Around The World in 80s Days Review

A lot of the shows we watch these days are for the kids. I do love to go to the theatre but have to admit it’s usually for them.

When we were invited to see Around The World in 80s Days, I was excited for a show I thought would appeal to us all.

I was right.

Most of us are familiar with the novel, Around the World in Eighty Days. In it, Englishman Phileas Fogg and his French valet Passepartout attempt to travel the world in 80 days. I have to admit it was never a firm favourite of mine, despite its many adaptations in film, theatre and television.

The 80s reference in this adaptation however, hadn’t gone unoticed and I was keen to see what this musical had to offer.

Our usual theatres tend to be Manchester or Preston so I was also excited to visit Blackpool for non beach/theme park reasons! The grand theatre is simply stunning.

Right from the outset the tone is set. Expect fab costumes, great comic timing, brilliant dialogue delivery, lots of dancing and soulful singing.

The entire cast is hugely talented and the way the music is woven in to the script is superb. This really kept the kids attention with some hilarious audience participation too.

At 8 and 12 a lot of the 80s music was unfamiliar to them and some of the jokes went over their heads but they really enjoyed themselves. I’d say the show is aimed at kids over 6 years of age but definitely one that the family can enjoy together.

The show features all of the huge hits from the 1980s, (much to the audiences delight!), I don’t want to ruin anything but how can you not love a show that has, Don’t You Want Me? by the Human League and Locomotion by Kylie Minogue. Special mention to Christina Meehan, what an amazing voice!

The chemistry between the lead couple, Andrew Bentley as Phileas Fogg and Justina Kehinde as African-American archaeologist Akilah is electric. Andrew reminded me lots of Downton Abbey actor Dan Stevens, so much charm!

The star of the show for me however, had to be Justina Kehinde. A strong and beautiful voice matched with a commanding stage presence. Definitely an actor who’s career I’ll be following from now on.

Huge congrats to writer and director, Preston’s Ian McFarlane for creating the perfect summer show to celebrate the Grand Theatre’s 125th Anniversary.

Catch it in Blackpool until the 31st of August, 2019.

Coral Island Blackpool Review

On a gorgeous sunny day we took a trip to Blackpool and decided to venture… indoors!

For sun worshippers like us, it really takes a lot for us to get caught up in all the excitement that we forget about going outdoors!

That’s what it was like, when we were kindly invited to visit Coral Island.

Coral Island is Blackpool’s largest indoor free admission family attraction. It has rides, games and food!

It’s right on the Promenade which means there’s plenty of car parks around.

Armed with lots of change, the kids got stuck in to the usual arcade games. I had some experience (in childhood), of the claw prize machines but due to my constant disappointment, I tried to steer them away from spending an age (and money!) at the same spot!

I didn’t need to worry, with such a huge choice of games the kids didn’t spend long on just one as they were keen to try the next.

Like with any arcade the aim (especially for the kids!), is to get tickets. I initially thought this could only be achieved via the 2p/10p games. Much to my delight this wasn’t the case and we got to have fun playing games AND getting tickets.

During our 5 hours (!) at Coral Island we got to learn all our strengths and of course where we could win tickets and prizes.

Much to my surprise I was rather good at getting the balls in a basketball hoop and I totally loved it, playing at least three times!

Zombie shooting, ice blast, sonic game, hammering evil minions, ice hockey, kung fu panda drums, the list is endless and safe to say the games more than the rides or machines, were our family favourites.

Having said that, practically everything pleased the kids even though at 8 and 12 they were probably a little old for the rides they enjoyed them nevertheless, especially the pirate flyer ride, where we got to see all of Coral Island from high up.

At lunchtime we were treated at one of the restaurants inside Coral Island, the Buccaneer.

We all opted for the traditional fish and chips, (how could we not, it is Blackpool after all!). Huge portions of delicious food and the best thing,(which we will certainly remember the next time we visit Blackpool), Kids eat free!

Our favourite game and one where I won both kids prizes was the camel derby. It was loud and quick but got you in the competitive spirit!

To end our day we walked across to the beach armed with all our goodies, the kids were so appreciative and constantly thanked me which meant they loved it and when I asked they said they’d come back in a heartbeat.

