Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

 Thank you very much to the NHM secret Reviewer who wrote this post!

Review 2017: Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea Room

I’m currently very excited about our upcoming family camping trip, but have been wondering how to keep small J warm as he wriggles free from sleeping bags and blankets quicker than I can replace them. I enlisted Grandma to knit some knee length woolly socks ready for our trip and found myself taking her to Pack Lane wool shop in Kempshott. Imagine our delight to not only discover a treasure trove of all things sparkly and crafty but a lovely little tea room out the back.

Kitty’s Tilted Teacup Tea room is a hidden delight, that I almost want to keep to myself. We treated ourselves to afternoon tea, hot chocolate and cake – which is all made by the team that run the tea room. Small J was delighted with his gingerbread man and hot chocolate and happily for the grownups they were served in child friendly plastic mugs and plates so we didn’t need to worry about accidental breakage of the beautiful crockery.

My cream egg cheesecake was moreishly smooth, even Grandma decided to taste and then had to be fended off so she didn’t finish it!  Dangerously they also provide a take away cake service, so Mr J was lucky enough to sample the Crunchie cheesecake cake after his dinner that night, which went down very very well with him. They also serve gluten free cake options. The service was quick and friendly and the tearoom had a lovely family vibe about it.

We’ve already planned a return trip when I shall be to trying out the lunch menu (and more cake of course!)

The tearoom also serves breakfast and makes cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and other occasions to order. Children can celebrate their birthday with an afternoon tea party, during which they also get to decorate a cupcake to take home.

On site there are toilet and baby changing facilities, a small car park, and beware – a tempting Pick and Mix selection that takes up most of a wall! (I’m thinking of putting blinkers on Mr J when I take him)

Booking is essential for busy times. Check out their Facebook page for more @ Kittystiltedteacuprearoom or call them on 01256 321166.

Unit 2, 171 Pack Lane, Kempshott, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 5HN

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Mothercare Basingstoke Expectant Parents Evening – Tomorrow night! (Thursday 2nd March 2017)

????Mothercare Basingstoke. Expectant Parent Event

????10% voucher and goody bag on arrival.

????Call the store on 01255 363737 to book a space or book online

The team are available to help with personal shopping and have all staff in to ensure a nice easy shopping experience.

It a chance to review the products available in mothercare and anything you buy that evening will have 10% off. (If you are buying a pushchair, 10% can add up to a LOT!)

There will also be lots of stalls and you will be given a goody bag at the event.

There are usually drinks and snacks available and often a couple of tables of local businesses that are relevant to pregnant Mum’s and parents of under one year olds.

It’s invite only but you just need to call the store on 01256 363737 to book your place.

You can find links to previous Mothercare Expectant Parents evening to see what it’s all about:

Mothercare Expectant’s Parents Evening – Autumn 2015

Event: Mothercare expectant parent evening, Basingstoke – Thursday 26th February 2015

Expectant Parent’s Event at Mothercare Basingstoke – 9th October 2014

Event: Expectant Parents evening at Mothercare – June 2014

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Top Tip 39: What to do with your old cot mattress!

Thank you to Shona for putting together this post!!!

NHM readers suggested uses for old cot mattresses

I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What did you do with your cot mattress when you didn’t need it any more?  I don’t really want to dump it but I’m sure you can’t recycle mattresses. Seems such a waste to take it to the tip”.  Thank you very much to everyone who responded, here are the suggestions:

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Animal Rescue Centres

Karen suggested trying animal rescue centres as they sometimes take them and use them as beds.

2. Re-use / Upcycle

(Suggested by Poppy, Karen, Susan, Michelle and Karen)

If you have the room to keep them then old mattresses are great for a selection of uses, such as:

  • To get out for the kids to jump on when they feel the urge to jump on the sofa or bed
  • A spare bed for when you have friends staying over with little ones or for camping trips
  • As a base for tent/den making
  • Smaller mattresses (such as moses basket mattresses) make great bathroom or garden kneelers
  • Recover and use as a window seat cushion

3. Send out to Romania

Vicki suggested contacting Ruth at Christ Church Chineham as she arranges for old mattresses to be sent out to Romania.

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Top Tip 38: Kilner Jar Salad’s

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I recently read an American post about “10 Mason Jar (What the US calls Kilner Jars) Lunches to have on hand” via the Super Healthy Kids Blog which was recommended to me by a NHM Reader a couple of years ago and thought it sounded like a brilliant idea.

I was slightly sceptical about whether it actually worked but then I saw a work colleague with kilner jars on her desk and she said they were fantastic. She makes all her lunches for work on a Sunday, keeps them in the fridge and the salads are still in great condition by the following Friday.

As regular NHM readers know I’m always looking out for any short cut’s that will make my life a bit easier so I knew I had to try this.

It’s also pretty widely known that Mr NHM literally takes a step back when the word “salad” is used in any context ;-).

I don’t know if it’s his northern blood but he categorically refuses to eat anything remotely salad like. Combine this with a child who has suddenly developed a “fussy food streak” and the only person I’m making any salads for is myself.

I don’t have the time or inclination to spend every evening making only myself a salad…. until I tried the kilner jar method!

Honestly, it’s fantastic!

I did what my colleague suggested and made up 4 kilner jars for the week on a Sunday and put them in the fridge. I also made up a kilner jar with cous cous and raisins and stored this in the fridge. It took me about 15 minutes of time to make the 5 jars but I was doing them at the same time as cooking another meal.

I was expecting the salad and cous cous to be soggy by the time I used them but they weren’t, it was as if I’d just prepared them!

I have no idea whether it’s because the jars are air tight but they are MILES better than using tupperware or lock and lock’s.

I bought my kilner jars from The Range as they were the cheapest I could find.

The pictures in this post are from one of the recipes in the original “10 Mason Jar Lunches” post, “Chicken Taco mason jar salad”, and I adapted it to what I had in the fridge and the equivalent to the US products.

I used, rocket and watercress chopped up, then grapes and blueberries, then a chopped tomato, some sweetcorn, some cucumber and finely chopped radishes and topped off with some black beans (not in the picture as I got distracted!).

I made the sauce from mild salsa mixed with creme fraiche when I needed it as I’d decided not to put it in the jar because I’m still a bit sceptical about whether the sauces will keep. I’m definitely going to try it next time though.

When I needed the salad, I dumped it all out into my bowl, topped with the sauce and it was DELICIOUS!

I highly recommend using kilner jars for storing food like salads and cous cous. Now I’m sold I’m going to try it on LOADS of other different foods and will report back soon! :-D.

Let me know if you have any good “kilner jar” recipes as I’d love to expand my current repertoire.

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NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

YAY! It’s Half Term!!! Whoop Whoop!!

So, on the off chance the weather is lovely during half term I thought I’d post up the responses that I asked for last year on on my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook, for top tips for staying cool with little ones in the heat.

Thank you very much to everyone who responded and thank you to Shona for putting this together!

NHM Readers Top Tips for Keeping Cool

Louise said:

Gazebo, paddling pool and lots of water and ice pops!!!

Lisa said:

Be still like crocodiles as much as possible! LOTS of water. Keep all windows shut to keep coolness in. Run cold water over wrists for 1 minute to cool down. Hats and lots of shade when outside.

Lisa B said:

Hang around lolly freezers – make sure children take ages to choose

Hayley said:

Sun shade, lots of water and paddling pool.

What are your suggestions for keeping cool in the hot weather?

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Top tip 37: Ecover limescale remover

I discovered Ecover limescale remover from a friend who raves about it. (yes, I’m well aware of how tragic that sentence is! lol).

It’s great stuff, safe for the environment (and therefore little ones) and it does a FANTASTIC job of removing limescale.

It’s quite expensive at £4 a bottle and I’ve only ever found it in Ocado, but it’s the only thing that gets my shower screen clean that doesn’t have harmful chemicals in. It does an awesome job on metal sinks too.

Highly recommended if you want to get something that cleans but doesn’t have harmful chemicals in.

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Top Tip 35: YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids

You Tube have put together a specific App for children which is called: YouTube Kids.

If you let your little ones use YouTube a lot, this App will be perfect for you.

Although YouTube can’t guarantee that there won’t be anything inappropriate on the App, it’s a lot better than your child using “YouTube” where they can literally stumble over anything.

They say: “YouTube Kids gives your family an easy way to watch their favourite shows, or explore anything that captures their imagination. It’s free, simple to use, and full of family-friendly videos.”

There is also a section which is tailored just for parents which explains how the App works.

Apparently it tailors the content too, so your child will be shown more of what they like.

So don’t start them off on “My Little Pony” if you don’t want their brains to rot :-D.

https://kids.youtube.com

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Top Tip 34: Slow Cooker Lasagna

Someone told me a couple of years ago (Hi Laura!) that you could do lasagna in your slow cooker .

