Movies for Juniors at Cineworld

February 2017

Watching movies can be pricey(for me) in London. For a family of 2 adults and 2 children to watch one movie can easily be £40ish per pop. So, when Roanne introduced to me Movies for Juniors at Cineworld, I was excited about it. I get to bring the little ones for a movie for a a discounted rate of £2.50 per person! I mean, we can actually buy the movie online and watch it at home but going to the cinema is a just a different experience. The theatre is darkened, there is pop corn and no one is talking. (Oh yes, the last part is one of my favourite. Like none of my children is whiny or ordering me around when we are watching a movie at the cinemas.)

This half term holiday, we watched Trolls and Ballerina. In fact, Ryan and Gillian loved Trolls so much that they made me play the songs from Troll on Youtube umpteen times since Monday. For the record, our youngest, Baby Megan went for both movies! Surprisingly, she was able to sit through these flicks. I think she enjoyed them because she was constantly bouncing on my laps! Ha! Cineworld also sells the popcorn sets for children- it comes in a small box filled with popcorn, a packet of juice and a small bag of chocolate. All these 3 items for £2.50 as well!

So, if the weather is bad and you want to have a relaxed activity with your little ones, you can consider going for a movie! I liked it and hopefully you will too!

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London Transport Museum

February 2017

Hello there everyone! Seems like I am finding some problem keeping up with my blog. It is still winter 😦 in London and I cannot wait for spring to come! The thing about wintry cold days is that my natural inclination would be just to stay as warm and toasty at home. These days, it seemed more possible as the kids(mainly Ryan) has more work to do over the weekends and hence we just got to clock in the time to get work done.

Last Friday evening marked the start of half term holidays. We did not plan much. Initially we wanted to head down to Disneyland as there was a good deal going on but seeing how everyone is not a big fan of standing in the cold, we shelved it and decided to stay in London. We visited London Transport Museum as I have heard so much about it from my friends- of it being kids-friendly, a great place for families to past time during the cold season and it just being in town meant we are close to good dining options.

Just like most children-friendly places that we go to, they always seem to have this passport/stamper trail feature for kids make the exploration more orderly. My kids love going around to get theirs stamped!

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We went on a Sunday and reached probably 11ish. The museum was crowded and there was actually a line of people queuing to get their tickets. Here’s my advice:

  1. Get your tickets online. It is cheaper and you can skip the nasty queue. Kids go free, which mean we just need tickets for the adults. Buy your tickets online and save £1.50.
  2. Museum opens at 10am. Get their early with your little ones. 11ish means a bit too packed for my liking.

It is a nice place for families to explore the different types of transportation over the years. There are some nice corners for the younger ones to play pretend. Will be fascinating for children who are into vehicles and transportation.

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(Hmm…which wheel uses less effort to move?)

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Because it is still the half-term and they have some extra activities going on. This half-term, they have Underground Explorer programme going on. Children get to dig a sandpit, build a tunnel or investigate ancient artefacts. (Sounds boring to me but my kids spent like a proper 45 minutes just playing there.)

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The thing is that when you are with children, sometimes to explore a museum, you need a more leisurely pace to explain to them certain things and to just idle. So when the place gets packed, we have to be mindful of the other children who always want a turn on the vehicle, or have a go certain activities. In the end, the outing would be more like ‘touch-and-go’ which I find less meaningful. So, I will be going to the museum again with the kiddos, but hopefully at a better timing the next round.

Okay, I am out! See you guys soon! x

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Baddies: the Musical- Unicorn Theatre

December 2016

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Watching a pantomime is thing to do during the Christmas season in the UK. Last Sunday, we were invited to watch Baddies, the Musical and it was such a amazing experience for the children. The story-line was intriguing, the singing was spectacular and I love how the theatre was filled with parents, carers and children! Definitely a place that families can head to for a relaxed musical afternoon.

This is the second year that Baddies is showing. Last Christmas, Baddies had a successful sell-out and were nominated for Offie Best Production for Young People. You can expect that the producers would make effort to tweak and make it even bigger and better. The protagonist of the story is The Big Bad Wolf. He is ripped from his story in Little Red Riding Hood, thrown into jail with a couple of of baddies- Captain Hook, The Ugly Stepsisters and what-the-name-of-that-small-guy-again?… Rumpelstilskin. These villains were finally being punished for their wicked ways as apparently the Board of Fairytales was intending to change the rule book. Or is that really so?

