The Jungle Cruise Movie Review

4 August 2021

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Disclosure - We already have a Disney+ account through a previous collaboration. Our account has since been upgraded to include Premier Access to watch The Jungle Cruise. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

Friday 30th July saw the release of the new Disney movie The Jungle Cruise. It was released in both the cinema and on Disney+ Premier Access. We do usually love to head to the cinema to watch new releases however we haven't been to the cinema in over 18 months and would much rather create a cinema movie night at home these days. 

Jungle Cruise

The jungle cruise ride at Magic Kingdom

Even though we are huge Disney fans, until 2017 we had no idea what The Jungle Cruise was. We boarded the cruise in the Magic Kingdom and had no idea what to expect. None of us had a clue what was happening and we left the boat feeling confused although the other passengers were thrilled and excited. There was a buzz in the air. 

Now after seeing the movie The Jungle Cruise I definitely understand the ride now and know why it is so iconic. 

The movie follows the story of Dr Lily Houghton and her brother MacGregor. They both head to South America in search of a skipper who can navigate a boat through the Amazon in search for a mythical tree which has flowers called 'Tears Of The Moon' which are said to have healing powers for all illnesses. They soon find Frank who offers jungle cruises to tourists. They set sail on the Amazon in search for the tree but soon realise they are not the only ones on this adventure. There are others searching for the Tears Of The Moon including long forgotten conquestadors, and as the film takes place in the time of World War I there are also soldiers in submarines looking for the same prize. 
There are lots os surprises along the way, not least the story of Frank which I won't give away here. 

I wasn't too sure about Emily Blunt being cast as Dr lily Houghton as she is already a popular Disney Character, Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins Returns however she does suit the role perfectly. Dwayne Johnson as Frank is a fun character full of corny jokes and I like the chemistry between him and Lily.

The movie has the same feel as Indiana Jones and also The Mummy. It's a family friendly comedy with lots of action and adventure. 

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Staying At The Drayton Manor Hotel

3 August 2021

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We recently planned a trip to Drayton Manor and with it being over two hours drive from home we decided to extend our trip and stay at the Drayton Manor hotel. It was the first time we have stayed at the hotel and we would definitely stay again. If you are planning a trip to Drayton Manor here is what you can expect if you stay over at the Drayton Manor Hotel.

Drayton Manor Hotel Exterior

The Drayton Manor Hotel, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW
The Drayton Manor Hotel is just a few minutes walk to the main entrance to the Drayton Manor Theme Park. Drayton Manor Theme Park is home to over 100 rides and attractions including a 15 acre zoo and Thomas Land. 

Although Drayton Manor is probably best known for Thomas Land the hotel hasn't really picked up on this apart from a very small Thomas and Friends gift shop and a small carousel moving display in the reception area.

Triple Room at Drayton Manor Hotel

Bathroom at Drayton Manor Hotel

Bathroom at Drayton Manor Hotel

The hotel has a variety of bedrooms to meet all needs including

Thomas and Friends Themed Room
Rooms are spacious and include a double bed and Thomas theme bunk beds. Adults can relax in front of their own TV, whilst the children watch a DVD in theirs. 

Family Room
Family rooms are spacious enough for two adults and two children or a maximum of three adults. Each room has a double bed and a sofa bed.

Family Deluxe Room
Family Deluxe Rooms have 2 double beds giving you extra space for the little ones. 

Presidential Room
A separate staircase leads up to the Presidential Room which offers a queen size bed and lounge area. 

Executive Room
An Executive room can accommodate two adults and one child when adding a single bed or cot.

Accessible Room
A spacious room with all areas accessible by wheelchair. 

Triple Room
The Triple room can accommodate two adults in single beds and one child in a pull out trundle bed.

We stayed in a Triple room and you if you want to take a look click our triple room tour at Drayton Manor hotel

Stay and Play
The Drayton Manor Hotel offer a Stay and Play package. The package includes a stay in one of the rooms at the hotel, a full english breakfast and tickets for Drayton Manor Theme Park for each member of your party.

reception at drayton manor

One of the reasons I think the hotel hasn't gone for a Thomas and Friends decor throughout is that the hotel is very popular for meetings, conferences and events. There was an event on while we stayed and it was very popular. 

fish and chips

pizza and chips

Restaurant and Bar
The Parklands Restaurant and Bar offers a wide variety of meals including steaks, grills, pastas and risotto. They do offer a children's menu too.

