Win a Yellowbird DVD

yellowbird DVD

I don’t know about you but my children love a cute animated feature film, and this brand new offering, Yellowbird by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, released on DVD and digital download from 27th July 2015, looks like it will be a big hit!

I actually hadn’t heard of Yellowbird until recently, it hasn’t been widely publicized yet but I’m sure we will start hearing all about it soon!

Yellowbird (voiced by Seth Green) is a teeny, tiny orphaned bird who has never left his nest. Shy, clumsy and timid, he unexpectedly finds himself as the new lead of a flock set out to migrate to Africa for the winter. This is Yellowbird’s chance to be part of a flock, a family! Without the slightest knowledge of migrating, and with danger and imminent failure lurking around every corner, Yellowbird is forced to confront his fears and find strength to work with his newfound friends and become a hero!

To celebrate the release of Yellowbird, I’m giving you the chance to take home a DVD of this year’s extraordinary voyage of danger and self-discovery!

To be in with a chance of winning, fill out the Gleam gadget below and answer the very easy question by writing your answer in the blog comments section of this post! (clue: the answer is in the post!)

Best of luck :)

 

Mummy Endeavours

 

©2015 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

On Tuesday evening we (myself and my three youngest children) hopped on the train into London’s West End to go to the theatre!

It was a crazy, mad rush! My twins had a birthday party to attend first straight after school, in a play centre where they ran around for almost two hours! We left there a few minutes early to race to the train station!

Our tickets were for the 7.30pm performance, which obviously meant a late finish, on a school night too but I figured with the end of term a couple of days later, my kids would soon be able to catch up on lost sleep! From the tube station at Covent Garden we walked to the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, taking the wrong turn at one point, which meant we ended up running to get there in time!

Phew! It was exhausting….. so I hoped Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was going to be worth it!

And of course it was!

It was amazing!

Academy award winning Director Sam Mendes has brought Roald Dahl’s famous story to the West End in spectacular fashion!

We had great seats, in the royal circle, with a fantastic view of the stage. I’ve wanted to see this show for ages and I was mega excited. As were my children. After all the racing around, I was worried they might be just too tired to sit through the whole show but they were incredibly enthusiastic and couldn’t take their eyes off the stage for a second!

The opening scenes introduced us to Charlie and his family, primarily his grandparents, who were brilliant! They were hilarious and endearing, bringing the fun to the early part of the show which was emotional in parts, due to the family’s poverty.

Little Charlie was fantastic. He had just the right mix of vulnerability and courage, and his gorgeous little singing voice was amazing!

The whole of the first half leads up to Charlie finally finding his Golden Ticket. The other winners are announced first… one by one, by newslfash on a huge makeshift TV screen. I loved this part of the show, it was brilliantly done I thought and gave each character a chance to introduce themselves to us.

First there was Augustus, the fat greedy kid from Germany, with his mother (I think they were my favourite pair!) then it was Veruca, the spoilt little rich kid from England who was with her father. Then came Violet, the media crazy, gum chewing pop star wannabe from America, with her dad and lastly, Mike, a crazed video game obsessive who was with his Mum!

It’s fantastic when Charlie finally gets hold of his Golden Ticket. His Grandpa accompanies him and the interval comes just after the kids arrive at the Factory and meet Willy Wonka himself for the very first time.

charlie and the chocolate factory

The second act takes the audience on a fantastic journey into the magical chocolate factory! It’s a feast for the eyes and fills you with anticipation as you wait to see where they go and how the sets will look.

None of it disappoints. Each room they enter is as wonderful as the last.

I have to mention the Oompa Loompa’s… they were incredible! My children were fascinated by them. They were trying to figure out how they looked small, but it was very clever costumes that did the trick! Some of their costumes lit up in one thrilling scene.

The sets and special effects were amazing.

My daughter loved the scene where Violet changed into a big fat blueberry!

