Monday, 23 January 2017

You have to see Sing Movie #SingMovie

My girls doing karaoke to the Sing soundtrack on Saturday night before we saw the movie on Sunday

Don't let your fear stop you doing what you love!

This is probably my favourite line from the movie and to be honest spending £37 for the five of us to see it will be well worth every penny if my kids take this sentiment with them into adulthood. I think we often miss out on things we would enjoy and even love as we allow ourselves to be held back by a fear or the unknown. We all need to embrace the unknown sometimes and remember 'what is the worst that can happen?' The worst case scenario is never really that bad, is it?

You don't expect to come out of a family movie with a big life statement like that but that is what I love about films aimed at all the family nowadays. They have the innocent story line, the fun characters, the amazing graphics but also the humour and depth to reach the adult audience too.

SING is a fabulous movie, with a rating of U and a run time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. If you like watching things like The Voice, Britain's Got Talent and the X Factor then you'll love this movie. The singing talent in it is amazing, who knew that Reese Witherspoon could sing like that? And I had no idea who the American singer Tori Kelly was before watching this but now both my girls and I are mesmerised by her stunning voice.

I think my favourite character had to be the very dapper koala Buster Moon as I have a not-so-secret crush on Matthew McConaughey who voices him and whilst I might not be able to see Matthew in the film, that beautiful southern lilt is so unique to him and makes my heart melt.

There is something in the film for everyone, our whole family went to see it and my 13 year old son said he was surprised how funny it was and 'so much better than I expected Mum, a bit like Shrek as it has loads of adult funny bits in it'.

SING is certainly one of those films that we will be watching again when it comes out on DVD, it is sure to become a classic family movie like Toy Story, Happy Feet or Madagascar.

SING has gained a 70% fresh tomato score on Rotten Tomatoes and all the critics seem to agree that Illuminate Pictures (the film animators behind Despicable Me, Minions, The Lorax and Secret Life of Pets to name just a few) have again made a fabulous tale

Have a look at the trailer yourself and see if this film might be for your family. I'm sure it will!

Have fun, Mich x

Oh and just in case you are interested here are my couple of loons having fun with Taylor Swifts 'Shake it Off'.

Disclosure: We wee sent a karaoke pack for us to enjoy as a family to celebrate the release of SING at the cinema.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

7 Great Venues to Host your Work Team Building Day in the South East

Team building days at work - you either love them or you hate them!

Done well, I think they are pretty amazing and definitely a way to help you get to know your fellow workers and start to understand what makes them tick. Prior to leaving the University when we moved here I organised a team-building day for our busy HR and development department and it was a tad daunting as so many people were specialists in developing others but luckily all went well and it was probably one of my greatest achievements in my ten year career there.

Our Director had said we had to have at least half a day spent doing work based activities and then half day of pure fun. So the morning was spent doing various team tasks and working with some fabulous facilitators to help us all think through the customer experience. Who was our customer and what did they expect and how could we impact the wider aims of the University?

For lunch we went to the student refectory and ate with the students as I wanted everyone to be able to experience the service our ultimate customers receive. Luckily I was able to choose this option as the eating facilities we excellent and this meant we could all have a really enjoyable meal from the very wide variety serviced.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

8 Top Tips When Recycling

Recycling Image: Shutterstock

I'm so glad that my children are growing up in an age when they don't know any different than recycling everything they can, nowadays it is about 70% of what we no longer want that can be recycled or reused. How different life was when I was small and it all just went into tons of black sacks and then the bin-men came and collected it from your back garden and left you more sacks too! We have to be a bit more proactive nowadays sorting and taking the recycling out but the long term benefits to our small island and ultimately the whole world will be worth it.

In case recycling doesn't float your boat and you are not bought into it as yet, let me share with you some tips to make it easier and more manageable -

1. Get all the family involved. For a while I bored myself silly telling the kids to wash their yogurt cartons or squash the tin cans but now it is just second nature for them to do it and put it in the recycling rather than leaving it on the side for me. It is also the children's job to take the recycling to our designated point and to sort it into the right areas; it is a nice easy way for them to earn some tech time.

2.  Educate yourself. You'd think that recycling across the UK would be pretty universal wouldn't you? But sadly not, there doesn't appear to be any joined up thinking, So some councils will take tetra packs, others plastic carrier bags, some cooked food waste. So as soon as you move to a new area check out the councils website and ensure you know what to do and when to do it and if they don't have kerbside collections for all the things you want, don't throw in the towel, see if there is a collection point you pass on the way to work/ school etc and could easily fit that drop off into your life.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Finding a Bargain at New Look with Voucher Codes

There are bargains everywhere at this time of year. We've just had Black Friday and Cyber Monday and with there only being another week or so until Christmas all the major stores are starting to get worried about their sales and are slashing prices further. Of course you'll want to get the very best deal available to you so it is still very much worth checking the voucher codes sites and if you have young ladies in the family like me then they are probably hassling you for a new Christmas outfit from a store like New Look.

