Sunday, 19 December 2021

The Snowman including We're Going on a Bear Hunt at Chester Cathedral - A Review

Yesterday we visited the beautiful Chester Cathedral to watch The Snowman Tour including We're Going on a Bear Hunt. We have enjoyed this spectacular performance for several years now and it has become a firm favourite in our family. It has definitely secured its place amongst our treasured festive traditions and my son Riley couldn't wait to watch the show again once more, along with being able to enjoy one of his favourite bedtime stories in animated form. 

The show began with a welcome from Santa who initiated a roll call of the orchestra members. As each section was called such as Woodwind or Brass, the musicians would play a short piece of music to introduce themselves. I felt that this was a great idea for the younger members of the audience in order to help them understand the different instruments that made up the orchestra, as well as making them aware of their associated sounds. 

© Snowman Enterprises Limited / © Bear Hunt Films Limited MMXVI

Once Santa had finished his Zoom Face call, the first animated piece of the performance appeared upon the screen - the wonderful story of We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. The animation lasted approximately 25 minutes and told the story of a family who embark on an adventure to find a bear, whilst meeting various challenges along the way. I have read the story to my son numerous times over the years, so he was really excited to see it presented in an animation.

Following this, we were treated to the Snowman Waltz, which saw a lively Snowman walk around the Cathedral and wave to all the children. Riley really enjoyed this part and was really excited as he walked right in front of us. He enjoyed following his journey around the Cathedral and trying to spot whereabouts he was. It was great to hear all the exciteable laughter of the children in the audience.


As the Snowman character exited the main cathedral area, the lights dimmed once more and the audience fell silent again, as the moment we had all been waiting for commenced on the screen. From the moment the animation began, it felt truly magical, as The Snowman was brought to life upon the stage. I always try to make sure that I watch both the film and the orchestra at various intervals as I enjoy seeing the musicians perform, so I try and switch my focus between the two. I find that this really helps me to appreciate the music and the talented individuals on the stage.

When it came to the incredible song of We're Walking in the Air, I thought that the young soloist was absolutely superb with the most stunning of voices. My son was mesmerised as we watched him perform. I also felt that the conductor was marvellous in offering the soloist support throughout his performance with reassuring smiles and silently mouthing the words towards him just in case nerves got the better of him at any stage. I found this support quite heartwarming and I absolutely loved the encouragement on display.

Overall we had a really lovely time at Chester Cathedral watching The Snowman including We're Going on a Bear Hunt. It was a beautiful way to spend the afternoon together and the whole performance felt so Christmassy and special. I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere within the cathedral and I felt that the different parts of the show were presented well. The sound quality was excellent and we had no difficulty in hearing the different instruments and being able to focus on the various musical pieces. It was the perfect show to get us in the festive mood and we would absolutely recommend The Snowman Tour to families of all ages.

Image Credit © Gareth Widdowson

The full list of remaining tour dates can be found here - https://www.carrotproductions.com/snowman

If you would like to find out more about The Snowman Tour 2021 or about Carrot Productions, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.carrotproductions.com/

Facebook - facebook.com/carrotproductions

Twitter - @CarrotProd

Instagram - @carrot_productions

YouTube - CarrotProductions


*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided in this post are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the production's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester at EventCity - A Review

My family and I enjoyed the perfect start to our week on Monday, with a trip to Silcock's Winter Wonderland at EventCity Manchester for their VIP Launch Night. This marvellous event has returned even bigger and better than before and we were so excited to visit this fabulous festive extravaganza once again. Featuring over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof, as well as some wonderful shows to enjoy, it is a fantastic way to spend some fun family time together and we couldn't wait to have a look around and explore.

Our evening began with some launch night entertainment from some talented local dance groups, along with a young vocalist performing a small selection of songs. This performance ended with a fabulous rendition of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" which seemed to get everyone in the mood and excited to enter the Winter Wonderland doors as the crowd began a ten second countdown. As the curtains opened, snow began to fall as we made our way into the event.

We intended to head towards the back of venue to begin with, however we were stopped in our tracks by my youngest son deciding that he wanted to go on every single ride that we tried to walk past. The last time Winter Wonderland was in EventCity in 2017, he was only 4, so he couldn't really remember much about the event, or just how many rides there were to choose from. He was therefore delighted to find such a great choice and he began to have so much fun right from the start.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

As well as classic favourites such as the Dodgems and the Waltzers, there were mini rollercoasters, a flying elephant ride and a mini carousel to name just a few. My son absolutely loved the Caterpillar rollercoaster and went on this several times with both myself and his big brother. When he decided he wanted a rest, we utilised that time by having a sit down and watching a show on the main stage. There were a few to choose from which included an Ice Princess Show as well as some entertainment featuring TV stars Daisy and Ollie. I really liked the fact that the main stage was central to so many rides, as this meant that I could let my teens go off and enjoy some of the larger and faster rides, knowing that it would be very easy for them to find us again when they were finished. 

There was also the chance to visit Father Christmas, however we decided not to queue for this and spent our time on the rides and shows instead. However, this seemed really popular with other guests and there is also the option of purchasing a toy and photo from the Father Christmas Toy Workshop. He is available for meet and greet sessions every day, up to and including Christmas Eve.

We hadn't eaten prior to arriving at the event, so it wasn't long before my children were hungry. There were a range of food vendors to choose from and although they were a little on the expensive side, it was on par with prices that we are used to at these kind of events. We purchased four burgers which set us back £24 and five drinks cost us a further £12.50 later in the evening. The food was really good quality though and tasty too, which made up for paying the slightly higher prices.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

Another additional cost at the event is the games stalls, which varied in price. With having three children these stalls can get expensive if they each want a go, so I usually try to avoid these, but there was a ring toss game which was only £1, so I was quite happy to pay that and we each tried our luck. My eldest son got lucky and managed to win himself some candy floss as well as some sweets so he was really pleased with himself.

Overall we had a fantastic time at Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester and we are hoping to return with other family members in the coming weeks. There is plenty of free parking outside the venue and I feel that the ticket prices offer excellent value for money. We loved how many rides there were to choose from that catered for a range of different ages, which ensured that there was something for the whole family to enjoy. I also really liked the addition of the short shows on the main stage and the Circus which was also available to watch. I would absolutely recommend this event to others and we cannot wait to return again in the near future. 

