Have you been watching X Factor this year? I have. It has become a fixed feature in my Saturday nights and I was sad to see Mischa B go as I think she has a superb voice and a great stage presence.

Who will win? My vote goes to Little Mix, it’s about time we had a new girl band and I have a soft spot for Tulisa who has done a marvellous job mentoring them, I just wish she wouldn’t do that thing with her arm at the beginning of the show.

The X Factor Charity Single this year, a cover of  ‘Wishing on a Star’ one of my favourite Rose Royce classics costs £3.99 and ALL net proceeds go to the charity Together for Short Lives and will provide care and support for families so they get the help they need.

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t help but be touched very deeply at the thought of over 23,500 children and young adults across the UK that are unlikely to reach adulthood. I have written before about our personal struggle to have children and of losing those fiercely desired pregnancies which is an incredibly heartbreaking moment in any parents life but the thought of bringing healthy children into the world and nurturing them only to find some disease will take them away from you – soon chills my blood.

As I sat and watched the story of Helen and Chris Lloyd unfold I was in tears, all three of their boys were born healthy but Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy had shown it’s ugly face in BOTH her twin boys Dan and Sam by the time they were five and wanting to make sure their third younger son Tom was safe they had tests carried out only to find he suffered from the genetic disorder as well.

Reality? Helen will lose all three of her boys before they became adults.

Let’s not leave dad out of the equation but being a mother I find myself slipping into Helen’s shoes to see what it must feel like and I find myself quickly jumping out of them and thanking the world that we are so ‘lucky’.

Together for Short Lives step in with these families, the Lloyds for example have all three boys in wheelchairs and a simple outing becomes an operation requiring military precision. They offer families 24 hour care even 7 days a week when needed and as you can imagine, relationships can suffer, careers may have to be abandoned, siblings can feel left out and normal family activities aren’t any longer an option.

Together for Short Lives

  • Helps families know ab out care available to them
  • Works with organisations so that they continue to offer the highest standards of care
  • Raises and distributes funds to essential care organisations
  • Provides a voice for children, families and providers, ensuring they are heard by governments
  • Highlights the needs of children, young people and their families requiring support

Claire House has been a Godsend for the Lloyd family over the past 10 years, initially for physiotherapy and then as the boys became more accustomed to the surroundings and staff, they stopped over for sleepovers giving mum and dad some very special and needed time to have a break and recharge their batteries. Both parents are full time carers to their three sons – a 24 hour job which is physically and emotionally demanding.

The 16 year old idential twins are bright kids and nailed 19 GCSE’s between them this year, they just want to be like other kids but this can’t always be the case, with a condition like Duchenne MD the goal posts change all the time and the Lloyd family experience this three times over. Claire House enables them to ride the storms and enjoy the good times and when the time comes, the hospice will be there to deliver the best possible end of life care.

And it’s that last phrase that sends shivers up my spine.

Please buy or download a single today, now, Rose Royce is a classic and the X Factor contestants, JLS and One Direction have covered it beautifully. You will know that you are making these families lives a little bit brighter.

Today October 7th, tickets are going on sale for the much anticipated CBeebies Live ‘Reach to the Stars’ tour 2012 with a host of the biggest stars from the nations favourite children’s channel and to celebrate the first 5000 tickets will be sold at just £10 each on a first come first served basis.

Justine Fletcher MBE, Postman Pat with Jess the Cat and the Zing Zillas together with the presenters Andy Day, Katy Ashworth and Andrew Agnew will tour nine cities around the UK at Easter 2012. A combination of big screen footage and live performance, some CBeebies favourites like Squiglet and the stars of Lazy Town who will also join in the fun and interact with the audience for an incredible live experience.

Robbie Rotten is determined to show that he’s the biggest star on CBeebies, he plans to capture all the other CBeebie characters so it’s up to the audience to work with PC Plum and the rest of the CBeebies stars to find out what has happened and set them free. Lots of singing along and dancing in the aisles.

The CBeebies Live! ‘Reach to the Stars’ tour starts at Wembley on 31st March 2012 moving on to a further 8 cities. The first CBeebies Live! arena tour since 2008. More than 550,000 people have attended a CBeebies Live! show to date and CBeebies Live! REach to the Stars promises to be an even bigger and spectacular show with more audience interaction than ever before.

Tickets will go on sale from Friday 7th October 2011 with the first 5,000 to be sold for just £10 each. Please note that these £10 tickets will be shared across each venue to ensure there is an even allocation.

For tickets or more information about the show visit: www.CBeebiesLive.com

 

Peppa Pig Treasure Hunt logoI don’t know about you but Peppa Pig is a huge hit in this house. Peppa has solved many a long journey on DVD in the back seat, she has quietened down two miserable tired little ladies as they lounge on the sofa and watch her cartoons back to back and she is often the centre of attention in our bedtime stories. We have t-shirts with Peppa, we have nighties with Peppa, we even have the school house with Madame Gazelle when it was time to get them ready for the idea of preschool but now best of all we have been given a family ticket to go and see the Theatre production of Peppa Pig and her Treasure Hunt tour. I know the girls will be beside themselves with excitement when our day arrives!

