Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Dates for your Diary - Contact Young Company Bangs the Drums to Celebrate Anniversary Year - 8th to 11th March

This March, the award-winning Contact Young Company celebrates the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act (1918) with She Bangs the Drums. This much anticipated show is based on research at the People's History Museum and will take place at the Museum of Science and Industry's characteristic 1830 Warehouse as part of the city's Wonder Women 2018 radical feminist festival.

She Bangs the Drums will explore both familiar and unheard voices and stories from Manchester's rich and radical past as a center of protest, from the Suffragettes to the Chartists. The 1918 Act saw the vote extended to all men over the age of 21 and women over 30, but with certain restrictions.

Although not the end of the fight, this huge step was largely influenced by working class men and women from Manchester and the North West. Their passionate protest and sometimes militant behaviour brought a fight for a fairer society to the forefront of politics, affecting the social climate of the United Kingdom forever.

She Bangs the Drums has been devised by Contact Young Company following extensive research into the People's History Museum's archive, galleries and collection with assistance from the experts at the museum. The show has personal significance for one of the members of the company, who can count a leading figure in the Irish Suffragette movement as an ancestor.

Image Credit: Benji Reid

Contact Young Company actor Ruby O'Casey said "My great great aunt Hanna Sheehy Skeffington was a feminist and an incredibly important figure in the Irish suffragette movement and her story is deeply significant to me and to my whole family. She has been a huge inspiration to me all of my life and I couldn't be prouder to be related to her. She was one of the founder members of The Irish Citizen newspaper, which finally gave women and the suffragette movement a voice. We get so much freedom to explore ideas and create character in the Contact Young Company process; I can't wait to bring her world to life."

She Bangs the Drums takes a fresh look at past Mancunian pride and radical thinking and explores how these events can change our perception of the future. Contact Young Company will take the audience on a journey through the historic spaces of the Museum of Science and Industry whilst exploring Manchester's ongoing relationship with political protest.

Assistant director Hebe Reilly added "She Bangs the Drums has been fantastic to work on. I have seen the group delve into the PHM's archive, collection and galleries, and fool around at clowning workshops to create some brilliant characters. It's an exciting challenge to try and capture the revolutionary spirit of women and men who broke convention, windows and the law for our right to vote. Looking beyond the well-known figures of the period, our young actors have been seeking out people like Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, Annie Kenney and Lady Constance Lytton - who represent some of the diverse, radical and intersectional figures of the era. Contact has given its young actors space to explore not just the women's suffrage movement but also to reflect on how far we have come towards achieving equality for women in 2018".

She Bangs the Drums takes place at the Museum of Science and Industry from Thursday 8th March to Sunday 11th March, at 11:30, 2pm and 7pm (Thursday and Friday) and 2pm and 7pm (Saturday and Sunday). Tickets are on sale now priced £13/£7 concessions. Book securely online at www.contactmcr.com or by phone on 0161 274 600. Please note that the show is for over 14's. 

Listing Details

Show - She Bangs the Drums
Venue - Museum of Science and Industry, Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4FP
Dates - Thursday 8th March to Sunday 11th March
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - £13/£7 concessions
Box Office - 0161 274 600
Website - www.contactmcr.com
Twitter - @contactmcr
Facebook - facebook.com/contactmcr

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment at Echo Arena, Liverpool - Competition

Disney on Ice will be returning to Liverpool's Echo Arena this April and we have a fantastic opportunity for one lucky family to win a ticket to the show for the opening night!

Skating into the Echo Arena from the 11th to the 15th April, Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment is sure to delight audiences of all ages, as some of Disney's best loved characters take to the ice in a magical adventure.

This action-packed ice spectacular will showcase beloved characters from Disney•Pixar's Cars, Toy Story 3, Disney's The Little Mermaid and the Academy Award® winning Frozen.


Audiences will enjoy the dazzling world of Disney magic as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the rest of the crew of Disney•Pixar's Cars perform high-speed stunts and race across the ice, like you've never seen before.

Enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa from the BAFTA and Academy Award® winning, number one animated feature film of all time, Disney's Frozen. Join Anna as she embarks on an epic journey with the hilarious snowman Olaf and rugged mountain-man Kristoff to find her sister, the magical Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter.


Watch Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie and other favourites from the Toy Story gang as they try and escape from Sunnyside Daycare in one of their most daring adventures ever from Disney•Pixar's Toy Story 3 - proving that the toys are back in town!

You can also be amazed and join Ariel as she dives into the underwater kingdom of Disney's The Little Mermaid.

"Worlds of Enchantment connects classic and new Disney stories," says Producer Kenneth Feld. "Audiences will be blown away in Radiator Springs when they encounter the unforgettable crew of animated cars, built to scale and live on ice. They will will see their all-time favourites like The Little Mermaid and discover the world Arendelle in Frozen."

From wheels to waves, icy wonderlands to infinity and beyond, see some of your family's favourite Disney moments come to life in Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment!


Listing Details

Show - Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment
Dates - Wednesday 11th April to Sunday 15th April
Times - Wed, Thurs, Fri: 6:30pm / Sat & Sun: 10:30am, 2:30pm, 6:30pm
Venue - Echo Arena Liverpool, Kings Dock, Liverpool, L3 4FP

Tickets - £18 to £43*
Family packages are also available.
* Plus booking fee

For the complete list of tour dates, please visit www.disneyonice.co.uk

You can also keep up to date with the latest developments on social media by visiting the following channels:

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

As mentioned previously, we have a fantastic competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win a family ticket for the show on Wednesday 11th April! Are you feeling lucky? If you would like to enter please read the Terms and Conditions and then complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win a Family Ticket to Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment in Liverpool


Terms and Conditions
  • The prize is 1 (one) family ticket for 2 adults and 2 children or alternatively 1 adult and 3 children to the 11th April 2018 show at 6:30pm taking place at the Echo Arena, Liverpool.
  • The family ticket will need to be collected from the box office prior to the show or alternatively this can be posted if preferred.
  • Tickets are non transferable, there is no cash alternative and they cannot be resold.
  • Travel to & from the venue is the responsibility of the winner and no contribution will be made towards travel or parking costs.
  • The family ticket is valid for the date/time/venue specified only.
  • The winner's details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and It's A Family Adventure will request the winner's consent prior to sharing this information.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • No bulk/third party or automated entries permitted.
  • Competition opens on 27th February 2018 and will close on Friday 23rd March 2018 at 12 noon.
  • 1 (one) winner shall be drawn at random from all eligible entrants and shall be notified via email within 3 working days of the closing date. 
  • Due to the time restrictive nature of the prize, the winner shall have 5 (five) days to reply to the winning notification before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entrants.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Dates for your Diary - Storyhouse Chester Announces a Great Line-Up of Family Shows for Spring 2018

Storyhouse has revealed its exciting programme of children's shows for the Spring Season 2018 - promising plenty of fun for all the family at the Chester theatre.

With four fantastic shows, written and produced specifically for children, there's no excuse for youngsters to be bored during the half-term break or the coming months.

The first show to take to the stage this season is Captain Flinn & The Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass on Tuesday 20th February.

Based on the best-selling children's books, Flinn, Pearl and Tom are in the middle of their school play when their old nemesis, Mr T the T-Rex, appears and kidnaps them, forcing the children to hunt for the secretive Magic Cutlass - a sword that grants the holder any wish.


Young fans of dinosaurs have a real treat to look forward to on Saturday 7th April and Sunday 8th April when Dinosaur World Live comes to Storyhouse.

Dare to experience the dangers and delights of the dinosaur world with this incredible interactive show. Youngsters are invited to join an intrepid explorer  across unchartered territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child's favourite flesh-eating giant the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Stegosaurus.

Dino fans can meet their favourites during a special meet and greet after the Dinosaur World Live performances.


