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Shopping At Westfields With Kids

10 Sep

I dread shopping with kids but during the summer holidays I’ve learnt that shopping with kids doesn’t have to be as hard as we think it is.
On a recent visit to Westfield Shopping Centre in London’s White City with the toddler I actually experienced a stress free days shopping.
Myself and my sister Charlotte both took our little ones with us on a trip to the shops and both came out alive!
There was no tantrums, no bored faces, not even a single whine.

Westfield’s have made it there mission to make shopping with kids easier by providing ways to keep them entertained and happy. We started our shopping experience by trading our pushchairs for some funky kiddi cars. The boys were dead impressed with their stylish new wheels and we were impressed by how simple these were to Manoeuver around the shopping centre.

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Then it was off for some fun. There was plenty of stuff happening inside the shopping complex to keep the kids happy. We got creative making pasta sun flowers and pretty pictures. The staff were excellent, really friendly and helpful. This event was taking place near the food court in the middle of the shopping centre so it was really easy to find. The area had been converted into a child friendly space with toad stool seats and tables, balloons and fun and exciting games to play.

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Once done we checked out the shops. I love Westfields and the selection of stores on offer. What’s more given the children were aboard their kiddie cars they didn’t mind the constant popping in and out of shops. I must admit that the kiddi cars made the whole shopping experience a much more stress free process.

By lunchtime, myself, sister and our boy racers had built up something of an appetite so it was off to the ‘Greek’.
I used to work in Greece so appreciate the beautiful food they make. The Greek is located just outside the main centre so we were able to sit in the beautiful sunshine. The staff at the Greek were very accommodating they parked our kiddi cars and showed us to a table which was half inside and half outside, this was great as it allowed us to keep the boys shaded from the sun.

The lunch menu was very pleasing with lots on offer. The kids were given croyons and a colouring book to entertain them, avoiding boredom as we waited to eat. The food was absolutely amazing. The kids had beautiful chicken and I had a beautifully cooked lamb koft with rice. We tucked into flat bread and a vast selection of dips before the boys wolfed down some strawberry ice cream.

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The day was finished with a last round of the shops. With the end of summer nearing 😦 there was a good selection of sale items in the various stores. We spent a good proportion of the day in the Disney store and the entertainer were the boys got spoilt with Mickey Mouse toys.

We were itching to visit the Vue cinema which is located on the top floor in Westfield’s. Yes, I fancied seeing the new Disney planes movie but as we had my sisters little boy who is just 18 months with us that day we decided to give it a miss as we didn’t think he’d be able to sit still for an entire film. We instead decided this would be left for another day another time.

After all… Our days shopping had been so stress free there was no need to ruin it now.

So there you have it! Shopping with kids doesn’t always have to be a nightmare… And believe me I never thought I’d hear this mum say that!

Westfield’s always lay on entertain during the summer holidays and school half term breaks to ensure shopping trips are fun for all! To find out what’s happening at Westfields and when, then just check out the website as well as their twitter and Facebook pages.

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Lollibop 2013 – Set To Be Better Than Ever

31 May

LOLLIBOP SET TO ROCK QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK THIS SUMMER

Today I’m here share mine and children’s excitement in becoming an official lollibop family and give you a little taster on what Lollibop has in store this year.

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LolliBop, The Big Bash for Little People, is returning for 2013 to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, with an incredible line-up designed to delight mini festivalgoers.

Joining some of the hottest names in kids’ entertainment, as well as hundreds of activities, workshops and interactive demos, are the Mr. Men and Little Miss Village Green Event and Shaun the Sheep’s Championsheeps LIVE!

The ever-popular Mr. Men will be hosting a fun maypole activity area and favourite characters, such as Mr. Bump, Mr. Tickle and Little Miss Sunshine, will be meeting and greeting fans at the Mr. Men and Little Miss reading hubs.

Shaun the Sheep will be personally on hand at the Championsheeps with sheepy shenanigans, including Shirley’s Pie-athalon, the Naughty Pig’s Sack Race and Get Fit with the Flock. Kids and parents are ‘wool-come’ to get involved!

Other big names confirmed so far, include:

– LolliBop favourites Dick and Dom return with their special mix of madcap games, songs, jokes and a foam pie or two…

– Peppa Pig will be at the festival all weekend, meeting and greeting all her little fans

– Sid Sloane and Andy Day will be hosting their very own Big Birthday Bash and everyone is invited! Expect lots of energetic songs and silliness and plenty of audience participation

– Watch and learn how to ‘Copy Poppy’ with Poppy Cat on the Lolli Live stage

– Straight from Nickelodeon to the Lolli Live Stage, The Go! Go! Go! Show are bringing brand new pop songs, catchy, easy-to-learn dance moves and loads of laughs

– Sing and dance along with the adorable Cloudbabies mini show

– Older LolliBoppers will love The Diary of a Wimpy Kid activity, which include exclusive clips of the author Jeff Kinney talking about the books and a master class showing how he draws the characters. There’s also a Wimp Wars quiz

– Experience the life-size Transformer Optimus Prime Truck, along with the Transformers Station; showcasing the new Beast Hunters toys, viewings of the cartoon series Transformers Prime and free green screen pictures

– Witness the amazing wildlife showcase with National Geographic Kids Animal Man

– Laugh along with hilarious antics from the amazing 8ft Titan the Robot

Returning LolliBoppers will also see old favourites mixed with new attractions for 2013, including:

LolliBop Live – Popular CBeebies presenter Alex Winters is comparing the live stage which plays host to some of the biggest names in kids entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen.

