The Minefield of Weaning

I don’t know if it’s just me but sometimes I find that when trying to buy something, there is just too much choice. I’m one of those people that likes to do their research, I like to have a great product, but also one that’s value for money. So when I stepped into the weaning minefield I was instantly a bit overwhelmed. There are just so many brands and products out there. So when Tommee Tippee and Bibetta, brands we know and trust  offered to send us a weaning bundle to try out I was rather relieved!

Firstly we tried this really vibrant place mat from Bibetta.

The pictures of this don’t really do the product justice – its really quite large so great for covering a good area on the table, and is made of a soft neoprene material that feels quite padded which is great. The mat has a built in pocket to catch any food too.

The mat is non slip, so although it doesn’t stick or fasten to the table in any way it doesn’t slip about either. Possibly the best feature of the mat for me though, is that it folds in on itself and tucks into the pocket, so if dirty, it can be tranposrted home neatly without having to put it in another bag. I think this mat would be perfect for slightly older babies or toddlers that are sitting at the table – Imogen has not yet stopped picking everything up and throwing it around so not as good for her jus yet! It retails at £14.99 and even won a Gold award from The DAD Network in 2016 so is definitely worth it!

As well as place mats there are so many other things to think about too – spoons, bibs, bowls etc. The list goes on and on and the options are endless; non stick, suction cups, disposable, wipe clean…..! Tommee Tippee do a wide range of weaning products and these are just some we’ve tried. Firstly, disposable paper bibs. These are made of quite tough paper and have a pocket at the bottom to catch stuff. They are fab for out and about – we found them pretty absorbent but not quite enough for a whole cup of water being flung at yourself – but then not much would withstand that! They come in packs of 20 and fit nicely into a changing  bag.

Next up we recieved some Easy Scoop Explora Bowls. These come in packs of 4 in a range of bright colours. They have a unique triangular base, said to make it easier to scoop up the food, which I would totally agree with. They have a decent capacity and also attach well to the Tommee Tippee Magic Mats. We bought one of these and it works pretty well – using a suction device to hold the bowl in place – it might not work for stronger toddlers though!

I really laughed when I saw the next products. For ages when I’ve thought about weaning Imogen I pictured myself trying to get food in her mouth by pretending to fly in aeroplanes or trains, but didn’t imagine that a company would actually make a spoon in aeroplane form! These Aeroplane Spoons are very cute and sold in packs of 2, although at 7 months I’m not sure Imogen really appreciates them yet!

We found the next product fantastic – heat sensing soft tip spoons. These come in three packs, again in various colours. The handles are pretty long which can be useful for getting into jars, and the tips are soft which is kind to the gums – Imogen loves to chew on them. They are BPA free and also are heat sensing – so the soft tip of the spoon goes white if the food is too hot. Much better than constantly sticking your finger in the food to check!

These essential storage pots are great for storing food int he fridge or freezer, and again feature the triangular base. Not pictured we have also used the Pop up freezer pots – the lids of these stay attached, so they are really easy to open when cold from the freezer.

Lastly was the Free Flow Cup. Now if weaning is a minefield, then choosing a cup is even worse – there are so many on the market, how on earth do you make a discoid or know whats best for your little one. The essentials free flow cup is said to be the best for transitioning your baby from sucking to sipping, and this cup comes with a flip down spout meaning it won’t spill when you’re out and about. It;s taken Imogen a few weeks, but she is now really getting used to drinking from this cup, and finds it easy to hold too.

Like all Tommee Tippee products, it comes in loads of colours too. We liked this cup so much we have bought another couple since! Since trying out all these products, Bibetta and Tommee Tippee have reinforced themselves as trusted brands in my eyes, and hopefully, I now have a handle on the weaning minefield!

Disclosure: Thanks to Bibetta and Tommee Tippee for sending us some of the above products to try, no further compensation was received and all opinions are our own. 

 

kitchen bites

Kitchen Bites #21: A Mothers Day Special!

