Our March…

March seems to have come and gone in the blink of an eye and as I still here going over what we have been up to I think it’s probably the fact we have been so busy it has just flown by.

Archie started off the month with landing himself his first real part time job. It is on a church retreat and he had the job of cooking, cleaning and serving the guests. He seems to be thoroughly enjoying the more tasks he is set and meeting new people who all seem to have sixth amazing stories to tell.

I have to admit when he first told me about where it was(down a load of country lanes with no public transport) I was moaning like made as I knew this was going to fall back on me to get him there and back. But it wasn’t until someone said instead of moaning you should be proud of him for taking the time to find himself work and apply himself that I realise I should suck it up and praise him for his drive and want for independence.

Frankie has one of his routine trips to the hospital for an eye check and the good news is he is nearly done with patching. There has been a huge improvement in this sight and they have got it to a leave that is now remaining stable, so the daily battles with the patch I’m am happy to say are now over!

I fast forwarded the year and stepped straight into summer at the Next Happy Hotel event where I got to look at a whole host of products from homeware, clothing and beauty that are set to make for a pretty great summer. There were some fantastic pieces in each and every section but I think I was most surprised by the amount of other beauty brands that are available through next. I had no idea they stocked Benefit…did you?

From a event on my own to one with all the family at Chessington World Of Adventures. For those of you that regularly read my blog you will know that I have been an ambassador for them for the past few years now and absolutely love watching the changes each and every year. This year the have a new interactive attraction based on the much loved book – Room On The Broom. The children loved it and it’s a must see for any fans of the story.

I have been up and down with my exercise but Jemma’s Health Hub has kept things pretty constant for me so I’m hoping to feel a lot healthier and less self continuous this summer.

Whist we are in the subject of health I had a little bit of a scare with some chest pains that I was referred to the hospital for. My blood pressure isn’t really what it should be and I am waiting on a scan just to check that everything is ok and it’s actually given me more of a push to shift these pounds and get my exercise back to being an everyday routine rather than a chore.

Peppa Pig is still very much a favourite in this house with the boys…even though Frankie wouldn’t let on to anyone; so we were very excited to go along to Leicester Square to see the new film that is put this Easter. The boys absolved it and I’m sure it’s going to be another big hit.

From this screening we went straight to the Royal Opera House to take a look at one of their family fun Sunday events. I was more than a little apprehensive about taking the youngest two as they don’t really scream Royal Opera house! I needn’t have worried though as it was such a relaxed atmosphere where they got to enjoy lots of crafts, storytelling sessions and witness the most amazing ballet and modern performances. It really would come highly recommend from us.

With Mother’s Day on everyone’s minds I was invited along for afternoon tea with Paperchase. We got to chat to lots of lovey mummies and take a look at all the amazing products Paperchase had to offer this year.

A highlight for me probably more than the children this month though was a screening of the new Dumbo movie. It is most definitely a childhood favourite for me and I was so pleased that Disney had worked their magic and managed to recreate a different but equally as thought provoking and heart warming movie as the last.

Spring definitely seems to have been making an appearance and we have been enjoying this with some time in the garden, plenty of hot cross buns and some spring flowers. I really do love this time of year.

The last few days of March will always be ones to remember as the day we were celebrating Izzy’s 13th birthday party my eldest daughter Alice decided to give birth to my beautiful second grandchild. We don’t like to do things by halves in this family and it was a whirlwind 24 hours but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

After all the chaos it was time to celebrate Mother’s Day and this is traditionally a nightmare day and this year didn’t disappoint.

I think I have this ridiculous expectations that my children are going to turn into angels for one day and the arguing and bad behaviour are all going to disappear! Sadly of course this doesn’t happen and we started the day with two of them devouring my chocolates before I even sat down to breakfast, one then decided to throw the said breakfast as their sisters head and so the day started.

Next year I’m going to lower the expectations in the hope that this will help!

The Snowman Experience:Review

We are huge fans of the Backyard Cinema and the themed cinematic experiences they offer.

Over the past few year we have swung through the jungle to see the jungle book and walked through a winter night garden to watch Elf, but this year when we were asked to come go along to Winter Wonderland to The Snowman Experience it was even more amazing than I had imagined and they have certainly built in their fantastic idea and gone all out to create the mot spectacular experience.

Inside the hustle and bustle of Winter Wonderland is a huge cinema offering much more than just a screening.

This year the iconic book – The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is celebrating it’s 40th with this extra special showing.

