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 fails to disappoint. 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.