Lollipalladiam – is a live theatre tent showcasing performances from pioneering and internationally renowned companies and artists. This year it features Spooked, the critically acclaimed Broken Rose Performing Arts first show for children – a hilarious and spectacular blend of dance, theatre and spoken word featuring skeletons Molly, Jinny and Charlie.

Science Zone – Make a rocket, hold a dry ice cube, or get messy with gooey slime in the LolliBop lab – brimming with exploding experiments for pint sized guests to try! London’s Science Museum will also be attending with live demonstrations and interactive activities.

Run wild and have fun in the LolliSports area. With activities including retro favourites like swingball, hula-hoop and frisbee to football tournaments and sports day style races.

3ft and under is also making a comeback but this time is it within the brand new Itsy Bitsy Zone. Activities for babies and toddlers will include soft play, baby massage, storytelling, mini discos and much more

The Lolli Promenade – Situated on the River Lea! We’re very lucky to have a real river running through our new home, so why not relax and enjoy an ice lolly at the Lolli Promenade which also features beach hut crafts and bandstands.

Discovery Zone – will host a number of educational, interactive and hands on activities where kids can learn a new skill like beatboxing in one of the many workshops.

Lolli Stops – Enjoy crafts from puppet making, and customised fashion workshops, to balloon modelling, and graffiti painting, there is a something to make and do around every corner.

The Meadows – A perfect spot to chill out, enjoy your lunch and watch our special street performers.

There is also a wide selection of food and drink stalls at LolliBop. Extensive covered buggy parks, baby changing and breast-feeding areas are also available.

For more tickets and more information: http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk http://www.lollibopfestival.co.uk

We’ve Booked Our Holiday

10 Oct

Do, I feel organised? Hell yes.

It’s very rare that I’m able to be so prepared. Although booking holidays in advance when your child is on the autism spectrum is really an absolute must, things almost certainly never work out as planned for me.

Some may remember a few months back when I excitedly announced that we were chosen as one of 40 family’s to become a Butlins Ambassador. Well, I’ve been thinking about booking our break for a while but wanted to ensure I made the right resort, accommodation, and catering choices before doing so.

I’ve been given the opportunity to really plan this holiday around the whole families needs and this has allowed me to really step back and think things through when deciding on the best options for little man in particular.

Although we experienced quite a few hiccups during the Tots 100 Christmas party break at Butlins. I do put the majority of this down to the fact we got tickets so late on in the day. This combined with the fact that we wasn’t able to take the children to the actual bloggers meal and party was a bit stressful for little man and me having to dash away caused him some anxiety.

This break is a true family occasion and I won’t be doing any dashing of any sort whatsoever.

The fact that Butlins have a really scheduled time table that little man can follow is absolutely perfect. We found that just having the iPhone App that displayed the daily listings of what was happening at what times made organising what to do really easy. We actually got the app at least a week before leaving so had plenty of time to create little man his very own schedule.

I’m pleased that this year my mum and good family friend Donna will be joining us. This means that all the children can enjoy all aspects of the holiday and I won’t feel like I need to rip myself in half to please them all.

So, our break is booked for the Easter Holidays (1st-5th April 2013). We will be staying 4 nights and coming back home the day before my birthday. This should give me plenty of time to fully organise the trip and prepare the little man.

We are staying in the new Wave hotel at Bognor which is recommend more towards older children of both Alice’s and little man’s age. I’m hoping this will really suit him (they have ps3 in the games room so that should be a winner). Another great aspect is that they both each get their own TV at the end of their bunk (not that we are planning on watching a lot of tv) but what a way to avoid arguments.

I do feel really excited about our next break and have made it my mission to be as prepared as possible.

Here’s a couple of tips if your planning on taking a child away with autism or Aspergers during any of the pending half terms.

1) Book in advance to enable yourself time to plan efficiently.

2) Make sure the child on the spectrum knows when and where you are going.

3) Make an events board. I have done this simply by making a timeline that shows where we are going and in how many days. I do this with all events and occasions that little man needs to prepare for, not just holidays.

4) Try to use real life visuals for your events board. Take these from pictures or Brochures.

5) Let your child explore the designation online. Little man will be checking out the new Butlins website this evening.

6) if you have any worries or concerns make sure these have been discussed with the booking team or those taking care of your accommodation. This could be anything from the request of a room with a shower ( little man prefers to shower and its less of a battle for me to get him to use it) it may be something as simple as avoiding a certain room number (little for us massive to the child with autism).

7) Make sure you have brought and packed everything you need and well within time.

8) Importantly don’t forget any medications. Little man’s melatonin was something we took up again just before going away last time then we forgot to take it. Not great as it can’t be brought over the counter.

9) Pack essentials for travel. We normally go by car and a good supply of snacks and drink is a must.

10) Don’t just leave everything to the last minute! The child on the spectrum can become very anxious when this happens. Believe me… I know.

Heres a few images from our last trip away.

