Thursday, 22 October 2020

Nadiya's Bake Me a Story Deluxe Baking Set Review & Competition!

Like many families, baking became one of our go-to activities during lockdown, in order to keep ourselves busy with an enjoyable activity that would usually end with a very tasty result. It is also something that Riley likes to do on a weekend and his older brother will often help him make some cakes that they can then enjoy together. 

Over the years we have accumulated a various amount of mix-matched baking products, but none of these were specifically aimed at children, so it is fair to say that our equipment was definitely in need of some replacements. We were therefore delighted to be offered the opportunity to review Nadiya's Bake Me a Story Deluxe Baking Set, which is packed full of funky coloured bakeware, that have been specifically designed with children in mind. 

Riley was really excited when the box of goodies arrived and he couldn't wait to open it up and see what was inside. The box was a lovely purple colour and featured clear images on the front of some of the products inside. A full contents list is also displayed on the reverse of the box. The full kit included:

  • A Silicone rolling pin with plastic handle
  • A Silicone whisk with metal handle
  • A Silicone spatula
  • 2.5l Mixing Bowl (Microwave Safe)
  • 12 reusable silicone cupcake cases
  • Sieve
  • 3 x Metal Cookie Cutters with safe silicone edge
  • Measuring spoons - 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp, 1/2 tbsp and 1tbsp
  • Apron
  • 6 x Recipe Cards
All of the tools are bright and colourful, dishwasher safe and most importantly, they have been tested to the highest LFGB food standards. They are the perfect size for children, without being too heavy or large for younger ages to hold. Riley loved the idea of having his very own special set of utensils just for him, which will be perfect in the future for any baking or cooking that we do together. 


Riley excitedly took a look through the recipe cards before deciding which baked treat we were going to attempt first. After much deliberation he decided on the Very-Berry Breakfast Muffins, so we made sure we had all the ingredients required and placed them all ready in the kitchen. We then selected the baking equipment that we would need and put on our aprons, before beginning to work our way through the recipe.

You can of course use your deluxe baking set to make any of your favourite baked goodies, but the recipe cards included all featured recipes that we had never tried before, so it made sense for us to try something new for a nice change. Riley chose the Very-Berry Breakfast Muffins, but the other recipe cards featured Star Anise Gingerbread Men, Cookie Mallows, Pastry Roses, Rock Cakes and Zebra Cake.

The Very-Berry Breakfast Muffins were super easy to make and the recipe was very simple to follow. We began by making sure we had all the necessary ingredients and then having a quick read through of the full recipe. The first step was to preheat the oven to 200 degrees, so I did this for Riley, whilst he placed the cupcake cases in the oven tray. 

We then placed the flour, oats and brown sugar into the bowl. Riley enjoyed mixing all these together and started wondering what the muffins may taste like. He used the measuring spoons to get the correct amount of baking powder and he also then added this and a pinch of salt to the bowl. Again he gave it all a good mix, before we added the wet ingredients of milk and eggs.

We varied the recipe ever so slightly as Riley doesn't like the smell of banana, so we decided not to put the mashed banana as suggested in the recipe into the mix. Instead we chopped up some more berries to make sure there was plenty of flavour and after adding these and 3 tbsp of sunflower oil to the mix, we gave it one last good stir before dividing the mixture into the silicone cases.

We baked the mixture in the oven for 25 minutes and Riley kept looking through the oven window to see if they were rising. They began to rise really well and also developed a nice golden brown colour so once the time was up, we were confident that they were ready to taste and enjoy. After removing them from the oven, we let them cool for around 5 minutes before enjoying them whilst warm. They were absolutely delicious and we will definitely be making them again in the near future.


Overall we thought that Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set was fantastic and included all the tools required to create and enjoy a variety of recipes. I felt that the set was really good quality and whilst the tools are lightweight and easy to hold, they are not flimsy at all. All the products all felt really safe to use and I particularly liked the silicone trim around the metal cookie cutters which is a great idea. The recipe cards were easy to follow and not over complicated, so this meant that Riley (who is 7) could read through the instructions himself and understand what process he needed to follow. With an RRP of £24.99 I feel that this represents good value for money and I would happily recommend this set to others. 

