All posts filed under: Reviews

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Carluccio’s Exeter

We are very fortunate to be spending Easter with Cofton Holidays in Starcross, South Devon; a beautiful spot beside the River Exe. This evening, we ventured into nearby Exeter to sample the delights of Carluccio’s at Princesshay, a modern, sprawling open-air shopping centre. Having never been to a branch of Carluccio’s before today, I suppose I was expecting something fairly standard in terms of Italian chain restaurants. What was delivered, however, was rather more authentic – the staff, the wine list, the ingredients, they were all properly Italian. The menu was a little more what we elaborately referred to as grown up than a number of other places we have eaten at with the children, providing no real “safe” options such as pizza, chips or chicken nuggets. I can see why this might be attractive to most customers – it’s always nice to get the kids eating similar things to the adults, after all. Not so great for fussy eaters though and it certainly presented a problem for Sonny who refused all of the food …

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Science Museum – Robots and Wonderlab

We were so fortunate that our recent February half term took place a week after seemingly most of the country’s. This meant that our trip to the Science Museum was not the crushing melee I had feared it might be; I don’t deal well with crowds. I was also concerned that the children would not actually be able to get stuck in with the myriad hands-on experiments if Wonderlab were full to bursting. Thankfully, my fears remained unrealised; we didn’t even have to queue to enter the building! We began our science adventure with a scoot round the Robots exhibit. Open until 3rd September 2017, Robots is an interesting collection depicting the rise of the machine and its increasingly human traits. From the website: “From the dawn of mechanised human forms to cutting-edge technology fresh from the lab, Robots reveals the astonishing 500-year quest to make machines human. Focusing on why they exist rather than on how they work, our blockbuster exhibition explores the ways robots mirror humanity and the insights they offer into our …

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Talbot Hotel, Ripley

On Saturday, James and I left the children with my parents and disappeared to Surrey for the night. We were invited to review a gorgeous hotel, the Talbot; full of history and original features. Upon arrival, we were directed to our room, which was the Shrewsbury – one of nine bedrooms situated in the 15th Century coaching inn. For any Tudor geek (hello), the room was a treat. It creaked and gurgled a little, which only added to the charm. An authentic Tudor bedroom! We had dinner booked in for 6:30 so headed down to the restaurant, which is also situated in the old coaching inn. We had terrines (salmon and ham) and wine to start, pork belly and steak for mains and sticky toffee pudding and chocolate mousse for dessert. The food was lovely, full of flavour and really nicely presented. The pork belly, in particular, was delicious. The restaurant was a little dark for my liking but gorgeously decorated. Alongside the modern restaurant is a traditional 15th century bar, which is a real …

Christmas on the i360

Today we took a flight with Santa, in Brighton of all places. The sea a reflection of the slate grey sky, I was not very optimistic that we would see a great deal, but the children were rather giddy with excitement. We were asked to arrive at the British Airways i360 20 minutes pre-flight, which gave enough time to have our tickets scanned, pose for photos, present our bags for checking and be scanned before entry. Soon after checking in, we were boarding the i360. The children, of course, couldn’t wait to check out the views. Inside the donut, as we affectionately refer to it, is spacious with seating around the back wall. There is a champagne bar but no toilet. Then there are the views. Admittedly, beneath today’s drape of mist, we could not see much further than the Marina, but it was interesting to see Brighton from a new perspective. All this week, right up until Christmas Eve, there are Santa flights twice daily, at 2 and 4pm. There is an increased fee …

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Breakfast with Father Christmas at Wyevale Garden Centre

On the day that Jasmine turned eight, we visited our local Wyevale Garden Centre to have breakfast with the big man himself. This is our third year and we always enjoy it. There is so much included in the ticket price, as well as the magic of meeting Santa. When we arrived, we were shown to our table, which was decked out with activity sheets for the children and Christmas crackers for all. The children busied themselves with pulling crackers and doing some colouring whilst waiting for breakfast to arrive. We adults were offered tea or coffee and the children were given a choice of orange or blackcurrant squash (I chose to upgrade my coffee to a latte as I’m not keen on filter coffee). Breakfast itself was delicious, and the only minor complaint was that Jasmine would have liked bacon as part of the child’s plate, though she did enjoy what she had. Sonny, still the fussy monkey he has always been, did not want his cooked breakfast – the staff were very obliging …