As you’ll know by now my festive spirit is already alive and kicking. My heart leaps with joy at the sights and sounds of Christmas that are starting to creep in all around me. So when I was recently offered the opportunity to try a festive coffee blend I jumped at the chance. Being a mummy to a young baby who feeds two hourly during the night I need a coffee to get me going in the morning! Before I moved in with hubby instant coffee was my go to drink, however having lived with him for almost 10 years now my coffee tastes have changed. I describe him as a coffee snob as he really knows his coffee. He’s been through a fair few machines before settling on the one we have now. So although I know what I like coffee wise hubby will also be having his say on this one!
The coffee we were tasting was ‘Reindeer Rocket’ by the Big Cup Little Cup company who produce nespresso compatible capsules. As it was weekend hubby decided to try a new ‘duffin’ recipe he had found to go along with the coffee – I wasn’t going to say no to cake!
Once the cakes were made and decorated we opened up the coffee, I was delighted to see that each nespresso compatible capsule was wrapped up like a little Christmas present. I love that the packaging has been thought about so carefully, with its tiny stamp label. I think they look fab in our coffee jar it just needs a red ribbon now to complete the festive look!
Reindeer Rocket is recommended to be served as a lungo, so with fresh water in the machine I set about making two coffees, one with a splash of milk for me as I like my coffee white and a black one for hubby.
Reindeer Rocket tasting notes:
Reindeer Rocket is a limited edition rich coffee with an intense flavour. Arabica beans from Southern Brazil and Central America and Southern Indian Robusta beans create a powerful and bold coffee with flavours of dark chocolate and chestnut that lingers with a sweet, smoky finish on the palate.
It’s a 9 on the strength scale.
My opinion: I really liked the coffee, I’m not normally one to have the higher end coffees on the strength scale but with a splash of milk I really enjoyed the flavours of the coffee.It has a lovely bold flavour which isn’t particularly bitter as I find some of the stronger coffees to be. I can imagine it will be my go to coffee over the festive season, especially if Flixster keeps me up every two hours, every night as he has been doing!
Hubby’s opinion: The coffee has a bold taste that’s offset by a subtle sweetness that is the signature of a great Christmas blend coffee.
Big cup little cup have offered readers of my blog a chance to get 15% off their first order using the code LYRICAL15 there are plenty of coffees to choose from and the Reindeer Rocket will be launched soon – keep your eyes open for that one!
I was sent a sample of Reindeer Rocket for the purpose of this review but we have purchased from them before and have always been impressed with the coffees and the speed of delivery. All the opinions expressed are my own and truthful.
As its half term this week all my baby groups and regular activities are off so instead of spending the week cooped up indoors which is hard work with children, today I arranged to meet a friend who has a similar age baby to Flixster at a garden centre local to me. The garden centre is called Bents and is well-known in the north-west area. I haven’t been for a few months and was surprised when I arrived to see that its undergoing a massive transformation and expansion. I’m not sure when the expected completion date is but it’s looking great so far. Bents is well-known for its fabulous must see Christmas displays and I know that the countdown to Christmas has really started once Bents put out their displays.
As I arrived at Bents I also noticed that they have put in a new large roundabout to improve access to the car park. It’s made it far easier to get in and out of the newly expanded car park. Although its half term and extremely busy I headed towards the back of the car park and easily found somewhere to park. We’d arranged to meet for lunch at the cafe as it has a fab reputation locally as great place to eat. The queue was quite large but moved at a steady pace, we skipped the sandwiches and hot food in favour of the ‘Cream Tea for Two’ which was £12.50. You got a large scone each, four strawberries, two pots of jam, two pots of clotted cream and a large pot of tea to share.
The scones were lovely, although I did have to keep them out of reach of Flixster as he kept trying to grab for them. We’ve just started baby led weaning as he is now 28 weeks. I gave him some of the strawberry instead which he seemed to love, I’m not sure how well the red stains will come out of his vest but that’s part of the fun! After we’d eaten and drank our tea Flixster was getting tired so we had a little wander. My friend had an appointment so had to leave, we said our goodbyes and I gently rocked Flixster for a few minutes whilst he nodded off in the pram. This gave me a chance to have a proper look around.
I love Christmas time, its my favourite holiday season. I’ve always loved this time of year and the magical build up. Since having Children its become even more special.I love the decorations and making my home feel magical inside and out. I love getting the decorations out each year, remembering where and when we bought each one. We always buy one or two special tree decorations each year to add to our collections so I have already begun the hunt for just the right one. The Christmas displays at Bents are amazing. There are lots of room displays with enormous amount of attention to detail.
There are lots of dressed trees to look at and the floor space given over to Christmas is amazing. There is everything you could ever need to make your home feel Christmassy and fantastic. I looked around the undressed trees as we are looking to buy a new tree this year. Normally I have an artificial 6ft tree and we place it on a small table so that it touches the ceiling. As a child I always remember the Christmas tree being taller than I was, these days being 6ft myself its pretty hard to find trees taller than I am. This year we have changed our living room furniture so have even less room for a tree so I am looking to buy a slim or pencil tree. The artificial trees in Bents where plentiful and I really liked that they were all clearly labelled with height, base diameter and price. It really helped anyone who was looking to easily identify something suitable.