Little man Butlins

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Alice and little man

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Alice and the toddler

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#Win A Family Ticket To See Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom Live On Stage

18 Sep

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A while back I told you about how Ben and Holly from the little kingdom, would be doing their first ever live tour! I also told you that I’ll be giving readers of the blog the chance to win themselves a family ticket to attend the show! True to my word I’m here today doing just that!

As it was sometime ago when I first told you all about the live show I’ve included this little recap.

From the makers of Peppa Pig and the producers of the two hugely successful Peppa Pig theatre tours comes the first ever stage version of the BAFTA award-winning TV animation, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom.

The Little Kingdom – where everyone is very, very small – is home to Princess Holly and her best friend Ben Elf. Holly is a young fairy princess who is still learning how to do magic properly and sometimes her spells don’t work out quite right. Ben is an Elf. Elves don’t do magic but they are very good at making things. Ben doesn’t have wings like Holly but he flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird.

In this exciting new musical adventure, Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston clean up his messy cave; they go on a trip to The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum; and still have time to plan a surprise for King Elf’s birthday party, complete with an unplanned jelly flood.

Packed full of games, songs and laughter, this is an enchanting and magical visit to the Little Kingdom, live on stage for the very first time. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family.

This brand new UK tour is on the road from 26 October until July 2013 and I have 1 family ticket up for grabs at the venue of your choice, (subject to availability). A family ticket is for 4 people, minimum 1 adult. The tickets are non-transferable. No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel are provided in this competition. For further show information and tour dates: www.benandhollylive.com

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It’s really very easy to enter! Here’s how!

Compulsory Action:
To enter please submit your answer to the question below, together with your performance and venue choice. These can be found using the above link.

Q: What is Gaston?

A. Caterpillar
B. Ladybird
C. Snail

You can gain a few additional entries.

First tweet: “I want to win a family ticket to see Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom Live with @clairelouise82 http://bit.ly/OXwdRS” then leave the link to your tweet below.

Pin this competition on pinterest and then share the link to your pin below.

Comment on any non competition post on this blog then comment to let me know which one.

For every action carried out you must leave a separate comment with a way of contacting you in the event you win. Please no Facebook contacts just twitter or email.

Winner will be drawn randomly. Only a maximum of 4 entry’s per person. Those that exceed this number will automatically be rejected.

Competition will close on the 22nd October 2012 at 11:59 PM

Good luck.

T&C: Winner must respond within 72 hours of being notified. If they fail to do so they may forfeit their prize and risk a redraw. No entries after the closing date and time will be accepted (22nd October 2012 at 11:59pm). Winner must state what show they want to see within their entry. All details will be passed on to the PR who will organise your tickets. UK only please!

Checkout The Prize Finder for more fab prizes.

Vist loquax for more competitions.

A Day at Drusillas Park

31 Jul

So it’s week two of the school holidays, things haven’t been too bad considering the whole lack of routine and the fact I feel like I’ve been ran over by a stream roller… We’re hanging on in there.

The weather has thankfully been excellent, there has been garden picnics and days spent in the paddling pool. Money hasn’t been great but we did manage a visit to Drusillas Park on Saturday.

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I won the tickets to Drusillas park back in July 2011 from a competition I entered in our local paper, with the tickets valid for only a year there were just three days before they ran out. With this we loaded the kids into the car and headed of to the park that boast a zoo and large adventure playground.

I did some research to find out how autism friendly the zoo was. Harley wanted to see and of course take a ride on Thomas the tank engine but the prospect of queuing was something I worried about, the last thing I needed was meltdowns from the little man. From what I could see there was no special wristband programme designed for those with disabilities. However, this didn’t prove to be a problem in the end as the park wasn’t at its busiest when we visited!

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Arriving at the park we discovered that their was a ‘Sensory Trail’ around the Park which incorporates a number of multi-sensory exhibits. You could obtain a sensory booklet and map containing information on the trail when first entering the park. Disappointingly we asked at the entrance gate and was told that this was only for children with a disability! I quickly explained that one of the children had just that and it was Little man we required the book for. The young man looked shocked and said something along the lines of “Oh Really” while eyeing the little man up and down as to spot his disability. The guy was obviously looking for some physical sign and was baffled when he couldn’t find it! He gave us the booklet nonetheless.

I don’t think he was trying to be rude, his ignorance was just caused by the fact he was uneducated on those disabilities that don’t have obvious physical aspects!

On a brighter note the attraction itself was fabulous. The sensory trail was fantastic, and Little man enjoyed the tactile aspects of the trail.

Another great feature to the zoo is the education that surrounds it. Everywhere you go there is something interesting to learn. There are many interactive learning activities to be found which means your given the opportunity to learn about the animals your seeing which makes it all the more interesting.

Myself and the children loved exploring the zoo, there was lots to see including a farm yard where children can pet the animals and learn where milk comes from by milking a mechanical cow.

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But it’s not just the zoo that makes Drusillas park great, as well as some great play areas, inflatable slides and a children’s outdoor pool, it’s also the place to find Thomas the tank engine. Harley was extremely excited when he discovered his favourite blue engine, and even more so when Thomas took us for a short ride around the park.

There are some great areas to explore at Drusillas Zoo and they are right in stating that this is no ordinary zoo.

