UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals Panini Sticker Book

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book
Rejoice, rejoice! Panini have brought out a UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals sticker book! It’s out now, available in stores.

Panini have brought out the first ever UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals sticker book – and it’s available now! This is a REALLY big deal, as it has never happened before.

Back in the 80s I used to subscribe to Shoot! magazine – a football magazine famous for its League Ladders and facts about footballers across all clubs. My favourite week was always the one that featured the Tottenham team, obviously. But you had to wait…

My other favourite week was getting a free Football League Panini Stickers album – plus a few stickers to start you off. I’d spend my pocket money on Jukebox 7″ singles at our local supermarket alongside several packs of Panini stickers to complete my collection.

H is now at the age where she gets enough pocket money she knows to save it up to spend it on something she really wants. When I spotted that Panini have launched a UEFA Women’s Euro finals sticker book I had to buy it as a treat – start ’em young, right?

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book Norway team and badge

The sticker book covers all clubs from the forthcoming European finals, plus has a team badge and full team photo on each page. I found a book in Sainsbury’s. The book contains six stickers inside plus a couple of packs. I bought six more packs, you can never have too many.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book starter pack

The collection consists of a 40 page album with 334 stickers to collect. There are 22 special stickers to look out for too. The starter set costs £2.99 and consists of the book and 24 stickers to start you off. Each pack of stickers is 60p for five. Panini also offer you the option to order up any spaces online. That means no more having to save the backs of your old stickers before ordering.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book switzerland page

There are familiar names from the 2014 World Cup alongside players we’ll get to learn about. There are familiar names from the games we’ve seen, predominantly the England Lionesses of course, but also some Dutch players.

UEFA Womens Euro 2017 Panini Sticker Book England page

This leads us onto our next ‘can we do it?’ moment. We’re going to try and fly out to The Netherlands to catch a game if the flights are reasonable. We don’t even mind not seeing England, it’ll be something fun to do. The games are affordable, so it wouldn’t cost us a lot. We have a friend who lives in The Netherlands who we could stay with… very tempting!

We bought our Panini UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 Finals book ourselves, let us know if you get any doubles!

that familiar Panini sight

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Annie the Musical with Miranda Hart

miranda hart in Annie
You know when you like something, and you keep going back because what you like is good fun? That seems to be us with Annie. We caught it twice on the UK tour in Wimbledon and Croydon and thought that would be that. But then they announced Miranda Hart would be playing the part of Miss Hannigan. Now – hands up, I haven’t watched her programmes – but! I could see the part would really work. So we had to buy tickets.

Miranda Hart is a huge Annie fan too. There was a recent interview with her confirming this.

So you’re a huge fan of the musical and you get a chance to play one of the most fun roles in there – of course you’re going to do it! We went yesterday and oh my goodness. She is perfect for the role. She doesn’t try to be Carol Burnett or anyone else who has played Miss Hannigan – just herself.

I haven’t watched ‘Miranda’, I only had a vague idea of her sense of humour from clips on tv, so I’ve seen how she looks to the camera and pulls a face – and you get that on stage. How she manages in a theatre I’ll never know – it’s like she’s looking at you! It’s very very funny when she does too.

I was in my seat almost crying with laughter which I know I’ve never done while watching Annie before. The set has changed slightly too. The jigsaw floor is still there but now extends further back with a raised platform for certain scenes. I noticed some small tweaks to the show as well. It’s almost identical to the touring version otherwise.

An example of one of the changes – the orphans find out they’re not getting hot mush for their breakfast and they cheer. Miss Hannigan announces they’re getting cold mush, then jumps on one of their beds mocking them saying “yayy! Cold mush!!” several times, it shouldn’t be funny, but because Miranda Hart is doing it, it ends up being very funny. It’s all in the delivery.

The rest of the cast remain largely unchanged from the UK tour – the same Daddy Warbucks and Grace Farrell too. They’re still doing a marvellous job and you can tell they’re enjoying what they’re doing.

Then of course there are the Annie’s. Madeleine Hayes was our Annie, and I think she might have been on one of the previous times we saw the show too. The orphans were superb too – a really good confident bunch of girls who played their parts wonderfully.

Do I really need to go into the story of Annie? I would think that if you’ve seen the film then you know what to expect – just don’t expect any crazy chases up bridges. They created that for the 1982 film for reasons nobody truly understands.

