Last night we were entertained to the max, when Ethan, Megan and I had a wonderful night out to Hull New Theatre, where we saw the award-winning stage adaptation of David Walliams’ bestselling book “Gangsta Granny”! It was a fantastic play filled with lots of trumping, crime, mischief and laugh out loud jokes. We had sparkle, dancing, creative scene changes and a whole load of absolutely fantastic acting that kept us engrossed throughout!

It was most definitely worth some bedtime rebellion on a school night!

If you don’t know the hilarious and captivating tale of Gangsta Granny then where have you been?? It is brilliant and filled with some right good British humour! It follows the story of an 11-year-old boy “Ben”, who is doomed to spend Friday nights with his “boring old Gran” whilst his parents pursue their Strictly Come Dancing dreams. He dreads the games of scrabble, the array of cabbage inspired delicacies, but mostly though, it’s the thought of ending his week with a “boring” old lady that smells a bit funky!

But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and he soon discovers that Friday nights are about to get a whole lot more exciting than he could ever imagine, as he embarks on the adventure of a lifetime with his very own Gangsta Granny.

I loved the British humour throughout and each character was played incredibly well. It was a brilliant, family friendly evening and one of those performances where you really feel a part of it – right in there feeling the heart of the whole thing! It was so good to see such a favourite come alive in that way and share it with Ethan and Megs.

We all loved the props, the set, the dancing, jokes and persistent cabbage trumps! We loved the real life granny scooter – “bezzing” (yes I know that’s not a real word!) around the stage and the humorous antics of “Mr Parker” and Ben’s parents. We loved the cheeky character of his Granny and in between all of those laughs and action packed moments, we also loved how it captured our hearts to see the fun and beauty of a relationship grow between a boy and his Gran, when they finally found a shared passion and adventure!!

I would, without a doubt recommend this to everyone. It is so much fun to be a part of and thanks to the Birmingham Stage Company we can now cross “dance with the Queen” off our bucket lists after such a brilliant finale! But don’t take my word alone… I’m a “boring old(ish)” mummy! Here’s what my kids thought of it too – Ethan is 7 and Megan recently turned 6!

Ethans Review: 

“That was so so so funny! I really loved it and thought their acting was just so good – they were all really good and it was so cool how they looked like they were in the car and the water but not a real one! And I loved the stage – yes the stage was so magical because it had all hidden things that turned into stuff and it was marvellous how they did that.

I would give it 1,000 stars – it was really good!!”

Megan’s Review:

“I liked the trumping the best (*of course!) and the dancing cat and Queen were really funny! I didn’t know the Queen could do the floss but that was the real Queen and she can so I will be telling everyone that!

I’d say it was the best night, not becuase we stayed up late, not because I loved it like Ethan and laughed my head off too. I will tell all of my friends they have to see it because the trumps are sooooooooo funny and they have a dancing cat!”

If your kids find trumping Granny’s and trumping Queens funny and, if they like dancing cats and seeing the Queen do the floss, then the exciting tale of Ben’s “Gangsta Granny” with all of its secret plans and plots, is certainly not to be missed. It was a lot of fun and you will certainly not regret a night out to catch a piece of the action down at Hull New Theatre this weekend! Birmingham Stage Company have done a fabulous job of this well loved tale and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute!

Gangsta Granny is showing until Sunday the 8th July and tickets are on sale now from £15.50! Book at the Hull City Hall Box Office by calling 01482 300 306 or visit their website www.hulltheatres.co.uk.

*This was complimentary press visit in exchange for a review. 

 

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Since being little (or rather littler), both Ethan and Megan have loved and embraced rock climbing. We used to go most weeks after Pre-school and it was something they adored and looked forward to. We would play games, have fun, explore, but mostly they would learn how to boulder and climb in a safe way.

The two of them are both natural climbers…inquisitive and built to explore almost anything above ground level! I found that rock climbing was a way for them to let it out, and a way for me to allow them to channel this away from our home, kitchen cupboards and windowsills! From the top of the climbing frame in the park, to cliffs at the seaside…these two are fearless little climbers!

Yesterday we visited a local manor house and Estate for a lovely nature walk around the grounds, bike ride and play in the park. As usual the kids ran off the beaten track to explore and find the perfect trees to climb. They ate their lunch beneath its branches (in their “den”) and then together climbed and explored. Higher and higher, laughing and chattering, and I never had a second thought. It is an ordinary part of their relationship, an ordinary part of our nature outings.

