Sunday, 16 October 2016

Winter Cycling with Aldi

As a keen cyclist I have been really impressed with the cycling gear that Aldi have on their cycling specialbuy promotions. The quality is excellent and they are always very reasonably priced.  We all bought jackets earlier this year that had zip off sleeves which were a great buy and have been used a lot this year.

Now that autumn is well and truly here and with it the darker nights and inclement weather I was glad to see Aldi had some great products in store. The Muc-Off bike cleaning products are priced at £3.99 and they still had plenty when I was in Aldi this afternoon. Luke loves riding through puddles and even if we have only been riding on the road his bike can be caked in mud! 

The Muc-Off bike cleaner is great at getting rid of mud and is easy to use, we usually hose his bike down and then give it a quick spray  with this, give it a scrub and then a final rinse and then his bike looks as good as new again!

Aldi stock the 4-step cleaning programme, step 1 clean, step 2 degrease, step 3 protect and shine and step 4 lube. We use our bikes a lot so don't do all 4 steps after every ride but we do try and give our bikes a good clean every month. As well as the 4 step cleaning programme they also have the oil for dry and wet weather.


William cycles to Cubs every week and we have always told him to make himself as visible as possible when he is cycling in the dark. The front and rear LED light set is very reasonably priced at £9.99 and the lights are incredibly bright. The lights are rechargeable via a USB port  and two rubber mounting brackets makes it easy to fit on the handlebars or seat post and they are easily removed for recharging. There is a choice of three light levels and either flashing or steady lights.

When I first started cycling I just wore normal socks but since I discovered Aldi cycling socks I only wear these now as they are so comfortable and warm. The socks are specially designed for each foot and they have L and R on them so you know which foot to put them on! The ladies socks are size 4 – 7 but they were still comfortable on my size 8 feet. The socks look stylish and as they are black and pink I know none of the boys will borrow them! The new socks have special zones specially designed for cycling comfort and have a new insulation zone on the ankle which helps keep my feet warm on cold mornings. The footbed is made of PerEffect, a yarn which ensures high drying activity and greater performance in moisture transport. The fibre structure draws moisture away quickly keeping your feet drier.

Like all Aldi Special Buys the products often sell out quickly and once they are gone, they're gone.

We received these products from Aldi for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

#Bright Future Challenge with Unilever

I have always tried to do our bit for the environment. My Mum has always been keen on recycling and we always saved glass for the bottle bank and collected waste paper for the school. When I got my own house I carried on recycling, loading my car every couple of weeks with glass bottles, paper and plastic bottles to take to the local recycling centre.

It is so much easier now we have recycling bins at home, although I do miss dropping the bottles into the bottle bank and hearing the glass smash in the bottom. It was quite therapeutic after a bad day at work!

As well as recycling I always try and run my washing machine on a 30 degree wash and only do full loads. I always use Persil as I know stains will come out first time, even on low temperature washes. 

Persil has backed a global initiative ‘Learning for Tomorrow’ partnering with UNICEF to help give children in some of the world’s toughest areas the opportunity of a quality education. 

I also recycle clothes, toys and household goods that we no longer want. I help organise a fundraising jumble sale twice a year to help raise funds for our local village festival. We held the October one today and raised just over £1,300 which is our best sale ever. 

It was good to see the number of people bringing their own bags today, normally we give people bin bags to put their purchases in but this year we were only asked for bags by a couple of people which is again helping to save the environment.

What do you do to make a brighter future for your children?

This post is an entry for BritMums #brightFuture Challenge, sponsored by Unilever

Friday, 14 October 2016

Ghost - Blackpool Opera House

I love going to the theatre and it is always very exciting when we are asked to review a big show at Blackpool. Blackpool Opera House is an amazing place, a huge theatre seating almost 3000 people and is one of the largest theatres in the UK. 

It is many years since I saw the film Ghost, I remember the excitement of going to see it at the cinema where it was a huge hit. When we were asked to go and review it at Blackpool Opera House I did wonder how the film would be transformed into a musical. In the film there are many different locations and special effects, such as ghosts rising from dead bodies and walking through doors, which whilst commonplace in films could be difficult to achieve on stage in front of a live audience.

I have to say we were incredibly impressed with how they portrayed the special effects, the huge stage was transformed from an airy Brooklyn loft apartment to a menacing subway station and a busy Manhattan bank in a flash. Fantastic lighting and sound effects were used with great effect to enhance the scenes and create the special effects required for Sam’s time as a ghost. Magician Richard Pinner is part of the creative team and his skills as an illusionist were clear to see. The ghosts rising from dead bodies was very skilfully done, with the dead body staying on stage as the ghost appeared and left the stiff body behind.

