A Foodie’s Stroll along Covent Garden with a Toddler

Covent Garden, London. I absolutely adore strolling along its elegant piazza, taking in the atmosphere and enjoying the living statues and performers. There’s a true buzz to this place and my toddler loved running around chasing pigeons and observing the street entertainers. However, she did keep a safe distance from the incredible live statues. My other half is also kept entertained (much to my delight) as there’s an Apple shop which kept him occupied for a little while at least whilst I enjoyed a spot of window shopping.

Sssshhhh ,there’s also lots of ‘tummy temptations’. Its not a secret that I love eating and I have a very sweet tooth. First stop, Laduree! French macarons are one of my true weakness, I love them. (They are so expensive though) Their display is always impeccable and is always way too inviting. Aaaah, a little box to share.

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Even if it can get very crowded, I still enjoy looking around some tourist-friendly crafts. This stall in the Apple Market definitely caught my eye as my toddler absolutely loves dancing. The quote was so apt ‘ Born To Dance ‘.

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The Apple Market was gorgeous in all of it festive glory. We had a wonderful time catching a few shows, relaxing and just enjoying each other’s company.

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Time for sweet treat number 2. Intense dark chocolate soft serve with raspberry sauce on a crunchy waffle cone from Godiva. It was heavenly.

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Of course, after all these lovely sweet treats .. the toddler just had to announce that she was hungry. Starving in fact. We managed to squeeze in a few photographs before stumbling upon a friendly family-run restaurant, Pasta Brown. Luckily, they had smaller starter size pasta portions on their menu.

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Mummy daughter duo

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One with her grandpa

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One must dance, everywhere.

Hello, Pasta Brown.

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Gamberoni, butterfly king prawns sautéed in garlic butter with mixed leaves. The sauce was perfection.

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Spaghetti Alio Olio Alice. Chicken, brocolli, pine nuts, chilli, garlic and olive oil.

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Classic Bolognese which little one loved. Dairy and egg free option for her.

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I have a soft spot for family run restaurants and they dealt with all our requests very well. Delicious food is the main thing though. Mmmm! I would definitely go back. Do drop by if you are around Covent Garden, I have made a mental note in my head to explore the London Transport Museum the next time we are there.

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Chinese food in London

Foodie post! We are obviously huge fans of Chinese food, no surprises there and London just has so much to offer. Where to find the BEST OF IT? It’s really hard to tell as there are just so many ‘types’ of Chinese food from Dim Sum to numerous regional cuisines.

Different restaurant excel in different dishes and one restaurant that I personally enjoy is Mandarin Kitchen in Bayswater. A little birdie told me a few years ago that we must try their specialty signature dish, their lobster noodles and once I tried it, it was love at first taste. We take the chance to drop by whenever we are in London for a few days. It is very impressive when they bring a huge plate out to your table, just look at it! A tad pricey, but well worth it for a treat and you do get what you pay for. Well, we do not savour lobsters every day. I had to stop the waiter to get this picture, as they take it away to plate it out for you. Even portions for everybody, so there is no need to rush to get seconds. Other dishes are also tasty but the lobster noodles take the cake.

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Lobster noodles, Mandarin Kitchen.

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Squid in salted egg yolk

We were there during the festive season and it was almost impossible to get a reservation. We managed it but we still had to wait for half an hour. It is often very busy, it might be best to reserve a table before you go.

Mandarin Kitchen

14-16 Queensway, London W2 3RX, England

+44 20 7727 9012

Another must try for their roast meats is Four Seasons. The reputation of the Four Season’s roast duck has spread worldwide and some of my friends from Hong Kong and China said it is the best, even better than the ones in their home country! Now, that’s a dazzling review. They have a few branches in London now, but we tend to walk pass the one in Bayswater or drop by the newer branch in Chinatown.

Oddly enough, I do not have any picture of the roast duck! The toddler must have been playing up, have you tried eating in peace with a 2 year old? Wrestling chopsticks out of their hands, trying to order something you think they will eat and then getting them to enjoy their food. They do have an extensive menu and everything is reasonably priced. I did however capture what we ordered for my daughter. She loved it. Stir fried prawns with broccoli and mushrooms.

