didn't even know you had. They will eat your shoes, socks, underwear (come to think of it there isn't much that they won't eat.), they will even eat your walls and make holes in your laminate flooring (Karndean Flooring is the way to go, forget about carpet...)

They will be excited, out of the box excited. You will meet people you didn't anticipate in meeting (mainly because the puppy has dragged you through the field and over the fence to get to them, Note: wear comfortable shoes). They will take things and run away just to get your attention (and then after you have done 10 laps of the garden, they will chew it up just to spite you). 

Things to think about before getting a puppy

In those early days (and then some) you can bet your bottom dollar that they will use your house as a toilet. All the puppy pads in the world cannot help you, they will just go wherever they feel like going... 

The puppy phase (which is still a thing at 13 months for us....) is hard. You will need wine, you will need thick skin and you will need patience. Lots and lots of patience. 

Granted Lux is getting better, it's taken time but with each week and month that passes, we are slowly and tentatively making progress. Although if you were to ask the poor man who had Lux for us while we were on holiday, he might tell you something completely different. He could not wait to give Lux back to us, and even attempted to bring him back a day early (while we were still out of the country!), but settled for the very first thing in the morning...(we are talking before 9am, and originally he wasn't due home until the afternoon!).

Things to think about before getting a puppy

When I describe Lux there are Two endearing terms I like to use. He is the original Asbo Pup and he is also the real life Marley, the naughtiest dog in the world. It's true, this puppy once tried to steal a mince pie from an unsuspecting elderly lady at a Christmas market in the Cotswolds, and it quite honestly seems like his actual goal in life is to humiliate/destroy me.

Let me count the ways Lux has put his life goal into action...

1. He cocked his leg on the coffee table when we went to visit the dog board for the first time...

2. He tried to dominate another dog's face....(need I say more?)

3. He did a number 2 as he walked  through town that was beyond picking up... It needed scrubbing. So guess who had to come back with hot water and a scrubber? Yes. Me,

4. We were walking up a hill through the nature reserve at the back of my parents house. Lux saw another dog, went back down the hill taking me with him. It was a case of hold on to the dog for dear life so that he doesn't run to the dog...Or smash my face into the tree. I opted to let go of the lead, leaving the man and the dog at the bottom of the slope in disbelief, he didn't believe that my family home was at the top of the hill and quite obviously thought I was dodgy...

5.  He once chewed my phone to the point that the screen was nothing but colorful lines... Yes I had to upgrade early.

6. One time I walked into the kitchen and found him in bed with £300 of cash... Thankfully I got in there before the shredding had commenced (Luke doesn't leave his wallet on the work surface anymore...)

7. He once pooped on Leo's pillow...

8. He once ate my sisters Biology coursework... The dog really did eat her homework.

9. He once ran away from Luke on a walk and decided to go swimming in the marsh... it took him an hour (and my help...) to get him back.

10. He made a hole in our laminate floor, so I taped down a mat (which he later ripped up and destroyed as I watched and protested over his pet cam). I walked around B&M Bargains like a mad lady shouting at her phone.... I haven't dared go back in since...

Still want a puppy?

How to use natural light to your advantage

How to use natural light to your advantage

I live in a new build home, and as of August we will have been here for a year. The time has really flown by and even now 11 months later, I haven't managed to get everything I wanted to get done, done since the move. In honesty it took me a long time to find my feet again after the move, and the boxes seemed to be never ending!

I have never really been very good at envisioning on where to put furniture and what not, so when we started to unload the moving truck I sort of just threw furniture where I thought it should go... Now I have been here a while I am starting to revisit the idea of where things should actually go...

There are some gorgeous houses on the development, my favourite is the 3 story town house. A girl can dream right? These houses are the type that I would love to be able to purchase one day, I have had a peak through the windows into the spacious rooms on the ground floor, and the kitchen's are just perfection, I recall just standing there planning where I would put all of my kitchen gadgets.

The master bedroom is on the third floor with it's own en-suite bathroom, a few years ago we looked at a similar house and I fell in love with that bedroom. They have the most gorgeous contemporary roof lanterns that allow all of the natural light to come pouring in, and it masks everything in a gorgeous golden glow.

How to use natural light to your advantage

My own bedroom doesn't have near enough as much natural light as I would like, boasting one double window and one small dungeon window which can be highly irritating, especially on really gloomy days when the natural light is scarce.

I have had to think of different ways in which I can make the most out of the natural light that does come into my home.

How to use natural light to your advantage

- Mirrors are my number one go to, they of course reflect the natural light your already getting, which in turn bounces it around your home. I have one wall in my lounge that really needs a large mirror on it, as this would then brighten up the whole room, while also making the room appear larger as it will reflect the opposite side of the room.

- Light colour scheme - You will notice that my home features a light colour selection, I choose to keep the walls rather plain and add texture and colour into the furnishings. By doing so the light colour scheme reflects the natural light.

- Hard floor - When I moved in I really wanted to have a hard floor on the ground floor, this was primarily because of the dog, but I knew that it would help me in my bid for natural light (this would have been great in the hallway). I think at some point this is something that I am going to have to action.

Over the last few days I have been playing around with where I want my furniture, I started in the living room and managed to make the room feel less cluttered, and now I am focusing my attention upstairs. I spoke recently about how I want to give Leo's room a complete overhaul, starting with his high rise bed (which makes the room feel quite dark), and as for my room, I just need to adjust where the mirror currently is and move my vanity table so that it sits directly in the natural lighting.

I will be sure to report back with how the finished looks come along...

Leave your top tips on making the most of natural light below!

How to Improve Your Flat Roof

How to Improve Your Flat Roof

Whether you like your flat roof or not, you may have never realised it's full potential before. If you have a flat roof then you have a rather fantastic opportunity, and that opportunity alluminium roof lanterns otherwise known as sky lights.

Installing roof lights have a fantastic range of benefits that you might not have thought of:

They are energy efficient 
Natural light cannot be beaten, and it's FREE, which means you can make the most of the daylight hours and use less energy. During the Winter months you can utilise the time that the light sticks around, but in the summer months imagine never having to turn the lights on!? 

They save money
This goes without saying, if you are not needing to use your energy as much... You will save money! 

They provide ventilation 
An electric venting skylight produces a “passive air conditioner.” when it is open Through the chimney or exhaust effect they create, the warm air is drawn up through the venting skylight, providing a cooling effect and fresh air throughout the house.

They provide privacy
The new build home I live in pretty much means very little privacy. Everyone's windows look out over other people's gardens, or look into other people's homes. Sky lights mean that you get that essential natural light while at the same time keeping your privacy intact. You can look straight up and see nothing but sky (this is also great in an evening too if you want to look up at the stars).

A sky light means that you don't look out and see people, and they can't look in and see you. 

They promote good health and make you feel happy
Nobody likes a dark dingy room, which is what makes sky lights so clever and sought after. They let all of the natural light in effortlessly and there are many health benefits that come from exposure to light. It promotes Vitamin D production that is absolutely vital for good bone and muscle health.

Not to mention that it helps us regulate our sleep cycles and strengthens our immune systems!

I have always loved sky lights myself, more for the aesthetics than the energy efficiency. I love the light that cascades into the room, and I love the idea of peering up at the night sky while I am in bed. They would also be amazing at night in the summer to allow the breeze to wash over you as you drift off to sleep.

If roof lanterns aren't your ideal solution, then maybe you like the sound of the CoeLux's Fake Skylight?

I would love to get sky lights installed in my bedroom, but I can't see this being an option for a few years at least, one day though this would be something that I would be over the moon about doing.