Tuesday, 31 March 2015

A tour of Coronation Street

On Sunday I took my mum to the Coronation Street tour in Manchester, it was a belated birthday present. My mum loves her soaps so when it came to finding her something for her birthday this seemed perfect. It took around an hour and a half to get there, the tour doesn't actually have parking but there is a car park not far from them. We couldn't find the car park so I just left my car on a side street near some others and hoped for the best, the car was fine. If you know where you are going then that's great! We had no idea I had google maps open and the mini map of where it was also open, we eventually found a sign which was around the corner from the entrance. If you book a tour you need to arrive 15 minuets early I wouldn't get there any earlier otherwise you will just have to hang about in the crew kitchen. The prices of food and drink are what you would expect of any similar place. 

The tour starts here
Our tour began at half 4 we had our little lanyards with a card that said backstage pass, which was a really cute idea to make you feel sort of like a star. Our tour guide Katie was really bubbly and chatty which was great, there is nothing worse then a tour guide who just points out facts. Katie really engaged the group that we were in and made sure we all had a chance to look at what she showing/telling us. Unfortunately you can't take any pictures of the sets on the inside which was really annoying but they aren't going to change a habit of a lifetime. You can't go on to the sets which is also a bit of a shame as it would be good if you could just stand on them and do a pose for a picture, like they offer in the Rovers set. In the Rovers you can pretend to pull a pint and get your picture taken. You can purchase the picture in the medical centre/gift shop after the tour I will talk about that further on. So the set tour is great I don't know if it's always the same sets or if they change them sometimes but got to see Carla Connors flat, the Platt's house, Fiz and Tyrone's, the factory, the barge that Ken's naughty love interest lived on along with the Rovers and the inside of the Kabin. Along with the sets are some pictures and props, you can also see the stars dressing rooms and wardrobe department with the actual clothes they have worn in the show. 


Once the inside tour has ended you exit out of the Bistro on to those famous and cobbles and to the theme tune of Coronation Street. Once you are on the street you can wonder around at your own place and take as many picture as you want until they close which was 7pm for us. Me and my mum had a walk around and took various posing pics. We both knocked on the Platt's front door with no answer so we wondered round to their garden and we realised that no one was home. From there we took a stroll down the cobbles past the Rovers and Audrey's salon. We decided to wait for the bus but with it being a Sunday the service was limited so we went for a Taxi instead.

 

We also popped for a Kebab and to pay respect at where Tina died. It was so much fun that I'm sure if we had a larger group of us and a cam corder we could of made our own little episode. Maybe some people have? I would be very interested seeing the footage if you have. At the gift shop we bought our picture on a USB which I don't really understand, they offer the USB option but a person in front of us had 2 pictures and was told you can only have one picture on the USB meaning he would have to buy 2. Now in the off chance that any of the tour team are reading this I have a little idea, It would be great if you could just pose on a few of the sets and have the picture taken, I understand that you want to preserve the set and that some people are just really ignorant to that but lets say you can stand in Carla's Kitchen or sit on a stool at a sewing machine in the factory. These would be great little pictures to have and I'm sure that people would be willing to pay for a USB that contains a few pictures. Say maybe £10 per USB for a selection of pictures that they have had taken. That is the end of my pitch. So back to the gift shop they offer a few things which are kind of pricey I would of loved a mug but paying nearly £9 for one I just couldn't justify that price so I got a fridge magnet and a rugby ball for Jared-David. I really hope that you get the chance to go as it is a great day out and the tour itself is priced fairly and you never know if you go you might just bump into some of the cast unfortunately we didn't but apparently they do visit. 

   
   
   

Monday, 23 March 2015

Gro Clock Review

Getting your toddlers to go to bed can be tricky, they need a drink or they are hungry then there is the "can I just have 5 more minuets". If you have a child like mine you have a battle on your hands. We get snuggled in our jim jam's have a cuddle on the sofa, had a little drink and off up the wooden hill to sleep. If you read one of my previous posts you will have read all about how difficult my son makes bedtime, crying, screaming, throwing toys, books and anything he could pick up. After a few hours he is asleep. Morning comes around and just as the sun is opening it's eyes the child is awake and shouting to go downstairs and watch Spongebob. It's that time of the morning where you just don't want to get out of bed, you beg your child just have another hour or two. I have tried explaining time to my son but he is two and I'm basically asking for miracles. 




