Five Favourite Friday... Must See Movies Before You Grow Up

Friday, Friday, Friday, how you sneak up on me each week I'll never know. Anyway it's time for another Five Favourite Friday post and this week we are looking at our favourite Must See Movies Before You Grow Up. I saw a list compiled by Into Film so I'm using this as the basis for my list.  Their list is split into five categories, so I've decided to pick one from each of these sections.

1) Up (2007) [Adventure]
One of my favourite animated films, 'Up' tells the story of an elderly man, who is accompanied by a Boy Scout, trying to realise the dream of living near a grand waterfall.

2) Wallace and Gromit; The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) [Thrills & Chills]

The first (and probably last) feature film starring Wallace & Gromit, in which they investigate a monstrous creature terrorising the local town.

3) Hook (1991) [Kids Rule!]
With his children abducted by his old enemy Captain Hook, an adult Peter Pan has to return to Neverland to rescue his children with the help of the Lost Boys.

4) The Lion King (1994) [Heroes & Villains]
This Disney classic charts the development of the Simba, heir to Mufasa, and how he handles dealing with his uncle Scar's plot to claim Mufasa's throne.

5) The Jungle Book (1967) [Classics]
Based on Rudyard Kipling's classic story, this film is all about the Mowgli, an abandoned child taken in by a pack of wolves, and his reluctant return to a 'man-village' to save him from Shere Khan, a man-eating tiger.

I'm ashamed to say that I haven't seen all of the films on this list, so it looks like I've got some catching up to do. Which films would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.

Next week will be Nikki's choice, so I'm looking forwards to seeing what she chooses.

Football | The New Saints versus Europa FC

The New Saints vs Europa
Champions League Qualifying First Round - First Leg

Over the years, my dad and I have made it a tradition to try to get to the home legs of Welsh premier league side TNS adventures in the preliminary qualification rounds of the Champions League. We have done this on and off for the past 15 years and we've seen a good number of games against:

  • ├ľsters IF (Sweden)
  • MYPA (Finland)
  • FK Ventspils (Latvia)
  • Bohemians (Ireland)
  • Anderlecht (Belgium)
  • CSKA Sofia (Bulgaria)

However, in recent years the first round has tended to clash with our holidays and we've not been able to get to the home match. But this year we were able to get ourselves to The Venue in Oswestry to see TNS play Europa FC from Gibraltar. We paid for 'Silver' tickets which gave us access to a cold buffet pre-match and unreserved seating. Due to my travel issues leaving work, and my Dad not realising it was a 19:00 kick-off meant that we didn't get to the stadium until 15 minutes to kick-off. After collecting our tickets, we headed in to a large function room and at the far end was the buffet. Two large tables, with plenty of trays that I'm assuming had sandwiches on them, a large bowl of cocktail sausages, mini quiches and the evidence of the source of some sausage rolls. We grab a plateful each before heading out to watch the game.

As we walked on to the veranda from the function room, we caught the kick-off and we headed along the edge of the pitch in the hope of finding some seats. Although there were a handful of seats they were all in the middle of the blocks and we didn't want to inconvenience other supporters by asking them to stand up. We continued to walk around the pitch, but we decided we would go beyond the end of the stand and stand against the fencing. Apparently this wasn't allowed and a steward asked us to move... we went back to the stands and found a pair of seats, unfortunately they were right in the middle of what I can only assume was the TNS youth team and their families. I won't lie, I found this really distracting as they weren't as focussed on the match as I was and I couldn't chat with my dad about the game.

Watching the game, it was a relatively close game, with Europa taking the lead after a loose pass by TNS on the halfway line, Europa broke away down their left wing before centring a low cross and a striker was unmarked to tap the ball in to the net. Just before half time, TNS pulled back level with a great flick, Scott Quigley turned the ball over a defender and then half-volleying a shot past the goalkeeper to make it 1-1. In the second half Europa got a second goal, again TNS gave away the ball on the half way line, broke away and a nice finish meant the Gibraltan side victory in the first leg. There really wasn't much between the two sides, and I could easily see TNS winning the return leg if things go their way.

