Octonauts exploring theatres near you!

Octonauts Live logoOctonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure will be touring the UK from the 16th October 2014 until the 5th July 2015 giving fans a chance to experience the adventure first hand.  The entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid explorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure with surprises around every corner.

This action packed interactive show features new music (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson) and all the Octonauts live on state for the very first time.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the Octonauts are a dynamic eight-member team of quirky and courageous adventure heroes who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea.  Equipped with a fleet of aquatic vehicles, they rescue amazing sea creatures, explore incredible new underwater worlds, and often save the day before returning safely to their home base, the Octopod.

Adapted by Richard Lewis, known for the hugely popular three Peppa Pig stage shows and last year’s Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom tour, this promises to be a fantastic treat for the show’s fans.

“Octonauts is all about adventure and exploration which offers up a whole host of possibilities in a live environment.  From the colourful characters and fantastic underwater setting to the amazing octopod where the Octonauts live, there’s great scope for a really unique, interactive theatre experience.  We can’t wait to take fans on an adventure like never before.”

The show will visit Princes Hall, Aldershot on the 21-22 October 2014,  Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre on the 18-19 April 2015 and Portsmouth’s Kings Theatre on the 20-21 June 2015.


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We review 101 Things For Kids To Do Outside

Local Editor:

Fed up with expensive days out? Or perhaps you just want them to stop watching Stampy Longnose for a bit – here’s the answer for less than £15.

Originally posted on Mumsnet Portsmouth:

101What better time to review a book like 101 Things for Kids To Do Outside, than the summer holidays? Arriving a week into the break, when I was running out of ideas for less expensive entertainments, it was a very welcome arrival.

Award winning garden designer, blogger and mum of three young children Dawn Isaac has packed 101 Things For Children To Do Outside with games, projects, crafts, experiments and gardening inspiration to encourage your children to step away from their screens and get out in the fresh air. These ideas stem from Dawn’s perpetual mission to persuade her children to go outside, chronicled in her blog www.littlegreenfingers.com which features on the RHS family website. The horticultural advisor to popular tv program Mr Bloom’s Nursery, Dawn also runs family garden design courses in association with Mumsnet Academy.

The book offers quick 10 minute activities to full days of fun. From party…

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Summer Like it Hot- our best beauty buys.

Local Editor:

Some great recommendations here from Nic Miller, Local Editor for Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk.

Originally posted on The Millers Tale:

Young woman with her face turned to the sun

The leap from a healthy glow to a perspiring crimson mess is not so huge during summer, no matter what your skin type or colour is. Going from air con to full sun, from sun baked car to the blast of the chiller section in the supermarket plays havoc upon our equilibrium, our disposition and our complexion and trying to maintain some semblance of grooming requires the cosmetic big guns. Keeping it as simple as possible is THE mantra when it is hot and I try to maintain an inverse relationship with what is going on in my life- the busier it is, the more I scale back my hair and beauty regime. Indeed I try to streamline by using products that double or triple up and avoid the use of skin covering bases and creams which tend to melt, crease and generally look pretty ropey after a few hours.

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Money Saving Deals on Days out in Hampshire

Hawk Conservancy 1Like many families, this year we’ll be staying at home during the holidays and doing daytrips out and about in Hampshire and near where amenable relatives live. In the spirit of further keeping costs down I started looking for some cheap deals and thought I’d share what I found with you.



First place to check is the trusty Tesco Clubcard. If you’ve got one, chances are you have some points lurking, and points mean vouchers.  You can boost your clubcard vouchers to up to four times their value. Handy to know when you are looking to get into a local attraction or know that you’ll be wanting to eat out. If you’re not sure if you have any vouchers, you don’t have to search the kitchen high and low looking for crumpled versions stuck with magnets onto the fridge or pinned under receipts on the pinboard – you can simply check online and claim them from the site. Do read the terms and conditions carefully before committing to exchanging your tokens – the deals do vary from attraction to attraction.

Local attractions include the following:

Gilbert White logoGilbert White’s House and Garden & The Oates Museum, Selborne – £2.50 in vouchers gets you £10 worth of clubcard tokens to use on admission.

Hawk Conservancy Trust, Andover – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line, Alresford – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Milestones Museum, Basingstoke – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Staunton Country Park, Havant – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth – £6.50 vouchers gets you a entry token

Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens.

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens


Restaurants are also included and you can choose a branch of Prezzo, Papa Johns, La Tasca and many more. You can search on site using a postcode and in many cases exchange just £2.50 in vouchers for £10 towards your meal. Bear in mind this tends to be for food only – you’ll need to pay for drinks.


You can also exchange vouchers for cinema tickets – perfect if your children are pestering you to take them to see Earth to Echo.



Groupon offers you daily emails giving you a daily local deal. But, you don’t have to sign up to the emails to take advantage of their offers, you can just buy from their website. Once again, you will need to read the terms and conditions of any offer carefully – these offers are usually dated limited and there may be other conditions which may not suit you. Yesterday I found three deals for local attractions – today – just one – Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. But search and you might be lucky. Or just sign up to the daily emails and let the offers come to you.


Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Currently offering 25% off an all attraction ticket if you purchase it online – the all attraction ticket now covers the Royal Marines Museum, Explosion – Museum of Naval Firepower, The Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (encompassing HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, Action Stations and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.  If you gift aid it, your ticket will be valid for a whole year.

If you find any deals – add them to the thread in local chat and share the love.








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To celebrate the return of GBBO 2014…

In the spirit of (well not quite given the work involved, or lack thereof) the new series of Great British Bake Off 2014, we’ve got a No Whisk 3 Minute Meringue recipe for you.

