Wednesday 14 December 2016

Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker

1980s Cincinnati Ballet Nutcracker
6 year old Ballet Blondie
When I was 6 years old I was a page in the Cincinnati Ballet company's production of Cincinnati Christmas classic The Nutcracker.  Now **cough cough** years later, Blondie Boy is 6 years old and I took him to his first performance of The Nutcracker.

From the very first performance of The Nutcracker in 1974, Frisch’s Restaurants has been the Ballet’s primary sponsor. It is one of the longest-lasting examples of corporate sponsorship in American arts history and a Cincinnati tradition that I grew up with. I hadn't been personally since 2003 before I left Cincinnati and moved to the UK and I couldn't wait to share it with BB for his first Christmas in Cincinnati.

Frischs Chicken Fried Steak Family Dinner
He likes it!
First though we headed to Frisch's to try their family dinners and famous Hot Fudge Cake. For $7.99 you can choose from carved turkey, country fried chicken, country fried steak, roast beef or meatloaf served with mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans. BB can be a picky eater. I knew he'd love the country friend chicken but I was surprise that he also loved the country fried steak! But let's keep it real, we both were after one thing: dessert.

As part of that partnership, Frisch’s worked with members of the Cincinnati Ballet to launch Frisch’s first-ever holiday edition of its best-selling dessert, Hot Fudge Cake. Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake is available for a limited time (until Feb.7) and this is the first time since the original dessert debuted in in 1970 that it has been offered in another flavor!

Nutcracker Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake

We were brought one to share, but BB loved it so much I had to get my own. We both loved this holiday twist on a classic and dare I say that I even liked this more than the original? Both the original and limited edition peppermint desserts are available at restaurants for $3.29.

Nutcracker Frisch's Peppermint Hot Fudge CakeFrisch's Peppermint Hot Fudge Cake

After practicing his best Nutcracker moves, we headed over to the Arnoff Center, where the Nutcracker is this year while Music Hall undergoes renovations. The performance brought back so many forgotten memories for me.

little boy cincinnati nutcrackerFrisch's Cincinnati Nutcracker

Even if you've seen the Nutcracker multiple times this year's show is an update: some hip-hop moves even make their way in to the performance. Classic characters are updated in ways you couldn't have imagined. Blondie Boy's favorite parts were when (spoiler alert) the Rat King died and the "very awkward dancing poodle."

Tickets for the Nutcracker are on sale through December 18th.

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Frisch's invited us for dinner and to watch the Nutcracker. We were compensated for this review, but all opinions are our own. 
I couldn't get a 6 year old to lie if I tried!

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Blythswood Square Glasgow Little Darlings Afternoon Tea

Imagine a six year old at end of the school February break. Throw in some snow, rain and the obligatory icy Glasgow temperatures. Then ask yourself what you could do together that would entertain the child and let you enjoy a touch of luxury. The answer I have found is the Blythswood Square Little Darlings afternoon tea in Glasgow.

We visited Blythswood Square, a five star hotel in Glasgow city centre, several times previously but always in the company of adults and to be truthful I wondered how the quiet ambience would suit a six year old. There was no need to worry. From the moment we arrived the staff were pleasant and helpful and made him feel like a very welcome and special guest.

Afternoon tea is served in the colonnaded salon overlooking the square itself, a beautiful room with elegant furnishings.

The waiter explained the menu to us and asked if there were any particular dietary requirements. Of course Blondie Boy was quick to mention his egg allergy but this didn't present a problem.

It was his first experience of afternoon tea and he loved being presented with his own three tier cake stand. As well as sandwiches which he had chosen from the Little Darlings menu, there were scones with cream and jam, cake and a candy floss cone filled with raspberry mousse which he loved. There were also fresh strawberries and he wolfed those down before even attempting cake. 

Blythswood Square Glasgow Little Darlings Afternoon Tea

Children's afternoon tea glasgow

The staff were attentive without being intrusive and we enjoyed the unhurried atmosphere. It was such a special end to the school holiday for us both and one we will definitely repeat. I'm sure some people might be doubtful about a five star hotel as a venue for a children's outing, but it was truly an exciting and memorable occasion and one I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Afternoon tea is such a British institution so I'm so glad it was an experience we got to have together.

The cost of the Blythswood Square Little Darlings afternoon tea is £12.95 which is more than reasonable for the surroundings and spread! 

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Wednesday 24 February 2016

Make your own Lego Movie with Lego Brickflicks at St Enochs

Take a deep breath... Our names are... and we're Legoholics... And exhale. It feels good to have gotten that off of our chests. 

My son and I share an addiction, fortunately he's too young for drink and drugs and wild women but I'm definitely living proof that you're never too old for Lego. We've built the toys, watched the movie and the TV shows, visited the theme parks and also visited exhibitions using standard Lego bricks to create anything from modern art to scale models of famous landmarks but we haven't been to anything like the Lego Brick Flicks Exhibition at the St Enoch's Centre yet. Running from now until the 17th of April, the exhibition features famous movie scenes recreated in brick form by Lego artist Warren Elsmore, from the Wizard of Oz to the Godfather and it's FREE to attend. As part of the celebrations, St. Enoch are also running a series of Bricks for Kidz events throughout the Easter holidays which will allow kids to get creative using Lego bricks. The workshops run from 4th to 15th of April and will offer a series of activities to encourage children's creativity through building with Lego. These sessions are free and run on a drop in basis from 11am to 3pm each day.

To celebrate the exhibition St Enoch's challenged us to recreate a famous movie scene using Lego and the Lego Movie Maker app, which is available on iTunes and the Google app store. Never one to turn down a challenge (particularly one involving Lego!) we jumped at the opportunity. We discussed a wide variety of options but I was never going to win an argument with a six year old, so we settled on a scene from Capture the Flag, which he saw recently and loved. In it two kids stow away on a space shuttle heading for the moon. We picked the scene where the kids sneak on to the shuttle and get a shock when it launches.

Here is our effort:

We're pretty far away from directing a new Lego Movie but the app was easy to use and we had a great time doing it.  I'm sure our next attempt will be better after we head to the exhibition for some inspiration!
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