The New #DarkArts feature at the Warner Bros Harry Potter Tour

When I heard a few years ago that the Warner Bros Studio’s in Leavesden, where they made the Harry Potter films, were opening the doors to the public as a tour, I thought it was amazing and I, for one, would definitely be going! I love the Harry Potter books and films,  and my Teen, who is 15 has literally grown up with them. Although he was too young to see the first film at the cinema (he would’ve been around 3 years old at the time), we watched it on DVD and went to see most of the subsequent films at the cinema together when they were released, if he was old enough!

Going to see the final film, The Deathly Hallows part 2, together, was emotional if I’m being honest. The movie itself was incredible but watching it with my son who was by then, 13 years old, was special. It was like we had experienced the phenomenon that was Harry Potter together, just the two of us and I love that… and it felt like the end of an era as the film finished.

Being able to go and see where all the films were made would be amazing. The Leavesden Studios, as it was back at the beginning before Warner Bros bought it, was an unused aircraft hangar until nearby Pinewood studios used it to film James Bond Goldeneye, because they hadn’t enough space themselves. It was then used for a number of productions before Warner Bros found it to base Harry Potter. It wasn’t until 2010 that they finally purchased the site for good as a permanent European base. The studios are literally 10 minutes from where we live and I remember the filming going on there in the early days. Certain sets, like the quidditch stadium were just visible in the distance from the road as I drove past.

I couldn’t wait to take Teen, it was something he and I would really appreciate. So can you believe we hadn’t been until this week?!

Don’t ask why…. it’s just one of those things we kept saying we’d do but never got round to! Crazy really! But actually, I think it was fate that we didn’t go until now… because luckily for us, I was offered an exclusive invite to attend the press night of the unveiling of a brand new feature of the tour.. The Dark Arts!

In it’s first permanent fixture since opening, The Dark Arts is a new section devoted to some of the more sinister aspects of the films. It will showcase some never before seen props, including Horcruxes and dark wizarding artefacts, along with new costumes and scene sets.

I couldn’t wait! Excited just doesn’t cover it. I decided to take Teen (obviously) and his lovely girlfriend who is a huge fan too. My daughter has been already (lucky thing), she went with her class last year for a school trip, OH hasn’t seen many of the films and my twins are too young so it was just the three of us that were eagerly anticipating what lay ahead!

harry potter studiosTeen and girlfriend outside, just about to go in!

Once in, we were treated to some pre-tour drinks and nibbles. There were some Death Eaters (new to the tour) guarding the entrance to the tour and one took a shine to Teens girlfriend who was scared of him! Smelling her fear, he kept coming up trying to intimidate her… so I whipped out this wand… a gift from the event organisers as a pre-tour taster! That showed him! ;)

harry potterMy gorgeous gift, a Tom Riddle notebook and fab wand!

Once the Death Eaters left and we were allowed through, we were led to a cinema room where we watched a short film about the new Dark Arts feature. The actors who played Harry, Ron and Hermione… Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, talked us through the new additions and shared their experiences of life growing up right there, at the Warner Bros studio’s, where they spent most of their childhood, making the eight films. It was evident how much the place meant to them, the emotion when they spoke of how it was a place of not only filming, but also where they played and studied. Because don’t forget, these child actors filmed the Harry Potter series throughout all their GCSE years and beyond. Right here was where they loved to be. The stuidos became their home from home, the cast and crew became their family. There were lots of clips of behind the scenes footage showing the young actors having fun during filming and also of how some of the iconic scenes in the movies were shot. It was truly fascinating. I could’ve watched hours of this!

harry potter tour

The tour began once the cinema screen lifted to reveal these magnificent doors…..

harry potter tour

 which opened into the Great Hall…..

harry potter tour the great hallThe Great Hall

It was breathtaking. Honestly. I felt completely awestruck being there… in the ACTUAL Great Hall, which featured in so many scenes. It was surreal, utterly overwhelming. There was so much to see and take in. All the details that our tour guide was offering were fascinating, like the real stone flooring that they put in at the start, knowing that the set would need materials to last from the wear and tear it would undergo throughout the years of filming. The food that in the early films was real, but was fake in the later instalments because it simply went off too quickly.

