Sunday, 21 October 2018

Beauty and the Beast Pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal - A Review

Why wait until Christmas to get your panto fix, when you can visit the St Helens Theatre Royal this October half term and watch Regal Entertainments pantomime version of Beauty and the Beast!

With a tremendous cast, telling a tale as old as time, this show delivers a constant stream of energy, comedy and drama which has the audience laughing from beginning to end. The show which was written by Liam Mellor and produced by Jane Joseph and Chantelle Nolan, offers absolutely everything that a great panto should, with a fun packed production for families of all ages to enjoy.


Kiera-Nicole Brennan stars as the stunning Belle and shines in the role with her delightful singing and dancing. Her performance skills were apparent from the very start and she is clearly a very talented individual. Although I had not heard of her previously, she is currently a presenter on Channel 5's Milkshake! which at the age of only 19 is an amazing achievement. 

Maddie Hope Coelho stars as Fairy Rose, who was always on hand to wave her magic wand and ensure that happiness would prevail. We have seen Maddie Hope Coelho on stage before and she has an incredible singing voice, which we would have loved to have heard more of during this production. Her solo performance was wonderful, with a hint of charm and magic that made it a beautiful scene to watch. My youngest son Riley was captivated as Fairy Rose cast her magic upon the Beast whilst performing a rendition of 'When You Believe' and this was definitely one of the stand out scenes of the show.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography
The Prince and The Beast is played by Andrew Geater, who we have watched in panto previously. I remember commenting in my review of 'Cinderella' that he had a commanding stage presence, which was evident again this evening and it makes him perfectly suited for this role. His charm and kindness shone through as the Prince, but he was also able to make a believable Beast with his booming authoritive tone.

Gaston was played by Phillip McGuinness and I absolutely loved his character. With an emphasised accent, bulging biceps and comedy lunges, what's not to like! He had plenty of the adult audience in laughter often and although technically starring as a 'baddie', he definitely had the likeability factor with his super confident and humorous appearances. 

Gaston would often appear alongside his 'mummy' Madame Botox (played by Hannah Potts). She was excellent as the pantomime villain, but not too scary for the younger guests in the audience. We particularly enjoyed her performance of 'Human', which was terrific when combined with the lighting and stage effects.

As ever, the lovable Lewis Devine had both children and adults laughing out loud, with his slapstick comedy and sometimes risque jokes. Offering the perfect mix of humour for all ages, he definitely knows how to keep a crowd entertained! Starring as French Frank, his wit and cheekiness make him a firm family favourite and he is someone that we will definitely look forward to seeing again in the future. I was quite literally crying with laughter in some parts and I am sure that I was not alone.

Resident Dame Si Foster brought smiles to our faces, with his comical contributions as Potty Polly. We have seen him perform in several pantomimes now and he never disappoints. Whether delivering well rehearsed jokes or an unplanned ad lib, you can be sure that he will have you laughing throughout. His appearances alongside Lewis Devine, make them the perfect duo who work together extremely well on stage. Potty Polly's costumes were also superb and dazzled with extravagance and amusement.

A special mention has to be given to the supporting dancers who were definitely stars in their own right. The production featured some fast paced choreography, yet even the youngest performers presented this perfectly alongside the leading cast. I am often amazed by how talented some young children are and this was definitely the case tonight, with not only wonderful dance routines but some acrobatic displays too!

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography
The sets for each scene worked well and we have always been impressed with how much Regal Entertainments can create and display, in what is quite an intimate stage setting. The inside of the Prince's castle was magnificent and majestic, with the village, Belle's home and woodland scenery also looking splendid. 

Overall we had a fantastic time at Beauty and the Beast and no sooner had it ended, my five year old asked if we could go and watch it all over again. It was evident that a lot of effort has gone into making this show a great family production, which both the cast and crew should be very proud of. Everything was perfect from the lighting to the sound, the costumes to the scenery and the music to the choreography. Ultimately Beauty and the Beast is a fun-filled family pantomime that is certain to entertain! 

Listing Details

Show: Regal Entertainments Ltd present: Beauty and the Beast
Venue: St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Dates: 20th October to 28th October
Times: Daily 1pm / Fri - Sun 1pm & 5pm
Tickets: From £12* (*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.)
Website: www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal
Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH

Bookings can be made in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ (Mon-Sat 10am-5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756000 or log on to www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography
Disclaimer: We were invited to the press night as guests, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Petit Fernand Labels and Personalised Products - A Review

I have three children of school age, which inevitably means that over the years there have been plenty of lost items of clothing ranging from random socks to a brand new coat. With all the children in the classes wearing the same school uniform, it can be very easy for items to become misplaced or taken home by someone else by accident.

My children's primary school always recommends labelling clothes, but I, like many other parents simply write their child's name on the inner label which of course over time often becomes faded with both general wear and tear and regular washing. Therefore when Petit Fernand got in touch to see if I would be interested in trying out some of their products, it felt like the ideal opportunity for me to get more organised and label my childrens clothing more effectively and prevent future items from going astray.


Petit Fernand sell a range of items which include iron on clothing labels, stick on clothing labels, stick on item labels and other personalised products such as water bottles, lunchboxes and mugs. Their items are much more appealing than your traditional plain clothing labels and instead they offer a wide range of designs, colours and fonts that you can choose from. I had a good browse through the website, trying to make a decision as to which labels would be best suited for each of my children. I was pleasantly surprised by the choice available and decided to let the children get involved and create their own designs which they absolutely loved.

The website is extremely user friendly which makes placing orders not only easy, but enjoyable too. My children took it in turns to pick which labels they would like, then they got creative with their personalisation options. Firstly they could pick a background colour, followed by a text colour and then an icon that could fit at the top of the label. You could then write the text that you required in the boxes provided and a preview of your label would appear on the right hand side. My children enjoyed playing around with all the different options and seeing how each font looked with their design.

The first item the boys created was their stick on clothing labels. These are a fantastic idea and take all the hassle out of having to sew or iron labels into place. The stickers each measure 17.5 x 22mm and had space for two lines of text. They are designed to be applied to garments care or size labels that already exist inside clothing, so if you have an item that doesn't have these, then you would need to use the iron-on clothing label option instead as those ones can be applied directly to any fabric.

