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Harvester Review

Usually on Sundays the AG’s can be found on the sofa, watching films and generally being a bit lazy. It tends to be the only day of the week that we’re all together for the whole day and we like to make it (as often as we can) a day where we all get to recharge our batteries. The kids need a lazy day just as much as we do. I used to hate Sundays, it was always the start of the working week, in a job I didn’t want to be in usually, ferrying the kids around all over the place and just in the way of the following Friday! Now though, it’s different, because I’m happy doing what I’m doing, but that’s a whole other blog post!

Last Sunday however, we got dressed (shocker!) and made our way to a Harvester restaurant in Haywards Heath to try out their menu. I can’t remember the last time we went to a Harvester, I’m sure it was as a kid, and I remember it being all about burgers and ice cream.

Well.

Let me tell you, that’s definitely changed! We were a bit early so we had a quick drink in the bar area, hello lovely glass of dry white, and the kids had a go on the teddy grabber machine, then we were shown to our table, with colouring pencils, activities for (both it would seem) kids and the menus. Where there was a whole load more than just burgers to pick from! We picked some starters (I wish kids menus came with starters) individually and they were bought to use on a sharing platter so we could try each others. Much to the dismay of my daughter and husband it would seem! They both went for grilled halloumi served with grilled watermelon and I went for firecracker prawns.

Menu

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Main course arrived, H (like her dad) went for the *biggest* burger ever, the nacho burger, hubs went for “I want it all” combo – says it all no? C had southern fried chicken, chips and peas and I had the salsa chicken and pepper stack. Oh my god. So good. I could literally eat that every day. Plus, the sweet potato chips were to DIE FOR. I’m not even kidding.

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By the end of the main we were so stuffed. On top of the food we had the choice of the unlimited salad bar and refillable drinks, but, because we were out out, pudding had to be done. This is where I remember Harvester being all about the knickerbockers, and they still are in a way (who’s going to complain about that though, seriously!?) there was still other options. A build your own sundae for C, lemon blizzard and rocky horror for me and H (kind of a smaller knickerbocker) and warm, American, silver dollar pancakes for the bloke. After this – hands up, I couldn’t finish the pudding – we literally and figuratively could have been rolled out of the restaurant. The amount of groaning coming from our table was ridiculous, it sounded like we’d run a marathon not eaten a three course meal!

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build your own

The whole meal, from service, to presentation, timing, taste, everything was spot on. It was loud enough for families to not feel like they had to shush their kids, but not so loud you felt like you were in McD’s at half term. The waitress and hostess, Natalie and Rebecca were both lovely, and we will definitely be back there, next time for one of their breakfasts…..!

PR Review but, as always, all the words and opinions are my own! 

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I do solemnly swear…….

I saw a post on FB this morning, by Constance Hall (hilarious woman, you have to read her stuff) and it was all about writing new vows for her and her hubs. Well, after cracking up and agreeing with 90% of them, I thought I could write my own, seeing at the bloke and I have been together for coming up to 19 years. Nineteen years. What the actual f*ck?! (Clearly I don’t look old enough)

So, I bring you, the new vows for the AG marriage.

  • I vow to not punch you in the ribs when you snore like a freight train. I understand you need said ribs, and if we continue in this way, you’ll have none left by the end of the week.
  • You must vow to find a way of ensuring you sleep facing the wall with your mouth firmly shut. ALL night.
  • I vow to try to contain my need to throw things around the room when I am on the edge of PMT.
  • You must vow to NEVER utter the words “are you due on” at me again.
  • I vow to kiss you each morning before you leave for work, regardless of whether I’ve had a coffee, the kids have had breakfast, I know what I’m wearing that day or, if I’m growing a new chin out of a giant spot on my mush.
  • You need to vow to not make those kisses wet and sloppy. I hate that shit.
  • I vow to stop expecting you to be a mind reader. After all these years you’d think I’d know that’s not one of your talents.
  • You need to vow to notice the washing basket needs emptying, the sheets need changing, the bathrooms need cleaning. I don’t have magic cleaning eyes, you see what I see. Calling the cleaner is a compromise I am happy with.
  • I vow to stop bitching that you’re a morning person. In *all* senses.
  • You must vow to stop bitching that I’m an evening person. In *all* senses.
  • I vow to stop telling my friends all your funny f*ck ups so they can use it against you on FB.
  • You vow (you will) to hear me the first time I say something. No matter what it is.
  • I vow to slow down while pushing a shopping trolley and understand that some people do, in fact, use it as a day out, and are enjoying walking at a snails pace.
  • You need to vow to understand that sometimes, those people will have their trolley hurried along. Sainsbury’s is not my idea of a day trip.
  • I vow to laugh at your jokes. When you crack them. And not say “hey, that’s funny, for you…..”
  • You must vow to continue making me laugh.
  • I vow to try and reign in my sarcasm at inappropriate moments. Although I know you secretly love it.
  • You must vow to get my “looks” a lot faster than you do. When you see that look, respond.
  • I  vow to try and stack the dishwasher in a way that keeps your OCD happy.
  • You must vow to put the empty loo rolls in the bloody bin.