I forget some days that not all kids are like this, and it wasn’t until yesterday, when a couple passing looked up into the tree in a concerned manner, that I realised their confidence with climbing isn’t across the board!  They kept saying how high they were (like we didn’t know), but I put their mind at rest by saying its all normal! The tree wasn’t as high as the nets at the playground, and If they can get up there, then they can usually get back down.

I love that all kids are different. That as parents we are comfortable with different things, and therefore are raising variety in this world!  For us it is definitely all about heights, an adrenaline rush, a little risk, and climbing up things. Perhaps I am a little slack in this area compared to some, I am not an overly cautious parent when it comes to adventure and I don’t feel uneasy with them tree climbing or climbing generally. It is an ordinary part of childhood, and ordinary moment for our family that fills us all with joy and awe!

I love their confidence, their agility and mostly their bond in these things. I love to see my little playmates, my little risk assessors and little nature lovers. They are my little climbers and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Ordinary Moments
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This weekend I have been in Manchester to do my SANDS befriender training (which I will share with you more once I have digested it), and whilst it was nice to do something for myself, it felt really weird not being with Nathan and the kids over the weekend. In hindsight it couldn’t have come at a better time as it fell right at the start of half term, and with the weight of the subject for 2 solid days, I couldn’t be happier for a break from school this coming week and an opportunity to chill out with my little family. Six days (plus the weekends) of no school runs, mad dashes, clock watching and wondering where the uniforms are – blissful!

Instead I get to have them with me, I get hang out with my oldest 2 and we can look forward to lots of fun together. Mr Smith is also on annual leave and so we have loads of outings and adventures planned and I don’t know about the kids, but after spending 2 days away from them, and never quite getting back into school life after Christmas, I just feel like its going to be great fun and I actually can’t wait!

Term time is hard for me sometimes. Not always, just sometimes. For starters I am rubbish with the whole school run thing and getting there in good time, (most days its with 30 seconds to spare or as the gate is closing) but more so I have realised since both Ethan and Megan started school that Sometimes I really do miss my kids. Its seems funny sharing this, but then I guess parenting is a funny thing isn’t it? You spend your days tearing your hair out and trying to get little people to cooperate with you (or each other) and some days it reduces you to tears – Other days the brink of insanity. You look forward to bedtime like its Christmas, a shower like its a holiday, and you just hope for a day you can go to the toilet with out an audience. Most days are spent wishing for a moments peace, a dinner whilst its still hot and dressing on some level that is remotely stylish (but you would just accept snot free)! Its harder than any other “job” and a break is what you crave, yet when it comes, you realise how much you have grown to love the noisy mad life you lead.

For me, I mostly miss our outings and adventures – the busy days we enjoyed together exploring that only seem to come now in the holidays and occasional weekend. And whilst I do really like peace and quiet in my life, I do miss their chatter, their funny little characters, their outlook on life, and generally just their company. Of course I have days like every other parent where we are almost running to school (not always because we are late), so I can have a breather and a few moments of peace and quiet, but once that is over, once I have cleaned up and got the house in some order, or had an hour or 2 at the shops, I realise I miss them and the fun they bring to my life. I realise it all feels a little lonesome without my sidekicks.

I noticed this loads on our recent trip to Hamburg and discussed it at lengths with Mr Smith. Whilst I had been uber excited for a romantic city break together, and really needed it too, I found myself more anxious than normal about being away from the kids. I worried about all that could go wrong and stop us returning to them, and I generally missed sharing that experience with them. I learnt that we don’t have to go far away to have a break as a couple now (its just as lovely in a local hotel), and realised how much I truly love to have my kids travel with us and relish the adventure. I missed sharing the experience with them and seeing their faces at new sites and things. I missed the wonder, the questions and telling them stories…I just missed us being together as a family, doing something different and out of the ordinary, and missed kissing them goodnight. We both agreed that that’s okay, it wasn’t the same without them and in future we will all go!

Having kids was an easy choice for me, but not so easy in reality. I do find it a challenge, extremely tiring and some days I just want to write off. I know I could be less snappy, more attentive some days and more interactive too, but despite these things, I really do love motherhood, being a stay at home mum and being around the people that made me a mummy.

I don’t know if it is as my kids get older and become more aware that we aren’t there, or the fact one of our children died and I couldn’t stop that, and couldn’t bare that happening again. Perhaps its that missing of her so much and the pain of loss that has made me feel like I need to have all my others close. Or maybe its that we see so much horror in the news and I just can’t bear the thought of them being told mummy and daddy aren’t coming home because something happened …I just know that I miss being away from my kids for too long now and need to cuddle them tightly. I know that I feel most happy and content when we are all together, when my little chicks are close and safe in the nest and where I can show and tell them how much I adore and love them. I feel joy when they are where we can make memories together.

