Reviews and Sponsored


Hosting a Birthday Party at Hollywood Bowl

Kat : April 20, 2016 12:00 pm : Commercial Content, Review


Hollywood Bowl Party Review at Housewife Confidential

This year for Monty’s birthday we did something a little different. With his and Betsy’s birthdays two days apart organising parties can be super-stressful. We often hold two parties in one day which is fun and a huge amount of work.

Luckily for me Hollywood Bowl got in touch right before birthday week and asked us if we’d like to try out a bowling party. Monty’s excitement when I asked him went through the roof in seconds, a pretty safe indicator of things to come.


Hollywood Bowl Party Review at Housewife Confidential

Planning the party was simple, invitations sent out and besides a cake to bake absolutely zero input from me. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about how much work I normally put into parties and this was a breath of fresh air.

We booked the party for ten children and with inevitable dropouts I gave the venue a call to adjust. Interestingly they told me there was no problem confirming final numbers on the day and paying only for those children.

We turned up to the VIP booth and were greeted by our party host. And this is where everything takes a turn for the awesome. You have a dedicated party host who runs the party for you. They manage the games, scoring, technique, keep an eye on children who run off and make sure the party stays on track. Oh my goodness, this is genius! How many parties have you run pretty much single handed? Besides the obvious benefits of food and venue being taken care of, the party planner has it sold for me. I could sit back, cheer on the children and let someone else be in charge. Bliss!

With an age range of 5 – 8 present there was a vast difference in their skills but nonetheless everyone had a good game. With bumpers that pop up depending who’s bowling and a ramp for those who need it no one had a run of gutter balls. There were stickers for strikes, prizes for the high scorers and the children were encouraged to celebrate each other’s wins rather than compete at all costs.

Hollywood Bowl Party Review at Housewife Confidential

Hollywood Bowl Party Review at Housewife Confidential

Food had been ordered at the beginning of the party and we retired to the VIP area (yes, I felt swanky) for the mini bowler’s meal. Monty’s food came topped with a hand written flag from the kitchen staff. It’s a small touch but it meant a lot to him; he brought it home with his cards and party photo.

From my point of view the food isn’t the strongest point of the party as it’s a pretty standard selection of kids menu (menus here) but as the children assure me that they loved it I’m not complaining.

At seven years old Monty was in his element. Bowling was just the right mix of active and contained for his friends who were all as excited as he was. The two hour party is a good length for the mix of bowling and socialising; changing pace at the point where they are ready for it.

Would we do it again? Without a doubt yes. Having hosted more than twenty parties for my children I was more than happy to hand over and let someone else run the show. Relax and enjoy I say!

Hollywood Bowl Party Review at Housewife Confidential

What you need to know:

Parties at Hollywood Bowl start at £7.99. We experienced the Ultimate Party Package which comes with some extra benefits including a dedicated party host. Prices for this start at £9.99 and full details can be found at Hollywood Bowl. Our experience was provided free of charge for the purposes of this review.

Leave a response »

Steaming Through the Ironing

Kat : October 17, 2014 4:00 pm : Commercial Content, Review


Steaming Through the Ironing with Housewife Confidential

You know my advice when it comes to ironing is don’t buy clothes which crease. Of course there are going to be times when you simply can’t avoid it so finding an iron which make the experience as easy as possible is the way to go.

You know I love to sew and quilt and I can’t escape busting out the iron to press (so much better when you call it pressing) my fabrics after pre-washing. I have been known to complain of pulling a muscle during a big pressing session so when Phillips asked me if I’d like to try out their new SpeedCare Steam Generator Iron I figured it couldn’t hurt.

Steam generator irons have a tank which is connected to the iron by a pipe which delivers the steam without having to top up the iron frequently. The iron locks onto the base station for easy storage and to keep it safe when you’re not using it.

Steaming Through the Ironing with Housewife Confidential

When it comes to the ironing I had huge amounts of steam and the iron got nice and hot. The temperature adjusted quickly. I tried it our on one of my terminally creased teatowels and it fared better than my regular iron.

The steam did come with water droplets and even though it hadn’t had time to build up limescale I found a white powder on my fabric. It may be that the iron needs to flush through a bit before using for the first time.

As a tool I think this iron is sound – it’s going to enable you to get through the ironing faster and escape to spend the afternoon playing with your family rather than refilling and heating a steam tank.

Improv Quilted Geese over Sunset Pillow by Housewife Confidential

As for me, I pressed in super-fast time and got to work on this improv sunset pillow for my Mother-in-law’s birthday.

