Silent Sunday – 31/08/14

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OneDad3Girls

Barbie Singing Academy

Barbie and the secret door

Last week we were lucky enough to be invited to a very girlie event to promote a fabulous opportunity. Razzmataz musical theatre schools across the nation are holding a special workshop this coming Saturday (3oth August) in conjunction with Barbie to celebrate the launch of her new DVD Barbie and the Secret Door which is out on 1st September.

The Barbie Singing Academy is a workshop that’s open to children aged 3 to 8, giving them the chance to discover the magic of singing as they learn how to develop their voice and perform songs from the new Barbie movie. At the end of the singing session, the children will get the chance to perform in front of their parents. This is an opportunity not to be missed! To apply for this one off free workshop click here to find out if there’s one taking place near you!

We were treated to a preview taster session, whereby our little girls got to have their very own workshop with singing coach to the stars Yvie Burnett, as well as meeting Barbie herself :)

Yvie Burnett is the singing coach on BBC 1′s The Voice. She has also worked on The X Factor, Britains Got Talent, Americas Got Talent and many others high profile shows. I, for one, was very excited to meet her… I used to have singing lessons as a child and loved it, so this was right up my street….. even though it was for my daughter!! hehe

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 My little girl with the gorgeous Yvie Burnett

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Yvie teaching our little girls one of the songs from the film, some looking  a bit nervous!

After the initial meetings and the chance to look at all the new toys accompanying the film, the girls were taken downstairs to the sound/music studio where they were put through their paces! They were taught singing techniques then given lyrics to one of the songs from the new Barbie movie to learn before giving us a little performance of the song. It was so lovely hearing them sing to films backing track and the girls really enjoyed the experience. How lovely to say you’ve been taught to sing by Yvie Burnett!!!!

barbie and the secret door

Getting ready for the movie

After the ‘performance’ we headed back upstairs for the special screening of the brand new DVD Barbie and the Secret Door! Because I knew we would be watching the film, I had taken my twins with me, it’s fair to say they love an animated kids film whether it’s for a girl or boy and having a big sister, I’m pretty sure they’ve watched all the other Barbie films that have ever been released too!

The film is a must see for any little Barbie fan, it’s a full on pink fluffy fairytale adventure whereby Barbie is the shy Princess Alexa who finds a secret door and is transported to a magical land! Of course, all is not well within this mythical world and it’s up to Barbie to put things right and save the day, along with some of the funny friends and loveable characters she meets on her journey!

The kids were mesmerised from start to finish, and whilst I admit to chatting through a fair bit of the film with my friend Ruth from Rocknrollerbaby, we enjoyed it too!

We had a lovely afternoon and my little girl thoroughly enjoyed herself and says she would love to do the workshop again. So if you can, get in touch with your nearest Razzmataz Theatre School and book your place. Don’t miss out, your little Princesses will LOVE it!

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My girl with the real life Barbie :)

We were invited along to preview the singing workshop and movie for the purposes of an honest review. My daughter was also given a Barbie Doll to take home.

 

 

Blackpool Pleasure Beach, The Hot Ice Show and Nickelodeon Land

I’m a Northerner. I’m very proud of that fact and even though I live Darn Saarf these days, I’ll always have a soft spot for the North, especially the North West where I grew up.

I have lots of memories from my childhood of days out in the summer time and the happiest of these were visiting Blackpool for day trips. I remember those days so vividly. Being woken up early, taking a picnic to eat either in the car or on the beach, where I always remember it to be hot, then the day would usually finish with a trip to the Pleasure Beach and a walk along the promenade!

I haven’t been to the Pleasure Beach for many years, for many reasons. The main one being having babies and the weather being, well, rubbish whenever I’ve been up North in recent years! I’ve taken the children to Blackpool, mainly to the gigantic waterpark that doesn’t require good weather, but we’ve never been back to the Pleasure Beach, until now.

This year it was on my bucket list for the summer so whilst visiting my Dad,  I picked a day to go and prayed for good weather.

