National Stationery Week

When I found out it was national stationery week I was very excited. To me holding a week to celebrate all things stationery is to many the same as ‘Eat as much chocolate as you can week’. My mum has always said I was born with a pen in my hand. From the moment I could draw I would. I’ve always loved writing from an early age.

national stationery week

I remember one of the jobs at school was to tidy the stationery cupboard, my hand couldn’t go up quick enough. I was in my element getting close to lots and lots of stationery! There something special about the smell of a fresh box or pencils or a pad of paper.

Since growing up and being able to afford my own little luxuries I can often be found online browsing youtube videos of pens and other items. Things I can add to wish lists for when birthdays come around.

Bullet Journal

In the last couple of years I have discovered something called Bullet Journal. If you don’t know what it is then just google it, or look on youtube. Its a paper way of keeping your life organised. I now always carry with me a dotted notebook and keep my whole life in it. List, lists lists! Lists help to keep me organised. I’ve yet to find an app as good a a pen and paper. To me a list or plan on pen and paper is real. An app can easily be closed and ignored. Once pen hits paper it almost becomes more real. My bullet journal is decorated on the outside with wash tape and stickers.

national stationery week

My worst habit it probably buying notepads. I have a whole shelf at home on the bookcase dedicated to notepads. I put myself on a self imposed ban for a while. One person can not possibly need so many notepads…can they?


In the fantastic package I was sent to celebrate National Stationary Week there were lots of fun things including this beautiful dog page markers which I adore!

national stationery week

Favourite Pen

The thing that I really wanted to try was the fountain pen, I’ve not used a fountain pen in many years. Probably since I was at school.

Theres something very special about pushing an ink into the end of a fountain pen, hearing the click as it pops the end so the ink can flow through down to the nib. The shiney nib with its tiny rounded end.

The way it flows on the paper as the ink comes out, its something I’ve fallen in love with all over again.

national stationery week

The Week Ahead

Each day during national stationary week theres a different theme:

Monday 24th April – Pen and Pencil day

Tuesday 25th April – Get Crafty

Wednesday 26th April – World Stationery Day

Thursday 27th April – Thank you Thursday

Friday 28th April – Fountain Pen Friday

Saturday 29th April – Signature Saturday

Sunday 30th April – Write a letter day

All the information about National Stationery week can be found on the website. There’s loads of ideas of how you can get involved and get children involved too. My eldest needs lots of encouragement when it comes to writing. Its not his strongest subject at school but with all the fun things in our package I don’t think it will take him long join in when he’s using rainbow pencils!

Finally why not join in by showing everyone your stationery love or ideas, use the hashtag #NatStatWeek to share!

 

 

Now you might be wondering why Legoland Discovery Centre is having a launch. If you live in the Northwest area you’ll probably realise that Legoland Discovery Centre has been there for many years already. Even a fantastic place like Legoland Discovery Centre needs a facelift every so often!

This week we were kindly invited down to a VIP launch night for Legoland Discovery Centre. Keen showcase it fabulous attractions including the new Lego Ninjago City adventure.

As existing Merlin Annual Pass holders, we have been regulars visitors to the Legoland Discovery Centre. We live quite close so are lucky that we can pop in frequently. The Legoland Discovery Centre can be found at Barton Square (part of the Trafford Centre).

You may think that the attraction being based at a shopping centre wouldn’t be that big but you’d be wrong. You initially enter via the ground floor but are quickly directed upstairs and through the Lego factory tour where Professor Brick explains all about how lego is made. This is possibly my eldest favourite part, he knows it word for word he’s been through that many times. He still always wants to watch though. I won’t describe the whole process as I don’t want to spoil it for your first visit!

Once through the factory the first thing you will come across is the Lego Ride. It’s a good idea to ride it at this point. Although you can go back once inside the main area the children probably won’t want to leave!

What’s New?

This is the first time we’ve been back to Legoland Discovery Centre since the fantastic refurb and the boys were impressed. A whole new soft play area. The previous one was looking tired and a change is always great. It’s now Ninjago themed with a great ballpool area.

