Monday 31 July 2017

Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue - Review

A few weeks ago we told you all about the upcoming UK tour of Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue. On Saturday the tour began with a wonderful performance at the Manchester O2 Apollo and my family and I were very excited to see one of the opening shows on Saturday afternoon.

My son Riley absolutely loves Paw Patrol and so we knew he would be absolutely over the moon to see them live on stage. We were all so excited to see his reaction when he saw his favourite pups singing and dancing and we definitely weren't disappointed.

Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue shows that "No job is too big, no pup is too small!" and families can join Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest for the show's first tour in the UK and Ireland. 

I told Riley that he could choose to take one of his Paw Patrol toys with him to the show and he quickly chose Chase as his special guest to accompany him. He was so excited and his older brother and sister joined in the fun on the way to the show singing the Paw Patrol theme tune in the car with Riley on the 40 minute journey to Manchester. Luckily the traffic was on our side and we reached Manchester with plenty of time and arrived at the venue an hour before the show started.

This was great for us as it meant no rushing and we were able to find a parking space, pick up the tickets from the box office, pop to the loo, buy some snacks and have a nosey at some of the merchandise on offer. Once we had finished in the lobby area we made our way through to find our seats and we were very pleased with our view of the stage.

Paw Patrol music was playing in the background and Riley began dancing when he recognised the Pup Pup Boogie song over the speakers. He began to get so excited when other children started arriving and he passed the time waiting for the show to start by looking out for people in costumes. Some children had some fantastic Marshall and Chase outfits on (which I have been told I MUST buy for Riley!).

When it came to the show starting time Riley quickly sat upright in his seat eager to see who would be heading onto the stage. We were immediately greeted by Ryder who got the audience going and encouraged lots of audience participation with singing and dancing and waving our cardboard pom poms around that we were given on arrival.

Once the pups started to be introduced on the stage I actually got a little bit emotional with a tear in my eye seeing Riley so happy and no less than 10 minutes into the show he was already asking if we could come back the next day to see it again.

Without giving too much of the story away, the show follows the day of The Great Race where Mayor Goodway and Mayor Humdinger from Foggy Bottom must compete to see who can reach the finish line first. Unfortunately Mayor Goodway injures her foot which means she has to yelp for help and the pups come to her rescue and save the day. The performance features lots of twists and turns, audience interaction, singing, dancing and a few comical moments too, so there is plenty to keep the whole family entertained.

Mayor Goodway was my particular favourite in the show and I felt that the character was portrayed really well. The pups costumes were fantastic and Riley was so happy when we got to see some of their vehicles too! The costumes use Bunraku puppetry which is an innovating costume approach which helps to bring the Paw Patrol characters to life on stage. They really were fantastic and Riley was so mesmerised by the pups that he didn't even notice the puppeteers.

It is a high energy performance from start to finish and the running time of 80 minutes (including interval) is just the right length of time to keep little ones entertained and hold their attention. We all really enjoyed the show, not just Riley, and felt that it was an excellent family show.

Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue will be continuing their tour around the UK & Ireland over the next few weeks with visits to London, Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle, Leeds, Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast & Dublin. For the most up to date ticket information or for more information on the show then please visit the Paw Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue website here: Paw Patrol UK

You can also visit their social media accounts at:

Twitter - @PAWPatrolLiveUK
Facebook - PawPatrolLiveUK

Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets to the event for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. The information provided was correct at time of writing but is of course subject to change, so would always recommend visiting the shows own website to obtain the most up to date information.

Sunday 30 July 2017

A Day at Old Hall Farm - The Lake District

The weather wasn't too kind to us during our recent visit to the Lake District, but we managed to fit in a day out to Old Hall Farm in Ulverston on one of the dry days. The attraction was approximately half an hour away from our accommodation in Carnforth and is signposted from the main road as a Vintage Ice Cream Farm so keep an eye out for the signs! The Sat Nav wanted to send us a different way, but as we knew we were going to be heading up country lanes we decided that it would probably be a better idea to follow the signs instead.

We made our way along numerous winding lanes and through a little village before finding the Old Hall Farm attraction on the right hand side. We pulled into the car park that had plenty of parking available and then made our way over to the entrance with us all very excited to return after our previous visit back in May 2016.

Old Hall Farm is an historic working farm that uses vintage machinery and 19th century methods to grow its crops and harvest the land. Guests to the attraction are able to view some of the machinery and take part in activities throughout the day that help you learn more about working on a farm and the techniques used to do certain farm jobs. In addition to vintage tractors, many jobs are also carried out with the assistance of horse power and the farm is home to some absolutely stunning horses who help with the work.

As we entered the attraction through the shop we were greeted by a lovely gentleman called David. He provided us with some leaflets, told us where everything was and explained where the activities board was displayed so that we could see what was on offer to join in with that day. On our previous visit the children had helped to collect manure from the field and load it into a trailer and loved it (though I don't know why) and so they were a little disappointed to find that this wasn't taking place during our visit on this occasion. However there was still plenty for them to do and shortly after arriving they were introduced to a lovely shire horse and began to learn more about how he came to be on the farm, where he was from and what he was currently learning to do. We were led to an outdoor paddock where two horses were paired together and were being taught how to walk together. They were both learning and still getting used to the heavy equipment that they needed to wear and so it took a few goes to get the timing just right. The owner Charlotte was on hand to answer any questions the children had and spoke very clearly so that everyone could hear the information she was providing.