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The weather was glorious

We set off later than planned, bad move… always, ALWAYS leave early as there is so much to see and do in Blackpool! Parking is slightly annoying, especially if arriving late, they seriously need some bigger car parks, or at least one multi storey but if you drive around you can usually find a space on a side road or in a little car park somewhere off the beaten track along the Golden Mile! After a walk along the beach we headed to the Pleasure Beach!

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The entrance to the Pleasure Beach

For anyone that doesn’t know, or has lived under a stone all their life, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is pretty much a theme park and is the oldest of it’s kind here in the UK, founded in 1896 can you believe? It has big thrill seekers rides, it has fairground type stalls, it has areas for young children and is basically a world of fun! It’s changed so much from when I was a little girl, I remember things like the big laughing clown at the entrance that used to frighten the living daylight out of me! I remember the Candy House which is where Nickelodeon Land is now, I used to love being in that area, there was a playground in a huge sand pit!! Happy times for sure. I know there’s tons of photo’s at my Dad’s house of times spent there, writing this has made me want to locate them and take a trip down memory lane!

The main thing to note when visiting nowadays is that you pay to get in. You used to be able to just walk on and pay for the rides (I’m probably going back donkeys years here but hey) but now there’s a fee. If you just want to walk around the Please Beach the fee is only £6 each but if you want to go on the big rides the fee is around £30, although if you buy online you will save up to £10, maybe more depending on when you go, so be sure to do that! And very cheap compared to other theme parks.

As soon as you walk in it feels like a very magical place to be. What I loved was the mixture of old and new. There were some rides that I remember from my childhood, like the Big Dipper – a very old fashioned, wooden roller coaster which is still as amazing today as it always was. Steeplechase – a race on horseback, like those you’d find on a carousel but on a rollercaoster track, it’s so unusual but brilliant and unexpectedly thrilling…. this is one you HAVE to experience. And last but definitely not least and one that Teen and I went on more than once was Revolution – it looks so basic now in comparison to the new rides at other theme parks but my god is it just as good, it’s completely scary and exhilarating!!!!

One other that scares me more than it should is this one……

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The Flying Machines

I have to give this a special mention because it’s the first ever ride that was built on Blackpool Pleasure Beach back in 1896 and it’s still going strong. It’s a family ride where adults and small children alike can sit together, no seat belts or bars to hold you all in place which means it must be a nice, gentle ride, nothing too scary right?

Wrong!

I was terrified on here! Obviously it’s safe, I must say that, but I didn’t feel safe at all! As the ride flies around it pick up speed, gains momentum and starts to swing out to the side. It’s a fairly long ride so eventually you start to feel dizzy and to me, I felt as though I was going to fall out!!! Who needs a huge, high, fast rollercoaster when you have this!!! I was on this ride with Teen and he was laughing his head off at me, apparently hilarious that I saying ‘get me off’ when there were young children in front of us thoroughly enjoying themselves!

Not for me that one. But worth a go just to see if it has the same effect on you!! Let me know!

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My twin boys having fun at one of the many little games you can play as you walk around the Pleasure beach.

There are plenty of places to eat on the Pleasure Beach, we settled for Burger King! I know, not very exciting but cheap (ish – nothing is really cheap when there are six of you!) and fast. In Nickelodeon Land there is a lovely new, large restaurant where you can sit and eat in a more civilised fashion should you wish to!

The Hot Ice Show

Our day on the Pleasure Beach was broken up with a matinee visit to see the Hot Ice ShowI believe this show deserves it’s own blog post but because it’s part of the Pleasure Beach and it was one element of the same great day I’m including it here!

All I can say about this show is.. WOW!

Myself, my four children who are all completely different in terms of age and interests and my pensioner Dad were all completely and utterly blown away by this show. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, especially with it being on the Pleasure Beach and thinking it was just an add-on to a day out I half expected it to be slightly mediocre. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

the hot ice show

This show is an all out top drawer skating show experience… it’s a dazzling, glamour drenched spectacular from start to finish. From the show stopping costumes, fabulous skating talent and mesmerising choreography and music…. every one of us were mesmerised from start to finish.

There were no cameras allowed inside the auditorium (I took the above two before being told off!) but take a look at this little video which gives you an idea of what we were treated to….