Riley chose a lovely bright yellow (his favourite colour), along with a star icon and a funky blue font. We decided against placing his class name on these stickers, even though there was room as we decided we wanted to use them on some other clothing as well as school uniform, so we opted for the text "This belongs to Riley" instead. Ben decided on a similar text, but opted for a bright blue background, with a football icon for his design. Something which he was very pleased with.


I was somewhat intrigued as to how well stick on clothing labels would last especially when being washed regularly, but somehow these labels are designed to be both washing machine and tumble dryer resistant. This was great to hear and it was definitely something that I was keen to put to the test.

The next products we chose were some stick-on item labels, with the intention of applying these to various school accessories such as pencil cases, note books, lunchboxes and juice bottles. The size of these could also be customised with a selection of options available. These were:
  • Mini (46mm x 6mm)
  • 1 line (56mm x 11mm)
  • 2 lines (56mm x 15mm)
  • 4 lines (56mm x 36mm)
Ben opted for one line and continued with his football theme to match his clothing labels, where as Riley decided that he would like his class name on the item labels so decided to go with two lines instead. He wanted these ones to be completely different to the clothing labels he had created earlier, so this time he chose a space themed background with a rocket ship icon and they looked fabulous! My daughter also decided that she would like some item labels to place on her text books to make them stand out a little more. She therefore went for a pale pink background with a bright sugar skull icon and a lovely bold pink text which was sure to make her items stand out.


Lastly, I wanted to choose one of the personalised products and after having a look through the items available, I chose one of the wonderful personalised lunch boxes which offered plenty of space and containers for Riley's school lunch, picnics or just for snacks and treats. Offering a large 1000ml capacity and measuring at 210mm (w) x 85mm (h) x 145mm (d), they looked fantastic and with a choice of 34 themes to choose from, it seemed an excellent choice. The lunch boxes are BPA-free and are microwave and fridge safe. In addition to this they include a main container, 2 removable containers, an ice pack, a bento layer and a lid. 

Two of my children regularly have school dinners, where as Riley has packed lunches every day so I knew it would get plenty of use. His topic in school at the moment is Superheros, which he is really enjoying, so I decided to try and find a superhero theme for his lunch box too. Fortunately they had just the right design which was exactly what I had in mind. Again we were able to customise this with his name, so there is definitely no chance of it getting mixed up with anyone else in school now.

Once all of our items had been selected and customised, we placed the order and waited patiently for them to arrive. We received an order confirmation via email soon after ordering and then a further email around two days later once the items were on their way. We then received everything a couple of days later, all neatly packaged in a cardboard box.

On opening the box I was really pleased with how everything had been presented. The labels came in their own little presentation booklet which looked great. Inside the front and back cover there was a user guide explaining how to use them, as well as some care tips to help get the best value from your labels. At the back of the booklet, was a lovely free gift page which featured some jungle character stickers and Riley wasted no time in creating a jungle themed picture with them.


The lunch box looked fantastic and was of really good quality. It is quite heavy with the ice pack inside, but this is removable should the weight be of any concern. We had also ordered one of the cotton lunch box bags for Riley to keep his lunch box in, so this made it easy for him to carry it around and transport it from home to school. We were all keen to begin putting the items to the test, so I asked Riley to think of some ideas for some food that he would like to go in his new lunch box and I asked Emma and Ben to get their school uniform and some items together so that we could begin to apply the labels.

Using the stick on clothing labels is really easy and it is a simple process to apply these to your items. First of all you need to make sure that the surface that you want to attach a label to is clean, then remove the label from it's backing and simply press firmly in your chosen location. Each of my children decided that they would like to do their own labels, which made an already easy job, even easier for me! Ben lay his school uniform out and set about finding the existing garment labels, whilst Emma arranged some of her work books and decided where she would like to place the stickers. Who knew that applying labels to items could actually be a fun activity to do together?!

I was still slightly sceptical as to how the stick on labels could withstand the washing machine, but my boys are pretty much guaranteed to come home with mud covered clothes on most days, so I knew it wouldn't be long before I could test this out. The care tips do recommend that you wait 24 hours after applying the stick-on clothing labels before wearing or washing, so when Riley came home with a dirty school polo shirt a couple of days later, it was timed perfectly for me to place it in the wash. 


Much to my surprise the label was still completely intact when I removed it from the washing machine, usually I would place school uniform to dry on the maid, but decided to use the tumble dryer on this occasion to see if it could withstand heat just as well. Again the label came out of the tumble dryer exactly as it entered and I was very impressed that these hadn't torn or faded in any way. The polo shirt has now been in the wash on three separate occasions and the label still looks as good as new. I will however update this blog post after 20 washes to see if they are still doing well. 

I found the labels to be extremely good value for money, with the stick on clothing labels costing from as little as £3 for 10 labels. The stick on item labels also cost from £3 for 10 labels which I think is a very cost effective way of keeping your items safe and preventing loss.


With regards to the lunch box, Riley absolutely loved the design, but also the little compartments too. He was trying to think what he could put in them and came up with a few ideas such as nuts, raisins, chopped veg, fruit or sweets. We decided that nuts would not be a good idea in case some other children in school have allergies, so we thought that fruit would be the safer option. We then used the larger compartment for his sandwiches or wraps.

The removable compartments make it easy to clean and we all agreed that the design of the product was ideal for storing lunch time food. We also thought that it would be ideal for picnics or school trips, especially in the summer months, where the ice pack will ensure that food remains chilled and suitable to eat. The lid fits really securely to the base using the clips and Riley found these easy enough to do himself, without the need to ask for assistance.

The price of the personalised lunch boxes are £22, which may seem a little on the high side at first, however when you consider that a lot of the material lunch boxes that you find in supermarkets now range between £7 to £12 and don't really last too long, then £22 for an excellent quality personalised item is actually really good value and I do think that it is a very fair price having seen the final product and used it.

