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The number one author in the world – Roald Dahl’s books keep children and their adults mesmerised. All four of us are Roald Dahl fans in our household. Since September 2016 marked 100 years since his birth, we enjoyed dream jars hunting across London. The news that more productions are coming to life made us leap with excitement. This is how we felt when we were invited to the opening night of Roald Dahl’s “Fantastic Mr Fox” at Orchard Theatre. My children were counting days, my husband made sure he comes home early on the day to enjoy these timeless classic!
We arrived at Orchard Theatre, 20 minutes prior to show. The place was buzzing with children wearing Mr Fox outfits, purchasable at the theatre shop. We enjoyed our complimentary drinks and our kids went through the Orchard Theatre’s program. The latter was crammed with activities for kids and pages and pages of information on “Fantastic Mr Fox” production. Going through the booklet my seven year old was amazed at the achievements of production team. National Theatre playwright, Best Costume award holder designer, Nathional Theatre composer and the cast from well acknowledged theatres were promising the jackpot of the shows!

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This new musical adaptation of FANTASTIC MR FOX is a flagship production for the Roald Dahl 100 celebrations marking the centenary year of the world’s number one storyteller and hotly follows the release of Steven Spielberg’s movie version of THE BFG. This new commission by Nuffield and Curve in association with Lyric Hammersmith brings together a stellar creative team: playwright Sam Holcroft, director Maria Aberg, designer Tom Scutt, composer Arthur Darvill, lyricists Darren Clark, Arthur Darvill, Sam Holcroft and Al Muriel, sound designer Claire Windsor, lighting designer Lee Curran, casting director Annelie Powell and movement director Ayse Tashkiran. FANTASTIC MR FOX is produced by Nuffield and Curve in association with Lyric Hammersmith.
The lights went down, the spectators stopped breathing in suspense and waiting for the show to begin. It began with beautiful birds singing live in beautiful voices, thus enthralling us slowly to the bright world of Roald Dahl in his true spirit. From those four beginning notes and beautiful accords we knew this show was more to what we’d expected! This idyllic scene was disrupted by three farmers coming from amongst of the audience, as a wakeup call life gives one sometimes. They were the true personages Roald Dahl described! Then we were introduced to the Badger, the Rabbit, the Mole and the Mouse who were waiting for Fantastic Mr Fox to bring them food. On the upper level Mrs Fox and her kit were working on hunting techniques. Kit being a typical child was very impatient, but Mrs Fox didn’t let failure to break her kit and teaching the perseverance. Finally Fantastic Mr Fox emerges from the auditorium too with cheers from excited children. He was bearing lots of food for his friends that he willingly shared and went back to his family for their dinner. The cast was meticulously selected and they were giving it all their selves. The singing, the dances, the transformations ,the energy that was there throughout the show was charging the each and every one of spectators. If you have ever visited the West End Musical, this is what it feels like! The show is recommended for the ages of five and above. We had our seven year old and a two year old with us! The seven year old was enchanted and the surprisingly the two year old was taken too. It may be a little long for younger viewers being two hours (our two year old was getting tired after a long day), so if you have young children with you we would recommend to visit the show during the daytime. But our toddler loved it nonetheless and thinks that the story is to be continued and looks forward to go back and see Mr and Mrs Fox. If you have not introduced the musical to your children yet, this is the best show to start! As the cast were really good with live singing, live music band and beautiful choreography. We liked the humour only the modern adults would get too, like self employed rats, no charging docks the iPads’ and more.

