Saturday, 16 March 2019

Dates for your Diary - LHK Youth Theatre Seeks Stars for Upcoming Production of Oliver The Musical!

Consider Yourself part of the LHK Youth Theatre family as they announce open auditions to find stars for their upcoming production of Oliver The Musical. The regions leading youth theatre company will bring Charles Dickens' beloved novel to life on The Esptein Theatre stage this November.

On Sunday 24th March, male and female performers aged 6 to 19 are welcome to attend the open auditions which will take place at The Epstein Theatre at 10:30am.

There is no need to book an audition slot as registration will take place on the day. All audition material will be provided and all applicants will be asked to sing a verse and chorus of a song of their choice. Roles are available for the full cast and chorus, including down on his luck orphan Oliver Twist; pickpocket Artful Dodger; conniving gang leader Fagin; warm hearted Nancy; and more.

LHK Productions Managing Director, Lee Kelly said: "We are once again on the lookout for Merseyside's brightest young stars. It always overwhelms me to see the staggering amount of talented young performers that come through the doors when we hold open auditions, and I cannot wait to welcome all the young hopefuls later this month.

"Oliver is a timeless classic and I am excited to bring it back to The Epstein Theatre later this year!"

Oliver The Musical takes audiences on a wild adventure through Victorian England as young orphan Oliver Twist navigates London's underworld of theft and violence, searching for a home, a family and - most importantly - for love.

With spirited, timeless songs, such as As Long As He Needs MeFood, Glorious FoodI'd Do Anything, and Oom Pah Pah, Oliver is a musical classic.

Audition Details

Date: Sunday 24th March 2019
Time: 10:30am
Location: The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ


*Disclaimer - This is a press release.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Let's #ShareAStory for World Book Day!

As a child, I used to regularly read the same books over and over again. I absolutely loved the The Faraway Tree, as well as The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton and I was also a fan of the 'My Naughty Little Sister' range of books written by Dorothy Edwards. I don't remember ever needing to be encouraged to read and instead it was something that I chose to do because I enjoyed it.

The Magic Faraway Tree was an enchanting story that inspired me to use my imagination and visualise all the magical worlds and characters that were being described. It was a book that took me on an adventure and made me curious about the mystery that existed. It also helped me to develop my love of books and stories and as a result I joined a creative writing group that my headteacher ran. I would have notebooks everywhere containing short stories that I had written, which I believe helped me to improve my vocabulary skills.

Now that I am a parent, I get the chance to enjoy reading with my children, which is something that I have ensured we have done together since they were babies. I began with touchy-feely books such as the 'That's Not My' range from Usborne, as well as books about animals and vehicles. It is my opinion that these kind of books helped my children to learn to identify things and although they could not read or speak at the time, it allowed them to visualise, imagine and also listen.


Once we reached the toddler ages, I began purchasing well known fairytale books such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood. These allowed me to help create a bedtime routine and it was great to have the opportunity every evening to read them a story.

As my children got older we switched to some books that featured elements of comedy and that brought a smile to your face. We felt that these were the kind of books that could be enjoyed at any time and it was great being able to read together and enjoy a giggle, whilst we read stories like Aliens Love Underpants and The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet!

Now that my children are aged 6, 11 and 12, they have all enjoyed various different genres of books and now find books that appeal to them as individuals. My daughter loves the Harry Potter series, whilst my son enjoys absolutely anything that has been written by David Walliams. My youngest son Riley enjoys books that make him laugh and he is always excited when he gets to bring home a new reading book or library book from school.

He has previously struggled for some time with his pronunciation of certain letters, but I have recently seen a huge improvement in his speech and understanding of words. By regularly reading out loud together we have been able to work on his sounding out and story books have provided some great assistance with this.


In addition to the English spoken word, my children all learn Welsh in school. We therefore also read some welsh language books at home to assist them in their bilingual skills. Welsh is such a beautiful language and although none of us are fluent just yet, I hope that the use of books will help us to improve, so that my children can use these language skills in the future.

As you may have seen World Book Day are encouraging everyone to #ShareAStory, so I asked each of my children what their current favourite book is and why;

Emma aged 12 said: "My favourite book is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. I really enjoy all of the Harry Potter books, but I found this one really intriguing and it was great to see the character development."



