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Explore Learning has opened a brand new tuition centre in Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre. They offer award-winning maths and English tuition for children aged 4 to 14 years old. If you are looking for your child to build their confidence and make progress with their learning in the New Year then Explore Learning could be the ideal place for them!

Perhaps your child is preparing to sit the 11 Plus or a local entrance exam? Then Explore Learning can build strong foundations, whilst developing their speed, accuracy and exam technique. Or maybe your child is struggling at school? If this is the case the tutors will be able to pinpoint where your child needs extra help and concentrate on that area. Even if your child is a high achiever Explore Learning can provide support, making sure they are challenged at the right level for their ability.

Explore Learning – Ealing Broadway

If you sign your child up before the 1st March 2019 you will save the £50 joining fee, so it is worth booking in for a free trial session soon. You will be able to meet the team and discuss your child’s needs. Both you and your child will be able to see the centre in action and experience how it works for yourselves!

Our Experience of Explore Learning

Amelia absolutely loves going to Explore Learning, she actually asks when is it time to go? I really like the relaxed and friendly environment and have always found the staff to be friendly and engaging. Children are taught to be “fearless learners” which from what I have seen encourages them to ask questions, show how they have worked out their answers and to not give up. The concept that I am really keen on is that they are rewarded through effort and not ability. This means if they complete all their learning outcomes for that session, they are given lizard cards (they can earn up to 4 cards at each session). These lizard cards are used like a currency. The children collect them and in turn can can be used to ‘buy’ items such stationary or small toy as a reward for their effort. You can see the prize wall below and the sort of things they can earn.

Once the children have completed their learning they get to go to Surf Club, this is place that they can relax, engage in play, read, colour and even play a board game with one of the staff members.

How does the monthly membership work?

Your child can attend the tuition centre once or twice a week for sessions lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

What are the opening hours?

Centre opening hours in Ealing during term time are:

Monday 15:00 – 20:00
Tuesday 15:00 – 20:00
Wednesday 15:00 – 20:00
Thursday 15:00 – 20:00
Friday 15:00 – 20:00
Saturday 10:00 – 18:00
Sunday 11:00 – 17:00
Bank Holidays 10:00 – 16:00
Opening times change when it is school holidays.

Do you have to book?

No, it’s really flexible, you just turn up at a time to suit you. They are open throughout the week, weekend and during school holidays.

What will my children learn?

Maths, problem solving English, reading, spelling and comprehension. This will be done via their own programme of work, which adapts to their own particular strengths and development needs.

How is the centre staffed?

The tutor to child ration is 1:6 and all of the centres are Ofsted registered.

Are there any other options to help pay the fees?

Childcare vouchers/Tax-Free Childcare, the childcare element of Working Tax Credits and the Childcare Grant for full-time students could enable you to save on your monthly membership. They also offer a fantastic scholarship scheme which gives a 50% discount to parents receiving Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance. What’s more, with their ‘Refer A Friend’ scheme members can reduce there monthly membership, simply by successfully introducing other members to Explore Learning.

You will find Explore Learning on the First Floor, Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, Ealing, London, W5 5JY There is plenty of parking available within the shopping centre. The centre is also only a short walk from Ealing Broadway Station. While Amelia is at the centre I usually do a spot of shopping or even have a bit of time out in one of the local coffee shops! For any enquires you can contact the centre on 020 7052 1968

Disclosure – I was gifted one month’s complimentary membership at Explore Learning in return for a review. As always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of our experience.

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At a loss for things to do with the family after Christmas in Ealing? How about visiting your local Arts Centre Watermans? They have some wonderful family theatre and cinema for the Christmas holidays. Watermans is just down the road from Ealing in Brentford. Easily accessible from Ealing, a short bus ride on the number 65 or if you want to drive they have a car park too. We went to see their festive show, The Heart of Winter by Lyngo Theatre and my six year old sat for the full sixty minutes totally engrossed in this original story. She absolutely loved the special effects from the smoke machine, lighting and even the clever use of talcum powder!

Image credit: Anna Forlati

“Christmas is coming and Sally can’t sleep – it’s far too hot! The weather has gone topsy-turvy. No-one can remember the last time it snowed, or even rained, and her father can’t sell any of his umbrellas. To help her sleep Dad reads her a story about the last snowflake.

