How to avoid the dreaded Motorway Services

How to find a decent place to eat when on a road trip in the UK

I have a deep hatred of UK Services on the motorways.  Please don’t take this personally, but I vividly remember experiencing my first UK Motorway services about 14 years ago; after badly navigating the one way system almost exiting by mistake, then fighting for a parking spot, nervously leaving your car fully loaded with valuables, hoards of stressed people to then be offered substandard fast food, notably Wimpy in this case.

In Canada, services are very minimal, sometimes you will be lucky to get a flushing toilet and a few picnic tables, but normally in quite beautiful surroundings with the odd bit of wild life wandering around.

Off the beaten track

We do try to avoid them at all costs and thanks to technology we can.  I have the Good Pub Guide App (£4.99) on my phone.  I simply have to select, ‘find a pubs and breweries near me’ then I can scroll through and find one that is close, serves food and is child friendly.

How to find a good place to eat

We’ve found some absolute gems and they are only minutes off the motorway.

How to find a place to eat in the UK

Once I find one in the guide I simply enter the post code into my Sat Nav and off we go.  If you want to plan ahead you can also use the post code and address option.

Do try it as it will make your journey much more enjoyable.

Happy travels…..



Would you eat your own placenta?

I personally wouldn’t and the mere thought of it makes me gag. Earlier in the week I was watching ‘How to be a good mother’ hosted by Sharon Horgan. Sharon, like many of us, was questioning her own parenting skills and went to visit 6 mothers who have very different approaches to parenting.

Introducing the mums
There was a young mother 27 who had 6 children, all home births and are all home schooled. Another who believes in extended breastfeeding, no nappies, co-sleeping, frowns upon all modern inventions including prams and is a wet-nurse. One is a busy working mum who is incredibly organised thanks to technology. She has a nanny who is required to send photos to mum daily, has 1000 of apps on her phone, schedules a video conference with her son every day and has the most amazing communication platform (chalk board) in the kitchen.

The one I could associate with the most was the ex-stuntwoman, wicked step mother and dress couture. She never wanted children of her own, inherited some step children, but then found herself pregnant. She strongly believes that children shouldn’t be wrapped in cotton wool and that helicopter parents aren’t doing their children any favours, which I completely agree with. However, I do think she takes a few unnecessary risks as she doesn’t believe in bike helmets for children. Eeek!

Penchant for placenta
But the one that I can’t get out of my head is the one that has a penchant for placenta. When her own child was born and the midwife wasn’t looking, she sneaked a piece and wolfed it down. Bleuch! She’s turned her love of placentas into her own home business. People send her their placentas and she cooks them up and not wasting a thing. She makes heart shaped window charms out of the umbilical chord, drying them to preserve them. She also visits new mothers in their homes and by request blends up the placenta with fruit to make a smoothie. Apparently it tastes quite nice.

I appreciate that umbilical stem cell research can help in the treatment of things like Parkinsons, Diabetes, Burns and Arthritis but I’m fairly sure the patients don’t ingest them.

So, the question is, would you eat your own placenta? Do you believe there are health benefits or is this woman crackers?

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Photo Credit

Clever so and so!

Do you ever wish that your child was slightly thick, just enough so you can pull the wool over their eyes? Madame has been showing flashes of genius lately, not Mensa level and it’s not consistent, but just enough to worry me.  She definitely didn’t get this from her father.

Madame was a brilliant eater and like many children when she hit 2.5 this all changed.  Many people warned me about this but honestly I didn’t believe them.  She’d eat just about anything, including liver, that I put in front of her and her father and I are not picky eaters.

Anyhow, we are now struggling with meal times.  But, I’m determined to not make it into a battle.  We offer her one meal choice, if she doesn’t eat it we nonchalantly wrap it up, put it aside and serve it to her again the next time she says she’s hungry.  I’m not going to be one of those mum’s who cooks several different meals each night.  Then on our own terms we offer her toast just before bed, if we didn’t she’d wake up in the night hungry and we’d be the losers.

On the weekend, when we were eating as a family, which is a rare occurrence, she brought her Jessie doll to the table.  I know this is a bad idea and we don’t normally allow toys at the table but in this case I just wanted to focus on one thing at a time.  So, long story short, I said ‘if you don’t eat your dinner I’m putting Jessie in the loft’.  She didn’t eat her dinner so I hid Jessie.

Bless her…I found her wandering around the landing at about 4am stressed looking for her Jessie doll and I’m not that mean so I gave it back to her.  However, that’s not the clever bit.

The following night we all sat down to dinner again, she ate fairly well, but after dinner she hopped down and proceeded to rummage around in the cupboard under the stairs.  I wondered what the hell she was doing…….then I worked it out.  She’d hidden Jessie before we had dinner!  The clever so and so…..

Let’s Table it!

Photo Credit

Tonight we ate around the kitchen table as a family for the first time in a very long time.  Unfortunately, my husband works in the city and normally doesn’t get home till after 7 or 8 so it’s a little late to make Madame wait for her dinner.  So, she often eats on her own in the kitchen with me busying myself in the background.  Then her father and I eat on our laps in front of the TV much later.    I have a feeling that this is the norm for most families.  Sharing meal times seems to be a thing of the past.

I’d be interested to know how often you eat together as a family.

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I’ve been doing a bit of reading and it seems that the benefits of eating together as a family is ten fold.  I’m in no way preaching or trying to make you feel bad, I was just curious. According to the articles I read, families who eat together have a stronger bond, children do better at school, they eat more nutritional meals, they learn how to cook, have better table manners and communication skills and you can save money.

I can’t change my hubbies work schedule and I’m sure this is only going to get more difficult when Madame starts school and a zillion other clubs and activities. However, I’m going to make an effort to eat together as a family on weekends.  I’ve also toyed with the idea of having breakfast together but I’m not a morning person.

Can someone remind me about this post the next time I order a Curry on a Saturday Night?