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When I brought 5.5 year old Ryan and 3.5 year old Gillian to the show, I had a few reservations:
– Were they able to sit through 2 hours?
– Will they be able to understand the storyline and appreciate a musical?
Thankfully, they were able to sit through, be kept riveted and enjoy the show! In fact, I was impressed that both of them could tell me who the true baddies of the show were and give me their reasoning. I liked how I could talk to Ryan, telling him that maybe people that we perceive to be ‘bad’ are not entirely ‘bad’ and vice versa.

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There was a short interval in between and the little ones could go use the toilets, stretch a little and perhaps indulge them with some lovely ice cream that they were selling a £3 each. Ryan and Gillian positively loved their sweet cold treat since they rarely have these on normal days.

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Post-Show/Informal event with Nigel Barrett

After the show, we went to the Baddies VIP Lounge where there was an informal event with The Big Bad Wolf, Nigel Barrett who shared on his experience playing the ultimate baddie on the show and his theatre/musical experience. The children were kept entertained with craft activities and yummy refreshment and drinks from the Unicorn Theatre.

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Ryan drew some pictures of his favourite characters from the show and presented it to The Big Bad Wolf.

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Planning for some light-hearted family theatre entertainment this Christmas? I would think Baddies would be a great show for adults and children alike. Here are more details of Baddies, the Musical. However, do click on this link should you need more information or would like to purchase the tickets.

Baddies: the Musical
Under 18s: £12 / £16 / £18
Adults: £ 18 / £22 / £24 (concessions £3 off)
Premier experience: £30 Under 18s / £36 Adults – book for the very best seats in the house, access to the Baddies VIP Lounge and the chance to purchase exclusive signed merchandise.

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Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch Baddies, the Musical at the Unicorn Theatre. Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience.

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Harrods Christmas Grotto

November 2016

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I have heard so much about the Christmas Grotto at Harrods that I thought we should give it a visit. At a small fee of £10 per child(babies can enter for free), they get to see Father Christmas and get a small present. The booking fee is refunded into our Harrods Rewards card on the day of our visit. We only managed to book for the Pre-Schooler Visit(weekdays, only in November) as the Classic Visits were sold out as quickly as they were released. So, it was a pity that Ryan had to miss it as he had to be in school.

That morning, we were slightly late for our appointment but were fortunate that they allowed us through the Christmas Grotto. Once we entered, we were sort of transported into this magical Ice Kingdom with friendly elves all around to cheer our little ones up.

Meeting up with Father Christmas was quite cool- he was able to call them by their names, share with them a few achievements they had in 2016(prior to the day, parents had to fill up these information online so as to make the experience more personal and special) and they even received some nice little gifts from Father Christmas. Father Christmas was so pleasant and friendly. Initially, Gillian was a tad overwhelmed by everything and refused to even meet Father Christmas. After so much encouragement from the affable elves, she went into the frozen grotto only to leave reluctantly, asking to return the year after again!

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Making their wishes with Daddy!

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Sometimes I wonder if the children remember such things that we do for them or even places that we bring them to. However, what really makes it worth it for me is to see their happiness, their anticipation, their excitement for that moment.  #makeeverymomentcount

After the Christmas Grotto experience, we went shopping at Harrods. Harrods on a Monday morning is just fabulous! No crazy crowds, lots of space for the children to run without us missing them. Gillian definitely got some VIP treatment- curling her hair, getting her hand tattoos done and all!

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Someone’s loving the lift in Harrods!

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We had lunch at Kanada-Ya Ramen Bar and Gillian was slurping up ever single strand of noodle and soup! Yums! Got to say I really liked the effect of the curls on her head but Gillian did not like it at all. Boohoo! There’s goes my chance of convincing her to curl her hair. Ha!

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PYO Pumpkin!

October 2016

Visiting farms with the children is one of our favourite seasonal activities to do. The farms always allows a vast space for children to run around, the trip is usually educational as we could show where our food/fruits come from and the best thing of all, entrance is free! So far, we have gone for strawberry picking at Hewitts Farm(Post 1, Post 2) and Stanhill Farm, picked potatoes at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park as well as visited the lavender farms and went apple picking at The Hop Shop.

It was our last week with Gong Gong and Mama before they returned to Singapore. Thankfully, it coincided with the half-term and this meant that we were able to spend more family time. WE spent some time checking out the pumpkin patches at Foxes Farm Produce. It was about an hour drive from our place and the kids had a good time running around the glorious field full of orange gourds, jumping on haystacks and getting lost in the maize maze.