In addition to Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set (£24.99), there are two other sets also available to purchase from Smyths, which are Nadiya's Simple Baking Set (£14.99) and Nadiya's Savoury Cooking Set (£19.99). Further information on all of these sets can be found over on the Smyths Toys website here.


However, if you are feeling lucky, then why not enter our fantastic competition below, where we have the opportunity for one lucky reader to win their very own Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set. If you would like to enter then please read the terms and conditions and then enter using the gleam form below. Competition closes on the 30th October 2020, so get your entries in quick and good luck! 


Terms and Conditions
  • There is 1 (one) prize of a Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set
  • Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 years old or over
  • Competition closes on the 30th October 2020 at 23:59
  • A winner shall be drawn within 7 days of the closing date and notified via email.
  • The winner will have 7 days to confirm their acceptance of the prize, before an alternative winner is drawn from the remaining eligible entries.
  • No bulk or third party entries
  • The winners details shall be shared with the promoter for the purpose of prize fulfilment and permission shall be obtained from the winner prior to doing so.

*Disclaimer - We were gifted Nadiya's Deluxe Baking Set in exchange for writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

St Helens Theatre Royal Announce Full Cast for Beauty & The Beast

St Helens Theatre Royal is thrilled to announce the full cast for its Covid-secure Christmas pantomime for 2020, the enchanting tale of Beauty and the Beast.

Producers Regal Entertainments recently announced that the panto would still go ahead in St Helens this Christmas time, despite a change to the previously announced show. 

Beauty and the Beast will now run at St Helens Theatre Royal from Friday 11th December 2020 through to Sunday 3rd January 2021. Tickets are on sale now.

The countdown is now on to bring Beauty and the Beast to life on stage at St Helens, with all the high production values and comedy that audiences have come to enjoy. The highly anticipated show is sure to be a popular choice this festive season, especially given the lack of theatre productions over the last six months and audiences craving live entertainment.

Audiences are reassured that St Helens Theatre Royal and the team behind Beauty and the Beast will be fully adhering to social distancing measures and Government guidelines to ensure the safety of theatregoers, venue staff, cast and crew.

St Helens Theatre Royal also reopened it's telephone booking line last week, so tickets can be bought over the phone between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Thursday. Tickets can also be purchased online, however the theatre will remain closed for in-person bookings.

The full cast of Beauty and the Beast was announced on Tuesday 15th September as Jamie Greer as Potty Polly; Abigail Middleton as Madame Botox; Scott Gallagher as French Frank; Olivia Sloyan as Belle; Andrew Geater as The Beast; Tim Lucas as Gaston; and Jenna Sian O'Hara as Fairy Rose.

The show will be directed by Chantelle Nolan, written by Liam Mellor, with choreography by Nazene Langfield, and Callum Clarke as musical supervisor.

Get ready to go on a family adventure this Christmas with the fabulous family friendly pantomime, Beauty and the Beast. This is the timeless story of Belle, a beautiful young woman who falls in love with the most unexpected of princes, who has been cursed to look like a hideous beast. Will the beast learn to be loved? Will the spell be broken in time for all to live happily ever after?

Theatre Manager Chantelle Nolan commented: "It's been a very challenging time for theatres nationwide and everyone who works behind the scenes, and St Helens Theatre Royal is no different. But we're absolutely thrilled we can now announce a stellar cast of familiar faces and St Helens favourites who will take to our stage this Christmas to ensure the panto does go on, alongside our incredible front of house teams and production crews.

"Beauty and the Beast is a stunning tale full of friendship, faith, love and escapism - something we can all resonate with right now. Once again, we'd like to thank the community for their ongoing support, and we look forward to welcoming audiences to a special and safe festive family experience."

Beauty and the Beast replaces the previously announced festive show Cinderella which should have featured Birds of a Feather star and Loose Women panellist Linda Robson in the lead role. Government-enforced restrictions on theatres sadly made it unviable financially as the fairytale is one of the biggest and most costly pantomime productions to stage. 

However, to continue its tradition of offering one of the region's best festive family friendly shows, Regal Entertainments has worked tirelessly to ensure the show will go on to provide top entertainment to its community and regular attenders this Christmas.

