Monday 29 May 2017

The First Hippo On The Moon at Waterside Arts, Manchester

Waterside Arts Centre is host to a lovely intimate theatre, workspaces, studios and galleries. Literally 'waterside', alongside the canal in the heart of Sale it really is a lovely venue to visit with family. We were invited to an after-school 5pm performance of The First Hippo On The Moon.

Despite worries about traffic, we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy the artwork around the cafe. They have a huge list of drinks of offer - both alcoholic and not - as well as a few snacks.

The First Hippo On The Moon is based on the book for younger children (aged 3+) by David Walliams and was presented by Les Petits Theatre Company using puppetry. One costumed actor plays the lead and the supporting cast of 4 actors played all of the other animals.

Friday 26 May 2017

Awesome Stuff For Families in Manchester & the North West this half term

There are fabulous events and activities for families this half term all over Manchester and the Northwest. People have spent months planning and putting together shows, workshops and theatre. Why not try something new...

 Here are some of our favourites - if you have anything to add, please email it to me..

Don't forget your local museum and library, entry is usually free and they arrange all sorts for the holidays - here is a great post by Jollies And Jaunts with 10 quirky items you can find in Manchester Musems.


Wednesday 24 May 2017

We Are Manchester.

I'm an incomer to Manchester. I've been here 10 years. There'll always be a part of me that belongs back in Derby, but Manchester is my home and it's where I've raised my children. I've felt welcome here from the start and that famous Manchester Pride is contagious. It's even more prevalent than the persistent rain...

I feel heartbroken this week that the city I love so much has been attacked. The city, the people, the kids, the Arena, the love of music. Manchester is the only place you can stand in the queue at little Tesco between a pensioner in a Stone Roses t-shirt and a kid in a Smiths t-shirt and know they chose their own clothes. Music is everywhere, everyone I know has been to Manchester Arena. We've all stood where that bomb went off. And we all know of someone who has been injured or killed...

I feel so desperately sad and angry for the people who have lost their loved ones. The families and friends who will spend the rest of forever standing beside an empty space. The parents who lost their children, the children who will have to navigate their lives without a parent. All the lost hope.

I'm broken for the teenagers just launching into adventures without an accompanying adult - doing what young people are meant to do. What my children do. Dating and falling in love, enjoying that precious carefree time. For the children at their first music gig with their parents. For the parents having a night off. Not one of those injured or witness will be able to just pick up and carry on. None of those people's lives will ever be the same again.

Monday 22 May 2017

BlogOn Conference Spring 2017

We did it! Yeeay! I've been quiet on the blog because I was incredibly busy helping to prepare for BlogOn Conference at the Museum Of Science and Industry in Manchester, but it's all over for now (4 months until the next one!).

Huge thanks to everyone who attended - I hope you also thought it was friendly and welcoming - as well as hopefully a good laugh. It was awesome to see so many PR's, brands and bloggers in person.

I checked people in with Sim when you arrived, and handed out goody bags at the end, but in between I did manage to take some photos...

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Gary's NOT Going To Blog On Linky Post

Last year a small black kitten appeared at our door crying one morning. I've never been a big fan of cats, in fact the opposite, so believe me when I say I tried REALLY hard to find his owner, much to my family's annoyance. When he turned out to be very poorly, we guessed he had been dumped on purpose.

Gary's medical problem was a little delicate and involved the girth of his manhood, but an operation could give Gary a full and healthy life. Unknown to us, at least at first, a lot of Bloggers gave away the price of a cup of coffee or paid 50p to have a go on the Blog On Lucky Dip.

The NOT Going To Blog On Linky Post

Those pounds were enough to allow us to rescue Gary and still have food for my children to eat. Eight months later, it's only fair that he gives everyone an update....and a pretty huge Thank You x

Share a recent picture of you (if you are an anonymous blog, a drawing is fine).

Describe yourself in three words. I'm a cat.

Monday 15 May 2017

33 Months #TBCSmiles.

It's the 15th of the month and time to share the smiles again. Hopefully everyone has had some of that glorious sunshine - although it's tanking it down here just now! Thank you to everyone who shared their #tbcsmiles photos over the last month - they are genuinely such a pleasure to see and picking the handful to show you is now my children's job because it takes me hours to choose...

This month has been easier for us and I can share the fantastic news that our young person has been discharged from hospital. It's been their home from home for most of the past 2 years, but now they are so well that in fact they have already got a job and plans to return to education in September. They've also honed some pretty mean cooking skills and I had my dinner made for me last Friday. It was the best curry I could ever eat in my life because it was not only delicious, it meant so much. I really couldn't be happier and prouder.

Saturday 13 May 2017

New Magic Tracks Car Track Toy Review from Re:creation Ltd (age 3+)

Magic Tracks are a whole new sort of car track. Made from small pieces which clip together very quickly and easily - yet don't come apart at all during play. The track will bend and curve into almost any shape you could desire, you can even roll it up for storage.

Magic Tracks has minimal packaging which is really quick to open. The no frills box will however store all of your track when you want to put it away - you don't need anything else.

The set comes with 220 pieces of narrow, carefully shaped slot-together Glow Track in 4 different colours, adding up to an impressive 11ft of speedway in total.

Hasbro Transformers 1-Step Turbo Changers Toy Review

Our latest review for Hasbro is Transformers 'The Last Knight' Turbo Changers. We've been sent Optimus Prime and Barricade 1-Step Turbo Changers (age 5+), plus the Tiny Turbo Changer Bumblebee (age 6+) to review. Promising super easy transformation, these should be the simplest Transformers yet...