There were costumes on display, the real clothes that the actors wore, all the uniforms from each House at Hogwarts… Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin… and of course of all the Hogwarts teachers, Dumbledore, Snape, Hagrid etc.

harry potter tour

From the Great Hall we were led through various sets from the films as well as being able to see how lots of the creatures and monsters from the films were made. We were treated to explanations of some of the tricks that were used to create certain characters and bring the stories to life, which was a massive challenge for the film makers.

harry potter tour

harry potter tourSome of the iconic film sets: Harry Potter’s Gryffindor dormitory, Professor Dumbledore’s office, the potions classroom and the Gryffindor common room

harry potterThe famous Mirror of Erised

Heading through we arrived at the new Dark Arts section where the new permanent features are, the main one being this one (below)… Malfoy Manor. The old fireplace in the orginal tour has been expanded to show the full set. The headquarters of Lord Voldemort’s followers, the Death Easters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, it includes the long, grand table around which Bellatrix Lestrange, the Malfoy family, the Death Eaters and Voldermort sat. A life like model of Voldemorts 20ft snake and Muggle Studies teacher Charity Burbage stranded above, the feature is rather creepy!

harry potter tour Dark Arts

Another new feature is the full on Borgin and Burkes store down Knackturn Alley, which Harry stumbles upon in The Chamber of Secrets. It showcases a variety of never before seen artefacts and props up close.

harry potter tour dark artsSome of the weird and wonderful artefacts and props, including the Death Eaters masks!

As well as the scarier props, they have also added to the Ministry of Magic set and included Dolores Umbridge’s office. This new part of the tour is sure to give it an extra dimension and bring fans of the later, darker films some of their favourite bits. All the props are so intricate and interesting, it’s quite possible to spend hours wandering around and studying all of it!

Because this was a press night, there were special refreshments provided in the way of smoking drinks and creepy nibbles. There were also some celebrities present including Max from Eastenders (Jake Wood), Jonathan Ross, Gaby Roslin, Amanda Holden, Connor Maynard and Janine from Easters! I could resist a couple of pics…..

harry potter dark arts tour A group photo with the very lovely Amanda Holden and Gaby Roslin, smokey drinks and Teens Girlfriend having a pic with Connor Manynard!!

harry potter tourMore fantastic parts of the tour including Daigon Alley and Privet Drive. Plus the three decker bus and Butterbeer testing!

harry potter tourThis scale model of Hogwarts was used for all the sweeping ,outdoor shots of the school. The details are extraordinary. We spent a long time here. It truly is beautiful, stunning!

As part of the tour, there is the chance to learn how to use a wand and try out the green screen broom flying experience! You are invited to don a special Hogwarts cape, climb onto a broomstick and simulate flying through some of the fantastic scenes from the movie! This is lots of fun and I recommend you give this a go when you visit… I couldn’t leave without including my pics…

harry potter tour

 

The huge gift shop at the Studio’s has anything and everything you could ever want to buy in relation to the tour and the films. Remember to take lots of spending money :) The shop is actually open to the public without having to do the tour so if there was something you might like to buy a fan for their birthday or Christmas, then why not pop along any time? There’s an extensive clothing range featuring all the costumes, there’s wands, cuddly toys and other characters, there’s even a sweet shop area where you can buy all the weird and wonderful concoctions! We spent a while in the gift shop, there’s just so much to see!

The Dark Arts feature is officially open right now, just in time for Halloween! A visit to the Warner Bros Harry Potter studio tour is more than worth it and thoroughly recommended. We have a brilliant time. In fact we didn’t want to leave!

Christmas can be all sewn up at The Perfume Shop

the perfume shopthe perfume shop

Like most females on the planet, I love perfume. It’s the ultimate luxury indulgence and I really don’t feel fully dressed and ready to face the world until I’ve had a spritz! It’s the finishing off of an outfit! And do we ever grow out of enjoying a good old whiff and test of all the gorgeous fragrances that are on display in the perfume department of a store? Seeing if we can pick out a new favourite? I love trying them all out.

And speaking of ‘perfume shops’…. last week I attended a press event for The Perfume Shop, to get a glimpse of all the products they are selling right now and in the lead up to Christmas. Walking into the event was heavenly, like stepping into a beautiful Christmassy treasure trove of loveliness! The perfumes on display looked  so divine I almost felt like a child in a sweet shop! What to look at first?

the perfume shopEverywhere I went there were stands like this one!