If the restaurant and bar isn't for you then you can head to the park for Fish N Chips or Safari Pizza and Pasta with both restaurants staying open till 7:30pm after rides close. All you need to do is show your room card. You can also order Fish N Chips to your room. 

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

outside seating area Drayton Manor Hotel

gift shop at Drayton manor hotel

Anything Else?
There is a small arcade on the ground floor close to reception. It has a selection of games and machines for the chance to win.

The Thomas and Friends Gift Shop is also situated close to reception and is stocked with lots of Thomas  goodies. 

Outside at the back of the hotel is an outside patio with a selection of table and chairs.

There is also a small woodland play area for children. 

There are plenty of car parking spaces situated at the front of the hotel and an overflow to the side. 

If booking a Stay and Play trip you can use your tickets on the day of your arrival or on your departure day, the choice is yours. 

There is no pool, gym, sauna or steam room at the hotel which is a shame as I think this would be a great addition. 

When leaving the hotel on foot you can follow the yellow path marked PE (park entrance) this will take you to the back of the theme park within a few minutes. 

We booked our room quite late so there where limited rooms available. We chose a triple room which suited our needs. We did think we would be able to push two of the single beds together however this wasn't possible as there was a nightstand between the beds which was fixed to the wall. 

The rooms all come with tv, free wifi, toiletries and tea making facilities. 

Our room had an interconnecting door. I am not sure how many rooms are available with this choice but if required I would contact the hotel directly as I did not see an option when booking.  

If you would like to see our full room tour video you can see it here. Like I said earlier we stayed in a triple room however I think the room size, layout and features in the room are all very similar unless staying in the Presidential or Executive room. 

Would We Stay Again?
If the price was right we would definitely use the Stay and Play offer again when visiting Drayton Manor. Although the hotel is situated just 5 minutes away from the park, it was the school holidays and there was an event taking place it was extremely quiet. 

The rooms were spacious and breakfast set us up for the day with a full english available, cereals, croissants and fruit.

The Theme Park has a great mixture of rides and attractions and makes for a great day out. 

To find out more information about the hotel and to check out the special offers visit The Drayton Manor Hotel website.

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July 2021 | Looking Back

2 August 2021

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I feel like July has flew by and I know August will be the same and before we know it we will be heading back to work and school in September. July was a busy month so it's nice for me to look back at what we got up to. 

Boy looking at a wall mural
We headed into July with no plans and nothing booked but we ended up having a really nice month. July is usually the month we head on a Summer holiday but this year we stayed closer to home but still had lots of fun. 

inflatable slide

inflatable slide

inflatable slide
Little J managed to visit three different play areas this month that had his favourite thing, an inflatable slide. The slide at Jump Maniax was huge which he loved. He even enjoyed racing with a friend he made while we were there. The inflatable slide at Calderstones Beach was lots of fun and he got to share it with his cousins. Then during a visit to Dino Kingdom in Manchester he spotted the slide and bouncy castle in the far corner of the fairground area. He was very happy. 

boy waving an england flag
Little J was really excited about the Euros and managed to stay up and watch some of the matches even the ones that went to penalties. He really wanted England to win but unfortunately it didn't go their way. He's now looking forward to the start of the Premier League and then the World Cup. 

lots of teacher presents
It was the end of another school year for me and it's such a sad time as I have to say goodbye to all my little ones. We were all spoilt this year. The parents were so kind and we got lots of lovely gifts and some personal gifts too.

boy playing in the sand

man and women standing on the waterfront
We decided on a last minute trip to the seaside. It was late in the afternoon when we got there and it was fairly quiet. It was a nice but windy day, a lovely way to spend a few hours. 

playing air hockey

playing Nerf game in arcade
We also managed to fit in a trip to Coral Island in Blackpool. Little J loves it there and was brave enough to go on the ghost train, we played air hockey, arcade games and we won a huge baby Yoda. 

man celebrating birthday

on marauders mayhem at Alton towers

the view from the sky ride
We headed to one of our favourite places, Alton Towers to celebrate Johns birthday. We booked a stay over at the Alton Towers hotel and surprised him with the adult birthday package. We spent the day in the park, early evening in the waterpark and then to the Crooked Spoon for dinner. A lovely way to spend the day. We headed back to the park the next day to do some more rides. 

boy playing on a golf simulator

man playing on a golf simulator
After our second day in the Alton Towers theme park we headed to Goin Golf. We had been invited to visit and try out the Golf Simulators and it was amazing. We didn't want to leave and really over stayed our welcome but it was so much fun. 

boy measuring 1.3m
We finished off the month with a stay over at Drayton Manor Hotel and a visit to the theme park. It's a lovely family park with just a handful of thrill rides. Little J is absolutely desperate to ride the 'big ones' but is just short of the 1.4m requirement. Won't be long though.