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The theme of perseverance came a lot through the show and was a very good teaching point for children to retain – to never give up and to achieve their highest dreams! Especially nowadays our children are under a lot of pressure be it SATs, 11plus exam, A levels and more. This show is not only a brilliant entertainment but an indispensable teaching tool towards building a stronger “Can do” attitude. The sharing is another important issue that was brought up that we tend to forget these days and it is becoming more and more acceptable to be selfish. Fantastic Mr Fox was not perfect, he had his shortcomings too. They made sure to let the children know that even if Mr Fox was a superhero in animal world, he still needed his friends and family when times were tough. The value of true friendship, family ties and team work was brought to the attention of auditors in such a great way; the children were discussing their day to day doings after the show. This alone demonstrates “Fantastic Mr Fox” show is a must see production for shaping young minds, building a strong, confident and open individuals. As Fantastic Mr Fox tries to keep being fantastic himself after na injury and can’t succeed on his own. His friends and family come to support him, each and every one of them being very good at something the teamwork makes impossible possible. This makes Mr Fox humble and he admits that they are better off as a team. This production is a pinnacle of musical shows for children! If you have not taken your children to any musicals yet, this is a great opportunity to impress young minds. They will remember this for years and years to come, keeping it as a happy childhood memory – a very bright star in the sky of young minds. My seven and two year old children loved the show, the music, the singing, the acting and all the effects made it to an extraordinary experience one lives through the whole show, laughing, gasping and looking for solutions together with the cast. The clapping sounds of ovation filled the auditorium and the happy spectators were thankful to have come and seen such a great show for children and their adults! This perfection of a show gets 10 out of 10 from us!

On Thursday we had a pleasure of going to see the play by Story Pocket Theatre. They have put on scene Michael Morpurgo’s “Arthur, High King of Britain”.

We could not wait to arrive and watch it, as Morpurgo is one of favourite writers of my elder child. Arriving at Greenwich Theatre was a bliss, as it is so close and there are plenty of parking spaces around it. We were brave enough to take our two year old as well, even if the play was more for ages seven and above. The two year old was mesmerised and followed the whole play with few questions in between the scenes.

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This epic tale of chivalry, magic and heroism was brought to life by a professional troupe of Story Pocket Theatre. I have watched thousands of plays and I admit that we have been so used to special effects, sounds and extras, at times we forget what is the true theatrical experience should deliver.

The actors made sure we succumbed to a true theatrical adventure this time! The whole play was set by a team in such a fluid manner, you would not notice it going from one act to another. As there is such a continuality, you keep peeled to the scene worrying you would miss a delicious bit of it! The whole play is set the old fashioned theatre troupe way, which made the experience even more pleasing for me, taking me back to my childhood where we used to go to theatres to watch our favourite stories coming alive! From modern days, the story flows to the times of making of King Arthur, showing us the hardships he had to overcome, how he fell in love and how he was lured by his half sister. Personally  I was worried about the last bit, but the half sister’s act was shown in a beautiful dance, understandable enough not to disturb young minds. It showed how one has to stay true to himself to make wise decisions, in example of Merlin leaving King Arthur. Hence not only relying on a wit of smart people surrounding you but taking your own steps. The knights of the round table of Camelot, the sword fights shown in an expert manner would appeal to any young heart who find the medieval fights fascinating. There are incredible  bits of medieval dance during the wedding and happy times of King Arthur too. The whole production is about 1h30 minutes without intervals and is such a true theatrical experience to live through for young book lovers! The play is still on the stages of other theatres. And we recommend you to go and see it!

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Here is the list of places it will be on:

  1. February 22nd 2017, 2pm Theatre Brycheiniog Brecon, Powys, 01874611622 brycgeiniog.co.uk
  2. February 23rd 2017, 1pm & 4pm Blackwood Miners Institute, Caerphilly 01495227206 Caerphilly.co.uk
  3. February 25th 2017, 2.30pm Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, 01684295074 rosetheatre.org
  4. February 26th 2017, 1.30pm & 5pm The Neeld Chippenham, 01249446699 neeld.co.uk
  5. March 2nd 2017, 11am The Broadway Theatre, Barking, 02085075607 thebroadwaybarking.com
  6. March 13th 2017, Richard Whiteley Theatre, Settle, North Yorkshire, 01729893180 giggleswick.org.uk

We’ve had a chance to review Kidzania with a toddler in tow!20161204_175132

One might think it is the place for school children only, but this experience proved us that we can visit Kidzania with young children too. Frankly, I have put off a full family visit of Kidzania as much as  I could. But having an older child who is now seven and her talking non stop about Kidzania and what activities she is planning to do next, this is impossible. The toddler who is two years old was constantly asking about Kidzania too, as her big sister shaped a perfect picture of a magic place where children only rule!

