Monday, 30 May 2016

Intu Metro Centre and Eldon Square Free Activities

Intu are hosting a range of FREE Family Activities this half term, we've listed them below so you can take your pick!

intu Eldon Square
(Outside Hollister & New Look)
 
Tuesday 31 May
Smoothie Making
Ready, smoothie, ride! Visit the smoothie station and create lots of yummy fruits to choose from to make the ultimate super smoothies! Recipes will be available to follow for some fruity inspiration, and kids can design an awesome smoothie cup and then make fresh smoothies on a big blender bike!* The more you pedal the smoother the smoothie. A yummy treat that incorporates exercise!
*Children must be a minimum of 5 years old to use the smoothie bike.
 
Wednesday 1 June
The Emoji Station
Feeling sad? Feeling happy? Never fear, our emoji makers will explain all! Using crafty materials and felt pens galore, little ones can create their very own emoji door hanger to take home with them.
 
Thursday 2 June
Teddy Bears' Picnic Puppet Making
Kids can pick up a wooden spoon and some crafty supplies to create their very own teddy bear spoon puppet to take home. They can then pop into our mini puppet theatre to re-enact their favourite stories.
 
Friday 3 June
Crafty Sunflower Fun
To celebrate the launch of our Go Bananas campaign to raise money for local charity The Sunshine Fund, children can use colourful chalks to decorate their very own chalkboard flower pot to take away. They’ll also be given some seeds so they can plant at home and watch their sunflowers grow tall.


 
intu Metrocentre
Exhibition Square (Outside Primark)
 
May 30 – June 5
 
The Metrognomes – Create and Explore!
 
These much-loved characters will be out in force exploring all the fun of making and doing with free shows and craft activities. Shows and workshops will explore different themes such as cooking, nature, dress-up and art & design.
 
Monday 30 May – Sunday 5 June
 
Weekdays* - 12, 2pm, 4pm, 6.30pm
 
Sat – 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm
 
Sun – 12, 2pm, 4pm
 
*No 6.30pm show on Bank Holiday Monday
 

Friday, 27 May 2016

When Parenting Is Hard

8pm - So I'm sitting in the hall outside of Termites room crying big fat tears of guilt, self pity and self loathing. I've set myself up for this crash, I know I have. After four sleepless croup nights I should have cancelled all my plans today  and stayed in the house under a ile of blankets and children and watched crap TV, but I didn't, I'd promised the kids a play date and I'd made arrangements for lunch with my bestie, a rare occurrence that I was looking forward too. I also had plans to pack for an upcoming trip while the kids played and then write the outstanding work I've not done yet.

TOO MUCH!! My littlest girl needed cuddles and my big kids wanted to be excited and happy for holidays not sit quietly while I do boring stuff. 

The day went like this
Late Morning, scrabbling to get out on time
Grumpy youngest
Stressful lunchtime with a crabby tired yougest
Youngest naps meaning I know im in for a late bedtime = crabby mammy
No Packing done but I did manage to make the house a complete mess just in time for a surprise visit from family
Late making tea = everyone crabby
Late bedtime leading to Mammy meltdown in the hall  (luckily no one can see me as they are probably all to bloody afraid to get our of bed because Mam has finally gone crazy


I've probably been crap company for my bestie and I've certainly been a miserable excuse for a mother to all of my kids, trying to palm them off with sweets and tech instead of attention! And the cruncher?  When I was yelled of for the fifty zillionth time by the little one who fell asleep this afternoon so now has no plans for a pre 10pm bed time I yelled 'oh alright I'm coming' and instantly felt shit. I'm not much of a yeller so it always makes me feel like a monster.

Heres the thing, If I was listening to someone else tell me this I'd tell them not to be so hard on themselves sometimes things pile up, kids have to learn that jobs need doing and one yell will be forgotten. But I just feel crap, I feel like they will grow up associating the pre holiday preparation with monster mammy who stresses and wants them to calm down, don't yell, please just give me 5 minutes! I have turned into a nagging bore, but this parenting thing, sometimes it make me want to scream, run and cry, or pull this face silently while no one is looking ....




Especially when its combined with the boring mile long to do list.

