International Menu Week – kids dinner ideas

The children have requested an International Menu Week again soon. We did it once before and it was a great success, with the kids eating all except one dish (French cheeses) of the food we had prepared.¬†The children choose the countries and look up the national dish (or even just a typical dish of that country), then pop it on the menu. It’s nice to have a change from the normal staple foods and they seem to really enjoy learning about other countries.

I get them to draw the flags, write the dishes down themselves and the language they speak in each country, sometimes I ask them to find out how to say hello in their language too, so a little bit of playing schools, which they love. Then they also help to cook the dinners where they can.

I also found something today which I might try too. A blog showing all the food holidays! Every day is a food holiday – I particularly like that my birthday is ‘eat what you want’ day!

Feeling a bit ‘bleugh’ today so today’s – mulled cider, has cheered me up a bit, just gotta find some now! Where the hell do I get that from???? There aren’t any Christmas markets yet. Looks like I’m going to Borough Market at lunchtime today!

Check out what you should be eating on your birthday!!!


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Vegas! Day 4

Ahhhh our last full day in Vegas. We started the day with a long lie in; feeling refreshed, we set off for brunch at Hash House a Go Go, never seen anywhere so popular! The queue was huge but we got seated within half an hour, sipping a good spicy Bloody Mary while we waited. 

This place is well known for huge portions and was featured in Man v Food so you can imagine, if you watch that, the sort of sizes we are talking about! Not sure a massive brunch like this is the best thing just before jumping off the Top of the Stratosphere! 

The big moment – the Sky Jump. I was pretty nervous but determined I wouldn’t chicken out. Let me tell you, standing on a platform 855 feet high (108 floors up) in the open air is pretty daunting. They count you down and you step off the platform on ‘go’. Aaaaaaargh. It was amazing! I actually felt like I was going to burst into tears when I reached the bottom, it was such an emotional experience. I would urge anyone going to Vegas who’s not afraid of heights to give it a go! 

View from the top – yep, I jumped off there! 


A quick flutter in the Stratosphere casino and a bowler hat purchase later and we went off to the South premium outlet stores to spend our winnings and get prezzies for the kids.

Beardy looking rather swanky in his bowler, just need to get him a cane now.

After shopping we went back to the hotel to get ready for dinner, thought we’d try the Wynn as we are there for Le Reve tonight….

What a lovely hotel, the entrance was all lit up with a tree tunnel with fairy lights and fresh flowers. We treated ourselves to a bit of fine dining at the Lakeside restaurant; clams and steak for me, delicious! 

Lastly, what a better way to end our stay in Vegas than to watch the wonder that is Le Reve! From the moment it started I was captivated; I’ve never seen a show that is so unbelievably visually stunning, we weren’t allowed to take photos during the show but I managed to get one afterwards of some of the scenery (below). I cried about 24 times throughout – it just took my breath away. I cannot recommend it enough; I would pay to watch it again and again! A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!


Vegas! – Day 3



Got up a bit later today after a much better nights sleep and was excited about having a buffet breaky in the hotels ‘Wicked Spoon’. After I’d got over the shock of breakfast costing $82 we were shown to our table and told to help ourselves. Ok. Well let me tell you, breakfast was obscene! So much choice, sushi, belly of pork, Mac n cheese, pancakes, pastries, salads….there was sooooo much! I tried to eat as much as I possibly could, to get my money’s worth, but had to stop after my 17th plate as I was slowly becoming more and more wedged into my chair. I felt like I was taking on Adam Rickman in the ultimate Man vs Food challenge!

Sun’s out – Guns out! Literally!

9.30am we were picked up by a Humvee for our trip to Battlefield Vegas for our shooting experience. 

I know, I rock a gun right?! Lol. Another pretty amazing experience.

We decided to have an early morning flutter when we got back, no time is a bad time for gambling. So, not being a particurly high roller, in went my $20. I only went and won $607!!!!!! Fuck yeah! (Sorry Mum but that is definitely worth an f word!) Iain then went on a Blackjack table, straight in with $100! Calm down! He was down to one $25 chip, could he pull it back? I was doubtful but he proved me wrong and walked away (because I made him) with $400! Coolio, that covers last night!