You have an awesome cast and crew who know what to do and look like they’re fans of the show. It works on so many levels with jokes for adults in there too.

Plus Miranda Hart makes an absolutely excellent Miss Hannigan.

The opening night for Annie the Musical starring Miranda Hart as Miss Hannigan is the 5th June 2017. She will remain in the role of Miss Hannigan until the 17th September 2017. For more information head here.



The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat

As a child I loved reading the Owl and the Pussycat. It had a charm to it that gave me such vivid pictures in my head as I read. Coral Rumble has created a new version of the story – The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat.

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat cover

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat starts with them going to sea “In a box on the living room floor, They sailed away for a year and a day, And these are the things that they saw…

Two children play ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ in their front room and this is their imagination. They’re playing in a cardboard box and whatever toys they have handy are part of this game – and it’s wonderful.

It reminds me a lot of when H was little and we made a boat from a large box. We kept it for a good couple of years – at one point it turned into a car, then a spaceship until finally it was recycled. I loved that it had so much play, and most of that was thanks to H’s imagination.

cardboard car and boat

If I was able to write a book for young children, this is the kind of book I wish I could have created.

It’s a beautifully illustrated book by Charlotte Cooke (who is in fact, Coral Rumble’s daughter). The story rhymes which is ideal for primary school aged children discovering poetry.

Coral Rumble and Charlotte Cooke

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat is based on the Edward Lear poem, but has its own direction.

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat was originally published by Parragon Books, and is now published by Wacky Bee books. You can order it from Amazon as well as all good booksellers.

We’re part of a blog tour – check out all the other bloggers taking part!

 

The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat blog tour

We were sent a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions are our own. 

Check out The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat on Goodreads too!

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! by Jackie Marchant

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! Is by Jackie Marchant. Previously published as Dougal Trump, it finds a new home with Wacky Bee books, as well as a new name.

Dougal Daley - It's Not My Fault coverDougal Daley - It's Not My Fault cover

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault! originally published back in 2012 under a slightly different title. Newly named and newly published, Dougal Daley is back!

I, Dougal Daley, am dead! Ok I’m not actually dead. But if I’m not careful I soon will be.

In the first book, Dougal finds himself at risk of death from the mysterious creature in his shed. Chances are he isn’t at risk of death at all, but he sounds like a typical seven year old (much like one I know pretty well…) who over exaggerates things that little bit!

Nobody believes Dougal, so he writes his will in case anything happens. Obviously when you write your will and you’re young you make sure the people who do nice things get the good stuff. If you get on Dougal Daley’s bad side you get disinherited!

Dougal loves football. His last will and testament may well involve football-related things… in fact, a lot of the book has sections where Dougal is planning his football related funeral. There are also tributes to him and his football skills from friends and team mates. H found this hilarious – she loves football and could relate to some of it.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of time for football and things in his everyday life, although Dougal finds himself in all kinds of trouble. Obviously, none of it is his fault..!

Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault is published by Wacky Bee books and is out now. The age range for this book is 7+.

Jackie Marchant

Writer Jackie Marchant says the book was inspired by a messy bedroom and her son asking a question about writing a will.

H says “if you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid you will like Dougal Daley – I want to read more adventures of his now!”

Dougal Daley is illustrated by Loretta Schauer, the prize-winning illustrator.

We’re part of a blog book tour – we’re up first, check out all these other bloggers as the tour progresses! Dougal Daley : It’s Not My Fault gets a thumbs up from H. She loves reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books so this is ideal.

Dougal Daley Blog Tour

We were sent the book for the purpose of review. The review contains an Amazon Affiliate link.

Matilda the Musical Tour Around the UK

Roald Dahl wrote the book Matilda which was adapted into a film by Danny DeVito. However, it is the musical which is proving to be the most popular version. Tim Minchin wrote the songs, and Dennis Kelly adapted the book. In 2018 you don’t need to live in London to see it, as there is going to be a Matilda the Musical Tour!

Matilda the Musical, Matilda the Musical tour

Matilda the Musical tour takes in a handful of venues, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for more.

ATG Theatre Card and Groups members can buy advance tickets now. Tickets are released to the general public today on the 26th April.