You can find out more about the personalised lunch boxes here - Personalised Lunchboxes


Overall we have been extremely impressed with Petit Fernand, not only with the products, but also with the service. Everything from the product selection, to placing the order, to receiving them and then using them has been really simple and enjoyable too. The website was really easy to use, with all the products placed in easily identifiable categories. I loved that my children found it easy to use, so that they could have an input in their label designs. I found the prices to be very reasonable and I will definitely be ordering the stick on labels again in the future for my children's clothing. We would recommend Petit Fernand to others and I will most certainly be using their service again.

If you would like to find out more about Petit Fernand, then you can visit their website or social media on the following channels:

Instagram - @petit_fernand_uk
Facebook - Petit Fernand
Pinterest - PetitFernandUK


Disclaimer: We were provided with a £50 voucher from Petit Fernand for the purpose of purchasing items of our choice to review. Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. This post does not contain affiliate links.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Dates for your Diary - The Gruffalo's Child Comes to Storyhouse this Autumn on the 30th-31st October

Smash-hit West End show The Gruffalo's Child Live comes to Storyhouse in Chester later this month as part of a nationwide tour.

No Gruffalo should ever set foot in the deep dark wood...so join The Gruffalo's Child on her adventurous mission in Tall Stories' magical, musical adaptation of the much-loved picture book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.

The Gruffalo's Child Live comes to Storyhouse in Chester for three performances only. The show can be seen at 2pm on Tuesday 30th October, and on Wednesday 31st October at 11am and 2pm. Tickets are on sale now.

One wild and windy night, The Gruffalo's Child ignores her father's warnings about the Big Bad Mouse and tiptoes out into the deep dark wood. She follows snowy tracks and encounters hungry woodland creatures - but the Big Bad Mouse doesn't really exist...does he?

This musical adaptation of the popular children's book guarantees entertainment for all ages. Songs, laughs and scary fun for children aged 3 upwards and their grown-ups, in the hugely popular show that's toured Britain and the world.

The cast features Althea Burey as The Gruffalo's Child; Georgia Wall as Mouse; Jack Kelly as The Gruffalo and Predators; and Christopher Smart (understudy / assistant stage manager).

Image Credit: ©Lesley Cook Headshots
Internationally acclaimed theatre company Tall Stories brings The Gruffalo's Child Live to Storyhouse  as part of a major UK and international tour, which forms part of Tall Stories' 21st anniversary season and will showcase the production's new set and costumes.

Tall Stories' hit musical adaptation of the award-winning sequel to The Gruffalo (published by Macmillan Children's Books) is "everything good children's theatre should be" (The List). Tall Stories brings great stories to life for audiences of all ages.

The Gruffalo's Child Live is produced by award-winning theatre company Tall Stories  - a creative force whose productions include The Gruffalo, the Olivier Award Nominated Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale and The Snow Dragon. The creative team includes Director Olivia Jacobs, Creative Producer Toby Mitchell, Designer Isla Shaw, Composers John Fiber and Andy Shaw of JollyGoodTunes, and Lighting Designer James Whiteside.

The company is a registered charity which tours the UK and the world with its exciting blend of storytelling theatre. Tall Stories was founded in 1997 by co-directors Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell. Tall Stories shows have played in the West End, on Broadway, in the Sydney Opera House as well as all sorts of venues and countries in between.

Tickets are on sale priced at £14 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee).

Further information can be obtained from the following website or social media channels:

Websites - www.tallstories.org.uk or www.gruffaloschildlive.com
Facebook - @tallstoriestheatre or gruffchildlive
Twitter - @tallstoriesnews or @gruffchildlive

Listing Details

Show - The Gruffalo's Child Live
Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.
Dates - Tuesday 30th October and Wednesday 31st October
Times - Tues 2pm / Wed 11am and 2pm
Tickets - £14 (each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee)

Suitable for youngsters aged 3 upwards.
Duration approximately 55 minutes with no interval

Tickets can be booked by visiting the Storyhouse website at www.storyhouse.com, by calling 01244 409133 or in person at the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.

Website - www.storyhouselive.com
Facebook - www.facebook.com/storyhouselive
Twitter - @storyhouselive

Image Credit: ©Lesley Cook Headshots
Disclosure: This is a press release from Storyhouse. All details are believed to be correct at time of publishing, however I would always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. 

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Disney on Ice presents Dream Big at the Manchester Arena - A Review

If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will already know of my love for Disney On Ice. We have attended numerous productions over the years and I can honestly say that I will never tire of watching the amazing dancers bring the Disney characters to life. It is a personal highlight on the calendar for me and we were very excited to be invited along to the Manchester opening night to experience Disney On Ice presents Dream Big!

From the moment we arrived, the Manchester Arena was full of smiles and excitement. There were children in costumes everywhere we turned, as princesses, heroes, flashing wands and twinkling lights filled the arena. Guests both young and old beamed with happiness waiting for the show to commence and as the lights began to dim, a wave of anticipation swept across the audience as the music began to play and the dancers took to the ice.

After a brief introduction by Mickey, Minnie and friends who encouraged the audience to get up on their feet and dance, we were treated to the main event, which kept the crowd captivated from start to finish. Mickey and Minnie did of course make regular appearances throughout the show and helped to connect each of the stories to the next.

First to take to the ice was Aladdin and we absolutely loved the fun and craziness involved with the opening market scene as Aladdin was trying to escape. This act went to another level though as Aladdin and Princess Jasmine performed a duet to a Whole New World which was absolutely amazing.

Exhibiting the most beautiful and skillful skating as they glided across the ice, my family and I were mesmerised and my youngest son Riley, could not believe his eyes when Aladdin skated around the ice rink holding Jasmine in the air using only one hand. The strength, skill and practice which must have gone into this routine must have been incredible, to make it appear so flawless thoughout. We have been hugely impressed by the skills shown in previous productions, but this one certainly stood out for us right from the start.


