Friday, 21 September 2018

Review - Our Weekend Driving The All-New Ford Focus ST-Line

It is hard to believe that it is actually 17 years since I passed my driving test. I can remember feeling so nervous after already having several unsuccessful attempts and had convinced myself that I would fail all over again. Somehow I managed to pull myself together and finally passed with flying colours, although this left the slight issue of having no vehicle to actually drive.

With my new found freedom desperate to hit the road, my dad took me to one of the local garages, where I also had my first experience of applying for vehicle finance and I came away with an N reg Ford Escort, which at the time looked incredible. Over the years I have owned numerous Ford cars including the KA, Fiesta and Mondeo and I have seen first hand the improvements that they have made to the vehicles in this time. Therefore when Evans Halshaw got in touch to ask me if I would be interested in driving the All-New Ford Focus for the weekend, I jumped at the chance!

Obviously since passing my driving test, my wants and needs in a vehicle have changed considerably. My younger self wouldn't often think about the safety aspect, but more about the cars appearance and speed. However, these are now usually the last things I would look at, instead opting to consider the safety features, boot size, fuel economy and space instead. As a family we often travel in the car altogether, so these are all important factors that I now need to consider. But what if there was a car that literally ticked all the boxes, something that could appeal to my inner youth as well as the sensible thinking mum?

We were therefore very excited about putting the new Ford Focus ST-Line to the test and my husband went to collect our vehicle from the helpful representatives at our local Evans Halshaw Garage. When he arrived home, he was greeted by a flurry of oohs and aahs from the children whose first impressions speak for themselves. Before he had even had the chance to get out of the drivers seat, the children were asking if they could sit inside and explore what would be our car for the weekend.

As a family that travels regularly, we decided to test the car by driving through coast and country and enjoying a weekend break on the west coast of Wales. This would give us the opportunity to test every element of the car from suitcase capacity to speed. With plenty of hills to drive up we could also determine its power and control on the roads.


The exterior design was so sleek and stylish and this car definitely stands out from the crowd. We loved the black mesh grille with the elegant front bumper and felt that this was complimented nicely by the 17 inch alloy wheels. The ST-Line badge featured on the rear of the car, as well as on the door trim and it certainly turned a few heads when we were parked up. The windows were shaped nicely and my children especially liked the fact that they were tinted. It would appear that being able to pull funny faces at people when they can't see you is a big plus point for my kids!


The interior was just as great, with a really modern feel to it. We loved the little extras that made it look really trendy and sporty, such as the red stitching on the steering wheel and the sports seats. Chrome pedals and the silver trim around the dash finished the look off nicely and most importantly it was extremely comfortable. I felt well supported and snug in the both the driver's and passenger seat and also had plenty of leg room. My children felt that they had ample space in the back and although Riley is still in a car seat, all three of them could fit easily without feeling squashed.

In the front of the car there were two USB charging points and one 12V socket and in the rear was another 12V. This was great for keeping the kids connected whilst travelling and ensuring that any devices could remain charged. My mobile battery drains really quickly, so it was great to be able to use the USB port from the passenger seat whilst catching up on social media. There was a large touch sensitive LCD screen which could be used to control the radio, bluetooth connectivity and general settings. This was really easy to use and was handy for making phone calls whilst on the move using voice control. Our vehicle did not have Sat Nav but this can be purchased as an optional extra.


As we were heading away for the weekend we were a little concerned beforehand that we wouldn't be able to fit everything in the boot. However, there was in fact plenty of room for both our suitcases, a large plastic tub of food and even a portable fridge. In the space that was left, we managed to fit a large box of wooden train track that Riley insisted on bringing with him, some toys and a couple of footballs. Due to the fact that we could fit everything in the boot, this meant that none of us had to place anything by our feet. This usually happens quite regularly when we are heading off on a trip, so we were all happy that we could sit comfortably and relax on the journey without being surrounded by our belongings.



