Showing posts with label Arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arts. Show all posts

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.


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Dates for your Diary - The Siege of Christmas at Contact Theatre, Manchester

It is only a matter of weeks now until Christmas and there is a whole host of fun events taking place throughout December, that are sure to get you in the festive spirit.

One of those wonderful events is The Siege of Christmas, being held at Contact, from Wednesday 13th December to Wednesday 20th December 2017. Following last years sell-out production, Contact and Slung Low have once again joined forces, to present this high-octane, energetic and family friendly performance piece.

This theatrical adventure, allows you to immerse yourself in this interactive and fast-paced Christmas show. Once you are armed with your individual headphones, instructions and clues will be provided as the action kicks off from the theatre's main entrance. You can join your hosts who will lead you on your way, on this festive and fun-filled assignment throughout the building's many spaces, which have been transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

Photo Credit: Joel Chester-Fildes
The show is sure to delight thrill-seekers of all ages, as well as highlight the wonderful work that Contact continues to produce with its Young Company - for many of whom this marks their first professional engagement.

So book your tickets and get ready for militant mince pies, rapping wrapping paper and other unexpected seasonal surprises. Remember.... Christmas won't be Christmas until the Siege has ended!

Alan Lane, Director at Slung Low says: "We were overwhelmed by the audience response to The Siege of Christmas and the chance to revisit it and work again with the excellent Contact Young Company is one we're really excited about."

For more information or to book tickets, please visit www.contactmcr.com

Listing Details

The Siege of Christmas

Venue: Contact, Oxford Road, Manchester, M15 6JA
Box Office: 0161 274 0600
Website: www.contactmcr.com
Dates: Wednesday 13th December to Wednesday 20th December
Times: 11am, 2pm & 6pm

Tickets are available priced £13, £7 for concessions and £5 for Under 10's.

Groups booking offers are also available.

Photo Credit: Joel Chester-Fildes

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Alice in Wonderland at Storyhouse Chester - A Review


My family and I were invited to one of the opening productions of Alice in Wonderland this weekend that is being held at the brand new modern venue Storyhouse based in Chester.

A welcome addition to the city centre, Storyhouse features an 800 seat auditorium, a 200 seat studio theatre, cinema, library, restaurant and two bars. It is based within the old 1930's Odeon building which has been extensively restored into a spectacular new arts venue for Chester. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect inside, but was pleasantly surprised by the modern and trendy design throughout the building and absolutely loved the concept and idea of it all. It offers a fantastic community space and will be somewhere that we definitely return to as a family in the near future.

In terms of location it is really easy to find being located near the Grosvenor Shopping Centre and Chester Cathedral. There is plenty of parking available in several nearby car parks, however we chose to use the park and ride facility which cost us £3 to park at Sealand Road and for a return ticket on the bus, costing us less that it would have done to have parked in the city centre. The buses run approximately every 15 mins and Storyhouse was located literally just across the road from the bus stop that we arrived at. The outside of the building is very eye-catching with a modern edge and the large glass panelled windows are immediately noticeable. When we entered the venue, there was a noticeable buzz about the place with many guests who all seemed excited about the new venue and the facilities it offers.

Suprisingly there is no box office here, with the venue opting for the use of modern technology to provide ticketing and listing options at touch screen points within the building. Alternatively you can book online as we did and then either print your tickets at home, or simply show them your ticket on your mobile phone. We chose the latter option and had no issue accessing the theatre or finding our seats. Whilst some people may prefer to have a go to point such as a box office, we actually liked the simple technology factor and found that there were ample amounts of staff within the building who could assist if need be, so there are still 'humans' that can help you should the technology provide any difficulties.

In relation to staff I must say that every person we encountered was really courteous and helpful. We were unsure which way to go to get to the theatre and our lost faces must have been obvious as before we could ask for help, someone came over to us and offered their assistance. I thought that this was great as it shows that staff were alert and looking for guests to help as opposed to just waiting to be found. I also witnessed one member of staff assist a lady with children at the ticket machine and then guide her all the way to the theatre. Excellent customer service!

Whilst walking through the lower level we made our way through the library which offered a fantastic wide range of books. There was also plenty of seating with coffee tables so that you could grab a drink whilst reading. Being such a busy place it doesn't really offer the quietness of a traditional library, however I don't think this would put me off visiting for a read of a book and it would be an ideal area to grab a coffee if I had arrived early for a show. There was also some fun technology points which were basically giant computer screens on the wall and Emma and Ben enjoyed writing and drawing in different colours.

On entry to the theatre we found it to be a lovely space and the seats in the circle area were all well tiered so that children will always be able to see the stage regardless of how tall the person in front of them is. The lighting was just right to be able to find your seats with ease and they were very comfortable. Our seats were in the Circle on Row B which offered an excellent view of the stage, I would have preferred slightly more leg room but for a two hour show it was more than adequate. If I had been able to select specific seats then I would have chosen the centre of Row A in the circle which in my opinion offers the best view.

The production of Alice in Wonderland features an array of talent, with numerous cast members taking on multi-roles throughout the show. In what seemed like a slightly slow start to begin with, the show soon gathered pace and we were transported with Alice into the magical world of mystery, confusion and madness, that was Wonderland. The adaptation allowed some philosophical thinking for adults, an easy to follow story for children, along with some family friendly humour in parts. It offered a creative interpretation into the well known and much loved story of Alice in Wonderland and was very enjoyable to watch.

The acting was fantastic, as were the musical interludes that the cast provided on a range of instruments with the added fun addition of kazoos! Some scenes were particularly more enjoyable than others and my children had two stand out favourites which both took place in the first half. The first was a very hectic part of the show that featured 'The Duchess' whose lunges and squats around the stage created a lot of giggles as well as gasps when she completed a standing split. The second was the tea party scene, which had a nice comedy element as well as wonderful props. Alex Mugnaioni was brilliant as The Mad Hatter and played the character superbly.

The show lasted just under 2 hours in total and although I had chosen not to bring my son Riley (age 4) with us, there were plenty of children that were toddler age (and even babies) that seemed captivated by the show for the full length of time. The first half was slightly longer than the second and the interval allowed enough time for toilet breaks or to purchase snacks and drinks. A lady did come out on the floor by the stage to also sell ice creams, which had the usual inflated price tag of £2.50 a tub, however they were delicious and I was pleased to see that they were supporting other local businesses in selling Cheshire Ice Cream.

Overall we had a really enjoyable time at Storyhouse. The building was fantastic, staff were helpful, and the production was wonderful. We cannot wait to see what the future holds for this venue.

Listing details:

The team behind Stig of the Dump, The Wind in the Willows and The Secret Garden bring you a heartfelt, joyful production of Lewis Carroll's much-loved classic tale. With a host of colourful characters we know and love (and a few new ones to meet!) leading the adventure around a surreal world, it's the perfect opportunity to fall down the rabbit-hole with Storyhouse this summer.

Venue - Storyhouse, Hunter St, Chester, CH1 2AR

Dates - 19th May to 20th August 2017 with various show times and ticket prices.

For more information or to book tickets please visit www.storyhouse.com

Their social media pages can be found at:

Twitter: @StoryhouseLive
Facebook: www.facebook.com/storyhouselive
Instagram: @StoryhouseLive

Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary tickets to provide an honest review of the venue and production. All opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated.