Friday, 29 November 2019

Mr Popper's Penguins at Waterside Arts Centre, Sale - A Review

For the past few years, it has become somewhat of a family tradition for us to visit Waterside Arts Centre and enjoy their wonderful Christmas performances. This year has been no exception and last night we attended the press night for the internationally acclaimed Mr Popper's Penguins which will be running at the theatre until the 31st December. My husband and I visited with our six year old son, who is the perfect age to enjoy this magical and heartwarming tale.

Mr Popper's Penguins is a Kenny Wax and TC Beech Production adapted for the stage by Pins and Needles Productions and is based on the much loved childrens book written by Richard and Florence Atwater. It tells the story of painter and decorater Mr Popper, who spends his days dreaming of Antarctic adventures. He is astounded when one day a packing crate arrives on his doorstep - and out of which waddles a penguin...

From the moment the show began, we knew we were in for a treat. The auditorium was filled with excitement as the cast took to the stage and introduced us to Mr and Mrs Popper, who live in the quiet town of Stillwater. When Mr Popper sends a letter to esteemed adventurer Admiral Drake, he receives quite a peculiar response, in the form of a large wooden crate that contains something very special inside.

Image Credit - Jason Lock

My son was so excited to see the Penguin waddle out of the box and for a moment, you could be forgiven for forgetting that there were even puppeteers in control. Riley's focus became drawn to the astounding Captain Cook as he caused all kinds of mischief and mayhem on the stage and he began to laugh at his antics. The movements were so realistic, but also comical, which when accompanied by the penguin squawks provided a great deal of entertainment.

Before long Captain Cook was joined by another penguin named Greta and the two struck up a loving friendship with plenty of fun and frolics. The introduction of eight penguin babies brought even more humour to the stage and we couldn't help but laugh at all their antics. We also loved the show tunes, which showcased the brilliant performance and vocal skills of the cast.

I will add that my son is very sensitive to sadness, so as well as laughing for the most part, he did also shed a few tears when he thought that Mr Popper would need to say bye to the penguins. Luckily this moment of sorrow was quickly replaced with a smile, when he realised that Mr Popper would in fact be joining them on their return to the South Pole. This led to a beautiful boat scene, which was fantastic to view.

Image Credit - Jason Lock

Overall, we absolutely loved this production and it touched every emotion possible during the sixty minute performance. Whilst the show is recommended for children aged 3 to 11, I found that I enjoyed it just as much as my son and feel that this heartwarming story is sure to delight audiences of all ages. The musical numbers were entertaining and were well suited to the thirties era in which the story is set. This action-packed children's musical had us captivated from start to finish and I would absolutely recommend this show to others, for a magical festive treat.


Listing Details

A Kenny Wax & TC Beech Production adapted for the stage by Pins & Needles Productions: Mr Popper's Penguins
Venue - Waterside Arts Centre, Sale,
Dates - Tuesday 26th November to 31st December
Times - Times vary so please see the Waterside website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - £16.50 / £14.50 / £12.50
Schools - £10 (1 free teacher with every 9 students booked)
Duration - 60 minutes with no interval
In the Robert Bolt Theatre


  

*Disclaimer - We were invited to the press night for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. Opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.

Monday, 25 November 2019

A Family Visit to Christmas at Dunham Massey 2019 - A Review

On Thursday evening we were invited to the press night of Christmas at Dunham Massey. This was our third year attending and it just gets bigger and better every year. We love this event so much, that it has very quickly become a highlight for the whole family on our festive calendar and never fails to get us into the Christmas spirit.

The magical after-dark illuminated trail is truly spectacular and features the popular favourites that returning guests have come to know and love, such as the Giant Glittering Deer and the Cathedral of Light, in addition to some brand new installations that definitely have that added wow factor.

Our evening began with a welcome reception where we enjoyed some sweet treats and hot beverages in the cafe, before listening to a short welcoming speech about the trail and the huge amount of work involved, which takes place throughout the year. We could hear the Christmas music begin outside and my children couldn't wait to get to the trail and experience Christmas at Dunham Massey 2019.

