Friday, 26 August 2016

Family Dining At Ask Italian

We love to eat out as a family, but for us, it's a little more difficult, we have a small list of places that we can go to that suit the children's needs. I had seen Ask Italian in Piccadilly gardens and it looked like a really good option for us. As 3 of our children have autism, we need a really open and spacious restaurant, quick service and a variety of menu options that suit all 4 of our children's need. We also tend to visit at lunchtimes when we know it will be quieter than an evening service.
We headed in for our 12.30 booking and I was relieved to see that it was relatively quiet, ideal for the children. There was a table for the 6 of us set up towards the back of the restaurant in a lovely quiet corner and we were seated immediately by the lovely Kelly.
Children's Menu & Colouring Card
All Ask Italian restaurant teams are proud to offer our ‘Amici kids’ experience, which is everything they do to involve children within the restaurant. From serving their food first to providing smaller cutlery and highchairs, these differences keep your little ones happy – which means you can relax and enjoy themselves. The children were each resented with their own menu, the reverse has a fab colouring activity on and there is a pot of crayons on your table. They even get their own Luca & Lucia finger puppets to colour in which if you share your design on their Facebook page you can win a fab prize. The children's menu is a great prize at just £6.95 and includes a starter, main, dessert and a yummy babyccino to round off their meal. The options are great and there was something for each of my fussy children that they liked.
Children's Starter
The children's starter is 4 yummy garlic bread soldiers, carrot & cucumber sticks and a nice dip to accompany them. The kid's starters were brought straight out when we ordered and it was a great distraction while we waited for the main meals to be freshly made. We opted for the adult starter's to be brought out with the main meals.
Cody's Luca & Lucia Finger Puppets
Eating out with 3 autistic children can be quite stressful and while we waited for our food Mr L got a bit anxious and stressed. Miss S was very excited and was verbally stimming a lot that day and this particularly bothers Mr L, he is very noise sensitive, so he requested to move to another table. Kelly sorted it for us straight away and it was no trouble for him to sit at another table with his Dad and brother while I stayed with the little ones. He was much happier and we were all able to enjoy a meal without stressing each other out.
We all really liked the relaxed atmosphere in Ask Italian, there is no loud music playing, the waiting staff have the perfect balance of asking if you require anything else without being too intrusive and nothing is too much trouble.
Children's Menu Penne
Children's Menu Cheese Pizza
 I was really impressed with the children's main dishes, they were a great size my children's appetite. Mr C struggled to finish his Penne dish, but he did dive into the chips and dough balls we got as adult sides!!

The choice for us adults was immense! There is something for every taste on the menu from chicken, pasta, pizzas and salads. It took us a while to all decide what we wanted and I went back and forth a few times, we had out starters/sides served with our main meals. This wasn't a problem at all and the restaurant were happy to hold them back and cook them a the same time as our mains.
Baked Dough Balls £4.95
Chips & Garlic Mayo £3.50
The dough balls were amazing, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. You have the option of having Fontal cheese & chilli, pepperoni or a mixture of both. We decided on the mix, you dint know the flavour until you bit in! The chips were equally as good and came with a lovely garlic mayo dip on the side, Mr D loved the mayo and asked for more, which they were happy to provide.
Linguine Carbonara £9.75
Chicken Caesar Salad £10.25
Stromboli Pizza £9.95
Mr RTR opted for the linguine carbonara, its one of his favourite dishes and he said he wasn't disappointed with this. It was so creamy and the pancetta was really cripsy, its a brand new item on the Ask Italian menu and we highly recommend it. You can opt for a half sized portion with a side salad for £1.50 less than the menu price if you have a smaller appetite. I went for the caeser salad, which is another new item on the menu and it was delicious. I was surprised at how big the bowl was, it was an impressive portion for the price, I really enjoyed it the chicken was cooked to perfection and it had just the right amount of caesar sauce on. Mr L who is 12 ate from the adult's menu with us and he opted for the Stromboli pizza, this would be ideal for sharing between 2 people as it had 8 slices. It had a nice crispy Italian base and Mr L said it was the best pizza he ever had and he's fussy!
Children's Menu Chocolate Pizza
Children's Menu Tip & Top Ice Cream
Children's Menu Ice Lolly
There are 4 options on the children's dessert menu and we tried 3 of them. Mr D opted for the chocolate pizza, a sweet dough topped with hazelnut chocolate spread and strawberries, it comes with a pot of mini marshmallows & sprinkles to decorate. Mr C opted for the tip & top ice cream, 2 scoops of icecream in a flavour of their choice, a meringue, pot of strawberries and a pot of marshmallows. Miss S opted for ice lolly which is available in strawberry or tropical. The 4th option is Frutti which is strawberries, raspberries and grapes.
The kid's desserts went down a storm, I think you can tell from their faces that they loved them! All their plates were empty. As part of the kid's menu they also get a babyccino, which is the perfect way to round off their lovely meal.
Children's Menu Babyccino
Now the kids were all sorted we had the task of deciding which of the amazing desserts we would like to round our meal off with. It was a really tough choice for Mr L and Mr RTR, but there was only 1 choice for me when I saw the menu.
Grande Gelato £4.95
Honeycomb Cheesecake £5.95
Ice Cream Profiteroles £5.95
I just had to have the Grande Gelato, meringue, strawberries and ice cream are 3 of my favourite things, the dish is topped off with a dash of cream and was heaven in a bowl. Mr RTR went for the new recipe honeycomb cheesecake, with crunchy honeycomb, white chocolate and a scoop of vanilla gelato it looks fab. Mr RTR said it was really good and he isn't a big dessert fan. Mr L opted for the ice cream profiteroles, filled with creamy Italian ice cream and topped with hot chocolate sauce, a delicous mix of hot and cold, Mr L loved it.

