Rainforest Cafe Review

So far we’ve had a pretty chilled summer holidays. Given the fact I’m still working and of course the great british summer, it’s tricky to go full on with days out but last week we took a visit to London to the theatre (more on that in another post) and visited the Rainforest Cafe afterwards.

I’d popped in here last year and stayed just for a drink in the bar as there were no tables available to dine but Z had loved all the animal noises from around the ‘jungle’ and sitting on the bar stool that are shaped like the legs and bottoms of various animals, giraffes, zebras, lions, complete with tails. With that in mind I’d tried to book online the previous week but it was showing up as fully booked so we took a chance and walked in hoping that they would have some tables on stand by and for once it actually paid off 🙂

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Experience

One of our party had had a birthday a week before so they gave her a big birthday sticker and showed us to our tables. We were sat by a big monkey in the trees that freaked the kids out first of all when they saw his eyes move but soon calmed down when we told them it was just pretend. Shortly after when it started jumping around and making monkey noises another freak out ensued but after the initial shock they both enjoyed it immensely every time it went off!

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There are different animals all over the restaurant including bigger monkeys and elephants that move and make sounds at set intervals plus a thunder storm here and there. There is a brilliant ‘pond’ with fish ‘swimming’ on the floor that move when the kids step on them and of course the delightful character Cha Cha, a giant frog that cuddles all the children.elephants

The childrens ‘Rascals’ menu is £12.95 which includes a main, dessert and drink and although a lot more expensive than your normal high street childrens menu you expect it due to the experience surrounding you. Adult meals range from £10-£20, my friend had a prawn linguine and I the pulled pork burger. With some ‘experience’ restaurants the food can suffer but overall it was of a good standard and the portions were a great size and taste.

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The staff were attentive and accommodating, replacing a spilt childs drink and providing our birthday girl with a rendition of Happy Birthday from our fellow diners whilst standing on a chair with a candle in her dessert 🙂

Overall

The kids thought it was magical and really enjoyed it and lets be honest thats what it’s all about isn’t it?

7/10

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Lost my name books.

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Have you heard of these books? If not, why not?

They are simply BEAUTIFUL!

The personalised books cover the story of a little boy or girl who funnily enough has lost their name. The child goes off on a magical journey trying to find out what their name is and meets lots of lovely creatures, people and animals. As they help out these characters they kindly give him or her a letter they don’t have any use for. At the end of the story the little boy or girl discover what their name is and settles safely back down in their room.

The illustrations in these books are beautiful and hold a wistfulness about them that reminds me of when I was little. Zachary received one of these gorgeous books earlier in the year as a present for being a page boy at my cousins wedding, what a great idea! I had seen these advertised on Facebook and was desperate to get one for him so when he unwrapped it I was probably more excited then he was!

Upon settling down to read it he could easily tell me what each letter was on the journey but was also learning new words and was being able to identify new creatures he hadn’t heard of before like a Yeti for example! Fun, interesting, beautiful and educational!. He was so engrossed in the story that he had no idea what letters we were collecting on our journey and when we got to the end and shouted out ‘Wow, that boys got my name!’ he was super chuffed 🙂

I now have one for Flo, although she is only 22 months old she absolutely adores her books. As the pictures are so colourful and gorgeous in this she is captivated by them. I like to think they will both have fond memories of these when they are older and come to cherish them forever.

As you can probably tell I loooove these books, the fact they are personalised, magical and beautiful all at once makes them a must buy.

So next time when you’re stuck for what to buy for a new baby, a christening, a birthday, a xmas, a thank you or a just because present, think of this. A definite keeper 🙂

Personalise your book now at www.lostmy.name/

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#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

What a great time in Memphis! (the Musical!)

I went to see Memphis the musical last week and all I can say is AMAZEBALLS!

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An all singing, all dancing, quality London hit Musical I haven’t stopped raving about it to anyone who will listen to me..! I’ll stop you now if you’re thinking it’s a musical about Elvis – it’s not. The brief synopsis is about a love story between an underground black singer, Felicia, and a white DJ, Huey, who wants to help her get a record deal and promote ‘black’ ‘r n b’ to the masses on the middle of the radio dial.