Little man and sister Alice-Sara Couldn’t wait to slide down the giant inflatable penguin slide. This however did come at an extra price of £3 for 6 slides. Ok, for us this was fine, after all we had won our family pass which would normally cost £68.00 for a family of 4. However if I had paid for the tickets I may not have been a little unimpressed at having to pay extras especially when there is more than one child involved! This wasn’t the only payable extra, others included crazy golf and panning for gold. On the whole, the majority of activities were included in the price.

The park hosts some pretty awesome adventure playgrounds such as
Go Bananas! A jungle themed attraction designed for children aged 6 years and under. This is located directly opposite “Go Wild” an adventure playground for older children from 7-12 years. This is perfect as it meant I could easily keep the toddler entertained at “Go Bananas” while the older two ran wild in “Go wild” both were visually inviting and fully equipped with some pretty spectacular play equipment such as banana boat swings and funky slides and climbing frames. All three children loved the area and the fact none were overly busy meant little man was able to play with little anxiety.

There is also a pretty cool indoor soft play area called Amazon Adventure
It includes jumbo slides, a large aerial runway, the cannon canyon, netted walkways, spinning poles, the anaconda run and a variety of jumping, climbing and sliding fun.

As the sun was shining we also took a deep in the pool to Harley’s delight before grabbing some treats for the children from the gift shops. I loved how they catered for all budgets and had soft animal toys starting at just a pound.

All in all we had a great day! We went on a Saturday and didn’t arrive till after midnight. The park wasn’t all that busy which was perfect for little man. Had the zoo been busier I’m unsure how autism friendly this would have been, especially if long queues came into it!

The park is however truly fab for the toddler and throughout August there will be a number of Special appearances taking place. These include Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam and the fabulous Mike the Knight. Note… This does mean it’s bound to be busier so some may want to go visit the park on quieter months (Harley not included)!

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I bring you the Wilderness Festival

20 Jul

Last year I was overjoyed to win a family ticket with camping to the fabulous Wilderness festival set in the idyllic Cornbury Park Oxfordshire. It was the first year of an amazing new festival and this year they are all set to return bigger and better than ever.

I’m overjoyed at knowing that I will once again be joining festival goers, however this time I’m going child free.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a child friendly festival, but the children are spending this particular weekend with their dad so I’m going to be taking full advantage of the surroundings and of course… The night parties.

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THE ULTIMATE CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE IN WONDERFUL SURROUNDINGS

Witchwood School of Rock, The Bushcraft Company, Flying Seagull Project, Tea Potty Shed, Barefoot Books and the chance to meet a fairy queen in the forest…just a few of the things for your ‘Little Wild Ones’ to enjoy at Wilderness Festival

Taking place from 10th-12th August at Cornbury Park in Oxfordshire, workshops for kids and adults alike, interspersed with walks into the wilds and an enchanted woodland fairy trail.

Jo Vidler, Creative Director comments:
“We want to ensure that everyone attending Wilderness, no matter what age, can enjoy the unique offerings we have across the weekend. Our curators have raised the bar this year to create the phenomenal ‘Little Wild Ones’ area that will have all kinds of activities for kids. Wilderness will have opportunities for everyone to take part in something that they wouldn’t normally have the chance to experience, and for us that’s key.”

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Family friendly entertainment from the Suitcase Cabaret who will host an army of brilliance from comedy to music and activities including, horse riding, fly-fishing, Zumba! classes and Guerilla Geography available across the site. The award-winning festival welcomes back The Bearded Kittens to host the famous ‘Not Your Average’ cricket match on the lawn, complete with lashings of Pimms and piles of cucumber sandwiches, and Future Cinema make their Wilderness debut with a Bugsy Malone takeover complete with a massive splurge fight.

The fabulous Bushcraft Company will be delivering their outdoor adventures influenced by nature, where children will be able to learn bushcraft skills from lighting fires to woodland playing games, shelter building and carving techniques. They’ll also be offering a twist on babysitting with an exclusive kids-only overnight camp where parents can drop their children off at 5pm for them to enjoy a night of walks, games, campfires and cooking with experienced Bushcraft staff. They’ll be back to meet their parents by 11am the next morning – a treat for both children and mums and dads.

Embracing the Wilderness spirit, the ‘Little Wild Ones’ area will be a hive of inspired children’s activity. The Flying Seagull Project returns with a range of entertainment based in a beautiful gypsy-esque, open-sided pavilion tent, complete with vintage horsebox and Willy Wonka style stage. Kids can also discover the magic of nature with a rainbow trail led by the Fairyland Trust. Families will embark on a fascinating journey as they enter a wonderful land of fairy folklore and natural history.

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Let their imaginations run wild with a host of spectacular activities and workshops including jewellery making with Amy Surman, a Socktopus puppet workshop, which promotes creative recycling and will hold a dancing parade on the final day, and Witchwood School of Rock – the biggest little rock school in the world. The ‘Little Wild Ones’ also welcomes Hartbeeps – a unique blend of original music workshops and mini productions in this interactive experience.

Are you sitting comfortably? The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre will take adults and children on a trip to the author’s mythical world with poems from ‘Revolting Rhymes’ and ‘Dirty Beasts’, and continuing with the literary theme, enjoy live storytelling music, arts and crafts and yoga from Barefoot Books.

