I must admit that this isn’t the normal type of thing I cook. However, it is school holidays, our daughter eats at the childminders for the majority of the week, so I was conscious of making child friendly meals. We’ve had Sausage and Mash, Macaroni and Cheese and this Creamy Chicken Pasta.
I do wish she had a wider palate, but I have tried and it’s difficult to persuade her to eat slightly spicier food. I’m fairly confident I couldn’t get her to eat a Lentil Dahl.
I originally, came across this recipe on Chic Pins at first I was a bit flummoxed by the measurements, I couldn’t locate the egg noodles and I prefer to use chicken thighs as I find they don’t dry out as much as breasts do.
So I’ve anglicized it a bit, even though I’m Canadian.
Slow Cooker Sunday: Creamy Chicken Pasta
Recipe Type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Child Friendly
Author: Mediocre Mum
500 g of Chicken Thighs, skinned and cut into bite sized pieces
1.2 litres of Chicken Stock
2 tins (295g) Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
50 g of butter
320 g of tagliatelle
Parsley to garnish
Place the chicken, stock, soup and butter in the slow cooker. Mix well. Cook and cover on low for a minimum of 6 hours.
An hour before you are going to serve put the Tagliatelle in, replace the lid and cook for another hour.
It’s that easy. Serve with garlic bread and greens.
Don’t forget Slow Cooker Sunday is all about sharing recipes and getting inspiration from others. Feel free to add your own recipes below. They can be old or new and don’t even have to be your own. Just one you’ve tried and liked.
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This is what I posted on my personal Facebook page before heading into London earlier in the week.
What little did I know?
We arrived a bit early at the Park Plaza Hotel (County Hall) for check in. We were warmly greeted and informed that they had a lovely room for us. I knew that already as I’d checked out the Junior Suite online; a separate room with big comfy bed for us, plasma TV, separate living space with a double sofa bed for Madame, kitchenette, bath and a walk in shower and of course Free WIFI. Rooms start from £99 a night.
As we were early, the helpful lady at the front desk had to ring up housekeeping to see if the room was ready. I overheard her say ‘is room 1405 ready’. I’ve stayed in enough hotels to know that room 845 would be on the 8th floor, room 310 would be on the 3rd floor and 401 would be on the 4th and so on. I had a quick glance over my right shoulder at the sign by the lift and it said that the 14th floor was the Penthouse Suites!!!!
I did my best to stay composed, but on the inside I was squealing with delight. No, this couldn’t be true and there must be a mistake, but yes, in fact it was true. We’d been upgraded to a Penthouse Suite. I’ve stayed in 5 star hotels before for work but could never afford such a treat as a family.
For someone with a fear of heights, the trip up to the top floor was a bit unnerving in the glass walled elevator which our daughter renamed the ‘Wonkavator’.
The room itself was absolutely amazing, it had everything that the Junior Suite had but a bigger bedroom with a King sized bed, a larger living space with a dining table and the most amazing private balcony with views of the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Jubilee Bridge and of course the Thames.
The Tower of London
There are loads of attractions within a 2 or 3 minute walk of the Hotel; The London Aquarium, The London Eye, and The National Theatre. Our daughter could have spent the rest of the day in the hotel room but we dragged her out as we’d planned on visiting the Tower of London, which is only a 20 minute bus ride, just grab the RV1 bus from Chicheley Street heading to Tower Hill.
Both my husband and I hadn’t been to the Tower of London, neither of us had ever been with a child, which was built by William the Conqueror after his successful invasion in 1066. Since then it:
was a Royal Residence for 500 years
was a prison for those waiting to be marched up to Tower Hill to be beheaded
a place for private executions, including Anne of Boleyn (who is buried on the site)
contained the Royal Mint and the Royal Zoo
now is home to the Crown Jewels if you like a bit of bling!
To get the most out of our visit we decided to join one of the Beefeater Tours which lasted about an hour with the perfect amount of History, gore and humour to keep all of us interested. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.
Adult tickets start at £18 and children under 5 go free. However, do have a look online as I’ve seen loads of 2 for 1 offers to many London Attractions.
Stress free dining with kids!
We then returned to the hotel for a lovely dinner in the Spectrum Restaurant, even though it’s rather fancy, as you can see by the pictures, we felt perfectly at ease dining with our 4 year old. The waiting staff including, Mirko the lovely maître d‘ went out of his way, including giving our daughter a stuffed animal, to make her feel welcome and at no point did I panic about her disrupting other guests.
They have an extensive children’s menu, a three course meal costs £11 and for central London we thought this was great value. Our daughter opted for Tomato Soup, which apparently she ‘loved more than Mummy and Daddy’, Fishcakes and a Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream.
My husband and I opted for Rib Eye Steaks (£22), one of our favourites and shared a lovely bottle of wine (£20), again I think for London these prices are very reasonable.
The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the deck, with ‘another’ bottle of red wine soaking in the London Skyline by night.
I can see why the hotel was voted best family friendly hotel in London by HRS. As parents we often feel that we have to give up quality when we have children, so it was a really nice change to be able to enjoy a short break that resembled what we would have done pre-kids.
Disclosure: The room (£540) and meal were compliments of Park Plaza Hotel and our Entry Tickets to the Tower of London were compliments of Super Break
One thing we really lack locally is truly child-friendly pubs. We have pubs that tolerate children but none that really go beyond offering a children’s menu and many don’t even do that.
