We had never taken the children to a pantomime before so when we were kindly invited to watch Sleeping Beauty at the Key Theatre we were happy to accept! 

I have been to see other productions at the Key. However, as much as I love the theatre I don’t get the opportunity to go as much I would like to. I am definitely intending on changing this in 2018! Call it a resolution if you like. 

p

We awoke on the morning of the pantomime to find that overnight the snow had settled covering our street in a blanket of white. As beautiful as the snow looks it’s not really practical when you have things to do.

I did wonder whether the pantomime would go ahead at all but one look at twitter and it became clear that it would take more than a bit of dodgy weather to stop this show. 

key theatre

The show must go on

We got to theatre a little later than planned thanks to a bit of trouble with the parking machine. Parking at the theatre is chargeable. 

Collecting our tickets from the box office was simple and the queue was thankfully a fast moving one. We hurried to our seats and waited excitedly for the show to begin! The Key Theatre do have booster seats available but thanks to its gradient seating and the small person in front of him, Moose didn’t need boosting.

key theatre

As any parent of large age gap children knows, it is sometimes difficult to find an activity which entertains both children at a similar level. The pantomime can definitely be added to that (short) list. 

From the moment that Fairy PD walked out onto the stage both Bess and Moose were hooked. I had been a bit apprehensive that 135 minutes would be a bit much for Moose to sit through but he was utterly transfixed by it all. 

theatre

Carabosse (the bad fairy) was a surprise hit with both of the children. When asked who his favourite was, Moose said the bad fairy because he liked shouting BOOOOO. Bess loved her Taylor Swift parody. She really was a fabulous character and probably my favourite too!

135 minutes could have been a bit long

As I said previously, I had my doubts. To be honest I wasn’t sure MrG would like it. He is quite grumpy about these things and has said in the past that he doesn’t really “get” the appeal. Even he was laughing at the carefully constructed adult jokes which flew straight over the children’s heads and although he did say he felt like there was a lot of music (no less than 15 songs) I caught him humming along… 

In the interval Grandma Chicken (not a panto character, just a nickname for my Mum created by Bess which stuck) bought some goodies. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices for snacks were really very reasonable. The children had a pack which cost £3.50 and contained; popcorn, fruit shoot, packet of buttons and a pot of ice cream. I had some popcorn £2 and a bottle of coke £2. Moose ate his in the correct way by tipping the chocolate buttons into the popcorn. He gave me his ice cream as (and I quote) “it was too cold”. Kids are odd. 

There were also flashing wands and swords available. I decided not to buy one as Moose hadn’t spotted them and I was pretty sure him having one would result in some kind of injury (to someone else) but they too were not badly priced at less than £5 each. 

 

If you haven’t booked tickets then I think you should

It’s a very traditional family friendly panto with the usual audience participation and funny lines to shout.  The Panto follows the story of Aurora who is cursed at her naming ceremony by Carabosse (the spurned former fiance of the King) and is sent to live with the 3 good fairies as their niece until her 18th birthday to escape Carabosse’s curse. There to help along the way was Jingle the Jester. 

The cast were all fabulous! Jingle the Jester and Queen Iona Trumpet especially were very funny. I was really impressed by the set and costumes too! It all felt really polished – Bess wasn’t sure whether Carabosse getting the giggles was part of the show but it was amusing nonetheless.

We found the show to be fun, engaging for all ages and really a great way to introduce the children to the theatre. I will feel a lot more confident taking Moose to future productions. 

Will we return? Oh yes we will!

queen igotta trumpet

Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch the pantomime in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Moose attends pre-school from Monday to Thursday. During those days I try to get lots of work done. Sometimes that means working with clay, sometimes it means writing. I am lucky that I love my work so it doesn’t really feel like work at all. Friday though, is our day. Moose and I have the whole day to ourselves to do whatever it is that takes our fancy. I absolutely love our time together and I am trying to push all thoughts of it coming to an end next September out of my mind and just enjoy these moments while we can snatch them.

This week Moose asked if we could make lunch and bake some cakes. It just so happened that I had received the Vremi baking cups and apple slicer to try out so I figured it would be a great idea.

We decided to start with cake

This was entirely Moose’s idea but I didn’t put up much of a fight. We had a Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles cake mix in the cupboard so that seemed the obvious choice. If you know me, you know about my lacking baking skills… Surely not even I could mess up a box mix though!

Moose had great fun making the cake mix and spooning it into the silicone cases. Of course, I appreciate I am late to the silicone baking cup game, this was my first experience of such a thing. I eyed Vremi’s claim of them being non stick with a healthy amount of suspicion. I was however delighted to read that they are dishwasher safe!

Vremi’s set of 24 Nonstick Silicone Baking Cups come in pink, green, blue and yellow and I love how bright and fun they are. Incidentally, the cups did not stick to the cakes at all and emerged from the dishwasher as good as new. There is no going back to paper for us now. 

Slice slice baby

While our cakes cooled on the rack we turned our attention to preparing lunch. Moose loves cheese, apple and grapes with crackers. He is really fussy sometimes so it’s a relief when he requests normal food. 