In terms of vehicle functionality, there are some very clever features that can assist drivers greatly. A particular favourite of ours was the Stop & Go function, which meant that the car would detect when you had come to a stop and automatically apply the brake. It would then release again when you were ready to move. As we were travelling during the Friday night rush hour, we experienced plenty of stop and start traffic, so we found this to be a superb little function.

Another element we were impressed by was the Speed Sign Recognition. When travelling along country roads the speed can change quite quickly in some areas from the National Speed Limit to as low as 20 mph depending on which village you are passing through and sometimes it can be easy to miss the signs. The Speed Sign Recognition tells you on the screen in front of the steering wheel what the speed limit is and based on our experience, this was extremely accurate. It actually became a bit of a travel game as the children would look out for speed signs and we would see how quickly the car would tell us and whether it was accurate. I am pleased to report that it had a 100% pass rate, which is very impressive.

The lane centre assist works to ensure that you are central to lane marking and has the ability to correct steering and ensure that your car is within the marked lane. Whilst we didn't actually need to use this feature, I did see plenty of other drivers who would probably make good use of this, considering the amount of vehicles we spotted crossing the lines on the dual carriageway.

Cruise control was very simple to manage and we found that all the features were well placed for the driver to use with ease. The whole design both internally and externally has been expertly thought out and we were left extremely impressed with our experience.

The Ford Focus ST-Line was very fuel economic and despite driving a 200 mile round trip, we still had just under half a tank of fuel left when we returned it to our local Evans Halshaw garage on the Sunday.

Overall we had a fantastic time driving the New Ford Focus ST-Line vehicle and had lots of fun trying out of all its functions and features. I found it to be a really smooth drive regardless of the type of road surface we were driving on. It could maintain its speed and climb hills with ease and my husband particularly loved the Sport mode, which would give it that extra boost on the acceleration and made it more responsive. It was great to be able to use a car that not only appealed to us as adults, but that also ticked all the boxes for a suitable family vehicle, with both safety and space being paramount throughout. Whether cruising down the motorway or tackling the welsh countryside lanes, this vehicle made driving a pleasure and we would definitely consider it for our next family car.

If you would like to find out more about the All-New Ford Focus then you can visit the website here: All-New Ford Focus

Alternatively, you can find out more about the great new Ford vehicles Evans Halshaw have on offer over on their website: Evans Halshaw Ford

To find your nearest Evans Halshaw dealership, then please visit: Evans Halshaw


*Disclaimer: We were provided with a Ford Focus ST-Line for a weekend, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. Thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - Christmas at Dunham Massey 2018

One of our most favourite events last Christmas was the magical, after-dark, illuminated trail at Dunham Massey in Cheshire. Our review also proved to be extremely popular with our readers and was one of our most popular festive blog posts. We were therefore delighted to hear that it would be returning to the historic National Trust property for a second year, on selected dates from the 30th November to the 30th December 2018.

Christmas at Dunham Massey is brought to you by leading events producers Raymond Gubbay Ltd, in partnership with the National Trust. We thought that last years event was absolutely incredible, but this year the magical winter trail is set to be even bigger and better than before.

A larger-than-life glittering deer will greet customers, along with the sights and sounds of Christmas. Features will include a stunning Tunnel of Light adorned with over 100,000 pea-lights, an incredible scented fire garden, Bubbles on the Bridge, playful ribbons of colour-changing lights and the mesmerising voices of the Singing Trees.


Last year, we were treated to an incredible Water Fountain Finale and this year will be no exception. Guests will be able to enjoy this showcase spectacular of water jets and beams of light, which dance in time to much-loved Christmas classics.

The trail is specially designed to appeal to visitors of all ages. My husband and I attended the event last year, with our children aged 4, 9 & 11 at the time and it is safe to say that we all shared the same opinion - It was wonderful!

