Friday, 7 February 2020

Hale Barns Carnival 2020 Announces Three Headline Concerts

Three headline acts have been announced for Hale Barns Carnival 2020 - and due to high demand, a third evening concert has been added to the increasingly popular community festival.

Last year organisers were thrilled with a record number of visitors to the event, which raised more than £100,000 for the local community.

This year's event takes place across the weekend of Friday 17th July, Saturday 18th July and Sunday 19th July 2020 - and this year's event boasts its biggest headliners yet, including Motown royalty.


Organisers are delighted to announce this year's headline live acts performing at Hale Barns Carnival 2020 are Motown Legend Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, opera vocalist Russell Watson, and Seventies pop rock band Bay City Rollers.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Martha Reeves and The Vandellas are heading to Cheshire for an exclusive festival performance, they will entertain audiences with their vast Motown back catalogue on the Sunday evening (19th July), accompanied by a full band.

Martha, who was seen on Celebrity Masterchef on television screens in 2019, will be performing at Hale Barns on the weekend of her 79th Birthday. Fans can look forward to live performances of her smash hit songs including Nowhere to Run, Heat Wave, Jimmy Mack - and the best selling Motown single of all time, Dancing in the Street, which was later covered in the 1980's by Mick Jagger and the late David Bowie.

A very special Proms with Russell Watson officially opens Hale Barns Carnival 2020 on the Friday evening (17th July). Salford-born Russell Watson is the UK's best-selling classical artist, and this year marks the 20th anniversary since his debut solo album The Voice hit the number one chart spot and catapulted the singer into the music industry spotlight.

Russell will be joined by his band performing a specially curated set of full proms classics, including massive anthems, Jerusalem, Rule Britannia and Nessun Dorma. The Friday Night concert will be supporting local charity The Seashell Trust, with all profits from the evening being donated to the charity.


The following evening (Saturday 18th July), tartan pop rock sensations the Bay City Rollers will be shaking their shang-a-lang following an extensive tour of Japan and Canada.

The band will be flying back into the UK especially for the Saturday night concert. Fans of the tartan army are guaranteed a show-stopping evening as the band perform their back catalogue of greatest hits including Bye Bye Baby, Shang A Lang, Remember and Summerlove Sensation.

Gates open at 6pm for the live concerts on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the concerts starting at 7.30pm.

Tickets for the evening concerts are now on sale. All 100% of the evening concerts will be donated towards community projects and charities. One ongoing project supported by the event is to help fund a building project to create a new community hall in Hale Barns, which will provide a platform to showcase local talent and run adult learning and youth projects.

The live concerts are once again complemented by a two-day free Hale Barns Carnival family event on the Saturday and Sunday (18th and 19th of July).

The daytime programme will feature more than 100 attractions including falconry displays, pop-up theatre, craft activity tent, traditional fun fair rides, supercars, makers' market, food village and bars. Daytime entry is free from 12pm until 5pm.

Organiser Max Eden from Hale Barns Events commented: "Hale Barns Carnival is back bigger and better than ever before. Due to phenomenal demand and the incredible support of the local community, we are adding an extra date making the event three days for the first time ever.

"We're incredibly excited that the incredible queen of Motown Martha Reeves; operatic sensation and local lad Russell Watson; and Seventies tartan rockers the Bay City Rollers are joining us at the Hale Barns Carnival 2020. Each concert promises something completely different to enjoy and experience first-hand.

"With a bigger concert stage and even bigger acts, we want to make this the best Hale Barns Carnival we've ever had - and I still can't believe we've got a real Motown legend coming to Hale Barns, it's just wonderful. We're also looking forward to once again inviting visitors to enjoy the daytime festival atmosphere free of charge. Come and join us for a weekend of live music and family fun - it's the Summer event you won't want to miss."

