A Dogs Purpose Screening

A couple of weeks ago I got to have some much needed one on one time with Izzy when we attended the screening of A Dogs Purpose at Picturehouse Central in Shaftesbury Ave.

Izzy is a huge dog lover and has aspirations of owning her own kennel when she gets older, so you can imagine her excitement when she realised we were going to watch a film that is based around her favourite fluffy animals.

Inside the theatre we were given ‘pic&mix’ sweets that were cleverly served in dog bowls, cleverly in keeping with the theme.


Izzy was beside herself as we realised it wasn’t only humans that were there to review the film but a whole host of dogs that had been invited along too; in fact she got to cuddle the insta famous Boo French Bulldog sisters, Coco and Boo the whole way through the screening.


A Dogs Purpose brings to the big screen a loving and devoted dog that has had a bit of a rough start to life until he is saved by his new owner Ethan that he enjoys many adventures with both good and bad until the sad moment finally that all animal owners dread and I had already preemted would happen in the film.

It then takes a real twist and sees him reincarnated over several decades coming back as different dogs that show him very varied lives.

I won’t spoil the ending for you but lets just say it was something I certainly wasn’t expecting.

This film took us through every emotion imaginable and we were in fits of laughter one minute and shedding tears the next.

It shows the huge bond between mans best friend and their owners and has got me thinking that it might not only be cats that have nine lives!

 

Dr Seuss And Nick Butterworth At Discover Story Centre

I had the delight of visiting the Discover Children’s Story Centre last year and fell in love with everything about it.

Since our last trip they have undergone a refurbishment and everything has only been bettered!

The Story World now spans two floors where the children can explore flashing lights and music inside a cool cave.

Sit quietly in the book corner and let their imagination run wild by creating their own story to stash away for others to read.

Weave through pathways whilst encountering lettered stepping stones.

Jump onboard the sail boat or climb and slide to your hearts content on the ropes and slides.

If quiet crafting is your thing then they still have the beautiful trees full of spoon people that you can create and leave in the trees.

Or if concentrating on crafts is not your thing like number four then they are also fabulous to balance on your nose!

We had booked ourselves into The World Of Dr Seuss exhibition and were hit by an explosion of colour and a very enthusiastic story teller as soon as the doors were open.

The children were taken over and read the famous Dr Suess Cat In The Hat book and even with all the exciting surrounding that they must have been itching to explore every child sat captivated by the animated story teller who had them hooked on her every word.

They were then free to explore!

They could take part in crazy golf, climb aboard the Once-let Wagon, dance along to the music of the boomband, dress up as Thing 1 or 2 and much, much more.


We made our way into the Story Garden from here where they were free to run around and let off some steam before our next adventure.

Not only does the Discover Children’s Story Centre have a whole host of activities to amuse the little ones inside their own centre, they also put on some fantastic events at the nearby Stratford Library.

For me this was the highlight of the day as the legendary author Nick Butterworth was there for a book signing.

Nick Butterworth and his classic stories have been a part of my life since I had my eldest child nineteen years ago and through his great writing and beautiful illustrations we have all become very fond of his books.

I was a little apprehensive upon walking into a very formal looking set up and realising I was going to have to keep the children in one spot for an hour.

These feelings soon past as Nick took to the stage to talk about his life and works that was interesting for the adults and still fun and engaging for the children.

It was so nice to meet the man behind the stories and find where he found his inspiration.

He was a very humble, down to earth man that just ozed passion for his work and his readers.


For me Discover Children’s Story Centre offer a space for children to forget about technology, learn bundles through play and let their imaginations run wild and grow in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

It really is a place you need to see to believe and I love it more with each visit!

Keep an eye out for all their upcoming events and I know I can’t wait to see what they have to offer over Christmas.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Mysterious Apples Book Review

A while ago Swankypants Books got in touch with me to review the first of their new series of books A Little Owl Called Hooty.  We were really taken with it and we’re really pleased when we were asked to review the next book – The Mysterious Apples.

My youngest two still love board books and were really taken when I showed them the shiny, new book with Yasmin and Yo-Yo, two super cute squirrels on the cover.

They throughly enjoyed reading about the adventures of this two cheeky squirrels that came across a beautiful apple tree that were perfect for them to harvest and  store for the long winter ahead of them.  The problem was neither of them had bargained on what was going to happen next!

Why don’t you take a read to find out the mysterious tale to this great story!

We were given this book for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions. 

We’ve Been On A Bear Hunt


Armed with our teddies and a copy of our favourite book ‘Were Going On A Bear Hunt’ we made our way to The Secombe Theatre in Sutton to watch the live stage show of the adaptation of the wonderful Michael Rosen children’s book.

The familiar characters took to the stage and guided us step by step through each part of the story just as we were turning a page of a story book.

We travelled with them through the swishy swishy grass, splashed and sploshed through the deep, cold river and squelched and squerched through the oozy mud.

The children were captivated from the off and loved being able to second guess what would be coming next.

Although this is a familiar story to many Sally Cookson has managed to deliver a truly wonderful interactive show that the whole family will love.