To find out more or to book tickets please visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or alternatively you can visit the following social media channels:

Facebook - facebook.com/winterwonderlandmanchester

Twitter - @wwmanchester

Instagram - @wwmanchester

Listing Details

Event - Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester

Venue - EventCity (next to Intu Trafford Centre), Phoenix Way, Off Barton Dock Road, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TB

Dates - 4th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022

Parking - Free parking available

Ticket Information

Off-Peak Tickets

Adult: £29.50 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £29.50 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £20.00 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Peak

Adult: £35.00 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £35.00 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £27.50 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Carers tickets go free with full paying adults.

Groups: 1 in 10 goes free (no booking fee)

School and nursery bookings: From 7-10 December and 13-17 December, tickets £15 each including booking fee.

Payment plans are available this year - see website for details.

Reduced £22.00 (plus booking fee) tickets are available for NHS and Armed Forces on certain dates, see website for details.

All rides and attractions are included in the price (excluding games and food stalls) and each session lasts for 4 hours.

Bookings can be made online at www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or by ringing 0344 815 7131 for both individual and group bookings.


Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

*Disclaimer - We were invited as guests to the VIP Launch Night for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 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 site in order to view the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 7 December 2021

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at the Blackpool Grand Theatre - A Review

As a family we were absolutely delighted to be returning to the Grand Theatre in Blackpool last weekend to enjoy one of our favourite festive traditions, a Christmas Pantomime! Like many families we had to keep ourselves entertained at home last year and whilst we still had a lovely time, it definitely didn't compare to being amongst a theatre audience where you can sing and dance along, whilst also crying with laughter at the same time. 

Martin Dodd for UK Productions and in association with Blackpool Grand Theatre are proudly presenting their production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is running from the 3rd December 2021 through to the 2nd January 2022. 

It tells the tale of the beautiful Snow White (Ellie Green) who is treated terribly by her evil stepmother the Wicked Queen (Vicky Entwistle). In true fairytale style, Snow White falls in love with a handsome prince and manages to escape the clutches of the Wicked Queen, only to stumble into the dark forest where luckily she meets seven new adorable friends, who help to try and keep her safe from harm. Featuring a magic mirror, an eccentric Nurse Dolly (Jamie Steen) and an entertaining jester called Muddles (Steve Royle), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs contains all you need for an enjoyable time at the theatre this festive season.

The pantomime is fun-packed from start to finish and includes comedy, dancing, singing and all round entertainment that is sure to bring a smile to your face. Variety performances feature throughout and include everything from juggling to a very special and unique kind of ventriloquism. Running at approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes including the interval, it is the perfect way to spend some quality time with the family whilst being thoroughly entertained.

© Blackpool Grand Theatre | Martin Bostock

Vicky Entwistle stars as the Wicked Queen and is extremely impressive in this role. She surpassed my initial expectations and had a commanding stage presence that grasped my attention each and every time she entered the stage. Despite being cast as a baddie, I felt that at times she also provided a touch of glamour, whilst also treating the audience to some incredibly enjoyable performances. I have watched many pantomimes over the years and have found that in some shows the baddie can have a somewhat limited role, but the Wicked Queen features regularly throughout this production and she had no problem showing off her vocal skills or keeping up with the choreography to some fast paced musical numbers.

Steve Royle (Currently Britain's Third Most Talented Person) stars as Muddles and my family and I were really looking forward to seeing him perform on stage. Whilst I have seen him starring in a panto role before, my children only became aware of him through his appearance on Britain's Got Talent and they were excited to see what variety acts he would bring to the show. It is fair to say that we were not disappointed and his fabulously funny ventriloquism scene starring a very Manky Monkey, will be one that my children will talk about for years to come. 

Nursie is played by Jamie Steen, who was just wonderful as Nurse Dolly. There were a few innuendos and little jokes for the adults thrown in on occasions and I found that Nursie and Muddles complemented each other well on stage. Both were capable of engaging well with the audience and made the ideal comedy duo during their scenes together. 

The role of Snow White was performed by Ellie Green who contributed some exceptional vocal talent. Her voice was a pleasure to listen to and her character was both charming and likeable. She performed well opposite her charismatic and handsome Prince, who was played by Chris Warner Drake. 

The seven dwarfs named Kip, Pop, Soppy, Sneezer, Twitcher, Smiler and Grouchy were incredible and you could feel the audiences love for them all as soon as they appeared. We couldn't help but sing and clap along as they performed songs such as "Heigh-Ho" and "Whistle While You Work".

© Blackpool Grand Theatre | Martin Bostock

The show features traditional panto favourites such as the spooky ghost scene and the marvellous 12 Days of Christmas which my family love. I always enjoy watching this particular act and how the cast deal with the many challenges. My youngest son had asked me on the way to the show whether the song would feature, so he was absolutely delighted to find himself singing "Five Toilet Rolllllsss" at the top of his voice.

The music throughout the production has been perfectly selected and features a variety of well known songs that all ages could sing along to. There was definitely some stand out performances though, with Snow White's incredible vocals showcasing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" and the dwarfs fantastic rendition of "Ice Ice Baby" which gave the audience an absolute treat. My personal favourite however, was Vicky Entwistle's performance of "I Put a Spell on You" which was just superb! A special mention also has to be made regarding the wonderfully talented orchestra who played with precision and made the songs an absolute joy to listen to.

© Blackpool Grand Theatre | Martin Bostock

The costumes within the production are without a doubt some of the best I have ever seen, particularly Nursie's. Her outfits dazzled and bewildered us with their creativity, extravagance and awesomeness. Just when you thought they couldn't get any bigger or bolder, you would be surprised with yet another costume change that were often greeted with sounds of laughter when she took to the stage. Whilst these costumes were the most notable, the wardrobe department excelled throughout the show with all cast members looking the part in outfits that reflected their characters perfectly.

Overall we had a wonderful time at the Blackpool Grand Theatre and both my husband and I enjoyed it just as much as the kids. Variety and comedy was strong throughout the whole production and it was great to hear the theatre filled with continuous laughter. Audience participation was definitely encouraged and everyone seemed to absolutely love this interaction that has always played such a big part in the panto experience. The cast all worked really well together and quite importantly they genuinely looked like they were having a great time on stage, providing guests with what I consider to be an outstanding show. I would absolutely recommend Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to people of all ages, so don't delay and be sure to book your tickets to this fabulous pantomime very soon!

