Sadler’s Wells Theatre is home to one of our favourite stage productions – The Snowman and we are super excited to be returning there this Easter to watch Akram Khan’s new dance-theatre production, Jungle Book Reimagined.
The production is based on the classic Rudyard Kipling tale and is brought to life by a mixture of state of the art amination and visuals and of course the fabulous dancers.
The show is suitable for children aged 8+ and is running from Tuesday 4th – Saturday 15th April. Tickets range from £15-£55 and can be booked through the box office online or by phoning 020 7863 8000.
For those booking tickets on Friday 7th April or Saturday 8th April there is an extra treat or family friendly activities before the show.
When I was a child the classic Raymond Briggs story of The Snowman was a constant each and every Christmas and my love for this story has been passed down to all my children who have all been enchanted by the story as I was all those years ago.
Saddler’s Wells have bought this iconic story to life by way of a glorious stage adaptation that we were lucky enough to go along and see this weekend.
The story of a little boy’s magical adventures on Christmas Eve come to life in front off your eyes, as you find yourself getting immersed in the magic as the friendship of the snowman and the little boy grows and the adventures they have traveling to and partying at the North Pole.
There are a few extras added to the original story which ordinarily I wouldn’t like. But it fits in absolutely perfect and just enhances an already wonderful story.
This really is a show for young to old and is the perfect way to introduce dance to little ones; and even though there is a running time of just under two hours there wasn’t a moan or a fidgety bottom in the house!
This really would make for the perfect festive treat and there are still tickets avalible for this stand out West End show. It is running at The Peacock Theatre – Holborn until 31st December and you can book tickets HERE.
You can also take a look at some of the fun we had HERE.
[AD] The kids are back at school now which means most people who have young children will now have a calendar full of weekend parties.!And dare I say it – Christmas will be upon us before we know it – which means finding presentsfor a whole variety of different tastes!
Wether you are buying for your own, or for other peoples children it can be an absolute minefield. Nobody wants to buy something that is going to be looked at once and then tossed to the side, and although I hold my hand up to this one – we all like to think a little more thought than some money in a card has gone into the gift buying process.
So with this in mind, here are a few tips to think about before you get buying:
Just Ask – A pretty simple solution here in theory is to just ask! Kids aren’t usually backwards in coming forwards so ask some leading questions, find out what interests they have or even have a look around for a list they may have been scribbling down somewhere.
Check With The Parents – A quick chat with the child’s parents is always a good idea. It might be to see if they have any ideas, maybe they can give you some tips on the things they might like, or simply just to check to see if you have an idea that you think would be good to go with.
Check Out The Top Sellers – Each and every year there will be a list of toys compiled that are set to be the best sellers for the year. There is bound to be something there to suit most tastes so it’s always a great place to start.
Something To Last – For me buying a present that is going to have a long life span is super important. A toy that can be enjoyed for years to come by lots of different children is always a winner in my books.
Something To Help Them Learn – Kids learn though play, so something that is going to spark their imagination and get their creative juices flowing will always be a winner.
Something That Can Be Shared – Now I’m not suggesting here that you but a child a ‘shared’ present, I am thinking thinking more along the lines of a gift that can be played with, with others. This then helps to get children used to sharing and in turn making it a more fun present.
Let Someone Else Do The Work – There are some amazing sites out there that take the hard work out of it for you. Wicked Uncle has everything set up into categories so that it is easy to find something special and a little different too!
Saftey First – As much as possible, choose non-plastic toys made of sustainable materials, free of BPAs, phthalates, PVC or toxic chemicals and dyes. I know this can sometime be a tricky one, but it’s definitely a good move if you can.
Gift An Experience – This always has an always will be my favourite gift. Giving someone the opportunity to create memories is a priceless present to me.
Buy A Book – If all else fails then go for a book. Children can never have to many books and it’s always a fail safe option.
I would love to know if you have any tips on present buying?
Christmas is fast approaching and it’s time to start thinking about what we are going to be putting under our tree.