I think this was only the second time that we've been to The Venue, and I've got to say my experiences haven't left me feeling like I've been to a football match. It's strange, there is obviously some really good work going on by the team in the local community allowing them to use the facilities at the ground and encourage them to attend matches. However, and perhaps it's down to the lack of away fans (it's not your average trip to a game), but there was something strange about going to this match - it felt very friendly, if you know one person you'll know everyone - but I felt really detached from the game. As I say it was strange. Hopefully TNS can get a result in Portugal - Europa are playing the return leg there - and we can go to another game to get a different (more positive) experience.

The Last Week (19/06/2017)

Monday - The week continued the heat wave that started at the tail end of the last week. Due to my sun burn I decided to miss five-a-side as I was struggling to stand still, let alone walk or run. It was fortunate that I planned to give football a miss, as my train was delayed and I would have missed a good chunk of the game. When I got into my house I went straight upstairs to just lie down and give my body a bit of a rest until Nikki and my little boy got in. After playing a bit with my son, Nikki put him to bed and we watched YouTube before heading to bed ourselves.
Tuesday - Unintentionally we had a very early morning as my son woke at 02:30 saying he wasn't sleepy. I appreciate that he didn't want to sleep, but I know me and Nikki did! I know they say don't negotiate with terrorists, but being tired and looking at his little face meant I did bribe him into going back to sleep, thankfully through to our normal wake up time. Other than that not much else to report.
Wednesday - Nikki and our son had started to watch 'The Lego Batman Movie' (2017) earlier in the day, so we watched the last half an hour of the film when we all got home. Nikki had warned me that our son didn't like it when Batman wasn't on screen, but it didn't prepare me for the end of the film... as the credits started to role, it became very apparent that he was tired ­čśë. After we calmed him down he went to bed and we watched some episodes of 'Bones' whilst we had our dinner.
Thursday - Not much to report, other than we had a disturbed nights sleep, as my son kept waking and needed to be comforted back to sleep.
Friday - An early(ish) finish at work to head home and spend time with my son. We then spent the evening with my parents whilst they helped look after my son and helped Nikki with her NVQ.
Saturday - To be honest we deliberated the day away and before we knew it, it was 15:00 and we still hadn't really decided what to do. We ended up going to Carding Mill Valley to get out of the house and have an ice cream. Although there was a queue, it was really nice to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Sunday - We spent the day with Nikki's parents, watching the Azerbaijani Grand Prix after lunch.

Five Favourite Friday... Things To Do In Shrewsbury

Once again, Friday has coming hurtling up and it's time to do a Five Favourite Friday post, this week about 'Things To Do In Shrewsbury'. Apologies for not getting this published last week, but life got in the way.

Shrewsbury's our home town and we have both here all our lives. There are lots of things to do that could in and around the town, so I'm going to stick to things that can be done all year round, basically excluding events that happen once a year (that's another post all to its self!).

1) Walk along the river Severn
Shrewsbury is a town that sits in a loop of the river Severn, so the river is a significant feature of the town and an obvious place to start on this list. My favourite stretch is between the English and Welsh bridges, where you get to walk along the lower path of the quarry and take in some of the local architecture.

2) Visit the Quarry
The Quarry is a public park located close to the town centre, which hosts various events through out the year, including the Shropshire Kids Festival, The Shrewsbury Flower Show and much more. There are a number of statues in the park (if you're into that sort of thing) and a recently refurbished play park for the different age spectrums. Also locate right next to the Quarry is the main swimming pools and splash park for when the weather is good.

3) Walk around the Dingle
Perhaps not for the young, but the Dingle is a floral garden situated within the Quarry. There is a maze of paths around stunning plant life, encompassing a small decorative pond in the middle, which is a nice spot to feed the ducks.

4) Visit the modern art installations 
This can be a contentious subject amongst the locals, with some liking them, others thinking they were a waste of money (the two main pieces were both erected shortly after the financial crash in 2007 at considerable cost to the local council). I'm a fan of 'Darwin Gate' at the top of Claremont, however 'Quantum Leap' is not so spectacular, but I'll leave you to make up your own mind.