My twins thought the Nut room where Veruca was picked out as a ‘bad nut’ was the best bit – they loved the giant squirrels ridden by Oopma Loompas that took her away!

charlie and the chocolate factory theatre

My favourite scene though had to be at the end, where Charlie and Willy Wonka took flight in the glass elevator. It was stunning and literally looked as though it was going to fly over our heads!

We absolutely loved the show, it received a great big thumbs up from my children. And even though it was a late finish for us on a school night…. it was so worth it!

We have talked about it non stop since and have told all our friends to go and see it!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has performances Monday to Saturdays at 7.30pm and matinees on Wednesday and Saturday. Tickets vary greatly in price so do some shopping around!

I would highly recommend going to see the show, if you love musicals you’ll love this, and so will the kids!

Check out this trailer for the show to see for yourself!

 

We were given complimentary tickets to see the show in return for a honest review. Words and opinions all my own.

Stroppy Mummy

stroppy angry mummt

I’ve just said good night to my children and I feel bad.

It’s been one of those evenings.

I know we all have them, as mothers. But tonight I’m actually quite ashamed of myself!

I acted like a spoilt brat.

In my defense, I was tired and it was way past my children’s bedtime, so I was irritable. Very irritable.

But the reason it was past my childrens bedtime was my fault.

I’d spent the half hour when I should’ve been winding down my three youngest kids, getting them ready for bed….. looking at my PHONE!

I’d been sitting there, oblivious, scrolling through Facebook, completely absorbed… but it wasn’t until I was trying to listen to a video that I realised my kids were acting riotous!

Angrily, I sprung up off my lazy arse, to have a go at them BECAUSE I COULDN’T HEAR THE SOUND ON MY PHONE!

Not bothered was I that they were trying to kill each other! Not flinched by the fact that I should’ve put them to bed over half an hour ago! Oh no… I was fuming because I wanted to listen to a stupid video and THEY were preventing me from doing so!

I told them in no certain terms that they should be getting ready for bed! What the hell did they think they were doing?!

(As if any child would start getting itself ready for bed on it’s own accord!)

What the hell did I think I was doing?

I was acting like a spoilt child!

I knew it was bedtime for the kids. Why didn’t I just put them to bed as normal? Why was I just slobbing about? (The OH was in the shower by the way and was blissfully unaware of my lack of parenting at this crucial time of day!)

I mean, my kids were just behaving like kids do when it’s past bedtime and they’re left to their own devices… they start going crazy! They’re overtired and start annoying each other, bickering and fighting, resulting in lots of screaming and shouting!

But now, I’m at the point of no return and I’m not seeing things rationally!

The kids have made a right mess of the living room! Seriously, it was a bomb site! I’m always amazed at how much mess kids can make when you’re not watching them.

Crap everywhere!

I’m fed up of picking up CRAP!

The cushions from the sofa were all over the floor! Again. Argh! This made me want to pull my hair out! I must pick the stupid cushions up at least 10 times a day. Maybe more. How many times can I ask the kids not to throw them on the floor before they’ll stop throwing them on the floor? Not enough obviously! Then of course, my darling offsprings had eaten biscuits which had been trodden into said cushions and all over the carpet, making the place look even more disgusting!

Urgh!

They thought this was funny. Which annoyed me!

I told them to pick up the cushions themselves…. I’m not a slave… then get upstairs.

Once in the twins bedroom I’m met with even more mayhem! The contents of their wardrobe had been strewn across the floor.

OMG!

I thought I was going to hyperventilate!

Apparently this was the result of a game of hide and seek, where H was hiding in the wardrobe and was trying to create more space for himself.

Don’t get me wrong. My boys have done this before and usually it’s not a problem. They are just playing after all and I usually just pick the clothes up and put them back. I’m usually very calm and this doesn’t bother me. My children are so good, I never really have a reason to be cross with them.

But tonight?

I was incredibly stroppy and wasn’t in the mood. In fact, that’s putting it mildly…. The truth is I could almost feel my blood boiling I was so enraged!

