“The Cooking school is £50 and includes a welcome drink and an introduction to Thai ingredients. This is the followed by a demonstration and practical hands on session learning to cook a main and a starter. All equipment and aprons are provided and there is a goody bag to take home”
Last week saw Caitlin, Mark’s eldest daughter, turn 10.
I find it so hard to buy for them once they turn a certain age and love that once they get to that age, a day out shopping is something they look forward too.
We spoke about taking her out on her own when we were on holiday, we decided on Intu MetroCentre and set the balls in motion.
After I finished work on Sunday we drove up to Newcastle and collected Caitlin to take her for a shopping spree. I was really quite excited about some of the surprises I had planned, but also I knew Caitlin wanted to look in some shops that Mark would never dream of looking in. (Perfect opportunities to get some ideas from Christmas too).
The plan of attack was to start in Thaikhun for lunch, then hit the shops for some serious retail therapy on Dad. (Not sure he was aware he was there for that purpose although if he wasn’t it soon became apparent as he trailed around the shops behind us).
We had the most amazing lunch in Thaikhun, finished off nicely with a little surprise from the Team. (For the lunch story, check out “A Thaikhun Birthday”)
Still on a high from the surprise, we went on a mission to shop. With our first visit being to CEX.
When we asked Caitlin what she would like for her birthday she had no idea, but as we were talking I picked up on a few things that we could take her for. That is how we ended up in CEX.
Minecraft got added to the basket as did a box set of DVD’s. Good job I say. You really can’t beat a bit of Minecraft. It was the only game for long enough that I would play on the Xbox with the boys.
Next up was The Village. For the life of me I could not remember where it was but somehow I managed to get us there.
Being 10, of course means that you are aloud to visit shops that are packed full with candles, bath bombs and soaps. So we paid a visit to Fizzylicious. To say she was in heaven was an understatement. After smelling lots (to the point where they all smelt the same), she settled on a lovely fruity soap slice, a small cupcake like bath bomb and an extremely glittery bath bomb (massive apologies to her Mum for the mess that will make). Happy girly with her boutique bag we wandered on….
During the week when I contacted places to let them know I would be visiting for Caitlins birthday and I had a lovely message from Yankee Doodle Candy, located also in The Village. It said that she was more than welcome to pay them a visit. Which of course we did.
We all love a good sweetie shop and this one is full to the rafters of not only American goodies but I saw a few Swedish ones in there too (much to my delight). Unlike the other sweet shops in Intu MetroCentre this one is very personal and the lady in the shop was lovely. Caitlin came away with a can of Fanta Berry and and all caramel MilkyWay (one of the only times I am gutted to be Calorie Counting).
We were headed over to the Platinum Mall calling at whatever caught our eyes on the way.
Caitlin loves reading so calling in at WHSmith seemed like a good idea to see if there were any books that she may like. It is so refreshing to see Children get excited over books, well I think it is. Libby, Regan and Penny do but I have never seen Caitlin react like that. We had a good look and ended up with a Awful Auntie by David Walliams and Diary of a Wimpy Kid DIY. (I really must read the David Walliams books, keep getting told how fabulous they are by the kids)
We promised treats and that’s what we got when we visited Fuel Juice Bar, located just outside Smiggle (our next destination).
The bar is very colourful and eye catching and everything is there for you too see. Having never been before we took our time decidingfrom the Menu. In the end we ordered a Raspberry Crush, Passion Crush and a Gym Junkie, all with double fruit.
The Raspberry Crush contains apple juice, raspberries and fat free sorbet.
The Passion Crush contains orange juice, passion fruit, mango and fat free sorbet.
Gym Junkie is packed with bananas, strawberries, low fat milk, fat free frozen yoghurt and gym fuel (Whey Protein).
They all tasted fabulous and it is something I will be trying again. (My sweet tooth strikes again)
Next up with our Fuel Juices, was Smiggle. Not somewhere I have ever been into. I have walked past but that is about it. Caitlin was in her element and so was I to be honest. Lots of funky stationary and bits and bobs. I will certainly be coming in for stocking fillers as Libby would love it. Caitlin settled on a fragrance key ring, a pencil with added rubber,set of mini rubbers and a light up watch. All very girly fab choices.
At this point the time was ticking on and we set about making our way to the exit, but not before visiting Claires (no girly shopping trip is complete without a visit to Claires, or so the girls would have me believe). Caitlin had mentioned that she would like some hair things and Claires didn’t disappoint, three clip in bows later and we were done…….
Well that is until we realised that we had not visited Primark. Never mind girlie shopping trips, no visit to Intu Metrocentre is complete without a visit to Primark. We had a mooch around and to finish off the trip Caitlin spied a nightie and slippers she liked. Done deal….
Feeling very full and still drinking our crushes from Fuel we headed for home.
