Peppa Pig’s Big Splash UK Tour … The Review

peppa-pig-logoRegular readers will know that back in September I was rather excited, the reason … Peppa Pig’s new UK Tour Peppa Pig’s Big Splash was coming soon to my home town and little did I know at that point that we would in fact manage to go and see it. 

So we headed out this afternoon to take our 3-year-old for the first time to a theatre and also to finally get to see this show live with one very excited toddler! 

2014-10-25 15.58.35About The Show
With the Nursery roof leaking Peppa and her classmates set up a fate to raise some money to fix the school roof. Peppa, George, Mummy and Daddy Pig, as well as Danny Dog, Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep have lots of fun setting up the stalls and to top it off there is even puddle jumping in which Mr Potato judge it and Peppa needs to find her golden boots! 

The show itself held my little guys attention from start to finish, with a large majority of the show being interactive for children to sing dance or otherwise. With dancing and singing in abundance I have to say hubs and I both loved how much Joshua loved it. 
PPBS_04122013_HighRes_rt_0184The 2 parts of this performance were ideal in length for us so just at the verge of full on wiggles (Joshua not hubs) it was interval allowing us to move if needed. 

Staging it was a really fabulous backdrop with its brightly colours props and scenery, just as you would expect from Peppa Pig .. although please don’t make the mistake that my husband did when he presumed the characters would be dressed in full on costumes … this show is performed with intricate puppets and the puppeteer/actors are dressed all in black.

We were sat really centrally in the theatre so barely noticed the people after a while, although my friend who was also there was sat directly on a side and struggled a little with seeing more of the people than the characters … although this didn’t affect how much their children loved it so it maybe it was just our theatre or maybe it might be wise to pick your seats centrally if you have a choice.

photo36Talking of picking seats … if you are in the first 5 rows … you are going to get a little damp .. don’t worry not full on wet just the odd sprinkle every now and again…. in fact If I had known this before I would have chosen to sit a little nearer as Joshua LOVED it!

Overall
Although we are not regular thatre visitors .. in fact this was a first for Joshua … this show really was fantastic and very well thought out. 

All the lovely quirkiness of Peppa Pig brought to life in front of your very eyes with lots of crowd participation should your child want it. 

If you are wanting to go and see it there is still some showing, which can be found on the website: Peppa Pig’s Big Splash

 Disclaimer: We were given complimentary tickets for the purposes of giving a review. All thoughts and opinions were independently formed by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse

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Project 365 Week 43 of 2014

week43week43of365A crazy chaotic week but all good …..

Saturday 18th October - Another fantastic Blog Camp event via Tots100 in Birmingham.

Sunday 19th October – After having a complete laptop malfunction it was time to get away from my screen and, supposedly make a start on clearing out the spare room … it didn’t get very far.

Monday 20th October – Our village post office has some fantastic little knick-knacks in … I love the saying on this one. 

Tuesday 21st October – Off to London to check out some amazing holidays with bookings.com and villas.com  …… now if only I could move in permanently!

Wednesday 22nd October – Joshua is half day at nursery and Ollie was off work so we collected Joshua, headed for lunch out and then picked our new pets to bring home.

Thursday 23rd October – One of our new tanks from swell with our pets settling in! 

Friday 24th October – A new bed for Joshua means a happy boy … 

Thats our week in a nutshell …. what have you been up to this week?

365

 

 

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When I Went To Blog Camp

tots100 blog camp For me one of the fantastic things about blogging is the community that immerse you just for being you, for the things you write, the support you give and for the friendships that develop.

Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that there aren’t raging psychotic nutters or even generally vile folk, as with anything and every arena there are the odd few that spoil it for all and over recent months I had almost taken the final step away from blogging itself and the community, however after  a mojo realignment (who am I kidding – that’s a slap from myself for allowing the negative in) I have very tenderly begun to pick up my blog, dust it off and hope that I could find myself again

With the help of such an amazing bunch of people I reconnected with my blog in a way in which I thought was gone forever and so I will always be grateful to Ellie from the Mummy Diary, Kate from Family Fever, Afra from Mad Mum Of 7 (who still needs to show down when she is talking to me) and of course the wonderful Clare from Emmy’s Mummy & Harry’s Too

tots100 blog campLast weekend I travelled with the lovely Zena from Zena’s Suitcase and the lovely Penny from Parent Shaped from Nottingham to attended the Tots100 Blog Camp in Manchester and this event more than any other, this is where new friendships were found, some old ones cemented …. and I finally know in less than 5 minutes how the blogs are ranked in the Tots100

oh and I even took my camera out of its automatic settings! 

I am feeling invigorated and supported and full of ideas, still lacking in time but, hell I love long lists! 

Thank you Sally and the team at Tots100 for all your super hard work putting this event together, I learnt a lot, made some friends and ate cookies, as far as events go top marks! 

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Worlds Apart Planes Toddler Bed Review

Planes Toddler Bed ReviewRecently we were asked if would like to try a toddler bed for Joshua from the wide range at Worlds Apart and I jumped at the chance. 

Joshua has really struggled in his previous bed, it seemed shaky and  he took an instant dislike to it from day one. 

After nearly a year with almost constant night wakes, we really were excited to see how he would take to this one.

When the Planes Toddler Bed arrived I was shocked at how small the packaging was, I am not sure how big I had expected it to be! 

Once the box was opened I was really impressed to see that it was going to make a really straightforward flat pack build … thankfully as those that know us will be aware of the fact most DIY build projects do not normally end well … and at the very least we end up not speaking. 
worldsaparttoddlerbed.jpgThe instructions were easy to follow and I can say with great enthusiasm that the whole process was a really pain-free 20 minutes!

Once put together I really loved this super little bed, with its high gloss images of the lovely planes characters, its super zipped storage bags that fit neatly under the bed and the really handy little shelf that clips onto the side of the bed to house a story book and drink is really super for making the most at utilising any space going! 

I really loved the wide bed slats and I think these are a major factor in making this bed so sturdy! 

Overall I think this bed is a really lovely investment to a little tots room, and with a wide choice of character beds like available I am sure there is one for every tot! 

Disclaimer: This toddler bed was sent to us for the purposes of giving an honest review. All thoughts and opinions were formed by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse.

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Review: Park Resorts Barmston Beach Yorkshire

Park Resorts reviewA few weeks ago Ollie, Joshua and I set off on our travels and this time it was a first. On our family holiday rounds we have covered other major UK holiday providers but yet in all these years we had not visited Park Resorts so we were really looking forward to see what was on offer. 

Barmston Beach is around 2 hours away from us and when we were selecting our holiday this one really stood out for us as it claimed “Barmston Beach Holiday Park is ideal for fun and relaxing family holidays” along with our continued love for this coastal area and the fact its claim was right up our street we were very excited. 

On arrival, we travelled through the beautiful, sleepy village of Barmston to the Park Resorts venue to what can only be described as the most breathtaking view at the top of a cliff! With a car park located at the side of the main building and the sheer drop that is well fenced off it certainly blew those driving cobwebs away.

Having already spent the day in Bridlington (approx 6 miles from Barmston Beach) we arrived mid afternoon to a really small, yet tidy reception with a very smiley member of staff (I believe her name was Hannah) that was incredibly helpful at not only explaining where our home for the weekend would be but also, on 2 other occasions we visited the reception for advice on local buses, the local area and her advice on the Fish and Chip shops (that request was Ollie’s) she was more than knowledgeable and it seemed there was nothing that was too much trouble, it made for refreshing customer service.

On arriving at our caravan ( Gold Plus, 2 bed £215) I was slightly anxious since we are talking about a caravan in October, which is obviously coming up to the end of the season.
Park Resorts Barmston BeachPark Resorts Barmston BeachHowever I needn’t have worried, this caravan was the most spotless I had ever stayed in, the carpet was immaculate, and the caravan itself was well stocked with crockery and even came with tea, coffee and sugar to start the weekend too! The only little niggle is that why are caravan mattresses always to flimsy in comparison to a normal bed?! .. this is not anything specific to this resort, but it seems that all caravans are designed to have rather flat mattresses.

