Kids Movie Night with Sky Buy & Keep #shop!

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Sometimes being a child can be a frustrating and challenging time. You’re full of ideas but curtailed by resources and means, full of energy and enthusiasm but forced to fit into a world of rules. Just once in a while wouldn’t it be great if you could take full control? That’s what we offered our three children with their very own movie night using Sky Store and their Sky Buy & Keep service. They could choose the films, the food, the time of day, even the clothing, everything was within their control and this is what we got up too.

Sky Store

Sky Store

First they took a tour of the Sky Store website to research which movies were available to rent/buy. They decided on two new films ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ and ‘Frozen’. Next up the food!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Homemade BBQ Chicken Pizza

My eldest son wanted to make his own pizza with BBQ chicken on top. First he made a yummy BBQ sauce with his Dad and then he loaded up his plain pizza base with tomatoes, cheese and chicken.




We can’t have a movie night without Nachos! Layers of Tortilla crisps smothered in melted cheese, Guacamole, Salsa and Jalapenos on the side. My daughter wanted to make these and she did a fabulous job!

Chocolate Popcorn

The kids didn’t just want popcorn they wanted chocolate popcorn! First the corn is popped in the microwave or on the stove. Next smother the freshly popped corn with melted white and milk chocolate, spread out onto a tray and leave to set. I warn you though it’s very moreish!

Sweet Pizza Making

Sweet Pizza Making

Sweet Pizza!

When I was little I was a huge fan of sweet pizzas and loved making them with my parents. My kids have never been in control of the toppings before and this time they wanted three pizzas all smothered in chocolate, cookies, jelly babies and more! These are so sinful that they’re heavenly.

Sweet Pizza

Sweet Pizza

The Setting

The setting had to be just right and the kids insisted that everyone wore their pyjamas and snuggled up together on the sofa. The lights were turned off and the curtains closed, to give that cinema feel.

The Films

Walking with Dinosaurs was a clever mixture of story and documentary and the children were transfixed. From a parents point of view it’s always nice to think they’ve digested a film and actually learned something in the process.

Frozen was my personal favourite of the two movies. Highly amusing snow bound high jinx and catchy songs, pure Disney delight.

Sky Store

I’d never used Sky Store before and found it extremely easy to navigate on the TV. I set up a pin to prevent accidental purchases and then within about two clicks our films were ready to view. There’s a huge variety of movies starting from just 99p for a 48hr rental, even the more expensive offerings certainly make for an economical night in for the whole family. A trip to the cinema would cost us over £30 so there’s an instant appeal right there.

Plus with the Sky Buy and Keep service you can download your movie permanently to your Sky Box and the DVD is sent out to you seperately, which is brilliant if you want to watch it later in a house that doesn’t have Sky.


The kids had a fabulous night and have already asked when we can do it again. They loved taking control of the choices and it forced them to discuss and compromise with each others wishes which can never be a bad lesson to learn. All in all it was a wonderful night of family fun and the kind of stress free occasion that can seem rare when you’re part of a busy modern family.

Despicable Me 2 on Blinkbox

imagesI was recently asked if my family would like to watch Despicable Me 2 on Blinkbox. Having seen neither the film nor used Blinkbox before I was only too happy to agree.

For the uneducated (this included me until a few days ago) Blinkbox is an online instant viewing service where you can rent or buy movies/tv and view on demand. As a long time user of Lovefilm and Netflix I was ready to be unimpressed with Blinkbox but it is slowly but surely winning me over!

Movie/TV Selection

Blinkbox has a clear edge over many of its competitors when it comes to new releases. We watched Despicable Me 2 several days before it was even released onto DVD and a year before it will appear on other instant viewing services.

untitled (3)Price

If you want to rent a film then expect to pay around £3.49 for the newest releases. This is instantly available and can be viewed as many times as you like over 48hours.

