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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
We followed the signs to our destination – The Grill in the Park at the 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!
The boys were set on getting cereal to start their breakfast, as a special treat they chose coco pops.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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’.
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.
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!
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.
This weekend inspired by the new Num Noms series, we were sent the Brunch Bunch and the Diner set to inspire a little weekend cook up. Daddy didn’t need asking twice to get into the kitchen as he loves cooking and couldn’t wait to get started making home made burgers with the boy! It’s an easy thing to do yet tastes lovely and always a hit in our house. If you haven’t seen Num Noms before they are small food items made to play with that all come with their own smell. You can stack them up and create your own scents combining your favourites.
500g Quality minced beef
2 Garlic Cloves
Pinch of Salt and Pepper
Burger buns of your choosing (we like Brioche)
Salad for garnish – whatever you like, lettuce, tomato, pickles etc
Fried onions and mushrooms for topping
Sliced cheese to top the burger
Break up the mince in a large bowl and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Crush the garlic cloves and combine with the mince, making sure to stir it all round. With clean hands form the mince into rough burger shapes (we made 4) and then cook according to taste. Be sure to rewash hands after they are on the grill.
We always use an electric grill for cooking meats as it’s the healthy choice because the fat can run off. So while they were cooking the boy helped with the toppings.
Frying up the onions and mushroom topping
Once cooked add a slice of cheese to top the burger and leave on the grill for a further minute to melt. Then add your burger to a bun, top with the salad you like and enjoy! Easy peasy!
Thanks to University Games for sending us a sample of their latest release Googly Eyes to test out this week! Here’s what we thought it –
The game is called Googly Eyes by University Games. Its a team game for 4 to 16 players who form up to four separate teams. As we had 4 players (2 adults and 2 children) we made two teams with a grown up on each.
The aim of the Googly Eyes game is to be the first team to get to the finish on the board, but the fun you have on the way is hilarious!
Each turn involves one person on the team having to draw something and the team members guessing what it is correctly before the time is up. However its not a simple as drawing, you have to wear funny glasses with differing levels of hilarious distorting lenses according to difficulty. The harder the lenses is to see through the more time you have to draw the picture and the team to guess.
There are three different lenses to pop in the Googly eyes frames , easy, medium and hard.
Things we loved about the game:
It was funny to play, and we did laugh…a lot!
I can see it being a hit in the Christmas season if you get a group of adults together who are enjoying the Christmas spirit (and a little mulled wine!)
It brought the teams together
There are lots and lots of different cards for variety so it’s unlikely in the course of a game or two you’ll ever get the same thing to draw again
It’s an easy game to understand you don’t have to keep referring back to the rules
The game says ages 7 and above but the 5 year olds had no trouble (if they like drawing that is) even if they can’t read the game card words (which ours could) then an adult could help them with that part
In trying to write a balanced review the only thing I could think might be a slight negative is you have to keep changing the lenses in the glasses which can sometimes be tricky if they don’t click in first time then can fall out when you draw, once you’ve got the knack of it though its not so bad. Also sometimes the timer is incredibly short (15 seconds) so when we were playing with the young ones we allowed a little more time for them!
When I was in my 20’s pre-children and pre-mortgage I used to spend most weekend evenings out and about in Manchester. I loved it, theres so many different areas and vibes. However there was never anything like the night out I experienced on Friday! I can’t recommend it enough to make a change to your usual night out or with a group of friends, it really is fab!
Can you BREAKOUT…?
If you’ve never heard of it before Breakout is an escape room. For those of you who remember the crystal maze, its like that but with your friends and for a whole hour!
When I was first asked to go and experience a breakout room and write about it I did wonder how I would write about it if we didn’t get out……
But now I know, even if you don’t get out they let you out….phewwwww
On arrival we made sure to get there 10 minutes before as we had been instructed to for our briefing! We were going in the room called Facility X!
