Frozen sing-a-long at The Theatre

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If you live with a small child between the ages of 2 and 10, there is a good chance you have heard of Frozen. In fact not just heard of it but watched it around a million times. You probably know all the words and catch yourself singing the songs in the shower/at the traffic lights.

On Sunday, my daughter and I experienced Frozen on a new level. We went to our local theatre for Frozen sing-a-long. I had got the tickets back in January for my daughters birthday, and she was really excited to spend an evening at the theatre. I had booked the 6.30pm showing, as the other 2 showings that day were sold out. She wanted to wear her frozen night dress (well I figured no getting dressed for bed when we got back late), and also her beloved Elsa doll came with us.

On entering the theatre you are handed your ‘prop bag’. The adults are even given one (yes we are expected to join in).  The show started promptly and we were introduced to the host of the show. This was Hurdy Gurdy who is the brother of the shop keeper from the film (Big Summer blow out !!). You never know we might see him in Frozen 2. He went through our prop bags, and explained when we needed to use them. Below was the contents of our bag which of course were ours to take home. I won’t spoil what each prop is used for, but there is much fun using them all. We were also introduced to Elsa and Anna, amid huge cheers from the excited audience.

Frozen Sing a Long prop bag

Frozen Sing a Long prop bag

It was then time for the film to start. The words appeared on the screen for the songs, but to be honest who needs the words when they are ingrained in your brain for ever ! The host was on hand to remind when and how to use our props. There was an interval in the middle of the film, for a quick drink and toilet break.

The whole event lasted 2 and a half hours, and my daughter loved it. She sang her heart out all the way through as did the whole theatre. I have never seen so many Elsa dresses in one place ! If you are expecting to watch the film in a quiet environment, this show is not for you. However, if you want to experience a great show, with lots of encouragement to be as loud as you can, you will love it your kids will love it ! The show is touring around the UK until the end of October 2015. Below are some photos of the show

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Twopence to cross the Mersey

Twopence to cross the Mersey

Twopence to cross the Mersey

On Wednesday evening I enjoyed a lovely evening with  my mum. We took the train into Liverpool city centre, and headed to the Epstein Theatre which is a 10 minute walk from Lime Street station. We were off to see Twopence to cross the Mersey, which is a play based on the books by Helen Forrester. I remember reading them about 20 years ago, being captivated by them. So as soon as I saw the play advertised, I knew both myself and my mum would love it.

We were seated upstairs in the circle and had a good view of the stage. We are used to going to our local theatre which was built 10 years ago, so it was a real contrast being at the Epstein which is over 100 years old. The theatre has a wonderful charming feel to it, and this added to the atmosphere of the play which is set in the 1930’s.

The play starts with the Forrester family arriving in Liverpool. They have smart accents and clothes, and are leaving their life behind in the home counties. The great depression has hit and they have been thrown into poverty. They decide to relocate to Liverpool to rebuild their fortune and lives, but this does not go to plan.

There are 8 actors in the play, and you see most of them adopting different characters throughout. The play is wonderfully narrated as well as being acted out. I was gripped from start to finish by the wonderful acting, and I thought Maria Lovelady was fantastic in her role as Helen. Throughout the play you can’t help feeling sorry for Helen, but the end scene is uplifting as you start to see her life turn around. Its hard to imagine that this was actual life for Helen Forrester, who wrote the book based on true events.

The play will run at the Epstein until the 28th March and then continues at the following theatres in the North West

Southport – Southport Theatre – 9th to the 11th April 2015

St Helens – Theatre Royal – 14th to the 16th April 2015

New Brighton – Floral Pavilion – 19th to the 23rd April 2015

We had a wonderful evening watching Twopence to cross the Mersey, and I highly recommend the play.  

Thank you to Bill Elms Associates Ltd who is the Communications Director/Producer for inviting me.

