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  • The colours of the Sea Life Centre in Birmingham

    Taking a Toddler to the National Sea Life Centre, Birmingham

    I don’t take advantage of living on the outskirts of Birmingham half as much as I should. Every time I venture into the city, I’m amazed at what it has to offer and try to remind myself to take the short train ride more often. The city centre has so much for families, and this weekend we braved the school-holiday crowds and ventured down to the National Sea Life Centre.

    I’ve been meaning to take Pickle to the Sea Life Centre for ages, and as I’d offered to take my foster brothers out for the day, it seemed the perfect place to entertain adults, two older children (not yet teenagers!) and a toddler. That feels like no mean feat – I can’t think of many places that would be appropriate for such a wide age range. I had quite high hopes for this day out and I think the reality managed to even exceed my expectations. Despite a few stressy moments where I thought I’d completely lost LPD and Pickle, we had a really brilliant day. read more

    18-24 Months, Culture, Days Out, Parenting, Reviews
    / April 8, 2018
  • Hush A Bye Audience

    Theatre Review: Hush-a-Bye – Oily Cart at Warwick Arts Centre

    This time last year, Pickle had his first experience of theatre: In a Pickle by Oily Cart. It absolutely blew me (and him) away, and was the best possible introduction to children’s theatre I could have asked for. They set the standard bar really high! And although we’ve seen some pretty brilliant theatre together since, nothing has quite matched that first production for me.

    It’s no surprise then, that I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my last day before going back to work than enjoying another Oily Cart theatre performance with Pickle, Hush-a-Bye. In fact, I delayed my start date by two days to make sure I wouldn’t miss it! I am delighted to say I was not disappointed. Not one bit. It was everything I was hoping it would be, and more. read more

    Culture, Days Out, Parenting, Reviews
    / February 8, 2018
  • Stick Man Production Image

    Theatre Review: Stick Man – Scamp Theatre at Town Hall, Birmingham

    Who doesn’t love a little bit of Julia Donaldson? Right from when he was just a few months old, our Donaldson board books have been highly amongst Pickle’s favourites – in fact, I rarely attempt a lunch out or a coffee date without taking Postman Bear* with us. I was, obviously, delighted when I heard the Town Hall in Birmingham had programmed in a touring production of Stick Man by Scamp Theatre and after we’d finished off our Christmas Dinner, walked off the pudding on our traditional Boxing Day Clent Hills walk, we headed into town on 27th December to take in the show.

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    Culture, Parenting
    / December 28, 2017
  • Home for Christmas photo opportunity at the end of the performance - Pickle didn't want to sit on the car!

    Theatre Review: Home for Christmas – New Old Friends at Lichfield Garrick Theatre

    We’re lucky to live in the West Midlands – we have a wonderful wealth of cultural venues to choose from. We’re a stone’s throw away from Birmingham and all our second city has to offer (from big arena venues and multi-disciplinary centres to smaller intimate studio spaces), Warwick Arts Centre is only a hop along the motorway and more locally, Artrix in Bromsgrove has a fantastic programme for young people and families. These venues offer such a wealth of theatre that I rarely look further afield, but our visit to the Lichfield Garrick this weekend to see New Old Friends‘ production Home for Christmas may change that!

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    / December 17, 2017
  • The Snowman animation screen projected above the orchestra in Coventry Cathedral

    Review: The Snowman Tour – Carrot Productions at Coventry Cathedral

    Well, we couldn’t have picked a more appropriate weekend to go and see The Snowman Tour! Less than twenty-four hours after we ventured to Coventry (newly appointed City of Culture 2021, don’t you know), we were building our very own Snowman, complete with bowler hat, scarf and multicoloured buttons. Thank goodness that the snow didn’t start falling until after we’d returned home as I’d have been absolutely gutted to have missed what was a completely magical evening.

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    Culture, Parenting
    / December 11, 2017