As always my guide is a one stop shop as I like to think we all have different likes and tastes and its hard to put these all into one box – so I’ve got sweet treats to naughty tipples, things to help you sleep and things to help your creativity. Take a look now and let me know what you think:
Doing It For The Kids – I have a little selection of some of the top toys this christmas, as well as some beautiful personalised pieces.
Count With Peppa: Who doesn’t love Peppa Pig. I know each and everyone of mine have been huge fans and you can now learn to count with the new Count With Peppa toy. Peppa comes with a purse full of coins that once promoted by Peppa you can slide them into her purse ,she will recognise it and then reply.
As well as being great fun, this toy helps will fine motor skills and colour and number recognition.
Barbie My Ice Cream Shop: Follow recipes, blend different colours and flavours and make delicious ice creams to share with your friends and family with the Barbie My Ice Cream Shop.
This set comes with everything you need to prepare, create and then serve to your family and friends.
Fuzzikins: These super cute characters have been popular for a while now and are avaliable in a whole array of different options. The Home Maker sets are great for stocking fillers and let you draw and decorate the house time and time again due to its easily wipeable surfaces. Another popular set is the Doll Set that comes with three gorgeous cats and the accessories you need to customise them.
Wonderbly Books: Now I have been a fan of Wonderbly books for a long time now. Wonderbly is an online personalised children’s book company with over 40+ personalised books. Their easy to use website allows you to create a perfectly unique book for that special little one in your life, and I have to say I have really fallen for their Christmas collection.
Something Pretty – We all love a little sparkle at Christmas and here are a few thing to help you shine!
Bloom Boutique Christmas Necklace: Bloom Boutique offer beautiful,delicate jewellery and gifts and I have enjoyed many pieces over the years. This Christmas they have a gorgeous range of christmas gifts, including this stunning Secret Star Birthstone Personalised Bracelet.
A Bit Of Beauty – Christmas is a time to receive treats to make us feel special and pampered, so here are a couple of gifts that fit the bill perectly.
Something Silky: Silk is well known for being a luxurious fabric and This Is Silk have some amazing gifts made from the softest silk. This silk pillowcase would make a wonderful present for anyone looking to tame their tresses and be kind to your skin during the night.
Shaving In Style: For those guys that like a traditional shave, this plant based shaving brush will allow for a good shave as well as being kind to the environment – so what’s not to love!
Night, Night: Help getting off to a good nights sleep is something I know I would love and I know that a few sprays of this Echor End Of Day Pillow Spray is a great way to drift of. The gorgeous combination of lavender, geranium, eucalyptus and sweet orange will have you counting sheep in next to no time.
Scrub Up: I love nothing more than getting rid of a days full of dirt and grime with a good facial exfoliator, and this one from Forever Living gently works its magic to reveail soft and healthy looking skin.
Kissable Lips: This time of year plays havoc with the skin, especially our delicate lips; so giving someone something to protect their lips with would be most welcomed. Lansinoh Linolin Lip Balm is 100% natural so as will as soothing the lips, many Mums use it to treat nappy rash or dry skin on their little ones.
Something For The Foodies – Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a foodie treat or two, and I have a few to check out now.
Choccies: You can’t go wrong with chocolates can you, and a classic such as these Guylian Belgian Chocolate Seashells are a luxurious treat for sure. The hazelnut praline covered with luxury Belgian chocolate makes for a winning combination.
Chin, Chin: Along with a lot of others, gin is my tipple of choice. This outstanding gin from The Secret Gin Distillery is made with a combination of different herbs that have been lovingly grown in the garden of a herbologist who is the brainchild behind the brand.
Their Christmas gin is a heady combination of christmassy herbs and spices and would make for a wonderful gift for any gin lover. And their miniatures give you the chance to sample a range or different flavours so you get the chance to pick your favourite!
Get Prepared: Christmas is definitely party season and with party after party this can put a lot of strain on our bodies, so the best thing we could do is give them a little prep before we put on our dancing shoes.
Inside Out drinks are a combination of water, hibiscus, cranberry, goji extract, stevia, milk thistle, potassium sorbate and gree tea extract that helps to support your liver and prevent the dreaded hangover!