As I wandered around, I realised that I definitely needed an update in the perfume area of my life, I wanted to find some new favourites. The main thing to note about the Perfume Shop is that it sells ALL the major brands. I think some peoples’ perception of the high street store is that it’s a cut price shop that sells last seasons hits, kind of like the garments many shops bring out in the sales… but I can categorically say that’s it’s not like that at all. The Perfume Shop is bang up to date with all the new releases, as well as stocking all your old time favourites, whatever they might be! The prices are competitive, which gives it the edge of course and it’s fantastic… it’s what we’re all looking for, especially this time of year because let’s face it, perfume is rather costly, which admittedly makes it even more desirable, naturally but whether we’re splashing out for a well deserved treat for ourselves or as a gift for someone else, we want to get a good deal. And that’s the beauty of The Perfume Shop.

If we really wanted to, we could seriously do ALL of our Christmas shopping here, there’s something for every relative and friend… I don’t think there’s anyone who wouldn’t appreciate a brand new shiny bottle of a beautiful fragrance, and considering a lot of people can’t justify the cost for themselves, they’d especially welcome a gift like this.

I have to say I’m a massive Marc Jacobs fan, who isn’t? Everyone goes crazy over not only the gorgeous fresh scents but those bottles?!!!! They are a work of art in themselves and are a very clever marketing tool, enticing us to look, touch and feel the bottle and fall in love before we’ve even smelled the fragrance!

marc jacobsThe newest addition to the Marc Jacobs collection is the Daisy Dream.. stunning or what? 

The bottles are a big draw these days. Some companies are going all out to create a new show stopper. The celebrities seem to be going down this route and anyone who’s anyone, or even a no-one seems to have a fragrance out these days! Others are trying to create that simple but classy look!

Men love aftershave almost as much as women love perfume and there are almost as many different varieties. This one, Boss by Hugo Boss has been the No1 mens fragrance for many years apparently.

the perfume shopBoss by Hugo Boss, it has that real aftershavey man smell, can’t quite describe it but it smells so good! I can see why it’s a best seller.

And what about the children I hear you ask? Well, The Perfume Shop have got this covered. They have quite a selection of kids perfumes and aftershaves that any well groomed child would adore! We were at a party a few weeks ago for my 5 yr old twins friend from their class at school and whilst they sat down at the party table to enjoy their food, I got a whiff of something sweet and beautiful… on closer inspection, it was the little birthday boy who was wearing Batman aftershave! Ha! His Mum told me a relative had bought it for him and he loved it! He’s 6 :)

The Perfume Shop has the Batman aftershave for children, as well as a Spiderman and many others, all boxed up as a great little gift sets. For the little princesses out there though, how about this one…..

the perfume shop frozenA Frozen inspired perfume and little bag set!

I’m sure any little girl would love waking up on Christmas morning to this in her stocking! And again, there are many others like it in store. If you’re stumped as to what to buy someone for Christmas, you won’t go far wrong with perfume.

Looking at the Top 10 most popular perfumes for men and women, there aren’t any surprises in there. Coco Chanel is in there, which used to be one of my favourites years ago!

the perfume shopJust some of the favourites

I’ve had a few ‘favourites’ over the years, some of which I’ve been completely loyal to and haven’t worn anything else other than those at that time! It’s funny how we do that…. we like to have that signature scent, something that makes us… us, and something that will maybe leave it’s mark on someone special, that will make them think of you whenever they smell it! Ah romantic!

I remember when this perfume came out, I think I must’ve been around eighteen years old, or thereabouts and when I discovered it…. Wow was I blown away! I used to wear it all the time and was completely in love with it, and the bottle!

the perfume shopJean Paul Gaultier 

I don’t wear it any more. Not that I don’t like it, but because it’s a part of my past, an era where it shared many a good time with me and brings back lots of memories, so I feel as though it should stay back in that time. Where it belongs.

Nowadays I tend to flit from one perfume to another. Maybe I have too many but I do absolutely, totally and utterly love to have lots of perfumes to choose from when I’m getting ready to go out! And I was really in my element being at the lovely press show for The Perfume Shop. They even, very kindly, gave me quite a few to take home!! I was actually squealing like a small child inside at the generosity!

This is one that I haven’t worn before, but since being given it to take home, I’m loving it…..

the perfume shopthe perfume shopA bit of an oldie but oh such a goodie! Chloe.

