On Saturday I had one of the best moments of the year so far, when Ethan and I travelled to London for the day. We had a date in the capital and it was a fab being there and hopping on and off the tube trying to find our way! The main focus of our visit was to go see Pinocchio at the National Theatre on the South bank, but we of course manged to squeeze in a few of the sights and some sushi too!

Pinocchio

Whats makes us real? And how often are we led by others ideas, and bound by the strings of their opinions and control?

Do we live our life in all of its pleasures instead of with some honesty, accountability, balance and thoughts for others?

The moral lessons of life, love and family run deep in the story of the puppet boy that desires to be real, without really understanding what that entails. Brought to life on a giant set, with magnificent life like giant puppets, song, magic and edge of your seat action, both Ethan and I were hugely impressed and loved the stage adaptation of Pinocchio!

Pinocchio is the spectacular new production brought to the stage by an extraordinary team including John Tiffany the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dennis Kelly the writer of Matilda the Musical. It features unforgettable music and songs from the Walt Disney film including I’ve Got No StringsGive a Little Whistle and When You Wish upon a Star in dazzling new arrangements.

From the moment the lights went down it was filled with magic, wonderment, adventure, illusions, familiar songs and to me – great symbolism and life lessons. Ethan’s jaw dropped and he was fixated on the set…the lights and the giant puppets. He marvelled at it all and told me afterwards how magical and amazing it was and how he loved it so much. He even had the opportunity on the way out ro chat to the light and sound guy who truly inspired him for a career in technical theatre!

It is a fantastic musical to take children to, truly enchanting, and the way it was created for stage was spectacular.

The adults and set were all done on a giant scale to help you feel the smallness of Pinocchio in his character as a little puppet. And each scene was captivating as we followed his new life which he has magically entered, the choices he has before him and the paths life takes him on, often influenced by the deceit of others.

It rather similar to the film and yet full of surprises too. I found it really interesting to see that the main human characters of the show were all played by giant puppets, and yet the only “real puppet” was actually played by a “real boy”!

Each of the puppets were so impressive and breathtaking and so fabulously made. They were very life like and had amazing stage presence. It all felt so life like and drew us in, and certainly helped put Pinocchio into proportion.

I really loved it all, but especially the depth and lessons that ooze out of the story through song, dance and general performance. It left me afterwards pondering on many of the lessons in life that it explores, and I suppose generally evaluating my own choices. I always love shows that leave an impact!

One of my favourite scene’s (aside from the ones with high energy singing and dancing), would have to be how they created the whale and underwater part of the story. You may remember from the film that Gepetto is swallowed by a whale and Pinocchio goes into the sea to find him. This part of the show absolutely fascinated both of us as to how the lighting and effects so perfectly gave the illusions of being under water. Jamie Harrison (who also worked on Harry potter and the cursed child in London’s West end), certainly knows how to amaze and enchant audiences of all ages!

Being in a London theatre on a date with my biggest of kiddies was an adventure in itself, but seeing a musical of such depth and amusement, with wonderful magic and mind blowing artistry was just amazing. Everyone involved did a brilliant job and as a result we have been on a high all weekend. It was an outstanding day, filled with several extraordinary moments, and I keep doing little jigs around the kitchen whilst singing “I got no strings”…

The Lyttelton theatre and all on stage, gave a magnificent show, and it was lovely to enjoy a day together that made us truly feel alive and joyful!

Pinocchio run at the Lyttelton Theatre at National Theatre London until 10th April! I would highly recommend it as it is so amazing. If like us you have a family railcard, then trains to London can be Mega cheap even from Yorkshire for a quick day trip of fun and some theatre adventures!

*Thanks to National Theatre for inviting us to review this spectacular show! 

 

Family Fever
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Sometimes it is the spontaneous, and very ordinary outings we have, that become the ones that hold the moments we most treasure. And this was certainly true of our little adventure on Saturday.

We had various plans and things to do on Saturday, and yet at 1pm we found ourselves doing none of them, and instead heading up to Sewerby Park (over in Bridlington) for a nice walk and some family time. We decided with the weather being nice, that they could see the animals there, play on the park, and generally just enjoy a little wander together.


Up on the cliff tops and overlooking the bay, it is a place we have visited numerous times and love….An ordinary part of my childhood and now an ordinary part of theirs. A place full of lovely memories and ordinary moments, nature and beauty, and something for us all. Of course when they realised where we were they burst with excitement to be there!