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Four Seasons

12 Gerrard Street, Chinatown, London W1

+442074940870

I have always noticed a long queue outside Kam Tong Restaurant, so this time around we decided to join the queue! If that’s not an indication of good food, I don’t know what is. We tried their vegetable spring rolls and king prawns with asparagus. Simple and delicious.

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We also tried their Cantonese Roast Duck. Competition is fierce when it comes to this barbecue roasted dish. Its good but I prefer the one in Four Seasons or Gold Mine (both also in Bayswater)

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I have heard raving reviews for their dim sum at this restaurant, we were here for dinner therefore ordered dishes to go with steamed rice. The best dish from Kam Tong must be their Mongolian Crispy Lamb. It was served with iceberg leaves, spring onion, cucumber and Oriental brown sauce. The flavours were incredible and the crispiness of the lamb is absolutely beautiful. Try it!

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Kam Tong Restaurant

59-63 Queensway, London W2 4QH

+4420 7229 6065

Hope you are not feeling too hungry after this post! Thank you for reading and do leave your recommendations on what Chinese food to eat at your favourite joints.

Iris x

Pick us to be your Mark Warner family, please?

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I always do this, stumble upon something when it is 6 hours to the deadline! Oh seriously. ‘Why do I do this to myself? but but this is too great of an opportunity to not give it a shot?’ Come on Iris, write.. write for your life! I have just finished gawking at Capture by Lucy’s beautiful travel pictures and am taking up her call to apply to be one of Mark Warner’s family ambassadors. As she would put it, I would regret it if I don’t. Absolutely, so here goes and wish us luck.

Travel, extraordinary travel. It truly is the best. We have been very lucky as a family to be able to escape the pressures of daily life and see so much of the world together with our 2 year old. We have formed precious lasting memories by flying the little one all the way to Malaysia to start, exploring the hot springs in YangMingshan Taiwan, taking in all the sights in downtown Taipei all in a day and recently if you follow our Instagram, we have just been to Madrid, Barcelona and Greece!

Lots and lots of exploring the world with a tot in tow. Instagram must be my favourite social media platform, it was like our travelogue with lots of holiday snaps and videos especially of the little one prancing around everywhere. I have managed to snap about a thousand pictures (no joke) and I cannot wait to get them organised for my little blog.

To be in the running for Mark Warner’s fabulous holiday i.e for us to be brand ambassadors, I am suppose to collate our Top 10 travel must haves! I have written a similar blog post ‘Surviving Long Haul Flights with our Toddler‘ last year and this still stands. Always better to be prepared BUT after our recent travels, I have an alternative Top 10 MUST HAVES.

  1. To be Bold and Adventurous – experience new things!

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We risked it with the toddler and took a cruise boat out when we were in Athens to experience 3 absolutely beautiful islands namely Hydra, Aegina and Poros. It was a very long day from 7am till 7pm and we had about 9 hours to spent hopping on and off the cruise ship. It started off very wobbly as she was exceptionally quiet which is very unlike her and then she was sick! Thankfully, it was just the one off. She must have been seasick, bless! It paid off tremendously as she had a ball dancing around. When she is older, we must show her this postcard worthy picture of Hydra where she was in awe of all the donkeys on this ‘no vehicles’ island.

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2. Relax the rules – try not to be too uptight (speaking for my husband *jokes*)

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When you are on holiday, anything goes. Oh well, within limits of course. When we arrived in Greece the little one was exceptionally taken by all the gorgeous stray cats roaming everywhere! They were absolutely gorgeous although one will never know if they have fleas or carry illnesses. I definitely relaxed the rules and allowed her to touch them as long as she could wash her hands properly. Definitely makes for a more relaxed holiday!

3. Indulge – in good food, fun shopping, relaxing spa sessions, whatever tickles your fancy.

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There is no denying that I love my food especially desserts! When on holiday, INDULGE. Try it all, eat it all. Don’t follow me for diet advice although if you have or had a 2 year old. You will know that they run. These little humans can really run and chasing a toddler around takes its toll. I definitely burnt more than enough calories keeping her safe.