Matilda is based on Roald Dahl’s much loved book, adapted by Dennis Kelly and with original songs by Tim Minchin. Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Winner of over 85 international awards, including 16 for Best Musical, Matilda the Musical continues to delight audiences in London, Australia and on tour around the USA.

‘BELIEVE THE HYPE’
New York Post

‘EASILY THE STANDOUT MUSICAL OF THE DECADE’
Sunday Times

The Matilda the Musical Tour will visit the following venues :

Sunderland Empire
8 May – 2 June 2018

Milton Keynes Theatre
5 June – 30 June 2018

Manchester Palace Theatre
18 September – 24 November 2018

Follow this link to book tickets! (Affiliate link)
For more information head here to find out more about the Matilda the Musical Tour.
We still haven’t seen Matilda, it has been on our to-do list for a long time. The musical is still running in the West End and is popular. I’ve found that tickets sell way up-front for the good seats – you’re often looking to book at least six months in advance! Nonetheless, we will be going to see it at some point.
This post contains an affiliate link. 

Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales at The Vault, London

We visited The Vault in the arches underneath Waterloo Station today, to see what Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales was about. Billed as a fun event for children up to age 11, it felt suitable for H, and it had a bar, so suitable for Shaun and I too!

Mini Rumpus The Vault

Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales is happening this weekend – so if you’re reading this and it isn’t the 4th or 5th March, you’ve missed it – but never fear, it will be back. It’s a quirky event in an equally quirky venue.

The Vault makes me think of clubs where you have an area made into a creative space for everyone to use. Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales definitely does this. It’s a great space!

Mini Rumpus Tell Tale Tusk

In the main room there are live bands – at the end Tell Tale Tusk played some lovely tunes (including a cover of The Cure’s Lullaby) – by then we were tired and had got seats in the upstairs bar area which gives you a great view of the stage. Shaun and H had a game or three of Connect 4 as well!

Mini Rumpus Mask Decorating

There are craft rooms too. The main room had loads of bits to decorate a mask you’re given at the start. After that we went to the main craft room. They had run out of headbands for rabbit ears so she made do with a dream catcher (which she loves!). You could also do pom poms or some painting.

Mini Rumpus upstairs bar

There are three bars. One is upstairs (with a view of the stage), one is at the back of the main hall (without a view) and the other is in the food area.

One table in the food area had Mario Kart Double Dash set up, so H got to have a play on it with a random boy. Us parents were wanting a go as well, and did get a chance! (I suspect if it was on purpose, it was the only child-friendly game – nice touch though!)

The face painting lady was brilliant. She costs £5 for children and was quick too. H chose to be a dog (after I persuaded her not to be Yoshi as the lady was so good!) and looked fabulous!

Mini Rumpus crafts

For four hours in an area which has its own buggy area, plus has a cloakroom (£1 for kids coats, £2 for adults) and the bars, it’s pretty good. I spotted tickets are available at LittleBird too, so you can make some savings there.

Mini Rumpus groovy lights

Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales has a jamming area, beatboxers on the main stage, an under 5’s area too. As well as this there was a man designing t-shirts with whatever you want on it (£8) and a lady selling wall hangings. There is LOADS going on and plenty of time to do it.

DJ Sets in between each act came from DJ Charlie Chuckles who played plenty of child-friendly tunes.

Mini Rumpus figs in wigs linedancing

There was a bit of line dancing by some ladies dressed as cows, Figs in Wigs.

Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales is on this weekend – for more information head here.

Shaun said to me he thought this would be something H was getting too old for. We asked her afterwards. “I loved it! I really enjoyed being in the little room upstairs, playing games and listening to the music. Oh and I really loved the Kazoo’s at the end”

Mini Rumpus kazoo orchestra

Yes, there was a Kazoo Orchestra, and H got one which she HAS NOT STOPPED PLAYING! Wah. But she’s happy! My ears……

We received guestlist places to attend Mini Rumpus – Woodland Tales – thank you for the opportunity!

Mini Rumpus Trailer 2017 from Rumpus Party on Vimeo.

The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen

Imagine if you had access to a machine which could make anything at all. The first thing you get your machine to do is make sweets, of course. A neverending supply of sweets. The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen is a story where this happens. But it wouldn’t be much of a story if it was about a machine that made sweets, so here’s our review.