That night Sally has a dream that changes everything – a mysterious silver spark transforms her bedroom into a glistening, white field where she meets the glowing heart of Winter.

Watermans welcomes back Lyngo Theatre, who brought you the playfully comic Snow Play in 2016. Heart of Winter is their magical new musical show which warmly celebrates family, friendship and the good fortune of finding the winter we really need and want…with the precious festive offering of lots of fluffy snow!”

We really enjoyed this show, it had a magical quality. The story was simple enough for young children to grasp, but at the same time it had a message that adults could get something from it too. You still have time to catch a performance as it ends on the 30th December. Shows run both in the morning and the afternoon. Tickets can be booked online and to give you an idea of the price a family of four could see the show for £36.00, which I think is very reasonable.

Watermans also have plenty of family cinema showing in the coming weeks, including Mary Poppins Returns. Running from the 4th January until the 17th January. They also offer parent and baby screening, which means you get to enjoy a film without the worry that your baby might disturb others.

The Grinch is on now until the 3rd January and with all tickets priced at £5.00. It makes it a more affordable option than going to some of the more mainstream cinemas.

Plus don’t forget The Nutcracker and The Four Realms, which on now until the 3rd January.

Watermans Spring programme is out now, with lots of children’s shows suitable for different age ranges. Some of the highlights include: Three Sat Under The Bayan Tree, Mischief and Mystery in Moomen Valley and Snow White, Red Rose and Brown Bear. Have a look at the Watermans Website for all the details.

Watermans – Brentford, London

Disclaimer: we were gifted free tickets in return for a review. As always all views are my own and are an honest reflection of our visit.

 

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It’s that time of year where we all start to feel the pressure! There just seems so much to do and sometimes we just run from task to task and begin to forget that one of the most important things is to spend quality time with our families. This festive season I have teamed up with Clas Ohlson to give you my top tips for a merry stress free Christmas. I have never particularly been into home baking (it’s the mess that puts me off!), but I have decided to try my hand at baking gingerbread men from scratch and I have to say it was a really enjoyable experience!

I have put together some tips, that I think might help busy parents at this time of year:

Delegate – ask other members of your family or household to do some of the shopping for you. Remember you don’t need to do everything!

Preparation – try to get as much Christmas Dinner preparation done in the days before. That way you will be able to enjoy the day with your family.

Organise – write a list and check you have everything you need, so that includes all your gifts and everything you need for wrapping presents, the last thing you need to be doing is hitting the shops at the last minute when it is really busy.

Take time out – Make sure you take out some time for yourself to relax and do something you enjoy.

Clas Ohlson have a brilliant range of items for home baking, so I decided to take some time out from my busy schedule to make and decorate some gingerbread men with Amelia.

I used the following items:

Folklore Spatula Set – £4.99

Biscuit Cutters – £1.99

Mixing Bowl Set – £2.99

Measuring Cup & Spoon Set – £5.99

Cake Tins – 2 pack – £4.99

This gingerbread recipe can be found on the BBC Food Website. I found it was perfect to make with children, as it wasn’t too complicated.

Taking time out for this sort of activity was fun and really took me away from the stress of the festive period for an afternoon!

As you can see Amelia was very proud of the finished product!

Clas Ohlson have stores at Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre, Kingston, Manchester, Reading, St Albans and Liverpool. Or of course you can shop online, plus they also offer a click and collect service.

At the moment they are offering free delivery (on orders over £10). Just make sure you order by midnight on December 20th for pre-Christmas delivery.

You will find a wide range of products in store and online, including: Christmas lights and decorations, gift wrapping, multimedia, leisure, electrical and even spare parts.

Clas Ohlson – Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre

Disclaimer – This is a paid collaboration with Clas Ohlson, as always all views and opinions are my own.

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The Pamela Howard School of Dance was established in Ealing 70 years ago, originally named the Howard-Le Gray School and started by Pamela Howard herself. Once pupil of The Royal Ballet School and who went on to teach stars from Ealing Studios. The school offers classes in Ballet, Tap, Modern and National dance, for students of all ages and ability, and has recently expanded to include music, drama and body conditioning. All classes are taught by qualified teachers, and they welcome students of all backgrounds and experience. Many students have gone on to work in the dance or performing arts fields, and previous graduates include world renowned dancer and choreographer Graham Lustig.

