Family breakfast whether at home or out and about is one of our favourite things. Before we had children, some of our loveliest times were enjoying a Full English and comparing the best ones on offer at pubs, greasy spoons and restaurants. We imagined ourselves as restaurant reviewers never imagining that one day we would be just that!

My Dad used to make an amazing cooked breakfast and it was always the very thing my Mum fancied if she was feeling off colour. Similarly, my husband makes the best breakfast in my house. To be honest, timing all those food items is daunting to me so I leave it to him.

On Saturday, we were invited to try the family breakfast on offer at the Red Lion in Horndean – one of a number of Table Table outlets across the UK.

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We arrived to a friendly greeting from the manager. Before being shown to our table, a waitress explained where to find the various tasty treats on offer some of which were self-service and some of which were served to the table. The restaurant was quite busy with a wide range of age groups including families with small children, a group of teenage boys and couples. There was plenty of space for everyone and we did not feel at all crowded.

Service was very friendly and particular thanks goes to Jess who was so very lovely with my shy daughter. They bonded over a love of croissants and hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows! I think it is really important that family-friendly restaurants provide not only affordable and healthy food but also are genuinely nice to the children. Too often, I find the staff ignore the children and I don’t like that.

My daughter was thrilled with the wide range of pastries on offer and ate an amazing amount. She enjoyed putting Nutella on her toast and she felt very special when freshly-baked croissants were delivered to her by the lovely Jess. She also enjoyed yoghurt whilst my husband relished a bowl of fruit salad, always one of his favourite things.

Both my husband and I ordered cooked breakfasts and you could choose the specific items that you liked best and lots of them too if you wanted to go down that route. The breakfasts did take a while to arrive but I don’t mind that at all as the reasons were explained to us and we were offered another treat as compensation. We were both delighted with the food when it arrived and it was worth the slight wait.

I particularly enjoyed the bacon which I usually find so disappointing. It had a smoky taste to it and was thicker than usual. The mushrooms were proper ones not those bland tinned ones that too often appear. Black pudding is now apparently a super food so I had to have that too!

My husband had at least one of each item on offer – he has quite the appetite! He comments, “The choice was fantastic. The delay was an issue but at least you knew it was all freshly cooked so that could be forgiven easily”.

Check out the wonderful offers that make eating out out a real option for families even if working to a budget and whatever time of day.

You and your little ones can choose as much as you like from the cooked and Continental selections, including crispy back bacon, succulent premium sausages, eggs as you like them, hash browns, pan-fried mushrooms and more, alongside beautifully baked pastries, cereal, fresh fruit, plus chilled juices, tea and unlimited Costa Coffee.

And the best bit is that up to two under 16’s eat breakfast for free when one adult orders a full Premier Inn Breakfast.

This offer applies to Table Table restaurants situated next to Premier Inn hotels:

Free breakfast for two children aged 15 or under when purchasing an adult breakfast. This offer is available weekdays 6.30am-11:30am and weekends 7.00am-11.00am

This offer applies to Table Table restaurants not situated next to Premier Inn hotels:

One child under 10 years can choose from either a cooked breakfast, a vegetarian breakfast, eggs on toast, beans on toast or a two egg omelette when one adult purchases and Ultimate Cooked Breakfast meal deal or an Ultimate Vegetarian Cooked Breakfast meal deal.

The Playground Mafia is a book I received as part of my membership of the BritMums Book Club.

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I love the club as it leads me to read books that I would not normally select. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut with our reading choices.

The Playground Mafia: The Essential Guide to Observing, Identifying and Managing Playground Mums (and the Occasional Dad) was just released by John Blake Publishing.

I have mixed feelings about this book.

At best it is a bit of fun that certainly can lead to a smile or two. Watch yourself identify with one of the Mum Types and then realise you also have aspects of some of the other ones. I do have a tendency to take things too seriously and on that level, this book was very different for me and a bit of a tonic on a cold morning. I think it is great that this is a book that you can dip in and out of as the mood takes you.

Stereotypes do serve a useful purpose in our everyday lives. We don’t have the time to get to know the life stories of everyone we meet in the playground or in the street. However, we can judge too quickly and miss out on great potential friends. Worse still, we can write ourselves off all too easily and put up such barriers that nobody feels able to approach us. I know I have been guilty of this so many times.

When I did not have children, I used to watch mums turning up to deliver and collect children at the school across the street. It looked lovely and friendly but I recognise now there was a bit of naivety on my part. Playgrounds can be a very political place. I have found them daunting especially when beset with depression. So on that level, I have an issue with the book as sometimes the playground is not a funny place to be at all.

