Sunday, 3 January 2016

My Sunday Photo 3/1/16 Wooden Toys

I captured this photo on my iphone (as I'm still without a camera) of Mr Eliot playing with some of his Christmas gifts after a post Christmas decoration removal session. He'd been riding around on his bus before getting off to play with his garage which I only got round to putting together yesterday as we had to return the first one because it was missing parts. At the moment I really have a love for wooden toys, I just think they look 'nicer' as they have that traditional feel!



Saturday, 2 January 2016

Eliot's First Theatre Trip-The Gruffalo Live

As both a teacher and parent I am a HUGE fan of books by Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler, so when we were invited to watch The Gruffalo Live the weekend before Christmas I of course said yes!
The Gruffalo is undoubtedly one of my favourite  children's stories, I love reading it to a whole class of children or at home to Mr Eliot, in both cases it is always a hit.
This was actually the third time I've seen the live performance (teacher perks :P), the first time I watched it was in 2010 with two classes of year 1 children, the second in 2014 with two classes of year 2 children and the most recent with the OH and Mr Eliot.
The production is by the Tall Stories theatre company, in theatres since 2001 it has has evolved over the years and was back at the Vaudville theatre with a new set and new costumes.
I was so excited to be watching it with my own son but also a little apprehensive about Eliot being able to watch the whole show. The show is recommended for  3+ on the website but I definitely think it depends on what type of toddler you have and whether or not they can cope with sitting through the show. Eliot is a two and half year old who likes to be on the go pretty much all of the time (you can see why I was apprehensive) but I thought he did really well on his first trip to the theatre. The show is 55 minutes long, just about right for those with younger children, it didn't have an interval which was perfect. When I watched it in 2014 there was an interval, perhaps because it was a showing for school children but I personally preferred it without the interval.
 If you know the story, you may be thinking 'how can The Gruffalo last for 55 minutes?' but the magic of theatre adds in lots of extra bits including songs, some which get the audience joining in and singing along. I still have one of the songs in my head which I belt out even though I only remember the first line, continuing by humming/whistling!
The characters were brought to life on stage by three amazing actors, one taking on the role of fox, owl and snake. All performed outstandingly and portrayed the characters from the story accurately.
 I love how you get to know a bit more about each character through how they are adapted for the stage. My personal favourite is the owl, I can just imagine an actual owl being like the stage character.
This is a perfect family show, whether or not you are Julia Donaldson fan the live production of The Gruffalo is highly entertaining and I recommend putting it on your 'to do list'. Tall Stories also have productions of The Gruffalos Child and Room On The Broom which are definitely on my to do list, I'm itching to see the live performances!
The Gruffalo is at the Vaudville theatre until tomorrow but do check Tall Stories for future perfomances!
*We were invited to watch the show as part of this review, all opinions are my own

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Eliot's First Ice Skate at Frosts Willington

We were recently invited to try out ice skating at one of the Frosts garden centres. Back in my teenage days I used to ice skate nearly every weekend with my friends so I was really keen to get back on the ice over the festive period!
We were originally booked in to ice skate on the 12th December. We arrived around our skate time, went to get our skates and I purchased a ticket for a skating aid  (the orange seal) which cost £4 for Eliot to sit on/hold on to out on the rink. I was surprised there were tickets left for the skating aids as the website forewarns you to arrive early to ensure you can get one for your skate session.
Once I had my ice skates on and Eliot had his toddler skates on over his trainers we headed for the ice. I could see as we approached the entrance to the rink that someone was getting on to the ice with the last skating aid. I asked a member of staff if there were any more as we had bought a ticket for one. I was told there wasn't which I knew would be the case and questioned why we were able to buy a ticket. The member of staff called a colleague over and they counted the amount of tickets that had been handed over which identified somebody had managed to sneak on the ice with a skating aid without buying a ticket. The staff were apologetic and called the manager over who was already talking to another family who appeared to have the same issue as us. By this point Eliot was quite restless and kept repeating 'I want to go on the seal'. When the manager got to us he apologised and took us in to the outdoor café, got us some drinks and cake while he went to see if we could be booked on to the next skate session. Unfortunately this wasn't possible as there was a birthday party and the next session we could get booked on to was two hours later. We didn't think hanging around for two hours with Eliot would be a good idea so the manager booked us in for a skating session the following weekend and refunded the £4 I'd paid for the skating aid. Even though I was disappointed that we didn't get to skate that day, I felt the manager did the upmost to keep us as customers satisfied and I was impressed with how the situation was dealt with.
Fast forward to the following weekend, I made sure we were there early, to ensure we did get a skating aid. This coincided with the previous skate session finishing, so it was a little busy with people handing their skates back to get their shoes on whilst we were doing the opposite. I'd purchased another ticket (£4) for a skating aid and sent my other half off to get it whilst I sorted out Eliot's toddler skates to go over his trainers. They were really easy to adjust the length and the adjustable straps just had to be tightened once Eliot's feet were in. Eliot wasn't too keen on having them on his feet but was still excited to be 'going on a seal'. We had to wait a few minutes before the session started (sessions last for 45 minutes) but once the rink was open for our session, Eliot and I were keen to get on the ice. We were one of the first people on, the session kicked off with Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas' playing through the speakers which made me feel really festive and set a lovely 'christmassy' atmosphere.
Even though I skated most weekends as a teen it was mostly for the social side, I was never a 'good skater' and my fear of falling over and hurting myself stopped me from letting go on the ice. Now I'm older and wiser that fear is certainly still there and worse than what it was back then, so I was quite relieved that I did have a skating aid boost my confidence! It took a few minutes for me to find my feet on the ice but I got there. It was wonderful hearing Eliot giggle with enjoyment as I pushed him around.
As we were one of the first people on the ice we got to skate around for a bit before it got quite busy. I'm glad we had some time with the rink being quite quiet as I felt my confidence decreasing the busier it got. It was quite comical watching people drag themselves round holding on to the sides, which is exactly what I would have been doing if I didn't have the skating aid to hold on to!