My Daughter has been taking ballet classes and now also tap classes, since the age of 3 at the Pamela Howard School of Dance. I have been so pleased to see how her dancing ability has progressed. I would recommend classes to local parents, because I have always found the members of staff to be so friendly and they have made both myself and my Daughter always feel so welcome! The standard is high and children are encouraged to move on to examination if they wish.

What are the benefits of ballet for children?

  • Ballet and dance is a brilliant way to nurture confidence in young children. Attending a class usually means leaving parents outside the studio and learning to trust their teacher. Your child will meet new friends and interact with other children. Plus, there may be an opportunity to perform on stage, which for many children can be daughting at first, but can be a real achievement.
  • Ballet teaches children to focus and take instruction.
  • Your child will also develop coordination and balance.
  • Overall ballet and dance are a great form of exercise and as recommended by NHS children between the ages 5 to 18 years should be aiming to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

One of things that I love about this school is that they have a yearly stage show, which has been previously held at The Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. The level of talent has been outstanding and when I have attended a performance, I have almost forgotten that I was in Ealing and for a moment thought I was watching a perfomance in the West End!

If you would like to find out more about the classes available have a look at Pamela Howard School of Dance Website. They have available places in some of their classes, so do contact them to find out more.

The Pamela Howard School of Dance can be found at 141 Broadway, West Ealing, London W13 9BE and you can contact Sue Cunningham on 07850 889948 for more information.

 

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This week, I would like to introduce you to another fantastic Mum, who I have interviewed for my #MumsWhoWorkIt series. Victoria Dos Santos recently set up her personal training business, Mum Who Trains. She is based near Kew Bridge and works from home. She has converted her outdoor space in to her very own fully equipped gym, especially for her clients. She really has got an amazing vibe about her, as I found out recently when I went to train with her!

I’m one of those Mum’s who has never really lost the baby weight I gained six years ago! I’m not a fan of gyms (I can tell you I have joined many, but then not actually attended hundreds of pounds wasted I’m sure!) and have been looking around for a while for a solution to improve my fitness and basically just sort of those wobbly bits. So, when I came across Victoria I was over the moon!  She isn’t in anyway one of those scary fitness types. She is kind, positive and most of all a down to earth mother. She knows how hard it is to find the time to exercise when you have young children, because she is in that place too. So grab yourself a cuppa and find out more about this inspirational lady!

Welcome Victoria and thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog! What’s your background and why did you decided to become a personal trainer?

I have always loved sport. My PE teacher believed in me and I knew I wanted to do something within the sports industry. I qualified as a Personal Trainer in my early 20’s. I really enjoyed it, but living in Devon at the time with my parents, there wasn’t a market for it. This being said I packed up my bags and went and did my degree. Became a PE teacher for 10 years and off and on did some personal training. Having my first daughter, made me realise the importance of being healthy and active for her. Only was it when I had Alice my second daughter 8 months ago did I think I could make a business out of personal training. I’m doing this for my daughters, so they know that if you put your mind to it, anything is possible and women are just as strong, actually scrap that stronger than men!

Describe a typical day for you?

I wake up with Alice around 6am. Play with her, do my morning yoga flow which is around 5 minutes thats all to help with my positive well-being. Do the school run, then I see my clients. In between clients, I look after Alice and prep my husbands meals (he’s on my eating plan, so I prepare his food for the day.) My clients fit around the school day, so once finished pick Emilia up, clubs for her or off to the pool if its sunny or back home to chill. But the girls to bed, eat supper and plan the next set of ladies sessions for the following day. Shower, bed and at the moment my guilty pleasure is ‘Love Island.’

What advice would you give to a busy Mum who wants to focus more on her fitness?

Do it, make time for you. We don’t understand how vital we are. If we aren’t happy the home is not happy, so make time for you it is essential.

Do you have any top tips for a healthy diet?

Make it a lifestyle change not diet. I will not use that word. I don’t believe in them. What I believe in is eating well for life. It colourful vibrant food, that makes you smile, keep away from the beige (pasta, bread, cake etc) life will be good to you. Eat a high plant based rich plate with plenty of protein and for me lemon water every morning…because it just makes me smile. ? 

How do you think Motherhood has changed you? 

I don’t think it has changed me. I’ve just become a much better version of me. My children bring out the best parts of me.

What’s the best piece of advice you have been given about Motherhood that you would like to share?

Your time will never be your own again, thank you Mum. I will take that to the grave!

