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Thursday, 24 April 2014

H&A Disney Shampoo Review and Competition

H&A Disney Princess Ariel Hair Care  Conditioning Shampoo Detangler

We are loving being H&A Bathtime Fun Squad Members, the kids enjoy getting to try fun new products and toys in the bath.  For our first task, we are reviewing H&A Disney Princess Ariel Conditioning Shampoo and Ariel Detangler.   

H&A Disney Princess Ariel Hair Care  Conditioning Shampoo Detangler

The girls loved the Ariel packaging as we love to play with mermaids in the bath, as well as fish, ducks and pirates!

I'm a fan of this Shampoo as it is mild and gentle.  It leaves the girls hair clean, soft and shiny and smelling lovely.  As the Shampoo is conditioning, I find that I only need to use this on Izzy's short, fine hair.

H&A Disney Princess Ariel Hair Care  Conditioning Shampoo Detangler

The older girls have longer hair which I towel dry and then spray on the Detangler.  This is great as then I can "wide tooth Comb" their hair easily.  It makes their hair extra shiny and can be used on wet or dry hair and inbetween washes.  A spritz of it on their hair in the morning makes it easier to comb through.

 H&A Disney Princess Ariel Hair Care  Conditioning Shampoo Detangler

I'm pleased to say that this is "Tear Free" Shampoo, however children generally don't even like the water running into their eyes at bath time, so I have a tip to share if you have a stubborn toddler who is refusing to tip their head back for you at bathtime...

Magic Mermaid Toddler Bath Tips Tear free Bath Time Look Up Tip Head back Shampoo

Meet our "Magic Mermaid" who encourages Izzy to "look up" for me at Bathtime.  


Magic Mermaid Toddler Bath Tips Tear free Bath Time Look Up Tip Head back Shampoo

She was super easy to make- you can draw any character that you know your child will love!  We have used ducks and pirates in the past.  I coloured her in and Izzy covered her in glitter as she loves to glitter all our pictures at the moment.  I then cut her out and laminated her so she will last a bit longer in a steamy bathroom.  If you don't have a laminator, you could cover your picture with Clear Sticky Plastic.  Then we used sticky tack to attach her to the bathroom ceiling right above the bath.


Magic Mermaid Toddler Bath Tips Tear free Bath Time Look Up Tip Head back Shampoo

At shampoo time, I just remind Izzy to look at the mermaid- she often waves too!


Magic Mermaid Toddler Bath Tips Tear free Bath Time Look Up Tip Head back Shampoo

Whenever we try out new shampoos the kids always want to know can they "style their shampoo hair" with it.  I'm pleased to say that yes, we managed to style a few Mohicans during bath time before the shampoo was rinsed off.

This is the way we wash our hair bath time song lyrics fun H&A

As always at bath time, songs were sung.  We sang "This is the way we wash our hair" and "I'm gonna wash shampoo out of my hair" (to the tune of "Wash that man!").


H&A Disney Hair Care Competition Minnie Mouse Ben 10 Shampoo Win Giveaway

The great news is H&A would like to give one lucky Diary of the Evans-Crittens reader some H&A Shampoo's of their own to try, just by entering the easy Rafflecopter Giveaway below.  The prize is one Minnie Shampoo and one Ben 10 Shampoo.





a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to everyone who enters!  Please read the T&C and e-mail me if you need to.
claireevanscritten@hotmail.co.uk 

Do you have any bath time tips to share with me?  



Julie's Notebook #WinningWeekends

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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Heinz Barbecue Chicken Salad: Quick Healthy Family Meal #Asda #shop

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This Heinz Healthy Eating shop, which took place at Asda,  has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. #collectivebias #shop

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

I've been eating out a lot recently as a result of Hen Do's and family Birthday Parties! 

Family, Birthday, Celebrate,

This is lovely of course, but after a few weeks of over indulging in food and drink, I start needing and craving healthier food again.  

This Saturday night, Dave was out gigging, so tea was left to me.  I wanted something healthy but also speedy quick so we could settle down to enjoy Saturday night television together - I'm lovingthe new series of Britain's Got Talent!

Pasta is my usual easy go-to home cooked fast food meal.  When I found out that Heinz have a range of Gluten Free Pasta and Sauces I planned to buy these, along with fresh peppers and mushrooms to add to my dish.

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

As we were planning to drive over the Cleddau Bridge anyway, we decided to pop to Asda in Pembroke Dock (it costs 75p each way to cross the bridge but there are lovely days out to be had in that direction so we always get our "bridge money's worth"!

