Thursday, 29 October 2015

Error 404 at Northern Stage

We love a trip to the Theatre I'm sure you have guessed already, so we were happy to have the chance to see two shows this half term, today's offering was  Error 404 at Northern Stage

The show is aimed at ages 8 and up but our party are 5, nearly 6 and nearly 7 and they sat perfectly enthralled through the whole show. Daniel Bye plays the part of a ten year old boy who loses his best pal, filled with sadness and emptiness he comes home from a particularly awful school day to find a package from his mum. Inside is a robot! Could this be his pal? Is it possible?

Th show is part scripted and part audience directed so I cant tell you exactly what will happen when you go, but we had some great suggestions from the audience creating some very interesting ideas.

My three guests today said 'we felt sad, happy, and thought it was really good but didn't like the sadness as it made us want to cry'  

I loved watching the show and found myself getting involved in the decisions too! At an hour long its just perfectly timed for anyone over 5 or 6yrs I would say. Its easy to follow is very much like listening to a story as there is only one performer and so is perfect for our little people but very cleverly performed so as not to be boring.

The show will be at Northern Stage on Friday 30th October at 11am and 2pm and is well worth a visit if you can get there, you can book with box office on 0191 2305151,  if not the tour can be seen on Friday 27th November, 10.30am + 1.30pm; Saturday 28th November, 11.30am + 2.30pm, ARC, Stockton. Tickets here

Monday, 26 October 2015

Domestic Abuse - It Is Time To Walk Away

I want to say before you start reading that this is not strictly my normal type of post, and contains subject matter I never thought I would publish, however this post is coming from my heart and was spurned by a ferocious feeling that meant I've had to allow a cooling off period before I pressed publish, and every time I have tried to proof read this I've done so through tear blurred eyes, but if you read this and you think it can help anyone please share it. Ok enough pre-emptive waffle.......

I have very strong feelings on how to deal with domestic violence. DO NOT TOLERATE IT! But before anyone jumps up and tells me how its not so easy, I KNOW. I have watched my mum move from one violent or abusive partner to another, you see my mum is an alcoholic (there's the bit I never thought I would say, but the reasons for that are in a currently unpublished post about why we don't keep secrets) now this brings with it a whole host of issues and one of those is her need to not be alone,  a codependent need so strong she would rather be with someone who belittled her and hurt her physically and mentally, than be alone. I've watched this and thankfully it has made me very single minded in my conviction that I would never tolerate such treatment, thankfully there's only one person who ever attempted it and he was promptly put in his place and removed from my life (not in any gruesome or illegal way you understand!) but I'm lucky, its not always the case

4.6 million Women have experience domestic abuse (est)
2.5 Million men have experience domestic abuse (est)
1 report of domestic violence is made every minute
2 women a week will be killed by a partner or ex partner 

But I know that some folk have seen these things growing up and so it becomes the norm, somewhere in your deepest thoughts you believe this is normal and acceptable behaviour and you should just say nothing, they didn't mean it, they wont do it again. YOU Pushed them too far. This is absolutely not true, there is no excuse, you deserve love and respect and kindness and if this isn't your reality I beg of you, talk to someone, plan an escape. WALK AWAY. And when their words of apology and promises of a fresh start begin to wear you down please please hold this thought in the very front of your mind,

'what if it wasn't you who felt the demoralising insults, what if it wasn't you who reeled from the power of a slap or punch or kick? What if it was your daughter or son, sister or brother? What if you were standing as an adult watching this happen to your mother or father? What would you do, what would you say?'

Because believe me when I tell you his or her promises of never again, the assurances that it was just you, they would never harm a child. They may well believe that but they can't make those promises honestly, the only way to stop is to walk away, remove yourself, remove your children. You can be better and happier and less fearful without them no matter what they have led you to believe. And there will be bribery and wheedling. 'I'll lose the house, my job, the car if you report me' 'no one will believe you' its not true, none of that matters none of that is worth losing your life or watching your child lose theirs. You must be strong in your convictions and believe you are worth more, your life can be better, it will only get worse if you keep tolerating the abuse. You WILL NEVER CHANGE YOUR ABUSER, I'm sorry to be blunt but it is true YOU can not make them change no matter how much you want to believe you can.

Please please get help, please please know you are not alone, you are a warrior and you can win back your life, you have to love yourself enough to believe I am  rooting for you, I am willing you to be free because I know you can be and you should be.

