Monday, 24 June 2019

The Kid Who Would Be King DVD Giveaway (with 20thC Fox)

Today sees the DVD and Blu-ray release of epic family-friendly adventure, The Kid Who Would Be King. We'll be watching it and I'll add in my review, but for now I have a DVD copy to give away to one of my readers, courtesy of 20th Century Fox.


We love a good family action movie and I'm really looking forward to watching The Kid Who Would Be King with my boys. At 9 and 10 they sound the perfect age for this PG rated movie. There's no gore, but a strong storyline with plenty of peril and fight scenes. Some characters do not survive to the end of the movie.

Alex thinks he’s just another nobody, getting bullied at school and told what to do by his teachers, until he stumbles upon the mythical Sword in the Stone, Excalibur. Now old school magic meets the modern world and with the help of the legendary wizard Merlin, he must unite his friends and school yard enemies into an allied band of knights to defeat the wicked enchantress Morgana. With the future at stake, Alex must become the great leader he never dreamed he could be and save the world.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Summer Holiday Theatre and Event Round Up for Manchester and the NW UK

As usual there is tons on for families in the North West this Summer, and I've included everything I've been sent here. Theatre, days out, music, workshops and so much more. It's early days yet, so I'll be adding lots more as venues finalise their programmes and event days.

There really is something for everyone, and I've included events that suit families with children of all ages, even when they're taller than you are and have a more impressive beard.


Photos separate each venue or event's listings (for example Refract at Waterside's programme of theatre, music and stand up is MAHOOSIVE), so scroll to the next image if it's not your thing.

If you have anything you'd like me to add, please email it over with a photo - or beware, I'll use a random one of mine...

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Manchester's Festa Italiana 26-28 July Pasta Masterclass Taster (with Salvi's Mozzarella Bar)

Ahead of Manchester's Festa Italiana, which takes place 26th-28th July, we were all invited to a very special Family Pasta Master Class at Salvi's Mozzarella Bar in the Corn Exchange, with Carmela Serano Hayes of Carmela’s Kitchen.

Collage of pasta making photos Festa Italiana

Italian food is very much family orientated and there is a whole programme of events during Manchester's Festa Italiana especially for families with children. One of the highlights will be the FREE Kids Pasta Master Classes with Carmela, where children can learn first hand just how easy it is to make your own pasta and have a go at creating some different shapes and textures to match with different dishes and sauces.

Table of pasta making equipment. Rolling pins cutters, bowls, pasta machine

I'm a firm believer in cooking with children from a young age, so we were all excited about our Pasta Master Class. This was taking place downstairs at Salvi's, a restaurant and deli in the Manchester Corn Exchange.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Lily's Just Fine. Young Adult Fiction Review (Sent by Sweet Cherry Publishing)

Lily's Just Fine has been sent to us by Sweet Cherry Publishing for review and it released on July 11th. Rather than being a fantasy tale where an exceptional event occurs, Lily's Just Fine goes much deeper and looks at more realistic and chaotic everyday struggles that people can face. It tackles depression. mental breakdown and chronic illness, but it's actually a really positive story and I really enjoyed it.

Lily's Just Fine. Young Adult Fiction Review book bracelet and bookmark

The first in a series of 4 books by author Gill Stewart, Lily's Just Fine is a really enjoyable tale which is modern and very easy-to-read. The storyline revolves around the lives of Lily and Tom, two 17 year olds living in a Scottish coastal village. Their lives become intertwined because of a mutual friend, Gemma, who is good friends with Tom's sister Sarah.

Lily's mother has depression, her older siblings have moved away and her father spends little time at home. She's left to try and cope, but is busy being a teenager and really unaware of how badly her mother is suffering at first. Tom's sister Sarah has chronic illness and his family life revolves around her health. They both escape by sailing at a local club, and discover they have more in common than they'd have realised.

The format of the book is excellent, and ideal for young adult or teenage readers who don't want to face an epic tome. The book is split into sections of around 2-4 pages each, alternating narration between Lily and Tom. Being able to see their relationship and the outcomes of their actions from both sides adds an understanding that we could definitely benefit from in real life.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

June #TBCSmiles... 58 Months

It's the middle of the month again and it's a bit different from this time last year! Although we've had a bit of sunshine, it's been short-lived and a big well done to anyone who has the suntan they already had 12 months ago.