Set in the 1950’s when segregation was still in full swing in America it touches on many poignant issues with racism, coloured people not being able to have high class jobs, coloured music that isn’t allowed to be on mainstream radio, mixed race relationships being illegal,  Felicia and Huey both getting beaten up because they are seen out in public together,all of which, for me who has a black partner and mixed race children is unimaginable.

The story gives a great base to some AMAZING singing and dancing, I literally was blown away and forced into the back of my seats with the quality of these actor and actresses voices and moves! Usually starring Beverley Knight as Felicia I was quite disappointed to find out that her understudy was covering on the night we attended but I had no reason to be. Rachel John’s voice and acting was fantastic and I had no reason to thing that she shouldn’t/couldn’t do this role every single night. Playing the lead male Huey was Matt Cardle, winner of the X-Factor. I must admit to having some reservations about whether the lovely Matt could pull it off but I’m pleased to say I think he did really well. I loved him on X-Factor and so it was a treat to see him live, his voice isn’t a traditional theatre power house voice but he hit some great notes, sang all the songs beautifully and I really bought into his character.

The whole cast were fantastic, the danced and sang for their lives throughout the whole performance and probably all deserve a mention however Huey’s mother Gladys played by Claire Machin had my partner and I in stitches. She really stand out in her portrayal of a hard nosed irish/american catholic white mother. Her comedic timing and intentionally ‘bad’ dancing was brilliant.

The atmosphere here is hard to describe, at times I had goose bumps, at others I had tears in my eyes and through most of it I just wanted to get up and dance!

I highly recommend this musical and am sure you will love it as much as I do, so get yourself to the Shaftesbury Theatre now before it finishes in October!

Find out more Memphis the Musical Tickets

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East is East at the Theatre

L-R Pauline McLynn (Ella Khan) &  Sally Bankes (Antie Annie) - East is East UK Tour - Photo By Marc Brenner  (474)

Last night I had the pleasure in seeing East is East at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley whilst on its UK tour. Currently starring Simon Nagra and  Pauline McLynn (known for playing Mrs Doyle in Father Ted amongst other award winning roles)

For those of you that haven’t seen the film this is a story written by Ayub Khan Din set in 1971 in Salford about a family headed by George, a Pakastani immigrant who is married to an English woman, Ella, played by Pauline McLynn and hosts a family of seven children. The over ruling line of the story is George ‘Gengis’ trying to give his children a Pakastani and Muslim upbringing in the ever changing age of the 70’s in Manchester, anyone who doesn’t comply is ousted and considered ‘dead’ by George. His wife is conflicted between the love and protection of her children and the love for her husband.

The story is a poignant one which must ring true with many families even today still trying to encourage traditional family and religious values and struggling but there is plenty of laughs to be had with the various ‘bastard’ ‘idiot’ ‘stupid’ lines that come from both Ella and George. The siblings are brilliant actors and actresses portraying perfectly the love for their family but the conflicting relationships that the situation brings. Auntie Annie played by Sally Bankes was the jewel in the crown for me, she completely represented the hard up Mancunian persona and with her well timed wit and humour made me warm to her completely.

Highly recommended for some thought provoking points and a good laugh.

Find out more and book here : http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/east-is-east/the-churchill-theatre-bromley/

Subscription Boxes…??

I had a postman’s slip through the door a few weeks ago and as much as its a real hassle to go to the post office to collect things I’m always excited because it feels like a present!
It transpired that it was a KoalaPak…
Whats that you say?? Well, I’ve seen several subscription postal order things pop up on the web recently and must admit to being quite dubious about them, i mean really do you neeeeeed to have a beauty box or a baby box etc through your door every month??