The ‘Pop-up Garden’ will ensure all the family get green-fingered with hands-on knowledge of gardening, the Kite Studio will offer creative clay and print making workshops and Meet the Species returns to Wilderness to engage children with the environment around them, as they identify species in and around the site.

Wilderness is also pleased to welcome Tea Potty Shed with the T Potty ladies and their old-fashioned sweet shop. Children can learn how to weigh out sweets and count out pennies in return for some tasty treats. Also across the festival weekend families can spend some time together and take part in drumming, storytelling, face painting, fairy crown making, cinema, pottery and hula-hooping.

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As you would expect at a festival, the fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down! Let the stars guide you on an enchanting woodland fairy trail, filled with beautiful secret fairy houses and the mesmerising Fairy Queen, who will tell old tales of ancient folk law about the nature that surrounds.

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Family tickets (two adults and two children) are priced at £260.

For further festival information and tickets to Wilderness Festival, please visit: www.wildernessfestival.com

Sounds awesome… Doesn’t it?
Checkout the lineup below and visit the Wilderness website and Facebook page for more information.

Line-up:
Music
RODRIGO Y GABRIELA performing with C.U.B.A, WILCO, SPIRITUALIZED, SHARON JONES AND THE DAP-KINGS, THE TEMPER TRAP, CRYSTAL FIGHTERS, STORNOWAY, BENJAMIN FRANCIS LEFTWICH, LIANNE LA HAVAS, CLOUD CONTROL, GIANT GIANT SAND, GRANT LEE BUFFALO, JENNY O, FIELD MUSIC, FATOUMATA DIAWARA, MILAGRES, TO KILL A KING, JAKE BUGG, LONDON FOLK GUILD
Cinematic Spectacular
FUTURE CINEMA PRESENT: BUGSY MALONE FESTIVAL TAKOVER ACROSS THE WHOLE SITE AND THE OTHER CINEMA’S PRESENTATION OF ‘LA HAINE’ FEATURING A LIVE RE-SCORE BY ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION

Food
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI, FERGUS HENDERSON + ST JOHN, VALENTINE WARNER, SAM & SAM CLARK’S MORO SOUK DINING TENT, THYME COOKERY SCHOOL

INTELLIGENCE SQUARED, THE ROYAL OBSERVATORY, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE, THE IDLER ACADEMY, THE LAKESIDE SPA, THE HEALING GARDEN

Late night parties
SECRET GARDEN PARTY presents RISE OF THE TRIBES, THE OLD VIC TUNNELS MIDNIGHT MASKED BALL, BOOM BOOM CLUB, RUMPUS, BLOODSTONE’S FEAST OF FOOLS

The 2012 Lollibop festival for little ones

4 Jul

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So I went last year with the toddler and it was an absolute blast… Now it’s almost that time again… Time for the Lollibop, the kids festival that has it all.

I blogged earlier in the year to alert all readers that the early bird tickets went on sale, now I can’t quite believe that it’s almost here already!

Last years festival was amazing, I went along with my sister and we both took along out toddlers. Seriously, it was a toddlers paradise. I had to drag Harley kicking and screaming when it was time to leave… He loved it.

If you haven’t got your tickets to this years Lollibop at Regents park then you just may want to after reading the updated line up below.

LolliBop, in partnership with John Lewis, is returning to Regent’s Park this summer, with a line up designed to delight mini festival goers. Billed as The Big Bash for Little People, the event takes place between August 17 and 19 and is aimed at children up to the age of 10.

The ‘LolliBop Live’ stage will play host to some of the hottest names in kids entertainment with musical performances from the likes of the ZingZilla’s, Jassa Aluwahlia (Art Attack) and The Mr Men & Little Miss Party Roadshow. TV favourites Dick and Dom will also take to the stage to entertain crowds with their unique blend of music and games.

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Celebrating its first year in the West End, Shrek the Musical will also make a special appearance with a performance from the award-winning show (Sunday 19 only).

Global phenomenon Moshi Monsters will also be on site, bringing the UK’s first Moshi Monsters Mash Up Tournament to Lollibop. Taking place each day, children are challenged to put their Mash Up skills to the test. All players will also receive a free pack of Mash Up cards, so everyone can join in. Fans are encouraged to bring their own collections with them, as there has never been a better chance to trade with other Moshi Card collectors. Head over to the Moshi tent for lots of other fun and games including character appearances, monster quizzes and more!

In the Lollipaladium, see the story of The Gruffalo brought to life on the stage with plenty of audience interaction. CBeebies favourite, Mister Maker will be on hand to demonstrate his unique arts and crafts skills. Mister Maker is a real life character who gets inspiration to make art from everything around him. Packed full of stimulating ideas, set in his own fantasy art world, prepare to expect the unexpected!

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The brand new life-size Transformers Optimus Prime Truck will also be at the three day event, giving fans the chance to get up and personal with this movie legend.

Other headline attractions include yoga sessions with Waybuloo, workshops by Horrible Histories, Roald Dahl Museum and Storytelling Centre, performances by 8ft Titan the Robot, an Alice In Wonderland tea party and a chance to meet ‘Tiny’, a 125 million years young dinosaur.