The mischevious and hilarious Gangsta Granny takes to the Storyhouse stage during the Easter Holidays, on Wednesday 11th April to Saturday 14th April.

Based on the books by the best-selling children's author David Walliams, Gangsta Granny and her grandson Ben are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime together. This award-winning West End production is brought to stage by the acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories.

Fans of dance and music are also catered for as world music group Kabantu return to Storyhouse on Wednesday 21st February. After proving to be a big hit at the Chester venue last June, the quintet perform as part of their Debut Album Tour, which has been produced by Mercury Prize nominated Gerry Diver.

Storyhouse Artistic Director Alex Clifton said: "We are thrilled to present such a varied and exciting programme for families over the coming months. Following the success of our Christmas show, The Secret Seven, we want to continue to engage families and young people as much as possible Whether that's seeing a show in the theatre or creating something together in the children's library."

Storyhouse is also producing its annual WayWord half-term festival between the 17th-24th February. The week-long festival is dedicated to families and young people, and features Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, silent discos, stand-up comedy for kids, a raft of workshops, tea-time movies and free arts and crafts.

Tickets for all events are on sale now and can be booked online, over the phone, or in person at the theatre.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring that the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price.

For further information on these events and more, please visit www.storyhouse.com

Saturday, 10 February 2018

An Overnight Stay at the Holiday Inn Express Stockport - A Review

We first became aware of the Holiday Inn Express in Stockport after visiting the area to see The Wizard of Oz pantomime back in August last year. A couple of the cast and crew were staying there and spoke highly of the service they received, so we decided that should we return to the area, we would make use of the hotel and enjoy an overnight visit. An opportunity arose to watch Jason Manford on his comedy tour on the 2nd February and so we booked a room without hesitation and I am very pleased that we did.

The hotel is located right next to the train station and a short walk from the main shopping centre. There is also a Sainsbury's local and a coffee shop adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express, as well as a leisure centre a short distance away, where hotel guests can use the facilities at a preferential rate.


We booked our stay in a double room a couple of weeks in advance of our visit, for the excellent low price of £51 including breakfast! We felt that this was extremely good value for money especially since a breakfast buffet was included, but we were unsure as to how good the hotel would be given the low overnight rate. We needn't have worried though as from the moment we arrived we were extremely impressed with the service, the decor and most importantly our room, which was located on one of the upper levels on floor 5.

On arrival we received a friendly welcome and we were told where we could get something to eat in the evening and where to go for breakfast in the morning. We were given clear directions to our room and told that should we require anything, then to ring reception for assistance. Our rate was confirmed and we paid by card on arrival for the stay. I always prefer to pay on arrival as this means no nasty surprises with items charged to the room on check out, so I always pay for the room and then pay card or cash for any additional purchases as we have them.


The entrance to the lift area requires you to scan your card by the doors, so this was reassuring to know that only people staying in the hotel could gain access to the rooms and corridors. The lifts were clear glass that ran up the side of the building, so you had a good view over the Grand Central area of Stockport whilst travelling up the floors. As we made our way to our room we were already impressed with the cleanliness and modern interiors that ran throughout the hotel. Everything just looked so tidy, immaculate and well cared for.

As we entered our room we were both quite shocked by how large it was. The picture on the website made us think that it would be quite small, but it was in fact really spacious, with plenty of storage areas. There were large floor to ceiling windows that gave us a view over the gardens below and the entrance to the station, as well as a small desk area which was perfect for catching up on emails.


It was clean, tidy and well presented, with stylish and modern furnishings. The bedding seemed high quality with a comfortable mattress and pillows. I liked that there were usb chargers on each side of bed integrated into the headboard, so this was ideal for charging our phones overnight.

There was a large television on the wall opposite the bed and we enjoyed watching a film later that evening after our trip to the Stockport Plaza. Other conveniences such as a kettle, tea/coffee, iron, ironing board and hairdryer were also provided. We made use of the iron prior to going out and this looked like it had never even been used.

