Sunday, 29 October 2017

Panto season kicks off with Sleeping Beauty at St Helens Theatre Royal.

We can officially say that Panto season has started and the fabulous St Helens Theatre Royal kicked it off in style with their  spellbinding show of Sleeping Beauty!



We can say, first hand, that this show is BRILLIANT! 
Never have I laughed as much or seen my kids cry with laughter as we did at this show.

The cast was wonderful, they had the crowd involved for the whole show and not once was there a restless bottom in the house!
The theatre is an intimate venue but definitely doesn't lack in the glitz and dazzle that comes from a West End show.


Claire Sweeney played a wonderful part of the evil Carabosse, who knew she could crack out a tune like she did in this show! She rocked her part as well as the outfits!

Tam Ryan playing the hysterical Chester the Jester. Hats off to you as I don't know how you kept your face straight in some parts. He was wonderful with the kids, especially the golden ticket children at the end of the show.

Warren Donnelly and Roy Brandon who played the King and Queen bounced off of each other's character perfectly and some of the Queens outfits were perfect for her personality.

Corey Rumble was a fab Prince, very impressed with his sword tussle with Carabosse.

Laura Gregory made the perfect Princess and Jess Pritchard was an exceptional Fairy Sparkle, loved seeing all her family support that came to the show! 

This show really was a magical experience, children and adults laughed together, held their sides together and wiped the funny tears away toghter, it's definitely a trip worth taking with the family time and time again! 
Check out our clip from the finale below....


                              

This was our first visit to St Helens Theatre Royal and we can say it won't be the last. The view from the seats were excellent and the hubby was impressed that his long legs weren't squished (he even had room to move, always a bouns for the tall people!) 
The sweets and drinks were all reasonably priced too!

For ticket information for this and other shows staged at St Helens Theatre Royal please head on over to their website - www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com





*PR tickets. All thoughts and photos are 100% our own.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Panto season is here and so is Sleeping Beauty!

That time of year is upon us already..... Yes, it's panto season! And we love nothing better than a family day or night out that's guaranteed to  have us laughing our socks off! 

Today we have the pleasure of heading over to St Helen's Theatre Royal to watch a star studded cast preform of Sleeping Beauty, one of my all time favourite film and book.


Sleeping Beauty will awaken at St Helens Theatre Royal from Saturday 21 - Sunday 29 October, just in time for a fantastic half term treat!
Producers recently announced the first wave of confirmed cast which includes star of West End and TV, Liverpool’s own Claire Sweeney as the evil fairy Carabosse along with Laura Gregory, Tam Ryan and Simon Foster.


Jess Pritchard is sure to wow the audience with her magical portrayal of Fairy Sparkle. Jess is a Chester born actress who recently graduated from Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts before starring in her first professional productions Women Beware Women and Constance and Sinestra. Catch Jess as she makes her panto debut and waves the magic wand over an awestruck audience this October.


Starring as this year’s handsome Prince is Corey Rumble whose dashing looks will no doubt cast a spell over St Helens. Corey graduated from Liverpool Theatre Schoolback in 2016 and quickly secured his first role as Hal Brandon in the new Liverpool based musical Liver Birdsong last year. He recently came off a UK tour performing hit songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and the Rat Pack! Corey completes the all-star cast that swings into St Helens in just one month’s time. 

Previously announced star of stage and screen Claire Sweeney will be transformed into the evil fairy Carabosse, who curses Princess Aurora, tricking her into an eternal slumber. The former Brookside actress and West End star is no stranger to panto, having played a number of roles – oh yes she has! – over the years. Her most recent stage roles meanwhile include Baroness Bomburst in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Velma von Tussle in Hairspray, both on national tours.

Laura Gregory returns to the role of the eponymous beautiful princess, cursed to fall asleep until a handsome suitor wakes her with true love’s kiss, after also playing Aurora at St Helens in 2015 when she beat 90 other actresses to the part. Her other panto credits include Cinderella at St Helens in 2015 and Wendy in Peter Pan last year, as well as Snow White and Aladdin at the Epstein Theatre in Liverpool.

Actor and entertainer Tam Ryan, who is playing Chester the Jester, is best-known for his scene-stealing roles in Manchester Opera House pantomimes like Snow White,Peter Pan and Cinderella. But he also recently went on tour with none other than The Hoff in the musical Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, and has played Thomas Cromwell no less in A Man for All Seasonsas well as Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
Completing the line-up and ready to bring this enchanting tale to life is St Helens’ resident Dame, Simon Foster, bringing his slapstick fun and chaos to the stage as Dame Queenie.

