We review Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play – Nuffield Theatre

Charlie & Lola mumsnet MPU_NEWNestled in the grounds of Southampton University, you will find the Nuffield Theatre, and it’s where I found myself today, trying (for quite some time) to find a place to park with two over excited children.  Today we saw the first performance of Charlie and Lola’s Best Bestest Play.

To fans of this popular television programme, Charlie and Lola hardly need any introduction, but for the uninitiated, Charlie has this little sister, Lola, who is small, and very funny…  But will Charlie ever get Lola to sleep, even though she is not sleepy and will not go to bed? It won’t be easy – the Tigers want their bedtime milk, the Dancing Dogs have borrowed Lola’s pyjamas and Lola thinks there is an ogre hiding in the wardrobe!

But how do you bring an animated television programme to life for an audience of the toughest critics going, a auditorium full of children? By the use of very clever 2D puppets, excellent puppeteers and a fantastic set with all the texture and fantasy sequences you have come to know and love from the original programme. The puppeteers work the 2d puppets of Charlie, Lola and the supporting cast with all of the nuance and movements you get from the animation, so well in fact, you do tend to forget that the puppeteers are there for a moment, until suddenly they are performers in their own right again, dancing with the scenery for set changes and encouraging the audience to participate.

With falling butterflies, bubbles and disco lights throughout the performance there is plenty to delight your children and you will be left with an enormous sense of well being and a desire to see more children’s theatre at this lovely venue. You can also purchase Charlie and Lola books, toys and swimbags in the foyer, very handy just before Christmas.

The play is suitable for children aged 3+ (although I did risk taking my nearly 2 year old and was delighted that he was engaged by it). You can book tickets through the Nuffield Theatre website www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk or by calling the box office on 023 8067 1771.  Shows will take place at 11 am and 2 pm today, Thursday and Friday and 11 am, 1.30 pm and 4 pm on Saturday 1st November 2014.

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Enjoy 50% off this Half Term with South West Trains

swt_logo for 3rd PartiesEnjoy 50% off standard off-peak day return tickets everyday until Friday 31st October when you book in advance with South West Trains!

The best news is you can travel ANYWHERE across the South West Trains network!  So book your ticket online today and start exploring!  You can also book your tickets at ticket offices or by calling 0345 6000 650.  Remember you must book your ticket a minimum of 24 hours before you travel to receive the discounted fare!


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Octonauts exploring theatres near you!

Octonauts Live logoOctonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure will be touring the UK from the 16th October 2014 until the 5th July 2015 giving fans a chance to experience the adventure first hand.  The entire crew of the Octonauts, led by intrepid explorer Captain Barnacles, Lieutenant Kwazii and Medic Peso, embark on an exciting new underwater quest and visit amazing underwater worlds full of adventure with surprises around every corner.

This action packed interactive show features new music (from BAFTA-award winning composer Mani Svavarsson) and all the Octonauts live on state for the very first time.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the Octonauts are a dynamic eight-member team of quirky and courageous adventure heroes who dive into action whenever there is trouble under the sea.  Equipped with a fleet of aquatic vehicles, they rescue amazing sea creatures, explore incredible new underwater worlds, and often save the day before returning safely to their home base, the Octopod.

Adapted by Richard Lewis, known for the hugely popular three Peppa Pig stage shows and last year’s Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom tour, this promises to be a fantastic treat for the show’s fans.

“Octonauts is all about adventure and exploration which offers up a whole host of possibilities in a live environment.  From the colourful characters and fantastic underwater setting to the amazing octopod where the Octonauts live, there’s great scope for a really unique, interactive theatre experience.  We can’t wait to take fans on an adventure like never before.”

The show will visit Princes Hall, Aldershot on the 21-22 October 2014,  Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre on the 18-19 April 2015 and Portsmouth’s Kings Theatre on the 20-21 June 2015.


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We review 101 Things For Kids To Do Outside

Local Editor:

Fed up with expensive days out? Or perhaps you just want them to stop watching Stampy Longnose for a bit – here’s the answer for less than £15.

Originally posted on Mumsnet Portsmouth:

101What better time to review a book like 101 Things for Kids To Do Outside, than the summer holidays? Arriving a week into the break, when I was running out of ideas for less expensive entertainments, it was a very welcome arrival.