What you need to know:

  • The iron was sent to me by Phillips for review and you can buy it here.
  • The fabric used for my pillow and the Best Press spray pictured are both from Simply Solids – my favourite place to buy solid colour fabrics.
Leave a response »

Curtain Solution for a Roof Window

Kat : June 18, 2014 12:00 pm : Advertorial Content, Commercial Content

This post is brought to you by VELUX. Thank you to the companies who support Housewife Confidential. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page

We have a roof window in our bedroom. The original window was filled in years ago when previous owners added a third bedroom and at the same time they installed a large VELUX roof window.

Initially I wasn’t sure if I would take to it but with acres of sky to gaze at and no need to worry about neighbours seeing in I’m a fan.

Roof Window Curtains

Our window is fitted with a blackout blind which is my BFF. As it’s flush in the frame pulling down the blind is like dropping instant night powder and you can guarantee a long and natural sleep with no interruptions from the sun.

I decided to install curtains for the window to allow me to shield the room from sun without completely blacking it out.

The previous owners had used curtain poles and full length curtains which they draped over the bottom pole. I decided to create a custom curtain which would be fixed to two poles and fit the window without falling across the wall.

Making curtains like these for a roof window is pretty simple and the key is to measure, measure, measure and measure again to make sure you have got it right.

To sew these curtains I followed the normal method for measuring and sewing a curtain but added a second length of curtain tape to the bottom edge. I left them unlined as the main aim is to allow light through.

When it came to hanging them, we hung the top pole, fitted the curtains to both pols and then took our marks for drilling the second pole by holding the whole curtain/pole combo to the bottom edge. This gave us the perfect tension across the curtain.

I like the effect of having curtains on my roof window although having seen the range of blinds from VELUX I am tempted to add a combination blackout blind and shade when our blind is ready to be replaced.

Leave a response »

Visiting York

Kat : June 18, 2014 10:26 am : Advertorial Content, Commercial Content, Travel

This post is brought to you by Hotel Direct. Thank you to the sponsors who support Housewife Confidential. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page.

York - image by bethmoon527 on flickr.

York – image by bethmoon527 on flickr.

Despite having family in Yorkshire and in York itself I have never been into the town itself. Completely shocking, I know.

I had planned to set this straight with a visit when I was in town for a wedding but I must have eaten the wrong thing as I was catastrophically sick as we drove into the city. That said, I do have plans for a day out in York and every intention of making time for them on our next Yorkshire trip.

National Railway Museum - image by doctorjbeam on flickr.

National Railway Museum – image by doctorjbeam on flickr.

York is rather spoiled for museums and the big three we would like to visit are:

The Quilt Museum & Gallery

This has been on my list for years and after seeing the V&A quilting exhibition I know I’ll be in for a treat. We did stop by here when we were driving through once only to find that it is closed on Sundays.

The National Railway Museum

I have heard so many great things about the National Railway Museum as a family day out. It houses an enviable collection of game changing engines including Mallard, Shinkansenand the Evening Star.

If you have a child who is in love with trains then this has to be the number one place to come. I have been to their sister site, Shildon, in County Durham which is another great spot to unleash your inner train spotter. What? We all have one, surely?

Jorvik Viking Centre

I think when we teach history to children it can often come across as if we were isolated from the rest of the world save for the odd invasion. Places like Jorvik bring to life not only our relationships with other nations but also the way they shaped our culture.

York’s medieval street plan and historic architecture are a great draw and create a feeling of being in a different time.

York Minster

There is no denying that the religious buildings dominate our old cities with their stature and architecture. I can’t resist the pull of such human achievement even if I am an atheist. You can climb the Cathedral tower to get a bird’s eye view of York and appreciate the building from above.

York Minster - image by michael_d_beckwith on flickr

York Minster – image by michael_d_beckwith on flickr

Walk the Walls

If you want to see York without shelling out for attractions a great place to start is by walking the walls. It will take you a couple of hours and give you the best view of the longest medieval walls in England, gates, towers and all.

The Web Adventure Park

As York is frequently part of a long and tedious drive for us I have The Web Adventure Park bookmarked as a place to run off the steam before being cooped up in the car. They have a range of activities from high wires to a climbing park for children. Definitely the place to come for those crazy legs to get a work out.

I was tipped off by Amanda about York’s chocolate credentials. They have an entire attraction devoted to telling the story of chocolate in York. Not only that but they also have a chocolate festival and market. Who’s up for an April meet in York?

So those are my seven wish list items for visiting York, where would you recommend?

1 Comment »

Curry with the Girls

Kat : September 5, 2013 9:00 pm : Commercial Content, Food

This article is a review of services from JUST EAT. They funded an obscene amout of delicious curry in return for my opinion. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

Rimjhim Winchester-1

This year I have been making the effort to reconnect with my social life. Every time I talk about this I get tweets from other people who made dates with their friends – what a fabulous ripple effect!

