June 5

Lots of arty party fun with Mister Maker

Took the children to see Cbeebies favourite Mister Maker and the Shapes live on Sunday and we were all thoroughly entertained. The television show is a firm favourite in our house and it’s hard not to be swept along on a tide of creative energy that is Mister Maker.

He’s very clearly crazy about craft and the fast-paced television show transfers well to the stage. Mister Maker is joined by four enthusiastic and energetic dancers and, of course, the enigmatic Shapes. There are also songs, some nice audience participation and the show has enough quick-witted repartee to keep us adults entertained.

The script is slick and anything that encourages children to be creative with art is good in my book – but then I am a stationery addict myself! My two older children loved it and our six-week-old baby didn’t seem to mind either. Highly recommended. ūüôā

 

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May 16

365 fabulously inventive things you can make with Lego

The lovely people are Dorling Kindersley have just sent me a cracking book for Lego fans –¬†365 Things to Do with LEGO Bricks.

It’s a great book for, perhaps, slightly older children who like to build useful stuff¬†with their Lego. It’s absolutely chockablock full of really inventive things you can build with Lego, slightly away from the usual things like castles, garages and houses.

There are hundreds (365, obviously!) of great ideas from building a Lego version of snakes and ladders to a Lego graph to a theatre stage and a rather cool mobile. Among my favourites are a lock and key, a hinged pencil box, a Lego movie set and a box for storing remote controllers.

Dorling Kindersley are masters at publishing beautifully illustrated books and this one is no exception. A fabulous book for inspiring new ideas from your young builders. Highly recommended.

You can order it here: http://amzn.to/2pC7uPf

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March 26

Reaching for the sky at Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower

I’ve just visited the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth for the fourth time – and I never get bored of seeing my home city from way up in the sky!

I first went up the Spinnaker Tower when it opened in October 2005 (I was lucky enough to win tickets to the grand opening!) and I’ve since been to a gig there and, most splendidly, to the wedding of some very dear friends.

This was the first time I’d taken my children and that made this visit rather special (my son had gazed at it many times from the Gunwharf Quays restaurant and shopping complex and his visit was very overdue!) and they were very excited.

The tower stands 560 feet tall (that’s two-and-a-half time higher than Nelson’s Column) and it offers remarkable views of the surrounding area including the town of Gosport and Portsmouth Harbour and historic dockyard and as well as further along the south coast including the Isle of Wight and apparently as far as Worthing on a clear day.¬†

While the views are quite fantastic, with something new to see all the time, walking on the glass floor is an experience not to be missed. Peering down hundreds of feet while just stood on glass just a few inches thick is not perhaps one for people scared of heights (although seeing abseiling windows cleaners in action below, kind of keeps it in perspective!).

Since my first visit to the tower one of my initial criticisms, that being a lack of a cafe or restaurant at the top which I thought was a ridiculous decision and a real waste of money-making potential, has been addressed and the cafe now offers light lunches, drinks and ice creams.

The Spinnaker Tower is well worth a visit and it remains one of the best places to have a cup of tea in the country. Perfect for all ages!