What’s on Half Term…

Half Term

Launching just in time for half term, a brand new family trail is now available to pick up at the POSTAL MUSEUM, taking wanabee engineers around the Mail Rail exhibition. Other activities over half term include, create a busy engineers toolbox with an illustrator, build your own Air Mail glider plane, take part in an arty painting workshop, design your own mail mover and make your own Victorian top hat.

Its ‘Mysteries of the Dark’ family festival time at the NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM over half term.  Shine a light on the amazing creatures that live in the dark.  Make your way around the Orange Zone and drop in on games, shows and events that inspire and entertain.  Kids can dissect owl pellets, get hands on with real ocean specimens or become mystery detectives.  You can also join Charlie the fox and his woodland friends in an interactive puppet show.  The festival is running from 19 to 21 February.

Join the NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM for Giant games for little soldiers.  Step inside their life-size board game this February half-term and battle it out to see who wins.  Take on their family friendly tasks and complete First World War themed challenges to be the first over the finish line.

Check out some Hidden Transport Heroines at the LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM.  Join them for story time and find out about some new names; past and present women who deserve a round of applause and create a poster to take back to school about the wonderful women who have shaped London and its transport system that we know today.

Its 150 years since the first periodic table and the SCIENCE MUSEUM are having a party.  Join them for Cracking Chemistry, an explosive show with experiments including everything from party balloons to cake, they promise you’ll have a blast!

It’s Rainbow Week at the NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM over half term.  Join in to create one big rainbow flag made up of hundreds of origami boats and talk about LGBTQ histories around the Museum, meet a different character who will take you on a special tour of the museum, explore the realities of life on board a pirate ship in the eighteenth century, create flags, hats and badges that represent you and discover how sailors in the past have used clothes to create a new identity for themselves.

Join an amusing interactive show at the MUSEUM OF LONDON that explores how the Romans treat their dead, meet the Romans, build a peg army at an art drop in activity and meet award winning Children’s writer Caroline Lawrence at an exciting author event.  There is also Roman mosaic making, a craft session for under fives and an ‘Exploring Roman London’ event for families with children who have an autistic spectrum condition.

Its all about the East End at the MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS,  become a Pearly King or Queen in a drop in craft activity for under 5’s, make your very own peg doll, join a storyteller to hear the tale of Henry Crofts, the first Pearly King of East London, become a star on the music hall stage and create a costume that is the envy of all East End Warblers and recreate some of the most well-known flavours of famous East End pie and mash shops.

Get in the pirate spirit at the MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD with events inspired by their current exhibition A Pirate’s Life for Me.  Activities include storytelling, working with illustrator Amy Brown to create a paper theatre with your family, create your own logbook in a box to keep, filled with bits and bobs a pirate might need on an adventure and print a ‘wanted’ poster for your pirate character.  Booking is required.

Head to the SIR JOHN SOANES MUSEUM on 21 February for a Lego drop in workshop where you can build a city inspired by some of Soanes awe inspiring architectural style.  Go along and help them to create a city to rival any artchitect’s wildest imagination.

Drop into the DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY for their art making workshops inspired by the mysterious underwater world in Mariele Neudecker’s tank installation, And Then The World Changed Colour: Breathing Yellow.

Join the RAF MUSEUM over half term for their Flying Goggles workshop.  Every pilot needs a pair of flying goggles! Make your own in their special workshop.  This event is running from 20-22 February.

The FOUNDLING MUSEUM are holding a Family Poetry Workshop where you can get creative with poet Paul Lyalls in this fun packed poetry workshop.  You can also create your ultimate bedroom in a 3D modelling workshop, make your own props for an imaginary bedroom to have your photograph taken in and design your own personalized pillowcase that shows off your unique style.

Discover childhood companions from the past 150 years at the MUSEUM OF BRANDS this half term.  From Victorian dolls and rocking horses, to a 1960s space man, to Olaf the snowman, journey through their time tunnel and pick your favourite toy from each decade.  Draw a picture or describe a toy for each era to win a prize.

 

