Sleeping Beauty Pantomime at Key Theatre Peterborough

We had never taken the children to a pantomime before so when we were kindly invited to watch Sleeping Beauty at the Key Theatre we were happy to accept! 

I have been to see other productions at the Key. However, as much as I love the theatre I don’t get the opportunity to go as much I would like to. I am definitely intending on changing this in 2018! Call it a resolution if you like. 

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We awoke on the morning of the pantomime to find that overnight the snow had settled covering our street in a blanket of white. As beautiful as the snow looks it’s not really practical when you have things to do.

I did wonder whether the pantomime would go ahead at all but one look at twitter and it became clear that it would take more than a bit of dodgy weather to stop this show. 

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The show must go on

We got to theatre a little later than planned thanks to a bit of trouble with the parking machine. Parking at the theatre is chargeable. 

Collecting our tickets from the box office was simple and the queue was thankfully a fast moving one. We hurried to our seats and waited excitedly for the show to begin! The Key Theatre do have booster seats available but thanks to its gradient seating and the small person in front of him, Moose didn’t need boosting.

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As any parent of large age gap children knows, it is sometimes difficult to find an activity which entertains both children at a similar level. The pantomime can definitely be added to that (short) list. 

From the moment that Fairy PD walked out onto the stage both Bess and Moose were hooked. I had been a bit apprehensive that 135 minutes would be a bit much for Moose to sit through but he was utterly transfixed by it all. 

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Carabosse (the bad fairy) was a surprise hit with both of the children. When asked who his favourite was, Moose said the bad fairy because he liked shouting BOOOOO. Bess loved her Taylor Swift parody. She really was a fabulous character and probably my favourite too!

135 minutes could have been a bit long

As I said previously, I had my doubts. To be honest I wasn’t sure MrG would like it. He is quite grumpy about these things and has said in the past that he doesn’t really “get” the appeal. Even he was laughing at the carefully constructed adult jokes which flew straight over the children’s heads and although he did say he felt like there was a lot of music (no less than 15 songs) I caught him humming along… 

In the interval Grandma Chicken (not a panto character, just a nickname for my Mum created by Bess which stuck) bought some goodies. We were pleasantly surprised that the prices for snacks were really very reasonable. The children had a pack which cost £3.50 and contained; popcorn, fruit shoot, packet of buttons and a pot of ice cream. I had some popcorn £2 and a bottle of coke £2. Moose ate his in the correct way by tipping the chocolate buttons into the popcorn. He gave me his ice cream as (and I quote) “it was too cold”. Kids are odd. 

There were also flashing wands and swords available. I decided not to buy one as Moose hadn’t spotted them and I was pretty sure him having one would result in some kind of injury (to someone else) but they too were not badly priced at less than £5 each. 

 

If you haven’t booked tickets then I think you should

It’s a very traditional family friendly panto with the usual audience participation and funny lines to shout.  The Panto follows the story of Aurora who is cursed at her naming ceremony by Carabosse (the spurned former fiance of the King) and is sent to live with the 3 good fairies as their niece until her 18th birthday to escape Carabosse’s curse. There to help along the way was Jingle the Jester. 

The cast were all fabulous! Jingle the Jester and Queen Iona Trumpet especially were very funny. I was really impressed by the set and costumes too! It all felt really polished – Bess wasn’t sure whether Carabosse getting the giggles was part of the show but it was amusing nonetheless.

We found the show to be fun, engaging for all ages and really a great way to introduce the children to the theatre. I will feel a lot more confident taking Moose to future productions. 

Will we return? Oh yes we will!

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Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch the pantomime in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

Qblogger

A couple of weeks ago I joined a few new blogging friends to complete my first challenge as a QBlogger for our local Queensgate shopping centre

The whole QBlogger event was shrouded in secrecy

All I had been told was that we were to assemble (much like the Avengers) at Hotel Chocolat and await further instruction. 

 

You know you are about to embark on something rather exciting when it starts with a very indulgent hot chocolate and an envelope with a wax seal! 

 

Inside the envelope was a letter outlining my task for the evening ahead. I had to go shopping! Specifically I had to search the Queensgate shops for an outfit suitable for an evening dining with my Mummy friends. I thought about my Mummy friends and decided to look beyond the fact that we would be most at home necking a quick kebab (sorry ladies) in favour of a more civilised approach to the task at hand.

 

So, back to the hot chocolate. It was absolutely delicious and topped with an enormous amount of chocolate cream. While we all enjoyed our treat I took some photos of Hotel Chocolat’s gorgeous Christmas range. 

