2 year old food critic takes on local gastropub
It’s not uncommon for the odd invitation to drop into my inbox asking me to review food or a restaurant, but a couple of weeks ago I received something a bit different. A company not seeking my opinion but instead asking for the Half Pint to give his…
Half Pint gets an exclusive peek at Frosts’ Easter Hols event…
With November now in full swing, the impending arrival of Christmas and all it ensures is hard to ignore. This week I drove down Stony Stratford High Street to witness a big group of people erecting the Christmas lights high above the pavements of one of MK’s beloved market towns and it did give me a little buzz of excitement. What is prettier on a dark winters night than seeing your local high street alight with the colours from strings of lights and decorations? How about witnessing the official switch on? When hundreds upon thousands of local people flock out in the cold, with smiles from ear to ear to countdown a very traditional starting point for the festive season.
Here is my guide to the Christmas Light Switch On events in Milton Keynes for 2016:
If you frequent my local area of Milton Keynes then I am sure you have heard of Frosts in Woburn Sands.
It is ultimately a garden centre but local peeps know it offers so much more than that. Frosts put on an impressive array of events throughout the year from their infamous Santa’s Grotto, a sandy beach in the summer and a real ice rink in the winter. Then there’s the various hands-on events that can teach you how to make candles, wreaths or flower arrangements. They even advertise special events in their restaurant with various themed afternoon teas.
But for now it’s October, it’s half term, Halloween is exactly one week away and the circus is in town. Having set up home in a big black striped circus tent at Frosts Woburn Sands, they are promising spooky thrills with a Halloween themed family show. So what does that entail? Keep reading…
Today one of my besties threw a farm party at her home in Wolverton and my two year old, George and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store!
A recently set up local company called Old Mcdonald’s Farm Parties offer to bring the farm to you for a reasonable cost. Animals and all.
Arriving at my friend’s house, I was so surprised to come face to face with a donkey, two lambs, chickens and a rabbit in her back garden.
The donkey and lambs were in proper farm pens that they had brought with them and set up. The chickens and rabbits were in cages.
All the kids that attended were enjoying interacting with the animals at their leisure before the party ‘officially’ started. When it did, all the children were asked to sit down and there was some fun farm trivia questions and animal facts being learnt before the first demonstrations.
Then children were given the opportunity to feed the donkey. One at a time they were shown how to lay a piece of carrot on a flat palm for the donkey to gobble up.
Next up was grooming. Being shown how to brush down the donkey and help keep him clean.
Then it was time for the lambs to shine (and be fed). The children was allowed to feed a bottle of milk to both the two lambs. It really was a cute sight.
The huge fluffy rabbit was then taken out of his cage and had fun sitting on the laps of the children for a much enjoyed stroke. All this was happening under the watchful eye of the two farm party supervisors who made sure the children were kept safe, explained the best way of approaching animals and also stopped them from escaping!
The chickens next. Children were able to fill a hand with corn for the chickens to peck and enjoy.
Then a good old fashioned game of Pin The Tail On The Donkey was started (not on the real donkey!) The children loved it.
Then last but not least, the donkey was saddled up and children put on a safety riding hat and were able to go for a donkey ride! This was definitely the best part for me, seeing George take his first ride on a donkey. He looked a bit unsure but didn’t cry or ask to get off, so I’ll take that as a success.
After all the fun with the animals my friend put on an amazing lunch for the kids (and big kids) including the biggest chocolate cake I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen so many kids hovering for cake.
George had a great time at the farm party. He is only two years old but the children that attended ranged from slightly younger all the way up to us big kids. It felt like the sort of experience you could wish for when you attend local open farms but in such a small group the hands on time was extremely special and well worth the money.
If you fancy hosting your own farm party for a children’s birthday or a special occasion or even a local event then you can find Old Mcdonalds Farm Parties on Facebook here.
It’s definitely something different that the children LOVED.