Where are your favourite places to go with or without kids in Kew/Brentford/West London?

Anywhere along the river near home. A great walk for me blows the cobwebs away! With the kids- getting out on the bikes down to Richmond Park. We tend to spend sunny days at Chiswick Riverside Club at the pool, it feels like you’re on holiday there. A great food market, Dukes Meadows is my favourite every Sunday 10-2pm. Some seriously good cake there (treat day for me!)

What are your handbag essential?

Oh god don’t judge, I don’t carry a handbag! But if I did; lip balm, nuts, sparkling water and my diary!!

How do you see your business developing over the next couple of years?

I hope I can remain busy, meeting strong, inspiring Mums and spreading the word, that without some time to ourselves we are not the best version of ourselves. 

What advice would you give to other Mums who are considering setting up their own business?

Do it! I don’t have anytime to myself, I rarely sit down, I am constantly thinking of innovative ways to boost my business and help women more. But I could not be more happier!

What is the one thing you wish you had already known when setting up your business?

That there is never enough hours in the day. Juggling my business, kiddie time and husband time is a whole circus act, juggling it all i’ve gone way past that.

Where can potential clients find out more about you?

Instagram – @mumwhotrains

Website (under construction still)

Email Victoria – family2fitness@gmail.com

Are you are a local Mum who has your own business and would like to be featured on my blog? Please do get in touch via email hello@theealingmummy.com

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My spotlight series focuses on different areas of London and this week I would like to introduce you to Pitshanger Lane, Ealing. I find it amazing that lots of people I have met who have lived in Ealing for a while have never ventured to this part of Ealing! Pitshanger Lane has a village atmosphere that I don’t think you will find anywhere in Ealing. Previously crowned the winner of The Great British High Street in 2015. There is no shortage of local independent businesses all along the Lane and there really is a community spirit too! So let me take you on a little tour and I will point out a few of my favourite places. I hope this will encourage you to go and visit this lovely part of Ealing! If you would like to get there by bus then you catch either the E2 or E9 from Ealing Broadway.

Where to Shop

If you love to shop then you have come to the right place! Pitshanger Lane has an abundance of independent shops and boutiques to suit every taste. My particular favourites are:

Frank & Salvi

64 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1QX

Ladies clothing and accessories boutique. Selling a gorgeous range of smart and casual pieces that you are unlikely to see anyone else wearing! From mainly British and European designers. Owned and run by the lovely Francesca.

The Pitshanger Book Shop  

141 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1RH

I love a good book shop and the fact that The Pitshanger Book Shop is independent makes it even more attractive to me, as I love to support local businesses. There is an excellent choice of fiction and non-fiction. Plus a wonderful selection of children’s books, toys and art/craft materials and activities. So if you are ever stuck for a child’s birthday present this is definitely the place to go! They also stock greeting cards and gift wrap too.

The shop supports local schools and also holds events for authors to read their own work, so do check out their website for upcoming events.

Mooch

120 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1QP

Mooch has two shops in Ealing, the other one situated on Northfields Avenue. This independent gift shop sells a fabulous range of jewellery, local prints, clothing and some lovely little finds that you will be hard pushed to find anywhere else! A really great range of children and baby gifts, toys , accessories and clothes too! The shop is a real treasure trove and I absolutely love having a browse.

Where to Eat & Drink

There are numerous restaurants, cafes and takeaways on Pitshanger Lane. I am currently working my way through them all! Anyone who knows me, will be aware that one of my favourite pastimes is sipping a cappuccino in a well placed coffee shop!

Cinnamon On The Lane

90 Pitshanger Lane

W5 1AX

The cupcakes you see in the picture above are adorned with jelly sweets and are famous in these parts! Local children always ask for them. My Daughter included! This coffee shop is very child friendly and there is plenty of room for buggies. The owner herself even commented that many Mum’s come here because they know it is a relaxed place and won’t feel self-conscious breast feeding.

The other bonus is the secret garden out the back!

Harrison’s Delicatessen and Vintners

60 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1QY

If you are looking for a great selection of cheese, wine and other delicious deli treats then you must try Harrison’s. They have tables out the front if you would like to relax with a glass of wine and perhaps a charcuterie platter! The shop was opened in 2010 by Belinda Harrison and has become a firm favourite with locals and visitors to the area.

