Month: April 2017

Potty Training Baby Annabell

We bought Violet a Baby Annabell doll for her Birthday in January and she absolutely loves her. I think she’s still a bit young for the whole ‘Mam’s & Dad’s’ imaginative role play yet, but she loves to take care of her dolly.

After the first few days of playing with Baby Annabell, Violet started asking for accessories for her. Mama, where’s her dress? Where’s her hair band? Where’s her potty? So I was over the moon when I was asked if I’d like to try out and review some of the brand new accessory range for Baby Annabell.

I chose the potty training set as I thought this would be the best option for Violet; and I was right!

The RRP of the set is £12.99 (doll sold separately) and it comes with a cute little pink potty and some other ‘pretendy’ accessories including powder bottle, wipes and nappies.

As soon as it was opened, Violet undressed baby Annabell with some urgency shouting “Don’t wee in your knickers Annabell!”. She then plonked her on the potty and told her to get to it! I showed Violet that Baby Annabell will wee if you press the button (heart) on her tummy and sure enough the water she had just taken from her bottle came trickling out into the potty!

Violet absolutely loves playing with this and it makes a great addition to the Annabell collection we will no doubt be collecting over the years to come. I love how much she’s now starting to use her imagination whilst playing on her own- I’m not so sure she’ll have this much interest in potty training once her brother starts later in the year though!

Does your little one have a favourite dolly?

Mother Hermit xx


‘We were sent the Baby Annabell Potty Training Set in exchange for this review. All photo’s, views and opinions are that of my own’


Turtle Bay Comes To Middlesbrough!

So if you follow me on social media you probably noticed that I was lucky enough to attend a special preview evening of the new Turtle Bay restaurant in Middlesbrough last Wednesday night. This was basically a small gathering of North East bloggers, PR’s and I believe local councillors, who were all invited along to preview their new menu before it opens it’s doors on 23rd April 2017.




Firstly, why on earth have I never visited a Turtle Bay restaurant before?! “Rum, Reggae, Jerk” , can you get any better than that?! From the moment you walk through the door of this place you feel an instant relaxation. From the smooth reggae tunes and the ridiculously friendly (in a good way!) staff to the amazingly refreshing cocktails and massive choice of rums (over 40!), it’s pretty impossible not to have a smile on your face within the first few minutes of your visit.


If you just fancy popping in for a few cocktails there’s definitely plenty to choose from, whether it be a boozy one or a soft drink. My personal favourite had to be the Bahama Mama which is full of fruity flavours and finished off with some coconut rum and banana liqueur- total amazeballs indeed! What’s even better though is that they have a ‘Happy Hour’ where all cocktails are 2’4’1 all day, every day until 7pm and again from 10pm! If you’re feeling a bit peckish too they offer some moreish bar snacks of Jamaican Jerk Nuts, Spicy Pork Rinds and Jam Rock Spiced Popcorn- I couldn’t stop nibbling, especially the popcorn.


So onto the important part; the food! The first dishes brought to our tables were the Just Jerk Platter and the Vital Veggie Platter.

jerkplatterThe Jerk platter has a selection of pork ribs, wings, beef riblets, beef patties, sweetcorn fritters, spicy popcorn and a super green salad and every single element of this sharing dish is absolutely incredible. Every piece of meat was cooked to perfection and literally fell from the bone and melted in the mouth.


The Veggie platter consisted of okra, grilled mushrooms and peppers, pepper roti, flat bread, curried chickpeas and again the sweetcorn fritters and super green salad. Now I’m not a vegetarian and probably wouldn’t have chose to order this myself so I have to admit that I was totally surprised by the utter deliciousness of everything on here! Especially the okra- I’d have that again no problem!


Next up, we were brought two curries to try; Bajan Beef Cheeks and Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry.


Like the meat on the Jerk Platter, the Bajan beef cheeks were incredibly succulent and tender. It had a lovely spice to it but it was quite mild, perfect for me.


The Spinach, Aubergine and Sweet Potato Curry was again gorgeous. The vegetables were cooked just right; soft enough to enjoy but still full of flavour. I don’t think I’d manage a full portion of this though, it was a tad more spicy than the beef!


After the curries we noticed that the BBQ was in action which of course meant, Jerk Chicken!


A 24 hour marinated and pit grilled chicken, smothered in jerk seasoning, sour orange chutney and fresh coconut shavings, served up with coconut rice ‘n’ peas. Incredible. I love everything about this dish- it totally shouts ‘Caribbean’ and the flavours speak volumes.