After the horse demonstration we made our way around the farm to see some of the animals. We saw some shetland ponies, pigs (and piglets), ducks, chickens, a donkey and a cow. There isn't as many animals as we have seen at other farms, however I believe that Old Hall Farm is more about the experience the children have in joining in with the activities and so this doesn't really bother us. Once we had a look around the buildings and the machinery, my children were invited to come and help groom the shetland ponies and the donkey. Both Riley and Ben really enjoyed this and both took their time to brush the animals carefully and follow the instructions they were given.

Following this they went for a play in the barn which was full of hay bales and a swing rope. Really simple, but the kids absolutely loved it. There was also some seating for parents to have a rest or to give you somewhere undercover to sit and eat your ice creams or snacks.

Once the kids had finished playing they went into the gift shop to purchase some ice cream. I am reliably informed that this was the nicest ice cream they have ever tasted! We sat outside on the picnic benches whilst they finished them and all the kids then ran off in various directions to enjoy the toys which were available outside including pedal tractors and go karts. We were going to purchase some hot dogs for lunch which was reasonably priced on the children's menu in the Chicken Shed tea room at £2.50 each but unfortunately they had none left and the kids decided they didn't want anything else and so decided to eat later once we had finished at the attraction.

Whilst the children were playing on the outdoor toys, one of the staff members came round to tell us that they were about to start a butter making demonstration. This was a fun hands on activity for the kids where they could each have a turn at churning the butter and then patting it down into shape. We learnt all about how butter is made and how it is separated into curds and whey during the churning process. This was quite interesting as we have butter on our toast & sandwiches but have never really given it much thought as to how it is made, so this was a fun thing to do and be involved with.

Before we left we had another look around the sheds. Some of the machinery had been well maintained and was in great condition, but others were in need of a bit of TLC. The information displays and movies that were available to view in the sheds were very informative and gave an insight into farm life. Overall we had a very enjoyable visit and I think that the entry price of £27 for a family of 5 was very reasonable.

Important information:

Address - Old Hall Farm, Bouth, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8JA

Telephone - 01229 861993

Website -

Twitter - @OldHallFarm1

Facebook - Old Hall Farm Facebook Page

Opening times - 10am til 5pm, 7 days a week, 3rd April to 3rd November 2017.

Entry Prices - Adult £8.25, Children £5.75, Family £27 (2 adults & 3 children), Seniors £6.50

Disclaimer - Attraction information is correct at time of writing but is subject to change, so I would always recommend visiting the attractions own website prior to visiting for the most up to date information. Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.

Saturday 29 July 2017

Our Visit to the Lakeland Motor Museum - The Lake District

Following our day out with Windermere Lake Cruises, we had originally planned to take a boat over to the Lakeland Motor Museum after our cruise to Ambleside, but with Riley getting quite tired we decided to drive there the next day instead.

The Lakeland Motor Museum is housed in a converted mill and is nicely presented from the outside. It boasts a large collection of over 30,000 exhibits that cover all kinds of transportation from the twentieth century including cars, bicycles, motorbikes and even a jet ski! In addition to vehicle exhibits there is also a wide range of local history displays and recreations of old shop fronts.

The attraction was very easy to find and well sign posted from the main road. There was plenty of parking which was free of charge to museum visitors and Cafe Ambio customers. We were greeted on arrival by two lovely ladies who welcomed us to the attraction and provided the children with a quiz that they needed to find the answers to whilst exploring the museum. My children enjoy anything that involves a bit of competitiveness and so the challenge was soon on to see who could find all the answers first. We were given information on which way to work our way through the museum and we were also informed that there was an additional exhibit on The Bluebird based in another building adjacent to the main museum. With my children and their quizzes ready to go we entered the museum ready to learn more about the history of vehicles and ready to compare them to the modern cars of today.

The exhibits began with vehicles dating from pre 1930's and there were some very luxurious cars on display that had clearly been well cared for over the years. My children found the first answers to their quiz and my husband enjoyed looking around and inside the cars to see just how different they were back then. The next range of vehicles were from the 1940's to the 1950's and included both luxury and performance vehicles, which was then followed by some iconic and unusual cars from the 50's and 60's.

Adjacent to this was a recreated street scene which featured various stores including a toy shop and confectioners. My son Riley loved the old model toy shop and looking through the windows. He has a huge car collection at home but soon realised that one of the shops collections was a little bigger than his!

On the opposite side of the 50's & 60's collection were two displays that provided information on some of the industries that used to be in the area, along with a women's Land Army display which looked into the roles that women played during the world wars. Emma and Ben will be learning about World War II when they return to school in September so they enjoyed reading some of the information that was provided here.

As we made our way around the museum we then came across a selection of family classics from the 1970's. My children liked this area as they recognised a couple of the vehicles here including a Mini and Ford Fiesta. There were then some steps to the rear of this display which took us upstairs to learn more about bicycles and motorcycles. The added addition of some vintage motor themed arcade machines soon caught my children's attention and they each spent a few 20ps playing some of the games. Riley also really enjoyed the large pedal car collection which was upstairs and looked lots of fun! Ben also liked looking at some of the old bicycles and comparing how different they were to his own.

On our return back down the stairs we then explored the vehicles from the 1990's which featured some very recognisable vehicles, but also some unusual ones. Once we had spent some time looking at these and the children had completed their quiz questions for this part of the museum we exited via the shop and walked across the courtyard to the Bluebird exhibit.

