Visiting Santa At The Rainforest Café

Visiting Santa at the Rainforest Café was such a lovely, magical experience. Rainforest café invited us to visit Santa’s Grotto with a meal for the girls afterwards in exchange for an honest review.

Visiting Santa at Rainforest Cafe

The rainforest café is close to the Piccadilly circus Tube station which made planning the journey fairly straight forward. We were really excited as my brother was joining us keeping to our Christmas tradition we started a few years ago too.

The Rainforest café grotto experience includes:

  • A personalised invite from Santa Claus
  • A warm welcome from his elves on arrival
  • Enjoy a personalised meeting with Santa Claus in his grotto
  • A Christmas Gift
  • Children’s 2 course meal & soft drink

Traveling To The Rainforest Café

We couldn’t wait to finally visit Rainforest Café after having our original booking moved. Visiting Santa had the girls so excited and we couldn’t wait to get there. I will admit I had a stressful start though, I lost my bank card a week or so ago. Because of this there was an issue transferring money to the Mr’s account. Luckily my brother saved the day and we managed to get on our way but it made me extremely anxious. Going out with very little money is hell! Several lifts were broken at the underground stations which made my travel anxiety worse but somehow we managed the journey with the help of some lovely kind strangers. The girls enjoyed watching performers and passing the Piccadilly Emporium on the way to the Rainforest café.

Piccadilly circus performers

Both performers at Piccadilly Circus

With my chronic pain and my brothers lupus and bad legs we were a little bit of a mess by the time we arrived but the staff were so welcoming which really helped put us at ease.

Talking tree at rainforest cafe

If you have mobility issues the amount of steps at rainforest café will be a challenge. I do suggest talking to the staff before booking as they do have an accessible entrance. I had thought we would be ok but my brother and I struggled slightly. After all the stairs at tube stations it was quite exhausting. Totally my fault and totally worth it even if Tramadol will be keeping me going for the rest of the week haha!

The rainforest cafe

Arriving At The Rainforest Café

We went downstairs to the Mushroom bar which was full of fantastic rainforest effects and animatronics which were absolutely fantastic.

Gorilla in a christmas jumper

We were greeted by the elves at the booking desk who greeted the girls by name once they had our time slot. The girls absolutely loved this, the elves were brilliant and stayed in character the whole time which really added to the experience. We were asked to wait at the bar which has some awesome animal stools to sit on.

Arriving at Santa's Grotto

Visiting Santa At The Rainforest Café

An elf came and took us down another set of stairs after a short wait and asked the girls to find the Christmas trees. When they found the trees she told the girls they had just put the reindeer to bed so they had to be very quiet and tip toe into the grotto. They knocked on the Grotto door and entered a beautifully decorated grotto. Some grottos feel very claustrophobic but Rainforest Café have a large but cosy grotto which was great. Visiting Santa at the Rainforest Café is a fantastic experience.

Talking to Santa

Talking To Santa

Santa chatted away with the girls using the information from our booking sheet I filled out via email. Eva was delighted when Santa mentioned her teacher. He also mentioned a present she wanted and several other personal details. Izzy spent most of the time chatting away and showing Santa she can do the splits and yoga. She asked him lots of questions and really enjoyed herself.

Checking out the Christmas tree

Izzy really loved the Christmas tree and decorations. Santa barely got a word in edgeways with my two chatterboxes, he was fantastic with them though. As you can see they really enjoyed themselves visiting Santa in his cosy grotto.

Posing with Santa

Sticking To Family Traditions

We took a few photo’s of our own and bought a photo of the 4 of us with Santa. This is part of to our Christmas tradition so I was pleased when we were offered a picture of us all. The girls then received a rainforest café tote bag with a gorgeous soft fluffy penguin each. They also received a gorgeous Christmas stories book, certificate and sticker. They absolutely loved their presents and were so happy to be visiting Santa at rainforest café.

The girls, my brother and I with Santa at Rainforest Café

After our grotto visit we were taken to buy our photo which was £10. We were then told to head upstairs to the restaurant where we were shown to a table. The girls received a 2 course meal and drink as part of the Grotto package. Due to my earlier transfer issue I was unable to order anything myself but the girls meals looked lovely.

