Introducing McDonald’s Vegetarian Happy Meal and Spicy Veggie Wrap (AD)

*Disclosure: This post is part of a paid project with McDonald’s UK and BritMums, promoting McDonald’s Veggie Happy Meal and the new vegetarian menu items.*

McDonald's vegetarian wrap Happy Meal

I have some exciting news! McDonald’s has just launched a brand new Vegetarian Happy Meal and a Spicy Veggie Wrap, available now. As a vegetarian myself, and Squiggle has chosen to be too, I am delighted that there is a new meat-free option available. And of course, you also don’t even have to be vegetarian to appreciate more variety on the menu!

I love that McDonald’s are always looking for new ways to improve their menu; hence why they have introduced the tasty new veggie wrap, which is available as a Happy Meal and as a Spicy Veggie Wrap for adults. The flavour of the vegetarian wrap was chosen following an exclusive BritMums tasting session, where bloggers and their children helped taste and select the final flavour, so these new menu items were genuinely created with the help of real families!

McDonald's veggie wrap Happy Meal - ordering new vegetarian options

As you might have spotted on my Instagram stories, we went to McDonald’s to try out these new permanent menu items. Squiggle is sometimes reluctant to try new food but she was delighted that they have introduced a Happy Meal veggie option for kids and was keen to tuck in. This tasty wrap is made from red pepper and pesto goujon with tomato ketchup and shredded lettuce wrapped in a soft, toasted tortilla. She said it was yummy and gave it the big thumbs up! And at 209 calories it is a reasonably healthy option, especially paired with carrot sticks, as Squiggle had. The RRP is £2.49 which is great value too!

Squiggle opening McDonald's happy meal veggie wrap

I also tried out the brand new adult Spicy Veggie Wrap, which is 364 calories, RRP is £2.99 and absolutely delicious! It is made from two red pepper and pesto goujons, with tomato, lettuce and red onion, and a generous dressing of spicy relish, all wrapped in a soft, toasted tortilla. It’s really tasty and full of flavour. I was really impressed! (And I confess I have already had another since – they are THAT good!!!)

McDonald's spicy veggie wrap

We are thrilled to be part of this BritMums project and really enjoyed being amongst the first people to sample the new vegetarian options. Thank you McDonald’s! Why not pop along to your local branch to try them out yourself too…. and don’t forget to let us know what you think!

Squiggle and Katie Living Life Our Way holding McDonald’s Vegetarian Happy Meal and Spicy Veggie Wrap

Vegan Menu at City Spice, Brick Lane, London: Review

A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to City Spice in Brick Lane, London, to review their new vegan menu. As most of my readers will probably know, I am a vegetarian who regularly enjoys vegan food, and I took along with a friend who is vegan.

City Spice, Brick Lane, London
About City Spice

City Spice is a multi award winning restaurant in the heart of East London’s Brick Lane. Since being crowned as ‘The King of Brick Lane’ back in 2017, it has won several other awards and has a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.

Vegan Menu

City Spice also offers an extensive vegan menu; the first of its kind to grace East London’s famous Brick Lane.  It has 14 delicious dishes, perfected by owner Abdul Ahad, and recently won Best Indian Vegan Restaurant award at the
Bangladesh Caterers Association Award, decided by a vote from the 12,000 member restaurants of the Bangladesh Caterers Association.

Owner, Abdul Ahad, developed the menu following a huge demand from Veganuary last year. The menu has proved very popular; resulting in a 170% increase in bookings for the restaurant in the two months following the launch.

Ahad used his experience and expertise from around the globe to create his delicious range of vegan offerings. “Having been in the fires for some time, the new dishes were perfected following my humbling visit to Sri Lanka, inspired by tips, tricks and recipes from some of the world’s most talented and award winning chefs, including Michelin-star chef Rupert Rowley. It’s time to show the vegan community, and those who favour vegan dishes, what the King is capable of.”

A selection of food from the vegan menu at City Spice, Brick Lane, London

Veganuary Founder, Jane Land commented: “2018 was Veganuary’s biggest year yet, with more than 167,000 people taking part, a whopping 100,000 more than last year – and that’s just the ones we know about! With societal eating habits changing, and forward thinking restaurants like City Spice reflecting this within their menus, it’s never been easier to go vegan.”