Listing Details

Show - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 
Dates - 3rd December 2021 to 2nd January 2022
Times - Various show times
Venue - Blackpool Grand Theatre, 33 Church Street, Blackpool, FY1 1HT
Ticket prices - Prices vary, so please visit the Grand Theatre website to obtain the most up to date information.
Box Office - 01253 290190
Website - https://www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk/event/snow-white-new-2021-22

You can also visit The Grand Theatre's social media pages on the following channels:

Facebook - @blackpoolgrand

Twitter - @Grand_Theatre

Instagram - @grandtheatrebpl

© Blackpool Grand Theatre | Martin Bostock

*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary press tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Christmas at Dunham Massey 2021 - A Review

On Thursday evening we had the pleasure of attending the press night for the launch of Christmas at Dunham Massey 2021. My family and I have attended every year since 2017, with the exception of last year due to our local lockdown, so it is fair to say that we were all extremely excited to return to one of our favourite festive events.

Christmas at Dunham Massey is brought to you by Raymond Gubbay Ltd (Sony Music) in partnership with the National Trust and sees the stunning grounds transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland, with a magical, after-dark illuminated trail. Featuring over a million lights accompanied by seasonal sounds, it is the perfect place to make memories with loved ones or friends as you walk around the stunning grounds and take in the creative and mesmerising lights.

Prior to beginning the Christmas Trail you can spend some time in the courtyard, where there is a selection of different street food vendors, along with some vintage fairground rides that included a carousel and a helter skelter. Tokens need to be purchased for the rides at an additional charge and these are available from a kiosk located nearby, if you haven't already purchased them in advance. 


It is important to note that due to the one way system, you don't return back to the courtyard area after you have finished the trail, so if you are wanting to enjoy this area and have a bite to eat, then this needs to be done prior to entering the trail. The food and drinks available looked delicious and were reasonably priced. I also felt that there was a good variety of choices available to cater for all tastes.

Once we had finished in the Courtyard, my family and I made our way over to the giant sized reindeer located at the start of the trail where we were greeted by friendly staff who scanned our tickets. The mansion was lit up brightly and we were captivated watching the sequence of lights across the building. Our favourite part was when Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas began to play and my son, along with some other guests, began to dance. It felt so Christmassy and welcoming and we were excited to see the rest of the event as we began to walk down the path.


Just like previous years we were greeted with stunning displays and my son kept asking how long it must have taken people to create the fascinating arrangements. The fire garden was so relaxing and I could quite happily have stood there for a long time just watching the flames and listening to the music. We were also extremely impressed by the incredible rose garden installation which was absolutely breathtaking as the roses began to change colour. 

There were also plenty of opportunities along the trail to purchase hot drinks and snacks including hot chocolates, mulled wine and tea. The option of a children's hot chocolate was also available and my boys both said it was absolutely delicious. It cost £2.25 and they enjoyed taking sips and keeping warm as we continued our walk together.

Approximately midway through the trail, there is a place to stop and purchase marshmallows to roast on one of the fire pits. The marshmallows were available to buy for £1.50 each which I thought to be reasonable given their large size. My youngest son opted for a candy floss favoured marshmallow, but my eldest son noticed additional cabins that were selling waffles and crepes, with the giant tubs of nutella immediately catching his attention. He therefore chose to buy a nutella filled crepe instead at a cost of £4.50 which he described as the best snack he had ever tasted.


My favourite part of the evening was watching my son speak with Santa, albeit socially distanced. Whilst there are no individual meet and greets, Santa did his best to speak out to guests in the crowd and welcome everyone. It was beautiful to watch his interaction with visitors and the surrounding setting was wonderful and perfectly lit with gentle lighting against the backdrop of the night sky.

Overall we had a wonderful time and it was the perfect start to our Christmas celebrations. The way the event is designed makes it suitable for all ages and whilst it is a lovely family event, I also feel that it is ideal for couples and individuals to enjoy too. All of the staff we came across were extremely courteous and were very friendly each time my youngest son spoke to them. He had taken one of his teddies with him and insisted on showing it to every staff member, who all seemed more than happy to engage with him and have a little chat. The highlight of our evening was the interaction between Father Christmas and my son which was just a joy to watch. We would absolutely recommend Christmas at Dunham Massey to others and if you have already booked your tickets, then you're in for a treat.

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 - 19th November 2021 to 2nd January 2022 (the event is not open on all dates so please check for availability).

The majority of tickets for this event are now sold out, however on checking today (20/11/21) there are currently limited tickets still available for the 1st and 2nd of January 2022. However, the creators for Christmas at Dunham Massey are also operating a new lights trail approximately 40 minutes away from Dunham Massey called Christmas at Delamere Forest. You can find out more details on this event on the blog here.



*Disclaimer - We attended the press evening of Christmas at Dunham Massey and were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attraction's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. 

Monday, 27 September 2021

Competition - Win a Family Ticket to Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester VIP Night

You may have read our recent blog post announcing the wonderful news that Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is returning to EventCity this December after a four-year gap. This fabulous festive extravaganza offers families the opportunity to make some wonderful memories together this Christmas and I am very excited to have a family ticket to give away to attend their VIP night on the 6th December 2021.

Kingpin Events, organisers of the UK's largest indoor Christmas theme park, are delighted to announce that Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester returns after a 4-year gap, bringing the magic of Christmas back to Manchester.

This much-loved festive extravaganza returns indoors at EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre from Saturday 4th December 2021 to Sunday 2nd January 2022.

The Christmas event became a top attraction in Manchester for five years from 2013-2017, becoming one of the city's biggest annual events and now the much-loved attraction returns bigger and better than before with tickets now on sale for the unmissable festive family adventure.

Kingpin Events will transform the indoor 22,000 sq m exhibition space into an unbelievable and magical winter wonderland, featuring over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof including Dodgems, Roller Coasters, Waltzers and too many children's rides to mention. There is also a dazzling array of theatrical shows on the main stage including TV stars Daisy and Ollie, Ice Princess Show, Christmas Meltdown plus the spectacular Christmas Circus returns, all with daily performances. Not to mention being greeted by Elves and Fairies and the amazing surprises that are still to be announced. 

Of course Christmas would not be complete without visiting Father Christmas - complete with real reindeers - who will be taking time out of his busy schedule for meet and greets every day, up to and including Christmas Eve. You also have the option to purchase a toy and a photo from Father Christmas Toy Workshop.