Plus, I’m the envy of all my friends right now having bagged this brand new one too….. and I LOVE IT…. wearing it all the time!!!

Mac Jacobs Daisy DreamThe gorgeous Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream – I couldn’t resist another photo!

the perfume shop

So, I have a couple of new faves now to add to my perfume collection! I will be starting my Christmas shopping soon too, and relatives will be asking me what I want… so maybe a trip to The Perfume Shop will be on the cards for everyone!

Project 365 and Diary Update 2014 – Week 42

A photo a day, every day for a whole year.

Had a bit of a mixed week this week. Been terribly busy then had a real slump towards the end of the week. Didn’t feel good and didn’t want to do anything. A few other personal issues that added to the downward spiral. Had a much needed evening out on Saturday night though with a friend which was lovely and resulted in me feeling significantly better on Sunday. Think I’m doing too much to be honest. I have a backlog of work to get on with and there aren’t enough hours in the day!

Need a holiday I think!!

Anyway, let’s get on with the photo’s from this last week… Week 42.

project 365

Day 285 – Sunday 12th October - My pretty girl.

Day 286 - I received this fab gift from Warner Bros ahead of my Harry Potter Studio Tour that happened the following day.

Day 287 - The Great Hall at the Warner Bros Studio’s, as part of my Harry Potter visit to check out the new Dark Arts feature.

Day 288 - At the Dyson press event, this was their new robotic vacuum cleaner which is uber cool and I want one!

Day 289 - A rainy day at pick up time at school.

Day 290 - My daughter has been over the moon with these five new Club Chic bears, from Vivid Toys which we have been sent for review.

Day 291 - Struggling for a photo today, even though I was out on Saturday evening I didn’t take any pics on my phone  and all these this week are off my phone. So instead I grabbed this pic of these yummy biscuits I’m obsessing over lately! Can’t stop eating them.

 

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Win Tickets to the Foodies Christmas Festival

One thing about Christmas that everybody loves, apart from Santa coming to visit obviously, is Christmas food! It’s the one time of year that we can really go to town. If you are entertaining at your own home it’s a chance to show off your culinary skills, or if like me, you prefer to buy everything in (much easier) it’s the enjoyment of visiting amazing food establishments and buying something extra special to eat over the holidays.

Visiting a food festival sounds like a fantastic way of seeing lots of gorgeous food and sampling some of the delights too, I have never been to one myself before but this year I am definitely going to the first ever  ‘Foodies Festival Christmas‘ event at The Old Truman Brewery, November 28,29,30th. I am also giving away three pairs of tickets to the event so make sure you keep reading and enter! Plus, if you don’t win you can use this discount code to buy tickets at a reduced rate. The festival itself is touring the UK so if you want to visit, there is one coming to a town near you 

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Following the success of the Foodies events across the UK in the summer, organisers are delighted to announce this cracker of a festival, bringing together the spirit of Christmas and the joy of feasting with family and friends.

Foodies Festival is the UK’s largest celebration of food and drink, and this Christmas instalment will bring you London’s top chef’s cooking live in a new open air Chef’s Theatre and you can learn how to prepare the perfect Christmas feast with a full range of produce available to buy in the artisan market. As well as traditional mince pies, mulled wine and roast chestnuts, the festival boasts a huge selection of new features including a Whiskey Arena with a range of whiskeys and malts for sale and a Ski Bar serving après ski cocktails, off-piste snacks including crepes and toasties and live DJs to create a chilled out St Anton vibe. These are complemented with a Soda Bar and food and drink matching masterclasses with experts in the Drinks Theatre; who will advise on the best champagne and wines to buy this season.

The Christmas Feasting Table takes centre stage at the festival, where visitors can sit at communal banqueting tables under twinkling fairy lights and festive decorations with friends and family and tuck into foods served from the surrounding Street Food AvenuePop-Up RestaurantsCoffee Corner and Cheese Village with cheese makers from the UK, France and Italy.

Visitors should visit the Producers Grotto where they will discover a Craft Beer Market and pop-up breweries, highlighting London’s top craft brewers. Visitors can enjoy a hot toddy while browsing local artisan produce to enjoy or have gift wrapped as gifts to take home. A Pudding Hall is a haven of sweet treats with pâtissiers and chocolatiers selling eggnog tarts, marzipan bonbons and macaron; as well as a life-size Gingerbread House serving warm ginger beer and roasted ginger marshmallows. There are also hands-on masterclasses in cake decorating and icing, where participants can personalise edible treats to hang on the Christmas tree at home.