Keeping Healthy: Swicily is a day to day natural sugar that melts easily into food, tastes great and is low in calories- making it a great substitute for sugar and a brilliant stocking filler for those looking to improve their health.
Experiences – Gifts don’t always have to be something physical, and I am actually a big fan of creating memories through gifted experiences, and here are a few for you to take a look at.
Racing Ready:Team Sport Karting have 35 indoor go karting tracks across the county and would make for a fantastic day out for any adrenaline junkie. They have a great range of gift vouchers that you can choose from to give someone a very special gift.
Tech Fans – This section is for all those tech fans out there.
I Love Music: Wireless headphones are a great fit for so many people. These TES1 pro true wireless stereo earbuds are noise cancelling, Bluetooth connectable and have a huge 42 hour playtime which is a fantastic feature.
Something For The Home – Something to enhance the home is always a welcome gift. From a simple vase to a beautiful throw, nobody would be disappointed with a gift for the home.
Beautiful Signs: A stunning number to identify your home makes a real difference to the exterior of your home and Village Green Signs are just the people for this. They create beautiful, traditional handpainted house signs as well as more modern acrylic and slate signs – so there is somthing to suit every taste.
Getting Crafty – This is one for all the crafty people out there!
Get Painting: This art palate from mouth and foot painting artists is designed so that people can get creative when they need to use either thier hands or mouth, but it can also be used by hand if wanted.
Looking After Yourself – Here are a few pieces for those people that are conscious of looking after their health.
Getting Organised: Thoses big clumpy pill boxes are now a thing of the past and slick elegant designs have taken their place with pill cases like this lovley tabuu case that is waterproof, durable and fits up to six tablets. Perfect for popping in your bag and taking anywhere you need.
Everyone Getting A Good Nights Sleep: In our house it is me that is the snorer! I get no sleep as my husband continually wakes me up and of course neither does he! Mute could be the answer to these problems with 78% of people breathing better, 75% snoring less and 73% of partners reporting a reduction in snoring.
A small device that sits inside the nose is a hastle free way of getting better sleep so it is definetly worth giving a try.
Mute is available from Boots, Amazon or www.mutesnoring.com starting at the trial pack to find the right size rrp £12.99.
[GIFTED] None of my children have been avid readers and it has always taken a lot to get them into a book. Most of the time it’s a lot of trial and error and even then it can be a battle to get them to sit down and read. So when I was asked to try out the reading subscription box from The Reading Adventure Club I was eager to see if this would help to build a love of books.
The Reading Adventure Club was set up by nine year old twin brothers who have a love of both reading and opening presents and thought it would be a great idea to combine the two! The idea is that you read the book that is sent and throughout the story at different points you get the opportunity to open a special gift that has been loving wrapped and put inside the box too.
For me the clever part of this though is the gift can only be opened once the child has answered a question on the story. All the questions are listed and tucked away in a envelope that is marked – To be opened by responsible Grown Up only.
The presents are a good mix of useful items, mainly linked to reading as well as fun stuff and if you’re really lucky you might even find some sweets in there!
The books have all been loving selected and road tested by the boys, so you know they are going to be something perfect for the age range selected.
All you need to do to get started is to choose your subscription period and your box will be lovingly packed and sent off for it to arrive on the 15th of each month.
This box would be perfect for avid readers and those less inclined to read alike. The boys loved reading the story; and knowing there was a prize coming after a few pages kepted them engaged and wanting to really take in the story rather than just skimming the pages to get the book finished.
It comes with a big thumbs up from us and I would love to know if you are keen to give it a try.
[GIFTED] “Wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all the same” is something I’ve always reminded my little ones of. We often talk about all the different factors that make families special and celebrate this. I am ashamed to admit though that being a blended family ourselves with my father in law coming from Mauritius we haven’t really delved into what life is like there, how people live and how it differs to here in the UK and this is exactly what the beautiful book – What Makes Our Family Special GUYANA by Danielle Clarke does.
