Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Hetty Feather - The Play

I cried, I laughed, I trembled, I clapped, I watched in awe, I used my imagination to it's fullest and then I cried again. If there is one piece of advice I could give to anyone watching the Stage Play Hetty Feather, it's take a box of hankies. It will awaken every emotion.

Hetty Feather

Hetty Feather is a book by Jaqueline Wilson. Hetty is baby who is taken to the Foundling Hospital because her mother cannot look after her. She is then fostered out to a family in the country side and has a nice life until it's time for her to return to the Foundling Hospital to be prepared for her future as a servant girl. She hates the hospital and vows to run away and find her real mother, who she believes to be a bare horseback rider she saw in a circus while living with her foster family. She finds her opportunity to escape when they have a very rare day out and she finds the Circus. Does she find her real mother? Is she really the circus lady? I won't spoil the rest of the story for you but there are some scary moments ahead while Hetty searches for her mother. 

The Stage Play

Sticking quite close to the book the play begins with Hetty as a baby being brought to the Foundling Hospital by her mother. There are no scene changes as such but the whole stage is set up a little like a circus ring. The floating ribbons and ropes are manouvered around to create different scenes such as the hospital, the trees in the countryside and the circus. 
Apart from Hetty all the actors have several parts to play and they do it so good you barely notice that it's the same actor playing her brother, a circus performer or even another girl in her hospital dorm.
There is a lot of action climbing the ladders and swinging from the ropes and ribbons. It's very circus like and totally entertaining. We were all mesmerised from beginning to end.
The music complimented the play rather than taking it over. It was a vital element, but overall it didn't really feel like a musical.
The play is aimed at children seven years or older. I took my almost seven year old and eight year old daughters along with my niece (22 yrs) We all really enjoyed the play although the youngest, Boo, was a little scared at times and Star (8) spent a lot of the show in floods of tears, the final tears were happy ones she said. I wouldn't really recommend the show to younger children although there was a younger child in front of us who appeared to enjoy the show despite asking his mother lots of questions. 

The Foundling Hospital

The Foundling Hospital was not actually a hospital but the first ever purposely built children's home for babies born into poverty or social exclusion. It was established by Thomas Coram in London in 1739. The babies were sent away to wet nurses until they were five years old and then were brought back to the instution to recieve a basic education until they were old enough to leave for employment.

Play Information:
Adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves and directed by Sally Cookson
Pheobe Thomas (Holby City) stars as Hetty Feather
The Play will be shown at Birmingham Town Hall from April 22nd to April 29th then will be touring Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Sheffield and Dubai.

Disclaimer: I was given four tickets to see the show for the purpose of this show. Photographs were provided for me to use on my blog. All thoughts and opions are entirely my own. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Kids In the Kitchen - Chocolate Bark

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. I hope you've all had a lovely Easter, we have another week off school, yay!
I'm cheating a little this week, because even though the kids have been helping me cook loads, I haven't actually prepared a complete post. So I'm going to tell you how to make easy peasy Chocolate Bark with the Little Man. One of the big favourites in this house at the moment is home made sausage rolls after being inspired by the Brilliant Chef. The kids love rolling out the ready made puff pastry and filling it with sausage meat. They think they taste much better than the ones you can buy in the supermarket, and even better than Greggs. They work out cheaper too, so if your kids love sausage rolls, give it a try. All this chocolate and fat is not really good on a regular basis, so I'm going to find something more healthier for them to cook or make in the kitchen this week.

Before I carry on with our recipe I like to thank those that joined in last weeks linky. Remember, it's really easy to join in, just link up a post of something you and your kids have been doing in the kitchen. The posts can be old or new.
Last week we had Easter Nest Cake Pops from Let Kids be Kids. I'm so jealous because my cake pops have never worked out, but I think I may have been a little impatient. Karen and her little ones make it look like childsplay, literally!
The Beesley Family have been busy working on their Necter Savvy Blog and would love you to take a look at what they have been up to, and get some tips. They still managed enough time to link up with Kids in the Kitchen with their lovely decorated Easter Eggs, now why have I never thought of that?
Next up we have some real cute Easter Bunny cakes from new blogger MancFamilyRobinson. Do go and give them some new blogger love.
Last but not least is Anna and her boys from In The Playroom and totally delicious looking Apple Biscuits. These we really have to try!

Thank you everyone for joining in x

Chocolate Bark.

Making chocolate bark is easy and fun and the kids just love making their own chocolate flavours.
You can put anything at all in the chocolate, I've heard that chillies are good, but not for me!

In our chocolate bark we used;
200g chocolate, we chose milk, but you can use any chocolate.
two handfuls of mini candy coated chocolate beans
two handfuls of mini marshmallows.


The Little Man broke up the chocolate into chunks without eating any. Oh the restraint, I can't do that!
Then I put the bowl on top of a saucpan of hot water and stirred until the chocolate had melted. You can melt chocolate in the microwave but I have burnt chocolate this way and burnt chocolate makes me want to cry.

I put the melted chocolate into a large plastic bowl and let the Little Man add his ingredients a handful at a time and give it all a big stir.
We put the chocolate on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper and put it in the fridge until it had set hard, (about 1 hour)
Then we took it out and left it for 5 mintues before using a pastry cutter to cut out shapes in the chocolate.
The adults get to eat the scraps!

Do come and join in our linky with your posts. I'd love it if you included my badge so that others may come and join in too.

Friday, 18 April 2014

A Trip to The Nature Reserve

We made the most of the midweek sunshine and treated ourselves to a trip to our local nature center, or The Nature Reserve as it is now known. It's had a bit of a revamp (and a huge price increase) Since we moved house we are actually closer now and we pass it all the time so the kids have been driving us bonkers to go there for a visit.