If this wasn't enough there are also games stalls and festive foods from German sausages to waffles and crepes, as well as an authentic German Bar for alcoholic drinks and refreshments.

Four hours of non-stop fun and entertainment all included in one amazing ticket price (excluding games and food stalls) along with 3000 free car park spaces.

To find out more or to book tickets please visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or alternatively you can visit the following social media channels:

Facebook - facebook.com/winterwonderlandmanchester

Twitter - @wwmanchester

Instagram - @wwmanchester

Listing Details

Event - Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester

Venue - EventCity (next to Intu Trafford Centre), Phoenix Way, Off Barton Dock Road, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TB

Dates - 4th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022

Parking - Free parking available

Ticket Information

Off-Peak Tickets

Adult: £29.50 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £29.50 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £20.00 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Peak

Adult: £35.00 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £35.00 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £27.50 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Carers tickets go free with full paying adults.

Groups: 1 in 10 goes free (no booking fee)

School and nursery bookings: From 7-10 December and 13-17 December, tickets £15 each including booking fee.

Payment plans are available this year - see website for details.

Reduced £22.00 (plus booking fee) tickets are available for NHS and Armed Forces on certain dates, see website for details.

All rides and attractions are included in the price (excluding games and food stalls) and each session lasts for 4 hours.

Bookings can be made online at www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or by ringing 0344 815 7131 for both individual and group bookings.

Tickets can be purchased now, however if you are feeling lucky then why not enter our competition. Simply read the terms and conditions and then enter using the gleam form below: 

Win a Family Ticket to Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester VIP Night


Terms and Conditions

  • There is 1 (one) prize of a family ticket (consisting of 2 adults and 2 children) to Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester at EventCity on 6th December 2021 only. The family ticket cannot be transferred to an alternative date and there is no cash alternative.
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.
  • Competition closes on the 31st October 2021 at 23:59pm
  • The family ticket cannot be resold and is not transferable. 
  • The winner will be drawn at random from all eligible entries after the closing date and notified via email.
  • 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 BEA for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so. BEA are responsible for arranging/sending out the prize.
  • 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 will be validated to confirm that the entry action has been completed as stated. Any incorrect or invalid entries shall be removed.
  • The winner's name may be displayed on this blog post once the winner has been drawn and have confirmed their acceptance of the prize.
  • In entering this competition you confirm that you have accepted these terms and conditions and any additional terms that may be available to view within the Gleam entry form.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Dates for your Diary - Jack and the Beanstalk at St Helens Theatre Royal

A panto streamed online earlier this year is being brought to life to entertain families this October half term - with hundreds of tickets also being donated to frontline NHS workers in St Helens.

Leading panto producers Regal Entertainments is counting down four weeks until the curtain rises on family favourite Jack and the Beanstalk at St Helens Theatre Royal.

Regal Entertainments kept online audiences entertained at Easter when they went the extra mile to stream its popular seasonal show so families could still watch together at home while the country was still in the midst of a national lockdown.

The show proved so popular that theatregoers now have the opportunity to watch it in real-life during the October half-term school holidays featuring a cast of St Helens Theatre Royal favourites.

Jack and the Beanstalk comes to St Helens Theatre Royal for 15 performances between Thursday 21st October and Sunday 31st October 2021.

St Helens Theatre Royal has been granted the use of The Society of London Theatre & UK Theatre's 'See It Safely' mark. This certifies that the venue is complying with Government and industry Covid-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of staff, performers and audiences.

Regal Entertainments and St Helens Theatre Royal wanted to mark the return of live panto to the venue by doing something special - so they are thanking the tireless efforts of frontline NHS workers by donating 500 panto tickets to Whiston and St Helens Hospitals.

Regal Entertainments, St Helens Theatre Royal, and St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust are working together to allocate the tickets.

Ann Marr OBE, Chief Executive of St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: "The past 18 months have been the most challenging time for our staff, and we are incredibly grateful for the support we continue to receive from our local community. Thank you to everyone at St Helens Theatre Royal for thinking of our staff during this time and giving them the opportunity to have some much-needed fun in our wonderful local theatre. I am sure they will enjoy every moment."


The fabulous cast sees Timothy Lucas reprise his role of Jack, Catherine Cunningham as Mrs Fleshcreep, Olivia Sloyan as Princess Jill, Reece Sibbald as Simple Simon, Mark Two as Dame Dolly Trott, and Jenna Sian O'Hara as Fairy Mary.

The creative team includes director Chantelle Nolan, musical supervisor Callum Clarke, choreography by Nazene Langfield, and written by Reece Sibbald.

Theatre manager and director Chantelle Nolan added: "Online audiences absolutely loved Jack and the Beanstalk at Easter, it was different hosting a panto in this way but we had so much fun making it possible. Now we're counting down the days until we welcome families back to the theatre to experience our lavish and magical pantomimes for themselves. 

"After such a tough 18 months, we want to say thank you to the incredibly dedicated frontline NHS workers in our local hospitals by inviting them to join us for the show.  They've worked tirelessly and we're all in awe of them - they are real-life heroes. We're inviting them to take a well-deserved break and join us on a magical journey with Jack and his friends." 

Jack and the Beanstalk tells the rags to riches story of a boy who sells the family's cow for a handful of beans, getting him into a lot of trouble with his poor mother. But the story takes a magical twist when the beans sprout into a magnificent beanstalk that reaches up to a mystical land high in the sky.

Audiences will join Jack on his gigantic journey up the beanstalk as he discovers geese with golden eggs, a magic harp, and not forgetting a close encounter with a very hungry giant. But he needs to tread carefully, as the villanous Mrs Fleshcreep is hot on his heels, determined to stop him.

St Helens Theatre Royal has a range of Covid-secure measures in place. They include increased cleaning, hand sanitiser stations at points throughout the building, and a QR code phone app for audiences to order food and beverages to be delivered to them at their seats.

Customers are asked to continue to wear face coverings (unless exempt) as a courtesy to others, and are being encouraged to take a lateral flow test up to 48 hours before attending the show. People are asked not to visit the theatre if they have Covid symptoms. Meanwhile theatre staff are taking daily Covid tests.