Everyone remembers the pottery scene with Unchained Melody playing in the background, it has to be one of the most iconic film scenes ever. This tune is used as a recurring theme throughout the night with a beautiful and moving duet at the end. The other songs, written by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, have been specially written for the play whilst not as memorable as Unchained Melody, were perfectly written to tie in with the story and were performed by a very talented cast, supported by an orchestra lead by Tim Whiting.

Sarah Harding was replaced by Kelly Hampson in the show we saw, she stepped into the role of Molly effortlessly. Andy Moss (better known as Rhys from Hollyoaks) played the role of Sam very well and showed what a talented actor and singer he is. For us, and the rest of the audience, the star of the night had to be Jacqui Dubois who took on the role of psychic Oda Mae. She brilliantly reprised Whoopi Goldberg’s character and added real humour to the evening with the audience in stitches every time she was on stage.

I was surprised by how much the play followed the original story, often when films are adapted for the stage the story is over simplified but but this is not the case in this musical. The costumes were great, with Oda Mae in her extravagant finery and Sam in a Swayze-esque red open necked shirt, both reminders of the 1990 hit.

We had a fantastic evening out and is a must for anyone who enjoyed the film. Ghost is showing at Blackpool Opera House until Saturday 15th October.

Disclaimer - We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Extreme Reading

Luke has been given a reading challenge from school so we have been taking lots of photographs of him reading in unusual places. He has created a website to show all his photos, have a look here

Monday, 10 October 2016


We had a lovely weekend in the North East and visited Beamish on Saturday. We stayed at a nearby Premier Inn and were able to save 25% on the ticket price by getting a discout voucher from the hotel. The ticket is valid for a full year so we are thinking of visiting again next year. Beamish is a full day out, we arrived at 10am and were there until almost closing time which was 5pm!

Bike Ride to Lytham

William had an inset day on Friday so Mark took the day off and we went to Lytham on our bikes. It was a dreary day but actually quite warm and we managed to avoid the rain! I didn't spot any nice cake shops so we ended up having a burger at McDonalds.

The Ockerbys on Ice - The Dukes, Lancaster

A What's Good To Do Review

We have been to see quite a few shows over the last few weeks, The Ockerbys on Ice is showing at The Dukes, Lancaster until Saturday 22nd October and is definitely worth seeing. 

The Ockerbys on Ice has been written by Coronation Street writer, Debbie Oates and premiered at The Dukes, Lancaster. We were lucky enough to be invited to see the first performance which was very exciting. There was no red carpet but we did dress for the occasion! Performed in The Round theatre, an intimate area with seating all around the stage, you can really get into the story and we felt like we were up in Scotland with the family. The Dukes have a tradition of presenting new work and after a few false starts the play finally made it to the stage, thanks in part to a crowdfunding campaign and donations. It might have taken a few years to reach the stage but it has certainly been worth the wait. 

The play is set in the near future when medical science is racing towards a time when freezing, or vitrifying, a body is possible. Terminally ill Dennis Ockerby, played by David Crellin, and his wife Viv, played by Karen Henthorn, win the chance to have their heads ”frozen” when they die in the expectation that a new, disease free body will be available in the future. They are to be the first to undergo the procedure but will their love last as long as their brains do?

A real comedy, the story explores the wide range of feelings that the couple go through in Dennis’s final hours and also their relationship with their son Michael, played by Jack Hartley. The writer portrays a middle aged northern couple, married for 30 years, with great humour and accuracy - I could easily imagine people I know behaving just like the Ockerbys. For us the star of the show was Karen Henthorn, perfectly cast as Viv Ockerby. I could really empasise with her as she struggled to cope with Dennis’s impending death and the implications of his planned preservation.

With most of the story taking place in a medical room a simple set was bolstered with the use of clever live action video feeds with hospital equipment and background music setting the clinical theme. The audience were involved in the performance, playing the role of the public watching the live internet streaming and also listening to the lecture on medical history given by Dr. Taylor Devine played by Lynsey Beachamp.   

We really enjoyed our evening, the play was certainly thought provoking but can be enjoyed as a family drama too. The play is showing at the Dukes until 22nd October with the theatre suggesting that the play is suitable for ages 12+.

The Dukes is a lovely theatre and you are always made to feel very welcome by the helpful and friendly staff. There is a lovely bar area in the entrance and being in the centre of Lancaster there is plenty of choice for a pre show drink or meal. There is a car park  just across the road and plenty of other car parks just a short walk away.

Disclaimer - We received free tickets for the purpose of this review but all words and opinions are our own 


Autumn has well and truly arrived and we returned home yesterday to piles of leaves everywhere.

Luke got the mower out to collect the leaves from the grass whilst Mark brushed the leaves into big piles so they could easily be carried to the fire.

Luke took 5 minutes to catch up with some reading, he is taking part in an "Extreme Reading" challenge at school and has to find unusual places to read so a huge pile of leaves was a great photo opportunity.

Looking at the trees there are still plenty of leaves to fall so I think we are going to busy next weekend too!