Overhauling My Lunch Box #CollectiveBias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Overhauling My Lunch Box #CollectiveBias

This week I increased my hours from 3 to 5 days a week. Aside from the fact that working full time is quite the culture shock I realised that I really needed to address my lunch box habits. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of taking a sandwich, normally cheese on white bread. Or heading to the sandwich shop or supermarket to buy lunch and invariably spending at least £5. It makes for an expensive do! So when #CollectiveBias asked for bloggers to overhaul their lunch box I knew I should look at some fresh ideas for dinners.

Overhauling My Lunch Box #CollectiveBias

Overhauling My Lunch Box #CollectiveBias

I always eat al desko, so I find I have to have foods that are easy enough to eat at the keyboard, I normally work and eat at the same time. So it can’t be too messy. But it has to be tasty, satisfying and interesting. There is nothing worse than getting to lunch time and finding your lunch totally uninspiring.

So I searched the web for interesting ideas and recipes, making a pinterest board to keep track of the exciting things I’d found. Then I headed to Morrisons for real life inspiration, sometimes you just need to stand in front of salad ingredients to get an idea for a great lunch!

I also dusted off a couple of lunch boxes ready for the new creations!

Overhauling My Lunch Box #CollectiveBias

 

So it’s not all salads or cheese on white. It’s a mix of tasty dinners that are easy to make, easy to eat and interesting! Yes, there will be days when I go for the easy option but I’m hoping it will give me the omph needed to make something more exciting and tastier!

So, let me know, what’s your favourite lunch? Please share a recipe/link or idea below!

Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel Review

Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel Review

This week we went on a little mini break to Northumberland. We were all ready for a break and so we thought a couple of days away would be good for us. It was great, well apart from C having some kind of virus and being ill all the time we were away.

The Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel is based in rolling countryside but it is within easy reach of Newcastle, making it perfect for either a slow paced break or for enjoying activities in the city.

Upon arrival at the Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel Review you drive up a long sweeping drive, meaning that the hotel is situated well away from road noise and from light pollution. It’s very picturesque from the outside too. It makes for a very relaxing place to stay.

Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel

C loved the suit of armour in reception.

Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel

When we arrived our room wasn’t quite ready (we were early) so the receptionist recommended we visit the bar, The Grouse and Claret, which was ideal given that we hadn’t had lunch. It was a short walk to the bar and along the way we discovered a beautiful function room, LissyLou thought it was perfect for dancing. The bathrooms alongside were very modern and in fitting with the function room, we peeped into the Wedding display room and saw details of the winter wedding packages – they looked brilliant and very competitively priced!

The Grouse and Claret had an oldie worldie type feel but was welcoming, even if a little chilly. We were hoping it might have a warming fire but settled for a quiet table in the ‘games’ room. The menu constitutes good pub favourites from sandwiches to burgers, pie and mash and for the kids a wide selection of dishes including fish fingers, sausage and mash and homemade burger. We ate in The Grouse and Claret twice during our stay, I think we felt the lunchtime sandwiches were the best (the minute steak baguette was amazing) but I have to say that The Grouse and Claret burger (burger with bacon and brie) was delicious. All the portions were large and well cooked.

When we had finished our room was ready, we had a family room on the ground floor. It was spacious with two double beds but somewhat dated. The beds were comfy with good quality beddings. We were impressed by the generous amounts of toiletries and the soft fluffy towels. The bathroom in particular was very oldfashioned, but it was very clean. The TV was very old and it’s position down on the floor meant that you couldn’t watch it from the bed. It only had a few channels which when staying with children who are in bed by 8pm meant a long boring evening for the adults.

Derwent Room

The Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel  also has a small leisure club. The lesiure club is a seperate building from the main hotel, just a minutes walk from the main doors. Towels are provided for hotel guests which was a useful service. The changing rooms were very small, which would have been fine but on arrival, we found the ladies rather overcrowded with three ladies and four children. LissyLou and I quickly undressed in the corner and headed to the pool (after our swim it was much quiter). I was impressed that they had both a hairdryer and straighteners at no charge. The lockers required a £1 coin.

The pool itself was a fair size, a little bit cooler than preferred but not cold. There was also a jacuzzi and a paddle pool. The air temperature was too cold for the children to enjoy the paddle pool and getting in and out of the pool was rather chilly. It didn’t seem to stop anyone from enjoying themselves but we left when it started to feel a bit crowded.

The next morning we decided to leave our do not disturb sign on because we didn’t feel we needed the room servicing. We were very impressed to discover a bag hanging on our door on our return that contained fresh towels, more toiletries and refills on the tea and coffee supplies. I’ve never experienced that level of service before and was pleased at the thoughtfullness of this action. I’m sure it cuts down on work for the hotel later too.

We had booked bed and breakfast and found the breakfast to be of good quality and very tasty. There were a selection of juices, cereals, fruit and pastries, alongside full cooked breakfast and toast. The main downside was that the toaster created either warm bread or cremated toast. There was no medium.

We enjoyed our stay at the Best Western Derwent Manor Hotel, we would say that it will probably be better after the planned refurbishment of the bedrooms is completed. A fresher look would make it feel more luxurious.

Top Tips for Keeping The Kids Busy At Half Term

Top Tips for Keeping The Kids Busy At Half Term

Half term. Those two words either fill you with dread or excite you. Will it be a great break from school or a week in hell? The devil is in the detail!

Because I work in education, half term is not only a break for the kids from school but for me too. I always feel the pressure to make it relaxing enough for me but to also exciting enough for the kids. I’m always ready to accept tips and advice from other parents on how they acheive the balance between the too and looking for great activities to do along the way.

This half term, one tip I can give is to look up your local book shop, they often have storytelling sessions on in store that will keep the kids busy for a little while and allow you to browse the books too.

Top Tips for Keeping The Kids Busy At Half Term

A group of great bloggers have also contributed their top tips to this great guide. My personal favourite (apart from my own, about holding an indoor car wash) is from Sammie of oneblueonepink.com, “Spend the morning writing/drawing up a countryside checklist, then spend the afternoon exploring a local park ticking off your checklist as you find the items!” – we love doing nature bingos but I often forget just how much. Definitely resurrecting this idea!

Try something different this half term, make sure it’s a good one!

Feel free to share your top tips below, I’d love to hear your ideas!

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