Award winning garden designer, blogger and mum of three young children Dawn Isaac has packed 101 Things For Children To Do Outside with games, projects, crafts, experiments and gardening inspiration to encourage your children to step away from their screens and get out in the fresh air. These ideas stem from Dawn’s perpetual mission to persuade her children to go outside, chronicled in her blog www.littlegreenfingers.com which features on the RHS family website. The horticultural advisor to popular tv program Mr Bloom’s Nursery, Dawn also runs family garden design courses in association with Mumsnet Academy.

The book offers quick 10 minute activities to full days of fun. From party…

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Summer Like it Hot- our best beauty buys.

Local Editor:

Some great recommendations here from Nic Miller, Local Editor for Mumsnet Suffolk & Norfolk.

Originally posted on The Millers Tale:

Young woman with her face turned to the sun

The leap from a healthy glow to a perspiring crimson mess is not so huge during summer, no matter what your skin type or colour is. Going from air con to full sun, from sun baked car to the blast of the chiller section in the supermarket plays havoc upon our equilibrium, our disposition and our complexion and trying to maintain some semblance of grooming requires the cosmetic big guns. Keeping it as simple as possible is THE mantra when it is hot and I try to maintain an inverse relationship with what is going on in my life- the busier it is, the more I scale back my hair and beauty regime. Indeed I try to streamline by using products that double or triple up and avoid the use of skin covering bases and creams which tend to melt, crease and generally look pretty ropey after a few hours.

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Money Saving Deals on Days out in Hampshire

Hawk Conservancy 1Like many families, this year we’ll be staying at home during the holidays and doing daytrips out and about in Hampshire and near where amenable relatives live. In the spirit of further keeping costs down I started looking for some cheap deals and thought I’d share what I found with you.



First place to check is the trusty Tesco Clubcard. If you’ve got one, chances are you have some points lurking, and points mean vouchers.  You can boost your clubcard vouchers to up to four times their value. Handy to know when you are looking to get into a local attraction or know that you’ll be wanting to eat out. If you’re not sure if you have any vouchers, you don’t have to search the kitchen high and low looking for crumpled versions stuck with magnets onto the fridge or pinned under receipts on the pinboard – you can simply check online and claim them from the site. Do read the terms and conditions carefully before committing to exchanging your tokens – the deals do vary from attraction to attraction.

Local attractions include the following:

Gilbert White logoGilbert White’s House and Garden & The Oates Museum, Selborne – £2.50 in vouchers gets you £10 worth of clubcard tokens to use on admission.

Hawk Conservancy Trust, Andover – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Mid Hants Railway Watercress Line, Alresford – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Milestones Museum, Basingstoke – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Staunton Country Park, Havant – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth – £6.50 vouchers gets you a entry token

Royal Marines Museum, Portsmouth – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens.

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth – £2.50 vouchers for £10 tokens


Restaurants are also included and you can choose a branch of Prezzo, Papa Johns, La Tasca and many more. You can search on site using a postcode and in many cases exchange just £2.50 in vouchers for £10 towards your meal. Bear in mind this tends to be for food only – you’ll need to pay for drinks.


You can also exchange vouchers for cinema tickets – perfect if your children are pestering you to take them to see Earth to Echo.



Groupon offers you daily emails giving you a daily local deal. But, you don’t have to sign up to the emails to take advantage of their offers, you can just buy from their website. Once again, you will need to read the terms and conditions of any offer carefully – these offers are usually dated limited and there may be other conditions which may not suit you. Yesterday I found three deals for local attractions – today – just one – Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. But search and you might be lucky. Or just sign up to the daily emails and let the offers come to you.


Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Currently offering 25% off an all attraction ticket if you purchase it online – the all attraction ticket now covers the Royal Marines Museum, Explosion – Museum of Naval Firepower, The Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard (encompassing HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, the Mary Rose Museum, Action Stations and the National Museum of the Royal Navy.  If you gift aid it, your ticket will be valid for a whole year.

If you find any deals – add them to the thread in local chat and share the love.








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To celebrate the return of GBBO 2014…

In the spirit of (well not quite given the work involved, or lack thereof) the new series of Great British Bake Off 2014, we’ve got a No Whisk 3 Minute Meringue recipe for you.

And here is our video of the lovely Mary Berry answering Mumsnetters’ baking questions.

So dust off the beautiful mixer you bought during the last series and open the book you had for Christmas. It’s time to get your bake on.


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