Wednesday 14 December 2022

Regal Entertainments presents Cinderella at St Helens Theatre Royal - A Review

On Sunday evening, my family and I had the pleasure of visiting St Helens Theatre Royal to watch their dazzling Christmas pantomime of Cinderella. We've watched plenty of their productions over the years and just when you think they can't possibly get any better, this wonderful theatre pulls out all the stops and puts together an incredible show, that provides the audience with non stop entertainment from start to finish.

The title role of Cinderella is played by Kimberley Hart-Simpson who recently starred in Coronation Street as Nicky Wheatley. Prior to walking the cobbles, Kimberley actually worked backstage in the costume department of both St Helens Theatre Royal and The Epstein Theatre, so it must be a wonderful experience to now be playing a title role on the stage. Her portrayal of Cinderella is fantastic and she looked absolutely stunning throughout the show. Her vocals were great and we absolutely loved her scenes with Buttons and the Prince. 

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Our favourite panto performer Lewis Devine stars as Buttons and brings plenty of comedy value to the show. My youngest son has seen so many pantomimes over the years, but he never tires of watching Lewis on the stage and finds him absolutely hilarious. He is so entertaining and we love how well he always interacts with the audience. He never fails to put a smile on our face and you can guarantee plenty of laughter whenever he performs.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

The Ugly Sisters - Borisina Hardup and Trussiana Hardup are played by Richard Aucott and Kristopher Bosch, who both supplied lots of giggles for the audience with their funny comments and innuendos. They played the perfect baddies and encouraged plenty of audience participation each time they asked "Aren't we gorgeous?" which my son found really amusing.

Joe Sleight plays the dashing Prince Charming and is really well suited to the role. With his combination of handsome good looks and lovely vocals, he is the perfect Prince to be paired with Cinderella.

Dandini is played by Jon Courtenay who won Britain's Got Talent back in 2020. I was particularly looking forward to seeing Jon play the piano and I was definitely not disappointed, as part way through the show we were treated to a wonderful Panto song that was thoroughly enjoyable. My family and I also really liked his scenes with Buttons (Lewis Devine), with the highlight being the 12 Days of Christmas Song that also featured The Fairy Godmother and provided laughter in abundance.

The Fairy Godmother is played by Rachael Wood who was fantastic throughout the show and she delivered a breathtaking performance of 'One Moment in Time' during the Cinderella transformation scene which was my personal favourite.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Jamie Leahey and Chuck also provide plenty of entertainment with their wonderful ventriloquism act. This young man is so talented and my son was in awe of him on the stage. His confidence and stage presence were superb and you can tell that he definitely has a marvellous career ahead of him. However, it's important to note that due to Jamie's age and licensing laws, he will only be appearing in a limited number of performances. If you would therefore like to make sure that you see a show he is performing in, then be sure to check the dates on the website for full details. 

Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time at St Helens Theatre Royal and were so impressed with their production of Cinderella. The show was filled with a wonderful selection of music choices, with some well known favourites that had the audience singing along. The stage setting, scenery and props were all superb and the closing scene of the first half was absolutely incredible with the stunning carriage and real Shetland Ponies. 

The costume department worked wonders with the outfits, some of which were absolutely incredible. Ranging from stunningly beautiful to the extremely outrageous, there was definitely no shortage of glitz and glamour, with all the garments being very impressive

We would happily recommend this pantomime to everyone, so don't miss out on your chance to purchase tickets, which are on sale now.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

To find out more about Cinderella or other upcoming productions at St Helens Theatre Royal, you can visit their website here:

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

Facebook -

Twitter - @TheatreRoyalStH

Instagram - @StHelensTheatreRoyal

Listing Details

Show - Regal Entertainments presents Cinderella

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

Dates - Saturday 3rd December 2022 to Sunday 8th January 2023

Performance Times - Times vary so please see the St Helens Theatre Royal website for the most up to date information.