The Beauty and the Beast segment of the show was a real crowd pleaser, however I was left slightly disappointed mainly because the Beast didn't actually feature (well not in Beast form anyway). Whilst I really enjoyed the performance of Be Our Guest I felt that this could have been followed up with a Belle and Beast duet to the full song of Tale As Old As Time before concluding, which I am sure would have looked incredible upon the ice.

My personal favourite from the whole night was Moana and demigod Maui whose costume alone was extremely impressive. The duo were making their Manchester debut and Riley was delighted as we watched the fantastic routine to How Far I'll Go, which combined incredible ice skating moves with a powerful choreography that was mesmerising to watch. It was a performance that I am sure will inspire and encourage others to Dream Big and it is certainly one that my family and I will be talking about for some time.


The Little Mermaid has always been one of my favourite acts in previous Disney on Ice productions and so I was really happy to see that the Under the Sea routine had been included as part of Dream Big. The ice was full of bright colours and everyone clapped and danced along to the music as The Little Mermaid, Sebastian, Flounder and friends took us on a journey beneath the waves.

Other performances included Tangled, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, with the latter featuring a spectacular fire breathing dragon. The clever use of pyrotechnics creates small flames across the ice as the Prince battled with the dragon. My children were fascinated by this and kept asking me why the fire didn't melt the ice. To be honest I am not sure myself!


The final act was one that we have come to know and love from our last few visits to Disney on Ice and it never disappoints. It was the moment my youngest son Riley had been waiting all evening, as sisters Elsa and Anna took us on an icy adventure to the town of Arendelle, in a shortened version of the BAFTA and Academy Award® winning animated film Frozen.

Audiences sang along as stunning performances to Love Is An Open Door, For The First Time In Forever and Let It Go took place within the ice rink. Although there wasn't a large amount of scenery to support these performances, the music and skating was more than enough to keep us entertained in a routine packed with high flying spins and dance moves galore. Snow fell from the rooftop which added to the magic and created a beautiful wintry sight.

I had read a couple of reviews prior to attending the show, that stated that Disney on Ice presents Dream Big was more suited for girls, due to the amount of princesses that feature throughout, however I would definitely have to disagree. As well as the stunning princesses, there are also many heroes, stunts, and even a fire breathing dragon, to ensure that there is plenty to keep everyone entertained regardless of gender or age. My youngest son's favourite acts were from the Moana and Frozen characters and his highlight was singing Let It Go with his dad as Elsa took to the ice.


Overall we found Disney On Ice presents Dream Big to be absolutely incredible. This show has pulled out all the stops in creating something so magical and entertaining, which was an absolute pleasure to enjoy with my family in Manchester last night. Everything flowed so well and none of the segmented stories felt too long. I loved that Dream Big featured a wide range of characters so that audiences could be treated to a whole host of Disney stories on the ice, ranging from the classics such as Cinderella, to the modern day wonders such as Frozen and Moana. Last night's production literally blew me away and Feld Entertainment certainly did Dream Big when putting this magnificent show together.

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big will be in Manchester until the 14th October, before continuing on their UK tour. For the complete list of tour dates, please head to www.disneyonice.co.uk. You can also keep up to date on the latest developments through social media by visiting:

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

Listing Details

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

Disney On Ice presents Dream Big UK Tour Dates

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


Disclaimer: We were invited to Disney on Ice presents Dream Big, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. Thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Images provided by Disney on Ice. This post does not contain affiliate links.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Pantomime at the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool - December 2018

Heigh-ho, Heigh-Ho, it's off to the Epstein Theatre we go as the cast of LHK Productions' Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs came together this week to launch the show, which is on at the Hanover Street venue from Friday 7th December 2018 to Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

Cast members braved the cold to pose for pictures along The Strand - capturing Liverpool's beautiful and famous cityscape, before heading to The Epstein Theatre where press and VIP's got a sneak peek at what they can expect this Christmas.

Radio City 2's Claire Simmo, who stars at the Fairy, hosted the event - and was on hand to introduce her fellow cast members.

Photo credit: David Munn Photography
Leading the all-star cast is The Queen of Clean, How Clean is Your House? star Kim Woodburn as the Wicked Queen.

Television presenter and expert cleaner, Kim Woodburn is best known for presenting Channel 4 show How Clean in Your House? from 2003-2009, which also led to a Canadian version called Kim's Rude Awakenings from 2007-2009.

The television personality has also remained a household name with appearances on the ninth series of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! finishing runner up in 2009, and entered the Celebrity Big Brother house as a housemate on the nineteenth series in 2017 where she made it to the final and finished in third place.

Britain's best loved and most entertaining medium, Derek Acorah, will be using his psychic ability to declare who is the fairest of them all as he appears as the Magic Mirror via the power of video projection.

The Liverpool born star is most notable for his work on British paranormal reality television series Most Haunted from 2002-2005. He has since starred in numerous tv shows including Derek Acorah's Quest for Guy Fawkes and Derek Acorah's Ghost Towns. He also competed in the twentieth series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2017 finishing in fourth place.

Britain's Got Talent star Lewis Pryor storms back on the Epstein stage after taking audiences on a highflying adventure to Neverland last Christmas as Peter Pan, who returns as Muddles. The young star finished 3rd place during the live finals of the 2016 series of the ITV show with dance troupe Boogie Storm.

Michael Chapman never fails to have audiences rolling in the aisles laughing and he is certain to keep everyone on their toes with his hilarious comedy antics as he makes a welcome return as Liverpool's favourite Dame.

New cast additions include Mia Molloy who returns to play Snow White after dazzling as Jill in Easter's Jack and the Beanstalk, and Liverpool actor Alex Patmore, who is currently playing Bobby in the UK tour of Cilla the Musical, will play Prince Charming.

During the afternoon guests were treated to a special performance from Mia Molloy and Lewis Pryor who sang their solos - wowing audiences with their vocals!

Producer Lee Kelly then made a very exciting announcement, revealing that he will be holding open auditions to find the hottest new talent for the senior dancer roles in the production. Further details about the auditions will be released in the coming weeks.

Lee said: "What a great way to officially start the countdown to Christmas! It has been a fantastic day bringing the cast together and it has got us all in the festive spirit and excited to bring the show to Liverpool audiences. Be sure to book your tickets and join us at the Epstein Theatre this Christmas - just 9 weeks and counting until we open!"

