Toddle About Blog

Review: The Owl and the Pussycat at Northampton Royal and Derngate

Owl and the Pussycat

Owl and the Pussycat

Review by VIP Member Victoria Coombes

The Further Adventures of The Owl and the Pussy-cat written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Charlotte Voake has been brought to life this Christmas at The Royal & Derngate theatre in Northampton. The performance runs from Thursday 28th November until Sunday 5th January and is a magical puppet show aimed at the under 7’s.

The performance was set in the lovely underground theatre room at The Royal & Derngate, with a large number of cushions on the floor as well as seating laid out. The children could sit comfortably and as there was no raised stage area they could get up close and involved with the story without characters towering over them. The show lasted for 40 minutes (without an interval) and involved a cast of two telling the story through the mediums of the original music, songs and fantastic puppetry. My two daughters aged 6 and 3 were captivated for the entire show and particularly loved the very realistic puppets. The cast really brought the puppets to life with their sound effects and movements. The scene changes and the props used were simple but very effective and the large variety of puppets really kept the children’s attention as they tried to identify the next characters from the story. In the small theatre the lighting and sound had been well set up so that it wasn’t too loud or bright but enabled parents to interact with their children through out the show without impacting on others. A relaxed performance is also being shown on Saturday 7th December with reduced sound and lighting for those with a range of disabilities.

This was a lovely way to introduce younger children to the theatre in an informal and relaxed setting. My girls certainly enjoyed it and as huge fans of the Julia Donaldson books it was great to see one of them so cleverly and professionally adapted for the stage. We will certainly be looking out for similar shows in the future.


Review of The Snowman™ and The Snowdog BRICKLIVE Tour at Banham Zoo

Review written by Pia Howe, Toddle About Suffolkpic3

Banham Zoo unveiled the Zoo World Premiere of The Snowman™ and The Snowdog BRICKLIVE Tour. It was a real privilege to be part of the exclusive Preview Evening and experience this magical new brick trail, inspired by the much loved animated film The Snowman™ and the Snowdog, the sequel to Raymond Briggs’ classic picture book The Snowman™, which was first published in 1978.

The trail will be at the zoo until the 5th January 2020 and visitors will be able to follow the trail of models around the zoo at their leisure. Each model is accompanied by a framed panel with information such as a number of bricks it contains and how many hours it took to build.

Created by a team of talented brick artists, the interactive festive trail will feature 16 wonderful models made from brightly coloured toy bricks, compromising of Continue reading

Review: Start-Rite Boys Black Leather Riptape School Shoes, worth £49.99

Start-Rite ShoesReviewed by Lorraine Holmes and Tim Freed at Toddle About HQ.

Lorraine’s Review:

With my son Joey starting his Primary School journey in September, it was perfect timing to be able to do a review of these shoes.

I received the STRIKE Black Leather Boys Riptape School Shoes and was very impressed with them as soon as I opened the box. The quality of them was outstanding with absolutely no flaws whatsoever, they are a solid, sturdy shoe but at the same time they are lightweight which I really liked. With it being the first time Joey was going to be wearing this type of shoe all day every day whilst at school, I wanted to make sure they were going to be right for him and I am so happy – they are just what I wanted his first pair of school shoes to be like.

Upon showing them to Joey he got very excited and asked me if he could try them on with all of his new uniform (he is looking forward to starting big boy school so much), I handed them to him and he managed to put them on and also take them off himself easily with the two easy Velcro fastening straps.  When I asked him what he thought of them he said in his own words, “They are nice I like them,” then when I asked him if they were comfortable he said, “Yes and you know what mummy? They make me run faster!” And off he went running round the house for the next 5 minutes :) Continue reading

Review: Thumbs Up For Ted’s Thumbsie Book, worth £6.99

Thumbs Up For Ted's Thumbsie BookReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Nicky Baker.

I was personally unaware about Thumb Guards, however upon receiving the book to review, I felt that this was a nice way of discussing the issue with children.