It was out first visit and I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect or how the kids would feel but we laughed so much and I can honestly say we had so so much fun. Fun is the best word to use when describing a great day had by all of us!

Disclaimer: Coral Island was a gifted day out, we were given pocket money to spend on the day and lunch was provided.

We were invited for review purposes but all opinions are honest and our own.

Sea Life Blackpool Review

Over the Easter holidays we were invited to visit Sea Life in Blackpool.

My children and I had been to the Manchester Sea Life and also other aquariums before but never the Blackpool one.

We’ve been to the seaside town so many times but hadn’t really considered going to sea life.

As it’s on the promenade, the centre doesn’t have its own car park but there is a pay and display just behind it.

It was the perfect place for the drizzly day we chose to attend. We were a party of five including a 12, 8 and 3 year old. Both my older children were regulars but my nephew had yet to visit an aquarium.

Although most of the area is pushchair friendly there is also a place to park your pram if you wish. We decided to brave it without one for the toddler so he could get up close and personal and it was the absolute right decision. His joy upon seeing all the fish and sea creatures on his level was such a joy to watch.

The clownfish and (Nemo and Dory!), were of course his favourites but he was overjoyed by everything at the centre.

The older two kids enjoyed the shark tunnel which was great to walk in. We also loved the ocean tank which housed Lulu the green sea turtle.

We also got to see the newly opened Four Corners exhibition.

It includes recreated partial shipwrecks and man-made marine eco-systems from across the world. It also highlights the importance of reefs and wrecks. Which I thought was great for any children currently studying this to expand their knowledge.

There was so much to see at Sea Life and although it was busy it didn’t feel crowded or claustrophobic in any way due to the layout. The kids asked the friendly staff lots of questions and they were happy to answer and provide a little history and information.

We had a lovely afternoon and it would definitely be a place I’d consider again. A day out that all the family can enjoy.

Tom Gates live on stage

Liz Pichon’s best-selling series of books Tom Gates, is now on the stage!

We were lucky enough to be invited to see the show on its first night in Preston.

My eldest has been reading Tom Gates for a while and youngest had only just started reading them. I wasn’t familiar with the context however, unlike the book adaptations we’d seen earlier.

The producers of the stage show were the same as Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories both of which we’d seen at Preston Guild Hall and thoroughly enjoyed.

Once the show began and we started to follow the adventures of Tom and his friends both at home and at school, I wondered if it might be a little young for my 12 year old and his friend. Although my 8 year old was engrossed.

I was really impressed at the way the pages of the books came to life on stage. I have seen the book designs and was also told by the kids that Tom’s character is constantly doodling.

The backgrounds and set design were so impressive jumping from scene to scene effortlessly and also staying true to the story.

My worries were a little unfounded as during the interval the boys said they were enjoying it. The second half however, was everyone’s favourite.

A funny and musical ending with a good cast that managed to play a few roles that the kids only realised at the end.

Tom Gates: Live On Stage

Wednesday 10th – Sunday 14th April at Preston Guild Hall.

The tour continues and other dates can be found on the official website:

Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors review

My kids are huge fans of Horrible Histories.

So when we heard that there wasn’t just one show but two shows coming to Preston, we couldn’t wait to go and watch them.

My two have seen all the TV series (some episodes repeatedly!) and we also went to see Groovy Greeks in Manchester and Barmy Britain in London.

As guests of the charter theatre we went to see Terrible Tudors on its first night at the Guild Hall.

At first, it felt like we were at a history lesson. Don’t get me wrong, I love this aspect of the show, the fact that the kids are learning without quite realizing how much they’re taking in. But the pace to begin with could have been a little quicker.

This soon changed, the three actors on stage brought in a element of audience participation which was a big hit with the kids.

They then broke in to funny songs which kept us entertained and educated!

Legends were brought to life and we heard all about the torturing, terrible Tudors!

So much was covered in the production, we head all about Evil Elizabeth, Bloody Mary and of course Henry and his wives!

My daughter is going to cover the Tudors this year at school so I was even more pleased that she had a little head start! (pun intended!).

The second half was the kids favourite where they got to wear their 3D glasses and the past was a little more dramatic with special effects they weren’t expecting!

