My name is Lily-Sue, but my mummy calls me Munchkin (or 'Munch' for short!) I am 7 years old, and this is where my mummy will help me write all about all the fun things we do together. I hope you enjoy reading about the adventures of my mummy and me, Munchkin, with the occasional appearance from the siblings - Beastie and Plumlet.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Paws for Fun at Paw Patrol Live!

The Pups come to Wembley!

PAW Patrol Live! Race to the Rescue is based on the hit preschool series PAW Patrol, and has been treating its fans to a live tour, visiting towns and cities across the globe, and allowing hoards of excited children to see their favourite pups in action on the stage.

Plumlet has been a fan of Paw Patrol for some time now, educating me on his extensive knowledge of the character names and their catchphrases at every opportunity, placing pup themed toys on birthday and Christmas lists and watching episodes on repeat whenever he can. So, when I was asked if I would like to attend the show at Wembley, it was a no-brainer. Beastie is also a lover of the Nickelodeon show, so I knew it would be a great treat for the both of them.

To receive such an awesome looking invitation in the post was exciting enough. However, Plumlet took delivery of a box full of amazing goodies - all items of official Paw Patrol Live merchandise, to really get him looking forward to the show!

The merchandise is as bright and colourful as the show itself. Featuring all of the popular characters from the much loved show, every item is officially made and of high quality. From the moment Plumlet lifted his new plush Rubble from the box, he hasn't put him down!

Fast forward a few short weeks and we were on our way to the SSE Wembley Arena to watch Paw Patrol Live on stage! Me, Plumlet, Beastie and her best friend made our way into London with excitement levels through the roof!
On arrival, we received the warmest of welcomes. Security levels were high, but every member of staff present on the day, regardless of their duties, were friendly and accommodating, always finding that extra moment to stop and talk to the children. Staff on the door, floating around the foyer, manning the auditorium doors and serving in the restaurant were all helpful and happy, which was lovely.

The show naturally begins with Ryder, the teacher of the pups and leader of the Paw Patrol, greeting the audience. And then, just as you would expect to hear at a concert fronted by a Platinum selling artist, the arena was filled with screams and cheers as each pup was introduced. Children jumped to their feet as the stage filled with the characters and the widely recognised theme tune blasted from speakers  around the auditorium. It was a lively start to what had promised to be a PAWsome show!
The pups are large in size and just as animated as if they were on the television screen. Controlled by superheroes of the human kind (those costumes looked warm and heavy!) the way they move those pups around the stage is amazing. The voice acting is also expertly performed by these talented 'puppeteers', delivering an exciting, musical experience for their young (and not so young) audience!

"Each show brings everybody’s favorite pups to the stage for an action-packed, high-energy, musical adventure. During each performance, which includes two acts and an intermission, the pups show that "no job is too big, no pup is too small," sharing lessons for all ages about citizenship, social skills and problem solving."

With humour, suspense and important life lessons, Paw Patrol Live is the perfect show for any youngster. Audience participation is encouraged and smiling is very much expected, so what's not to love?! My 3 little show companions were all transfixed on the stage from beginning to end!
The show is 90 minutes long which includes a short, 10 minute interval around half way through. We found this to be the perfect length. I was a little concerned that Plumlet (and possibly Beastie!) would possibly struggle to sit through a show that was an hour and a half long. It was Plumlet's first ever live performance and Beastie finds sitting still for 10 minutes at the breakfast table difficult! However, she hardly moved until the end! She even refused to move during the interval, because seconds before the curtains went down on the first half, we were teased with a flash appearance from her favourite character, Everest. She knew she was coming up and insisted she had to stay put in case she missed it! As for Plumlet, I won't lie, he was terrified at the beginning. As we entered the arena, he was completely overwhelmed by the sheer size of the venue, and his nerves meant he stuck to me throughout. By the time we were about 20 minutes into the show, he was thoroughly enjoying himself and was happily joining in with the Ryder initiated chants of "RUFF RUFF" with the rest of the audience. The way he was at the start, I was worried he would spend the entire performance with his hands covering his eyes and his head buried in my shoulder, but he obviously couldn't resist the fun that was coming from the stage and relaxed nice and quickly.