The secretion goes a little bit like this:
You arrive at an unknown location for a once in a lifetime opportunity; a conference held by the critically acclaimed, Dr. Andrews. His work is widely known throughout the research circles, but he has remained hidden in the shadows for years. What you don’t know, is that Dr. Andrews has gone mad, creating a string of tests that have gone disastrously wrong. He has brought you here for his final experiment. You have one hour to escape his maze of tricks and games, before a deadly virus kills you all.
Right ok we thought, what could we be facing?
If you thought that was a picture inside the room, sorry it’s not! This was just to entertain us while we waited for everyone to arrive!
The anticipation built and before long we were ready to go.
We were told bits and pieces about the room, mainly that we can touch and explore everything unless it had a do not touch sticker on. This was for things that were not part of the game i.e. live plugs!
I am not here to spoil it for anyone who wants to play Facility X so sorry if you came looking for clues!
Each room has a clock which counts down the hour for you from being locked in (and don’t worry there is always an escape button if you need to leave so you can if you have to, but obviously thats cheating!) There is someone from the behind the scenes team always watching you via the cameras but they can’t hear you. Every so often if they think you need help they will pop up a cryptic clue on the screen.
The room fits 5 so I took a snap of the team in action…sorry still no clues! But you can see we still had 30 minutes 44 seconds to go!
Do these look like happy faces?
Thats because they were happy faces that we escaped! With just 3 minutes to spare we actually cracked all the clues and escaped the room, we were on a massive high! We could not believe it! We did it! We will now call ourselves the A team!
To celebrate our brain power we headed off for cocktails.
We had an amazing time at Breakout, it really surpassed my expectations as a night out! I’d love to give you some clues but it would spoil the fun. We all brought different strengths to the game, had a laugh working together to get out and were elated that we made it out before the hour (just!)
Breakout prices vary but the more players you have the less it costs per person. Breakout now have two sites in Manchester so be sure to check which one you are playing at after you have booked. You don’t want to arrive late and feel flustered thats for sure. Bring your brains and find a great team to go with. We are already planning out next night out there, to a different room of course! Check out Breakout Manchester for more information.
Thanks to Breakout Manchester for inviting us to try the room!
This week we were excited to be asked to take the Bunny Jump game from University Games for a test hop!
My boys love simple games and especially the eldest. As any mum of a 4 year old knows they often get enthusiastic about the thought of playing a game but by the time it’s set up and you’ve explained the rules they have lost interest and gone to do something else. This is a big pro for Bunny Jump, the set up time is seconds. Even the first time you open the box, theres no complicated instructions, nothing to put together, just straight out of the box and off you go.
The other great thing about Bunny Jump is that you don’t need batteries! Hurray no batteries to replace, no sifting around in the bottom of ‘that’ kitchen draw (everyone has one, full of random stuff) for a tiny little screwdriver to open the battery compartment! It seems so rare these days to have a toy that doesn’t need batteries or charging frequently so that for me is a great big thumbs up!
The boy was very excited to be playing a new game, and its’ just so simple to play. The recommended age is 5 years old and upwards but I let both my boys play supervised by one of us and they are 4 and 2. There can be up to 4 players for each round.
The aim of the game be the person with the most carrots in their basket. The game starts with all 12 carrots buried in the ground and bunny sat on the top of the hill. Each player takes it in turns to spin the spinner and remove the number of carrots shown, unless its a miss a turn! Everyone takes it in turns to spin and do what the spinner says until the bunny jumps in the air! When bunny jumps everyone need to try and catch it, if anyone does catch it then that person gets two bonus carrots, those two carrots can make the difference between being the winner or not!
Now so far in all our games none of us have managed to catch the bunny, even my camera can’t capture it in action as proved here when I tried to catch the bunny jumping!
So in order to try and show you I’ve had to mock up the next photograph!
But that is about how high the bunny jumps, however when your not expecting it and you don’t know which way its going the reality of actually catching it is very different, especially for a 4 year old!
Overall we have loved playing Bunny Jump as it’s easy to set up quickly, requires no batteries and games are short which engages little minds, it’s something that can easily be put away to so a game or two before the school run is very do able! Thumbs up to Bunny Jump form us!
Bunny Jump is available to buy from lots of toys shops including Argos and Amazon.