PlayStation Family Showcase

Gaming is something that has never really grabbed my attention for any length of time and aside from playing Packman and Tetris when I was younger I have never really given it a lot of thought.

This however is the complete opposite for my eldest son who is an avid gamer and in fact has been trying to convince me for the last two years that gaming is a viable career and a path that he really wants to follow.

With this in mind when I got the invitation to Playstation’s Family Showcase I was hoping that they would open my eyes to something I know very little about.

Walking into the event at the cool and quirky Perseverance Works in East London the boys eyes lit up and neither of them new where to start first.

The whole area was set out into different sections with a huge variety of games to try your hand at, plenty of refreshments to keep you refulled and if you fancied a bit of a break from the screen time then there were lots of crafts to keep you busy and some yummy cupcakes to decorate with lovely Cookie Girl.

The boys quickly found the NBA 2K17 basketball game and sat together playing whist I grabbed a coffee and chatted to the hilarious Ellie from ‘Scummy Mummies’ who was there to host the event.

Archie seemed to quickly find his favourite games FIFA17 and the super cool Gran Truismo and settled down to challenge the experts that were walking round to help out with any tech questions…there were more than a few from me!

Frankie however was overwhelmed with the choice and flitted backwards and forwards between games such a the fabulous new Lego Ninago Movie game that really bought one of his favourite movies alive in front of his eyes, Marvel Superheroes that went down a treat as he got to play some of his favourite superheroes and Crash Bandicoot which was in fact one of the first games I ever bought Archie.

There were even two fantastic games – That’s You and Knowledge Of Powergames that allow the whole family play together with the use your smart phones or tablets to answer questions and really interact together that would make the perfect alternative to the usual board games this christmas!

Watching the boys play together and make new friends by joining up and using the two player option on the games really made me see gaming in a different light. I had always seen it as a solitary pastime that kept them very isolated when in fact games can help team building skills, make healthy competition and create social skills. All of these things I had never really considered before.

I think the boys christmas lists have certainly grown since this event and I would definitely advise any of you to check out some of the games I’ve mentioned as they would make super gifts for any gamers out there.

PJ Masks Halloween Party

Could there be a more perfect start to half term then a combination of super heroes and halloween all rolled into one big party.

This is exactly what we were lucky enough to experience when we went along to the Picturehouse Central last week for the PJ Masks halloween party.

Balloons, banners and just about everything you could think of related to PJ Masks filled the room and hoards of excited children dressed as their favourite characters played with the super new PJ Masks products, crafted and danced along to a fantastic session put on by Diddi Dance.

Diddi Dance are in-fact hosting a week long ‘PJ Masks Super Dance Party’ from 30th October-5th November throughout all their branches in aid of the Youth Sports Trust.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement we were then surprised by the arrival of all the ‘real’ PJ Masks’ Oscar was absolutely over the moon!

They then all joined us for for a yummy lunch before we headed off to the screening of the brand new episodes that are set to hit our screens in the spring.

The action packed episodes will still see the same familiar characters with the addition of some new and exciting characters to bring even more fun to the hugely popular shows!

The boys exclaimed the they had had the best day ever and came away with the goody bag of dreams that they are still working their way through now.

PJ Masks really are going from strength to strength and with some great products that have just been launched in time for christmas and some brilliant new episodes coming in the new year their is so much for fans to look forward too.

My Mini Pop Artists At Warhol Croydon

Research from the International Child Art Foundation has found that a child that is exposed to the arts acquires a special ability to think creatively, be original, discover, innovate, and create intellectual property – key attributes for individual success and social prosperity in the twentieth century.

This is why exposing my litttle ones to as much art and culture as possible is of great importance to us as a family.

By this I don’t mean sitting in front of text books flicking through endless pages of text, but actually getting out and exploring which for me is a far more interesting way of gaining knowledge.

This weekend we took a trip into Croydon to explore the Warhol Croydon exhibition that has been bought to the streets of Croydon by the award winning RISE Gallery.

The street exhibition has been inspired by the life and works of Andy Warhol who was a leading artist in the 1960’s pop art movement.