Plumlet and Beastie were already fans of Paw Patrol, but this fantastic show has given them both a whole new appreciation for it and they have talked about it constantly since. As an addition to your show tickets, you can also book a Meet & Greet with the characters for that extra special photo opportunity! The atmosphere was electric, the music was catchy and the performance was top class. We would recommend the show to anyone that is a fan of these adventurous pups - it's definitely one for the 'not to miss' list, and is now on our 'would love to see again' list!

We received a box of Paw Patrol goodies and a complimentary ticket to the show. No other payment was received for writing this post and all words and opinions are our own.

Monday, 24 July 2017

WIN a Family Ticket to Paw Patrol LIVE

Paw Patrol is very popular in this house. Between having it on the television, picking up the toys and watching as the kids dash around the room shouting various pup like phrases, I'd say Paw Patrol is a daily part of my routine! So you can probably imagine the excitement when I announced that Paw Patrol was coming to the stage. 

The PAW Patrol pups are coming to an arena near you for their first ever UK and Ireland Live tour! When MayorGoodway goes missing during the day of the Great Adventure Bay Race, the pups come to the rescue. Families can join Ryder, Chase, Marshall, Rocky, Rubble, Zuma, Skye, and Everest for an action-packed adventure that shows no job is too big and no pup is too small!

We are so excited to be going to see the show in Wembley this Summer. Plumlet has spoken about it every day and told everybody that will listen about the news of his first ever live show. So I was delighted to take delivery of a lovely package for him, full of goodies to get him even more excited about his upcoming treat!

So, armed with his cuddly Rubble, his Marshall keyring and his special Paw Patrol Live t-shirt (I've just managed to persuade him to leave the giant fleecy blanket at home!), Plumlet will be at Wembley to watch as his favourite pups save the day!

And the excitement doesn't stop with us, because we are delighted to announce that we have a family ticket to give away to one lucky reader. A family ticket allows entry for up to 5 people (terms and conditions apply - see below competition form) and our winners will be going to see the show on 6th August for Wembley's 10am show!

Watch this space for our write up on the show, and get entering for your chance to win!

Win a Family Ticket to Paw Patrol LIVE!
Terms & Conditions
Family tickets are comprised of 5 x A–Reserve tickets valued at £30 to a total value of £150. Tickets can be used by either adult or child. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
(Children under 12 months of age do not require a paid ticket, provided they are seated on the lap of a ticket holder and do not occupy a seat.)
The winners will receive a ticket voucher via email which they will need to bring on the day of the show in order to redeem the tickets from the box office.
This prize cannot be exchanged for cash and no other expenses are included. 
Winner must contact within 48 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will have to be drawn

Listed On Loquax

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Turning Tears into Smiles with Elastoplast!

Soothing the Scratches and Scapes

We work our way through our fair share of sticky plasters. Sometimes, I fear I am mummy to three of the most accident prone children in the world! Every day, at 3pm, I stand outside school just waiting for a teacher to approach me with the notorious pink accident slip, one for each of the girls, as a day without one is a day I believe they must have had playtime indoors, sitting on the carpet, whilst avoiding any possible contact with furniture, play equipment or other humans ... or air!
It must be one of the most awful things a parent has to do - seeing to the bumps and bashes, the scrapes and scratches, the cuts and casualties. The tears and tantrums that are caused by their tumbles can be heartbreaking. And if you're like me and you don't deal with open wounds well, these moments can be even more challenging. I am usually the one giving loads of kisses and cuddles whilst The Man tends to the blood!

However, none of this could ever stop me from letting them be children, exploring their surroundings and enjoying the outdoors. After all, they all fall down - it's inevitable. But, us parents are there to help them back onto their feet, brush them down and turn those tears into smiles again.

We have been working with Britmums and Elastoplast, looking at how we make everything better when these falls happen, and have taken part in their #TearsIntoSmiles campaign.

Since 1924, Elastoplast has been sold in six countries across the world: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Since its founding, Elastoplast products have been renowned internationally for their quality. 

More than 200 tried and tested products and innovations are sold in countries from Germany to Chile, the United Kingdom to Australia, under the brand names Hansaplast, Elastoplast and Curitas. Apart from plasters and wound dressings, our product range includes well-tried as well as original products that offer relief from foot problems, sport injuries, pains and strains.