The historic courtyard will play host to some fantastic festive food outlets*, with the Manchester Food & Drink Festival providing the stalls. There will also be a vintage carousel ride for younger guests to enjoy*. Fire pits will also be placed along the trail where you can gather to toast your own marshmallows. This was one of the highlights for my children last year and they loved picking their flavours and toasting them over the fire.

This year, The Stables Restaurant at Dunham Massey will be serving a two-course traditional Christmas Dinner*. There will be a choice of two sittings, so visitors can dine before or after they visit the trail.

You can read our review of last years event here: Christmas at Dunham Massey Review

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Listing

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical after-dark illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 30th November to 30th December 2018.

Admission

Advance - Adult £16.50, Child (5-16) £10.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £50.00
On the day - Adult £18.50, Child (5-16) £12.00, Family (2 adults, 2 children) £58.00

Items marked with * will incur an additional charge.


Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, however are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Preview - Disney On Ice presents Dream Big at the Manchester Arena 10th-14th October

The great thing about Disney On Ice, is that it is suitable for the whole family and can keep audiences both young and old entertained throughout. Whether you have memories of watching Beauty and the Beast as a child, or you are a fan of some of the latest blockbusters such as Frozen or Moana, then there is guaranteed to be something for everyone, when Disney On Ice presents Dream Big at the Manchester Arena from the 10th to the 14th October 2018.


Audiences will be transported to a magical world of imagination, as a combination of thrilling special effects and innovative lighting help to create the Disney magic that families love. The show will feature cutting edge figure-skating, eye-catching costumes and stunning set designs, which we have always been amazed by in previous shows. My youngest son Riley has always been captivated watching the skaters perform their incredible routines and high-flying jumps and we cannot wait to see this standard of skating again, when some of our favourite Disney characters come to life on the ice.


Disney On Ice presents Dream Big, aims to show that 'Every story beings with a dream' with a collection of inspiring stories that will be connected by a whole host of different Disney characters, who each have a desire to explore the depths, heights and horizons of their dreams. Moana and demigod Maui will be making their Manchester debut and they will be accompanied by some of Disney's most daring heroines.

Anna, Elsa and Olaf will tell a story of sisterly love from the kingdom of Arendelle, whilst headstrong Ariel will take audiences on a dive under the sea as she dreams about life above the waves. Belle, Aurora and Cinderella will be showing how to find the inner strength that comes from kindness and determination, alongside Jasmine & Rapunzel.

I was also delighted to read that Belle and her friends from Beauty and the Beast will also be taking to the ice. This story was my favourite as a child (and still is) so I cannot wait to see this being performed and I am sure my children will too.

There is also set to be a spectacular fire-breathing dragon which I am sure will be absolutely incredible to see.

Dream Big is certain to capture all the magic and adventure of Disney's immortal tales!


"Disney On Ice presents Dream Big was created with the intention to inspire everyone to explore their world by highlighting the defining moments of relatable characters who became their own heroes," says Executive Vice President and Producer Nicole Feld. "Having both a daughter and son at home, I knew it was important to present a variety of Disney stories as well as show the connection between these stories and illustrate how a journey can unfold in many ways."

"Our greatest wish for our guests is that they will be inspired by these tales of bravery and see that anything is possible if you follow your dreams," says Feld Entertainment Regional Vice President, Steven Armstrong. "Many of the stories we're presenting - like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid - have been around for generations and stand the test of time. Others, like Moana and Frozen, inspire a new generation of young girls through self-reliance and a belief in themselves."