It’s not quite been a month since my last Kitchen Bites update – but with Mothers Day fast approaching (my first one as a mum – so exciting!) I just thought I’d bring you a few things that we’ve tried recently that would make some fantastic presents in my opinion.

Firstly, you can’t go wrong with a nice box of chocolates, and what better than this beautiful box from Hotel Chocolat, £22.50. With some really indulgent sounding options like Champagne truffles and caramel cheesecake this would really impress.


Secondly, we remain on the chocolate theme with this luxury Hot Chocolate from Whittard. Whittard are often my go to brand for tea but I’d never tried their hot chocolate and this is seriously luxurious  – a bit like a hug in a mug. Perfect for cosy nights in on the sofa.  This retails at £6.50 and they also do so many flavour twists on hot chocolate too like their limited edition Raspberry Ripple.


Next up would be fantastic if your mum is a tea lover. A new subscription box – The True Tea Club, based up in North Yorkshire.

If you subscribe, on the 20th each month you receive a tea box which contains four loose leaf teas from around the world. Handily – it fits through the letterbox, so no need to be in to receive it either. There is many flavours available including Black, Green and White teas, Oolong, Rooibos selections, Fruit Infusions, specialist teas and more. With a library of over 200 loose teas, you can expect endless surprise flavours inside your subscription box.

The box I received contained Early Grey Rebel, Rainbow Chaser, Vanilla Cupcake and Mighty Mango, all in nicely labelled well sealed packets. They even throw in some empty ‘tea bags’ for you to pop the tea into to brew like a normal tea bag if you don’t have the capacity to brew loose leaf. Being more of a black tea fan – the earl grey rebel was my absolute favourite of these but I also really enjoyed the Vanilla Cupcake. I tested out the other two on friends and they were very impressed. You can tailor you tea selection too, so if you really don’t like green teas, just tell them and you won’t get any! Sign up now on their website  – trueteaclub.co.uk from as little as £10.00/month and get 50% off your first box with the code LOVE.

I really love the tea subscription box idea and I loved everything else about this, even down to the slimline packaging.


The next products are from a new artisan company based in the New Forest. The claim to be bringing a first to the market of both sweet and savoury biscotti.

The sweet range offers Belgian Chocolate, Coffee and Walnut, Honey and Lemon and the more traditional Simply Almond. Traditionally the almond biscotti is served with coffee, but Great British Biscotti have tailored their other flavours to be dunkable in all hot drinks including tea and hot chocolate!

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All the sweet biscotti come in both 100g boxes and smaller twin packs – I can see my self slipping one of these twin packs in my hand bag now and again!

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The sweet biscotti were really great, and all the flavours were pretty yummy, but obviously the chocolate was my favourite. Despite this, I was most looking forward to the savoury options, with Chorizo and Parmesan, Indian Spiced and Parmesan and Fennel all sounding really appealing. The Great British Biscotti Co. suggest their savoury biscotti would be perfect for a range of things; cheeseboards, charcuterie platters, used as canapé bases or as croutons in soups or salads.

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Several of the flavours have already won Great Taste Awards. I’m yet to try the parmesan and fennel, but can concur that the other two are fantastic. A great new product to look out for on shelves near you.


Last up is a great one for the baking mums amongst you –  a new cookbook from the brilliant Mich Turner – ‘Have you Cake and Eat It’. Mich Turner is the founder of the Little Venice Cake Company and has baked for many celebrities including the Queen, Madonna and Simon Cowell. In 2010 she was even awarded and MBE for her services

This book really is a bakers delight – with a vast array of sweet treats, but also includes lots of few from options, as well as healthier recipes too.The recipes are clear and easy to follow and the pictures that accompany are positively drool worth!

I can’t wait to try some out – I’ve got my eye on the Sour Cream Vanilla & Blueberry Cake to make first of all!

I think you’ll all agree some fabulous products there that would make some fantastic Mothers Day gifts. See you all next month!

