Peppa Pig’s Surprise:Review

For me Christmas and the theatre go hand in hand and if you feel the same as me and want to take your family from as little as babes in arms then I trip to see Peppa Pig’s Surprise at thePhoenix Theatre is a must.

Walking into a sea of toddlers hop, skipping and jumping around the theatre with flashing lights in hand I knew this was gong to be a noisy affair!

The lights then dimmed and the familiar sound of the Peppa Pig theme tune came from the stage and the audience was silenced apart form a few gasps of delight.

Peppa and George have a new friend called Daisy who is a bubbly character with an infectious smile who helps to keep the children engaged throught the whole show.


Peppa and George spend the whole show going about their everyday tasks whist wondering what their big surprise is going to be.

There is plenty of muddy puddle jumping and even a chance to sing along to a Peppa classic – The Bing Bong Song.

The show is extremely interactive with singing, bubbles to catch and plenty off water to dodge!


The ever changing scenes keep things at a fast pass for restless eyes with an underwater neon one being a firm favourite.

Although the storyline is not based around Christmas there is a really lovely festive treat at the end that I won’t spoil for you.

Peppa Pig’s Surprise brings you over an hour of thrills and spills and allows a huge favourite TV character to come to life in front of your eyes.

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

Melting Snowmen Christmas Presents

One of my favourite gifts to make at this time of year is chocolate bark. You can use a mixture of so many different  ingredients and it is completely up to you what combinations you choose.

This year I got a resounding ‘no’ when I suggested it again for teachers presents.

I took to the Internet and found a great recipe for melting snowman that I knew would change their mind.

All the recipes I found were American so lots of the ingredients were unavailable over here.

I managed to change things around a little and here is how we made them.


Melting Snowmen

  • 6x200g bars white chocolate with krispies
  • Small amount of orange royal icing 
  • Black sweet beads
  • Handful pretzels 
  • 10 rolos 
  • Shallow baking tray
  • Grease proof paper
  1. Break up the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt over a pan of boiling water.
  2. Line a baking tray with greasproof paper and spread the melted chocolate across the whole tray.
  3. Place a rolo side on into the chocolate to create a hat.
  4. Place on two black beads to make the eyes and three more for his buttons.
  5. Roll a small amount of icing to create a nose and place this on the chocolate too.
  6. Lastly break the pretzels into small strips and put onto the chocolate for the arms.
  7. Put the tray into the fridge and allow to harden for a few hours.
  8. Cut into sections and place into cellophane bags.

      Getting The Kids To Bed On Christmas Eve

       

      “‘Twas the night before Christmas and all though the house every creature was stirring, yes even the mouse”

      Sound familiar to you?

      This is my house nearly every Christmas Eve.  A house full to the brim with super excited children to hyped up to go to sleep and a list as long as my arm of things to get done once they finally drift off.

      The excitement was in fact so great one year that my eldest daughter was crying she needed an ambulance; I kid you not she had got that worked up she was actually having a panic attack!

      Over the years I have used some tried and tested methods and for the last few years things have been a little more smooth sailing.

      I have a few tips here to try and get your little ones off to sleep as easily as you can:

      Limit The Sugar What! No sugar at Christmas I hear you say. This is admittedly an extremely tricky one at this time of year, but keeping the sugar at a low on Christmas Eve will make sure that the bouncing off the walls is only from excitement and not a sugar high!

      Wear Them Out this is one of my biggest tips. We always try to include plenty of outdoor fun on Christmas Eve that includes as much running, jumping and climbing as possible to ensure they will be greatful to get their heads on their pillows.

      Quiet Rituals make family traditions that will become familiar each year so they are used to them. Quiet crafts, a bit of baking, a Christmas movie a board game. Anything that will draw their attention away from the main mans appearance that evening is a good thing.

      Milk For Santa, Milk For Them as well as putting out that mince pie and a glass of milk for Santa, pour one for the children too. The amino acids in milk add sleep and let’s be honest every little helps.

      Create A Restful Room there is no good trying to put them to sleep in a room full of flashing fairy lights and noise. Limit any stimulation and make their room as peaceful and dark as possible. Blackout blinds are perfect for this and might even get you a extra bit of time in bed on Christmas morning.

      The ‘He Won’t Come’ Threat ifall else fails the threat of him only coming if they are sleeping always works wonders!