Tickets - From £18* (*All prices are inclusive of a £1 per seat booking fee. Online bookings are subject to an additional 50p per seat online processing fee.)

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

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

*Disclaimer - We were provided with complimentary tickets for the purpose of writing an honest review of the production. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. Any show details provided such as ticket prices/dates/booking information are believed to be correct at the time of writing, but can be subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venue's own website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Monday 2 May 2022

Looking After Our Skin with Balmonds Skincare Products (AD - Review)

It can sometimes be hard to find a product you can trust, especially when it comes to taking care of your skin. There are so many different varieties on the market that it can be really difficult to choose the right item that is suited to you as an individual. Personally, I always try to look after my skin, which in all honesty can be quite a challenge at times. I have patches of both dry and oily skin on my face, I can experience dry hands from time to time, and having had 3 children I also have plenty of stretch marks all over. In addition, I also have quite a few scars of various ages and even though most are now fully healed, several of them seem to get irritated and red at times, especially in really cold or hot weather. I have therefore been looking for a skincare range that offers products to suit all my needs and I was delighted to recently try three products from the Balmonds brand.

Whilst researching these products for myself, I was also keen to find a brand that would be suitable for my family too. My husband works for the NHS so his hands suffer quite a bit from the repeated use of various hand sanitisers throughout the day. Two of my children also suffer from excema which often flares up in the winter and summer months, so it was important to me to find a skincare brand that would be suitable for us all. The three products I selected to review were Balmonds Skincare Hand Sanitiser Gel, Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream and Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil. 

Please note that the below reviews have been written after conducting a patch test, checking the product ingredients in case of any allergies and then using daily for a period of 14 days. 

Balmonds Hand Sanitiser Gel

I chose this item to review as my husband works for the NHS and as such he uses a large amount of hand sanitiser gel. He has a carry along bottle attached to his belt, but will sometimes need to use the gel available in hospitals or at care homes as well. As a result we noticed that his hands were drying out quite quickly, so I was hopeful that the Balmonds Hand Sanitiser Gel could provide his hands with some gentle relief whilst on the go. 

The 100ml bottle costs £8 and is made with 70% alcohol and powerful essential oils. It has been formulated with tea tree and lemongrass and is free from dyes and synthetic perfumes. Something that is particularly important to me is that this product is also cruelty-free and suitable for vegans.

The pump top of the bottle makes the product easy to apply and I was immediately impressed with how soft my hands felt after use. My husband agreed that it felt much gentler on his hands than his usual gel and he began to use this both at home and whilst at work. The bottle was too big to fit in his pocket, however we were able to dispense some of the product easily into a travel sized container instead. This worked well as it meant he was able to use it all day whether in work or at home and we were both pleased with how quickly it dried on our hands. 

In addition to the alcohol content, the hand sanitiser also contains tea tree oil, which helps to give skin a measure of protection between applications, which is definitely an added bonus. I also felt that it had a nice subtle scent.

The Balmonds Skincare Hand Sanitiser Gel can be purchased here for £8 -  Balmonds Hand Sanitiser

Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream

This product was of particular interest to me as it is suitable for people prone to eczema, dry, itchy skin, psoriasis and dermatitis.  It can also be used by those with sensitive skin and can be used by all ages (from 6 weeks). This was ideal for us as it meant that not only could I use it, but my children could too. As two of them suffer from excema, it was reassuring to know that this wouldn't irritate them and was safe for us all to use.

The Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream bottle explains that it is a natural emollient and its combination of organic hemp seed oil, shea butter and biodynamic tinctures all help to keep the skin soft, healthy and hydrated. A 100ml bottle costs £14.99 or for added value you can purchase a 300ml bottle for £26.99.

