27 June 2019

Family Fun at Zippos Circus


The circus has arrived in town and not just any circus, it's Zippos Circus! They're celebrating their current show 'The Magnificent Top Hat' with 21 years of the world's greatest ringmaster, Norman Barrett MBE. We were invited along to the show in Dundee this week and couldn't wait to see what magic was in store for us.

Arriving at the circus 30 minutes before show time meant there was ample parking and time to collect our tickets before joining the queue to take our seats. We were only waiting 5 minutes before we got taken in ready for the show to start. There was an opportunity to grab popcorn, juice and candy floss as well as flashy light toys for the kids. These were kindly gifted so the kids were mega happy.

We were so lucky to have front viewing ring side seats, right at the very front of the show where all the action would be taking place. The good thing with the circus though is that no matter where you sit you're still going to see everything that's going on. Some acts stay on the ground whereas some are twirling through the air!

The show opened with the fabulous Paulo dos Santos, a brazilian native of 3'6 tall with bags of personality and character. He's the perfect comic, acrobat and all round showman. His boundless enthusiasm and energy kept the crowd engaged and entertained throughout the 2 hour show. I honestly don't know how he does it, the kids loved him.

Throughout the show there's visits from the Timbuktu Tumblers who feature some high speed tumbling, pyramids, hoop jumping and fire limbo! There's Elbernel Ebby the gorgeous contortion artist who does some amazing things with her body. I wish I was that bendy! Toni & Nikol the knife throwing duo who left me holding my breath for far too long. I don't know how Nikol keeps her cool but I was slightly jealous of Toni throwing knives at his wife, I wish I could do that to the other half some times ha ha.

The Lucius Team had to be Logan's favourites. As soon as 'The Globe of Terror' was mentioned he was pretty much sold. There are 5 incredible motorbike riders in the Lucius Team who risk life and limb whizzing around inside the globe of terror to show you their death defying talents. They get up to 60 miles per hour in such a tiny space. Honestly amazing but at some points I couldn't watch. Hats off to them.

The Revolution Troupe were one of my favs. I loved their zest for life, their little dancing in between stunts and of course their ace rope skipping and acrobatics. Well done guys. And not forgetting the lovely Norman Barrett MBE who was the perfect ringmaster and gentleman. He did a good job of keeping that cheeky Paulo in check and walked the crowd during the 15 minutes half time. He was happy to chat to the audience and even take some photos. Thank you so much.

There's loads more acts in the show and it was literally jam packed. You 100% get your monies worth but most importantly no matter what your age you'll have an amazing time. Like Norman Barrett MBE says "Your're never too old, never too young, never too cool, to go to the circus..." and he's totally right. It's an experience not to be missed.

I wasn't too sure what to expect from Zippos Circus but whatever it was I definitely wasn't disappointed. They really did put on a cracking show with so many impressive performances from the many different acts, it left me in suspense peaking through my fingers a few times. It's clear to see that everyone from Zippos works together in harmony, like one big happy family. Everyone has a job to do and they are very professional when it comes to executing the task at hand.

The family and I had loads of fun. It's a show I'd definitely recommend and we've been telling everyone about it. Zippos Circus has their last show in Dundee this Sunday 30th June at 3pm then they move onto Arbroath then Peterhead, Inverness, Eglin etc. Check out their website for more details, dates and times. You'll be thankful you did!

I was gifted tickets to the show in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

16 June 2019

Family Weekend Fun at The Aberdeen Altens Hotel

The family and I do love exploring our fabulous country but one place we've never visited is Aberdeen. Lots of family and friends take trips there regularly but it's just never been on our list before, until this weekend that is. The Aberdeen Altens Hotel invited us up for a stay to experience their kind hospitality so I couldn't say no. Staycations are the best and Aberdeen looked like it had a lot to offer.

To make to most of our overnight stay we left the house first thing on Saturday morning. The plan was to take the coastal route and pop in past Arbroath Abbey with our Historic Scotland passes. The weather was on our side with the shining sun and warm breeze so it was looking like a good day to explore. The abbey was so quiet and massive which is perfect when you have two boisterous kids who need space to run around. There was a nice visitor's centre with lots of info to read plus an interesting graveyard. It might sound weird but I really like reading the grave stones and looking for the oldest stone if we can. It's sad when you see the ages of some of the deceased but it's quite interesting reading.