A timeless tale and one of the nation's favourite pantomimes, follow the story of the beautiful princess Snow White, as she tries to escape the clutches of her evil step mother, who's one aim is to become 'the fairest of them all'.

After fleeing the Kingdom to escape the Wicked Queen's evil plans, Snow White seeks refuge with seven dwarfs living in the forest.

Complete with wonderful songs and choreography as well as poisoned apples, magic mirrors and of course that much loved panto magic, Snow White will have audiences on the edge of their seat.

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, it's off to the Epstein we go this Christmas!

Please note: Kim Woodburn will not be appearing in any of the 10am performances. Derek Acorah will appear by the power of video projection and does not appear in person.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography
Listing Details

Show - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Dates - Friday 7th December 2018 to Wednesday 2nd January 2019
Times - Performance times vary so please visit The Epstein Theatre website for further details.
Venue - The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ

Tickets -
Opening Night Ticket Offer: Friday 7th December - All tickets £13
Special Offer: Wednesday 26th December 5pm & Monday 31st December 5:30pm - All tickets £15.50

Sat and Sun performances and Monday 31st December 1pm, Tuesday 1st January & Wednesday 2nd January: Adult £19.50 / Concession £17.50 / Family £65

All other performances: Adult £18.50 / Concession £16.50 / Family £63

There are also a limited number of £11 tickets available on all performances from Friday 7th December to Monday 10th December.

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

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

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

Tickets can also be booked in person at the theatre box office (open 2pm-6pm Mon-Thu & 12pm-6pm Fri-Sat)

Alternatively you can book tickets via TicketQuarter by calling 0844 8000 410 or visit www.ticketquarter.co.uk.

Disclosure: This is a press release from the Epstein Theatre. Details provided are believed to be correct at time of publishing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Our Review of the Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck Playset

Num Noms are the super cute collectible range that not only look like food, but smell like it too! By mixing a num and a nom you can create your very own flavours and make deliciously scented treats. Some also contain surprises such as lip gloss or nail varnish which are sure to be popular with any mini-makeup fans.

Some people may consider the Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck to be a 'girls toy', but my son Riley loves all kinds of toys, whether that be his trains, cars and building tools, or his dolls house, princess teddies and kitchen. He absolutely loves pretend play and can use his imagination to create many different scenarios that help him to have fun. When opportunities arise for product reviews such as this one, I will always ask Riley whether it is something he would want to try out and when he saw the Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck, it was a definite YES PLEASE!


I explained to him that you could create your own lip gloss using the truck and he was so excited by the thought that he could make his mummy some special make-up all by himself, as well as having a super cool truck to add to his vehicle collection. He loved how cute the Num Noms looked and waited very patiently for the product to arrive a few days later.

On arrival, it was much bigger than he had expected, so he was really excited to open up the packaging and put it to the test. His older sister was on hand to help him out with the scissors and she carefully removed all the packaging for him. Some parts were a little tricky, so I would definitely recommend having a grown up on hand to help remove all the pieces from the box.


Inside the packaging the product contained:

 - Num Noms Lip Gloss Truck
 - 1 Lip Gloss Base
 - 2 Lip Gloss Flavours
 - 1 Glitter Sprinkles
 - 1 Cupcake Making Tool with Cherry Spatula
 - 1 Special Edition Scented Num
 - 3 Lip Gloss Container Noms

The truck was already assembled, so all Riley needed to do was place the smaller individual items into the Lip Gloss Truck. He excitedly picked up the ingredients to make the lip gloss and decided that he was going to make some for his sister first. There is a large tub of lip gloss provided and you simply scoop some of this, add one of the flavours (cleverly designed as sauce bottles), finishing off with some glitter sprinkles. You can then place this in the 'Mr Whippy' style ice cream dispenser and push the lip gloss through using the plunger provided and into your chosen pot, cone or ice cream glass below.


Riley absolutely loved pretending he was an ice cream seller and made several different flavours of lip gloss for both his sister and me. He then pretended that he had his own shop and we had to smell and test out his creations. He then decided that it would be a 'drive-through' ice cream stall where you could purchase ice cream or make-up, so he got all of his other toy vehicles and made them form an orderly queue. It was certainly a toy that inspired Riley to use his imagination and creativity, which was great to see.

It is a multi-purpose toy, so as well as the facility to make lip gloss, it can also be used as a play set and toy vehicle as the wheels move around easily. The handle on the top makes the toy easy to carry and all of the contents can pack away nicely inside or on top of the truck. Visually it looks bright, colourful and appealing and certainly stands out.

Riley asked me a couple of times why there was no music and in fairness I can see his point. In a product that looks just like an ice cream truck, it would have been great to have had a button that played some tunes whilst being moved around. If I was to make any changes to the toy then the addition of some music, sound effects or lights would be it.


There is enough lip gloss base provided to make six good sized portions and Riley made three lots during his first time of playing with the toy. He is five years old and found the process easy enough to do by himself, though I would always recommend parental supervision just in case of any mishaps or spillages.

As you can imagine the lip gloss does get sticky and a little messy too, so it is best to clean the dispenser, cupcake tool and spatula as soon as you have finished creating. I found that soap & water didn't work too great in removing all the lip gloss, so Riley suggested using baby wipes. This was an excellent idea as these worked perfectly in cleaning the entire truck ready to be used again.

Overall we thought that the Num Noms Lip Gloss truck was great. We all had so much fun making our own creations and I couldn't help but have a go myself. I think the toy is well designed with minimal small parts and it is very easy to pack everything away. We loved its versatility of being a creative toy, but also one that could be used as a vehicle in other imaginative ways. I like the fact that once all the lip gloss has been used and made, Riley will still have a truck that he can play with whenever he wants which is great. With an RRP of £29.99 I think it represents good value for money and appears to be a good quality product.

It is available to purchase from Argos, Smyths, The Entertainer, Amazon* and all other good toy retailers.