The bathroom was spacious, with a large walk in shower. I also really liked the fact that there was plenty of worktop space by the sink, so there was lots of room for my make up when getting ready. Unfortunately I realised shortly after unpacking that I had forgotten my shampoo and conditioner, but a quick call to the reception sorted that out and I was provided with some complimentary miniatures.



We had planned to get a bite to eat before heading out to the show, but unfortunately we had got stuck in traffic on our way to the hotel, which meant that we arrived over an hour later as planned. This resulted in us having no time for an evening meal which was a shame. The menu, although not extensive in size, featured a small range of tasty dishes that included Chicken Tikka Masala, Traditional Beef Lasagne and King Prawn Curry.

Fortunately, we had plenty of time for breakfast in the morning and after a good nights sleep, we enjoyed the Express Start breakfast buffet in the Great Room. There was plenty on offer and we had a fabulous breakfast consisting of both hot cooked items such as scrambled egg, bacon and sausages, as well as pastries and cereal. The coffee machine was fantastic and we both had a lovely cappuccino, in addition to some fresh orange juice. I couldn't believe how much was available to choose from and it made the £51 we had paid for our room seem even better value than we had originally thought.

The staff were constantly busy, making sure all the food items were kept topped up and I noticed that the moment customers left a table, it would get cleared and cleaned immediately ensuring that no guests needed to wait for somewhere to sit. Again the Great Room featured modern furnishings and it was a really nice environment to sit in and enjoy our food.


Check out was incredibly easy and was simply a case of us returning our door key card. The receptionist asked if we had enjoyed our stay and whether there had been any problems. This is always nice to see as it means that the hotel is keen to ensure that guests have had a good stay. Customer satisfaction is important and clearly the Holiday Inn Express recognise this in the service they provide.

If I was to make one negative comment about the hotel, it would be that there is no on-site parking and instead you need to use the NCP multi storey car park a short walk away. We were already aware of this, so it didn't pose a problem for us, but it is worth noting that if you leave the car park you will need to pay each time you park. Rather than paying a set 24 hour fee where you can come and go as you please, you need to pay on each occasion. This therefore may not be ideal if you are planning a stay and intending to visit places in the local area as parking could end up being quite costly. For our visit it cost £8 (usually £16) but hotel guests are entitled to a 50% discount, so just make sure you remember to get your parking ticket validated at reception before leaving.

Whilst my husband and I travelled here as a couple, we will most definitely be returning as a family. I would say that the hotel is family friendly and also offers interconnecting rooms to provide families with plenty of space. They also have a number of rooms that are equipped with a sofa bed should you wish to only book one room and these can sleep up to 4. In addition to this cots are available to hire free of charge. There isn't a children's menu available, however the express menu offers a range of light bite meals and there are also numerous restaurants within walking distance.

Overall we had a wonderful stay and will definitely be staying again in the future. The location is ideal for us when visiting the local theatre and family, but also great for when we are visiting Manchester due to the easy train links from the station nearby. We had a great nights sleep and loved the room size and decor, with our stay being topped off with a wonderful breakfast that was a great way to start our day. We would recommend this hotel and if you would like to find out more about the hotel and the rooms available, then please visit their website here: Holiday Inn Express Stockport

*Disclaimer: Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. I would always suggest visiting the hotel's own website to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 9 February 2018

What's On at Waterside, Sale this February Half Term 10th -18th February 2018

If you are looking for some ideas of where to go with the kids this February Half Term, then Waterside have some fun family shows and events planned to keep you entertained.

THEATRE

Listing Details

Show: Hawk Dance Theatre & The Knotted Project present The Chit Chat Chalk Show
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Tuesday 13th February
Times: 11:30am and 2pm
Tickets: £9/ £7/ Family Club £4.50
Recommended for ages 3-8
Duration: Approximately 60 mins

On Tuesday 13th February, the Hawk Dance Theatre & The Knotted Project present 'The Chit Chat Chalk Show', where you can join their magical chalky adventure!