It was a lovely day out and definitely gonna be one of those things to do again the next year!

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Potato Picking at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park!

September 2016

When we returned on London, we were sort of expecting poor weather but it turned out that everything has been still holding up. Two weekends ago, we headed off to for potato picking at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park and the kids had a fabulous time!

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Look at the cheeky smiles of the little ones.

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One of the first pit stops that we went to was at the Bouncy Pillows. In all honesty, the children spent an inordinate amount of time bouncing and sliding with their fabulous Daddy. There are two bouncy pillows in that area- one for those above 5 and one of the the younger ones. So parents, we can be more assured that the younger ones get their share of play on these wonderful bouncing platforms. While they were having all the mad fun, I was taking pictures and chilling on the lovely seats provided in that area.

E and I always believe in bringing the children for as much outdoor play as possible because we see that these are the times when we can be more focused on them. Usually, when we are home, there is always the tendency to ‘let them play alone’, ‘turn on the television’ while we just go about doing ‘our things’ like surfing the net, replying to our Whatsapp chats or in my case, baking.

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We decided to have an early lunch and grab some drinks at the Play Barn and Restaurant. You can click here to check out what they serve at the Play Barn Restaurant. We were supposed to be having a picnic but of course, I woke up late and nothing was prepared. However, the family was pleased with the choices we had at the restaurant!

Personally, I love how they have two play areas(again one for the older kids and one for the younger ones) within the eating premises. While waiting for our orders, the children were properly entertained playing with the slides, tunnels, ball pit and more! Oh yes, just a note of reminder! Please remember to bring along/wear your sock in the soft play area!

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This is the Toddler Area for the younger children. So our little Megan also did go about exploring the grounds, much to her delight!

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Our food came! Yay! Look at Megan’s excited face! She must be hungry after all that crawling around.

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Our faithful Mustela Physiobebe for all our oudoor trips- an easier way to get the kids hands cleaned before their meals.

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After lunch, we explored more of the grounds at Marsh Farm Animal Adventures. It would be such a lovely treat for the children who loves their animals. Gillian got an up-close adventure in combing the hair of the pony! Super!

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Ryan and Gillian had a brilliant time at Tractor Town, where they went about pretending to be tractor drivers, washing their tractors, re-fueling their vehicles and going on pretend trips.

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There was this well-built and fun playground near the tractor area. We played there for a bit and both Ryan and Gillian enjoyed many aspects of it.

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The thing about Marsh Farm Animal Adventure is that they have endless of things to do throughout the day. We went for an amusing Magic and Mayhem Show at the Barn Theatre. I believe both adults and children found the in-house magician to be incredible entertaining and funny.

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We also went on the Tractor and Trailer Ride! The kids have never gone for such an experience before and they were thrilled to be on this bumpy ride! The day at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park gave us quite a number of cool experiences to be on the farm.

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Because we went to the farm during their Potato Picking Party season, we also had our maiden potato picking encounter. And so ta-dah, Ryan! Potato grows underground! 

The staff at Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park was also very considerate in helping to bag our potatoes and showing how to go about picking those vegetables.

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Maize Maze! Woohoo! First time for the family again! Initially, we were worried about entering the three acre maize maze with the children. The facilitator assuaged our worries by telling us that there would be helpers to save us should we get lost. All we needed to do was to raise our flags!

We did eventually got ourselves out safely within 30 minutes and we rewarded with bags of pop corns!

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By the time we finished the maze, it was half past four and the little ones wanted to go on the bouncy castle before heading home. Off they went to bounce(again) while I got myself a slice of cake from the Play Barn Restaurant.

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The last stop for us before home was the craft room, where the kids did some art work to wind down. They were so knackered by the end of the day. They slept so well that night! Hahaha!

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What I liked about Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park?

  • The entire adventure park is full of places for the little ones to run about, to have fun and explore. In fact, Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park keep everything fresh by having events over the year such as Potato Picking Party, Easter Eggstravganza and the upcoming Wizards and Witches for Halloween.
  • The staff were friendly and considerate. Our encounters with them at Maize Maze, Potato Picking Party and the Tractor Ride were good- they showed good knowledge of the activities that they were in charge of, safety protocols and were so smiley all the time.
  • Having an indoor playground, with two separate play areas for different age groups in the restaurant is ideal for wet weather.What I thought could be better?