The boys thought it was a little bit funny (again), although they weren’t as sure this time whether they should laugh. Maybe they could sense my imminent, childish mental breakdown?

I asked them who they think should pick up all the mess… me? Yes they said!

So I grabbed the remaining contents of the wardrobe and tossed everything all over the room! I grabbed a pair of pyjamas for each of them and threw them on the bed, telling them to put them on themselves! (I normally help them, not that they can’t do it by themselves because they are quite capable!)

I stormed out of their room telling the OH (who had suddenly appeared, looking at me like I was crazy, but having enough sense to keep schtum and not say a word to me) that I’d had enough and that I wasn’t dealing with it any more! I made a right scene, feeling some sort of smug satisfaction in my angry state.

I stomped downstairs, making threats in my own mind that I wouldn’t even say goodnight!

Ha! That would teach them!

I plonked myself back on the sofa, trying to calm down!

OH proceeded to get the kids ready for bed.

Of course, almost straight away I felt a surge of guilt.

I began to panic. What the hell was wrong with me?

If only I’d just got them ready for bed as usual instead of gawping at my stupid phone!

If only I’d put them to bed at the normal time instead of allowing everyone, including myself, to become over tired.

I was so upset with myself. What an idiot. I felt so shitty.

OH came downstairs and informed me that the kids were in bed.

Bless their hearts. I felt even more guilty.

I went upstairs, sat on their beds and gave them lots of cuddles and kisses. They were fine. They weren’t phased but they did squeeze me just that little bit tighter, as if to say it’s OK Mummy!

I love them so much.

OH had also tidied up their room and put all their clothes away.

More guilt for me! (although OH tidying up in any situation is a very rare occurrance so I didn’t feel THAT guilty about that!).

I really hated myself though at this time. Like I was some sort of loser. I know it’s ‘normal’ to have days/nights like this. But it doesn’t make me feel any better about it.

Do you have moments like this? What sends you over the edge?

Silent Sunday – 05/07/15

magnum white ice cream

 

OneDad3Girls

Water fun in the sun

Every year, I try to make the most of the few hot days we see over the summer. If it’s hot outside and I’m inside, I’m not happy. I feel irritated because I know these days are so infrequent. I have to be outside, even if it’s just for a little while after work and school.

This week, I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve had a heatwave! Yay! I’m loving it!

And although Wednesday was almost unbearable as my kids and I melted in a soft play area at a friends birthday party after school…. I will NEVER complain.

I love the summer. It just makes me happy. I love seeing the trees covered in lush green leaves; I love the fact that we don’t need big heavy clothes and coats to way us down. I enjoy being outdoors and the lazy long days….. Plus…. everyone else seems happier too :)

I knew we were going to be busy on Tuesday and Wednesday after school so I made the decision to take the kids to the park after school on Monday. There are some fab paddling pools which were great for cooling off and enabling us to enjoy the sun even more!

paddling pools park

paddling pool park

paddling pool park

paddling pool park

It was relatively quiet too, a bonus because this particular splash park area can get incredibly busy. sometimes with no where to sit or put down our towels!

Teen even joined us for a little while too which was lovely! He was at the park hanging out with some friends.

Speaking of Teen, because he is enjoying 11 weeks of a summer holiday this year as his GCSE’s are now over, I suggested we should do something, just the two us. The other three younger children don’t finish school for another fortnight yet so it’s the perfect opportunity! Of course Teen would rather be with friends but he humoured me this week and agreed to a lido trip on Wednesday, on what was going to be the hottest day for almost a decade!

I like being with Teen, he’s fun to be around (sometimes!) and I enjoy catching up on all the gossip surrounding his busy teenage life! We headed to Wycombe Lido, it’s a bit of a drive but we’ve been many times now and I know we like it there. I was excited about spending a few, uninterrupted hours of sunbathing and swimming in the pool!

