Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre

I went to see Dreamboats & Miniskirts at The Churchill Theatre in Bromley this week. It is written by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran who are the team behind well known tv series such as Goodnight Sweetheart and Birds of a Feather to name but a few.

For those of you who don’t know this is the sequel to the well known Dreamboats & Petticoats. I personally hadn’t seen this musical before but it is still touring after having its debut at The Churchill in February 2009! I was a little concerned I wouldn’t know what was happening in the sequel but needless to say I didn’t need to worry as it drops in all the necessary information within the early stages of the play.

The Story

Set in 1962-1963 the story follows on from Laura and Bobby’s musical success some 18 months before but shows them being torn apart by the fact that Laura is more successful as a sole act than Bobby. Bobby rejoins his youth club band and they tour the country looking for musical success.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts UK Tour - credit Darren Bell (6)

The amount of fantastic songs throughout this production is brilliant, I found myself tapping, singing and nodding along to every single one including classics such as, House of the Rising Sun, It’s in his kiss, Twist and shout and more. All the cast have fantastic voices, my favourite being Anna Campkin who plays Donna who’s singing and acting was natural and seamless. Also to note are the saxophone players, Chloe Edwards-Wood and Laura Sillett who play alongside a fantastic Trumpeter Joseph Hardy, this trio worked tirelessly all night with their excellent playing and acting.

Overall

I must admit to find the story line a little ‘loose’ and some of the acting fairly ‘stage school’ but the numerous well known songs, the casts tireless singing and musicality really do make it an enjoyable production.

Dreamboats and Miniskirts is at The Churchill until 10th October. Get your tickets here.

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1st Anniversary, Awards & a Giveaway !

So I have been writing on my blog for ONE year this month! How time has flown. Looking back over the year it surprises me how much my babies have grown and is lovely catching up on all the things we have got up to over the past year.

To top it all off, this month I won Working Parent Blogger of the Year with the Mum And Working Awards! What a surprise and an honour! In this category were truly some brilliant bloggers and as this was a voted for by the public award I was lolloping in my chair not giving a win a second thought so I was blown away when my name was read out!

It was a great day celebrating some truly inspirational working mums who set up their own businesses and franchises and the day filled me with respect and awe for all these amazing people. The day had keynotes from Annabel Karmel and Caprice who explained how they ended up with their amazing businesses and it was so refreshing to hear that really they are just women like you and I that worked hard and had overcame adversity to get where they are today.

In addition to my first award it turned out I won another category for Flexible Employee of the Year with my current company RIG Healthcare. Without the support of this business I wouldn’t be where I am today. In 2010 I gave birth to my first child, on return to work it was clear that I couldn’t put in the time needed to be a successful sales person due to nursery pick up times etc and instead of putting me on the scrap heap they asked if I would like to retrain and manage the companies social media presence and general marketing. I was so chuffed that they felt I was worth retraining and after attending some insightful training days at different venues and with different companies I embarked on a Digital Marketing Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing which I ended up completing after the birth of my second child!

With all this new knowledge I had the confidence to start this very blog which has seen me going on some fab days out, trialing some brilliant products and having an outlet for my thoughts and feelings.

So one year in and 2 awards under my belt I felt it was time to say Thank You to you all! As I luckily won two winner bags I have TWO brilliant books to give away.

No.1 – A signed copy of Annabel Karmel : Mumpreneur. The complete guide to starting and running a successful business.

No. 2 – Caprice : My Boys, My Body, My Business.

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So all you have to do is as much or as little of the below rafflecopter, I seem to be having some issues placing the widget so please follow the link for now! Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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School Transition

So most of our little ones are all now safely deposited in school and are on their full time hours and weeks. What an emotional rollercoaster that’s been!?! I don’t know about you but I had a few tears leading up to the big day and then on the day was super proud of myself for keeping it together and just having tears in my eyes!

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I’ve seen several posts on Twitter already ‘Do we have to go back tomorrow?’ from Helen @CasaCostello  ‘What are we doing today Mummy?’ from Katie @mummydaddyme and today I had the first ‘But I don’t waaaant to go to school today Mummy’ I get the feeling the emotions are quiet finished with yet…

So what can we do to help our children transition in to school better?

A report from the British Psychological Society gives us this advice:

Positive child outcomes depend upon a combination of parental qualities. That is, children require both warmth and high-quality instruction from caregivers and teachers (Mashburn & Pianta, 2006). High-quality instruction (also known as ‘scaffolding’) includes at least three dimensions (Hughes et al., 2014):
I    Cognitive support: This involves making the task simpler – for example, by breaking it down into manageable stages (e.g. for a jigsaw, finding the corner pieces, then connecting all the edge pieces, etc.).
I    Emotional support (e.g. praise, encouragement, playful interactions): This motivates the child to persist even when the task is challenging.
I    Autonomy support: This involves a process of ‘contingent shifting’ – providing extra help if the child is struggling or demoralised and then reducing this support when the child begins to master the task.