Ben aged 11 said: "I don't have just one favourite book, instead I like all of David Walliams books as they are really funny. The first one I read was Gangsta Granny and I even dressed up as Gangsta Granny a couple of years ago for World Book Day. I also think the Boy in the Dress and Awful Auntie are great too. I have just started reading The Midnight Gang, but haven't finished this one yet."

Riley aged 6 said: "My favourite book at the moment is The Very Silly Dog, because the dog is funny and eats some soap thinking it is a bone. He then ends up blowing bubbles and one comes out of his bum!"



Make sure you join in with all the World Book Day fun and share your story on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using either #ShareAStory or #RhannwchStori and #WorldBookDay. We are looking forward to finding out what everyone else is reading.

To find out more about World Book Day you can visit their website or social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Website: https://www.worldbookday.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldbookdayuk
Twitter: @worldbookdayuk
Instagram: @worldbookdayteen

*Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post and we were gifted a selection of books to enjoy and celebrate World Book Day with. Not all the books pictured were gifted.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Celebrating World Book Day!

Every year since my children have been in school, we have celebrated World Book Day. Usually my kids will go into school dressed as their favourite character along with a copy of their chosen book. This provides children with a great way to talk about reading and celebrating books, both at home and in school. So when World Book Day recently got in touch and asked to send us a reading pack, we were delighted at the prospect of learning more about this initiative, as well as having some new and exciting books to enjoy together.

I strongly believe that books can be fantastic in so many ways, they can provide you with knowledge, help you to improve your vocabulary skills or allow you to learn more about other people or ways of life. They can also simply provide you with a form of entertainment that will allow you to escape to a world of make believe and enjoy being taken on a journey with the characters of the story.


World Book Day helps children, adults and families celebrate stories, which encourages a persons love of reading. This year it takes place in the UK and Ireland on the 7th March 2019, but it will also be celebrated in other countries on the 23rd April 2019 as World Book and Copyright Day. It is a campaign that I strongly support and this wonderful worldwide celebration of books and reading is marked on a global scale, with over 100 countries taking part. The main objective is to have fun and enjoy reading together and there are so many great ideas to help you to do this.

In my children's primary school this year, they have arranged a book swap initiative, so that each child can go to school dressed as their favourite book character and take in a book that they have already read. They then have the opportunity to swap this book for a different one in the school hall, ensuring that all students go home at the end of the day with a new book for them to enjoy. I think that this is a lovely idea and provides all of the children with accessibility to books, that they may not have seen or heard of before.

In my daughter's high school, they have arranged a slightly different event which will be a huge celebration to mark the day. They have planned competitions, quizzes, stalls and activities, as well as offering some prizes for some of the best costumes. One idea they have had that I really like is a 'Best Form Group Costume' competition, where the form class can discuss a theme, genre, or specific book and all come as characters that are linked. I think it would be absolutely hilarious for a whole class to dress as Where's Wally or Wenda, imagine the great photograph that would make!


The World Book Day website, offers a great range of fantastic ideas to give you some inspiration as to how you could celebrate this event. Ranging from fun activities to creative costume ideas, there is something suitable for all ages to enjoy. This year they are also asking people to join in with their fun nationwide social event encouraging everyone to simply share a story. Reading can be done at any time in any place and reading and sharing stories can have a wonderful impact. 

You can also join in with this campaign on social media and tell everyone what you are reading and your favourite stories by posting on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #ShareAStory or #RhannwchStori.

In addition to all the fun activities that will be taking place, there is also an incredible initiative in the UK where World Book Day will be distributing more than 15 million £1 world book day tokens, in partnership with schools all around the country. This is with thanks to National Book Tokens (the sponsors of World Book Day), as well as lots of lovely booksellers and publishers. These tokens can then be taken to a local participating book shop and swapped for one of the 12 new and exclusive World Book Day books. Full details of this initiative along with a full list of the books available can be found here and includes some fantastic titles! You can also find out more about the £1 book scheme for Ireland here.

To find out more about World Book Day you can visit their website or social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Website: https://www.worldbookday.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/worldbookdayuk
Twitter: @worldbookdayuk
Instagram: @worldbookdayteen


*Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post and we were gifted a selection of books to enjoy and celebrate World Book Day with.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

UEFA Champions League Match Attax - Review & Competition

My son has collected Match Attax for several years now, accumulating quite an extensive collection of all his favourite football players. Like most children he loves to collect things, so with Match Attax currently being available at 'pocket money prices' he has been able to purchase packs regularly to help complete his teams. He also enjoys swapping his doubles with friends and it has been great to see him and his class mates help one another with their searches for some of the most wanted cards. At Christmas we also purchased the Match Attax advent calendar for him, which we found to be great value for money as there was a pack of cards behind every single door, which was a fabulous alternative to daily chocolate.