We made our way to the courtyard and found that there was a new layout to previous years. As you enter through the archway there is a lovely selection of traditional fairground rides, which include a Helter Skelter, Boat Swings, a Carousel and a Merry Go Round. It costs £2.50 per ride if paying on the night, however when you book your tickets online, there is the option to add five rides for a discounted price of £10 when paying in advance.


The food stalls are now located to the right hand side of the courtyard and are placed either side of the walkway. There is a great selection of food and drinks available to buy from the various vendors, which included dirty fries and hot dogs from Diamond Dogs, cypriot cuisine from Cyprus Kouzina, mulled wine and luxury hot chocolate from the Winter Wunderbar and delicious smelling burgers from the Little Heath Farm Shop to name just a few. We also noticed that The Stables restaurant was open selling hot soup and scones, so there is definitely something to suit all tastes and ensure that no one goes home hungry. Prices vary per stall, but the costs seemed reasonable and the food smelt fantastic.

Once you have walked past the food stalls, this then leads the way to the brand new entrance to the start of the trail. This new walkway brings you in facing the magnificent house which is decorated with a festive projection display. I had read in the preview about this and was expecting a few lights going across the front of the building, however I was completely blown away by the highly entertaining display which was absolutely incredible. The quality was amazing and you could see everything really clearly and this immediately created a buzz of excitement amongst the guests.


At the start of the trail there are two giant sized glittering reindeer, along with some large picture frames to help you create the perfect family photo. The reindeer are stunning and have to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. They glisten and twinkle beautifully, whilst standing bright and tall and they are the perfect welcome to the one mile long magical walk.

The Heart Walk installation also grabbed our attention as we strolled past a collection of large floating hearts that created all kinds of colours to admire. The cleverly designed artistic hearts, helped us to think about the love that surrounds Christmas and we thought that they were a great addition to the trail.


My son Ben really enjoyed the Firework Trees, which created a beautiful multi-sensory display. The lights would raise up and down whilst sounds would crackle and zoom as they mimicked a firework effect. My children questioned just how long it would have taken to have decorated the trees with so many bulbs and it made us realise how much hard work goes in to creating this mesmerising christmas trail.


The Sea of Light created a breathtaking moment and uses the combination of sound and light to create the most delightful scene. It was so calming and enjoyable just watching the lights flow in waves of colour, that we all found incredible. This feature could be enjoyed from the walkway, or you could take in the full effect by sitting on one of the bright blue benches and enjoy the immersive experience of the Sea of Light travelling towards you.

In addition to the various installations, we loved how trees would just be simply lit with an attractive glow along the way, creating a warm and inviting environment to be in.

 
As you make your way around the trail, there is also the option to toast some marshmallows on the fire pits. My children absolutely love doing this each year and there are always a great range of flavours to choose from. We chose Vanilla, Chocolate Orange and Candy Floss which were all delicious and cost £1.50 each. There was a lovely red glowing trail around the fire pits and Riley and I took a walk around these and through the tunnels, whilst everyone else finished eating their sweet treats.


Of course no Christmas Trail would be complete without an appearance from Santa himself. This isn't a grotto opportunity, but more a brief show that entertains children (and adults), so there is no meet and greet. Personally I prefer this as it means no queues and instead everyone can enjoy the experience. Santa had guests doing a fun warm up, whilst the rabbit told a little tale which everyone seemed to enjoy.


As we continued on our walk we came to the Light Cathedral. This has been one of the stand-out features of previous years and so I was really pleased that it had made a very welcome return. It really looks fantastic in person and my photos don't really do it justice, but there are quite literally thousands of small lights which create a fabulous effect as well as a stunning feature to walk through.


We all absolutely loved the Rings of Fire, which were located in the lake. Light beams filled the air, accompanied by a great selection of music, which was really stunning to watch. I really could have stood there for several hours just watching the spinning snowflakes and fire glow. My youngest son Riley thought that this was amazing and I would absolutely agree.