Vegan Menu at City Spice, Brick Lane, London: Review

Review

We visited City Spice on a Wednesday evening. We arrived earlier than our booking but they were very accomodating and were able to seat us immediately. The staff were warm, friendly and welcoming but not overbearing, and they assisted us efficiently.

The restaurant itself has seating on ground level and downstairs. The toilets are also down a flight of stairs, although I am not sure whether there are disabled facilities elsewhere for accessibility, or not. The facilities were basic and clean, and the rest of the restaurant also maintains a simple but clean feel about it. The restaurant was fairly busy for a weeknight and had a nice vibe to it.

For starters, I ordered Aloo Chat, which is a blend of potato and spices, and Liz ordered Vegetable Pepper. Both of these were delicious.

Aloo chat starter, vegan food, City Spice

For mains, I had Palani Potatoes, described as ‘fresh cubed pieces of potatoes are cooked with zesty cumin seeds and curry leaves, to provide a distinct, medium flavour, exemplified by a thick mouth-watering sauce’. Liz opted for a daal dish.

Vegan mains at City Spice, Brick Lane, London

Both dishes were full of favour and really tasty. My dish was noticeably milder, whereas the daal had quite a spicy kick to it. Both quite different choices but equally as mouth-watering! The servings were very generous; infact, we were unable to find room to finish our meals. However, this was no reflection of the quality of food, just the amount of it!

Palani potatoes, vegan food, City Spice, Brick Lane, London

We felt it offered good value for money. Our starters cost £3.95 for Aloo Chat and £4.95 for Pepper, our mains were £8.95/ £9.95, plus our side orders of bread and rice were £2.95 each. So in total, including soft drinks and tip, the entire bill was under £45 for two people, which we consider to be reasonable.

Summary

We both really enjoyed our meal, and our evening. It was good quality flavoursome food, with an extensive vegan menu, and nice atmosphere. We would recommend you give this place a try and see for yourselves!

To book a table at City Spice restaurant, or for more information, check out the​ website ​www.city-spice.london

*Disclosure: We enjoyed a complimentary meal for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely our own. 

 

 

Eco Made Jeans: Review

As with the other areas of my life, I try to adopt an eco-friendly approach to clothing wherever possible. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I need some new additions to my wardrobe (as much as I still love my oldest favourite jeans, I bought them in Las Vegas back before I was even a mum!) So I was very happy to receive an email asking me if I would like to review a pair of eco jeans from JD Williams

Eco Made Jeans: Review

About

Eco Made indigo slim fit jeans are available in sizes 10 – 32. They are made partly from COOLMAX® ECOMADE fibre, which is made from 97% recycled material such as bottles, so helps reduce the environmental impact of plastic and keeps it out of our oceans.  This innovative design keeps moisture away from the skin to help stay cool in summer (or at hot gigs!) so are perfect for all year round and a variety of occasions.

Price: £40 (RRP) Shop here.

EcoMade slim fit jeans

Review

These jeans feel quite stretchy and are very comfortable. The sizing is as expected and they fit well. Having worn them at two gigs already (and one venue was particularly warm!) the material does indeed seem to feel cool when needed but still as warm as any other jeans on a cold night.

EcoMade jeans dressed up with boots for gig

They can easily be teamed up with different tops and footwear to either dress them up, or opt for a more casual look. For example, I wore them with boots and a long sleeve top for the gigs, which worked well. The fit is flattering, yet relaxed and comfortable enough to dance around, or laze around, or go for a long walk! I love them and would definitely recommend!

Lazing on sofa in jeans

*Disclosure: I was sent these jeans to review from JD Williams All opinions are my own. 

Review: Trasparenze Leggings from UK Tights

I try not to buy new clothes too often, and I don’t have a massive wardrobe. However, I was in genuine need of a new outfit or two to wear on various nights out. I wanted something comfortable, that looked stylish, but also versatile. Luckily, I was contacted by UK tights and spotted the perfect item on their website, Poseidone leggings by Trasparenze, which they kindly sent me to review.