One of my favourite rituals is a regular curry night with my antenatal buddies. Rather than going out on the town we take it in turns to host a takeaway night.

Much as I love going out, staying in with good friends is just that bit more comfortable. You can wear what you like, chat as loudly as you please and there is no waiting for someone to bring out the drinks (pet peeve of going out). Bingo – works for me!

Recently JUST EAT asked if they could provide the food for one of our curry nights if I would tell you all about it. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

One of the issues with getting together for a takeaway is that if you wait until everyone has arrived to order it is a loooong wait for the curry. We normally email out the menu and choose in advance although you would not believe how hard finding the menu can be on some websites.

Using JUST EAT was a piece of cake. It has full menus for several Indian takeaways in our area (we ordered from Rimjhim in Winchester) and you simply check the box beside each item to order. Yup, it’s that simple. No reading back through lists confirming that it’s all there, you can double check, confirm and send. Best of all you can pick your delivery time. I did confuse the restaurant by placing our order at 4pm so they called to check I really did want to wait four hours for my delivery.

In terms of food we are spoiled in Winchester and I have enjoyed meals from most Indian restaurants featured on JUST EAT over the years.

I ordered chicken dhansak with lemon rice which is a favourite of mine. The dish is a delicious mix of sweet and sour flavours with a thick lentil sauce. Depending on which chef is cooking it varies in heat from medium to hot. I like the variation, it gives me the impression that the chefs aren’t just following a chain-style recipe card. Mr Kat and I always split a curry and rice as the portions are large (it’s his reward for making himself scarce for the evening).

Would I use it again? Almost certainly. I like to be organised when it comes to group catering and so this method really appeals to my type-A tendancies.

Thanks JUST EAT for a great night in!


Leave a response »

Easy Gormet Barbecue

Kat : August 31, 2013 12:00 pm : Commercial Content, Food


This is a review post based on my experiences ordering from Bespoke Offers. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

My friends have long since stopped being surprised at the things I do in the name of my blog. A couple of weeks ago I posted a shout out for barbecue buddies after receiving a box stuffed with a grilling feast.

We were sent a Hello Fresh BBQ box but rather than pay the £65 a box for 8 – 10 people ours cost just £39. The 40% discount is down to it being snapped up on Bespoke Offers where you can find a wide range of offers including  food, beauty, travel and kids.

The voucher to order system was pretty straight forward and only added a minute or two to the process which is pretty good for a 40% saving.

Checking out their offers today I spy a three course meal deal with Pizza Express as well as an SEO seminar, massages, paint-balling and daffodil bulbs.

I was a little dubious about the premise of making recipes from the Hello Fresh box – after all, couldn’t I just go out and gather all of this myself? Except I rarely do. Truth is, pre-children I would have been researching, prepping and cooking for days before a summer barbecue. Not so much now.

It was really fun to lay out the recipe cards and get to work. The great thing about the box was that every ingredient, no matter how small, is right there in front of you so you can get on with the prep.

The food was tasty and the recipes were easy to follow (the children made the veggie kebabs). I loved that their meat came from a London butcher and that they were supporting artisan producers. We had nine of us and yet there was way more food than we needed.

Would I order from either of them again? Absolutely. The deal was a good one and the food was great.

Leave a response »

Beautiful Photobooks from Cewe

Kat : December 4, 2012 12:00 pm : Commercial Content

This is a review of my experiences creating and ordering a photobook with Cewe. Most of the cost was covered. For more information about this kind of post please read my disclosure for readers page. Kat xoxo

I am terrible at getting my pictures printed – seriously bad. Making photobooks is on my list of things I should do but honestly it seems like this massive task and the longer I leave it the more pictures there are. Luckily for me the offer of trying our Cewe’s photobook service coincided with a family outing.

Cewe’s photobook design software downloads to your computer and you create your books from the desktop.

You can let the software autofill your book or you can create the layout page by page yourself. I had a particular vision in mind so I opted to do it the long way which was pretty painless. You can make it easier for yourself by having all of the pictures in one folder.

I really loved that I could use the custom fonts I have on my computer – this fact alone makes a Cewe book about a gazillion times better than any other similar service I have tried.

The things I loved:

  • Using my own fonts
  • Picture-wrap cover
  • Flexible layouts
  • Book template saved on your hard drive
  • Overall quality and service

The things which irked me:

  • Accidentally applying a layout to the whole book and having to go back through and re-do my work
  • Not knowing which picture size to use – most of mine got cropped with no shrink-to-fit option that I could find

The real test is would I order from them again: the answer is yes. I was really happy with the book and more importantly so was the recipient who completely loved it.

Leave a response »