Bonapeti – healthy food delivered to your door

I must admit that Bonapeti wouldn't have been my first choice of home delivered food. Vegan, gluten free, wholesome food – brimming with goodness, and prepared freshly by expert chefs. Then delivered to your door.

Well of course it sounded worthy but my idea of a takeaway is a steaming tinfoil carton of noodles, or a lamb madras. Don't get me wrong – we love healthy food. But it just didn't marry my idea of a meal. Plus would it be interesting? And filling?

So when they contacted me to see if I'd like to try out a home delivered family meal I was only too keen to see what it was all about.



On to something good

Well let me tell you right now that Boapeti are really on to something. The food came, packed with grains, lovingly chopped vegetables, delicious sauces. All ready to eat – apart from our curry which just needed to be popped in the oven for 8 minutes, and the pudding. (Yes, I got my curry after all!)

After just a few mouthfuls it was clear that this food was doing us good. Sometimes you can just taste the nutrients! It's not just a grown up affair – Chiswick Boy loved it too, and discovered some new tastes – fennel and seaweed.

Basically, if you had the money this is the kind of firm you'd just order from every day. Healthy nutritious meals, without any chopping or indeed shopping, straight to your table.

The website promises dinner for less than the price of a homecooked supper, and I wouldn't go that far – but I'd certainly say it's for the price of a takeaway.We shared two mains, two sides and a pudding, between two adults and two children. The mains were £9.95 each, and the pudding and side were £4.95 each.

 

Healthy lifestyle choice

If I was a single working person this is definitely the kind of place I'd seriously consider ordering from every night, if I wanted to eat healthily and didn't want to shop (When I lived in a girlie flat share we basically ate straight from tins of tuna, or got a chinese.)

It's basically a lifestyle choice. There's definitely one thing for sure – if you ate this food from Bonapeti then you would be mega healthy. By the way – if it had just been the two of us eating we'd definitely have been full. We had three people sharing a meal for two and Chiswick Daddy and I ended up having a snack later on.

Anyway, there's a great excuse for you to try it because I have a 10% off code for you: just quote BON201501 when you order.

Here's what we ate

Salsify tandoor curry with brown rice and chickpea pilaf and a coconut chutney. Vegan; gluten free. £9.95

Squash noodles with a sesame miso dressing and a fennel, carrot and seaweed salad. Vegan; gluten free. £9.50

Chocolate amaranth pudding with poached bananas, hazelnut, banana chip and cacao nib crumble and candied orange zest. Vegan; gluten free. £4.95

http://www.bonapeti.com/

 

 

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A Chiswick 5 minutes… with Wim Hulme from Chiswick Rugby Minis

I'm delighted to present the latest in my series of interviews with local folk. Meet Wim Hulme from Chiswick Rugby Minis.

Wim discusses how to choose an after school activity for your child, the benefits of competitive sport, and gives us his local tips for a quiet, zero cost afternoon.

Tell us about Chiswick Rugby Minis, in a nutshell:

Chiswick Rugby Minis is the go to place on Sunday morning to watch your children keep fit outdoors on a big green field with other boys and girls in well coached groups – and learn some rugby

I know your classes are mixed gender. Do you think it's important generally for sports to offer mixed gender classes?


I think it is particularly important for boys and girls to develop together on the sports field as it raises greater awareness of the strengths and differences each brings and we keep our players together up to twelve. This has worked very well.

There are a lot of classes out there and as a parent it can be bewildering to know what to pick. From art to sports, what are your tips to a parent deciding what type of weekend/after school activity to sign a child up to?

I think it is important to give the child one physical activity and one that isn't. The child needs to be encouraged for the first few lessons and then left to make the activity their own. If the child says it is not suitable after five or six sessions, it is time to try something else

And talking about sports specifically – how can a parent know what sport is best for their child? What are your tips?

Each sport isn't for everyone. Some of our best players took two or three sessions to settle in and you'd never have thought seeing them at their first session that they could develop as quickly as they do. They go from hiding behind their parent's leg to running in full and hot pursuit of the ball carrier in three weeks. I'd say give them a few sessions before you let the child decide it is not for them as we have found children can take a few weeks to adjust but when they do they integrate very fully

Rugby's obviously a competitive sport. Being a bit of a hippy at heart I feel terrible at the thought of one side of kids losing… but I know that some psychologists believe learning to lose is an important part of growing up. What do you think the benefits of a competitive sport are for kids? And how

do you prepare kids to be good losers, and good winners?