St Helens Theatre Royal's Autumn season brochure can be found online by visiting https://www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com/digital-brochure/

You can also follow St Helens Theatre Royal on the following social media pages:

Facebook - facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH

Instagram - @TheatreRoyalStHelens

Listing Details

Show - Regal Entertainments presents Jack and the Beanstalk

Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ

Dates - Selected dates from Thursday 21st October to Sunday 31st October

Tickets - From £13

Performance Schedule

Thursday 21st October - 12pm

Friday 22nd October - 12pm

Saturday 23rd October - 12pm and 5pm

Sunday 24th October - 12pm and 5pm

Wednesday 27th October - 12pm

Thursday 28th October - 12pm and 5pm

Friday 29th October - 12pm and 5pm

Saturday 30th October - 12pm and 5pm

Sunday 31st October - 12pm and 5pm

Tickets can be booked in person at St Helens Theatre Royal Box Office, Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756000 or visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

*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 writing 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.

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Dates for your Diary - A Feast of Festive Fabulousness Coming Soon to Waterside, Sale

Sisters are indeed doing it for themselves in Sale this Christmas when the previously unloved and ill-fated Ugly Sisters come to Waterside to sing some songs, write some wrongs and tell it how it is, in this brand new musical play, The Not So Ugly Sisters, inspired by everybody's favourite fairy tale - Cinderella.

Presented by award-winning children's theatre makers, Wrongsemble in a co-production with Leeds Playhouse and Red Ladder, The Not So Ugly Sisters is a funny, fast-paced family show where the action centres around Dolly and Barb in their hairdressing salon on the day of their sister Cindy's wedding to Prince Smarming. Thinking that they have not been invited to the so-called event of the year, the sisters gather to share their story and wash their woes right out of their hair. With the salon phone only ringing for customers to cancel their blow-dry appointments, it is time for the sisters to tell the much-loved story from their perspective. Hell hath no fury like a hairdresser scorned!

Running at just under an hour with no interval and jam-packed with up-tempo original songs, puppetry and many funky moves - Not So Ugly Sisters is the perfect festive treat for small people and their grown ups with a good laugh and a family outing being the perfect way to end a challenging year for all.

Waterside is also delighted to announce a series of other festival treats, kicking off on Sunday 7th November with Ballet Theatre UK's beautiful re-telling of Hans Christian Anderson's classical fairy tale ballet, The Snow Queen. Ballet Theatre UK's renowned company of international dancers, beautiful costumes and glittering stage sets combine to create a magnificent spectacle, all set to a glorious and magical score.

For even littler people, Lyngo Theatre presents Little Red Riding Hood from Monday 13th to Friday 17th December. Recommended for ages 3-7, this is a theatrical gem of a show, complete with a magical wardrobe, a snowy wild wood, animal puppets hiding in trees and lots of catchy songs.

Older kids can hunker down at Waterside for the eerily beautiful retelling of everybody's favourite festive ghost story - A Christmas Carol on Friday 17th December. Aimed at ages 11 and over, this Christmas tale is brought to life while the ghosts of Christmas return from the dead through the magical art of storytelling - presented by The Book of Darkness & Light in association with Little Mighty.

Comedy lovers are in for a treat with not one but three great chances to laugh out loud this Christmas. Waterside's legendary monthly comedy night - Best of Buzz Comedy - brings the talents of Sam Avery, Bobby Murdock and Brummie funny man and compere Ryan Gough together for one night of hilarity for adults on Saturday 4th December. Waterside also presents the much loved ComedySportz improv comedy stalwarts in their annual adult panto which is created completely by scratch and on the spot in front of a live audience on Friday 17th December; whilst on Friday 10th December and Saturday 11th December - younger audiences are invited to come along and help make up their own family friendly version of the improv panto with the ComedySportz teams! Kids can expect quick-witted gags, games, panto dames and lots of silliness whilst the adults get a bawdier version of the same with the addition of rude words and even more innuendo. Oh No It Isn't.... Oh yes it is!

Rounding off Waterside's programme of festive delights is a one off musical gig with Belshazzar's Feast. Made up of Paul Sartin (of Bellowhead and Faustus) and Paul Hutchinson (of Pagoda Project) - together they have become one of the best-loved duos in folk music today and previous BBC Folk Awards Best Duo nominees. Join them on Thursday 16th December as they bring their celebrated Christmas show to Trafford, mixing traditional folk music and seasonal material, stirring in classical, pop and music hall, all topped off with audience participation and lashings of wry humour that has won them many fans across the world. 

Manager of Waterside Darren Adams says "After another challenging year for the arts and artists alike, it is so great to end on a cultural high with so many great shows and companies joining us at Waterside this Christmas. From live ballet to comedy and from theatre to folk - there really is something for all ages and tastes. It was so fantastic to see families and grown ups alike out enjoying the arts together once more this summer at our annual Refract Festival and we cannot wait to welcome more through our doors once again over the festive season."

Elvi Piper, Artistic Director at Wrongsemble comments: "We are thrilled to bring The Not So Ugly Sisters to the brilliant Waterside this festive season. We've been waiting for two years to entertain the good people of Manchester with this ultimate family feel-good festive feast of a show - which has something in it for everyone! Live theatre is well and truly back with a fairytale bang and we can't wait to get started."

The Not So Ugly Sisters runs at Waterside from Wednesday 24th November 2021 - Saturday 1st January 2022. Tickets are on sale now: waterside.org/sisters.

For further details on the shows at Waterside this festive season you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://watersidearts.org/

Facebook - facebook.com/watersidearts

Twitter - @watersidearts

Instagram - @watersidearts_

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

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is Returning to EventCity - 4th December 2021 to Sunday 2nd January 2022

My family and I were absolutely delighted to hear that Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is making a return to EventCity after a 4 year gap. We used to visit this event annually and it never failed to get us into the festive spirit. With so much to see and do, it really is a fabulous place to make some lovely memories together. I am therefore really excited to share all the details with you below.

Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester

Kingpin Events, organisers of the UK's largest indoor Christmas theme park, are delighted to announce that Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester returns after a 4-year gap, bringing the magic of Christmas back to Manchester.

This much-loved festive extravaganza returns indoors at EventCity next to the Intu Trafford Centre from Saturday 4th December 2021 to Sunday 2nd January 2022.