4. Enjoy an ‘adult’ holiday

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As long as you not taking them to a night club, all should be fine. I was initially stressed before we embarked on our trip to Athens as understandably we want to climb up the Acropolis but having read some feedback from Trip Advisor forums, some won’t recommend it as you have to leave your stroller. You know what, just do it! She had lots of exercise and plenty of fun, who cares if I could not feel my arms properly afterwards. She napped when we were still up there and we had to carry her back down. Daddy did most of the heavy lifting. Well worth it! There’s always a way for them to entertain themselves or maybe we are one of the lucky few.

5. ‘Dancing shoes’

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Those of you who follow our family’s journey will know of my tot’s tendency to break into a dance anywhere and anytime! Only 2 but she lives to this mantra ‘Why walk when you can dance?’ Plenty of dancing videos, check out one of my favourites filmed in Madrid on my Instagram HERE. Her lack of inhibitions is fantastic, she had a ball every time she heard music. Boogie boogie throughout your holiday, you will not regret it.

6. Take silly pictures and videos

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These two never fails to crack me up! They think of the most random things to do whilst waiting. Like daddy, like daughter?

7. CAMERA. Video camera. Phone camera. – even better an Insta-husband

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Bless my patient husband for dealing with my .. ‘another picture baby’. Another one here and here and here and here! Whoops. In all honesty though, my pictures of him and our daughter are way better than his. Grrrr.

8. A very LARGE inflatable – in our case, Horsey

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I kid you not, this horsey has been with us to Taiwan, Malaysia, Wales, London, you name it! Proof –>

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9. Lots of soya milk and SNACKS!

Bubba has a dairy allergy so we tend to be very prepared in this department. Lots of soya milk just in case. NEVER ever travel without snacks. I mean it. It makes them happy when they are upset. Pictures above were taken in Madrid, she was getting very grumpy and all it took was a small box of raisins to turn her frown into a smile. She even fed daddy some.

10. Little activities to keep them busy. Stickers and lots of them!

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Thank you for taking time to read and fingers crossed we will be able to embark on another fantastic getaway. Sunny one perhaps?

Pick us pick us! Little one would be thrilled if I am a #MarkWarnerMum and then she can do THIS all over again and our family will be able to form lasting memories in the sun with Mark Warner. Can we just be full time ‘wanderlusters’?

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Christmas Canapés with John Lewis

Festive ambience at the Waitrose Cookery School

Its December (how?!), therefore it is fully acceptable to eat, talk and drink ‘Christmas’. I managed to catch the switching on of the festive lights with my little one and I am rather enjoying all the Christmas adverts! Do you have one that you love? Buster The Boxer is a huge hit with my 2 year old that I have even had a sneaky peek at their merchandise.

Christmas Lights Switch On

I am one who does not need any help to get into the spirit of the festive season but I went into Christmas ‘overdrive’ if that’s such a word when I had the chance to attend a Christmas Cookery Event hosted by John Lewis at the Waitrose Cookery School on Finchley Road. I was so excited and rather nervous to experience my first ‘Masterchef’ moment. I was rather intrigued as I have never been to a cookery class before and in the brief, I had the understanding that we will be making 5 different festive canapés in a few hours. Ps. nervous was an understatement when I walked up to their GORGEOUS kitchen. The kitchen here is wonderful, it has everything that I have ever wanted in a kitchen including a magic washing up trolley where there’s no need to actually do the washing up. Guess what, I had every right to be nervous as their expert chef Gerard kindly suggested that yours truly should go on a knife skills course. A basic one at that 🙂 Ps. my Kitchen Wishlist has grown by leaps and bounds ever since I had a feel of this shiny impressive kitchen. I could do with some new knives (hint hint husband)!

Look! (I spy with my little eye, the magic washing up trolley on the top left)

Waitrose Cookery School

Dressed crab, shaved fennel all on top of a homemade crab cracker! This was lush and it was prepared beforehand all ready for us when we arrived.