Review: Trasparenze Leggings from UK Tights

About

Trasparenze is an Italian company that specialises in hosiery in unique eye-catching designs. Poseidone leggings are soft and luxurious, with an opaque leg and pretty floral lace design. RRP £51.99. Purchase from UK tights here.

Review

The leggings arrived in an elegant cardboard box, which is well presented so would make a nice gift.

Trasparenze Leggings from UK Tights in box

As they are an Italian brand, I was advised to ignore what size I would normally be and actually check the sizing guide. I did so and went for medium (I am normally a size 10 – 12) which fit perfectly.

Whilst these leggings aren’t organic, which is my preference wherever possible, they are exceptionally good quality so will hopefully last much longer than a cheaper brand. I try to adopt a slow fashion approach that is kinder to our planet than fast fashion, so I generally make a point of only buying clothes that I know I will wear often, and/ or at least around 30 times. (Yes, I know that is alot!)

Therefore, it seems more logical to me to invest in more expensive items that will last the distance. With all that in mind, I think that these leggings are wonderfully versatile and of sufficient quality to be worth the price tag.

Review: Trasparenze Leggings from UK Tights

Summary

I love these leggings! They are expensive, but feel comfortable and look stylish. They are a unique elegant design that stands out and is different to usual, but can also be worn in a number of ways for different things. I would wear them on a proper night out with heels and a dressy top, or they can also be worn on a more casual night out – as pictured below – as well. I received quite a few compliments wearing them and was happy with my outfit choice!

Selfie of Living Life Our Way wearing leggings on a night out

 

* Disclosure: these leggings were sent to me for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own. 

Zero Waste Eco-Friendly Postpartum and Menstruation Wear by Modibodi

It has been a decade since Squiggle came into this world. However, I remember the early days after birth very well; even in the hazy midst of that exhausted but elated sleep deprived state, it is not something to forget!

The practical new mum challenges that I wasn’t quite prepared for were things such as leaky boobs! (Which will happen regardless of whether you actually breastfeed or not by the way!) I went through a tonne of nursing pads. I was aware there were washable options, but I was somewhat less environmentally minded back then and it just felt like too much of a task. But faffing with breast pads and nursing tops also became an issue for me, and caused me quite alot of stress in our early breastfeeding days. That is why I think Modibodi nursing tops are brilliant!

Modibodi Nursing Top – RRP £45

Modibodi breastfeeding singlet is cleverly designed to look and fit like a regular breastfeeding bra, but replaces the need for nursing pads. It is beaitifully soft thanks to the bamboo outer layer, and uses patented technology to ensure maximum comfort, hygiene and effectiveness. The Breastfeeding Singlet is available in sizes 10-18 and cups A-G.

Maternity breastfeeding singlet

(Note: This is not me and I am not pregnant!)

5% of each sale donated to PANDAS throughout October

Modibodi have teamed up with PANDAS Foundation, a post-natal depression charity, to raise awareness and support their work. Throughout October, Modibodi will donate 5% of sales of the breastfeeding singlet to PANDAS. I was lucky enough not to suffer with post-natal depression myself, but I certainly do not underestimate the importance of such charities and the vital work that they do in supporting new mums!

Modibodi wants to highlight the realities of post pregnancy bodies. In a recent survey, undertaken by the brand, over half (53%) of the women surveyed revealed that they weren’t happy with their bodies and felt pressure to lose the baby weight quickly. 6 out of 10 mums surveyed also felt that there wasn’t enough comfortable and accessible nursing bra options, which is where Modibodi steps in, by providing a comfortable eco-friendly solution to breastfeeding mums.

Modibodi want women to embrace their post pregnancy body with #lovemybabybodi, and is encouraging women all over to the UK to upload a picture of their post baby body along with the hashtag, in order promote wellbeing and confidence for all mothers.

I have also teamed up with Modibodi for one lucky reader to win one of these handy zero waste breastfeeding tops! Read down to the end of this post for further details and to enter.