We were so lucky with the weather, it really was a beautiful sunny and warm day. Star was feeling good too. We set off in the morning and took our own picnic for lunch.

As always the littlies always love looking at the animals.

Favourite animals where the spider monkeys. They were so funny playing with their sticks. They also liked the meerkats, snakes and the giant tortoise. In fact they liked most of the animals and had lots of fun watching them.

Here are a couple of strange looking ring tailed lemurs.

We had time to play in the playground but it was very busy so we didn't stay long and Star was entertained a little more quietly.

Then Boo and the Little Man decided they wanted their faces painted. We had to wait for about half an hour for their turn. Daddy took Star off to look around the shop while we waited. It was the first time the Little Man had had his face painted and he sat so still, he barely moved a muscle, it was hard to believe it was the same little boy, he doesn't normally stay that still, not even while sleeping!
The end result was two beautiful cats.

This door always creates a lot of interest. Situated on the side of a large shed, it is bolted but not locked.
Do you know what is behind it?

Worlds Most Dangerous Animal

Star was a little nervous but I went with her and she pulled back the bolt and opened the door.
Behind the door is a mirror!
Ingenious, the World Most Dangerous Animal is of course a human being.

We had a lovely day, it was so nice just to get out of the house and this week we've been out twice. Once to the Nature Reserve and then into town to the Skribbies store. Next week we have another treat lined up as we are off the the Town Hall to see a performance of Jaqueline Wilson's Hetty Feather!

Linking up with the fabulous Coombe Mill Blog and Country Kids, go see what every was has been up to gettin out and about this week.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Shoes You Can Draw On - A Skribbies Review

I was delighted to be invited along with the girls to the Skribbies Pop-Up store in Birmingham. They are there until the 21st April in the Bull Ring.

The girls were really excited to see what Skribbies were like and they were not disappointed.
Skribbies high top trainers come with a set of pens, stickers and a wristband which also works as an eraser. Then you let your kids creativity loose as they design how they would like their Skribbies to look.
Not happy?
Then wipe it all off and start all over again.
Or you can have a new look every day. In fact, they are quite addictive, I've already tried out a few designs of my own since coming home, and yesterday we had family visiting and they all had a go a doing a little doodle on the shoes.

Currently Skribbies high tops come with either a pink, blue or black trim. They invite your children to express themselves as they create their own designs. They are well made and the girls claimed them to be very comfy. I hear that regular trainers will soon be added to the repertoire.

Here are my girls showing off their new Skribbies.

The shoes retail at £39.99 and if you can't make it to Birmingham you can order online at the Skribbies Shop. I think they are great value, not only do you get a decent pair of well made shoes, but you get something unique and fun and your kids will love them.

Here are my girls having some fun decorating their Skribbies at the shop.

Skribbies is a UK company founded by Jennifer Duthrie. We met Jennifer on the day and she really is lovely, that's why I was thrilled to hear that she is a semi-finalist in Virgin Media's Pitch to Rich competition. It would be lovely if you could take a moment to vote for her by clicking through to the site Pitch to Rich. If Jennifer wins her category she will get the opportunity to meet Sir Richard Branson and pitch to him for help in her business venture. The voting closes on April 23rd at midday.

Good Luck Jennifer!

Disclosure: We were invited to the Skribbies pop up stall in Birmingham where the girls were given a pair of Skribbies each. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own. All artistic creativity and imagination was provided by my girls.
Family Fever

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
I do!
Of course, I wouldn't really know what to do with all that money, it would be nice to give it all away.
I was asked if I would like to try out a game on 888Ladies called Millionaire Genie and was given £5 to play with.
Now, have I ever told you about my first job? When I was 16 I left school (shock!! don't worry, I did return to my education later, when I felt more ready) and went straight into a job in an Amusment Arcade on the high street. I was there for three and half years and it was the best time ever, we had so much fun. My main job was calling the bingo numbers for the prize bingo. I would sit on stage with a microphone, reading off the numbers that came up in the popper machine. I was a big fan of the game machines, we didn't have home consoles back then, I think the Spectrum ZX had been released and the best game on that was Pong. I also liked the slot machines, but not the boring fruit ones, I liked the ones with the flashing lights and loud noises.

That's probably why I had so much fun playing Millionaire Genie, the graphics are amazing and the music sets the atmosphere taking you right into the world of Arabian Nights. You see the Genie on the right sitting on a huge jackpot of treasure and you just know you'd love to get your hands on it.

It all may seem a little confusing at first, but the best way to learn what is going on is by playing. You can view the rules and payouts on the the Play Table but don't try to memorize any of it.
Start by betting small, 1p a line costs 15p for every spin of the reels. When you feel more confident, or have more money you can increase your bids up to 25p a line or £3.75 for a spin of the reels.

The game will tell you if you have won and how much.

There are also Bonus and Scatter symbols. If you get three Bonus symbols you get a little animation where you get to choose a belly dancer, then you get to choose a goblet full of jewels and the combination decides how much bonus you win. I won £6. If you get three Scatter Symbols then the Genie gets out his abacus and works out how many free moves you will get. He also does a little magic during your free moves to make the Wild cards sticky so you can win more money. I won £5.30 on my turn.

The jackpot under the Genie can be won at random at any time, when I was playing it was standing at just over £500,000, not quite a million!

The game is good fun, and I was quite lucky on my first visit.

Currently there is an Awards site for Britains most popular Bingo Games, you can vote for 888Ladies here.

888ladies supports Responsible Gaming.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I recieved £5 credited to my account in order to complete this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.