This is housed in a separate building and contains a tribute to the record breaking Campbell family and their collection of record breaking vehicles. This display contains full sized replicas along with ample written information and an informative film that you can sit and watch. My children finished off their quiz booklet and we returned back to the museum entrance to hand them in and claim their medals. Whilst on the way back we also noticed a couple of old caravans which were open and so we had a little look inside those too. We used to own a static caravan and my kids were shocked at just how different it was inside compared to how ours was. However I would imagine that in it's time it would probably have been the height of luxury!

Once my kids had returned their quizzes we had a little look around the shop. Some items were quite pricey, but there were a few pocket money priced items and Riley also bought a Car & Caravan toy for £5.99 which I thought was quite reasonable.

Before returning back to our accommodation we visited Cafe Ambio for some drinks. I had stopped here about 18 months ago and had enjoyed a delicious cappuchino by the riverside and so I was really looking forward to doing that again. The cafe was reasonably priced and had a nice selection of food but as we were due to be dining out that evening we just purchased some drinks and enjoyed a nice little rest by the river.

Overall we had a lovely afternoon out and all of us enjoyed the museum. I feel that it offered something for all ages and the added addition of the quiz made it even more enjoyable for children, espeically with the reward of a medal at the end. We were here around two hours, so if wanting to make a full day of it, then I would recommend purchasing a combination ticket that will allow you to combine your visit to the museum with a lake cruise or steam train ride.

Important information:

Address - Lakeland Motor Museum Ltd, Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8TA

Telephone - 01539 530400

Ticket prices -  Tickets can be purchased online for a discounted rate, or can be purchased on arrival at the museum.

Adult 16+ On the day price £8.50
Adult 16+ Advance online price £7.70
Child 5-15 years On the day price £5.00
Child 5-15 years Advance online price £4.50
Child under 5 years - Free
Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) On the day price £24.00
Family Advance online price £21.60

It is also possible to buy combination tickets which combine the attraction with a cruise on Windermere or a trip on a Steam Railway. Please visit the website here for more details on these offers:

Opening times - The museum is open between 9:30am to 5:30pm daily apart from Christmas Day.

Website -

Twitter - @LakeMotorMuseum

Instagram - @lakelandmotor

Facebook -

Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience in the attraction. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Attraction information was correct at time of writing but is subject to change, therefore please always check the most up to date information on the attractions own website before visiting.

Wednesday 26 July 2017

A Day Out with Windermere Lake Cruises - The Lake District

After a couple of days of heavy rain, we were delighted to be able to get out and about and enjoy the sunshine on Monday 24th July. We decided to travel half an hour down the road from our accommodation in Carnforth and head to Bowness-on-Windermere for the day and see what Windermere Lake Cruises could offer for a family adventure both on and around the lake.

We arrived in Bowness-on-Windermere at 10:30am and to our surprise we managed to park quite easily in the car park near The World of Beatrix Potter attraction which cost £7 for the day. We purposely chose to park here so that we could enjoy a walk through the town on the way down to the lake and also to pick up some sandwiches that we could take with us for a picnic. Once we reached the lakeside we saw the sign for Windermere Lake Cruises and picked up a leaflet which featured all of the cruise routes and timetables. The leaflet also provided information on the ticket prices for the different routes and we spent a few minutes deciding where we were going to visit for the day.

We had a Freedom of the Lake ticket which meant that we could travel on a continuous round the lake cruise (approximately 3 hours long) or we could travel on any of the cruises listed in the Summer 2017 timetable apart from the evening cruise. This meant that we could stop and start our journey around the lake in whichever way we would like and take in the various stops that were available.

Last year we had visited a place called Brockhole and noticed that there was a stop here on the red route. My children had loved their visit previously and so we thought that it would be a nice idea to travel from Bowness to Brockhole for a picnic and then catch a further boat from Brockhole to Ambleside before making the return journey back to Bowness. 

Once we had decided on our route I visited the kiosk where I was greeted by a friendly and helpful gentleman who was able to answer some questions that I had about the cruise. He informed me of the next sailing time which was at 11:20am and so we joined the small queue that was forming to board the boat.

All guests were welcomed onto the boat by a member of the crew and I noticed a couple of guests with mobility issues being helped down the steps and being offered assistance. There was a choice of seating downstairs on long seats with tables in between, or upstairs where you could enjoy the fresh air. As it was still a little chilly in the breeze we opted to sit downstairs on this journey and my children enjoyed looking out of the window at the passing boats. Our boat on this sailing was only half full and so there was plenty of room for everyone, but as the day progressed and the sun came out, the boats certainly got much busier. Therefore if you want to avoid the crowds then I would definitely recommend one of the earlier sailings.

Once our journey commenced we were surprised to find that it was actually very smooth. I'm not sure why but we had expected it to be a little bumpy, but it was very steady and we enjoyed a pleasant cruise to our first stop of Brockhole. At various points along the lake we were also provided with information from the crew through the tannoy about any particular points of interest that we passed.

After a short while we arrived at Brockhole where we disembarked. We enjoyed a short walk to the picnic area which was based alongside a large adventure playground, where you could also see the Treetop Nets and Zip Lines from the Treetop Trek which was a payable attraction sited within Brockhole. My children enjoyed a good half an hour play on the park before we walked over to the lakeside to enjoy a game of crazy golf. The golf cost £10 for a family of five which I felt was cheap in comparison to some places we have visited. The course wasn't too busy, so we didn't have to wait too long at each hole and likewise we didn't have to worry about keeping people waiting behind us either. The mini golf was lots of fun although some of the holes were very tricky!