 Pitshanger Lane for Children

This is my favourite part of course, as I love to talk about anything to do with kids! There is plenty going on for children on The Lane, so here are my top picks!

Capelli Belli 

38 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1QY

Innovation Dance Studio and Boutique

96 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1QX

Innovation Dance Studio teaches RAD Ballet syllabus, ISTD Modern and Tap and UDO Street Dance. they also offer open classes for children, which include street dance classes for 4 years and upwards, jazz/musical theatre classes, and baby classes for 9+ months. They also offer adult classes too. Next to the studio there is a boutique shop selling dance wear and other children’s fashion.

Explore Learning 

113-115 Pitshanger Lane, W5 1RH

Explore Learning provides private Maths and English tuition to children. Their programmes are tailored to each child’s need with expert tutors. They offer preparation with SATs and the 11 Plus. I popped in to have a chat with the teachers and found them to be very friendly and approachable. They offer a free trial, so I have booked my Daughter in to find out more for myself.

Other things going on in and around Pitshanger Lane

On Saturday 10th June St Barnabas Church is hosting Jazz on The Lane. At 10:30am there will be a lively Jazz Mass to celebrate the festival of St Barnabas. Then in the afternoon from 1-6pm there will be Jazz in the Garden. The Headlining act will be Rum Buffalo and a line up of other local bands. It’s free admission and suitable for families.

Party in the Park return on Sunday 1st July in Pitshanger Park. It promises to be another wonderful family day out. Many local business have stalls and there is real community vibe. Last year there were fairground rides, a dance show and food stalls too!

I hope you enjoyed reading about this lovely part of Ealing. Maybe it has inspired you to go and have a look at all The Lane has to offer ? Do let me know which are your favourite businesses and shops on Pitshanger Lane?

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The perfect rainy day activity this week, has been a wonderful children’s craft project decorating wooden Swedish Dala Horses. The weather so far for April has been pretty awful, so unfortunately we have had a few days this school holiday at home. So when Clas Ohlson asked us if we would like to get involved with their project as part of their 100th year birthday celebrations? I was literally chomping on the bit, excuse the pun!

So what you may ask is a Swedish Dala Horse? Well, according to Clas Ohlson…..

“It was in the small log cabins, deep in the forests of the Swedish Dalarna region, the the Dala horse was born. Using simple tools, nestled around a log fire, woodcarvers made these Dala horse toys for their children.

Clas Ohlson also begun life in the Dalarna region, so it’s no surprise that the Dala horse is special to us. When we open a Clas Ohlson store, each member of staff is given a commemorative Dala horse to mark the occasion.

The most famous Dala horse pattern, with its red, white, green, yellow and blue design, is believed to be 150 years old.”

So, as you can see from the look of concentration on Amelia’s face the art of Dala horse decorating was taken very seriously! We had a set of three different sized horses to paint and I joined in too! The first stage was to cover each horse in acrylic paint.

Once the first layer was dry we painted on patterns and then added a layer of glitter, or two or maybe three! We did get slightly carried away with the glitter and on this session I forgot to make Amelia wear her art overall, so we both got covered in glitter! I think perhaps our horses look slightly more like unicorns!

We had so much fun decorating the horses! I would highly recommend it as the perfect rainy day craft project!

All of the craft products we used can be purchased either in store or online at Clas Ohlson.

If you and your children would like to paint and decorate your very own Swedish Dala horse, then you are in luck! To celebrate their 100th Birthday Clas Ohlson will be running a FREE Dala horse decorating workshop this Thursday 12th April 2018 11am-2pm in The Ealing Broadway Shopping Centre! Plus those who take part will receive 20% off in the store on that day.

 

Disclaimer – This is collaborative post, however all views and opinions are my own and an honest reflection of the products.

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Yoga is something that I have only tried maybe once before in my life, so I was slightly apprehensive when I arrived for my first class at triyoga in Ealing. However, I need not had been worried because as soon as walked in the friendly reception staff made me feel welcome and gave me a show around. I particularly liked the computer check in system, which made for a speedy and efficient entrance!

I think we all know the immense benefits of practicing yoga for the mind, body and spirit, but for me this was a rare self-care opportunity. I felt almost liberated to put my mobile away in the locker and have a bit of me time for a while. I stepped away from my busy world and it felt great!