I began to use this twice a day on my face. I can sometimes have a reaction to some creams, so I made sure that I tried a bit behind my ear first and waited 24 hours just in case. Luckily all was good so I focused on my T-Zone area which is where I seem to suffer the most with dry skin. I was quite shocked to notice a difference after only a few days use and my whole face seems much smoother with much less redness. My skin feels really soft to touch and I couldn't believe how quickly it had an impact. It will definitely be remaining as part of my daily skincare routine and I am hoping that it will continue to help keep my skin healthy and hydrated throughout the summer months.

My youngest son gets regular patches of excema on his legs and elbows, so I was pleased to be able to share this product with him. There is no overpowering smell which kept him happy as he hates having products applied that have a strong fragrance and it really helped on the small scaly patches of skin. Again we could notice a difference after just a few days and with it being so easy to apply, he is quite happy to let me use it on him. We also found it was really useful after going swimming as his excema areas always dry up very quickly afterwards, so being able to pop this in his bag and apply straight away was great and beneficial.

The Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream can be purchased here: Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream 

Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil

The Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil costs £18.99 for a 50ml bottle and this was the product that I was looking forward to trying out the most, due to having several scars that are prone to redness and sometimes itchiness in the surrounding skin tissue. I also have a lot of stretch marks from my pregnancies and areas of uneven skin. Whilst I knew this wasn't going to hide my scars, I was keen to see if the redness would reduce and just generally improve their visibility.

I was pleased to note that after only a few days the stretch marks definitely seemed somewhat lighter and my thighs also felt smoother. Obviously I'm not expecting miracles and for the stretch marks to completely disappear, but I do feel like after 14 days use, that they are definitely less noticeable. I will continue to use this regularly, especially in the build up to our next holiday to help improve my poolside confidence.

However, the main area I used this oil on was at the site of a recent mole removal at the top of my thumb. As you can imagine this is a bit of an awkward place to have a scar healing so I really wanted it to heal well and not be noticeable. The mole had been removed using a shave excision so this had left a noticeable mark after the scab had come away. I used this oil to help the skin heal and was really happy with the results. There is no redness remaining and the skin has been left really soft and smooth. There is only a very faint line now where the mole was removed and no one would notice this at all unless I told them, so I am absolutely delighted with the results in relation to this. 

The Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil can be purchased here: Balmonds Rosehip Scar Oil 

Overall, my family and I were really impressed with the products. I feel that the price of these items is reflected in the quality of them and therefore offer great value for money. If you would like to find out more about Balmonds and their products then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Website -

Facebook - @BalmondsUK

Instagram - @Balmonds_uk

*Disclaimer - We were provided with 3 complimentary Balmonds products of our choice. I chose to write this review after using each of the products for a period of 14 days and after carrying out a patch test. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Any product prices quoted are from the Balmonds website and are correct at the time of writing this post. Prices/products/quantities are subject to change and I would always recommend visiting the Balmonds website in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Friday 15 April 2022

Jack & The Beanstalk at The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool - A Review

My family and I were very excited to return to the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool, to enjoy Regal Entertainments fabulous Easter pantomime production of Jack and the Beanstalk, which is running until the 24th April. This giant panto spectacular tells the story of a young boy named Jack, who sells their family cow for a handful of beans. During his adventures, he falls in love with the beautiful Princess Jill, who is then kidnapped by the evil Mrs Fleshcreep on behalf of the wicked Giant. However, the beans transpire to not be as worthless as initially thought, as a magical beanstalk soon grows up into the sky, allowing Jack to not only rescue the Princess, but to help his family too in the process.

Jack and the Beanstalk features a wonderful cast, a great selection of music, dazzling scenery and exceptional choreography, which all make this pantomime a pleasure to watch. From the opening scene, my youngest son was captivated and we were all extremely impressed by everyone involved in creating this family show. Not only did this production tell the story of Jack, but it did so in true Liverpudlian fashion, whilst also paying tribute to local legends both past and present, which we thought was a lovely touch.