I actually can’t say enough good things about this! I loved it so much. It had everything; drama, excitement, there were non ice skating dancers and acrobats during the show… they even set fire to the ice at one point!! I could’ve sat and watched it over and over again. The stunned faces of all my children, who didn’t take their eyes off it for a second, said it all! It was brilliant. I will definitely, without a show of a doubt go back again as soon as I can. If I lived nearby I would be going to see it all the time!

There were a hell of a lot of elderly people in the audience and I wondered why that was. Maybe younger people think it’s a bit of a fuddy duddy thing to do, going to see an ice skating show when there is so much more going on outside on the Pleasure Beach, but seriously, you don’t know what you’re missing… you HAVE to see this!

I want to shout it out from the rooftops how good this show is and how it’s full on entertainment for all age groups. You’d be crazy not to include this in your day to the Pleasure Beach, it only lasts an hour so won’t take up too much of your precious time and with tickets for the matinee performance as little as £4 each, there’s no excuse! Bargain I say! The evening performances are £10 each, still a great price for such a fantastic spectacle.

Nickelodeon Land

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Nickelodeon Land is new (ish) to the Pleasure Beach and as you can imagine, it’s filled with all sorts of the kids favourite TV characters in ride form! We spent hours here, literally! My youngest three loved it, there’s so much going on. My boys loved the Dora water ride which was ever so slow and easy, perfect for the young and old! Actually there were lots of water inspired rides in this area and it really is a feat in itself trying to avoid getting wet even just walking round!! Myself, my daughter and Teen thought we’d go on the little log flume, it looked tame enough but boy did it throw in water when we went down the slide!! I’ve been on lots of log flumes in my time, much bigger than this one but this was the worst in terms of getting soaked!! We were literally drenched, like someone had chucked a massive bucket of water over our heads, I’m not joking!! Luckily there were plenty of those stand in driers around, we spent a while in those!

My twins loved the cars that went round a little track… they did this over and over! There were so many fun things to do for mini people here which I thought was fab and such a great idea, it was jam packed full of exciting rides and games. The meet and greet area was a nice touch as all kids love this. There was a schedule whereby different characters came out at allocated time slots during the day so there was always someone to see and have a photograph with! My boys really wanted to see the Ninja Turtles but unfortunately we missed them!

Lastly we visited the Nickelodeon shop and I have to say, I’ve never seen as much Spongebob merchandise in my life… there was a sea of yellow covering every space!

Nickelodeon Land

Nickelodeon Land

We didn’t do many of the big thrill rides on the Pleasure Beach, which I’m surprised at and disappointed about but we simply ran out of time. I’m a big roller coaster fan too but having the younger ones so happily immersed meant getting round the park was slow. Another reason to make sure you get there as early as possible!

Teen begged me to do The Big One with him and I did promise, but as we got close I became very nervous! It’s high, but I’ve done high before so it wasn’t that, it was the fact that there was no big shoulder bars holding people in place! The only safety measure was a belt across your lap! Eek!! I couldn’t get my head around this…. how on earth was THAT going to stop me falling out on the vertical drop I asked myself over and over! Of course the ride has been there for many years now and no one has fallen out so my rationale wasn’t fully working properly but still, I couldn’t bring myself to give it a go!

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The climb up to the top of The Big One

I’m annoyed with myself. I should’ve done it…. definitely next time! Did you know they also do a climb to the top on foot? Oh yes, if you’re mad brave enough, the team at the Pleasure Beach run a walking experience to the top…. aptly named ‘Walk The Big One’, it’s an escorted ascent to the summit, a whopping 235ft, apparently this is very popular and needs to be booked in advance.

Valhalla is a ride not to be missed. It’s an indoor, darkness rollercoaster/log flume mix and the special effects inside are amazing!

A new ride on the Pleasure Beach is the Wallace and Gromit family ride. We were all very excited to go on this, the kids love Wallace and Gromit and the fact that I managed to persuade the twins to go on meant we could all do something together, even Teen was up for it!