Arbroath Abbey also had a sort of geocaching treasure hunt which the kids could take part in. Normally they don't bother with the quiz type stuff but the lure of a treasure hunt was just too much. They loved it and were so proud of their winners stickers at the end. After this we nipped to the local McDonald's for lunch then headed on up the road to Aberdeen.

Since it was so nice and sunny when we got to Aberdeen we parked along beside the beach where we spotted a good play park for the kids. They couldn't wait to get out of the car for fresh air and play time and it meant us adults could stretch our legs as well. Across the road from the play park was the beach with amusements and rides which looked really fun. We all headed over to take a closer look and discovered Innoflate! It's basically a massive indoor inflatable theme park for the kids to run wild! Once they spotted it they desperately wanted to go in so the hubby sat in the cafe with the coats and shoes and I jumped on the inflatable with the kids. They loved it but my god it's hard work for us adults. I was sweating buckets, definitely better than a gym workout ha ha.

Before long our time was up and it was also dinner time. Everyone was starving so we drove the short 15 minutes from the beach to The Aberdeen Altens Hotel. It's a lovely big hotel with tons of free car parking. Reception is big with lots of seating space and the receptionist was warm and welcoming. She was quick to check us in and explained everything we needed to know as well as answering our questions. We quickly dropped the bags in the room and headed for dinner first as over hungry kids isn't great. The restaurant was right beside reception and we got a table without a problem. They did say they were busy from 6pm onwards but squeezed us in.

The menu was mouth watering and I was really impressed with the selection available on the kids menu. There was something even to suit the fussiest eaters like Harlow. We placed our orders and waited for the food to arrive. It didn't take long at all and the kids wired right in. Everything was super tasty, well cooked and beautifully presented. The waiters were lovely, helpful, polite and always checking to make sure everything was ok with our dinner. The kids got super tired after their main courses so the hubby took them back to the room and I asked for the puddings to go. Nothing was too much trouble and they brought the desserts out on a handy tray for me to walk back to the room. Our room was a tiny short walk from reception so it took me seconds to carry back.

When everyone was settled in the room with their desserts I had a little explore to see what the room offered. We had two lovely double beds, a couple of comfy chairs to sit on with a little table plus a side cabinet with Nespresso coffee machine and tea facilities. The hubby loves his Nespresso coffee so he was very impressed. The was a dresser with a big TV above for the kids cartoons (as lets face it us adults never get to watch anything we want!) and just as you enter the room there's a lovely dressing area with wardrobes which leads onto the bathroom. The wardrobes come complete with robes and slippers as well as iron and ironing board if you should need it. The bathroom had a lovely bath and such a powerful shower which was amazing. Nothing worse than a tap dripping shower!

The hotel left the kids some lovely goodies and they were so excited by them all. Harlow especially loved her magazine and toys for the swimming pool. Once puddings were eaten we grabbed our swimming costumes and headed for the leisure facilities. The Aberdeen Altens Hotel have a lovely pool complete with spa pool, sauna and steam room. There's also a gym if that takes your fancy and a beauty room for treatments. The towels are provided along with a padlock and key for the changing room lockers. Much handier than trying to find a one pound coin or twenty pence! Everything looked nice and clean in the changing rooms as well as the pool and of course the kids had a ball. I actually got to relax in the spa pool whilst the hubby watched the kids so it was a win win for me.

Back in our room we had a good chill out as we were all tired from such a busy day. The kids were exhausted and crashed pretty quickly, it helped that the curtains covering the windows are black out which made the room nice and dark. We all seemed to get a good nights sleep and woke up hungry for breakfast. The buffet breakfast is held in Cairngorm Bar & Restaurant right next to reception so very easy to find. There was everything you could ever need for a tasty start to your day. I had a full Scottish breakfast with haggis, black pudding, tattie scones, bacon and mushrooms. Absolutely delicious. Logan wanted his usual toast and croissants whereas Harlow went for fried eggs then chocolate pancakes. Everyone was happy with their choices.

Since everyone was still feeling a bit tired from the day before we decided it was time to check out and take a nice leisurely drive back home. The sun was shining again and the roads were super quiet so it seemed like the perfect time to head. We really enjoyed our trip to Aberdeen and the lovely Aberdeen Altens Hotel. Everyone was so welcoming and helpful we'd definitely stay again. The fact that family and friends revisit here also gives me confidence that is it a lovely place to stay.

I was gifted a DBB stay in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

12 June 2019

Father's Day Fun in Edinburgh with Moonpig

Last month my Dad and I attended a fabulous Father's Day event with Moonpig in Edinburgh. And since Father's Day is this weekend I thought I'd share with you some beautiful photos of the event taken by the lovely Elouisa - www.elouisageorgiou.co.uk. She can also be found on Instagram. The photos are just lovely and tell the story of the whole day so beautifully.