Just like Christmas day there is lots of post-feasting fun to be had with entertainment throughout the day. Visitors can register their team to compete in the Christmas Bumper Quiz at 5pm daily, have a group Christmas jumper picture taken in the photo boothsing carols and learn how to dance the Gay Gordon with ceilidh dancing and live music from the Accoustic Stage.

For the little ones, an Elf Cookery School invites children under 12 to bake snowballs and decorate gingerbread men, cookies and cupcakes to leave out for Santa. There are also live reindeers to pet and snow balls fights to be had in the courtyard.

Tickets are available now from www.foodiesfestival.com or by calling 0844 995 1111

I am giving away three pairs of tickets to the London Foodies Festival Christmas, the tickets are valid for any of the three days, 28th, 29th, 30th November! To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter widget below. Good Luck!

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Project 365 and Diary Update 2014 – Week 41

So… week 41 guys.

Had a few computer problems this week which drove me nuts and whereby usually I would use Teens laptop (he has the best tech in the household of course) if I had no time to sort out my own, but this week I couldn’t because Teen was on a geography field trip to Amsterdam and he took his laptop with him. How selfish ;) So I spent days faffing around, trying to get mine to do what I wanted but it wouldn’t. Such a waste of my time when I had so much to catch up on. I’ve also been terribly busy at work these past few weeks as a colleague has been off and I’ve found myself with lots more work to do!.

Missed Teen when he was away. Spent the week worrying about him but we kept in touch here and there. I couldn’t wait to see him on Friday, the house feels so strange when one of the kids isn’t here, just doesn’t feel right at all, although it did seem a little less frantic. Teenagers live in a whirlwind of school, friends, activities and social organising so in that respect my week has been marginally quieter.

project 365

Day 278 – Sunday 5th October - Another birthday party.

Day 279 - H Practising his writing skills!

Day 280 - I put some old fashioned rags in my daughters hair, the same way my mum used to do mine when I was a little girl, and this was the result! Lots and lots of ringlets! It did look very cute, she loved it!

Day 281 - Autumn is here and the leaves are changing. So pretty.

Day 282 - Press day at The Perfume Shop. Lovely event.

Day 283 - Had to nip into town after school so I thought I’d treat the kids to dinner (they are covering their school badges for privacy purposes!)

Day 284 - O and H doing their cool dude poses.

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Silent Sunday – 12/10/14

Autumn

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie and Pizza Hut Review

When we got the invite for the special preview screening of brand new blockbuster Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was over the moon! Wow my boys are going to LOVE this I thought! But then I realised it’s a 12A certification.

I mean… TWELVE??!

I was hoping to take my 5 year old twins!!! They are crazy mad for the TMNT and are the proud owners of many a related toy that they play with on a daily basis. Yes, it’s fair to say I was a little disappointed by this spanner in the works but the film looked ace so after checking on the British Board of Film Classification website which clearly states that while a 12A may have material that is not really suitable for those under the age of 12, parents can use their discretion as to whether they allow their child to see the film. So at least that’s something for all those young fans out there. Note that anyone under the age of 12 MUST be accompanied by an adult.

After much deliberation though, I decided to take my Teen and my daughter with me to the screening, who are 15 and 9. I thought it best not to take my little (just turned) 5 yr olds.

TMNTIn the foyer of the cinema in London’s Leicester Square was this very cool TMNT motorcycle

I didn’t really know much about the film, as in I hadn’t seen much footage beforehand but I was very excited. I was a little dubious, and I thought it would go either way… I was going to really enjoy it or it would bore me rigid. When we arrived to a sea of green balloons and turtle related games and refreshments in the foyer of the cinema my excitement levels rose, but to my shock there were little kids milling around too… VERY little kids…and lots of them, waiting to go into the film. Some were barely more than toddlers! I immediately felt a pang of sadness and guilt that my gorgeous little twin boys weren’t there with us! After all, they’re the big TMNT fans in the household, bless them. But as it turned out, one of my twins, O wasn’t too well, he’d had a mild asthma attack the night before and was feeling under the weather, so a trip to London may not have been on the cards anyway. I did wonder whether the parents of these very young children had thought it through, or even acknowledged that the film had a 12A certificate, obviously it was given that for a reason…. maybe they were being slightly ignorant?