The ‘cars’ on the ride were Wallaces slippers that looked like sofas! They looked very inviting! We took our seats then the ride began, slowly, which was perfect I thought for my boys, but then…. darkness! I hadn’t realised it was a dark ride and it picked up a fair bit of speed too on the very first tiny drop… I panicked, thinking the twins would be terrified but luckily they seemed fine. The ride took us on a journey through huge famous scenes from the Wallace and Gromit escapades and the film! It was fun, entertaining and felt like we were being taken through film sets. Thoroughly enjoyable. Afterwards we went in the merchandise shops, they had some very lovely Wallace and Gromit gifts to take home!

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The Wallace and Gromit area of the Pleasure Beach

Verdict:

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is brilliant. We loved every second, it ‘s easy for a family like mine that has children of differing ages to be fully entertained all day…. there are so many fun things to do. It’s great for the younger ones who can find a game to play or a little ride to go on at every turn.

And for teenagers and adults, you could spend another whole day just doing the big rides. I will definitely go back just with Teen I think so we can do all the roller coasters together. There are lot  more big rides than you think packed into the area!

I think Blackpool Pleasure Beach isn’t given enough credit. Many people think it’s probably not as good as some of the other big, newer theme parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, LegoLand etc… but they’d be wrong. It’s just as good if not better. I love the history of it all and the old rides which are brilliant, still as scary as some of the new ones, are so worth experiencing. It’s a lot cheaper too than the other theme parks and with the added bonus of the seaside and other local attractions, Blackpool is a definite must visit, and a definite must stay for a few days if you’re based in the South. You won’t be disappointed.

The Pleasure Beach is clean, friendly and fun and suits all age groups. It’s perfect for families, especially with the introduction of Nickelodeon Land and perfect for Teens and adults too.

For more information please visit the Blackpool Pleasure Beach website where you can see and experience all of the rides, and find out about tickets and price options.

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I was given complimentary tickets to the Pleasure Beach in exchange for this review. All words and opinions are my own and honest.

Bye Bye Summer Holidays

I’ve been neglecting my blog a little these past couple of weeks,I haven’t got as many posts written as I’d like and I have a bit of a back log of reviews to get up but hey, it’s the summer holidays and life just takes over.

I’ve been busy with my kids, I’ve had my twins birthday and party to organise plus I have my Dad staying with us at the moment too so sitting at the computer isn’t very sociable, and once they’re all in bed I would normally get on with my blogging but lately I’ve wanted to do normal things like relax on the sofa and watch TV!!! Shock horror!

I love my kids being off school, I say this after every school break but it’s true. I adore being with them and having nothing to do apart from what we choose to do.

I like snuggling up with them in bed in the morning instead of having to wake them up and hurrying them along to get dressed etc, then rushing off to school!

I like watching them play with their toys together in the mornings whilst wearing their jammies. They get along so well (even though they do fall out and fight at times), I love listening to their little imaginary games, it’s so cute.

I enjoy planning things for us to do and going out together.

I like watching movies with them and doing nothing.

I enjoy sitting in the garden whilst they run around and play in the fresh air. Or splash around in their paddling pool if it’s a hot day.

I just like being with them. Every second of every day. It’s never a chore and they never drive me mad enough to want them back at school, ever.

I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to do some work for my part time job from home here and there so that’s been a relief. Had I had to manage going to work with the school holidays I’m sure things would be a whole lot more complicated. But as it stands, I know I’m lucky to be able to enjoy the holidays with my beautiful children.

The summer holidays have literally flown by. I believe they’ve been somewhat shorter than usual is this correct? Certainly feels like it. We’ve had a lovely few weeks though, we haven’t been on an official holiday but we’ve been away visiting relatives some of the time so we’ve had a break at least! We’ve seen friends, had days out, been to events and had fun!

It’s a pity the weather over this last week has been rubbish. Almost feels like Autumn has come early, boo hiss! I’m hoping we get an Indian Summer during September, fingers crossed… I’m not ready for a winter wardrobe just yet!

This week I’ll be busy trying to get the kids organised for back to school.

It’s something I’ll be doing with a heavy heart… saying bye bye to the summer and bye bye to spending long lovely days with my brood :(

20140826-110307-39787705.jpgThe Fab Four – My gorgeous children

 

Mama and More

Silent Sunday – 24/08/14

London Zoo Tigers

OneDad3Girls

Aliens Love Underpants Live on Stage – A Review

A few weeks ago I took the children to The Leicester Square Theatre in London to see the fabulous little kids show Aliens Love Underpants. We absolutely love the books so this Live stage adaptation was sure to be  sure fire hit with my three youngsters!