I played Transformers with my little brother 30 years ago and now my big children are showing their younger siblings how it's done. Optimus Prime and Bumblebee may have withstood the test of time, but they are considerably less complicated than they used to be!

Thursday 11 May 2017

CozyPhones Children's Headband Headphones Review

I'm sure every parent of school aged children spends far too much of their time saying "turn it down" or having to enjoy DanTDM or Little Mix on repeat for the 45th day in a row. An obvious solution that you may not have thought of is headphones. CozyPhones Children's Headband Headphones have been designed specially to be comfortable and easy to wear.

We've been sent a pair of CozyPhone Headphones and Gary clearly has influence here because my 7 year old surprisingly chose the Cat Headphones (Frog, Emoji, Unicorn and several others are also available). Packaging was completely minimal and effective, saving waste and postage charges.

Unlike earphones, which children find hard to wear and distracting, or regular headphones, which get dropped and broken and are very heavy for children, CozyPhones are speakers housed in a soft fabric headband.

Wednesday 10 May 2017

Exam Survival Tips With Help From BIC

Exam season is once again upon us and BIC, the company made famous in 1950 with the release of their ever-popular BIC Crystal Ballpoint Pen, have sent across some of their top tips for studying, as well as some of their stationery for my hardworking students here.

BIC Evolution Pencils - wood-free for no splinters. Made from 55% recycled plastic.
BICKids Evolution Ecolution Coloured Pencils - wood-free and chew-resistant with extra vibrant colours.
BIC 4Colour Shine Pen - every child wants one. The classic 4 colour pen.
BIC intensity Fineliner Pens - really bright and a good range of colours.

Sunday 7 May 2017

If You See These Animals In Your House, Run Away!

Clickbait is great isn't it? All those boxes at the bottom and side with snappy titles, encouraging you to click and look. You have a to-do list longer than your smartphone screen and it's all very very urgent, but somehow you are staring at page 27/31 of  The 10+ Most Disgusting Things Pulled Out Of A Shark.

You didn't start here, you were researching something very important and sensible and it just happened. 3 1/2 hours ago. Now there is 20 minutes to eat lunch, vacuum and take the washing out of the machine plus nip to the shop, and do that original urgent important thing you were going to do on the internet.

You may have a vague recollection of what you just saw, but you'll notice it disappears before you can quite catch it and hold onto it. This is because you were actually sleeping. Whatever you read and saw started melting away the moment you snapped yourself awake. 15 Of The Most Amazing Things That People Once Did With A Paperclip seemed fascinating at the time, but aside from a few essential functions like breathing, holding open your eyelids and swinging your chair side to side, you were dormant.

In an hour you won't be able to recall a single thing you saw. That's okay because it's entirely useless and irrelevant to the rest of your life.

Saturday 6 May 2017

Pirates: Dead Men's Tales by Anne Rooney (age 9+) Book Review

Pirates: Dead Men's Tales is written by Anne Rooney and illustrated by Joe Wilson, and is one of the most gorgeous children's books we've ever reviewed. A larger format book beautifully bound with an embossed cover, it feels as special in your hand as it looks.

The illustrations are muted and resemble the illustrations on old maps, together with the off-white pages and textured cover, it gives the illusion of real age and makes it quite unusual.

Thursday 4 May 2017

BrickBox Monthly Subscription Box Review And Discount Code run a monthly LEGO and minifigure loot subscription service for children aged 3+. Each month the box has a theme and we've been sent April's LEGO Pirates BrickBox to review.

As soon as my 7 and 8 year old boys saw the front of the box they were very keen to get inside. Funnily enough, I didn't have to explain what it was, they understood this one straight away...

We love Pirates here and as my friends will already know, Ninja Pirates are my all time favourite. It even says it in my Twitter profile... I think BrickBox knew when they sent us this box.. The BrickBox April Box contained 2 great LEGO Ninjago Pirate polybag sets, as well as 3 other smaller pirate minifigure sets.

Mother is the beauty of the home

This post is written by English student Simon Adler. It's personal to him. It's always good to read a worldview which may not be the same as your own, just to see how other people feel. He's keen on his Mum, obviously...

Everyone wants their home to be home sweet home. Home doesn’t become sweet by keeping luxurious things. It becomes sweet by its environment. The environment should be so charming that people automatically get attracted toward it. They shouldn’t be finding peace only outside their home. In this aspect, a mother plays a very important role. No one can deny her huge contribution.

Tuesday 2 May 2017

Nerf N-Strike Elite AccuStrike Series FalconFire Blaster Review (age 8+).

The Nerf N-Strike Elite AccuStrike Series FalconFire Blaster isn't only about the long title and the blaster, this is as much a review of the new AccuStrike darts with a rifled tip to make them the most accurate Nerf dart yet.

There two new AccuStrike blasters. We've been sent the FalconFire Blaster which comes complete with 6 of the new Elite AccuStrike Darts.

Monday 1 May 2017

Hatchimals CollEGGtibles Opening And Hatching Review for SpinMaster

Hatchimals from SpinMaster Toys were incredibly popular last Christmas and today sees the launch of their smaller, pocket-money friendly (£1.99) CollEGGtibles. With 70 colourful little Hatchimals CollEGGtibles characters to collect and a surprise inside your egg each time, these are sure to be a huge hit with children aged 5+.

We've been sent two of the blind bags and one 2-pack to review. The blind bags contain an unknown colour of egg, so you have no idea at all who could be inside.

The 2-pack has visible eggs, so you can guess the family groups that the Hatchimal CollEGGtibles will be from by looking at the colour of their speckles, but you still don't know which ones you have.