We were also surprised to see a moving climbing wall has been installed too, this looks like great fun.

The other thing thats been updated is the cafe. Previously the cafe offered a range of sandwiches, sweet treats and drinks. With an eating area just adjacent to the cafe.

Theres a new seating area too which looks much nicer than the older picnic bench style seating.

We were very glad to see that old favourites were still there, the go kart ride and the wizard ride as well as the build and race area.

legoland discovery centre manchester

And one of the boys favourite the 4D cinema!

New attractions alongside the new play area also include a Creative Workshop and a Circus area. We didn’t get chance to do either on the launch night as we ran out of time. The play area really did keep their attention for quite a while!

legoland discovery centre
Of course any day out wouldn’t be complete with a visit to the gift shop and as you’d expect the Legoland Discovery Centre shop is floor to ceiling lego. With something for every budget you’re sure to find so the right thing to come home with to remember your trip.

Thanks to Legoland Discovery Centre for inviting us down to see the new attractions, we’ll be back soon!

The Legoland Discovery Centre does get busy at weekends and school holidays so I’d advise you to book online to guarantee entry. Prices start from just £11 per child and £15 per adult when purchased in advance online. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre website.

My eldest watches quite a few different youtube videos and enjoys them. When we were recently sent some Num Noms to play with he wanted to do his own version of an unboxing video. So here it is his first official youtube debut for my blog!

 

 

I think he was a bit nervous to begin with but he soon settled into it!

HOMELESS BOOTH CENTRE ARTISTS LAUNCH POP UP ART EXHIBITION

Homeless Art


This week, the Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel has handed over their Discovery shelves to the art group from the Booth Centre. The group of artists who are currently homeless, or who have recently experienced homelessness, have created some amazing pieces to share their view of ‘Travel’ through a new pop up art exhibition.
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Each artist contributing to the exhibition, is working with the Booth Centre whose core aim it is to bring about positive change in the lives of people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and helps them plan for and realise a better future.

They do this by providing advice to find accommodation, education, training and help to secure employment, free healthy meals, support in tackling issues with health and addiction, and creative activities to boost confidence and self-esteem.

Danny Collins, a former homeless artist exhibiting this week, added: “Rough sleeping is tough, I was on the streets for four years after suffering from post-traumatic stress having left the army. I just couldn’t settle once I left which eventually resulted in my homelessness. I’d first tried the art class when I joined the Booth Centre. I had never painted before. I find it relaxing and enjoy getting involved. It really helped to build my confidence.”

For the exhibition, Danny decided to paint a bridge he used to sleep under when he was homeless. Danny adds; “It seemed fitting to go back to the start of my journey and my corner of Manchester that for four years was home as a rough sleeper.”

Amy Hinks, Development Manager at the Booth Centre, added; “Danny is now in his own accommodation which he’s in the process of decorating. Our regular art workshops help people with experience of homelessness to develop their skills and confidence, and to make steps towards embracing new opportunities like getting their own flat or moving on to employment. Working in partnership with the Renaissance Hotel has enabled our artists to showcase their work in a very public space which they’re all really proud of.”

Homeless Art

Anyone interested in seeing the art can find the pop up exhibition at the Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel (Blackfriars Street, Manchester, England, M3 2EQ) this week from 6th to 12th Feb, 2017.

Marriott and Renaissance hotels have an ongoing programme to support its local communities. In 2016 this included projects to develop local play areas, training and skills sharing projects for those in search of a job; as well as events and partnerships with variety of charities and organisations supporting the homeless around Manchester.

Cameron Mcneillie, General Manager at Renaissance Manchester City Centre Hotel said; “The hotel has always been such a big part of Manchester’s identity and we feel it’s important to keep giving back to charities and projects such as the Booth Centre which help the most vulnerable communities across Manchester.”

Amy Hinks from the Booth Centre adds; “This month the official statistics were released highlighting that the number of rough sleepers in Greater Manchester has increased by 41%, and this is only a snap shot of the real figure. Without the support from companies like the Manchester Renaissance hotel, we wouldn’t be able to help as many people as we have this year. It is vital that we all work together to support the growing number of homeless people in our community, especially during the cold winter months. We’d like to thank the Renaissance Hotel for their commitment and support.”