As I’m sure you will all agree, The Snowman is the epitome of Christmas. The charming tale of a small boy and his adventures with his snowman friend fill my heart with the joy of Christmas and I will never tire of this story. However I didn’t expect it to be transformed as it was for us this weekend.

We stepped inside a wooded area and weaved our away into the cinema, stopping for a photo first. As we took to our seats we saw the screen surrounded by brilliant props that made the illusion we were inside the story. As the film began we were treated to a few surprises from the stage that the kids were amazed by.

After a short while we were unexpectedly whisked through to another room where the huge curved screen allowed us to feel that we had taken flight with the snowman himself.

The last room was set up ready for the grand finale where everyone was ready to party. With flashing lights and familiar tunes the boys loved dancing along whilst watching the big screen. But the biggest surprise of all was The Snowman himself making an appearance to a crowd of excited children all eager to meet him.

The Backyard Cinema really have excelled themselves this time and have given us a experience to remember for many years to come.

The experience is running from 10am – 10pm up until 6th January 2019 and it’s not to be missed!

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

An Uber Cool Christmas At Winterville

Last year we had our first visit to Winterville on Clapham Common. We didn’t really know what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised with its calm, cool, festive vibe.

When we were asked to visit again this year we jumped at the chance and as soon as we got there we knew it was going to be just as much fun. The neon sign shone out across the park and welcomed us in with its pretty christmas lights, catchy christmas tunes and the smell of wonderful food.

I would actually sat that if you are  bit of a foodie then Winterville will be right up your street.  There is so much on offer with the Truck Stop and Street Feast areas homing the majority of the stalls. From crispy chips to sticky ribs, Baileys hot chocolates and warm cookie dough puddings.

Of course its not just food and drink on offer at Winterville. There is a whole plethora of amazing activities to join in with and the kids didn’t know where to start first!

The gleaming lights of the fairground rides were calling us and while Izzy headed to the bigger rides I stayed with the boys and took a ride on the train, span around in the tea cups and watched them as they bounced as high as they could on the trampolines.

It was now a bit of time for Mum so I grabbed a mulled wine and took a look around the Solo Craft Fair that had some amazing gifts for some amazing independent business which makes a very welcome change to some Christmas markets that are full of  mass produced items you can get anywhere.

Crazy golf is always something my lot love and the the UV – powered Plonk Golf course at Winterville was great fun.

Anything that involves being on wheels or blades draws my children in but is my worst nightmare! Winerville have both a beautiful ice rink and a roller disco on offer and i managed to persuade the kids to only try out the ice skating as I don’t think my nerves could take both.

All of the children could take to the ice and there are penguins to help the round the rink. We all did really well until the very end where Oscar took a tumble just as he was putting his penguin back. We ended up with a split lip and a very sad little boy and I have to say that in this moment of need we were confrunted by a surly and very unhelpful member of staff which was a real shock after having such an amazing experience with everyone we had come across.

We literally scrapped the surface of everything on offer at Winterviile. There are live DJ sets, cocktail bars, wrestling, Backyard Cinema, Big Fish Little Fish family rave, family shows on a double decker bus and so much more.

So if your looking for somewhere to kick off that festive spirit then this is the place to be!

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

Nativity Rocks:Review

The Nativity movies have been a big hit in our house for many years now. The light hearted, feel good factor they give you is a huge attraction and always fill you with the spirt of Christmas.

A couple of weeks ago we were invited along to a screening of the fourth Nativity movie – Nativity Rocks in Leicester Square.

Kitted out in my sparkly jumper…much to the embarrassment of the kids we started the morning with some fun in the foyer making snow globes, getting glitter tattoos and eating out first mince pies of the year.

This movie had a very different feel to it then the others as the main bulk of the story was based around a young Syrian refugee called Doru and his Father who get separated in there quest to seek refuge in the UK.

Doru finds himself in the middle of Coventry in the midst of their Christmas preparations where he is found and taken to safety by the warm and friendly social worker Shelly(Helen George) who in-lists the help of the super foster mum(Merry Syal).

We were a little concerned about the absence of our favourite character, Mr Poppy bit we needed had worried as he had been replaced by his long lost brother who made an equally loveable Mr Poppy mark two!

Whilst Mr Poppy(Simon Lipkin) searching for his long lost family at St Bernadettes he bumps into Doru who has enrolled in the school and they form a bond over their similarities.