Rain has been quite a feature the past couple of days. My thoughts really do go out to anyone who has been flooded. Losing everything you own so suddenly is far more than I think I can appreciate. It's easy to say "at least you got out okay", but the months of sorting, cleaning, rebuilding, fighting with insurers and living in temporary accommodation are no fun for anyone.


You've all made the most of what sun we had - there are loads of outdoor photos this month and a few children riding bikes. My children also finally learned to ride this month. A lot of things went on hold when we lost Elspeth, whether we realised it or not. We are beginning to catch up a bit now - thanks to our big kids for the nudges and the time spent running alongside their brothers.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Frogs, Fairies and Dodos 3 Children's Book Reviews Age 4-8 (sent by Matador)

Matador are the children's division of Troubador Press and they regularly send us books to take a look at. I usually cover books for older children, but these are 3 shorter fiction books which are especially suitable for beginner readers in Early Years and Key Stage 1 infants, aged around 4-8.

Frogs, Fairies and Dodo's 3 Children's Book covers

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Disney/Pixar Toy Story: Woody's Augmented Reality Adventure Book Review (Sent by Carlton Kids)

This month Carlton Kids have sent us Disney/Pixar Toy Story: Woody's Augmented Reality Adventure Book for review. It's aimed at children of all ages 3+ and my boys still enjoy Toy Story despite being 9 and 10, plus we all wanted a sneak peek of the new characters from Toy Story 4, especially Forky!

Carlton Disney Toy Story Book AR Book Cover Image with characters and title

The Augmented Reality is created via your phone or tablet camera and a free app. which you'll have to download from Play Store or Apple before you start. It's not huge and only took a few seconds.

The app. is ready to go instantly and very intuitive, with good, clear instructions on screen to get you started. There are very few options, so you can find everything easily and it's even ideal for very young children or technophobes.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Bandai STEM Kits - Glowing Crystals and Sea Monkeys (Sent for review by Bandai)

This month Bandai have sent us two more of their STEM educational kits for review. The National Geographic Green Crystal Growing Lab (age 8+) and the Sea Monkeys Ocean Zoo (age 6+).

Bandai STEM Kits - Glowing Crystals and Sea Monkeys packs

National Geographic Green Crystal Growing Lab (age 8+) allows you to grow a glow-in-the-dark pale green crystal. You are supplied with everything you need except water and a suitable container, and it's a really easy kit to get started.

Bandai STEM Kits Green Glowing Crystal lab pack shot

In the pack are growing powder, a seed rock, stirring stick, real Fluorite crystal, magnifying glass and a learning guide with the instructions. Packaged entirely in cardboard and the pull out cardboard tray is super handy for containing any mess while you work.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Grown Ups AFOL Night at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre (Complimentary Visit)

We've been to adult night at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre before and I've even written about it, so being invited along to review is something I was more than happy to agree to. Adult Fan Of LEGO nights take place every month, and it's only £12 for adults 18+ to play as much as you want for 2 hours without little people in the way.


This month LEGOLAND Discovery Centre are hosting 2 AFOL nights and hopefully it'll do really well because we had a brilliant time last night. Right from the start we were excited - a new brick in the 'Factory Tour' to compliment this season's 4D movie and theme of LEGO City Police and Emergency Services - Report For Duty.


The specific theme for this month's AFOL Night was Terrific Telly and there were several special games to play plus the Big Build Competition and loads of prizes to win.

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

FREE Children's Eye Care Review with Optical Express (Paid Partnership).

In the UK children under 16 are all entitled to free eye care, including FREE EYE TESTS, but not everyone uses it, in fact 1 in 10 people don't take their children for a regular eye test. We are working in a paid collaboration with Optical Express to show that taking your child for an eye test is easy, quick and entirely painless - in fact my children have always seen it as something of an adventure!

View of Optical Express frontage in intu Trafford Centre Manchester

In their 2019 survey, Optical Express found that children are using screens for an average of 4 hours a day, twice as much time as was reported only 2 years ago. This is leading to an increase in headaches and can also influence the development of short sightedness. Some estimates suggest that by 2050 half of the world’s population will be myopic.

We visited the Optical Express store inside intu Trafford Centre, Manchester for our free children's eye test. Booking is essential. I booked my eye test online and received a follow up call, when I was able to give more information about my son and his health.

inside Optical Express store manchester trafford centre range of glasses
f your child has a vision or eye health problem, the earlier you catch it, the less they will fall behind their friends. Many eye conditions can be corrected permanently or changes made so that your child has an easier life. It has a massive effect on confidence.