Our thoughtfully hand wrapped booked arrived with a hand written note attached from the stars of the book, along with some colouring sheets which was such a lovely touch. Oscar opened the package with such excitment and the beautiful, colourful illustrations from Lily Carver immediately caught my eye.
Evie and Isla are tucked up in bed and all set and for a special bedtime story about their Guyanese grandparents when they are transported on an adventure to Guyana; learing lots of facts about this gorgeous county. While they are there they come across a distressed river otter who’s baby is trapped under a huge log. Working together as a team, they manage to free the baby otter and head back home with dreams of Guyana and their exciting adventures.
This book allows children to think about how different families are up and this is what makes each one so special, they are able to learn a whole host of facts about Guyana…I learnt more than a few myself and finally it shows how coming together as a team gets is always the best way the job done.
Beautifully written, beautifully illustrated and most importantly a very important message delivered in the perfect way! Oscar absolutely loved this book and we are egarly awaiting the next in the series!
[GIFTED] Last year I decided to mix things up a little and instead of making lots of separate gift guides I did one guide that included a little something for everyone, as let’s face it we don’t all fit into the same box do we!
I hope you manage to find something that takes your fancy here as let’s face it we all need a little cheering up this year don’t we.
Something For Our Tummies:
Chocolate Hamper – The ‘sweet dreams’ hamper from Willie’s Cacao is a chocoholics dream with this stinking g hamper full of goodies from gooey hazelnut spread, indulgent hot chocolate, tasty chocolate bars and much more!
Sparkling Kefir Water – I for one have been a lot more conscious of my health this year and have been looking for ways to enjoy things that are good for you but don’t compromise on taste, and this is exactly what you get from Agua De Madre low alcohol sparkling water that comes in three different flavours; making it a great alternative from the usual Christmas indulgences.
Pizza Making Kits – Gifts don’t always have to come in the form of a present under the tree and I personally prefer something a little more interactive, which is exactly what you get with the brilliant pizza making kits from Birtellis who deliver gorgeous stone baked pizza delivery lots directly to your door.
You can pick from a whole host of different toppings that are great fun to make as a family and sit down and enjoy in front of a movie or two!
Things For Teens:
PMS Gift Box – I put this one here for teens as I think it’s going to make the perfect gift for my teen daughter, but I know there are so many ladies out there that would love this gift box. Our Remedy have put together a whole range of gift boxes full of goodies such as their Our Remedy CBD oil, organic sanitary pads and tampons, vegan chocolates and lots more.
Smartphone Projector – Another one here that’s definitely not just for teens is the smartphone projector. This projector allows you to simply pop your phone inside the cardboard projector and let your favourite film fill your wall!
Cards Against Humanity – Now this game has been a huge hit in our family for many years now, but it has caused problems as for obvious reasons the younger ones haven’t been able to join in. The new Cards Against Humanity edition is a much fun as the iconic original game with a huge 600 cards you need to give it a try!
Carfume – Gone are the days of having a garish cardboard smelly tree hanging from your rear view mirror as you can now make your car small gorgeous in style with the Carfume Deluxe Edition that gives off the scent of some of your favourite scents in this sleek and stylish design.
LivingPlant Food – Indoor plants are becoming more and more popular and this gorgeous looking indoor plant care set will help you look after your plant babies in style.
Feel Good Gifts:
Happy Kids Affirmation Cards – It can sometimes be a challenge for children to open up and talk about their feelings so things like these gorgeously illustrated affirmation cards are a great way to increase confidence and build a positive attitude.
Box Of Favours – Sometimes giving someone your time is far more important than a physical gift and this is exactly what you get with this Box Of Favoursthere are a deli of cards that offer simple things like a cup of tea or breakfast in bed which can mean so much.
All The Toys:
TeethingToy – Teething can cause such a problem for babies as well as parents so giving them something like the Matchstick Monkey to sooth their gums would make for a brilliantpresent!
Stib Colouring – I love anything that allows little ones to get creative and what’s more with these Stib colouring pencils you get to read a positive word that is embossed on the pencils every time you pick one up!