Overall we had a wonderful time and would absolutely recommend this event to all. The style and creativeness of this magical Christmas trail, really makes it suitable for visitors of all ages. Whilst it is great for families, it is also equally as good for couples, groups of friends or even solo visitors due to its lovely festive atmosphere. The new installations were superb and we particularly enjoyed the projection show on the front of the main house. Christmas at Dunham Massey is a wonderful experience from start to finish and we will definitely be returning again in the future.

For further information on Christmas at Dunham Massey, please visit their website or social media channels which can be found here:

Website - National Trust - Dunham Massey
Facebook - DunhamMasseyNT - Facebook
Twitter - @DunhamMasseyNT

Event Details

Attraction - Christmas at Dunham Massey, the magical, after-dark, illuminated trail.
Location - Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA14 4SJ
Dates - Selected dates from 22nd November to 30th December 2019.
Admission - From: Adult £17.50, Child (3-16) £11.00, Family £54.00
Website - For full details and pricing, please visit the Dunham Massey website Christmas at Dunham Massey

*Additional charges apply for vintage rides, food and drink.


*Disclaimer - We were given press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the event. All opinions and photographs are my own, unless stated otherwise. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Mardles hugARmals Dragon - Toy Review

It's safe to say that Riley loves a good cuddly toy. I have lost count of how many he has and I am surprised that he can even fit in his bed for the amount of teddies. Like most children, he loves to use his imagination and will often pretend that his toys have come to life and will create play scenarios to involve them all. He was therefore delighted when he was recently sent a beautiful Mardles hugARmal Dragon, which can be brought to life in front of your very eyes, by using a clever and innovative app.


Our lovely Mardles hugARmal Dragon is so soft and features wings on its back, sparkly fur, bright blue eyes and glossy ears, making it a lovely toy to cuddle up to. It is a great product to be enjoyed by children and it is very easy to bring the cuddly toys to life, by simply downloading the Mardles app and scanning the special badge.

I love the fact that the Mardles app is free to download, but also, once you have used your wifi connection to add it to your device, then it will work anytime and anywhere, whether you have an internet connection or not. I think it is great that it does not need to depend on wifi or data to be used, which means that Riley can play with his toy whenever he likes. There are also no in-app purchases available, so there is no need to worry about children asking for add ons, or running up an expensive bill.


We downloaded the app without any issues onto two devices, a Samsung Galaxy S10 and a Huawei P30 which both run on Android. This was really quick and simple to do and within minutes Riley was able to to enjoy playing with his dragon. He scanned the badge on the dragons foot and was very quickly able to interact with the toy and make it do a whole host of exciting things on the screen. You can even stand next to the dragon on the camera and have photos taken!

Riley was able to change the colour of his dragon, make it fly and even get him to take a nap. His favourite action though, was making the dragon dance on the disco floor which he found hilarious! If your child isn't a fan of dragons however, then there is also a gorgeous Unicorn version of the toy, which looks fantastic too.


Overall we absolutely love the Mardles hugARmals Dragon and it has really helped Riley to use his imagination in bringing it to life. I really like the fact that the app is free to download, easy to use, plus it is both child and parent friendly. The cuddly toy itself stands at approximately 30cm tall, is really soft and feels a very good quality. It has an RRP of £24.99 which I think is very reasonable for a toy that can be enjoyed time and time again. I would happily recommend this to others.

Mardles hugARmals are currently available to buy on the Mardles website, QVC and Amazon. If you would like to find out more about Mardles and their product range, then you can find their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.mardleslife.com/
Facebook - facebook.com/mardleslife
Twitter - @mardleslife
Instagram - instagram.com/mardleslife


*Disclaimer - We were gifted this product for the purpose of writing an honest review of the toy. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an affiliate link.


Thursday, 21 November 2019

A Family Visit to the Newly Refurbished Inflata Nation Manchester - A Review

Last weekend we were invited along to Inflata Nation Manchester to take a look at the newly refurbished 'double decker' layout of their inflatable theme park arena. Inflata Nation has a number of sites around the UK, with each one offering plenty of fun for the whole family.

We had booked our session for Saturday morning and the journey from our home took around 45 minutes. It was really easy to find and the sat nav lead us there with no issues. We found that there was on site car parking, but due to it being peak time we were unable to grab a space as it was full by the time we arrived. However, there was plenty of nearby parking available on the surrounding roads, so we had no problem finding somewhere close, within very short walking distance. I noticed that there was also disabled parking bays at the front of the building, right by the main entrance.


As we entered I noticed a large table full of paper disclaimers, which all bouncers must fill in prior to taking part. Alternatively you can also complete these online, which we chose to do shortly after booking. I decided to do it this way as I felt it would speed up the process once we were there and would mean no paper forms, so this worked well for us. We then joined a short queue and made sure that we had our booking confirmation number ready to provide to the gentleman working on the arrivals desk. He was very friendly and welcoming and then explained where we needed to go and what rules we needed to read and listen to prior to bouncing. We were then shown where we could place our items in a locker and we excitedly joined the queue for the 11am group.

There is a non-refundable charge for the lockers which work on an automated system. The cost is £2 for up to 1.5 hours or £3 for 2 hours, so you may wish to factor in the price of this if budgeting for your visit. Alternatively there are some open shelves where items can be left, but this would be done at your own risk.


Our attention was drawn to the rules and safety videos which are in place around the arena and we were then given a safety briefing before being allowed to enter. It is really important to listen to the advice you are given, so if there is anything you are unsure of, then I would recommend asking a member of staff to provide you with the information again before taking part. As with any activity like this, there is an element of risk involved to participants, so by ensuring the rules are followed you can make your experience both fun and safe.

As our time slot began, guests quickly ran through the inflatable arena to take a good look around. My older children ran off in opposite directions, whilst I remained with Riley. The first activity he found was the Inflata Duel and quickly challenged me to a battle on the gladiator platform. He easily won as I couldn't balance very well and kept falling off, which he thought was hilarious.


Ben really enjoyed the large ball pool area and loved jumping from the large inflatables into the balls below. There were also some hoops for you to take aim and throw balls through, so we took part in a 'best out of 10' game to see who could hit the target the most. It was a close call as I was winning at one point, but it ended up being a draw as Ben's hand to eye coordination and bouncy balance skills saw him catch up.

Next to the Inflata Ball Pool was a really fun activity called the Tipping Slide. This slide moves, so as it lowers you need to try and run up the ramp to reach the top and then hold on tight as the slide raises higher. This definitely tests your skills and as it climbs you can't help but slide down.

There were also an incredible four other slides in the arena and I still think it is really clever how they have managed to fit this all in. Two of the slides have bumps, whilst the other two are near vertical drop slides, which are definitely not for the faint hearted. I'm not going to lie, I passed on these as my nerves couldn't cope, but my daughter loved them and went on several times.


Another superb new addition to the arena is the Inflata Freefall, which is sure to interest any thrillseeker. After navigating yourself to the raised platform, you get kitted out with a harness and are clipped onto a freefall device. It is then up to you to see if you a brave enough to step or jump off the six metre platform onto the bouncy floor below. I was really surprised when my son Ben tried this as he is usually quite nervous of heights, so I was very proud when he gave it a go. There was a member of staff assisting participants at the top and another at the bottom who would help customers to remove their harness.

I was very impressed by just how many staff there actually were on hand throughout the arena. Some were supervising the slides and other activities, whilst others were bouncing around the arena collecting stray balls or just simply ensuring that everyone was ok. I also liked the fact that there was a separate much smaller arena for little ones aged under 4. This is in an enclosed area at the very front called Inflata Tots and means that even the youngest of children can enjoy the experience, without having to share with the more active older children and adults in the main bouncing arena.

Other activities also included the Inflata Bubbles which make you bounce really high, an Inflata Race where you can compete against your friends and family, or even take a break from the bouncing and enjoy a moment on the inflatable cars. If you do get tired and need a rest or a drink then it is very easy to come and go off the inflatable arena as many times as you need to. As long as you have your wristband and your hand stamp, you can re-enter and enjoy all the fun whenever you are ready.


