Friday, 13 July 2018

Shrek The Musical at the Marlowe Theatre - Review

As a teenager, I absolutely loved going to the theatre. I went on a coach trip to see We Will Rock You and I was gripped, I loved Drama at school and even played the Deamon Headmistress in one of our school plays. Fast forward a few years many children later I haven't been for years. We were asked to come along to see the award-winning show Shrek the Musical. I decided to take Asti as an end of Primary School treat and also a first time at the theatre.

The show is based on the hit DreamWorks film that believe it or not came out 17 years ago (seriously where has the time gone). Shrek the Musical is such a feel-good show for all the family. It's full of laughs and the underlying message that is that it is alright to be different.

So off we went Me and Asti to the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury. I didn't know whether to take Ami and Sonny (aged 4 and 5) but thought with it being late they may not cope with the late night and also thought it would be a great chance for some one on one time with Asti. There were lots of families watching the show with small children and upon reflection they would have enjoyed it but we would have gone to a manatee performance.

Heres a little back story on Shrek if you have been living under a rock in the last few decades. Shrek the Musical is set in a magical land where lots of fairytale animals live. Sadly ruling the land is the evil Lord Farquaad who takes a dislike to any fairytale creatures. Some of the people banished include Pinocchio, the three little pigs, red riding hood and other popular fairytale stars. Lord Farquuard banishes the poor creatures to Shrek's swamp. Shrek being an Ogre is not happy because he likes to live alone in the swamp. He then goes to visit Lord Farquuard to get the creatures out of his swamp where he then strikes a deal to rescue Princess Fiona from the swamp in return of getting rid of the creatures from his swamp. Little do Lord Farquarrd or Shrek know that Princess Fiona is hiding her very own secret too.

The whole show is full of such wonder and magic and myself and Asti were so amazed at the set changes too. Apparently, it took two days for the set to be set up which when you see it in real life you can see why. Right from the very start, we are drawn into a fairytale book and straight into music and dancing. The show is similar to the film with some of the same dialogue but has a lot of fresh current parts to it too. Like references to Brexit and love Island much to Asti's delight (the Brexit not so much the Love Island). We see more into the characters than the film and learn more about there backstories. The music is upbeat and catchy along with some awesome choreography too.

Playing Shrek was Welshman Actor Steffan Harri he did a great job of being Shrek and looking very much like Shrek and even sounding like him too. Me and Asti were impressed with the Shrek costume and how heavy it looked. Sheffan did a fantastic job at belting out the songs and even dancing. Princess Fiona was played by Amelia Lily whos fame came from X-factor some years back. She was hilarious. In other areas, Princess Fiona is played by Call the Midwife star Laura Main. Donkey-like in the film was fabulous and gave us some really good laughs. The Donkey was performed by Marcus Ayton who gave the Donkey an almost Camp side to his character.

Saving the best till last was mine and Asti's Favourite character Lord Farquarrd, he was absolutely hilarious what with cheeky looks and audience participation. Also, some cheeky jokes that the adults would get all in all made the show so good. He is also if you have seen the film rather small and the actor Samuel Holmes plays the park on his knees providing the audience with funny moments with his little legs. One thing that really impressed us was the dragon. A beautiful set piece that is carried around by four people who all work different parts of the dragon. She fills the stage and moves around with such elegance.

The stage is colourful and so creative. The show provides some great dance numbers and like all fairy tales boasts a happy ending. It was the perfect introduction to musical theatre and one to rekindle my love of the theatre. Asti was over the moon it provided us with an evening of entertainment for something we wouldn't usually do. We would definitely recommend to anyone wanting a taste of the musical thertre.

Shrek is avalible at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury until the 22nd of June. Book here on the Marlowes website or look for more dates all around the country. The age guidance is 5 plus with no admittance to under 2's. Shrek the Musical is well worth the watch and a perfect family night out.

Monday, 11 June 2018

BRIO Metro Railway Set Review

In our house we love BRIO,  we were given a set when Aston was a baby it was a basic train set which was already 20 years old and we still have it today going strong. So when we were asked to review the Metro Railway set I knew we would not be disappointed.

The Metro Railway set comes in 20 pieces which include a metro station which boasts sliding doors, tunnel, platform and passengers. The set also contains 7 wooden train tracks and a two-way junction. The set also comes with a metro train. The train has three carriages that open up and can sit the passengers in. The train also comes with lights and sounds.

The lights and sounds are activated as soon as the train moves and an added bonus is that the train comes included with batteries already installed. The sounds are very much like a train rolling through the underground. One of Son Son's favourite features was the fact that you could sit the figures in the train.