So here's my advice to me, slow down don't do too much, count to ten and if you still want to scream count again or go pull that face in the bathroom!

How do you deal with those manic busy days when you just NEED to get it all done but no one else is on board with the PLAN?

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Pom Pom Wow Uk

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When I was asked if we would review Pom Pom Wow Decoration Station,  my first thoughts were how much mess would be created by my Peanut and a bunch of pom poms, all that wool all the bit and pieces, but I knew she would love anything like that so I said yes and Im so pleased to report NO MESS.

The set is not at all what I thought it would be and its actually all neatly contained and ready to use with no cutting or hours or  wrapping wool around cardboard. The kit contains all you need to get started

Heres our tutorial and unboxing video

You really can Pom Pom anything though, I mean look at this Fiat 500 ...


We really enjoyed this set, it was easy to use, sturdy and great fun, as you can see in the video the ink need to be covered properly as ours dried up when we mustnt have put the lid on, but that's to be expected, the whole set is well made and I think great fun and  good value for such a big craft set.

Pom Pom Wow is priced at £29.99 and available from larger toy store (Smyths, Toys R Us and The Entertainer) or from Character Online .

I will be taking part in a Pom Pom Wow Twitter Frenzy on 31 May from 5-*6.30pm and you can join in for the change to win some great prizes simply follow Pom Pom Wow Uk and us #PomPomWow.

Pom Pom Wow will be taking over Uk Mums Tv on Saturday 28th May as well so do pop over and see whats going on!


Connect With Pom Pom Wow UK on Instagram Facebook and Twitter   

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Brio Safari Railway Set

If you have kids you have probably got or have had Brio in your house. We love it and we're happy to review this Brio Safari Railway Set.

Its great for little hands, really easy to put together and I love that its compatible with all the other Brio sets so there is just no limit to your creativity. Its  really good for hand eye co-ordination trying to get the train past the cheeky monkey who wants to steal the load! The rrp is £21.99 and it would make a great gift to start someone's collection, or just add a new section to and existing one.

I love Brio as a brand because there sets are really good quality and the wood is all responsibly sourced. Any way I have waffled check out our vlog here ....

You can catch up with Brio on Facebook or Twitter 

Star Wars Craft Tutorial - Jabba The Hut

We love a nice bit of crafting here at Monkeyfeet HQ and this Star Wars craft activity to create a home made Jabba the Hut was a real winner with everyone. Its super easy although time consuming but most importantly Peanut no longer wants us to spend a fortune on a toy Jabba as she totally loves the one she made with Dad!

You will need
A cardboard box
A bowl of water
PVA Glue
Black marker pen
Air drying clay or plasticine
Green , Brown, Red  and Black Paint
A newspaper or magazine

Rip up some cardboard boxes , the uncoated ones work best, and soak in a bowl of water








Grab some handfuls of wet card and squeeze together to form your basic Jabba shape (giant slug) squeezing out exess water at the same time





Place the pulp Jabba onto a safe surface somewhere warm to dry, this will take around 24 hours

You will need to make arms and bulging eyes, we used air drying clay as we had some but you could use, salt dough, Plasticine or even more card pulp



Now you need to coat the Jabba in strips of newspaper/magazine/catalogue and PVA glue ensure its well covered with around 3 layers then leave to dry



Paint over with a coat of PVA glue and dry again



Now the Jabba is ready to paint




He should be a mixture bottle green, dark green, sludge colour all over paint his arms too

Paint his eyes a reddy brown with dark pupils and allow to dry

Draw on nostrils and a mouth 

Stick on his arms and eyes and et voila








 The Jabba palace and stand are made out of old boxes cut and painted and were ready in less than half an hour!














Monday, 16 May 2016

Donating Hair To The Little Princess Trust





I've been meaning to tell you all about my hair donation to The Little Princess Trust for ages! In fact I actually had all my hair chopped off way back in august 2015!

So last year I was talking to my little girl about poorly children and how they can lose their hair but there are specialist charities who can help them get wigs if they want to. A child in her school was undergoing treatment and has lost their hair and so I told her how I was going to have my hair cut short and donate it to The Little Princess Trust.