This really is their favourite store at the moment so I am constantly on the look out for New Look voucher codes and I've found some good ones at As I like to get a bargain I am using my discount codes along with items already in the sale and I let my girls have a look online and see what they fancied as a Christmas. Below are what they choose, I find it so funny how different each of them is.

Miss E is much more into casual clothes than her twin and her picks nearly always include denim dungarees of some type and even shorts are fine when you team them with a pair of chunky knit tights. Miss E says she fancies a pair of sparkly silver ones to go with this outfit and make it special for Christmas.

Black bomber jacket £9, Black suede brogues £9, Denim shorts £12 and Stripey top £6.
Total outfit cost = £36.00

Miss M thinks she is at least five years older than her twin and I think you can see that by her sophisticated choices -

Black trousers £7, Khaki sleeveless jacket £12, Black sling-back shoes £6 and Khaki star top £4. Total outfit cost = £29.00

Absolute bargains, don't you agree? and definitely worth finding a New Look voucher code to secure these for an even better price if you can.

My Favourite Voucher Codes
I've been using the My Favourite Voucher Codes site for a few months now and found some great discounts. There is so much on there and the New Look promo codes have been so useful. They also have a great Trust Pilot score, which is always something I check to see how reputable a website is. There are nearly 10,200 live codes as of today and I like the fact that I can see the site is being checked and updated daily so I don't end up excited about a deal that I can't actually access anymore.

Some of my favourite stores have great voucher/ promo codes available on there - like Debenhams, Marks and Spencer, Halfords and Pizza Hut (buy one, get one free don't you know?).

It is good if you have a bit of time on your hands to choose one of the categories that you fancy and having a flick through the voucher codes and seeing what suits your family. There is something for everyone from clothes to food, to hotels, to wine and furniture.

Donating 20% of Profits to Charity
The other great thing is that My Favourite Voucher Codes donate 20% of the profit they make to a chosen charity for the month and us as their customers can vote on who should get the money. This month they are donating £347.19 to the Stroke Association and since 2012 they have raised £50,561.83 for the chosen charities - how fabulous if that? If you want to vote for this months chosen charity then scroll down the home page and click vote in the bottom right hand corner

You can Follow My Favourite Voucher Codes on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Review: Magic Dip Design Art Centre

Miss E was super pleased to receive the Magic Dip Design Art Centre from character. It retails for £29.99 and is available from most good toy stores and online at places like Amazon. The best price I found it for was at John Lewis where it is currently £24.99.

We've made a video with Miss E using the design art centre and talking about how she enjoys it and if she finds it easy, have a watch -

Here are the pros and cons that we found -

Pro's -
  • It was easy enough for a 9 year old to set up and use alone (whilst under my beady eye)
  • The marbled items look fabulous if you use a light hand to dip them
  • You get unique items every time
  • You can dip and marble most anything you fancy - candles, ceramic, silicon, plastics, wood, paper, card, glass and textiles
  • It dries quickly and the spay sets the paint
  • Once you have dipped your item, you can clear the water really easily to mix fresh paints and dip something else
  • Any messes are easily cleared up with simple nail polish remover
  • it is great fun and keeps the kids happy
Points to think about -
  • Don't forget to protect your work area (we use an old oil cloth on the table) and use an apron (we forgot!)
  • Make sure the water is room temp, it makes the world of difference
  • You have to be quick, once the paint is on the water it is starting to set already
  • Dip paper or card based products quickly as too much time in the water and they start to soak it up
  • Only one glove supplied and ours was ruined after one session
  • The paint contains irritants, is toxic to aquatic life and is highly flammable, so it needed to be used carefully and under supervision. We found our dining room was quite smelly after a while and I had to open the window and finish our session.

In all we think the Magic Dip Design Art Centre is great and would make a super Christmas present for a young boy or girl who likes to craft. Due to the ingredients of the paints the child needs to be 8+ years and work under supervision in a well ventilated room.

You can also buy a starter kit with 4 paints, glossy spray, glitter, gems and a few things to dip for just £10, as well as replacement paints, which are £5 for 5 colours and I think that is reasonable.

Disclosure: We received this set free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.