The Vremi slicer comes with 3 sets of blades designed to cut mango, apple and potato (into chips). I am usually a knife kind of a girl so this too was a bit of a revelation. I honestly thought that this would be one of those faddy gadgets which I would use once and then leave languishing in the back of a cupboard (I am looking at you candyfloss machine). The big easy grip handles means that small (and big) hands go nowhere near the sharp blades so it’s great for when the kids want to “help”. 

I like apples but I have a weird aversion to eating one whole. This handy little gadget though has upped my apple intake by a surprising amount! The kids too. We seem to much prefer to eat pre sliced apple. I am yet to try the chipper but I do believe it will be a game changer

Fancy winning these two great products yourself? Enter via Gleam below: (Ends 17/12)

Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer #6

Shnooks are SO FLUFFY

As die hard fluff fans we were really excited to be sent 2 from the Shnooks range to play with and review. Each Shnook comes in its own blister pack. Once you have freed the Shnook from it’s bubble, you give them a shake and POOF! They claim to grow to 8x their packaged size!

 

 

There are 6 to collect and each Shnook comes with their own comb, hairbands and hair clips. Each Shnook also has its own

To be honest I am not convinced that they do actually grow to 8x their size (though there is a LOT of hair) but they do appear a bit bigger after their shake and their cute factor more than makes up for this.

A really special touch I think is that all of the Shnooks have special best friend powers. Shweetly will always be by your side and Shmiley brings happiness you can’t hide. Shine gives you warmth so bright and Sheebah gives you courage and might.  Shnuggles gives cuddles so true while Shazam goes on adventures with you!

Each character is very cute and Lydia couldn’t wait to get stuck in! After a little trouble popping the shnubble-bubble on her own we helped out with a handy pair of scissors. 

Lydia gave them a good shake and was most impressed at the transformation. The shnooks reminded us a little of trolls with their very colourful hair and Lydia loved the little accessories with each of them and spent ages combing and playing with their hair. 

We were sent 2 shnooks for an honest review. All opinions are my own 

 

Project Mc2 is a Netflix original show

I must confess I hadn’t heard of Project Mc2 until I was offered the chance to review the “doll with experiment”. Bess was a whole other story though and when I mentioned it to her she excitedly began to tell me all about the Television show and it’s characters.

Project Mc2 is about four girls who use S. T. E. A. M. to save the world. S. T. E. A. M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art,and Math. The idea is to empower girls to work hard in school and to be smart.

I really like the concept and the more I heard from Bess the more I thought that this is exactly the kind of toy I would actively encourage my daughter and nieces to play with.

The Doll

As much as she loves the show, Bess felt like she was too old for the doll. Luckily my niece, Lydia, absolutely adores dolls and I knew she would be more than happy to roadtest Ember.

Ember comes complete with realistic eyelashes and a very nice woodland inspired outfit. I liked her freckles and pink hair and I think that with her moveable limbs she feels very well put together. She certainly stood up well to being played with by my nieces.

Body image is always an issue with girls, unfortunately even at Lydias age. As pretty as she is it would be nice to see the dolls take a more realistic body shape but I guess we can’t have it all!

All in all this is a really positive step forward I think. I would certainly be more inclined to choose a fashion style doll as a gift if it encouraged some creativity alongside the usual imaginative play.

The dolls retail at £24.99 and, of course, there’s a free app (the Project Mc2 Case Files) which accompanies them.

We received the doll in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Like many families we have a love/hate relationship with Peppa pig

On one hand she is very rude and incredibly entitled. On the other hand she has provided my son with entertainment on days when I just needed 10 minutes to myself to go to the loo/drink a hot coffee/answer the phone and actually some of the episodes make me laugh. Okay so I am 35 and I have favourite episodes of Peppa Pig. Don’t pretend you don’t too…

peppa pig play mat review

Moose was overjoyed

When the Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat arrived Moose was extremely keen to get stuck in right away. Luckily we had the required 3 x AA batteries in stock. The first (and I believe the most important) thing I check for on these kinds of toys is a volume switch. The Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat has an option to choose between a high or low volume – handy!

The Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat is a large (81cm) square. I was concerned that Moose might be a bit big for it but I needn’t have worried. The mat is recommended for ages 3+ but I think a younger child would enjoy playing on it with supervision too just because it’s really colourful and wipe clean.

peppa pig

What does it do?

Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat has 4 activities to choose from.

  • Numbers
  • Peppa says
  • Sing Along
  • Find

Moose really enjoyed the sing along activity, Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat features 3 songs for you (because you know the words by now) to sing along to including “big balloon” and “the Bing Bong song”. His other favourite activity was definitely Find – Moose loved trying to locate the various characters and items.

What did we think?

Moose loved how easy it was to play with and I have to agree. As well as being appealing to very young children aesthetically, this Play Mat is a great advertisement for electronic learning. I am a pretty easy sell on this subject. I really believe that a good electronic toy is excellent for developing a child’s communication skills as well as encouraging number and colour recognition. Because of the different activities available with this play mat I would recommend this toy as a great choice.

peppa pig play mat

Where can you get one?

This Play Mat would make a lovely gift for any Peppa fan and you can get your own here

We received a Peppa Pig Interactive Play Mat in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.