The Aliens Love Underpants original book is a very popular childrens tale whereby cute little Aliens visit Earth in search of.. you guessed it, underpants! It’s a gorgeously illustrated book with a crazy, silly rhyming story that’s an instant favourite with children and parents alike!

I haven’t been to the Leicester Square Theatre before although I do enjoy the theatre in all genres and have been to see many shows in the West End, so it was nice to get off the beaten track and step inside this small, intimate theatre to be enchanted by this colourful, mesmerising show!

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 The children in their seats ready and waiting for the show!

Because the theatre is small, you feel instantly connected to what’s going on on the stage. The cast was made up of a few actors that took on different roles and also worked the Aliens which were puppets! The Aliens themselves were very colourful and larger than life.

The show was lovely. It wasn’t very long, about an hour in total with no interval and at no point did it drag or did the kids become restless. In fact, they LOVED it! They were hypnotised from the start. The story line moved forward at the right pace, there were lovely hypnotic song moments and it was a vision of colour and happiness!!

I would definitely recommend everyone go and see it if you can. There’s still lots of summer holiday time left to take advantage of as the show runs until 31st August! I’ve actually already sent a few of my friends along with their children and they absolutely loved it too!

We were lucky enough to be at the press event and join in with the celebrations afterwards where my daughter got to meet the cast and puppets on the stage!

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aliens love underpants live

There was balloon making and Aliens Love Underpants food and cupcakes :)

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Grainy image, but couldn’t resist this selfie with one of the celebs that were at this special performance… It’s Vincent from Strictly who was very happy to oblige and took this himself!

We had a great afternoon out. The show is fantastic!

Go and see it, don’t miss this opportunity before the show ends it’s run… for more information and tickets visit the Aliens Love Underpants Live website.

Here is a little behind the scenes taster from the show….

 

 

 

The Ugglys – A Review

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We were recently sent one of the Ugglys toys to review, I was very excited about this delivery because it’s my twins birthday soon and I thought it would be perfect to give to them as a present! I opened it very carefully so as to not damage the box and me and my nine year old daughter got down to the very important business of playing…. for the purposes of this review!!! I have since put it back in the box, ready to give to my soon to be 5 yr old twin boys …

And they are going to LOVE IT!!

This toy is brilliant. It has all the credentials that little boys (and girls, but mainly boys) desire!

Noisy, disgusting, funny, silly, cheeky….. Oh yes, it ticks all the boxes!

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The Ugglys come in a few varieties  of Dog – We have Rudey the Pug!

Now, I’ve seen these toys advertised on the TV and my kids have pointed them out to me before but I had no idea really what they did.  They are actually puppets. Rubbery, strange little ugly electronic puppets!

They are slightly bigger and heavier than I imagined. They feel very robust even though the rubber is soft, easy to handle and move.

Your new, disgusting adorable little pet even comes with it’s own Uggdoption Certificate so your child can really feel as though he has a new loveable friend to look after for ever and ever…. aww!!!!!! Hehe

ugglys review

The Ugglys are programmed with over 30 gross sounds, it burps, it farts, it’s loud and you can change the ‘pitch’ of the sounds if you want to by turning the collar! As a puppet you can squeeze it’s face into all sorts of funny positions making him pull even uglier faces than he already has! Champion gurner!

My daughter and I spent quite some time messing around with this toy and she thought it was so much fun! I can’t wait to wrap it up and give it to my twins, they have no idea they have one and I’m sure they’ll think it’s amazing and be arguing over it in no time!! Maybe I should go and buy another one, a friend for Rudey, a different breed or colour though. The Pugs come in three different shades, then there is a Dalmatian and St. Bernard also.

This toy is bound to have the kids amused for hours, giggling at all the silly disgustingness!! I’m sure it would go down a treat in any household, as long as it’s out of earshot of the adults of course!

The Ugglies are made my Character and retail are around £29.99. You can also buy them at all major retailers.

I was sent one of the Ugglys for the purpose of an honest review.