Dressed Crab with Fennel on Cracker

Armed with quite a few of these delicious crab canapés tucked in my belly, it was time to get cooking! Chefs Gerard and Shauna showed us the ropes by demonstrating step by step how to cook each recipe where we all try to listen intently whilst trying to get lots of pictures. I was most definitely in a room full of bloggers, a variety of technology whipped out trying to capture the best angles. This was a great way to learn especially since I had very adept cooking buddies.

John Lewis Christmas COOK Event

I thought I would share my favourites from the evening and you can recreate them at home for your family and guests.

Confit Duck Samosa, served with a Spiced Pear Puree

(makes 12 samosa)

Confit Duck Samosa

For the Confit Duck Filling

75g Confit Duck Leg

80ml Pedro Ximinez Sherry

30g Cape Raisins

1.5tb Hoisin Sauce

For the Samosas

2 sheets of Filo Pastry, cut in half and then again lengthwise into 3, leaving you with 6 pieces of Filo

50ml unsalted butter, melted

For the Spiced Pear Puree

2 ripe Pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

1/4 tsp Bart All Spice

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1tsp Reserved Sherry Liquor

1. For the confit duck filling – In a small pan combine the raisins and the sherry.

Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and leave to soak for 1 hour. Once

soaked strain the raisins, reserving the sherry.

In a small bowl mix together the soaked raisins, shredded confit duck leg,

hoisin sauce and ½ of the reserved sherry. Mix well, cover and chill.

2. For the samosa – Preheat an oven to 160C. Lay a strip of the filo lengthways

on your work surface and brush all over the the melted butter.

Place a tsp of the filling at the top of the sheet of filo. Fold the top right hand

corner over to make a triangular shape. Follow the triangular pattern all the

way down the filo strip. Brush again with the melted butter and place on a

baking tray with the seam underneath. Repeat with the remaining filo and

filling.

Place in the oven and bake for 6-7 minutes until golden, turn the samosa

and bake for a further 6-7 minutes until golden brown all over. Remove,

place on a cooling rack and let cool.

3. For the spiced pear puree – Place the chopped pear pieces into a mini

blender. Add the allspice, lemon juice and sherry liquor. Blitz to a smooth

puree, remove and pour into a small container.

4. To serve – Spoon a tsp of the spiced pear puree onto each samosa and

serve.

Prepping The Confit Duck Filling

Confit Duck Samosa

Confit Duck Samosa

Confit Duck Samosa

We also whizzed up a lovely spiced pear puree to go with the crispy samosa and the pairing of this was delicious. How cute is the little Kenwood mixer too, I had a good browse on HERE when I got home!

Spiced Pear Puree

Confit Duck Samosa

I took my time writing this post as I actually tried recreating them at home! Made an inspired version of these more-ish samosas but instead of duck confit, I used minced beef fried with onions, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, tomatoes. Mixed in some orange rind for good measure. Replaced butter with melted dairy free spread in order for our little one to join in the eating fun.

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It was a hit even with the toddler! She couldn’t wait to sink her teeth in my samosas, haha.

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Back to the John Lewis Cook Event, we made Parmesan Risotto Balls (Arancini)! Risotto has always been one of my favourites in a restaurant but I have never made it at home. What more, deep fry it. Its not too difficult but definitely labour intensive as there’s lots of stirring involved. It was mouth watering and I must make a mental note to make this for my husband soon.

Parmesan Risotto Balls

(makes 40 balls)

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For the Risotto

1 Shallot, peeled and finely diced

1 clove Garlic, peeled and finely crushed

1 sprig Thyme

20g unsalted Butter

1/2 tbsp Sunflower Oil

1 tbsp White Wine

100g Arborio Rice

450ml Vegetable Stock, warmed

80g Parmesan, finely grated

For the Panne

2 – 3 tbsp Plain White Flour

1 Egg, cracked and beaten

100g Dried Breadcrumbs

1. To cook the risotto – Place a medium sized pan onto a low heat. Add the oil and butter. Add the shallot, garlic and thyme and cook for 1-2 minutes until the shallot is soft. Pour in the white wine, bring to the boil and let bubble until it is almost fully reduced.