A group of extremely talented artists have come together to create twelve instillations taken from the inspiration of his work and placed across the whole town centre.

There are plenty of free guided walks that you can book online to take part in or go it alone like we did.

The tour took us from the bustling high street full of shoppers to super quiet derelict buildings, from high rise offices to beautiful gardens and the quirky streets of Surrey Street Market.

We stopped and took time to take in each piece and the children really loved telling me their thoughts…some not so complementary and some hilarious.

It’s wonderful to see what others see when looking at the same piece of art and there is nothing thing better than seeing things through a child’s eyes.

The tour took us some time as I didn’t follow the route as marked out which from experience I would suggest doing.

With the tour complete we headed off to the Whitgift and Centrale Shopping Centre to take part in the Andy Warhol themed session that allowed Oscar and Frankie to become Mini pop artists for the afternoon.

We are familiar with Whitgift Weeenies Kids Club sessions that are put on throughout the year and are completely free to take part in.

The sessions can be anything from animal handling to art sessions and are suitable for children aged 3-10.

This session saw the children trying their hand at printing by carving out a picture into a foam board, covering it  with as much and as many different colours as they like and then creating their own Pop Art style masterpiece.

The friendly staff were at hand to help out where needed yet allowing the children free reign to really bring out their creative side.
Cleaned up and art in hand we finished off our jam packed day at RISEgallery they at the moment is homing some pieces of original artwork by Andy Warhol himself.

It certainly wasn’t a stuffy gallery that didn’t want enquisitive children around, we were infact all warmly welcomed, shown around the gallery and even had a chat about the art work that the boys had created.

The exhibition is on until the end of the month and there is still time to book in for this Sunday’s Wennies Kids Club session, so get yourself booked in as it’s something not to be missed!
*collaborated post

Ain’t No Party Like A Num Noms Party

Last Sunday we were up bright and early to catch the train into Shoreditch to celebrate the launch of Num Noms Series 4 at All Stars Lanes in Brick Lane.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Num Noms, they are basically a collection of super cool collectables that come in the shape of scented characters, lip glosses, nail varnishes and light up characters that can be stacked, raced and traded to your hearts content.

After trying out a collection of Series 3 Num Noms my guys were super excited to see what the new collection would have to offer!

We walked into the most spectacular party where there were literally Num Noms galore, from a whole play area dedicated to them, images of them all over the big screens and a creative area where the boys loved trying out the new nail polish maker.

This fab new toy allows you to make your own individual nail polish with scents such as strawberry and banana with a sprinkling of glitter if you fancy.

Im sure this is going to be on the top of many Christmas lists this year!

The fun didn’t stop there and we had after a game of bowling that was made pretty competitive by Izzy they tried their hand at icing some Num Nom inspired biscuits with the lovely people from Biscuitiers.

I was more than impressed with the level of concentration that was kept by my extremely active children and the results were pretty tasty too.

They then all headed off to get their faces painted while I got treated to a much needed manicure at the nail bar.

Suitabaly worn to from all the fun it was time for some lunch and a chat about what they had thought of the day.

They were on an absolute high from such a fantastic afternoon…probably a little to do with the pic’n’mix and yummy milkshakes too.

What I really love about Num Noms is the fact that even though they are branded more towards girls, my boys absolutely love playing with them alongside their sister who even after hitting high school this year is still very much a fan and has loved building her collection at home.

Do you have any Num Noms fans at home?

Mini Ninja At Yo Sushi – Boxpark

I am very lucky that all of my children bar one are open to try pretty much any food that they are introduced to.

This has opened them up to experiencing a wide variety of different cuisines with sushi coming pretty high up on their list of loves.

Trying to make it for ourselves though is something even I haven’t attempted so when we were asked along to Yo Sushi at Boxpark, Croydon I was as excited as the children!

On a Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am during the summer holidays Yo Sushi is running their Mini Ninja Sushi making masterclass aimed at children aged 5-12.