The Christmas event became a top attraction in Manchester for five years from 2013-2017, becoming one of the city's biggest annual events and now the much-loved attraction returns bigger and better than before with tickets now on sale for the unmissable festive family adventure.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

Kingpin Events will transform the indoor 22,000 sq m exhibition space into an unbelievable and magical winter wonderland, featuring over 50 family rides and attractions all under one roof including Dodgems, Roller Coasters, Waltzers and too many children's rides to mention. There is also a dazzling array of theatrical shows on the main stage including TV stars Daisy and Ollie, Ice Princess Show, Christmas Meltdown plus the spectacular Christmas Circus returns, all with daily performances. Not to mention being greeted by Elves and Fairies and the amazing surprises that are still to be announced. 

Of course Christmas would not be complete without visiting Father Christmas - complete with real reindeers - who will be taking time out of his busy schedule for meet and greets every day, up to and including Christmas Eve. You also have the option to purchase a toy and a photo from Father Christmas Toy Workshop.

If this wasn't enough there are also games stalls and festive foods from German sausages to waffles and crepes, as well as an authentic German Bar for alcoholic drinks and refreshments.

Four hours of non-stop fun and entertainment all included in one amazing ticket price (excluding games and food stalls) along with 3000 free car park spaces.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

Organisers Tammy and Billy Silcock of Kingpin Events said "We are absolutely delighted to be returning to Manchester this Christmas after a four-year gap, after the last 18 months we all need to create magical memories with our families, and we hope the return of the event will spread joy across the region. As a special thank you for the hard work of our NHS and Armed Forces we are introducing reduced ticket prices on specific days throughout the run.

"We have worked really hard to ensure that we bring back all the magic we had before as well as ensuring we create a safe space for our visitors, performers and staff. We recommend early booking to ensure you get a ticket."

The organisers have also confirmed the return of the Celebrity VIP night as well as their annual Charity Night, which this year has been pre-arranged with targeted NHS and mental health charities.

Tickets are on sale now for the magical festive family adventure which is guaranteed to create that enchanting Christmas spirit and spread joy across the whole of Manchester and beyond.

Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is operated on a session basis to ensure visitors can enjoy a covid-secure and enjoyable experience without overcrowding. There is also ticket insurance and a "Buy with confidence, exchange with ease policy" should a ticketholder have to isolate, full details on the website.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod

Tickets to this event are limited and we strongly advise that tickets are booked early to avoid disappointment. Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester is also available for private hire.

So don't miss the Christmas event of the year at EventCity which is open from the 4th December 2021 until the 2nd January 2022.

Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester will adhere to all government Covid guidelines at the time, hand sanitiser stations will be located around the event and stringent additional cleaning measures in place.

To find out more or to book tickets please visit www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or alternatively you can visit the following social media channels:

Facebook - facebook.com/winterwonderlandmanchester

Twitter - @wwmanchester

Instagram - @wwmanchester

Listing Details

Event - Silcock's Winter Wonderland Manchester

Venue - EventCity (next to Intu Trafford Centre), Phoenix Way, Off Barton Dock Road, Urmston, Manchester, M41 7TB

Dates - 4th December 2021 to 2nd January 2022

Parking - Free parking available

Ticket Information

Off-Peak Tickets

Adult: £29.50 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £29.50 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £20.00 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Peak

Adult: £35.00 (plus booking fee)

Child: (3-16) £35.00 (plus booking fee)

OAP: £27.50 (plus booking fee)

Child (Under 3): Free (Ticket Required)

Family Ticket of 4 (must include at least 1 Adult) discount of £10 (plus booking fee).

Carers tickets go free with full paying adults.

Groups: 1 in 10 goes free (no booking fee)

School and nursery bookings: From 7-10 December and 13-17 December, tickets £15 each including booking fee.

Payment plans are available this year - see website for details.

Reduced £22.00 (plus booking fee) tickets are available for NHS and Armed Forces on certain dates, see website for details.

All rides and attractions are included in the price (excluding games and food stalls) and each session lasts for 4 hours.

Bookings can be made online at www.winterwonderlandmanchester.com or by ringing 0344 815 7131 for both individual and group bookings.

Photo Credit: Prakash Bhalsod
*Disclaimer - Details provided in this post are believed to be correct at the time of writing but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the attractions own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. Post written based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Discover the Magic of Christmas at Delamere Forest With Their Brand New , After-Dark, Illuminated Christmas Trail

My family and I are beginning to get so excited about the countdown to Christmas and all the wonderful events that are being held in the North West region this year. However, one event that we are really thrilled to share with you, is the Delamere Forest Christmas Trail which we are sure is going to be a wonderful festive experience for the whole family.

This brand new Christmas Trail featuring enchanting illuminations and Christmas tunes, will illuminate Forestry England's Delamere Forest in Cheshire, from the 26th November to the 31st December 2021.

Visitors are encouraged to wrap up warm and be transported to into a winter wonderland where you will discover sparkling tunnels of light, walk under giant baubles and beneath trees illuminated in Christmas colours. 

Neon Tree by Culture Creative, My Christmas Trails 2020. Photo by Richard Haughton © Sony Music

Spend time together and create everlasting memories as you wander between the specially chosen illuminations, all choreographed to a soundtrack of Christmas classics. Pause at the mesmerising flickering flames in the fire garden and don't forget to glimpse at Father Christmas along the way. 

Independent street food vendors bring a delicious twist to tasty treats on offer. Have yourself a holly, jolly Christmas and complete your walk under the stars with a *spiced winter warmer or *hot chocolate shared with someone special. 

*Additional charges apply

Christmas at Delamere Forest provides a special way to celebrate the festive season with an unmissable outdoor experience. The trail is designed for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

Christmas at Delamere Forest is brought to you by Sony Music in partnership with Forestry England. The trail is created by Culture Creative. 

This wonderful event sounds like the perfect way to enjoy some special time with family or friends, so if you would like to find out more or book tickets, then please visit the website at forestryengland.uk/christmas-at-delamere for further details. For information about COVID-19 and booking tickets with confidence, you can also visit https://mychristmastrails.co.uk/covid-19.

Event Listing

Event - Christmas at Delamere Forest - The magical, after-dark, illuminated Christmas Trail

Location - Delamere Forest, Linmere, Delamere, Northwich, Cheshire, CW8 2HZ

Dates - On selected dates between the 26th November to 31st December. Open from 4.30pm, last entry at 8pm and closes at 10pm.

Admission - Advanced tickets are from: Adult £19.50, Child £13.50, Family £62 (2 Adults, 2 Children). Free entry for carers and children aged 2 & under. Parking £8 per car. Delamere Forest members receive £1.50 per person discount (max 6 people).