Sleeping Beauty tells the enchanting tale of Princess Aurora, who is cursed by the evil fairy Carabosse after failing to receive an invite to the Royal Christening, claiming that if the Princess pricks her finger, she will die. Years later at her 16th birthday, Aurora is tricked into piercing her finger on a spinning wheel by the evil fairy. After the curse is countered by the Lilac Fairy, Aurora instead falls into a deep and eternal slumber, which can only be broken by a kiss from her true love.
Will the beautiful princess find her true love and be freed from the evil fairy’s curse? What fate awaits the evil fairy? Set your alarms and get down to St Helens Theatre Royal this October for a truly magical adventure.

Chantelle Nolan, Theatre Manager said:“St Helens Theatre Royal is absolutely delighted to announce the full casting for its October half term pantomime Sleeping Beauty!  We are thrilled to have local actors Jess Pritchard and Corey Rumble join an already stellar cast and can’t wait to see them onstage as the Prince and the Fairy. With rehearsals soon to be underway, we’re looking forward to getting panto back on the Theatre Royal stage for the families of St Helens. If you haven’t already booked your ticket, what are you waiting for?!”

This all sounds the perfect way to kick off the panto season and we (two teens along with Mum and Dad) are very much looking forward to spending family time watching this show! If you would like to book tickets for you and your family and friends, prices and links for tickets can be found below..... we hope you enjoy the show!

For more information please visit:www.sthelenstheatreroyal.com 
Follow us on Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH

Listing Details
Regal Entertainments Ltd presents: Sleeping Beauty
Sat 21 – Sun 29 Oct, 1pm & 5pm

Glitter Shows
Golden Seats (Stalls Row A – G)
Adult: £17/ Concession: £16/ Child: £15/ Family: £63
Standard Seats
Adult: £15/ Concession: £14/ Child: £13/ Family: £55
Groups (20+): £11 per seat

Sparkle Shows

Golden Seats (Stalls Row A – G)
Adult: £15/ Concession: £14/ Child: £13/ Family: £55
Standard Seats
Adult: £13/ Concession: £12/ Child: £11/ Family: £41
Groups (20+): £9 per seat

THEATRE ROYAL BOOKING DETAILS

Book in person at the Theatre Royal Box Office Corporation Street, St. Helens, Merseyside WA10 1LQ (Mon – Sat 10am – 5pm). Alternatively, call 01744 756 000 or log on to:



*PR tickets were provided.All thoughts are our own and a full blog post will follow shortly.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Book Review - Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda.

                       
 New Release.... A loving husband. The perfect killer?
‘I wonder if Mia thinks I have a dark side. Most likely as far as she knows, I am just her dear loving husband.’ 
Paul Strom has spent years building his perfect life: glittering career, beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in the suburbs.
But he also has his secrets. That’s why Paul has promised his wife a romantic weekend getaway. He proclaims this day, a warm Friday in May, will be the best day ever.
Paul loves his wife, really, he does. But he also wants to get rid of her. And with every hour that passes, Paul ticks off another stage in his elaborately laid plan…
Behind Closed Doors meets Liane Moriarty in this creepy, fast-paced psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming!
Book available to buy from....
‘A tensely written, shocking book that will hold readers on the edge of their seats to the very last page.’  Publishers Weekly
‘Fast-paced, dark, and slightly disturbing, you won’t be able to put this book down until its jaw-dropping ending… Absolutely brilliant!’ Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Everything We Keep
‘Through self-conscious charm and a chilling wit, Rouda’s narrator creates laugh-out-loud moments that will feel like guilty pleasures. This may well be the most entertaining read of your year.’  Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy, on Best Day Ever
'Deliciously diabolical and highly readable, BEST DAY EVER kept me flipping the pages with anticipation and fascination. Unputdownable!' A. J. Banner, USA Today bestselling author of The Twilight Wife