Kiko is a confused young girl, struggling to understand how she feels about the strange new world she lives in. With her new friends, she embarks upon a quest to discover the mixture of emotions and colours that make her unique! The story dances, draws and giggles its way through from beginning to end. It's sure to put a smile on faces, young and old!

In the Robert Bolt Theatre.


Listing Details

Show: Spark the Goblin Wizard
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Friday 16th February
Times: 11am and 2:30pm
Tickets: £9/ £7/ Family Club £4.50
Recommended for ages 5+
Duration: Approximately 65 mins including interval.

On Friday 16th February, Spark the Goblin Wizard will be bringing his magic to Waterside and will be sure to provide plenty of laughs in this performance that is written and performed by Dommy B.

Spark's magic can turn anything into anything. He'll turn bogeys up his nose into some pink ribbons and bows. He'll make a gorgeous high-heeled shoe out of a pile of donkey poo... However, something strange and terrible begins to happen in Spark's forest. With lyrics, laughs and lots of joining in, poet Dommy B needs your help to save the day!

In the Chambers.




COMEDY

Listing Details

COMEDYSPORTZ 4 TOTS
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 10th February
Time: 3pm
Tickets: £5/£3
Recommended for ages 6 & under
Duration: 45 minutes

ComedySportz are bringing a brand new show packed with silly games and songs for even younger audiences. Highly interactive, this friendly, non-competitive version of the show will delight and entertain with madcap, improvised games with plenty of physicality, stories, songs, silly noises and big laughs. Join in as much as you want!

In the Chambers.

Listing Details

COMEDYSPORTZ
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 10th February
Time: 6:30pm
Tickets: £7/£5
Recommended for ages 7+
Duration: 2 hours including interval

ComedySportz is an all ages, all improvised show where two teams battle it out for laughs as players create quick-witted sketches, scenes and songs from whatever suggestions are thrown at them by the audience. It's a show that's fast, feel good and always unpredictably funny. There's a referee on hand to steer the entertainment, call any fouls and help the audience decide the winner.

In the Chambers.



FAMILY FILM

Listing Details

Despicable Me 3 (2017)
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Date: Saturday 17th February
Time: 2pm
Tickets: £5/£2.50 Family Club Members
Rating: U
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins

Gru meets his long-lost charming, cheerful, and more successful twin brother Dru, who wants to team up with him for one last criminal heist.

About Family Club

You can join Waterside's popular Family Club for just £7.50 per family per year for exclusive offers on theatre shows, special events, half price family films and over half price entry to art club. You can find out more at watersidearts.org/familyclub


Disclaimer: Shows/Dates/Times listing are correct at time of writing, but I would always suggest checking the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

My 2018 Travel Bucket List

My husband and I both recently had a chat about places we would like to visit, or destinations we would like to return to. This is a conversation we have had regularly over the years and our opinions and thoughts have changed over time, especially since having children. I therefore set about writing my ultimate travel bucket list of places that I would love to visit in 2018. Some of these destinations are places that my husband and I have visited before, but would like to return to again with the kids, whilst others are places I have always dreamed of exploring.

Dubai 

Back in 2005, when my husband and I got married, we embarked on a luxurious honeymoon where we booked round the world flights and visited five different destinations that included Los Angeles, Sydney, Brisbane, Singapore & Dubai. The whole trip was amazing, but Dubai in particular was just incredible with the hot sands, crystal clear waters, superb shopping centres and some of the nicest food we have ever tasted. Every person we met was so friendly, it felt incredibly safe and it really is a stunning place. Since then, we have seen Dubai tourism continue to grow and have seen just how much there is now on offer for families too. Whilst our dream holiday 12 years ago was all about the luxury and relaxation, Dubai is now on my bucket list for the fun, entertainment, waterparks and beach activities that are all on offer for a great family holiday.