Kids meals at Rainforest Café

Eating At The Rainforest Café

Eva chose Burger and chips and Izzy had fish cakes and chips. Eva chatted a little too much (every meal!) so her burger went cold but she enjoyed the half she did eat. Izzy demolished her veg and much to my surprise she ate a few chips, they must have been amazing as she is extremely fussy with chips!

Chocolate ice cream and toffeee sauce sundae

They both had a lovely dessert after their meal. Eva had the chocolate ice cream with toffee sauce and Izzy had a lovely bowl of fresh fruit. They both left happy with full tummy’s ready to head home.

Fruit bowl at Rainforest Café

The waitress was fantastic and we didn’t have to wait too long between dishes which was great. The decorations and effects kept the girls amused whilst we waited. Izzy wanted to bring them home.. not sure an elephant that size would fit in the lift though! 

Animaltronics - Moving elephant

An Unexpected Accident

As we were leaving we of course had yet another problem on our part. Eva spilt her juice over her gifts and herself and began panicking. After our awful start I was close to tears myself. I doubted they could help but I somehow braved asking a member of staff if there was any way they could be replaced. Obviously I would have fully understood if they said no. I just couldn’t cope with the thought of a journey home with Eva distraught at rush hour. After such a magical experience I would have felt awful leaving without at least asking. Amazingly the staff managed to find one last penguin and Christmas stories book much to everyone’s relief.

Finally home with their presents

Fantastic Staff

I am eternally grateful to the staff who replaced the items for Eva. I took care of them until we got home to prevent anymore accidents. We managed to dry out the certificate with very little damage once we got home to Eva’s delight. Both girls ended their day with smiles on their faces cuddling their penguins.  They excitedly told the Mr all about the café, animals, elves and Santa when they got home.

Parrot at Rainforest Café

After all our stress it as fantastic to make it to the Rainforest Café to experience their fantastic grotto package. The food and drink are typical London prices. We will definitely go back again with the Mr as the girls really enjoyed the whole experience. I can’t fault Rainforest Café at all, the experience was fantastic. Staff were outstanding and even in our stressed states Alex and I enjoyed ourselves too.

We tucked the girls into bed with their penguins in their arms and huge smiles on their faces. They told us they had the best day ever as we left the room which literally says it all! Visiting Santa at Rainforest Café is a magical experience I would definitely recommend trying once.

Have you visited the Rainforest café before or booked the grotto experience? Would you book this experience?

Tammymum

Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and 3-in-1 Apple Slicer Review & Giveaway!

We were sent some Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and an Apple Slicer to review, we love food and baking so we couldn’t wait to check them out. Anyone who has been keeping up with my recent tweets will know since replacing my cooker I have gone on a baking binge. The girls and I love to bake and decided to put the baking cups to the test first!

Vremi Silicone Baking Cups

Vremi Baking Cups

The Vremi silicone baking cups are £13.99 for a pack of 24 Multi-coloured & BPA Free Round Cake Moulds for Cupcakes and Muffins. The baking cups are bright and colourful in pink, yellow, green and blue. The baking cups are non-stick as well as BPA free. They are oven and freezer safe and much to my delight dishwasher safe too!

Butterfly Muffins

Ok so my butterfly muffins may not look that amazing but the fact they came out of the baking cups so easily really is! We’ve had similar ones before that have been tricky to remove the cake/muffin from. The Vremi ones I had no issue with at all and would definitely recommend them for anyone who loves to bake. The came out of the dishwasher spotless and will no doubt get plenty of use.

Vremi 3-in-1 Apple Slicer

Vremi 3-in-1 apple slicer

The Vremi 3-in-1 Apple Slicer is £7.99 on Amazon and comes with 3 attachments for apples, potatoes and mangos. The blades are interchangeable and so easy to change. Apple slicing blades cut an apple into 8 wedges, perfect for my girls snacks. The potato slicer is great for homemade French fries and cuts 36 of them! If you love mangos then the mango corer is perfect as it removes the seed and slices the fruit.

apple sliced

I love how easy the slicer is to use with lovely big soft grip handles meaning the girls can help. The blades are so much sharper than my previous apple slicer and slice straight through! I’ve binned my previous apple slicer (even though it was purple!) because the Vremi one is much easier to use.