Upon arrival my Dad and I were treated to some lovely drinks. The Cannon Ball Restaurant & Bar on Castlehill had every type of drink imaginable. I was driving so I went with a lemonade and my Dad had a beer recommended to him by the barman. We listened to a lovely presentation by the Moonpig ladies then were whisked away to our first treat - card making.

They had a big green screen where we could pose to our hearts content then have those images put onto a card. It was loads of fun and gave us all a right laugh. Our finished article was the below image, my Dad and I riding elephants in Africa! Hilarious. There was so many to choose from, wild west wanted posters, princess castles and fancy cars. Something to suit everyone. Just like the Moonpig website, a card to suit all occasions.

Next up was some very fabulous lunch and then it was on to cocktail making with Edinburgh Gin. I'm hopeless at making cocktails but even I managed to make something tasty. I had a little sip and can confirm it was delicious. We got to make two cocktails each and the Edinburgh Gin man was very knowledgeable.

After that is was onto oyster shucking! I've never shucked an oyster before but when I was little my Dad would go out diving and bring home lots of crabs, lobsters and scallops and I would watch him cut open the scallops with fascination. The oysters were so fresh and tasty and most people had a go at shucking them even if they didn't eat them. All the more for me and my Dad ha ha.

It wasn't long before we had to leave and we got given a lovely box full of goodies to take home each. My Dad and I had a fantastic day thanks to Moonpig and he can't wait to come out with me again on another blogging adventure!

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

10 June 2019

Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels Tour - The Review

Saturday afternoon was a bit drab and dreary in Edinburgh however we were on our way to the Usher Hall for a fantastical musical treat! We'd been invited along to view an uplifting new show - Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels Tour. I'm not sure who was more excited, me, the kids or the husband. We all couldn't wait to take our seats and immerse ourselves in the world of Wallace and his canine companion Gromit.

So what's the show all about? Well it's an interactive experience which features specially created never before seen Wallace and Gromit animations with a live orchestral accompaniment - The Picture House Orchestra. There's lots of different escapades from the cheeky musicians as well as some fab laughs from presenter Matthew Sharp. And if that wasn’t enough, for the first time ever, you can also enjoy the Academy Award winning Wallace & Gromit film The Wrong Trousers with live orchestral accompaniment. It was all very uplifting.

For the first half of the show we watched as presenter Matthew Sharp entertained the crowd with his antics and interacted with Wallace and Gromit on the big screen, who were back stage. Wallace prepares to perform his musical masterpiece My Concerto in Ee Lad with help from the every faithful Gromit but things never really go to plan do they!

The audience were lucky enough to be treated to some fabulous pieces of music from Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to Don't You Worry About A Thing and the all famous Wallace and Gromit theme tune which got everyone clapping and cheering. Live music really is amazing and the kids were enthralled by it all. Watching some of Wallace and Gromit's hilarious chases and funny moments, as well as Wallace's love interests was so wonderful. To have some even more beautiful music played alongside was just lovely. Cut To The Chase written by Daniel Whibley was a new piece written especially for the show which is so nice.

I loved when the presenter took the stage video camera and went round the different members of the orchestra so we could see how they were all dressed and what instruments they played. The kids loved pointing out their favourites on the big screen and it was nice to give the people the recognition they deserved for such lovely music. Harlow was having fun jumping around and dancing too, the music spoke to her on so many levels.

In the second part of the show is a screening of the famous The Wrong Trousers. We've all watched it so many times at home but there was something special about watching it in a theatre with live music. It made it all the more exciting especially for the children. A totally new experience and one which will be fondly remembered by us all.

It was definitely a grand afternoon out which I'd recommend to friends and family of all ages. Wallace & Gromit's Musical Marvels Tour will also be appearing at the Edinburgh Festival on the 15th & 16th August at The Pleasance so book tickets asap to secure your space. It's been shortlisted as one of the shows you just have to see so I'd get in quick.

I was given a family ticket in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

8 June 2019

Review: Coral Island Blackpool

We love a good staycation or two and this week we visited Blackpool since the kids were off school for a couple of days. We visited Blackpool three years ago but it's a place you can return to again and again. There's lots to see and do in Blackpool but one of the best activities has to be the arcades and 2p machines! It just takes me back to my childhood when I would visit with my Gran and Di. So when the lovely people from Coral Island asked if I'd like to bring the family along for a day out I couldn't refuse.