Covid-secure safety measures being implemented include reduced capacity auditorium, temperature checks, the wearing of face masks, deep cleaning, and pre-order drinks and confectionary. Additional details will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Cinderella ticketholders are being contacted to ensure all patrons are rescheduled as close as possible to their original booking. 

Tickets for Beauty and the Beast are being sold as unreserved seats. Theatregoers will then be contacted to confirm seat allocation. 

Beauty and the Beast runs at St Helens Theatre Royal from Friday 11th December 2020 to Sunday 3rd January 2021. Tickets are on sale now. For more information you can visit the St Helens Theatre Royal website or their social media pages on the following channels:

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

Listing Details

Show - Beauty and the Beast
Venue - St Helens Theatre Royal, Corporation Street, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 1LQ
Dates - Friday 11th December 2020 to Sunday 3rd January 2021
Times - Times vary, so please visit the website to obtain the most up to date information.
Tickets - Tickets start from £18*

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

Due to Coronavirus, St Helens Theatre Royal Box Office is closed for in-person bookings. Telephone bookings can be made by calling 01744 756000 between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Thursday. Online bookings are also available on the St Helens Theatre Royal website.

*This post is based on a press release kindly provided by BEA. Details are subject to change, so I would always recommend visiting the venues own website, in order to obtain the most up to date information.

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Rockpool by Gibsons Games - A Review

Over the past couple of months, we have had the opportunity to try out three games from the Gibsons Games range of products. Our last two reviews covered Quirk! and Pass the Bomb! The Big One! which were both great fun, but today we have been testing out Rockpool, which is an educational game suitable for children aged six and above.

Rockpool comes in a lovely shell shaped box, which has lovely bright images across the front. There are recommendations along the bottom of the box that advise the age suitability, a suggestion of 2-6 players and an approximate game duration time of 10-15 minutes. The rear of the box provides a short description of the game in a variety of languages and it is described as being a great game for family fun! We therefore couldn't wait to put it to the test.

On opening the box, we found the following contents inside:

  • 36 Team Cards
  • 65 Shell Cards
  • 15 Creature Cards
  • 10 Starfish Cards
  • 14 Dog Toy Cards
  • 12 Rubbish Cards
  • 8 Wave Cards
  • 1 Rockpool Board
  • Instructions

To begin play, each player has to pick their own team. There are six teams to choose from and each team consists of 5 Child Cards and 1 Dog Card. One person then shuffles the Stone Cards and divides them into seven separate piles, which are to be placed around the Rockpool game board. 

When it is your turn, you need to take a Stone Card from the top of any pile and then place it face-up so everyone can see it in the Rockpool. Each player takes turns to do this until one of two things happens. Firstly if someone reveals a Wave Card, then the sea washes away the Rockpool's contents, which means that all the cards from the Rockpool are now out of the game. The Wave Card must then be placed face-up next to the pile of stone cards that it was selected from.


Secondly, someone can shout to empty the Rockpool, which can be done at anytime. You need to shout the right word and use a Team Card depending on which card has just been added to the Rockpool. The Stone Cards when placed in the Rockpool can reveal shells, dog toys rubbish, starfish or other creatures, so its important to make sure you shout the right word at the right time otherwise you must pay a penalty. The game is completed once all eight Wave Cards have been revealed or all Team Cards used.

At the end of the game you score your cards and the player who has the most Team Cards paddling in the Rockpool is determined as the winner. The score numbers are low and easy, making it simple for young children to add and subtract their own total. Riley really enjoyed doing this himself and used a piece of paper to keep count. We all liked the concept of the game, as well as the environmental message that was shared throughout play.


Overall we enjoyed this game, but Riley who is 7, did find the instructions difficult to understand when they were read out. However, he soon got the hang of it during game play and found it easier to learn whilst playing, rather than through the written advice. We all agreed that the graphics were great for children and the images were very clear and vibrant. With an RRP of £12.99, I think it is good value for money compared to other games and it can be purchased from good toy retailers including Amazon.