If you are not taking part in a bouncing session, then there is plenty of seating available in their large cafe, where you can purchase hot drinks, cold drinks, snacks, cakes, and even meals too. The food prices are really reasonable and some of the seats also offer a great view of the arena.

Overall we had a fantastic time and before we had even left the building my children were asking when we could return. There was plenty to enjoy and we thought that the new slides and the Inflata Drop added a whole new element to the fun. The arena is really big and well spaced out, so although it was busy, it never felt too crowded or unsafe and my kids had a fantastic time. I think the cost of £9.99 for an hour for guests aged 4+ is really reasonable and it is a great way to burn off some energy. If you have the stamina, then you can also add on an additional hour for an extra £7, but we found that one hour was just the right length of time for us. Under 4's cost a lower price of £5.99 for an hour with an additional cost of £3 for an extra hour. Booking in advance is also advised, in order to avoid any disappointment on arrival. It is safe to say that we will definitely be returning again in the future and we would recommend to others who are looking for a fun activity that can be enjoyed by all the family.

If you would like to find out more about Inflata Nation Manchester, or their other locations around the country, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.inflatanation.com/locations/manchester/ 
Facebook - facebook.com/inflatanationmanchester
Twitter - @InflataNation
YouTube - Inflata Nation YouTube Channel


*Disclaimer - We were invited to review Inflata Nation Manchester and were provided with a complimentary booking for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Day of the Dead Festival at Southport Pleasureland - A Review

Earlier this month, Southport Pleasureland hosted a fantastic evening of entertainment and fireworks for their Day of the Dead Festival, which was attended by a huge crowd of visitors and brought an end to the 2019 season. My family and I were invited along to enjoy the celebrations and find out more about what was on offer for guests to experience at the event.

We arrived just before 5pm and made our way into the attraction. This was our first time at Southport Pleasureland, so my children were very excited to be attending and couldn't wait to see what rides and acts were available. As we entered, we were greeted by two stilt walkers in Day of the Dead themed costumes and face paints, as they spun circles of fire in front of the arriving visitors. Riley was mesmerised watching them and was looking forward to seeing the rest of the entertainment.


I had saved the list of timings on my phone, but realised once we were there, that we didn't know the locations of each act. Fortunately we seemed to be in the right place at the right time when it came to viewing the action and my children loved watching the performances. The Bring the Fire Project Skeletons got the evening off to a great start with their movements and flames, whilst the Creo Dance Company offered some creative dance displays.


We particularly enjoyed the LED jugglers and spinners who wowed the audience with their wonderful light displays. Our favourite however, was the Katumba Drummers which really helped to create a carnival style atmosphere. My eldest son is currently learning to play the drums in school, so he absolutely loved this part of the evening.


In between the acts we enjoyed ourselves on all of the rides. Each of them were being offered at a discounted price of £1.50 per ride which seemed very reasonable. To go on the rides you needed to purchase a Fun Card, which could then be pre-loaded with credit using one of the machines around the park. We had been provided with £10 credit on each on ours and this lasted us the whole night. I felt that the reduced ride prices offered families great value for money and that the Fun Card system would also allow families to budget accordingly.


There was a great choice of rides to choose from and we found that the queue times for each of them were reasonable and not too long. The Dodgems were very popular, but my eldest son managed to get a couple of goes and he had great fun driving the vehicle around and trying to avoid others. Riley loved the Balloon Ride, the Dumbo's and the Convoy and used the majority of his £10 on these rides. A particular mention must go to the member of staff running the Convoy ride, who was fantastic with the children and made it a great experience for them all.


All three of my children loved the Dock Funhouse which is one of the largest I have ever seen. They all said it was fantastic and lots of fun, with plenty to see and do inside. They all went on this at the start of the evening and then each chose to visit it again at the end of the night too.