5) Visit Battlefield 1403 Falconry Centre
The only thing on my list that you'll encounter a charge for (although not excessive by any stretch of the imagination). The falconry centre is situated just on the north east perimeter of the town, and is located on the site of my favourite farm shop. They have plenty of birds and often take them out of their cages to show off to visitors. One of the best things about the centre is I've never seen it too busy which helps with my young son.
There are plenty of other things to do in and around Shrewsbury, so if your not local come and explore for yourself, if you are local, leave a comment letting me know what your favourite thing to do is.
Next weeks topic will be all about's 'Must See Movies Before You Grow Up', we'll be picking our favourites from their list.


The Last Week (12/06/2017)

Monday - As with last week, I was able to take a car to work, so I stayed there until football started. However in totally contrast to the previous week I was terrible, there was no sugar coating it! Mind you I think everyone on our team had an off week as we got trounced. To be honest I was quite glad when it was over even if I didn't get a goal that I always aim for. To compound things, someone brushed passed me and my Fitbit strap broke.

Tuesday - Nothing to report.
Wednesday - Nothing to report.

Thursday - Nothing to report.

Friday - I spent the day working from home so I could look after my little boy in the afternoon. We wanted to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine, so after a brief detour passed the recycling centre we visited Attingham Park for a walk and let my son have a play on the field. It was such a relaxing walk and my little man had run of the playground as there were only two other families in there when we arrived.

Saturday - My parents returned from their holiday / my cousins wedding and I'd offered to pick up them up from the airport, so another early start (earlier than I anticipated as their flight arrived early. It was great to see them back safely. Amazingly having dropped my parents back at home, I return to literally the same place just a couple couple of miles away as I took Nikki and our son to the Good Food Show & Gardens World Live at the NEC. I was glad to get back at a sensible time as I was shattered after a long day away from home.

Sunday - For Father's Day we took my parents to Aberdovey beach to have a nice relaxing day and enjoy the sun. Stupidly I didn't put any sun cream on and I burnt myself in places I didn't realise I could burn. Thankfully the traffic was kind and we made good time coming home. As we'd taken a picnic for the beach, we stopped for fish & chips because You can't go to the seaside without having fish & chips! After dinner we popped to see Nikki's parents to drop a card and present round to her dad.

The Last Week (05/06/2017)

Monday - As I had use of a car I stayed in the office until going to five-a-side, meaning I arrived before everyone else had started playing. Perhaps it was due to the fact I wasn't rushing in to the hall but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and was very content with how I played. I only got one goal, but the rest of my play made up for it. I even got a compliment posted on Facebook for how I played!
Tuesday - Nothing to report.

Wednesday - A day off from my full time job to steward a Rod Stewart concert at Shrewsbury Town's New Meadow. I arrived at 11:00 and didn't leave until gone 23:00, so it was a long day but very interesting to see some of the behind the scenes activities that go on - really different to a standard match day, and a world away from my usual job!

Thursday - Not much to report other than I had to catch-up with things at work having been out for a day.

Friday - I had to work from home so I could look after my little boy in the afternoon. I had to complete a task, which took a lot longer than I anticipated and it meant a later finish than I would have liked.
Saturday - As we approached lunchtime, we decided we'd go out for lunch, initially to MacDonalds, but as there was a large queue we carried on to a Little Chef. Although the meals we had were nice, the service was relatively slow and we gave up wanting to order a dessert as no one came to take our order, despite my son stating loudly that he wanted ice cream! When we finished, we popped to Meole Brace retail park to do a bit of window shopping.

Sunday - Nikki made it very clear that she wanted to get out and do something, so we ordered some tickets to the Birmingham Sealife Centre. After a pleasant drive in to Birmingham, we got to the Sealife Centre and spent about 2 hours walking round before ending up at Ed's Easy Diner under the NIA. Before heading home we decided to hear back into the Sealife Centred for another walk through. Even though we spent half the time in the aquarium second time round, I enjoyed it more as there weren't as many visitors so we could get closer to see the fish.