Review: Strada, Birmingham Mailbox

Many years ago when we lived in Sheffield a restaurant called Strada opened in Leopold Square, which was quite the cool hip place to go in Sheffield back in 2006. We loved eating at the Strada there, but when we moved back to Birmingham for some reason we didn’t go! There are two Stradas in Birmingham city centre, one within the ICC which I have been to once for a works do, and one in the sophisticated Mailbox development, which was the venue for our most recent meal.

We visited on a Saturday lunchtime, when it was packed with families, couple and groups of friends. We had a great table by the window looking out in the the Mailbox – great for people watching! I started with an ELDERFLOWER SPRITZ – St Germain liqueur, Prosecco and Limonata on ice.

The menu features some classic Italian dishes. Lee chose the ARANCINI – Crispy rice balls stuffed with melting mozzarella. Served with spicy tomato passata and aged Parmesan. He was pretty impressed with these, and the sauce had a lovely kick to it. I also really enjoyed my starter; I’d plumped for the SEARED KING PRAWNS – Toasted ciabatta and shell-on king prawns. Fried with chilli, parsley and garlic in a lemon and white wine sauce. My only complaint being that I could have done with more bread to mop up all the sauce!

For mains Lee had one of the Chefs specials – the Saltimbocca. He enjoyed the flavours of the salty pancetta and the sage, but did feel that the meat and accompanying beans were a bit overcooked for his liking.

I went for a pizza. Strada do a great range of Pizzas and have even named Mondays ‘Pizza Mondays’ where they sell pizzas for just £5! This one was the RUSTICA – Tomato, buffalo mozzarella, roast sausage, caramelised onions, capers and artichokes. I really like this combination of flavours, the tangy salty capers, meaty sausage and sweet onions.

Child friendly? Yes – very happy to accommodate prams and children and offered a high chair straightaway. Staff very on the ball and offered stickers and crayons! Changing facilities upstairs and in disabled toilet.

Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Strada and they seemed very accommodating for little people too – something very important in our book now! I’d definitely return for some more of those prawns!


Disclosure: Our meal was complimentary in return for an honest review. 

Review: The Maytime Inn, Burford

A few days ago I told you all about our dinner at The Maytime Inn near Buford in the Cotswolds, which was really great, so how did the rest of our stay shape up?

We arrived mid afternoon after a lovely trip to the Cotswold Wildlife Park, which is less than 5 miles away. We were a but windswept and in need of a sit down, so were pleased to find check in a breeze. We were shown to our room in the courtyard, just a few steps away from the main building. We were in the Hunting Room, one of 6 themed rooms at the Maytime. The room boasts a superking bed, Waterfall shower and stand alone bath – which I was very much looking forward to sinking into. They even provided a travel cot for Imogen.

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The nods to the hunting room theme were seen throughout the room and the bathroom too.

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As well as flat screen TVs, all the rooms also have complimentary Wifi and an iPod dock. The large wooden desk sported a variety of local magazines and guides, as well as coffee facilities, fresh milk and homemade shortbread.

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The bathroom cam kitted out with full sized Cowshed products, which were lush!

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Imogen made herself right at home….

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The exterior of the pub as well was pretty special, even in the February gloom. Traditional Cotswold stone, with a gorgeous large patio area overlooking endless countryside.

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We had a great night sleep, and despite it being her first night away from home, and first night in a travel cot, Imogen slept well too! Needless to say thought with a 6month old we bound to be the first ones to breakfast, and we were! It was nice to take in the bright and airy garden room by ourselves.

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The spread for breakfast was extensive, with fresh pastries, kilner jars of fruit compote and yoghurt and granola as well as the requisite cereals and juices. As well as this there was a choice of a cooked element too, from a Full English, to mushrooms on toast and all the Eggs!

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I had Avocado, Poached Eggs and Bacon on Sourdough while Lee had the Eggs Royale. No complaints from either of us here – a very decent breakfast and runny eggs all round!

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I could try really hard to fault something with our stay at The Maytime, but honestly, there really isn’t anything and to stay. From the courteous friendly staff to the lovely homely rooms, from the gorgeous exterior to the great food it’s a great place to stay!


Disclosure: Our stay at the Maytime was complimentary for purposes of review, all opinions are our own. No other compensation was received.