For an additional charge, guests could also participate in one of the many fairground games to win prizes, which were located at various points around the attraction. I thought that the one indoors looked great and the prizes seemed to be of a good quality too.


There were plenty of food options available from various vendors and there was an ample selection of choices on offer. Items ranged from sweet treats such as waffles and pancakes to the more traditional favourites of fish and chips. A vintage bus which doubled up as a bar was also in attendance, so adults could enjoy their favourite tipple, whilst taking in the entertainment. Both hot and cold drinks were also available throughout the park at varying prices.


The evening ended with a fabulous fireworks finale which lit up the night sky beautifully. It was a wonderful display which was the perfect way to end the event.

Overall we had a wonderful night at Southport Pleasureland and it will definitely be on our list of places to return to next year. We felt that the Day of the Dead Festival offered something different to the usual Halloween and Bonfire Night events that were being held during the same weekend and it is great that there is an attraction offering some variety.

We loved the family friendly atmosphere and found all the staff we came across to be extremely welcoming. The rides were all enjoyable and there was a great selection that were suitable for various ages from toddlers to adults, so there was no worry about anyone missing out on all the fun. Ultimately we had a great evening and we look forward to visiting again in the future.


Attraction Details

Southport Pleasureland has now closed for the 2019 season, however they are due to reopen in March 2020 and you can find out more information on the attraction here:

Address - Southport Pleasureland, Marine Drive, Southport, PR8 1RX
Website: www.southportpleasureland.com/
Twitter: @SNPleasureland
Facebook: facebook.com/SouthportPL
Instagram: @snpleasureland
Parking - There are 3 car parks located on the Esplanade and on Marine Drive
Public Transport - Southport Pleasureland is easily accesible by public transport and is a short walk from the park and ride station, the town centre and Southport Railway station.


*Disclaimer - We were invited to this event as guests of Southport Pleasureland, for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All opinions and photographs are my own.


Friday, 8 November 2019

A Family Day Out at Fantasy Island - A Review

During the October half term, we travelled to the East Coast and spent a week in the county of Lincolnshire. We were really pleased to find so much to do in the area and enjoyed some fantastic days out as a family including a visit to Fantasy Island in Ingoldmells,Skegness.

The weekend prior had brought torrential rain, so we were a little worried that our day could end up rather wet, but luckily the weather was on our side and we were able to enjoy everything that Fantasy Island had to offer, both indoors and outdoors!

We were staying approximately 45 minutes away at Tattershall Lakes Country Park and it was a really simple drive to the attraction. On our arrival we found the car park easily and there were plenty of spaces for visitors. It cost £6 to park all day which we thought was a really reasonable price.

My children's eyes lit up with excitement as they saw the huge rollercoasters reaching towards the sky, whilst Riley was really keen to find out what was inside the large pyramid building. We therefore made our way over to the main entrance at the pyramid to obtain our wristbands and begin our day.


Fantasy Island has over 30 rides to enjoy as well as being home to Ingoldmells Market, which is Europe's largest seven day market. There is also a huge arcade which uses a state of the art i-card that brings a contactless system to the attraction.

Entry to Fantasy Island is free of charge, so you then have the choice of paying on a ride by ride basis, or you can purchase a Ride All Day wristband which offers great value for money. We loved the fact that it was free entry as this meant that my parents could also join us for the day, as although they are unable to go on the rides, they could enjoy watching their grandchildren have fun without having to pay an excessive amount for entry.

The wristbands vary in price depending on the time of the season, but if you purchase them in advance online, you can also get a 10% discount. Online bookings can only be made up until midnight on the night before the visit, so make sure you book in plenty of time if you want to take advantage of the online discount. Opening times vary throughout the year, so to check the most up to date information on wristbands and opening, you can visit their website here.


Once we all had our wristbands ready, it was simply a case of deciding where to go first. We had noticed on arrival that the queues for the larger rides were quite small, so thought it would make sense to take advantage of this, so we made our way towards The Milennium. This is a huge purple and green rollercoaster which stands at 150ft in height and travels at up to 55.9 mph. There are also two loops which my husband and daughter said were fantastic!