The beautiful Epstein Theatre in Liverpool

The beautiful Epstein Theatre in Liverpool

How to live for free – Book review

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Hands up who gets a little excited when they get something for free ? I love the word free, and I think this comes from being a SAHM for 7 years. As we only had one wage coming in, it was my job to make our money stretch as far as possible. I returned to work 3 years ago but I still love hunting out freebies. I use the website Latest free stuff every day, and have their app on my iPhone. The website is set into categories such as free days out, free food and free make up.

The site has also launched a book which is written by Deepak Tailor and Laura Folger. It can be downloaded from Amazon for £2.99, but until the 13th March 2015 it is FREE. The books tells you how to eat for free, find free furniture and even sail around the world. I must admit I skipped this chapter as boats are not my thing. Another section that did not appeal to me was foraging for food and road kill. However there were plenty of chapters that did appeal to me.

The mystery shopping chapter is full of great tips and links to websites to sign up. I have been mystery shopping for around 8 years. In return for a detailed report, I have received free meals, free days out and free nights away in some fantastic hotels. Another section is about contacting your favourite brands in the hope that they might send you some vouchers or freebies. I actually did this a few months ago, and contacted Elemis, Molton Brown and L’Occitane by email (I wanted to change my skincare products and emailed for advice). I was pleasantly surprised when all of the companies sent me some samples to try.

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Whilst I feel I am fairly clued up on getting things for free and saving money, there were still items in the book I had never heard of. I made notes as I went along, and at the start of the book it inspires you to record your goals, however big or small they may be. Some of my goals are

Check the Latest free stuff app every day and apply for the freebies that appeal to me and my family

Do not eat out unless we have a money off voucher. Not free but moneysaving

Make sure I use the coupons I print. I am terrible for finding out of date coupons in my purse

As well as using the Latest free stuff app, I use Shopitize and Checkout Smart apps which are featured in the book. These are great apps for getting cashback on your grocery items, and also getting items completely free. Below are some of the items I have received free by using these apps, and free coupons.

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Whilst there is no way I could live for free completely, I do think the book has some great suggestions and I enjoyed reading it. Thank you to Latest Free Stuff who sent me a copy of the book for free. All words and opinions are my own. Download the book for FREE from Amazon up until the 13th March 2015.   

Teatox review

 

Teatox from Slimming Solutions

Teatox from Slimming Solutions

I was recently asked to try a Teatox for 14 days. I had heard about Teatoxing in the media, and thought if it was good enough for celebrities its good enough for me. Teatox is basically a detox but blended with tea and claims to ‘cleanse the body and banish the bloat’. There are many brands of Teatox on the market, and I was sent mine from www.slimmingsolutions.com

You receive 2 packs for your 14 day Teatox. The yellow pack is for daytime and you have this every morning, as soon as you can after waking up. The ingredients in this pack are as follows

Chinese Oolong tea (38%) Sabering ginseng (20%) Fennel (10%) Lemongrass (10%) Nettle leaves (8%) Ginger root (5%) Dandelion leaf (5%) Ginseng root (2%) and Salvia Miltorrhiza (2%). They are also naturally sugar free with no artificial additives.

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I had heard of a few of the ingredients, however they are not something I consume on a daily basis. The back of the pack warns if nausea, vomiting or prolonged diarrhoea occur, stop and consult your doctor. Thankfully none of these symptoms happened (phew).

The green pack is your evening tea and you have this every other night. You need to have it at least 30 minutes after your last meal, and I got into the habit of having it around 10pm. I started on an odd number day, so just had to remember ‘evening teatox – odd day’. The ingredients for the evening tea are

Senna leaves (20%) Hawthorn leaves (20%) Lotus leaves (14%) Fenugreek seeds (12%) Burdock root (14%) Peppermint (8%) Psyllium seeds (8%) Valerian root (2%) Liquorice root (2%) again it is naturally sugar free with no artificial additives. The evening tea warned that it might cause a mild laxative effect for the first few days, but I didn’t suffer at all.