About the Author

Kaira Rouda is a USA Today bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary women's fiction and sexy modern romance novels that sparkle with humor and heart. Her women's fiction titles include HERE, HOME, HOPE, ALL THE DIFFERENCE, IN THE MIRROR and THE GOODBYE YEAR (April 2016). Her bestselling short story is titled, A MOTHER'S DAY. Kaira's work has won the Indie Excellence Award, USA Book Awards, the Reader's Choice Awards and honorable mention in the Writer's Digest International Book Awards. Her books have been widely reviewed and featured in leading magazines.
Her sexy contemporary romance series set on INDIGO ISLAND includes: WEEKEND WITH THE TYCOON, Book 1; HER FORBIDDEN LOVE, Book 2; THE TROUBLE WITH CHRISTMAS, Book 3; and THE BILLIONAIRE'S BID, Book 4. Each of these novellas can be read as a stand alone, or enjoyed as a series. Her new series is set in LAGUNA BEACH and includes: LAGUNA NIGHTS, Book 1; LAGUNA HEIGHTS, Book 2; and LAGUNA LIGHTS, Book 3, and LAGUNA SIGHTS, coming winter 2016. She also helped launch Melissa Foster's The Remington's Kindle World with her bestselling novella, SPOTLIGHT ON LOVE and in the Dare to Love Kindle World, THE CELEBRITY DARE.
Her nonfiction titles, REAL YOU INCORPORATED: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, and REAL YOU FOR AUTHORS: 8 Essentials for Women Writers, continue to inspire.
She lives in Southern California with her husband and four almost-grown kids, and is at work on her next novel.
Find the author on the following sites...
Other Women's Fiction books by the author...

***My Review***
I've had my eye on this book for a while, so when the chance came to review it I grabbed it with both hands! Kaira is a new to me author who, after this book, will be a go to author from now on.
The book starts with Paul who I took an instant dislike too. He's arrogant, moody and a little bit creepy..... ok, a lot bit creepy! Certain things he said and did would have had me running for the hills but that's what had me gripped to this book. Set over a thrilling 24 hours there was enough tension you could cut it with a knife. It's a dark, thrilling and gripping read, saying that the first few chapters did seem to go slow but once to story kicked it up a gear I was enthralled until I turned the very last page!
If you love a good page turner and thrillers are your kind of read then you must read Best Day Ever as soon as you can..... you won't be disappointed!

 
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.
NOW FOR THE AUTHOR'S GIVEAWAY !!

Win $25 Amazon.com or Paypal Cash (£20 Amazon.co.uk or Paypal Cash for UK winners) (winners choice) Ending on Sunday 1st October at 11.59pm 
Open Worldwide
Enter Below & Good Luck !!
Are you a book reviewer or book blogger? Join our book tours reviewers team - Apply Here x
Current book tours open for sign ups HERE
 







*All thoughts and photos are our own.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Seafret - "Tell me its real"



Every now and again i come across a band where i think to myself "how the hell have i not heard you guys before, how many times have i missed the opportunity to see you live?!"

This is the case with Seafret.

Seafret are the duo of the amazing Jack Sedman (vocals) and the extremely talented Harry Draper (Guitar/Piano) 

In addition to their amazing musical talents, they are also both from Bridlington and Yorkshire lads !

I first heard Seafret at a good friends house and hearing one of their songs in the background, i was instantly draw to their sound, this has now spilled through our own house hold and my eldest daughter can practically re sight the album word for word and is a huge fan.

Seafret's music has a soothing relaxing feel to it, with some quality acoustic melodies and fantastic vocals. Now don't get me wrong you are not going to be moshing around your living room when you listen to these guys, that's just not their sound, but if you appreciate good music and have an appreciation for different styles, sounds and great lyrics, you really do need to check these guys out.

Seafret have been building a steady fan base up in Europe and the UK and i was lucky enough to see them play in Leeds a few months ago. They were amazing live and delivered a great performance.

Their album Tell me its real (Duluxe edition) gives us 16 tracks of emotional, lyrical and musical class and once you're hooked on them, then prepare to have the album on repeat as you become immersed in their music.

As with all albums i have a few favorite tracks:

"Oceans" - captures the spirit of the album for me and delivers some amazing vocals from Jack. The video is also quality and Game of Throne fans will recognize Maisie Williams from the video.





 "Skimming Stones" - Is a favorite of my daughters and the catchy chorus and great guitar in this track makes it one of those songs you find yourself humming or singing to yourself, even when you don't have the album on.

For me personally though, my favorite on the album is "Atlantis", its such a good track, in fact, if i had to build a list of 20 songs i was only ever allowed to listen to again, this would be in there for sure......for me its that good! The guitar in it is amazing, the lyrics emotional and the vocals of the highest standard. I have to say when i saw Seafret live i got chills when they finished their set of with this, they delivered it with so much emotion and sound wise was flawless.

If you love your music and you love different sounds and like listening to raw talent (rather than some of this manufactured turd we all have to put up with now a days), please check Seafret out and this album, you won't be disappointed. 