The day came and off we went in a car to Westfield Sheperds Bush in a car. I would like to stress that you need to check the website and get the correct location as there are some works going on around Westfield nowadays. Please make sure you plan to arrive an hour or so earlier, as we spent a good quarter of an hour looking for a free parking slot. Another useful piece of advise, we realised only when leaving, do register with Westfield parking to get £8 capped price for a full day of parking. We didn’t do it and paid slightly over it £9.50. Once we arrived at Kidzania, there was quite a queue to check in to it too. My elder daughter was getting worried that we were running late for a pre-booked slot, thus losing precious play time for children. But the staff started the time slot from our check-in time and not the pre-booked slot, so we were in luck. We were presented with little maps, the elder child got her Kidzoos (Kidzania money) and off we went to explore it.

By the time we parked, checked in and entered Kidzania she was hungry, so we went to GBK  in Kidzania, so she could make her own burger and eat it. While she was busy making her halal burger, we ordered some food for ourselves and the toddler too. The elder daughter came out with her self made burger and a huge grin on her face. We all sat and ate our lunch. Then we split with my husband, he went with a toddler and I went with the elder daughter. We went to the engineering centre where my daughter was an engineer in a sports car team. They were taught a lot about the fast cars and now we can safely say my elder daughter knows what to do in case her car needs a wheel change. She also got paid for this job. Next destination was a hospital, where she was a hospital nurse looking after newborns. She was quite good at it, as she had lots of practice with her baby sister. She also got paid for this job and I regretted not taking a little bag for her. She could keep all of her kidzoos in it, her safety net for the hair in there and other little belongings too. The next things she wanted to experience was an ice-cream factory. She waited in the queue quietly, knowing she would be making ice-creams soon. When the time came she went in with other children, they all made ice-creams after learning the process and all got paid, getting the little badges as a bonus. After this we went to the Central Bank of Kidzania and deposited her Kidzoos, so that she would not lose them and can withdraw any money when needed. She was very proud having her own bank account and her very own bank card. She withdrew some money and off we went to British Airways, where she wanted to land a plane. Here we met with my other half and swapped the children.

Now having a toddler in tow, I looked at my map and sorted out the things we can do with a two year old in Kidzania. There were several activities and we did them all with her. First we went to the Kindergarten. This was a large space with tables, chaird, crayons, papers, musical instruments, soft play music on the wall, wooden play sets and more. We were the only ones in there, as soon as we entered my toddler put the apron on and sat on a table to do some colouring. Once she was done with it, she went to play with the interactive wall, pressing different animals and different sounds they made occupied her for a little while. She really liked this farm wall and it being soft lead her enjoy playing for longer. Once she was done with it, she asked for the toys neatly put on the shelves, she went through the musical instruments one by one. Coming to the next section, building toys, I never knew she would be so interested in building toys. These types of places are good to learn about your child’s interests too, as this may surprise you. While we were playing in there the Christmas songs were playing and the staff were running outside the “buildings” to perform the dance routine.

When she had enough of playing in the “Kindergarden” we went to the “Dance club”. This is a space for pre-schoolers too and I thought it is a good space to let the steam off. An upbeat music was playing while we enjoyed dancing on a colourful flashy dancefloor with my toddler. My little one liked to jump, dance and perform here. This really led her steaming off and she was calm after this activity, ready for the next one.

The next stop was “Science lab” and my toddler became a “lab technician”. She learned the importance of washing her hands and cleaning the dishes she has used. She learnt how to make different bubbles with different wands and the importance of clearing off the mess you create. Bubble blowing and catching was the highlight of this activity. A toddler and bubbles can it get any better? Apparantly it can! Our next activity proved it! “RightZKeeper’s Residence” was our next stop. We were guests there and this one place was providing different things to do. Unfortunately the kitchen area was closed off, which lead to a major meltdown. But we successfully managed to distract her with the water filled trampoline, the soft beds and the dressing up room. Where a dinosaur crazed toddler found a big T-Rex and was adamant to take him home with us. She had fun dressing up and being a fire fighter rescuing her friend the T-Rex from fire.