Underwear

Modibodi also have a collection of underpants that cover all absorbencies and come in a range of styles. These are useful for both postpartum and monthly menstruation. I have mentioned before that I use period pants for a zero waste, eco-friendly period (along with a mooncup sometimes) so I was very happy to try out a pair of their pretty sensual bikini pants with heavy overnight absorbency.

Modibodi period pants menstruation underwear postpartum underpants

Review: Sensual hi-waist bikini pants (heavy/ overnight absorbency) RRP £23.50

I love these! They are super soft and comfortable, thanks to the organic bamboo material. They fit very well and look (in my opinion anyway!) ok too. I felt confident and secure wearing them, with no concerns even on heavier days. (They hold 15-20ml, which is the equivalent of 2 tampons and 3 teaspoons!) They also wash well. Out of the several brands of menstruation pants that I use, these are probably my overall favourites in fact! Shop here.

Sensual high-waist heavy overnight absorbency pants

Teen Range

I would also like to give a mention to their teen range of underwear. As a parent to an autistic daughter nearing the age of puberty, the subject has come up fairly often with other SEND parents about managing self-care when it comes to starting periods. I personally feel that period pants offer a good solution to this.

Of course, they are beneficial to any teenager just starting their periods! For this reason, Modibodi have their own teen range. They even have a handy guide to download too!

Swimwear 

Last but not least, Modibodi also do swimwear! I haven’t tried it myself but I still wanted to include it in this post because this is another thing that has come up many times before. It is certainly not cheap but may well be worth the investment if you are a regular swimmer who would like that extra boost of confidence and peace of mind! See the swimwear section for more information.

Giveaway!

For your chance to win a breastfeeding singlet, enter via rafflecopter below. Competition ends 4th November 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received items in exchange for review and giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The Importance of Playing Outside: Play More with Sudocrem (Giveaway)

My readers already know how much I value spending time outside; my blog features heavily on outdoors and nature. So I was somewhat surprised, and saddened to be honest, to read that new research reveals that 1 in 9 British children have not visited a beach, park or forest in a year, and on average a British child only spends 4 hours a week playing in the great outdoors.

Squiggle outdoors in nature in the rain

Many kids are so disconnected from nature that over half of those surveyed admitted that they had never climbed a tree, a staggering 89% didn’t know what a buttercup was and 77% couldn’t identify a sunflower. The survey, carried out by Sudocrem, also asked 200 children between the ages of 4 to 8 years old to identify some of the creepy crawlies in Britain. It revealed that 89% of children were unable to recognise a butterfly, 51% didn’t know what a bumblebee looks like and 29% didn’t realise that bees make honey. These results are truly shocking!

The Importance of Playing Outside: Play More with Sudocrem (Giveaway)

There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors in nature; both physical and mental. This is why Sudocrem set up the award-winning Play More campaign, an initiative designed to encourage parents and children to get back in touch with nature.

According to children’s TV presenter and Play More ambassador Chris Packham, parents should be encouraging their children to explore the natural environment around them. “I was very fortunate when I was a child because I was encouraged to interact with the outdoors – looking under rocks and searching under logs and hedges to find creepy crawlies. If you just open your eyes, you’ll see that there is an incredible natural world out there waiting to be discovered.”

Chris Packham holding a Play More box

Vote For Your Local Nursery

As part of the campaign, Sudocrem are offering nurseries around the UK the chance to win support for playground regeneration or a mural, which will be painted by award-winning artist, Joy Pirkle. They have so far helped hundreds of UK nurseries improve their outdoor area. If you think you know a nursery that deserves to win, you can nominate them on the ‘Play More’ section here.

*All nurseries must be based in the UK and nominations close on 31.08.2018. For full Terms and Conditions, please visit www.sudocrem.co.uk/social-hub

Giveaway!

I’m also working with Sudocrem on their Play More campaign, giving away an adventure kit worth £40, which has been carefully put together to encourage children to play outside. The kit includes:

– Play More t-shirt

– Play More sun hat

– Bug Pot

– Frisbee

– Butterfly Net

– Magnifying glass

– Trowel or fork

Contents of Play More giveaway kit as listed

To be in with a chance of winning this fab prize, simply enter my rafflecopter giveaway below. Open to UK residents only. Ends 05/08/18. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Sudocrem.