Once we had finished our game we sat near the lake where you could hire rowing boats and enjoy some time out on the lake. We opted not to do this and when the kids were ready we returned to the Windermere Lake Cruises pontoon to catch the next boat to Ambleside which was the 1:45pm sailing. When the boat pulled in we were a little worried to see that it was completely full and only six people disembarked so we didn't think we were going to be able to travel to our next stop of Ambleside. However, we were pleased to find that Windermere Lake Cruises clearly think ahead for this kind of situation and had a smaller boat on standby to take everyone to Ambleside where they could either disembark or join the other boat.

The boat we travelled on was much smaller than the others, but very enjoyable all the same. We sat in the open front and being quite low down we did get ever so slightly wet but the kids loved this and said it just added to the fun. The journey from Brockhole to Ambleside took approximately fifteen minutes and when we arrived we decided to stay for a while and enjoy an ice cream before catching our return boat back to Bowness. The town of Ambleside is actually just under a mile away from where the boat docks, but if you don't fancy the walk then we noticed that there was a shuttle bus that ran to take passengers into town. We decided not to do this and instead stayed by the Pierhead cafe and enjoyed a drink and ice cream on the waterfront. The sun was shining brightly by this point and we had a really nice time just relaxing by the water. The cafe menu had some nice dishes and there was also a kiosk selling drinks and ice creams as well as a chip shop just across the road if you wanted to have a bite to eat elsewhere.

As it reached closer to our departure time to return to Bowness we noticed that a very large queue was beginning to form. As the children had already requested that we sat upstairs on the return journey, we decided to join the queue to make sure we had good seats. When the boat arrived we found it was much larger than the other two we had travelled on and was absolutely jam packed with passengers. We waited around 15 minutes for everyone to disembark before we could board and made our way to the top deck. My children were able to select where we sat and there was still plenty of room for everyone to have a comfortable journey back.

Our return journey was the favourite part of our day out as it was a nice pleasant cruise of around 35 minutes and the kids enjoyed waving to everyone on other water craft as they passed the boat. It was nice to see so many people wave back to them and it became a bit of a challenge to see if they could get everyone to wave. (Only one boat didn't!) As we had a Freedom of the Lake ticket we had originally planned to take another cruise to the Lakeland Motor Museum however Riley was beginning to get really tired after a busy day and so we decided to end our Windermere Lake Cruise experience on our arrival back in Bowness.

Overall we had a fantastic time with Windermere Lake Cruises and look forward to trying another route with them in the future when we return to the Lake District.

Top Tips!

* If you are wanting to make full use of the different cruises then purchase a Freedom of the Lake ticket which will allow you to travel on all routes over a 24 hour period.

* If you want to avoid the busier periods then catch one of the earlier sailings.

* If there is a bit of a breeze then you may want to sit downstairs otherwise it can get a bit windy on the top deck.

* If you aren't sure about any of the stops or need help with the timetable, then just ask one of the crew or a staff member in the ticket office. All of the staff we came across were more than happy to answer any questions I had and help us with any queries we had.

* Children under 5 travel for free, so make sure you take this into consideration when purchasing your tickets.

Important Information:

Telephone - 01593 443360

Ticket prices - There are a wide range of different ticket choices and prices. You can purchase cruise only tickets or also combine these with some lakeside attractions. For the most up to date information then please visit the Lake Windermere Cruises website at or their social media accounts which are:

Twitter - @Windermereboats

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a press pass which we exchanged for a Freedom of the Lake ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Information provided is correct at time of writing, but is subject to change, so would always recommend visiting the attractions own website for the most up to date information.

Wednesday 19 July 2017

The Wizard of Oz at Stockport Plaza - Competition

Get ready to go on a magical adventure over the rainbow with Regal Entertainments and their enchanting summer pantomime production of The Wizard of Oz. The show will be heading to the Stockport Plaza from Monday 7th August to Saturday 12th August and will be sure to delight the audience with a great selection of brilliant songs and show-stopping choreography.

The show features a wonderful cast including Cheryl Fergison (Eastender's Heather Trott) as the Wicked Witch of the West. Cheryl is a multi-talented performer who has starred in many stage and film productions and is a fantastic singer and musician. She is no stranger to pantomime, having previously starred in Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Beauty and the Beast to name but a few, as well as making audiences boo and hiss with her performance as The Wicked Witch in the 2016 production of The Wizard of Oz.

Stepping into the coveted Ruby Slippers once more is the incredibly talented Charlotte Gallagher who also returns for 2017 to play Dorothy. Charlotte has a wealth of stage experience including pantomime roles at venues across the North West, including performances of Peter Pan, Snow White & Alice in Wonderland.

The Wizard of Oz is a firm family favourite which tells the story of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they embark on a wondrous adventure over the rainbow in the magical land of Oz.

Regal Entertainments' version of this classic family show includes music, dance, an hilariously funny script and dazzling costumes and sets.

Be sure to join Dorothy, Toto and all their new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion as they journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City in search of The Wizard of Oz who can make all their dreams come true.

Wizard of Oz producer, Chantelle Nolan said: "We are very excited to be bringing this production to Stockport. We had an amazing time during the run of the show in St Helens last year, audiences seemed to go mad for it with many families making return visits. We are now delighted to confirm our stellar cast and they cannot wait to entertain families of Stockport!"