Further announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

For further information you can visit the Hale Barns Carnival website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - www.halebarnscarnival.co.uk
Facebook - www.facebook.com/HaleBarnsCarnival
Twitter - @HaleBarnsEvents #HBCarnival

Listing Details

Hale Barns Carnival 2020
Friday 17th July 2020 - Proms with Russell Watson
Saturday 18th July 2020 - Bay City Rollers
Sunday 19th July 2020 - Martha Reeves and the Vandellas

Venue: St Ambrose Fields, Hale Road, Hale Barns, WA15 0HE

Free daytime activity on Saturday and Sunday (18th July and 19th July) from 12pm to 5pm
Evening concerts (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) - gates open 6pm / show starts 7.30pm

Weekend pass available to cover all three concerts for £75*
Solo concert tickets available at £30* per evening

Tickets can be booked online at www.halebarnscarnival.co.uk

*Subject to per ticket booking fee.

**Disclaimer - This post is written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of publishing, 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.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Enjoy the Perfect Sweet Treats from Swizzels this Valentine's Day - A Review

After what has felt like the longest January ever, we are now finally in February, which means that I can begin to get excited about Valentine's Day. My husband and I have now been together for 18 years and we never go over the top on this special day, but instead we set a small budget of around £10 each just to get a card and a little gift for one another.

I do get a bit excited about it though, as over the years we have made it into a bit of a challenge, with the rules being that it has to be something we have never bought each other before and there has to have been a bit of thought put into the gift. This means that the usual teddies, mugs and heart covered socks that you find in every supermarket are out of the question and at the start of February we start to have a think about what we are going to buy.

I was therefore really excited to learn about the Swizzel's range of Valentine's Hampers and Gifts, that are the perfect treat for any lover of sweets. There is a fantastic range of gift ideas to choose from, all at really reasonable prices. Featuring a choice of hampers, personalised gifts, Valentine's Love Hearts and vegan friendly options too, there is definitely something to suit all tastes in this fabulous selection of Valentine's gifts.


Swizzels Matlow are well renowned in the world of sweets and are a 90+ year old family owned sweet factory. Their flagship brands include Love Hearts, Refreshers, Double Dips, Rainbow Drops and Drumsticks to name just a few. They have a whole host of gift ideas that are suitable for a range of different occasions such as Valentine's Day, Birthday's, Christmas and even Weddings. Fortunately for me, I have recently been sent two products from their Valentine's range to review and I couldn't wait to get started checking them out (and eating) some of their delicious sweetie treats.

Firstly is my favourite in the collection, which is the Personalised Love Hearts Tube. My husband and kids always make a point of the fact that we can never usually find my name on anything, with the only exception being a bingo dabber that my son spotted on Llandudno Pier once. However, thanks to Swizzels I now have something that has my name on it and I will be honest when I say I absolutely LOVE it!


This Personalised Love Hearts Tube costs £9.99 and is available here on the Swizzels website. It contains 25 mini rolls of Love Hearts, making it the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. The added benefit of there being 25 rolls is also the fact that the recipient may be willing to share them with you too.

The packaging can be personalised with a name or message, which I think stands out as a really thoughtful and unique gift. I would definitely be very happy to receive one of these on Valentine's Day and for less than £10 it won't break the bank either.


I was also sent the Swizzels Retro Red Sweet Hamper which at only £7.99 is an absolute bargain of a Valentine's gift. Featuring well known family favourites that are sure to put a smile on the recipients face, this hamper is jam packed to the brim with a 500g assortment of classic sweets that include a combination of Love Hearts, Refreshers, Drumsticks, Parma Violets, Double Dips, Double Lollies, Fizzers and Fruity Pops. Contents do vary, so quantities of various sweets may differ from the image below.


It comes beautifully presented in a bright red box, with a printed gold bow that certainly makes it looks the part. The dimensions of the hamper are approximately 25cm in width, 17cm in depth and 5.5cm in height, which as you can see from the photographs, is plenty of room to fill with these delightful sweets.