2. Tip in the arborio rice and coat in the shallot and wine mix. Begin to add the warmed stock, a ladle at a time and stir until absorbed by the rice. Continue to do so with all of the stock ensuring that the stock is fully absorbed otherwise your risotto balls will be too wet.

3. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated parmesan. Season with  pinch of salt and cracked black pepper. Spread out onto  flat tray and place in the fridge to cool.

4. To shape and panne – Once cool, remove from the fridge and scoop using a measuring spoon into 10-15g balls.

5. Dust each one with the flour, then coat with the beaten egg and finally roll each one in the breadcrumbs. Roll each ball gently in the palm of your hand to form a nice round shape, place on a clean tray and return to the fridge for 5-10 minutes to firm up.

6. To cook the balls – Meanwhile heat a fryer to 180C. Remove the balls from the fridge. Place in the fryer and cook until golden in colour. Remove and place on kitchen paper to drain any excess oil.

7. To serve – Season with sea salt, and place a cocktail stick into each. Serve with some lemon mayonnaise.

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Hope you enjoyed my two favourite recipes from the cooking class. Leaving you on a ‘sweet note’. Chocolate mousse domes with raspberry! If you would like the recipe, do give me a shout and I will be happy to share 🙂

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Thank you very much for inviting me John Lewis, I enjoyed myself and would recommend the Waitrose Cookery School classes to all. Time to have another good browse on John Lewis but I think I found a winner –> This Digital Crock Pot Slow Cooker!

 

 

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Remember remember the 5th of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November… Guy Fawkes Night, Bonfire Night, Fireworks Night. Whatever you call it, it sure is a fun albeit freezing night out for all the family celebrating the failure of Guy Fawkes’ infamous Bonfire Plot. Bonfires will be lit and fireworks will be illuminating the night’s sky with ‘BOOM BOOM BOOM’ as my toddler would put it.

We have been talking loads about fireworks as Diwali just passed and she had quite a few  fireworks themed activities for the past week. Her playgroup organised a lovely firework painting station for them, which she thoroughly enjoyed. We wrapped up warm and went to the annual Rainbows festival of fireworks at Leicester Racecourse. We were not sure whether to go for this or the biggest display at Abbey Park. I think we definitely made the right decision as we knew the toddler might be very tired and it might not go our way when the fireworks went off. Who knows, we might have to make a run for it  and Abbey Park was a much larger venue. Parking was a huge factor in this too. We were there from half 5 right up to the end of the children’s display which started at 7. We were frozen by then. A little someone who was never a fan of gloves kept asking us to ‘fix it’. Its very telling that she was cold 🙂

When we arrived, little one was excited to look around the funfair and we asked her whether she wanted to go on a centipede roller coaster. She profusely said no. However, we took her on a tamer train ride. She had her game face and was oh so serious when her daddy took her in the little train carriage but when she came out .. she was squealing with excitement and told me that she sat on a Choo Choo Train and rang the bell. Little joys in life, it was lovely to see her expressions.

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She especially loved the live music on stage, where she danced for at least half an hour whilst waiting for the children display. I forgot how expensive it can be for things like that. Our entrance was £7.50 each  (£5 for advance tickets), rides usually cost about £2.50 (double that as she is still wee to go unaccompanied), coffee / tea £2 and oh my word, the warm sugary donuts were 4 for £5! Oh well, all in all .. an experience to be had.

She was still excited when they were counting down to the kiddies display but all went a bit wrong when it started. She was not as excited as the last time she saw fireworks and started saying no and she was scared after a few minutes. My husband and I ran helter skelter working our way through the crowds whilst catching bits of it. She would look in amazement for a while and say lets go. We missed the lighting of the bonfire as well as the adults display (no surprises there)

As we were leaving and was in the vicinity of the carpark, she started wailing again as she wanted more fireworks. Oh the looks on our faces.

Till next year kiddo.

Pumpkin picking experience

Yes yes, its yet another pumpkin patch blog post on the internet but it is special for us as its our first experience with the little one in tow. It might have been easier ( *clears throat* photo opportunity ) last year as she was not yet a walking talking toddler .. I could have plopped her anywhere and it would have been picture perfect (jokes). Its nice to set little traditions for the family though and we will have to make a conscious effort to go again.

