General blog posts

Covid-19 Winter Lockdown Survival Guide

Survival guide feature

Well, here we are, we’ve welcomed in the New Year, Christmas is swiftly becoming a distant memory. We are full of New Year cheer, resolutions and determination – you’d think!

However, It’s Monday 4th January 2021 and our Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just announced another National Lockdown. Lockdown 3. Personally for me, this is a welcome announcement because i’m sure, like many we are all getting to the stage now that we just want Coronavirus (Covid-19) to be a thing of the past. It’s all getting a bit too much now isn’t it?

This guide is designed to help you make it through the other side.

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Hickories Smokehouse Coventry – Restaurant Review

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On Sunday the 16th August we were kindly invited along to Hickories Smokehouse in Burton Green, Coventry to indulge in a family meal.

As a mother of 2, one of which is a teenage boy aged 15 – it’s not very often we get to eat as a family let alone have some quality time eating out.

Hickories has been on my list of restaurants to visit for some time after hearing raving reviews from friends and family, sadly our visit was delayed due to the lockdown restrictions put in place this year.

It’s great to see that Hickories are back open for business and ready more than ever to welcome diners. I was very pleased to see the covid measures that have been put in place on arrival before we entered the building there was hand sanitiser and kitchen towels available.

Of course, like most eateries at the money book is essential but for a Sunday dinner time it wasn’t overly busy. Hickories are currently taking part in the government scheme ‘Eat out to help out’. Which, in short is scheme that the government have set up to help boost the hospitality trade by offering a 50% (up to a maximum of £10 per person) reduction on your food bill Monday-Wednesday. Therefor not doubt, these are the busiest days for most restaurants at the moment.

The scheme has become very popular so if you are looking to eat out under the scheme, booking as much in advance as possible is advised.

On arrival we were greeted by the manager who showed us to our table. We were then in the hands of Billy our waiter. Before he took our order we were given a complimentary bottle of cold water and a punnet of warm salt and sweet popcorn (which did not last very long at all! They were delish.)

We had already looked at the menu online a few days before our visit so we had an idea of what we wanted. The menu’s were formed in the shape of a newspaper which made for a great read (I won’t spoil it for you.) They were fresh menus so there were no concerns that they had been handled by the previous diners.

The theme of the restaurant was an American Smokehouse and they certainly did deliver on the. The smell of the smoking food and the American atmosphere was just fantastic. There was so much to look at as well as the US news showing on the TV.

I was so excited to try my very first corndog! so, for starters my daughter and I ordered the corndogs whilst the boys of the family ordered the chicken in a basket – we then had nacho’s to share!

The corndogs

Well, when this turned up it was a sight for sore eyes! not only that but I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t have any room for mains. The corndog was………different! It’s not what i expected (and by that I don’t mean it wasn’t delicious – it was) but I just don’t know what I was expecting.

I was told by the lads the chicken was pukka! We went for the spicy nacho’s. Now, hold tight…..i’ve never had nacho’s before! I know right??


I am an utter wimp when it comes to spice, the nacho’s had a little kick to them as they had a spicy salsa and came with jalapeños (which my 9 year old daughter happily munched through to the point where I had to take them away!) The cheesy bit on the nacho was nice though!


We had to force ourselves to leave the rest of the nacho’s and corndogs (I popped them into the popcorn bag so I could take them home) Now it was time for the mains. 3 of us had the 340g Rump steak and my daughter had the famous Hickories burger, all of which came with skin on fries.

We were intrigued by the frequently mention ‘magic dust’ so we ordered a portion of magic dusted fries and mushrooms. Sadly, these were not to my liking because as I said earlier I am a wimp when it comes to spice. The dust was a little like a peri salt.

The steak was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L. Cooked perfectly. My only gripe would be that I wish I knew that the steak was peppered. It didn’t state this in the menu, if it had of done I would have asked them to hold fire on the pepper as I really don’t like it. It was able to scrape it off which was good so I was able to enjoy the steak.

My partner, my son and I all looked at each other as if to say ‘we are about to explode!” whilst my daughter was happily tucking into the biggest burger she had ever seen. I thought there was no way she would eat the burger be she ploughed through it. Her words were “I was so full but it was too good to leave”

We HAD planned our puddings but there was no way any of us had room for a pud!

There was lots of drinks to choose from on the menu and they had a fully stocked bar. Billy our waiter suggested the Hickories own recipes soda’s and Lemonades and they were so refreshing. I would highly recommend trying them. my favourite was the Raspberry and mint lemonade.

No matter how full up my daughter was, she was adamant that she was going to indulge in a Cosmic Unicorn milkshake. She was not disappointed!

Overall, we had a fantastic visit. For a family of 4 of us having starters, mains and drinks the bill came to around £150. Sadly, this is not something I would be able to afford generally. However, I don’t think I would need to order a starter if I were to visit again as I felt that ruined the main course slightly for me as I was too full to finish it.

it is worth mentioning at this point too that Hickories have something called ‘The Tip Jar’ which is a discretionary 7.5% addition to your bill. This is then split between the team at the restaurant and their chosen charity which is is Cash for Kids . Of course, if for any reason at all you would like the 7.5% charge removed from the bill it really is no problem. You can just ask your waiter to remove it and they will do so without any questions and more importantly without any awkwardness. The charge is mentioned and pointed out by the waiter who will explain everything to you.

Covid Safe?