If you don’t fancy chicken though, I’d have to recommend this one, the Slow Braised Beef Rib which was my favourite of the night! This was dished up with some sweet tattie fries and some watermelon, lime and coriander chow salad which was absolutely incredible! The very thought of fruit with savoury makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason, but I have to admit that this combination of sweet and spice worked beautifully. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it…


Next up (I know, how much food?!), was the chefs own surprise creation which isn’t actually on the menu and was a total one off for us; The Turtle Bay Jerk Parmo!


As the ‘Parmo’ was created in Middlesbrough I thought this was a lovely touch! I have to admit though, as I’m closer to Newcastle (Upon Tyne), I’ve probably only ever tried a few Parmo’s in my life. And those that I have tried have been rather dry and greasy! But the Jerk Parmo? This was on another level. The flavours were just incredible and as with the rest of the meat through the evening, the chicken was tender and there was plenty of it! This should definitely be on the menu, or at least on a secret menu!

By this point I was slipping into a major food coma and was just about ready for bed, but then we were brought a dessert selection to have a try of! Like I wasn’t going to try any, right?!


Banana & Toffee Cheesecake, Fresh BBQ Pineapple, Rum & Raisin Bread Pudding, Dark Chocolate Brownie and my absolute favourite, the Passion Pie. Think lemon meringue pie but instead of lemon this is passion fruit, not as sharp but gorgeously sweet and fruity. I couldn’t get enough of it and made my food coma worse by eating quite a bit of it! The toffee and banana cheesecake was gorgeous too, in fact every element of this dish was, but I will definitely be ordering the Passion Pie again when I return!

I headed home pretty sharpish after dessert as the food had definitely won and I was literally ready to fall into bed! This is hands down my new favourite restaurant and I can’t recommend it enough- even if you’re just in the mood for some cocktails, you have to give Turtle Bay a try! And it’s open now! (Opened 23rd April 2017)

Have you ever visited a Turtle Bay restaurant? What did you think?

Mother Hermit xx








Starting Nursery at 1 Year Old

So Daddy has started a new job (yay!) but unfortunately this new job means he can no longer work from home on Friday’s, the weekday I work an afternoon shift. This means that we’ve had to think about putting both kids into nursery for a full day on a Friday. No big deal, right? That’s what I thought…

I always said I wouldn’t put my kids into nursery under two years old, and I didn’t with my daughter, she started this time last year after just turning two. However, I started working part time in September last year and now I don’t really like the thought of not working, even though it is only 16 hours per week, it gives me an ‘escape’ and more importantly, some pocket money! This means that our son, who turned one in February, will have to attend nursery with his big sister so I can continue to work.


Billy has always showed an interest in the nursery setting every time we drop off or collect Violet so I hadn’t been all that worried about him starting. We had his first half hour visit yesterday where I got to stay with him and talk to the staff whilst he had a little explore. He was a bit cautious at first, clinging onto me and checking I was still there before he moved or touched anything but by the time the visit was nearly over, he had come out of his shell a bit more. This made me feel a bit better about the whole thing and I was quite looking forward to visit number two!

Visit number two today meant that I had to drop him off and leave him for an hour. So off we headed this afternoon, backpack nearly the size of him and the biggest smile on his face walking with his sister. This smile lasted around five minutes sadly as when we got there he was ushered into the baby room and he quickly realised that Mammy was leaving without him and the screaming began. We literally live across the road from the nursery so Violet and I headed home for a peaceful lunch and quick tidy up; well as much as I could manage in that hour. As the time passed the more nervous I became, constantly checking my phone to check the time and for missed calls from the nursery. This then turned into comfort eating as my anxiety started playing hell with me. This is a normal feeling for any parent right?!

An hour later we headed back to the nursery only to be greeted by a staff member who immediately explained that he had cried for the FULL hour and they couldn’t settle him at all!! I felt awful! She suggested that another hour stay be booked in this week to see if he will come around a bit better tomorrow. But now I’m panicking that he might not settle into nursery at all and I’ll have to quit my job and be a SAHM again- the horror! I love it really but I’m quite enjoying having this pocket money which is currently putting me through my driving lessons!

By the time he came out of the room he was beetroot red, sweating, slavering, he looked bloody terrible! He did have his 12 month Imm’s yesterday though so I’m kind of hoping it could have been something to do with the after effects of those (4 horrible, horrible jabs!) and not just that he was utterly pissed off that his Mam had left him in a strange place with unfamiliar women and twisty babies!

It got me thinking that it could possibly be his age? Maybe I’m doing this at the wrong time for him? When babies are younger they don’t realise as much what’s happening around them and when they’re a bit older they think it’s fun as they get constant play with other kids. But at Billy’s age it’s like he just knows that he’s being left and I’m hurting his feelings; proper Mammy guilt going on here, can you tell?!

Please tell me this gets easier?? How old was your little one when they started nursery? How long did it take them to settle?

Mother Hermit xx