Meetchu Dating App: Review

Oooh, I have something a little different to write about today – and I admit to being quite excited about this! Having not used a dating app before, I have sometimes felt like I am somehow missing out on the fun! I have always been quite intrigued to know what they are really like. So when I was given the opportunity to review Meetchu – a cool new dating app with a twist – I found myself saying yes

Meetchu Dating App: Review. Couple holding hands walking down the street. Into the sunset.

About Meetchu

So as I mentioned above, meetchu has a twist – prospective love interests can actually ‘meet’ each other before they meet up, via video or voice calling directly through the app. This means that you can get to know someone abit better before deciding whether to meet in real life, and you never have to give out your phone number to anyone.

Meetchu app icon

Setting Up

Meetchu verifies who you are by connecting to Facebook. This provides an extra layer of security to avoid getting catfished, which is good. It is also really handy as you can then access your facebook photos to upload to your profile, which makes setting up quick and easy.

Meetchu dating app home screen

You can include photos and short 10 second videos on your profile, as well as some details about yourself and what you are looking for. There are various options to choose from under settings, which helps to narrow down your search so you are more likely to find your true match! For example, you can specify gender and age range. In the premium version you can also specify distance too.

Edit profile screenshot

Using Meetchu

The app is very easy to use; simply heart or swipe right if you’re interested, of click the x or swipe left if not. Matches are then found at the bottom section of the screen. Aside from their photos/ video clips, it also tells you age and distance. I would possibly like a little further info before chatting ideally, but on the otherhand it does help to keep too many personal details away from strangers, which helps me feel more secure.

If you are a match (i.e. you both swipe right or heart) then you can video chat or call each other through the app. I really like this because it means you definitely know who are meeting – no catfishing! It makes the idea of online dating somewhat safer. (Although you still need to take sensible precautions when meeting someone for the first time, of course!)

Another security feature that I really like is that you can delete your messages from the other person’s phone at any time. I think this is a really good idea!

Meetchu app in use. Swipe left or right.

Overall

I love the attention to security and ‘meet before you meet’ concept. Who knows if you might find your true love on this app; either way, you’ll have fun trying!

Join for free!

Download the app using my code to receive a one month’s free premium membership!

This gives you unlimited voice and video calling, as well as unlocking all the emojis. Premium membership also allows users to refine search location. Last but not least, it means you can jump the queue and be seen first in match searches! Premium membership costs from £4.99 per month.

Happy couple

Have you ever tried Meetchu? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

*Disclosure: I was given free download for the purpose of this review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Grofresh Kitchen Garden: Review and Giveaway

Grofresh kitchen garden is a brilliant way to grow herbs, plants and flowers indoors, with no mess and no fuss! It uses a clever patented celpod method of growing. This allows you to grow most plants quickly and easily, and is eco-friendly too. It is perfect for people who don’t have a garden, or who just want to grow extra food in their kitchen. It is fully automated and keeps the environment under optimal conditions, so you don’t need to be green fingered to gain a successful crop; in fact, it literally couldn’t be easier to grow your own food!

We were kindly sent a Grofresh kitchen garden to review…

Setting up

The Grofresh kitchen garden is extremely easy to set up as it comes pre-assembled except for the biolite, which easily slots into the base. You then simply add the nutrient solution, prepare the hydrocels, plant the seeds or plugs in the biocel, then turn it on.

Grofresh microgrower kitchen garden

Step by step;

Mix the nutrient solution provided with 1.3L of clean water and pour it into the base by removing the water filler cap, then replace the cap. Do not overfill. Make sure the growtop is on the growtank before filling. The essential nutrients are mixed with the water and delivered directly to the plants root system several times a day.

Prepare the hydrocels by soaking them in water until they are soft then squeeze out excess water. Slot them back into the celpod, securing them with the feet.

To plant the seeds just slice through the top of the hydrocel and put the seeds in about 1cm from the top, then place it in the biocel. Plugs are similar; just slice right through the middle of the hydrocel instead. See the instruction manual for more details on planting.

Functions

The microgrower has three watering settings (low, medium and high) and you can change between them using just one button. It uses flashing lights to indicate which setting has been selected. Check the seed packet to determine the correct level needed. I would also recommend planting either the same plants, or ones with similar watering requirements.