Their album "Tell me its real" is available on Itunes or amazon, so have a listen. For me personally its guys like this and the music that they make through their raw talent that make me love music so much.

I am really looking forward to seeing what Seafret bring to us with their new releases, and i will 100% be going to see them again with my daughter too !
(She would kill me if i didnt take her!) 

I'm going to finish off this blog post with the amazing video and track Atlantis.........Enjoy !
















*All thoughts and photos are our own.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Hand Crafted Fathers Day

Anyone who knows me knows i love crafting, any excuse to break the craft box and I'm there!

So you can imagine my delight when i had to plan a crafting activity to do with 30+ children, all under the age of 3 for playgroup...... my mind runs wild!

Obviously we need a card for dear 'old' Dad, but we cant just have any old card! Nope we made snazzy masking tape cards, brightly coloured in a range of toddler style.

How do we make said cards? 
Easy!

You will need.......

~ Blank card ~
~ Masking tape ~
~ Your chosen design, we had 3 designs - Super Dad - #1 Dad - Happy Fathers Day ~



Start by taping up your message.

Make sure your tape is firmly pressed onto the paper.

Have your child go wild with the paints.

Leave to dry BUT NOT TOTALLY DRY, remove the masking tape before it is completely dry as not to crack and pull off the paint.

And its as easy as that!! 
Hand made toddler cards that the kids have loved making and haven't cost you a packet from the shops!

Now for our hand print keyrings........some of the parents thought id lost the plot when i told them that we had to cook them!

I promise you wont be buying a new oven by the end of this!

You will need ........

~ Shrink plastic ~
~ Acrylic paint ~
~ Hole punch ~
~ Marker pen ~
~ Mod Podge ~
~ Paint brush ~

***All supplies were purchased from The Range***



Paint your child's hand in your chosen colour of paint, make sure you give it a good covering but doing make it dripping.

Firmly press your child's painted hand onto the shrink plastic, make sure you hold the plastic down when removing your child's hand.

Leave to dry.

Once dry, write your child's name and age (if you wish) cut out and punch a hole into the plastic *this MUST be done BEFORE cooking as you wont be able to do it after*

Place your hand print onto a baking try, lined with baking paper to prevent it from sticking, into a pre heated oven (160°) for 1 - 3 minutes. You can watch the plastic shrink before your eyes...... don't panic if you see your plastic curling up, it will flatten out in the end.

Leave to cool and finish with a coat of Mod Podge to give your hand print a nice shine, this will also stop the paint from coming off over time.

And there you have it! 
Your very own child's hand print keyring to treasure forever!!



As you can tell from the pictures some of the parents have sent me the activity was a hit with both parents and children!!


Have a wonderful Fathers Day!!!





*All thoughts and photos are our own.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

A book full of chuckles with David Baddiel

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my daughter curled up with a book..... and you know its a good one when you hear her chuckle, snort and belly laugh her way through it!

What book caused this reaction i hear you ask?
None other than David Baddiel's AniMalcolm.



A story about Malcolm and his animal obsessed family. Now being animal obsessed is ok, unless your'e Malcolm. You see, Malcolm has a dislike for animals (crazy i know) but each to their own. So you can imagine the horror when he finds out that his year 6 school trip is to......THE FARM!!!

Now you have to feel sorry for poor Malcolm at this point, the poor boy has to spend the next few days surrounded by the thing he dislikes most in his life BUT how will he feel once hes spent a few days AS the animals?! Yep poor Malcolm somehow ends up as the animals... looks... smells... acts like all the different animals hes surrounded by, at the end of the trip will Malcom become his animal disliking self or a new animal loving Malcolm? Only a read of this book will tell you because we definitely wont spoil this must read book for you!

Have a sneak peek on what Animalcolm is all about with this fab book trailer....


This book had our daughter (aged 12) in fits of laughter, at one point she said 'Could you imagine being a Cat or a Monkey?! Might be fun at first until it comes to bath time!' made me think for a second until i saw our own cat having a wash!

She said it was an easy read, easy to get into and easy to pick up again once she had put it down. The little drawings kept us entertained and our youngest (aged 2 ) made all the animal noises along the way. We also enjoyed the numbered after thoughts at the bottom of the pages, we'd also love to know if penguins can understand pigeon?!?



She would definitely recommend it to all her friends (both boys and girls as its certainly one for them all) and shes also asked if we can get David's other books for her, that's a BIG thumbs up from us!!