You can read more information on staying safe here , you can call 999 in an emergency or 101 to ask for help or you can contact any of these people (taken from the Metropolitan Police Website)

Contacts for men experiencing domestic abuse
Contacts for domestic abuse offenders
  • Changing Ways - 07818 054563 (only for men living in East Berkshire and Wokingham).
  • Making Changes - 01635 264694 (only for men living in the West Berkshire (Newbury) area).
  • Respect (opens new window) - 0845 1228 609.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

What Blogging Means To Me

Why did I start blogging and what does it mean to me?


Well I started because of this lot...

And what does it mean? Well that's a bit more long-winded, let me explain the purpose of this post.


This morning I have to sit in front of a camera and talk about what blogging means to me, I'm doing this because I've been shortlisted in the North East Blogger Awards, Parenting Category. I'm not sure if I told you already? I did oh well in that case , just once more (pahahaha) ....

Ok back to the serious issue, anyone who knows me will tell you they think I'm self confident, but I'm really not, I have crippling stage fright I once went on a game show on TV and couldn't speak, I mean I could not say anything. I had all the answers in my head but I was frozen! I just looked like someone had pressed pause!

So the idea of telling a stranger with a camera what blogging means to me is terrifying to say the least.

With that in mind, just in case I come across as an amoeba brained fool, I'm going to write it here, then you'll all know.

Before I had kids, and even while I was pregnant, the idea of a 'mummy friend' seemed bonkers to me. I mean honestly why would I be friends with someone purely based on the fact that we both pushed a human from our body? That's just bonkers. And then I had a baby and discovered that motherhood is amazing and brilliant and rewarding and lovely AND, the loneliest place in the world sometimes. So I ventured to a group, and I made some mummy pals and you know what, they rock! Mummy pals (sorry I know there are dads who do the bulk of child rearing, who go to these groups but I've not encountered any in my groups, so for this post it's only Mummy's) don't get bored of hearing how tough your night was, or discussing the best weaning technique or how to stop baby biting you on the boob (true story!)

They don't want to roll their eyes when you talk about the upcoming baby event in Asda, or that John Lewis' clearance sale has a buggy at 70% off, they will gladly sniff your baby's bottom if there's an odour in baby sensory and you are across the room, they also understand that when you say your child has been a nightmare you aren't actually being mean or unreasonable you do still love them, they won't judge, and when you admit you ate take out again last night for the third time she won't judge, she'll nod knowing that that meant an hour less in the kitchen and ask where you ordered from!

Mummy friends are also the best source of information on purchases, I didn't know about microwave dummy sterilisers that double as storage or gro-blinds or insulated bottle carriers until a pal told me. She didn't know about Amber remedies, teething powders or the joy of The Wiggles ! So we share tips and swap sleep deprivation stories and that's when you realise that it does actually 'take a village to raise a child' and to me that's what this is, this community I have through my blog and my social media it's like a village, we share and learn we help each other out.

Alongside that, blogging is bringing back my confidence! Before kids I worked in a Theatre and would happily chat with anyone, I'd negotiate and deal with people with assertiveness and kindness. But taking a huge break from work shook my confidence a little, imagine if you will that was made worse by having another baby rather swiftly, by swiftly I mean I was pregnant before I went back to work! (sorry boss) so in the space of 3 years, maternity leave and pregnancy related sick leave meant I only worked around 4 months so my second return to work was harder again, I felt out of the loop, like an outsider and I found I couldn't even chat with visiting cast and then being forced to leave a job I had loved even though it was for an amazing reason affected me even more. So I found myself wondering if the old Me would return or was she gone forever.
Starting blogging has steadily brought back my professional confidence, I will happily negotiate with SEO and PR companies and network with brands and new people and let me tell you, 3 years ago that sentence would have brought me out in an icy sweat! I've made load of new friends and become part of a community so helpful and supportive that almost everyone is keen to share tips and help you achieve your goals. I've grown so much I've even helped create a network to support North East Bloggers!!
So in short, well it wasn't short at all, blogging makes me feel like I might make a difference even if it's just to one person and it's also helped me find the old me again. So without sounding too cheesy this nomination and being a blogger mean the world and I'm right honoured indeed
Now I'm off to have a soppy cry into my cuppa! Thanks for reading my waffle again and feel free to leave a comment so I don't feel like I'm rambling to no one ha ha.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Hey Duggee Magazine

If you've watched Hey Duggee on CBeebies, then you like me, will currently be humming the theme tune in your head! Needless to say we are big Duggee fans here at Monkeyfeet HQ we already have some toys so we were excited to be offered a sneak peak at the new Hey Duggee magazine.