We can't fault Ask Italian, the service was fab, the food was nothing short of amaing and the staff were incredible. Especially Kelly who looked after us for our entire visit, nothing was too much trouble, she chatted with the children, got us everything we needed, arranged an additional table for Mr L and was polite and courteous throughout. Infact even the satff who weren't serving us were polite and friendly and made a point of saying hello and goodbye. Our meal for 6 people which included 3 courses and 2 drinks each came in at less than £100, which works out at roughly £15 per person. I think it was well worth it and we will definitely be visiting again in the near future.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy
*We visited Ask Italian for the purpose or review, our meal was complimentary. This does not affect our opinion.

The A to Z of Autism - N is For

When Mr L was diagnosed back in 2007 I didn't have a clue what Autism was or even what it meant, 8 years on and 2 more diagnoses its still a puzzle. I have been contemplating doing a blog series with all the words associated with Autism to help other parents and to maybe be a bit of a reference point. So say hello to the A to Z of Autism. Each week will be a different letter, last time was M is for and I got some fab inclusions from other autism parents. This time is N is For.....

Nervous
Suggested by Faith Mummy - I can definitely relate to this my middle boy is terribly nervous. Especially when it comes to trying or ding something new!

Nocturnal

Suggested by Faith Mummy - I think most SN parents can relate here! The nigts with a non sleeping child is hard!

No-One

Suggested by Autism Mumma - At times, it feels like no-one else understands your hopes and fears unless they have a special needs child.

Negativity

Suggested by Autism Mumma - Something you have to rise above and focus on the "can do's" and not the "can't"s

Neurodiversity

Suggested by Rainbows are too beautiful - Check out her post Art Neuro

Name
Suggested by Faith Mummy - Every child with autism has a name which is so important to remember when they are too often referred to as 'the child with autism'

Needs

Suggested by First Time Valley Mam both parents and child. I think it's really important to remember to be kind to yourself and remember your needs.

Nappies

Suggested by Brody Me and GDD - Check out her post, Why Supermarkets Need To Sell Bigger Nappies

Noise

Suggested by Being Tobys Mummy sensitivity to noise, making noises etc. Miss S really struggles with noises, she doesn't seem to mind them when she is stimming loudly though.

Non Verbal 

Suggested by Faith Mummy - This is the case for many children on the spectrum, language can take time. Miss S still isn't fully verbal, but she can certainly now make her feeling know LOL

New Experinces

Suggested by The Wrong Kind Of SnowNew experiences and the fear of them. We really struggle with this, getting our gang to try something new is a bloody nightmare, it takes weeks of planning and sometimes still fails.

Are there any other M's you can think of that could be added? If so do leave them all below in the comments. I will be back again soon with the next post, which will be O is for.......

Thanks For Reading
Mandy
xx

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Our Day at #OGgetkidsintogolf Event

On Monday myself, Mr D, Mr C and Miss J hopped on the train and headed for the Hilton Hotel in Leeds city centre. We had been invited to a fab event with Online Golf, the #OGgetkidsintogolf event launched an initiative to ‘Get Kids into Golf’ this summer. There were some great activities for us to join in with such as a 6 hole indoor golf course, chipping nets, golf ten pin bowling and some expert golf pros on hand to help the little ones out with their swing.
We were split into 3 groups so it was easy to move around each of the activity and the kids got the chance to play golf ten pin bowling, getting the golf ball into a target area, chip the ball into the score slots and play the 6 hole golf course. 

The kids first task was to get some target practice in, they got points dependent on which area the golf ball stopped in. This game was all about controlling the balls and hitting it at the right pace. They got 3 balls each to have a go and they all managed to get a decent score.
Next up was the golf bowling which they were all excited to try out, you had to hit the ball as hard and fast as you could to knock the pins down. Each of the pins had a number on, so you got a score, we managed a respectable score between the 4 of us, the kids really enjoyed this one.
All 3 of the kids loved the 6 hole golf course and they spent a lot of time playing it after the guided session. I couldn't get them off it in time to go home. The staff on hand were amazing with the children and really patient. Mr C couldn't get the hang of turning his hands backwards to hold the club, so ended up playing more like croquet!
The last activity we all tried out was the chipping balls into the score nets. We all got 3 tries each but none of us managed the technique! We scored a big fat zero on this game, but the kids loved having a go anyway. We were served a delicious lunch of open sandwiches and hot chips and left with a rather fab goodie bag for each of the kids.

Online Golf has also compiled  5 top tips from their team about why kids should get into golf:
  1. More kids can play golf! For golf you don't have to be tall, strong or fast or lean. Successful golfers come in all shapes, sizes and ages.
  2. It's low-risk! Chances of injuries in golf are very small to non-existent compared to other popular sports like football or rugby. Being no-contact, golf is a very safe, respectful sport.
  3.  It's healthy! Golf is an outdoors sport giving kids the opportunity to exercise al fresco whilst enjoying nature.
  4. It creates bonds with friends & family! Whether your kid plays golf with family members, friends or takes lessons with a pro, mentoring and playing together will create unique and close bonds that will last a lifetime.
  5. Your kid will learn important life lessons! Playing golf, kids will experience highs and lows, from the first hole-in-one or birdie to a misplaced shot in a bunker. Golf will teach your kid that though we can't always win, we always have another shot in life and skill comes with practice.
Thanks to Online Golf for the invite and the Hilton Leeds for the fab venue, we all had a blast in Leeds. The kids have definitely sparked an interest in golf and can't wait to play again.
Thanks For Reading
Mandy