We were lucky enough to be sent a Gro Clock, the clock isn't your typical clock face. It has no numbers around the edge and no hands pointing at numbers. My first thought was how will this help my son with knowing when it is bed time and when it is time to get up? The clock works by using two different glowing screens, one which indicated that it is night time by showing a star with a blue background and little stars surrounding the big one. The little stars go out one by one to show the passing of time but hopefully your child will be sound asleep by then. The other screen is yellow with a big smiley sun indicating that it is time to rise and shine. You can set the clock to change from night time to day time to go with your children's routines. The process of doing this did confuse me at first but it is fairly simple to use. The great thing about this feature is you can change it when ever you want especially on a weekend when you fancy a lie in. 



In the picture above you can see the smiling sun showing your child that it's time to be awake. I would just like to point out that my son does not watch that DVD he just likes the funny chicken on the front and likes taking it everywhere. You have got to love your kids strange interests. The clock plugs into a mains plug socket so no worrying about if the batteries are going to run out. When our Gro clock arrived and we opened the box my son got so excited, not because of the clock but because of a little book that was tucked away inside. 


A few other things about the Gro clock, you can set the clock up for nap times as well as having the bedtime and morning time set. My son doesn't have naps now as I'm normally at work so he is at his Nans. There is also the option to have an alarm sound for those wake up times, which I'm tempted to use for myself as my alarm is really annoying, but I guess any is. Again this is a feature that we won't need to use. well not at the moment due to my son waking up early. The Gro clock is currently on sale for £19.99 which you can purchase by going to the website or following this link to the Gro clock. If you have a look around the website you can also purchase faces for your Gro clock we are ordering the face which has the Aliens on which is currently £4.99. If you are not in the UK then fear not you can purchase the clock with a euro plug. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Twinkl Review

Over the past few weeks we have been using a website called Twinkl, the website is mainly aimed at teachers and teaching assistants. However on the site there is a section for parents and childminders. Twinkl offers resources for your childs learning, my boyfriends mum is a teaching assistant and she uses this website for the activities for her children in the school. There is also a section that shows you what the curriculum is and relevant work and activities that would help your child. 
Although there is alot on the site for teachers and that is related to school work I found it really good to help my son out. I spent a few hours looking around and seeing which activities would be both fun and helpful for Jared. Jared is two and is not yet at nursery but he is very cleaver (he does not get this from me) he can count to twenty and he knows his alphabet and can point out the correct letters, he has also just learned his left and right. This site has helped us keep up with things like his alphabet and numbers one of the items we have printed off is a picture dictionary, each dictionary page has squares for you to stick in pictures of objects that begins with the same letter. I'm currently collecting pictures of objects so we can work on this. One of the activities we have been doing is some emotion flash cards. I got all the flash cards and placed them down then I asked him to point to the picture where someone looks sad or happy etc. The more tricky words like confused and astonished he didn't really know and rather then pointing at one he just said "where it is mummy" 


 

On the website there is a section which will show you all the crafts that they have. This could be a print out sheet with just instructions to a print out of folding and colouring. We love crafts in this house so as you can imagine we have printed a few Easter crafts out ready to make in a week or two. We did do a few little crafts for mothers day and we gave them to Nanny and Nanna. One of Jareds favourites so far has been the dot-to-dots I have found this helps with number sequence at first he just wanted to colour in but once I explained that you have to join the dots by following the numbers he kind of got the hang off it, I joined the dots and he pointed to the number that came next. In time I'm sure his pen control with improve and I believe these dot-to-dots will help him with this. 


 This is Jared colouring in a lovely Mothers Day bouquet. I could resist joining in I guess I'm just a big kid as I love colouring.







 This is just one of the dot-to-dots it was of a dinosaur. Which Jared loves. We have so many dot-to-dots to do now. 

Another great thing they have is reward charts, this is perfect as we are teaching Jared to use the potty and rather then just a cheer and a well done from us he now has his own chart that we can fill in when he uses the potty. 

