Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

Road Testing Delicious New Flavours at Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

When I was recently invited to attend a tasting evening at Miss Macaroon, Birmingham, I did a little excited kitchen dance. I discovered Miss Macaroon only a few months ago and fell instantly in love, so was very much looking forward to the opportunity to try some brand new flavours for the Spring range.

Miss Macaroon is located in the Great Western Arcade, directly opposite Birmingham Snow Hill Station, which also happens to be the way Mr Mack goes home from work every day, hint hint! As you approach the shop you can’t help but smile and be drawn in by the beautiful displays of bright colours in the window. I know that Mini would love a trip here to see the colours and to sample a tasty treat too.

Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

We were greeted by Rosie Ginday, founder of Miss Macaroon by a delightful glass of Prosecco or Elderflower fizz, which she also described how to make yourself from scratch. Rosie was genuinely lovely and her passion for her product and her work shone through as she proudly talked to us about the company and the fantastic work it does for the local community. Miss Macaroon is set up as a social enterprise and aims to provide young people with opportunities to build careers and self confidence throughout her programmes and collaborations with other local businesses, such as John Lewis and Hotel du Vin to name just a few.

Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

The purpose of the evening was to help Rosie choose and refine the new flavour range for the macaroons. The theme was focusing on superfood ingredients so that you not only get an indulgent treat but also some hidden health benefits too.

The macaroons were presented in pairs and we were asked to vote for our favourite each round. First up was Yuzu and Elderflower and Yuzu and Black Sesame, which was also dairy free. I’d not tasted Yuzu before however Rosie described it as a Japanese fruit with a slightly creamy citrus flavour, which was spot on. They were both delicious, I slightly preferred the Elderflower macaroon as Elderflower is a top flavour favourite for me. The Black Sesame macaroon was also delicious and wasn’t quite as sweet so would be good for those that don’t like overpoweringly sweet flavours.

Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

Yuzu and Elderflower, Yuzu and Black Sesame

The second pairing of macaroons was Super Cacao and Passionfruit (dairy free) and then Mango and Cinnamon, also in a chocolate shell. I enjoyed the flavour of the Mango and the warmth that came from the Cinnamon but agreed with the group that there could have been more to add a more powerful punch. My favourite of this pairing was definitely the Super Cacao which had a rich, creamy and indulgent chocolate flavour but with a slight bitterness to it, I could imagine eating a few of these.

The final macaroons featured Baobab, the first being Wild Blueberry and Baobab and the second Fresh Raspberry and Baobab. The colour of both of these were so bright and deep, particularly the Blueberry one with the contrasting colour of the filling, which looked so inviting. The Wild Blueberry and Baobab macaroon won this round for all of us, it had such a lovely fresh tasting filling that was so moreish. The Fresh Raspberry was enjoyable however, for me I didn’t get the specific Raspberry flavour, instead it was more of a general vanilla type sweetness.

Miss Macaroon, Birmingham

Wild Blueberry and Baobab, Fresh Raspberry and Baobab

The textures of all of the macaroons I tasted were just incredible and the best I’ve ever tried, with a gorgeous thin crispy shell before you sink into the creamy centre that has just the right balance of chew and softness.

All of the macaroons are gluten free, and some of the range are dairy free too. They are also all between 53 -68 calories each which really surprised me as they feel so indulgent and I would’ve thought they would have been a much naughtier treat than that. There is a great range of flavours at the shop which changes seasonally with new and exciting flavours appearing regularly.

I really enjoyed my evening, thank you Miss Macaroon, and can’t wait to see the final verdict on the new flavours.

Coventry Transport Museum

Exploring Coventry Transport Museum

This year we are going to focus on exploring new places together as a family. A few weeks ago we decided to explore Coventry Transport Museum. It had been on our list of places to visit for  while but hadn’t got round to.

The museum has recently undergone a redevelopment programme and looks fantastic for it. It’s located in the heart of Coventry city and is easy to find. Admission is free to the museum, although you can make a donation if you wish. As we visited on a Sunday, the parking a few minutes walk away was only £1 all day, so it was a bargain day out.

The museum features all ranges of transport, through the ages and how they have changed. We enjoyed looking at the different types of bicycles and imagining how they would have been ridden years ago.

There were features on vehicles such as motorbikes, cars, taxis, emergency vehicles and buses. The museum was really well laid out and led us through a journey around the exhibitions. There were also plenty of interactive opportunities to get involved in such as dressing up, buttons to press and the chance to draw your own car design.

 

Eating isn’t allowed whilst walking around the museum however, there is a designated picnic area approximately half way around. There is also a really lovely café on site which can be accessed either at the end or start. We just had a drink at the end of our day but the food, and cakes in particular looked great.

Coventry Transport Museum

Mr Mack enjoyed the section of the museum that exhibited prototypes of super cars. He also enjoyed showing Mini about Thrust2, the car that broke the land speed record and a Mecano model of Bloodhound, the car that hopes to break the record in the future. There is the opportunity to experience a 4D simulator of Thrust2, which is chargeable, however we decided not to do it this time.