Pint sized guests (and grown ups) will notice a few more additions to the 2012 event.

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The ‘LolliBop Kitchen‘ is an exciting new area, where LolliBoppers will have the chance to learn new skills from live demonstrations and interactive workshops, featuring popular blogger My Daddy Cooks.

A new ’Tween Town‘ area will feature a number of activities for older kids including street dance, hula-hooping, magic and beat-boxing workshops, plus an older arts and crafts tent and a brand new laser room!

Halfords will create a bespoke Bike City at LolliBop, which will include a Wacky Races obstacle course for under 5’s, where children can be the first to try out a brand new range of Balance and Apollo kids bikes. For older kids, highlights include a BMX stunt display and demo area.

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Other new areas include: ‘LolliBop Animal Curiosities’, which features animals including a polar bear, a dinosaur and gorillas! ‘The Disco Shed‘ which will have mini boppers (and parents!) dancing the day away and ‘The Village Green‘ – the perfect spot to chill out and enjoy some street theatre.

Back by popular demand, the Science Museum are preparing for a triumphant return to Regent’s Park with an expanded area and dedicated Science Zone.

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For pre-schoolers, the ‘3ft & Under’ area is also back. Confirmed activities include a mini disco, tiny play, little arts, baby ballet, yoga, teddy bears picnic and sing and sign. There will be two boob and botty boudoirs this year, and covered buggy parks and lollishade areas are also being created.

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Old favourites, including ‘LolliSports‘, ‘Imagination Stations‘, ‘Itsy Bitsy Strictly‘ and ‘The Enchanted Forest‘ will all also return for 2012.

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And if that wasn’t enough, there are plenty of arts and craft activities, face painting and workshops, including circus skills.

A wide selection of food and drink stalls are on offer to provide a welcome rest.

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All of the activities, stages and events are included in the entry ticket price, which starts at £22 per person. For more information, including a full programme of events, visit www.lollibopfestival.com

Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom coming to the live stage

24 Jun

My toddler Harley really loves the experience of meeting his favourite pre-school characters in the flesh.

His been pretty lucky to meet many, Bob the Builder, Firemen Sam, Peppa Pig, Scooby Doo, just to name a few.

We have been to live stage productions such as “In the Night Garden” and “Peppa Pig” to a number of meet and Greets while attending children’s events.

So, you can imagine the excitement that will be caused when he discovers that Princess Holly and Ben Elf from “Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom” has a live production scheduled to hit the big stage later this year.

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If you little ones are fans of the Little Kingdom then check out the details below. (Oh and be sure to check out My updates on the event as there will also be the opportunity to try and win yourselves some tickets).

BEN & HOLLY’S LITTLE KINGDOM

LIVE ON STAGE FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME

FROM THE MAKERS OF PEPPA PIG
NEW UK TOUR FOR 2012/2013

TOUR DATES FOR 2012 ANNOUNCED:
OPENS 26 OCTOBER at THE ORCHARD THEATRE, DARTFORD

www.benandhollylive.com

From the makers of Peppa Pig and the producers of the two hugely successful Peppa Pig theatre tours comes the first ever stage version of the BAFTA award-winning TV animation, Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom. This brand new UK tour opens at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford on 26 October at the start of an extensive UK tour, booking through till summer 2013.

Currently a top favourite show for pre-schoolers, this charmingly magical animation airs on Nick Jr (since April 2009) and on 5’s Milkshake (since April 2010). Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom is co-owned by animation studio Astley Baker Davies and has been a hit with audiences and critics alike. The series won a BAFTA award for Best Pre-School Animation in 2009 and a British Animation Award for Best Pre-School Series in 2012.

The Little Kingdom – where everyone is very, very small – is home to Princess Holly and her best friend Ben Elf. Holly is a young fairy princess who is still learning how to do magic properly and sometimes her spells don’t work out quite right. Ben is an Elf. Elves don’t do magic but they are very good at making things. Ben doesn’t have wings like Holly but he flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird.

In this exciting new musical adventure, Ben and Holly have fun and games helping Gaston clean up his messy cave; they go on a trip to The Big World with tooth-fairy Nanny Plum; and still have time to plan a surprise for King Elf’s birthday party, complete with an unplanned jelly flood.

Packed full of games, songs and laughter, this is an enchanting and magical visit to the Little Kingdom, live on stage for the very first time. This beautiful story of elves, princesses and childhood innocence will delight all the family.

Richard Lewis has adapted the TV animation for the stage and also directs. He also adapted and directed the two highly popular Peppa Pig theatre tours (2009 – 2011 and the current tour 2011 – 2012, both of which had sell-out West End Christmas runs at the Criterion Theatre) and the two LazyTown Live! tours (2007 – 2009).
The composer is the highly talented Mani Svavarsson. He was also part of the creative team on the two Peppa Pig stage tours.

Cast and other creative team members to be announced in due course.

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Check out www.benandhollylive.com for the Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom
UK 2012 – 2013 tour dates.

Win a family “Big ticket” to the Blackpool Tower attractions worth over £100

24 Jan
Blackpool Tower

Image by llamnudds via Flickr

   

Win a family Big ticket to the Blackpool Tower attractions worth over £100 

 I’ve been asked to host a fabulous competition enabling my readers the chance to get their mitts on a fantastic prize and have some fantastic days out in Blackpool.