A worldwide brand that you and your whole family can rely on – we offer you modern and high-quality solutions to the demands and small inconveniences of everyday life.

We love getting outdoors, whether it is playing in the garden or feeding the ducks, exploring our local area or seeing what we can find in the woods. When we get outdoors, we like to have as few rules as possible (unless, of course, there is water nearby or we are close to roads, etc) and allow the children to lead us in their quest for fun.

We love to collect something from wherever we go. The children like to take their special finds into school to share their experiences with their friends and teachers. It makes them very proud and they feel like proper little adventurers when they hear their friends gasp in awe at the pine cone they've found and they watch with pride as their newly acquired pebble is passed around the class. Small things to us, but huge to them.

However, occasionally often, we find ourselves in the situation where play gets just a little too exciting, guards are released and accidents happen. Falls and bumps are the worry of most parents when they are out and about, having fun with the kids. Munch isn't really our accident prone one, luckily. We have always said that she is the one made of glass. She has her falls (especially at school!) and her minor accidents, but she's far from fearless and tends to avoid situations that she would deem to be dangerous. Beastie and Plumlet, on the other hand, are a whole different story! They will run into things, fall over, trip up pavements and generally find hazard with everything they encounter ... and that's just on the school run! So, we like to make sure we are always equipped with a sufficient supply of first aid tools when we go out. 

Plasters are a must-have in our little kit.

The kids are absolutely loving these novelty plasters from Elastoplast. They have had Disney's Frozen and Star Wars to choose from, and I would be lying if I said I haven't had to submit to the odd not entirely genuine ouchy, just so they could spend the day sporting one like a fashion accessory! However, they love them that much that the recent genuine sores caused by falls have seemed less traumatic to them as they get to choose from the variety of designs and it instantly makes that unsightly mark look awesome!

Coupled with lots of cuddles, these sticky plasters have definitely helped to turn their tears into smiles. When they do them in their favourite characters, how could they not smile!

This post is an entry for the BritMums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast. http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Swag your way through SWAGO!

Swago returns!

I've written here about the bingo style game from Swagbucks called Swago before, and here we are again as Swagbucks bring us another fun round with the chance to earn a 300SB bonus, simply for completing everyday tasks online which you are probably doing anyway.

Swagbucks has one more bit of April fun - it's the return of Swago! It's just like bingo, but in this case you're filling out squares as you earn points on their site for doing things you already do online. The best part is that the points you get can be used to get free gift cards to places like Amazon, or PayPal cash!      

Fill up your board and then submit your pattern to get even more points - if you can fill in the whole board, you get a 300 SB bonus! Activate your board over at www.swagbucks.com/swago and work your way through the grid, completing as many of the tasks as you can. When you complete an activity, the corresponding square will change colour to indicate success. Keep an eye on the board patterns to the right of your board as these show you which patterns reward which bonuses. Please do remember, you can only submit your board ONCE, so if you are going for the full board, wait until you have every square 'lit' before you submit.      

Click here to sign up and get started! If you sign up through my link and earn 300 SB before May 1st, you'll get a bonus 300 SB!

I am working alongside Swagbucks as an Influencer to spread the word about the benefits. I am very much an active member and all opinions are 100% my own!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Challenge Accepted, Swagbucks!

International Egg-cellent Team Challenge

Happy Easter everyone! By now, you've probably had your fill of chocolatey treats and have hopefully been able to enjoy some precious time with those you hold dearest. However, now comes the time to return to normality, and many have already been fighting off those Back to Work Blues as they resume the daily grind. 

However, Swagbucks is helping its members to extend the Easter excitement with yet another fun Team Challenge!

Easter is bringing with it another fun team challenge to help you earn SB from Swagbucks! For those of you who don't know what Swagbucks is, it's a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web! If you've never tried Swagbucks before because you didn't know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes! Their latest, the "Egg-cellent" Team Challenge, began Monday, 17 April, but there is still time to join in and claim a slice of the prize!

Here's how you can join the challenge (and and Swagbucks, if you haven't already!):  

1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team. If you don't already have an account, you can sign up on this page as well.

