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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Our Day Out at the Geronimo Festival 2017

Arley Hall is the beautiful setting for this year's Geronimo Festival. The festival is running across this bank holiday weekend, and we visited today and had an absolutely amazing time. I'd go as far to say that this is the best Geronimo Festival yet! Freddy had a day filled with some incredible experiences and activities where he learned new skills, tested his nerve and had a huge amount of fun.

Animal encounters form a big part of the Geronimites' day. Little ones can meet exotic reptiles with Ranger Rob and learn about them in a hands on wildlife experience. Freddy and Kezia held a huge black and white lizard, which was stunningly beautiful. The Parrotman is there with a collection of colourful birds while The Feathery Folk have a selection of beautiful birds of prey for children to learn about. The Giant Tortoises are just wonderful and we loved petting them in their enclosure. Freddy rode on Geronimo the Donkey! We also saw some shows in the arena with horses and there were sheep for little ones to meet. Add to this the performing T-Rex, Bear's Big Bear Hunt and a host of weird and wonderful animal models and puppets, and kids are in for a wild time!

animal encounters


Arley Hall is in a gorgeous estate, surrounded by trees and fields giving the festival the most perfect venue. The colourful tents and decorations across the festival ground make Geronimo a wonderland for families, where there is so much to see, do and explore. There is a main stage where stars of CBeebies and other kid friendly acts perform. There are two circuses and also a main arena where you can watch knights on horseback, a stunt show and BMX riders. There is also a theatre zone where you can take in a show or you can go and listen to some magical storytelling.

If you prefer getting hands on there are plenty of craft activities to do, a funky junk workshop or a Play Doh area. There is music and dancing and lessons where you can have a go at playing a musical instrument. However your family likes to have fun, Geronimo has something to keep you happily entertained.

festival


Freddy's favourite activities are the high adrenaline ones. He learned some trapeze skills, did archery, threw axes and fired a crossbow. He scaled a climbing wall, went caving in an interactive, replica caving trailer, had a go on the Ace inflatable obstacle course and zipped down the Skyfall zipwire. Freddy also learned how to fence and did some pretty impressive parkour over obstacles.  His favourite thing was The Air Bag, which saw him jumping from a high platform and landing on an inflatable crash mat. He was like a proper little stuntman!

Geronimo Festival


There is absolutely loads of fun things to do at Geronimo. We missed so much that we are going back tomorrow to do the rest. Freddy really had a great time today, and speaking to other mums and also to my sister who came with her two little ones, the general consensus is that this year's Geronimo is a really fantastic family day out. With so many things included in the entry price, it's really good value. (The funfair costs extra, but with everything going on, Freddy didn't even have the time to ask to ride the carousel!)

There is still two days of Geronimo to go. Find out more at http://www.geronimofest.com.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Sing out on Blu-Ray and DVD #singmovie

SING IS AVAILABLE ON 4K ULTRA HD™, BLU-RAY 3D™, BLU-RAY™, DVD AND ON DEMAND  On 22ND MAY 2017

From Illumination, the studio that brought us The Secret Life of Pets and Despicable Me , comes an animated comedy about finding the music that lives inside of all of us. It's an all singing, all dancing spectacular starring the vocal talents of lots of Hollywood A Listers.

Sing


SING stars Matthew McConaughey as Buster Moon, an eternally optimistic, showbiz obsessed koala who puts on the world’s greatest singing competition in an attempt to save his failing theatre. Unfortunately a typo on the competition flyers offers a grand prize worth much more than Buster Moon can afford. This sets in to motion a chain of events, bringing together a host of animal characters trying to win the cash, find fame or find themselves.

Reese Witherspoon stars as the housewife Rosita, an overworked and under appreciated mother of 25 piglets desperate to unleash her inner diva and escape the drudgery of everyday life. Scarlett Johansson voices Ash, a punk rock porcupine with a beautiful voice behind her prickly exterior and with a cheating porcupine partner. Taron Egerton is Johnny, a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s life of crime through music. Other characters include a crooning mouse who is wanted by gangsters, an extremely shy but talented young elephant and a rather flamboyant pig called Gunther.

The Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, SING features more than 65 hit songs. Everyone will be singing along to all the familiar tracks as well as to the brand new song "Faith" recorded by Stevie Wonder and featuring Ariana Grande.