If you would like to find our more about the Num Noms range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - Num Noms
Facebook - facebook.com/numnoms
Instagram - @officialnumnoms
YouTube - youtube.com/numnoms


Disclaimer: We were sent this product free of charge in order to provide our honest review of the product. Thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. *Link to Amazon is an affiliate link which means that I may receive a small commission should you choose to purchase an item from their website.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Winter Wonderland at St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church, Liverpool 1st to 23rd December 2018 - Competition!

One of Liverpool's most iconic landmarks will be transformed into a magical, immersive, Christmas attraction for 2018.

St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church, situated at the top of Bold Street, will be turned into a Winter Wonderland for almost four weeks this festive season and is set to become the 'must-visit' Christmas Grotto experience of the year in Liverpool.

Set against beautiful and atmospheric festive backdrops and with lots to explore, families will be escorted by an elf and immersed into their very own Christmas spectacular full of festive characters, workshops and fun activities.

Winter Wonderland at St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church will take place between Saturday 1st December and Sunday 23rd December 2018, with sessions available to pre-book now.

Fondly known as the 'Bombed-Out' Church, St Luke's is one of Liverpool's best loved heritage sites. The festive attraction will transform St Luke's and its grounds in a way which has never been seen before. The interior of St Luke's will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland, where families can make their way through a whole host of activities which includes a special appointment with Santa during the experience.

Two-hour timeslots are available to book in advance and the Winter Wonderland ticket price includes Santa's Workshop where youngsters can make their own bauble or Christmas Card to take home; art sessions at Mrs Claus's Art Studio; build and dress up a snowbuddy in hats and scarves in the Snowland; storytelling in Storyland with characters; show off fun dance moves in the Silent Disco; and not forgetting a trip into Santa's Grotto with a gift and framed photograph with Santa to take home. Adults are also treated to a hot drink and mince pie.

Ms Christmas from Enchanted Productions said: "We are so excited to be bringing to Liverpool a brand-new, top-quality immersive Grotto experience that hasn't been seen before, and in such an iconic and historic location! It is going to be a really magical and unique attraction for the festive season, for the whole family to enjoy."

For further information, you can visit their social media channels which are:

Facebook - StLukesConservationTrust
Twitter - @bombedoutchurch

Listing Details

Event - Winter Wonderland at St Luke's "Bombed Out" Church
Dates - Saturday 1st December to Sunday 23rd December 2018
Tickets - Children £18.99 / Adults £12.99 / Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £59.99
Early Bird Ticket Offer - Quote SANTA1 when booking for a 20% discount for the first two weeks on-sale. This will be valid for sessions booked for the first two weeks of December only (excluding weekends).
Booking - Bookings can be made online at www.ticketquarter.co.uk, by telephone on 0844 8000 410 or in person at the Liverpool Echo Arena Box Office - Kings Dock.

Photo credit: David Munn 

Competition

We also have a fantastic competition for our readers, offering you the chance to win a family ticket to Winter Wonderland at St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church in Liverpool for either the 3rd, 4th or 5th of December 2018. Please read through the terms and conditions and then enter using the gleam app below. Good Luck!

Win a Family Ticket to Winter Wonderland at St Luke's "Bombed Out" Church, Liverpool

Terms and Conditions

  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) to attend the St Luke's "Bombed-Out" Church Winter Wonderland Grotto, for either the 3rd, 4th or 5th December 2018. Prize can be used on 1 (one) of these dates only and tickets are not transferable to an alternative date.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on the 31st October 2018.
  • Winner will be drawn and notified within 3 working days of the closing date.
  • The winner shall have 7 (seven) days to respond to the winning notification and confirm their acceptance of the prize. Should the winner fail to respond, then an alternative winner shall be drawn from the remaining eligible entrants.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • Winner's details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.
  • The family ticket is not transferable
  • If circumstances arise that prevent the event from going ahead as planned, then It's A Family Adventure accepts no liability and no alternative prize will be offered.
  • Entries shall be validated to confirm that the entry action has been completed as stated. Incorrect or invalid entries shall be removed.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - Contact & Jackie Hagan present The Forest of Forgotten Discos! 11th - 23rd December 2018

The festive season is looming ever closer, and Contact is dusting down its glitter ball and ironing its spandex all in preparation for its journey into The Forest of Forgotten Discos! Running from December 11th to 23rd at the intimate and award-winning Hope Mill Theatre, this year's Contact family Christmas offering - integrating sign language and visual storytelling into all its performances - puts the FUN into funky for everybody aged 5-105!

There is a mystery in the forest - everyone has forgotten about dancing and bright lights and disco. Even Alexa the virtual assistant from the Amazon Rainforest - who normally knows everything - does not understand why this is the case. That is until 7 year old Red, who is afraid of nothing and nobody, explodes on to the scene. Red thinks that dad's new girlfriend will ruin Christmas and so has run away from home to make a new life in the forest.

Alexa introduces Red to the three bears who live there.... Bear Hug who is a creaky bear with a secret; Bear Minimum who has a higgledy piggledy bedroom she cannot keep clean and Bear Grills who just can't keep his head cool. Red and the bears embark on a journey through the forest and learn to work together....with some help from the audience along the way.

Written by the acclaimed Jackie Hagan - a stand up comedian, playwright and theatre maker who drinks cut price champagne from her glittery false leg - The Forest of Forgotten Discos! is an inclusive theatrical experience for all ages and all types of families. It has been written and is being staged very much in keeping with Hagan's aim to create work that celebrates the experiences of people left out of the mainstream. Creative integration of sign language and visual storytelling features in each and every show to enhance its accessibility.

Directed by emerging director Nickie Miles-Wildin, who starred in the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, Nickie is currently Resident Assistant Director at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Director's Scheme. She commented:

"Having followed the work of Contact for many years, I feel honoured to be working with them on this playful Christmas show. I am really excited about the creative integration of the sign language at each show which we really want to be for everybody - regardless of age, family configuration or background. Working with the very humorous Jackie Hagan means also that rehearsals will be lots of fun."

