Tuesday, 29 November 2016

James and The Giant Peach at Northern Stage

If you want an alternative to the standard 'he's behind you' Christmas offering then James and the Giant Peach  Northern Stage should be your first port of call.



What can I say? Wow ! The show with absolutely amazing we were enthralled from start to finish with scooters and sharks and skipping and dancing and songs and giant jellyfish and bubbles and music and tap dancing!!! It was a feast of sensory delight. There are so many wonderful things about the show that it is hard to convey my excitement in words. It was fantastic and  an absolute joy to see Northern Stage using both stage 1 and Stage 2 spaces to create an enormous set with seating 'in the round'


This show is very immersive, pulling the audience into the performance and including them in activities so I would definitely try to get seats close to the front or in the side stage seating. 

There are giant peaches, like really giant peaches, ones that start of the size of a tennis ball and get bigger and bigger and bigger until you think the cast are going to bring out a hot air balloon! 

There are lovely songs a great musical score and the brilliant choreography makes you want to get up and dance, in fact Peanut did at one point jump up to do a little jig. I felt guilt telling her to sit down!   Th show is filled with fabulous acting to be honest  I could blather on all day about how amazing I thought it was.

The story follows pretty much true Roald Dahl's book and I think Roald Dahl himself would have been up on his feet and would have approved fully of the direction, story telling and clever use of stage and props. The show is directed by Mark Calvert 







Photo credits Topher Mcgrillis


Students from Newcastle University offered a lovely supporting performance  and we each loved different characters, I was fond of Mr Earth Worm and the Aunts, Peanut loved Miss Spider for her brilliant dancing and elegance and The Golden Child liked James, who offered just the right balance of making me want to cry, cheer, and  jump up to hug him but the best bit according to the golden child was the Jelly fish!

This show won't fail to impress anybody who goes to see you it, it's a real foot tapper and I would say on par with any West End musicals that I've seen. The performance is a brilliant the musical score is awesome   the story is a lovely heartwarming tale of making friends and no longer being lonely. With excellent excellent use of props stage set and lighting you should definitely go and see this as soon as possible, get booked up, get tickets close to the front if you can and you can be part of saving  the giant peach , swimming with the jellyfish and the sharks and the Octopus's!

I promise you will not regret buying tickets for this show you can book online or by calling the Box Office on 0191 2305151and you can see more images from the show here 

We were given tickets in exchange for an honest review of the show, all opinions are our own

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Brewers Fayre Cinder Path

Last week we headed along to the new Brewers Fayre in South Shields to see what their recent refurb offerd. What was Taybarns in South Shields has now become a pleasant Brewers Fayre newly decorated with a small soft play area in the back.

We have been to two other local brewers Fayres to check out there a soft play areas Royal Quays and Wessington Way. Wessington has a much larger soft play but Royal Quays is smaller. Whilst this one isn't the largest that we have seen it has the added bonus of a large seating and dining area inside the play zone, there are plenty of seats for parents/carers to sit and eat food or have a coffee in peace (well as peacefully as a soft play allows.












The soft play has a section for smaller children and also a Kids Den, an area with chairs, colouring activities and a TV playing Horrid Henry and different children's programmes which are changed depending on what the largest age group of children are at the time. There's always colouring going on and staff are generally happy to help kids colour, craft and create even making an effort to learn and use children's names and introduce them to others. While we were there we had our face painted but this may only be on special events.

One thing I would like to see is a magnetic locking door between the pub and the soft play so the kids can't come out without somebody opening the door for them but when i asked staff they said that isn't something me had any plans to do.

Food
The kids went for the kids meals of hot dogs and chicken nuggets with the big two having ice cream funny faces and the littlest having a fruit salad because of her allergies. The staff were great with Termites allergies and brought us the allergen file to put my mind at rest that everything had been checked properly. The Mr went for a double cheeseburger and I had the sweet potato and feta lasagna.
















Portion sizes were great and the kids portions were more than sufficient, my lasagne was tasty and the Mr really enjoyed his burger.

Decor in the new pub is really lovely, with a fresh and clean style.The menu offers great value for money with deals such as two meals for £10.99 or two starters for £2.50 and loads of other offers and themed hotplate evenings .Both hot and soft drinks are priced at around about £3 and that is for unlimited refills.

Overall we had a great day the staff were really friendly the soft play area is small but kept the kids entertained for an hour or so. I think it's great for younger children there will be various special offers on throughout the year for play passes or deals and  one of the things that really impressed me about the soft play area is that it gets cleaned twice  a day. One of my biggest bugbears is how dirty some some of the bigger soft play areas locally are.