The children loved being able to join in with the songs and were super excited to see members of the cast coming down into the audience, but the top moment was getting more than they were expecting when passing through the deep, cold river!

This is a fabulous show that the whole family will love.  It really has bought one of our favourite story books to life and will be remembered for many years to come.

We were gifted tickets to this show and these are all my own honest opinions.

Bear Hunting At Discover Children’s Story Centre

We’re going on a bear hunt.  We’re going to catch a big one.  What a beautiful day.  We’re not scared!   Michael Rosen

I’m sure there are not many parents out there that have not shared these words from the much loved children’s book Were Going On A Bear Hunt.

At the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford the story book has been bought to life in a fabulous exhibition which mixes the adventures the family all went through on their bear hunt with rooms to explore that inspired Michael Rosen to write his story.

   
   

We swished and swashed through the long grass, splashed and sploshed through the river and eventually found the big bear hiding in his cave!

   
    
    
 
Once we had completed our bear hunt we were then left to explore all the rooms that had been set up to give the children an insight into Michael Rosen’s thoughts.

They loved playing in the school room, preparing a spot of lunch in the kitchen and sitting down to watch some TV in the living room.

As well as the bear hunt exhibition we also took part in the story time session for under 3’s based around another fabulous story, Snore.

We all walked bare foot into a small room decorated with flowers and fairy lights and scattered with cosy cushions to settle down on.

The story teller caught the children’s attention from the minute he began the session that was filled with songs, and stories that the children can interact with.

At the end of the session blankets are handed around to cosy up with and my lot found this so relaxing they even dropped off to sleep!

  


Although this was aimed at under 3’s even number three was taken with the whole experience.

Aside from these set sessions the centre itself has so much to see and do.

The indoor trail allows them to climb and slide to their hearts content, they can create spoons at the craft area, dance on the light polka dots, dress up in wonderful costumes and much more.

   
    
    
    

 
Outside in the story garden they can make beautiful music on the wooden instruments, climb aboard the pirate ship or launch into space in a huge rocket.

   
    
    
  
In between all this fun we managed to grab a bite to eat in the cafe that served a small selection of very reasonably priced lunch items and hot drinks.

  

This is the ultimate place to ignite your child’s imagination whilst keeping them active too.  With a range in age from 2-9 I was a little sceptical it would be suitable from them all, but they have all come away truly happy with the whole experience.

It had been the perfect end to our half term and we will be back very soon to create some more memories.

We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

 
  

The Gruffalo Review

  

A week before Christmas I was a little sceptical about taking the kids into town to fight through the Christmas shoppers but we had a surprising good journey and arrived at the Vaudeville Theatre relatively stress free.

We had a bit of a nightmare getting our massive buggy up the flight of stairs to the buggy park but once it was stored away we made our way to our seats to be greeted by the beautifully designed staging that had been made to look just like you have stepped into a page of the much loved story book of The Gruffalo.

Number five decided to have a melt down about the lack of satsumas in my bag but was promptly stopped when the lights went down and the performance started.

The cute character of the mouse was the first to take to the stage as she sets off on her journey through the woods cleverly outwitting the cheeky cockney fox, wise old owl and the super camp snake as she goes until her final encounter with the Gruffalo.

The audience are encouraged to join in with counting, singing and answering panto style questions which is perfect to keep the predominantly young audience engaged. At the end the big, bubbly character of the Gruffalo even comes down into the audience much to the delight of the children.

I had an age range of nine to a year with me and they all throughly enjoyed the whole show.  They even added a few adult friendly jokes in to keep the parents amused.

I loved that they had added a Christmas twist to the end with the mouse wishing everyone a merry Christmas under a shower of pretty snow.  For me this would make a wonderful Christmas treat for the whole family and something they will remember for years to come.
We were given tickets for the performance for the purpose of this review.  They are all my own honest opinions.

Magical Christmas Books By Red Shed

One of the best ways to get your children’s imagination running wild is through reading and Christmas time is a wonderful time to share the magic with a book.

We were asked to review some books from Red Shed and were over the moon when our parcel of beautiful books popped through the door.


The first one number three picked out was a heart warming story called ‘Socks For Santa’ about a little boy who was desperate to share his Christmas cheer by getting a present to Santa.  His journey was not as easy as he had hoped for!

The illustrations were bright and cheery and she loved sharing the story with her younger brothers.


Next up was a book that explains the true meaning of Christmas in a fun way that younger children will be able to understand.  With number four taking part in his first nursery play this book was perfect to help him get to know the story of the Nativity.


I love the addition of the pop out stable at the back of the book where the children can set up and play with their very own nativity scene.

My favourite book from our bundle though was ‘The Little Christmas Tree’.  The beautiful story of the animals from Emerald Wood coming together to decorate the last forgotten tree is bought to life with a spectacular pop up Christmas tree.


My usually boisterous three year old sat patiently with me adorning the tree with all the pretty decorations and bringing the characters to life with the little cardboard animals.


This one is going to be a favourite that will be bought and and loved for many Christmases to come!

A book really is a gift that keeps on giving and any one of these would make a wonderful present that any child would love.