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big will be skating into Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Nottingham and London from the 21st September 2018 to the 6th January 2019. For the complete list of tour dates, head to www.disneyonice.co.uk. You can also keep up to date on the latest developments through social media by visiting:

Facebook - www.facebook.com/DisneyOnIceUK
Twitter - @DisneyOnIce #DreamBig
YouTube - www.youtube.com/DisneyOnIce
Instagram - @DisneyOnIce

Listing Details

Show - Disney On Ice presents Dream Big
Dates - 10th to the 14th October 2018
Times - Wed, Thurs, Fri: 6:30pm / Sat & Sun: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm
Venue - Manchester Arena, Manchester

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big UK Tour Dates

Glasgow, Intu Braehead - 21st September to 30th September 2018
Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena - 2nd October to 7th October 2018
Manchester Arena - 10th October to 14th October 2018
Birmingham, Arena Birmingham - 19th October to 28th October 2018
Belfast, SSE Arena - 2nd November to 4th November 2018
Dublin, City West Hotel - 9th November to 11th November 2018
Sheffield, Fly DSA Arena - 14th November to 18th November 2018
Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena - 21st November to 25th November 2018
London, The O2, 26th December 2018 to 6th January 2019


Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, however are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the shows own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - Guess How Much I Love You at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool - 16-17th October

The much-loved classic children's book, Guess How Much I Love You, will play across the UK this Autumn and visits Liverpool's Epstein Theatre on Tuesday 16th and Wednesday 17th of October.

Following a West End run at the Arts Theatre and spring tour earlier this year, Selladoor Family and ABA International Touring UK announce the Autumn tour of the stage adaptation of this world-famous book, published by Walker Books - written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram.

Join Little and Big Nutbrown Hare, from the best-selling Guess How Much I Love You and I Love You All Year Round collection, as they leap off the page and onto the stage in this magical journey through the seasons.

Watch and join in as Little and Big Nutbrown Hare settle down after a bedtime story and re-awaken to discover the delights and colours of each season as they compete to measure their love for each other in this timeless loveable story.

Cast includes Gemma Higgins as Little Nutbrown Hare, Daniel Harkin as Big Nutbrown Hare and Jessica Dives as Mother Nature.

Photo Credit: Barry Rivvett
Guess How Much I Love You is directed by Anna Fox, with music composed by Harry Sever and movement by Lucie Pankhurst. Sound design is by Yvonne Gilbert and lighting design by Charlie Morgan Jones. Explore this playful story of love and nature as it unfolds on stage through puppets, live music and interactive play for children aged 3 and up.

The family favourite is brought to life by Selladoor Family, the producers behind James and the Giant Peach, Seussical and The Owl And The Pussycat and ABA International Touring (UK) Ltd whose current tours include What the Ladybird HeardHairy Maclary and Friends, and Shark in the Park.

David Hutchinson Executive Creative Producer for Selladoor says "Following our short UAE tour in 2017 and a successful season in the West End and UK, we are delighted to bring Sam McBratney's beautiful story of friendship and discovery this Autumn, with Anita Jeram's beloved illustrations hopping from page to stage. Adapted faithfully from the household favourite book, Guess How Much I Love You is an affectionate, gentle and interactive story that both parents and children can enjoy together as the perfect introduction into live theatre."

You can find out more information on the following social media pages:

Facebook - www.facebook.com/guessuktour
Twitter - @GuessUKTour

Listing Details

Show - Guess How Much I Love You
Dates - Tuesday 16th October & Wednesday 17th October
Times - Tuesday 1:30pm & 4:30pm / Wednesday 11am & 1:30pm
Venue - The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ
Tickets - Adults: £13.50, Children £12.50, Family Ticket £45

*Tickets are subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy.

To book tickets you can ring the box office on the number below or visit the website.

Box Office - 0844 888 4411
Website - www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk

Tickets can also be booked in person at the theatre box office (12-6pm Monday to Saturday)

Disclaimer - Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing but are of course subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Preview - Cinderella Pantomime at the Manchester Opera House - December 2018

Last Christmas we visited the Manchester Opera House, to see what my son described as 'The Most Epic Pantomime Ever" referring to Dick Whittington starring John Barrowman and The Krankies. It was one of the highlights for us of the festive period and we loved the show so much that we actually went to see it TWICE! Laden with special effects, comedy and plenty of laughter, it was no surprise to hear that it won the Special Entertainment category in the Manchester Theatre Awards.

