Cinderella’s Christmas Wish – Preview

This Christmas, Cinderella finds herself in the most magical place on Earth, the Rainbow Factory, and she is inviting you to watch her Christmas Wish!!


If you have never visited the Rainbow Factory before, they turn the most ordinary into the most magical and bring storybooks to life using drama, song mixed with enthusiasm and amazing talents. We have been going regularly for the last 15 months and whatever activity they do, they do so well and so this show will be no exception!

You’re probably thinking that you might go to a “proper” theatre to see a “professional” show as part of the Christmas activities. While they are all well and good, you are probably going to be a fair distance from the stage and the little ones will be wanting to get on their feet and dance or get some sweets, all while you worry about upsetting the people all around you…

Well, this is why you should come to this show if you have young children (age guide 2 – 7). The stage is a few inches above the ground, the seats, well, they are actually beanbags for the kids, right next to the stage – they can touch the characters, they are part of the show. Also, everyone is in same boat, hoping their child doesn’t cause a scene (ok, maybe just me!) so if it does happen, it really doesn’t matter because everyone has been there!!!

And don’t think that because it isn’t set in a formal theatre, it won’t be of excellent quality. One of the stars/scriptwriters is Lydia Toumazou, who has worked on various SEN projects and is a former teacher, and is an absolute star with a brilliant voice with such a bubbly and warm character. Another star/scriptwriter is Rachel Smith who has a degree in Performing Arts and has performed at the Royal Albert Hall. Everything they do at the Rainbow Factory is of brilliant quality and this won’t be an exception.

Tickets are £6 each for both adults and children over 1 year old (under 1’s are free!) and the show lasts about 40 minutes. The Gingerbread Cafe will be open before every performance for you to purchase drinks and treats (always good for a bit of bribery!) but you have to be quick to book as certain shows are sold out already!!


To get more information, check out or search for “Rainbow Factory” on Facebook.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I have received 2 tickets for this show, but you can see in my other Rainbow Factory posts here ( that I am totally in love with the place!!

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Applying for a Passport

Although my work life is all about putting numbers in boxes, the thought of applying for a passport filled me with dread. So I thought that it would be a good idea to post a few little hints and tips. This is especially true if your little one is going on their first overseas adventure.


Whilst I am old enough to remember being on my mum’s passport without a photo, you need 2 photos for your application form.  If you have any fear that your child won’t be able to have a good photo in one of those rubbish photo booths, I would recommend going to a proper photography shop (Max Spielmann etc) and just paying a little more to have someone actually take the photo. It cost us £6 for 6 pictures, which is a little more than the booth. However, you know that the photo will be right for the passport

You have to get someone to countersign (more on them later!) just one photo with the following:

“I certify that this is a true likeness of (INSERT CHILD’S FULL NAME)”

and then sign and date it. The child’s name must include the middle name, otherwise they will return it (been there done that!). As parent, you do not need to sign the back of the photo.



Did you know that there were 2 different forms?! The old-school form from the Post Office is different to the one that you can fill in online. As a result, one might be easier to fill in than the other, especially if you have a slightly complicated family background.


I would recommend going down the online route if possible, as you are able to save a final version before signatures. As such, if that bit goes wrong, you can always print off another copy. However, you do have to pay up front, so you need to be sure that you’re going to go through with the process. Also, you do need a printer as clearly HM Passport Office aren’t fully into the 21st Century.

I do have a copy of the online form if anyone is interested in seeing the questions. Please email [email protected] and I’ll send it over to you.

If you go down the paper form route, I would highly recommend the Check and Send facility offered by the Post Office. This takes away some of the stress of worrying once you send off the form.

However, before you fill in the form, you may need to ask your extended family for their passport numbers and place of birth. These are the more random questions which are on the form (don’t ask me why!!)

If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you also need to send the original of the birth certificate. You get it back a couple of days before you receive the passport.


There are various rules about who can countersign the forms, which can be found here:

Generally they need to know you for 2 years, and be a “person of good standing”. If they are signing for a child’s passport, they need to know the parent signing the passport for 2 years and not the child. If you are struggling to get the passport signed off, the one occupation which is a bit of a catch all is a “manager of a VAT registered company”. This is a very wide term – a manager in a small firm can be classed as that.



As of the summer 2016, it took 3 weeks to get the passport back so the turnaround times are quite quick. You can make an appointment to go to the Passport Office itself if you need a passport urgently. However, that sounds far too stressful!!!

Once you get the passport, you can concentrate on the important part – the holiday!!!!

PS If you want further advice on applying for a passport, go to the Kiddie Holidays website here

To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

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Play Factor-e Halloween Party

We received an invitation to go to the Play Factor-e Halloween Party and had a lovely time! If you have never heard, or read about Play Factor-e, it is a HUGE indoor play centre just opposite the Trafford Centre in Manchester. You can read our previous visit here: Play Factor-e Manchester – 28/6/2016

So, what happens at a Play Factor-e Halloween party?! Well, firstly, it is very busy! I’m glad that we ate before setting off as the queues for the cafe were huge for the first hour or so!!

There were about 5 or 6 members of staff dressed up in some brilliant outfits, walking round for photos etc  before the entertainment in the stage area in the middle of the play centre.  The venue was dark and “spooky” which made it rubbish for photos, but added to the atmosphere. Also, a good number of children were dressed up in fancy dress. This was good to see, but also a bit weird because we didn’t have time to be that organised!!

Not the best photo of the dressed up characters!!

The first part of the entertainment was a “mad scientist” act, doing all sorts of funky things. I’m quite sure what exactly he was doing because the microphone wasn’t the best!!  After that, there was a guest appearance from a huge robot who was attracting a good number of children for photos and hi-fives. Then the disco took over on the stage area.


In truth, I may have missed a couple of other attractions and events because you could dip in and out during the 2 hour session and a good number of children seemingly took no part in the entertainment. This is because the play area is absolutely amazing.  It is nice that even though we haven’t been for 4 months, Heidi remembered the amazing computer floor game. She raced there straight away when we got in!

Spooky disco!

The venue is ideal for these kinds of events as it is big enough to cope with demand, and it didn’t feel crowded. There was a decent sized queue to get in with the doors, but it didn’t feel as though it was packed when we got in and settled.  It will be interesting to see what other events they do, because the venue is ideal for monthly one-off events like this.

Perhaps the best  things to say about the evening were:

  • Heidi fell asleep before hitting the motorway on the way home – result!
  • She woke up half way home and said: “Daddy, can we go back again soon?”

I think that says it all!!!

We can’t wait for the next Play Factor-e Halloween Party!!

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