You can find AniMalcolm on Amazon and other book related websites /stores.
We hope you enjoy it as much as our daughter did,



*Sponsored post. All thoughts and photos are our own.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

In our book corner with Maverick Books

I've always loved books,but since having my youngest daughter my passion for children's books has gone through the roof! 

I can't walk through the supermarket without stopping by the book section and having a peek at the latest releases. There's something about the children's section that draws me in, whether that be the author or the amazing illustrations i just cant get enough!!

So let me introduct you to Maverick Childrens Books.....

Maverick Childrens Books

Maverick was launched in 2009 by Steve Bicknell and now has over 60 books in print and another 36 due to be published this year!
They believe that with everyone leading such busy lifestyles it is important for children to spend the time with adults sharing and engaging over a picture book and i couldn't agree more!!

Over the last few months Maverick have sent us a pretty awesome collection of books,

Mr Mustachio
As Nice As Pie
A Knit And A Knot
The New LiBEARian
Stone Underpants
&
The Snowflake Mistake



And they have soooooo many more titles available so make sure you check out their website, but for now, onto our book reviews.


Mr Mustachio
Written by Yasmin Finch
Illustrated by Abigail Tompkins

Mr Mustachio has the most fantabulous moustache, of which he is very proud. 
But one day an impromptu picnic leads to a moustache disaster!


Poor Mr Mustachio, when he gets into a tangle there's only one thing for it *snip snip* 

A fun little story that has the whole village involved to help Mr Mustachio...... i do hope we see him with his banana-tash!

                     

As Nice As Pie
Written by Gary Sheppard
Illustrated by Tim Budgen

Mavis loves cooking and sharing, but when some greedy birds take advantage of her generosity, she cooks up a plan and serves them a lesson!



Now i knew Mavis was digging herself a hole feeding those birds in her garden, what i wasn't expecting was how she was going to deal with them!
I wont spoil it but Mavis, you sneaky lady!!
A brilliant read written by Gary and those illustrations by Tim are absolutely amazing!! Bright colourful and detailed.


A Knit And A Knot
Written by Amanda Brandon
Illustrated by Catalina Echeverri

Granny Mutton loves to knit and so does Little Lionel, even though his kitting is a little messy!
When Granny's Mutton's wool goes missing. Little Lionel plays detective to track it down.
Can he solve the mystery?



Who doesn't like a detective story? Especially when its in the form of cute little Lionel!
Bight, Coulourful and very entertaining for the little ones, and those mice in their little mice cots (so cute)



The New LiBEARian
Written by Alison Donald
Illustrated by Alex Willmore

It's storytime at the library but Miss Merryweather, the librarian, is missing!
Dee and her friends go in the search of her but instead find a father hairy, new liBEARian!


For me personally, this book was my favourite. From the small details of the library stamp on the cover to the beautiful illustrations as the children walk through the bookshelves, that tiny little alien peeking over the bookcase and the sneaky octopus with his eye patch and spyglass ...... love it!!


The little ones enjoyed ROARING along with the liBEARian :)



Stone Underpants
Written by Rebecca Lisle
Illustrated by Richard Watson

Pod is freezing... then he has the great idea of making underpants!
But in the stone age there isn't much to make the fro, or is there?



Who knew the word UNDERPANTS could cause a fit of laughter?!! 
I took this to read to the kids at the playgroup i run and it was a hit! The words BOTTOM and UNDERPANTS were received by a fair few giggles from everyone and no one wanted Pod's version of underwear, especially the mud ones! Its definitely one of our favourite reads.



Its bright pictures, animals and bugs kept everyone entertained and Richard defiantly earned his title of illustrator!



The Snowflake Mistake
Written by Lou Treleaven
Illustrated by Maddie Frost

In the Snow Queen's palace high above the clouds, a magical snowflake machine chugs away. One day Princess Ellie is left in charge but when the machine malfunctions, she must come up with a solution to make sure there is snow!



My little one loved this book, she kept looking out of the widow every time i mentioned snow and loved pointing out all the different snowflakes. 
Its a sweet little story that shows even though something isn't 'perfect' it can still be pretty! 
Its a bright and colourful book with fab illustrations, i especially liked the clothes looking like they were made out of real fabric.


I loved the snowflake making instructions at the back of the book.

If your children are book fans or you're looking for some great books to have story time with then i HIGHLY recommend Maverick books, there truly is something for everyone.

Be sure to check out Mavericks Facebook, Twitter and Website.





*Books sent for review. Thoughts, views and photos are 100% our own.