Timothy Lucas is absolutely fantastic as Jack Trott and having seen him on stage previously in other panto roles, we knew we were in for a treat. His stage presence is simply superb and his comedic timing, facial expressions and delivery are just hilarious. Jack's brother, Simple Simon is played by Lewis Devine and the pair of them together provide laughter in abundance. Lewis has been a panto favourite of ours for years and he supplies non-stop entertainment with his loveable charm and humour.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Dame Trott is played by Mark Two and he provides plenty of amusement throughout the show with his quick wit and cheeky innuendoes. It was a pleasant surprise to read in the programme that Mark's costumes are exclusively made and designed by himself and his wife Dee. Their talent and creativity was definitely highlighted in the extravagant styling of Dame Trott's outfits.

Princess Jill is played by Maddie Hope Coelho who brought sweetness and charm to the role. She worked well alongside Jack and their performances together were fun and enjoyable. 

Abigail Middleton did a superb job as Mrs Fleshcreep and I was left particularly impressed by her wonderful performance in the opening scene of Act Two, which was outstanding. She played the villain well, but wasn't too scary for the younger guests in the audience which I felt was just the right balance for a family friendly show.

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

Fairy Mary was due to be played by Jenna Sian O'Hara, but due to illness on the day, the show director Olivia Sloyan brushed off her fairy wings and stepped into the role as a last minute replacement and highlighted her outstanding talent once again. We have had the pleasure of watching Olivia perform many times before and have always been blown away by her beautiful vocals. This pantomime performance was no exception and we also loved the sassiness she brought to the stage. 

The chosen musical numbers were definite crowd pleasers and my family and I particularly enjoyed the school scene in the first half of the show, where the cast deliver an excellent rendition of the song Revolting Children, which is extremely well presented with wonderful choreography.

Jack and the Beanstalk offers families a fantastic source of entertainment this Easter, and features all the must-have characteristics of a fun and exciting pantomime performance. It is wonderfully presented by an incredibly talented cast and crew, who deliver a show that is fast paced and packed full of energy from start to finish. The comedy and jokes that were showcased throughout had guests of all ages laughing out loud. It was also great to see audience participation return after the restrictions of the past couple of years and it was lovely watching everyone shouting, cheering and getting out of their seats to dance, which together created a brilliant atmosphere. Tickets are on sale now for this incredible show, so don't miss your chance to enjoy this giant spectacular pantomime this Easter. 

Photo Credit: David Munn Photography

You can find out more by visiting The Epstein Theatre website at

You can also follow The Epstein Theatre on the following social media pages:

Facebook -

Twitter - @EpsteinTheatre

Listing Details

Show - Jack and the Beanstalk presented by Regal Entertainments Ltd

Venue - The Epstein Theatre, 85 Hanover Street, Liverpool, L1 3DZ

Dates - Wednesday 13th April 2022 to Sunday 24th April 2022

Times - Show times vary, therefore please visit the venue website for the most up to date information.

Tickets - From £14

How to Book

Book online:

Telephone bookings: Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm call 0844 888 9991 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge).

Group and School Bookings: Available by calling 0844 888 9991 (calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company's access charge).

In person: The Epstein Theatre Box Office is open Monday to Saturday between 12pm and 6pm, or two hours prior to the performance time on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Please note there is a £1 per ticket transaction fee when booking in person at the box office.

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary family ticket to the press night performance, for the purpose of writing an honest review of the show and our experience. All thoughts and opinions are our 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 site in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Saturday 9 April 2022

(AD) Getting Creative This Easter with Plasticine - A Review

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

I have so many memories of playing with Plasticine as a child. It was one of my favourite creative activities and I was always excited when my childminder brought out the big Plasticine box after picking me up from school. My friends and I would all make different creations and play scenes and we would often try and make items that were based on the topics we were learning in school, just so we had an excuse to take our little models into class the next day to show the teacher.

Plasticine is a timeless classic and is the ideal modelling compound for children, due to it being soft and easy to use. It is recommended for children aged 5+ and it can be used in a wide variety of ways, that are sure to inspire artistic creativity.