When we left the show on the second occasion, we actually spotted some posters advertising this years pantomime of Cinderella. No cast had been announced at that time with it being so far in advance, but it certainly got us thinking as to who could be starring as the Handsome Prince or the Ugly Sisters and whether it could offer the same panto magic that John Barrowman and The Krankies had brought to the stage. Well I am very pleased to say that this years casting does not disappoint!

Cinderella is set to be the Fairy Godmother of all pantomimes and will be playing at the Manchester Opera House from the 8th December to the 30th December 2018. Earlier this year, they announced the first stars to be joining the line-up in what I consider to be sheer brilliance in role choice. The Ugly Sisters will be played by two television icons who are most recently known for their appearance on ITV's Manchester based soap Coronation Street......Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis!


Connor McIntyre recently starred as the ultimate villain on ITV's Coronation Street and quickly rose to fame as Pat Phelan. His evil antics and high-profile storylines quickly established him as one of soap-lands ultimate baddies. Other television credits include The Governer, A&E, Murder City, See No Evil, Wire in the Blood, Law and Order, London's Burning and Casualty with his film roles including The Be All and End All and Charlie Noads R.I.P. He is also no stranger to the stage and has appeared in The Comedy of Errors, One for the Road and Harry's Christmas.

Les Dennis is known for his presenting, comedy and acting, having being a firm family entertainment favourite since rising to fame on the 1974 talent show New Faces. He has had success in prime-time shows such as The Laughter Show and Family Fortunes, having hosted the latter for an incredible 15 years! Other film and television credits include Intimate Relations, Brookside, Hotel Babylon, Merseybeat, Extra's and Life's Too Short. In 2014 he joined the cast of Coronation Street initially as a petty criminal, but won the heart of both Gail Platt and the viewing audience, before his demise at the hands of fellow Ugly Sister Pat Phelan! His theatre work has included roles in Chicago, Spamalot, She Loves Me and Me and My Girl in the West End, as well as UK tours of Art, High School Musical, Hairspray, Legally Blonde and most recently playing the much-loved Uncle Fester in The Addams Family.


It has also been revealed, that stepping into the role of the handsome Prince Charming, will be the wonderfully talented Gareth Gates, who first rose to fame in 2002 as the runner-up on TV talent show Pop Idol. He has since sold an incredible 3.5 million records in the UK, released three albums and had four UK number one singles. Last year Gareth also opened his new performing arts school in Salford Quays called Fates Academy.

Gareth has appeared in theatre productions, which has seen him play Marius in the 25th anniversary tour of Les Miserables for Sir Cameron Mackintosh, as well as roles in Loserville at West Yorkshire Playhouse and the UK tours of Legally Blonde, Boogie Nights the Musical and Footloose. He has also regularly toured in the concert Mad About the Musicals. Gareth has also appeared on ITV's Dancing on Ice and The Big Reunion.

Michael Harrison, managing director of Qdos Entertainment said: "I'm absolutely delighted that Gareth Gates has agreed to bring his singing talent to our Manchester pantomime this Christmas. I'm sure Gareth will be the perfect ally for Cinderella as she battles the formidable Connor McIntyre and Les Dennis in the guise of her ugly step sisters."

Sheena Wrigley, Theatre Director for the Palace Theatre and Opera House, added "As well as being a terrific singer, Gareth has built an impressive theatre career and also has a great affinity to Manchester, having opened his performing arts academy in Salford Quays last year. He is a fantastic addition to our cast, alongside the previously announced Connor McInyre and Les Dennis, and we're excited to present another high-quality production to our audiences this Christmas."

Further casting is to be announced.

Cinderella will once again be produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world's biggest pantomime producer, with a production that is sure to delight and entertain audiences of all ages. Listing details and information regarding tickets can be found below.