Our next ride was The Odyssey which travels at 62mph and has plenty of inversions as well as a vertical loop. It is certainly not for the faint hearted, but my husband and daughter thought it was brilliant and the boys and I watched safely from the ground as they zoomed past at speed.

With the two main thrill rides out of the way, we enjoyed the rest of them at a more leisurely pace and my children would choose between them which ride to go on next. My youngest son enjoys the more simpler rides, but his elder brother always goes on them with him which I think is lovely. Riley thought that the Bouncing Bugs were hilarious and he also really enjoyed the Bizzy Dizzy Beez.


As the day got progressively colder we made our way into the pyramid and enjoyed some of the rides that were on offer inside. The range of attractions was fantastic and there was so much to see and do. Our wristbands included a game of crazy golf which was absolutely brilliant, with a dinosaur theme. We are all really competitive so this was great to have a fun family competition. The 18 holes are spread across two floors and the whole area seemed really clean and well maintained. I was convinced that I had won, especially as I had got two holes in one, so admittedly I was really disappointed at the end to find that my husband had beaten me by two points - he always wins!


My favourite family ride was the Seaquarium which we thought was a fantastic facility to have inside the pyramid building. It was really good fun with lots to see and Riley enjoyed pointing out various fish and figures amongst the displays. Every ride we went on seemed immaculately maintained which not only made them look great in appearance, but also offered reassurance that the rides were really safe too.

In addition to the rides, there were also some shows on throughout the day which provided entertainment. As we were visiting over the Halloween period, the shows had a spooky theme and there were leaflets that provided the show times. This made it easy to keep track of where you needed to be and when.


The arcade was very popular with my children and they really liked the I-Card system. We have used something similar to this only once before and that was in Florida, so it was great to see this modern technology making its way over to the UK. One thing that stood out to me about the arcade was just how clean all the areas were. Also if we ever needed any assistance obtaining our 2p machine prizes, we could always find a member of staff with ease, who would happily help. Like most arcades you can win tickets whilst playing on the machines, which can then be exchanged for prizes. At Fantasy Island there is no need to carry a huge mound of tickets around with you, as just like the cash, your tickets are automatically added to your I-Card which makes things so much easier. My children enjoyed exchanging their tickets for prizes and there was a good selection on offer in the prize shop. They were all happy with their choices and came away with some small toys and sweets.


There were plenty of dining options to choose from on site and we found the prices of the food to be very reasonable. We had taken a picnic for lunch, so utilised one of the many picnic benches located around the site to eat our sandwiches. Later in the day though, we all opted for some burgers and chips which were delicious and the children enjoyed some slush drinks which were only £1 each. Throughout our visit we also purchased both hot and cold drinks and we were very pleased with the service received at each vendor that we used.

We ended our day with a visit to the high ropes course. My only minor complaint here was the length of time that it took for a turn, as there is no time limit in place. It therefore works on a one off, one on basis which meant that my children waited 50 minutes before two people left the course. It would perhaps be better to impose 20 minute sessions to ensure that guests don't have to wait too long to have a go. Once they were up on the course though they really enjoyed it and it was fun watching them complete the challenges on the climb. It is a great facility to have and all in the comfort of the warmth inside, so no need to worry about weather spoiling the enjoyment.


Overall we each agreed that Fantasy Island is a great day out for the whole family and felt that the prices were really reasonable and fair. My daughter said that it was one of her favourite attractions that we have visited as she liked the variation of rides and facilities that were available. There was a great choice of rides to suit all ages and I felt that the wristbands offered excellent value for money. As well as the rides we were able to enjoy crazy golf, bowling, arcade games, plenty of food options and even a large market, which meant that we were able to have a non-stop day packed full of fun. We would absolutely recommend Fantasy Island to others and we will definitely be returning next year!