Ben was therefore delighted when we were recently sent a huge bundle of the recently released UEFA Champions League Match Attax. This not only scored me some mega brownie points, but also kept him quiet long enough for me to enjoy a cup of coffee, whilst he opened all of the packets. Definitely a win win situation for me!


The first item Ben opened was his Starter Pack, which with an RRP of only £5 seemed to offer great value for money. Inside there was a collection binder, the 2 player game mat, game rules, an online game code, 5 cards plus 1 limited edition card.

The binder is a great storage solution to ensure that all your cards are kept in the best condition and it is really easy to arrange the cards and place them inside. Ben decide to sort all his cards into teams first knowing that he quite a lot to open, before placing them in the binder afterwards. There are over 450 cards to collect, swap and play with, so he was also trying to keep count of how many he had, as well as placing any doubles to one side ready to trade.


He then began to open his Super Strikers Mega Tin which contained a fantastic 50 cards which consisted of:
  • 29 x regular cards
  • 5 x special foil cards
  • 15 x exclusive cards
  • 1 x Limited Edition Card
Some of his all time favourite players were in this pack and he continued sorting his cards into the corresponding teams. The Mega Tins have an RRP of £10 and are available in 4 different varieties which are Rising Stars, Title Winners, Super Strikers and Superstars and the tin also acts as great storage for keeping your cards safe. Ben uses the tins to keep his swaps in, so that he can carry them around easily when trading with friends.


Next he opened a Match Attax Mini Tin which has an RRP of £7. Ben really liked the mini tin as it is small enough to fit in his pocket, so he can keep his cards to hand whether for swapping or playing. It also helped that two of his favourite players were featured on the front of this tin, so it'll most likely become the tin that he uses the most. The mini tin contained a total of 42 cards which consisted of:
  • 36 x regular cards
  • 5 x special foil cards
  • 1 x Limited Edition card
Lastly he opened a multi pack which contained 5 packets of cards. His sister had also become interested by this point, so they both sat on his bed whilst opening the remaining packets. It was lovely watching them chat together as she asked Ben about who the players were and what he thought of them. She then asked him to explain the game to her and this ended up in them playing nicely together for well over an hour. He also shared some of his doubles with her and his younger brother Riley so that they could both start their own collection too, which I thought was a lovely gesture.


Once they had finished playing, I took a closer look at some of the cards, to see what kind of information each one provided. The two cards below are part of the new Pro Performance cards and they help you to identify the players who are the fastest or the most accurate passers in the UCL. As with all the Match Attax cards in the set, the player names are always clearly identified on the side, which is really useful if you come across a footballer you are less familiar with.

In the top right hand corner you will notice that there is a monetary value, as well as a series of scores for their skills, all of which come in useful when selecting your team for playing the game.


The aim of this two player game is to beat your opponent by scoring more goals, just like in a real match. The rules are easy to follow and understand which helps to make it a simple and fun game for children to enjoy.

Firstly you need to put your team together by selecting 11 players along with 3 substitutes, before laying them down in formation on the game mat which is pictured below. (If you don't have the game mat, then don't worry, you can still play). The first player is then determined by flipping a coin and choosing heads or tails. When selecting your team you should ensure that you adhere to both the formation and tournament rules.

Whoever goes first must choose an attacker or defender, with the opponent choosing the opposite. So for example if I was to select an attacker, then my opponent must select a defender. If your attack scores beat their defence, then you score and vice versa. You then keep the cards to one side so you can easily count the score. It really is easy, yet lots of fun to play and you simply continue with your players throughout the game. In the event of a draw, then no-one wins, so the chooser must make another selection.

Just like in a real game of football, you are able to choose a sub at any point in the game as well as being able to use a team boost card, both of which can improve your chances of winning. Once all the cards have been played, then you add up the score, congratulate the winner and play again!


Overall I would highly recommend Match Attax as a great fun trading card game that is available at affordable prices. The guide age for these products is 6+ which I would agree with, as I think this is a suitable age to be able to understand how to play the game correctly. However, I would not say that these collectables are limited to just children as I am sure that there are many teenagers and adults that would also enjoy to collect, swap and play with these cards as well. I think that both the mini tin and mega tin offer value for money and with individual packs also being available for only £1, it is possible to build up a collection at a cost and frequency that is suitable for you.

