Saturday, 14 October 2017

Monster Island

Last weekend we looked after my younger niece and nephews whilst their Mum, Dad, sister and brother went to an early Halloween event. They all enjoy watching films so we decided to have a film night, normally they chose a film from our vast selection of DVD's but as I had just received a copy of Monster Island it seemed the perfect opportunity to watch it. 

Monster Island is an animated film about a boy called Lucas who finds out he’s not really a human and the news changes his whole world, especially since his first monster transformation happens in front of the most popular kids at school! After unreasonably blaming his dad for keeping his identity a secret, the angry and embarrassed Lucas runs away from home. His search for Monster Island and his real roots take him on a fabulously scary journey that puts him face-to-face with more tentacles, fangs and far-out situations than he can shake one of his new wings at. Ultimately Lucas learns that being a freak, isn’t freaky - it means you’re a member of a brand new type of family, you can proudly call your own.

All the children loved the film, they sat transfixed throughout and the only sound was their laughter which is always lovely to hear. It is a fun, entertaining film with a few good witty lines that is perfect for the whole family. 

With a PG rating, Monster Island is an animated film from the producer of Top Cat Begins, and the writer of box office hits Madagascar and The Jungle Book. The film features voice talent from Despicable Me and Khumba: A Zebra's Tale.

Half term and Halloween are fast approaching so if you are looking for activities to keep your children occupied in the school holidays why not make some popcorn and have your own film day with Monster Island which is available to buy on DVD from the 16 October 2017.

We received a copy of Monster Island for the purpose of this post.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

#ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge with BritMums

When I was a child we always loved autumn because Mum started buying tangerines. We used to get through so many she ended up buying them by the box and they always kept well in our pantry, much better than they do these days where you can guarantee that at least one fruit in the bag will be mouldy after only a couple of days. I was quite impressed that none of the Chilean Easy Peelers went mouldy so I will certainly be looking out for these in the shops as I hate wasting food. These days tangerines are available all year round but I find they can be quite tasteless out of season so I only tend to buy them at this time of year. 

My children have always enjoyed eating fruit and vegetables and they both enjoyed eating the Chilean Easy Peelers. The demand for Chilean easy peelers is growing in the UK as the convenient, seedless fruits are sweet in flavor and a hydrating snack, perfect for families. With year on year growth of 32% in tonnes sold in the UK, the amount of Chilean mandarins sold last season reached over 2,000 tonnes. The predictions for this year’s crop are even greater. Available in supermarket shelves from September to November, the delicious fruits are the ideal snack for back to school season.

Both boys take a packed lunch and the Chilean Easy Peelers are great to include in their lunch boxes. Luke also had one with his breakfast so the box we were sent to try didn't last long! I find they are great to take to work and stop me reaching for the chocolate when I hit the mid afternoon munchies!

Chilean Easy Peelers are great for children for as well as being low in calories, fat and a good provider of vitamins and minerals they help to provide children with fibre, folate, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium. They are also a great source of water being  about 87 per cent water and eating foods with a high water content may help to keep them hydrated too. 

This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee

Saturday, 9 September 2017

What's Growing in the Greenhouse?

As well as the usual tomatoes and cucumbers Mum likes to grow a few different fruits, she has been quite successful with pineapples over the last couple of years and we have had two this summer. She is also growing a couple of different types of melons, they are not ready yet so we could do with a bit more sun to help them grow!

Rain Rain Go Away!!

It has done nothing but rain the last few days and there is a huge amount of water on the road which is running down the farm drive and making a real mess of it. This morning the drive was completely flooded and as the water is bringing lots of fallen leaves and mud with it the drain by our house was full of leaves which meant only a small amount of water could get into the drain. Mark had cleared it a bit before he went to work and then I scraped the rest of the debris away later meaning more water could get into the drain. 