As you're a hippy at heart I'd like to think you recognise the transience of being and that winning and losing are relative and temporary states. By playing sport regularly, children can learn to recognise this. No matter how badly a match may have gone, there is another opportunity soon to come good and they can become good by preparing and working with their peers and coaches. If they have lost a team game, they also know they were not alone. If they have won a rugby game, success is very much down to being a part of the team which is humbling in itself and breeds a better winner

And now some questions about Chiswick!

How long have you been in Chiswick? over ten years

Favourite place to unwind here? Just walking about

What's your top local tip? Walking to Richmond along the Thames is a well spent hour or two

And what's your hidden gem? Hogarth's House. His work is world famous and his house is off the beaten tack but well worth a visit

And some questions about you

Apart from Chiswick Rugby Minis, what other hats do you wear? I'm a retailer by occupation

Is your glass half full or half empty? Usually half full


Secret talent: recognising, restoring and collecting vintage leather


Philosophy on life? Happiness is the way, not the destination

Website: chiswickrugby.co.uk
Twitter tag: @CRFCMinis
Facebook: /ChiswickRFCMinis

 

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Top 5 February and March family activities in Chiswick

There's so much stuff to enjoy in Chiswick, where do you start?

Here's my top five local family-friendly activities for February and March. Two are free, one's reasonably priced, and two are slightly pricey but much better value with an annual pass.

 

1. Hogarth's House has a new exhibition of Hounslow residents' self-portraits.

Open until 1 March.

Cost: Free!

More info: http://www.hounslow.info/arts-culture/historic-houses-museums/hogarth-house

http://t.co/jvFyeX27vz

 

 

 

 

2.Not seen Paddington yet? It's the family film at Watermans on Tue 17 Feb @ 2pm; Thu 19 Feb @ 11am; Fri 20 Feb @ 2pm.

Bargain prices of £7.50 for one adult and one child together. Booking essential.

http://watermans.ticketsolve.com/shows/2015/01/31?TSLVq=aa750b2b-b4d4-4be8-964f-f200573265fe&TSLVp=a6c99569-9092-4344-b9b3-7c9c099281ff&TSLVts=1422106235&TSLVc=ticketsolve&TSLVe=watermans&TSLVrt=Safetynet&TSLVh=c3051e1fb0dda6db74caf952a479e11a

 

3. Get close to nature with family activities at the Wetland Centre – Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 February.

Our tip – go for annual membership rather than a day ticket if you think you'll visit again.

They say: Join us for some storytelling in our yurt throughout the day; on cold days we light the wood burning stove to make it extra cosy. Hear tales of wetland creatures and their amazing adventures.

Then come on a bird watching walk with us and we’ll show you the colourful ducks that live here in the winter, from colourful shovelers with their spade-like bills to elegant teal with their green eye ‘make-up’. And visit our guide in the hide in our Headley Discovery Hide who will give you bird watching tips and explain how to use the binoculars and telescopes to see birds up close.

 

http://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/whats-on/2015/01/10/family-weekend-activities/

 

4. Feed the ducks, play on the zipwire and have a cup of tea – all at Boston Manor Park

http://www.fobm.org.uk/

What I consider to be the nicest park near Chiswick – take a trip to Boston Manor Park. Great playground, gorgeous trees, a lovely pond/lake, and a cafe run by volunteers (open weekends and school holidays).

 

 

 

5. Take a guided walk at Kew Gardens in February

This is another place that I highly reccomend you get an annual pass to. Annual pass gets you, plus an adult guest in for a whole year. (Kids are free anytime). I think a day pass is really expensive – but an annual prices makes it a bargain!

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/guides-choice-walk

 

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A bit of Winnie the Pooh inspiration – a mother’s toolkit?

I've been suffering from the cold this weekend… not suffering in the true sense. I'm not homeless, and I have a nice warm house. In fact the suffering isn't so much physical as mental – Sunday had that blank grey sky that seems to shroud the world and make you just want to stay indoors.

Chiswick Boy and I ended up dragging the duvet from our bedroom to the sofa and snuggled under it watching an old favourite on dvd – Winnie the Pooh's seasons for giving.