I love the tiddly pots (tubs of chocolate buttons in dark, caramel or milk) and I will definitely keep them in mind for a treat for Moose the next time we come for a mooch in town.

I need one of these wreaths. Pistachio, white chocolate and cranberry. The perfect trinity of flavour!

 

 

This is just a small selection of what is on offer this Christmas at Hotel Chocolat – don’t get me started on what look like the best advent calendars ever!

The Queensgate shopping centre is undergoing some really exciting changes at the moment but it is all still business as usual. I really love how colourful the new seating is though I have to admit, I still miss the sunken seating outside John Lewis!

I had to get my skates on

To say I am not the most natural of shoppers would be a little bit of an understatement. I am afraid that I am the classic stereotypical Mother who really only spends money on myself when it is necessary. What I lack in experience though I more than made up for in enthusiasm! The opportunity to spend on myself guilt-free? Yes please.

The first hurdle I had to overcome was finding a store which stocked my size. With the current reshuffle of shops it is admittedly a bit of a challenge to find a lot of choice for larger ladies in Queensgate while sticking to a budget. It’s not that none of the shops sell clothing in my size, it’s more that it is pot luck finding it to be on the rack! Usually I get around this by ordering online and collecting my purchases from the store.

By this point I had 1 hour to complete my challenge. Luckily New Look has a brilliant curves range which I was really impressed with.

I managed to spot a gorgeous suedette jacket and a charcoal top with sparkly silver detail (to add the requested touch of glam) and both were well within budget!

For me Autumn and Winter should be all about comfort and that means choosing fabrics which not only look nice but feel great too. I found a gorgeous mustard chunky knit scarf in Primark which definitely fitted the bill.

By the time I had located the scarf our time was up! I couldn’t believe how quickly it had flown by and how much fun we had completing the QBlogger challenge.

Our evening wasn’t over yet though, we had to meet the other bloggers at Turtle Bay restaurant. I cannot pretend that the prospect of meeting at one of my favourite restaurants didn’t fill me with glee!

Turtle Bay

Upon entry to the restaurant Jaymee and I were welcomed by the lovely Becca and Leigh and I was introduced to the other bloggers present; Rachel from Helpless Whilst Drying and Laura from Loved By Laura.

A little after we arrived we were joined by Sabina from Deepin Mummy Matters

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I just love the food at Turtle Bay so I was not disappointed to have so many lovely dishes to try. Pictured are the Just Jerk Platter and the Goat Curry with Festival Dumplings and Rice and Peas. Delicious! 

Despite feeling incredibly nervous about my first QBlogger event it was lovely to meet everyone and have a good chat! Before we knew it was time to retreat back to our cars and head home.

I have to be honest, I really dislike being in photographs but I felt like I should show off my lovely New Look jacket so here is me looking aloof (it’s actually awkward more than aloof but I went with it), and a fence and some very autumnal leaves. You’re welcome. 

I naively thought that my purchases would remain my own. Moose had other ideas and the morning after our challenge he immediately adopted my chunky scarf for himself. I have since negotiated its safe return.

Thank you so much Queensgate for an exciting evening and for making me part of such a fabulous group of people!

 

New Years Resolutions

I don’t really do resolutions. Usually. I also don’t tend to open my life up to the world and his wife but the advent of this blog has proved me wrong on the latter so what do I know? No time like the present to give it a go, right?

I have decided that 2017 is going to be all about clawing back a bit of the me that I miss. Clichés ready? Then let’s do this..

1.Change My Body Shape

My weight doesn’t bother me. The number on the scale and the number on the little tag in my clothing. Maybe it should, its a big number, but it really doesn’t. At the moment I am uncomfortable in my skin and if I am truly honest it is interfering with my mood, how I play with my kids and…my marriage. I am not going to whine on about it but I know it has to change. Going for a walk each day is how I will begin.. and not eating chocolate for breakfast for a change (maybe)

2. Blog for Myself

The world of blogging is one I am easing myself into. I have met some incredible people and I have read some amazing posts – I feel like I am learning a massive amount and long may it continue. But I have been tying myself up in knots worrying about what people think of how I write and trying to censor myself here and there. I can’t even tell you why really, to appeal to the masses? hmm I don’t think I have ever even liked the masses so I am not certain why I would want to do a thing like that.

3. Eat Less Meat

I like meat. A rare steak is a beautiful thing to behold. I do think though that to be healthier I need to reduce my intake and also, this goes hand in hand with being a bit more creative in the kitchen. I can cook, I would love to actually be good at it though and I want to learn to cook at least a couple of meat-free dishes per month. If you have any good recipes for me, feel free to leave them in the comments section!