If you love the sound of these fab Vremi products then enter the Gleam competition below for a chance to win both!

Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer #4

My Sunday Photo – Chocolate Cake

I baked a delicious chocolate cake yesterday & had to share it for my Sunday photo. It is far from impressive compared to the food bloggers I follow but it is GOOD cake. Two weeks without a cooker over half term is not fun. Having a working cooker that actually cooks properly makes all the difference though! As soon as our new cooker arrived I decided I had to test it out properly.. by baking cake of course! Our old cooker decided to blow the day I chose to do some baking so it only seemed right.

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

The cake is a devils food cake mix with vanilla icing mixed wit 60g of melted chocolate (from hotel chocolat) and 20g of cocoa powder. I have to say I had no confidence it would turn out right but it surprisingly turned out brilliantly! I split the mix between two tins & added a layer of icing between them too.. nom!

 

Chocolate cake sliced

The cake is amazingly fluffy and light and I’ve pleased myself with my icing, I thought it would be a disaster yet it tastes AMAZING!

Have you baked a cake recently? Do you have any tips?

 

Photalife

Christmas Hamper From Prestige Hampers

I received a gorgeous Christmas hamper from Prestige Hampers to review. I received Prestige Hampers Traditional Gift Basket which costs £64.99. A true Christmas classic the traditional gift basket in premium wicker is packed with the finest products for the recipient to enjoy.

Prestige Hampers

Prestige Hampers

Christmas Hamper

Prestige Hampers Christmas hamper is the perfect gift to send this Christmas with a selection of fine wines, treats & savoury goodies arranged neatly inside the wicker basket. To top it off the hamper was approved by Good Housekeeping 2017!

Christmas Hamper From Prestige Hampers

Included:
Water Stop Station Chardonnay 75cl
Water Stop Station Shiraz 75cl
Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits 150g
English Breakfast Tea 40g
Milk, White and Dark Chocolate Classics 120g
Shortbread Festive Shapes 60g
Matthew Walker Classic Christmas Pudding 100g
Iced Fruit Cake 400g
Dark Chocolate Bar 60g
Mackays Christmas Marmalade 113g
Mackays Christmas Preserve 113g
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Yorkshire Crisps 100g
Handmade Smoked Oatcakes 125g
Handmade Wicker Basket

 

This gorgeous Christmas hamper is bursting full of deliciously tasty goodies perfect for Christmas. We love the Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits & Shortbread festive shapes that go really well with the English Breakfast Tea which I shared with the girls.

There is a little bit of everything you could want treat wise over the Christmas period including 2 Water Stop Wines to wash it all down with. This is a great gift for anyone who is unsure what to buy for someone this Christmas. The lovely Handmade Wicker Basket can be kept for storing things once it is empty too.

Prestige Hampers sell a range of hampers to suit your needs & budget with something for everyone. They are fantastically priced for what is included in the hamper and I would definitely buy a hamper like this as a gift.

Have you heard of Prestige Hampers before? Do you like Christmas hampers?

 

My Top 5 Comfort Foods

Here’s my top 5 comfort foods that I love when I’m feeling a little bit meh. We all find comfort in food at times and I’m no different! Whilst I do struggle with my appetite there are also those times when I just need to stuff my face with something delicious.

My Top 5 Comfort Foods

  1. Chinese – Ordering Chinese just solves everything. Chicken chow mein, egg fried rice, crispy beef, deep fried crispy chicken in lemon sauce, chips & BBQ sauce just makes me feel better. Even if I don’t feel like eating I will finish at least half my plate. I tend to save some chow mein for the next morning too. Ultimate comfort food.Chinese Takeaway - Ultimate comfort food
  2. BBQ Chicken Pizza & Nacho Cheese Wedges – We tend to eat at the table for dinner but this is one of the few meal we sit on the sofa with. Sitting snuggled up munching away on pizza & wedges watching a DVD with the Mr always makes me feel better.
    cheese, close -up, crust 
  3. Cheese & Ham Toasty – There is something comforting about this quick and simple snack. It’s perfect any time of the day and is just delicious.
    Cheese & Ham Toasty
  4. Swedish Meatballs in Gravy & Chips – The Mr recently made this after I refused to try Ikea meatballs for years. I admit I was wrong & they are absolutely delicious! I could now happily eat this most nights.Swedish Meatballs In Gravy
  5. Chicken & Vegetable Soup With Fresh Bread – The Mr makes the best Chicken & vegetable soup in the slow cooker, we add in any veg with lentils & pearl barley to thicken it. A pot feeds all 4 of us for 2 days and is so warming & filling especially with fresh bread smothered in real butter.top 5 comfort foods - chicken & vegetable soup