Family Sunday at the Royal Opera House

royal opera houseWhen we got an invite to the Royal Opera House ‘Mad Hatters and Masked Balls’ Family Sunday in the heart of Covent Garden I am not going to lie I gave out a tiny squeal.  One, because I have never been there and two, because the day sounded AMAZING!!  It promised to be a transformation into scenes from the parties, feasts and festivities that have bought so many operas and ballets to life and it certainly did just that.  The day gave a real glimpse of life behind the scenes at the Royal Opera House and boy was it impressive.  From trying out props such as wigs and masks, testing out swords and rubber guns, which totally looked the real deal, to trying on crowns and Mad Hatter hats, to getting to learn and stage an iconic scene from ‘La Traviata’.  We were in our element.  Seeing a room full of families singing and acting their hearts out was really quite spectacular and a whole heap of fun.  Not to mention dressing up and the chance to rummage through real Opera House costumes to find your Traviata character, not your average Sunday that’s for sure.  There was also plenty of relevant arts and crafts including mask making, scene building and making a feast for the Mad Hatters Tea Party which we actually got to partake in.  Running around the Royal Opera House with Alice, the Mad Hatter, a white rabbit and the Queen of Hearts felt totally bonkers but utterly wonderful, and stumbling across old décor and new only added to it, what a glorious venue.  Basically there was something for everyone and it certainly gave an insight into the wonderous world of opera, I’m so booking some tickets to go see an opera there now.

Our verdict

It was a pretty wow experience throughout and a day we will never forget.  The place is huge so at times we felt a little lost but with a shed load of welcoming staff you couldn’t go too wrong and part of the joy of it all was finding corridors and doors that led you through bits of the Royal Opera House you may never see.  The suggested age is 3+ but I think Ivy’s age of 4 and above would be perfect.

We absolutely recommend you try out one of the Family Sunday’s, rubbing soldiers with actual performers and creative teams felt like we were doing something really quite special and it has certainly opened my daughters eyes to the world of Opera, let alone mine.

Tips if you visit

If there are specific timings of the events allow yourself plenty of time to get to them.  Take a good look at the itinerary to make sure you don’t miss anything out, we managed to miss a few things as we ran out of time.  Lastly, order yourself a latte and the rich chocolate cake, totally scrummy, you wont be disappointed!

The next Family Sunday is on 17 February and the theme is ‘Romeo and Juliet’.  Tickets cost £8 for under 18s and £10 for adults.  To find out more from Royal Opera House events click here https://www.roh.org.uk/functions/family-sundays.

Thanks to the Royal Opera House for our tickets, invitation and goody bag.

 

Chocolate making at the Chocolate Museum

chocolate museumHow have I never heard of the Chocolate Museum, I mean chocolate and museum, errrr, two of the best things in life all rolled into one.  I was so excited when I found it on the family app Hoop I just knew we had to check it out.  First off it’s in Brixton which is a fun place to visit in itself, so much creativity in the streets and a place that’s always buzzing, it was really nice to get to this neck of the woods after such a long time.  The museum is on a really nice road with a load of cool restaurants, shops and hangouts so we didn’t need to go much further.  We had such a friendly welcome to the Chocolate museum, the staff are so enthusiastic and great with kids.  We first ventured down stairs to check out the museum, its super small but ideal as an introduction to chocolate before you start your chocolate making.  We were then asked to order our ingredients, we chose ganache, fudge, chocolate sprinkles and 100s and 1000s.  It was then time to make the filling, I was amazed my 4 year old didn’t tuck straight in, and really got involved in the task at hand.  We had such fun and got totally messy in the process.  We then had to cool the chocolate to the right temperature and dip all our fillings into it, loads more mess, loads more laughs.  I think my daughter at this point just repeatedly kept saying ‘when it’s cool we can eat it’ she was pretty excited and getting pretty impatient, fair enough though, I was feeling the same.  Lastly we used the remaining chocolate to fill our heart and teddy bear moulds which would be put on sticks.  We got to take home so many chocolates, with cute packaging provided they make ideal gifts so think we will be sharing these out with the grandparents, without the kids knowing of course, ha.

Our verdict

We had the best time, getting totally covered in chocolate and just having a whole heap of fun and the chocolates are absolutely delish.

Tips if you visit

You absolutely must order yourself a Hot Chocolate, possibly one of the best I have ever tasted, and definitely take a load of wipes, which most parents usually have on hand anyhow but me however….massive parent fail!!

The dropping in sessions run from 12-5 on a Saturday and tickets cost £15 for one adult and child.  For that you get all the ingredients and a whole heap of chocolates in packaging to take home.  Book your tickets easily through the Hoop app  https://hoop.co.uk/the-chocolate-museum/

 

Snow Baby at the Half Moon Theatre

snow baby 2We were very excited, in collaboration with Hoop, to check out this performance aimed at 3+ year olds. My 4 year old Ivy has only recently been introduced to the theatre so this felt like the perfect show to keep the theatre buzz alive. The theatre, located in Limehouse East London, is quite a beauty and their family friendly offerings are really good. Snow Baby is a show which explores family and love and loss.  It was magical!  A one woman show, which I found mighty impressive, that managed to hold Ivy’s attention for the whole 50 minutes (perfect timing for a fidgety 4 year old by the way). Happy Days! The story is of Doris and Bear Man, a couple in love, who live on a hill alone but happy and when Bear Man disappears Doris has to survive by herself surrounded by forest, bad weathers and crows. A moving story told through the use of beautiful music, puppetry and plenty of interaction. The props included confetti, party hats and flowers, all of which the kids could get their hands on. The snow, crows and glitter dust thrown about the stage by fans was particularly mesmerizing and yes I had a little tear in my eye throughout but there was a whole lot of laughter too with funny bits also thrown in.

