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Since I became a mammy, I have tried to find lots of fun activities, days out, events and holidays for my family. I love being busy and visiting new places and I hope you will enjoy reading them. My blog is jam packed with reviews of places we have been, maybe I get help you with a little inspiration.  We are lucky enough to travel quite a bit so the blog features lots of places in the North East and beyond.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

We're having tea with a Gruffalo

Like most children their age, my two kids love the Gruffalo.  I too love this story as I know it will always remind me of this most precious and magical time with them.  We have read the story hundreds of times and watched the enchanting TV productions which really brought the characters to life. 2014 is the 15th anniversary of the publication and as such The Forestry Commission has a whole stack of events to celebrate this most auspicious of occasions.  In July and August, the main man himself started a tour of the various forests and I just knew we had to have a date with him.  The best date for us, coincided with his visit to Guisborough Forest so off we set.  It was about an hours drive from Newcastle and upon arrival the car park was jam packed.  We eventually got parked and went into the Visitors Centre to find out what to do.  The ladies in the shop were extremely friendly and helpful.  The trail map cost £1 and we got a little activity pack, sticker and a lovely little photo frame in which to put a souvenir of the day, a really nice touch I felt.

There were lots of activities in the area just outside the visitor centre, including free crafts, facepainting for a small charge and a bouncy castle.

The Gruffalo was appearing at various times throughout the day and he had quite a queue of fans waiting for him.  We decided to complete the trail first and then meet him.

Guisborough Forest is beautiful and despite the huge amounts of people there, we found it to be very peaceful and we had a fabulous walk.  The object of the trail was to find all the characters from the book and it culminated with The Gruffalo right at the end.  The children each had a checklist to complete and they raced off with gusto!

Along the trail there were play areas, beautiful sculptures and also a trim trail which we all had a go on and it was great fun, if a little hard work. 

 I would say the whole thing took about an hour as we just had a nice gentle stroll and took our time.  We found all the characters along the way and at the end...

The queue for the Gruffalo was still quite long so we decided to have our picnic.  Found a lovely shady spot under a tree and enjoyed our lunch.  There are many different places throughout the forest in which to picnic so you really are spoilt for choice.

Finally it was time! We joined the queue.  I was so impressed with the way the staff dealt with the situation.  The Gruffalo was only supposed to appear on the hour 11am, 1pm, 2pm and 4pm.  Due to the demand, he was there literally most of the day, only disappearing for a few minutes every once in a while 'for a drink'.  This meant that every child who wanted to got to meet him and have their photograph taken, it was wonderful watching them.

The Gruffalo was beautiful, big and cuddly, just as he should be and Eva jumped straight in for a big hug, Luca was a little uncertain but he did go for his photograph.


After we had met the Gruffalo, the children took part in the crafts, these were all free and we made a Gruffalo mask each and did some colouring in.  

We had a really nice time at Guisborough Forest, it was a lovely day out and I highly recommend it.  

Starting on 3rd October is the Gruffalo's Child Trail.  It is at various forests again up and down the country.  We shall be heading for Hamsterley Forest to check it out.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Jam Jar Cinema

I discovered this gem of a place completely by accident, it was one of those 'suggestions for you' on Facebook and I am naturally nosey so I took a look.  I am so pleased I did so, Jam Jar is one of my best finds yet.  It is a small cinema in the heart of Whitley Bay and is a charitable organisation.  It was set up in September 2013 and it is largely run by volunteers.  The wonderful Dan Ellis along with Stephen Fairley, two local lads, took an idea and ran with it.  The result was Jam Jar.   I decided to form a plan.  I got in touch with Jam Jar about private hire, involved some friends and our new Kids Kinema Klub was born.  The cinema seats 42 people in premier seating, the most legroom I have ever had in a cinema and a wonderful atmosphere.  Private hire gets you any film you like (as long as it is available on DVD) and the full use of the bar/lounge area for 4 hours.  The first film we chose was Despicable Me 2.

I provided goody bags, popcorn and juice for during the film and then afterwards all the children got a hotdog and a bit of a run about and catch up with their friends.  It was a massive success so I booked more ... 

This time I also asked Emma Enchanted to come along to surprise the children.  They were all sat in their seats patiently waiting for the film, when in walked the stars themselves! There were a few tears from the mammies (especially me) at the little ones reactions, it was amazing.  They danced and sang and had fun with the beautiful princesses and then afterwards we made our own Singalong Frozen with the kids up out of their seats and dancing and singing in front of the big screen.  Fantastic! That is one of the things I love most about Jam Jar, it is completely informal, you can sing and dance as much as you like!

We have since enjoyed Monsters University and more recently Brave

with our very own Scottish Princess coming along to teach us to dance and also test our archery skills
I have now booked 3 more films for this year Tinkerbell and the Pirate Fairy is coming up and then we have Halloween and Christmas specials.  I have even started booking into next year!

As our childrens films are such a success, I decided that I would put on a Ladies Night and what better film to start off with than Pretty Woman.  I arranged with Michelino's in Whitley Bay to provide us with delicious pizzas, 33 of them! and I brought wine and popcorn for 42 very excited ladies.  

Luckily the Jam Jar has a fully stocked bar at really reasonable prices so us thirsty ladies did not go short!  Again I have booked for our next film, Breakfast at Tiffany's complete with cocktails.  Jam Jar show a massive range of films for all the family and plenty of choice for adults too.  Have a peek at their schedule, there is bound to be something you fancy.  I like how it gives us the chance to see films we have only ever seen on DVD up on the big screen as was intended.  Go along, see for yourself, but not too much, I don't really want to share it with anyone!