There were Spotter Guides that could be picked up on various locations around the farms but we did not managed to find any. Children were suppose to collect stamps in the these booklets. However, I thought the locations where they were to get the stamps were inconspicuous.

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Remember to bring along your socks when visiting Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park. The softplay in the indoor playground required socks to be worn when playing.

To purchase tickets to visit Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park, please click on this link and it is much cheaper to purchase your tickets online! So why hesitate!

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Disclaimer: We were given complimentary tickets to Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience.

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Unicorn Theatre- The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark.

September 2016

This week appears to be an interesting week for me. On Thursday, I went to catch the musical, Wicked with Kimberly. On Saturday, I also attended a bloggers event at Unicorn Theatre and we caught one of the early shows of The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark. It is a play, adapted from a popular children’s book by Jill Tomlinson.

Ever since we came to London 2-ish years ago, I have only watched like maybe 4 West End productions and one musical at the National Theatre. In fact, last Saturday was the first time I brought the children to watch a play. Since we are living in London, the global cultural hub, I think I should be exposing the children more to this aspect of life and learning as well.

As a overly-anxious parent, I tend to be worried about how Ryan and Gillian would behave should they attend such events. I worry if they make too much noise, if they get bored(and start moaning) or just cause any undue distress to fellow patrons. However, after attending our first play together, I realised that my concerns could be managed and the children did have a good time watching the play.

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The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark

Unicorn Theatre is a good introduction place for young audience. Being children-friendly, productions are made with the audience in mind. We watched the production- The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark and the experience was both engaging and relaxing. (You can see more photos of the production on the Facebook.) The audience were able to sit near the performance on chairs or comfortable cushions. While watching the play, children were able to interact actively with the actors . I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who intends to watch the show but, Ryan and Gillian enjoyed many aspects of the show. The duration of the show at 50 minutes was just right for children as well. While watching the show, there were no, ‘I am bored…’ and no,’I want to sleep…’ moments. To me, it means the children were positively intrigued.

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After the play, some of the children went to had a swing on the structures used during the play. Ryan even managed to get a picture with Lawrence Walker, who played Plop, the barn owl. I think there are many take-aways from the play- the simpler ones would be what are some animals that come out in the night, what are constellations and the more abstract ones would be what are some of our fears and how can we overcome them.

The Owl who is Afraid of the Dark is starring from 13 September to 21 November 2016 and you can check out for more timings here before purchasing tickets.

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Family Blogger Event/ Unicorn Theatre

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Post show, the bloggers went for a discussion with the team at Unicorn Theatre and from what they shared, you can tell that they are passionate about the arts and how they would like to share this magical experience and vision with the young ones. The director behind the play came and explained his thought-processes as he embarked on adapting the play. Personally, I feel that the team(actors, back-stage, business) at Unicorn Theatre, they truly want to make this experience of going for plays/musicals as enriching as possible for the children and family.

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On Saturdays, there are also free drop-in activities for children from 12 noon to 2pm. Some of the art activities are themed around the shows happening at Unicorn Theatrr so that children can build on their schema on what they have watched or are going to watch.

One of the things that I like about Unicorn Theatre would be their location, which is very near London Bridge Station. In that area, there is always plenty to do. In our case, we could easily make a day out with the children. Just within walking distance away, there is Jamie’s Italian, the Bourough Market which I love, Giraffe and a number of eateries. After which, there are still many family-friendly areas to explore such as Tate Modern, Design Museum, HMD Belfast… This is what E and I usually aim to do for our Saturdays- to travel, discover and live London as much as possible!

Unicorn Theatre also tries to make sure that their ticket prices are as competitively priced as possible. West End tickets can be pricey, at £80ish to £120 per pop and sometimes it is hard to justify these prices for a family day out. With Unicorn Theatre, families are allowed more affordable options but still watching great productions at the same time. In this age of increasing obsession with science, technology, engineering and math, the arts still has its place for the children’s growth and learning. In fact, like what I have mentioned earlier in my blog post, maybe it is time for me to intentionally make time for the children’s exposure in this area as well. We will definitely be looking forward to our next trip to the Unicorn Theatre!

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Disclaimer: We were given tickets to watch The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark at the Unicorn Theatre. Opinions are of my own and I have given honest feedback and review of our experience.

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