Tuesday 20 December 2016

Beer52 - Craft Beer Subscription Review & Discount Code

At this time of year I'm always racking my brains to think of something to get my husband for Christmas and he really is the hardest person to buy for. But there's one gift that never gets boring - beer! We were recently introduced to Beer52 who offer a craft beer subscription and I have to say, this might be one of the most popular things I've ever given him!

So who are Beer52?

 They are the largest craft beer discovery club in the UK and they offer various subscriptions of craft beer, delivered direct to your door. Their beer experts visit breweries all over the world so you can be sure of something new and different in your delivery!

You can choose to order a one off box (£24 per case) but if you really like beer then you can sign up for three (£69), six (£132) or twelve months (£252). Each box contains 8 or 10 beers, plus a copy of Ferment magazine (the UK's number one craft beer magazine) and a tasty snack to enjoy with your drinks. You can even just send them a text on 88802 to order a case!

What did we think?

Firstly my husband was pleased as punch to hear he'd be testing out some beers and it was the first time he was actively interested in my blog ;)

The beers arrived in a big sturdy box and were well packaged. The theme of the boxes changes each month but being December, this one was of the festive variety. Our beers included Mimosa, Single Hop IPA, Santa's Private Reserve, Santa Paws, Flower Power, F*ck Art; the Heathens are coming, Krampus and Littlebro. The snacks were Munchy Seeds Chilli Bites, we've had these before and they are really good but the bag could be doing with being a little bigger!

My husband is already a fan of the Brewdog company so he was really pleased to see Santa Paws and this one was his favourite from the box. He enjoyed all the beers and said it was really good to be able to try out some new breweries that he'd not heard of. The selection you can find in the supermarkets can become a bit samey so the new beers were a big hit!

The magazine was also well received, even I had a read through and I know nothing about beer! Inside there were lots of interesting articles and even a run down of which beers were featured in the box - really useful for finding out more about the breweries.

Overall, this was a big hit with my husband and something I will definitely consider in the future for a gift. I like the fact that you aren't tied to a monthly contract/subscription but can order a one off box.

For more information and to order your very own beer box, take a look at the Beer52 website HERE

And if you fancy getting £10 off when you sign up, please use discount code ELLIOT10

*Disclaimer - We were sent these beers in return for an honest review. My husband can be bribed with beer but he said he was very honest and the beer box got a big thumbs up 

Sunday 18 December 2016

Aladdin at Lighthouse, Poole - Panto Review!

At the grand old age of 35, I have never been to a pantomime. It never appealed to me...that was until I became a parent! I really enjoy taking Elliot to the theatre and now he's 4, his attention span is so much better so he's able to sit through longer shows without getting too fidgety. This year seemed a perfect time for our first ever panto!

This years local pantomime at the Lighthouse Centre for the Arts in Poole was Aladdin, written and directed by Peter Duncan who readers of a certain age (ie old like me!) will remember from Blue Peter back in the 80's. It promised to be lots and fun and we were excited to see how Elliot would enjoy it!

When we arrived there was a real buzz in the theatre and rather than having to wait for the show to start, there were already circus performers on stage entertaining the crowd. They asked for a volunteer to walk along the tightrope and a young lad jumped up on stage but after he fell off and banged his head, it became clear to the audience that it was actually Max Bowden (Waterloo Road) and ta da, Aladdin had begun!

We were soon introduced to the other characters including the hilarious Widow Twankey, the evil Abanzer (Peter Duncan) and beautiful princess XiaoXue, played by Emmerdale actress Sapphire Elia.

Photo Credit - Richard Budd

The Aladdin storyline hasn't been tweaked too much but there was plenty of audience participation, lots of booing and hissing (Elliot loved this!), brilliant songs and choreography and even a flying carpet ride!

The leading characters all have great chemistry but the star of the show has to be Miguel Angel who plays the Genie...the Genie as you've never seen him before!

Photo Credit - Richard Budd
Belting out hits from rock gods of the past including David Bowie, Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson, he really stole the show and I couldn't wait to see what he'd sing next!

The best bit of the show for me was when the storyline went off track and the genie's magic made everyone sing about what they'd be doing if they weren't in panto. Great singing and acting from the whole cast but what made it was the 100+  cubs and scouts in the audience joining in with the Honey G dancing - absolutely hilarious and it was certainly a sight to see!

