Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The Smartest Exhibit In Town

It’s not often that you get to see things from a child’s perspective, or step into a real life storybook. But the ‘A World Inside A Book: Gruffalos Dragons and other Creatures’ exhibition at the Z - Arts centre in Manchester, lets you do exactly that. Interactive, immersive and imaginative, this exhibition captures the magic of Julia Donaldson’s beloved books and brings Axel Scheffler’s iconic characters to life. 
It all starts with your little ones entering a room, dressed exactly the same as the living room from the story ‘Charlie Cook’s favourite book’. There, a narrator explains how, with just a little magic it’s possible to jump inside the pages of a book. The children are then treated to a reading of The Gruffalo, before a magical world is revealed.....

The exhibition that awaits your children to explore is truly amazing. Every nook and cranny features a quote, a quiz or a scene from a story. So whether your little babe wants to go to dragon school with Zog, feel like a giant walking through a miniature town or cast a spell with interactive ingredients from Room on the Broom, there is something for every child to enjoy. 
Children are encouraged to be hands on - explore, solve puzzles, even dress up as their favourite characters. It’s fully interactive, which lets face it, is what kids love.  

Little ones can work their through their favourite tales, with absolute glee - there is so much to take in and discover. Personally, I really like how the set up allows them to explore at their own pace - there isn’t a structured route around the exhibit and there’s enough to see and do that there doesn’t have to be a queue situation - although it may 
be a squash and a squeeze at times!

Attention to detail is what makes this truly memorable; hidden animals in trees, tiny adverts posted on the village notice board, even a glimpse of Tiddler under the sea, from portholes onboard a big red boat. The books really are brought to life. There’s even a screening of Stickman showing in an adjoining room.

The exhibition is very similar in feel and fun to another fab event we visited in the summer - ‘Roald Dahl’s Wondrous World’ at the Rheged Centre in Penrith, though ‘A World Inside a Book’ is a little more bijou in size.

In a world of iPads, this shows how it’s cool to be a bookworm. And there’s something really nice about letting your kids get lost in a story instead of cyber space. Heart warming, nostalgic and full of whimsy - just like the books themselves. 

The exhibition runs for 12 months until February 2020 - and we will certainly be visiting again. Simply magical.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Down the Rabbit hole we go... A Christmas Peter Rabbit Adventure

It's the most wonderful time of year! CHRISTMAS! I find myself reaching for the christmas decorations earlier and earlier each year, trying to make the festive fun last more than the usual 12  days that those carol'ers harp on about! 

So, with George in full santa excitement mode now that he's almost 4, I think this will be the first christmas that he fully understands and appreciates December for all its magic!
I love embracing all things festive and love even more the opportunity to experience something through my sons eyes. All that wonder and joy! So, with that in mind, we simply had to visit Peter Rabbit's grotto at The Trafford Centre, promising festive family fun with the added sprinkle of Beatrix Potter magic.

Upon arriving, we were greeted by one of santas helpers, who ushered all us eager families through a door, straight into Peter's wonderful world. We found ourselves standing in a very cosy burrow, where Peter welcomed all the children into his home. It's important to note here, that this isn't a Peter Rabbit you'd expect. 'Peter Rabbit' the character isn't part of the attraction, though the costumes are all very much inspired by Beatrix Potter's characters and personally, I think it's actually all the more enchanting for it. It was almost like we had been transported into The Chronicles of Narnia - I loved that programme when I was little! But all the same, some children who may be expecting a giant Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny or Lily Bobtail to bounce out of the burrow, may need forewarning.


There's a lot of detail in the styling of the space. Kids can crawl through a huge log to access the main area, which is a great piece of interactivity for them. You are invited into (a rather cheeky) Mr Todd's Den, adorned with berries and twigs, to sing a christmas carol all gathered around his cooking pot - before decorating christmas gingerbread with Jemima Puddleduck, in her colourful christmas kitchen. (If your child has any dietary needs, then they can decorate a wooden christmas tree ornament as an alternative.)

Then you make your way through the snowy woods, past murals of beloved Potter characters and a huge talking tree to finally meet the big man himself...Father Christmas!  This is where George stood completetly star struck for a good two cute!

I found the grotto to be a thoroughly charming experience that mixes the traditional Beatrix Potter fantasy and whimsy, with modern humour and christmas fun. The staff are attentive, the group isn't so big that you miss out on anything and even the gift at the end is a lovely and thoughtful memento of the experience itself. It's also not overly expensive, for those with bigger families. There's also the option at the end to purchase your christmas photo with santa - lots of options here, but I really liked the photo snowglobe for something a little different. We really enjoyed this as a family and I would definitely recommend that you hop to it and book this Christmas!

Bookings / Further info: 

Follow me on insta @homesweetbabe