You can find out more about Topps and Match Attax by visiting their website or social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website - https://uk.topps.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/myTopps
Twitter - @myTopps
Instagram - @myTopps

Competition

Do you have a Match Attax fan in your family? Then why not enter our competition for the chance to win a fantastic bundle of goodies which includes:

1 x Mega Tin (RRP £10.00)
1 x Mini Tin (RRP £7.00)
1 x Starter Pack (RRP £5.00)
1 x Multi Pack (RRP £5.00)

For your chance to win, simply enter using the gleam form below and be sure to come back daily throughout March for some extra bonus entries. (Terms and Conditions can be found underneath). Good Luck!

UEFA Champions League Match Attax Competition

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a UEFA Champions League Match Attax Bundle consisting of 1 x Mega Tin (RRP £10), 1 x Mini Tin (RRP £7), 1 x Starter Pack (RRP £5), 1 x Multi Pack (RRP £5.00). Contents of these packs vary and there is no guarantee that you will receive the same cards that my son did in the review images.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on Sunday 31st March 2019 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 the remaining eligible entries.
  • Once the winner has confirmed acceptance of the prize and provided their address details then the prize shall be posted out via a trackable delivery method within 14 days.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • Prize is as stated, is non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for a cash equivalent.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a bundle of Match Attax items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless stated otherwise.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Enjoying a Family Meal at Hickory's Smokehouse - A Review

My family and I regularly enjoy visiting family friendly restaurants and having a lovely meal together, but over the last couple of years we have found ourselves visiting the same places and quite frequently ordering the same meals. Therefore, when an opportunity recently arose to visit Hickory's Smokehouse, we were excited about the prospect of trying something both new and different. After carrying out a little research prior to our visit, I was shocked that we had never visited before and couldn't wait to find out more.

Hickory's aim to create an authentic family friendly dining experience based on the restaurants and bars of the Southern States, as well as providing a welcoming hospitality service that makes you feel appreciated as a guest. They offer a range of quirky extras including popcorn on arrival, the ability to have a campfire and toast marshmallows at your table, as well as milkshake masterclasses for children.


Hickory's Smokehouse have restaurants in numerous locations including Burton Green, Castle Bromwich, Chester, Gresty Green, Rhos-on-Sea, Southport, Wall Heath, West Kirby and Worcester. We are very fortunate to have several of them nearby, but for our first Hickory's experience we chose to attend the Southport venue and we couldn't have been happier with our choice.

On arrival we were greeted by a lovely member of staff who showed us to our table. On the way he pointed out where the cinema room was for the children, along with providing us with directions to the toilets. He advised that someone would be along shortly to take our drinks order, so we began to have a look through the extensive choice of beverages available. The drinks menu featured plenty of options to ensure that there was something for all tastes and it didn't take my family long to make their decisions - MILKSHAKES!

My husband and our three children Emma, Ben and Riley all chose the Strawberry Dream from the Shakehouse Selection, which consisted of Strawberry, White Chocolate and Marshmallow. My kids were invited over to the bar area to take part in a milkshake masterclass where they had the opportunity to create it themselves, which I thought was a really brilliant idea that encourages children to get involved and be creative. My youngest son Riley absolutely loves pretend play and often imagines creating his own milkshakes in this play kitchen, so to be able to do this for real was fantastic and he definitely enjoyed the moment. He is usually extremely shy, but the young man helping with the preparation was great with my children and they all excitedly made their masterpieces!


Despite the milkshakes being an extremely popular choice, I wanted to try something a little different instead, so I opted for the Raspberry & Mint Lemonade and I am so glad I did. I can honestly say that this was one of the most refreshing and tasty drinks that I have ever tasted and as well as being a thirst quencher it also complemented my food really well. Other drinks that feature on the menu included Healthy Blend Smoothies consisting of fresh fruit and vegetables, a range of All American Sodas & Iced Teas, a choice of tap, bottled and canned beers, numerous wines and all of this was in addition to some Southern Classic Cocktails which all sounded absolutely amazing. You are quite literally spoilt for choice!