Our first panto experience was alot of fun and Aladdin is a real family friendly show. The pantomime isn't too long so it's perfect for little ones and they are sure to be entertained.

Photo Credit - Richard Budd
We will definitely back for next year's pantomime!

For more info and tickets, visit the Lighthouse website here

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide for Kids

Following on from my gift guide for babies, here's some ideas for the under 10's. I know this is an age group I've struggled to buy for previously!

Paint Your own Fairy Door, Irish Fairy Door Company - £20
These little fairy doors are so magical and I love that your child can paint it themselves, creating their own unique entrance for their fairy. Not only that, you can register your fairy's name and enjoy an interactive journey with exclusive stories.

My First Microscrope, Wicked Uncle - £19.95
We reviewed one of these over the Summer and Elliot absolutely loves it. I think it's so important for kids to learn while they are playing and he is fascinated by looking at things close up. This one is nice and chunky and perfect for inquisitive youngsters

Stikbot Zanimation Studio - £24.99
This cool little set is a great introduction to animation for kids. The easy to pose figures have suction-cup hands and feet allowing them to be posed in countless ways. You can then download a free app which lets you create your own videos using stop frame animation. Suitable for 4+

Haribo Festive Range, from 99p
If you fancy giving something sweet as a gift that isn't chocolate then Haribo have some fab things in their festive range. They have launched a brand new Mega Stars selection box featuring favourites such as Tangfastics and Jelly Babies. Even more exciting is the new Starmixmas - flavours include Gingerbread Bears, Eggnog Eggs and Apple Strudel Bottles. Yummy!

Dinosaur Discovery Jigsaw, Orchard Toys - £9.75
Orchard Toys have a brilliant range of puzzles including this fab dinosaur one. 150 pieces and suitable for 5-9 year olds, this is sure to keep the kids quiet on Boxing Day!

BuzzBee Nano Drone - £24.99
This little drone is actually the smallest nano drone in the world and will fit in the palm of your hand! Unlike standard drones, this can be used inside and is very safe and easy for kids to use. Perfect if you're looking for something a little different for your child!

Kitchen Science, Bright Minds, £12.99
Suitable for kids 8+. this fun science kit contains instructions for 6 different experiments you can do using everyday kitchen equipment. Experiments include fork electricity and a fruit powered clock!

Scooby-Doo 6 DVD Christmas Collection , Warner Bros. 
Some cartoons never go out of fashion and Scooby and the gang have been around since the 60s but are still as popular as ever now! Warner Bros. have released this ultimate selection of festive favourites featuring over 9 hours of episodes.

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Thursday 8 December 2016

Portable North Pole Magic Pass Review

It's that time of year again when parents all over the world start to use the age old bribery line, "Be good otherwise Father Christmas will put you on the naughty list! He knows!"

I'm sure my parents said this to me and now I have a child of my own, I have definitely used the line to enforce some good behaviour! Times have changed too and nowadays you can create personalised videos from the North Pole to enhance the magic.

We have used the Portable North Pole app for the last few years and it has always been very popular with Elliot who absolutely loves that Santa knows his name! This year we were invited to test out the Magic Pass which costs £9.99 and gives you lots and lots of extra treats on the Portable North Pole website.

As well as the standard video that anyone can download on the website there are lots more premium videos to create including Your Big Book and Secret Places. You can personalise all these videos to make it extra special for your child - you can even add photos of friends and family members to make it more magical!

Another benefit of the magic pass is the reaction recorder - you can use the app to let your child view the video on your phone/tablet and it will record your child's reaction. This is priceless! You can see on the video below when Santa says Elliot's name - that big smile!

There are also lots of calls available to download and just like the videos these can be personalised. There are lots to choose from including Congratulation and Mrs Claus is baking cupcakes and special Christmas Eve ones such as a Special Surprise from Santa's Elves.

If this wasn't enough you can even download and print cute little certificates from the video for your child to keep:

I think this is a lovely thing to do at Christmas and really makes it magical for the children. The free version is great but I do think the Magic Pass at £9.99 is brilliant value for money - especially if you have more than one child because you only pay the once. Elliot is loving the videos on the website and I can't wait to create some more for him to watch!

For more information, check out http://www.portablenorthpole.com/
For official Portable North Pole merchandise, you can find this in John Lewis:

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