The KoalaPak is one of these monthly subscription boxes but is actually aimed at children aged 3-8 to help aid development in line with EYFS and Key Stage 1 & 2, very useful if you are a stay at home mum with a child not at pre-school, nursery and in addition to your children at school to teach them the lessons needed to aid development.

The Activity:

Let me tell you what was in our box : Make your own garden kit!!!
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As you can see its brightly coloured so Zachy was interested straight away and it had everything you need:

Flower pots and saucers

Stickers to decorate them with

An additional box to put your garden in

Sticky tape to make the box

Lolly Sticks to identify your plants

Cress seeds

Carrot seeds

Compost rounds

Pipette

Paint

Paintbrushes

A garden gnome to decorate

A pinny to decorate

and a list of step by step instructions which includes what EYFS, KS1 and 2 guidelines it follows and what it teaches your little cherub.

Zachary had a great time making his garden and it was lovely for him to have everything at his finger tips. He stuck stickers on his flower pots, planted the compost rounds and sprinkled in the seeds, used the pipettes to water them and painted his gnome. We still have the box to paint and (fingers crossed) the plants to grow so its not all over in one swoop.

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Overview:

I am a convert! I loved the box and the educational value inside it. Zachary thought it was wonderful and he enjoyed making something from start to finish all out of this one little box.

Find out more at www.koalapak.com where you can buy a subscription or send one as a gift.

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LarabeeUK

Diggerland Review

Located in 4 sites across the UK you can visit Diggerland in Kent, Yorkshire, Devon & Durham. Its the only place where children and adults can ride and drive real diggers!

I must admit having reservations about going to Diggerland, I mean it really is a boys thing isn’t it?!?!

You’ll be pleased to know, it’s not. I loved it!

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Zachy is 4 1/2 and literally didn’t know what to do first. I thought it would be lots of diggers to ‘dig’ on but there are several rides to go on as well. Including Spindizzy, Skyshuttle and Groundshuttle with the latter being my favourite 🙂 (you were thrown around in this one)

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Additionally there are lots of diggers to dig in the ground, trucks, mini landrovers, go karts, mini tractors and a cute Diggerland train.

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Now here come the really scary bit. The kids are actually allowed to drive FULL SIZE dumper trucks, diggers, 4 x 4’s and JCB’s!!

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If that wasn’t enough there is a soft play, bouncy castle, and a nice climbbing frame/ slide etc to play on.

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Overview

Forgive me for the amount of pictures but it really is good to see all the different rides and trucks to drive. Zachy absolutely adored it with the key phrase of the day being ‘This is soooo awesome mummy, i want to stay here forever!’

You can visit Diggerland for parties and have the use of a private room with lunch. You can book additional ‘experiences’ (additional costs apply) including JCB experiences, formula JCB racing, dumper truck racing and monster digger experiences.

The get the most out of the day your little one needs to be over 90 cms high. Those under this height are free of charge.

Although it is quite dear in my opinion it’s no more so than other theme parks and with it being a smaller park and with not as long wait time for rides its a definite contender if you decide to visit a theme park as it will keep you busy all day without feeling rushed.

Zachy”s official rating: 9/10

Find out more and book your tickets here: http://www.diggerland.com/

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LarabeeUK

Top Hat The Musical Review

I had the pleasure of going to see the triple Olivier award winning show Top Hat at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week.

I adore musicals and this really doesn’t fail to impress with some truly amazing costumes (apparantly in excess of 200!), sets, dancing and singing.

Top Hat tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont. Played by Alan Burkitt and Charlotte Gooch respectively, these two were paired beautifully and were superb.

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The script is witty and had me laughing out loud throughout the performance, watch out for the hilarious butler, Bates played by John Conroy and Alberto Beddini played by Sebastien Torkia who remind me strongly of Manwell from Fawlty Towers. The songs include Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz and had me singing along all through the show!

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There were many times when I wanted to jump up and dance along. I really can’t tell you how magical the whole night was in words, I was really stunned at the quality of acting, stunning dancing and brilliant set changes.

This is not to be missed, wherever and whenever you have the chance to see it.