After taking our drinks order, the waitress allowed us some further time to look over the menu. We were not rushed at all and it was great reading through all the options that were available. All of the starters sounded delicious which made it really difficult to choose only one. We therefore all agreed to order something different and then just help ourselves to a bit of each dish and share. This worked really well and it was great to see my children so keen to sample each item of food. From the children's menu we ordered Tortilla Chips with a cheesy dip and two portions of Popcorn Chicken with BBQ sauce. From the main appetizer menu we ordered the Burnt End Popcorn Bites (chunks of smoked beef brisket in a crispy cajun rub) and Barbecue Pulled Pork Smokehouse Nachos (nachos topped with bbq pulled pork, sour cream, avocado mayo, jalapenos & melted cheese). All of the dishes came really well presented and we were immediately impressed.


In between each course my children made the most of the cinema room. I absolutely LOVED this idea and think that the person who came up with this concept is a genius, as it meant that my children were sat in a relaxed and safe environment enjoying a movie, whilst my husband and I could enjoy each others company. It really was the best of both worlds in that we could have an amazing family meal together, but also have moments where we could have a conversation as a couple.

After an ideal rest time between courses, our mains were brought to the table. We had ordered:

  • Barbecue Hand Pulled Pork - Pulled and topped with barbecue pit beans, fries and house slaw (14 hour smoked).
  • Ribeye Steak 255g with skin-on-fries and peppercorn sauce
  • 2 x Grilled Chicken Burgers with fries
  • Mini Hickory's Burger with fries

All of these were well presented and in an eccentric way which was much more fun and interesting than traditional plates. My pulled pork and barbecue pit beans were in a mess tin, the fries in a cup with a pot of house slaw on the side and then these had all been neatly placed on a wooden chopping board.


My children's burgers also came on wooden trays placed within baskets, which I thought was great as it prevented any food slipping off the side when cutting. They also had their own cutlery and a kids activity pack which Riley enjoyed completing in between his burger bites.


Both Ben and Emma enjoyed the Grilled Chicken Burger which they both said was delicious. It is very rare for Ben to finish his meal when dining out, but on this occasion he ate every last bit, which speaks volumes in itself. They both felt that the portion size was just right and the chicken was cooked to perfection as well as being 'super tasty'.


My husband said that the rib eye steak was cooked exactly how he likes it and that the peppercorn sauce was not too overpowering. The knife cut through the steak with ease and it was tasty and flavoursome. He had mentioned to a member of staff earlier in our visit that he had not tried ribs before, so was kindly provided with a delicious sample that he ate alongside his main meal.


After enjoying our starters and mains, it was simply impossible for me to squeeze in a dessert, however my husband and children still had a little space and therefore eagerly cast their eyes over the menu. My husband selected The American Classic Waffles with maple syrup and frozen custard ice cream, Emma chose Homemade Waffles with Strawberries and Cream, Ben opted for the Homemade Waffles with Maple Syrup and requested no ice cream, and Riley ordered a cookie minus the milk. Two of my children had asked for very slight variations to their desserts and both of these requests were accommodated with no fuss at all.

Just like the rest of our meals, the desserts came beautifully presented and my family were all delighted with their choices when they arrived. My husband had been intrigued by the Frozen Custard Ice Cream and was unsure how this would taste, but said it was amazing and very different to anything he had tried before. It was also something that he would definitely like to have again in the future.

Overall we had an exceptional dining experience, with friendly staff, delicious food and excellent service. The extensive menu ensured that all our tastes were catered for and the staff were also very knowledgeable about the dishes and the restaurant brand itself. If we had any questions these were answered without hesitation and despite being busy, the staff were always very attentive and didn't seem rushed. Our meals were cooked to perfection and the whole family loved the cinema room as this allowed my husband and I to be able to have a conversation and enjoy some time together, whilst the kids enjoyed nibbling on popcorn and watching a film in between their meals. All of my children very quickly declared it their new favourite restaurant and there is no doubt that we shall be returning to Hickory's Smokehouse again very soon. Would we recommend Hickory's Smokehouse for family dining? Absolutely!


As well as an extensive breakfast, lunch and main menu, Hickory's have now also introduced some Smokin' Deals which are available every Monday to Thursday from 5pm and the current line-up includes:

Monday: Fajita Margarita £10.99 - A sizzling skillet of peppers, onions and your choice of Cajun chicken or chargrilled Cajun vegetables with warm tortillas and a signature margarita.