Listing Details

Show - Cinderella
Dates - Saturday 8th December to Sunday 30th December
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the ATG Tickets website for the most up to date information.
Ticket prices - From £12 (transaction fee will also apply)
Address - Opera House Manchester, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP
Box Office - 0844 871 3018 or for group bookings 0333 009 5390
Website - www.atgtickets.com/Manchester



*Disclaimer: This post contains an affiliate link, which means that I may receive a small commission, should you choose to purchase from this retailer.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Aquabeads Minions Playset - Review & Competition

After all the glorious sunshine we have had this summer, the weather was bound to turn eventually and this weekend saw us endure some heavy rain and wind. However, whilst our plans for some outdoor fun may have been placed on hold, we certainly weren't short of some indoor activities to enjoy, starting with our favourite crafty and creative toy....Aquabeads!

Our last Aquabeads review featured the Star Wars Playset, which Riley really enjoyed, but we were recently sent this Despicable Me Minions Playset which features some marvellous Minion characters to create. Riley couldn't wait to get the box open and get started on his designs.


The front of the box is really bright and colourful and features several Minion characters. One thing that stood out to us, was the image of the bead peeler in the centre of the box, as none of the previous sets we have used included one of these. We all agreed that the graphics were displayed well, with plenty of informative detail on the packaging, such as a mini three-step guide as to how Aquabeads stick together with the water spray.

It also stated that it only takes 10 minutes to peel, so we were keen to try this claim out as we often leave our creations to dry for a much longer period.


As always the reverse of the box provides a clear contents list so that you are fully informed as to what you are receiving in the playset. There is also an image on the right hand side of the box which provides pictures of all the different characters and items that you can create with the enclosed beads. The Aquabeads Minions Playset includes:
  • Table Tray
  • Bead palette
  • Sprayer
  • Bead Peeler
  • Template sheets
  • Yellow beads x 220
  • Pink beads x 5
  • Brown beads x 120
  • Blue beads x 151
  • Light blue beads x 20
  • Green beads x 5
  • Black beads x 127
  • Grey beads x 74
  • White beads x 43
  • Brown jewel beads x 5
  • Instructions
The Aquabeads Minion Playset is recommended for children aged 4+, however due to containing small parts, parental supervision is required when being used. There are several clear safety messages on the box and it is important to read these prior to use.


We opened the box and lay all the contents out on the sofa so that we could make sure that we had everything that was needed. Riley really liked that the case was in his favourite colours of blue and yellow, so he was already really happy with the set before we even began.

I cut off the corners of each of the bead packets and Riley arranged them into the case and placed them where he wanted the colours to go. Once everything had been arranged, Riley selected the design that he wanted to attempt first and began to make his creation.


This set also caught his sister's attention and so Emma asked Riley if she could help with one of the designs. Riley was more than happy for them to play together, so Riley followed one template whilst Emma attempted another.


When we first started using Aquabeads a couple of years ago, Riley would often need my help to assist him with placing beads, however he now finds this really easy and found the minion templates simple to follow. He finished his design completely independently and only made one mistake which was the colour of the eyes, opting for two brown beads instead of one brown and one green.

Emma completed the design on template two and it was great to see them playing together nicely throughout the activity.


Once the templates had been completely covered in beads, Riley filled the sprayer with water and began to spray the Minion creations. The sprayer was compact and easy to use and also fitted nicely in the storage case once finished. We left the designs to dry for the recommended 10 minutes and then Riley excitedly used the brand new peeler to remove his Minion from the tray.


The peeler made removing the creations a much easier process. Previously it has been too tricky for Riley to remove them with his fingers, so I have had to take my time to remove them from the tray myself, hopeful that no beads become detached. However, with the peeler, you simply slide this along the roof of the tray and it evenly removes the Aquabeads with ease. It is a great idea and a fabulous addition to this Aquabeads playset. It is great that the company are looking at ways they can improve their product and introducing innovative ideas.


Riley and Emma enjoyed this activity so much, that they continued to use all of the templates in the set, using up nearly all of the beads. I believe that there is a Minion add-on set available, so I will certainly be purchasing this to top up our collection.