And here is our video of the lovely Mary Berry answering Mumsnetters’ baking questions.

So dust off the beautiful mixer you bought during the last series and open the book you had for Christmas. It’s time to get your bake on.


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Kate Humble Supports Local

This gallery contains 16 photos.

Our woman in Gwent, Sarah Debnam met Kate Humble at the launch of her latest venture, ‘Humble by Nature’. If you’re looking for the perfect ‘off grid’ holiday experience, then read on…

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Teatonics Mind Awakening Yerba Mate and Laid Back Botanicals

I was delighted to receive a box of Teatonics teabags in the post this week,  beautifully packaged in silver foil and wrapped in tissue paper in brown box with an equally lovely floral postal label too.  Expectations were high given the presentation of the product and I am delighted to report, weren’t disappointed.

Teatonics gift boxes are sent by postTeatonics are a new company, launching in March this year. Charles Grummitt and Rosie Marteau were travelling through South America when they first tried mate (pronounced mat-ay). Inspired by the traditional Paraguayan way of taking it as a remedy in combination with other herbs and flowers, they decided to get blending on their return to Dorset with yerba mate as their starting point.

Blending our teasThe company have produced two blends of tea, designed to compliment one another and bookend your day – Mind Awakening Yerba Mate for your morning brew and Laid Back Botanicals to soothe in the evening.


Teatonics pair of blendsStarting with the teabags in order I opened the Mind Awakening Yerba Mate around 10 am after the school run. Normally at this point in the day I am already tired after the usual routine and craving builders tea and biscuits. The packet yielded the delicious fresh smell of grapefruit and mint. I followed the instructions which indicate that water at 80 degrees is best, and so I added some cold water as well as water from the kettle to steep the bag in. I left it for around 4 minutes. The smell intensified as the bag steeped and the first sip provided me with a lovely warm fruity taste, rich with grapefruit and citrus flavours. Although I could smell the peppermint, I couldn’t immediately taste it, but the tea was no worse off for that. Unlike so many herbal and fruit teas, which seem to smell lovely but taste only of the bag, this tea actually tastes every bit as good as the initial scent promises. No need for sweetener, this was refreshing, with a slight smoky grassy after flavour, and ideal for morning drinking.

Mind-Awakening Yerba Mate - ingredients

Dr Charles Grummitt, a biochemist turned tea blending entrepreneur explains the attractions of the South American ingredient:

“Yerba mate contains all the stimulation of coffee, tea and chocolate, but with none of the jitters and has a fantastic grassy, smoky flavour – reminiscent of a full-bodied green tea, but better. It’s used to boost metabolilsm and mental alertness, as well as to sooth indigestion and other ailments. We’ve complimented it with fresh, bright ingredients, like peppermint and grapefruit to give you a tea that is delicious and unlike any other tea you’ve tried.”

Interestingly, there are health benefits to the tea which include the following:

  • Better cognition and sharpened focus throughout the day, thanks to the yerba mate plant’s triple stimulation of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline.
  • Unique profile of antioxidants, vitamins and micronutrients to boost your immune system
  • Aid for weight loss, yerba mate activates your metabolism and reduces hunger

A member of the holly family and hugely popular in South America, yerba mate was analysed by the Pasteur Institute who concluded:

“it is difficult to find a plant in any area of the world equal to mate in nutritional value. It has almost all the vitamins necessary to sustain life”.

Now, I can’t tell whether my metabolism has been boosted after a few days, but I can report feeling much more alert and efficient after starting my mornings with a cup of MIND Awakening Yerba Mate as opposed to my former tipple of English Breakfast tea.

The second foil packet contains the second complimentary tea ‘Laid Back Botanicals’ which is a caffeine free blend of green rooibos, hops, elderflower, chamomile and lavender flowers. The primary smell from the packet on opening is lavender, which is a favourite scent of mine, and oft used during my pregnancies for a restful night’s sleep. Already a keen drinker of red bush tea also containing rooibos, I was looking forward to trying this blend. This tea is best using boiling water straight from the kettle and I left it to steep for around two minutes. No one flavour dominates this blend,  the chamomile, the elderflower and the rooibos all feature strongly with mere hints of the lavender and hops. Whereas I could take long draughts of the Yerba Mate, this tea demanded to be sipped slowly. A soothing blend, and one which did induce a relaxed state, quite a feat in this household of seemingly a million children (ok just two, but that’s plenty) under five. Fans of chamomile tea will certainly like this blend, which takes chamomile tea and makes it better.

The health benefits of this tea include:

  • Better digestion: green rooibos and elderflower cleanse and relieve indigestion
  • A more restful night’s sleep, care of hops, chamomile and lavender

Rosie, a Spanish translator and tea fanatic explains:

“Our blends are full of fresh, loose leaf ingredients, individually milled and gently infused – we think even coffee drinkers will be converted.”

I can’t comment on giving up coffee for these teas, I’ve never been a coffee drinker, too bitter for my taste, but I will certainly be cutting down on the English Breakfast tea in favour of the Mind Awakening Yerba Mate blend, which of the two, was my favourite.

The teas are sold in two week supplies, lending themselves beautifully to being one-off treats for yourself, or a gift for others, or in a three month course as part of a commitment free subscription. A two weeks supply costs £14 including postage and packaging, reducing to £12.50 if you take up a subscription.

You can order a beautiful box of teatonics by visiting their website http://www.teatonics.co.uk

Teatonics generously supplied the teabags for review, views are my own.


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