It’s not that we want to take our daughter to the pub and get ‘fall down’ drunk but on a sunny day it would be great to go and enjoy a pub garden with other families and have a couple of drinks whilst the children play. A swing, slide or climbing frame wouldn’t go amiss.
Years ago, prior to kids I was in Slovenia and vividly remember going to a restaurant early evening and sitting on the patio. I noticed many families having dinner together, drinking responsibly but they had a fantastic play area for the children. Everyone was happy! Is this a cultural difference? Why don’t we do this more in the UK?
A couple of months ago on a trip to Shropshire, we stopped at a pub that was advertised on my Good Pub Guide App that was supposedly child-friendly. When we arrived, we quickly worked out that children were not allowed in the main part of the pub, which looked fantastic, open fires, beamed ceilings, etc. Unfortunately we were relegated to the scabby conservatory and felt like second rate citizens. What I also found interesting is that dogs were allowed in the pub but children were not. Not all pubs need to be child friendly, as not all people like kids, but please don’t advertise them as child-friendly if they’re not.
The closest pub to us that is truly child-friendly is Moor Mill in Park Street which is about 5 miles away. We went last week when it was really hot. There’s a pond where you can feed the ducks, a smallish playground, which could use a bit of an upgrade, the children’s menu is quite extensive but I did like that they had a special menu for even younger children and it being an Old Watermill the building in itself was interesting.
Do bear in mind it is a Beefeater, so if you’re a foodie it may not be for you but we found the menu extensive, the prices were reasonable, and the service was outstanding, but this may be due to the fact they knew that we were reviewing the restaurant. Overall, we thought it was okay but most importantly our daughter was happy, which meant we were happy. However, when writing this review I did come across a few negative reviews so please do make sure you do your homework.
Disclosure: Our meals were compliments of Beef Eater Grill
I wouldn’t in a million years watch YouTube videos with my daughter before vetting them first; even though I’m tempted at times when I have a spare 5 minutes to kill while waiting for dinner. Unfortunately, I don’t often have time to sit down and sift through all the inappropriate content. So tonight, I thought I would go through and make a list and share it with you in hopes that you would share a few of your favourites.
There are ways of making YouTube a bit safer for kids but they aren’t failsafe and I’m not willing to risk it. You can create a favourites list in YouTube, watch them on full screen to avoid inappropriate comments popping up, put it in safety mode and/or register an account for your child with an accurate age so that YouTube’s filters kick in.
I started making quite a list and then came across the following two sites which were exactly what I was looking for. Both of these sites pull the majority of their content from YouTube but they have been closely monitored. Every video that I had found previously could be found on these two sites. So, my list just got a lot shorter.
I like the looks of Kideos because you can search by age group (e.g 2-3, 3-4). They have everything from Sesame Street to Disney to Dancing Bears. Plus, they have an iphone app which I’m off to download now.
ZuiTube follows a similar idea but boasts the largest collection of Kids Videos anywhere and all of their content has been approved by parents and teachers.
We’ve just returned from a short break to Bude, Cornwall. We were absolutely blessed with the weather and I can’t recommend the place we stayed at enough. Just for the record I do not get any kick backs of any type for recommending this place. We stayed at the Atlantic Cottages on the West Grove Farm just on the outskirts of Bude. I originally found it on Friendly Baby Boltholes but I was a bit cheeky and went direct in the end.
To be honest it cost a wee bit more than what we budgeted for but was worth every penny. We were only going to go for 3 days but husband managed to negotiate a great deal for two extra nights (£20). Prior to arrival the communication was excellent. We received a very warm welcome from Verity and her family. The cottages are gorgeous and kitted out to a very high standard; flat screen TVs, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, TUMBLE Dryer and a wireless connection but I didn’t dare bring my laptop or I would’ve ended up in divorce court.
Bude itself is not spectacular but the beaches are. You’re minutes away from Summerleaze, Crooklet, Northcott Mouth, Sandy Mouth, Widemouth and Crackington Haven beaches. The only downside is that we had to drive to the beaches but it really wasn’t a problem. The bonus was being able to return to the farm after a day out and our 2 year old could run wild. As it is a working farm there were loads of animals to chase around (dogs, cats, pigs, sheep, hens, geese and goats) and children are also invited to help at feeding times. The highlight of my daughter’s holiday was Tess the farm dog!
As the weather was so nice we really didn’t need more than the beaches but we did go on a couple of small excursions.
A stunning little port with a natural harbour. Make sure you go first thing in the morning or parking is a problem. If you arrive early like we did you can always get a full English breakfast at the B and B on the corner.
As we are fans of Doc Martin we had to make the short trip to Port Isaac to see the doctor’s surgery. The scenery was stunning but the public car park sticks in my mind. It wasn’t a problem if you remembered to move your car when the tide came in at 3pm!
A gorgeous little hamlet with a church, tea room and a pub. From the church you can walk a short way to the cliffs edge and see ‘Hawkers Hut’ the National Trusts smallest building. It is tucked in the cliff edge and isn’t for the faint hearted. I’m terrified of heights and nearly had kittens walking down to it.
Make sure you stop at the Bush Inn, a 13th Century Freehouse with stunning surroundings and good beer and food.
We had an absolutely amazing time and would definitely recommend a visit to the area. There are so many things that we didn’t manage to see so we will have to go back!