Cathedral of Light by Mandylights, My Christmas Trails 2020. Photo by Richard Haughton © Sony Music

Disclaimer - Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, however they can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the events own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.


Monday, 13 September 2021

Preview - The Snowman Tour 2021 Returns to Chester Cathedral this December!

Every September we begin to look forward to Christmas and start to plan which attractions and shows we would like to attend. My children definitely have their firm favourites and my youngest son Riley always has The Snowman Tour at the top of his list. 

Like many families we really missed being able to enjoy our usual Christmas experiences last year, so we are definitely making up for it this year and we cannot wait to make some magical memories together. I am therefore delighted to share the news that The Snowman Including We're Going on a Bear Hunt will be visiting Chester Cathedral this December as part of their fabulous tour.

© Snowman Enterprises Limited / © Bear Hunt Films Limited MMXVI


The Snowman Including We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Make it a Christmas to remember, with a special screening of family favourite The Snowman accompanied by a magnificent live orchestra. Immerse yourself in this magical award-winning concert, set within the splendour of Chester Cathedral. 

Alongside The Snowman, enjoy We're Going on a Bear Hunt based on the best selling book by Michael Rosen with music by Stuart Hancock. With exquisite hand-drawn animation by Lupus Films - the team behind The Snowman and The Snowdog - We're Going on a Bear Hunt is suitable for all ages, and is guaranteed to enchant with its story of perserverance, optimism and love of nature.

Suitable for the whole family to enjoy together, it's the perfect way to start your Christmas celebrations, and is sure to create memories to cherish.

These concerts often sell out, so book soon to avoid missing out on this extraordinary event.


The Snowman Tour Including We're Going on a Bear Hunt, will be at Chester Cathedral on the 18th December 2021 at 1:45pm, 4pm and 6:30pm. Ticket prices start from £12 and can be purchased on the Chester Cathedral website here.

Don't worry if Chester Cathedral is a little too far for you to visit, as this magical experience is also visiting Buxton, Coventry, Derby, Durham, Liverpool and Winchester.

© Bear Hunt Films Limited MMXVI
We're Going on a Bear Hunt is a Lupus Films production in association with Bear Hunt Films and Walker Productions for Channel 4, Universal Pictures and Herrick Entertainment with the support of Creative Europe - MEDIA programme of the European Union.


Alternatively you can catch The Snowman including The Bear and the Piano at Cardiff and York or The Snowman including The Nutcracker at Salisbury.

The full list of tour dates can be found here - https://www.carrotproductions.com/snowman

If you would like to find out more about The Snowman Tour 2021 or about Carrot Productions, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website - https://www.carrotproductions.com/

Facebook - facebook.com/carrotproductions

Twitter - @CarrotProd

Instagram - @carrot_productions

YouTube - CarrotProductions


© Gareth Widdowson

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


Saturday, 14 August 2021

Crazy Construction Fun with Junkbots from Hexbug - A Review

My family has been huge fans of the Hexbug range of products for many years and my children have enjoyed many of their toys, with my eldest two children building up quite a collection at one stage. My youngest son Riley also loves Roblox and unboxing, so we were really excited to learn more about Junkbots, along with Hexbug's latest project that merges toys with entertainment.

A new eight-part digital series based on Junkbots, is now available to view on the HEXBUG Official YouTube page and from the 20th August, fans will be able to join in with the fun with the launch of the Roblox game that will follow a brand new adventure which all kicked-off when Junkbot Jack Static received a cryptic radio transmission. 

To celebrate the launch of the digital series and game, we held a fun screening event for Riley where he watched some episodes whilst also playing along with some awesome Junkbots toys. Of course no screening would be complete without some sweets and popcorn, so we made sure there was plenty on hand for us to enjoy whilst watching the show. 

Junkbots are the ultimate unboxing experience and there are items galore for you to rummage through and find the rubbish that can help you create your Junkbot character. They come in a selection of different sizes ranging from the Junkbots Trash Bin with an RRP of £4.99, the Junkbots Dumpster with an RRP of £9.99 and the Junkbots Industrial Dumpster with an RRP of £19.99. There are over 36 Junkbots to collect, but the beauty of this product is that items can be mixed and matched, which means that children can create numerous characters of their very own.

The Junkbots Trash Bin has an RRP of £4.99 and is the smallest in the range and perfectly priced for a pocket money purchase. Once you have opened the trash bin lid you can rummage inside to find the 15 pieces that you need to build the Junkbot character. Some pieces are loose in the trash bin, whilst others can be found inside the mini bin bags, providing plenty of unboxing fun. The design is fabulous and looks like a brightly coloured bin. The Junkbots are recommended for ages 3+ however there are some small parts, so I would definitely advise parental supervision if allowing younger children to play. 


The Junkbots Dumpster has an RRP of £9.99 and includes 30 pieces inside allowing you two build two completely different Junkbot figures. This was my favourite in terms of price and value for money as in addition to the two Junkbot figures, the pack also included an energy module. Our energy module was easy to build and was a light which could be attached to Junkbot figures to make them glow. My son Riley absolutely loved this and enjoyed moving the light from one figure to another. Some of the connections and joints can be a little difficult to put together, so I did need to help Riley from time to time, but personally I enjoyed that I could also be involved and it was nice to be able to work together.


The Junkbots Industrial Dumpster has an RRP of £19.99 and is the ultimate construction adventure. It features over 50 different pieces allowing for 4 Junkbots to be built and this set also includes an energy module and a motion module which really help to bring the figures to life. Riley described this pack as being 'epic' and unlike other unboxing toys where the fun can be over very quickly, this set offered Riley hours of entertainment. He loved rummaging through all the bin bags, separating the junk from the pieces and creating the character designs. It kept him entertained for a full afternoon and once he has finished playing with the existing figures, he can do it all over again and create his own. I therefore really like the fact that these toys can be played with over and over again which definitely gives added value to the product.


Overall, we really loved the concept and design of the Junkbots and the fact that they offered so much unboxing fun. We particularly liked the fact that we could create our own characters, which was something that Riley definitely enjoyed. The initial diagrams are slightly difficult to follow and could do with being a bit clearer for children who want to make their character perfectly, but we managed on the most part and for any connections we weren't sure of, then Riley just used whichever part he liked the look of which seemed to work really well for us. The design is really fun and we loved that you had miniature bin bags to rummage through and find the pieces. I also feel that the RRP of the products is very reasonable and offers good value for money. I would definitely consider buying more of these in the future and will also look to buy these as birthday gifts due to their price. Junkbots are available to purchase now from The Entertainer, Amazon, Toymaster and other local independent retailers.