Our four hours came to an end and we went to a picture room to see the photos of our little ones and if we want to buy some. After this we went through an immigration and checked out. The other point I liked was that all the children were wearing the bracelets and the alarms go off, if they are leaving with strangers.

After this visit, now I am sure I can take my toddler to Kidzania too, as she had as much fun as her elder sibling. She still keeps asking for “Pidzania” (that’s how she calls “Kidzania”) each time she behaves well. Kidzania – a place for all the children young or older for a unique unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Most parents of the toddlers live with Peppa Pig’s family. Our two year old is obsessed with this show. So when  I got the review tickets to the West End show of “Peppa Pig’s surprise” she couldn’t wait for the day to come.

The Phoenix Theatre where the show was taking place was easily reachable from the Charing Cross station. We arrived 20 minutes earlier as we had a buggy. The Theatre staff are really helpful, as they are aware of audience arriving with young children and buggies. They try to sort people out as soon as possible trying to prevent the possible toddler tantrums. After getting our tickets we were shown where we can leave our buggies. At the entry our little one made us buy a windmill of her favourite character George. I thought it would be a good idea if that meant she would keep happy throughout the show for the price of £8 . Little I knew what an exciting experience for the whole family was ahead! The theatre has rather clean toilets with baby changing and feeding facilities. You leave the buggies and get it with your tickets. Extra toys and merchandise can be purchased upon arrival and they sell some snacks too.

Little after we went to our seats, we realised my toddler is a little bit small for her seat. So we paid an extra £1 for a booster seat. In retrospect I would not get it, as she spent the whole show dancing, singing and jumping around!

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There were four of us, two adults and two children. My seven year old was a little bit sceptical as she thought this is only for toddlers and she was too old for the show. These were her thought before the show. As soon as the show started with children’s favourite characters coming to the stage and the energy of actors coming on waves we were all mesmerised and were simply enjoying the brilliant production! The show is a hit with all ages from start to finish with songs, dances, engaging the audience, special effects, bubbles, snow and is just fun!

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I found that the production team has done an excellent job, the storyline is close to the original Peppa Pig cartoon. The puppets and the actors are oozing with energy that is easily transferred to the audience making everyone happy and bouncy. My toddler who is fan of George really like how they made him cry just like in a cartoon, making her squeal from excitement. There are two acts during the show, which gives enough time to have a loo break or get some snacks. If your little ones have never been to theatre before, this show provides a perfect first time experience! Helping you nurturing cultured children who look forward to their theatre outings. The little twist at the end made us all feel the Christmas joy again and it was a very welcome bonus! We thoroughly enjoyed the show, even my seven year old who was not very keen on it initially said that she loved it and she was happy that she came. A perfect family day out and an unforgettable experience for little ones! The show is still on this week at Phoenix theatre. We are looking forward to see some more productions of this team, as they truly are magical! If you have not seen it yet, book quickly and enjoy watching your little ones joy! It gets thumbs up from us and we recommend it!

 

 

Scooterpeg – review

If you have kids and have several scooters cluttering up your entry way, which drives the minimalist in you up the wall -there is a solution – Scooterpeg.

 

I loath the view of a messy hallway, which apparently comes in package when your bundle of joy arrives. I like the Nordic style clean and breathable house. But the struggle is real! It is a daily battle to overcome the clutter and finding their right places. The buggy, the scooters blocked the entryway far too long. And when I was contacted by the founders of Scooterpeg” Danielle and Becca to review the product, I was really glad!

They have sent me two scooter pegs – a yellow and a green one. They arrived nicely packaged in a beautiful box and the peg was wrapped in  a tissue paper. The first thoughts on seeing these packaging and boxes, that these make a nice gift! The boxes and packaging are well thought and presentable. It is so difficult to find a present for people who have it all. But innovative products like Scooterpeg make an excellent present! And with Christmas looming upon us this is a great option!