Okay, I know that it's fashionable to say that we don't like the Disney version of Winnie the Pooh, but I've never been bothered about being fashionable (well not since I begged my mum to buy my first pair of white stiletteos anyway, circa 1987). So to be frank, I like the Disney version. I know nothing can compare to E H Shepard's line drawings… but there's no need to compare. The Disney artwork has its own place in the world.

I collected Winnie the Pooh toys years before Chiswick Boy landed…When I was in my 20s I even went to Walt Disney World (taking time out from a work trip to Florida) and had a character breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and his erstwhile group of ageless companions.

Everyone has their Winnie the Pooh character that they associate themselves with, and for me it's Eeyore. That insecure, glass half full, angst-ridden donkey.

As we continue to brace ourselves against the cold, grey weeks until Spring, I thought I'd share with you some of my favourite nuggets of Winnie the Pooh wisdom. All from the original AA Milne texts of course.

The tear-to-the-eye quote

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

The quotes a mother can understand

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together…there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart… I'll always be with you.”

The quote that reflects how I sometimes see my life

“I don't see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn't. But there was going to be when I began it. It's just that something happened to it along the way.”

The so happy-sad that I thought twice about including it quote

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”



What fictional characters do you turn to for support when you need a bit of life advice?

 

 

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A Chiswick 5 mins… with Alastair Hilton

It's my regular feature catching up with local Chiswick folk and finding out what makes them tick – and what they love about this great area. There's nothing like a bit of insider knowledge to help you rediscover your patch!

This time we meet Alistair Hilton, manager of the local branch of Winkworth estate agents.

We find out why sitting outside people watching, riverside strolls and a glass half full attitude, help make up Alistair's Chiswick life.

Want to be featured in this spot? Drop me a line!

How long have you been in Chiswick? In Chiswick for several years and in London for 20 plus years

Top local spot? Has to be The City Barge on a summer's evening, sat outside with a beer in hand, watching the sun set over Kew Bridge.

Your local insider tip? The best way to get to know Chiswick and its people, is to spend time sat in or outside one of the many wonderful coffee shops, restaurants or pubs here. I've met so many wonderful and interesting people this way. Chiswick people really are amongst the friendliest that you'll meet!

Photo by Alistair

And the best hidden gem? For those who haven't discovered the area, and a lot have, then it has to be Strand on The Green. Whether you take a stroll in the daytime or the evening, you'll struggle to find a more lovely place than here. And who doesn't love a stroll by the river.

Any other favourite stamping grounds? Most of my time is spent in Chiswick, but if I'm not here, you'll find me in central London or Cambridge with my daughters.

Tell us about your job. Winkworth is the largest estate agency in London. We deal with sales and lettings and our motto is 'Seeing things Differently'. We really like to think that we are different from many agents. We love to give honest advice and a non pushy approach for vendors and purchasers alike.We also pride ourselves on the amount of experience that our staff have, with over fifty years experience between the sales and lettings managers.

Apart from your dayjob, what other hats do you wear? Apart from my job in the office, I love to get involved in supporting and sponsoring many local events each year. There are so many Chiswick people who devote a lot of time and effort to various projects and I truly believe that they deserve all the support that they can get.

Photo by Alistair

What's on your bedside table? I ought to say that I have a copy of some obscure and intellectual novel on my bedside table, but the reality is that I have just my mobile phone there!

Is there a book in your bag? I don't have a bag, but have discovered audio books, which I have on my mobile phone and listen to whenever I get the chance.

Glass half full or half empty? My glass tends to be half full. I really don't like to be told that I can't do something! That only makes me want to do it even more.

Secret talent? My secret talent?! Well, there are so many and if I told you…

 

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That was the Chiswick weekend that was

I started doing these roundups of my weekend last year, to remind myself that it's the small everyday moments that matter. Gentle domesticity and humble family adventures. A far cry from the weekends of bars, social catch ups and (Heavens!) nightclubs of my pre-family days. But I wouldn't swap them for the world! (Perhaps one night out would be nice…)

As a working mum, by lunchtime on Monday the last weekend seems an eon away and the next one isn't even a dot on the horizon. Weekday evenings are a rush of getting home, eating supper (as a family), hanging out a bit, brushing teeth, reading books and trying (but mostly failing) to get Chiswick Boy to bed in time or check his bag for the next day.

