Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Gruffalo at the Chessington World of Adventures

It's no secret that we love Chessington World of Adventures.
It is our go-to place for family fun, laughs and lots of adventure
and we are lucky to be a short ride away from it.

But we are even luckier to have been asked
by CWOA to become blogger ambassadors,
meaning we will be testing all new rides
and going on amazing adventures
before reporting back to you.

So, when we heard that a new ride 
featuring the boys' favourite baddie
opened at Chessington World of Adventure, 
we packed our bags and got ready for an adventure.

The Gruffalo at the Chessington World of Adventures, Review from A Mum in London

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson 
is one of the kids' all time favourite books;  
I cannot tell you how excited they were 
when they found out that they were going to join Mouse 
on an adventurous river ride to meet the Gruffalo.

The Gruffalo ride is for families with children of all ages
{babies in arms are welcome too} 
and feature all the ingredients for a fantastic adventure. 

Firstly, explorers have to board a little boat 
and sail down a river in the middle of a dark wood; 
secondly, there are amazing visual and sound effects 
that make this journey truly magical and immersive;
thirdly, there are surprises at every turn 
that add to the fun and the excitement. 

The Gruffalo at the Chessington World of Adventures, Review from A Mum in London

Needless to say, the children were over the moon 
and asked "When are we doing it again?" 
as soon as it ended. 

For more Gruffalo fun, there are screenings of the movie, 
Gruffallo themed rooms at the Chessington Safari hotel, 
a Gruffalo gift shop and food outlet
and a Meet and Greet with the Gruffalo himself!

In a nutshell: the Gruffalo river ride is a must-do 
for all Gruffalo fans, small and big!

The Gruffalo river ride is included in the CWOA entry ticket (from £28 | under 3s go free)

This Saturday 17 June CWOA will remain open from 6.30pm to 9.30pm for Roar and Explore, an exclusive fund raising event which supports the Chessington Conservation Fund (CCF) and which has raised £400,000 to date, to protect the future of nature and wildlife through conservation work and education within the local community and worldwide.

Disclosure: We were invited as Blogger Ambassadors 
to review the Gruffalo ride and were not paid to do this review.
All words and opinions our own.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Top Tips to Make Children Love Reading

A recent survey* of 42,000 schoolchildren 
showed that the percentage of children 
who enjoy reading are at an all time high. 

This research, conducted to celebrate the 20th anniversary 
of the National Literacy Trust’s Young Readers Programme
shows that the longer children enjoy reading, 
the greater the benefits are in the classroom: 
children who enjoy reading have a higher reading age** 
than their peers who don’t.

The truth is it can be tricky for parents 
to instill in their children the love of reading. 
The key is to be patient and follow your child's lead and preferences, 
as this top tip guide for making your child love reading 
from the National Literacy Trust shows.

Top Tips to Make Children Love Reading, A Mum in London
Image via

Top Tips for Parents 
who want their child to love reading

1. Make time to read: read a bedtime story with your child every night or set a regular time to read together during the day. Little and often works best: a good ten minutes reading together is better than a difficult half hour!
2. Let your child choose what to readyour child is more likely to develop a love of reading if they are able to choose the books they read with you. Join your local library for free and your child can pick from a wide selection of books that suit their interests or play to their hobbies, such as football or animals.
3. Explore different reading materials and formats:  as well as fiction there is a world of comics, magazines, ebooks, read-along audio books and non-fiction to discover.
4. Get the whole family involved: encourage your child to read with other family members like grandparents, brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles.
5. Bring stories to life: when reading stories out loud with your child, give characters different voices that match their personalities. You could pause the story and ask your child what happens next, or even try acting out parts of the story together.
6. Create fun reading challenges at home: on a rainy day you could organise a treasure hunt around the house; give your child a list of things to find and see how quickly they can read the list and collect all the items.
7. Be positive: praise your child for trying hard at their reading and let them know it’s alright to make mistakes.
8. Be a reading role model: your child learns from you, so seeing you enjoying and valuing books can be a great inspiration.

*The research report is based on findings from the National Literacy Trust’s seventh Annual Literacy Survey. 42,406 children and young people, aged 8 to 18, responded to the survey in November and December 2016. Of these, 9,754 children were in Key Stage 2 (aged 8-11).

**10-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 1.3 years above their peers who do not enjoy reading (10.8 years vs 9.5 years)
12-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 2.1 years above their peers who do not enjoy reading (12.6 years vs 10.5 years)
14-year-olds who enjoy reading have a reading age 3.3 years above their peers who do not enjoy reading (15.3 years vs 12 years)

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Adventures in Wonderland Review

Imagine being led into a magic maze by a White Rabbit,
who then asks you to drink a potion
and follow him to to meet a crazy Queen
and a disappearing Cheshire Cat...