We went to Cattows Farm, a beautiful piece of Leicestershire countryside but their pumpkin patch was empty. They had a huge demand of Pick Your Own this year but no worries as they had a special plan in place for the kiddies. They just placed pre harvested pumpkins on their land 🙂 Well, who cares! We were there and we were going to make the best of it.

She was thrilled when she saw so many pumpkins but one would assume pumpkins would be the main attraction at a pumpkin farm? It was ALL about the dandelions and the daisies for her. She kept saying ‘Look Mummy ‘ ‘Look Daddy!’ ‘I am picking lots and lots’. It was adorable, bless.

Pumpkin Patch

Cattows Farm

Pumpkin Picking

Dandelion

Pumpkin Picking at Cattows Farm

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Dandelion Love

Daddy Daughter Time

Daisies

What a lovely experience for us to enjoy as a family, we must remember to go earlier in the month next year. Perhaps there will be actual pumpkins to harvest 🙂 Cattows Farm is a wonderful family friendly place, we had a good wander around the farm shop and made some purchases. Little one was pretty chuffed with her big and ‘little’ pumpkin. Oh yes, I have to mention the cakes in their tea room. Looks super delicious but unfortunately we already had food plans, therefore did not indulge this time around.

Cattows Farm Leicestershire

Cattows Farm Shop

They also had a little children play area which must be fab for the summer!

Cattows Farm

… no prize for guessing my height 😉

Cattows Farm

Last not but not least, a picture with their resident sheep and goat. Sure hit with bubba, she loved saying hello.

Cattows Farm

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Taipei with Kids – One day itinerary

We had a wonderful time in Taipei. We found it to be a well-mannered kid-friendly (toddler friendly) city with a variety of things to see and do. I mentioned well mannered as I always had the impression that I might be slightly put off by the people. Totally wrong as the people there are very kind and especially accommodating as we could speak some Mandarin. The city is very clean too. Stroller friendly and oh it just reminds me of Japan and Korea. Cultured.

There were too many things that I wanted to cover in Taiwan but we did not have time for them all. The weather was also not very pleasant on certain days as we were there during typhoon season. We managed to squeeze a little trip away from downtown Taipei to a hot springs resort and that’s a lovely touch. I would highly recommend it if you are travelling with children. Much needed rest and relax before or after covering the city. Ps. if you are planning any travels, I personally LOVE the DK Eyewitness travel guides.

I wrote about our experience at Taipei 101 and Din Tai Fung in my previous write up.

We had one full day left on our holiday, so here goes! This is a post covering our busy day exploring Taipei. We could have covered more ground but I think this is perfect if you are with kids. We even had cheeky cakes and coffee whilst little one had a long snooze in her pram. This post is also my entry in to the Trips100 Family Adventure Company blogger challenge. We would love for our little family to go on another adventure to Cambodia with them 🙂

First stop, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall. This place was spectacular, it was HUGE and oh so picturesque with the impending storm clouds. The view at CKS Memorial Hall was really something, from the moment you walk through the large Memorial Hall Doors, to the National Theatre & Concert Hall buildings on the left and right and they sure did save the best for last .. the sight you get to enjoy when you climb up 89 steps to the Memorial Hall. We were left ‘breathless’ .. properly gasping for air as I did not want to miss the changing of guards. You can imagine me trying to run up the stairs carrying the toddler whilst the boys had to fend for themselves and get my heavy handbag and the pram up those stairs.

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‘Come on, little one’. This might be one of my favourite pictures of all time.

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My beautiful mummy in front of the National Theatre.

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We made it! Caught the changing of guards ceremony which takes place every hour from 9am to 5pm. It was fascinating. If we got there earlier, little one might have enjoyed this with a better view. She was still mesmerised, probably viewing it through someone else’s phone. *jokes*

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Look at all the selfie sticks 😀

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We were all warm and sticky after our first stop and quickly hopped in to a taxi to the next attraction, Longshan Temple. Its also conveniently located next to Huaxi Street Night Market (which is open all day long) also known as Snake Alley. We decided to have lunch there. Ps. NOT snakes. Thank goodness we had lunch at a relatively normal and DELICIOUS stall before we walked passed all the ‘snakey stuff’

A large, red, palace-style archway marks the entrance to the market.