Lego Batman

This Saturday just gone it was preview weekend for the Lego Batman Movie. So we headed out to our local cinema to treat the boys to a morning out! We went for a morning showing , hoping that we won’t ruin any adults who may also what to watch (the Flixster doesn’t always sit still or quietly!)

We needn’t have worried though he was great throughout the film. He’s still only 2 but will mostly sit though a film. Especially when its something he likes.

The combination of Lego and Batman had both of the boys captivated. I say both I should say all, since hubby liked it too!

Lego batman movie

If you like action (in the form of lego action) then this is most definitely a film you will enjoy. I laughed quite a lot too. Given that I don’t normally go for action films I have to say it was a good watch! There are quite a few adult jokes, I’m not talking rude panto style innuendo , I mean jokes that adults will laugh along with.

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Thomas most defiantly enjoyed it. Having not spoken all the way through he was sucked into the whole movie. It is quite long for a lego film (at almost 2 hours – 110 minutes I think) however the plot line moves quickly along and in no time it was already the credits so you’re not sat there hoping it would end soon.

I think it will be one the boys want to buy on blu-ray when it comes out, just like the original lego movie they loved it!

In short if you like lego and batman go watch the film. Its out on general release from this Friday 10th February.

 

Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

In a nationwide search which assessed over 175 million reviews, Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club have been voted to have the best Breakfast in the North West by Hotel search website trivago.co.uk. This weekend we were invited down to taste the award wining breakfast.

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Weekend time is precious time in our home. We like to make the most of our time together. During the week with the rush of work, school and nursery we barely get any time to spend together where we can truly relax. So we were all very much looking forward to a weekend breakfast not far from home.

The Worsley Marriott Hotel & Country Club is set in beautiful grounds and as we arrived on Saturday we were greeted by the stunning sight of the sun rising above the frost covered grounds.

worsley park marriott

We followed the signs to our destination – The Grill in the Park at the Worsley Park Marriott.

Worsley park Marriott

Worsley park Marriott

Grill in the Park

Bring in the Grill in the Park is like being in a log cabin, the decor is lovely and the soft wood theme and striped carpets make for a calm and quiet atmosphere. Breakfast at the Grill in the Park is a self service and contains a wide selection of cooked as well as cold options. Priced at £16 per person for the buffet or £12 for continental option. Just £10 if residents add breakfast with a  room at check in.

We were shown to our table and offered a hot drink which was brought out to us. If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know we are coffee lovers so there was only one choice for us!

Worsley park Marriott

The boys were set on getting cereal to start their breakfast, as a special treat they chose coco pops.

worsley park marriott

Worsley park Marriott

Worsley park Marriott

Even at this point Thomas was giving it the two thumbs up.

I went for a walk around all the choices to make sure I knew what was available. I noticed that there was a lovely selection for those people who need to have Gluten free. You don’t often see this at breakfasts so I thought it was a really great plus for the Worsley Park Marriott.

Worsley park Marriott

Breakfast Choices

I had a small bowl of steaming hot porridge with some fruit to start. I love having oats in the morning. Followed by some smoked salmon and scrambled egg. The eggs were some of the best I have ever tasted and highly recommended. There was yogurts and fresh fruit as well as sliced ham and cheese. With three choices of fruit juice alongside white and brown bread to toast.

worsley park marriott

Hubby went straight for the recommended option of an omelette cooked to order by the chef at the hot breakfast selection. You can choose your own fillings and it’s cooked right in front of you. He chose Bury black pudding and blue cheese another recommendation.

worsley park marriott

He said it was really nice. I’m not a fan of black pudding but I did taste the cheese with the omelette and it was very tasty. I did consider having one made with just the cheese but as I was already full I thought I’d save it for next time!