       
      *collaborated post 

      We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Screening

      Sometimes you can open a book and immediately get lost in it; It can capture your imagination with every word and you can become completely immersed in the whole story.
      This is what ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ by the fabulous author Michael Rosen has done for each and every one of my children…well I should include myself too really!

      I’m sure there are not many parents out there they haven’t squelched and squirched though the mud at bed time or wadded through the swishy swashy grass whist keeping a little one occupied in the doctors waiting room.

      This book has truly been a saviour to me on many occasions, and over my nineteen years of parenting this is a book I have never tired of.

      When we were asked along to the screening in Leicester Square of this timeless classic that is due to hit our screens on Christmas Eve I’m not sure if it was the children or me who were more excited!


      The animation that has been produced by the masterminds behind the Snowman and The Snowdog started and within the first few minutes I knew I was going to be hooked.


      The siblings are left at home by their parents under the supervision of their eldest brother, and after getting a little restless set out on a walk to try and discover a grizzly bear, encountering all the familiar obsticals along the way.

      There is the same hurried journey back home, but this time little Rosie forms a bond with the friendly bear and finds it hard to say goodbye.

      To turn this short story into a thirty minute long adaptation the story has or course been added to a little but has in no way detracted to much from the original story.

      With the enchanting storyline, magnificent illustrations and fabulous music dare I say this could be set to become a festive favourite and even knock The Snowman off of its pole position for me!

      We’re Going On A Bear Hunt will be showing on channel 4 at 7.30 on Christmas Eve and repeated again on Christmas Day at 5.25pm

      A Wintery Escape To The Frosted Fairground At Dreamland 

      We first visited Dreamland over the summer and knew that it’s retro feel and rustic, seaside charm were always going to bring us back.

      I did however always consider it to be a summertime trip and had never really considered going during the winter months until we were asked to go along last weekend to visit their Frosted Fairground.


      We were greeted with fairy lights and candy canes that dressed the theme park and super happy elves that were all injecting a massive Christmassy feeling into everyone.

      The children were itching to get to the rides and even my moody teen had a smile put onto his face when he saw what they had to offer.


      They jumped on and off all of the vintage rides from the classic helterskelter to the hurricane jets and super cute classic cars.


      It may have been super cold but I think it added to the atmosphere and with the adrenaline flowing through the little ones they didn’t mind one bit.


      For a break from the thrill seeking we took a trip to visit Santa and his elves in his grotto.

      This wasn’t your usual run of the mill trip with a quick present and a photo. The children were unlisted as Santa’s helpers and got to make some food for the reindeers, sort out a problem with the very important toy maker and sing some festive songs to really get them into the mood.


      The children were really excited to get into to see the main man himself…well apart from number five who stayed firmly  inside my coat!


      Santa was really friendly and sat for a good while talking to the children about their Christmas wishes.

      We didn’t want our day to end so we went back to take in the atmosphere while grabbing some candy floss and a hot chocolate and listening to the Christmas hits were playing around the park.

       

      For us this was the perfect Christmas trip with plenty to keep the kids amused and wear them out on while still having a really Christmassy feel.

      There is plenty of food to chose from either outside while you are on the go or you can take a break inside and warm yourself up.

      You could even have a spin around the roller disco if that takes your fancy.


      Dreamland is free to enter which is a huge pull to me as it allows my parents to come along who love to watch the children play but don’t really have any want to join in on the rides and this is normally something they will still have to pay to do in many places. 

      Wristbands can be purchased that allow you to ride all day which I always find the best way with fairgrounds as their are no disappointed faces when you have to say no!
      We dragged our day out until the bitter end until and are looking forward to a trip back at the beginning of January to keep away those after Christmas blues!

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

      The Snowman:Review

      I don’t know one person that doesn’t know and love the story of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs.

      It has been a Christmas favourite since I was a child and I have passed the love of it down to all my own children.

      When I was asked along to the Peacock Theatre to see this classic on stage I had high hopes for what I was going to see, but also hoped it wouldn’t ruin the magic of the tale by swaying to far from the original storyline.

      We walked into the theatre and sat down in front of the stage that was covered with a projection of continually falling snow that caught the eyes of the children immediately.

      The orchestra then kicked in, the curtains raised and so the story began.

      The first half was the ever familiar story of the little boy who excitedly catches sight of the snow falling and hop, skips and jumps into the garden to create his very own snowman that magically comes to life in the dark of night.