We loved this film, especially the heart warming ending! The catchy songs and funny dance routines play out alongside humorous scenes and truly touching moments. From the youngest to the oldest, we all enjoyed sitting down together to watch this movie. There are some real memorable moments and the soundtrack is fabulous. It will definitely have you singing along.

The Blu-Ray has loads of bonus features including three mini movies (Gunter Babysits, Love At First Sight and Eddie’s Life Coach), music videos, behind the scenes footage, character profiles, interviews, a dance along video and a comedy mash-up as well as a digital download to play the movie on mobile devices.

Here's a behind the scenes video clip showing some of the stars of Sing recording their characters' lines for the film.

      


SING is out on Digital Download, Blu-ray™ and DVD from 22nd May, courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Website: www.singmovie.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SingMovieUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/universaluk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/universalpicturesuk

Hashtag: #SingMovie

Friday, 19 May 2017

Super Geek Heroes Animated Series - a mission to learn

The SUPER GEEK HEROES are a unique group of super-kids who are having fun in turn with a mission to learn! With their own YouTube channel and website, the Super Geek Heroes videos provide an excellent resource for young children to learn about the world around them in an interesting and exciting way.

Their seven friendly ‘super-powers’ are derived from the Early Years Foundation Stage framework  and focus on Personal, Social & Emotional Development, Understanding the World, Communication & Language, Literacy, Numeracy, Physical Development, and Creative Arts & Design.  

The seven characters are very engaging, leading children on a mission to learn in a fun and friendly way. Children can relate and interact more effectively with the EYFS as they understand the meaning of the key areas, within the context of these bite size videos. 

Super Geek Heroes


Here are the seven Super Geek Heroes characters and the development areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage that they represent; 

Jake Jotter (Literacy), Mille Maths (Mathematics), Peter Planet (Understanding the World), Ant Active (Physical Development), Vicky Voice (Communication & Language), Ronnie Rock (Expressive Arts & Design) and Suzi Smiles (Personal, Social & Emotional Development.

Some of the subjects covered include healthy foods, weather and seasons, shapes and numbers, phonics, telling the time, the continents of the world and high frequency words. Children can interact with the characters and the information is repeated to help them understand and consolidate skills. There is plenty of praise and encouragement given by the characters and children will feel like they have the superpower of knowledge, supporting their learning in an entertaining way.

You can find the YouTube video channel at  https://www.youtube.com/supergeekheroes where you can subscribe and keep up to date with all the latest episodes. The website has additional learning resources, print outs and character information to accompany the videos. To find out more visit the parent section of the website at: http://www.supergeekheroes.com/parents.html.

Super Geek Heroes is a really impressive learning resource that will be perfect for sharing with little ones. For this September's school starters, the Super Geek Heroes can give them a head start on the EYFS, boosting their confidence. I really liked that each individual video was quite short so you can pick and choose which ones to watch, focusing on specific areas of the EYFS. I loved that the characters were voiced by children making them friendly and easy for kids to relate to. The 3D animation is simple but cute and colourful. As a parent, you can confidently leave your child watching the channel on an iPad, knowing that the content is safe, appropriate and educational. Our favourite character is Peter Planet who helps us understand the world around us! Who will your children's favourites be?

Visit www.supergeekheroes.com and start your child's exciting adventure into learning with the Super Geek Heroes!


             

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Disney Crossy Road Toy Review

Crossy Road is the iconic game, where you try to cross a busy road without getting splatted by oncoming vehicles. Whereas the original game featured a chicken, the Disney version stars favourite classic Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Buzz Lightyear and Daisy Duck, trying to get across the road. Based on the Disney Crossy Road game app, Character Options has released a collection of mini figures and plush toys.

collectable toys UK


The Disney Crossy Road toys are made to look pixelated like the game characters and are great to collect, swap, display and play with. There are over 40 mini figures in the Series 1 range including Mickey and friends and characters from Toy Story, Big Hero 6 and Lion King. They are a new way to enjoy your favourite Disney characters.

Freddy was sent a plush Simba figure (£9.99), a Mini Figure 4 Pack (£10.99) and two Mystery Figure packs (£3.49).  The Mini Figure 4 pack has three visible figures and one hidden mystery figure. The Mystery Figure single packs come boxed so it's a completely blind choice.