There is also a great selection of other gifts to choose from including vegan friendly and vegetarian options, large wicker hampers, personalised treats and there is even the option of building your own hamper package where you can personally select your favourite sweets.


Overall, I have been really impressed by Swizzels Valentine's Range and feel that there is a great selection to choose from, with enough to suit all tastes and budgets. The personalised gifts make a great unique present for that special someone, whilst the hampers will be well received by Swizzels sweetie lovers. I think the products offer good value for money and are nicely presented, making them the ideal Valentine's Gift this February.

If you would like to find out more about the range of products for sale, then you can visit the Swizzels website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.swizzels.com/shop/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/swizzelsmatlow/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/SwizzelsMatlow
Instagram - @swizzels_sweetswizzels_sweets

There is also a special discount code available at present and if you enter the code V15 at the online checkout then you can receive 15% off. This code is valid from the 1st February to the 14th February 2020, making it the perfect time to visit the online Swizzels store.


*Disclaimer - I was gifted the Personalised Love Hearts and the Hamper for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

The Wizard of Oz at St Helens' Theatre Royal this February Half Term

A wizardly February half term panto is coming to St Helens Theatre Royal and its producers are delighted to reveal its wonderful cast. Click your heels together and join Dorothy and Toto on the Yellow Brick Road in Regal Entertainments' The Wizard of Oz from Saturday 15th to Sunday 23rd February 2020.

Rising young star Mia Molloy, steps into the red slippers as she takes on the lead role of Dorothy. Mia has played the lead roles in both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White at St Helens Theatre Royal and was first cast as Amy Chandler in the original production of Our Day Out - The Musical at the Royal Court Theatre aged just 14.

Samantha Palin plays The Wicked Witch. Samantha is also no stranger to St Helens Theatre Royal as her recent theatre credits include the villainous fairy Carabosse in October's Sleeping Beauty and - by contrast - the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool.

Reece Sibbald plays The Scarecrow who wants a brain. County Durham born Reese has played the Scarecrow at Whitley Bay Playhouse in 2018, in 2013, 2016 and 2017 and his roles include Baby Bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Ratty in Wind in the Willows and Buttons in Cinderella.

Harry Moore is The Tin Man seeking a heart. No stranger to panto, Harry has played both The Wizard and Tin Man in previous productions of The Wizard of Oz and Dame Dotty Trott in Jack and the Beanstalk. His theatre credits include Yakov in The Seagull, Cridle in St Joan of the Stockyards and Father Bojovic in Pentecost.

Returning after his memorable role as PC Noodle in St Helens' 5 star panto Aladdin, Timothy Lucas plays the Cowardly Lion who wants some courage. Trained at Liverpool theatre school, Timothy has played Gaston in Beauty and the Beast in 2017 and the notorious Captain Hook in Peter Pan in 2018.

Another St Helens alumnus Abigail Middleton, returns in the role of the Good Fairy Glinda. Abigail has played Tiger Lily in Peter Pan at St Helens and her recent credits include Lucy in Pig, Sister Mary in Scouse Pacific and Nancy in Kiss Me Quickstep.

James Lusted completes the cast in the titular as The Wizard. James has worked as an actor and TV presenter for 10 years. His theatre work includes Follow Me for Theatre Brycheiniog and The Funfair at Home Theatre in Manchester, as well as several appearances in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Audiences are invited to join Dorothy and Toto as they follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City, so Dorothy can ask the Wizard to help her return home. Along the way she meets the Scarecrow who wants a brain, the Tin Man who desires a heart and the Cowardly Lion who needs courage.

Chantelle Nolan, Theatre Manager, producer and director said: "We have a fantastic cast for The Wizard of Oz, featuring many familiar faces that our audiences know and love. The show is packed full of great jokes, brilliant songs, dazzling costumes and show-stopping choreography. It's a 'wonderful' show, with something for the whole family to enjoy. Tickets are already on sale so make sure you book yours now!"

