April // The Events Guide

This month is looking good! There are a whole host of fantastic looking events in Surrey and London and here are a few that I’m going to be heading to…

1. The Amazing Bubble Man

1st April at G-Live, Guildford

Inspired by Raffy’s absolute adoration for the bubble man on the Southbank, when we saw Louis Pearl’s show advertised, we just had to book. The tour is nationwide through April so if the idea of smoke-filled, square bubbles does it for you, click here.

2. Fairy and Elf Easter Challenge

11am-2pm 2nd April at Ockham Woods

Following a disappointing discovery that the doors had been stolen from the woods, the fairies and elves have been busy putting them back together so that the Easter Challenge can commence as planned. Collect an activity sheet from the Countryside Room next to the cafe and follow the signs through the woods to a secret location where the fairies and elves have made their home. Once you’re finished, pop along to the cafe to collect your Easter treat! For more information or for directions, pop over to the Ockham Bites Facebook Page here.

3. The World’s Biggest Pillow Fight

4th April at Trafalgar Square, London

Bring your pillows and join in the world’s biggest Pillow fight. London is just one of the many cities worldwide participating in this feel-good event. This will be a great event for older kids to get involved in but good fun for the younger ones to watch. For more information, or to find a closer city to you, click here.

4. Lindt Gold Bunny Hunt 

30th March- 12th April, RHS Wisley Gardens, Surrey

Just one of the many activities on at Wisley Gardens over the Easter Holidays is the Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt. Follow the clues around the gardens to claim your delicious treat! While you’re there, it’s worth taking a look at the other drop-in activities on that day, or plan ahead here.

5. The Golden Egg Hunt

3-6th April

Worried about overloading with Chocolate this Easter? Then why not try your luck at the Medicine Garden’s Golden Egg Hunt- find one of their golden eggs in the garden over Easter weekend and you will win one of their fabulous prizes, including one of four iPad minis. While you’re there, you can also check out the egg-lympics obstacle course, watch the Easter Bonnet parade and have your face painted, or just have a coffee in the sunshine (hopefully).

6. Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Family Rave

2pm, 19th April at The Bedford, Balham

Join the Big Fish Little Fish team at the Bedford for a Mad Hatter’s rave at the Bedford. This three-floor venue will be crammed with multi-sensory delights for the little ravers, with the Happy monkey craft room run by Captain Cookie, play areas for toddlers and babies, face painting, tattoos and beautiful home-made cakes by Bakerchef. This event is selling out fast, so book now to avoid disappointment. Tickets are on sale here.

7. Feast of St George

12-6pm 25th April at Trafalgar Square, London

A free event, organised by the Mayor of London to celebrate England’s rich heritage and multicultural future. Set in London’s beautiful Trafalgar Square this is a day of free activities, food stalls, workshops, music and games. A great excuse for a family day out. For more information and to plan your trip, click here.

Advertisements

An Afternoon at Brighton Pier

My brother’s girlfriend and her twin are amongst the many of my close family and friends to have their birthdays in March. To celebrate, we all took the day off and drove down to Brighton for the afternoon. 

  

 

 First stop was Brighton Pier’s gigantic arcade to loose some money. Raffy was so overstimulated with all of the flashing lights and noises of the machines that he couldn’t contain the excitement. 

 

Raffy had never been to an arcade before so wanted to make sure he saw everything. And I mean everything. Luckily his generous uncle funded most of the festivities so we’re not too out of pocket!

   

  

   

After these, we found a little game where you roll 10p coins in and they land on a spinning disk with different amounts of tokens that you can win. Amazingly, Raffy hit the jackpot and won 1,000 tickets meaning that we got to come home with half the junk from the kiosk. 

  

After the arcade, we had a wander through the lanes, some fish and chips and some incredible Malteser ice cream at Cloud 9 ice cream parlour.

Brighton is such a lovely place to visit, especially in good weather. We’ll definitely be heading back to shop and explore in the not so distant future.  