Caitlin had a fabulous day and so did we. Its not very often we get to spend one on one time with any of the kids but it was a joy. As a result they have all asked for the same opportunity for their next birthdays. Something we are more than happy to oblige to do.
When Mark and I were talking about Caitlin’s 10th Birthday day out we decided that we would like for her to try something different for lunch. She is like Libby and really doesn’t venture much further than her comfort zone, also, like Penny she eats little and often.
A few months ago I won a takeaway from Thaikhun and have been longing to go back and try their Main Menu since. When I mentioned it to Mark he thought it was a good idea so I contacted them to arrange a booking. The customer service was perfect from the beginning and after a brief discussion we were booked in for 2pm.
We arrived at Intu MetroCentre and headed straight up to Thaikhun. Our timings were slightly out due to the road closures that occur when the Great North Run is in action, but we still got there on time.
First impressions speak a thousand words and Caitlin and Mark were both drawn on with the décor from the outside. From the old style dial TV’s, to the pallets on the walls and from the letters on the walls, to the sacks hanging from the ceiling, it all tells a story. Mark found himself tweetingThaikhun asking them to come and decorate for us, he was so taken by what he saw.
When we arrived we were seen by their very lovely Manager who apologised that our table wasn’t quite ready and would we like a drink whilst we waited. So we sat down and enjoyed the inside of the restaurant and watching the world go by.
Getting seated didn’t take long and our table was lovely. The Manager went through the Menu with us, explained the dishes and the Children’s Menu. The children are given and activity sheet and have three options for their meal and it looks like this………..
With option two you choose an option from each column, hence creating your own meal. We liked how simple the options were, like I said Caitlin likes plain food that she can add sauce too. She went with the third option of Chicken and Rice and order some sweet BBQ sauce to go with it.
Mark and I however were not as easily decided. For a couple who love so many different types of food, this was heaven but we only could choose one thing. So after much deliberation we went for a starter platter for three, for Main Course I went with the Chicken Massaman Curry (which comes with Jasmine Rice) and Mark went with the Chilli Beef, this did not come with a side dish so Mark ordered a portion of noodles. The lovely Lauren took our order and looked after us for the rest of our visit. All the staff were lovely throughout and give the impression that they love their jobs.
One thing I do love is an open kitchen, maybe that is the nosey side of me, maybe I like to see what my food is doing but to see that the kitchen was open was a delight. While we waited for oue starter Mark took a quick picture…..
Then our starter arrived………
Sukumvit 39 Platter
The platter consisted of Thai Fish Cakes, Spring Rolls, Honey Pork and Steamed Vegetable Dumplings. These were served with dipping sauce.
The presentation is fantastic and fits in with the surroundings so well. We got stuck in and Caitlin sampled everything, which we were over the moon with. Mark and I got stuck in and every ounce of it was lovely. (I was slightly concerned that I had eaten a little too much starter and also concerned that I wouldn’t have room for pudding at the end).
Fried Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Vegetable Sticks and Sweet BBQ Sauce
Chicken Massaman Curry with Jasmine Rice (Curry flavoured with Cinnamon, Star Anise, cooked with Potatoes, Cashews and Onion…You have the option of Chicken, Prawn/Duck, Tofu or Beef)
Nua Phad Kra Prao with Sen Jun Luak (Beef with Chilli and Thai Basil with Rice Noodles in Soy Sauce, Beansprouts and Fried Garlic)
We all had a try of each others and it was delightful. Everything tasted aromatic and even the spicy dish that Mark had was full of flavour and not all about the spice which I often find with Thai food. We really enjoyed it.
Mains finished, Lauren came over with the dessert Menu and an Ice Lolly for Caitlin. As Mark isn’t a dessert fan Caitlin and I ordered one for her and I.
As we were sat talking I noticed that a lot of the floor team were assembling at the bar with various instruments and a candle was placed in one of our desserts. The next thing we knew the team were drumming, shaking their tambourines and singing Happy Birthday around our table for Caitlin.
What a lovely touch and we are touched that they went to the effort. As if the food and service wasn’t enough, our meal was finished off perfectly with the gesture. We can’t thank the team at Thaikhun MetroCentre enough.
Our desserts were…
Banana Fritters with Vanilla Pod Ice Cream
Gluten Free Chocolate Tart (Layers of Chocolate Cream on an Almond Base)
We started out having half of each but Caitlin was loving the Chocolate Tart so I gave that up for the Banana Fritters, that were also scrummy.
We really did have a lovely experience and we will be visiting again. I would urge anyone to pay Thaikhun at Intu MetroCentre a visit. The Menu has so many tempting choices and we would try something completely different next time. I would love to take the rest of the family and see what they make of the meals.
Massive compliments to the Manager, Lauren and the rest of the team. Every ounce of our expectations were fulfilled and surpassed. You gave us an amazing start to a 10 year old’s birthday, giving her memories to hold on to forever.