With the colder months approaching I’m looking forward to comfort foods like this. I can’t pick a favourite out of these 5 as I do enjoy them all no matter how meh I feel!

Do you have a list of top 5 comfort foods too?

Chilean Easy Peelers Clementines & Mandarins

We received a box of Chilean easy peelers clementine’s & mandarins to help make back-to-school snacks & lunches tasty and convenient. Chilean clementine’s and mandarins deliciously juicy and full of vitamin C. They are also a great source of water to help keep you hydrated. The UK demand for Chilean easy peelers is growing due the convenience, seedless fruits, sweet flavour and hydration. UK demand for Chilean easy peelers has grown by 32% year on year and last season 2,000 tonnes were sold in the UK.

#Chileaneasypeelers

 

Chilean Easy Peel Clementine’s & Mandarins

Now in season the Chilean easy peelers clementine’s and mandarins provide a rich source of fibre, calcium and magnesium. A fantastically nutritious snack for everyone available from September to November, perfect for the back to school season. Containing around 87% water they are perfect for keeping children hydrated, perfect for hot days. Chilean easy peelers are low in calories & fat, they are a good source of vitamins and minerals. Helping to provide children with fibre, folate, vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium they are an ideal fruit.

A Quick Snack

Short on time? Chilean easy peelers clementine’s and mandarins are a quick and easy snack to give your child. A great start or end to the day even when you are in a rush.

After a busy day at school children can feel exhausted, giving them a Chilean easy peelers clementine’s or mandarin Is a great way to hydrate & give them a boost. Eva has recently started swimming lessons at school and has been coming back very pale & tired. We gave her a Chilean easy peelers clementine and she loved it, no stressing she couldn’t get it open at all.

Chilean easy peel

Ideal For Packed Lunches & School Trips

Chilean easy peelers are great alone as a snack or with other fruits to make a delicious fruit salad. Easy peelers are great to add to packed lunches or snacks for school trips to ensure your child has something nutritious throughout the day. As children can easily peel the fruits themselves they are more likely to eat them. Waiting for a teacher to help peel fruit can mean they get left untouched. Being able to peel the fruit themselves means children are less likely to leave them untouched.

Chilean easy peelers

Have you tried Chilean easy peeler clementine’s and manadarins before? Does your child find them easier too?

*This post is an entry for the BritMums #ChileanEasyPeelers Challenge, sponsored by Chilean Citrus Committee.

Growing & Preparing Our Windowsill Peppers For A Delicious Salad

The girls have been growing peppers on the windowsill over the last few months. It was much easier to grow our own food when we had a garden but we still try to see what we can achieve on our windowsills. Peppers are something Eva & Izzy thought we should try, so we gave them a go. You may have seen some of my Instagram posts from when they first began to grow. The one below is Eva’s huge red pepper!

The First Pepper

The girls peppers are growing nicely on their windowsill!

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Changing Colour

Over the last 2 months the peppers have slowly changed colour from green to red on Eva’s plant and from green to yellow on Izzy’s. A complete accident but a great way to tell them apart! We all enjoyed keeping an eye on the peppers changing and couldn’t wait to see how they turned out and tasted.

The girls peppers are growing and changing colour this week! They can’t wait to try them 😊

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Ready To Chop!

Both girls were really excited when the Mr told them their peppers were finally ready to chop. They headed out excitedly to buy the other bits they wanted to create a delicious salad for everyone to have Sunday night. With a bit of help from the Mr they both cut their own peppers off!

The girls have cut off their peppers & are making a delicious salad for everyone with them tonight 😍

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Preparing The Peppers

We explained to the girls they needed to wash their peppers before they could eat them. They were more than happy to get their hands wet and give them a good wash.