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop
 Trolley, Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop





Rebecca got the parking ticket for me (this is reimbursed at the till) and released the trolley, then off we went shopping!

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop


I put all the fresh vegetables in the trolley that we would need for the meal I had in mind, then realised that this store didn't have the Heinz Gluten Free Pasta in stock, so it was time for a change of plan!  

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, Barbecue, Sauce,  #shop

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop


I didn't want to retrace my steps and put items back so I kept the fresh ingredients and just added chicken (for Danny), Meat-Free Chicken (for us) and Heinz BBQ Sauce.  I chose the Classic for myself and the girls and the Chilli version for Danny.  I also popped Heinz Lemon and Black Pepper Salad Cream in the trolley to spice up my salad.  I admit that I have eaten a lot more salad since this has been in my fridge!

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop , tomatoes, mushrooms, pottoes, cheese, garlic,


We also added some Welsh New Potatoes, as I fancied Home Made Wedges with Heinz Barbecue Sauce as a dip, and grated Colliers Mature Welsh Cheddar to enchance the BBQ Chicken and Meat-Free Chicken.

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

 Barbecue Chicken

As soon as we got home I marinaded the chicken and meat-free chicken.  This was super easy as all I had to do was squeeze on the appropriate sauce and stir.  I love how you can use Barbecue Sauces as a super easy and tasty marinade.

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

I covered them and left them while I prepared the other food. 

You can leave this overnight to marinade but I was making fast food!   As soon as all the food had been prepared and the table laid, then I placed my Chilli Barbecue Chicken Dish and Classic Barbecue Meat-Free Chicken Dish into the oven.  

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop


Homemade Potato Wedges

Next I prepared the Homemade Potato Wedges, as I knew they would take the longest to cook.  I like to use smaller potatoes for wedges as there is no need to peel, they take less time to bake and have more crunch.

I pre-heated the oven to Gas Mark 6.  I poured some olive oil in my baking tray, then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary.  I placed this tray in the oven so it would have time to warm up before I added my potatoes- I don't know why but I always find they cook better this way.

I washed the potatoes and cut them into wedges by halving then quartering them.  I waited five minutes for the oil currently in the pan in the oven to heat up, then I added them to the seasoned oil.  I gave them a good stir and replaced the tray in the oven.

They take about 25-30 minutes to cook depending on the size of them.  I check on them after 10/15 minutes and gave them a good stir.

I served them with Heinz Barbecue Dip.  When dave is home we tend to have spicier Potato Wedges, but I love these simpler ones with a Barbecue Dip.

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop , mushroom, pepper, stir fry


Stir-Fry Mushrooms and Peppers

This pan fried mushroom and pepper dish was a lovely vegetable base for my Barbecued Chicken.  

I heated the olive oil in the pan, then just added the chopped mushrooms and peppers.  I kept stir frying and they were done.  I like to add onion too, but the kids aren't keen so it was left out for them on this occasion.  

Salad

As this was "fast food" I completely cheated and bought a bag of salad to which I just added cherry tomatoes and Heinz Salad Cream.  Of course, it doesn't take long to tear off a few lettuce leaves and chop some salad when your fridge is already full of salad goodness.

Heinz, Asda, Barbecue Chicken, Homemade Potato Wedges, BBQ Dip, Salad, Mushrooms, peppers, Stir Fry, Recipe, Food, healthy, #shop

This meal was a great hit with my family and all plates were emptied.  I will definitely be reaching for the Heinz Barbecue Sauce when I need a quick, healthy family meal again.  I'm sure we will get a lot of use out of it this Summer as a quick easy marinade for our BBQ meats (and non-meats!) and kebabs too.

I'm still planning to give the Gluten-Free Range a try as well!

What's your go-to healthy, family, fast food meal? I need to eat lots of super healthy meals this week to compensate for the over eating of Easter Eggs!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Feathers and Flight at Warner Brother Studio Tours London The Making of Harry Potter

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We were so excited to be asked back to Warner Brother Studio Tours to review their new attraction, Feathers and Flights.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

With a wave of our wands (OK and also a drive on the M4 and M25!) we were there to enjoy this special event.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Warner Brother Studios is very easy to find.  Driving from the South West, we left the M25 at J19 and followed the Brown "Warner Bros Studio Tour" Signs.  