Life and its adventures are certainly richer when they are present.

My Petit Canard
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It became apparent to me at the start of this half term that Ethan seemed to be falling short when it came to his spellings. He has gone from an impressive and acceptable 7/8 to getting none at all right and not quite able to see the errors either. Their education is obviously important to us and so with this my worried mother mode well and truly kicked in and I have since been trying to increase our frequency of practice tests and spontaneous words to spell out loud. But, with 2 other demanding little people in the mix you can imagine it isn’t always productive or even possible (Que mum guilt)!

His maths are great and he always gets top marks in maths homework too – he just seems to click with that…and science too is something he talks about endlessly on those days, but English? Whilst he enjoys writing he seems to not be clicking as well with it. He isn’t particularly keen when it comes to school generally and found the new school year/new teacher set up a little worrisome, and now with his depleting test scores each week in spellings he seems to be feeling more awkward and I have hoped to find something that would ignite a learning desire and help him to improve in the process.

Discovering Education Quizzes

We were asked recently to review Education quizzes, which is the most comprehensive online source of UK National curriculum to help support children’s learning and revision throughout their various stages of education. It is used by students, teachers and tutors alike with a key focus to help kids be successful at school and once you have access, you can use it across several devices at once!

Quizzes are formulated by teachers and so go along with what the kids are leaning in class and discovering it has meant that I have a source rich with fun learning materials to support both kids at each of their individual learning stages. They love it and so do I….Ethan especially has been rather passionate about it and it certainly seems to be the answer we were searching for for that extra “kick”.

Whether for fun together around the table after school, or to test them in the areas I know they seem to be flunking, it is a valuable tool that follows the curriculum and enables us to work together to test knowledge and build upon weaknesses. Because it is written by teachers and follows the various things they have been doing in class, it instantly helps them feel comfortable as they have some recollection when faced with the questions.

I love it and have found it great for me as a parent to not only see where they are at and get a feel for what I should be doing with them outside of school (lets face it kids rarely go into depth on what they are learning once they leave those school gates), but also to know how to help them. It has given me better understanding of what they should know and be able to understand rather than me expecting too much or making tasks too simple…you can clearly see what type of questions they should be able to answer from what that have been learning at the ages of 4 & 6!

Another great thing we love is that they get a big green tick when its right and then rather than just saying whether the answer is right or wrong, it shows the child where they went wrong and teaches them more in the process too.

Both Ethan and Megan have enjoyed showing me what they know and having me help them figure out what they don’t or “can’t remember”. Ethan at 6yrs old is able to use it independently which was good for him and his confidence, and great for me to then work with Megan on reading, baking or letter formation. He also enjoys when we all sit together and discuss the tricky ones and then having the opportunity to do it again to try and do better! He has already gained a lot from the spelling quizzes and counting in 10’s and 5’s and its great to know that whilst on screens and having fun, they are also being productive!

For Megan at 4.5 she loves to do the 2D/3D shape quizzes from KS1 and upper and lower case letters. It is not only helpful for her education, but it has been great for some sibling bonding too. Their teachers have suggested recently getting Ethan to help Megan with her writing and letters, since they moved her up a level (and thought he would be useful in getting the potential out of her), and he has delivered. He reads them out and asks her the questions…they discuss and he is never shy of praise when she gets it right…

Our kids don’t have Ipads or tablets and rarely use computers at home either…their screen time simply comes in the form of films or children’s TV whilst I frantically prepare dinner, or need an extra 15 min snooze on a morning, so being allowed on my precious laptop after school  to “work” (study) has been both exciting and helpful for us all. Its great to get a balance of fun, screen time and education and I can already see the benefits of this site for sats and GCSE revision too in the future.

Subscription is £9.95 a month and can be cancelled at any time – useful for spontaneous revision sessions with older kids. But for me with 2 kids (one in YR1, one in Reception) I find that broken down over a month really isn’t much at all to help them in their learning and education and to have a source to bring us together to support them in their work. It is something that could come out with us to pass the time on journey’s too, but wherever we choose to access it, we are confident it is good and coinciding with the curriculum they are learning at school!

If you are your kids are interested in Nature too, then why not check out Education Quizzes daily nature blog here.

*This post is sponsored by Education Quizzes and is our honest thoughts and opinions of their site. 

 

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