When my family and I were recently offered the chance to review a selection of Plasticine products, I jumped at the chance to be involved and all the memories I had quickly came flooding back. Whilst Plasticine is wonderful for getting your children to be creative, it can very easily be enjoyed by adults too, so we had a lovely Easter themed afternoon where my kids and I tried out all the items and came up with some wonderful creations.

The products we received were Plasticine Uber Tubes, Plasticine Tower Blox, Plasticine Toolz Box, Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max. My youngest son couldn't wait to get started so we began opening all the items whilst beginning to think of what we would like to make together. My other children and my husband also had their own ideas so we split the colours and items fairly between everyone to ensure that everyone had enough of each colour along with some tools.

The Plasticine Tower Blox Set is fabulous and contains absolutely everything you need to create plenty of items or characters. The box is well presented and we loved the bright and bold colours. It is the ideal starter pack as it includes 10 different colours, all with their own funky storage tubs, 10 cutters, 2 modelling tools, a roller, a mat and an instruction sheet.

The Plasticine Uber Tubes was my son's favourite pack as this included 16 different colours of plasticine which provides you with plenty of creative opportunities. Again the packaging was bold and bright and I liked the fact that you could clearly see what colours were enclosed. Riley loved the characters on the front of the pack and thought that the sheep was really funny. Inside the pack we also found tools, a mat and a roller.

The Plasticine Toolz box is the ideal introduction to Plasticine, along with the Plasticine Fluro and Plasticine 24 Colour Max as all of these items offer excellent value for money and are also the ideal starter size packs. The Plasticine Toolz Box contained 4 small shaped cutters, 1 roller, 1 modelling tool, 7 colours of plasticine and storage tray. Riley loved being able to carry the box around and I liked the fact that it made items easy to store away when not in use.

The Plasticine Fluro pack includes 130g of plasticine in funky neon colours and is presented in the same shape and style as how I remember it being as a child. The Plasticine 24 Colour Max pack has 24 strips of different colours along with an ideas sheet to help give you some inspiration. I feel that these three items together would also make a lovely birthday gift due to their affordable price.

Riley spent ages putting all his creative ideas together and he was amazed at how easy it was to use and mould into the shapes he wanted. If something didn't work out quite the way he had planned, then he was able to reshape it and try again without worrying that it may have gone hard or that he couldn't use that piece again. The beauty of plasticine is that it can be used numerous times, as it never dries out, meaning that there are so many creative possibilities.

My daughter and I decided to make some Easter bunnies, but initially I wasn't too sure where to begin. I got some inspiration for the body shapes from some of the idea sheets that were enclosed with the products, whilst my talented daughter just began creating from scratch. I ended up becoming very invested in my miniature project and I found the tools really useful for helping me with the smaller details. I ended up making the white bunny in the picture above (which I am very proud of), whilst my daughter made the grey bunny, carrot and basket of eggs. 

Riley wanted to work with more rounded shapes, so he opted to make some Hot Cross Buns and an Easter Chick. For only nine years of age, I think he did very well and I thought his Easter Chick turned out extremely cute.  He also found it useful using the roller and the tools to help him with the finer details and he was really pleased with the final outcome.

Overall we had a lovely afternoon playing with the Plasticine. We came up with so many creations and really enjoyed helping one another and working together on some of the pieces. We love that the unused plasticine can be stored neatly in the blox cubes and we have used the tool box to store the tools along with some of our creations to keep them safe. My son has already decided that we are going to try and make zoo animals next time which sounds like a great idea. I think that the products are superb and also offer excellent value for money. I would therefore happily recommend these products to others and we will definitely be building on our plasticine collection going forwards. 

The Plasticine range of products are available to purchase at Amazon.

To find out more about Plasticine and the other products in their range, then you can visit the Flair Group website, or their social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram - @flair_gp 

*Disclaimer - We were gifted these items for the purpose of writing an honest review of the products. All thoughts and opinions are our own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.