Modern Mummy

Monday, 16 October 2017

GOOD FOOD // Trying out the New Kids Menu at Bill's, Guildford

At the weekend there's nothing the kids and I like more than heading out for a spot of brunch, and Bill's is one of our favourite places to go. Last Saturday we were invited to our local restaurant in Guildford to try out their new children's menu, so after working up an appetite partaking in a wee bit of shopping, we made our way down the cobbled Angel Gate for a well deserved pit stop!

The main reason I'm such a big fan of Bill's is because I think of it as a proper "grown up" restaurant that just so happens to be incredibly kid friendly. There are some chain restaurants that I wouldn't dream of visiting without the children - but this most definitely isn't one of them. As well as taking the kids there, I regularly visit for leisurely Bloody Mary fuelled brunches with my girlfriends and I even celebrated one of my birthdays at Bill's a couple of years ago, so it really is a great place to visit at any time of the day or night, and with friends and family, both young and old.

Another thing I love at Bill's is the decor; it's really quirky with lots of worn wood, old beaten up leather, warm brick work and industrial fittings. There are flashes of colour everywhere and an eclectic mix of art work and photographs on the walls as well as shelf after shelf of Bill's goodies for sale.

But of course the best thing about Bill's is the menu. There's just the right amount of choice and the chefs have perfected every single item on it. The staff are always so bubbly and accommodating and I've never had a bad meal or a bad experience in any of my many visits.

So over to our review meal! We kick started our brunch with fresh juices and coffee. The kids had orange and apple juices, while I had a Super Greens smoothie and a flat white.

Then we moved on to peruse the food menu!

We had a good look at the lunch/dinner menu but we already knew before we got there that we'd be having brunch. We are creatures of habit I'm afraid, but I genuinely believe that if it ain't broke, why fix it. And on that note the girls went for their usual two course brunch (and being gluttonous is totally affordable when you're a kid at Bill's, with prices starting at just £1.95 for yoghurt and fruit, and moving up to £4.95 for a full English). On this occasion they started off with bacon and sausage sandwiches, while I went for the eggs and avocado on toast with a side of streaky bacon.

Daisy's Sausage Sandwich Selfie

Evie about to tuck into her bacon sandwich

If you watched our IG stories on the day, you'll have heard Evie declare how much she loves the bacon at Bill's!

Me enjoying my super virtuous smoothie and avo on toast

Then it was time for round two! I was completely full up, so I just had another coffee but the girls went for pancakes, which is the reason why they love Bill's so much. I'm told they are the SECOND BEST PANCAKES IN THE WORLD (and second only to mine...... I've trained these kids well). They come served with syrup and fruit and I think both girls would eat a third portion between them if I let them.

As always, we had a wonderful meal. We were in and out pretty quickly, without feeling rushed, and with lovely full bellies - ready to take on the rest of the day!

Bill's serves breakfast until midday (or 1pm at weekends) then switches to its lunch and dinner menus later on. Kids' breakfast prices start at just £1.95, or they can dine on three courses - and have a drink - for just £6.95 after 11:45am, which officially makes it the most reasonably priced kids' menu out of every restaurant we've ever visited. It's definitely the tastiest too!

Thank you so much to Bill's for having us - and special thanks to Roo, the manager at Guildford, for looking after us so well!

We were given a complimentary meal in exchange for our honest views on Bills and their new kids menu. All words are true and all photographs are copyright.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

THE HEN DIARIES // The Omlet Eglu Cube: A Review

We have now been proud ex-battery hen keepers for over a week and our ladies are settling into their new home nicely.

They've established their pecking order (Sandie is most definitely in charge) and have all mastered the art of using the ladder to get in and out of their coop. They know to put themselves to bed at dusk and are laying only in the nesting box (we're averaging three eggs a day). They have also been dust bathing and flapping their wings a lot which I love to see, seeing as it's unlikely they've been able to do either before. Three out of the six are already super inquisitive and friendly, happily coming over to us when we approach the run and even eating corn out of our hands!

Four of them are still very bald but I can see new feathers already forming on them, and all of their combs are getting redder by the day! All in all, I like to think they're very happy in their new home and with their new keepers. And with a home like theirs, why wouldn't they be!

After keeping hens in a wooden coop previously, I always knew I wanted an Eglu for my eagerly awaited ex-batts. On recommendation, I went for the Eglu Cube and run, which is the perfect size for six Rhode Island Red crosses. And I couldn't be happier with it!