You can sign up to twinkl for free or you can choose the Gold membership which is £29.95 for 12 months and Platinum which is £44.95 for 12 months. I almost forgot to mention Twinkl also has a blog and a forum, you can also leave comments on the content that you have usesd. I'm looking forward to the rest of our Twinkl year and developing my son's skills further along with my two sisters who have had a look and found tonnes they want to download and do.    


* I was given a years free platinum subscription for writing this review. However this did in no way affect my views of the website and the resources it offers. All pictures are my own I do not give permission for my pictures to be use by any other person(s) unless consent is asked and given.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Nutella Star Bread

This recipe is so simple and great to make for children's parties, social gatherings. Best of all it is great for anyone who loves Nutella. I saw a video online of the star bread but I couldn't find a recipe so I did what I normally do when it comes to baking I make it up as I go along and hope for the best. For the dough I used a pizza dough recipe, which was ok but I think when I make this again I will use a brioche recipe so the dough once cooked is softer. 

Pizza Dough

13oz of plain flour
1 & 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
7g of dried active yeast 
2 tablespoons of olive oil 
225ml of warm water 

This is so simple you combine all the ingredients together in a bowl, or if you are lucky enough to have either an electric mixing bowl or bread machine. Mix them all together until you form a ball of dough. I found it easier to add the water bit by bit so I didn't end up with a sticky blob. 


 Form a ball shape from your dough then cut into four. Each quarter of the dough will be a layer to your Nutella star. Take one of the quarters and roll it out on a floured surface, place a plate on your rolled out dough and cut around the plate. This gives you your first layer.



Now you have your first layer you can smoother Nutella all over. I found I needed to warm the Nutella up so I just popped it in some hot water. This made it more running and a lot easier to spread. I may have ate some at this point as warm Nutella smells so good. 


Repeat the layering process until you have one piece of the rolled out dough left. Place the last circle on top but do not cover this part in the Nutella. To create the star looking shape, get a glass and place in the centre of the top layer. Take a sharp knife and cut outwards from the glass to make 16 pizza slices. 


Now this next step I found a bit tricky as I wanted the great star shape. Take two slices which are next to each other and twist them twice over away from each other. Repeat this until all slices are twisted. 

 

Pinch the twisted ends together like in the second picture above. I then brushed my dough star with an egg white. I popped it into the oven for about 20 minuets until it was golden in colour I used gas mark 6. Then I sat an ate it as it smelled so good, I would advise you let it cool for a while first though.




Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Cheesecake stuffed cupcakes

Not so long ago I came across a picture on pinterest which made my mouth water. The picture was of cheesecake stuffed cupcakes. I kept thinking about how nice these cakes looked and that I needed to make them and eat them all. I want to share the recipe I used with you, so you can taste the yummy calories. 

I made the cake batter first by mixing sugar, butter, eggs, chocolate chips and flour together. I also added a bit of chocolate powder to give them a chocolate taste. As usual I had my mini baker to help me out. 


To make the cheesecake part we mixed soft cheese sugar and an egg and more chocolate chips. I found this next part tricky as I had a pre-determined image of how they would look once cooked (Nothing ever looks as good if you do a pinterest idea). We got our cupcake cases, Jared chose green. We spooned some cake batter into the case then a spoonful of our cheesecake mixture on top followed by another spoonful of cake batter. I tried to make a well in the cake batter but this was tricky, I need more cake tools I reckon and then I could of achieved the well. Then we popped them in the oven until the cake was spongy. 

 As you can see in the above picture the cheesecake mixture was running I'm not sure if it was meant to be as running but either way it looked awful but once cooked it solidified and tasted amazing. The light parts on the cake is the cheesecake mixture once cooked.

 

If you would like to try and make these cakes you will need the following:

For the cake
4oz self raising flour 
4oz butter (softened) 
4oz caster sugar 
2 eggs

For the cheesecake mixture
6oz of soft cheese (I used one full pot of philadelphia cheese)
2oz of caster sugar
1 egg

I cooked them on gas mark 5 for about 15-20 minuets until they had a spongy texture. 

Leave me a comment and a picture or link to your blog if you have made these I would love to see how yours turned out.