Important Information

Regal Entertainments Ltd presents The Wizard of Oz

Venue: Stockport Plaza Theatre, Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP

Dates: Monday 7th August to Saturday 12th August

Times: 1pm & 5pm

Tickets: Available from £13 (Groups 20+ from £12) *subject to booking fee

Box Office: 0161 477 7779

Please visit the website for the most up to date ticket information and availability at:


We have a fabulous competition available for our readers for the chance to win a family ticket to see the show on Monday 7th August at 5pm. Please read the terms and conditions and if you would like to enter, then please do so using the gleam form below. Good Luck!

Win A Family Ticket to see The Wizard of Oz in Stockport

Terms & Conditions

  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket to the 5pm performance on Monday 7th August 2017 at the Stockport Plaza Theatre, Mersey Square, Stockport, SK1 1SP.
  • A family ticket is for 2 adults and 2 children or alternatively 1 adult and 3 children.
  • The winner will be required to collect their family ticket from the box office prior to the show.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • There will be no contribution towards travel.
  • Entry is open to UK residents age 18 years or older.
  • Competition closes on Monday 31st July 2017 at 12 noon and the winner shall be drawn at random on the same day and contacted via email.
  • Due to the time restrictive nature of the prize, the winner shall have 48 hours to reply to the email and confirm acceptance of their prize before another winner from the remaining eligible entrants is drawn.
  • The family ticket is valid for the 5pm performance on Monday 7th August 2017only and cannot be changed to an alternative date or time.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winners contact details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment.

Sunday 16 July 2017

Our Week - The Summer Holidays Are Almost Here!

Only four more days left in school for my children before the school summer holidays begin and I cannot wait! The summer holidays are one of my favourite times of the year as we get a full six weeks to spend together as a family and I love to be able to have the chance to travel around and experience some new adventures.

This last week we have been very busy finalising our arrangements for July and August and we have some fantastic places planned to feature on the blog. These currently range from the Lake District to Germany, Edinburgh to Spain and Milton Keynes to Snowdonia with a few local North West & North Wales treats in between. 

Amongst all our planning though we have also had a very busy time with school reports, the school fair, sorting out the house and helping Mr. F get ready for his last Duke of Edinburgh Award trip for the school year. He has worked so hard to help get some great groups of children through their Bronze, Silver and Gold awards this year and so it will be nice for him to have a break with us and spend some quality time together.

Last Wednesday we visited the school fair which is held every year to help raise funds for our children's school. The staff, students and friends of the school team always do a great job of organising the fundraiser and every year there is always something new added for the children to enjoy. This year the local fire service were on hand to let children explore and sit inside a real fire engine and this was definitely the biggest highlight for Riley. He was so excited to sit in the back of the fire engine. There was also electric quad bike racing, wet sponge throwing and a great selection of stalls and games for everyone to enjoy.

On Friday both Emma and Ben received their school reports along with their test results and confirmation of who their teacher would be next year. I love report day as all the children at school run out so excited to ask their parents to open the envelope quickly so they know whose class they are going to be in. Then there is an excitable ten minutes where everyone runs around trying to find all their friends and check that they are in the same class. 

My daughter has stayed with the same group of friends since nursery and will be entering Year 6 when they return in September, so I was both happy and relieved to find out that she will be with the same group for her final year of primary school. Ben was delighted with his new class too and as for their test results, well I literally could not be prouder!

This next week sees the children take part in moving up day on Monday which is when they get to spend the morning in their new classes. Riley will also be participating in this as he will be moving from nursery to reception and he is so excited to be having his first school dinner with his friends tomorrow. The last day of school is Thursday and like every year the school hosts an end of year disco which my children are really looking forward to.

Overall, its been a busy but fun week and we are definitely ready for the summer break. We are all so excited to be visiting some wonderful places during the next couple of months and I cannot wait to share them all with you! 

Saturday 15 July 2017

Liverpool Pride Festival Announce the Return of 'We Are Family' Programme

Free fun filled family friendly community focused Sunday event returns with headline act Marcus Collins plus tons of fun family activities!

We are family returns to Liverpool Pride for a second year this July following the rapturous response received from last year's event. The free family event drew a huge crowd in its first year and is set to come back bigger and better for 2017.

The fun filled day will be held at St George's Quarter on Sunday 30th July between 11am and 5pm and Liverpool Pride are inviting families of all ages from across the Liverpool City Region to join the celebration with an afternoon filled with fun activities, workshops and a jam-packed programme of live entertainment.

Families attending can enjoy a whole host of fun activities including inflatables, fairground rides, international dance and arts and crafts stalls. There will also be international food stalls and bars across the festival site serving up a range of tasty treats.

Headlining the Barclays main stage is Liverpool local Marcus Collins who shot to fame in 2011 when he appeared on popular ITV talent search The XFactor. Most recently Marcus appeared in smash hit musical Kinky Boots on London's West End.

Promising to put on a great show for his hometown audience Marcus said, "I cannot wait to headline the Sunday Stage this year and look forward to meeting new and old friends for what is going to be an incredible family weekend." 

Joining Marcus on Sunday's line up are boyband 5 to 5 who will perform a medley of songs from upcoming musical The Band. Don't miss your chance to see an exclusive preview of songs from the smash hit musical before it goes on tour, which includes Liverpool Empire Theatre next January.