In Other News

Big J has been working lots over the past few weeks so unfortunately has missed out on a few of our days out which he doesn't like but we have a full week with him very soon. 

To our surprise little J had to have a filling this month. It was a surprise because he is so good brushing his teeth at least twice a day and isn't a big sweet or fruit eater. He has a very strong gag reflex so had to be sedated but was very brave. 

We had one week of glorious weather which meant the pool came out for the week. I love having the pool out it was a lovely way to spend the first week of the Summer holidays. 

I completed my July book club in plenty of time. This months book was called Beauty Sleep. It was a great read and I would definitely recommend it. 

How was your July?

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Pindaloo Ball Game Giveaway

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Disclosure - We were sent the product below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

If you want to have some fun with the kids this Summer that doesn't require wifi or a screen then you can enter our latest giveaway to win Pindaloo. Pindaloo is perfect for hours of fun as once you master the loop you will want to do it again and again. 


Pop the ball in the tube, flick and watch as the ball jumps out of one end of the tube, then use your skills to catch it in the other end. Once you can land the perfect loop then you can always get creative by doing trick shots. 

Pindaloo is a great game to enjoy on your own, with friends or as a party game. It's fun for all ages and really helps with hand eye coordination. 

If you want to be in with the chance to win your own Pindaloo then all you need to do is complete the entry form below. If you are not lucky enough to win then you can head to Wicked Uncle to buy your own Pindaloo

Good Luck


Closing date for entrants is 11:59pm on 15th August
Playdays and Runways will contact the winner within 7 days of this date
Prize is Pindaloo ball game
Full Terms available on the Gleam App under Terms and Conditions.
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Kids Against Maturity Game Review

28 July 2021

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Disclosure - We bought the below product for the purpose of this post. We were paid for our time. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

We love playing games here and as there is an eleven year age gap between the two boys it's sometimes hard to find games they both can play and they will both enjoy. Kids Against Maturity ticks all boxes for us. Not only is it age appropriate for both boys, it's simple to understand, easy to play and is based around toilet type humour which the boys love. 

Kids Against Maturity

Kids Against Maturity is so simple to play. Each player gets 10 white cards. White cards have possible answers on them. Blue cards have a partial sentence on them. When a blue card is flipped over each player has to choose a possible answer card from one of their ten white cards that they think would get the most laughs. 

Kids Against Maturity

As an example - The blue card shows "The _____________ is always greener on the other side." You then need to decide which card to place down which you think is the funniest answer but also what you think others will find funny. Would you choose Poop Emoji, Ding Dong or Diaper Hat

Now as I said before this game has lots of toilet humour so as long as you are ready for talk of farts, poops and butts then you are good to play. 

Once all the white cards have been placed down on that turn the winner is determined by the amount of laughs given for each white card. 

You should always have ten white cards in your hand so you need to pick up white cards after each turn.

Kids Against Maturity

There is no set time limit for the game so you can play for as long or as little as you want. It's estimated that five turns will take 45 minutes. 

The game is recommended for players aged 10+ and for 4 or more players however we have played with 2,3 and 4 players and found it funny each time. 

The box does come with a warning saying there are a lot of poopy jokes in the blue box. Simply remove any cards which you would deem offensive. 

We have haven't found any offensive yet and we all found this hilarious and it definitely made us all laugh out loud. 

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Dino Kingdom, Manchester Review

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Disclosure - We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated.  

Dino Kingdom is an epic prehistoric exploration from the creators of the award-winning Lightopia Festival. Dino Kingdom lands in Manchester this Summer until the 15th August. It will then head to Nottinghamshire from 15th– 31st October.

Dino Kingdom Sign

What To Expect At Dino Kingdom, Manchester M23 1DW
Dino Kingdom is located at Wythenshawe Park, Altrincham. Until the 15th of August you can pre book 3 hour slots for what is to be Manchester's biggest outdoor Summer adventure. 

Step back in time and explore roaring and moving Dinosaurs and state-of-the-art 3D and AR technology. Immerse yourself in unforgettable interactive activities and enjoy a range of thrilling fairground rides, delicious food and drink and much more.