We had a great evening and are really looking forward to catching the second show all about the Egyptians.

Both TERRIBLE TUDORS and AWFUL EGYPTIANS are showing at Preston Guild Hall until Saturday 17th November

Tickets are limited and start from £17.50, call the box office on: 01772804444

Halloween events Preston

I think most children in England get one week off for October half term but we get two. That’s a lot of time to fill!

Last year we were in Berlin over Halloween but there is so much to do locally that I had to share!

See what’s on in Preston over the Halloween period:

22nd October 2018 – Wizards ‘wear your wellies’ walk at Huntleys

22nd – 31st October
Pumpkin Carving at Brockholes Nature Reserve

26th, 27th & 28th October – Pumpkin Carving at Huntleys

27th October -Halloween Party 2018 at Clip n Climb Preston

27th October -Spooky Halloween Parade at St George’s Shopping Centre

28th October – Uncle Guy’s “Not so Scary” Halloween Party at Guy’s Thatched Hamlet

30th, 31st October – Halloween Party at Rascals Play Centre

31st October – Janey’s Witchy Walkthrough at Samlesbury Hall

31st October – Halloween Ghost Tour at Hoghton Tower

Further afield..

Not exactly Preston but we adore this place so have to give it a mention.

13th – 31st October – Halloween & Pumpkin Picking at Thornton Hall Country Park

Anything we’ve missed? If you’d like your event featured in our Halloween event guide then please email:

Martin Mere Lego Animal Trail

On a gorgeous sunny day we made our second trip to Martin Mere Wetland Centre.

The first time we visited was about four years ago and the kids had a wonderful time even then.

This time however, we had the added excitement of the fabulous Lego creatures.

Upon arrival we were given a map to let us know where we could find the 14 Lego animals.

Our lack of co-ordination meant we didn’t take any notice of the map and just set off so we could see the amazing wildlife as we went along.

The giant Lego brick animals are hugely impressive. Each animal’s real counterpart can also be found at the centre so the kids loved the real and fake aspect of the trail.

The information about how many bricks it took to create and how much time it took to create each one will leave you very disappointed with your own Lego creations!

In total 253,728 LEGO bricks were used to make all 14 wetland characters.

Your admission ticket includes the price of the Lego trail so you don’t have to pay extra. Which means, if you’ve been considering a visit to the centre, it’s well worth doing it while the Lego animals are on site.

It wasn’t all about the Lego for us though. The kids favourite part was when they got to touch ducklings as they swam up to them, far too cute!

The amount of species at WWT Martin Mere ensures a lovely long day out. Buying a bag of grain on our way in meant lots of ducks and geese to feed.

The flamingos and trumpet swans were amazing and seeing the Storks being fed was a great experience too.

I have to mention the stepping stones as something so simple is always so popular with all the kids.

For an extra cost you can also do a boat safari but to be honest we were having that much fun elsewhere, that we didn’t end up doing this.

We did however spend lots of time in the adventure playground with our ice-creams!

A fantastic day out and on our way home the kids were already making plans as to what they’d do upon their return.

The Lego trail is on until Sunday 24 June, more information can be found on the link below:

February half term events in Lancashire

If you’re planning your Feb half term week, there are some fantastic events happening in the region, take a look below:

Ice Week returns to Guy’s

8th – 18th February 2018

Guy’s Thatched Hamlet

St. Michael’s Road, Bilsborrow, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 0RS

Kids eat free after skating (T&C apply).

45 minute skate is £6 including skate hire.

Feb half term Xplorer challenge

10 Feb – 17 Feb

Brockholes Nature Reserve, Preston New Road, Samlesbury, Preston, PR5 0AG

Map packs are £3.00 and include a map (either challenge 1 or challenge 2), an answer sheet, a Brockholes pencil and on completion, a certificate, sticker and a sweet treat!

Half Term Family Crafts

12 Feb – 16 Feb

Hoghton Tower, Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0SH

This event is FREE but each individual craft ranges from 50p to £3.