I would know more when I saw the film.

Meanwhile, putting the fact that my twins weren’t with us behind me, I got on with the task in hand of enjoying the fun entertainment in the foyer and there was plenty of food available, much to Teens jubilation (he’s constantly hungry). In keeping with the theme of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the food on offer was PIZZA!! Of course it was!! It’s what the TNMT eat, I remember this from the first film and subsequent cartoon series (that all my boys have watched at some point),  so of course it was only fitting that it was being served now!

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesIn collaboration with TMNT, Pizza Hut have developed four special limited edition Pizza’s, named after each of the TNMT!

We had a slice of all four of the different flavoured Pizza’s, The Donatello, The Raphael, The Leonardo and The Michaelangelo! In fact, it’s fair to say we stuffed our faces! But more on the Pizza’s a bit later, because as well as seeing the film, my whole family had been invited to Pizza Hut for a complimentary meal, to try out the yummy foods on offer there, as well as these new TMNT Pizza’s!

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesFun and games in the foyer, face painting and balloon making amongst other things :)

Finally we took our seats and got settled in, ready for the film to begin.

The Verdict

Wowzers!!!! That’s all I have to say to begin with. Just WOW!! The film was pretty full on from start to finish! Immediately, the very attractive and glamorous Megan Fox was instantly likeable as the main character in the film, April O’Neil, a small time journalist who’s looking for that one big news story to take her career to the next level. She finds it when she stumbles on New York’s villainous gang, The Clan, being stopped in their tracks by what she thinks are unbelievably strong vigilantes and wants to find out more! The vigilantes turn out to be, of course, the Turtles. In her quest to impress her boss and validate her story which she has no evidence to back up, she seeks out her late fathers business partner and tells him all about the Mutant Turtles. Without giving the plot away, she unintentionally leads the bad guys right to the Turtles, thus finding herself caught up in a frantic mission to help them and to save New York City!!

The film hasn’t received the best reviews but we were absolutely unanimous in our opinion! We absolutely LOVED IT!! It was action packed, fun and we were engrossed for, pretty much, the whole film! Teen, who is a film fan, thought it was fantastic. He said he was surprised, I think he expected it to be a bit daft, which it was in places and naturally over the top, but it was thrilling nevertheless and gripped us right from the start.  The Turtles were likeable, funny and almost child like at times with their teenage humour but they were the ultimate superheroes and not what you’d call pretty!  The special effects were amazing, there is one, lengthy scene in the middle of the film which is a car/people chase down a mountainous snowy terrain that’s unbelievably fast paced and frantic… yes it’s far fetched but if it doesn’t have you on the edge of your seat I don’t know what will!

Would I take younger children?

I have to say that although there wasn’t anything too distressing for a small child to see, there were fighting scenes and one or two that were a bit much in my opinion for the very young. One of the villains’ looked quite monstrous and scary in one section. But I think all of this was magnified in the cinema because the screen is ever so big and it’s very, VERY loud. My 9 year old daughter did cover her eyes and ears a couple of times, and my twins definitely would’ve been scared but to be fair, they get scared of anything! Like I said, more about the volume and the darkness of the cinema. Were my boys to watch at home on a DVD I think they’d be fine. As a parent, and knowing your own child, I would use your own judgement to decide whether your young child would enjoy it. I’d say anything younger than 8 and I’d be wary! However, there was no screaming or crying in the auditorium during the film so I guess none of the children in there were too distressed :)

I would definitely, 100%  say go and watch this film, you have to, it’s totally awesome and I challenge anyone not to enjoy the ride. It is what it is. It’s nothing new, we’ve seen the Turtles before, albeit not as magnificent as this, and it’s predictable but it’s brilliant…. and at no point was I bored, falling asleep or wish I was somewhere else!! I’d say that was proof I enjoyed it! It’s a fantastic film and one all the family can enjoy together :)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is released in cinemas throughout England on 17th October 2014. 

Pizza Hut

As I mentioned already, we were given the opportunity to go and try out the new TMNT menu at Pizza Hut. We haven’t been to Pizza Hut in a long time, we used to go frequently but for no real reason it’s not been on our radar for a year or two. So I was actually really looking forward to going. We picked a Wednesday as a midweek treat for the kiddies, no cooking for me too so all round bonuses!