After looking at the trees I went to look at the miniature village display. I like to look each year at all the little models, people must spend years collecting them. I wouldn’t have room for them in my house but I do like to look each year at the fabulous displays Bents put together.
As the weather is so nice still I took the opportunity to go outside to look at the plants. I don’t have a large garden and I barely get time these days with the boys to do any gardening but I really enjoy looking at the various plants. The displays were lovely to look at and I enjoyed a walk over to have a look at the children’s play area. From the plans it looks like they are also going to be making a conservation area at the back of the centre that people will be able to walk around. I’ll look forward to that next year.
The new outdoor play area looks great for children and I can’t wait to take the boy, I hope we have some more nice days this year so we can go back during term time and have a play. The cafe has also been extended outside onto a raised area which I imagine in the summer is a beautiful place to sit and look over the lake.
Flixster had begun to wake up so I headed back inside and made my way to the parents room which is located at the back of the cafe. I have used the room before so knew which way to go. I went in and had a quick look at the food area, from the plans I noticed that this is going to be extended to incorporate local producers which is going to be great. Since I was last here the displays have altered and instead of high shelving the produce is now displayed on pallets which look great. I didn’t have a good chance to look at all the food as Flixster was starting to tell me he was hungry. Hopefully I can have a proper look next time I visit.
I found the parents room and thankfully they have provided two seats for feeding babies. I’m happy to breastfeed anywhere but as I’d already used the cafe I thought I’d feed in the parents room as Flixster gets easily distracted these days when feeding so a quiet calm environment is ideal. The room was lovely and clean with two nappy changing beds. There is a small toilet cubicle and another cubicle with a chair and lockable door, ideal if you are a mum not comfortable with feeding in public. There’s also another chair available in the main changing room. I fed Flixster and then changed him. There are two sink areas which were also very clean and had lovely toiletries provided. It is a big thumbs up from me for the services they provide to parents. Very clean, comfortable and spacious, just what mummies and daddies need!
Once Flixster was settled back into the pram I took him for a look at the Christmas lights. He’s at an age where he’s fascinated by lights, especially ones that flash or change. There are plenty to look at in Bents. I loved watching his face as he marvelled at the different colours and displays.
I love having lights up at Christmas. Last year was the first time I put some up outside and the boy loved coming home from nursery to see the lights. I found some battery-powered ones that only came on at night-time which were powered by two AA batteries that claimed to last for 30 days, in reality I did have to change the batteries after about 20 days but still I was impressed that I didn’t have to plug them into the mains. I can’t wait to get them out again this year! Once we’d finished being wowed by the light displays we headed out via the new craft shop. I love having a go at new crafts and enjoying myself just losing an hour or two in making something so I was thrilled to see the new shop had opened within the ongoing extension work. I didn’t have much time but did try to survey what they are going to be selling. I think they are still setting up as some of the shelves looked a little empty. What I did see though made me want to return soon to take a closer look, perhaps when I have someone else with me to watch the boys for a few minutes!
Time was marching on so we exited the shop to start making our way home. I’m very much looking forward to going back again soon (although perhaps during term time when its a little quieter) to have another good nosey around. The new extension is looking promising and once it’s fully open will make a great addition to an already lovely place to visit. I’ve always found the staff to be visible and as always today was no exception, if I had needed any help then I’m confident I would have found someone quickly and easily. Even on such a busy day I noticed lots of staff out and about helping other people. Bents certainly know how to treat their customers well, a key to it’s already great reputation.
If you’re ever in the north-west then it’s a highly recommended day out and I can’t wait to go back soon with both boys and hubby!
I know many people don’t like to think about Christmas too early in the year. I’m not one of those people! I love Christmas. I love everything about it. The excitement, the decorations, the religious meaning. I really enjoy planning for Christmas and since having children its been made so much more magical in our home. As a child I remember Christmas being the most amazing day of the year, my mum and dad must have put so much unseen effort into making it a special day for myself and my brother, something I want to pass on to my children. I want them to grow up remembering the fun family times we have had a Christmas. The magic starts early in our house with writing letters to Santa (or Father Christmas as I like to call him in our home) so when I was given the opportunity to receive letters from the big man himself I jumped at the chance. The company I have used is called Lapland Mail Room and they can be found here.The elves ship letters worldwide from the website!
The website itself has a lovely Christmassy feel and is easy to navigate around. Prices start form £6.95 for each letter, theres even an option for a babies first Christmas letter which I think is a lovely idea. Once you click through to order your letter there are lots of easy to use personalisation options with prompts given at each stage, you also get the option to add your own “P.S” at the end of the letter, and with 255 character allowance theres plenty of room to add something special about your child. My favourite option is a drop down box to choose what you call the big man in your house. I prefer Father Christmas so that is what I picked for our letters. Once you have gone through the easy personalisation you can review your letter.
The whole letter appears on screen and as you hover over various parts of the letter a magnifying glass appears so that you can review the text. Once you’re happy with the letter you can go through to pay for it. I particularly liked that paypal is accepted as a form of payment even if you don’t have an account. I added two letters to my basket and finalised the order. I can’t wait to receive them! I hope the boy is as excited as I was as a child to have his own letter drop onto our door mat! I’m hoping when the boys are older that they too pass on the magic of the festive season to their own children if they choose to have them.
I am being sent our letters from Father Christmas for the purpose of this review.