Saturday, 16 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audition Details

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


*Disclaimer - This is a press release.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Let's #ShareAStory for World Book Day!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Celebrating World Book Day!

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

UEFA Champions League Match Attax - Review & Competition

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

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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Competition

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

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

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

UEFA Champions League Match Attax Competition

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a UEFA Champions League Match Attax Bundle consisting of 1 x Mega Tin (RRP £10), 1 x Mini Tin (RRP £7), 1 x Starter Pack (RRP £5), 1 x Multi Pack (RRP £5.00). Contents of these packs vary and there is no guarantee that you will receive the same cards that my son did in the review images.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on Sunday 31st March 2019 at 23:59.
  • A winner shall be drawn within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize, before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • Once the winner has confirmed acceptance of the prize and provided their address details then the prize shall be posted out via a trackable delivery method within 14 days.
  • No bulk or third party entries.
  • Prize is as stated, is non-transferable and cannot be exchanged for a cash equivalent.
Disclaimer: We were provided with a bundle of Match Attax items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All opinions and thoughts are my own unless stated otherwise.