Coventry Transport Museum

We all enjoyed our visit, and learnt a lot about transport through the ages and how it may continue to develop in the future. I’d recommend Coventry Transport Museum as a great day out for families and hope you get the opportunity to visit.

Coventry Transport Museum

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The Ordinary Moments
Lapworth Museum of Geology

Dinosaur Hunting at Lapworth Museum of Geology

Sunday turned out to be a wet and miserable day, so we had a search for something that we could do indoors together. Mr Mack came across The Lapworth Museum of Geology at the University of Birmingham. Mini has been learning about dinosaurs and volcanoes at school recently so this sounded like a great idea.

The museum has recently undergone a £2.7 million redevelopment and is a finalist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2017. It is free to visit, although you can choose to make a donation in reception if you wish. There is free parking right outside at the weekend, however parking would be more difficult in the week when the University is open.

When you arrive at the museum you can’t help but notice the skeleton of the large Allosaurus hanging from the ceiling. Mini was also really excited to see the Pterodactyl skeleton, as this is her favourite dinosaur at the moment and she’d made a model one for school recently.

In the main atrium there are lots of display cabinets with fossils and different types of rocks and crystals in them. They were at an easy level for little ones to see.

Off to the side there was an interactive area to learn about the world including volcanoes, tsunamis and icebergs. Upstairs on the mezzanine level there was an impressive collection of geodes and different coloured precious stones.

The museum also had a reading area stocked with books about dinosaurs and fossils. There is also an education room where children could do colourings and puzzles.

We all really enjoyed our visit and it was lovely to see Mini excited to tell us all the things she had been learning about at school as we looked at the exhibitions.

Lapworth Museum of Geology

Our visit lasted about an hour, which was just right to keep a 5 year olds interest. There are a number of special events and exhibitions throughout the year, so keep an eye on the website for more information www.birmingham.ac.uk/facilities/lapworth-museum. 

Monday Stumble Linky
hanbury hall

Hanbury Hall: Kicking off our year of National Trust Adventures

Last year we had lots of family adventures using our Annual Merlin Passes. This year we decided we wanted to do something different. Therefore, we asked Nanny and Grandad to kindly buy us a family membership with the National Trust for the year for Christmas.hanbury hall

We have previously been members around 3 years ago and had enjoyed getting out and about in the fresh air. We were looking forward to exploring new properties and revisiting favourite ones now that Mini is a little older to get more involved with what’s on offer.

Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire

For our first visit, and to sign up our membership, we visited Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire. This is probably the nearest of the properties to us so I’m sure we will be back again over the year. The family membership is £114.60 for the year and includes 2 adults and up to 10 children, not sure where we’d find that many from but a good idea if we wanted to bring one of Mini’s friends with us.

We were joined on our trip by Mini’s friend, C and her lovely Mummy, S. We started our visit with a guided tour of Hanbury Hall, which took approx. 40 minutes. Normally the house is open to freely walk around however due to renovation work it was only accessible through the tours. The girls were well behaved but were getting a little bored so I’d probably just go with a free walk around the properties in the future for now.

After the tour we headed to the play ground, there was a normal play area with swings, climbing frames etc and also a natural play area where you are invited to build a den. The girl had lots of fun climbing up onto a den that had previously been made and had a competition as to who could climb the highest.

hanbury hall

Climbing in the natural play area

For lunch we had taken a picnic however ate inside the café with a hot drink that we had bought to warm us up as it was a chilly day. From experience the food on offer is always a good selection at National Trust places although can be on the slightly pricey side. I think we will probably try to take picnics and save our money for a treat of tea and cake, or ice-cream in the summer.

With full bellies, we headed off to explore the grounds and gardens, kitted in wellies and waterproofs. The girls found the ice house and enjoyed listening to their echoes as they shouted.  We also walked through the orchard, round the orangery and into the mushroom house, which oddly had apples and pears inside. There were also a few chickens in the allotment area to visit.

hanbury hall

We also explored the formal garden areas and the girls enjoyed pointing out all the different shapes they’d found. By this time we were all starting to get a little chilly so decided to head home to warm up with a hot chocolate after a really enjoyable few hours.

Our year of National Trust Adventures

We are really looking forward to exploring new properties using our membership and having adventures. Mini loves being in the outdoors, running in the open space and finding out about nature, along with getting pretty muddy, so I’m sure she will love our days out to come. National Trust has a list of 50 things to do before you are 11 3/4 such as finding frog spawn, go bird watching and making mud pies, which we plan on trying to tick off as many as we can over our year of exploring.

We have a holiday booked in Somerset for Easter and North Yorkshire in May and are intrigued to find out what properties there are to visit in those areas. We will also use the National Trust app to look for nearby properties when we are travelling long journeys as a way to break up the travelling and allow Mini to get out and stretch her legs.