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We decided on this little stall, look at how they present their food. They charge you based on weight. All we did was point at the food we wanted and we were pleasantly surprised when the food arrived.

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Look at how little the shop is, the seating area is opposite. Picture of my mummy in front of the shop if you are in the area. Its very very good and not pretentious at all.

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Little one was quite happy playing with chopsticks and waiting for her food to arrive.

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The seafood was incredibly fresh. Delicious squid. I was quite surprised to see our tot eating this dish, she loved it paired with her noodles and rice.

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Clams, also very tasty.

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Huge pot of nutritious chicken soup.

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A very fine lunch I must say. Drooling, just thinking about it and it was not very costly too. Perhaps 20 quid for 5 adults.

We then walked around the market and I had goosebumps most of the time. There must be a reason why its called ‘Snake Alley’. They had specialty shops serving different parts of the snake and boy I was not amused. Little one was intrigued though.

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All fired up from a satisfying lunch, off we went to explore Longshan Temple. It was beautiful, mystical and bustling with all sorts of sights, smells and sounds. It is probably the busiest temple in Taipei but if you were to visit any, this would be it. I know most people would say that the temple isn’t the greatest place to visit with kids in tow but we managed to manoeuvre the little one through the temple without too much stress. We whizzed through the inside of the temple as it was very smoky with incense but little one really enjoyed the grounds of the temple. They had a waterfall and a lovely garden. I have been told to go in the evening as the candles and lights gives it a more special atmosphere. Next trip perhaps.

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We quickly hopped into a taxi for some ‘rest and relax’ at The Grand Hotel. Why a hotel? This is also one of Taipei’s popular landmarks featuring beautiful palace like exteriors and intricate interiors. Our little human was way overdue for her nap and she fell asleep oh so quickly in the taxi on the way there. Perfect timing! We had plans to drop by the very famous Shilin Night Market in the evening, so this pit stop was much appreciated after our busy morning. Ps. the Shilin Night Market is not too far from here too. Hence, this strategic and grand ‘rest station’

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Check out their keys, it symbolises wealth. Of course, following the trend of times The Grand Hotel (established in 1952)  has renovated all of their key systems to ensure better security but this wall display certainly caught my eye.

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We were really stuffed from lunch but if you are up for it the restaurant has a lovely afternoon tea buffet deal which was quite popular. We just ordered from their menu. I enjoyed a green tea slice accompanied by some lovely live music. Oh what a way to relax whilst bubba was snoozing.

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Look look, someone’s all rejuvenated after a long nap. Time to take more pictures! Grand Hotel?

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‘Hi Nanna’

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Next and final stop for the day, Shilin Night Market. Shilin is indisputably the most famous night market in Taiwan. Taipei is a food lovers dream, everything looks and tastes delicious. I had dreams about devouring everything and anything at the night markets but … unfortunately this was not the case.

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Yes, the market was filled to the brim with a wide variety of food stalls but night markets can be very overwhelming for an 18 month old. It got congested quickly and it was not particularly stroller friendly when it got busy. They are not many places to sit and there are queues everywhere.

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This might have been the trigger for her crying her eyes out. There’s a variety of amusing games in the night market too, she was thrilled with the monster my dad won for her but I think the popping of them balloons spooked her.

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We did however manage to get seats to try the famous oyster omelettes. A simple egg omelette with fresh oysters but boy did it taste good.

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Bubba was far from cooperative at this point, so we decided to call it a day and have dinner in the hotel. Once we got in the taxi, she was perfectly happy. All the hustle and bustle in the night market must have gotten to her.

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Very picture heavy post and pretty long for my standards but I am sure I will be thrilled to re-read this post when she is a bit older. Gosh, we really do love traveling especially with the little one in tow.

Hope you enjoyed reading about our travels in Taipei and do ask if you have any questions.

xxx

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