Mellow Mummy : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Review

This Easter weekend we took the girls to see the new Disney on Ice extravaganza - Worlds of Fantasy.  Lara was most looking forward to seeing the Toy Story 3 part of the show as she really enjoys the movie and likes lots of the different characters.  Almost the whole of the second half of the show was dedicated to retelling the tale of Toy Story 3 in a shortened form, on ice - it was noticeable that there were parts of the story that had been subtly altered to cater for a younger audience (slightly less scary characters and no mention of Ken's late revelation later in the movie!).

We loves all of the characters.  I was particularly impressed by the inflatable characters such as the pig and slinky as I still couldn't quite work out whether there were real people inside, or whether they were purely robotic.. I noticed one fall over accidentally and they got up very cleverly!  Both my girls thought this part of the show was awesome!



Tinkerbell and Disney's Fairies made an appearance in the show with some beautiful choreography and lots of fluttery wings.  We loved seeing the fairy Queen floating above the show suspended from the ceiling.



For me, the most impressive part of the show was the Cars spectacular.  These were real cars - full scale, floating about and dong skids on the ice.  This was the first part of the show and I felt it was a little lacking in story as they were trying to set up the "worlds of fantasy" theme but I wasn't really paying attention, I was just wowed by the cars on the ice and how well they were all steering out of each other's way.  Very clever indeed.



Wembley Arena was a brilliant venue - well organised, quite calm and easy to navigate and so much easier to get to than I remember in the past - the Olympic enhancements have made it into a great venue that I'd definitely go back to.

Both of my girls sang and clapped and danced the entire way through the show.  We got the occasional wink or wave from a Disney princess and this made the girls very very happy!  I can't put into words how magical the whole experience is.  The tickets themselves represent very good value for money but we warned, food and souvenirs are priced with a Disney price tag - you may want to start saving for Christmas now!



Disney on Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy is still touring this week at:

Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Wednesday 23rd April 2014 – Sunday 27th April 2014

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster from around £13-£43 per person.

Later this year, starting in the Autumn a really special Disney on Ice show is coming to arenas near you - Disney on Ice presents 100 Years of Magic will celebrate 100 years of Disney animations and will bring together all of our favourite Disney characters. The show runs from the 26th September to the 5th January and is touring the country. Early bird tickets are available now. I can't wait!

Disclosure: we were sent tickets for the show to perform our review.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Method Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Hand Soap + Body Wash Review

We are big Method fans and my girls were both really excited to find out about the new range of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse children's products from Method.

Holly and Lara can both be a bit cheeky when it comes to hand-washing so this Mickey Mouse shaped foaming hand wash has given us a good excuse to get the girls washing their hands properly.  I think the gentle lemony scent is beautiful and Holly has to be torn away from the sink these days (Holly and sinks are not a good combo... but that is a story for another day).  Lara doesn't really like the scent even though she loves the pump action and the great foam.  The bottle is designed in such a way that it generates a really good foam from what sounds like a very watery hand wash - this is fab because it means less chemicals needed to do the same job and it also means less foaming chemicals needed as ingredients.


Method products are paraben free and use naturally derived ingredients where possible, which is why I am more than happy to use the Method Minnie Mouse shampoo + body wash on my girls.

The girls LOVE this fun bright red Minnie Mouse bottle and you can see the clear no-nonsense shampoo inside.  Because the ingredients are naturally derived, the texture of the shampoo is a little unusual; it reminds me of wallpaper paste.  Holly, once again, really really likes the scent which is called 'strawberry fizz', it certainly adds a bit of fun to bathtimes.



All in all, these fun Mickey and Minnie bathtime products from Method have been a big hit in our house.  They can be found in Waitrose, Ocado and at BigGreenSmile.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart Recipe

I had intended this to be a recipe for cooking with kids. I prepped the kitchen, bought easy-to-use ingredients, layed everything out in the kitchen ready for the girls to help me out... and then they showed no interest at all and instead demanded that I let them play in the garden. Hmph.

Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart
Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart


This recipe was inspired by a huuuge bilboard outside my local supermarket which was advertising a Luxury Strawberry and Cream Tart (ready-made, of course!) and having seen the photo I decided I simply had to try and reproduce it. I used ready rolled unsweetened short crust pastry (mainly because I had been planning on the girls making this with me!) and the mixture of the incredibly sweet topping, slightly cheesy filling and savoury pastry base worked incredibly well. This is a beautifully balanced dessert with lots of different textures and I was REALLY impressed with how even, thin and crisp the pastry was... there is absolutely no way I would have managed this recipe so elegantly if I had made the pastry myself.

GLAZED STRAWBERRY & CREAM CHEESE TART RECIPE (Serves 6)

INGREDIENTS
1 pack 320g Jus-Rol Shortcrust Ready Rolled Pastry
2 200g packs of full-fat soft cream cheese
200ml double cream
60g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 sachet red Quick Jel (with an additional 25g granulated sugar)
400g fresh strawberries



METHOD

1. Unwrap the shortcrust pastry about 30 minutes before use and pre-heat the oven to around 200 degrees centigrade.

2. Grease a 20cm flan dish (I used a silicone one to make it easy to remove after cooking) and place the pastry sheet over it, pressing gently into the sides. My sheet of pastry only just fitted in and I could have done with another centimetre or two at the edges. Trim the edges roughly (the pastry will shrink and change shape as it cooks so don't try to tidy it up now as it isn't worth the effort).

3. Place a piece of foil into the pastry flan and add baking beans to ensure the pastry doesn't rise and to create an even bake. Bake for around 15-20 minutes until crisp and golden all over.

4. Allow to cool fully before removing from the flan case.

ready rolled short crust flan case


5. Using a food processor, whip the double cream until it is thick and fluffy.

6. Using a wooden spoon, roughly beat the cream cheese, caster sugar and vanilla extract to soften it up a bit. Gently mix in the whipped cream so that the cheese and cream are fully blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled flan case and use a spatula to spread it carefully to the edges and flatten it on top.

7. Chill the flan in the fridge for at least 20 minutes to harden.

8. Prepare the fresh strawberries. Don't wash the strawberries! Instead, wipe each of them clean with a moistened kitchen towel and pat dry - this way the strawberries will remain firm when you place them on the flan.

9. Top and slice the strawberries lengthways and lay them in a circular pattern from the outside of the flan, inwards. Chill for at least 10 minutes.

Arranging the Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart


10. Make the Quick Jel according to the instructions on the packet (using water and the added sugar). Stir frequently as it cools to make sure there are no big bubbles in the jelly.

11.After about 10 minutes it will be just beginning to set and will be cool enough to drizzle over the fresh fruit on top of the flan. Use small spoon and ensure that you cover as many of the strawberries as possible to help the fruit on the flan stay fresh. Place in the fridge for another 20 minutes before serving.

Tidying up the Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart


12. Once cooled, I trimmed away any drizzles of jelly that had escaped over the edge of the flan.  I also sprinkled on a tiny touch of icing sugar to help it glisten.

13. Devour.

Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart
Glazed Strawberry and Cream Cheese Tart

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