So what did I think of the actual tea ?

Now I am NOT a herbal tea drinker, and I thought I would be adding either honey or lemon to the tea which you can do. But to be honest the tea was actually nice. I had no problem in drinking it in the mornings and evenings, and I kind of miss it now I have finished. The main benefit of doing the Teatox for me was my skin felt so much more hydrated. I also seemed to be less tired than normal in the evenings, and just generally I felt less sluggish. I do eat fairly healthily as I am on Slimming World, so for me the Teatox was about feeling better in myself rather than losing weight. I definitely think doing the Teatox for 2 weeks achieved this.

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Would I do it again ?

I think its a great idea to do several times throughout the year. This time of year is good as we are starting to see glimpses of Spring.  Also right after Christmas would be a good time too, when everyone is trying to detox after too much alcohol and food. So yes I would probably do it again for the 2 week period.

I was sent the packets of Teatox currently worth £19.99 for this review. All words and opinions are my own.

Parenting technology worries

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The other day my 12 year old came home from school and told me one of his friends had got ‘facebook’ for his 13th birthday. I presume he received other gifts, other than being allowed on facebook for the first time. My son laughed and said ‘this is something you would do mum, except facebook is just for old people’. I presume the ‘old people’ remark was referring to me, his 41 year old mum. And yes the kids HAVE moved on from facebook, and moved to Snapchat, Instagram and who knows what else is out there. You see that’s the thing with kids, they have to be one step infront of their parents. And those steps can be huge, when you are trying to keep up in this every changing media world.

My 9 year old got an iPad mini for her birthday back in January. She mainly uses it to play games, which have no social interaction. However, a few weeks ago she asked if she could go on ‘Oovoo’ and chat to her school friends.  I had no idea what Oovoo is, and she explained it was where she could see and talk to her friends. Wow how I secretly wished this was around when I was 9. We had a look at the app together, and she went through the friends that had requested her. They were all in her class, and we discussed the rule that she could only chat to her friends, when either me or her dad were in the same room.

Most of the time they are just chatting and singing together. However, there was one time when a friend was playing an inappropriate song. Now this is the first time I realised you can’t control what someone else says or does over the internet. I only have control over my own children. This is actually quite a scary thought. My 12 year old has an iPod which he uses in his bedroom, mainly playing games. We have increased the security on the devices and also our broadband provider. Doing a search online I found a recent survey which My Voucher Codes had done.  The Tech Lounge website also features this survey, and I found the article really interesting. The concerns were as follows

·         Online bullying – 58% Extremely Worried

·         Accessing adult content – 49% Extremely Worried

·         Sharing inappropriate images – 49% Extremely Worried

·         Grooming – 48% Concerned

·         Access to extremism – 44% Concerned

·         Addiction to social media – 57% Concerned

·         Effects on Education – 66% Concerned

·         Privacy – 55% Concerned

·         Effect on long term health – 49% Concerned

·         Running up huge bills. – 65% Not at all Worried

I was quite surprised that ‘Effects on education’ and ‘addiction to social media’ are quite high. We limit the time our children have on their devices, otherwise they would be on them ALL the time.  This works really well in our house, and the children rarely complain when its time to turn them off.

Going back to my first paragraph, we have always said our son can go on facebook when he turns 13. I know that many of his class from Primary School were on facebook in year 5. This means that they would have been 9 and 10 ! I personally feel that this is way too young, and the minimum age of 13 is there for a reason. I know Secondary Schools do a lot of work about the dangers of the internet, but ultimately the buck stops with us as parents. It looks like my son will not be bothering with facebook when he turns 13, as who wants to hang out with the oldies !

To be honest he doesn’t really bother with chatting to friends over the internet or on his phone. His phone is usually turned off at the bottom of his school bag ! Obviously this could change, and I will make sure I talk to him about possible online bullying from people, and to be wary who he gives his mobile number too. Whilst the internet can be a dark and scary place, its also a wonderful invention that enhances our lives each and every day.