Atlantis - The Palm certainly ticks all the boxes for me, offering the perfect combination of 5 star luxury with the added bonus of a wide range of family friendly attractions. It would be incredible to go swimming with dolphins at Dolphin Bay, enjoy the thrilling rides at Aquaventure and be wowed by the 65,000 incredible marine animals in The Lost Chambers Aquarium. The fact that there is also a kids club with an extensive activity schedule would also guarantee my husband and I some quality time together, whilst knowing our children were being well taken care of. It would be lovely to enjoy just a couple of hours of relaxation in the spa together, or have an evening meal in one of the restaurants, making it the perfect holiday for both kids and grown ups.

Although we have visited Dubai before, I have no doubt that it has changed considerably since our last visit. It would be amazing to see how the skyline has changed, as well as visiting all the new attractions on offer. A sunset boat ride would certainly be a treat for all of us, in addition to a Dubai Desert Safari where we could ride over the dunes and enjoy a delicious evening barbecue dinner.

Does any of this make you want to try Dubai? If so then Destination2 Holidays have some great deals, as well as lots of other ideas for places to stay or visit.

Photo Credit: Christoph Schulz on Unsplash.
The Maldives

The Maldives is one of those idyllic picture postcard places that just looks stunning. With beautiful white sandy beaches reaching into the Indian Ocean and luxurious resorts situated on their own private islands, it is definitely a destination where you can indulge and relax whilst enjoying the tropical climate.

If my husband and I were to travel without the children, perhaps as a second honeymoon for our anniversary, then The Maldives would probably be our first choice for an adult escape. Whilst a lot of the resorts do offer activities for children, I can just picture myself enjoying the peace and quiet whilst sunbathing by a stunning water bungalow.

Although a peaceful romantic break here sounds perfect, there is also plenty to do to keep us entertained such as snorkelling or diving and exploring the coral reefs. A speedboat trip to the capital of Male would also be amazing, so that we could enjoy the local culture and shop in the markets.

With such a wide choice of resorts to stay in, the only difficulty would be having to pick just one.

Photo credit: Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash
Thailand

Next on my bucket list is Thailand, which is a destination that I have not had the chance to visit before. You may be starting to see a theme with my list, since they all feature beautiful sandy beaches, however I have actually picked Thailand for a few different reasons.

Of course the beaches would be stunning, but Thailand is a place that I would love to visit with my children because of the wide range of diversity and cultural history. With so many places in Thailand to choose from, I think I would definitely consider a multi-centre holiday in this destination in order to make the most of our trip. Koh Samui definitely appeals to me because of its pristine beaches and luxury resorts, but at the same time I think Phuket would also be a great place for some family fun thanks to the water sports and theme parks on offer.

A trip to a temple would be a must do activity to learn more about the history in the area. I also know that my children would love to see some elephants. I wouldn't want to ride an elephant or go on an elephant safari, but perhaps a trip to Phuket Elephant Sanctuary would be ideal. This would allow us to see some rescued elephants being cared for, whilst watching them enjoy their surroundings at a respectable distance away. I believe this would be both educational and inspiring for all of us.

Another reason I would love to visit Thailand is the cuisine. I love food and I love trying new flavours and ingredients, so it would be the perfect opportunity to try out some of the delicious dishes available.

Photo credit: Peter Nguyen on Unsplash
Singapore

Singapore is somewhere my husband and I have visited before on our honeymoon, however this was the fourth destination on our travels and by this point we were so tired that we literally spent our days sunbathing by the pool. Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with this and we had a really enjoyable time, I do feel as though we missed an opportunity to go exploring and head into the city to see the sights. For this reason Singapore is definitely on my travel bucket list for 2018.

We previously stayed on Sentosa Island which boasts some fantastic hotels and attractions, but I would love to return to the city with our children and show them some of the amazing architecture as well as visit Orchard Road. For some excitement and adventure we could visit Universal Studios Singapore™ and KidZania and for a more relaxing day out, then a trip to Gardens by the Bay would be a must.

Gardens by the Bay is located next to the Marina Reservoir and covers a staggering 101 hectares. Featuring a wide array of floral displays, trees, plants and unique features such as the Flower Dome, and the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

In terms of a hotel, I think I would choose a city centre hotel with an outdoor pool. There is so much to see and do in the area that I would want to concentrate more on exploring than relaxing if we were to return.