During the weekend we did have a member of staff knock and pro-actively inquire as to if everything was OK with our facilities and the negative me did .. wonder if this was just because I was there to review, however I was pleased to see that this member of staff visited all the caravans around us too as I was watched her for 25 minutes to make sure! … sorry I promise I am not really a stalker! 

Location wise this resort has an almost sheer cliff face on one side and on the opposite its a gradual walk down the sand dunes to the beautiful beach, meaning you can access the beach directly from the park in a matter of a few minutes.
barmston beachWhile at the site we did go to check out the on site amenities and are pleased to report that there is a onsite shop, its small but does have all the usual item you would expect from a campsite shop… not over priced either!
SITE AND ENTERTAINMENT AT BARMSTON BEACHThere is a bar area and a function room all within the same complex and there is some on site activities for children although at this time of the year that is far more limited than peak time. 

We had the pleasure of attending a really lovely ballet class with pipsqueak and with a small arcades area on site it made for a lovely few hours after heading to the park on site too.
park at Barmstone Beach Park ResortsThis has been one of the smallest sites I have visited and the size of the site is reflected in the site of the onsite facilities which are all reasonably sized for the amount of caravans.

There is also only a heated outside pool at this site which looks good .. but was obviously closed with it being October. I think for us that was the only thing missing on this site was to have an indoor swim, but we knew that  when we chose the location so we can’t fault it for that. 

I loved the pro activity of the staff to ensure customers are happy and content and have everything they need, which also helps ensure a really customer focused stay. 

On a final note on the Monday we had intended to leave fairly early and have breakfast on site before heading off. We kind of expected that with serving breakfast the tavern would be open reasonably early and as we headed down around 8.15 we found it didn’t open till 9am and after going to reception to hand our key in that was not open either so  we hung around and waited till 9am for breakfast. Maybe making customers aware of where the keys can be dropped off if customer would like to leave early on day of departure would be fab. 

Overall we LOVED Barmston Beach and had a fantastic Friday to Monday stay. The site had more than enough to offer us, so much so we would certainly be interested in coming back to visit again. 

Disclaimer: We were given a complimentary visit for the purposes of giving an honest review. All Opinions in this review were independently formed by members of The Oliver’s Madhouse.

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How I’m Cutting Down Boiler Costs This Energy Saving Week

 heating thermostatIt’s a well-known fact here on this blog that not only is my husband is very tight particular about where and how we spend our money it’s also a well documented fact if we can save even a few pence within our grasp then it has to be done. 

So when I heard about Netmums and British Gas teaming up this week to spread the word far and wide over here: http://britishgas.netmums.com/on why its important to save money on our energy, I got excited and by that I mean, almost as excited at the prospect of a warm bath and snug home this time last year when we had no boiler for a week …

I can quite honestly  it was the most frustrating week of all time. Have you ever lived without a functioning boiler for any amount of time while on antibiotics? top that off with a course of antibiotics rendering me unable to drink …. I have and it was not a pretty nor pleasant sight… (obviously the alcohol would have been for medicinal purposes only you understand) 

On having the new boiler in stalled have we noticed anything? … apart from hot water literally on tap we are saving around £25 per month on our bills for a start, after we changed from the old back boiler to a new combi boiler our previously set monthly Direct Debit had to be reduced as we got to the point they were owing us almost! 

Having saved so much we have been constantly looking for ways to save and so we have also: turned our washer down to 30, had cavity wall insulation and loft installed, we are using energy-saving light bulbs wherever we can and have even capped off our chimney as it was blowing a gale down into the living room! 

Since I am now running short on ideas of how we can make more changes to save yet more money, when I recently got the opportunity to ask an Official British Gas Engineer a question I had a burning question that has always puzzled me:

Is it cheaper to leave heating on all the time at a set temperature or is it cheaper to turn off completely and then just have it to come on a timer? 