March // The Events Guide

This month is set be a busy one: I have least one close friend or family member’s birthday each week, including my very own little superstar’s 3rd birthday and my brother’s 30th. It’s also the beginning of spring which means we can all get outside and start getting some much needed fresh air!

1. Baby Animals at Bocketts Farm, Leatherhead

Throughout the month of March, Bockett’s Farm will have lots of baby animals on the farm, including baby chicks, ducklings and lambs. There is a whole daily schedule of events including feeding times, pig races, animal handling and tractor rides and plenty of play areas, both inside and out. This is a fantastic day out for the whole family and if you’re really lucky- you might even see a lamb being born!

For more information visit Bocketts Farm’s website here.

2. I Believe in Unicorns at the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon

12-15 March

This ones for the slightly older children (6-12 years), but not to be missed. Michael Morpugo, best known for his incredible success with War Horse, tells the story of Tomas, the adventurous kid who gets himself into trouble with the Unicorn Lady.

Tickets can be booked at the Polka Theatre website here, but hurry, this will sell out quickly!

3. Big Fish Little Fish at London Electronic Arts Festival, Tobacco Dock

6th March 3.30-5.30pm

My favourite events company take over a room at the LEAF festival this Friday- and what’s special about these 1 hour sessions is that kids will get to play around with synthesisers and interactive projections. For more information and to book tickets, visit BFLF Facebook page here.

4. Captain Cookie at The Minnow Club, Brixton

Every Thursday 10am-12pm, entry Β£5 per family.

Join Captain Cookie at the Minnow club (Prince of Wales Pub) for a weekly event, jam packed with things to make and do. This weeks theme is pirates, so come along in fancy dress and get stuck in!

For more information check their Facebook page here.

5. Wild Tots at Newland’s Corner

Sunday 28th March 10am-12pm. Booking essential, 07968 832509.

Join Surrey Wildlife Trust for two hours of fun in the woods; hunting mini beasts, building with wood and playing games. Adults go free and a charge of Β£10 for each child applies. For more information, visit Surrey Wildflife Trust’s webpage here.

Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play // Southbank Centre

We managed to snag some tickets for Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play at The Southbank Centre this February half term as a part of the brilliant Imagine Children’s Festival. Raffy had never really watched or read Charlie and Lola before hand but is always up for a stage show, especially if we get to travel there by train.

Unfortunately on this occasion, we missed our train by about 3 seconds and the following train was delayed giving us only 8 minutes to get from the platform to the Southbank Centre. Heavy breathing aside, we got there just in time and were shown to our seats in the very plush Queen Elizabeth Hall just as the show was starting.

I was a little concerned that Raffy would struggle to sit through it as he prefers the more interactive shows, but this was captivating. The show was performed by four actors artfully manipulating the puppets and stage props throughout the story. What was brilliant about this puppet show was that they perfectly captured Lola’s wild imagination and we all became lost in a world of space rockets, butterflies and bath tub-hogging whales. This sweet and magical show is pitched perfectly for the target audience, but had enough little surprises to put a smile on everybody’s face.

Of all of the children’s stage shows I have seen to date, this was by far the best. To have an audience full of three year olds all sitting still and totally transfixed is no easy task and to be honest, I’m not sure I’d have believed it possible if I hadn’t seen it myself.

The show is aimed at ages 3+, but at just under 3, Raffy absolutely loved it and still bangs on about fixing Charlie’s broken space rocket now. This play has finished at The Southbank Centre now, but for more information on similar shows, click here.

Gruffalo Spotting in the Deep Dark Woods

The Alice Holt Forest in Farnham, Surrey is a kids day out gold mine. The whole forest is a maze of different nature walks, with so many hidden treasures along the way.

The reason that we found ourselves at the Alice Holt Forest was because its the last few days of the Gruffalo’s Child Trail. Upon arrival, we headed over to the cafe to pick up a trail kit. This Β£2 bag contains a fill-in-as-you-go leaflet, some colouring pages, stickers and a pencil. I threw in a bag of white chocolate buttons for good measure, and off we went.