They sure are! So, They have a safety pledge and have put into place lots of measures so that you can relax and enjoy your food without having to worry about a thing.

Some of the measures in place are

  • Sanitiser Stations – At entry and exit points as well as additional points throughout the restaurant.
  • Team Health Check – They are checking the temperature of every team member before their shift and they will be following social distancing guidelines wherever possibly.
  • Cleaning Procedures – Have been heightened across all the restaurants and the teams are washing their hands frequently.
  • Space to relax – They have increased outdoor seating , indoor tables have been reduced, partitions have been installed so you can maintain a healthy distance from others.
  • Single Use Menus – Menus are now disposable and recyclable, condiments have been reduced (just ask the waiter for what you need and they will fetch it for you.)
  • Table Service only – All of your orders will be taken at the table now. The bar area is for making drinks only.

If you’ve been to Hickories or do intend on visiting i’d love to know in the comments below. If you are interested in booking a table you can do so via their online booking form. Be sure to look out for the confirmation email to confirm your booking has been made.

Disclaimer: The meal was gifted to us on a complimentary basis. The review is based on our experience and is a true and honest reflection of our visit.

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Transform your walls on a budget

transform your walls on a budget

I’ve recently refreshed by kitchen walls and painted them white. We had red walls for at least 7 years and it really needed painting over as the paint was chipping and I was getting tired of the red paint. There’s only so much you can do with red and only so much you can take.

I’ve not yet decided how I want my kitchen, I’m thinking barn style decor so the white walls have given my a blank canvas to work on.

Now, the walls look TOO bland! Our kitchen is quite long and we have large wall that I have never known what to do with. I thought that a few prints in frames would break it down a little but looking online at the prices I was certain that I could do them myself for less……so I did.

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5 Places to visit In Coventry for FREE

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  1. Coombe Abbey – This stunning park has 500 acres of beautiful woodland, gardens, lakes and parks. Within the grounds stands the Coombe Abbey Hotel which was built in 1150. The Abbey has been running as a hotel since 1995. You can still visit the grounds without being a resident of the hotel. The Coombe Abbey country park is ideal for dog walking, summers days out, picnics and at times BBQ’s. In the past, Coombe Abbey have hosted big events such as the Coombe Weekender back last year. In Spring 2019 , Go Ape’s newest tree-top assault course came to Coombe Abbey which is a chargeable attraction within the grounds of Coombe. There are toilets onsite as well as places to eat and drink. There is a discovery centre too. If you are taking the car please keep in mind that parking is NOT free. You can find the cost of parking HERE
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Recipe: Coconut & Jam sponge Tray bake

Ever had flashbacks of your old school dinners? Chips and beans, Cheese flan, pizza. Your mind then casts to those old desserts. You start trawling the internet for some recipes because you crave those desserts once again.

The very same thing happened to me and my first search for old school puddings was for the popular Coconut & Jam sponge pudding with custard.

I found a recipe, tweaked it a little and made a bloody good pud!

Here is everything you need to make yours.

Preparation Time: 10 Minutes

Bake Time: 40 Minutes

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List of Free Educational Resources

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Below is a list of educational material and resources that are currently free. These will help with those who are continuing to home school or would like to to continue with some element of home learning. It’s important to remember that none of us really know the right or wrong thing to do right now and what matters the most is that we are safe and our kids mental health is stable. Everything else can fall into place as and when it needs to.

I will continue to update this page daily with any new websites that come to light.

If you would like to contact me to let me know of any that are missing or could be added, including any that are no longer free. You may contact me here.

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Win one of 5 M&S Easter Hampers

How would you like another chance to win one of 5 Easter Hampers from M&S? In light of all the sombre news lately it’s nice to ad a little bit of joy to the day. Also, a great way to kickstart Spring.

Some of the UK Money Bloggers have teamed up to offer you a fantastic prize selection this Spring. There are five M&S Easter hampers up for grabs, worth £50 each. That means five lucky winners will receive a hamper in time for Easter 2020!

Not only will you be in with a chance of winning but you’ll pick up some fabulous money tips on the way by visiting the blogs of other UK Money Bloggers.

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2020 Goals


It’s a new year, it’s a new decade.

Kick start my YouTube Channel and focus on making some great, informative content to further expand the SavvyMumUK portfolio

Write at a minimum of one blog post a week with broader topics such as home life, family and more money-saving.

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Important Christmas & New Year Dates

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Last Postage Dates

Royal Mail last recommended posting dates for UK and international letters and parcels.

For worldwide and HM Forces postal dates, visit the Royal Mail website

Tax Credits Payments

Attendance Allowance, State Pension, Carer’s Allowance, DLA, ESA, JSA, PIP, Pension Credit

Universal Credit

Child Benefit

Most Child Benefit payments are paid on a Monday or Tuesday and with Christmas day being Wednesday this year, most Child Benefit payments will not be affected. For clarity, I have included a table of payment dates below.

Win 1 of 8 Christmas hampers with the UK Money Bloggers!

December is here and it’s totally OK to talk everything Christmas now and what better way to start December than with the UKMB 3rd collaborative ve Giveaway. SavvyMumUK has teamed up with 79 other UK money bloggers to take part in our biggest ever giveaway. With a huge prize fund of £400 and 8 chances to win a prize! Shere are eight Christmas Afternoon Treats with Flowers M&S hampers up for grabs, worth £50 each. That means eight lucky winners will receive a hamper in time for Christmas! Read more