I'm a bit addicted to other people's write ups of their gentle domestic routines. I love hearing how people get through their week – the little bits and pieces that make up a week, a month, a year and ultimately a life. So in the same vein, here's a little bit of my life!

 

Friday – the best word in the English Language

I work condensed hours solely so I can get Fridays off. This means I work a full week but in just four days. It's worth the longer Mondays to Thursdays, just to have a day of being at home. I like it because I can feel a little bit of how I felt when I was a stay at home mother (for the first three years of Chiswick Boy's life).

I love doing the school run – to feel a bit of that stress at getting out the door in time (rarely achieved!), of the ceaseless chatter from Chiswick Boy on the way to school and his stream of increasingly difficult to answer questions (Does God have a belly button? How do we know that you get stretched when you enter a Black Hole if we've never been in one?)

After drop off I had my usual hesitation about whether I should head straight home (sensible) and do some tidying and more importantly some writing (procrastinating on the second draft of my novel) or whether I should head into Chiswick High Rd.

I had a few boring bits and bobs to pick up – yet another charger for the ipad (why do they break so often?), a paper diary (I do everything on the ipad apart from keep my appointments – I just need to have a paper diary for some reason). So Chiswick High Rd won.

I can't visit the high street without popping into Waitrose and utilising the free coffee and free newspaper (latter with a fiver minimum purchase, and both offers for waitrose card holders only. Do get your card – they're the only loyalty card I bother with. Well that and the John Lewis one.)

 

Never enough hours between drop off and pick up

Well you don't get much time in between a mooch on Chiswick High Rd and school pick up do you? So by the time I got home I felt that it was almost time to leave again.

Because I only do it once a week, picking Chiswick Boy up from school is an utter delight. It's fun to treat him to a drink on the way home and this time we tried the Strand on the Green cafe at Kew Bridge. Really lovely vibe and friendly manager – and Chiswick Boy really enjoyed his banana milkshake. We'll be back for some thai food soon.

Chiswick Dad was due back late from work and so the house saw what is now sadly a rare event – mummy cooking! Well I didn't cook. I heated up some of that nice fresh ravioli and grated some strong cheddar on top.

The funny thing is that when I was a stay at home mum I cooked everything – and really enjoyed it. I'd meal plan, try out different recipe books and even whip up puddings. But since I went back to work Chiswick Dad has taken over the cooking. He cooks amazing meals – lovely old fashioned stuff. Shepards pie, tacos, lasagne. We believe in good quality ingredients, and we all eat together every night. We see meal times as a chance to be together and chat about our days. They are the highlight of my day!

I don't usually get home until 7:30pm, so this means Chiswick Boy goes to bed later than most seven year olds I suppose. We normally finish eating around 8:15pm and then start getting ready for bed and the story reading marathon.

But I'm digressing, as Friday was an exception to this routine. Chiswick Dad – who has only just recently returned to part time work following his stint as the stay at home parent – was working late.

 

Board games and reindeer onesies – the answer to January blues!

After my make-do supper, we sat and played Disney Trivial Pursuit on the living room carpet. Then Chiswick Boy brushed his teeth, got into his PJs (or reindeer onesie) and chose his books for the night. We have one story on the sofa. Then two stories read to him in bed. After which he reads a chapter book to himself until he falls asleep.

This is a new routine. Until a week or so ago we were reading him stories until he fell asleep. But this new routine is working well.

When Chiswick Dad got back we searched through Netflix for a film and I chose Locke. This fantastic British film, set entirely in a car as the protaganist drives down the motorway, is the most compelling hour and a half of film that I've watched for a while.

 

Pyjama day!

Chiswick Dad was working for the rest of the weekend too, and Chiswick Boy and I had already promised ourselves that we'd declare Saturday a pyjama day and film marathon. First up was Chiswick Boy's choice – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, an old fave on DVD. Cadburys Mini Eggs may have featured too.

My follow up choice was a bit more boxsetting of the Famous Five 1970s series. Growing up in the 70s and 80s you either did Blyton or you didn't. Frowned on my teachers and some parents (not mine luckily), Enid Blyton suffered at the throes of a well meaning witch hunt. They were banned from many libraries. But I cut my reading teeth on Blyton and was reared on the famous five.

I'm really enjoying revisiting the 70s take on the books, with this series of adaptations of each of the books.