Thursday, 24 November 2016

How To Cope When Your Kids Have Winter Bugs

Its hard to think of how to cope when your kids have winter bugs, especially if you aren't feeling great or if they all get poorly at once.

This week despite our Half Term plans for fun and frolics, we've actually had a hellish week of sickness and bugs, its been a trying time especially as I was first to fall ill meaning 3 children aged 6 and under needed entertaining with as little effort as possible whilst I tried to combat tonsilitis and an awful virus. Then came Termite and The Golden Child's turn and knowing how I had felt I was quite prepared with ways to help them keep up thier strength and get better as quickly as possible.

So I wanted to share some tips that have helped us through our week of doom, and I will give big thanks to the mummy massive who supported me with ideas on occupying the kids via Facebook

Entertainment
When Mummy isn't well then things can get boring and soon you have fractious children making much noise and many complaints. So here are some ideas for entertainment.
  • Hotter Colder - Hide something and then tell the kids they are wamer or colder depending on how close they are
  • Pairs and 52 Card Pick Up - Pairs is very simple, use some specific childrens game cards or just a normal deck of playing cards, lay them all flat on the floor and turn them over two at a time to see if you find a pair, when you match a pair keep those cards, the person with the most cards wins. 52 card pick up is when you flick all the cards on the floor and get the kids to pick them up! The child with the most wins!
  • Simple Arts and Crafts - Papers, crayons, stickers, pritt stick string lolly sticks and sellotape seem to be able to occupy my big two for a good 90 minutes! Throw in the Argos catalogue and some kiddy scissors you have yourself an absolute collage-fest
  • What Has Gone - Gather together some small items, a tray, a cloth, and a small bag talk about each item as you place them on the tray and then cover with a towel or cloth. Ask the children to look away and count to ten.while you take off the cloth and take one item away and hide it in the bag then see if the kids can say which is missing.
  • Movies and TV - No I'm Not an advocate of the 'electronic babysitter' but a bit of TV or a movie is an hour or two of down time for you and them and it's a world away from parking them in front of a screen for every waking hour!

Health
Disclaimer I am NOT medically trained and you should ALWAYS seek medical advice
  • We have used paracetamol and Ibuprofen at the advice of the Doctor to help with the pain of a sore throat and the misery that comes with a temperature
  • Opening windows is helpful when you have bugs being passed around, its much better to have fresh air coming into the house even if its cooler so that you can help combat others catching  the germs
  • Staying comfortable in loose natural fibre clothing will ensure you stay cool when tempaeratures spike and you can pile under a blanket if the shivers hit
Food and Drink
  • Drink Lots of fluids - We rarely have juice here but I will happily let them sip on watered down fruit juice all day if they aren't taking anything else in, plus the vitamin c in fresh orange will help fight the bugs.
  • Frozen berries are super handy to keep in the house they defrost quickly and are very soft so mixed into a yoghurt can be quite filling and healthy to eat when they won't eat anything else
  • Ice lollies are soothing and another way to get liquid into them, make your own by freezing fruit smoothies or juice and check out this tip for catching drips...
It's just a cake case slid over the lolly stick but it really works


  • Soup is another brilliant option and you can make your own in about 30 minutes cramming loads of veg in, blend it for a smooth even easy to swallow consistency

Last but not least, snuggles with Mum or Dad (or whoever your little persons grown up happens to be) are always a great source of comfort, so try to ignore the mounting laundry and the teetering pile of dishes a hug will be more beneficial than a show home x
How do you deal with sickness and being stuck indoors?

Follow The Monkeyfooted Mummy







Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Animal Inside Out at Life - A Winter Must See

I make no bones about it, Life is one of our top ten places to spend the afternoon, Daddy Monkeyfeet swears he hates visitor attractions and every single time we go here I leave with photographic evidence of him having fun! This visit was all about the animals, well about Animal Inside Out. Daddy Monkeyfeet missed the last Dr Gunther Von Hagens exhibition so he was keen to come to this one.

Many of you will be wondering about age suitability, well my tribe are aged 3. 6 and 7 years, the littlest was not phased at all but was more interested in moving swiftly on to finding the next animal than spending much time studying the intricacies of each. 

Peanut at 7 was very interested in the different parts that she could see but was a little wary at first she soon got stuck into looking at everything with interest, The Golden Child my most sensitive and gentle child was showing some signs of nervousness at some animals but was fine with some hand holding and soon enough was off exploring by himself.













The exhibition is just as fascinating as Body Works,and in my opinion is well worth a visit, I dont think it is at all scary for young people but you should take into consideration the temperament of you child.The exhibition will run until 8th January and you can now also combine your visit with a trip to Skating at Life* so you can spend the whole day there.