Of course there has to be some kind of musical theme to the movie and this comes in the form of the whole of Coventry competing to represent their town in The Christmas Town Of The Year.

Emmanuel Cavendish(Craig Revel Horwood) is brought in as the superstar set to put Coventry on the map with his expert knowledge of everything showbiz but the evil villain has the opposite effect and the community come together to go it alone.

Along the way there are all kinds of adventure from Doru and Mr Poppy, an unlikely friendship is but between a little boy from the rival private school.

I won’t spoil any more of the story for you and I will leave you safe in the knowledge that this thought provoking, heart warming story with have you laughing and crying in equal measure and will fill your heart with everything that Christmas should represent!

A Spooky Morning With Goosebumps 2

Over the years my love for all things spooky has grown and grown. As I child I never really got into the whole Halloween thing, but as I’ve had my own children and Halloween has become more popular in the UK it’s one of the things I love about autumn.

We spend the weeks in the lead up picking pumpkins and decorating the house but spooky movies are something I’ve never got into – mainly due to the fear of scaring the life out of the children and me getting no sleep for months!

So when we were asked along to the screening of Goosbumps 2 I was a little apprehensive about who to take.

Izzy had already seen and loved the first film and after watching the trailer the boys begged me to come along ensuring me they were brave enough to go along!

We arrived to the cinema foyer decked out in with all things spooky. There were magic acts, photo booths, face paint stands and food galore. The children really were spoilt for choice.

Full of sugar and eager to see what the film had to offer we made our way to our seats.

Minutes into the film came out first jumpy moment and I questioned wether I should have taken the boys or not, but the didn’t seem fazed and continued to sit with their eyes glued to the screen.

The film sees mum Kathy the heart of the Quinn family trying to juggle raising two children alongside working in a nursing home which is not for the faint hearted.

Some of the child care duties are passed down to her eldest daughter Sarah who’s eyes and heart are taken away from her duties by her love interest which leaves plenty of time for her brother Sammy and his friend to get up to lots of mischief whilst trying to make a few pennies with their house clearance business.

Whilst out on one of their collections they unearth some seemingly harmless treasure in the form of a locked book and a ventriloquist dummy, but they had no idea what problems these finds were going to bring.

The unfinished work of R.L Stine(Jack Black) and ‘Snappy’ the ventriloquist dummy in fact bring a whole host of problems to the Quinn family and give the entire town of Wardenclyffe a Halloween to remember!

Goosebumps 2 gave us the perfect introduction to horror and although it had plenty of heart in mouth moments, ghosts, ghouls and monsters galore and the fear factor of not knowing what was going to come next; it was perfect viewing for the younger ones whilst still giving the teens a movie to enjoy.

The film also had a great comedy element to it in the form of the mad neighbour Mr Chu who helps the kids on the mission to save their mother from the grips of Snappy with his huge knowledge of all things Goodebumps related and his quick eye for fashion!

Goosebumps is definitely one to watch and for me I will never look at a gummy bear in the same light again!

Peter Rabbit Movie:Review

If the tales of Peter Rabbit conjure up thoughts of a mischievous little bunny in a blue jacket, an angry gardener going by the name of Mr Mcgregor all based in a quintessentially english garden then the new Peter Rabbit movie will bring you all of this along with a few new characters and adventures thrown in!

I was lucky enough to go along to a screening the other afternoon with Oscar…much to the annoyance of the other kids to see first hand if the movie lived up to its huge expectations.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the amazing use of CGI when it came to the super cute bunnies, their fluffy little faces really came to life and were hard to tell apart from the real thing.

The movie follows the timeless classic tale of the feud between Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor and their long running battle over the ownership of the vegetable patch which in this new adaptation see the sudden death of the evil old man(could be a tricky one to explain to the kids, although it went over Oscar’s head), much to the delight of Peter and his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Celebrations commence with a rowdy party hosted by Peter himself which involves all the surrounding wildlife taking over Mc Gregors home and partying the night away whist completely trashing the place.

Mr Tod the sly fox was left in a sorry state slumped in the bathroom with a shaved chest, tiny were hedgehogs being used as darts and Peter Rabbit himself was playing lord of the manner whist charming the ladies. This is all a far cry from the traditional tale but bought laughs a plenty to the audience.

The celebrations were short lived when Tom McGregor the nephew of Mr McGregor arrives to take charge of his newly inherited property. The garden feud continues with the younger, more sprightly counterpart who tests Peter’s light fingered ways and gives him a real run for his money whilst both battling for the affections of Mr Mcgregors beautiful, kind hearted neighbour which makes for an explosive end to the film!