Adventures in Wonderland, the critically acclaimed, 
multi-sensory experience, from the award-winning 
children's theatre company Les Petits, 
returns from 13 May 2017 to 3 September 2017 
and it is an experience not to be missed. 

Set inside the mysterious tunnels underneath Waterloo station,
a magical and weird maze transports children and adults
to the crazy underground world of Alice.

Aimed at children from 5 to 10 years old,
this is a theatrical experience not to be missed,
as I'm sure the Kid would tell you
after attending the press morning.

Adventures in Wonderland Review from A Mum in London

Do not expect to find seats or 'Please be quiet' signs; 
this is immersive, interactive thespian art 
where the spectators follow the story's journey  
and enrich it by participating in it. 

The journey begins in an antique-filled room, 
where Alice invites us to find her in the Wonderland. 

On entering this magic world, a choice has to be made: 
the White Rabbit invites the audience to choose 
between 'Eat Me' or 'Drink Me', 
a choice that will determine one's unique path into the maze.  

Adventures in Wonderland Review from A Mum in London

The maze is an immense multi-room set, 
decorated with exquisite details in such an imaginative way 
that the Kid kept asking me if we were near the centre of the Earth {!}

But what really steals the show 
and makes this one of the best theatrical experiences for children 
are the performances by the very talented actors 
{our favourite was the capricious Queen 
and her wicked sense of humour}. 

In a nutshell: an unforgettable experience
for children and adults alike
{and, hurry up, tickets are flying fast}.

Alice's Adventures Undergroundfrom 13 May 2017 to 3 September 2017 
The Vaults, Launcelot Street, London SE1 7AD
Tickets from £15.50 | Family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £71

*images ©Rah Petherbridge Photography

Disclosure: We attended the press preview. 
All views and wording my own.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Children's Portraits in London

Family and children's portraits can sometimes be tricky to get right; 
too much staging and unnatural props 
can make a picture seem unnecessarily 'heavy' or over elaborated. 

Simple, natural photos that depict one's true self right in the moment 
are the best, especially when it comes to kids' portraits...

...like the ones captured by the talented
London-based photographer Emilie White.

Kids portraits by Emilie White, A Mum in London

Emilie, a French mum of two who lives in London, 
 believes that kids' portraits do not have to be cheesy. 

They can be artistic and minimalist: 
just the children, as they are in that particular moment in time, 
before they grow up. 

And Emilie's children's portraits are simple, modern and timeless; 
a true, realistic snapshot of childhood. 

Kids portraits by Emilie White, A Mum in London

Most importantly, as a mum, Emilie knows how important 
it is to get everyone feel at ease and relaxed for the shoot 
and how the little ones always want to explore and have fun. 

Her studio sessions are an hour long with small breaks 
and children are encouraged to come dressed 
with their favourite outfit and even take their favourite toy with them. 

Emilie will be holding a full day of children's portraiture 
in a studio in Clapham Common on Saturday 20th May. 
Plus, there will be music, snacks and coffee for mums and dads! 

Studio portrait sessions are 1h £100 {includes editing of all images and online gallery to choose from} 
Prints are available to purchase separately as you see fit with prices starting at £110 
Special offer for readers of A mum in London, 10% off any purchased prints, when quoting  A mum in London in your enquiry email.
You can book your time slot and get more details by email emilie@emiliewhite.com

Monday, 24 April 2017

Nutmeg's Brand New Women's Collection

You know that moment when someone stops you in the street 
to ask you where you bought that blouse/jumper/gilet? 

Well, that keeps happening to me when I'm with the boys 
and they are wearing something from the Nutmeg collection
But, since Nutmeg just launched their Women's collection, 
I guess that will start happening to me now as well.

With an emphasis put on quality, thoughtful details and affordability, 
Nutmeg's new women's collection has it all: 
one can find classic, elegant pieces 
that can be worn from morning till night, 
as well as fun in trend garments {see parrot top & shorts below} 
perfect for those long summer evenings.

A Mum in London

What I love about Nutmeg is the attention to detail, 
the perfect fit and the top quality of materials; 
soft denims, breathable cottons, 
good workmanship on the finishing details, flattering lines. 

And, of course, the amazingly low prices starting at just £3
that make it one of the best value for money women's clothing collections.

Nutmeg's PR team kindly sent a few items for me to review 
and I can honestly say, 'If you are looking 
for the perfect summer wardrobe update, look no more'!

My favourite items are the soft denim dress, 
with the impeccable cut and beautiful suede pleated belt, 
the classy summer mac in a gorgeous camel colour 
and the fun/glam sequined parrot top 
{discover the entire women's collection at Nutmeg}

In a nutshell: a beautifully fresh collection 
with amazing prices and impeccable quality. 

Denim dress £20 | Parrot sequined top £14 & Shorts £12 | Mac £30, Top £10 & Jeggings £12 all available in selected Morrisons stores

Disclosure: Items sent for review
All views and wording my own

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