2. Starting 17 April at 4pm GMT, in addition to earning SB you'll contribute points to your teams total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.

3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you've contributed so far.   

Every member who participates and contributes at least 400 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Rebate on their next gift card! Not only that, but if you earn 300 SB before 1 May, you'll get a 300 SB bonus (as long as you've signed up under me)!  

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 3rd place team will receive a 10 SB Swag Up Rebate. Your SB Swag Up Rebate will be made available on Friday, 21 April and will expire on Sunday, 7 May at 7:59am GMT.

So get yourself signed up and start swagging! The quicker you start earning the SB, the quicker you can start redeeming them for vouchers for many of your favourite online and High Street stores!

I am working alongside Swagbucks as an Influencer to spread the word about the benefits. I am very much an active member and all opinions are 100% my own!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Blissful Bolognese, Comforting Carbonara, Luxurious Lasagne ... Delizioso Dolmio!

Midweek meals for the busy family
#ThankGoodness for #Dolmio!

A story that rings very true to so many parents out there today ...

"Not enough hours in the day!"

Too often, I find myself wanting to prepare a nutritious, satisfying meal for the whole family in the evening, but juggling the cooking process along with school runs, after school clubs and the general, everyday antics of three young children, can regularly see me short of time. As a result, I find myself searching for inspiration of quick family meals and often worry our weekly menu can become slightly bland. Couple these day-to-day dilemmas with three very fussy eaters (only two of which are children!), and mealtimes can fly dangerously close to the Chore Zone!

So when we were invited by Britmums to take part in the #Thank Goodness challenge with Dolmio, we were well and truly ready!

The good people at Dolmio recognise mealtime meltdowns and dinner dilemmas like no other, and they know that, when time is short and bellies are empty, we all look for a quick, comforting meal that will satisfy the fussiest of taste buds!

Our challenge was to gratefully accept the hamper of tasty goods that were delivered to our door and whip up a family favourite in the midst of our busy weekday schedule. And the star of the show ...?

Dolmio Bolognese Original 500g sauce is 100% natural. In each jar, you’ll find at least 10 juicy diced tomatoes, a dollop of tomato puree, half an onion, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, a couple of cloves of garlic, a handful of herbs including basil, a teaspoon of cornflour, a teaspoon of salt, a pinch of pepper, two teaspoons of added beet sugar for taste, a squeeze of lemon juice, a splash of water and nothing more. In fact, a jar provides a family of four with one of their 5-a-day each and that’s before you add any further veg to the meal!

So, sitting down with the kids and showing them our ingredients, I decided I would get inspiration from them.

Munch: "Spaghetti Bolognese!"
Beastie: Spag Bol!"
Plumlet: "Sgettiiiiii!"

Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm favourite here, so, seeing the ingredients and recognising the popular Dolmio logo as a regular in our shopping baskets, it was a no-brainer for them!

As mentioned earlier, Munch, Plumlet and The Man are all extremely fussy eaters. They all love a spag bol, but their ideal dish would be very plain, vegetable free and lacking any 'colourful bits'. Myself and Beastie, however, couldn't be more different! However, I don't need to educate anyone on the importance of a decent intake of vegetables, nor do I want anyone to think that I succumb to their aversion to 'colourful bits' and neglect feeding them healthy stuff. I just have to be a little more creative sometimes. Chopping an onion to within a millimetre of its existence finding a variety of ways to conceal vegetables within their food as well as finding fun and exciting ways to present the colourful food to them seems to be a normal exercise in this house. However, this time, I did add finely chopped vegetables - onion and carrot, and added some yummy extras for myself and Beastie to enjoy with our dinner.

Using Dolmio Bolognese sauce means I can be confident that the whole family are eating well, as they enjoy a meal that is both tasty and nutritious.

To make this meal choice even better, it is really quick and simple to make. The ingredients I used were:

500g Lean Beef Mince
1 500g jar of Original Dolmio Bolognese Sauce
1 Medium Onion
1 Medium Carrot
1 tsp Italian Herbs
0.5 tsp garlic powder
1 handful Mushrooms (amount depends on preference)
1 Yellow Pepper 
Grated Cheddar
Grated Fresh Parmesan
350g wholemeal Spaghetti

The method for making a delicious bolognese is simple, well known and extremely versatile. Whilst chopping the onion and carrot small enough to avoid finding a little pile of colourful bits at the edge of three out of five plates, I also cooked up some mushrooms (a favourite for me and Beastie) and sliced some bright yellow pepper to garnish our plates as we fancied! Just goes to show, a good spaghetti bolognese should be made how you like it!