I was bit sceptical but have been wanting to try it for ages and finally got around to it a few weeks ago.

We loved it so much, that we have had it twice in the past month! Which possibly explains why I’m not losing any weight at the moment! lol.

Top Tip 34: Slow Cooker Lasagna

I used my slow cooker to batch cook a basic bolognese sauce. I use:

  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onion
  • finely chopped carrots,  peppers and apple (lots of hidden veg and you can’t taste them)
  • loads of garlic
  • minced beef
  • beef stock
  • tomato puree
  • oregano
  • and sometimes passata if it’s in the cupboard.

I chuck it all in the slow cooker and let it cook for 8 hours.

I make a huge batch and then freeze it and use it as a base for pasta and sauce, chilli (chuck in some mild chilli and red kidney beans for 30 mins when reheating) and now for lasagna.

This sauce is very versatile!

Steps

Layer your stuff. For my first layer I put in the bolognese sauce.

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Then I break up the lasagna sheets to cover the sauce.

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Then I add the cheese sauce (Make a rue, with butter and flour, add milk very slowly and keep stirring constantly and then boil so the sauce thickens. Add some grated cheese once sauce has thickened. You don’t need to use much cheese).

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Then I add another layer of bolognese sauce.

You can add a layer of spinach here too if you want to add some more veg.

Depending on how much “stuff” I have available, I will keep doing the layers until I’ve run out!

However, the last two layers on the top are always the lasagna sheets topped with the cheese sauce and some grated cheese.

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Then wack your slow cooker on low for 4 hours.

I actually switched mine off after 3.5 hours last time because I could smell that it was cooked (it smells YUMMY!).

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Then serve!

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We have ours with salad. (when I say “we”, I obviously mean me and Miss NHM as Mr NHM’s is still northern and refuses to eat salads :-D).

I often end up storing what’s left in the fridge and ensure that when I re-heat the lasagna it’s boiling hot, so no risk of food poisoning.

Related Posts

Top Tip 31: Batch Cooking: Home Made Cottage pie

Mum Top Tip’s

Top Tip 8: Slow Cooker Roast Chicken

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Top Tip 36: Birthing Hospital Tips

“S” sent me her hospital tips when her second child was born who is now nearly three years old! Opps! I probably should have posted this a bit sooner, but better late than never! Thank you for this fantastic post “S”. Going to miss you ;-).

I am posting this after meeting up with an old school friend, “K” on Monday, whom I haven’t seen to chat too in over 20 years! This post is for you “K” and all of the other pregnant ladies who read NHM ;-).

Hospital Tips

  • Pampers – not one nappy has leaked so far
  • Bikini top – so hot in the hospital this was a great thing to wear in labour
  • Disposable knickers – lots of blood very early on and actually not uncomfortable
  • Don’t bother with fancy pjs – def get blood on them even with 2 maternity towels on
  • Take nice towel for yourself – the hospital ones are tough and not really offered clean ones
  • Luxury toilet paper – a must for stitches
  • Padded maternity towels with wings were good, if stitches wear 2 on top of each other for extra padding
  • Be assertive with midwives and listen to your body not the textbook
  • Get as much help as possible with feeding – nursery nurses were brilliant, ask for breastfeeding counsellor appointment too, they come around the wards
  • Ibaby breastfeeding app excellent for iPhone to figure out feed times esp with stopping/ starting for burping etc
  • Contraction timer excellent – and gave me something to focus on during contractions
  • Fruit really good to eat during labour
  • Good idea to take a range of clothes sizes in case your baby is tiny/big
  • A bath with lavender essential oil is soothing for stitches

What’s missing from this list?

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Top Tip 33: Creamy coconut and berry Lolly's

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My first attempt!

I’ve been looking for a healthy lolly recipe for a while and stumbled across this one via The Green Parent website.

They are very cheap to make and much better for you than shop bought lolly’s. They are also suitable for dairy intolerant peeps.

Ingredients:

• 1 can of coconut milk
• 6 tablespoons of honey (we used agave nectar as it’s the only thing I had in)
• 4-6 large strawberries (we skipped the strawberries as we don’t have any at the moment!)
• 2 cups of frozen summer berries

Method:

1. Throw all ingredients into a blender, mix until smooth.
2. Pour into popsicle/lolly cases.
3. Freeze for 4-6 hours.

Serves: 12-18
Cost: Approximately £2

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