Tuesday 23 October 2018

Ready2Robot Toys - A Review

My youngest son Riley has recently become very interested in collectable toy blind bags and has been using his pocket money to purchase a few over the last couple of months. I have noticed that with the majority of them, the main enjoyment simply comes from opening the packaging to see what's inside, with the resulting toy not bringing much entertainment.

However, there is now a fab new range of collectable toys, that not only offer the surprise experience, but also provide you with a super cool toy that you can actually have fun with again and again. Introducing.............Ready2Robot!

Ready2Robot is a fantastic new range of toys, that are not only great to collect, but they can also be mixed and matched to create your own custom bots. These can then be used to battle your friends in a slime-fighting robot brawl! We were recently sent a selection of Ready2Robot items to put to the test and no sooner had the parcel arrived, my children were immediately looking at the packaging and eager to find out exactly what was inside.

Firstly was the Ready2Robot blind pack which retails at £9.99. The first thing that really appealed to me about this, was the size and the packaging. It looked much more interesting than your usual blind bag and was presented in sectioned pod. Each section could be opened up and contained different coloured blind bags. This meant that my children could open numerous blind bags as opposed to just one and then figure out which robot they had received by putting the pieces together.

In total there are 5 chambers to open, providing plenty of unboxing mystery for children. The blind bags in each chamber contain various parts of the robot amounting to 7 unique bot parts in total. My two boys Riley and Ben had been busy opening the bags and connecting all the parts together to construct their bot, but we were then concerned that there didn't seem to be a pilot. We checked all the chambers thinking that we must have missed a bag and having not previously seen these toys before, we weren't aware of how you actually find your pilot!

After some searching Ben pressed a button,which much to our surprise, released a further capsule out of the bottom of the lower chamber. Enclosed was a pot of slime and much to the boys delight, we quickly realised that the pilot was INSIDE the slime pot, which meant lots of gooey messy fun for Ben and Riley as they pulled him out. In total it took us half an hour to fully unpack, construct and slime search for the pilot, which is much longer than your traditional blind bag and much more fun too! Already the boys were hooked and loved how the packets were all hidden inside the chambers.

There are a total of 19 different Mechbots to collect so once you start to build your collection you can customise your robots by swapping and changing pieces or adding weapons and accessories to help build your ultimate brawler!

The product is recommended for children aged 5+ but the parts are quite small so I would always recommend adult supervision as well, especially with slime being involved too. I do think that this is the ideal age for these toys though as Riley is 5 and absolutely loved all of the surprises. He couldn't wait to open each of the bags and he also enjoyed putting all the bot pieces together. With the first bot built and ready to battle, we continued to open the other packages to see what was inside. We were now Ready2Robot!

The next item we opened was the Ready2Robot Bot Blaster. These retail at £14.99 and contain 1 blind packed Ready2Robot chamber pod, as well as 5 accessories, which included a spring loaded missile that is sure to help in any robot battle. Again the boys were excited to be opening the chambers and as we now knew that slime was involved, we placed an old towel down on the floor just in case of any spillages whilst searching for the pilot. I really loved the packaging on these as they really catch your attention with the bright and bold robot design. I also think that they are just the right size for birthday gifts or stocking filler Christmas presents and I am sure that they will be appearing on my children's gift list this year too, since they are now keen to build on their collection.

Lastly we received a Ready2Robot Battle Pack which was fantastic and contained 20 pieces in total. Again the boys had the enjoyment of opening the blind packed chamber pod, but this set also contained a ready assembled and visible Mechbot and pilot, as well as a Bot Blaster.

I really like the fact that you can see one of the mechbots in this set, as it offers you the best of both worlds. If you are after a particular Mechbot then obviously this can help with your purchase decision, whilst still having the mystery of what might be in the blind chamber. There are currently 4 different offerings within this assortment and I think that the RRP of £19.99 offers really good value for money.

Overall we are really impressed with the Ready2Robot collectable toy range and we found all the products to be great fun. It is definitely a collection that we will be building on and my children are already looking forward to mixing and matching their bots with some new ones in the future. I think that the prices of the toys represent good value for money and they are definitely contenders for Christmas gifts in our family this year.

Ready2Robot toys can currently be found at Smyths Toys and you can view their full range here: Smyths Toys

For more information on Ready2Robot you can visit their website and social media on the following channels:

Website - Ready2Robot
Instagram - @Ready2Robot
YouTube - Ready2Robot
Facebook - www.facebook.com/ready2robot

Disclaimer: We received a selection of Ready2Robot toys free of charge for the purpose of writing an honest review post of the products. All opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.

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.

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 


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.