Piza Hut TMNTFeed Your Ninja – The special TMNT Pizza’s menu

I thought the meal deal for these Pizza’s was very good value and worth it for all six of us, my twins don’t eat very much so four meals, with starters and pudding as well as salads would be plenty! So we ordered all four of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle meal deal Pizza’s with a couple of extra sides….

Pizza Hut TMNTVery good meal deals

Pizza Hut TMNTStarting off with the salad bar

I love the salad bar at Pizza Hut and whereas previously you were given one bowl to fill up and that was it, your one portion, now the salad is unlimited! So of course we went up numerous times, stocking up on our favourites, everyone has their favourites. For me it’s quite a traditional mix, I love the pasta salads too so I always include these as I don’t have salad dressings. My OH likes the potato salad and bacon bits, my daughter isn’t a big salad fan but she did like the pasta’s and bread sticks, as did my twins… the bread sticks were a firm favourite with them and it’s fair to say they practically emptied the tub at the salad bar, as well as the nacho’s! Teen liked anything and everything!!!

Next up, I simply HAVE to tell you all about the new drinks machines in Pizza Hut.

Pizza HutHigh tech and snazzy self service drinks machines very pretty cool

I thought the new drinks machines were a great addition, all drinks were unlimited so you could go up as many times as you liked to replenish without any additional costs or having to wait for a waiter to do it. And there wasn’t just the fizzy drinks on offer, although this brand new touch screen  fizzy drinks dispenser was super easy to use and produced the perfect drink, there was a juice section too. This machine was also easy to use, even my five year old twins could do it by themselves. There was a choice of cordials, orange or blackcurrant that you could squirt yourself to make your drink as sweet as you like, or not, depending on preference. The machine produced gorgeously ice cold water and crushed ice to finish. Sounds simple enough but this is a great idea because kids love to be hands on and get involved, who knew how much fun there is to be had for a child at a drinks machine?!

Pizza Hut Then the Pizzas arrived

DSCF4149The Michaelangelo – New three cheese blend with pork, bacon, hot dog slices and sliced red onions

pizza hutThe Raphael – New three cheese blend with cajun chicken, pepperoni and chilli peppers 

Pizza Hut DonatelloThe Donatello – New three cheese blend with mixed peppers, mushrooms, red onions and black olives

pizza hutThe Leonardo – New three cheese blend, pepperoni, chicken and beef

pizza hut

The Pizza’s went down well, you can choose to have deep pan or thin and crispy but being as this is Pizza Hut, one has to go with the deep pan, obviously! One of them was particularly spicy which meant it was a no no for the twins but other than that – all were very delicious and we polished them off in no time at all.

Finally it was desert time. I was full and never usually eat puddings anyway but we chose ice creams and cookie dough.

pizza hutGetting their own ice cream is always the highlight of a Pizza Hut meal for kids! Choosing from all the different toppings, or indeed choosing ALL the toppings is such fun,  and for this promotion there is the added treat of Turtle Slime!!  (lime flavour!) – All ice cream is again, unlimited.

pizza hutSlurping the last drops of ice cream and a cheeky selfie with my boy, we had the giggles!

The kids also shared one of these…

pizza hut cookie doughCookie dough dessert (this photo doesn’t make it look very appetizing though does it?)

I haven’t tried cookie dough before, didn’t like the sound of it. What is it even? Is it the stuff that you make before the actual baking of cookies? If so… eww! Raw dough? No this didn’t appeal, but my children dutifully informed me that it’s the yummiest thing ever, so I tried some. It is SO sweet, probably the sweetest thing I’ve tasted in a long time which in the first spoonful is very over powering. But it’s moreish. You just have to have another spoonful. The cookie dough is hot and the ice cream is needed to dilute the sweetness a little, as well as cooling it down! It IS, I can report, heavenly.

So that was it. All finished and feeling satisfyingly full up! We very much enjoyed our meal and would highly recommend. If you get the chance, make sure you take full advantage of the limited edition Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle menu, the kids will love it…  but equally whatever you choose to order I’m sure will be delicious, the service was great too. Why not tie your visit to Pizza Hut in with a trip to the cinema to see the movie?  A perfect family day out!

Disclosure – We were given complimentary tickets to the special screening of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, as well as a meal at Pizza Hut, in exchange for a fully honest review. All words and opinions are my own.