Once you order a scooterpeg you do not need anything else! It comes with a little leaflet explaining how it works and the correct screws to drill them onto your wall. So we only needed to open the box which contained all of the needed bits and drill two holes on the designated wall. I thought a tiny porch is a place for the scooters. Once they are neatly hang up in there we can just grab and go. As opposed to storing them in the shed and not having enough time in the mornings to take them out. Mums know that every second is precious during the morning school run. This little tool gave our scooters a designated place meaning my mind is in peace and there is no trip hazard anymore. The scooters are now ready to go, peacefully waiting on their scooterpegs.

I have since put my adult scooter and my elder daughter’s scooter on the pegs. I thought it would not hold the adult one, as it is quite heavy. But so far so good, the scooters are snuggly held by the scooterpeg and it appears that they are quite sturdy too. I have waited long enough to write this review and since the day they went up no scooter fell of! This is a big plus for me.

I applaud Danielle and Becca for their genuinely helpful product for parents with scooter riding children. Making the scooters accessible and yet off the way is practical and aestetically more eye pleasing.Thus this product gets a thumbs up from me. If you are looking for one, go ahead and try one, I am sure you will be left like me – pleased! I wish there is a peg to put the my buggy up as well. May be another product for them to explore -HintHint-

 

 

I have been sent Infruition bottles for a review. The timing was really good as I was looking at buying some. I was planning my fitness regime and I thought these would be a bonus. And was I right! This is an honest review after using the bottle for weeks.

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The bottles came nicely packaged with a sweet note. Opening the carefully packed products you feel the joy. I always like when people put extra thought of making your day of it. I received Infruition sport and Infruition mini bottles – for me and my child. I thought I would give it to my seven year old, but my two year old toddler was quick to claim it hers. It is quite sturdy and survived many drops by me while running, by my toddler while having a tantrum and more.

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So right away we washed them, packed with some fruits and off we went to a school run. I like the fact that it has a handy handle that you can easily sling over your buggy’s handle. My toddler likes carrying it around holding it through the looped holder too. This time rushing out the house I did not need to stress about packing extra snacks for her. As she likes to munch on something while she has to seat on the buggy. I simply told her finish your water and then you can have the fruits inside as a prize. She really liked the idea and kept holding onto  bottle to see when the water will finish 🙂 It was an achievement for me, as she usually demands juice and crisps and throws a huge tantrum when she hears she wouldn’t get them.

Now we take the bottles everywhere with us. Dashing it of the house in the morning for a school run and a 5K run afterwards, for our swimming lessons, visits to the parks and playgroups. During the weekends we keep them in the car. We take both bottles with us while out in London for family activities. Having a family means most of the time, one needs to pack a whole house. Nowadays we only take these bottles, an umbrella stroller and a change of clothes for the toddler. This is it! The bottles provide both water and snacks. Now kids know that they  can have the fruits inside as a snack while we wait for a proper meal. Yesterday we went to the Eltham Palace. We only took is our kids and these bottles. Looking around the house and doing the activities they drunk the water. Afterwards they had the fruits of the fruit compartment in a car as a snack without spoiling their appetite for a proper meal.14858599_10153782823937522_1411059639_o

Being a runner I love these bottles, as the fruits inside flavour the water and by the time you are done with your run, the fragrant deliciousness would be ready as a after run treat! I have tried so many  commercial “flavoured waters” and they are full of sugar. This goes against fitness plan. I would rather have my infruiton water and choose where I get my daily dose of sugar rather than being sugar dumped by producers. If you are a busy parent like me and do not get a chance to wash the bottle right away, it may get a little mouldy. As the bottle didn’t have any nooks and crannies it was easily washed with soapy water. And dishwasher got rid all of that, so the bottle is like new now, phew…Unlike other sports bottles these do not have a vile plastic taste and provide you with deliciously flavoured water. Just don’t forget to wash if you opt for sweeter types of fruits like I did for my toddler.