We're lucky enough to have a real fire. And while London may be a smokeless zone, the smokeless fuels available are really great – and give a lovely long glow. I think there are few better pleasures then to be tucked up on a cosy sofa, with Chiswick Boy – both of us reading our books, in front of a glowing fire, the cat between us.

No weekend is complete without a trip to the swings, and some time feeding the ducks. Our favourite park is Boston Manor Park – a little known gem which has a fab play bit, including a zip wire.

 

A dramatic weekend? No. A lovely potter-y one? Yes. Grand adventures? No. Simple pleasures? Yes.

What did you get up to? And what do you think of pyjama days, Enid Blyton and cosleeping?

 

 

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Saturday morning kids cinema in Chiswick – all the options

I've found it really difficult to work out what cinemas show kids clubs when, and where the listings are buried. So here it is – my guide to kids cinema accessible from Chiswick.

I'm only listing the bargainous special kids club offers. All the multiplex cinemas have special deals for a special film on a Saturday and Sunday morning. Outside those special offers you'll end up spending an eyewatering £30 for two adults and a kid, for an 11am screening. Which I think is outrageous.

And of course I've included our lovely local independent, Watermans.

The magic of kids cinema

Some of my happiest memories as a kid revove around going to the cinema. There weren't many trips when I was little. But I still remember seeing reruns of The Jungle Book and Cinderella with my dad, Pete's Dragon with a friend. And Annie (the original) with six school friends as a glorious birthday present.

Then when I was 11 I was allowed to go into town for the 2pm 50p showings. From Police Academy to Teen Wolf, via Labyrinth and Rocky Number Whatever, those magical hours were my time to sink into a fantasy world.

Kids cinema for Chiswick families – the listings

1. Odeon, Richmond

Price: £2.50 a ticket

Name: Kids Club

Listings: http://www.odeon.co.uk/kids/#showtimes-anchor

Time: 10:00am on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays

Choice: Normally 2 films to choose from.

Easy to get to by bus: Yes! Get bus to Richmond and walk up to Odeon (see directions on site)



2. Cineworld, Hammersmith

Price: £1.50 a ticket

Name: Movies for Juniors

Listings: http://www.cineworld.co.uk/whatson/category/junior

Time: 11:00am on Saturdays, Sundays and school holidays (but please check listings first to make sure)

Choice: Normally 1 film to choose from.

Easy to get to by bus: Yes! Get bus to Hammersmith and it stops at the cinema, just before it turns the corner



3. Watermans, Brentford

Price: £7.50 for child and 1 adult goes free

Name: Family Cinema

Listings: http://watermans.ticketsolve.com/shows/upcoming/tags/cinema (Use the calendar to flick through the Saturdays)

Time: 11:00am on Saturdays BOOKING ESSENTIAL – it gets sold out

Choice: 1 film to choose from.

Easy to get to by bus: Yes! Get bus to Brentford and it passes Watermans



If you think I've missed an easy to get to cinema, let me know! Until then, happy viewing!

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Do you know how to stop a baby or child choking? It’s easy – and you need to know.

Do you know how to stop a baby or child choking? Do you have nightmares about it?

As a mother it's one of my main fears and I'm so scared that I've even turned away from safety material because it's made me feel so sick with fear. And until last week I didn't know what to do.

I'm not alone – St John Ambulance has revealed today that four-fifths of parents (79%) wouldn’t know the correct technique for saving their baby from choking despite it being a major fear (58%) and 40% having witnessed it.

(Of the parents who’d witnessed their baby choke, 77% said their baby choked on food, 14% on vomit, and 9% on toys. Other causes included coins, mucus/phlegm, marbles, and pen lids)


Take just a few minutes to learn how to save a choking baby

But I do know now – and I want to share it with you. And it takes just a couple of minutes to learn. So do it now. Right now – don't even wait until you have some down time.

Because in response to parents' fears, St John Ambulance has launched a new ad which airs for the first time today. It contains practical advice, in a non scary way. So no need to turn away if you're squeamish. If you're like me and don't watch enough tv to see adverts, then here's the video of the ad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtbUB1XPW_o&feature=youtu.be

It contains a few famous voices. Can you guess who they are? Just for fun – and answers at the bottom of this blog post!