The set was easy to put together and Son Son who is four was able to put together without much help.    You can play with the set on its own or it is compatible with other wooden train tracks. We also added some of the BRIO world sets and built some houses around the edges too. Then before we knew it was had extended the train track and had a whole village.

The set is really good quality and you know it will be something that will last a long time. It also comes with a wooden ticket machine and maps to help aid imaginative play. One thing I loved about the set is how it was a modern twist to an old classic. Both Ami and Son Son enjoyed playing with the BRIO Metro Railway set and have got it out multiple times since.

The set Retails at £49.99 and available at most toy retailers.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Glam Goo Deluxe Pack Review

Slime is such a massive trend at the moment and we cant go into a shop without them begging for me to buy them some. I have attempted to make it a few times but we have never been successful. Thankfully we were asked to review the Glam Goo Deluxe Pack and I knew Ami and Son Son would love it.  

The Glam Goo set is perfect for all children (as long as they are old enough to know not to eat it) the idea of it is that you can personalise it by using sprinkles and colours to make it your own. Also comes with a scent to make it smell unique. The set comes with a large resealable tub of clear goo, a scent bottle, 3 sprinkle tubes, 2 tubs of coloured dust, a stirrer, a ring container and the bag container.

The idea is to create your own goo and slime using the different components in the box. The set also comes with a leaflet that has some recipes inside. All the glitters come with different names and different colours and textures. Ami likes the colourful unicorn tears the most. Although she poured it all in one of the boxes in the sets by accident. 

The set also comes with a ring that you can fill with your favourite slime. Although when we put the slime in the ring it opened and spilt all over the carpet!! Thankfully wasn't too hard to clean up. The bag also allows you to seal your creations inside. 

I have to admit we found the glam goo very sticky although I did read in the leaflet that you can add some bicarb to change the texture.  The kids had lots of fun playing with it and I have found bits of it all over the kitchen. 
Glam Goo (RRP: £29.99) is available at all good toy shops.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Ravensburger What If? No. 16 The Wedding 1,000 pc Puzzle Review

There's one thing I have to admit to not doing in my adult life and that's a 1000 piece puzzle. Don't get me wrong it's not because I have been too snooty or anything just has never crossed my mind. When I was contacted to review a 1000 piece puzzle I originally thought it was a royal wedding edition. I had misread the email and just put wedding and royal and Prince Harry was the first thing to come to mind. Also if you want to celebrate the Royal wedding why not with a wedding puzzle. The puzzle was actually What If? No. 16 The Wedding edition.

Having been a complete puzzle beginner (except kids ones I can knock those out the park) a 1000 piece seemed huge. Then I discovered this was a special puzzle the picture on the box was completely different to the one on the puzzle. The idea being behind it is that the picture on the box is the ideal wedding for the bride and inside is the Grooms idea of a perfect wedding.

To start off with it was something me and my eldest would do in the evenings. In fact, he would come off screens early to help. I googled how long a 1000 piece puzzle took and it said 5-6 hours, whereas I can say it took us well over 20. That's because we didn't have the picture on the box obviously. I actually sadly really enjoyed putting the puzzle together. It gave such small satisfaction when we found the right parts than as we put more and more together seeing the picture in full.

My eldest son has ADHD so the puzzle actually had a calming effect and I actually saw him yawn which is something he never seems to do. It really helped him relax and calm down from a busy day at school. For me, I found my self-completing parts throughout the day, then getting lost in time and being late for things.

This puzzle is great fun, believe it or not, we got such triumph getting the correct pieces and completing the characters. We started it easy finding all the same colours and then the faces and before we knew it it was nearly done. The puzzle used fun and mystery making it more enjoyable. The Puzzle is available on most shopping websites and to find out more click this link.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Gazillion Crazy Wand Review.

There is one thing in our house that never gets old or boring for any age and that is bubbles. With the weather warming up ( well I say that we had storm weather that blew all the fences and broke all the beach huts thus week) Its supposed to be warming up anyway. We were sent some of Gazillions new Crazy Bubble wands to try. We have used Gazillion a few times and always found their bubble mixture to be the best by far so I was keen to see how these ones would be.

These are the perfect pocket money toys and even for days out. With all the extra bank holidays too they would be a great addition to any picnic. They retail at £3.99 so are an absolute bargain. Each set comes with two wands with a funny mouth on an 8oz bottle of bubble mixture and a dipping pot. We used to get the dippy wands but my kids are forever spilling the contents before they have had the chance to blow any bubbles. The little tray was a nice addition to help not spill so much bubble mixture.

