Coppelia cr John Ross (1)_1Last week I went to see the English National Ballet and English National Ballet School’s production of Coppélia at The Peacock Theatre in London with ‘I’ aged 11 years old and ‘M’ aged 6 years old. This is the third time we have seen one of their productions especially aimed at younger children. These ballets aim to bring ballet to younger audiences which is fun and easy to understand.

Coppelia cr John Ross (2)_1In this performance Dr Coppélius narrated which made it very easy to follow, having seen a full length version of this ballet I know it is not that easy to follow if you don’t know the story, so this was very helpful. M isn’t usually a great fan of theatre so I was not sure how much he would enjoy this ballet however he was mesmerised; I was so thrilled to see him laughing and smiling and really enjoying it.

Coppelia cr John Ross (3)_1The set was stunning, there was no scrimping here, and the costumes whilst not as ‘pretty’ as ones you might get in Cinderella, for instance, they were in keeping with the traditional story set in a Polish village. The story is about the mayor’s daughter Swanhilda and her fiancé Franz who falls in love with another girl; Coppélia who is in fact a mechanical doll made by Dr Coppélius.

Coppelia cr John Ross (4)_1I have to say this was probably my favourite ‘My First Ballet’ production, it was really engaging and I preferred the way the narrator was incorporated into the performance rather than on the edge of it as in previous ones I have seen. It kept both the attention of both children throughout although I think some younger children around us were getting a little restless for the last ten minutes.

My First Ballet: Coppélia is on at the Peacock Theatre until 19th April and then is on tour around the country until the end of May. A family of four ticket costs £55 for the Peacock Theatre but other tickets start at £8 dependent on venue, and the ballet is recommended for children over the age of three. For further information and tickets go to

I would recommend this highly for any young fans of ballet, it really is a great production.

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Here Be Monsters

Ages and ages ago now I went to a fab event with the younger two children to find out about the new Here Be Monsters app that was about to be launched for iPad. This is not a new game but a new way to play this and is aimed at children of all ages from younger ones to teens.


The aim of the game is to

  • Trap Monsters
  • Travel the World
  • Meet Friendly Folk
  • Make a Home

Here Be Monsters

You can become a top trapper collecting 100′s of monsters along the way with traps and bait as you work your way up the Ministry of Monsters. Along the way you can collect resources including fish, fruit, flowers, butterflies. The game can be connected with players from around the world.

Here Be MonstersAs mentioned previously it was quite a while ago that the children got to play the new app but it was only launched at the end of last month and M, aged six, had been asking every week since if it had been launched yet. He is a fan, I was amazed at how quickly he picked up how to play the game. We have of course got it at home now and he loves it.

homesteadThe graphics are amazing and the game is updated regularly so there are new tasks and new monsters to collect all the time. The app is free to download and while there are in-app purchases available you can play it without.

It is definitely a hit here so we would recommend it.

Here Be Monsters

Thanks to the team for putting on a great event where M was thrilled to see his hand drawn monster turned into a ‘real live’ monster by artists that work on the app.


Aldi wines: Review

April 7, 2014 · 1 comment

Aldi wines

 I do like my wine and was delighted to have the opportunity to review some from Aldi.

Grapevine Merlot

First up I tried Grapevine Merlot a red wine from Spain. Merlot is probably one of my favourite reds so I was keen to see what this was like. I was not disappointed, it is very fruity, I thought I could taste berries but it is made with plums, blackcurrants and black cherries. It has a high alcohol content at 12.5% of which I was surprised because it felt very light for a red wine. I really enjoyed this and would buy it myself but what I was most amazed about is the price, £3.29 a bottle. I honestly cannot believe it, a bargain for such an easy drinking wine. I highly recommend this.