Like most 7 year olds, Freddy loves collectible toys. He enjoys opening the mystery packs to try to find the characters he wants and likes to display his collection in his bedroom. The Disney Crossy Road toys combine the fun of collecting with our love of all things Disney, which makes them extra special!

Disney


Each character comes with its own rarity rating status such as classic, rare, epic, secret, legendary and limited edition. This makes collecting them all the more fun, as you try to complete your collection while hunting down the super limited edition metallic figurines.

The mini figurines are designed to be really simple, like an 8-bit pixelated game character, yet the attention to detail is spot on. From Goofy's teeth to Woody's hat, the essence of each character is perfectly captured. Each comes with its own plastic stand making them easy to display.

Disney Crossy Road


The 6" plush toys really bring the Disney Crossy Road characters to life. They are super soft and detailed and there are six to collect in Series 1: Minnie, Mickey, Simba, Baymax, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

The Disney Crossy Road items are available to buy from Tesco, Asda, Toys R Us, Smyths and Argos. To see the range and to watch some great product videos, visit www.moosetoys.toys/disney-crossy-road.

Here is Freddy's unboxing video (including me mispronouncing the name of Emperor Zurg! Oops).


         


Monday, 15 May 2017

A Vegetarian Barbecue with Yutaka #nationalvegetarianweek

Yutaka Gives Summer Barbecues a Japanese Flavour

Give your veggie barbecues a Japanese zing this summer with these  recipe ideas given a contemporary twist from Yutaka – Marinaded Tofu Kebabs and Red Bean Panko Burgers.

Yutaka means ‘good harvest’ in Japanese and that’s exactly the aim of the company: to create authentic Japanese food products made in the traditional way. Their ethos ensures their products are of the highest quality and feature a lot less additives compared to some other brands on the market. I received a lovely hamper of goodies from Yutaka so I could try out some barbecue recipes with a Yutaka twist.

Yutaka, vegetarian


BBQ Yutaka Marinade

Sushi ginger, rice wine and miso are among the ingredients that make this marinade uniquely Japanese in flavour. It is so easy to create authentic cuisine using the Yutaka products.

The Yutaka Marinade can be used to marinade bite size pieces of  firm Tofu to make some delicious kebabs that can be served with Yutaka sushi rice and a sheet of Nori to make your own sushi style barbecue meal.

vegan, tofu, marinade


Ingredients

2 tbs Yutaka Yakiniku Sauce

1 tbs Yutaka Miso Sauce

2 tbs Yutaka organic Tamari Soy Sauce

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 tbs chopped Yutaka Sushi Ginger

1 tbs Yutaka Mirin

2 tbs Yutaka Shaoxing Rice Wine


Tofu, Yutaka


Method

Mix together the marinade ingredients and cover bite-size pieces of Tofu making sure they are coated well in the marinade and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. I use a lidded Tupperware box to marinate my Tofu so you can give it a regular shake or turn it upside down to ensure all the pieces get properly covered during the process. Remove from fridge at least 30 minutes before you are ready to BBQ.

Making the Marinaded Tofu Kebabs

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least 4 hours.

Make the sushi rice – wash 250g of rice 3 or 4 times with cold water. Drain rice with sieve. Add 330ml water and the washed rice to a saucepan. Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 25-30 mins. Do not open the lid.

Take a bamboo skewer and build the kebab using bitesize pieces of courgette, peppers, red onion, mushrooms and the marinaded Tofu pieces. Brush with marinade sauce and barbecue, turning occasionally. When cooked remove from heat.

Serve with the sushi rice and if desired, roll the veggie, Tofu and rice into a Nori sheet.



Panko Burgers

Many of the boutique burger restaurants use Yutaka’s panko to give their burgers extra bite. This vegetarian burger is really delicious and holds its shape well. It is incredibly simple to make using canned beans.



Yutaka Red Bean Burgers


Ingredients

2 small red onions, finely chopped

2  crushed garlic cloves

2 tins of drained red kidney beans

2 tbsp Yutaka Panko breadcrumbs

1 tbsp Yutaka miso sauce

1 tbsp Yutaka Yakiniku sauce

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp Yutaka Tamari Soy Sauce

Salt & pepper



Place onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, beans, sauces, tomato paste and salt and pepper in a food processor until combined. The mixture should be thick enough to roll into balls. If it is too wet add more breadcrumbs, too dry add more tomato puree. With wet hands shape 6 burgers and coat with Panko breadcrumbs. The mixture is sticky enough for the crumbs to stick. Cover and chill.

veggie burgers

vegan, veggie burger


Barbecue the burgers and serve with salad in a bun if desired, with some Yakinuko sauce and mayonnaise to finish. 

veggie burger, bbq


I really enjoyed making the burgers and kebabs using the Yutaka products. They added a really great taste and allowed me to try out some Japanese flavours. I loved the marinade with the Tofu and I'll definitely be experimenting with some more vegetarian recipes using the sauces.