 Alice however is a bit of newbie to Sewerby Park, and whilst she probably came with us as little baby on previous visits, she certainly wouldn’t have remembered or gotten much out of it. I found that this time it meant we had an opportunity to see it all with new eyes and see it from her perspective. The kids enjoyed pointing things out and coaxing her to see things they thought she would love! It started when I decided to let her out of the buggy to explore with her siblings, we were in no rush and I wanted to let her wander to see what she did – She wandered around, not after them, but on her own, and loved her new found freedom. It was so lovely to watch her, and then to watch them all together; Ethan and Megan trying so hard to coax her in to following them! It provided several moments I wanted to bottle up and treasure forever.

She wandered to the animals and shouted as if we’d never seen them before, and wandered with eyes wide, in awe at the sounds, the sky and the world around her. She wandered from pen to pen on a mission, with her little finger pointing as she went, and then so expressive as she peered in at the animals behind each fence…. “oooing” and “Ahhhhhing”!

She wandered her own way and at her own pace and I had no choice but to follow and allows her her independence.

 There is always something lovely about going to familiar places filled with wonderful memories, and these are made more when you can see and appreciate them with fresh eyes. It’s crazy to think how quickly time is going and how fast Alice is growing and changing. I feel we are now in this wandering stage… exploring all we can and taking in the sights and sounds of the world. It takes a little longer, but I love these moments when we can slow down and remember how great the ordinary stages and moments are. This little wanderer certainly brings so much to our lives and our family with each step she takes in a new direction, and with each new thing she points out to us.

The Ordinary Moments
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Purely based upon its amazing history and splendid sights, York is by far my fave city of the north to look around and explore. We frequently visit, and each time we do it is just as lovely as before. The kids love it an so do we. We therefore were understandably, super excited to dig deeper into it’s history this last weekend, when we were asked to review Fairfax house.

Fairfax House in York boasts to be the finest Georgian house in England, and bursting with history, charm and beauty, it really is a great way to learn about Georgian York. Set in the heart of the city (across from Clifford’s Tower), it easy to access and reveals so much about both the Georgian gentry and aristocracy, as well as those who lived below stairs.

I absolutely love anything that is devoted to sharing a piece of history, and very much enjoy wandering through old houses and being transported back to that particular period. I do however struggle when the kids don’t enjoy it so much and whine or mess with antiques (you know the score)! This wasn’t an issue at Fairfax House, as they were as equally fascinated and interested, and kept occupied by a wonderful learning experience through “Gregory” (the Townhouse mouse).

Using a beautifully printed booklet, they followed him through each room on a quest to discover facts, artefacts and stories about the house and those who once resided there. They had to search for him, draw things, count things, and seek out the answers, which was both interesting and fun.

Each room carried a different task, and it was lovely to see them confidently approach staff to ask questions, and in return listen intently to their wealth of knowledge about the house and it’s former residents. I loved seeing them getting excited about everything from decor and furniture, to little quirks, and of course discovering Gregory!

We especially loved the grandeur of the dining room, the funny pigeons baked in pies (kitchen) and the very tall beds in the bedrooms! The wallpapers, finishing’s, ceilings and staircases are incredibly beautiful and with both Gregory the mouse and the lovely people that work there it was a great morning.

I loved how kid/family friendly it was, from the fact under 6’s are Free, to the well planned activities with Gregory the mouse throughout the house. The staff welcomed children and had great tales to tell, and interesting little things to show them. It all added up to be a most fascinating and fun family visit!

Useful Info

Opening times –
Monday: Entrance by guided tour at 11.00am and 2.00pm. No bookings are required. Just arrive 10 minutes before the start of the scheduled tour. Tours last approximately 1 hour.
Bank Holiday Mondays: The House is open as normal 10.00am to 5.00pm and there are no guided tours.
Tuesday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Wednesday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Thursday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Friday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Saturday: 10.00am to 5.00pm.
Sunday: 11.00am to 4.00pm.

Cost –
Adult: £7.50
Concession: £6.00 (applies to over 60s and students)
Children: £3.00 (over 6 and under 16) and include the Townhouse Mouse Trail or Townhouse Mouse Quest.
Family ticket: £17.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children) – Which is VERY reasaonable. Remember under 6’s are free so if you have a tribe it’s very good!