Returning to Liverpool Pride for 2017 is Jennifer John & Merseyside Choirs. Jennifer has been working closely with choirs from across the Liverpool City Region to create a choral performance based around this year's Liverpool Pride theme of International Love. Audiences are invited to sing along to classics that celebrate the theme of the weekend.

Headline sponsor Barclays will also be holding free informative sessions for children and parents. Code Playground offers a fun way to learn the basics of coding. The 2-hour session is designed for children aged 7-17 to learn the basics and develop digital skills for the future, book a place by visiting Whilst DigiSafe in Cyber Space offers guidance on everything needed to master the digital world. Providing tips and guidance on how to stay safe on-line including fun and interactive activities, hints on social media privacy settings, advice on pop-ups, and tips on recognising fraudulent emails, visit to book a place.

We Are Family was launched by Liverpool Pride Festival in 2016 in acknowledgement of family and friends from the wider community who support the LGBT+ movement. The event allows the LGBT+ community to open the doors of the Pride Festival to all communities, friends and family, allowing them to join in the Pride celebrations through a range of activities and performances spreading a message of acceptance and equality.

Michael Carey, from Liverpool Pride Festival, said: "We are very excited to bring back We Are Family for its second year. Last year's event was a huge success, it was great to see residents from all over the Liverpool City Region come together for a celebration of all things LGBT+. In the 50th year since the legislation of homosexuality it seems even more poignant to stand side by side with the wider community in celebration of the City's diversity."

Liverpool Pride Festival 2017 offers a week-long programme of activity which culminates with a two-day event on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July. The festival is returning for its second year to Liverpool's iconic St George's Quarter and features the well-established Liverpool Pride March on the Saturday.

Liverpool Pride Festival is now a key highlight in the city's Summer events programme, attracting more than 25,000 people each year to attend, take part and support the annual LGBT Festival.

Keep up to date with Liverpool Pride's new announcements at:

Facebook LiverpoolPride
Twitter @LiverpoolPride

Tuesday 11 July 2017

Win Tickets to see PAW Patrol Live in Manchester!

My son Riley is a huge fan of PAW Patrol and watches the show on Nick Jr on a daily basis. He has built up a huge toy collection over the past couple of years and so we were really excited to find out about the new PAW Patrol Live! "Race to the Rescue" show that is touring across the UK & Ireland this summer.

PAW Patrol Live! "Race to the Rescue" shows that "No job is too big, no pup is too small!" and shares lessons for all ages about community, social skills and problem solving as the characters each use their unique skills and teamwork. When Mayor Goodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue.

Families can join Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye and Everest for the show's first tour in the UK and Ireland. Running at 80 minutes, Paw Patrol Live! "Race to the Rescue" includes two acts and an intermission. The show is set to engage audiences with Bunraku puppetry, an innovative costuming approach that brings the PAW Patrol characters to life on stage with their vehicles and packs.

"Using Bunraku, puppetry elements are built into costumes worn by real actors to create a wonderful combination of life-size pups and to make a stronger connection with the audience. The PAW Patrol cast sings and dances, which brings a fun, realistic parallel between the animated series and the live show," says Jim Waters, producer, VStar Entertainment Group.

The performance features music, dance and an original script as well as classical theatrical scenery along with a high-tech video wall that visually transports families PAW Patrol locations such as Adventure Bay, The Lookout, Seal Island, Farmer Yumi's Farm and Jake's Mountain. Special interactive video allows the audience to participate in the show via interviews, solving puzzles with the Pups, following Mayor Goodway and much more.

The show is embarking on a tour that will be visiting numerous venues around the UK & Ireland in July, August and September. To purchase tickets, find your nearest venue, or to learn more about the show, then please visit the PAW Patrol Live website for the most up to date information:

PAW Patrol Live! "Race to the Rescue" is coming to the O2 Apollo Theatre in Manchester on the 29th and 30th July where the UK's favourite pups will star in a heroic musical adventure. Performances will take place at 10:00am, 1:30pm and 4:30pm each day and we have a fantastic opportunity for one family to win a family ticket to the 10:00am show on Sunday 30th July 2017. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and enter using the gleam form below:

Win Tickets to see Paw Patrol Live in Manchester!

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket to the 10:00am performance on Sunday 30th July 2017 at the O2 Apollo Theatre in Manchester.
  • Family tickets are comprised of 5 x A-Reserve tickets valued at £30 to a total value of £150. The tickets can be used by either adult or child. Children under 12 months of age do not require a paid ticket, provided they are seated on the lap of a ticket holder and do not occupy a seat.
  • The winner shall receive a ticket voucher via email which they will need to bring on the day of the show in order to redeem the tickets from the box office.
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • There will be no contribution towards travel.
  • Entry is open to UK residents age 18 years or older.
  • Competition closes on Friday 23rd July 2017 and the winner shall be drawn at random and notified via email within 48 hours.
  • The winner will have 48 hours to reply to the email and confirm acceptance of the prize before another winner from the remaining eligible entrants is drawn.
  • The Family Ticket is valid for the Sunday 30th July 2017 10am performance only and cannot be changed to an alternative date or time.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • The winners contact details shall be shared with the promoter Norton PR for the purpose of prize fulfilment.

Tuesday 4 July 2017

A Day Out at Diggerland Yorkshire - A Review

I am really excited to share this attraction review with you today as we had an absolutely fantastic time at Diggerland Yorkshire on Saturday, finding out what the site offers for family fun and adventure.

