Thursday, 15 December 2016

Celebrating The Launch of Kidscast with a Baby Born Giveaway

We love our tablets, but Im always keen to monitor the time and activities they are used for, in general ours are only allowed for weekends, in reality they mostly only get used when we are travelling or on holiday, and as such its important to use to have good, fun and educational content which can preferably be used offline. Kidscast meets all of our requirements and is launching really soon

The app, which has a subscription cost of  £3.99, is suitable for kids from 3-12 years old is full of shows, activities and even unboxing videos and can be used on or offline.

The shows which will be available over Christmas are 

  • Little Monsters
  • Om Nom series 1
  • Om Nom series 2
  • Om Nom Paint
  • Om Nom Colour
  • Wind in the Willows
  • The Sooty Show
  • Rainbow
  • Alias the Jester
  • Victor and Hugo
  • Microscopic Milton Season 1

  • Creep Crawlies

  • Cockleshell Bay

The Kidscast app is safe for children and is even accredited  by UK.CISS and CoppaKidsafe giving you assurance that your children are in a safe, monitored and protected online environment. 

Content from the app can even be screened to your TV so it can be enjoyed by the whole family, and the app will be available on IOS and Andriod you can find out more about Kidscast here  

I think a subscription to Kidscast would make an ideal gift for an older child , you know the ones that are more difficult to buy for! 

To celebrate the launch of Kidscast we have an amazing Baby Born prize up for grabs....

BABY born Interactive now has 9 functions and 11 accessories, with no batteries required! Doll functions include controlled wetting & pooping on the potty, drinking & feeding, tearing, opening/closing eyes, moving arms/legs and is bathable. 43cm doll. Colours and styles may vary. For ages 3 years and over. Accessories include cloth, spoon and plate, bottle, nappy, potty, magic dummy and birth certificate. 43cm function doll with new interactive feature.

... Simply enter via rafflecopter and a winner will be drawn on 22 December T and Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Santa's Naughty Elf and the Frozen Christmas

Way back in 2009 we saw our first ever Santa's Naughty Elf at The Customs House, and we have been going back every year since!

Santa's Naughty Elf

This years offering ' Santas Naughty Elf and The Frozen Christmas' was just as good as the rest, with plenty of singing, slapstick and silly jokes to keep everyone entertained. 

Elfluent has accidentally ruined Christmas AGAIN by freezing Santa's workshop, never fear though with help from his hapless brother Elfreddo , like the chocolate you know, a Fairy Snoflake  and Snowy the mysterious elf soon they will have things back on track.

First though they'll throw in some audience participation, and be warned they are watching, some funny jokes, and some slapstick scenes and you have a recipes for fun and laughter for all the family.

My particular highlight was 'MC Chocolate' rapping fresh prince style, however my kids just loved the slapstick so much they were almost crying with laughter. I won't lie I wiped tears of laughter from my face as well. Wayne Miller and his cast deliver a truly great family friendly performance.

No visit is complete without meeting Santa who has gifts for every child, and a wonderful Santa he is too. A lovely toch this year was the gifts which aren't the usual chocolate offering, and certainly made my three happy as can be

The Naughty Elf will be causing mayhem at the The Customs House until 24th December and you should book ASAP at shows are selling out fast. I promise is you have little people age 8 and under you will not be disspointed in this show. Book online or by calling Box Office on 0191 4541234

Beauty and The Beast at Tyne Theatre and Opera House

Last year was our first ever time watching Newcastle Panto Company at The Tyne Theatre, we watched the very last performance of the run and found it hilariously funny, full of action and this mammy cried laughing at their version of  12 days of Christmas. Honestly that alone was worth the ticket price.

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So when we were invited to write a review about this year's Beauty and The Beast we were all very excited. I'm going to say straight away if you are driving into town you need to leave loads of extra time we struggled on the roads and in the car parks and we missed dinner thankyou greggs for saving this family from a meltdown!

Ok so to the panto. Brilliant performances by Emily Swan, last years Jasmine, she sings well dances great and is a lovely watch for little people, Charlie Richmond as the Jester is as funny as can be and the Dames offered visual delight in their amazing costumes but I did feel the chemistry wasn't quite there between the two, don't get me wrong they were funny, but,  having watched Bob Stott for decades in other Pantos I didn't feel like he was being cast to his fullest Dame like brilliance. Maxie Peters didn't seem as vivacious as last year but I was reminding myself that this was opening night and Pantos need a settling in period, I feel all became clear at the end of the panto when Maxie told everyone how sad he was that next years Panto would not be a Newcastle Panto Company performance so perhaps he is letting this over shadow his enthusiasm?