Playing the role of Red is Paislie Reid who started her career as a child actress in two seasons of The New Worst Witch (CITV). Sophie Coward - who plays Alexa - trained at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) and has toured with Mac's Arcadian in their BSL integrated Great Odds and performed with Paperfinch Theatre in an immersive twist on The Nutcracker at Theatr Clwyd.

The Bear Family trio is made up Sara Cocker as Bear Hugs: A former member of Contact's Young Company, Sara is also one third of Eggs Collective whose work includes Get A Round for BBC2's Performance Live series. Marquelle Ward is Bear Grills, best known for his role as regular character BB in ITV1's Brittania High and made his West End debut as Rum Tum Tugger in CATS at the London Palladium in 2015, for which he was nominated for West End Frame's "Best West End Debut" award.

Completing the trio is Ali Briggs as Bear Minimum. She performs using sign language and lip reading and is an experienced stage and TV actress with credits including Fat Friends, Alphabet Soup and 23 episodes of Coronation Street as Freda.

The Forest of Forgotten Discos! is a fun, heart-warming story that can be enjoyed by everyone this festive season.

As Contact's permanent home on Oxford Road continues its building transformation, the company is delighted to be concluding its 2018 In the City Part 2 Season at the acclaimed Hope Mill - The Stage's 2018 Fringe Theatre of the Year.

The Forest of Forgotten Discos! Runs from Tuesday 11th December to Sunday 23rd December. Tickets are on sale now priced £13/£7 - booking is available at www.contactmcr.com or by phone on 0161 274 0600.

Listing Details

Event - Contact & Jackie Hagan present The Forest of Forgotten Discos!
Venue - Hope Mill Theatre, 113 Pollard Street, Manchester, M4 7JA
Age range - Suitable for over 5's
Dates - 11th December to 23rd December
Times - Times vary, so please visit www.contactmcr.com for further details
Tickets - £13 / £7 concessions

Our Summer Adventure at Bristol Zoo Gardens - A Review

Last year we visited the fabulous Bristol Zoo Gardens over the October Half Term period and had the opportunity to not only see some incredible animals, but also got to join in with some fun Halloween activities. As a result it was high on our list of places to return to over the summer, so that we could enjoy the zoo and it's wonderful surroundings in the heat of the hot summer sunshine.

As we arrived at the zoo, we immediately noticed that it was much busier than our last visit. There were several coaches dropping off guests by the main entrance and the car park was completely full. Luckily we managed to find some parking down a nearby side street, though I was slightly worried that it would be incredibly busy inside and whether this may affect our day. I am pleased to say that we had an amazing day out and the increase in visitors did not have any impact on our day at all. If anything it was great to see so many people out and about enjoying themselves ranging from couples and families, to school groups and youth clubs. The weather was in our favour and this meant that guests were able to utilise the large open grass areas and enjoy picnics or treats from the operating food outlets. As a result we found that the attraction didn't seem crowded at all and my initial concerns were quickly forgotten.

As we entered the zoo, my children began to remember the layout of the zoo and where some of their favourite animals were located. Riley immediately ran over to the flamingos, which are situated opposite the entrance, whilst Ben and Emma took a left turn and headed straight for the lions with their dad.

The lion enclosure is fronted by large glass panels, which means that you can see these beautiful creatures really up close. At one point one of the lions was stood right by us and we could see every detail on its stunning face. My children found this fascinating and could have literally stood there for hours admiring them. My daughter took a wonderful photo during our previous visit, which shows just how close you are!


As we made our way along the path, the full beauty of the landscaped gardens became apparent. The pathways looked wonderful on our previous visit during the Autumn, but seeing all the flowers in bloom in the summer was absolutely stunning. Benches were ideally situated all along the walkway, so it was also the ideal place to just have a sit down and relax. The gardens are clearly extremely well cared for and appeared immaculately maintained.


The children then made a bee-line for the Twilight World, which is home to some fascinating nocturnal animals. It is very dark in here, so my youngest son Riley did get a little scared, but with a bit of guidance he was able to make his way around and spot some interesting creatures. However, he absolutely loved the area at the end, which has been recreated into a kitchen area. At first glance you may think, why is there suddenly a mini replica of the inside of a house, but on closer inspection, all is revealed. Riley began peering into the cupboard doors and noticed some small furry animals scurrying around in between the grocery boxes.......Mice!

The reptile house was up next and my children were excited to see the lizards. Riley remembered that we had seen some brightly coloured frogs on our previous visit and he was looking forward to spotting them again. All my children enjoyed learning more about the reptiles, by reading the information signs by each animal. This helps to make the visit to the zoo very educational and it was very interesting finding out some new facts.


As we exited the reptile house, we could all smell some of the fantastic food being cooked on the outdoor barbecue, so we took this as our call to have a sit down and enjoy a bite to eat. There is a large grass area where families can sit and children can play. We also found some benches around the outside of the area, so we chose to take a seat on these and enjoy our freshly cooked burgers and hotdogs, which were delicious.

One of our favourite areas on our last visit, was the lemur enclosure, so once we had finished our lunch we made our way over to the entrance. It was a hive of activity in here with lemurs circling around above us and jumping from tree to tree. The opportunity to get so close to them is incredible and they didn't seem nervous at all about having guests.

As we left the lemurs we checked the time and realised that if we were quick, we would just make the Gorilla talk and feed session over on Gorilla Island. Their size and beauty is just astonishing and they are an incredible animal to watch and learn about. The talk was really informative and Riley thought it was hilarious how the gorilla's could catch their food with their hands, when it was thrown to them. We learnt all about their diet and how they behave in the wild, which we all found really interesting. We spent a further half an hour on Gorilla Island before visiting some of the other monkeys and watching them play, swing and climb in their enclosures.


The Butterfly Forest offered yet another area of amazement and delight as stunning butterflies flew around us and in an out of the trees. My children enjoyed trying to spot as many different species as possible and Riley was fascinated by the cocoons and learning how butterflies develop. A lovely lady who was there also provided Riley with some information and pointed out things to him through the viewing window. He was mesmerised!