Even my two fussiest eaters loved it and requested a second round before they had even finished their first!

So, next time you are out on your food shop, be sure to add Dolmio to your basket. Versatile goodness, valuable convenience and satisfied tummies ... all in a 500g jar!

Take a look at the hashtags #ThankGoodness and #Dolmio to see what delicious creations others have been enjoying.

This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #ThankGoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio. www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Ha Ha Ha Harvester!

From serving ribs ... to tickling them!

As a family of 5, going out for a family meal at a restaurant usually requires some careful consideration and intricate planning. Selecting a family friendly establishment with suitable facilities can be a task in itself. Then, getting all three children out of the door, looking respectable, getting seated happily at the restaurant, getting each child to choose their preferred meal from a menu of (what might as well be) a million possibilities, keeping said children entertained whilst their meals are being prepared (meals that at least one child will change their mind on 5 minutes later), and eating a relatively stress free dinner whilst avoiding the eye contact of any potentially disapproving or disgruntled diners!

It's no wonder our usual restaurant of choice is Harvester!

We've all been in a comparable situation, or witnessed a family in a restaurant facing a similar dilemma.

Harvester have come up with a great idea to distract those restless kids, to encourage those social media addicts to put their phones down and interact with one another and to keep everybody happy at the dinner table.

The popular family restaurant have recruited comedian Rhys James (of Mock the Week fame) to provide its staff with some comedic coaching.

The UK's favourite feel good restaurant hopes to help bring people together over food and drink and add some fun back into to its customers’ dining experiences through the use of some ‘fish & quips’.

A poll of 845 people conducted by the restaurant chain on Twitter revealed that the top dining situations people felt could use some humour are:

Screaming children (34 per cent)
Fellow diners too distracted by phones to have a conversation (26 per cent)
An awkward first date (21 per cent)
Boring dinner with the family (19 per cent)

A video of the ‘RibTickler’ training session sees Rhys James take some Harvester team members through a variety of comedy tactics and conversation starters before putting their new skills to test on unsuspecting diners, as he assists through a hidden camera.

Rhys James said: 

“I once worked in a restaurant and my banter never received the appreciation it deserved, so it was great to live vicariously through the Harvester team. It’s the ideal situation - if they get a laugh, I’m a genius. If they don’t, then it’s all down to their poor delivery! Some of them did really well with their own improvisation, but I’m secretly going to put this down to my excellent training too.”

Hazel Laughey, who has worked at Harvester for 6 years, said: 

“I’ve been part of plenty of training sessions but never one quite like this. We’re trained to create ‘feel good moments’ for guests, but this taught us the value of using comedy to improve our guests’ dining experience, which was the extra cherry on top. Admittedly, I was nervous at first, but once the guests started to laugh, it certainly gave me a buzz!”

Rob Pitcher, Divisional Director at Harvester, commented: 

“Our ethos is based on ‘feel good dining’ and we believe that training our staff in comedy will help bring family and friends closer together. Introducing more humour to the server and guest relationship is something we consider very important. We want guests to know that if they go into a Harvester, they will not only be served delicious food, but they’ll have a brilliant experience too!”

Watch the rib-tickling training session in action: 

I have to say, the reasons we always choose Harvester as our place to go for a family meal (apart from the fact that Beastie would happily spend our entire visit at the salad bar!) are vast and varied, but one of the chief reasons for us is their accommodating attitude towards families and young children. The staff always treat the children as though they are the most important people in the restaurant and no demand is too much work. This makes a huge difference to how well the meal goes and to how happy everyone is when we leave.

So, a family meal, with a delicious, varied menu, warm and welcoming customer service mixed with a team with a great sense of humour is surely the perfect choice for a family of any size and temperament! Check out your local restaurant here

This post has been written in collaboration with Harvester. We were offered a meal voucher in return for the post.