Raffy loved pointing out the signs and looking out for creatures in the trees as we followed the path into the deep dark wood. Along the way we found lots of activity stops which is where the trail kit comes in useful. Or it would have done had we opened it. To be honest, I knew the trail lasted for about an hour and I didn’t have a huge amount of confidence in Raffy making it to the half way point, let alone the end. So we just held the bag and read the story as we went along, doing a toddler version of the trail.

IMG_0397
After a while we came across an enormous owl-shaped lookout point which we had great fun climbing up and looking out through the trees.

IMG_0393
As the trail continued, we found lots more nature themed climbing equipment, Gruffalo signs and things to look out for.

IMG_0399

IMG_0400
Quite incredibly, Raffy made it on foot all the way to the end and I have to put this down to the strategically placed ‘keep going’ signs. We took full advantage of the photo opportunity at the finish…..

IMG_0404
… and made our way back to the cafe for lunch and a cuppa to warm up. The cafe had really friendly staff and a varied menu of home cooked food, making me slightly regret the standard kids lunch box thing that I chose.

After lunch we headed outside to the amazing play area that they have. All built with solid timber; there’s a full sized pirate ship, little houses on stilts, a tractor and loads of other little bits to climb on. If it wasn’t so bitterly cold, we could have stayed all afternoon.

IMG_0433

IMG_0440

IMG_0417
I have to say that I was really impressed with the Alice Holt forest and will definitely be keeping an eye out for future events. Maybe even just head back for a dog walk thats a bit more interesting than the usual.

If you like the sound of the Gruffalo’s Child trail- you must be quick as it closes on the 28th February. However, with plenty to do there and new activities popping up all the time, why not stick on your wellies and go?

More more information on Alice Holt Forest and their schedule of activities, click here.

Mini Vault Festival // Waterloo & Southbank

The Vault has opened to a slightly younger clientele this weekend with the kick off the the Mini Vault Festival.

Tucked away in the caves beneath Waterloo Station, is the eclectic and quirky event space, The Vault. Access is via a Graffiti tunnel, this space usually hosts off the wall theatre productions and club nights and this weekend is no different.

IMG_0028
We arrived at the Vault just before 12pm, and instantly loved the vibe of the place. The entrance is through a tunnel, dimly lit by strings of orange bulbs, with rooms to each side.

The main room, at the back of the tunnel has high arched ceilings with bright bunting strung from side to side. In the middle of the room was a huge table, scattered with paper for arts and crafts. To the left was face painting and on the other side was a cardboard box building area. The room was heaving with families, making things and playing together. A children’s comedy show was taking place on the stage at the back.

IMG_0091
My only (very small) qualm with this venue, was that the toilets were right at the end of the main room, which was really busy and at times, tricky to navigate.

We had booked tickets for the show Albee Vector the Sound Collector which started at 12.45pm. The show was well produced, and though the story line was quite involved, the many sounds and great actors kept even the little ones entertained.

IMG_0150
The Mini Vault Festival continues on 21st-22nd Feb and 7th-8th March and is set to host a fantastic programme of events. While entrance to the festival is free, some activities and shows require booking. The full programme of events is available here.

Southbank Saturdays // London

The Southbank is one of my favourite places to visit up in London. It’s a quick train ride and a short walk and there’s always something going on.

We were up in the area for the Mini Vault Festival and headed over to the Southbank to get some lunch.

We stopped for sushi (Raffy’s favourite) and took our time, walking along the Thames. Our favourite street performer, The Bubble Man, or so we call him, was there with the usual crowd of toddlers surrounding him.

IMG_0043
He creates the most amazing giant bubbles using sticks and netting, and Raffy loves to run and jump on the bubbles as they land.

IMG_0047

IMG_0058
Suitably exhausted from all of the fun, he fell asleep in the buggy, ice cream in-hand so we headed home.

If you’re interested in visiting the Southbank over half term, the Southbank Festival Hall is hosting the Imagine Children’s Festival, with a full program of activities for little ones. Most are free, but some shows need booking. For more information, click here.