The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen

The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen comes from Scholastic and is out now. In the book we meet eleven year old Olly, who receives a special delivery – a 3D printing machine. There’s a problem though, the machine has stamped on it ‘PROPERTY OF M.O.D and BRITISH SPACE AGENCY. WARNING. DO NOT TAMPER’ which when you’re eleven means you may as well have a go when nobody is around, right?

The Everything Machine blog tour banner

Even better, it prints anything Olly asks it to. So that’s a constant supply of sweets, a swimming pool for the shed and one other thing that Olly wants – his dad. His parents have separated and his dad moved out of the family home. So Olly with his brother and sister, Stevie and Bird created a Dad-bot.

H enjoyed reading The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen. We received the book when she was ill from school, and she had finished it by the end of the day.

H says “I liked this book because it’s funny but also dramatic.”

I asked her how it was dramatic, what happened?

“Bird tells Olly and Stevie to stop when they’re creating the Dad-bot. She warns them but the boys decide to carry on. She thinks she has added too many wires.”

What about the funny part – which bit did you find funny?

“At one point the Dad-bot ruins Stevie’s room when he asks him to tidy it up – that bit was quite funny!”

Would you recommend The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen to any of your friends?

“It would appeal to 7-10 year olds. I hope there will be more books about the Everything Machine!”

You can follow Ally Kennen over here, or over on Twitter here. This is Ally’s first book for younger readers, as she has written several books for teens – we’re hoping there’ll be more!

Ally Kennen

 

We’re part of a blog tour – check out the other reviews. Thank you for letting us join in – H had lots of fun reading the book – and also left a review in her own words over at Toppsta! The Everything Machine by Ally Kennen is available at all good bookstores and Amazon (affiliate link)

 

Reading Eggs – A Reading Tool for Children

Reading Eggs is a website that endeavours to help children to read quickly, in a fun and engaging way.

I’m sure that most parents, of a primary school aged child, will appreciate the pressure that is on children to learn to read.  My son, J, started reception in September, unable to read and barely able to write. However, by July, he will be expected to read well and be able to write a sentence or two. Frankly, to me anyway, this is scary stuff.

Now I am a complete bookworm and very keen for my boys to discover how fantastic reading can be. As a result, I had been curious about Reading Eggs but had never gone as far as to try it. I was excited to be given a years free access to the site and the Mega Book Pack to really explore and see what it was all about.

I will be completely honest. J is knackered, and still getting to grips with his full days at school. I will admit to being a little hesitant at giving him more school type things to do in the evening. However, in the name of research, I was willing to give it a go, as long as he wasn’t too tired or resistant.

On browsing the Reading Eggs site, I was very keen to get J on there to see his first impressions. The site itself is very engaging, bright and friendly. As his computer skills are just emerging, it was nice to see that everything is very user friendly and self explanatory. He only needed a little adult guidance in the beginning. Each of the initial levels concentrate on one letter at a time. These letters, and the sounds they make, are studied thoroughly, but not to the point of tedium, before moving onto the next level.

Reading Eggs J1Reading Eggs J2

J really enjoyed his time on the Reading Eggs site. He was giggling when the marshmallow mouse came out,  at the end of the first level, and at various other things. In the end, we spent a lot longer than we had planned to spend on there. J was very put out when I insisted it was very much time for bed!

After bed time, I came down to find an email from Reading Eggs with suggested homework. The homework focuses on the most recent lessons learnt, and easy ways that this can be supplemented at home.

Two weeks on and he is still hooked. I love the fact that J also has his own personal Avatar for the site. This is something that he really enjoyed making, and he gets excited to see, every time he switches on. J loves Reading Eggs, most days asking ‘can I do my eggs Mummy’ whilst his little brother goes to bed. It’s really nice to spend this time together, knowing that he is learning in a way that is fun to him.

Reading eggs are currently offering a four week free trial to the online subscription. Please click here if you would like to register. Offer is available until the 31st March 2017.

The Lego Batman Movie – Our Review

Yesterday we went to a preview of the Lego Batman Movie. Most cinemas are offering a preview screening this weekend. It’s a film we’ve all wanted to see for a while now!