What’s it all about? A treasure hunt of course! Peppa, her brother George and Danny Dog, on a trip on Grandad Dog’s boat, have to hunt for clues to help them find their treasure. They are helped along the way by Pedro Pony, Polly Parrot and Zoe Zebra and have a wonderful adventure.

Photo from Peppa Pig's Party tour 2009 – 11'

Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt features true to life puppets, sing-along songs and a new story too, Full sail! Ahoy!

The Peppa Pig Treasure Hunt tour is about to kick off and will travel to all corners of the UK coming to a theatre near you. How would you like to win a a family ticket for 4 people including minimum 1 adult? You can! 

Photo from Peppa Pig's Party tour 2009 – 11'

Mari’s World and the producers of Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt are delighted to offer 1 lucky winner a family ticket for 4 (incl min 1 adult) to see the show at the theatre of their choice. A full tour list can be found on www.peppapiglive.com Just answer this question by leaving a comment below

Q – What’s the name of Peppa Pig’s young brother?

For extra brownie points

  • Like Mari’s World on Facebook and leave the comment ‘I’d love to win a family ticket to the Peppa Pig Treasure Hunt’
  • Follow Mari’s World on Twitter
Good luck everyone please read the terms and conditions below and may the best man win. Competition closes 29th September
Terms and conditions
  • winner will be selected at random using www.random.org
  • Entrants should state their venue and performance time choice but should note that tickets are subject to availability
  • No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel will be provided with this competition
  • The tickets are non transferable

Roary the Racing Car will go down in the girls Book of Firsts as their first theatre experience and it’s something I’ve been excited about for a long time now knowing it was coming up on the calendar. I didn’t tell them until this morning as if I had told them a month ago when we were sent the ticket reservation number I would have been asked on a daily basis and many times each day proving their concept of tomorrow, the next day or the future is still pretty shady.

I have blurred memories of outings as a child, I suppose the older you grow the more they mix into one big memory but I can remember a Disney Dancing on Ice, a Dick Whittington Christmas panto and quite a few ballet shows, the Nutcracker in particular which completely blew me away and convinced me I too was going to be a prima ballerina … now there’s a dream that hasn’t been achieved…yet. :D

These memories are what makes up our childhood story and I think, as we become parents ourselves, we’d like to replicate those good times for our own children to allow them to experience the thrill of watching a show played out in front of you. The emotions each child will feel are completely different to any film watched on the TV.

I watched the girls transfixed and in awe as they followed their favourite characters around the stage, Big Chris, Roary, Marsha, Flash the naughty rabbit, the whole cast. Their eyes were glued to the stage. They quickly learnt to reply ‘Hello’ or ‘over there’ as was being prompted and followed the clapping – not at all in rhythm – which was so sweet to watch. They even sang the few lines of the theme tune and the Beach song when they were being played. Bessie proved to be far more outgoing than Alice once again. Alice preferred to watch and take it all in.

I noticed myself welling up at various points throughout the production, I don’t know why. Was it as I watched them really enjoy their first official theatre trip? Or their little faces smiling and understanding that Flash the rabbit was hiding and needed to be caught? I remember when Tommy played a leaf in his preschool nativity play oh about 20 odd years ago now, that gave me exactly the same heart-squeezing, tear-jerking, happy instant as I had today.

Roary racing car show

Waiting for the show to begin

We were kindly given four tickets to go and review the fabulous on stage production of Roary the Racing Car and come back and report it to you. All I can say is the girls adored it and although they may not remember it clearly in years and years to come I hope they do remember the feeling, the excitement and the participation the theatre gave them. As for me, the whole experience has been priceless, a beautiful moment as I watch my girls enjoy their step into the next stage of their life. I would thoroughly recommend this family experience as I noticed Daddy watching the same things I mentioned above with a smile on his face, not sure it made him well up though!

Roary the racing carRoary the number one star!

That’s how the song goes and I have listened to it so many times that sometimes it plays on repeat in my brain until I fall asleep exhausted or kick it out from sheer frustration.

BUT Roary is one of my favourite kids cartoons, I love listening to Peter Kay, Stirling Moss and Murray Walker alongside the other characters as they prepare for a race, get held up by something and then save the day. I love that Big Chris is more concerned with where his next pizza is coming from than looking after his cars and Marsha always ends up solving the problem. My God that woman has a tough job to do!

I have discovered that Roary is showing up and down the country in theatres across the land. It’s the day for Champion of Champions race at Silver Hatch and Roary will be racing against his favourites friends but Flash the mischievous rabbit has got his eye on Farmer Green’s bio fuel and without fuel will the race take place?

I haven’t yet taken the girls to the cinema or Crimbo panto but it is on my list of Things To Do with them and so I‘m very excited that we’re lucky enough to have been given tickets to go along to Dartford on 3rd September to review it. (Daddy will have to brush up on his Silver Hatch knowledge in time that’s for sure!)

Will Marsha save the day yet again? We shall come back and tell you all  about it. If you fancy seeing it too taking the kids along have a look here to find your closest theatre and let me know how much fun you have.

ROARY the racing car, ROARY the number one star!

Tickets can be booked by calling local theatres or by visiting their ‘Champions’, please go to Roary the racing car