The studio is based in Dickens Yard, so is very central and easily accessible. There is on street parking nearby and only a few minutes’ walk from Ealing Broadway Station. triyoga also has studios in: Camden, Chelsea, Covent Garden, Shoreditch and Soho.

As soon as I entered the studio (I’m not sure if it was removing my shoes or the smell of incense), I felt relaxed. What I found with triyoga is that it is not just a yoga studio, but in some ways more a little community of its own.

I loved the fact that there is an on-site boutique selling everything yoga related from mats, to clothing to books. They also offer a range of complimentary therapies and treatments such as: reflexology, reiki, acupuncture, osteopathy, life coaching and cupping to name just a few.

Pregnancy yoga classes are available at the Ealing studio and there is also a Mummy and Me class (Dad’s welcome too) for parents and movement for babies from forty days to crawling.

There is an onsite café CPress serving fresh healthy organic food, coffee and cold pressed juices. The area is a peaceful relaxed place to sit down after your yoga session to enjoy lunch or a snack. Or perhaps meet up with some friends!

I’m not sure if it is standard in many yoga studios, but I absolutely loved the fact that the floor was heated. I went into the ladies changing area and was happy to see there was enough space to get changed comfortably, plenty of lockers, toilets and a shower (this might be well needed if you op for a hot yoga session)! Plus it was very clean too!

Children are welcome at triyoga, my Daughter was over the moon to try one of the classes. Classes are broken down in to the following age groups. Ages 4-6 years, 7-9 years, 10-12 years and teenagers.

While she was in the class, I had a coffee in the café and afterwards she said she couldn’t wait for the next class! Relaxed and chilled out is how I would describe her mood afterwards. I can definitely see the benefits for this sort of class after a busy day at school!

 

 

My Top Tips are:

  • My main piece of advice for the adult classes would be to do your research on which class you should start off with. If you are not sure perhaps discuss the various options with the staff. I made the mistake of booking myself in for what I am told is one of the most challenging classes Astanga Yoga! I did manage to participate in some of this class, but I did find it differcuilt to keep up at times!
  • The other classes I did were: Yoga Level 1 and Yoga Gentle Open. I would recommend these for beginners. Simply before the teachers were understanding and happy for me to go at my own pace.
  • I would also say don’t be afraid to ask for help if you can’t get in the right position or find something uncomfortable. I was really pleased to find there are lots of adjustments that can be made for someone like me who has lower back problems. There is always the use of optional belts, blocks or extra blankets to help your positioning.
  • Do take a bottle of water, especially if you attending a hot yoga session. There are water fountains available if you need to top up.
  • Try not compare yourself to others. I saw people of all abilities, some of those were getting into positions that there is no way at this stage that I could achieve! Don’t forget some people have been practicing yoga for many years.
  • Don’t feel like you need to wear fancy yoga clothes. I saw plenty of people in leggings and t-shirts. Maybe invest in some key pieces later down the line.

Overall I found triyoga to be a lovely venue, purpose built for yoga and the staff could not do enough to help me.

I hope to go back soon and try out some other classes. They currently have an offer where you can have 30 days of unlimited yoga, mat pilates and barre for £54. This is for new customers only and terms and conditions apply. Check out the website for more details.

Image courtesy of triyoga
Image courtesy of triyoga

This is a collaborative post. triyoga gifted me a number of free classes in return for a review. However, all opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of how I found the studio.

Featured image is courtesy of triyoga.

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What can you do with the kids on a cold Sunday afternoon? Go and take advantage of some of the great Children’s Theatre currently running at Watermans Arts Centre in Brentford. Last weekend we went to see Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children. I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this performance, as I haven’t seen any children’s comedy before. However I was pleasantly surprised!

I didn’t expect to actually find it that funny, but I was laughing along with my Daughter and laughing even louder at some jokes that maybe she didn’t get. My Daughter is almost 6 years old so I would say it is suitable from 5 years and up depending on the child of course.

Jay Foreman has performed four sell out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and by all accounts he has a real talent for entertaining children and adults alike! Some critics have even compared him to the comic genius that was Spike Milligan and I would definitely agree with that. we both found his show absolutely hallarious!

What I particularly enjoyed about his show was the way he engaged with the audience. My Daughter found it particularly funny that Jay asked the audience to replace a round of applause with a loud raspberry!