Eliot was adamant he wanted to push the seal himself at one point, being two he didn't really understand he would slip over easily on the ice, which is exactly what happened. He was fine and still attempted to push the aid himself but quickly decided he'd rather ride the seal, so I helped him clamber back on.
After around 20 minutes Eliot decided he wanted to get off the seal so I was left on the ice by myself, thankfully still with the skating aid. I did attempt to skate solo but was too worried I'd fall and not be able to get back up! So I skated with the aid weaving in and out of the other skaters.
To miss the rush of returning skates and collecting shoes I decided to leave the ice five minutes early which meant the process was very quick and easy.
We then headed to the heated ice café for a hot drink and treat which was a perfect way to end our skating session.
I really enjoyed skating at Frosts Willington and definitely recommend trying it out if you're not too far from a Frosts that offers ice skating before the ice rinks disappear at the beginning of January. I loved skating outdoors and think it makes a great family activity. It would ne a fab way to end the holidays before the kids go back to school!
Ice skating at frost is £14.99 for an adult & toddler ticket. £8.99 each for adults and £7.99 for Children.
* I received an adult & toddler skating ticket in exchange for a blog post. All views and opinions are my own.

Monday, 14 December 2015

My Christmas Wishlist

This year I hadn't really given any thought to what I'd like for Christmas, mainly because I've been so busy at work. The only thing I have really been after is a new camera as Eliot damaged the shutter on my current one.
But as I've been shopping for others online or in the shops there have been a few things that have caught my eye and I have added a few more things to my Christmas List.
Top Left: I love ankle boots in the the winter, especially under trousers or jeans. These lovelies are from Jones The Bootmaker on sale at the moment for £69.00. I love the zip detail and the small heel. I can't cope with high heeled footwear these days but these still have a bit of a heel for a bit of extra height. I think they look great for a day to evening look too!
Top Right: Who doesn't have a favourite festive tipple, right? I'm not much of a drinker these days but it's nice to relax with a couple of drinks over the festive season. I'm a big fan of amaretto sours but I'm also happy with  an amaretto and diet coke. This special edition Disaronno is 'dressed' in Robert Cavali too for a bit of a twist.
Bottom Left: We are desperate to get new bathrooms in the new year and with that I think we need some new towels. This isometric design from John Lewis really caught my eye, I love the colours and think they would look great in the type of bathroom we are planning.
Bottom Centre: As I mentioned I'm in need of a new camera and my heart is set on the Canon G7X. I really want to get back in to vlogging and I know this is a favourite amongst vloggers. I've heard it's not too great with photographs but that hasn't put me off!
Bottom Right: I have loved Cath Kidston products for years, the first mug I had was bought as a gift I dropped it on the floor a year or two later which upset me! I currently have a 'flowery' mug that I drink my morning coffee out of at the moment but I wouldn't mind this red bus edition to my mug cupboard. I bought Eliot a bag in this print so he would probably think it was for him.
So there we have it, a range of bits and bobs I would love to find under the Christmas tree this year!
What's on your wishlist this Christmas?

I'm linking up with Blogging Mummy's Anything Goes linky.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

My Sunday Photo 13/12/15 Visiting Santa

It's not a great photo but it certainly a memorable one. This year is the first year Eliot is really beginning to understand what Santa is all about. I was super excited to take him to a local garden centre to visit him this year. I actually have a new found love for garden centres after visiting this particular one, it was so Christmassy!
Before we went in to meet Santa the children made reindeer food for put out on Christmas idea, they then sang Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer with some of Santa's elves. Santa was great and told everyone a story before meeting with the children. Eliot was very excited and almost couldn't keep still to have his photo taken!


Thank you so much for stopping by! I appreciate comments and read all of them!