Find some recipe ideas and inspiration at www.yutaka.co.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Food Review - Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauce and Duerr's Marmalade

Add some sunshine to breakfast with Duerr's Marmalade

Duerr's marmalades come in a variety of flavours and textures, making a marmalade which is exactly how you want it to be. Whether you like your orangey bits thick or finely cut, or if a fine citrus preserve is more to your liking, Duerr's have it covered.

I was sent two of their lovely rounded jars to try out, one with Thick Cut Classic Seville Orange Marmalade and the other with Sunny Lemon Smooth Citrus Conserve.

Ian is a big marmalade fan. He'd give Paddington a run for his money! He loves the chunky marmalades packed with peel spread thickly on granary bread. Whereas I like the smoother conserves with the flavour of fresh, fruity, juicy citrus without the bitter aftertaste. So we were both happy!

Both are suitable for vegans and the marmalade is available from Tesco and Sainsbury's.
Find out more at duerrs.co.uk.


marmalad, Duerrs, jars


Get ready for barbecue season with Jack Daniel's

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces and Glazes are perfect for barbecue season. Bringing the authentic flavour of Tennessee, they come in a range of flavours and have the distinctive smooth taste of Jack Daniel's Whisky. We were sent a Smooth Original Barbecue Sauce and a Smokey Sweet Barbecue Glaze from the range.

The Smooth Original has a rich caramel flavour and is perfect for adding a luxury twist to everyday foods. It's perfect for stirring through Pulled Quorn or jackfruit. It can also be added to gravy for a rich, barbecue flavour.

The Smokey Sweet Barbecue Glaze can be used to glaze vegetables or can be used as a dipping sauce. You can brush it onto veggie kebabs before cooking or add to stir fry vegetables to make a filling for a tortilla wrap. You can even make vegan bbq carrot dogs for a super healthy twist on a classic!

Both are suitable for vegans.

Find out more at jackdanielsbbqsauces.com.

BBQ, vegan, JD, Jack daniels

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Thumb Chucks - the latest fidget toy #thumbchucks

The current trend for fidget toys has taken the market by storm for both adults and children. The latest fidget skill toy on the scene is the addictive Thumb Chucks. The pairs of light up balls (or chucks) are connected together with a cord (or belt), allowing users to master skills and tricks and 'control the roll'. Chucks are interchangeable to create your own colour combos, adding to the fun.

Thumb Chucks, fidget toy


Young children, teens and adults alike will enjoy mastering the skills and controlling the roll of the Thumb Chucks. Whether you're killing time, out and about or fed up at work, Thumb Chucks can help entertain you and focus your mind. There are online tutorials to teach you tricks such as the beginner's Pass, Rebound and Wrap moves. The basics are quite easy to master and you can then elaborate on them adding your own spin or following the advanced tutorials to master some extreme skills. It gets really challenging and uses a lot of co-ordination and concentration. You can submit videos of yourself doing the skills to earn new belts for your Thumb Chucks.

Thumb Chucks


Freddy went freestyle with the Thumb Chucks using them as light up spinners and clackers as well as trying out the basic moves. He also loves making patterns by spinning them in the dark! His hands are quite small, so some of the skills have been a bit fiddly for him to master, but the beauty of the Thumb Chucks is that you can just use them to play with, keeping your hands occupied and having fun. They really are quite addictive. We've all been having a go with them and practicing the moves - they are easy to learn but a real challenge to master!

Thumb Chucks, fidget toy


The Thumb Chucks from Zing Toys retail at £7.99 and are recommended for ages 5 to adult. They are available from toy shops, retailers and online. There is going to be a big social media buzz as players are encouraged to share tricks online. Thumb Chucks are tipped to be 2017's answer to the Yo-Yo!

Take a look at thumbchucks.toys to discover this new craze, learn new tricks and skills and watch the experts in action. There are some seriously impressive skills on show.

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