The catchy up to date tunes and slapstick humour are all a far cry from the stories 19th centuries origins, but there are highlights back to the tales original identity through the film which is a lovely touch and allows you to relate back to familiar and much loved characters.

The movie has shot into the 21st century with rapping birds, booby traps that are far more advanced than the original garden sieve method of capture and a little romance thrown in for good measure makes for a family movie that will make a perfect treat this Easter.

The Snow Kingdom:Backyard Cinema

Fancy visiting the cosiest cinema ever? Somewhere that creates a special experience from the moment you set foot inside? then The Backyard Cinema is the place to go.

I was lucky enough to visit this cinema a few years ago when the theme was Movies In A Lost World and it felt just like we were stepping into a scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark with temples, monkeys and even a vine to grab onto to swing to your seats!

With Christmas on its way the Backyard Cinema has turned into hidden snow kingdom that allows you to venture through ice caves and across frozen lakes until you finally uncover the enchanted castle.

Once inside you can snuggle up on the cosy beanbags and cover up with a blanket whist watching a huge selections of classics such as Home Alone, Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas and many more.

Refreshments aren’t your usual popcorn and coke in plastic cups either. There is a chance to sample some gorgeous cocktails such as Toxic Apple or Bubblegum Whizzbang.

From a special treat for the kids to a cosy date night their is something to suit everyone and different packages that can be selected ‘here’ to make the evening just as you like it.

We are off there in a few weeks to watch one of our all time favourite films so keep an eye out for how we get on.

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.

Winterville 2017 Is Coming To Clapham

Winterville is moving south of the river after a break last year and will be hitting Clapham Common from 23rd November until 1st January.

Winterville is an alternative Festive experience that brings something a little different to the Christmas celebrations. With so many different attractions across town it is hard to know where to chose – but Winterville has something to offer the whole family.

You can take a ride on the big wheel and take in all there is to offer from high in the sky, try out your putting skills on the UV-powered plonk golf course or get cosy and take in a screening of on of the christmas classics in the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden.

If like me food is your thing then you won’t be disappointed with what Winterville has to offer. From burgers to fried chicken or sweets treats and cocktails there is something to suit all tastes.

When it comes to things to entertain the kids you will be spoilt for choice. They can take to the ice on Clapham’s first ever ice rink, get onto four wheels and try out their roller skating skills, they can get their dancing shoes on for a very special tea dance, watch the wonderful World Beyond The Wardrobe show they is a Narnia inspired interactive experience, and of course a festive outing wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa.

There are also some ticketed events on offer such as Cirque de Caberet, The Twisted Wheels Roller Disco, Stevie Wonderland and the All Abba Disco.

I really have just touched on a little of what they have to offer and we will be heading there ourselves at the end of November so keep an eye out for how we get on!

Spinjitzu Masterclass And Lego Ninjago Movie Preview

The other Sunday we headed for Tower Bridge to take part in a Spinjitzu masterclass lead by the master of kicks herself-Jade Jones the Olympic medal winning taekwondo and hosted by the hilarious Dick and Dom.

For those of you familiar with the Lego Ninjago series you will know that Spinjitzu is a martial art formed by the characters in the series and to celebrate the launch of the Ninjago Movie we were invited along to take part in a fantastic masterclass.

The park was filled with mini ninjas all eager to be practicing their kicks in front of the woman that is well known for just this.

With the stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge, the comedy of Dick and Dom and the expertise of Jade Jones it certainly made for a very special morning…the fun wasn’t to stop there though.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed to The Empire, Haymarket for a preview of the movie itself. Popcorn in hand the movie started and the bustling cinema was silenced.

The Lego Ninjago movie is in short the story of a group of teenagers that struggle through the day to day life of High School and struggle some what to fit in. They do however have amazing alter egos that sees them in a continual battle to save Ninjago City from the evil warlord Garmadon who happens to be the estranged father of the green ninja.

With the use of the knowledge they had gained from the wise Sensai Wu-aka Jackie Chan that shows how good will always outweigh evil.

The movie is a mixture of action and humour(a good part aimed at the adults) with an underlying serious message of the importance of companionship, teamwork and self belief.

With a span of ages from 3-40 between us there was something to keep us all entertained throughout and is a must for any Lego fns this half term.

*a big thank you to Warner Bros for inviting us along to this great event.