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: 

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Saturday, 15 April 2017

Craft Tutorial: Easy (ish!) Easter Bunting.

Happy Easter weekend! I've decided to share a craft project with you that I've attempted this week. It is relatively easy - more so if you can sew! I love crafting and trying new things to make, but this was my first attempt at this bunting and FULL DISCLOSURE ALERT... I can't sew for toffee (or easter eggs).

Never the less, the results are super cute and you can replace the bunnies, for literally anything else to make gorgeous bunting for bedrooms /playrooms, even gifts - I'm going to *try* and make some felt dinosaur bunting for George's new room, which I'm in the middle of planning at the minute - more on that later!

Ok, so here's what you need;

Plain paper (for templates)
Felt Sheets 
Felt balls
Embroidery floss
Thread / cotton
Soft Toy Filling

I started by drawing my bunnies onto A4 paper, to use as a template. You may not need to do this if you're a great at freehand and just want to go for it direct on the felt sheets, but if you're anything like me, you'll benefit from a template - and it's also a good way to ensure each bunny is the same size. If you're not confident with free hand drawing, there are plenty of great bunny outlines and templates online - you could even trace it straight off your computer screen!

Once you've made your templates, cut two bunnies from your felt sheets - I went for light grey and white felt, but you could choose any colour you fancy. I got all my essentials at Hobbycraft and they had a great selection of colours.

Put your two felt bunnies together and sew around them. This is the part that I really wished I owned a sewing machine, as you'll have this step sorted in minutes! Or if you're a first time sewer like me and hand sew each bunny, this can take a while! Leave a corner open and stuff with toy filling. I used the blade of my scissors to push the stuffing into every corner. Sew shut.

I then sewed a white felt ball on each rabbit, so they had cute little cotton tails. Once you've made as many bunnies as you like, then you can start to make the garland! I think an odd number of rabbits look great, but it's really up to you how many you add - obviously you'd need more if you were planning on a long length.

Now you can make felt balls yourself, but after watching a few tutorials on you tube, it just seemed far too time consuming, so I ordered online! I went for a mix of 1cm and 3cm balls from Amazon. I decided to go for spring green colours, but again, you can opt for any colour - I think that what makes this so lovely, as you can craft these to any specification you want.

Then, using a large sewing needle, I threaded the bunnies and balls onto some embroidery floss and voila! Your fab little fancy felt bunting is finished!

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter Weekend!

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Saturday, 4 February 2017

50 Shades of Pink!

This month many of us will be celebrating Valentine's Day - ooh la la! So in the spirit of all things sweet and romantic, I thought I'd show you how you can shower some love on your home and embrace the colour pink.
Yes, I know pink isn't everyone's love potion when it comes to interiors and for some it conjures up the thought of saccharine sweet flowery prints, chintz and 80's decor - but there are ways to showcase pink without making your home too girly.
Blush was a major colour trend in 2016 and it's a great starting shade for those who are too shy to experiment with the more powerful pinks out there, but delicate enough as an introduction to this cute hue.

Whether it's pretty pastel, fluorescent fuchsia - or anything in-between, here's the low down on how to make this sweetheart shade work for you.

photo via pinterest

Start simple. Add a pop of pink to your room with something as simple as pink roses, tulips or lillies. This is the easiest way to trial a colour in a space, without committing to anything too costly or permanent.
Pink accents in a neutral room can add warmth and character, depending on which shades you use. Personally, I love blush, nude and pastel pinks, to add a soft sophistication to my lounge area, though if you wanted to make more of a statement, why not opt for bolder shades such as flamingo, magenta and cerise. Accessorise with cushions (I love the pink mongolian wool cushions available at TK Maxx) candles, or a gorgeous cable knit throw. Another simple addition is swapping out your old bathroom towels for classic white or grey and adding a hint of pink in the pile.

photo via pinterest

photo via TK MAXX

Fancy a DIY project? How about upscaling an unloved piece of furniture and painting it pink! Breathe life into an old dresser with a pink paint job and adding gold hardware? Or how about creating a feature wall by framing samples of pink wallpaper and hanging them in a row to make a makeshift gallery wall? I love the idea of transforming something old and giving it a modern makeover  - plus how adorable would powder pink drawers look in a nursery or playroom?

photo via pinterest

Although pink has an amazing array of shades to offer, it's understandable that some of you may need more convincing to use this colour in your home. If you don't want to commit to something big, something less prominent you can do is incorporate pink in more subtle design decisions - like using rose gold metallics for lighting options and ornaments. Pink is one of the few colours that can cater for every taste, so why not consider introducing a little sweetness into your colour scheme and start to think pink!

I'm excited to announce that Home Sweet Babe is now offering Interior Styling consultations, so please get in touch via the website, or contact me at for more information and pricing if you're thinking of a redesign or interior overhaul in your home.

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