Friday, 21 October 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows DVD Review

Everyone's favorite pizza-loving heroes return in an epic new live action adventure Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out Of The Shadows on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, 4K Ultra HD, DVD and On Demand on Monday 24th October. Released by Paramount Home Media Distribution and Universal Pictures (UK) just in time for half term...

Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello, and Michelangelo are back to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones. The film stars plenty of familiar faces including Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Laura Linney, Stephen Amell, and Tyler Perry. The acting is good, and because of the turtles more realistic appearance, it's actually quite easy to forget you are watching 'turtles'. The personality and character are barely sidelined at all, and just as with the original cartoons, there's plenty of tongue-in-cheek humour.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

October Half Term Events and Activities for Families in the Manchester (and Northwest UK) Area.

As ever I've prioritised cheapness and quality (and my personal favourites). Everything is in Manchester or within an hour's drive. There is masses to do all year round, but here are some of the special activities you can take your children to over this Autumn half term week 22-30th October...

In Manchester Centre

Manchester Museum Of Science And Industry have the 10th Manchester Science Festival running from Thursday 20 October to Sunday 30 October. Some events require booking in advance! Check out their website to book - the 10th Manchester Science Festival.

England’s largest Science Festival will be jam-packed with fun and largely free, hands-on family activities for all ages throughout October Half Term. Produced by the Museum of Science and Industry supported by Siemens and the University of Salford and featuring about a million different events (maybe) around Manchester including:

Sleep Lab – The Chronarium - which will be sited in Manchester Arndale, transforming the hectic shopping centre into a communal haven for relaxation and well-being. Lie down, rest, and relax on hanging swings and hammocks whilst partaking in an experience aimed to reset circadian rhythms for a better, more harmonious sleep.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Decorating Your House For Halloween with Wilko

We love Halloween, so a box full of decorations from the long-standing high street and online favourite Wilko was very well received. My boys took about 5 minutes to rummage through and find out how everything worked - and I am proud to say they both jumped many times! Mission accomplished...

We were sent some of the larger decorations for the home, as well as some goodies for the boys, and every skirt wearing reveller's Halloween essential - skeleton tights!

Monday, 17 October 2016

LEGO Star Wars Krennic's Imperial Shuttle Review set 75156

My 8 year old is a massive fan of Star Wars, so when he found out we'd be reviewing the LEGO star Wars Krennic's Imperial Shuttle, he practically waited by the door for the postman. Taken from the storyline of the next Star Wars movie, Rogue One, the shuttle set has 5 minifigures plus a K-2SO droid, giving a vehicle which is actually a functioning play set once built.

Krennic's Imperial Shuttle is one of the larger new Star Wars LEGO sets with 863 pieces. It also has some trickier techniques and bits where you need 3 hands, so it's recommended for age 9+.

Inside the box we have only 7 numbered bags and 1 sheet of stickers as well as the instruction booklet. Not too intimidating to newer builders.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Disney On Ice Presents Frozen, Manchester Arena 2016 Review

On Thursday we were among the crowd at the Manchester Arena for the first Manchester performance of this year's special Disney On Ice presentation, Disney On Ice Presents Frozen.

The magic for us started before the performance, as we'd been invited to a before-show meet and greet with a few of the stars...sorry for the poor photos, it was actually quite dark and I didn't have my flash on the camera! 

Anna and Elsa's costumes were just as good close up, and my 8 year old especially was delighted to meet Mickey Mouse, all ready for Winter in his snowboarding gear.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

26 Month Smiles...

We've really had a heck of a month, and made some amazing smiles.

We went to Michael Rosen's installation at Z-Arts and LEGOLAND Discovery Centre. We had an 8th birthday and between them the boys lost 3 teeth. We went to the PLAY Expo and Disney On Ice and by crikey, we were even lucky enough to meet DanTDM.

We were also aware it was World Mental Health Day on 10th October. I didn't mark it on the blog, maybe another year. I did however play witness to some amazing friends and acquaintances who posted about their own battles - I salute you all. There are some fabulous posts out there, and some very brave people.

I almost feel it's too easy for me to have mental health problems. No-one expects me to be well, so I can admit it as unceremoniously as ask for a 'white coffee with none'. No-one minds if I start to cry randomly, or walk off mid-conversation. My ever-understanding friends make sure I have someone with me, because it's okay for me to be scared to go on my own. I can be snappy, tired and mardy, and I am forgiven.

Everyone asks how I am. And I don't feel I have to say 'fine'.

Friday, 14 October 2016

What's So Special About Dinosaurs? Megalosaurus And Diplodocus Book Review

A while ago we were introduced to a brand new series of dinosaur books "What's So Special About...Dinosaurs?" written by Nicky Dee. The books are advised by the award-winning Palaeontologist Dean R Lomax and present interesting dinosaur facts in a really visual way. We've been sent two of their latest releases - What's So Special about Megalosaurus? and What's So Special About Diplodocus? for review.

What's So Special About Megalosaurus? is a great introduction to one of the largest middle Jurrassic period dinosaurs. The first dinosaur to be named, he was initially discovered right here in the UK, in Oxfordshire.

All of the dinosaur images are really detailed and bright, real 3D models are made to create a big double page image in the centre of each book. Throughout the dinosaur pictures stand out incredibly well against the muted backgrounds and text. It brings the dinosaurs to life, and gives them personality.

Wagamama's New Autumn Menu Vegetarian Dishes

I love Wagamama's and so do my children, and I've always appreciated the range of vegetarian options they serve. I was invited to have a taste of the new Autumn menu, and with advice from our waitress chose three of the new vegetarian courses to try...

We were first! So we got to choose where to sit, and I love the balcony area in the Manchester Trafford Centre restaurant. You can actually watch the chefs preparing your food for you...

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

AirHogs Switchblade Review (from Spinmaster Toys).

The AirHogs Switchblade is very different to most of the remote control vehicles we've had here in the past. An indoor ground and air race helicopter, it's incredibly small for starters, a mere 16cm x 11cm without the spoilers and weighing under 30grams. It doesn't half have a lot of power though.

Inside the box you have the vehicle and the controller - it takes 2 minutes to open and packaging is really minimal. Perfect for Christmas morning...don't forget the batteries though - the controller takes 4 x AA batteries.

Excuse the colour differences between photos - natural light and household bulbs really affect the red that my camera captures...


Patak's Frozen Ready Meal Curries Review

For years I've used Patak's sauces as a cheaty and totally reliable method of making curries whenever I'm short on time. They have now released their own range of complete frozen curry meals, and we were sent a sample to try...

We made a night of it, and had a bit of a Halloween party, inviting along Sim and Liv from Simslife Blog, as well as a couple of our young people's friends who were hanging around the place looking hungry.

It'll come as no surprise to the parents among us, but the Chicken Korma and Chicken Tikka Masala were the definite favourites among the children. Plenty of flavour, and not too spicy. The Korma isn't overpowered by the coconut either, it has a nice full taste and smell - according to the meat-eaters.