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Rainy Days

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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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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What do you do on a rainy day? Go to a soft play venue of course! I’m sure many parents out there are all too familiar with hours spent watching their little ones climb, tumble and go up and down slides for hours on end! So here is my handy guide to all my favourite venues near to Ealing.

Topsy Turvy World – Brentcross

Topsy Turvy World, has been our go to favourite soft play venue for a while now. The reason being that it is not too big and over whelming like some venues can be. Also as it is within the Brentcross Shopping Centre you can park all day for free! So we often make a day of it. Maybe visit the soft play in the morning and then do some shopping in Brentcross and then it’s on to have lunch in one of the many restaurants.

Topsy Turvy World has different zones for a variety of age groups. Ranging from a specially designated area for babies/toddlers, to a play zone for pre-schoolers and then the big play frame for children up to 12 years.

 

Bramleys Big Adventure – Ladbroke Grove

Bramleys Big Adventure is located just under the Westway Flyover and is a short drive from Ealing. Parking is easy as you can use the pay and display car park at the Westway Sports Centre.

There is a separate babies and under 5’s play area, plus all the usual play frames, slides and ball pools.

Eddie Catz – Putney 

Eddie Catz on Putney High Street is another place we would recommend. It has a designated area for under 3’s and a larger play frame for children up to the age of 8 years.

It has a slightly different variation in the fact that they offer access to interactive games (which are included in the price) from air hockey to table football. They also have a dressing up and reading zone.

For parents there are free newspapers, magazine and Wifi available. Parking is not available on site, so you would need to park in the local shopping centre which is near by.

Heathrow Play Gym – Feltham

Heathrow Play Gym is not your usual soft play venue, as it is actually a fully functioning gymnastics club, which when not in use it runs as a play gym. It is suitable for toddlers up to the age of 7 years. Just bear in mind that each play session starts and ends on the hour, so if you turn up half way through a session you might be asked to wait. Also at busy times it is advisable to get there early as there is a limit to how many children they can have in the play gym at one time. There is also free parking on site.

We like it as it is somewhere a bit different and has many features that you won’t find in other venues such as trampolines, balance bars and a sensory area which is designed for interactive learning and relaxation. Plus our Daughter loves to watch the planes fly over in the car park, the aircraft are just landing and taking off so you won’t get a better view anywhere else!

Snakes and Ladders – Brentford

Snakes And Ladders is the nearest to Ealing, so is always on my back up list for a rainy day. It has plenty of free parking at the Wyevale Garden Centre and then it is about a 10 minute walk up to the venue.

We love the imaginary play zone, where you child can pretend to work in a shop, hospital or drive a bus. There is a designated under 5 play zone and also a recently opened outdoor area if the weather is good enough. My Daughter loves the wooden pirate ship and sand area.

 

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