Our verdict

We absolutely loved it!! Ivy’s favourite bit was the dancing in the snow, mine was the goose bump music and the wedding. A really lovely experience and with tickets costing only £7 each we will absolutely be going back to see other performances.

This was a one off performance but there are future shows aimed at ages 3+ which you can book via Hoop now.  Rise and Fall, where you will meet all manner of balloons from small floating moons to vast bouncing orbs, is showing on 19th January and Susannah and the Sunflower, a tale about Susannah who sets out on a fantastical shadow adventure, following in the footsteps of Jack and the Beanstalk, is on 26th January.

The Incurably Curious Afternoon Tea at the Wellcome Collection

wellcome collectionOk so I love an afternoon tea but once you’ve been to two or three you’ve kind of been to them all right. Well apparently not, last week we got invited to the Incurably Curious Afternoon Tea at the Wellcome Collection and boy was I curious. I absolutely love it when museums add to their experience and this was just a fabulous addition to this great free museum that explores medicine, life and art. Located in a beautiful green room with various artworks on the wall, we were treated to the most eccentric, fun experience. It started off with their very own lemonade, inspired by the man himself Henry Wellcome, which was totally unique and refreshing, followed by my personal fave, brain cake, yes a brain on a plate, sounds hideous, tastes like you would not believe. The brightest looking cocktails and a panna cotta served in an egg personally picked out of an egg box were additional highlights, all served by the very helpful staff. On top of that there were scrumptious savouries including fish, egg and coronation chicken, tasty sweets in the form of chocolate and carrot cake and this was all before we had even hit the scones. Oh my they were good! Oh and tea, how could I forget the tea. With a selection of 11 teas to choose from that’ll be your hardest decision of the day. That and how you’re going to roll yourself home. A brilliant experience which is now totally on my gift list for someone I think would enjoy something a little different from the norm.

Would I take kids?

To be totally honest probably not, although they were very welcoming to my two I think this is one for the adults to enjoy, plus there’s a load of crockery about!

The Incurably Curious Afternoon Tea costs £30 per person. There is an additional cost of £8 for the cocktails or £5 for Prosecco.

What’s on Christmas…

Christmas

Step aboard for Festive Family Fun at the LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM.  Families can enter a magical forest, with twinkling lights and trees and visit Santa’s Secret Christmas Cabin.  Or track him down in one of the Museums heritage vehicles for a Super Santa Selfie, and enjoy storytelling sessions and create special bunting to take home.  Get nostalgic with the Museums Festive Fun display of fabulous vintage London transport posters celebrating Christmas activities such as ice skating, walking and shopping. An absolute delight. Running up to 6th January.

The POSTAL MUSEUM will be featuring a festive twist on the Mail Rail Ride. From wartime wives wishing husbands Merry Christmas from afar, to the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC, the new projection is set to get you into the Christmas spirit in a very unique way. There will also be Christmas Craft and Making. Whether its seasonal stationary, personalized present sacks or socks, you will have the chance to get crafty in artist-led workshops and more across the Christmas season. And to top it all off, there will be storytelling. Step back in time with storyteller Olivia Armstrong, and discover the story behind the invention of the Christmas card in this enchanting, interactive storytelling session. Events running throughout December.

Join the NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM for a special chocolate decoration workshop in collaboration with The Chocolate Museum, family-friendly performances telling the stories behind Christmas postcards sent by soldiers and their loved ones during the First World War, make your own festive greetings cards inspired by the First World War Christmas cards in their collection and learn how to create your own drawing of the 1914 Christmas Truce, inspired by First World War cartoons in their collection. Varied dates throughout December.

Take a trip back in time at MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS to the London of Dicken’s day for Christmas this year. Walk through their amazing Sailortown gallery, a vivid recreation of a Victoria Street bedecked with frost, holly, mistletoe and the sound of Christmas carols being sung in the distance to match white Christmas of yesteryear as imagined by author Charles Dickens. Then meet Santa himself in his grotto, and receive a traditional toy from him (as long as you have been nice this year!) This is running to 23rd December, advanced booking essential.

Santa is also ready to meet you at MUSEUM OF LONDON too. Take a stroll through a twinkling Victorian Walk, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of carols in the distance, and discover Santa in his secret grotto. Once you’ve found him, tell Santa your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift.