Then I wonder if I am thinking all wrong. In fact, I can see a really useful place for this book and making parents comfy with each other. I envisage schools putting on workshops about the book where parents can get to know each other and break the ice using the book as a tool to laugh and to relax.

The Playground Mafia by Clare Christian and Elisabeth Kent is published by John Blake Publishing. RRP £5.99

Read With Me

Pasta shapes and sizes can be confusing. I think many of us stick to the same old pasta shapes whether that is spaghetti,

Wouldn’t it be great to impress your family and friends with your impressive knowledge of pasta shapes and to try some of them out in exciting new dishes?

Check out this fabulous infographic from Jamie’s Italian explaining all the different shapes and types of pasta. It takes a look at where about in Italy they originated from, some food pairing and history to each shape. I love how learning about food so often involves a little history and geography too.

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I am a big fan of pasta. My mum never used it but when she was away for the weekend I would cook pasta for my Dad and he loved it.

When I first started dining out as a young adult, a lovely local Italian restaurant would always be my choice.

Weirdly although I love seafood and pasta, I don’t like them put together. Apart from that every pasta dish is welcome. In fact, I may well check out Jamie’s Italian for myself.

A partnership between Jamie Oliver and his Italian mentor, chef Gennaro Contaldo, Jamie’s Italian offers tasty and affordable meals. I like the idea that the food choices are similar the ones you’d find people eating all over Italy. The family-friendly restaurants see pasta being made onsite daily and also offer an award winning children’s menu. Jamie’s Italian are also committed to only using the best possible ingredients and all produce is high welfare and sustainable.Since opening its first restaurant in Oxford in May 2008, Jamie’s Italian has become one of the biggest success stories in high street eating, as perfect for business lunches as it is for couples, young and old, as well as families.

What are your top tips on pairing food and wine?

When I was a child, wine was not a feature in my life with my parents drinking beer or spirits.

I first learned about wine on a holiday with my brother to France as a young adult. He is a lot older and had lived in various countries developing a good knowledge of fine wines. I found the topic fascinating but over the years, a lot of that knowledge is long forgotten.

So if you ask for my top tips on pairing food and wine, I would probably say white goes best with fish, red goes best with meat and always invest in a good dessert wine for puddings. I would advise a rose rwine for Valentine’s Day for its pink colour and that would be about it.

So I was very impressed by some advice from Roberson Wines on pairing food and wine. Anything that makes me appear more clever than I actually am is always a big hit with me!

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I have never considered how to match wine with vegetable dishes. As I love Sauvignon Blanc and am on a healthy eating plan, I like this match very much! Vegetables tend to be low calorie so a sneaky glass of wine is allowed, right?

I am eating more fish and trying new types so it was good to hear about new to me wine varieties that suit fish dishes.

I was interested to read that you can pair whites and roses with meat on occasion.

Again, I am eating more game as it is lower in fat that other meats and means my husband does not miss out as he does not like fish at all. Love the idea of pairing tasty game with a rich red. I don’t drink red wine much but I savour a good red when I do.

I want to experiment more with Asian cookery and was intrigued to learn that there are wines that go better with spicier food.

On the days where all that makes life better is chocolate, I will now know what wines to choose for different varieties too.

What are you top tips for pairing food with wine?

Is it time to make a fresh start on the healthy living journey?

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It is Blue Monday and apparently many of us are blue because we have not quite managed to live up to our expectations of a fresh start for 2016. Are your resolutions a bit wobbly or broken altogether.

It is never too late to make a fresh start.

I have struggled to be healthy in the last week with a cold and that time of the month which always makes me crave sugar and comfort food.

I almost thought about not posting at all as I am hardly a good example this week. However, I am re-branding that because if I can make a fresh start so can you!

I am getting back to listening to my Slimpod and will be stocking up on loads of healthy food options in my big weekly shop on Wednesday.

I have walked more – there is always a positive if we look hard enough.

How do you want to make a fresh start this week?

You could start with an amazing breakfast!
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The Rules

Blog about healthy living in a way that you see fit. It might be some exercise you did, a healthy food choice, a lifestyle change or a recipe. It is important to link back to this post so that we can all inspire one another as we move forwards positively.

Very simply, please comment on at least two other posts and more if you’d like to and grab the badge for your own post, linking one post per week. Tweet me (@kateonthinice) once you’ve linked and please use the #BloggingToJogging tag so that I can find your posts easily to RT them and you can also use the Twitter hashtag on Instagram if you have any relevant photos.

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