St John Ambulance has also launched some other videos to help you – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvd0isBh6beQJ1YrlssqzKoXY_aw-qvoW. In particular please have a look at the Baby CPR video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jppbw8Ab6sU

 

My night at St John Ambulance

I had the great privilege and pleasure of being invited to St John Ambulance to see a sneak preview of this ad last week. And as part of the evening I was shown how to stop a baby, child and adult from choking – and also shown baby CPR.


I'm quite cross with myself for not learning this before. These are simple techniques that really can save a life.


Of course nothing's a substitute for keeping chokeable items away. But as mothers we know that babies and children love nothing more than sticking stuff in their mouth. My son is seven and still does it!

 

My advice in five words? Please learn this stuff. Now. Watch the ad, view some of the other first aid videos.

 

And do you know what I'm going to give as a present to the next friend who has a baby? A St John Ambulance first aid workshop. The gift of potentially saving a life? Now that's a gift worth giving!

 

Did you recognise the voices?

 

David Walliams – Princess

David Mitchell – Pen lid

Johnny Vegas – Jelly Baby

Sir John Hurt- peanut

 

 

Find out more at http://www.sja.org.uk/TheChokeables

 

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Family friendly food – and adult friendly rye: Review

I guess the clue's in the name. Jackson & Rye. As in Rye Whiskey. (Conjuring up images of Don Maclean singing American Pie, and the old drinking song – Rye Whiskey Rye Whiskey Rye Whiskey I cry).

But it wasn't until the manager pointed out the huge selection of bottles carefully on display behind glass, that I realised one of the key focuses of Jackson & Rye on Chiswick High St.

We'd been invited along to try out their weekend brunch. As usual, we did our review en famille. (Sorry, I don't know why I've gone all French on you.) I like to try out places with my partner and our son, Chiswick Boy, so that I can tell you about the true family dining experience.

Because it's not just about the food is it? When you're going out as a family, the rules of dining out have changed.

Bounce test

It's as much about having seats that are comfy enough and sturdy enough to withstand a bouncy seven year old; whether there's enough stuff to entertain them between courses; whether the staff offer to bring the child's meal with the starters without being prompted by us; and if there's something fun for kiddies to drink that isn't lemonade.

Families welcome

Perhaps most important of all, it's whether families are made to feel welcome.

We've reviewed a few places over the last couple of years and what I've come to realise is that it's not always about whether the restuarant has a packet of felt tips and a kids menu.

Some places that have these trappings don't necesaarily treat kids as proper customers. While others may not offer a kids menu but go out of their way to make sure that all the customers have a good time – regardless of age.

I'm happy to report that Jackson & Rye falls into this latter camp.

In the know

Insider tip – there may not be felt tips and colouring books. But Jackson & Rye use huge sheets of overlapping paper to cover their tables with. Cue infinite space for noughts and crosses and scribbling. Next time I'd bring a bag of felt tips too. (But you're probably a more organised mother than me, so you probably don't travel anywhere without a bag of emergency felt tips, right?)

In fact the manager told me that lots of stuff had been written on those sheets – entire business plans, meeting minutes…I then bored him with the anecodote of how Monopoly was invented on a tablecloth at dinner…

 

Not just a bloody mary

We started with a couple of brunchey cocktails – two variations on a Bloody Mary. I had a Red Snapper – with gin instead of vodka. While Chiswick Daddy had a Rye Mary – with, er, rye. They were pretty yummy and definite must-haves for the full on brunch experience. Nothing says luxury brunch like a Bloody Mary or variation thereof! (A New Yorker introduced me to that concept – and who am I to argue with a New Yorker?)

There isn't a kids menu, but they offered to make any of the meals in a kid style portion. We've learnt that seven year old boys have ferocious appetites (transmutes directly into energy for playing on swings and building mammoth marble runs), so we opted for a full size dish. Chiswick Boy chose Spaghetti with meatballs.

Mac and Cheese to dream about

We went for starters. My Truffled Mac and Cheese with crispy kale topping was absolutely delicious. I would go back on the strength of this dish alone. Perfect in every mouthful. I'm still thinking about it!

Chiswick Daddy had the Mozzarella Di Bufala, with toasted pine nuts, vine tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. A gorgeous combination – and we did a lot of sharing!

For our mains Chiswick Dad went for the Grilled Tuna Steak including pesto mash. I went for the burger in a brioche bun. Both were enjoyable, although the starters really won the prize for us.