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Once we arrived, friendly staff directed us to the free parking.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

You must pre-book to visit the attraction. Tickets can be bought here.  
 The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Make sure you arrive on time for your allotted tour.  We always get there early and pass the time by picking up our Passports and taking in all the sights around us.  There is also a cafe as well as a shop and toilets in the entrance foyer.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

As this was a VIP event we were also treated to drinks.  This was a nice welcome after a long journey.  It was a shame I had to drive back to the hotel though, so had to stick to the juice.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Sitting on the bench sipping our drinks, we felt like we were waiting for the Hogwarts Express to whisk us off to our own school of magic!


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

 

When it is time to queue for your tour, as you are are literally still in the Muggle World, it is fitting that the first display you see is "The Cupboard Under The Stairs" also known as Harry's bedroom in his home on Privet Drive.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

From the start, the friendly staff interacted with the kids and told them lots of behind the scene secrets.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Despite there being lots to see and keep us amused, we were still pleased when it was time for our tour to begin!


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We were led into the screen room for our welcome and introduction. 



After this we went into the "Cinema" for a Question and Answer Session with the Animal Trainers, including head trainer, Julie Tottman.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

This was really interesting.  We heard how owls actually take a long time to learn new skill- they can take up to three months to learn what a raven or crow can learn in just one week.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

 I was very impressed to find out that in the infamous scene where Harry's owl,  Hedwig delivers the Nimbus 2000 Broomstick to Harry - the owl actor really did carry the broom stick as he flew in through the window.  The trickery came from the prop rather than CGI department- a specially made "light" (as a feather?) broom stick was used.  

We also watched a video especially made for Flights and Feathers showing how the owls are trained to carry objects and we also got to see the "owl's  eye view" as he flew across the Great Hall after he had been trained to carry a camera.  Amazing!

During the Q and A session, Danny's question was "What happens if during filming none of the animals will do what they are told?" (I could have asked a similar question regarding children!).  The trainers explained that because all the conditions are correct and the animals are happy, then they are always happy to take part.  There are always three animal actors to portray each character so they can pick the most suited animal for the scene.  Julie explained that while training is the harder part of their job, filming is fun for the animals.  

We then watched the special Harry Potter film which always precedes the tour-and gives me goosebumps!  


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

At last it was time to go through the Golden Doors and enter The Great Hall at Hogwarts...


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

For this special Feathers and Flight feature, the Great Hall set is decorated ready for owl post delivery scenes.  The food looks so real-I did wonder for one moment if we were all going to sit down and breakfast together!  There were racks of toasts, boiled eggs, jugs of juice and of course, every Wizard's favourite Cereal "Cheeri Owls".  


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The specially made broomsticks and letters were also on display, as well as permanent displays showing the House Crests and Uniforms.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Here is the uniform which I would be wearing (Gryffindor!).


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The girls sat at one of the long tables and pondered what everyday life would be like at Hogwarts.
The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

 Danny certainly feasted as well as Harry and Ron usually do.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Here is the costume worn by one of my favourite characters, Hagrid.  He is definitely my favourite "voice" to do whilst reading aloud from the books.  This actual costume was worn by Robbie Coltrane's Body Double, retired rugby player and now TV presenter, Martin Bayfield, who despite being 6'10" tall, still needed to wear stilts to make him appear as tall as the half-giant, Hagrid.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Professor's costumes are shown at the top of The Great Hall.  My kids often tell me that I look like Severus Snape- thanks kids! 

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London House Points Egg Timer Hour Glass

I was pleased to see that Gryffindor were in the lead once again for house points!  

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London Light Broom Stick

Our guide shows us the actual broom stick that was carried in by our feathered friend. 

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Once our talk in The Great Hall was over, I would have liked to have taken more photos.  However, the kids were eager to move on and there was certainly a lot more that we needed to see in The Big Room!


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Caitlyn gets her Passport Stamped! 

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Danny has a play with "forced perspective" techniques.
 The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

I love the ramshackle Weasley's home, The Burrow.  We get to see the magical secrets of how Mrs Weasley copes with her lively, large family.   

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Enchanted Clock that every head of household needs, how useful it would be to keep track of all family members at once- although very worrying when all hands point to "In Mortal peril" as they once did in during the Second Wizarding War.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Ever wondered how Molly Weasely has the time to churn out all those lovely homemade knitted Christmas jumpers?  Enchanted needles of course!

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

No more burnt on pan washing up horrors with a self stirring pot!

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We also spotted more Cheeri Owls Cereal! There was also an enchanted iron, enchanted knife to chop the veg and a washing up brush. 

