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.

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Sleeping Beauty at The Auditorium Liverpool - A Review

My family and I were so excited to be returning to the theatre and it is fair to say that I definitely became a bit emotional as we sat down in the auditorium waiting for the show to begin. It has been such a long time since we were able to enjoy the glitz and glamour of a good old pantomime, but Shone Productions' Sleeping Beauty certainly made up for the wait, in a show that was packed to the brim with singing, dancing, magic and plenty of laughter.

Before I begin my review of the show, I did just want to highlight the excellent Covid-safety procedures in place at The Auditorium venue. Guest safety is clearly of great importance and there are excellent measures being followed throughout the building that ensure the safety and comfort of all guests. This includes hand sanitisation stations, social distancing, reduced capacity seating and staggered exits to name a few. Masks are to be worn for the duration of the show for guests over the age of 11 years, however they can be removed for eating and drinking. The climate in the auditorium also seemed well controlled, so although I was a little apprehensive about wearing a mask indoors for so long, it was more than comfortable and I didn't feel too hot at any point. The staff were also really welcoming and friendly and they were visibly present should you have any queries or require assistance. My family and I felt very safe from the moment we arrived which immediately put my mind at ease.

This pantomime version of Sleeping Beauty tells the story of Princess Beauty who is cursed by the Evil Carabosse to die on her 21st birthday. However, Beauty's fairy ensures that she only falls into a deep sleep which can broken with a kiss from her one true love. A handsome prince must therefore battle against the Evil Carabosse and her dragon, in order to come to Beauty's rescue and save the day. There is plenty of fun, comedy, singing and dancing along the way in this enchanting and entertaining production.

Gareth Gates is fabulous as the charming Prince, who falls in love with Princess Beauty (Emma Grace Arends) soon after they first meet. It was great to see him performing on stage, and he was clearly a firm favourite with the audience. He worked well with Beauty and their singing vocals complimented each other perfectly. 

Emma Grace Arends is stunning as Princess Beauty and her voice is absolutely mesmerising. Her rendition of Don't Stop Believin' was both beautiful and captivating. My youngest son even commented that she was amazing and I completely agree. She had a superb stage presence that grabbed my attention every time she sang.

Bippo was an excellent entertainer throughout the show and was able to showcase some of his many talents. Yes there are innuendos a plenty and some of the jokes are definitely aimed at the adults in the audience, but this is one of the things I personally love about pantomimes and the fact that they provide entertainment for all ages. There were plenty of jokes for the younger members of the audience too and Bippo encouraged children and their parents to dance along to some popular well known tunes. Both of my sons enjoyed watching his juggling skills and it added something a little extra that we hadn't seen featured in a pantomime before. 

The wardrobe team should definitely take a bow as the extravagance of the costumes was simply superb. Queen Fanny of Fazackerleys' outfits were absolutely outrageous and my son kept bursting into fits of giggles each time she appeared. The Prince and Princess Beauty, along with the dancers, dazzled in their beautiful array of outfits which glistened beautifully against the impressive backdrop of the stage. Carabosse's outfit was devilishly divine and whilst they may have been the baddie in this production, there was certainly nothing bad about their attire, which highlighted both their wickedness and glamour.

Sleeping Beauty features everything you could hope for in a pantomime and with a strong cast delivering a wonderful performance, this show is sure to put a smile on your face. Despite a smaller audience due to the social distancing measures, there was still a fabulous atmosphere and the show had implemented a great variety of different ways to allow for audience participation. The lighting effects are spectacular and the skilled live band exhibit their musical talents throughout the show. Overall this is a fabulous production and I would happily recommend it to others for an enjoyable half term treat. Tickets are still on sale for the remaining shows and you can find further details on the dates and times of the performances below.

Listing Information - SLEEPING BEAUTY

Dates

Tuesday 1st June - 3pm and 7pm

Wednesday 2nd June - 3pm and 7pm

Thursday 3rd June - 3pm and 7pm

Friday 4th June - 3pm and 7pm

Saturday 5th June - 11am

Tickets 

Ticket prices vary.

Venue Details

The Auditorium, M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, L3 4FP

Booking website: www.mandsbankarena.com/

*Disclaimer - I was provided with a complimentary press ticket for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of writing, however I would always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.