Stomp Rocket– No batteries, no fuel and the ability to shoot 400ft in the air within minutes! Now what’s not to love about the Stomp Rocket!
Skateboard – Now skateboards have been on Santa lists for longer than I can remember and this Tony Hawkes board is perfect for those that are just starting out and wanting to practice their skills!
National Geographic Toys – Frankie is a huge fan of National Geographic and for me anything that gets kids engaged in something fun as well as educational is a win in my books! They have a great range of kits from shark tooth kits, to real bug kits and more!
Coding Toy – Coding is definitely a skill our littles ones need to learn as early as possible now and the amazing Botley is a fantastic way to help kids learn.
Botley is a coding robot that offers 100% screen free learning and allows children to build on their problem solving and critical thinking skills by taking part in a whole host of activities and challenges.
Getting Crafty – I love a toy you can make and keep and this is exactly what you get with the Fuzzikins Ice Cream Van Bag using the washable pens you can decorate the van and all it’s accessories which can then be taken anywhere with you.
Peppa Pig – Peppa Pig is loved by everyone and I have always been impressed with the amazing toys they come out with; and I’ve not been disappointed with the brilliant grow and play pots.
They allow children to learn about growing and nurturing alongside their favourite Peppa characters.
Subway Surfers – The Subway Surfer game is a huge hit with my youngest two so I know that the Spray Crew and Shorties collectibles would make for the perfect stocking fillers.
Dairy Diary – I’m sure I’m not alone in having a pretty empty diary last year, so this year it would be lovely to receive a diary like this beautiful dairy diary to fill with hopes and plans for the year ahead.
This diary also gives you lots of recipes and tips for the home and garden.
Cookbook – Lots more people are choosing to opt for a vegetarian or vegan diet, or at least have a few meat free days, so the Zest For Life cookbook is a great way to find some super tasty recipes.
Something To Wear:
Leggings – Leggings have been a wardrobe staple this year and they won’t be going anywhere fast! I’ve been wearing them to workout as well and leisure wear and Love Legging is the place to go for all your legging needs. They have a huge range and my favourites have been their Energise Leggings for training and their high waisted Everyday Leggings for wearing anytime at all!
Something Special –
Last year I featured a gorgeous necklace from I Love Rachel and this year she has come up with another beautiful piece in this copper necklace with a mint green enamel disc…it’s the little touches of a chocolate surprise in the gift box that mean so much too!
A Little Glow:
Candle – You can’t go wrong with a candle as a present, but these candles from Kindred Fires are something a little special as they smell incredible and offer a personalisation service to make it your very own!
Something For The Garden:
Bird Feeder – We’ve been spending a lot more time outside this year and have really appreciated everything it offers, especially all the nature we need to look after.
[AD] It’s been months now since the children have been in any kind of formal education, and with the summer holidays drawing to an end it is time to start thinking about the return of school and getting those clogs ticking over again.
Lockdown learning wasn’t easy for us at all and I found myself finding ways to keep the children engaged that wasn’t based around endless piles of black and white worksheets, as they glazed over as soon as they were confronted with this. Instead I tried to use things that were going on around us to spark their thirst for knowledge and this is where The Week Junior has been a great help.
The Week Junior is an award-winning current affairs magazine for children aged 8 – 14 that brings together news and facts from all around the world.
Like most children mine are naturally curious and The Week Junior allows them to find out about current affairs such as COVID-19 and the Beirut explosion in a safe and easy to understand way, which I sometimes find hard to convey to them.
There is a section that encourages their ability to engage in debate….this isn’t something they normally struggle with though to be honest! Quizzes, puzzles and crafts to keep restless fingers busy, sport and entertainment that Frankie absolutely loved and so much more.
We received our first copy just before going away for the weekend and came across a section all about Stonehenge. We have driven past numerous times before and the the youngest two had never really shown much interest. I was so pleased as we passed this year though as they had recalled many facts they had read up on and were over the moon to see it in all it’s grandeur.