Parking –
We arrived on Saturday, late morning and parking was easy to find in the car park next to Clifford’s Tower. I think it was about £3/hr. Check park and rides though, as these will probably be better value if you are spending a day in York.

Pushchairs – 
The only downside I found was that the house isn’t pushchair friendly. It wasn’t an issue as we carried Alice between us and then she walked in between. with this in mind, I would have preferred the carrier, so just bare it in mind if you have little one’s… They were happy to store the buggy for us!

Pictures –
No pictures are allowed in the house! Hard rule when you’re a blogger!!

Why not take a trip to York this half term or for a family weekend visit, and discover a little more about the Georgians. There are lovely tea rooms and places to eat close by, finished off with some Christmas shopping and walk on the wall will make for the perfect Autumnal day out!  I most certainly want to return to see it in its Christmas splendour!

  • Thank you to Fairfax House for inviting us to visit and review. The visit was complimentary in return for an honest review… I have permission to use their images. 
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I’ve had this post in my drafts for quite a while (since the Summer to be exact). And whilst we have entered a new season, I still very much wanted to preserve and share this moment from the Summer, and just generally remember how joyful it was for little Megsie.

Megan has loved adored animals for as long as I can remember and since understanding about careers and jobs, she has told people she wants to be a Vet (or a farmers wife with 100 babies)! When Ethan went off to preschool she would ask weekly to go to the farm, and even now her ideas for birthday treats and family outings involve zoos, Sea life or animal parks. Her life very much revolves around animals, and so of course they featured several times on our Summer bucket list,.  . And it was on the last day of the summer holidays we chose to go to the Animal Park and Bird of Prey centre at Park Rose Village, Bridlington and finally accomplished the farm goal!

Here we anticipated we’d enjoy a lovely day out together, seeing the usual farm animals, along with the added bonus of birds of prey and reptiles. What we didn’t anticipate though (and what was the real highlight), was that we would have an opportunity to get up close to the Wallaby’s and have a go at feeding them! Park Rose let visitors get hands on with feeding times and animal handling through out the day and it was such an exciting and fun thing to do with the kids.

  

We arrived about 10ish and so were right on time for feeding the wallaby’s at 11 after looking round the park! It was something Megan was absolutely keen to do and over the moon about. It was fun for us all but an especially beautiful moment to see our little animal lover sat on a log making friends with some wallaby’s! She was so patient and still… so engrossed and at ease. She didn’t squeal or flinch like some of the kids did, and she didn’t tire and just lob it at them across the pen (again like some other kids did!). Instead she looked at them longingly, and waited and waited patiently and quietly taking it all very seriously. It was then that she was able to put them at ease too and make friends with the wallaby’s (as she told us afterwards) and enjoy some extra ordinary moments feeding them.

Located just outside of Bridlington it is only 20minutes for us now, and was a very reasonable family day out at only £20 for us all to get in. It isn’t vast but it is very unique, has some great things to do, and you can come and go all day with the same ticket if you wish. They also have a Groupon on at the moment for Kids to have a hands on experience with the Birds or Meerkats … if you don’t want to pay extra then just go along as a regular visit like we did (maybe this half term?) and in the mornings you can feed the Wallaby’s, handle reptiles and watch the nutty Emu’s dance around their pen!

 Seasonal Bucket lists are a great way to involve the whole families interests in outings and activities. They are a way for kids to try new things as well as doing the things they love too. I find them an excellent way to show appreciation for that season, give us some focus, and create habits of seasonal appropriate activities for the whole family. For Autumn we hope to (and have already done) …

2017 Autumn Bucket List

Bake Ginger bread
Make an Apple Pie 

Go on a Spooky Walk 
Go to a Halloween Party (or 2)
Watch a spooky movie together
Go to a fair
Go to a Bonfire & Watch some fireworks
Write our names with Sparklers 
Make something using things from Nature 
Build a fire and snuggle round it 
Go out for Hot chocolate
See a windmill

Climb a mountain 
Go on a Bike Ride
Collect Conkers

Go to a Pumpkin Farm 
Carve Pumpkins
Go on a muddy nature walk
Eat warm Soup

What traditions do you enjoy in the Autumn?

*This is not a sponsored post! 
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