Overall we had a wonderful time at Bristol Zoo Gardens which echoed our previous experience. It was lovely visiting in the summer as it was beautiful being able to see all the gardens in bloom and enjoy the outdoor facilities. It was also delightful to walk around in the sunshine and enjoy an ice cream whilst appreciating the surroundings. We found the talks and information boards really helpful and it was nice to be able to provide the children with not only a fun experience, but also an educational one too. We believe this to be an excellent all year round place to visit and would definitely recommend to others.


Attraction Details

Address: Bristol Zoo Gardens, Clifton, Bristol, BS83HA
Website: www.bristolzoo.org.uk
Opening times: 9am til 5pm, 364 days a year.
Ticket Prices: Tickets can be purchased both online or on the gate. Prices vary, so please visit the Bristol Zoo website to obtain the most up to date details here: Ticket Information


Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of providing an honest review of our experience. Opinions and photographs are my own, unless stated otherwise.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Cheshire Fest to Return in 2019 With a Bigger & Better Festival!

Organisers of Cheshire Fest have revealed that the hugely popular family event will be returning next year and have announced dates for Summer 2019. Due to be held at Manchester Rugby Club in Cheadle Hulme, the festival promises to be bigger and better than ever before!

Cheshire Fest will be staged across two days, Saturday 1st June and Sunday 2nd June. Tickets went on sale at 9am on Friday 21st September 2018 and there are some early bird ticket offers available.

The event was unable to go ahead this year on its usual late September weekend due to fixture clashes at the venue, but organisers are excited for a return to the leafy green setting - and with a brand new Summer date in June there are big hopes for an exciting weekend of fun in the sun.

First launched in 2016, Cheshire Fest promises a huge celebration of family entertainment, live music, food and drink in the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

There will be lots of new additions for 2019, with a packed programme that has something for all the family. Further announcements will be made in the lead up to the festival.


Festival organisers Philip Osborne and Ben Harris commented: "We're absolutely thrilled and delighted to announce Cheshire Fest 2019. We'll be back at Manchester Rugby Club in June next year bigger and better than before - and to top it all, with a new Summer date to really kick-start the festival season. Feedback from last year has been so good and we cannot wait to reveal what we've been planning to take the festival to the next level. We have plenty of surprises to announce and it's going to be a fantastic family weekend."

Live entertainment on the Cheshire Fest Main Stage across the Saturday and Sunday will feature a stellar array of the UK's best tribute acts alongside the region's finest new talent.

The 'Big Hitters' theme on the Saturday promises a line-up of rock and roll, indie pop and festival favourite inspired artists, with Kings Ov Leon tribute band headlining the bill.

Sunday's 'Legends' theme will leave visitors having a good time, as Flash - a critically acclaimed Queen tribute band close the weekend alongside a host of other all-time music greats.

A full line-up for both days is yet to be released.

There will be plenty on offer for young festivalgoers in the all-new Play Park. Building on previous years, the Play Park will be expanded across the site and will pack in a wide variety of activities, interactive workshops, all the fun of the fair with thrill rides, and live entertainment on the Kids Stage.

Exciting programmes for Play Park and the Kids Stage will also be announced.

All this activity will guarantee that visitors have worked up an appetite - and they definitely won't go hungry or thirsty at Cheshire Fest, with the finest selection of food and drink on offer from quality festival traders and local independents.

The Street Food Village will offer a wide choice of international cuisines, vegan and vegetarian options, gluten free, raw-foods and kids menus. There really will be something to cater for all tastes. This impressive food offering will also be complemented by more than 50 cask ales and craft beers, produced by the very best independent breweries across the UK and Europe - as well as a relaxing Gin Garden, Prosecco Bar and plenty of Summer cocktails.

Cheshire Fest 2019 promises to be the event to kick-start Summer, right at the heart of the Cheshire countryside.

Book your tickets now to take advantage of the EARLY BIRD OFFER giving returning visitors the chance to grab a cheap ticket - these will be available for a limited time only. Head over to www.cheshirefest.co.uk for more information.

Website: www.cheshirefest.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/CheshireFest
Twitter: @FestCheshire

Listing Details

Event - Cheshire Fest
Venue - Manchester Rugby Club, Grove Lane, Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire, SK8 7NB
Dates - Saturday 1st June & Sunday 2nd June 2019
Times - Saturday 12pm to 11pm / Sunday 12pm to 9pm
Booking - Book online at www.cheshirefest.co.uk

Tickets:
Limited 'first wave announcement' EARLY BIRD TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE for a short time only.
Child (aged 6 to 15) - Single Day £6.50 / Weekend £9.75
Adult (16+) - Single Day £11.50 / Weekend £17.25
VIP Tickets (private tent with unlimited prosecco and washroom facilities) - £75

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Dates for your Diary - Bing Live! Coming to the Epstein Theatre, Liverpool in March 2019!

Calling all "Bingsters"! Bing and his friends are going on tour in the first ever Bing stage show! Bing Live! will visit Liverpool's Epstein Theatre on Tuesday 19th March to Wednesday 20th March as part of a major UK tour through to April 2019, and tickets are on-sale now!

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

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

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


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

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

The show will have music by Alex Silverman, sound by Rich Walsh and set design by Samuel Wyer. The cast of Bing Live are Mia Jerome, Michael Magennis, Hayley Murray, Will Palmer, Alice De Warrenne and Nia Walsh.

Since its launch on CBeebies, Bing has been a huge ratings hit and is the number one pre-school show on BBC iPlayer.

Celebrating the joyful, messy, reality of preschool life, Bing finds the big stories in the smallest moments that little ones and the grown-ups in their lives will recognise...whether it's dropping your ice-cream or losing your favourite toy.

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

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

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

Listing Details

Show - Bing Live!
Venue - The Epstein Theatre, Hanover House, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ
Date - Tuesday 19th to Wednesday 20th March 2019
Times - Tuesday 19th 1pm & 4pm / Wednesday 10am & 1pm
Tickets - Adults £18.50 / Children £16.50

To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Esptein Theatre Box Office from 12pm - 6pm Monday to Saturday.

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


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

Friday, 21 September 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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