 4. Watch Less TV

I enjoy TV. I can watch hour upon hour of, well, pretty much anything. That’s the problem. A lot of it is amazing but most is actually quite dire. I think know that time could be better spent elsewhere, so that’s my plan! I am hoping to fill those extra hours by dedicating more time to working on the blog and also by doing some online courses.

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5. Sleep More!

This is my favourite resolution. Sleep is so underrated. I am lucky now that Moose sleeps roughly 11 hours a night but he has dropped his afternoon nap so if I have any hope of not turning into a perpetually irritated old hag I need to make sure I catch up on the ZZZZ’s too. Usually I can grab 5/6 hours a night. I am not someone who can be happy on less than 7. I need to sort it out!

New plan is.. Moose in bed for 19:30, half hour doing some kind of tidying up, 2.5 hours of either work or blog and bed for 10:30 where I will read an actual grown up book without pictures for half an hour! Part of this new routine will definitely mean cutting out the caffeine. Either its going to be great, or my family are in for a miserable few months. Watch this space!

6. Visit Edinburgh

I have never been. I have always wanted to go. I’ve no idea why it has taken me this long? So this year I would love to visit Edinburgh Castle and if anyone has any other suggestions feel free to comment below.. the planning begins!

7. Go On More Adventures

I am an indoors person. The sofa and my laptop and a nice cup of coffee.. I love until I don’t. I am prone to bouts of melancholy and this is amplified when those walls start to close in. I need to get up and get out more with Moose and I know he would want that too if he ever looked up from playing with his dinosaurs long enough to notice.

So that’s my 7. Couldn’t reduce it to 5 and 10 just feels like too many all at once. 7 is rather a good number I feel. It’s a given that I will keep you updated as to how I get on and who knows, it might just be the best year ever.

I would love to know your resolutions for the coming year so tell me! I am nosy!!  

Wishing you good health and happiness throughout 2017

Mummy & Moose x

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Christmas Tag

I was tagged by Emma over @sophieellaandme to answer some Christmas related questions for ‘The Christmas Tag’, and here they are…

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
I love Elf but I will always have a special place in my heart for the cheesefest that is Santa Clause: The Movie

Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Yes, the year I was born!

Where do you usually spend your holiday?
At home! In my Pjs!

What is your favourite Christmas song?
Favourite Christmas song is The Pogues Fairytale of New York and favourite carol is In The Bleak Midwinter.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
No!

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Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and Rudolph!

Which holiday traditions are you looking forward to this year?
We like to get all of our children (13 ish) together to exchange gifts and generally give the grown ups a headache.

Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. Its a corner space saving tree bought for a few pounds in the sales 10 years ago but I love it

What is your all time favourite holiday treat/food/sweet?
Ferrero Rocher, bucks fizz, sprouts, pigs. in. blankets.

Be honest, do you like giving or receiving gifts better?
Giving. I just really love choosing gifts for people I love.

What is the best Christmas present you ever received?
Possibly the hifi/cd player I received when I was a child. I don’t remember my age but the freedom found in access to music resonates with me.

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What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
I imagine that New York would be amazing to be at Christmas and New Years. I would love to be in Adelaide to experience an Aussie Christmas with family though.

Are you a pro present wrapper or do you fail miserably?
I am kind of a big deal when it comes to wrapping.

Most memorable Christmas moment?
My first Christmas with my own little family in our own little house. We didn’t have a lot but it was perfect.

What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I don’t really remember when I learned the truth. The magic hasn’t ever ended though – it just shifted a little bit.

What makes the holidays special for you?
My family. Without good people around the tree, it doesn’t matter what’s under it. I do really love presents though (just in case Mr G is reading this)

That’s my contribution to the Christmas Tag, hope you enjoyed it! I would like to tag Little B and MeThe Mum Diaries and Mum Times Two

Trying To Stop The Christmas Crazy..

…and why I could never judge those who don’t.

I read an article the other day about a lady who last year bought so many Christmas gifts for her family that when they were piled up in her lounge her tree was barely visible. Cue many nasty comments of course and the odd nod of agreement from those who could see the festive season from her perspective.

I wouldn’t presume to know what makes this lady tick. Perhaps she is trying to compensate because of something else that happened that year or 10 years ago. Maybe she just really likes treating her kids and works hard to. It’s possible that the newspaper contributed a fair percentage of the money spent on those gifts in exchange for her popping her story out there and laying herself open to all of this judgement from people who really ought to know better. Maybe. I don’t know. It’s not really my business.

