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Market House Delicatessen – Euro Disney

5 Apr

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The Place

We were at Euro Disney for a family holiday and unfortunately on this particular day it was a very wet one.  The umbrellas were certainly out in force.

The cafe was on Disney Main Street and did a good job of reflecting that mid-west homely old american vibe.  The service was good, especially under pressure of a screaming baby in desperate need of milk!

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The Drink

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The drink was served boiling hot, which considering I was in a wet, miserable and Paris that was very much appreciated. The hot chocolate was extremely bitter with a strong chocolate flavor.  It really hit the spot and was a welcome return to my hot chocolate drinking exploits after not blogging a review for some time.

The Cake

Sadly no cake was consumed on this occasion but I did have carrot cake in Disney which was very nice indeed.

The Rest

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The trip overall was lovely.  We made some amazing family memories.  That said, Disney with two children under 4 is very, VERY, tough.  I have never felt so close to breaking down as I did on this holiday.  The children have some fantastic experiences but they also proved that you can be miserable around the bright lights of Mickey’s house.

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Term-Time Holidays

14 Jan

I have commented a few times in the past about the importance of allowing headteachers the freedom of discretion when it comes to allowing pupils to take holiday’s during term-time.  This has been a particularly hot topic since the introduction of truancy fines.  Coupled with these financial penalties we have seen attendance becoming an increasingly important tool in terms of holding school accountable.  So much so that local authorities have instructed schools they should refuse all requests for term-time leave.

It is welcome then that the Minister has written to councils in Wales to say that headteachers should have discretion in this decision and that advising them against it goes against the guidance.

Of course you do have to feel for both schools and local authorities.  On the one hand the Welsh Government are now telling them that they do have the right to use discretion.  Which is a positive step as there are numerous reasons why school leaders may wish to exercise that option.  However, on the other hand, those same school leaders are going to see their place in the categorization model determined, in part, by their attendance ratings.  They are also going to continue to have pressures put on them by consortia and local authorities, who themselves are going to have pressure on them from the Welsh Government, to ensure attendance ratings do not drop.  if they do then we will undoubtedly see schools punished in their accountability measures.

Perhaps what is needed is a way to dis-aggregate legitimately justifiable term-time leave from the school attendance ratings in a way that allows reasonable flexibility in the system while not impacting on the way attendance is viewed in schools.  That is something that needs further thinking.

Despite these remaining issues and the potential for confusion in the system it is still positive the Minister has made this statement and hopefully it allows schools to reclaim some of the professional judgment around the issue that they previously lost.

Some Thoughts On My Hols

13 Aug

I’ve just come back from two weeks in Spain with the family and thought, at the risk of falling into the buzzfeed-ification of articles that I can’t stand, I’d put some thoughts down into a blog post.

1.  Carrier bags are far better. I’m all for the bag charge here in Wales. It’s a great law. But why can’t we have as good a carrier bags as they have in Spain?

2.  Spanish curbs are huge. You are essentially screwed if you are in a wheelchair or are using (as I was) a pushchair. This goes also for almost all shop entrances as well. Accessibility is not a Spanish strong suit

3.  What is it with those random exercise machines in the parks and at the beach? Some of them encourage the most bizarre physical movements and I can’t believe they are a major factor in physical health!?

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4.  Heat makes babies and children go bonkers grumpy. It took the best part of four days for the Gryffalo to acclimatise

5.  34 degree days mean eating ice cream at 9am is totally acceptable.

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6.  Eating frozen yogurt is healthier than ice cream so you can put as much toppings on as you want. I think that’s right anyway.
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7.  Sleeping in a bed with Gryff is a nightmare. Each night was like a wrestling match. Each night my body felt like I lost.

8.  If you have an 11 month old baby he’s guaranteed to spend most of your holiday cutting new teeth. Sleeping or screening
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9.  Zebra crossings mean nothing. It’s just one giant game of run the risk

10.  I’m still confused as to the rights or wrongs of drinking Spanish tap water. Can you?

11.  Spanish supermarkets are free for alls. I felt like I was a competitor in the Hunger Games.

12.  Holiday excess is a real problem. I put on a grand total of 5.4kgs over the past two weeks. Time to hit that winter shred. (I’m doing this wrong ain’t I)

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13.  Raspberry magnums are king of the magnums

14.  Holidays with your kids are amazing. Seeing how much fun they have is life affirming.

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15.  That said they are exhausting. The day I came home was the most in need of a holiday I’ve ever been.

You, Me, Coffee and Cake Boutique

31 Mar

The Place

This little coffee shop was tucked away in a side alley just off the main area of Bath town centre.  The outside appearance looked lovely and unique. Inside there was some nice quaint decor but also it appeared a little tired.