As individual days out I think some of the National Trust properties can be quite expensive, each property has it’s own pricing structure. However, if you make the most of the membership it can make each trip a lot cheaper. It also means we may sometimes visit just for an hour or so as a quick trip, which we wouldn’t have done if we had to pay the full property price.

Properties also host seasonal special events such as Easter egg hunts, May Day celebrations and Pumpkin trails so it will be good to get involved in those too.

We will share our adventures throughout the year with you. We’d  also love to hear from you about your favourite National Trust properties that we should definitely include on our itineraries.

Country Kids

2018 Blogging goals

My Blogging Resolutions for 2018

Happy New Year, Here’s to a wonderful 2018 …

This is my first new year since starting my blog so thought I would have a go at setting some goals and resolutions for my blog for 2018.

So far, I’ve mostly been finding my own way through the world of blogging and social media, with the help of some lovely friends along the way. I’m hoping that with some focus towards some of my goals I can work towards growing the blog further and learning even more.

2018 blogging goals

To work on improving my photography skills. Up until now I’ve taken most of my photos for my blog using my iPhone however, my goal is to learn more about how to take great pictures. Mr Mack kindly treated me to a new camera for Christmas and I’m looking forward to getting to grips with how it works and all the features I can use. I would also like to do a basic introduction to photography course and will keep my eye out for a suitable one near to me.

2018 blogging goals

I’d like to work towards being more confident about getting to know other bloggers. I’ve been fortunate to attend a few blogging meet ups and even a conference this year, but I haven’t been that successful in talking to many other bloggers. However, all of the people I have spoken to have been lovely and have offered my some great words of encouragement and hints and tips.  It can be pretty nerve wracking attending on your own not knowing anyone and I’m proud of myself for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and going. Next is to step it up a little and work on my confidence at meeting people and getting to know them better though events and my social media channels.

I am goin2018 blogging goalsg to continue having fun with my blog and not put pressure on myself to blog in a certain way or certain frequency. I like that my blog is real and genuine and an honest snapshot into our family life, I wouldn’t talk about topics or post reviews of things that I don’t believe in. I’m so grateful that my blog has taken us on some fantastic family adventures so far and I can’t wait to see what opportunities arise this year for us all.

2018 blogging goals

I’m going to work on promoting myself and what I can offer through my blog. I am going to work on reaching out to brands to discuss collaborations and how we can work together. So far I’ve been lucky to have stumbled upon some opportunities and haven’t had the confidence to approach brands directly. Now I feel is the right time for me to do this taking on board everything I’ve learnt about blogging this year.

2018 blogging goals

To learn about some of the tools that are available to help make blogging easier and more efficient for me. I’m going to research into some schedulers to help save me some time for sharing my work across social media. There’s just so many available so I want to make sure I take time to pick the best ones for me and my blog. I’m also going to look at finding out some more great plugins to add extra features to the blog.

 

Thoughts from other bloggers …

I asked some fellow bloggers to share their goals and resolutions for 2018 with me, here’s what they had to say. I’d love to hear about your resolutions and goals too and hope that 2018 is a fantastic year for you.

Ayse at Arepops – My goal next year is to be more organised and consistent. I will set mini goals of readers and followers but I’m hoping that all comes from me being more organised with my content!

Terri at The Strawberry Fountain – My blogging resolutions are to know my worth and learn to say no so that I stop agreeing to do loads of work in exchange for a tub of coconut butter or a box of cereal.

Amy at All About A Mummy – To be strict on my work hours so I don’t miss out on time with the kids.

Sarah at Mummy Cat Notes – To be more positive and not let people bring me down!

Kate at The Mum Conundrum – My goal is to up my scheduling game and organise my time more effectively (actually that last bit applies to life in general, but just blogging!)

Laura at Edinburgh with Kids – Blogging goals – establish and main good planning and preparation so I can spend time being VISIBLE! Which is my key word for 2018! Personal goals – more an immediate thing but have some health problems that doctors are still investigating so really need to find my healthy.

Natalie at Plutonium Sox – I want to have more fun. Be in a position to only take on things I believe in and will enjoy working on.

Louise at Pink Pear Bear – My goal next year is to be better at switching off and having proper structured blogging time and time off social media! I want to focus on some non-work related hobbies. I also want to make more vlogs.

Carolin at Mummy Alarm – I want to travel more with my little girl – even if it’s just little weekend breaks.

Lynne at A Day in the Life of a Mum of 6 – To be more organised and work set hours so I’m around more for the children after school. I also want to try and get to grips with YouTube.

Kerry at Blissful Domestication – My blogging goals are to consistently post 4 times a week, and launch my linky which I’ve had in my head for 2 years!

Nikki at Yorkshire Wonders – My main aim for 2018 is to make more money from my blog so that I can justify all the hours I put in and try and put less hours into my other job!

Jo at Cup of Toast – I am planning on having more quality family time and being careful not to overfill our calendar. I need to pace myself better too.

Victoria at Lylia Rose – To ignore those who are judgemental and blog how I want to blog!