McDonald’s Restaurant Evolution

McDonaldsboxes2When I was pregnant with my twins I had one major craving and that was for Big Macs! I couldn’t get enough then and I still love them now, so I was very excited to be invited along to the Clifton branch of McDonald’s last week. I learnt all about McDonald’s restaurant evolution and even got to make my very own Big Mac!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by McDonald’s but the opinions below are entirely my own and unbiased.

But I know all about McDonald’s

This seems to be a common misconception amongst generations that have grown up with a McDonald’s store nearby. Sure the Big Mac that you order now is virtually identical to the original 1967 burger but McDonald’s is moving with the times and there’s some exciting new features planned for your local store soon!Drinks

It’s all about convenience

Great fast food should be quick to obtain, ridiculously tasty and a stress-free experience. Of course that can mean different things to different people and McDonald’s recognises that individual needs demand personalised options. In addition to familiar staples such as the Drive thru and Order Counter you can now place your order at a Quick Touchscreen Kiosk like the one below. The touchscreen is really easy to use and can even be adapted into several languages or used in an accessibility mode (perfect for wheelchair users or shorter guests).


Freshness means customisation!

In days gone by people with a particular food hate (like salt on fries) would have been forgiven for thinking McDonald’s wasn’t the restaurant for them. All the food was cooked in advance which meant the contents was set in stone. Well no more, all McDonald’s food is now cooked to order, which aside from being infinitely fresher also means that it’s much more customisable. Even the new touchscreen kiosk offers you the option to remove any food features that you don’t like (such as salt on fries, or Bacon on a Big Tasty).


But… trying to carry all that food while watching the kids is a nightmare!

I’ve been there too, trying to balance 3 happy meals, 2 adult meals plus 5 drinks just can’t be done. However you can now choose table service and have your food brought to you. Just pick an area and select it when you order and once assembled a member of staff will bring it straight over.


The kids run riot if I try to take them out!

Not to worry, McDonald’s is even bringing touchscreen tablets to entertain the kids while you finish your meal. Angry Birds is the current Happy Meal theme and all the games were available to play plus much more. Adults can of course use the tablets too.



Time to go behind the scenes

I was invited to step behind the counter to visit the kitchens and other storage areas. The sheer scale of organisation was dizzying, plus I’ve never seen so much bread before in my life! Out back there’s some major recycling taking place, the most impressive of which is that McDonald’s takes all their used oil and converts it into Bio Diesel to power their trucks!!


We went back into the kitchens where a hive of activity was taking place, everyone has a distinct role and seemed to execute it with ease. After a quick demonstration I was assured that I could make my very own Big Mac. However I felt slightly intimidated by the speed with which the staff work (plus Big Macs are rather iconic!) but I gave it a whirl and I was unreasonably proud of the end result (as my Twitter & Instagram followers are probably already aware) 🙂


Although I can’t promise that both buns have exactly 3.5g of onions (bet you never knew it was so precise!)


Big Mac complete we took a walk over to the new beverage station and marvelled over the coffee machines (which freshly grind the beans) and watched a demonstration of the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade machine (it’s mesmerising to watch and even self-cleans!)

What I’ll take away from the event

As a huge global company it’s tempting to think that McDonald’s doesn’t listen or notice their customers needs but from my observation that couldn’t be further from the truth. Every member of staff has to work in their stores and interact with the general public (yep even the suited corporate employees have served you meals) so they truly understand how a restaurant works. They care about their employees and are aiming to be a truly flexible employer (great for students, parents or anyone with time restrictive responsibilities). They’re not stuck in the past or hiding behind a name, they’re attempting to take their stores into the future and make your personal visit an enjoyable experience and so far I’d say they’re hitting that goal.


For More Information

Pop over to McDonald’s website for further info.



Play At Brewers Fayre – Castlewood (Derbyshire) Review

Play at Brewers FayreLast weekend my family and friends were invited along to the Castlewood Brewers Fayre located in Derbyshire to test out their brand new Beano themed play area for ‘Play at Brewers Fayre’. As every parent will know soft play centres can often end up being a bit of a love/hate day-out. Of course your kids love them, but if the centre is unclean or unsupervised they can be a real let down. Did we love the new area at Brewers Fayre? Read on to find out!

