Wagamama – White Rose Shopping Centre

We were invited along to Wagamama at the White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds, to taste some of their new menu and write about my experience in eating there with a 4 year old!!

The restaurant is open plan and so there are lots of things for the little ones to watch before the food arrives. This, coupled with the free (and fast) Wi-fi throughout the White Rose Centre and the children’s placemat and crayons mean that it shouldn’t be difficult to keep the children entertained before or after eating, which is always a problem!!

 

In terms of the children’s menu, there are no starters on the menu. However, from the adult menu, the pork ribs went down quite well, as they are tangy rather than spicy.

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Pork Ribs in Korean barbecue sauce

We also went for the wok friend greens starter and these were very juicy and refreshing. However, there are a couple of parts which have a soy sauce taste and so you might need to be careful.

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Wok Fried Greens (broccoli and bok choi)

However, the children don’t really need a starter as their main course is HUGE!!! We shared a chicken noodles meal and a cod balls meal between us and we struggled to finish them!

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soba noodles with grilled chicken with carrots, sweetcorn, cucumber and amai sauce

There were no overpowering flavours, which is ideal for a young palette. However, the fish cod meal came with a side of curry sauce, which meant that you could spice it up if you wanted. Also, you could experiment, which is the perfect thing about going to somewhere a bit more adventurous for the little ones.

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Cod cubes in crispy panko breadcrumbs with sticky white rice, sweetcorn, carrots and cucumber

Both meals came with large portions of vegetables and they were fresh, crisp and juicy. However, sweetcorn is very difficult to eat with chopsticks!! The rice was surprisingly a bit easier to eat.

However, the little ones have an advantage as Wagamama’s provide child-friendly chopsticks which can be customised into characters. There are additional points if you find a more creative name than my lame attempts of “Snappy” and “Choppy”!! There is traditional cutlery available as well, both for adults and children!

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Practising with traditional chopsticks!

Somehow we found room for dessert, and I couldn’t get near the children’s ice cream, so it must have been very good! The chocolate layer cake was wonderful – I just wish I had a little bit more room for it!

In terms of other facilities, there are high chairs available and the toilets are individual cubicles. The toilets are decently sized so parent and child can go in together comfortably (major plus for single parents!). We went at 5pm on a Friday and about half of the groups had a child aged under 8. As such, it is somewhere where you can happily take your child and they will have a freshly cooked, healthy meal.

I have to admit that my eyes were opened at how a restaurant famed for its spices could adapt for the younger taste buds. Wagamama did it very well and I’m sure that we would visit again. This is mainly because of the excellent way the staff treat the little ones.


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Fairfax House, York

We were invited to visit the Georgian Fairfax House nestled in York City Centre, and most importantly, we had a wonderful time exploring a hidden gem in the city.

Essentially Fairfax House is a Georgian House that time forgot. It has been lovingly maintained and preserved by the staff and group of volunteers that help run the house.

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Inside, your self-guided tour takes you through the various rooms of the house to see how the Georgians of a certain “class” lived at that time. There are helpful information notes throughout the house to help you learn more about the house and the time.

However, the star of the show was the children’s guidebook which followed the path of the house mouse, Gregory. The trail throughout the house helps point out particular things of interest to children and ask them questions/activities. This comes as part of the child’s admission and importantly, does help children be enthused about the venue. (Adults without children would also find it useful!)

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Gregory the mouse (on the right!)

The attraction is essentially a piece of history, therefore there is very little that the children can touch, therefore, it might not be suitable for children of a certain age. Also, as the house is from the Georgian times, pushchairs have to be left at Reception.

Besides Gregory, the house mouse, the other star of the show were the volunteers/staff who were based in each room. They were really enthusiastic about the house, therefore were willing to spend a lot of time talking to everyone (both young and old) about the house and the particular nuances of the house. This will also help the littler ones  maintain interest and learn as they go round.

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There are loads of Christmas events going on in the house, importantly including mince pies and story telling, which can be found here: http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk/whats-on/

All in all, we spent about an hour at Fairfax House. As it is situated in the city centre, it means you could make a day of it and couple it up with a visit to Jorvik. Jorvik is about 100 yards away, or a trip to the Barbican Theatre is 5 minutes walk away.

As at December 2017, the ticket prices are:

Adult: £7.50

Concession: £6.00 (applies to over 60s and students)

Children: £3.00 (over 6 and under 16) and include the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest.

Family ticket: £17.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children)

Importantly, you can visit as many times as you like in a 12 month period – bargain!!! (Taken from http://www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk)

Importantly, photos are not allowed in Fairfax House, therefore, they have kindly allowed me permission to use some of theirs for this post.


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Scrooge’s Christmas Carol – Rainbow Factory

“Scrooge’s Christmas Carol” is the Rainbow Factory’s third Christmas Show. We have been privileged enough to see all three and the performances have been outstanding each and every year.

Without giving too much away of the story (after all, adults are meant to enjoy it as well as the kids!) why should you choose to see this show over any of the others in the area?

The performance is accessible to all.

The children sit on cushions on the floor and can move and wiggle as much as they like. No need for binoculars or climb a mountain of stairs to get to your seat. You are so close you can touch the actors and have photos taken afterwards.

It is made for children.

The show is “only” 40 minutes long which means younger children can enjoy it wouldn’t being bribed to stay still/quiet and there is childish humour involved.

It is also for adults.

This performance has more quick witted puns than the previous shows and so you will enjoy it as a show in it’s own right.

It is cheap!

Tickets are only £6 each. With money tight at Christmas, it is so much better value than some of the bigger theatres in the region who seem to charge a small fortune for the Christmas pantomime. (parking is free as well!)

The staff and performers are wonderful, genuine people.

Rainbow Factory is almost our second home and without them, Heidi would not have developed as she has done. The Rainbow Factory is a small, local business and they put so much in so it is only right to support them in whatever way possible.

So what about the actual show – Scrooge’s Christmas Carol? Well, as you would expect, it is fast paced, but probably unlike any version of the story you have seen enacted before, with the use of puppets, songs and various other effects (not wanting to spoil the surprise at the end!)

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There is a slightly scary part 10 minutes in with a ghost. However, this quickly forgotten about but something just to bear in mind.

However, the most upsetting part was with about 10 minutes to go, Heidi asked if it was nearly the end, because she didn’t want it to end at all!! Only bribery stopped a minor meltdown!!

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This blog post could best to summarised by Scrooge himself when he said “Christmas is about grabbing as much joy as you possibly can” – and he is correct. As such, one of the best ways of doing that this Christmas is to go and see Scrooge’s Christmas Carol!!

And because you’ve made it so far, here is a sneak peek of the show…

DISCLOSURE: We received 2 tickets for this show, although there was no influence on this post.


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