We are very lucky to have experienced many wonderful attractions around the world, but it is always very exciting to have the opportunity to try out somewhere new and enjoy some family fun together and Diggerland was definitely no exception.

Diggerland currently has four theme parks in the UK which are based in Kent, Devon, Durham and Yorkshire, so it is great to see that the theme park has expanded over numerous sites across the UK. The theme park is unique in the sense that it doesn't contain your usual rollercoaster rides that you may find at other attractions and instead all the rides and activities are based around..... (yes you guessed it) Diggers!

It is an award winning attraction which offers both children and adults the chance to drive full size construction machinery including diggers and dumper trucks, as well 4x4 vehicles and mini Landrovers. After reading everything that was on offer on the Diggerland website, we couldn't wait to visit for an exciting and unique experience.

We visited the Diggerland Yorkshire site as this was the nearest one to us here in North Wales. It took us 90 minutes to drive there with the majority of that being motorway driving so the time passed quite quickly. The attraction is only a very short distance away from junction 31 of the M62 so it is really easy to find. On arrival we were pleased to see that there was ample parking available for customers and the main building looked really modern, clean and inviting.

As we entered the building we were greeted by the Diggerland mascots Duggy and Dotty who provided a friendly welcome and gave the children a wave and a high five. We had arrived just shortly after opening time so there was only a few people in front of us in the queue and within five minutes of arriving we were ready to begin having some fun!

As we made our way outside, the children all ran off in different directions all excited to see what rides were available. We waited a couple of minutes for them to take in the view of all the rides before they came back asking what they could go on first. By the entrance there are a few rides that require a £1 coin which included some toy motorized diggers, some electric cars and the dodgems. As no-one else was on the dodgems I said it would be best going on later when there were more people to dodge and so we made our way to the first included ride which was the Mini Tractors. Both Emma and Ben were tall enough to drive this and Riley was the right height to be a passenger so everyone enjoyed our first fun experience.

After this Ben and Riley made their way over to the Mini Landrover's. Riley was a bit nervous about driving one of these on his own and so Ben went on with him as a passenger to help him the first couple of times with the steering. Riley soon got the hang of it though and loved driving round the little course. There wasn't a queue and so he was lucky to have a few goes before we moved on to the next ride.

After this there was a series of games using mini diggers. These were Buried Treasure, Dippy Ducks and Skittles and you need to try and use all your skills to complete the challenges. Buried Treasure involved digging deep for bricks amongst a pit full of stones and rubble. Once you had managed to grab a brick you then needed to position these on the ground at the side of the pit. This involved a lot of hand to eye coordination and was great fun watching all the children get competitive and try and beat one another. 

The Dippy Ducks game was similar to the old fairground favourite Hook-a-duck where you had to lift three ducks from a little pool. There didn't seem to be any time restrictions with it being quiet and so the kids were able to take their time in collecting all three of the ducks. 

In the skittles game a small metal bar had been placed at the end of the digger which you then had to swing to knock all the skittles down. Ben really seemed to get the hang of all of these and won every single challenge against his siblings.

Whilst the boys continued to play on the challenges for a while, Emma decided to give the Dumper Truck driving a go. Ben was slightly too short for this so it was the ideal opportunity for her to have a go whilst the boys were occupied. She absolutely loved this and went on a couple of times. Once Ben had finished on the skittles the member of staff running the ride saw he looked slightly disappointed and said that it would be ok for him to drive with his dad's help and so they both had a go much to Ben's delight.

After the fun of the dumper trucks it was time for another challenge, with Mr F attempting to stack more tyres than Emma on the StackAttack. On this ride you get to drive a specially adapted, four-wheel-drive, AVANT 200 Series Loader and try and stack as many tyres as you can whilst racing against the clock. My husband expected to do really well on this, but found it was much harder than he initially thought. Participants need to be a minimum of 140cm to drive this so again Ben was slightly too small, but we had known this prior to our visit having checked all the height restrictions on the website, so he was more than happy to sit this one out and shout directions to his sister from the other side of the fence to try and help her position the tyres correctly.

The next ride was one that Ben had really been looking forward to and was called Robots. This is where you can drive JCB Skid Steer Loaders around a purpose designed course. It had been raining prior to our visit so the course was really really muddy which added to the fun. Riley was also able to go on as a passenger with his dad and although he wasn't driving it, he felt like he was and was really proud of himself when he completed the course.

Located adjacent to this ride was the go karts. These were speed limited to allow younger children the chance to drive them too and everyone enjoyed this especially Riley. Both Emma and Ben would definitely have liked to have been able to put their foot down and race a bit faster but they had lots of fun regardless. There was also a large grass play area with plenty of picnic benches in between both of these rides with plenty of room for children to have a run around. There was a small catering kiosk where you could purchase ice cream or drinks and it was the ideal place to have a little rest and a snack.

Once we had enjoyed a little break the kids quickly demanded that we took a ride on Groundshuttle. Now unfortunately for me, I hadn't read what this ride entailed before embarking and foolishly thought that it was a bit like a tractor ride along a track and round a field at a leisurely pace. I was wrong. I am pretty sure that I have also left my stomach back in Yorkshire as still feel queasy even thinking about it. Usually I would be at the front of the queue for any thrill ride, but this absolutely terrified me. 