Finishing Breakfast

Whilst at the omelette station he noticed that there was a waffle iron too. Mentioning this to Thomas was a mistake as then he wanted one. He was already on his second course, local back bacon and sausage with a hash brown and scrambled egg. That boy can eat!

worsley park marriott

We agreed that if he finished his food we would get a waffle to share. I can’t say I was disappointed or surprised when he finished, I wanted to try the waffle too!

worsley park marriott

We shared it between the four of us (with syrup on) it was tasty!

With full tummies having enjoyed a tasty start to the day we were finished. It really was delicious and I have to say the lovely serene atmosphere was an added extra. The Worsley Park Marriott is a beautiful hotel set in stunning surroundings. I can understand why it has been voted the best breakfast in the North West. It is by far the best breakfast we’ve had out as a family for a long time and we have already said we’ll return.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and there’s no better way to start it than with a fabulous breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and Country Club, we can’t wait to go back!

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Last week I went on my final Christmas shopping trip to the actual shops. It’s an annual thing for my mum and I to go to the Intu Trafford Centre together to go and see all the lights and festive windows and decorations.

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We often eat out at Wagamama and I’ve written about before so was delighted when they asked me to come along and try their new delicious dishes, some amazing sounding steam bun based side dishes.

Steamed Buns at Wagamama

They are called ‘Hirata Buns’ which are a popular Asian street food. Wagamama has seen an increase in demand for the steamed bun side and so to change things up a bit there are now four different steamed buns to try. The two that we picked were mixed mushroom and aubergine as well as tori kara age and fresh tomato. The first were described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with mixed mushrooms and panko aubergine, served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.

wagamama

They were nice and I would have them again but by far my favourite were the other ones. Those we described as two small, fluffy asian buns stuffed with tori kara age and fresh tomato. Served with japanese mayonnaise and coriander.

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I love the freshness of the tomato with the tori kara age, it seemed to go well together. The sweetness of the steamed buns was also a perfect combination. I would warn you though that they are filling so if I had them again I’d combine it with a different side for variety. Although thankfully on this occasion the boys weren’t with us or I’d would of probably not got a look in. I think they would love the steamed bun range!

No trip to Wagamama for me would be complete without a classic Yaki Udon. It is my absolute favourite item on the Wagamama menu. So tasty and filling and alway freshly prepared.

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Alongside the food I usually choose a fresh juice. This trip I asked the waiter for his recommendation and he suggested a  positive juice. Which was pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple. He was right it was delicious!

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As always we came away feeling satisfied and knowing we’d eaten great food freshly prepared to order. If you’re looking for somewhere to share a family meal over the festive season then I’d suggest you find a Wagamama. I can’t imagine it will be long before we go back again. We really enjoyed the steamed buns and some lovely fresh food.

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Thanks to Wagamama for inviting us to try the new ranges.

As part of a year long celebration of Roald Dahl’s 100th Birthday Tatton Park is rounding off the celebrations and saving the best until last with it’s Christmas spectacular! To help get the celebrations off to a great start we are giving away one family ticket to Tatton Park which admits two adults and up to 3 children. See the bottom of the post for entry details.

tattoo park mansion

This festive season, experience Christmas in the most magical way as Tatton Park’s Mansion takes inspiration from Roald Dahl’s greatest stories. For a limited time only from Monday 21 November, enter a festive world where his extraordinary story telling weaves itself through the grand staterooms and in to the bustling servants’ quarters.

As part of a year-long programme of events to celebrate 100 years since the beloved author’s birth, visitors will be able to access over 13 different rooms in the Mansion – with each room being inspired by a different Roald Dahl tale.

tattoo park mansion

Step inside the grand entrance and enter the purple and gold-coloured world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Inside the yellow drawing room, The Witches take over – with a large bubbling cauldron and a broomstick tree. Listen out and you might hear a very special witches themed Christmas carol.

Mr Fox and all of his woodland friends are feasting in the dining room – expect a Christmas dinner scene like no other! Visitors can accompany The BFG as he visits Buckingham Palace in the drawing and music rooms – and meet bookworm Matilda in the library (and watch out for the dreaded Chokey in the Housekeeper’s room).

