Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty Seven

This week sees me celebrating much loved toys, birthday celebrations and the love of small businesses.

Lego – Lego has been the most played with and loved toy in our house for over fifteen years now. Those little bricks that clog up the hoover and create the most excruciating pain when trodden on can be a nightmare to tidy away but I love the way it keeps them occupied for hours and always them to use their imagination in a whole host of ways.

Birthday Celebrations – With Oscar starting school this September it has been so lovely to have already meet some lovely Mums and their new starters.

I feel so lucky that my children attend a school where it is so family oriented and such great friendship groups are build for the parents as much as the children.

This has allowed Oscar to celebrate a birthday of one of his new found friends and who is is so eager to start his school life with in the next few weeks.

Book Launches – Through my work I have had the opportunity to work with some absolutely amazing companies and this is just one of the many reasons I love my job.

I do however have a real passion for smaller businesses that are just starting out in this very competitive and crazy world of business.

So when I was asked along to cover the launch of the lovely Kate Bodell’s first book I was so happy to be able to be part of her journey.

Going along and seeing the love and support she had from her doting family and friends was so special and I was so happy to be part of this.

‘Bumbelinda’ Secret Garden Book Launch

Tucked away in hustle and bustle of South London is a beautiful little secret garden that I was lucky enough to visit the other day for the launch of he lovely new book ‘Bumbelinda‘ that has just been published by the lovely Kate Bodell.

I arrived at the launch to be greeted by a beautifully decorated garden within a local primary school and a group of friendly faces that welcomed me and pulled me into the group that exuded the excitement and passion they had for the launch of Kate’s first childrens book.

Kate is a writer and illustrator based in South London who is a teaching Mum of two that has used all her experiences with children to put together the amazing picture book – Bumbelinda.

We were treated to a reading of the book by Kate herself and with an audience of little ones it was going to be a tough nut to crack!

We all settle in the sunshine whilst Kate introduced us to Bumbelinda, the fairy that has turned all those preconceived pink and fluffy images of fairies on their head with her scruffy appearance and toilet humour.

Bumbelinda being different to your stereotypical fairy means that this cute tale also appeals to little boys that might sometimes overlook the magic of believing in faries can bring!

When a very excited little girl stumbles across Bumbelinda she soon finds the task of getting her two wishes grated a pretty tricky one and I will let you all find out if she manages to convince Bumbelinda to make them come true!

Kate has poured so much love and effort into this wonderful book and this shines though in each and every detail.

The book is full of fun and as you turn each colourful page there is a cleverly hidden message about friendship and following your dreams.

I actually see Izzy very much in this story and this is probably why she was so taken with the story, along with the boys who love her cheeky character and her love of the word ‘poo’.

*collaborated post

What The Ladybird Heard Is Coming to The Rose Theatre

Im sure that most of you with little ones will be all to familiar with the wonderful book – What The Ladybird Heard by the talented author Julia Donaldson.

What The Ladybird Heard is the first in a series of three picture books that sees Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len come together to counter up a plan to steal the famers prize winning cow; but the ladybird has a plan of her very own!

From the 29th May – 3rd June this much loved tale is being brought to life on the stage go the Rose Theatre, Kingston with tickets starting from as little as £10.

The 55 minute performance will bring recognisable songs, live music, puppetry, plenty of audience participation and of course lots of fun and laugher.

This would make the perfect treat for any little one who loves these stories and a great way to introduce them to the wonderful world of theatre.

To really get them in the spirit of things Fenwick in the Bentalls, Kingston have put on a whole host of activities from a What The Ladybird Heard trial around their third floor, colouring sheets and crafting workshops and a delicious sounding themed lunch in their restaurant.

We will be going along soon to see for ourselves what the show has to offer and if it is something of interest to you then click HERE to book your tickets.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Seven

Well I am really playing catch up with myself this week and I am really behind with my “celebrating the small things” posts, however I promised myself I wouldn’t miss a week and I’m going to stick to it.

This week I’m going to be looking back over half term which was a pretty horrendous one for us to be honest!

All of the children were ill until the end of the week and to say I was getting cabin fever would be an understatement, but we still managed to get a few good moments to record.

Feeling Grateful For My Job: School holidays can be a real issue when it comes to thinking of things to occupy the children and this is where I am extremely grateful for my work as it brings such amazing opportunities for the children and allows their time off to be filled with amazing memories.

This half term we were asked if we would like to become Chessington World Of Adventure ambassadors again this year so it would have been rude to not have a trip to celebrate wouldn’t it. We also had a wonderful afternoon at a Little Miss And Mr Men Tea Party where the children were treated to an afternoon of food, fun and personalised pictures from Adam Hargreaves.

Growing Up Fast: I received an email from Oscar’s nursery to let me know that they would be changing things a little at nursery to get the older ones ready for their big move to reception this coming September.

If I’m honest it gave me a big lump in my throat to think that my last little one would be moving on and I won’t have a little one around the house during the day anymore.

We spent a good while that afternoon practicing writing his name and learning his numbers and I was immensely proud of how far he has come…even if I’m not quite ready for it!

Feeling Proud Of My ‘Middlish’ Child: I say ‘middlish’ as when you have five children there isn’t really a middle child is there!

The one I am referring to however is Izzy. I often underestimate how much she does for me and when I sit back and think about it I would be pretty lost without her.

I always told myself that it was my decision to have a large family and putting on the older children was something I wouldn’t do as it has never been their choice.

In reality though a huge part of my day involves try to solo parent whilst working and this is no mean feat at times and I have to call in some help which 9 times out of 10 falls on Izzy.

Don’t get me wrong she loves to have a moan and a groan about it at times but is always there to help wether I ask or not and I really need to show her my gratitude for this more often.

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Themed World Book Day With Party Delights UK

World Book Day is one of the favourite days of the school year for my lot…well and for me actually. I love going through all their most loved books and choosing which characters they want to become.

There has been a huge variety of different characters chosen over the years and I have to say some have been easier to create than others. One author that is always top of the list though is Roald Dahl.

He brings back so many found memories of my childhood and I would get completely immersed in his tales, from the shenanigans of the evil Witches to the heart felt adventures of The BFG to the trials and tribulations of the mischievous Twits and the troubled life of darling Matilda.

His thought provoking tales have bought so much enjoyment to myself and my family over the years that it would be rude not to honour his work on such a special day.

On paper as well as on screen Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is alway a hit and the boys were lucky enough to be sent a Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka outfit each from the lovely people at Party Delights UK.

They are certainly the people to go to to get kitted out for World Book Day, and its not only the children they have thought of, there is also a section for the teachers too.

There are way to many costumes to list on here but there are some firm favourites such as Harry Potter, David Walliams, The Gruffalo, Alice In Wonderland and many more.

Frankie was thrilled will his costume that had all the finer details that are often left out such as Willy’s cane, a super cute bow tie and of course the spectacular top hat.

Oscar’s Charlie Bucket outfit came complete with authentic grubby patches and a little attachment inside the jacket to hold the all important golden ticket!

Head over and take a look yourselves at the fantastic range and get your little ones kitted out in style for this very special day.

*We were given these outfits for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

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.