Basically the ride entails taking a seat on a special carriage at the front of a Manitou Telehandler which then takes you on a journey into a field. Once you reach the field you are then taken on a stomach churning ride as the telehandler rocks and spins you in the air whilst you cling onto the bars. I'm not going to lie I was screaming, but the kids were all laughing like crazy and went on it a further two times so I am clearly turning into a bit of a wimp as I get older. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of this ride for fear that I would lose my phone over the side, but there is a video on the Diggerland website which can be found here if you want to take a look.

We then made our way over to the Joyrider but unfortunately this was not available for driving experiences due to ground conditions. This was understandable as the ground was very muddy and boggy in parts which I could imagine some children would find quite difficult, especially when driving a vehicle for the first time. Everything else was available during our visit though so this was not a problem.

We chose to go on a bit more of a relaxing ride after the Groundshuttle experience and so we headed over to the Skyshuttle. On this ride you can enjoy some fantastic views as a specially adapted carriage lifts you 50 feet up into the air. It remains stationary when in the air so it is suitable for most ages as there are no scary movements once you have been lifted and you can simply relax and enjoy the views. Even Ben enjoyed this ride who is normally afraid of heights, but he was very comfortable on this and enjoyed spotting some of the rides we had been on from the sky.

Once our feet were firmly back on the ground, the kids enjoyed playing on the dirt diggers and crazy carts (a crazy cart is now also on Emma's wish list for her birthday). In the Crazy Carts you can skid and do doughnuts whilst spinning at speed. Funky helmets are provided and I must admit it looked lots of fun.

Emma and I then chose to ride on Spindizzy whilst Riley, Ben and Mr F took a trip to the indoor soft play area. This was my personal favourite ride of the day. There was a small queue but we must have waited about five minutes at the most before taking a seat in the specially adapted digger bucket which then raised you into the air and spun you in circles at speed. I really enjoyed this in comparison to the ground shuttle as I felt a lot safer and enjoyed the speed it moved at. It really was great fun and I enjoyed being able to spend some fun time with Emma laughing and joking on the ride.

Once we had enjoyed a couple of goes on SpinDizzy (you are advised to wait ten minutes between each ride to ensure you don't get too dizzy) we went to join the boys in the soft play area. This was a really nice space with decorative paintings on the walls. There were a few arcade games, a toddler play area, large soft play area and plenty of seating. There were steps to take you upstairs to the Dig In restaurant where you could purchase drinks and food at reasonable prices. One important thing to note however is that the on site catering is franchised and only accepts cash payments. Luckily I was aware of this before our trip but usually I don't carry cash and it could have caused an issue had I not been aware.

As we were in no rush to go home we decided to do another circuit of the park so that the children could enjoy their favourite rides again and also go on the dodgems which we had skipped earlier. The Dig-a-round was a popular choice with both Emma and Ben who really enjoyed riding on this again.

In total we were at Diggerland for 5 hours and had an absolutely fantastic time. As it had been raining in the morning I think this had put off some guests and so the park remained really quiet throughout the day despite the sunshine coming out in full force after lunch. This was great for us as it meant that we didn't have to queue for longer than five minutes for any ride all day. We loved how different and unique this theme park was in comparison to others we have visited and we found all the staff to be very polite and helpful. 

Hints & Tips

If you are planning a visit to Diggerland Yorkshire then I would recommend the following:
  • Take some cash, you will need cash to purchase food and drinks and also pound coins if you wish to make use of the dodgems or electric cars.
  • Don't wear your best clothes - The paths around the park are very well maintained, however when driving the machinery it is almost inevitable that you will come into contact with mud or dirt at some point during the day.
  • Get there early - The park was at its quietest from 10am til 11am and we were able to walk straight on to the majority of the rides. If you aren't a fan of queuing then you could try out the most popular rides in this time.
  • Check the height restrictions before you visit - The height restrictions for all rides are clearly displayed on the Diggerland website. All of the rides have either height or age limits which all vary so make sure you check that your child will be tall enough to enjoy the experience to the fullest and avoid any disappointment.
  • Take a picnic - The onsite catering is reasonably priced if you are wanting to purchase hot drinks or a meal, but if you are after a light lunch or snack or simply want to save a bit of money, then take a picnic and make use of the numerous picnic benches around the park.
  • Don't forget your free certificate - Children can obtain their free Diggerland certificate when exiting the shop. Simply ask at the till at the front of the shop.
Important Information

Address: Diggerland Yorkshire, Willowbridge Lane, Castleford, WF10 5NW.

Opening times: Opening times and dates vary so I would suggest visiting the Diggerland Website for the most up to date information. 

Entry prices: 
On the day - Adults under 65 & Children 90cm and over £19.95 per person on arrival
Prebook & Prepay - Adults under 65 & children 90cm and over £16.99
On the day - Age 65+ (ID required) £9.95 per person
Prebook & Prepray - Age 65+ £7.99 per person
Children under 90cm - Free
Disabled Carer (one per paying visitor) - Free
On the Day - Groups of 10 or more £16.99 per person 
Prebook & Prepay - Groups of 10 or more from £13.99 with further details available here

Diggerland Yorkshire offers baby changing facilities, disabled parking, free on site parking, free coach parking, gift shop, disabled toilets, indoor eating facilities & outdoor seating/picnic areas.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a complimentary family ticket for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience at the attraction. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Opening times, ride availability & entry prices were correct at time of writing, but these are subject to change and so I would always suggest checking on the attractions own website for the most up to date information.