      The snowman is welcomed inside by the boy and the pair get up to lots of mischief from dressing the snowman up in his parents clothes to riding a motorbike round the garage whilst trying not to wake his sleeping parents.

      All of this is performed beautifully and had my youngest two transfixed on the stage.

      The first half finished with the Snowman taking his friend by the hand and flying him into the sky to the classic sound of ‘Walking In The Air’ which had the audience enthralled and excited for what was to come next.

      The second half was padded out a little with the journey to the party at the North Pole incepted with a battle between the Snowman and the evil Jack Frost who is trying to capture the beautiful Ice Princess.

      The upbeat second half is full of excitement and lots of humour added by the chucklesome Father Christmas and his super cute reindeers.

      This two hour long ballet kept my attention lacking youngest two mesmerised and the look of wonder in their eyes completely melted my heart.

      This quintessentially British story has been bought to life in a truly magical way and is the absolute epitome of Christmas.

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

      My Top Festive Days Out

      I start planning for Christmas as soon as the children go back to school after the holidays in September!

      Yes I know that is completely bonkers but it really is my favourite time of year and I like to squeeze as much as I can into the month of December as possible.

      I have put together a list of some of my favourite days out that you might like to try for yourselves, and a couple that I am due to visit over the next few weeks so keep an eye out for what I think!

      Father Christmas At Painshill


      This is top of my list as it is the most magical Father Christmas I have ever seen.

      You walk though the beautiful grounds of Painshill in Cobham, Surrey that is bought to life with pretty lights leading you to the crystal grotto to find Father Christmas himself.

      You can enjoy a mince pie and a warm mulled wine while you wait to be taken in to the most stunning setting I’ve ever seen.

      There are still a few spaces left for weekday visits but this is a must to book early.

      Christmas Afternoon Tea At sketch


      During the summer I had a trip to sketch to try out their afternoon tea and were blown away by the whole experience.

      The food and surroundings were equally as wonderful and the quirkiness of it all was a big hit with the both of us.

      Christmas has now got the restaurant in a big way and the entrance alone is something worth going to see. 

      The Snowman


      A couple of weeks ago we went to see the fabulous ballet of The Snowman. I will have a full post up on this very soon, but all I will say is if you want to introduce your children to the wonders of ballet of simply want to witness what I can only describe as the epitome of Christmas in a beautifully performed show then this needs to be seen.

      Bocketts Farm


      Bocketts is my favourite farm in Surrey and Christmas brings an extra sparkle to it.

      You can still walk around feeding the animals, watching the pig races and taking a tractor ride but you also have the opportunity to visit Father Christmas in his hay barn and take part in fun extra activities the farm has put on for the festive season.

      Southbank


      It wouldn’t be Christmas without a trip to Southbank for me.

      The hustle and bustle of the London crowds mixed with Christmas markets, fairground rides and skating always gives me such a Christmassy feeling inside.


      Hobbledown 


      A couple of days ago I took number five along for lunch with Santa at Hobbledown where he got to meet Santa, decorate a gingerbread man and have his lunch.

      This is unfortunately only on for a limited time and how now finished but there is still plenty going on and a trip to Santa who by the way always has a fabulous outfit would be a lovely day out. 

      Chessington World Of Adventures

      Winters Tail at Chessington is a really lovely day out that we have done many times.

      A selection of rides are open to enjoy as well as the Sealife centre, Santa is there to visit and each year there are different activities to try.

      If you want to make it a really special trip then an overnight stay in the hotel would make it a wonderful Christmas treat.

      Priory Farm


      Priory Farm is fabulous at anytime of year and at this time of year their famous discovery walk takes on a Christmas theme, there is a little train ride on the visit to Santa, the shop is stacked full of wonderful food, gifts and decorations and the cafe is a must stop for outstanding eats.

      London Tranport Museum


      Now this is a place that I would not associate Christmas with but we have been invited along this weekend to visit Santa as he finishes his journey on the Noth Pole Express. 

      As well as this the children can take part in a quiz as you wander around the museum.

      It sounds like something very different and a transport fans dream! I can’t wait to let you know how it goes.

      Afternoon Tea On B-Bus


      Imagine being able to eat a yummy afternoon tea sitting on an old routemaster bus whilst taking in the sights of London.

      This is exactly what the B-Bus has to offer and I will be sampling this for myself soon. 

      This really sounds like the most wonderful way to spend a Christmas afternoon.

      I would love to know if you try any of these places out and what you think about them.