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Christmas Past

It did make me think about my own version of Christmas though. Of what (if I stop and think about it) the most vivid memories are of the childhood Christmases I shared with my parents and 4 siblings.

I can’t really remember very much about Christmas before my siblings arrived. My Mum was diagnosed with my brother when I was just 4 years old. By the time I was 9 years old there were 7 of us living in our 3 bedroom house. Quiet Christmas was never an option. Noisy, full and fun. That was us.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a child but there were certain things that happened every year

We would always go to see Santa. We’d always have an interesting and hilarious buffet at our grandparents house. We would always (ish) be good on Christmas eve lest we were made to stay up! and we would always wake up to a full stocking at the end of our bed. There would always be a lot of gifts waiting for us in our living room. I mean a LOT.

The gifts would be sorted into a pile for each of us. We would all come into the room together and excitedly find our designated spot. Dad would grab the video camera, someone would get the Christmas music playing and Mum would have a piece of paper and a pen at the ready and then the organised chaos would begin!

As far as I recall we would take it in turns to open our gifts yelling out who they were from and what they were so that a list could be made for easy reference when “thank you card time” came.

In no time at all those presents would be opened and the living room floor would become a sea of colourful wrapping paper with all of us too enraptured by our new toys to care.

Of course we took everything for granted – as was our right as children.

But aside from a few exceptions, we really don’t remember what was beneath the wrapping paper. It’s not that we were entitled brats. Not at all. We just remember other things. When I asked my siblings what they could remember they listed

  1. Big piles of presents
  2. The dolls house my Dad upcycled for my sisters.
  3. The year we woke our parents (and possibly the street) up at 3am
  4. The following year when we slept in – but were woken up by our Aunt and Uncle who arrived at 7am expecting us all to have been up for hours. We found it hilarious. Our parents, not so much
  5. The dining table looking beautifully dressed because Mum did it before they went to bed on Christmas eve.
  6. Christmas dinner. Always tasty. Always massive.
  7. Excitement and happiness

My memories of Christmas are fond ones. I know my parents made that happen and I cannot imagine how difficult that must have been some years. I’m very grateful to them both for those memories – they laid the foundations for the type of Christmas I wanted for my children.

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Christmas Present(s)

Now that all 5 of us have families of our own, when we come together to exchange Christmas gifts it can be crazy. I love it. Between us we have 14 children now. When our lives allow we rarely are able to be in the same room but I know that even if not all of us are physically there, we are all thinking some of the same thoughts and remembering the same moments.

We enjoy some wonderful moments. We visit our Grandfather and if we can we take some food to try and recreate some of those buffet recollections of our youth – we will never come close. A vital ingredient is missing and she can never be replaced. Nonetheless, we all have a lovely time.

The house that we visited adorned with lights as children is long gone but we have found a new place now and our children love standing in awe.. together.

There is just one thing I am beginning to have second thoughts about

. The big piles of presents. Or more pointedly the pressure to provide the excitement that I felt as a child of walking into a room full of gifts.

I know that the guilt I feel at the same time every year a couple of weeks before Christmas is not logical. We don’t have the money or the space for hundreds of toys, our children are in no way expecting to received a huge number of gifts. So why should I feel like I need them? I do. I want to indulge them and every year I panic that I haven’t done enough, that they won’t love their gifts. That they will feel disappointed. Disappointed with Christmas or disappointed with me. I am not sure which. Maybe it’s both? Or maybe it’s bollocks.

This year I am doing things differently. Sorry kids, I am swallowing that guilt down with a large snowball and I am refusing to play the game.

A thought occurred to me while Christmas shopping with my Mum. I was talking to her about how worried I was about my daughter liking her gifts and I had this vision of Christmas future

What Comes Next?

I had a picture in mind of myself and my daughter in years to come, having the exact same conversation. Of her worrying about the number of gifts under the tree. Not feeling as though she was good enough. Or hadn’t tried enough for her children. Knowing that it was ridiculous but feeling that pressure anyway.  I don’t want that for my children. Or for hers.

There is only one way as I see it that can change. There are amazing things that I take from my childhood christmases and feel like I should make a point of saying that my Mum and Dad did not raise us to be materialistic at all. This is not about them. I need to stop. I have to offload that guilt and replace it with something else and I need to remember that we already have everything we will ever need to make those memories our children will hold onto for many Christmases to come.

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