Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic at The Victoria and Albert Museum

winnie the poohThis blog has enabled me to have some fabulous experiences and in many ways it has changed our lives as a family and for that I will be very grateful. However, one of the biggest treats has been the chance to visit an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum before everybody else. As a museum curator I used to work across the road at The Natural History Museum and I’d dream of visiting the galleries at the V & A without the usual crowds of people. I never thought in a million years that I’d have the chance, but this week I did and what an absolute delight it was!

 

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The children can enjoy a slide!

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Go camping in the V & A!

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Play Pooh Sticks

Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a Classic is a completely ground breaking exhibition for the museum as it is the first time that they have attempted a family friendly exhibition. Complete with a slide, a table set for tea (or drawing), a river to pretend playing pooh sticks and some doors only suitable for kids you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the Discover Children’s Story Centre rather than at the rather adult surroundings of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Recently the museum has really upped its game in terms of the staging of its exhibitions and this exhibition was jaw droppingly stunning, a real visual feast. It really is something that I could only aspire to with the exhibitions I (rarely) stage myself.

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There really is something for all age groups in this exhibition, after all who doesn’t like Winnie the Pooh? The exhibition starts with an array of Pooh related objects, some familiar like Cath Kidston’s collaboration dress some not so and more historic. You can also have a look at the teddy bears which were the inspiration for Pooh himself.

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A door for little vistors

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I loved all the child friendly activities and specially written child friendly labels

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For me, the joy of the exhibition was the chance to actually see some of the original illustrations created by E. H. Shepard, along with A. A. Milne’s family photographs and some of the original printers proof’s. There is a real thrill to seeing the originals of illustrations you are so familiar with and which are part of treasured childhood memories.

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Carefully chosen quotes from the book highlighted around the gallery left me felt inspired to re-read the stories again with my youngest child. In fact, the whole space was a real delight to be within.

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Sadly, my children were at school during my visit to the exhibition otherwise I know for sure that they would have loved it. I know what we are going to be doing this holiday…

There are loads of family friendly events and activities to go alongside the exhibition and you can find out more here: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/winnie-the-pooh-exploring-a-classic

 

#SPIDEYPARTY to Celebrate the Home Entertainment Release of Spider-man: Homecoming

We had a brilliant time on Saturday night hosting a kids Spider-Man: Homecoming party to celebrate the release of the movie. We put on the DVD, sorted out lots of snacks and the kids dressed up as Spider-man!

Thanks to Hasbro for this truly fabulous Spider-man: Homecoming Spider Sight Mask. The mask features moving eyes that are activated when the wearer opens their mask. We love it here and have been fighting over it ever since. Check out my husbands Instagram:

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A post shared by Alex Walsh (@daddacool) on

The eldest is also wearing probably the best Spider-man costume we’ve come across, it was given to us by Rubies and i’m really impressed with the quality. They are definitely the  go to dressing up brand for us going forwards.

So, what did we think of the film? By making Spiderman younger than in the previous films this film is different to the other Marvel films because for the first time Spider-man is a proper school boy super hero. Following on from his appearance in Captain America Civil War this movie charts his rise as Marvel’s youngest and most exciting super hero. Tom Holland is brilliant as Spider-man, managing to be a proper high school geek which enables the kids watching the film someone to associate with.  It all works spectacularly well and my boys absolutely loved him.

Peter Parker’s relationship with Tony Stark provides much of the humour for the film. Some of this is lost on the kids, but as adults we enjoyed it.

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Tom Holland is Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING.

There is a great moral theme contained within the film for kids and thats the one of not being taken seriously by adults. There is a running joke where Spider-man is waiting for a call to action from Tony Stark and he doesn’t do various things because of this. In the end he goes out on his own mission, with its own consequences. This provided us with something to talk about after watching the film.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

For once the baddie,  the Vulture, is quite nuanced, he isn’t a typical bad guy. Instead he starts out trying to protect his family and his livelihood but makes some bad decisions which leads to him becoming the bad guy.

Spider-man: Homecoming is a great movie, we all enjoyed it a lot and we’re looking forward to the next movie featuring him! You can get hold of a copy at all the usual outlets in DVD, Blu-ray or digital download. Why not have your own party and tweet us using #SPIDEYPARTY so we can see how you get on.

Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING.

Disclosure: We were provided with the DVD, costumes, masks and other items for our party. This hasn’t influenced my review.

Book Review: Izzy Gizmo by Pip Jones and Sara Ogilvie

If you’re looking for a new book with a determined, strong female role model then this is for you. I love this book personally, Izzy is living my childhood dream and doing loads of things I’d have liked to do. She is an inventor and has adventures based on her inventions.

There is a strong message behind the story about resilience and trying again which is really appealing at the moment in our household as I try to encourage my five year old to not give up at the first sign of something going wrong.

Izzy Gizmo has been created by Pip Jones who is responsible for Fifi’s favourite series Squishy McFluff and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie who is one of Booktrust’s Best New illustrators and has brought a brilliant character to life here. This is a colourful, well presented and fun picture book and it comes as no surprise that its shortlisted for the 2017 Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards.

You can find out more here

Disclaimer: We were sent this book for review

Book Review: My New Room by Lisa Stickley

We are currently thinking about moving house and so the potential of a new room is quite high on the children’s agenda. Lisa Stickley is a designer and illustrator and this is the second in a series of books about Edith.

In this story Edith meets all her toys which are arranged in new places around her room. The toys talk about what they like in the new room, which of course helps Edith settle into her new bigger bedroom.

If you like quite unique picture books which have style and a quirkiness about them then you’ll love this one. In our household it appealed most to the middle child who is a girl and I think sort of identified with Edith.

The five year old really loved the page about Major Ted who lives on Edith’s bed: ‘I sometimes have to wear earplugs to block out Edith’s snoring, but thats part of the job’. Ned our five year old has his own teddy and it has made him think in a lot of detail about his teddy’s adventures whilst he is at school.  I’ve been given several illustrations and five work stories on the theme which have been accompanied with lots of discussion!

This is a lovely book with great illustrations and a really unusual way of laying out the text. We all have enjoyed it and we cant wait to hear more about Edith’s life. Find out more here.

Book Review: Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Benji Davies

Sometimes its difficult to think about how to write a story, this book is for those moments. It really is a fantastic metafictive picture book which works on lots of different levels making it perfect for our household of children  whose ages range from 5 to nearly 10 years old.

I really enjoy reading picture books which are essentially about story-telling and creation to the children as I find that they always stimulate a lot of conversation. This book was no exception with lots of discussion about alternative characters and scenarios.

I cant write this review without mentioning Benji Davies fabulous illustrations. Having previously reviewed Storm Whale and Grandad’s Island, Also an Octopus has a very different feel to it. The illustrations have a vintage feel to them and fit the story perfectly, providing children with lots to see and engage with.

This is a great addition to your bookshelf, its a brilliantly sculpted way to assist the children with structuring their own stories but also a great story in itself. Very entertaining!

You can find out more about it here.