Peppers

Peppers

Once the peppers were washed and dried it was time to cut them up for our salad. We were surprised to find another pepper had tried growing inside Eva’s red one! 

The Delicious Salad!

 

The peppers were absolutely lovely & we all enjoyed them. I could quite happily eat it all over again!

Have you grown & eaten your own fruit & veg?

 

Nutritious Treats – Organix Multipacks

Organix Goodies offer a wide range of nutritious treats and have just launched a big family box of raspberry and apple soft oaty bake bars. Suitable from 12 months this multipack contains 12 healthy nutritious treats for your little one. They want a world where healthy nutritious food is a real choice for everyone.

Organix goodies multipack

Organix No Junk Promise

Organix have a ‘No junk promise’, their nutritious treats are always organic with nothing unnecessary in them. Sending standards for healthy treats for toddlers, Organix have a great range. It can be tricky sometimes to find delicious but nutritious treats but these oaty bake bars are fantastic.

Nutritious treats - Organix goodies soft oaty bake bars

Nutritious Treats For Little Explorers

Dillan

Organic apple & raspberry soft oaty bars

Oaty bake bars are perfect for little explorers and even suggest ideas for your little one to try. Izzy loved Dillan’s idea of going on a treasure hunt and collecting something in every colour of the rainbow! Organix goodies raspberry and apple oaty bars are a deliciously healthy snack to offer your little one. The soft oaty bake bars are suitable for vegetarians but they do contain oats and may contain traces of nuts, soya and dairy.

 

25 Years Of Making Things Better

Organix provide nutritious snacks for children so they have the best start, making things better for 25 years! Their fantastic range of treats include healthy crisps, popcorn, breadstick sweets and more ensuring toddlers have the most nutritious start.

We have tried plenty of Organix Goodies over the years, Izzy still loves the Organic Mini Gingerbread Men. Eva’s favourite was always the Organix Goodies Carrot Stix, I love knowing they are eating healthy snacks and balancing out the naughty treats! Being able to buy multipacks of delicious snacks like this is a real bonus for parent’s looking for nutritious snacks they can offer their little one’s.

Have you tried any of the Organix snacks yet? Do you love the new big family box?

Two Tiny Hands

Cocktail Nights At Lanes – Benfleet

Love cocktails? Cocktail nights at Lanes in Benfleet, Essex is the perfect place to go for a chilled out atmosphere and delicious drinks to relax with. Lanes is a fine dining restaurant and bar located 4 minutes from Benfleet train station.

Lanes Cocktail Bar

Opening times

Tue: 12:00 – 22:30

Wed: 12:00 – 22:30

Thur: 12:00 – 22:30

Fri: 12:00 – 23:30

Sat: 12:00 – 23:30

Sun: 12:00 – 18:00

Cocktail Nights

Cocktail nights are being introduced at Lanes this week and will continue every Thursday night from 10pm to midnight. Lanes are offering a range of cocktails for £7.50 each or 2 for £12! BARGAIN! (Who’s coming with me?) For those that prefer Mocktails those are available for just £3.50 each too!

Cocktail nights at lanes

Cocktails Available

Grey Goose Cosmo

Classic Margarita

Palm Breeze

Long Island Ice Tea

Elderflower and Cucumber Collins

Mudslide

Elderflower Bellini

With a fantastic selection of cocktails and a delicious fine dining menu, Lanes is definitely worth a visit. Just look at that roast.. if the drinks don’t tempt you the food most definitely will!

Lanes Fine Dining Restaurant

Food serving times

Tue: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Wed: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Thur: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 21:30

Fri: 12:00 – 15:00 / 18:00 – 22:00

Sat: 12:00 – 22:00

Sun: 12:00 – 16:00

Lanes is a family friendly restaurant with disabled facilities, a function room, smoking area with free Wi-Fi. Along with a selection of cocktails and food Lanes also offer real ales, a unique selection of wines and speciality coffee.

Lanes Coffee

What are you waiting for!? Whether you are looking for a night out drinking cocktails, a family meal with a gorgeous glass of wine or a coffee to warm up with as the colder months draw closer, Lanes has you covered. With a relaxed modern atmosphere you are sure to enjoy your visit.