The RRP of this set is £19.99 and it can currently be purchased from Amazon* and other good toy retailers. If you are feeling lucky though, then we have a fantastic competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win one of these fantastic Aquabeads Minion Playsets. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Aquabeads Minion Playset Giveaway!

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of an Aquabeads Minions Playset as featured in this review. 
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on the 30th September 2018 at 23:59.
  • A winner shall be drawn within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize before an alternative winner is drawn from remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • Winner's details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.
Disclaimer: We were provided with this product complimentary for the purpose of providing an honest review of the item. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. *This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase from this retailer. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Preview - The Snowman Tour 2018 comes to Warrington's Parr Hall

The summer holidays now seem like a distant memory, so as we enter September my thoughts now turn to the excitement and enjoyment of Christmas. The festive season is my absolute favourite time of year and as a family we enjoy many Christmas events and activities.

Most families will have their own little Christmas traditions, such as going to a pantomime, enjoying a breakfast with Santa or preparing and opening Christmas Eve boxes. For my family though, one of our favourite things to do, is to cuddle up on the sofa and enjoy The Snowman together on Christmas Eve, which is something I also did with my parents too, when I was a child.

I was therefore delighted to learn more about The Snowman Tour from Carrot Productions which is heading to Warrington Parr Hall for one day only on Thursday 20th December 2018. There will be two performances with one being at 1:30pm and another in the evening at 7pm.

Parr Hall is easily accessible by public transport with Warrington Bank Quay train station being only a two minute walk away and Warrington Central train station and Warrington Bus Station being an easy seven minute stroll. There is also limited parking available for patrons at the rear of the venue if you wish to visit by car.

 Photo Credit: © Tom Bangbala
Tickets are on sale now and audience members will be in for an absolute treat as families can enjoy a beautiful presentation of this iconic film, whilst being accompanied by a live orchestra. A young soloist, who is local to the area, will also be performing the breathtaking 'Walking in the Air' solo and I cannot wait to see this song being performed live.

My youngest son who is five, has never experienced the wonder of a live orchestra before, so this is set to be the perfect introduction for him. With music being performed by some of the top musicians in the country, many of whom are members of orchestras such as The Halle and the BBC Philarmonic, this is sure to be an incredible moment for him and I cannot wait to see his face light up with wonder and delight!

The Snowman experience will also include a special visit from the organisation's very own snowman and I am sure that this will be very magical for the younger members of the audience.

Photo Credit: © Gareth Widdowson
Visitors to the Warrington performances, will also be treated to a second animated film of the award-winning book* 'The Bear and the Piano', written by David Litchfield, with a musical score by Daniel Whibley and narration by the wonderful Joanna Lumley. This is sure to add to the overall experience and my family and I are really looking forward to enjoying this production.


However, if Warrington Parr Hall is too far for you to travel, then don't worry, as this magical experience will be visiting a total of 16 different venues across the country including seven cathedrals in Blackburn, Chester, Durham, Gloucester, Lichfield, Liverpool and Winchester. A full list of all the tour dates and venues can be found here: https://www.carrotproductions.com/the-snowman/.

Some venues will also feature a special screening of a world exclusive, in the form of 'A Donkey's Tale' which tells the heart warming story of Dillon. An ordinary donkey, with an extraordinary dream, which takes him on a life-changing journey. This has been specially written and composed by Daniel Whibley and has been commissioned by Carrot Productions for audiences to enjoy. To find out whether your nearest venue is showing 'The Bear and the Piano' or 'A Donkey's Tale', then you can visit the Carrot Productions website to obtain the most up to date information.

Tickets are expected to sell out fast, so for further information or tour details please visit: www.carrotproductions.com

If you would like to get a feeling of an evening with The Snowman, then please watch the video below:


Disclaimer: We are being given 4 complimentary tickets for the purpose of providing an honest review of the tour later this year. All opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the companies own website to obtain the most up to date information. *This post contains an affiliate link.