A little while later we were invited to try out Pikku in Gosforth and while there Peanut surprised the life out of me by saying she too wanted to donate her hair and had it chopped really short. You can read all about our visit and see her hair transformation here.

I should say I hate having my hair cut, I cant explain why but i really do and so I had no hairdresser in mind to do the big chop. But my Aunt loves her hairdresser and sings his praises highly so I decided to contact him and ask if he was ok to follow the guidelines set out for a successful hair donation.

When I got to his salon, which is gorgeous by the way...




...Peter told me that he wouldn't take any money for the cut and set about chopping of my locks











He was so lovely during the whole cut and chatted about what he was doing and why, I swear he must be a mind reader, when he said he was cutting under my hair to stop be looking like I was wearing Darth Vader's helmet they were the exact words in my head! I have really thick hair you see and sometimes a short cut just makes me look bonkers. But Peter worked his magic and I loved my new 'do'

Refusing again to take any money from me Peter waved me off with my two long plaits ready for posting, I have to say I was  amazed that even on a nice Summer evening my neck felt flipping freezing without my long hair there. The plaits were sent off to Little Princess Trust where they will hopefully,  if the quality was good enough, be turned into a wig for a child in need.

Id love for you to pop over to Peter Marsh Hairdressing's facebook page and pop them a like for their generosity (and magic cut) and if you are ever considering going from long to short keep Little Princess Trust in mind and maybe pop them a like too 






Saturday, 14 May 2016

Noises Off At Northern Stage

Last night I went to see Noises Off at northern Stage, billed as ...

Riotous, raucous, hilarious, tears-rolling down the face, can’t breathe- it’s so funny, perfectly glorious comedy bliss.


... and as one of my rare grown up theatre trips of the year I had high hopes for this Micheal Frayn  play which is a co production by Northern Stage, Nottingham Playhouse and Nuffield Southampton. The show boasts loads of awards and has been honoured with many a brilliant review and I can see why!

Back to my proper grown up evening, I have a pet peeve about content warnings at the theatre I think personally they give too much away and are sometimes a bit silly (I mean ' May contain mild peril, smoking and use of sexist language' COME ON!)  BUT you know you are in for a treat when this is the content warning at the theatre entrance 








Now I should explain for anyone who doesn't know already that I have worked in theatre for over a decade before I gave up my career to look after the babies so I'm aware of the manic organised chaos that nobody sees going on behind, under and around the stage during a live performance so this play struck a real chord with me, as well as giving me a right laugh.

Photo Credit Robert Day 

Imagine being the fly on a wall in a theatre rehearsal, imagine being a fly on the wall backstage in the same performance and  then imagine everything that could go wrong if Basil Fawlty ran a Theatre. Mix it all up and you have Noises Off, truly the funniest thing I've seen in aaaaaaages! I rarely laugh aloud at TV, Movies or Theatre it has to be a really funny piece of work to make me chortle , don't get me wrong I'm not a stony faced hater but more a quiet chuckler
Not so much last night, I swear I had tears rolling down my face I was laughing so hard and I'm afraid to say even snorted with laughter at points, and the beginning of the second act when you are watching the backstage antics as the 'show' is live was so perfectly choreographed and hilariously directed that it was actually thigh slappingly funny! I think at one point it was so funny I had to slap the thigh of my companion !!!!

Photo Credit Robert Day 

There are fabulous performances by Ritu Arya, Robin Bowerman, John Elkington, Becci Gemmell , Brian Lonsdale , Sophie Nomvette, Patrick Osbourne and Carla Mendonca and brilliantly directed by Blanche Mcintyre . The set is a fab design which changes from a front stage to a behind the scenes view half way through. 

 In brief summary you will be watching a play about a play! The play in the play (are you still with me) is a good old fashioned British farce there's plenty of genteel raciness and some great entrance and exit character crossovers. So you are watching the theatre company rehearse and perform a play all the while dealing with, diva's, drink problems, dodgy props, affairs, lost contact lenses and SARDINES!

Photo Credit Robert Day 

You can catch Noises Off until 28 May and tickets are priced from 314.50, the show lasts 2.5 hours with an interval and I promise you its fabulous value for money I defy anyone to be able to sit through it without several chuckles! Book your tickets here, or call the box office on 0191 2305151