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I really like these bottles. They are easily washable. You can chuck them in the dishwasher and fill them up in the morning with your favourite fruits. Each bottle comes with the code for a special recipe that you can claim online. I received a 4 week booklet through the code and it gives plenty of ideas  to help us to vary. I look forward receiving my weekly mails with shopping list and plenty of infruition water ideas from their resident nutritionist.

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Infruition bottle is A must have for a city parent, who can dash off the house with the infruiton bottle, a child and a buggy only roaming around busy  streets of London!

 

 

 

 

I was really happy when I was asked to try out the private guided tour of London provided by Planet Pass. For this I needed to download the app from AppStore.  The app is really easy to use. It doesn’t crash or close on it’s own. I was able to go through different tours of London. I had a look at the list with my seven year old daughter and we chose Shakespeare tour. We chose the day and the time of the tour and booked it. The payment was taken via card and was straight forward. As soon as I booked, I saw where I will meet my guide and his photo. So it is easy to spot him in busy crowds of London.

The day of the tour arrived and off we went with my seven year old daughter and her eight year old friend. They are both book worms, know a lot and have a curious nature. So they could barely contain their excitement. I left my toddler with my friend, so that I could enjoy the tour more. In the midst of trying to get out of the house quickly I left my other phone where I downloaded the app and had all the details of the tour. I knew that the starting point was St. Paul’s cathedral and that our tour was at 1 p.m. I quickly googled the phone number for PlanetPass and told them all about it. They were really helpful in finding my guide and they even called me back to ask if I found him. I was really glad they did, as this shows they look after their customers. If you are not me – a parent who rashes around and you are more organised to have your phone all the time with you. You can just call the tour guide directly from the app.

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Anyways drama averted and our guide James found us, so our tour began. Our tour guide – James was an exceptional person. He is an Oxford graduate, loves his job, has passion for history and very patient. All these contributed to our tour being a true experience one would like to live through. He transported us right back to history, walking on the footsteps of Shakespeare and living through his life effaced busy London for us. And for those hours London was something out of movies, as we could imagine what it would be like back in time. Where Shakespeare lived, where he got married, where he himself acted out his play, where he went to church and the places he would spend most of the times writing up his timeless chef d’oeuvres. James explained everything in a beautiful English, accessible to kids that were with me and all at the same time keeping their focus on history. Even if the girls’ imagination would wonder to other things, he would take his time to explain it. The girls were really happy to know that such an academic is paying them full attention and satisfying each turn of their curious minds.

20160804_141827James took us to the hidden corners of tranquil (yes!) London. I did not even know these places exist and a peaceful environment there made our travel back to Shakespeare’s London even more realistic. After showing the temples that Shakespeare himself acted out his plays in front of all London’s elite, we started to pay attention to all little creatures around London. As our guide explained their meaning and now we knew what they stand for.

 

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He explained us why The Mermaid Theatre, The Rose theatre and the Globe theatres are important. He showed us where all they were and told us the types of plays that would be acted out in them. He showed us where original Globe was, why it was there and the scope of how big it used to be. After seeing the place of original Globe and going back to see the Globe on the other side of the Millennium bridge, we agreed that the one built later is not as big as original one. He explained what those little creatures on the gates of the Globe stand for too. 20160804_150451

Being kids the girls were distracted by other historical monuments. James being a very patient person he answered all their questions about them. And kept introducing us to the new things we would otherwise pass. From now on my strolls through the streets of London won’t be the same thanks to the tour guide James. I will take every opportunity to stop and to cherish what is around us as this is a real source of positive energy. If you are a tired parent like me and feel like you need a boost of energy this is the best way of doing it. As London is full of mysterious places to be discovered and the knowledgeable guides like James from PlanetPass provide you with an unforgettable experience!

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We had a brilliant day immersed in Shakespeare’s London, living through ups and downs of those days and feeling, seeing it ourselves. Thanks PlanetPass from me and the girls. We came back inspired, full of positive energy and can not wait for another tour like this, as there are many more provided by the same company. I truly recommend the PlanetPass private tours for all, be it a tourist, or a Londoner and you want to taste a quintessentially English experience.