A single red light will flash every 30 seconds to indicate the water is low and requires refilling. The rest of the time it flashes green every 30 seconds to indicate it is working correctly. So this is a pretty fool- proof system!

The bioight will automatically switch on for 16 hours then off for 8 hours. The timing can be adjusted by using pressing a button on the base. If you turn it off, it will remain off for 8 hours then automatically turn on for 16 hours, back off for 8 hours and so on. If you turn it on, it will stay on for 16 hours, then off for 8 hours. You get the idea! It is all automatic, so no need to do anything.

Grofresh kitchen garden

Other Information

Grofresh kitchen garden comes in a range of colours, so you can match your kitchen decor.

You can grow most things that grow above ground (not below ground).

The hydrocels only last for one growing cycle but you can purchase more from the website. Replacement hydrocels cost £9.95.

Grofresh kitchen garden RRP: £59.95.

Purchase at wizal.co.uk

Grofresh advert

Our Verdict

The Grofresh kitchen garden is so very straightforward to set up and use, it takes up hardly any space in the kitchen, and after just a few days shoots are already appearing – so it is clearly a very effective system! We love it!

Shoots growing in Grofresh kitchen garden after just a few days.

Discount

Enter code WZLKG3 at checkout to receive £10.00 off all Grofresh kitchen garden orders! Valid until end of June 2018 only.

Grofresh kitchen gardens discount code

Giveaway Time!!!!

To be in with a chance to win your own Grofresh kitchen garden, enter my giveaway via rafflecopter below! Ends 22nd July 2018. UK residents only. T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*Disclosure: I was sent the Grofresh kitchen garden for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Trint Transcription Software: Review

Trint is a clever piece of software that transcribes any video and audio files into text. It was founded by Jeff Kofman, a former war correspondent for CNN. Jeff had to manually transcribe thousands of interviews throughout his career, so he decided to develop Trint, to save people the hours of time and effort it takes to transcribe manually.

Trint is useful for a range of purposes, such as journalists and broadcasters, podcasters and content creators, or for students transcribing lectures. It’s also helpful for those who cannot write or type often, which makes it an excellent tool for those with SEND or accessibility needs.

How it works

Here is a short video explaining how Trint works…

Prices

Trint has various pricing options. You can pay as you go at £13.20 per hour. Or you can subscribe to either the basic package for 3 hours per month at £36 or the supercharged package at £100 for 100 hours. For both subscriptions, unused minutes can be carried over for up to 60 days. You can cancel anytime.

Trint’s video to text transcription software is also available via Adobe Premiere Pro, thanks to the newly added plug-in.

A review of trint subscription software text. Background image in grey of laptop, notebook and pen.

My Review

I tried Trint on my android, but the website is so easy to navigate anyway that it probably wouldn’t make difference what device you use, which is useful. As I mentioned above, it can also be used directly on Adobe too. I didn’t test this out personally but I imagine it is very useful!

The software couldn’t be simpler to use; you literally just select the video clip or audio you want to transcribe and click the button. You can also create folders for the files so everything is nice and organised.

Screenshot on my Trint folders.

Trint takes roughly the same length of time as the video clip itself. That is speedy transcribing! It did seem to glitch slightly when I tried to select multiple videos, and a couple of times it got stuck when I was trying to open the transcribed files. However, admittedly I tend to multi-task so that was likely more a reflection on my phone’s capabilities, and my impatience, than this software! Aside from that, the process of transcribing it was incredibly easy.

Trint screenshot of the actual transcription.

In terms of accuracy, overall it did very well in the right situations. It clearly struggled with Squiggle’s voice generally, although it fared somewhat better with her in a Q&A style video with myself. It does suggest that ideally the speaker should be close to the camera and to speak in a clear voice without background noise, so that might also have improved the outcomes.

Of course, the vast majority of users would be adults anyway though, so let’s find out how well it did with me…

As you can see it is very accurate with only a couple of minor errors. I also asked Squiggle’s dad if he would possibly mind testing it on a longer video presentation that he did for work and it was almost perfect, aside from some missed punctuation, which he said would have just been down to his presentation style. So he was very impressed!