New Boiler The basic answer is, it is almost always cheaper to have it on a timer rather than on constant at a lower temp.  With modern boilers (on the correct settings – general recommendations below) you should be able to heat  a property from cold to comfortable (18-21°C) in about 25-30 minutes. So you are better working the boiler for this amount of time just before you need the heating rather than running constantly on a room thermostat (which overnight may be bringing the boiler on for up to 20 minutes an hour anyway) & if you do not have a room thermostat it will be considerably more expensive to run the system constantly.

Take Control

Boiler Thermostat: This controls how hot the water is that goes to your taps/radiators/under floor pipes. The higher this is the hotter these will be, heating the home sooner.  Most boilers and water cylinders have a minimum temperature of 40°C and a maximum of 80°C. If you have a room thermostat we recommend the following depending on the boiler type:

  • Combination boiler: The thermostat is located on the front of the boiler and should be set as follows depending if you can control your water and heating separately:
    • Two Dial – Set at maximum for heating (dial with radiator symbol) in winter and halfway or lower in summer. Halfway or lower for hot water all year.
    • Single Dial – Maximum in winter, halfway in summer. Be careful of the temperature of the hot water.
  • Back boiler with a fire: The thermostat is located under the fire or at the side of the boiler and should be set as follows;
    • Set at maximum in winter and halfway in summer. If your water cylinder has a thermostat this should be set at halfway all year.
  • Conventional boiler with separate water cylinder: The thermostat is located on the front of the boiler and cylinder and should be set as follows;
    • Set dial at maximum in winter and halfway summer. If your water cylinder has a thermostat this should be set at halfway all year.

If you have a water tank and this does not have a thermostat, you must be careful of the temperature of the hot water when the boiler is turned to maximum

In all cases, when the boiler thermostat is set to maximum, the radiators and pipes will be extremely hot and could cause a burn if touched so be careful.

Room thermostat: If you have one it should be set between 18-21ºC. It is also recommended to be in a well heated room. Every degree above 18ºC will add up to 5-10% to your consumption. 

Extra room thermostats: Aside from your main room thermostat, you may have other room thermostats. You should leave your main thermostat around 18-21°C and adjust the temperature in the other rooms as low as 10-15°C if you don’t need them as warm.

No Room thermostat: If you do not have a room thermostat the boiler thermostat controls the temperature of your property, find a position that you find comfortable. The lower this is the less gas it will use but the longer it will take to get warm. Without one your heating will be on constantly until you turn the boiler off rather than turning on and off intermittently depending on the temperature of the house. This will result in you using more gas than if you had a room thermostat so we would recommend getting one. 

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs): Lowering the temperature on your TRVs will slightly reduce your consumption and allow you to control your comfort level. If you have TRVs on the radiators in the same room as the house thermostat, make sure these are turned to maximum to control the room thermostat correctly.

Timer/programmer:  If you use radiators for your central heating, we recommend having your timer set to come on about 15 minutes before you need the heating on and go off about 30 minutes before you need it off.  If you use under floor heating we recommend having your timer set to come on about 45 minutes before you need the heating on and go off about 15 minutes before you”

So there you have it folks the age-old question has now been answered, however since I have been obviously been working it the wrong way and costing myself more than I need too.

Hive Interactive HeatingHowever it seems that Netmums and British Gas are equally as excited to help not only me with some great advice and tips on how to make the most of our energy but also they are very kindly giving one of my readers a Hive Active Heating Kit worth £199 of their very own! Which I have to say I am really rather impressed with, since I fell in love with this product quite some time ago when I wrote about it keeping people warm in winter.

Don’t worry you don’t have to be a customer of British Gas either! however there are some instillation restrictions so please do pop over and read them and don’t forget the full terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter below! 

So what are you waiting for Good Luck! 

Please note: UK entrants only

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Disclaimer: I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I may have been paid expenses, and have been supplied with a product sample for this review, but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

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