The Wizard of Oz comes to St Helens Theatre Royal from Saturday 15th to Sunday 23rd February 2020. For more information you can visit the St Helens Theatre Royal website or their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/sthelenstheatreroyal/
Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH

Listing Details

Show - The Wizard of Oz
Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Dates - Saturday 15th February to Sunday 23rd February 2020
Times - Times vary, so please visit the website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - Tickets start from £12*

*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat transaction fee. On-line bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat on-line processing fee.

Tickets can be purchased online, in person at the box office, or alternatively you can call 01744 756000 if you would like to book over the phone.



*Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but are subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show Returns to Birmingham's NEC - Competition

As a family, we love our camping and caravan holidays and over the years we have owned our own static and tourer caravans, along with a selection of family sized tents. We sold our last static caravan a couple of years ago to fund our desire to do some travelling, but have recently been looking to purchase another tourer or motorhome for our adventures in the UK and Europe.

I was therefore really excited to hear that The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show would be returning to Birmingham's NEC from the 18th to the 23rd February, where there will be a whole host of leisure vehicles, caravans, lodges and tents on display, as well as some fun family friendly activities that will ensure a fabulous fun day out.


Holidaymakers and Adventurers are sure to find plenty of inspiration in the UK's largest event of its kind, as The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show will be set across five halls of the NEC showcasing all the gear that you could possibly need for any upcoming escapades.

There will be a great selection of activities on offer for families that includes mini golf, celebrity guests and even a fun theatre programme from the hugely popular Freedom to Go Theatre, who will be returning with a host of live shows that will cover the many aspects of holidaying and adventuring.

The Freedom to Go Theatre will also host the adorable spaniel trio Max, Paddy and Harry....and while on the theme of dogs, 2020 also sees the return of the Top Dog Arena , where show-goers can take a break from their holiday planning to enjoy some spectacular canine agility demonstrations.

Celebrity guests will include TV Star Shane Richie; Caravan and Motorhome Club Member Matt Allwright, adventurer extraordinaire Darren Hardy; and Nadiya Hussain, who will be providing guests with some culinary inspiration.


Brand new for 2020 is Electric in Motion a brand-new area where visitors can ride in style on some of the most cutting-edge electric ride-ons, from bikes for kids and adults alike through to scooters, skateboards and even unicycles. Manufacturers such as Ride and Glide, RooDog and Ribble Cycles will provide demos before giving visitors the chance to take them for a spin on a special indoor course.

Tickets for the show are available for purchase online now and priced at just £8 for adults and £7 for seniors. Tickets on the door will also be available and cost £10 for adults and £9 seniors. Children aged 15 and under go free, making it both an enjoyable and affordable day out for the whole family!

For more information on The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show, you can visit their website and social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://ccmshow.co.uk/caravan-camping-motorhome-show
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NECCaravanShows
Twitter - @caravancampshow
Instagram - @neccaravanshows

However, if you are feeling lucky, then why not enter our fantastic competition below for the chance to win a family ticket to The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show. Please have a read through the terms and conditions and then simply enter using the gleam form below. Good Luck!


Win a Family Ticket to The Caravan, Camping & Motorhome Show 2020

Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) to attend 1 (one) day of The Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show taking place at the Birmingham N.E.C.
  • The winner can choose which specific single date that they would like to attend the show between the dates of the 18th to the 23rd February 2020.
  • The competition closes at midnight on the 10th February 2020 and the winner shall be notified by email within 2 working days of the closing date.
  • Due to this being a date restricted prize, the winner shall have 24 hours to respond to the winning email notification, before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries. 
  • Tickets are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • No bulk or third party entries will be accepted.
  • The winners name and contact details shall be provided to the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.
  • There will be no contribution made towards travel costs, food or any other related expenses and the winner shall be responsible for any additional costs they occur.