The Twits, Danny The Champion of the World and George’s Marvellous Medicine also have their own special areas – and woven throughout the Mansion is ‘Ode to Mother Christmas,’ a poem composed by Dahl in 1988 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Visitors can also enjoy the Roald Dahl Biography and front covers from around the world displays in the exhibition room, live festive music and family activities. Tatton staff inspired by Roald Dahl’s Mother Christmas will be on hand to give out treats and delicacies including a festive treat for all to try.

Tatton is working with three different design agencies, Springbank, Joseph Massie and Flyby to create this magical transformation.

Carolyn Latham, Tatton Park Mansion and Collections Manager, says: “We’re so very excited about this year’s Christmas attraction. The Roald Dahl theme has given us so much to explore and we were spoilt for choice when it came to selecting the scenes.

“From the Mr Fox family seated around a table enjoying the Christmas feast to an oversized BFG wearing a Christmas hat and slippers (which visitors can walk underneath), it will be an adventure of discovery with plenty of surprises around the corner.”

The Christmas Mansion will be open from 11am until 4pm (last entry 3pm) on the following dates:
Monday 21 November – Sunday 4 December
Friday 9 – Sunday 11 December
Friday 16 – Sunday 18 December

Tickets for the Christmas are priced at £9.50 for adults and £5.50 for children (exclusive of car entry, priced at £6). Price also applies to NT members.
For more information visit, www.tattonpark.org.uk/Christmas

More Festive Fun at Tatton Park

In addition to Roald Dahl’s Gloriumptious Mansion, there are lots of other festive goings-on for all the family at Tatton Park:

Lantern Parade

On Friday 25 November a charming lantern parade will make its way through the park to welcome Father Christmas as he arrives at Tatton Park with his elves. Visitors can buy a lovely lantern on the night or bring their own, to guide Father Christmas, his reindeer and sleigh. The shops and restaurants will be open to guests and children can post their Christmas lists in a special post box. Free car entry after 5pm. Lantern Parade at 6.30pm

Father Christmas at the Farm

Father Christmas and his reindeer will be spending weekends down at the Farm with all his farmyard friends. You will get chance to meet two of his real reindeers Prancer and Dancer who are in training ready for the big night on Christmas Eve. There is a real nativity with resident donkeys Frosty and Huw, live music and Christmas storytelling each day. There is also Aunty Mary by the fireside in the cottage making salt dough decorations for you to take home. There will be children’s entertainers, face painting and not forgetting the hugely popular Reindeer trail, so join us for all the festive fun on the Farm.
All children will receive a gift from Santa to take home.
Father Christmas at the farm is open from 11am until 4pm ( last entry 3pm) on Nov 26 & 27, Dec, 3, 4, 10, 11, 17 & 18. Adult and child tickets £6 (including your gift), car entry £6. Price also applies to NT members.

Stableyard Carols

The festive Stableyard will be welcoming Kind Edward’s Musical Society and Choir on Sunday 18 December at 3pm. Guests are invited to sing their favourite carols with friends and family and enjoy warming winter treats in the restaurant.

Christmas Shopping Weekend

For those in search of a Christmas market, a wide range of artisan suppliers offering special gifts, stocking fillers and festive essentials, will be onsite on Friday 25 November (11.30am until 6pm), Saturday 26, and Sunday 27 November (10am until 4pm). Free admission in the Tenant’s Hall.

Christmas Dining

The Stables restaurant and the Gardener’s Cottage will be calling in the best locally sourced ingredients, including products reared at Tatton Park, to bring a fine selection of homemade festive food and drink. Pre-booking is recommended and can be done via gardenerscottage@cheshireeast.gov.uk.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Terms and conditions:

The prize is one family ticket admission to Tatton Park including admission to the mansion, farm and gardens. The ticket covers two adults and up to three children. There is no cash alternative.