Freeman's Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Next I tried Freeman’s Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2013. Sauvignon Blanc is one white that I would normally choose to drink. I loved the colour of this, very nearly colourless, I can’t stand drinking white wine that is yellow as it reminds me of something else…cough. This is very very fruity, again very light but lively. It was just ever so slightly too acidic for me, however I still drank it. It is made with gooseberry, lime zest and passion fruit and I could definitely taste the lime zest. I was shocked to discover this had an alcohol content of 13% which is very high, I would never had guessed this as it was so light. Again at just £5.79 a bottle it is good value for money, I would recommend it to anyone that likes really fruity wine.

 Limestone Coast Chardonnay

The Exquisite Collection Limestone Coast Chardonnay from Australia is priced at £5.99. It has an alcohol content of 13.5%. This is a very intense wine and I found it a little heavy. To be fair I am not usually a Chardonnay fan so it could have been my palette. Although it is dry it is very very fruity, I couldn’t pick any out in particular but it a blend of honeysuckle, white peach and pineapple.

Cremant du Jura Sparkling wine










The Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura 2011 is a sparking Chardonnay. At first I was not sure but this grew on me and it is absolutely lovely, so crisp and refreshing and the bubbles delicately popped on my tongue. This is a really lovely sparkling wine, definitely one for warm summer days or special occasions and celebrations and at just £6.99, that’s right £6.99 a bottle it is a bargain. I could taste the apples in this and really do recommend it. It’s alcohol content is 12%.

Andara Merlot

Lastly we have the Andara Chilean Merlot. This was a lot drier than the other Merlot I tried. The red fruits could be tasted and I could even detect a hint of chocolate, it doesn’t mention oak at all but to me it tasted slightly oaky. This bottle is another bargain at just £3.99 a bottle. I preferred the Spanish Merlot to this one but I would still recommend it if you like heavier wines.

Well this has certainly changed my perception of which wines to buy in the future, I am especially impressed with the Grapevine Merlot and the Philippe Michel Cremant du Jura and will be seeking out my nearest Aldi, I can’t believe how good value they are for money.

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Seize the Flavour

March 29, 2014

  I cannot tell you how chaotic my life is and the other day as I walked through the front door I had just 40 minutes to cook dinner, feed two of the children and get them to a show they were in. Thanks to Knorr Flavour Pots I managed it…and the children were impressed! […]

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Speedy Chocolate Traybake

March 19, 2014

It’s Sunday evening and you really really want cake. There is nothing in the house and you really cannot be bothered with the faff of making a cake. Fear not, this is a super speedy cake that if you can’t wait for it to cool down is made and ready to eat in just 45 […]

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Introducing the limited edition White Chocolate Aero

March 17, 2014

It’s here! You can now buy the limited edition white chocolate Aero bar which is available in the shops! You all helped choose the flavour, of which I was the ambassador and you can make the recipe that I published a while ago…Chocolate Fridge Cake. The traditional milk chocolate Aero encases  delicious creamy white chocolate […]

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Carte Noire Collection Espresso Challenge

March 16, 2014

I admit it, I am a bit of a coffee snob. I never ever drink instant coffee, why would I when I have a Nespresso* machine that makes coffee in literally seconds. I am always on the look out for different ‘flavours’ and by flavours I don’t mean mint or orange but coffee with undertones […]

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World Book Day Secret Giver

March 3, 2014

We were asked to take part in a super duper secret blogger book giveaway with Miles Kelly publishers to celebrate World Book Day, which is on March 6th 2014. Considering we have huge love for books we could not resist taking part. I was ‘given’ a blogger to study and spy on secretly to find […]

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Cheerios with added vitamin D: Review

March 3, 2014

My children do like a bowl of cereal for breakfast, and quite frankly I am just pleased that they go to school full ready for the day ahead. I was truly aghast when I heard that lots of children go to school without any breakfast at all. That is so sad and really not a […]

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Brazilian Chicken with Rice and Beans

February 24, 2014

I do like a bit of spice in my food so was more than happy to take part in the Schwartz flavour forecast challenge. The Flavour Forecast 2014 is a report developed annually by Schwartz and McCormick experts around the world which highlights to five trends as well as more than a dozen emerging flavours. […]

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