A sweet finale

We had puddings – purely in the interests of review and research you understand :-) Chiswick boy had the icecream sundae of course – which was pretty dramatic. It was a melting chocolate sundae – it had a hard chocolate top on, and then the waitress poured on hot carramel sauch which melted the chocolate! A nice bit of showmanship that had Chiswick Boy transfixed.

I went for the Blueberry and Apple baked cobbler with vanilla custard. And Chiswick Dad had the Pecan Pie with rye whiskey icecream.

All finished off in the only a meal should be – with a double espresso.

After devouring all that lot I'm ashamed to admit, but yet compelled to share, that we also sampled a couple of rye whiskies chosen by the manager.

Take it easy

Now you can tell from the above that we went for the full, three course, special meal out experience. But you don't have to spend a fortune – they do a range of egg dishes, such as Avocado Benedict (which I'm definitely trying next time).

In fact I'd be quite happy to truck up with the weekend papers and a colouring book, order some eggs and some coffees and spend the morning chilling together. It's the kind of place where the staff will be friendly enough, but just leave you to get on with your morning – scribbling on the tablecloth or doing the crossword.

 

Our table was upstairs next to the window, with a lovely view of Chiswick High St. So I'd reccomend that table.

It's possible to just pop in for a drink at the bar too, and sample some of those ryes I mentioned earlier.

Verdict: yummy food, and great place to spend a lazy day with newspapers. rememeber to bring your felt tips!

Weekend brunch menu: http://www.jacksonrye.com/uploads/menu/Brunch_menu_Soho__Chiswick_21.11.14.pdf

Website: http://www.jacksonrye.com/

 

Small print :-)

Jackson & Rye invited us to try out their weekend brunch, and our entire meal and drinks were complimentary for review purposes. But the views are entirely our own. You wouldn't want it any other way!

 

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A chiswick 5 mins with… the Band Project

It’s the latest in our series of our ‘5 mins with’ interviews with local interesting peeps. This time we meet Melanie, from the Band Project which works with 8-16 year olds.

Read on and see why being outdoors, living life to the full and staycations form part of Melanie’s West London life.

Want to be featured on this page, or know someone who does? Drop me an email at chiswick_mum@yahoo.co.uk


Name: Melanie O'Toole

Business: The Band Project – West London


How long have you been in West London? 5 years


Favourite place to unwind? – The Fox, Twickenham


Top local tip? Avoid Twickenham on rugby days!


Your hidden gem? -Binghams hotel restaurant, Richmond


Vacation or staycation? Staycation


If you weren't here, where would you be? Miami


Tell us what your business is about, in a nutshell? The Band Project delivers the complete band experience for young musicians aged eight to sixteen.

Our courses offer weekly band practice in fully equipped rehearsal rooms, recording sessions in professional studios, guest workshops with top musicians who perform with Rizzle Kicks, Professor Green, Lily Allen, Leona Lewis and many many more.

The students also get the opportunity to put on an end of course gig in a real venue for friends and family. We group all of our bands by musical interest, experience and age so our students are always in the right band socially and musically!


Why is music important to kids? It’s a great way for them to express themselves and build self-confidence as well as using their brain as they are constantly learning.

I also think it can help give them a positive attitude and can be very uplifting and rewarding.


Apart from your business, what other hats do you wear? Mum to one daughter, 23 month old Abbie. I also work part time at Cherry Red Records


Do you play any instruments? Unfortunately not. I did start learning to play keyboards a very long time ago but never pursued it.


What inspires you? Positive, successful, happy & upbeat people. Going for walks with my daughter and seeing her constantly learning new things and loving being outdoors. Also lessons learned that lead you on to success.


What's on your bedside table? A lamp and a digital radio


Is there a book in your bag? Yes, 'Ronnie' – Ronnie Wood Autobiography


Is your glass half full or half empty? Half full (most of the time)


Secret talent: skydiver


Philosophy on life? Always live life to the full (as much as you possibly can) and don't have any regrets.


House clean or house dirty? Clean but slightly messy from lots of toys!


Pop or classical? Britpop!


www.thebandproject.co.uk

@TBP_Chiswick

https://www.facebook.com/thebandprojectchiswick

www.youtube.com/TheBandProjectMusic




 

 

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