Which countries would you put on your 2018 Travel Bucket List? Have you visited any of the places I have mentioned?

Photo credit: Mo Baghdadi on Unsplash
*Disclaimer - This is a collaborative post with Destination2.


Monday, 5 February 2018

Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 - Competition

As a family we love to go camping and have also owned tourer caravans and hired motorhomes in the past. All of these are a great way of getting out and about and enjoying weekend breaks or holidays together. We have therefore teamed up with the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018, to give away 5 pairs of tickets to the show, which is taking place at the Birmingham NEC from the 20th to the 25th February 2018.

All the new season tents, trailer tents and folding caravans are displayed, together with camping and outdoor leisure accessories and, of course, the UK's largest exhibition line-up of caravans, motorhomes, campervans, caravan holiday homes and lodges.

Visitors can try their hand at motorhome manoeuvring, campervan test driving, and caravan towing* as well as exploring UK and overseas camping destinations. Whether new to camping and leisure vehicle holidays or an avid adventurer, the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018 offers staycation inspiration and advice for all.


With encouraging everyone to spend '24 hours outdoors ' in 2018, a theme of this year's show, the Discovery Theatre's celebrity line-up includes inspiring and informative talks from a number of renowned names. Adventurers Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Anna McNuff share tales of their epic expeditions, whilst Rowland Rivron, Monica Rivron, Matt Allwright, Katie Chapman and Monty Halls also appear.

An array of cookery experts take to the stage throughout the show's six days, sharing quick and easy on-the-go recipes. See demonstrations from celebrity chefs such as Rustie Lee, Dean Edwards, Paul Da Costa Greaves, Chris Bavin and more.

With new-for-2018 attractions including a skate rink and Holiday Park Experience as well as favourites such as an assault course and climbing wall, there's plenty of free activities to enjoy. Also pitching up are The Camping and Caravanning Club and the Caravan and Motorhome Club offering thousands of camping destinations at home and abroad, while partners such as The Woodland Trust offer inspiration on walks and getting outdoors.


Tickets can be purchased online at www.ccmshow.co.uk or by phone on 0844 873 7333. Children aged 15 and under enter for FREE!

*Driving licence required.

As mentioned previously, we have a fantastic competition for our readers, to give you the chance to win a pair of tickets to the show. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and then complete your entry using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win a Pair of Tickets to the Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show 2018

Terms and Conditions from the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show 2018
  • Tickets are to be collected at the press office at the NEC, the press office is located outside Hall 4, suites 4.8 and 4.9. It is accessible from within the hall during the following hours. You can choose which day you want to visit:
Tuesday 20th: 09:45 - 17:00
Wednesday 21st: 09:45 - 17:00
Thursday 22nd:  09:45 - 17:00
Friday 23rd: 09:45 - 17:00
Saturday 24th: 09:45 - 17:00
Sunday 25th: 09:45 - 12:00

  • £7.00 Senior (Over 60s), £8.00 Adult when booking before 23:59hrs 19/02/18 after which time prices revert to the on-the-door price of £9.00 Senior and £10.00 Adult. A £1.25 transaction fee applies. Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge. Car parking is included in the ticket price. No dogs (except assistance dogs). Children 15 years and under go free when accompanied by a paying Adult/Senior. Tickets are non-refundable and cannot be exchanged for monetary value. For full terms and conditions please visit www.ccmshow.co.uk.
Competition Terms and Conditions
  • There are five (5) prizes each consisting of a pair of adult entry tickets to the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome show 2018. 
  • Tickets can be used on one (1) day of the show only between the show dates of 20th-25th February 2018 at the Birmingham NEC venue.
  • Competition closes on 10th February and winners shall be notified by email.
  • Winners will have 24 hours to respond to the winning email notification before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries, so please remember to check your emails on this day to see if you are a lucky winner.
  • Email address will be collected for the purpose of contacting winners only and will not be shared/sold to a third party.
  • Winners names only will be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and ticket collection.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • The winner shall be required to collect their tickets from the press office at the show. Tickets will NOT be posted out.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • There will be no contribution made towards travel.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Dates for your Diary: Bing Live! Visits Two North West Venues - Chester & St Helens - September 2018