Five Favourite Friday... Thomas and Friends Characters

Back into the swing of things now, today's Five Favourite Friday post is centred around my sons favourite topic, Thomas The Tank Engine (his favourite meal is Thomas pasta, followed by Thomas yoghurts whilst watching Thomas & Friends!). So this weeks topic is 'Thomas and Friends Characters', there are plenty of them to choo-choo-choose from (sorry), so here we go:
1) James the red engine
Probably because I share part of my name with him, possibly because I watched Formula 1 and Nigel Mansell was 'Red 5' may be a reason why...
2) Belle
Part of the Search & Rescue Team, an engine with water cannons and she's very friendly.
3) Donald/Douglas
Twin Scottish engines, I've not seen them on the episodes my son has been watching, but I remember them being quite frustrated and funny.
4) Victor
The manager of The Sodor Steamworks, who keeps all the other trains going.
5) Bertie the Bus
Thomas' friend, a bus that runs around Sodor and often bumps into the trains.
Have I included your favourite Thomas & Friends characters? If not leave me a comment below as to who they are!
You can see Nikki's selection on her blog, Just Around The Riverbend, and she has chosen 'things to do in Shrewsbury' (our home town) for next weeks post.

The Last Week (29/05/2017)

Monday - What started out as a day with a lot of good intentions soon got away from us and we ended up havning a lazy day at home, recovering from the previous weekend (we had two birthday celebrations to contend with).

Tuesday - I started a new role at work, and joined a meeting that overran, meaning I missed my train home. Coupled with Nikki taking our son to nursery before I'd really woken up meant I didn't get to spend much time with my son. Fortunately, Nikki said she'd bring little man to collect me from work so I got an extra half an hour with him that I'd have otherwise missed. Better still for me, he was in a happy mood so his bedtime routine went really well. We also decided to try him without his bed guard for the first time. We put two folded quilts under the side of the bed and, despite a couple of falls out of bed, it was a resounding success!

Wednesday - Nothing to report.

Thursday - Nothing to report.

Friday - An early start for us as we had secured tickets for a celebration of Williams Racing's 40th anniversary event at the Silverstone circuit. We spent several hours there and you can read all about our experiences here. When we returned home we went out for a meal with my parents. Although the food was what we were expecting, unfortunately the service wasn't prompt as we would have liked which meant we got back later than anticipated. After spending the early part of the night with Nikki, I went to stay overnight with my parents as I was giving them a lift to the airport early the next morning.

Saturday - An early start, leaving the house to take my parents to Birmingham airport at 05:00 - far too early for me! I got back home just after 07:30, after grabbing some breakfast for the family en route. I had a slew to catch up on my lost hours whilst my son had his morning nap. We spent the afternoon watching, first watching a good chunk of 'Ratatouille' (2007), followed by 'Cars' (2006) at my sons request and finishing our session with 'Chicken Run' (2000). As the evening wore on, we watched YouTube until going to bed.

Sunday - Not the start I wanted as my little boy woke at 05:50 and had no intentions of going back to sleep! We visited Nikki's parents for lunch and spent the afternoon with them.

Silverstone And Williams Martini Racing British Grand Prix Preview Day

In mid May, I was fortunate enough to spot a tweet from Williams Racing inviting fans to a free event to be held at Silverstone to celebrate 40 years of racing. I immediately followed the link to apply for some tickets to get my family to the event. A few days later, I got an email to say that demand had be much generated than anticipated and they were having to cap the event at 40,000 people. Although they said that anyone who requested tickets before the decision to cap the event would get them, we still had an anxious wait for confirmation that we had got our tickets. Thankfully shortly before the event we got the email I'd been waiting for, confirming our tickets, also the maximum capacity had been extended to be 50,000. This is a crazy number of people to be admitting to a free off calendar event, I'd even go so far as to say that Williams Racing and Silverstone probably got caught off guard by the demand!