Special Features of the Omlet Eglu Cube
1. Door to nesting box // 2.Cosy nesting box // 3. Sliding door to enable you to close off access to nesting box at night // 4. Door with external handle // 5. Removable and easy to clean roosting bars // 6. Slide out dropping tray

So what exactly is so special about the Omlet Eglu Cube, I hear you ask. Where do I begin!

The cube is brilliantly designed, with a cosy separate nesting box that's accessible from three sides. There's the direct 'eggport' on the side which can be used to collect eggs, the rear panel door that gives access to the entire cube and a sliding door in-between the nesting box and the roosting bars that can be closed at night.

The roosting bars are removable and easy to wipe clean, and sit over a slide out dropping tray that can be emptied straight onto your compost heap and hosed down.

The door to the coop is opened and closed by a lift and twist handle, and there is a non-slip ladder for your hens to get in and out.

The cube is also on wheels, which means you can easily move it (as well as the run) to fresh patches of lawn whenever you want, plus it comes with absolutely everything you need - including food and water containers, a rain cover - and even some cute little boxes for those all important eggs!

As well as being easy to move and easy to clean, the coop and run are both super sturdy, and fox proof to boot. There's a stable door to the run, which means you can half open it to replenish your hens' food and water, or fully open it to let them out / let yourself in!

As someone who has previously kept chickens in a wooden coop, I can confirm that the Eglu is SO much easier to keep clean, and SO much more hygienic.

I'm not going to lie - putting the run together was pretty tricky (the cube was totally fine). I'm not going to pretend that I did it myself either..... my Dad did it (I made him lots of cups of tea and held the odd bit in place when my services were required though, so I did help). The instructions said 3hrs to build the coop and run completely but it took a little longer than that. The end result was well worth it though!

Overall? There's no denying Omlet products are expensive but in my opinion they're worth every penny. While researching them it became clear that they last a very long time and also retain their value when being sold second (or even third!) hand. They're extremely low maintenance, are 100% recyclable and look great.

I contemplated making a video of the Eglu myself but there's no beating this one made by Omlet - press play to see all the brilliant functions in use. If you want to see footage of my ladies in their Eglu, take a look at my stories over on Instagram where they feature every day and are very entertaining to watch!

Omlet | Discover the New Eglu Cube - Chicken Coop from Omlet on Vimeo.

Prices for the Omlet Eglu start at £549 for the basic coop. Our model, which includes the stand and wheels as well as a 3m run, costs £849.

DISCLAIMER: The lovely people at Omlet sent my incredibly lucky ladies their Eglu Cube and run for the purpose of this review and to enable them to live out their retirement in luxury after a pretty rough start in life. We are very grateful!

Monday, 9 October 2017

DAYS OUT IN LONDON // Wicked the Musical: A Review

On Saturday the girls and I jumped on a train to London to see a musical that's been on my wish list for a long time: Wicked.

Now in its twelfth year, and seen by more than 8 million people, Wicked has won over a hundred major awards - so there was no doubt in my mind that it was going to be absolutely brilliant. What I wasn't expecting was for it to be SO brilliant that it knocked Les Miserables off my top spot (where it's been since 1993) to become my most favourite musical of all time!

As a family, we love going to the theatre and musicals are our favourite. We saw an am-dram version of The Wizard of Oz at our local theatre earlier this year; the girls immediately fell in love with the characters and have watched the original film and Return to Oz dozens of times since. I knew they'd love Wicked, and I was right.

Well what can I say? It's clever, witty, emotional, jam packed full of amazing songs and has THE BEST set design and lighting I have ever seen.

The story is an uplifting one with a great moral - that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. It encourages you to look at the other side of the story and to question things.... in this case, was the Wicked Witch of the West really wicked?

It tells the untold story of the friendship between Glinda and Elphaba, two girls who first meet as sorcery students at university. Their adventures in Oz see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West but until now we haven't heard the whole story about the Land of Oz!

Glinda (played by Sophie Evans) and Elphaba (Alice Fearn) were amazing, as were the rest of the cast. And I definitely wasn't distracted by Fiyero (Bradley Jaden)'s arm muscles ;)

The musical may be aimed at children aged 7+ but both girls absolutely loved it - especially Evie, and she turns five next month. The flying monkeys were a bit creepy and the mask on the Wizard of Oz's door made us all jump the first time it spoke but we were all in agreement that they were some of our favourite bits in the end! We also all agreed that Defying Gravity was our favourite song. I have a feeling the soundtrack is going to be on repeat in our car for a long time!

The show runs six nights a week, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays - plus there's an extra matinee performance on Thursday 26th October if you're interested in booking tickets for half term. prices start at just £21.75 when you book online here.

We were given complimentary tickets in exchange for this honest review.

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