With that said the panto was awesome, the dancers work hard and perform brilliantly, the Beast is great  in both  costume and performance and my only other critique would be that there are a few to many  'oh yes you did' moments leaving the audience a little less passionate in their reply's.

I'm happy to say 12 days of Christmas was sung and the comedy value is still as awesomely funny. There are enough jokes to keep adults and children amused and at 2.5 hours you certainly get your moneys worth

Tickets are around £22/£20 pound for top price seats and the show runs until 30th December, I would highly recommend seeing it

Next years Snow White, may not be a Newcastle Panto production but I'm pleased to say Charlie Richmond will be back and I hear good things about this panto company so I'm excited to see their offering

Monday, 5 December 2016

Portable North Pole

It's December and that can only mean 1 thing.... It is time for Portable North Pole, youve probably already seen our facebook post ...

Yes we have already all received messages from Santa! Obviously Mammy is a good girl and will be getting a holiday for Christmas, ha ha I highly doubt that but making the video was lots of giggles!

And here are the kids reactions to their videos

We have been using PNP for around 5 years now and we love love love it, this year we have installed the app on my phone which comes with loads of kids activities you can make your videos and calls on there and they have the new #ReactionRecorder basically while the Santa video plays, your child is recorded its kind of like a screen in screen but you can then save the video which i think is an awesome idea. The app is really easy to download and use and if you buy the Magic Pass for £9.99 you can make unlimited videos from a huge choice of themes including Birthdays, Christmas Eve and a simple message, you can receive calls from Santa. You get HD downloads of all your videos and there is a new story from Sanat every week of Decemer!

 Its really excellent value for money and for us, our Santa videos are a real Monkeyfeet family tradition it always starts the excitement and spirit of Chrismas for us, and with Peanut having a December birhday she is especially excited for her Birthday message.

You can follow PNP on Instagram ,  Facebook and  Twitter

Tonka Diecast Emergency Vehichles

Our latest set from Tonka has arrived, I do love being a Tonka Tough Mother, not only does it sound super cool but we get awesome toys to!

The Die-cast Emergency Vehicle set contains 3 vehicle, a police Car, Fire Engine and Ambulance and is priced at £11.99, a little pricey I hear you say. Yes maybe but they are guaranteed for life! So actually that is a fairly good deal!

The vehicles are tough and robust, that is what comes of more that 70 years of toy making experience and they are really collectable to, I guarantee my kids will want to build on this set. These are great for imaginative free play and group play and were a big hit in our house.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Happy 8ty Birthday Peanut

Shall I start this post, like all the others, exclaiming my shock that you are another year older? Probably not because I'm sure you know how quickly time is passing for Mammy , how I wish I could slow time down to simply take each of your moments in a bit more!

Sod it... EIGHT you are 8 that's almost double digits! You are growing so very fast and into such a wonderful girl.

Looking through the photo's of this year something struck me, we have spent a lot of time in hospital or at the GP! What a year you have had with Tonsillitis and injuries and viruses, but we have stood (or lay under a duvet) together and this picture of you laying poorly and defeated on my knee will always make my heart ache with my desire to forever protect you and care for you and I hope I can always take away your hurt with a stroke of your head and a Mammy cuddle

We've been on lots of adventures this year, with trips in the Uk and abroad and as ever you have been a fabulous travelling companion and a source of many smiles and laughter

You are the kindest most sharing caring girl I know and I know that this school year has been a tough introduction to the awful 'mean girl' phenomenon. I know that it is hard to lead with kindness in these situations and believe me you inherited Mammy's sensitive nature, worry wart tendencies and reactive temper so I feel your pain when you are trying to rise above and #BeAQueen . But I'm proud as can be that you try every day to show the warmth in your heart and I promise it is true, If we lead with kindness others will follow, and those who don't, will find the path eventually. 

Happy Birthday my wonderful, funny, creative, strong willed, stubborn as a mule (that there is definitely your Daddy's genes!) amazing caring, sharing, gorgeous girl. You will always be the teacher child, the one who helps Mammy learn and grow, I Love you more than sweeties and I promise I will always be sending you strength and hugs even when I'm not right by your side. 

Showing your inherited love or organisation and clipboards!

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.

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.