One of the (few) great things about the movie Batman V Superman was the big screen debut of Wonder Woman. Another great thing is the character’s increased visibility in merchandise, such as this LEGO DC Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle set. Continue reading LEGO DC Heroes of Justice: Sky High Battle review (76046)
Month: August 2016
ASK Italian Amici Kids family dining experience
We were invited to check out the ASK Italian restaurant chain’s new children’s offering Amici Kids – as part of a family meal on them, at our nearest restaurant (conveniently just a few minutes walk away).
Italian restaurants have a reputation for being child friendly, and even a casual dining chain like this is no exception. The new kid’s offering is called Amici Kids, and as well as food it also encompasses a child friendly attitude – the kid’s meal is served first, on cool plates, with small cutlery, plus colouring and other activities as part of their table setting.
Overall, this offering will suit many families. Many restaurants claim to be child friendly, but this is often not reflected in the venue itself. That was not the case here. The manager and waiting staff were very friendly and welcoming. While we have moved beyond that stage, there are change facilities in a unisex bathroom.
But of course, the main aspect of a good dining out experience has to be the food.
Kids Menus at Restaurants
We don’t normally restrict our daughter to order off the kids menu when eating out. One thing I like about dining out is the chance to experience new dishes and flavours, and we encourage the same in our daughter . But kids menus are often far from exciting in their range of dishes.
With Amici Kids the child gets a soft drink, starter, main, dessert, and babycino for a very competitively at £6.95, so it is great value for money. But it only offers a limited series of safe options of the dishes.
Amici Kids has one starter – veg sticks (carrot and cucumber) with thousand island dressing and garlic bread. No complaints, but very little to single out for being more than adequate.
We grown ups had an excellent calamari, and a less successful Bruschetta (ice cold tomatoes).
The main dishes on the Amici Kids menu include a range of basic pizza and pasta dishes. Unfortunately, none of these enticed our daughter. She wanted seafood (there is no seafood on the kids menu) so preferred to eat off the main menu and I wasn’t going to stop her. She ordered a delicious Linguini Frutti Di Mare. ASK have an option to downsize mains to a half portion with the addition of a salad, which is what we did.
Our mains were sadly not as well realised as her dish. My Lobster & King prawn tagliatelle was pretty tasty – but the promised “hint of chilli” was in fact very strong, and overpowered the dish (I have a pretty high tolerance to chilli).
My wife’s Mushroom linguine was ok, lacking a little flavour punch – until she bit into a porcini mushroom that hadn’t been soaked enough. I’m afraid these taste disgusting.
It’s a shame – both these dishes were let down by execution on the day rather than concept.
I asked the waitress to choose a white wine to go with my main, and her selection was perfect. My wife also had a tasty Aperol Sprtiz (Aperol, Prosecco, soda and ice). Our daughter had an apple juice, included in the Amici Kids price.
Ice cream dominated our desserts. Our daughter had the Amici Kids dessert of ice cream with a selection of toppings, I had 2 scoops of ice cream, and my wife went for a gooey chocolate cake also with ice cream – all of which went down well.
The ASK Italian / Amici Kids offering
While it’s unfortunate our meal was let down by some cooking errors, Amici Kids offers great value for money and a restaurant embracing children to join the dining out experience is welcome for any family.
But I remain of the opinion that we need to be more ambitious in terms of the food and flavours we offer our children, and the selection of dishes on the Amici Kids errs too far on the side of caution.
I know many families struggle with fussy eaters, but that’s not all kids – and eating out should be an adventure, not just relying on the familiar.
Disclosure: This family dining experience was provided free of charge by ASK Italian.
My Sunday Photo – ascending the castle keep
We’re lucky to live in a town with a castle – admittedly, not much of it remains after nearly a thousand years, but it still provides a rich play environment.
One of the key features is the keep, and our preschoolers love climbing the many steps to ascend it – offering great views of our town.
Here my daughter is racing up ahead of her friend. He pace would put many adults to shame 🙂
LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack (PS3) Review
There was a moment while playing LEGO Dimensions with my daughter when I knew it was clearly the toy & game for us.
To be fair, it was always likely to be a winner – what with it being LEGO the toy (big fans) combined with LEGO the video game series (big fans).
But the moment it truly spoke to us was early on in the game. LEGO Batman – along with Gandalf and Wyldstyle – ended up in a LEGO version of Oz from The Wizard of Oz (1939). Continue reading LEGO Dimensions Starter Pack (PS3) Review
Starkiller Base Rey Lightsaber Toy Review
***This Rey Lightsaber Toy review contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens***
Ever since the moment Rey used the force to snatch Luke’s lightsaber from Kylo Ren, and used it against him in battle, I had been hoping that Hasbro would release a Rey Lightsaber toy.
Oh sure, they have produced many versions of *this* Rey lightsaber toy in the past. First as Luke’s lightsaber. Then as Anakin’s lightsaber. It’s not like you couldn’t get one.
But to millions of children – especially little girls – this was now Rey’s lightsaber. I wanted to see a toy acknowledging that, with packaging that showed Rey wielding it. So everyone could see that this iconic item was just as much for girls as boys.
Well, it took a while to get to market (spoilers and all that) but now it’s out there. We finally have a Rey Lightsaber toy.
Firstly, things have improved since I was a kid. We only had knock offs called Force Beams (that only came in red or green). Now, there are all sorts of sabers – from basic plastic ones to top end replicas.
This Rey lightsaber toy sits somewhere in the middle. The hilt is a reproduction of the Luke/Anakin saber of episodes II-V, though unlike some fans I’ve never paid too much attention to that. The blue ‘blade’ is telescopic and extends with a whipping action.
The blade ‘ignites’ with the touch of a button, and lights up – a darkened room is best for this as it’s not that bright.
The best bit is the sound. There’s a low saber hum, an electronic vroom when moved, and it crackles when struck – or hitting something.
This is also part of the Hasbro blade builder’s series, where you can join lightsabers up into abstract constructions, but I can’t say we’re keen on the idea.
If there’s one downside, it’s that the blade doesn’t retract fully into the hilt, so there is always a few inches visible. I’m sure there are very good reasons why it can’t involving the electronics housed in the hilt – but it’s still a shame.
But overall, this Rey Lightsaber toy is a Star Wars fan’s delight. My 4-year-old daughter keeps wanted to have lightsaber duels. She gets very into it – even starts doing little spins and twirls (weirdly, her moves are mostly inspired by Obi-Wan in his duel in Star Wars).
The Rey lightsaber toy is a cracking product in its own right, but it’s also yet another piece off merchandise that cements the fact that we knew all along – that Star Wars is for girls as well as boys.
Combined with a Rey fancy dress outfit (as we did) the galaxy is your child’s to explore.
This Rey lightsaber toy from Hasbro has an RRP of £24.99. It was provided for us free of charge for the purposes of this review.