There are 6 crazy styles (sold in packs of two), these photo-booth style wands are great for any occasion. For only £3.99 you receive two wands, a dipping tray and an 8oz bottle of Gazillion premium solution. The Bubble mix was good being non-toxic and non-staining.

The funny and usual designs made blowing bubbles even more fun. Some were really easy to use the lips and bunny teeth versions. Some weren't as easy to blow bubbles from which was a tad disappointing. The kids enjoyed making funny faces out of them all the same. 

Such a great gift also great for encouraging kids to get outside and into the garden. You can buy refills of Gazzilion solution which lasts much longer than other supermarket bubble mixture too. 
A deffo must but for this summer that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. 

Sunday, 15 April 2018

BABY Born Bath Time Rain Fun shower Review

My two little ones love babies, I actually think love is an understatement. They play from dusk till dawn mums and dads.  We’ve been sent some fantastic Baby Born products as part of their Baby Born bath time campaign Thankfully this is the BABY born Rain Fun Shower Doll Set. It’s part of the new bathtime range which also includes the BABY Born Funny Toilet and the Interactive Bathtub with foam. We have lots of babies but needed a baby Born doll to try (see the BABY Born little brother in review in a few days). Ami and Sonny are 3 and 5 so the shower is the perfect gift for any child at this age. For Ami she was over the moon she loves showers so for her to be able to shower her baby was really important. 

To be a little honest it was a little tricky almost a bit flimsy when putting together. It was quite easy to put together, but a tad little fiddly. All the pieces fit in quite easily but didn't quite stay in place. Thankfully Ami came along and helped with the peer pressure with getting me to hurry up. The Shower comes with a little towel and towel rail which we all thought was very cute. 

The shower is easy to use, it comes with a doll holder that allows different sizes of babies to use. It's easy to use and works by turning the switch. There is a large drawer underneath that stores all the water. The shower door didn't always close so Ami and Son Son had great fun getting wet whilst using it. Their poor babies have all had a shower recently with the novelty of the new shower. 

My If you have a child who loves playing with their dolls like my two little ones then this is a must for them. I just wish I could be a child again, I used to love playing with my dolls but there was never anything quite this cool around 20 years ago. I would highly recommend this product and for the price, it sells at I think it is brilliant value. The shower can be bought for £29.99 from most toy shops or you can order it online. 

Check out the blog tomorrow to see how we got on with the BABY born interactive little brother. It was like Christmas for my little two with the babies. I am not sure who likes babies more and now what else is on the list. Ami has her eyes on the Baby born toilet and with her birthday coming up its top of her list.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Gel-a-Peel Slime Jar Decorating - Easy Slime Recipe

I don't know if your kids are obsessed with Slime but mine are at the moment. One thing we have never done is try to make it I for one thought it was maybe a little bit too hard for me. We were sent a kit from Gel a Peel to make some slime jars. So with that, I googled easy slime recipe and found one that actually worked using only two ingredients so read on to find out how we have done it.

If you are a regular reader of our blog you will have seen us try out the Gel a Peel products a few times for different projects.  One thing Gel a Peel is good to create a different texture and gives a good effect and finish.

We tried a new Gold pack which I can tell you there was a few fights about who got to use the gold pen. If you have not heard of Gel a Peel its a lot of fun. It comes in different coloured tubes and you can use it to make jewellery or as we done slime Jars. The wonderful thing is when it dries it becomes like a rubbery texture. Each set comes with different shaped nozzles that attach on the Gel a Peel tubes to create different shales and textures. The set comes with moulds that you can use to stick on your designs or make into creations themselves.

 The Sets that we were using comes with 16 different templates which can be moulded into different shapes. It's very easy to use and my children love using the mould. It's very easy to use and comes with a squeegee to scrape away excess gel. It's best to do the moulds the day before as they take some time to dry. 

Easy two ingredient Slime Recipe

The great thing about this slime recipe is that all the stuff is available in your home. 
All you will need for this recipe is - 

- PVA Glue - 2 Tablespoons

- Washing Detergent  - 2 Table Spoons

- Food colouring or glitter for decoration (optional)

This is it believe it or not. It was super easy to make actually I was surprised especially as I had heard horror stories from other people. All you do is mix both together until it creates a gooey consistency. We added glitter and colouring too to make it more exciting. It worked well as slime and ticked the boxes in the right places for them. 

They then filled the jars they made and won't let us throw them away. 

Check out Gel a Peel Available in most Toy retailers. The set we use retails at around £19.99