Maplin Photo Walk:Thinking Outside The Box

One of the biggest things that has come out of blogging for me is my love for photography.

It is something I know very little about and for a long time I have been meaning to gain some knowledge on how to make the most of my camera and take a better picture.

With this in mind I was very excited to have the opportunity to join in with Maplin Photo Walk in Covent Garden the other day lead by the very talented Kaye Ford.

We followed a route starting in the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden trying to capture the crowds, street performers and the whole ambiance of the buzzing area.

Street photography is something that always scares me and I find it hard to try and incorporate other people into my shots whilst making them interesting.

I took on board some great tips from Kaye and headed into the crowds to try and capture some of the life.

I found it pretty daunting to snap the public but armed with an empty memory card and plenty of enthusiasm my confidence grew and it wasn’t long before the images were racking up.

This is the beauty of the technology we all have access to in this day and age. There is no limit to the amount of images we can take and store.

From Covent Garden we moved onto the vibrant colours of Neals Yard and the uniqueness of Soho.

My love of colour was feed throughout the whole walk and then it was time to feed my belly at the beautiful Brigit’s Bakery.

Cakes galore I indulged my sweet tooth and had a cheeky prosseco while talking over our day.

I came away with a bigger thirst to learn and happy that I had uncovered parts of Lonon that I had never seen before.

In The Night Garden Live:Review

Last year we had our first visit to In The Night Garden Live at Richmond Park and I have to say it was an absolutely magical experience.

With this in mind I did wonder if we attended again we would still get that wow factor. 

This year we were lucky enough to have two trips to the huge snow dome as we had been asked along to experience the Meet A Character and try out the goody bag which is something we hadn’t tried the year before.

I went along with Oscar the day before opening and had the pleasure of meeting Upsy Daisy and our favourite Iggle Piggle.

The rooms are set up so that you have your own individual experience and the surprise is so much greater then the usual ‘meet and greets’ as it is all done in a separate room for your own personal experience.

The minute the curtain went back Oscar’s eyes filled with delight and he ran straight in for a big hug!

Over the moon at the chance to meet his favourite characters we then went and collected our goodie bag to try out.

For those of you that read my blog you will know that I am not a fan of merchandise at events such as this as it is usually massively over priced and broken before we even get though the show.

In The Night Garden Live however offers a huge goodie bag full of treats from the usual light up toys to cuddly toys and cutlery sets.

It come at a hugely discounted price compared to buying the gifts separately and there is a whole host of keepsakes that will keep those memories of your trip alive for a long time to come.

The next day we headed back to the snow dome with my husband and Frankie and although the boys were a year older the magic of the snow dome captivated them as soon as we entered the theatre.

Their favourite characters took to the stage in the form of puppets and costumes actors and the whole dome was filled with laughter from the pre school audience.

I’m always a sucker when it comes to sights such as this as there is nothing better than seeing the delight on little ones faces  from the sheer delight of what they are experiencing.

If you are looking for a show to introduce your children to the wonders of the theatre then this is the perfect place to start.

The whole area is geared up for little ones with a huge buggy park, food warming facilities, plenty of toilets and changing facilities and of course their favourite characters coming to life in front of their very eyes.

*we were given tickets to the show and souvenirs of the trip for the purpose of this review.

 

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.

The Wind In The Willows Premiere

Stepping out of the tube station into hoards of people waving iPhones in the air was a little bit of a shock the other week.

I was going along to review Wind In The Willows that has just opened at the London Palladium and I had more than slightly underestimated the evening, and hadn’t realised it was a fully star studded red carpet event!

Izzy has had her heart set on stardom since she could talk and her jaw literally hit the floor when she realised she would be taking to the red carpet and mingling with the stars.

Settled in our seats the curtains rose which paved the way for the beginning of the show with the stunning scenery and the cheery, familiar faces of Ratty (Simon Lipkin) and Mole.

The bumbling pair immediately captured the attention of the audience and left us wanting to follow their journey which lead them on an epic adventure with the bumbling eccentric Mr Toad (Rufus Hound).

Whist trying to find the precious daughter of Ms Otter (Denise Welch) that has wandered off and found herself captured by the evil Weasel the threesome find themselves on all kinds of predicaments caused mainly by the loose cannon Mr Toad.

Along the way as you would expect there are plenty more animals to meet from the super cute field mice to the hysterical family of hedgehogs and the more sinister of creatures that came in the form of the evil stoats.