 

10 reasons why February was awesome

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Well February went in the blink of an eye as it seems to do every year. I loved doing my 10 reasons why January was awesome post, so I am going to continue this and do one at the end of every month. So here are my 10 reasons why February was awesome…..

1) Hubby and I enjoyed a fantastic Sunday lunch at the gorgeous Cottons Hotel in Knutsford. The 3 course meal was courtesy of a Twitter competition I won back in December.

2) We enjoyed a day out at Chester Zoo. Even though we only live 20 minutes away, we hadn’t visited for around 4 years. We will definitely return again when the new attraction ‘Islands of Chester Zoo’ opens in the Spring.

3) Katie got ‘cub of the week’ and enjoyed bringing the trophy home with her. She absolutely loves cubs and I know she tries her hardest when she goes.

4) Half term was mainly spent chilling out with the kids, and meeting up with friends. After a crazy busy January it was just what we needed, no plans and plenty of PJ days.

5) I became Cruella for one evening, daughter was my Dalmatian, and hubby became the Doc from Back to the Future. All in the name of celebrating a friends 30th birthday. We had a great evening, and it was fantastic to see how much effort everyone had made. My personal favourite was Alan from The Hangover films.

Fancy dress fun in the photo booth

Fancy dress fun in the photo booth

6) At the beginning of the month we went and got our new budgie. It was 5 months since our last one flew to budgie heaven, and we felt it was time for a new pet. We chose an all yellow one and named her Annabelle. Its lovely to see the kids spending so much time talking to her.

7) I enjoyed a great evening at the theatre with my best friend watching Rita Sue and Bob too. The play is based on a film which was aired in 1987. We had actually seen the very same play, in the same theatre 21 years ago !

8) We enjoyed a night out with our close friends whilst my mum looked after the kids. I love our nights out, chatting, laughing, eating and drinking (though we were all on soft drinks).

9) Hubby and I enjoyed a lovely Valentines meal at home, and even better he did the cooking.

10) After ‘accidentally’ changing the theme on my blog, I decided to stick with the new theme I have now. I then decided to design my own header, and I am really pleased with it.

Looking forward to seeing what March has in store for us. Hopefully some warmer weather and lighter nights.

Our muddy fun perfect day out

 

As regular readers of my blog will know, we love going out for family days out. These include theme parks, the beach, the zoo, waterparks or a simple trip to the park. However back in October we encountered a different day out, a day out which saw us covered in mud, LOTS of mud.

Myself, my best friend and our 4 children went to Manley Mere which is just outside Chester. Now I had been to Manley Mere a few times, and enjoyed a nice leisurely stroll around the lake followed, by a nice cup of coffee. But this time would be different. This time would involve going into the outdoor adventure trail…… an adventure trail filled with mud and water……

As it was October we made sure we were all layered up. A change of clothes was packed, together with towels, and a bin bag to put all the dirty clothes in. We met my friend, paid our admission fee, signed a form and then we were ready for our adventure to begin. I could write about how much fun we had, and how muddy the kids got, but instead the pictures speak for themselves

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It was a day full of adventure, watching the kids being fearless and pushing their boundaries, mud, water and above all lots of laughter and smiles. It really was our ‘perfect day out’.

I have written this blog post as I would LOVE for my family and I to become Crocky Trail Ambassadors. The Crocky Trail is situated on the outskirts of Chester, and is less than 30 minutes from where we live. It is similar to Manley Mere (but much better I believe), and as you can see from our pictures we embraced the activities and mud on offer. Having a 9 year old girl and a soon to be teenage boy, I really struggle to find days out that they would both enjoy. Manley Mere ticked all the boxes for us, as I am sure The Crocky Trail would too. Thank you for reading our ‘muddy perfect day out’