Dino Kingdom is dinosaurs like you’ve never seen them before…

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom
On arrival you are guided to a separate car park for Dino Kingdom guests. Car parking costs just £3 and allows you to park for 3 hours. Once parked you follow the signposts to the Dino Kingdom entrance. It's quite a walk from the car park to main entrance and the ground is mainly gritty however there was an alternative route for those in wheelchairs. 

Once our tickets had been scanned we were shown inside and greeted by a huge T-Rex. Lots of people queued for their first photo with the dinosaur. There was no queuing system although everyone took turns and didn't hang around too long so the next person could get their photo.

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

After the initial T-Rex at the entrance the dinosaurs were dotted around the enclosed part of the park and getting up close wasn't a problem as they were huge. 

The dinosaurs each had their own rope around their space and it's encouraged that you don't touch the dinosaurs however the little ones visiting did find it hard to resist. 

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

Each dinosaur moves and has sound and comes with its own facts board. The boards confirm the dinosaurs name, where they lived and how long ago. It was really interesting finding out some of the names and I hadn't realised there were so many different types of dinosaur.

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

Dinosaur at Dino Kingdom

There were interactive features along the way including a personal favourite of ours. We were given a colouring in sheet of a dinosaur and we used the provided highlighters and pens to colour him in. We gave our dinosaur a name and wrote it in black pen on his legs as instructed. We then went in to a tent were the lady scanned our dinosaur and within seconds he was brought to life and projected on to a big screen, walking around. 

There was another tent that projected 'what was inside a dinosaur' onto a huge dinosaur figure. The short video only last 3 minutes however some of the younger audience got bored as there was no sound and it was very hot inside the tent. 

There are lots of food options around the park including a smoke house serving burger and chips, a german kiosk serving sausages and other options such as  Chinese noodles and greek wraps. You can also purchase waffles, cakes, sweets and other treats within the funfair area. There are a few picnic tables in the main food area however there are not enough for everyone to take a seat but you should be able to find space on the grass. 

There are toilets located at the car park before you head in to Dino Kingdom. There are portable cubicles and on the day we visited only 1 out of 6 was in working order. There are also toilets with in the Dino Kingdom enclosure. I saw two lots, one near the food area and some located in the funfair area.
fairground rides at Dino Kingdom

fairground rides at Dino Kingdom

fairground rides at Dino Kingdom

fairground rides at Dino Kingdom

There are a small selection of rides at Dino Kingdom however these are not included in your entry ticket. The rides on average cost £3 per person. You pay at the individual rides, there is no need for tokens or tickets. 

As mentioned earlier the car park ticket is valid for 3 hours. We needed more than this. The walk to and from the actual Dino Kingdom enclosure took us a while as the boys ran off to explore in the woods and play areas. Also if you want to make sure you see all the dinosaurs, join in with the activities, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the rides 3 hours just wasn't enough. We did over run so I'm not quite sure how strict the 3 hour time limit is. 

There are a range of ticket options available. 

Adult Tickets (aged 16-65) £15.00
Child Ticket (aged 3-15) £13.00
Child Ticket (0-2) FREE
Family Ticket £54.00
Concession £14.00
Fee and tax will be added on to the total. 

Opening is daily between 10am-7pm with last entry at 5pm

We really enjoyed our day at Dino Kingdom. The weather was sunny and dry so not sure how I would have felt if it had been raining and the ground was soft and muddy. There is plenty to do and as I said 3 hours didn't feel like enough time. It is a must for dino fans as the dinosaurs themselves were huge and felt so real. 

To pre book your tickets or find out more visit Dino Kingdom

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Beauty Sleep By Kathryn Evans Book Review

26 July 2021

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This post contains affiliate links.

Laura can't remember who she is. But the rest of the world knows. Because Laura is famous - a dying girl who was frozen until she could be cured. A real-life Sleeping Beauty. But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Could you build a new life - while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

A darkly twisted thriller plunging a pre-tech girl into a futuristic world. Beauty Sleep by Kathryn Evans

beauty sleep book

My Book Review
This is the second book I have read since joining my monthly book club in May. Beauty Sleep got the majority of votes including my vote as it appealed to me with the Sleeping Beauty reference. Whilst I can understand the reference the book wasn't what I imagined but I throughly enjoyed it all the same.
The book is split in to chapters and each chapter is headed with a name Laura or Shem. Each of these characters get their own chapters which tells the story from their own perspective. They are both on the same timeline and the characters intertwine at several points across the book. 