The cafe was utterly boiling inside. I’m sad to say the staff were not the sharpest on the ball. We were left waiting at the counter for some time, which I wouldn’t mind but for the fact there was no apology and from the somewhat zoned out waitress when we eventually were acknowledged. Service was also very slow after making the order. The cafe was relatively busy but not so much to justify the wait on food, especially when the majority of what was ordered simply needed to be sliced rather than cooked.

The Hot Chocolate

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There was no hot chocolate on this occasion.  Instead I matched the cake with a flavoured latte. I’m considering changing this section to hot chocolate or lattes in future as I’m opting more and more for a coffee these days. In terms of lattes there was a wide array of syrups available. I went steady with caramel.

The Carrot Cake

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Overall this was a slight miss for me.  The frosting was overly creamy with a texture that just wasn’t firm enough. The cake itself was not spicy enough and lacked that punch of proper cinnamon and ginger coming through. On the positive it was incredibly moist which made up for some of the other short comings

The Rest

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Satay chicken, crispy beef, spicy spring rolls and beef ribs for taps starters

I was in Bath for a birthday weekend and in the evening visited Koh Thai Tapas. This was an epic experience. As authentic as any Thai food I’ve had since I was there. Generous portions and unbelievably tasty. Well worth checking out if for the ribs alone which were sensational.

Maesmawr Hall Hotel

6 Aug
The place
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It was my 4th wedding anniversary recently so while me and my good wife were travelling to North Wales for the wedding of some of our best friends I arranged to stop at the Maesmawr Hall Hotel for a spot of afternoon tea.

 

The drive in was home to a stunning entrance through a row of trees. The building itself was beautiful and secluded and made for a fantastic setting. The added bonus of having a quiet and sunny day made this a lovely place to stop.

2The staff was very attentive and were a real credit to the venue.

The Carrot Cake

Unfortunately there was no carrot cake on offer as part of the afternoon tea.

The Hot Chocolate

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The hot chocolate came out delayed from the rest of the afternoon tea which was a slight shame. There was no cream as such but rather a was more frothy finish. The drink itself was very sweet. For some, perhaps most, people this may have been too sweet but to my pallet it was enjoyable.

The Rest

As it was afternoon tea we had a selection of other items.

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The sandwiches were not the pretentious slices you can get with many afternoon teas. Instead we were treated to chunky and toasted bread. The fillings were very satisfying.

In one sandwich there was thick sliced beef, medium rare, with prominent horseradish flavour. The other contained thick ham with an abundance of cheese. No stinging on the content here.

The chunky sandwiches meant the rest of the afternoon tea was eaten for flavour and not out of hunger

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The chocolate truffle was sadly a little too soft. There was a nice chocolate flavour but the texture was more akin to a mousse than a truffle and didn’t quite work.
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The Bara Brith was excellent. It was moist with a punchy flavour. This was the surprise star of the offering and was worth the trip on its own.
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The scone baked when ordered so very fresh. It came accompanied by quaint little pots of jam and cream.  My wife often complains there’s not enough cream and jam but there was a plentiful supply here. I found the scone slightly over if I’m honest but my good wife found the crunch excellent.
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The bakewell tart had a strong marzipan flavour. Again, as with the Bara Brith, the cake was moist.  There was a good level of icing and good jam. A winner.

 

Overall this was a recommended little break on the drive from South to North Wales.

Burridges Tea Rooms – Torquay

3 Apr

The Place

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Very nice vintage looking interior with welcoming staff. Slight inconvenience was that there was only one high chair which was already in use.

The Hot Chocolate

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I failed to order the luxury hot chocolate, therefore no cream, but also I wasn’t given that option. Otherwise it was very nice, especially having spent the day in the freezing cold air, cutting sea winds and occasional snow.

The Carrot Cake

A choice of homemade sponges but no carrot cake. Bad times

The Rest

The Gryffalo was like a block of ice so had his first ever cup of tea to warm up.

Burridges Tea Rooms
8 Victoria Parade
Torquay,
Devon County

Costa – Taunton Services

3 Apr

The Place

As with any chain one costa is pretty much the same as any other. The service was pleasant enough to be fair

The Hot Chocolate

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Nice enough taste to the drink with a good helping of whipped cream, although disappointingly no dusting of coco on top. An odd complaint from me giving my obsession with chocolate was that it was perhaps too big for a medium.

The Carrot Cake

Although there appeared a good selection of cakes there wasn’t sadly any carrot cake available.

The Rest

You know driving up the M5 is taking its toll when your good wife informs you that you’ve put your sons shoes on the wrong feet. Sorry Gryff

Costa Coffee
Taunton Deane Motorway Services Area
Trull,
Taunton