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Professor Umbridge's rather pink, palatial office at The Ministry of Magic.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

 The snake door to the Chamber of Secrets- this does something quite special!

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Professor Snape's Potions Class room.  

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

You can also see the Griffindor Dormitory, Common Room, Albus Dumbledore's Office, The Mirror of Erised and  so much more.  


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The girls took a turn on the flying car (they look suprisingly calm!)

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Whilst we each had a turn flying on a broom stick.  Of course, we were really on a broomstick but the scenery behind us may have been Green Screen (big secret reveal there!).


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

 We then went outside to the Back Lot, home to the outdoor sets as well as a picnic area and food vans.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

It was very atmospheric seeing the Knight Bus and Covered Wooden Bridge in the dark. 

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We enjoyed some Butterbeer.

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Seeing Number 4 Privet Drive in the dark bought me back to  that night in 1981 when Dumbledore first bought baby Harry to live with the Dursleys.  I would not have been suprised to have glimpsed a cat with a map.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

Instead, however, we did see Harry's lovely Snowy Owl Hedwig.  She is actually played by a "He" called Elmo.   Make sure you take a #hedwigselfie here!

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

I first met Elmo at Brit Mums, where the queue to meet him was longer than the queue for the bar.  That shows how popular he was!


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We posed on Hagrid's Motorbike.


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

We stuck up our Wands to catch the Knight Bus!


The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London

The Making of Harry Potter Feathers  and Flight Warner Brother Studios Tours London



The Dursleys were thankfully not at home.



We then walked to Godric's Hollow to see Potter Cottage, which is invisible to Muggles.
 




We walked along the Wooden Bridge.  Instead of taking us into Hogwarts, it led us to The Creature Effects area.

Here, Hair and Feather Supervior, Val Jones id demonstrating technoques that made winged wonders such as Buckbeak the Hippogriff and Fawkes the Phoenix a reality on screen.  The secret to creating the Hippogriff's realitic feathery coat was individually inserting thousands of feathers.


Caitlyn watches an animatronic snowy owl.



I was mesmorised as every by the creepy yet strangely cute baby Voldemort.



I always tend to rush the Creature Effects part a bit too quickly as I am excited to walk down Diagon Alley.







For Feathers and Flight, Diagon Alley is enhanced with the pleasure of the company of more talented owls.





I think the owl shown on the right is Ron's first owl Pigwidgeon, a tiny White Faced Scops Owl.





Danny loves talking to all the tour staff.  He learns lots from them and tells them a few facts too!

This is Erroll, the Weasley's clumsy family owl.   He is a Great Grey Owl and has super sensitive hearing.  



Lovely Puking Pastilles!


Next we walked through the Art Department.


We were then in the breathtaking model room, taking in the sights of the 360˚ view of the incredible, hand sculpted 1:24 scale construction of Hogwarts.  Yep, it's pretty spectacular.



The music and the lighting really adds to the ambience too.





We then walked through the wand room.  What would have been the inside of Ollivander's Wand Shop is now the tribute room of every member of cast and crew who have worked on the Harry Potter films.



There are over 3000 personalised wand boxes.  In my photo, you can see Daniel Radcliffe's very own wand box.  If you want to see somebody's in particular then do ask and they will help you find it.








Lastly, we entered the shop.  The shop is amazing and every Harry Potter fan's dream!  Yes, it is on the expensive side, but you will be buying desirable, collectable items so try to save up before you visit!

I always pick up a box of Every Flavour beans.  They last ages and keep the kids entertained for hours!

We picked up our photos from Customer Services in the Lobby.  We were also given wonderful Gift Bags and then, sadly, it was time to go home.



We stayed at Travelodge Watford Central Hotel, which is just 3.5 miles from the attraction.  Rooms start at £54.

Back at the hotel, we enjoyed looking through our Goody bags.  We all had a Golden Snitch and Feather Quill Pen.




I was given my very own Hedwig Backpack.  It is so cute and fluffy!
 

Inside the Snowy owl was a huge Chocolate Frog.  


We then had fun playing with our Every Flavour Beans- Danny loves making us try the vomit flavoured ones-yuck!



Most of the flavours are nice though- I promise!

Warner Brothers Studio Tour is worthwhile visiting all year around, having if you want to learn lots more about the feathered friends who are the real stars of the show, then make sure you get down to this Feathers and Flight Attraction, which will run until Sunday 27th April.

Thanks for a lovely visit- we'll be back soon!

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