So basically, love, support and encouragement. This chapter in our little ones and our lives is a huge change and great news – we have to do it all again with the next one! Phew Im exhausted!.

What gems have you had from your little pickles so far?

Read the full report here: (https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-28/september-2015/transition-school)

 

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Mum & Working Finalist!

The judges have spoken! Celebrated, expert business-mums including Jacqueline Gold, Chief Executive of Ann Summers and Knickerbox have revealed their finalists in the prestigious mumandworking 2015 Awards as supported by babyworld.co.uk – and I’m amongst them!

This exciting awards programme celebrates the champions of flexible working – showcasing those businesses, associations and individuals (mums and dads!) who are demonstrating how a fulfilling career can be balanced with modern-day family life – enjoying and managing parenting and working – together.

The awards will be held at RBS, 280 Bishopsgate – in the business hub in the City of London – today and are judged both by public vote and by an impressive panel of judges – leading business women and mums who understand all too well the challenges and the rewards of juggling work and being there for your family.

VIP speakers also include Annabel Karmel MBE and Caprice Bourret.

My first category is ‘Flexible Employee of the Year’ and this category is here to ‘demonstrate how flexible employment can bring out the best in individuals for the benefit of their employers, families and customers’. Many working mums already know that we give 110% through our work as many of us feel we have more to prove than others to retain our jobs.

I’m super thankful that I work for such a great company, RIG Healthcare, who have supported me since becoming a mum and enabled me to change my career direction from a sales person to a marketing executive. They ensured I got the right training by sending me on insightful courses and then sponsored me to achieve my Diploma in Digital Marketing from the prestigious Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Many Mum’s choose different paths but for me I couldn’t not work, don’t get me wrong I take my hat off to all you SAHM’s but for me that’s even more hard work than holding down a job! It might be a mad rush in our house, it might not always be sparkling and I might not do as much crafts and outings with my kids as others do but I appreciate the time I have with my them and also feel that I retain some of my own identity outside of being a mum.

I had no idea that I was in a second category ‘Working Parent Blogger of the Year’, I’m up against stiff competition here inc the lovely and gorgeous Vicky from Honest Mum plus many more!

So wish me luck and Good Luck to all my fellow nominees today! I’ll fill you in on what promises to be a fab afternoon soon!

http://www.mumandworking.co.uk/2015/awardsfinalists

 

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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.

lost name books

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

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

memphis

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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Runs Done & I Smashed It – Thank You!

So I completed my final run of my three runs in three weekends challenge to raise money for Cancer Research this weekend!

I’m so delighted that I’ve done them all!

No. 1 was Race For Life in Victoria Park, London. I’ve written about that in Race for life – Race 1!

No. 2 was Run or Dye run in Penshurst Place :

colou run

As you can see it was messy, apart from the promised powder paint that you are sprayed with at each kilometre it was torrential rain, I think this may of detracted from the enjoyment somewhat when paint was running in my eyes and I was sliding up and down hills on a country estate! There are lots of families and children at this one so its a real good laugh but there is no point in timing yourself and quite often no chance to actually run due to the amount of people. Overall it’s worth it if you want more of a fun run.

No. 3 was Race for Life in Lloyds Park, Croydon, my final 10K.

race for life croydon

This one was probably my favorite! The weather was perfect for a run and was overcast when we set off, even spotting with rain half way through was a lovely refresher. Lloyds Park has a couple of nasty hills on their course which was a bit off putting as you had just got in to your stride and you were faced with a climb which unfortunately led to walking for me 😦 I did this run with my fav auntie and pre-school mums and it was lovely all meeting at the finish line. I didn’t break my hour time I had set myself and finsihed in 1 hr 14 mins but I was quite pleased as I had to stop for a ‘paula radcliffe’ wee in the bushes on the way round! lol

croydon run

The MC at the event was really good and got everyone gee’d up at the beginning, he was congratulating everyone over the finish line which was nice to hear as us 10Kers set off for our second lap as the 5K runners were finishing. This race for life beat the my first run hands down, the 5K and 10K runners set off about the same time so the venue was packed and the buzz was amazing.  I totally recommend Race For Life 5 and 10K’s, they are really good to get you into running and raise money for a deserving cause.

Finally I need to say a massive thank you to all the people who sponsored me for these runs – I totally SMASHED my target and am overwhelmed with the support so THANK YOU! Maybe a half marathon next…..??

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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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