Tuesday: Bottomless Ribs £18.99 - Unlimited servings of baby-back ribs glazed with a choice of barbecue or bourbon sauce, served with fries and slaw.

Wednesday: Steak & Shake £10.99 - Flame grilled prime 8oz rump steak with peppercorn sauce and fries, finished off with a milkshake of the day. (There will be two choices available every Wednesday).

Thursday: Barbecue Blowout £15.99 - A Hickory's Platter consisting of pulled pork, bbq beans, smoked sausage, chicken wings, Kansas rib fingers and southern fried chicken, served with fries and slaw.

If you would like to find out more about Hickory's Smokehouse then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website: www.hickorys.co.uk
Blog: hickorys.co.uk/blog/
Facebook: facebook.com/hickoryssouthport
Twitter: @hickorys_
Instagram: @hickoryssmokehouse


*Disclaimer - We were invited to Hickory's as guests and received our food and drinks complimentary for the purpose of writing a review. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated and this review is an honest reflection of our visit. Menu items/smokin' deals correct at time of our visit but are subject to change.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Gandey's Circus - The Greatest Show Tour - A Review

We were recently invited along to Gandey's Circus which is currently at Aintree in Liverpool until the 3rd of March as part of its current UK tour. I haven't visited the circus since I was a young child and was therefore excited and intrigued to experience the 'The Greatest Show' and find out exactly what it could offer for family entertainment.

From the moment we arrived my youngest son Riley was amazed by the giant circus tent and kept asking what would be inside. He was running around excitedly trying to take a peek through the entrance whilst I was waiting to collect our tickets from the box office. He soon stopped in his tracks though as the smartly dressed ringmaster walked past and gave him a smile and a wave.

Once we had collected our tickets, we made our way into the foyer area where there was a variety of food and drink stands, along with a stall that sold the popular flashing toys and wands. Riley immediately spotted a brightly coloured sword that had colour changing lights and was priced at £6. I felt that this was very reasonable compared to some event stalls that we have seen before, so I had no issue in purchasing one for him to wave around.


As we entered the show arena, we handed over our ticket and were directed where to take our seats. The seats aren't numbered so you can simply choose where you would like to sit, as long as it is in the area that you have paid for. We managed to get some great seats a few rows up from the front, which gave us a great view throughout the show. The time slot we attended was really popular so whilst waiting for all the guests to take their seats there was also the opportunity to have your face painted or have a mascot photograph in the circus ring for a small charge, which I thought was a great idea.

Once everyone was seated the show began to start and we were introduced to the full cast singing and performing. It was a superb beginning and really set the standard high. My children were in their element singing and clapping along and they sat captivated waiting to see what happened next.

The show advertising states "You've never seen anything like it!" and they are not wrong. Every single act which took to the ring was absolutely incredible and the talent of each person was outstanding. The acrobats spun and flew through the air as they attempted high flying flips and bounces on a thin bar supported only by the strength of two people. My whole family watched in amazement as the acts continued, always excited to see what was next.

The Garcia Brothers performed an act of amazing strength as they balanced on one hand whilst carrying out a superb gymnastic routine. They made everything look so easy, yet in reality it must take so many years of training to get to the high standard they are at. We really liked the fact that each act had a great soundtrack to it with popular well known songs that matched perfectly to the performance.


One of my favourite acts of the evening was a romantic aerial ballet performance that had me completely mesmerised. An extremely talented duo climbed high above the ring and supported themselves on the silk drapes whilst providing a breathtaking and beautiful display together involving acrobatics, spins, drops and dance. However, just when we thought it couldn't get anymore spectacular, we were presented with the giant space wheel and sat on the edge of our seats as two extremely talented acrobats attempted somersaults, runs and flips whilst the wheel spun round at speed. They even attempted it whilst blindfolded which was unbelievable!

In between all the acts the audience was kept entertained by loveable clown Chico Rico who provided plenty of belly laughs and fun. There were also numerous opportunities for audience participation along with jokes and comedy suitable for the whole family.

Before we knew it the first half was over and it was the interval. The show was so fast paced and entertaining that an hour had passed really quickly. The 15 minute break allowed plenty of time to purchase some snacks or pop to the toilet and there was a further opportunity again for face painting in the circus ring along with a raffle to win a cuddly toy.


The second half was just as incredible as the first and at one point the award winning circus stars Duo Garcia performed high flying acrobatics on a soaring rocket that spun at speed around the circus top. It definitely had an element of fear and at one point one of the performers was hanging by only one foot at a great height with NO safety nets. It was definitely a heart stopping moment!