So the day event came and we set off as early as we could (taking a 2 year old with us), and we arrived at the circuit shortly before 10:00. I've been to the circuit for a number of free events but we ended up parking the further away I've ever been, so we made the trek across the car park to get into see some track action. We could see a number of single seat cars whizzing around the National Circuit, unbeknownst to us this wasn't part of the event so we carried on following the hoards towards the International Circuit were the Williams cars were on display. We came across a bit of a fun-zone which included monster truck experience, bouncy castles, Police speed test (it looked more fun than it sounds), merchandise stalls, football darts and zorbing. The Police were there to show off some of their cars and children could run at a speed camera to find out how quickly they could run.

We spent 15 minutes at Abbey (the first corner of the circuit) watching the cars on track go flying past, but it soon became apparent it was a bit too noisy for my son, so we went in search of some ear defenders for him.  Unfortunately the first merchandise store we visited didn't have any but thankfully they said they would fetch some from another store - which we were grateful for. We made our way along the Pit Straight to a patch of grass overlooking Vale. After a few more laps the F1 cars returned to the Pits for the first pit walk, where members of the public could get up close with the cars and some of the guests of Williams (including Keke & Nico Rosberg, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill, Nelson Piquet). Whilst the cars were in the garage, there was more entertainment on the track as the JCB GT excavator started pulling wheelies and zooming up and down the pit straight.  We took this opportunity to grab some lunch, but we did get caught in the rain as it arrived at the circuit. We decided this was an opportune moment to relocate, so we headed to the covered stand at Club Corner.

After the pause in proceedings whilst the Pit Walks completed, the classic Formula One were sent back out.  There was a huge build up to the unleashing of the FW14 back to where it belongs on the track! The announcer really built up the hype, explaining that the last time the car was seen in Britain, Nigel Mansell was giving Ayrton Senna a lift back to the pits after the race. There was an awesome moment as we were leaving as the FW14 and the 2014 FW36 lapped the circuit together.
I know that it is highly unlikely that an event like this will be held again, but it was awesome and I'd highly recommend attending anything similar in the future. Whether you're a Formula One fan or not, there was plenty to do away from the track, seeing and listening to all the classic cars is a great way to get a snippet of what Formula One is all about. Even taking a two year old with us, he really enjoyed the experience and at all points I felt safe to let him enjoy himself by running around on his own whilst we watched from afar.

Five Favourite Friday... Williams F1 Race Cars

Getting back into the swing of doing a regular Five Favourite Friday, I needed to pick a topic for this week. In honour of attending the Williams Racing's 40th anniversary celebratory event held at Silverstone today, I've decided to chose my favourite Williams formula one cars from through out their 40 years of racing.

1) Canon Williams Renault FW14b (1992)
If it wasn't for the celebration event, I would probably have not chosen the FW14b, but hearing the passionate way that the Silverstone FM team described the car and the appreciation from the fans seeing the car take to the track once again for the first time in 25 years, means I've got to include it on my list. It has been described as the best ever Formula One car, so who am I to question it!

2) Rothmans Williams Renault FW18 (1996)
The FW18 was driven by Damon Hill to the Driver's Championship and, with his teammate Jacques Villeneuve, the Constructor's Championship.  Williams were so dominant in the early 1990s, and this was the car that was running and winning races when my interest in Formula One at it's highest
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3) Winfield Williams Supertec FW21 (1999)
Although I've seen that other people have said they don't like the red livery Williams' from the end of the decade, but I like it.
4) BMW Williams FW26 (2004)
Another car that splits opinion, but I like 2004 design which included a 'walrus' nose - I think that the car looks good. It was used during the start of an era of small on car fins to improve aerodynamics, which adds to the sense of speed.
5) Williams Martini Racing FW40 (2017)
The current design and livery, one that I really like.  The stripes that start on the nose and follow the lines of the car through to the rear wing add something special to the car, and on a white background make the car standout in the field.

Should I have included your favourite? If not let me know which one you like and why in the comments below.

Like me, Nikki hasn't done a Five Favourite Friday post in a while but we'll both be back with our favourite Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends characters.