I wasn't really sure what to expect but oh my goodness Coral Island is amazing! It's the biggest free entry attraction in Blackpool and totally worth a visit. We popped in on the second day of our holiday (Tuesday) at 10.30am and never left until 5pm. It was such a fun packed day that the time flew by.

So what is Coral Island exactly? Well it's a massive indoor entertainment centre full of amusement arcades of every kind imaginable from the good old 2p machines to a pretty cool VR machine. There's several different restaurants to keep you fed and hydrated plus indoor rides, family friendly prize bingo, camel derby and tons of memorable photo opportunities. It's the first amusements arcade I've seen that looks really professional and I think it might just have it all!

As you can imagine, inside Coral Island is a major feast for little eyes with flashy lights and fancy machines galore all buzzing and beeping. The kids were super excited so we decided to start on the 2p machines. There's tons to choose from and a lot of them give out prize tickets as well as the usual 2p coin and some small prizes. We managed to acquire a lot of tickets, some sweeties and key rings. The kids couldn't wait to collect lots of tickets and cash them in for a prize.

Next up we thought we'd try a few of the arcade machines. Harlow went for a few of those plants vs zombies machines which fires water to destroy the zombies. There was also a machine that shot balls at dragons which was super fun to play. Whilst exploring the arcades is when Logan happened upon the VR Machine. He absolutely loves VR so must have had at least 4 goes on this machine. Worth every penny as it looked really good.

After trying to win as much tickets as possible we headed over to the family friendly prize bingo to try our luck. The machines are really easy to play and all electronic. The lovely lady helping out the caller that day got us all set up and even brought us some drinks and biscuits, such great service. The other half and I won nothing but Logan won twice and Harlow got a shout too. They were ecstatic! Logan picked a lovely jigsaw and some sweeties with his points and Harlow decided to have more games of bingo with hers. 

As I mentioned there's some nice indoor rides within Coral Island. The mini rollercoaster was perfect for Harlow. She jumped on for a few turns and loved picking which carriage she could ride in. The smile on her face was priceless. There's also the Pirate Flyer which is a pirate boat shaped carriage that takes you round the very top above the whole arcade area. It really was like flying around and exploring. You get amazing views and can spot some machines you'd like to try next. The kids loved this and had several goes. Us adults really enjoyed it too.

By this point we were all starting to get peckish. It's hard work having fun you know! Coral Island has a variety of places to enjoy some food and refuel, one of which is The Buccaneer. It's a family friendly bar with a wide choice of dining options. Kids also eat free with a paying adult all day every day at all restaurants within the venue which is definitely worth noting. The staff were super friendly and dressed up as pirates. The kids thought this was ace. There was plenty of choice in the menu for starters, mains and desserts and all reasonably priced.

The food was brought to us in a timely manner and was well cooked and tasted delicious. Staff come over at different intervals to make sure everything was ok with our food which is always a nice touch. I noticed on the menu that they can cater for people with different dietary requirements so that's really good.

Feeling all full up and very satisfied we headed out to try our luck at the Camel Derby in the hopes of winning a cuddly toy. I've played the horse derby a few times and it's great fun but never Camel Derby. It's just the same but with camels and you roll the balls up as fast as you can and hope they land in the holes which propels your camel to the finish line. The kids really enjoyed this fast paced game and I came in a close second but the other half was good at winning. He won the kids a prize each, a cute bumblebee for Harlow and Superman cushion for Logan.

We decided to try out more of the arcade machines to see how many tickets we could accumulate. The kids wanted a good nose at all the prizes they could possibly win too so we browsed for a good while. I was really impressed at some of the prizes you could win with your tickets. A Nintendo Switch was one of them, how amazing would that be!!

There was also plenty of opportunities for some fab photos within Coral Island. We hopped on the Giant Deck Chair and asked a member of staff to take a snap, they were more than happy to help. You could pretend to be a pirate or pose next to Jack Sparrow outside The Buccaneer. You could even stick your head in the photo board and become a super hero. It was great fun. 

We really enjoyed our day out at Coral Island and the fact we spent all day there really says something. My kids can get bored or fed up quite easily but they were kept busy, entertained and well fed for the whole day. I loved that the whole place was indoors so you can visit no matter what the weather. It's definitely a fun family friendly day out and one which I'd recommend to family and friends. We'll make a point of coming back here the next time we visit Blackpool.

I was given a VIP pass and meal voucher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


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