Each day will run from 10am – 2pm

Forest Camp

14 Feb

Cuerden Valley Park, The Barn, Berkeley Drive, Bamber Bridge, PR5 6BY

PR5 6BY Preston, Lancashire

Playing games, making dens and shelters, having a camp fire with tasty treats, exploring the wonderful nature in the Park and making things out of wood and other natural materials.

£20 per child, per day, 10am-3pm, ages 5-11

The Jungle Book

16 Feb, 14.30

Preston Guild Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 1HT

Filled with catchy music, a laugh-out-loud script, audience interaction, and the chance to meet the characters after the show, you are invited to join Mowgli and his friends Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther on a madcap adventure in the jungle as they meet and attempt to outwit a slithering snake, some cheeky monkeys and the fierce tiger, Shere Khan!

Witchcraft & Wizardry Trail

17 February

Old Holly Farm, Cabus Nook Lane, Cabus

PR3 1AA Preston, Lancashire

After the sell out in October, we’re proud to announce that Just Imagine North West are back this February half term with another Witchcraft & Wizardry Trail here at the farm.

Awful Auntie Review

Having seen Gangsta Granny not long ago at Preston Guild Hall, we were very excited when they invited us to see Awful Auntie.

My son is a huge David Walliams fan and has read all of his books. In fact, we went to see him recently in Manchester where he talked about his career, books and inspiration.

My daughter and I hadn’t read the book so weren’t sure what to expect and my son was keen not to spoil it for us.

Awful Auntie marks the Birmingham Stage Company’s 25th anniversary and as with Gangsta Granny they’ve ensured that Walliams’ work is brought to life.

The story is about 12 year old Stella who wakes from a three month coma, only to find that she’s now an orphan.

She starts to quickly suspect that both her parents were murdered and didn’t die in an accident as she was led to believe. But why did her only living relative Aunt Alberta lie to her? Could it be that her awful auntie was responsible for her mother and father’s death?

When asked What or who inspired Awful Auntie? Walliams’ replied:

It may not be the answer you were expecting but I am obsessed with the film ‘The Shining’. I wanted to create a horror story where a child was trapped in a house with a dangerous relative, cut off from the outside world. As for the character herself I had a lot of fun creating Aunt Alberta. Villains are always so much more fun than heroes. I wanted her to be funny as much as scary, which is something my literary hero Roald Dahl always did so brilliantly.

None of the children in the audience would have recognised the infamous scene from The Shining (at least I hope they didn’t!) but some of the scenes from the show pay tribute perfectly!

The parallels to Roald Dahl are also very much apparent, in fact I thought of the villains in his books many times while watching Awful Auntie.

Although the show is recommended for five year olds and older, I did find a lot of the scenes intense and a little dark!

I checked on my seven year old a few times because but she wasn’t affected and really enjoyed herself.

Wonderful moving sets, a great cast and moving story ensured that we had a fantastic night. Awful Auntie is on at the Preston Guild Hall from Thursday 18th – Sunday 21st January

Lancashire events January 2018

After the festive period is over, surely it’s time to relax? Plus, there’s never really anything going on this month, right?

Wrong! Plenty still going on in our wonderful county.

Find out what’s on in Lancashire during January 2018 below:

Snow White Pantomime
The Muni, Albert Road, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 0AE
6 Jan 2018 – 21 Jan 2018

Snow Queen Pantomime
Burnley Mechanics Theatre, Manchester Road, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1BH
12 Jan – 21 Jan

Harris Open: Have a creative New Year!
Harris Museum, Market Square, PR1 2PP Preston, Lancashire
Saturday 13 January

Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QE
Saturday 13 January

Bird feeder making
Brockholes Nature Reserve, Preston New Road, Samlesbury, Preston, PR5 0AG
Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 January

Awful Auntie
Preston Guild Hall, Lancaster Road, Preston, PR1 1HT
Thursday 18 until Sunday 21 January

Audition For Murder – Murder Mystery
Hoghton Tower, Preston, Lancashire, PR5 0SH
19 Jan 2018

BBC Flog It Comes To Blackburn!
Blackburn Cathedral, Cathedral Close, Blakburn, Lancashire, BB1 5AA
25 Jan 2018

The Nutcracker
Thwaites Empire Theatre, Aqueduct Road Ewood, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 4HT
28 Jan 2018

Have a great month whatever you decide to do!