The water has been running down the drive all day and there is still a huge pond at the top of the drive, hopefully we won't have any more rain over night and then it can drain away.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Sister Act Review - Blackpool Opera House

A What's Good to Do Review

I was really excited when I found out we would be reviewing Sister Act. It is one of my favourite films and I was really looking forward to seeing the stage show at Blackpool Opera House. Located within the famous Winter Gardens it is one of the UK’s biggest theatres and has seen a cast of thousands tread its boards since it first opened in 1939. It seats almost 3,000 and from what we could see most of these seats were full for the opening night of Sister Act. Whilst many modern theatres have quite small stages, this one is large and wasn’t cramped by the large set and cast. The theatre has a couple of bars but being situated in the centre of Blackpool means there are plenty of options when it comes to pre-show drinks or meals. There is ample parking nearby either on ground level or multi story car parks. We paid £3.00 to park on a car park that was only a few minutes walk away from the theatre.

Based on the hit 1992 film, Sister Act is directed by Craig Revel Horwood and the music is by Alan Menken with lyrics by Glenn Slater. It did come as a big surprise when we realised that the hit songs of the film weren’t featured in the stage show as for me the music was the most memorable part of the film. 

We first meet Deloris singing in boyfriend Curtis’s nightclub. X Factor winner Alexandra Burke had a very hard act to follow stepping into Whoopi Goldberg’s famous shoes, but she really pulled it off. There is no doubting that she was the star of the show, demonstrating the quality of her voice throughout. We also thought the actors who played Sisters Mary Robert and Mary Patrick, Sarah Coggin and Susannah Van Den Berg were excellent. They really seemed to be enjoying themselves and their performances were really close to the characters in the film. All the music for the show was performed live with most members of the cast playing instruments as well as singing.

Most of the story takes place in the convent and the set was very good with a balcony that cast members could move to when playing their instruments, unfortunately this was always in the background, so for some inexplicable reason the organ was still on stage when the plot had moved elsewhere. For the finale the set split in two and a great illuminated staircase was revealed for the final number.

The story did follow that of the film, albeit in a very much abbreviated form. Unfortunately it was very slow to get going and it was only with the final song of the first half that the pace started to pick up. The second half was better with a few more songs but these were almost all sung by individual cast members rather than the choir. The show finished with an upbeat finale and the audience, who all seemed to enjoy the show, rose to their feet. 

This is a difficult show to review, Alexandra and her fellow cast members all performed well but we felt the storytelling lacked depth and relied on the audience already being familiar with the film. The main theme in the original film is Deloris taking on the training of the choir and this is only briefly alluded to in the stage version. For a film that is remembered for a high energy choir singing popular hits - the stage show really missed the mark. Having said that, the audience loved it and on the way out there were plenty of smiling faces. 

Sister Act is running from Tuesday 22nd August to Sunday 27th August 2017 at Blackpool Opera House. It is definitely worth booking tickets quickly as Blackpool is full of holiday makers at the minute and judging from the full house for the first performance it is looking to be an extremely popular show.

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

Day at Southport beach

Last weekend we decided to go to the beach at Southport, the huge advantage of Southport is you can drive onto the beach which is so much easier than having to carry everything.

Luke dug a huge hole, it doesn't look huge in the picture but it was about 5' deep! He took his metal spade as it is much stronger and happily dug for the whole time we were there. There was a family next to us with 4 young boys and they were all fascinated by the hole and kept coming to watch! They even made their parents come and look at the "amazing hole."

We took a disposable barbeque and had sausage, burgers and a tuna steak for tea. We have never had much success with portable barbeques but this one cooked the food perfectly.

We had a lovely relaxing time and will definitely be visiting again.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Trevor the Tortoise

At the beginning of the school holidays we looked after Trevor the tortoise who belongs to one of Robbie's friends. Robbie was looking after him but they went away before Adam was back so we were asked if we would look after him for a couple of days. He was really easy to look after, he just needed bathing in a morning and we gave him lettuce to eat. He didn't really do much but I think he was recovering after a week of being constantly picked up and poked by Daisy and Westley!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Colour in the garden

I love this time of year in the garden as so many plants are starting to flower and there are some gorgeous colours and shapes. Here are some of my favourite flowers which are all in shades of pink and purple!