The show lept from spectacular car crashes to more heart felt moments that showed that no matter how tough friendships can be and no matter what hurdles are thrown in the way to test you true friends will always be just that.

This quintessentially British classic from Kenneth Grahame has been perfectly adapted to give a captivating, moving and toe tapping show that will bring a smile to the faces of the whole family.

It will make for the perfect trip over the summer holidays and with some great deals on tickets at the moment it’s the perfect time to book.
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions. 

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!

Pizza, Prosecco and Live Music At Pizza Express

Pizza Express is always top of our list when it come to eating out as a family.

Their lively restaurants and good food make the perfect combination for us and brings us back time and time again.

It is however very rare for me to visit without the children, so when I was asked to come along to the newly refurbished Pizza Express Live in Holborn with a group of lovely bloggers then I was very excited to see what kind of a night I had in store.

At the far end of a extremely busy restaurant I spotted a table with lots of ladies and lots of cameras and I knew they was were I needed to be heading.

After a full on day of running around town this evening was just what I needed to relax and catch up with some familiar and some not so faces.

We were soon introduced to the manager who had a fun evening planned with us starting by getting a little messy!

Pizza making is something I have looked on from afar in Pizza Express, leaving it down to the children to get creative, but it was going to be my turn to don the white hat and get stuck in.

We were talked though each and every step and I can tell you forming a pizza base is way harder than it looks!

Bases swirled and twirled we added our topping and whilst they were cooking we had some time to chat over one…or two glasses of Prosecco!

So far the evening had been a lot of fun but I was still none the wiser as to why this beautiful new restaurant had the addition of the word ‘Live’ to it.

This all became apparent when we were shown to the middle of the restaurant and lead down the metal swirling staircase to the basement into an area that I would never have imagined seeing in a Pizza Express restaurant.

It was more like an ├╝ber cool city members club with dark wood and plush velvet, sutble mood lighting and delicate glass wear.

This fabulous new area is set to be the place to come for top live entertainment 7 nights a week as of September.

Acts such as Martin Kemp and Mica Paris are a few faces set to take to this stage along with a whole host of other familiar names.

For me this evening really turned my thoughts on Pizza Express dining on their head and from having a very narrow minded outlook on what they have to offer I can now see that this would make a superb venue for a date night or a night out with friends.

I am hoping to have another visit in September to see the venue in full swing and soak up the fabulous atmosphere that I know it’s going to to create.  

*collaborated post

The Lost Format Society:Movies In A Carpark

For years Centrale carpark had been the place I park my car when I’m off to the shops in central Croydon.

For me it is what it is, simply a place to leave my car and return to when I’m laden down with bags. So when I was asked along to a showing of Dirty Dancing in this very carpark I was pretty unsure as to how they were going to carry this off!

When I think of open air cinemas parks are normally the venue that springs to mind so I was intrigued to try out a more urban setting and I was extremely expressed at what I was greeted with.

The top level of the carpark had been sectioned off and behind the barriers homed a huge cinema screen and rows of super cool deckchairs to sit in and watch the film.

It isn’t just a cinema area though, there is also a heated lounge area that is under cover perfect for the temprimemtal English weather and a fab courtyard garden that you can sit and relax in whilst sipping on one of many alcoholic or soft drinks they have available or even grab a bite to eat from the grill.

Music was pumping from the DJ booth and there was a really relaxed friendly vibe filling the whole area.

One thing I didn’t expect to see was a fantastic pop up nail bar where you can get a free manicure from Nails By Mets who works her magic with a huge range of colours and nail art from MeeBox while you are waiting for your film to start.

I was lucky enough to go along on a special event evening where they were not only showing the cult classic Dirty Dancing but they were also giving a dance lesson before the start of the film.

For anyone that knows me you will be all to aware that I own two left feet and it normally takes me a few to many gins before I would ever consider taking to the dance floor!

The professionals took to the stage and I was in awe of how they effortlessly reenacted the famous final dance scene.

I was super nervous to join in but once I got started with my husband being equally as useless as me I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

Dance class over we took to our seats with popcorn in hand and snuggled in the blankets provided whilst the sun set over the colourful Croydon skyline.

There are plenty more showing over the summer including Pretty Woman, The Full Monty, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Bridesmaids and many more.

It would be great to hear what you think of you decide to go along for yourself.
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest options.