Fantasy Island

Address - Sea Lane, Ingoldmells, Skegness, PE25 1RH
Website - www.fantasyislandresort.co.uk
Facebook - facebook.com/fantasyislanduk
Twitter - @fantasyislanduk
Instagram - fantasyislanduk


*Disclaimer - We were provided with 4 x complimentary wristbands for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. I also purchased an additional wristband, £30 arcade credit and food at my own expense. Opinions and photographs are my own unless stated otherwise.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Horrible Histories Live on Stage - The Terrible Tudors at Storyhouse, Chester - A Review

My two eldest children are now both in high school, where they have quickly found that subjects are far more focused than they were in primary. They find History absolutely fascinating, but with so much to remember it can be hard to retain some of the factual information at times, especially when delivered in a traditional classroom setting. One thing that has always helped them in relation to their History topics, is the Horrible Histories series of books, which deliver history in not just an educational way, but also in a manner that is fun and enjoyable too. We were therefore delighted to attend Storyhouse in Chester last night to see Horrible Histories Live on Stage - The Terrible Tudors!

There was grisly gags and bloodthirsty battles galore, throughout this action packed show that was cleverly delivered by a talented trio of actors from the Birmingham Stage Company. There was never a dull moment as we were taken on a journey through the Terrible Tudor times and learnt about the murderous monarchs, manky medicines and perilous punishments that were typical of this historical era.

Image credit: Mark Douet

The show began with Richard III and a brief comical portrayal of the Battle of Bosworth, where we were then introduced to Henry VII also known as Henry Tudor. As the show progressed we learnt more about his successors and of course the fiercesome Henry VIII and his six wives. My children particularly enjoyed this part of the show, especially the very easy song which had all of the audience singing along and joining in with some simple choreographed moves.

We were initially surprised at the minimal use of props, as I had envisaged there being quite an elaborate stage setting due to the stories that would be told. However, this quite simplistic appearance actually worked fantastically well and ensured that the focus was on the actors and the exciting way that they were delivering the show. This compacted telling of British history was extremely enjoyable and we remained fascinated through the show, right up until the demise of Queen Elizabeth I.

In between learning about the Tudor monarchs and their families, we were also provided with some very disgusting facts about how life would have been. My son chuckled at the idea of Edward VI's whipping boy, whilst my daughter and I laughed through the comical rendition of Greensleeves.

The crime and punishment scene left us all shocked at just how horrific the sentences were, whilst the manky medicines left us equally disgusted at their choice of treatments and potions. We were amazed from start to finish and remained engaged and excited as our historical knowledge increased by the minute.

A particular highlight for us all though, was the Elizabeth I and Will.I.Am Shakespeare scene which made us want to get on stage and dance along with them. It was fantastic and certainly very memorable. We also enjoyed the added novelty of Bogglevision 3D effects during the second act, which provided yet another exciting element to the show.

Overall we had a wonderful time at Horrible Histories Live on Stage - The Terrible Tudors and we were very impressed by the cast and their performances throughout the show. It was educational, entertaining and most of all fun, with plenty of audience participation too. Packed full of facts, jokes and a colourful script, we all came away from the show having learnt something new, as well as a song that will be stuck in our head for weeks to come!

Horrible Histories Live on Stage is currently performing BOTH the Terrible Tudors and the Awful Egyptians at Storyhouse this week at varying times, so make sure you don't miss out and check out the listing details below for the remaining dates.

Listing Details

Horrible Histories 
Performances until Friday 8th November
Venue: Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR
Tickets: £13.50 children under 14 / £18.50 Adults
Each ticket is subject to a £1.50 booking fee

Horrible Histories Terrible Tudors
Thursday 7th November 2019 at 6pm
Friday 8th November 2019 at 10:30am

Horrible Histories Awful Egyptians
Thursday 7th November 2019 at 10:30am
Friday 8th November 2019 at 6pm

Tickets can be booked online at www.storyhouse.com, or by calling 01244 409113. Alternatively you can visit the Ticket Kiosks at Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR.

*Disclaimer - We were provided with press tickets for the purpose of reviewing the show. All opinions are my own unless stated otherwise.