If you would like to find out more about Hexbugs or the Junkbots range of products then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

Website - Hexbug.com/Junkbots

Facebook - facebook.com/hexbug

Twitter - @HEXBUG

Instagram - @hexbug

YouTube - hexbugtv

Why not also check out the HEXBUG Junkbots series trailer below:

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary selection of Junkbots toys for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.


Monday, 9 August 2021

Roll Up, Roll Up to Goldilocks and the Three Bears at St Helens Theatre Royal This Christmas

Goldilocks and the Three Bears comes to St Helens Theatre Royal this Christmas and producers have recently announced that Hollyoaks favourite David Tag will appear as the Ringmaster. The spectacular seasonal production promises St Helens audiences a fantastic festive treat complete with madcap comedy capers and all the fun of the circus. 

The theatre's Christmas pantomimes have become a real highlight of the festive season year after year, and with Goldilocks, audiences are being guaranteed 'the greatest show on earth'.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears will run at St Helens Theatre Royal from Friday 10th December 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022 and tickets are on sale now.

David Tag, who will take on the role of Ringmaster, is best known for playing Sylvester 'Sylver' McQueen in award-winning Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks where his character has been involved in a number of key storylines. 

The Manchester born star has also enjoyed roles in Emmerdale and the 2020 coming-of-age drama S.A.M, which has been a hit at a host of British film festivals. And he can next be seen as Prince Charming in a new short film.


Goldilocks and the Three Bears marks his pantomime debut, and the actor says: "I'm really thrilled to be cast in my first panto and I can't wait to get started."

The rest of the all-star cast will be announced soon.

The magical show from Regal Entertainments Ltd promises family fun, unbelievable circus tricks and lots of excitement as Goldilocks, with the help of the Three Bears, tries to save her Big Top from a rival circus owner.

Audiences can also expect high production values, stunning and colourful costumes, laugh out loud comedy and a fantastic selection of chart hits to sing and dance along to.

Theatre Manager Chantelle Nolan says: "Our pantomimes have become one of the real highlights of Christmas for many people. 

"We had to cut last year's panto short because of pandemic restrictions, while our Easter show was streamed online. So we really can't wait to get back on stage and present Goldilocks to our audiences in person this season. It's a magical show full of fun, excitement and laughter.

"And we're also absolutely delighted to welcome David into the St Helens panto family - I know he's going to make a fantastic Ringmaster for our unmissable Christmas circus."

St Helens Theatre Royal will ensure that any government guidelines still required in December will be in place to ensure the safety of theatregoers, venue staff, cast and crew.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears will run at St Helens Theatre Royal from Friday 10th December 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022. Tickets are on sale now starting from £16. Tickets can be booked over the phone or in person at the box office between 10am and 5pm, from Monday to Friday. Tickets can also be purchased online. For more information please visit www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com.

You can also visit St Helens Theatre Royal social media pages on the following channels

Facebook  - www.facebook.com/St-Helens-Theatre-Royal

Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH

Instagram - @TheatreRoyalStH

Listing Details

Show -  Regal Entertainments Ltd presents: Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ

Dates - Friday 10th December 2021 to Sunday 9th January 2022

Tickets - From £16*

*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. Online bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat online processing fee.

** Disclaimer - This post is based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. All 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 find out the most up to date information.

Friday, 4 June 2021

Disney Classic Plush Collection - A Review

During the most recent lockdown, my family and I subscribed to Disney+ which not only allowed my children to watch some of their favourite films, but it also gave us the opportunity to rediscover some Disney Classics together. I was therefore really excited to learn about the Disney Plush Classic Range from Simba Toys, which features iconic characters from films such as 101 Dalmations, The Aristocats, Lady & The Tramp, Dumbo and even more. 

Riley recently received three plush toys from the collection with the first one being the stunning Dumbo. I used to love this film as a child and each of my children had a small Dumbo soft toy when they were babies, so this particular item brought back some really nice memories for me. My son is still at the age where he loves pretend play, so from the moment it arrived, he immediately began to run round the garden with Dumbo, trying to teach him how to fly. 

The quality of this product is absolutely superb and the stitching is very neat and detailed, which really contributes to the character likeness. Riley loves how cuddly it is with the material being so soft. My son enjoys placing his face next to Dumbo's ear as the fabric feels so lovely and it is such a nice item to snuggle up to.

The second toy Riley received was the beautiful Marie from The Aristocats. She is so snuggly and features a pretty pink bow. Like the other toys in the collection, Marie is hand wash only, but given their size, this shouldn't be too difficult a task and in the summer months they can easily dry outside in the sunshine.

Riley hasn't actually seen The Aristocats before, so he is now intrigued to see the film and find out more about Marie. In the meantime he has been enjoying plenty of pretend play and cuddling up to the adorable snuggly fabric.


The Dalmation is so huggable and this was Riley's favourite of them all. He has watched the film 101 Dalmations numerous times, so he was delighted to have a plush toy of a beautiful dalmation pup. The fabric is so gentle and incredibly soft and even the little red collar is nice and smooth. The collar is also centrally stitched at the front and rear, so no worries about it coming loose or being removed.

The attention to detail is fabulous and Riley enjoyed counting all the spots over it's body. He kept losing count of how many there were, but I am now reliably informed that there are 30 spots in total.

Overall I absolutely love this range of soft toys and they are the perfect gift for both children and Disney fans of all ages. They are beautifully made, super soft and there is a great selection to choose from. They can be purchased in a range of different sizes which include 17cm, 25cm and 35cm. The toys featured in this review are the 25cm size which I felt was just perfect for playing with at home, or for taking on our travels too. 

The toys are really light and comfortable to hold, so Riley has already decided that the Dalmation will be coming on holiday with us in the future. One thing I really liked about the soft toys in this review, was that they can also be displayed nicely without just falling over, which is a common problem I have had with other toys. I feel that these plush toys offer excellent value for money and they can be purchased from Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Simba Toys UK or the Disney Plush Classic Range then you can visit their social media pages on the following channels:

Facebook - Simba Toys UK

Instagram - @simbatoysuk

*Disclaimer - We were gifted three Disney Classic Soft Toys for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.