Calling all Bingsters! Bing and his friends are going on tour in the first ever Bing Stage Show! Bing Live! will visit Storyhouse, Chester on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th September, as well as hopping on over to St Helens Theatre Royal on Tuesday 18th and Wednesday 19th September as part of a major UK tour in 2018.

Joing Bing, Sula, Coco and Pando as they learn how to tell stories by pretending, dressing-up and singing songs. Flop and Amma are there to help, but in this magical world of make-believe things don't always go according to plan...

The CBeebies favourites are brought to life in a brand new stage production full of fun, laughter, music and magical puppetry. Bing Live! is the perfect first theatre trip for pre-schoolers and their families.

Going to the theatre....it's a Bing thing!


Bing Live! is produced by Minor Entertainment (In the Night Garden Live) and directed by Will Tuckett, guest principal character artist of the Royal Ballet, whose production of Wind in the Willows won an Olivier Award for Best Entertainment in 2014.

The show will also bring together a first-class creative team to ensure a quality family entertainment stage show for audiences of all ages. Bing is adapted for the stage by Helen Eastman with costumes and puppet design by Tahra Zafar. As Head of Costume, Hair and Make-Up for the Olympic and Paralympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies staged in London, 2012, Tahra managed the production of 23,000 costumes for all four cereomonies. Her film projects include: Star Wars VII The Force Awakens, X-Men First Class, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and The Fifth Element and for television: In the Night Garden, Zingzillas and The Adventures of Abney and Teal.

Since it's launch on CBeebies, Bing has been a huge ratings hit and it's the number one top rated pre-school show on BBC iPlayer. Celebrating the joyful, messy, reality of preschool life, Bing finds the big stories in the smallest moments that little ones and the grown-ups in their lives will recognise....whether it's dropping your ice-cream or losing your favourite toy.

The series has won an International Emmy Award in the Kids' Pre-School category in 2016, a Writer's Guild Award and a BAFTA nomination for Best Pre-School Series. The animated series, which saw Mark Rylance make his children's television debut voicing Flop, is produced by Acamar Films.

Andrew Collier, Creative Director of Minor Entertainment, said "We're thrilled to be bringing Bing to the stage - we know families throughout the UK love Bing as much as we do, and we can't wait to see children's faces light up when they meet him at the theatre for the first time."

Michael Shields, CEO of Acamar Films and producer of Bing said: "Seeing Bing take a leap from the screen to the stage is hugely exciting for all of us at Acamar. We are thrilled to be working with Minor Entertainment to bring the 'Bing Live' shows to our young audience. Introducing Bing fans to possibly their first experience of theatre is a tremendous creative challenge and Minor has shown imaginative flair, exceptional attention to detail, and their passion for bringing preschool characters to life has been evident throughout our collaboration with them. We can't wait to watch the reaction from Bingsters to seeing Bing and Flop on stage next year."

For further information on the show, please visit www.bingliveshow.com

Listing Details

Chester

Venue - Storyhouse Chester, Hunter Street, Chester, Cheshire, CH1 2AR
Show - Bing Live!
Dates - Wednesday 5th September to Thursday 6th September
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - Adults £18.50/Children £16.50
Box Office - 01244 409113
Storyhouse website - www.storyhouse.com
Twitter - @StoryhouseLive
Facebook - StoryhouseLive

St Helens

Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Show - Bing Live!
Dates - Tuesday 18th September to Wednesday 19th September
Times - Performance times vary, so please visit the website for the most up to date information.
Tickets - Prices vary

Box Office - 01744 756000
Website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH
Facebook - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

*Disclaimer - Information correct at time of writing, however I would always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.