Wycombe lidoWycombe Rye Lido

Although it was absolutely scorchio, the sun didn’t play ball…. it kept clouding over which, when you’re all geared up for some serious tanning, was SO ANNOYING!

We did have a lovely day though. We took a picnic, ate ice creams and, in the sun shining moments, we swam in the lovely pool and sunbathed. The hours passed way too quickly unfortunately, I had to pick up the younger children from school! So we’ve penciled in another day to go again very soon :)

I do hope the good weather continues well into the summer holidays…. fingers crossed!

The price of a Prom

Teen had his Prom last week.

His was the first high school in our area to hold one, the others followed suit the rest of the week. Each prom had an after party somewhere, usually at one of the kids houses. There were a few after parties for each school, for each of the different friendship groups. The kids in year 11 at all the schools around here know each other and hang out, so many of them went to the after parties for other schools’ proms. I thnk this is hilarious!

So it was a week of partying basically!

Proms didn’t exist when I was at school. We just left and that was it. Oh, maybe there was some shirt signing but nothing more than that. Boring really!

Proms are big business in the UK now. Copying America obviously, a bit like Halloween! But like Halloween, I don’t think Proms are quite as big here as they are over the pond. I’m glad really because from what I’ve seen in films, American high school proms were the stuff of nightmares! A bit over the top and pretentious. With half the kids, the popular ones, having a great time, looking gorgeous, picking dates etc,  and the other half, the nerdy ones, struggling to keep up with it all and getting left out! I’m sure it’s not really like that but that’s the impression I’ve always had!

Getting back to Teens’ prom. Being a boy, there wasn’t much fuss made. He didn’t give it any thought at all until the week before. But the girls in his year I know we’re organising themselves for months in advance. Dresses were being tried on and chosen, how to arrive at prom (as in by flash car, limo… etc) was being decided upon.

Research carried out by My Voucher Codes suggests that going to Prom costs a small fortune.

Teen wanted a tux. We’d bought him a snazzy suit a few months before for his ‘interview week’ at school. But that wasn’t good enough for prom apparently. He HAD to have a tux.

Prom suit tuxHe DID look absolutely gorgeous in it though! 

We decided to hire one. Hiring cost £65. But I’ve heard this is relatively cheap. Other boys paid over £100. This is for one night only remember!

Then there was the transport. Teen and some friends hired an old London red double decker bus for the occasion. The cost for this wasn’t too bad really, being as there were quite a few to chip in! It was around £25 each.

Then there was the ticket for the prom, which was £25. Teens prom was held in a local hotel.

Because Teen was going ‘out’ after prom we gave him another £30.

All in all it cost us around £145. Not cheap for one night out for a 16 yr old kid!

For girls I’m assuming you’d need a bit (lot) more!

Some of the girls I know in teens year had gorgeous dresses that cost hundreds of pounds. Then they had shoes, the fake tan, the nails, the hair and make up……

promThis is Teen with a friend who had really glammed up for the occasion!

Some kids arrived in limos….. and I even heard one child, not for teens prom I hasten to add, but someone we know, arrived at his school prom in a helicopter! Crazy…. I daren’t think about how much that would’ve cost!

Teen had an amazing night though. Definitely one to remember because himself and lots of friends managed to party all night long and I thought… well why not?

You only leave school once!

prom boysTeen and his bunch of suave looking buddies at the hotel, ready for Prom to begin!

Has your child had a Prom? Did you splash out or was it a reasonably priced event? I’d  love to hear your thoughts…..

Food Shopping

I don’t know about you, but I hate spending money on food! It annoys me that I have to buy food when I could use the money to buy something else. Something that I really want!

But no. Instead of being able to freely splash the cash on new clothes every week, I spend a fortune feeding my hungry clan!

Being a family of six and with a strapping teenage lad to feed, there’s no getting away from large food bills. But I do try to stay away from the ‘big’ shop like I used to do. Because I always spend much more that I intend. I think we’re all guilty of shoving things in to the trolley that we don’t need. Things that catch our eye as we’re walking round the isles!