And there we go. What do you think, if we renew our vows next year, these would work wouldn’t they?

 

 

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Print Run – Epson ET-2500

Ok. I’m not usually a tech-y reviewer on here, purely because I don’t often have anything that exciting to say about things like that. I mean, I love my gadgets, but apart from telling you what they do and what I’ll use them for, there’s not much else I can say. Which doesn’t make for interesting reading. (And I’m hoping I occasionally offer interesting reading…..)

But. There is one piece of equipment that everyone uses in this house, and in your house probably too. It’s a vital piece of equipment, and it usually gives up right at a crucial, last minute, moment. Right when you need it the most. If you live here, it usually means you call your Dad in an emergency and ask him if you can use his.

That’s right. I’m talking printers.

I don’t know about you, but in this house, we usually run our printer ink into the ground, realise *just* at the very moment someone needs to print some homework or assignment off, as in, the day before it’s due, and then it’s panic stations. Then, we forget about it. The printer sits there, not being used because it has no ink. For weeks and weeks and weeks. We finally replace the ink, for the whole debacle to start over.

No more! Oh no! Epson have created a printer that has enough ink in it to last up to 2 years. TWO FLIPPING YEARS. I know!

Epson very kindly sent me the ET-2500 printer, worth £229.99 to try out and review. It arrived literally the day after they sent it and we had it set up in under an hour. It was so easy to install everything, even on a mac, it comes with a CD for instructions but the leaflet was easy enough to follow. You install the ink into the pods yourself, it comes in bottles which look huge compared to the cartridges of old! After 20 mins of the ink running through and setting up, good to go. And it’s so easy to use. Connected to the WiFi, we can all print from anywhere in the house, there’s even an app you download to your phone or iPad and you can print directly from there. I will be grabbing some photo paper when I next go shopping and I’ll finally get some new pics for frames, rather than having a million images sitting on a device.

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It’s quiet, you don’t know it’s printing (until a teenager appears, takes something she’s printed and buggers off back to her room) and it comes with a 3 year warranty. What’s not to love?

Tech-y wise (told you, not great!) it has Epson connect, so you can print while you’re out of the house, it’s ECO friendly, the average length of time the ink last is two years, which is equivalent to about 20 cartridge changes, you can view the ink levels easily and you can copy and scan as well as print.

Have a look at the Epson ET-2500 for yourself.

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RED.

That quiet period between Christmas and new year. When no one knows what day it is, nobody (nobody sane anyway) really wants to go anywhere and everyone is sick of talking to each other so you actually get a bit of time to chill the hell out. Read a magazine or 5. Refresh your brain and get ready for the new year.

Bloody love that time. Red magazine christened it #twixmas. I tweeted that I fully agreed, they stuck said tweet in their magazine. The magazine that fell through my letterbox on December 31st. All fresh and shiny. Ready to be read (great wording there Kate) maybe in the bath. With a cup of tea. And a bath oil. I did say I liked to plan. All thanks to the lovely magazine.co.uk – Happy Christmas to me!

Now, I love my magazines. I get it from my mum, there’s not a time in my life where I don’t remember her buying at least 3, once a week. One for the crosswords, one for the stories, one for the gossip. Now, she’s on about 5 or 6 but she shares them out between us after, so it doesn’t really count. I love when she circles a story or leaves a message on the pages that she thinks I’ll be interested in, or a funny quote, always makes me smile! H is the same, she loves a magazine, C does too but he usually picks them based on their freebies. He has no loyalty that boy.

I however, do have loyalty to my magazines. Red has always been my favourite. If I could only buy one, it would be that one. Glossy but not full of ads. Enough content to keep you interested, good fashion. Grown up but not boring. And yes, quite often, good freebies! So getting it through my door each month (before it hits the shelves) is my kind of heaven! It’s like belonging to a club or something. Sometimes I want a quick read, full of gossip and trash so I’ll grab one of the weeklies, but Red is for that proper quiet time. I refuse to even open it until I know I can read the whole thing from start to finish, uninterrupted.

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My New Year Stuff.

Unlike all the cool kids (the fact that I say that, shows how uncool I am) I still really like New Years Resolutions. It’s the whole, fresh start, anything is possible, thing for me. I might not achieve even a third of them, but it makes me feel better after a month of gluttony and greed to think that it’s possible.

This year I plan to:

  • Get someone in to clean the oven. I don’t believe the bloke when he says he’ll do it. He’s said that 87 times now.
  • Visit Amsterdam, New York & Scotland.
  • Complete my access course and resit the dreaded maths GCSE. And pass. Obviously.
  • Actually find an exercise I like and can stick to. Bunnyhop is happening next week…..
  • Shift some weight. I know, I know. Such a predictable NYR, but it’s got to be done. I’ve been hoovering up all the bad foods in preparation for the healthy eating. I actually can’t eat another chocolate for the rest of my life (and by life I mean January)
  • Try not to rage out. Sometimes, Hulk has nothing on me. Apart from maybe bursting a blood vessel, I’m not sure what this achieves.
  • Get my nails done once a month. The bloke got me a voucher for Xmas that says I am legally entitled to this. I love pretty nails. Call me shallow. I’ll call you rude.
  • De-clutter my wardrobe. I am *still* banging on about a capsule wardrobe. This must be the 5th year in a row.
  • Write more. Since the course started I haven’t even attempted to think about anything blog related. I enjoyed the break but now I kind of miss it. Also, cards and letters to people. Nothing beats getting something nice in the post. Magazine subscriptions, handwritten notes, anything other than bills or takeaway menus.
  • Read. I was going to add “more” but there’s no point. All the literature I read in 2015 was anatomy related. Interesting but not exactly gripping. I have a shelf full of books. I’ve fallen in love with Ernest Hemingway. I need to make time.
  • One early night a week. No TV. No social media. Bath, bed, sleep.
  • One date night a month. May or may not coincide with the early night…
  • Quality time with the kids. Explore London, road trips, swimming, whatever. The last 365 days flew by, I want to make sure there are some good memories stored away.
  • Don’t say maybe when I mean no.
  • Say no less. See the issues I have with myself. It’s easy to say “no” to the kids, no we can’t go there, do that, buy those” but why? Why bloody not. Life is short. Do it.
  • Frame my photos. Print my photos. Create a photo wall. These all count as one.
  • Also, take more photos. I’m lusting after a camera as we speak.
  • Last but not least, just be happy. However that rolls out. I am a planner, but I’ve worked out that actually, things tend to happen for a reason. If it’s meant to be, it will happen. So as someone aged 6 told me before Christmas, “Calm it Kermit” that’s exactly what I plan to do!
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What you ‘beanie’ doing….?

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I never used to like coffee. Then I got a grown up job. I had to like coffee because that’s what people who work in London drink right? I tried to be the one that drank “Chai tea” but that just didn’t feel quite so corporate; I therefore trained myself to like coffee, starting with sniffing it, progressing to sipping it and after a number of lengthy months easily drinking it.

This was, however back in the day when coffee was just coffee. I had no option to like plain black coffee and though I was frowned on for having a sweetener I figured it was ok. It was still coffee. I then started to add milk, a lot of milk. Resulting in lovely weaker coffee but also rather cold coffee with said milk content. After a few years of London life it became more popular to drink flavoured coffee. Hallelujah! And there begun my love for the coffee bean.

It has progressed so much that you can now buy all sorts of flavours and I have discovered the land of Beanies.

Gingerbread coffee, it’s like a literal step into Christmas. I mean you look at the label and can actually picture sitting curled up in an armchair with a blanket, peace and quiet, the smell of the REAL Christmas tree permeating the air and a cup of gingerbread coffee. And to be fair when you drink it, it has that exact taste! The fact it will be drunk when you have children asking for their school bags, toast burning and the thought of de-icing the car in your mind still doesn’t take away from the fact that you are drinking a cup of sweet gingerbread, non-sickening coffee. All.year.round.

Vanilla coffee is everyone’s first venture into the world of flavoured coffee. Keeping it safe. However no matter how much you change your habits you will always come back to this firm favourite. It’s your way of saying “I’m being soooo good by not adding sugar to my coffee” but knowing that’s a lie. Vanilla coffee is reminding you that good things happen in the world and that Vanilla is not boring, its calming. Why have children not been named Vanilla?! When drinking this coffee you will realise that you can have luxury in your own home and if you don’t want to share you don’t have to.

Then last but not least hazelnut coffee. It’s one of those that’s get a bad press until you try it. When the flavoured coffee boom hit, it was more your vanilla and caramel that came into play. Gingerbread was made famous by coffee shops but only available for a couple of months a year. Anyway, I digress. This hazelnut is delish! Smooth and creamy and one to impress the neighbours, yet not shock with it being “a bit too much”. A coffee that falls into all categories is awesome. Your friend comes in with heartache? Hazelnut coffee. Your mum walks in moaning about your dad? Hazelnut coffee. Neighbourhood watch man discussing local youths? Hazelnut coffee. Win win.

Yup. Coffee = win win.

PR Samples. Written by Michelle, proper coffee lover.

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