Belles Tea Party Cart

This week we were kindly sent a new toy for the boys to test. For those of you who have read my posts before you’ll know I don’t believe in gender specific toys. Belles tea party cart could potentially fall into the toys for girls category but I think my boys have proved that to be wrong!

belles tea cart

This summer we were very lucky to spend time at Walt Disney World. In the run up to our holiday we watched lots of family Disney films. Since Flixster has been little he’s had the nickname chip (given to him by the nursery ladies who said he was cute!) They have never seen his menacing side he he! But he knows who chip is, and he knows the famous song from Beauty and the Beast – Be Our Guest. We were also lucky enough to eat in the beasts castle dining room whilst we were away. So the boys are very familiar with Belle, Mrs Potts and Chip.

Belle Tea Party Cart

The Toy – A Tour

The cart comes boxed and not built however it is really easy to put together, you don’t need any tools, it simply clicks into place. If this is to be a Christmas gift it might be worth setting up first then wrapping as there are some cable ties that need cutting in the package and I know how frustrating it can be on Christmas day to be doing these. In addition to the trolley, Belles Tea Party Cart comes with two teacups (one of which is Chip) Mrs Potts ( the teapot), two spoons and an invitation.

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The teapot and teacups fit onto the inner pink circle on the top of the cart. Flixster was obsessed about putting the teapot, cups and spoon on the bottom level of the trolley. I have no idea why, but as you’ll see in most of the photos I took during play those items are on the bottom!

belles tea cart

Once we’d put it together the boys were away with it. Especially Flixster (who’s 2) he absolutely loved it. Most of all he loved that when you press the button on the front of the cart the teapot and teacups spin round whilst the ‘Be Our Guest Song’ plays. As a result of him discovering this we have heard it many many times since! I think the song being played whilst the teapot spins was his favourite feature of Belles Tea Cart. The cart comes with batteries already installed. Be sure to flick the switch underneath to play the full song not just the demo.

belles tea cart

 

Playtime

The tea cart was just the right height for him to push around the room and serve everyone tea. The detail on Belles Tea Party Cart is most noteworthy. The stickers which come already attached to the cart (thank goodness as I can never ever get them straight) picture the characters from Beauty and the Beast.

belles tea cart belles tea party cart

Toy Test Verdict

We’ve had the cart a little over a week now and it’s been played with every day by Flixster. He absolutely loves it! I’d say this toy test was an absolute hit. I’ve enjoyed watching him use the cart and his imagination to serve tea many times over. He loved pretending to drink and serve everyone else.

belles tea party cart belles tea party cart

(See the teapot and cups underneath!)

 

He ever wanted to take chip to bed the other night, I’m not sure he’d make a good cuddle companion though!

Belles Tea Party Cart can be purchased from a variety of retailers in the UK and would make a fabulous gift for any Beauty and the Beast fan.

 

St Helens Pantomime – Wizard of Oz

Yesterday we were invited to the opening show of the St Helens Pantomime at Theatre Royal for half term. This year its ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

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The pantomime stars Cheryl Fergison (Eastenders) as the Wicked Witch of the West opposite Clair Simmo (Radio City 2) Glinda. The cast work very hard to bring the performance together cosequently the show is seamless as a result of everyones hard work.  This St Helens pantomime runs from October 22nd to October 30th and the tickets start from just £10, which is a great price for a few hours of family style entertainment.

I took my eldest and his lovely friend from next door they are 5 and 4 years old.

st helens pantomime

The St Helens pantomime has all the elements any classic panto should do, booing and cheering, a black light section, corny jokes, a hilarious song. Finally a song where characters get taken away and of course a water blaster!

St helens pantomime

The boys were in stitches with laughter as a result of some of the slapstick comedy. All the characters were portrayed really well and Dorothy played by Charlotte Gallagher was excellent. We had a great time!

In conclusion if you’re looking for some good wholesome family fun this half term then head on down to St Helens and watch Wizard of Oz!

St Helens Pantomime this Christmas

However if you’re already busy this half term be sure to check out the Christmas Pantomime. Judging by previous years its going to be awesome. This Christmas its Aladdin with an all star cast staring the one and only Amy Childs (TOWIE) as Slave of the Ring. Harry Derbridge (TOWIE) will play the hilarious PC Noddle. It’s sure set to be a family event not to miss! Tickets are available to buy online or from the box office at the Theatre Royal St Helens.