The book is designed to help parents who are struggling with getting their children to stop with thumb or finger sucking. I liked the positive approach of the book and the areas and discussion covered, for example starting big school and the enjoyable activities to come with the transition. Continue reading

Review: Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower, worth £15.00

Hape Flexistix Eiffel TowerReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Michelle Rose.

My son aged five and I really enjoyed playing with and building the Hape Flexistix Eiffel Tower. It was nice to be able to have some one to one time together making it. I love the fact that it is made from bamboo and is sustainable so does not add more plastic to our house and the colours are lovely and bright.

The pieces are very sturdy, easy to use and hold. The instructions were a little difficult to use on some of the parts when fitting the pieces together with the right gaps but we loved the measuring guide and loved matching the sizes up to the images this was a really big help and clever idea. Continue reading

Review: Once Upon a Unicorn Horn Book, worth £12.99

Once Upon a Unicorn HornReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Nicola Martin.

When I showed my two daughter’s (ages 6 and 3) the new book we had to read they were very excited. Unicorns are a firm favourite in our house so I had high hopes for this and I was right, they were transfixed with the story from the start and didn’t ask any questions (unlike some books where they don’t fully understand the story).

They were really pleased with the happy ending of the story and wanted to read it again straight away. I personally thought that some of the story was a bit basic and not as much detail as there could have potentially been, however, my girls loved it and both myself and my husband have read it to them both a few more occasions since then. Continue reading

Review: Hape All-in-1 Easel, worth £60.00

Hape All-in-1-Easel-Review written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Laura Griffiths.

We recently received the Hape All-in-1 Easel through to review and although there are quite a few less expensive easels out there, I feel this one is well worth paying the extra money for. I think where the value for money lies with this product is the fact you can adjust the height so it grows with your child and ultimately this should mean it gets played with for longer. Continue reading

Review: Johnson’s® Strength Drops Haircare Bundle, worth £7.50

Johnson's Strength DropsReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Carrie Olech.

I have been using the Johnsons Strength Drops Shampoo, Conditioner and Spray on my little boys hair since receiving them to review, although I think the range is aimed at a slightly older child, I found it mild enough for my 16 month old. He has a lot of hair (3 haircuts already) so keeping it in good condition is important to me. We haven’t used a conditioner before; again, I think it’s probably designed for an older child, however I was impressed with how soft it made his hair. Continue reading

Review: Hape Street Surfer, worth £69.99

Hape Street SurferReview written by Toddle About VIP Club member, Lauren Cowley.

We received the Hape Street Surfer to review recently and my son was extremely excited when he saw the box in which the scooter was well packaged. He was eager to open it and asked whether it was a present for him. He wanted it set up straight away and immediately started zooming up and down the hallway.

Upon first look, the Hape Street Surfer is a traditional scooter with a wooden base and gender neutral colours. It has many fantastic qualities including being easy to put together making it a quick process, ready to go in minutes for a very excited child.

The handle bars are easily adjustable allowing it to grow with the child meaning it will last longer than your average scooter. The sturdy wide wooden base makes it so easy for my little boy to ride with enough space to safely keep one foot on in the middle of the board while scooting along and is perfect for his balance. Continue reading

Review of Clip ‘n Climb Ipswich

Clip ‘n Climb Ipswich

Clip ‘n Climb Ipswich

Review written by Pia Howe, Toddle About Suffolk

Recently my son and I have been invited to try out the new Clip ‘n Climb in Ipswich.

It only opened its doors to the public in July this year and promises to be great fun for children and adults alike.

Now let me tell you – it is much harder than it looks  and it’s certainly a good workout!  We have never been climbing before so we didn’t really know what to expect but we were really excited to give it a go.

On arrival, we had a short safety briefing and check that our safety harnesses are fitted correctly. The harness felt comfortable to wear and very secure, especially for the children who receive a special harness over their upper body for extra security and comfort. Continue reading