Its Festive Play Session time at the V&A for under 5’s. Take part in a free multi-sensory play session inspired by The 12 Days of Christmas. These sessions are running Wednesdays to Fridays throughout December from 5th.  They are also running festive themed family friendly pop-up performances on Saturdays and festive design workshops on Sunday.

Head over to the GEFFRYE MUSEUM for their Christmas Makers Market on 8th December. Enjoy the twinkling of the Christmas tree and live music with some hot street food in hand. There will be workshops and activities for families under cover at this family friendly event in their beautiful garden.

Join SIR JOHN SOANES MUSEUM for their free Christmas Crafts on 8th December. Using marble techniques make beautiful cards and gift tags ready for Christmas. Go along for a mince pie and get in the festive spirit whilst creating something to make your friends and family smile.

Step into a world of festive delights at TATE BRITAIN’S free Winter Fair on 15th December. Discover unique gifts, drop into a talk or tour and don’t miss the English National Opera perform. With delicious festive food and mulled wine this is the great seasonal treat for all.

Get cracking at the WALLACE COLLECTION on 15th December and make your own Christmas crackers inspired by the Wallace Collection. This is a free event.

Have yourself a horrible little Christmas at DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY on 15-16th December. Join Horrible Histories for an interactive workshop brought to you by the Birmingham Stage Company, exploring how Christmas was celebrated in the time of the Tudors, Victorian era, and the Dark Ages. Be prepared to act out different scenes, sing silly songs, and have a horrible time! Before or afterwards you can also join in the Horrible Christmas Crafting drop-in. Tickets available online.

Meet Father Christmas at the RAF MUSEUM on 15-16th December. Father Christmas is camping out in their Nissen Hut, surrounded by their First World War aircraft. Every child will have the chance to meet the big man in this special First World War era grotto. Tickets available online. There will also be Christmas storytelling. A brave robin battles through storms and other dangers in a quiet English garden. After quite an adventure he arrives just in time for Christmas to find the family who live there who have been looking for him. Expect some crafty Christmas participation – making paper chains and homemade snow flakes, decorating the tree, join in dancing the ‘Hokey Cokey’ and ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ and sing along to festive Christmas carols.

Get all festive at the WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY on 16th December. Inspired by Polish Wycinanki paper craft, decorate your own lantern to take home. This is a free event.

The FOUNDLING MUSEUM are hosting a special family concert on 16th December. Follow the journey of a little elf from European folklore. Join accordian and piano duo Duoende for a magical melodic adventure. Then pop along to a free workshop and get ready for Christmas by creating your own festive elf ears inspired by the concert.

Discover a new take on the twelve days of Christmas at the MUSEUM OF BRANDS over the holidays, with their family trail. Hunt around the Time Tunnel for Christmas themed clues amongst 150 years of packaging on display. Available all day during the festive period.

Share stories, dream and play at TATE MODERN from 19th December. Take a moment to sit back, relax and read together in their storytelling oasis for families of all ages, and discover lots of new books and exciting stories celebrating voices of colour. Drop in anytime between 12-5pm to read books together, listen to readings by their fab storytellers at story time at 1pm or read aloud at 3pm. This is a free event running until 30th December.

 

MAMA’s Museum Christmas Gift Guide

Ho Ho Ho!!!! Just 5 little weeks people, wahhhh and if you’re like me and totally disorganised I have created the perfect little gift guide for all your needs, look no further, museums have it covered…

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS…

Girls

Tatty Devine Gin necklace £40 Museum of London

Chatty Feet Yayoi Toesama socks £8.50 Tate

William Morris notebook £10.99 British Museum

And Mary Porcelain Leopard earrings £45 V&A

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS…

Boys

Space Invader socks £6 V&A

Field Notes Shenandoah Notebooks £8.99 National Army Museum

Simon Carter Way In Way Out cufflinks £49.99 London Transport Museum

NASA Hoodie £40 Royal Museums Greenwich

DOWN WITH THE KIDS…

Kids.JPG

The Jungle Book £9.99 Museum of Childhood

Children’s Colour in Space T-shirt £12.95 Science Museum

Dinosaur Tail £20.00 Natural History Museum

Colour Changing wellies £18 National Maritime Museum

HOME SWEET HOME…

Home

Oxo Measuring Jug £16 National Army Museum

London Underground Lightbox £40 London Transport Museum

Dali & Picasso Salt & Pepper Pots £20 Tate

Skull mug £6.99 British Museum

AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE…

Everyone

X Hype Astronaut Backpack £40 Science Museum

Low Battery Enamel Pin Badge £7.50 V&A

Shadow Brush No.1 Daily Planner A5 £33 Design Museum

David Shrigley Opening Hours Mug £10 Tate

And that just leaves me to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS ya lovely lot!!!!