The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego Batman Movie comes from the same team who created The Lego Movie. As this is one of H’s favourite films it had potential to be a winner again. Generally if H likes a film she’s demanding we buy the DVD as we leave the theatre, and yet again she requested this.

So, what is it all about? Bruce Wayne is at a gala where the new mayor of Gotham is being unveiled, Barbara Gordon. Barbara declares that Gotham no longer needs Batman. He keeps saving the city, but the villains keep coming back, making it the most crime-ridden city ever. She suggests she takes over law enforcement as she is highly trained. Batman is sidelined, but eventually Barbara realises that Gotham needs Batman. She suggests they work as a team.

BUT.

Batman works alone. He does not work as part of a team. Even his newly adopted son Dick Grayson and Alfred Pennyworth are not a part of his team.

Which is the message in this film. The Lego Batman Movie is about how much you need friends to get things done and work together. Sometimes you might even need your enemies to be a part of that team…

Oh, and what brilliant enemies make an appearance too – I won’t spoil things.

Will Arnett voices Batman again, with voice appearances from Michael Cera as Robin, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, Rosario Dawson as Barbara Gordon and Zach Galifianakis as The Joker.

We popped into The Entertainer on the way home as there are Lego Batman Movie characters available in their latest range (£3 each, you don’t know which one you’re getting). Harley Quinn on Lego rollerskates eludes us for now…

So, our final thoughts on the Lego Batman Movie. We loved it! As I said before, H has demanded we buy the DVD when it comes out. Shaun and I were laughing out loud at several bits of the movie – it’s the little background touches. Two Shades of Grey at the Lego Movie (well, there are in Lego aren’t there), and a proper laugh out loud at the number plate on Bruce Wayne’s automobile. There are many things like this which you have to be quick to spot.

It’s a fun, cheeky, daft, hilarious movie with a message and best of all, classed a U so suitable for all. It references many different Batman moments throughout the years too. Oh, and I have to say a fabulous eighties soundtrack and references too.

The Lego Batman Movie gets a big thumbs up from us.

With our Tastecard Plus tickets worked out at £5.75 for adults and child ticket £4.50. We saved around £15 in total which is a great saving.

The Lego Batman movie opens on February 10th 2017. There are advance screenings in most cinemas this weekend. For more info head here.

It’s going to be a brilliant Lego Batman Movie computer game too – can’t wait.

In the meantime why not have a go at the Lego Batman Selfie Builder?

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond by Sam Hearn

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is the first fiction series that Sam Hearn has written and illustrated. We are taking part in a blog tour, here’s our review.

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is a story about John Watson starting the Baker Street Academy. While there he meets Sherlock Holmes and Martha Hudson, and the three of them try and solve a mystery.

The story tells through various ways which appealed to H. She liked the comic book illustrations and detective notes. You also read the story through school assignments, media reports and Watson’s blog.

Holmes and Watson go on a school trip to one of London’s top museums which is home to the world’s most famous jewel, the Alpine Star. But, someone has stolen the jewel.

They find the jewel, and the police close the case. Yet Sherlock Holmes isn’t so sure that it should be. John and Martha work with him to try and solve the mystery.

Our copy of Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond arrived on a day H was off sick from school. Until the postie had arrived she had been ambling from one activity to the next, not focused on anything. Since she started reading the book she hasn’t put it down. It’s a winner here.

It’s a nice easy read, and with the pages laid out like they are, it makes it a good attention-grabber. There’s plenty going on inside.

H says “I like that it’s like a comic strip, but also like a book. It’s half comic strip, half book. I like the detail in the pictures and how everything is in a logical way”

I asked her what she means by logical

“so it makes sense” she replied. “I like the blog part too.”

I asked her about the story

“They find the jewel, but it’s a fake. I like how Sherlock Holmes and John Watson and Martha Hudson all realise this and work out how to find the real one.”

I like how the start of the book has a few pages of character introductions. That kind of thing helps me a lot!

In summary, Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is a good, fun read which she hasn’t put down. H recommends it for 7-10 year olds who like books that have mysteries in them which get solved.

We have one final question. Who is Sam Hearn….?

Just Who is Sam Hearn

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond is published by Scholastic. You can buy it now from all good booksellers, plus of course, Amazon. (affiliate link)

Sherlock Holmes and the Disappearing Diamond Blog Tour