Another sit round the pool with the beautiful people, feeling completely fat and ugly, a quick slice of pizza, which probably explains the fat part of the previous statement, and then off to browse the other hotels again. No naps today! WE ARE HARDCORE!

Penn & Teller tonight at the Rio, amazing goldfish trick, and another few hundred on Roulette, sadly not much winning going on tonight. ūüė¶
Finished the night with a scrummy dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. They do not wear green and yellow.

Two things I know for certain about Vegas:

  1. You will go home twice the size as when you left.
  2. You haemmorage money.

Vegas! – Day 2

Wow! What a day we’ve had today. 

We started by having a really crap nights sleep, which left us wide awake at 6am, so we got up in search of a hearty breakfast and stumbled upon Mon Ami Gabi. Highly recommend if anyone is going to Vegas. Our hotel restaurant didn’t open til 8am so this was a lovely little find opening at 7, to watch the world go by, on the veranda right opposite the Bellagio.

We were getting picked up at 8.40 for our first exciting experience of the trip, and firstly, I must thank my Mum and Dad for this – my wonderful birthday present – a helicopter ride over Vegas, the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead touching down in the Grand Canyon for a spot of lunch and glass of champers! Amazing! As you can see by the photos. I’ve discovered that it’s very hard to take a crap photo of the Grand Canyon. 

Beardy was a little nervous and wasn’t completely reassured when Dave, our pilot, came to greet us (Beardy had pointed out he was really old) and Dave openly admitted that he was probably the oldest helicopter pilot in the WORLD! Chances of him collapsing mid flight dramatically increased! Luckily that didn’t happen and I’m here to tell the tale. I have to say I am completely in awe of the Grand Canyon – just beautiful!



When we got back we had a little sit by the pool, Strawberry Daquiri in hand, and endured the scorching midday heat. That lasted about 3 minutes, both the Daquiri and the sit by the pool. A half hour power nap in the room and we set off for the Venetian for a Gondola ride (inside) serenaded by our Punter, or whatever you call the man with the stick and the stripy top. It was weird, in a good way; inside is basically outside but air conditioned, the ceilings are painted to look like the sky, the canals run alongside the shops and the floor is cobbled. Pretty amazing.

A little flutter in the casino ($10 on a Big Bang Theory slot machine) gave me $50 win! Woop. This could be the start of my lucky streak.

Next – Fremont Street! This is my new favourite place in the world. Live music courtesy of Yesterday, an awesome Beatles tribute band with a George Harrison whose resemblance to Howard from Big Bang was uncanny (but with a porn tache).

Fremont street was teeming with loveable winos dancing in the streets to the live music. One of them, in a wheelchair, got up and started dancing, clearly highlighting the fact the wheelchair was unnecessary. We found it amusing, but Beardy even more so when he turned around and we could clearly see by his stained white shirt that he’d, how do I say it nicely? nope. Can’t. Shat himself. Lovely. Seriously though, it’s an amazing place, sitting outside in a bar, listening to free AMAZING music, people watching is exactly the sort of night I love. 

We had a flutter in the Golden Nugget. $40 in. $226 out. BAM! Beardys new moto ‘you win it. I lose it’ seems to be working.

We finished the evening off with a meal at Casa di Amore, a bit off the beaten track but definitely worth a visit! 

And we are spent!


Vegas! Day 1

I’ll be updating these posts as and when I do things so apologies if they’re a bit disjointed…..

What a completely different experience it is travelling without children. I have been to the toilet twice since I’ve been at the airport and not once have I been asked to check anyone’s bottom is clean or had to shout at someone to close the door before I’ve pulled my knickers up. It’s a refreshing experience.

I have bought myself a crossword book and am overly excited about a flight with no kids and watching a film with no interruptions! (And spending some quality to with Beardy of course)…..

So, How long have they offered unlimited free alcohol on long haul flights and had proper cutlery? Beardy laughed at me when I asked him if he had any money on him to pay for our drinks….