Overall, Trint is very useful if used in the right contexts (i.e. in situations where the speaker on the recording is very loud and clear, with an adult pitch voice, without too much background intereference). It could certainly save time, effort and money in transcriptions – it is much easier than doing it yourself manually, and far cheaper than hiring someone else to do it!

Find out more about Trint on their website: trint.com

*Disclosure: I was given free minutes for the purpose of review and compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Rockford’s Rock Opera Review & Giveaway Bundle

Rockford’s Rock Opera by Sweetapple is an ecological musical story about extinction, biodiversity, the value of the natural world and bringing endangered species back from the brink. It was created by a group of friends (Matthew Sweetapple and Elaine Sweetapple, husband and wife, and comedian Steve Punt) in an attic in Barnet, Hertfordshire and was first launched on the web in 2008. Rockford’s Rock Opera is enjoyed in 100,000 schools all over the world. This year it is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary and is now in the process of being turned into a feature animated film! With a production budget of $38,000,000 it will be one of the UK’s
biggest-ever independent films.

Rockford's Rock Opera

The story is unique in it’s format and delivery; combining pictures, animation, songs and dialogue. It is a truly touching story with an important ecological message. In essence, it is a musical story about a boy from Battersea called Moog and his Dog, Rockford. The underlying message is that one day we’ll discover the greatest secret of all; how every species on earth can live together in harmony. The creators, who describe it as Jungle Book meets Jurassic Park, suggest it is aimed primarily at ages 6-12 years old.

I downloaded all four of the parts on my iPhone from the App store (part 1 is free, parts 2, 3 and 4 cost £1.99 each). Each app contains extras as well as the story itself; including the music, story background and useful learning material (did you know that 99.9% of all creatures that have ever lived may now be extinct?!) as well as links to environmental organizations and charities.

Rockford's Rock Opera app

The story itself is a good combination of stills and CGI (some quite psychedelic; it took me back to the Beatles yellow submarine), supported by clear narration and varied styled music – some with singalong lyrics (one of my favorite touches). Not wishing to give too much of a spoiler, the story centers around Moog and his rescue dog Rockford from Battersea Dogs’ Home, who find themselves travelling across the sea of tranquility to an island called Infinity; home to the last creature of all extinct species. Here they encounter many fictional creatures, including a small yellow sticky creature with a green stripe called a Cocklebur Ink, a ten tentacle octopus called a Dectopus and a menacing guitar playing mantis called The Registrar, to name just a few. Moog and Rockford must race to the centre of the island against the backward flowing river to stop the extinction of all dogs and humans on earth. But, given humans were the cause of many of the islands creatures’ extinctions, not everyone wants them to succeed.

Rockford's Rock Opera Island of Infinity

All four parts run to 2.5 hours in total but is divided into chapters, making it perfect for bedtimes or car journeys. It has no in app purchasing and does not require an internet connection, so it’s 100% safe for children to use unassisted.

I have to say I fell in love with this story. It really tugs on the heartstrings and inspires empathy in such an original way. It gets the message across very clearly, and is hard hitting, yet also simultaneously approaches it in a sensitive and tactful way; it is a delicate balance that has been achieved remarkably well.

The songs range from slow, emotional songs such as ‘This Tail is True’ to really rocky tunes like ‘I Am The Registrar’. My absolute favourite though, is the incredibly catchy ‘Tale of The Cocklebur Ick’. This one has literally not left my head! I think not least of all because it carries such a strong message and is so thought- provoking. That tale in itself can lead to many hours of valuable discussion; indeed there are entire lesson plans on the website to cover just that part of the story.

The website is filled with tonnes of useful information, from detailed lesson plans to practical ideas on how to protect our environment. It also has loads of other cool fun stuff too, so do check it out! RockfordsRockOpera.com

Giveaway!

I have an awesome Rockford’s Rock Opera giveaway bundle for one reader to win! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Competition ends on 8th July 2018.

Rockford's Rock Opera giveaway bundle

Good Luck!

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*I was given free access to the apps for the purpose of review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.