 The Blackpool tower hosts an array of fantastic attractions and is now offering families the chance to experience them all (7 in total)! What an awesome prize! 

 The Big Ticket is valid for 1 visit to each attraction within 90 days from purchase

 Here’s a little bit about what Blackpool Tower has to offer.

 Blackpool Tower Eye: Embark on your journey to the top of The Blackpool Tower as you step into the lift. Once you’ve reached your destination, the doors open, and you are met with floor to ceiling, uninterrupted views across Blackpool and beyond. The views are said to be Breathtaking, with a view of the entire coastline, its sure to be a rememberable experience.

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom: Stepping onto The Blackpool Tower Ballroom dance floor is like stepping back in time. From the opulent balconies to the intricately painted ceiling, you’ll fall in love with this special hidden gem. Listen to the organist play the grand Wurlitzer as you enjoy a delicious afternoon tea and watch the world dance by. This is a magical place and would be a truly romantic place to be come Valentine’s Day.

Tower Ballroom, Blackpool

Image via Wikipedia

 (New for 2012 – A series of high class seasonal balls)

Blackpool Tower Circus: Built between the tower’s four legs, is The Blackpool Tower Circus – a unique setting for a unique show. Each season Blackpool’s favourite double act, Mooky the Clown and Mr Booo find new ways to give you a giggle alongside world-class acrobats performing amazing acts. The 2012 season will run from Easter until November.

New for 2012 – The main season will show with an all new cast of supporting performers

 Jungle Jims:  This is the ultimate place for fun, a massive indoor play area come adventure playground, with huge Inca Gods guarding the entrance. Inside, awaiting all your brave explorers, is a fun-tastic range of swinging, sliding and climbing contraptions plus a fabulous interactive quest to find hidden treasure! Jungle Jim’s features huge four lane slides, sports area, ballpits and slides on the lower level offering softer play for little ones. 

New for 2012 – Exclusive hire for birthday parties and children’s events

Madame Tussauds Blackpool: This is one for those  celebrity lovers as this attraction allows its visitors the chance to experience, getting you up close and personal with Britain’s best-loved celebrities (well, their wax works that is)! You can join the cast of your favourite TV shows & soaps, stand beside your favourite pop-star, meet some film stars or mingle with footballers.

 So, who do you want to meet?

New for 2012 – Look out for new celebrity figures as we add to our amazing collection

The Blackpool Tower Dungeons: Delve into Britain’s most horrible history at the Dungeons Blackpool and experience live actors, interactive shows and exciting special effects & thrilling rides. Step back into the darkest of times … are you brave enough to face Britain’s gruesome past?

 SEALIFE BLACKPOOL: Home to one of the largest collections of tropical sharks in Europe, SEA LIFE takes you on a journey from the coastline and sandy shallows to the ocean depths. You can’t miss the mighty ocean tank, teeming with tropical sharks and colourful reef fish, from the amazing underwater tunnel.

 Competition Time

So… How would you like to win a “big ticket” for a family of 4 worth over £100?

 With the Big ticket you and your children would have the chance to discover all the above for yourselves! How useful this would be come half-term and the school summer holidays! You could maybe try and fit all 7 attractions in over the course of a few days if experiencing a short break away, or simply spread them out throughout the year, therefore creating 7 eventful days out, avoiding the set in of boredom during school holidays.

 The ticket will be valid for the remainder of the year, So, there is no worries about your tickets expiring!

 To win this awesome prize you must do the compulsory actions below to validate your entries.

You must also add a contact detail within your comments, either a twitter ID or email address

Compulsory Action: Subscribe to the blog via the RSS feedburner (top right sidebar)

Comment to say you have done the required step and then state within the same comment, why you want to win the prize.

As always we are offering you some extra entries! Be sure to add an additional comment for each action taken 

1 extra entry: Subscribe to my sister blog “Mummy Of Many Talents”

1 extra entry: Subscribe to my Youtube channel

1 extra entry: Google + 1 using the button within this post, comment to let me know how to find it 

1 extra entry: Stumble using the button located within this post, comment to let me know how to find it.

1 extra entry: Tweet “I want to win a family big ticket 4 Blackpool tower with @clairelouise82 Adding the URL to this post” 

2 extra entries: Write a review of this blog on the Technorati directory which can be found in the sidebar on the bottom right (little green box above the, nominate a blog post link and L.A.B striped rabbit). 

Competition will close at midnight on the 17th Feb 2012 and drawn soon after!

Good Luck Everyone

T&C

Uk residents only please, winner has just 72 hours to respond by email giving their full postal address, which will then be passed to the PR. The prize is non exchangeable and is valid in-till the 31st December 2012 (some days maybe exempt check tickets or website for details). Each attraction can only be visited the once, though each can be visited on different days. A family ticket is based upon 2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children. 

Get Your Skates On

10 Jan

 Just because my son has Aspergers Syndrome and special educational needs, it doesn’t mean he can’t do all the things your child can do! OK, a handful of those “Things” are that bit more difficult, but he gets there all the same!

 Sometimes, I often find myself saying the above to Little man, a child who has lost confidence, through no fault of his own! This is a child who needs that push, a gentle reminder that everything is worth a try. 