The magazine arrived to great delight and was promptly the source of great entertainment, Termite took off with the free gifts, a chef hat a Roly finger puppet and some cooking toys. I'm afraid they've now been hidden away from the big kids in her bedroom and may not be seen for a while! 



The big two proceeded to read the whole thing from cover to cover, using all the stickers, making the hey Duggee hair styler and planning our Duggee biscuit making.



There's a pull out badge chart to display all your badges, this weeks is the 'Cake Badge' which is the theme of this magazine. The magazine supports early years learning so is crammed with great fun quizzes, stories which teach co-ordination, colour matching, reading and many other skills.


The Magazine is released monthly and is priced at £2.75 which in my humble opinion is a teeny price tag for a couple of hours entertainment for three kids!

Overall, we loved it, it's easy for the kids (5 and 6) to read and the activities are fun, I liked the pull out recipe and sticker chart the kids loved the stickers and everyone is excited to make the biscuits!

Don't forget to tell me what you think of the magazine if you get a hold of a copy. I love to hear your thoughts. 



Saturday, 17 October 2015

North East Blogger Awards

Hey did you know? Of course you did I've been doing my happy dance for over a week now! Well just in case you missed it, we are officially ....

shortlisted in the Parenting category! I'm so immensely pleased I have been squealing every time I think about it so I just wanted to say a huuuuuuge humongous, ginormous, gargantuan great big

To everyone of you who voted for me, to everyone who reads my wee blog, comments, shared and talks about my little piece of the tinterweb. I'm truly truly gobsmacked that I'm here. I'll be honest I'm not sure I'll be bringing back a trophy because the competition is tough. Janine from Birth and Baby Network is an amazing source of information and help to local parents and parents to be, and Ashlie from Sugar Rushed offers fab recipes and funny stories about the bumpy path that is parenting. They are both uber brilliant and very deserving winners so I'm going to say with absolute honesty I am just genuine a pleased and proud to have made it to the finals.
Now I need to think of something to say (something that makes sense!) about blogging and what it means for me and why I started to the lovely organisers for a video EEK ...


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Days Out Giveaway

Way back in September I decided we needed a nice cheerful giveaway to beat the blues of going back to school. Well I'm not sure about you but we have found September a little crazy and we have sped into October before I even realised it. So we are looking at less of a 'Back to School Blues Buster'  and more of a 'Break from School Boredom buster' !

So I'm really pleased to announce that we are giving away 3 great days out.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Game On 2.0 and we will definitely be heading back there before the exhibition closes in November

'From Sonic to Samus, Mario to Minecraft, Game On 2.0 is the world’s most comprehensive exhibition of computer games from the past 60 years.'


Now this one has me a little envious, not only is The |Tyne Theatre one of the most lovely and under appreciated Theatres in our region but CAT IN THE HAT. Who doesn’t love a bit of Dr. Suess?


'From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that The Cat in the Hat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. With the trickiest of tricks and craziest of ideas, he turns a rainy afternoon into an amazing adventure. But what will mum find when she gets home?
Based on the much loved book by Dr Seuss, The Cat in the Hat is a lively and engaging first theatre experience for young children aged 3+.
Expect towering hats, mischief and fun that is funny!'

One of our most favourite ways to while away a day is to hang out in Seven Stories, newly refurbished in 2015 and celebrating its 10th Birthday, the Centre is currently host to exhibitions such as Rhyme Around The World, A Bear Called Paddington, Painting With Rainbows, A Vikings Guide To Deadly Dragons and Tiger Mog and Pink Rabbit and you can pop along to see it all for yourself


I will be choosing 3 winners, on the 20th October,  one for each prize and all you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is comment on this status on our facebook page with the words 'Please Pick Me' 

I'm so excited to be launching a fabulous 'Break From School Boredom Buster' giveaway which will have THREE yes THREE...
Posted by Monkey-Feet on Saturday, 3 October 2015

That's it, you don't need to enter any details or type long message, please feel free to tag any friend who you think might like to be in with a chance, and if you'd like to share that's great, but is not a condition of entry. The more people who enter these giveaways the more chance I have of bringing you even more of these great prizes.

Don't forget to pop by the prize contributors' pages and give them a wave you can find them here

Life Science Centre

T and Cs Family ticket in this instance is 1 adult and 3 children or 2 adults and 2 children.