Frankie also took inspiration from the ‘photos of the week’ and used my camera to try and get a little more creative with the way they see things though the lens.
This magazine is a fantastic resource to feed inquisitive minds, getting them talking about a whole host of different topics as well as discovering new ones and allows them to build critical skills.
You can join the other 90,000 families that already receive The Week Junior by subscribing HERE and getting your first SIX copies free!
[AD] If the past few months have fought me anything, it would be that teachers should never be taken for granted.
Trying to keep my youngest two engaged in learning has been no mean feat, but what I have learnt…especially with Frankie is that he responds much better to anything a little outside the box rather than the traditional style of learning.
Mysteries In Time is a monthly subscription box that brings a whole host of historical topics straight to your door.
They cover world history, ancient Egypt, the Elizabethan era, evacuees, Ancient Greece and the Wild West.
The classic box gives you –
• A story full of adventures
• History booklet
• Word puzzles and other activities
• Themed bookmark
• Sticker sheets
• Three colouring pages
• Timeline stickers
• Free map – with your first box
The bumper box gives you all this, plus a few more additional items, so as you can see there is more than enough to keep them busy.
The time machine designed box arrived at our door and just this alone made him eager to check out what was inside.
Ancient Egypt was our them and Frankie loved uncovering all the exciting elements inside the box – especially the Tutankhamun shaped pen that unusually he was itching to get writing with!
Each aspect of the box interlinks and along with reading from books and worksheets the children can draw, colour and even make things from the modelling clay provided. This was extremely popular with Frankie and he loved making his very own Amulet.
This box really does give you a little bit of everything wether you are history buff or not. From the excitement of receiving something in the post, to discovering everything hiding in the box, to learning all kinds of new facts this box has been brilliant for us.
The quality of the box is fantastic and it really amazing value for money. If you would like to try one out for yourself then click HERE to enter!
[AD] ‘Stop, look, listen, think before you cross the road.’
This is a road safely saying that was drummed into me as a child and I have passed this down to my own children over the years. Road safety of course is something of upmost importance and is taught to our children at home and in schools…but how many of you teach rail safety to your children?
As regular train users I am embarrassed to say that the limits of my teaching to the children have been to stand behind the yellow line on the platform and to move away from closing doors. I naively thought that this was all they really needed to know and never considered this of any great importance; and it looks like I’m not alone – a Mumsnet survey shows that only half of parents that were asked had spoken to their children about rail safety, compared to a wapping 94% that had spoken about road safety. 3 in 1 parents have never discussed rail safety with their children, even though 4 out of 5 of them think it should be spoken about and this seems to stem from parents not knowing how to start the conversation which resonated with a third of those asked.
If you really take time to think about this the dangers of the railway are just as great as those on the road and even if you do not live near a railway station or use a train regularly, teaching our little ones about rail safety is of upmost importance and the need for it to be taught at a very young age is so great as their learning can then be carried through into their teenage years.
As I said earlier a third of parents didn’t really know how to broach this subject and this is why Network Rail have got together with the lovable and familiar characters – Thomas And Friends to teach children how to stay safe.
For those of you familiar with Thomas And Friends he is a pretty cheeky character who is always up to mischief and my youngest two certainly have many of the same characteristics. Looking for fun rather than considering dangers that can be involved is something I always need to keep an eye on with them and I’m sure many of you have the same issues with your children.
‘Stay Safe With Thomas’ allows parents to approach the subject gently with their children, allowing them to learn in a fun an interactive way with their special book.
I turn to books to aid me in a whole host of subjects I find difficult to navigate, so having Thomas And Friends there showing children the dangers of not stopping at level crossing, standing to close to the platform and much more allowed me to broach these subjects where the children could put their self into Thomas and his friend’s shoes.
There is also a super handy checklist at the end of the book that can be referred back to time and time again to reinforce all those dangers they need to be keeping an eye out for.
As well as being able to purchase a paperback copy there is an easy to download electronic version which would be great to refer to when you are out and about and using the railway.
I would love to know how many of you already speak to your children about this or if it is something you will now consider engaging in.