If you would like to find out more about Rockpool or the other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:



*Disclaimer - We were gifted this game for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Quirk by Gibsons Games - A Review

 A couple of weeks ago we shared a review with you of Pass the Bomb! The Big One! by Gibsons Games and I am therefore delighted to share another of their games with you today, which goes by the name of Quirk!

Quirk! is a fun game of sounds, actions & mischief and is recommended for children aged 5 and above. It can be played by 2-6 players and each game has a duration between 15-60 minutes to play. It is the ideal game for families to enjoy together and provides plenty of fun and silliness, that is quite hilarious.

The box for Quirk! is of a compact size, so it is perfect for taking on picnics, days out, travel and holidays, as well as playing in the home. The front of the box is really bright and eye-catching, with numerous different colourful characters featured across the front. The dinosaur and elephant immediately caught my sons attention and he was very keen to find out more about what the game was all about.

My son Riley opened the box and inside we found the following contents:

  • 78 Character Cards
  • 10 Steal Cards
  • 8 Stop Cards
  • 6 Block Cards
  • 10 Mischief Cards
The character cards come in sets of 3 and when you manage to collect three of the same character, then you have a 'Quirk!'. The aim of the game is to collect the most Quirks, with the person who manages this becoming the winner.


Some of the cards have a grey outline and others have a white outline.  This means that you can swap out Characters sets from the decks to make the game different each time. The characters in the white sets are also easier for younger players to act out, so you can switch between the two sets depending on the age range of the players.  A standard game will have 13 character sets and lasts between 15 and 30 minutes or you can also play with all 78 cards if you want to enjoy a longer game.

To get the game ready, you simply shuffle the Character cards and then hand three out to each player. You then shuffle the remaining cards again, but this time adding the Action cards to the deck. The deck is then placed face down in a location where everyone playing can reach. Each player should have a minimum of three cards in their hand throughout the game and if you drop below three then you must pick up additional cards from the deck.


We began our first game as a standard game with 39 green Character cards, 5 red Steal Action cards, 4 blue Stop Action cards, 3 orange Block Action cards and 5 yellow Mischief Action cards. When it is your turn, you need to make the decision as to whether you will try to win a Character card from another player, or whether you will try to steal another players completed Quirk. To try and win a character you will need to select one of your existing characters and then choose another player to try and obtain another of the same kind, however you cannot simply ask for it and this is where the fun begins!

In order to obtain another character you have to act it out with sounds and actions. So if you had a cat character, then you could act like or cat, or perhaps make a meow noise. If the other player then has the card you are looking for, then they must hand them over to you. So if they had 2 cat cards, they would need to give you both, allowing you to complete a Quirk. If they don't have the card you are looking for, then you will need to pick up another from the deck. In the event that the other player misjudges your acting skills and provides you with the wrong card, then you simply have to keep quiet about it and then try again on your next go.

When you complete a Quirk, then you place these face up on the table. However, this doesn't make them safe, as if a player comes across a red Steal card, then they can steal your completed Quirk, that is unless you have an orange Block action card. You can definitely use these cards to your advantage as the game progresses, in particular the blue Stop card, which prevents someone asking you for a particular character. These action cards need to be used wisely, as once they have been used, they need to be placed on the discard pile. 


The yellow Mischief cards add further variation to the game and you can choose whether to include these in your deck or not. If someone picks a Mischief card during game play then it has to be placed face up on the table so that all players can see. These cards feature various different mischievous tasks such as everybody having to pick up an extra card, or having to use actions only for one round. This can create a lot of additional fun and drama to the game, especially if you have to redistribute your Quirks. Once all 13 Quirks have been collected then game play ends and the person with the most sets of Quirks is the winner! 

Overall we loved this game and had such a laugh throughout play. It was so funny seeing the way that different family members would act out different characters and although a couple of the family were a little shy about doing this to begin with, they quickly became more extravagant and hilarious with their character impressions. It is a very simple game to set up and understand, making it ideal for both the home and trips away. I am sure this will quickly become my childrens game of choice for the foreseeable future and look forward to including this regularly in our future family games nights.

If you would like to find out more about Quirk! or the other products in the Gibsons Games range, then you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Instagram: @gibsons_games


*Disclaimer: We were gifted this game for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.