We landed about 7.30pm Veags time, which is 3.30am my time and with barely any sleep I’m exhausted but excited about what Vegas offers so I’m not yet showing any signs of irritability! 

We get through customs and immigration speedily, racing past all the other passengers (we ran). Typically though Beardys case is the last one out! But no matter, we have Samuel L. Jackson as our taxi driver so all is well! 
Arrive at the Cosmo and have a wander about, checking out the spectacular Bellagio fountains and getting a speed lesson on how to play craps with one of the croupiers. Lose $40. 

Have what tastes like a quadruple vodka and take a slow stroll back to our room with our $7 bottle of water.

We both collapse into our giant Marshmallow bed which hugs us til we fall asleep (for an hour before waking again…..and again….and again)

Can’t wait for tomorrow.

Prawn, Rocket and Tomato Spaghetti

I love this meal. This takes an Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy 10 minutes to cook if you buy the quick cook Spaghetti (5 minutes) and cooked Prawns (perfect if you work and don’t have time to ‘slave’ or have forgotten about the kids dinner and need a quick fix! Oops!).


  • 1 pack of Cooked Prawns
  • Half a pack of mini plum tomatoes
  • 1 pack of Rocket
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tbsp red pesto
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 good handfuls of grated Parmesan
  • Spaghetti
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Finely chop the Onion and fry in a little Olive Oil¬†until soft
  • Boil a kettle and put the Spaghetti on to boil with a little salt
  • Chop the Tomatoes into halves and add to the Onion, fry for a couple of minutes
  • When the Tomatoes and Onion mixture has softened a bit, add into the pan the Pesto and juice of the Lemon
  • Add a ladle of the pasta water into the Tomato/Onion pan.
  • Drain the Spaghetti and add to the pan too, along with the Parmesan and Rocket
  • Lastly, add the Prawns to heat through and season according to your taste
  • Spinkle a bit more Parmesan over the top of you like cheese…..which I do.

10 minutes. Bish Bash Bosh.


The kids have had this too, both ate it all up but moaned about the ‘leafy leaf things’ in it, picking them out with their fingers, but, once they’d tried one and realised they’re actually not bad, they ate them up.¬†Boo picked all the Prawns out and gave them to Bear (she doesn’t like Prawns – I’ll keep trying though). They¬†both gave it a 7 and said they’d have it again.


Creamy, Cheesy, Chicken, Broccoli, Leek and Pasta Bake

This was a hit with all family members! 8 and 9 from the kids. This fed 4 of us with a bit left over. I cooked this all in one pan, so if you’re planning on doing the same you’ll need quite a deep frying pan, with a lid, as you steam the veg in the same pan as the chicken so it’ll need to be covered. If you haven’t got one you’ll need to cook the leek and broccoli¬†in the pan for longer, so add them into the pan when the onion goes in.


  • 6 Boneless chicken thighs (chopped into small chunks)
  • 1 leek (sliced)
  • Broccoli (my kids love Broccoli so I put lots of it in (all of it – as you buy it in a bunch at the supermarket)
  • Half an Onion (finely sliced)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 200g Cheese (grated)
  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 250ml¬†Chicken Stock
  • Pasta (however much you want really – you know your appetite)
  • Knob of butter
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Boil the kettle and put the water in a pan on the hob to boil with the pasta
  • Put a knob of butter in a deep frying pan and fry off the chicken so it’s sealed on all sides
  • Put the onion in with the chicken and cook until soft
  • Add the leek and broccoli and fry for a further few minutes until it softens slightly
  • Add in the chicken stock and lemon juice and cover, let simmer for about 7 minutes until the stock reduces right down, this needs to be covered to steam the veg.
  • Once it’s reduced down to half it’s size add in the cream and half the cheese and keep simmering until the sauce thickens to your taste
  • Add in the salt and pepper and stir in the pasta
  • Put into a baking dish, sprinkling over the remainder of the cheese and pop in the over at 180 for about 10 minutes or until top turns slightly brown.


(You can actually miss out the last step, you don’t have to bake it as well if you can’t be bothered and want less washing up!)

For a little bit of added flavour a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard is nice in this sauce too.