Being as unorganised as always I hadn’t looked at the recommended age range and in fact went along with Oscar(3) and Frankie(5) and Izzy(11).

Our super friendly Sushi maestro sat the children down and got them kitted out in their hats and gloves in preparation to get creating.

They were all given instructions sheets on how to make Maki, Salmon Nigi and Crab Handrolls.

These weren’t neeeded as the children were shown step by step how to make each piece and there was plenty of hands on help if neeeded.

Usually the attention span of my children is limited to cupcakes but amazingly they sat through the whole hour without a fidget or a moan.

Once their boxes were filled with yummy sushi made by their own fair hands there was a quick game of who could move the edamame beans the quickest which was great to burn off a bit of energy.

At the end of the session they were awarded a certificate for all their hard word and given a bag to take home their sushi and the rolling mats they used so they could have a go again at home.

My lot however couldn’t wait to get home to eat so we sat for a while eating there creations whilst I sampled some delightful pork buns that I will certainly be returning again for.

There is still time to get you litttle ones booked in at several different locations around the country and it has certainly come highly recommended from us!
 *Collaborated post 

Breakfast With Dame Jacqueline Wilson At The Foundling Museum

Dame Jacqueline Wilson has been a part of our family for many years with her books being a source of great pleasure over the years. In fact my eldest who hardly ever picked up a book would often be found engrossed in the adventures of Tracey Beaker which always bought me such delight.

A new generation of fans is now coming through in the family with Izzy and Frankie finding a love of her books.

When we were asked along to The Foundling Museum have breakfast with her I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed and the children…and myself were super excited at the prospect.

The Foundling Museum in West London is currently home to the Hetty Feather exhibition that is showing how the history of the Foundling Hospital has been bought to life through the character of Hetty Feather in Jacqueline Wilson’s top selling book that has since been won awards as a fabulous stage show and extremely popular TV series.

The interactive exhibition at the museum allows the children to see historical artifacts from the days of the Foundling Hospital and try on period costumes which allows them to get a real feel for how things would have been in this era.

Izzy and Frankie also loved putting pen to paper and creating a menu of food they would love to eat and comparing it to the bland and basic meals the poor Foundling children would have had to have eaten.

After exploring the exhibition the children all settled down for Jacqueline Wilson to tell us a little more about the museum and read an excerpt from the Hetty Feather book that the children all listened to intently. 

They then all queued patiently to get there copies of Hetty Feather signed and to have a chat with the wonderful lady herself.

We came away with wonderful memories of meeting such a humble and inspiring lady and highly recommend going along to see the exhibition yourselves which is on until the 3rd September.

Cars 3:One For The Girls

Sometimes when an email hits your inbox you know that you are going to be the favourite in the house…even if it’s just for a short time.

An invitation to a screening of Cars 3 sent my house into a complete frenzy and even my moody teen asked to come along which is an absolute miracle.

We made our way along to The Soho Hotel where we had the chance to fill up on a delicious breakfast whist the boys got Cars themed balloons and tattoos.

Full to the brim and fit to burst with anticipation of what the film would bring we made our way to the cinema and settled in our seats.

When it comes to sequels I am always a bit pessimistic and never find that they can live up to the original.

However Cars didn’t fail to impress with Cars 2 so I had high hopes for this one. 

This one sees the infamous Lightening McQueen showing his age and doubting his ability to stay top of his game.

With new sleek and stylish generation of cars making their way onto the racing scene such as the newbie Jackson Storm, Lightening McQueen’s confidence is crushed and he tries to find new ways to keep his number one status.

His training takes a modern twist with the help of his new trainer Cruz Ramirez but he soon finds this is not for him and he enlists the help of some of the older generation to take him back to the basics.

Cruz quickly becomes his right hand girl and through this friendship she builds her own confidence and let’s everyone know that the racing game is not just for the boys!

This film is more than just about cars speeding around the track; it teaches the importance of always aiming for the sky, having faith in yourself and the importance of friendships be it old or new ones.

From the youngest to the oldest this film had us captived from beginning to end with a fantastic twist that you just have to see!