The finale saw three motorbikes enter the 'globe of death' which saw them drive around at speed whilst narrowly avoiding one another. At some points it literally looked like they were only millimetres away from one another and that they could collide at any moment, but incredibly they completed the act with precision to a great round of applause.


Overall this circus show was everything we had hoped it would be and more. It was absolutely action packed from start to finish and my children have not stopped talking about it since. Everything from the dazzling costumes to the music was just perfect and it was quite incredible to see so many talented performers all in one show. Gandeys Circus The Greatest Show really does live up to it's name and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this tour to families.

For further information and full tour dates you can visit the Gandeys Circus website or their social media pages which can be found on the following channels:

Website: www.gandeyscircus.com
Facebook: facebook.com/gandeyscircus/
Twitter: @gandeyscircus
Instagram: @gandeys_circus

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Aquabeads Disney Tsum Tsum Character Set - A Review

If you are a regular reader to the blog, you will know that we are huge fans of Aquabeads and over the past couple of years it has become one of our favourite indoor activities. With the weather being so awful lately, it has given us plenty of time to enjoy making some new creations and we have recently added a new set to our Aquabeads collection........The Disney Tsum Tsum Character Set.

The Aquabeads Disney Tsum Tsum Character Set includes everything you need to start creating, so it can be purchased and used as a set of its own, or you can use it as an add-on to your existing collection.


The box is small so it is easy to both carry and store, though despite its size, there are plenty of contents inside. The front of the box shows all of the characters that you can create, as well as showing an image of the display, sprayer and layout tray. This helps you to see exactly what is included in the pack, as well as giving you a good idea of what you can make. It is recommended for children aged 4+ due to small parts.

The reverse of the box provides a full contents list and this set includes:
  • 2 Template Sheets (Printed on both sides)
  • Display
  • 1 x Sprayer
  • 1 x Layout Tray
  • Solid beads consisting of 20 black, 60 white, 10 orange, 30 yellow, 40 light blue, 30 light green, 10 green, 40 pink, 10 blue, 90 light orange, 20 brown, 20 purple, 40 light brown, 80 ivory, 40 grey, 10 red
  • Jewel beads consisting of 30 pink, 10 brown, 20 green and 10 purple
  • Instructions

We already had an Aquabeads storage case* which came with a previous set, so to begin with I opened each of the bead packets and my son Riley sorted them into his case and arranged the colours. He then had a look at each of the templates and chose which Tsum Tsum characters he would like to make first. Once he had made his decision, we placed it in the layout tray, ready to start creating.

*Star storage case is our own from a different set and is not included in the Tsum Tsum Character Set.
Riley has made so many Aquabeads creations now that he knows exactly what to do and finds it really simple. I used to have to help him place the beads on the tray, as well as assist with finding the right colours, but now that he is 6, he manages all this on his own with ease. After a short while, Riley had completed the first characters so decided to continue with the other templates using an additional tray that we already had.


Once the templates were finished, Riley filled the sprayer with water and began to spray his creations. The water then fixes the beads together and you then simply leave them to dry for a short period of time. After the recommended time of 60 minutes had elapsed, Riley then began to remove his creations from the tray and place them into the display. 


We did have a peeler from a previous set on standby to help with this, however due to the Tsum Tsum characters being quite small, we were actually able to remove these easily with our hands and no beads became separated. 

I really liked the idea of the display and Riley enjoyed setting out all the characters exactly where he wanted them. The display is made from cardboard and is really easy to slot together, but should you have any difficulties, then the instructions provide guide images to help you.

As with all the Aquabeads sets we have tried, Riley really enjoyed this. He loves being able to create the designs all on his own and he feels a sense of accomplishment once he has finished. I think that this set is great value for money as you get quite a lot of contents included. It is a great set to use as an introduction to Aquabeads, but also a fabulous set to add to an existing collection. It is currently available to purchase from Amazon and other good toy retailers.

For more information on Aquabeads you can visit their website or social media pages, which can be found on the following channels:

Website - https://www.aquabeadsart.com/en-uk/catalog.html
Facebook - facebook.com/aquabeadsuk
Twitter - @aquabeadsuk
Instagram - @aquabeadsuk


Disclaimer: We were sent this item for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to make a purchase from this retailer.