 It’s not just the fact that Little man missed out on many trips and activities while attending mainstream school (though this has had a considerable impact) it’s also little man’s social and physical abilities that also play a part. 

 So, when I won tickets for a family trip to the Stratford City, Westfields outdoor ice rink, I knew Little man would struggle if but a little. 

 The great thing was that I actually bagged two lots of family tickets…well, 3 lots actually, all on different blogs that I read! I was delighted to discover I had won the first lot, then I was informed by yet another blogger, id won her competition too. This set I gave up for another lovely blogger and her family who had also entered, but then to discover from yet another blogger that I won a third time was absolutely great if not a little strange. With this revaluation, I decided to invite the neighbours along too.

 Both my older children, Little man and his sister Alice-Sara, are gone friends with the children next door (in all honesty one of the children is Little man’s one and only true friend) so, I hoped that this would make the whole experience of getting out on the ice, a little less daunting for the Little guy, and it did… eventually!

 Don’t get me wrong, there was no meltdowns, not one in fact (I know… shocking) it was more little man’s OT needs that posed a challenge! My son is what some would describe as a little clumsy, which is basically down to his gross motor skills! Yes, he can ride a bike, amazingly well in fact, but he often has a little trouble with his spatial awareness (knowing where his body is in space) his balance, can sometimes be a little off at times too. This impacted with the crowded ice rink would undoubtably pose a challenge, this I already knew.

 Yet, the fact he had his friends there and the sheer determination within him, saw him past the challenges that presented him, and as a result, I ended up a very proud mummy!

Above: All friends together on the Ice

 The staff at Westfields couldn’t have been more helpful, I didn’t notify them that a child with Special needs would be joining us (a group of 8 consisting of 2 adults and six children) but all the same I felt the staff went out of their way to help. There was one point when the little man started freaking out that his skates were not tight enough (he has this thing where shoes need doing up dead tightly, he states it’s so his feet have control of his shoes and not the other way around) Yes, it’s another OT thing)! The staff on the ice were amazing, rushing out to check he was OK and bending down on all fours to tighten his skates. 

 When we first stepped on to the ice, I noted how my daughter and her friends went whizzing of into the middle of the rink, as grateful as I am to have such a confident young daughter, I did feel some sadness for my Little man as he clung to the edge as if his whole life depended on it. He looked at me with fear in his eyes as he stated he just couldn’t do it! I continuously reassured him and bit by bit he came slowly away from the edge.

My daughter & friend first one of the first on the ice

Hanging on for dear lifeThinking about it!Off he goes

 I found my biggest confidence booster for the little guy was, once the rink filled with more and more people I happily pointed out that he wasn’t the only one clung to the edge of the rink (Seriously, it was mostly the full-grown men, hanging on for dear life). Little man, is like lots of children of his age, where he feel incredibly stupid if he struggles to do something that others are finding a breeze, therefore seeing all those grown ups looking like they were hanging from a cliff, seemed to stop him from giving up and making his way back in to redeem his comfortable trainers. (Yes, he tried suggest it once or twice.)

 We were on the ice around 45 minutes and despite his fear, he made it to the middle of the rink! To watch him skating with his friends and smiling having fun, has been the highlight to my year so far… all ten days of it!

Standing proudly with his friend at the centre of the rink

 So… what about me, did I fall on my arse? Nope! Though I almost did once or twice, I just about managed to stay on my feet. 

 I was convinced the skating finished at 6pm, though I was wrong, the last session actually started at 6 pm, meaning the skating didn’t end till 7 pm. With this I gave in defeat and left the Little man and Alice Sara with their friends and their mother (my lovely neighbour) while I headed off to collect my comfortable flat shoes and off it for a sneaky fag 🙂

 Little man was having a blast and now didn’t want to leave. I decided to sit out and just watch for the last hour (my excuse was that I was now a photographer, or at least trying to be)! Though I really shouldn’t admit this, sitting on the sidelines gave me a good opportunity to view some classic skating fails! Wow… Seriously, though I see a couple of women hit the deck, and of course a good number of children (my own included) I have never seen so many men fall over in one place in my whole entire life.And Oops a daisy

 How can you not laugh, there were some classics. Plenty of men, one or two rather dishy I must add, skating around on their butts rather than their skates! Did I feel guilty for laughing so much that my sides were sores? No… not really, they all seemed to see the funny of things, eventually!

 All in all… we had a brilliant time which was all down to them fabulous blogs that ran the competitions, (thank you Essex mum , Madhouse reviews & Emma and three) as well as those who took care of our needs at the skating rink.Alice & FriendOne of the Little man’s friends from next door

 Essex mummy (one of the bloggers I won tickets from) has asked me if I fancy doing a guest post reviewing our experience, we had such a fabulous time it would be rude to decline (so, do keep an eye out for that). 

 For those interested, the rink is now closed but will return again next year for the festive season. We went on the last day before it packed up for the year and considering I thought that I had Christmas well and truly out my system, the festive christmas tunes and chilly ice made it feel like Christmas Eve again. I think January is a brilliant time to go, and I would highly recommend the Stratford City Westfields Outdoor Ice rink.

 Oh… and Little man? He now wants roller-blades! 

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