IMG_1453First impressions

The play area is bright, clean and surprisingly roomy (I could stand up straight inside and I’m reasonably tall). My friend also pointed out that the flooring was both clean and sensible so you didn’t mind mooching around in just your socks. The staff were very attentive keeping things spick and span, I saw them out with a cordless vacuum on a couple of occasions.

faceyBut is it fun?

Thanks to a great face-painter, my tiger, menace and ninja were straight in to test out the play equipment. There was a slide, tunnels, swings, rolls, cars and more, so the kids were thoroughly entertained. In fact they thought the equipment was so good that they’ve asked me every day since if we can go back! They even managed to meet Denis and Gnasher. I believe the cost to use this equipment is £3 per 90mins which seems like a fairly good deal, especially as parents can sit (or even eat) on the side lines while their little angels are having fun.IMG_1459

How about food?

The food on offer at Brewers Fayre is fairly typical for a chain restaurant. Along with the new play area there is now a Beano themed kids menu which got a thumbs up from my three. They tested out:

The Cod-Apult

Load up with crispy cod bites, chips, peas and ketchup.

The Big, Bad Dog

Hotdog, chips, ketchup and mini corn on the cob. Get your gnashers around that!

The Menace Burger

Beef burger with ketchup, coleslaw and chips.

Cookie Double Dare

A cool layer of ice cream sandwiched between two cookies.

Tricky Minnie Doughnuts

Lip-smacking mini doughnuts.


Plus unlimited soft drinks (this caused a lot of excitement).

The only complaint I heard was that the Cookie Double Dare dessert had rather small cookies.

IMG_1437So would we recommend a visit?

For families with kids it’s often hard to find a restaurant that can cater to the needs of everyone without testing the patience of the adults or boring the kids. Play at Brewers Fayre does a fine job of keeping everyone happy and well fed. We would definitely go back, in fact the kids have asked if they can have their birthday party there, which says it all I think.

For more Information

Visit Brewers Fayre online to find your nearest restaurant.

How to have lunch in London!

I spent the day in London yesterday for a very yummy event (more about this coming up soon). But once it finished I met up with my Sister In Law and we decided to find somewhere for lunch.

It’s easy to get mesmerised when you’re in a large city such as London, there’s so many options and unless you’ve studied lots of reviews you really have no way to know if you’ve made a good selection until it’s too late. Having made a truly delicious and economical choice I thought I’d share it with you all.

We found our way to Souk Medina in Covent Garden. A truly unique restaurant serving North African cuisine. We opted for the Set Menu at £16.95 each. This included:


Vine Leaves


Pitta Bread

Merguez with Batata Harra (Lamb sausages with sauteed potato cubes & Moroccan Spices)


Tagine of Lamb with Prunes & Roasted Almonds

Tagine of Chicken with Saffron & Herbs

Tagine of Spinach, Feta Cheese & Roast Onion

Tagine of Chickpeas, Cumin & Harissa Sauce

Cous Cous with Root Vegetables


Selection of Baklava

Fresh Mint Tea

There was so much food there was no way we could eat it all, although we made a valiant attempt. But it’s excellent value for money in terms of portion size. Everything was absolutely mouthwatering, the meat tender, the vegetables fresh and the sauces complimentary.

When dessert arrived we thought we’d never eat it, but then it’s very hard to resist good Baklava if you have a sweet tooth like me.

Finishing with a cup of Fresh Mint Tea is perfect and it helps to settle a perhaps overly full stomach (of course you might show more restraint than I did with how much you eat).

We were also amazed at how fast everything arrived. It was mere minutes before we were tucking in, which by the time we arrived was a very welcome surprise.

Finally a comment has to go on the decoration and atmosphere, you might technically be in Central London, but as soon as you enter the door and take in the lighting, seating, tiles etc you are transported to a wonderful sumptuous land far away.


Note. The pictures included here are all the property of Souk Restaurant.