Do you love cocktail nights? Which cocktail is your favourite?

Rochester Dickens Festival 2017

We spent Sunday at the Rochester Dickens Festival with Martyn & the boys, enjoying the sunshine, actors, music, food & scenery. It was the 350th anniversary of the Battle of Medway so there was plenty going on in Rochester & surrounding areas for the entire weekend.

Rochester Dickens Festival

Rochester Dickens Festival

After attending the Medway English Festival with Martyn and the boys we were looking forward to joining them again for a lovely day out. With a nice early start we managed to get to Rochester just before everything started, giving us plenty of time to have a slow wander around.

Actors

We came across some brilliant actors over the course of the day but the first Fagin we bumped into Izzy absolutely loved! She couldn’t wait to get in a picture with him, sitting on his knee. He was wandering around looking for the owner of the lost pants in his hand.

We found another Fagin a little while later too and all the kids jumped in for a picture this time! Both actors were fantastic and really interacted with the kids which was brilliant. It was nice to see the girls enjoying the characters too although Eva was a little worried about the clock face guy!

There were so many different Dickens characters wandering around and people who simply dressed up and joined in too. It made the day quite fun having different characters chatting to us & the girls really seemed to enjoy it. Eva was a little unsure about a few costumes but still enjoyed herself.

Performances

Dancing

We stopped to watch the dancing which was absolutely fantastic and Izzy especially loved it, joining in with her own little dance too. Moving on we came across these actors singing ‘Beer Beer Beer’ an ode to Charlie Mops the inventor of beer!

charlie mops beer beer beer

Everyone joined in with the chorus which was quite fun even though it was a small group as it was still fairly early in the day. It was interesting to see so many different characters up to different things. We’re definitely interested in going to the Rochester Dickens Festival again next year so we can catch more of them!

Grand Parade

Next we watched the parade with bagpipes playing & a range of characters, I loved this purple dress! I had to get a video of it all as there were some fab costumes. Most of the Actors were really amusing & played the role so well! I had to take a few videos of the parade as it was so fun, here’s one video, you can find the rest on my YouTube channel.

After the parade the boys got stopped by bobbies on stilts! ‘They went that way officer.. honest!’. These guys were hilarious chatting away and asking who the ring leader was haha!

That way officer

 

Food & Drink

After the parade we headed up to the castle, stopping for doughnuts & ice cream. Another vintage ice cream van was selling ice cream, although a little pricey! We then headed up to the castle grounds where tons of stalls were dotted around full of goodies!

 

Cupcakes & cookies

The girls decided they wanted gingerbread men to take home from Cupcakes & cookies which the girls said were delicious! Unfortunately they got a little bashed up in my bag but the girls enjoyed them anyway.

Treats To Take Home

We also popped by Sudzz again to get Eva another super exploding pink bath bomb and some soaps for both girls. Sudzz bath bombs are amazingly explosive & Eva LOVES them! The cute heart soaps are all different scents too.

 

Simply True Jewellery were there too, so we took them all to get another £1 lucky dip. The boys got skull necklaces again but different to their last 2. Eva got a clear heart necklace & Izzy a star necklace. For £1 I’m still can’t get over the quality of the necklaces! At this rate I’ll be ordering a jewellery box just for Jewellery we buy from Simply True Jewellery!

Stopping off for lunch the kids had a picnic whilst Martyn, the Mr & I had chips & burgers from Scoff & Sip.

Having lined our stomachs the Mr was of course on the Goody Ales again. Although Goody Ales themselves weren’t there the beer stall had beers from several breweries.

Goody Ales

Martyn & I headed over to the Kent Cider Company for a delicious Strawberry cider. I’ll definitely be after a bottle to take home next time! Very tasty & certainly packs a punch. I’ve recently lost my love of cider but I think I may have found it again in the strawberry cider.

Kent cider co

 

With the day almost over we had a little look around the castle grounds before dropping the boys off. It was a lovely day all round although quite pricey for rides & treats. Luckily there was enough going on that the kids didn’t moan too much about going on rides.

 

Have you ever been to the Rochester Dickens Festival before or is it something you’d be interested in?