It was just your usual busy Sunday. Grocery shopping, seeing family and house chores. It has been such nice weather this weekend and as it’s the first full weekend being on British Summer Time I’ve been really enjoying the longer daylight hours.
Being out with young children when it gets dark early in the winter months feels almost a bit wrong. So now the days are longer and warmer, it’s great to be out as a family and enjoy an early evening dinner out together.
Revolution at Xscape in Central Milton Keynes isn’t well publicised as a family friendly restaurant. Revolution is a national brand of vodka bars and your initial reaction is vodka and children do not mix (although vodka helps). But this is not the case during the day. Just like many other bars and pubs, food trade during the day is why these places are open from breakfast onwards, and often can be overlooked by families in favour of well-known family branded restaurants. So what are you missing out on? My family and I went in search of answers.
When we arrived we were greeted and shown to our table. The server who seemed to be running the whole of the floor and bar on his own (and well – I hasten to add) was full of cheer and provided our toddler with a colouring book, cup of crayons and a kids food menu. It was nice for him to be attentive and checked we had everything we needed before jumping back behind the bar.
The layout of tables is just right. Sometimes bars and restaurants have to fight to fit numerous tables into a small space, it can leave the customer feeling like they’re eating dinner with groups of strangers. Here it feels spacious and relaxed and just what you want for a family meal. High chairs are provided and there’s lots of room for them too.
Now anyone with a toddler knows you can’t hang around in a restaurant, so… on to the food.
The children’s menu is a flat price of £5.95 and includes a main, a side, a veg, a dessert and a drink. I knew that this was going to be a lot of food for the money bearing in mind that our toddler is not even two. But it strikes me as good value for what’s provided. On our child’s behalf we ordered Mac ‘N’ Cheese, sweet potato fries, peas and for dessert, an ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce.
My husband I ordered houmous with wholegrain and honey flatbread and vegetable crudités and pan fried halloumi for starters.
For mains we ordered the Macphilly Cheese Steak and the Cheeseburger. The Macphilly Cheese Steak was supposed to come served in a stone baked ciabatta (so don’t get confused with the photos thinking it looks like a burger) but they had run out of ciabattas in preparation for a new menu launching next week. The server explained to me the lack of ciabatta and offered me a brioche bun instead. I was happy to accept his proposed bun. I’m actually quite a fan of this new trend of brioche buns that are popping up at lots of eateries. They’re soft, they’re squidgy, what’s not to like?
We all (child included) shared the starters. Our child loved the flatbread and houmous and even tried some pieces of halloumi. When the mains came out, his main came out too. You can see from the pictures that there was no skimping on sweet potato fries.
I really want to take a moment here to appreciate the quality of the fries from Revolution. They were seasoned to perfection. Crisp and fluffy inside and came burning hot from the fryer. It sounds like such a simple component to a meal but more times than not I am left feeling disappointed with my fries and just tend to steer clear of them. These were dangerously more-ish.
On the desserts menu there were a couple of items that really tickled my curiosity. The one I settled on trying is called the Nutella Fluffwich. Revolution’s menu describes this as their ‘famous creation’ of marshmallow fluff and Nutella baked in a sweet dough sandwich served with blueberry dipping sauce, it’s tasty but it’s crying out for a dollop of ice-cream.
My husband ordered the Chocolate Mess Sundae which went down a storm with all of us (battle of the spoons) and our child enjoyed bits of both of ours along with his own scoop of ice cream sundae with chocolate sauce.
No meal for me is complete without a cup of tea to finish. Presented in a small red teapot and lovely big cup and saucer it came with a really cute glass milk bottle on the side, I’m a sucker for presentation details like that, it was lovely.
Then it was gone 7pm and definitely time for our little boy to go to bed (and for the normality of Sunday night chores to prepare for the next week to recommence) so off we went, absolutely stuffed.
Maybe this Easter you should try eating somewhere with your kids somewhere a bit out of the norm? You might be surprised what you can find.