He mixes rhymes and songs with strange noises, we really liked the following songs: My car runs on caterpillar sick which gives a nod to being more environmentally friendly. Grandma which talks about trying to get you to eat unbranded expired food! Then there is The Sooty Show which really took me back to my childhood!

Since we have been going to the theatre on a more regular basis. I can really see the benefits to all of us as a family. Not only does it give you the opportunity to do something together, but it also means that you and your child are introduced to new topics for discussion.

I actually hadn’t laughed as much as I did last weekend in ages! We both left the theatre in an upbeat mood proving laughter really is the best therapy, especially on a cold dark afternoon!

Watermans have lots more Children’s Theatre and activities coming up over the Easter holidays. So head over to their website and check out their Children’s Family Theatre Spring Brochure for all the listings. If you can book soon, as these performances tend to get booked up well in advance.

All views are my own and are an honest reflection of the show I saw. I was given complimentary ticket in return for a review.

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My family and I have been going to Winter Wonderland every year since it first opened in 2007. Over the years it has become a place that we always visit, as the build up to Christmas begins. It started off 10 years ago as an ice rink in Hyde Park with a selection of Christmas markets. It has grown over the years to become a destination to visit and I know many families who have made their visit part of their holiday traditions.

Winter Wonderland is open every day (expect Christmas Day) from 10am to 10pm until the 1st January 2018. Admission is free and is a short walk from the following underground stations: Green Park (this has step free access useful to know if you have a pushchair), Paddington, Victoria, Hyde Park Corner and Knightsbridge. I usually avoid getting off at Marble Arch as this can be a very busy station.

This year there is so much more to do! It is definitely worth picking up one of the free maps available, as the site it’s self is now a lot bigger. Or alternately why not get familiar with what is available before you go via the website, that way you can plan which attractions you really want to visit. The Winter Wonderland website also has a handy feature where they have suggestions for various days and evenings out. Perfect if you are going with children or alternatively for a romantic date night!

There are so many amazing rides to try out. Remember you will need to purchase tokens which are available to buy from the various token booths on site. Make sure you use up all the ones you have brought, as they are only valid on the day of purchase. Each token costs £1.00, so to give you an idea of the cost children’s rides start at £2.00, with other rides starting at £3.00. With some of the children’s rides you will need to accompany your child, so do factor in that too.

There are a number of pre-bookable attractions including: The Ice Rink, The Magical Ice Kingdom, Cinderella On Ice, Bar Hütte, Zippos Christmas Circus, Cirque Beserk, Bar Ice and the Sooty Show. It is worth booking these shows as soon as you can, that way you can get the times and dates you want. My top tip would be make sure you allow extra time to get to the right part of The Winter Wonderland. As if you are attending a show, it will depend on which entrance you enter at, as it can be fair walk with little ones in tow!

This year we went to the Sooty Christmas Show and I am not sure who enjoyed it more? Myself or my Daughter! I think it goes back to the fact that when I was a child Sooty and Sweep were very popular and I remember going to see them (yes I am a child of the 1970’s!), so at that time Matthew Corbett was the puppeteer. The show this time hosted by Richard Cadell. It was very much the simple slap stick humour that I remember from my childhood. There was plenty of water pistol action and silly jokes. My Daughter couldn’t stop laughing and neither could I!

I would throughly recommend this show to families with children from toddlers up to around 6 years old. The show lasts approximately 45 minutes, so a really good length of time for children of this age group. An adult ticket is priced at £8.50 and a child ticket is £5.00. Children of 2 and under if they are not taking up a seat will not need a ticket.

We also went to Zippos Christmas Circus, which was an excellent family experience. Incorporating all the fun of the circus, from comedy with clown like characters to acts that perform acrobatics to escapism. Again a really managable length for young children the show lasted approximately 45 minutes. Ticket prices vary according to if it is peak or off peak times.

My Daughter particularly loved the dancing snow bears, courtesy of Britain’s Got Talent finalist Vadik and the Bears.

You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to eating and drinking at the Winter Wonderland. There are so many options to choose from including plenty of indoor areas for when it get’s chilly. I particularly loved the atmosphere in the Bavarian village. You just can’t go wrong with a hotdog and a mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit!

We are planning another visit in-between Christmas and New Year, as there are still lots more things we would like to experience!

I received complimentary tickets to the shows and some rides in return for a review. All opinions are my own and are a honest reflection of my recent visit.

 

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