With regards to the characters, I found them very realistic however for me Shem and the relationship with his dog was so endearing. I don't own a pet myself but I know how attached you can become to a pet. Shem was besotted with his companion, they were best friends. 

The way Laura adapted to being woken up 40 years in the future was amazing. There were key moments in the story that I thought were written brilliantly. I felt like I was there, experiencing the emotions the characters were feeling at the time, especially Laura. Although she had no choice to adapt to her new life, the sense of loss Laura felt at points through the book were so real. It was lovely to reminisce with her through her memories of growing up in the 80's. Loving Duran Duran, reading Smash Hits magazines and covering her room walls full of posters of boybands. Laura had been torn away from all this as had her family, her friends, her home and her school. 

There is an uneasy feel throughout the book when you know something isn't quite right but you are not sure what. There were several times throughout the book when I thought I had an idea of what was going to happen and the outcome. Although I was very close there were a few twists that kept me still guessing right up until the last pages.  

beauty sleep book

Beauty Sleep had me intrigued from the first few pages and some of our other book club members read it over a weekend. They couldn't put it down. I was expecting a fairy tale type story but it wasn't. It's dark and mysterious and I would definitely recommend it especially if you enjoy thriller and suspense type books. 

The story ends well without the need for another second book although even at the end I still wanted to keep reading so would love to read other books by the author, Kathryn Evans. 

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Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you read any of Kathryn Evans books? Which ones?

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Visiting Disneyland Paris After July 21st 2021

21 July 2021

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Travel is so uncertain at the moment. There is so much information to read and rules to follow. I'm sure this won't put most people off but if you have a trip to Disneyland Paris booked or looking to book one this Summer then there are new guidelines to follow after July 21st 2021. The France government have confirmed that everyone who enters Disneyland Paris after this date must have a health pass. 

disneyland paris castle

What Is A Health Pass?
A Health Pass must be presented in either digital or paper form confirming one of the following...

- You are fully vaccinated
- You can confirm a negative PCR result within the last 48 hours
- You have had COVID-19 and the result of a positive RT-PCR or Antigen test confirms you had Covid and that a period of time of at least 11 days and less than 6 months has passed since the test result was obtained (considered as a recovery certificate).

If you are fully vaccinated I would recommend downloading the NHS app which once registered will update your Covid Passport.

Who Needs To Show A Health Pass?
Every adult over the age of 18 will need to show their health pass. This will change after the 30th August when everyone over the age of 12 will be required to show a valid health pass before entry is permitted.

I assume this means that the focus will shift over the next 6 weeks to ensure all those 12 and over will be offered a vaccine. 

Keeping Your Health Pass Up To Date If Staying Longer Than 48hrs.
If you are not fully vaccinated you will need to prove a negative PCR to gain entry in to the resort. A negative result is only valid for 48hrs so if your stay is longer then you will need to retake a PCR test. 

disney village at Disneyland Paris

Where Can I Get A PCR Test At Disneyland Paris?
A testing centre is in operation within the Disney Village and is open 8am-8pm.

What List Is France On?
France is currently on the Amber list for those returning to the UK. However the Amber rules for France are different. You must quarantine for 10 days after you arrive back to the UK either in your home or other accommodation. 

little boy meeting Buzz Lightyear

Safety Measures Within Disneyland Paris
The rules for wearing face masks are unchanged in France. Face masks are to be worn by all guests aged 6 and over. They must be worn at all times except when eating. 

Downloading the official Disneyland Paris mobile app is a must for your stay. Guests will need to reserve a Standby Pass via the app in order to be able to join the queue for some of the most popular attractions during a specific allocated time slot.​ This will be available during certain times of the day. This will be to ensure waiting lines do not get overcrowded. 

Clear ground markings are in place within the waiting lines at all of attractions within the park to help maintain the correct social distancing. Please do remember that social distancing is still in force in France. 

Hand sanitisers are available at the entrance and exit of each attraction. 

Children's playgrounds and traditional meet and greets are temporarily unavailable. There will be chances to capture photo memories with some of your favourite Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel characters using the designated selfie spots. Unfortunately close interactions including hugs are suspended. I am sure Disney have done their best to try and make the experience as magical as possible. 

disney ears in at hollywood studios

Unfortunately things can change at a moments notice with regards to travel and safety measures so it is important to make sure that before you travel you check the government website for up to date information as well as Disneyland Paris

If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you visited Disneyland Paris since it reopened? How was your trip?

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