I have tried online shopping and I do this occasionally, but I prefer to stroll round the supermarket…. I like to see for myself what I’m buying!

Last weekend I was offered £40 Tesco vouchers by Appliances Online to spend in store. I was challenged to spend wisely and see how far £40 could take me! It’s not much for a family of six but I was curious to see how many days we could realistically get out of it! I wasn’t going to start looking for every single bargain I could find, or start looking for things I wouldn’t normally buy, or never buy again.

And I believe I did quite well actually. I tried not to buy as many snacks, although with kids this is difficult because they’re ALWAYS asking for something, and I like to have things to hand to give them.

My nearest Tesco, other than the small local metro, is enormous so I decided to take a small trolley round to ensure I wouldn’t overspend!

tesco food shopping

I managed to buy three main meals….

Shepherds Pie

For this I needed

Mince £2.00, onions – 3 for £1.00, carrots (which I grate into the mince while it’s cooking for some hidden veg!), potatoes £2.00, cheese (I did splash out here as the kids do like cheese, I bought 2 packets of medium chedder for £5.00. I bought some veg which was 3 for the price of 1. I had gravy, stock and some other bits already in the cupboard but roughly this meal cost around £7.00 ish…. remember the cheese and other ingredients would be used many times more!  I think this is a good price for a family of six.

Cod Fillets

This recipe I nicked off Jamie Oliver, out of one of his cook books that I’ve had for years! It’s a meal we love and is so easy to make. Literally put some cod fillets, the ones you buy in the freezer in Tesco’s £5.00, fresh basil 70p, mozzarella £1.00, cherry tomatoes 90p. Sling all in an oven proof dish with some olive oil and bake for 20 mins! Yummy! Serve with new potatoes £1.00, along with some veg… my children like peas and sweetcorn the best! Meal cost around £7.00 ish again.

Pasta with pancetta

Pasta always goes down in our house. I cook it regularly. I can guarantee the kids will eat it and it’s fast and convenient! For this I bought pasta £1.20, pancetta £3.00, mushrooms £1.00 along with a bit of stock and some onions. Meal cost around £5.00.

Other things I bought….

One of our favourite ‘starters’ is large flat mushrooms with parma ham and stilton cheese (my daughter can’t get enough of these!) My twins don’t eat them but the rest of us love them… so tasty. Large mushrooms 2pkts £2.00, stilton £2.50 and parma ham 3 small pkts at £3.00. Cost around £8.00, which seems a lot compared to the others and considering this was only a snack/starter, for 4 people not 6!

mush

I purchased orange cordial 2 for £1.50. Cereals… I went with the Tesco’s own brand for a change and grabbed 3 for £3.00. We get through cereal so quickly and I do feel as though I spend way too much on it, so trying the own brand range was a must. They all got the thumbs up, no difference at all in taste, my children said! But the box sizes were smaller so realistically can’t say whether it was a better deal.

I bought some sausages, milk, crisps, butter, biscuits and crusty bread (I never leave a supermarket without some fresh bread!), salad and a few other bits & bobs.

I surprised myself actually at how much I managed to buy. £40 went pretty far considering we are a larger family. I looked for the deals on things like snacks, only buying the ones on special offer… the kids don’t care at all as long as we have some! The meals won’t last the whole week obviously, but I think buying like this, in small doses, definitely made me think more about what I was throwing in the trolley, and hopefully it will prevent throwing food away. This always happens when you do a huge shop when items go off before you’ve had chance to cook or eat them.

I’m definitely going to shop like this again. Yes it’s more time consuming but I can already see it saves money in the long run. It would save even more if I planned precisely what I was going be cooking each day.

How do you shop? Do you plan meals? Do you find you waste food that goes off? Or are you incredibly frugal? I’d love to hear your thoughts…..