If you’d rather buy the movie then you will pay more, Despicable Me 2 cost £10.99 which allows it to be viewed whenever, wherever! I must admit to being sceptical over the viability of permanently buying a film online. The advantage is being able to view over several devices (tv/computer/tablet etc) no matter where you happen to be. The disadvantage is not actually owning a physical disc, I can see arguments for either option and I haven’t come up with a clear winner yet.

Load Speeds

So far Blinkbox hasn’t stalled, buffered or failed to load no matter what speed our home internet was running at. We watched during the day, weekend and evening and never saw a loss in service.

Can it really replace a DVD rental service?

At first glance it would seem impossible that Blinkbox could be a viable alternative to a limitless DVD rental service offered elsewhere. However I think there’s a good argument that it can be an economical option. With our last DVD rental service we were only receiving about 4 DVDs a month. Of those 4 we tended to receive 1 of our top choice films, the random nature of such services means that you never know what you’re going to get and you can potentially wait a long time to see a new release. With Blinkbox you can choose to watch any movie straight away, if you only want to see 1 or 2 big releases a month then being able to pick and choose seems preferable and possibly cheaper overall.

Can it replace other instant TV/movie services?

I don’t think Blinkbox can offer a complete solution if you watch a lot of on demand TV and film, it just wouldn’t make financial sense.

Final Thoughts

My current thinking is that the best option for us both in terms of selection and price is to keep up with an instant viewing service like Netflix and add in Blinkbox for those must see new releases.

We’re lucky that our TV is able to run Blinkbox so the simplicity to view films at the touch of a button without searching for a DVD is great.

I don’t think we’ll be renting films every day because the cost would be prohibitive, however being able to view movies that haven’t even been released to buy is a significant advantage. The kids said it felt like they were at the cinema!

Despicable Me 2

‘Now that the ever-entrepreneurial Gru has left behind a life of super crime to raise Margo, Edith and Agnes, Gru, Dr. Nefario and the Minions have some free time on their hands. But just as he starts to adjust to his role as a suburban family man, an ultra-secret organisation dedicated to fighting evil around the globe comes knocking. Now, it’s up to Gru and his new partner, Lucy Wilde, to discover who is responsible for a spectacular crime and bring him to justice. After all, it takes the world’s greatest ex-villain to catch the one vying to take his place….’

Not much I can say about this film except that it’s incredibly funny and I think I need a few ‘Minions’ to help around the house and provide comic relief. There’s enough humour to keep adults entertained as well as the kids and it makes for all round great family viewing.


To check out Blinkbox for yourself click here. They are currently running a promotion where depositing £1 will give you £5 in credit.


My favourite Disney film

Having recently heard that Disney has acquired the rights to the Stars Wars franchise (and there’s a new film in the works too!) it got me thinking about all the myriad of Disney films I own and wondering if I do infact have a favourite.

Ask me as a child and I could have easily answered, it was without a doubt Robin Hood. I knew the songs and I annoyed my brother by watching it again and again and again.

As a teenager my favourite Disney film was the Nightmare Before Christmas, brilliant animation, wonderful story and amazing songs. Most important of all though it’s cool to like the Nightmare Before Christmas!

As an adult and parent I’m rather partial to the Disney Pixar films, their subtle jokes which keep Mum and Dad chuckling always seem to fit brilliantly with the magical animation which keeps children engaged (blissfully so at times).

So do I have a favourite??? I think I do depending on my mood, but I don’t think I could completely narrow it down to one all time must have. Not least because Disney keeps making brilliant films (I say this having recently watched Frankenweenie).

Unfortunately my indulgence only goes as far as the Disney films and the Disney store, I have never been to any of the holiday parks. Not for lack of trying, I bugged my parents regularly from the day EuroDisney (as it was) turned into Disney Land Paris, but I never got to go.

One day I will rectify this dreadful oversight and I’ll indulge my childish side completely. In fact I may have been looking at dates next year already (don’t tell my husband) but there’s so much choice! I did find Paris Est one of Al Fresco Holiday’s holiday parks that is close to Disney Land Paris, which does have some great deals currently available for 2013 bookings. Only time will tell I suppose 🙂

What’s your favourite Disney film?