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.

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.