Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Review: Play Factor E

We were really excited to be asked to come and review Play Factor e play centre in Manchester. We are always looking for new places to take the kids, especially over half term. There is nothing worse than them being stuck in bored.


Play Factor really is like some kind of children's heaven. It has a really large play area for the over 5s, complete with huge mega slides, climbing material and soft play items stacked as high as you can imagine! There is also an area for go-karts, a smaller play area for the under 5s as well as a cafe.


We just let the kids loose in the play area. They are old enough now that they can pretty much get on with it. However, Rosie did need a little help on the largest slide - so Dad was only too happy to step in and hold her hand down the slide!



As you can tell from the photographs - the kids had a great time. We went quite late in the day so it was actually quite quiet. Myself and Warren sat and had a coffee and a tea and to be honest we found it actually a really relaxing experience! The kids were running around for the whole time we were there - there is actually no way to get bored in a place like this of course!



Coming up at Play Factor is a Halloween party, so that would be great fun. It is such a large space in there, with plenty of helpful staff on hand too. I think this would be a great place to take the kids over half term. Prices are really reasonable - do check out their website for peak and off-peak prices before your visit.


Disclosure: We were invited to review Play Factor e free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

Review: British Music Experience at Liverpool

As it is half term we were looking for new and exciting things to do with the kids. We are very thrifty usually and enjoy picnics, museums, parks and other low cost activities - lets face it, it can be hard entertaining kids without it costing the earth. We were really excited to be asked to review the British Music Experience.

We are keen musical-types in our house. Warren plays drums in a band and well I just like to pretend that I am in my own imaginary band - you can read this as 'doesn't play an instrument and hasn't got a clue,' which is probably close to the truth! Anyway, we like to listen to music and I am obviously a geeky history-type, so I am very interested in counter-culture and the cultural influence of music on people in the late 60s and 70s. The kids love music and instruments, so really this was always going to be an ideal day out for us.

We were actually really surprised at how child-friendly the experience is. We began at Story Time with Dougie. The kids were really excited to be taken on a musical story telling experience, complete with instruments and flowers in their hair. Dougie even made a guest appearance at the end!





Once we entered the experience we were given audio guides, which were great. Full of information and images. The experience is chronological starting in the 1940s and working right up to the present day. I loved how interactive it was - you could operate the computers yourself to skip to any musical generation you wanted to learn about, and of course there are many original artefacts such as hand-written lyrics and instruments as well as outfits and other paraphernalia.

They also had a stage where a show is played every so often. We watched Boy George beamed in with lasers singing Karma Chameleon. It was great - technology is amazing. We saw the Spice Girls original outfits, handwritten lyrics from Adele, and many more amazing items, as you can see from the photographs.




The kids favourite part was them learning to play instruments. There is a whole dedicated area with guitars and drums complete with headphones and a digital teacher. We stayed in this section for a long time, and obviously Warren was the best player, but we had fun.



A family ticket for two children and two adults costs £43, which I think is excellent value. We stayed for around 3 hours and really enjoyed our time there. The kids are now at an age where they can enjoy outings with us without working against us - so the experience was really a good one, and we spent a long time looking at all of the exhibits with the children exhibiting their very own brand of good behaviour - which is always a bonus!

We would really recommend this experience for music lovers. Great for parents and plenty of things for the kids to enjoy too.

To book tickets visit their website here.

Disclosure: We were invited to view the British Music Experience free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

Review: Sleeping Beauty at St Helens Theatre Royal

We love the panto. The kids absolutely adore singing and dancing along to their favourites, and we particularly love St Helens Theatre Royal. The venue is so cosy and lovely for families - we are always made to feel so welcome and always have a great time.

Sleeping Beauty was no exception - we had an absolutely great time. The classic Sleeping Beauty was given a St Helens Theatre twist, with the usual hilarious Dame and very engaging Chester the Jester, who was great with the kids and had some really funny adult humour that you would expect from a pantomime aimed at kids and mums and dads.



To book tickets see St Helens Theatre Royal Website

The show runs from 21st October to the 29th October, with tickets starting from £11.



We had an amazing time and would highly recommend this show. The kids were engrossed all the way through - it was a real sing and dance along show and of course they involved the kids and thoroughly entertained us too!

Disclosure: We were invited to view the pantomime free of charge for the purpose of this review. All words and views are our own.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Review: Manchester City Stadium Tour

We were very excited to be asked to review Manchester City's stadium tour - however, we were so busy that we were unable to attend this time, so instead we sent along my brother and my nephews in our place. They are Man City fans so it was the perfect day out for them. They told me all about their day and shared their photographs with me!



They started off at the City Shop and were escorted to the Chairman's Suite.They then went down to the media room where all of the post-match interviews take place. The tour guide was brilliant, very helpful, great with the kids and she gave them loads of information about what each room and space was used for. After this they went into the player's warm-up area which is a pre-match area for the players to warm-up.

They then moved through the player's changing rooms and had a good look around, smiles all the way of course! The First Team changing rooms have been refurbished since we last visited and they now include quotes on the wall from Tony Walsh's poem "This is the Place," which I think is a lovely touch for my home town of Manchester as well as the club.



The stadium has recently been re-vamped, so it now includes a new hospitality suite called The Tunnel Club, where guests can see the players as they walk out onto the pitch through the tunnel. It sounds amazing.

The boys had such an amazing day. This would be a great gift idea for someone who loves Manchester City, or someone who would love to see a state-of-the-art football stadium.

You can see the options for booking a tour here. They are very reasonably priced at £17.50 per adult and £11 per child, which I think is great for a fab day out.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Broadband and Me

The internet is a massive part of everyone's lives now, or so it seems. All of us in this house use the internet for one thing and another. I tend to read journals and news online, and the kids watch Youtube videos and sometimes listen to educational counting and singing videos! Of course our teenager has literally never got the phone out of her hand.
It really is no surprise that businesses often have high speed broadband connections such as https://www.talktalk.co.uk/business/ If I had a business it would be essential.



This is why we love having fast broadband at home. With so many of us in the house and possibly all of us using the internet at any one time, the best broadband is essential for us. Of course it is no surprise that as a student I spend an awful lot of time reading. Sometimes I like to go to the library and bring a suitcase full of books home and plough through them. Other times I just like to go online and download the chapter that I need to flick through. It really does save me a lot of time. With high speed broadband there is no need for me to trek all the way into town and lug books back - my chapters are there instantly and it makes my life much easier.

My typical student library essentials!
To be honest, even when I do visit the library, I often have to log in to the computers there so that I can access the library database. I do my search quickly and easily and then jot down the number and run around to get the books I need! It's actually surprising how much we rely on the internet.

When I am working from home, I often have to use emails and need the university intranet to complete the tasks I need to do for the week. It's hard to remember a time before we had fast speed broadband - how we used to actually have to go to the library to visit to collect books and sources - digging old dusty manuscripts out of stacks!



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