*extra charge


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Zoomer Chimp Review

I'm always a little bit dubious when I hear that there is a new robot on the market that does loads of tricks! I'll be honest in the past we have had lots of robot type toys and the instructions are always super complicated there are too many buttons to press you have to press them in combination and it all get a little bit messy, then the kids get bored and you have wasted your cash!

BUT zoomer chimp from Spin Master has had some great reviews and we were really excited when we were asked to review it. He arrived and to much excitement and after we had put him through his paces I have to tell you he's gone down a storm in this house. So much so that I've had to do the video on my own because he created so much excitement and the kids just got far too loud and screechie and poor Zoomer was a bit confused!

So here's our video


The good stuff

  • He is really cute 
  • He's not too big 
  • He follows commands as you say them there's no real mix up with words 
  • He has created hours of fun at our house so I don't think he's a short lived 
  • He seems to be really good quality, we have very hard floors which he has fallen on many times but seems to have survived the impact! Obviouslly I wouldn't advise throwing him or anything but he has survived the rough and tumble of our family 
  • The instructions are easy to follow 
  • Setup is super easy 
  • Charging doesn't take very long and the charging cable is included
Room for improvement

  • The full price is an RRP of around £119.99 which is quite expensive although this does have a lot of tech inside of it for the chimp to be able to do all the things that he can do , But we have seen Zoomer on sale in Smyths for £69.99 which is almost half price and actually offers really good value for money 
  • Gaurd Mode can be a little scary for little litlle people
other than that I don't think we have any other improvements to suggest. We really love him he's made us giggle we play with him as a family and he's lots and lots of fun 

Monday, 21 November 2016

'Carol-oke' Nick Jr Giveaway

Send in your fa-la-la-las for a chance to star on Nick Jr.!



Nick Jr are looking for 'Carol-oke' stars to feature on their channel all through December and it couldn't be easier to be in with a chance of getting your children on the TV....

The Carol-oke website will be live from Monday 21st November  at 11am   all you need to do to be in with a chance of featuring on Carol-oke 

Simply upload a video of your little ones singing 'Deck the Halls' and fill out the entry form online for a chance to appear on TV. You can also tune into Nick Jr. for snowy adventures every day from 8am 

Winning entries will then be shown throughout November and December. The first  Carol-oke  will broadcast  on  Monday 28th November on Nick Jr.   There will be one Carol-oke.  per week, featuring five kids



Competition entry reminder
-          Videos must be more than 10 seconds and under 30 seconds.  
-          No branding – including toys and clothes
-          Only one child per video
-          No background music
-          Entries   to be received between 21/11/2016 and 09/12/16. 5 winners will be selected every week.


And as if the chance to be on the TV isn't Great enough, we also have this fabulous goody bag to give away to one lucky reader and all you have to do is pop over to our facebook page by write us a comment answering this question ....WHEN IS THE CLOSING DATE FOR CAROL-OKE VIDEO  ENTRIES


Winner will be chosen at random on 10 December 2016, 





no cash alternative, winner must confirm acceptance of prize withing 7 days by facebook messenger or an alternative winner will be drawn, judges decision is final, UK only 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Time is Running Out To See Great North Snow Dogs With Metro


You can not live in the North East and not know about the Great North Snow Dog Trail, almost everyone I know has gone Snow Dog Crazy, Two of my besties have even managed to  find every single one


 





I knew Team monkey feet needed to do a bit of catching up and so we arranged a great value Snow Dog Metro Pass, to have a trek around Sunderland, North Shields and Newcastle finding the dogs we hadn't yet. The pass is only £10 for 2 adults and up to three children and you get a pre-booked travel card and snow dog wristbands valid for travel on local rail, the ferry and the metro.



Of course we chose the most stormy day of the year to go snow dog hunting! Our plan was to walk from Seaburn Metro station to the sea front along to the glass centre and into town, normally a lovely peaceful walk, then a metro to Newcastle. See the dogs there and hop on to South Shields so we could ferry over to North shields caching all the dogs on the way.....

This however was the sight that greeted us when we arrived at the sea front ...

Photo credit Alec Jones

So we immediately changed our plans for the afternoon Ferry trip  fearing the choppy waters were just not for us, all in all the weather put a bit of a dampner on our plans and we ended up having to cut short some of our longer walks and hop on the metro (rather lazy but we were pleased we had our passes so we could do this easily.

We had a very soggy but fun time and managed some puddle jumping, soggy seaside chips and a few lovely dogs, even some Christmas shopping too. Check out our adventures here...





If you haven't already gone to find some Snow Dogs you have only until the 20th Novemeber as the pooches are all heading in to be pampered and brought back to thier original glory in time for the Great Snow Dog auction, there are lots of events going on around the Great North Snowdogs though check them out here






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