Thursday, 16 December 2010

Prepare to be Entertained - Panto in Bristol and Weston

Hooray: it’s panto season once more. If British campery, shouting at the top of your voice, rubbish jokes and self-deprecation is your thing, then the West is the place to be.

This year, those living in North Somerset are lucky enough to have easy access to two very different and highly entertaining pantomimes:
Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome and Cinderella at the Playhouse, Weston.


You don’t expect to be handed a pair of 3D glasses when you go to the theatre to see a traditional panto, do you? That’s what happened when we collected our tickets to Dick Whittington at the Bristol Hippodrome. We were in for a treat.

With her trademark tottering walk, her love of huge hair and that high-pitched, unique cackle, Barbara Windsor is an inspired choice as Fairy Bowbells. One of the first things we hear is that famous, and more than a little annoying, giggle of hers, which transports so many of us back to the days of Carry-On humour. And Eric Potts, the scriptwriter, who has cast himself as a proper pantomime dame in the role of Sarah the Cook, don’t ‘alf milk Babs’ lengthy career to delightful effect.

Here she comes, sitting upon a star, floating high above the stage while the well-choreographed and exquisitely dressed dancers move gracefully to the EastEnders theme tune. She tells us all about the 16 year Nightmare she’s just awoken from (yes, you’ve got it), before joining the troupe to do the “Lambeth Walk,” Oi! From then on there are Walford and Carry-On jokes aplenty, particularly ones involving breasts.

And that Dick loves a good old singsong too! Throughout the performance, Owain Williams, in the title role, unleashes his trained-for-theatre voice onto us, belting out a catalogue of songs by anyone from Take That! to Michael Buble (uh-huh).

For the second year running, it’s Andy Ford who truly steals the show as this year’s panto fool, Idle Jack. With his West Country accent, his silly expressions and his perfect timing, he delivers the mostly deliberately terrible gags with comic genius. Eric Potts makes sure Jack doesn’t forget Portishead in his repertoire but my favourite joke of the night (apart from all the ones about willies) is, understandably, when the cast is about to sail the oceans. “Bristol for the Continent,” shouts Jack. “Weston for the incontinent!”

My four year old was made up with this trip to the theatre and particularly with Dick’s dancing cat, courtesy of Omari Bernard. She shouted at the stage along with everyone else and, when it was time to put on the 3D glasses, she gasped, “They’re coming in my eyes. Are they coming in your eyes? They’re magic glasses.” Spellbound.

The set is spectacular in all its symmetry and sparkle and the costumes simply beautiful on one hand and outrageous on another: I’m thinking here of Sarah the Cook’s outfits, particularly her terrible lime green bikini! Cue Carry On Camping with absolute predictability but, hey, this is pantomime.

At the end of the show, we all have a sing song in ship-shape Bristol fashion. Oh, what fun to shout “Gurt Lush,” and “Cheers Drive,” as loudly as you can and with no inhibitions. Ooh, saucy.


The Playhouse, Weston, delivers a less lavish production than the big city 20 miles up the road, but it’s no less enjoyable because of this. I noticed it last year; the way panto in Weston juxtaposes ballet and dance with absolute tomfoolery to great effect.

And because this year the Playhouse brings us Cinderella, we get two pantomime dames for the price of one in the form of those delightful Ugly Sisters: Ravishing Rita, played by Mark Two, and Wicked Wanda (Jamie Steen). And they cause havoc, those two hags – spraying the audience with super-soakers or with water from their boobs and at one point threatening us with a hosepipe (“Thanks, Linford”), tormenting poor Cinderella, and dressing in the most hideous outfits of leopard and Dalmatian skin, Christmas tree/cracker, cakes and birdcages, among others.

The scriptwriters, Keith and Ben Simmons (with additional material by Lee Waddingham) have done their homework on the local area and jokes about the Bourneville and Bleadon are thrown in, as well as mentions of the outlaying villages. Buttons is played convincingly enough by Sean Wilson (Martin Platt from Coronation Street) and his on-stage presence demands unavoidable reference to Corrie and sour-faced Gail.

Costume design is good, with glitter and twinkle in all the right places. The best scene must be when the girl in rags turns into a princess, accompanied by falling snow and a very cute white Shetland pony. “Did they come from the beach?” asked the four year old who once again wiggled, sang and shouted her way through the show, as much of the audience did.

In the role of Cinders, Kelle Bryan, formerly of the band Eternal, gives good voice to many a tune, the majority of which I’d thankfully never heard before, and this is when the production really comes together, so convincing are Kelle and the cast of dancers, with children from the Tina Counsell School of Dance and Drama completing the family feel.

We boo-ed, we hissed, we cheered, we laughed, we screamed, we shouted our “Behind yous” and our “Oh, no, he didn’ts” but the biggest hysteria from the adults came when the Ugly Sisters, Baron Hardup (John Lyons of A Touch of Frost fame) and Buttons failed to get to sleep in a haunted house. Deliberately misplaced props and costume calamities caused uproarious laughter from the audience, who had completely thawed out by this point.

And now we’re on fire. So much so that I think we’re going to go to the ball all over again!

Oh yes we are!


Dick Whittington is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until 9th January 2011
Cinderella is on at the Playhouse, Weston until 9th January 2011

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ping and Pong - Splash

Book Review - Ping and Pong: Splash.
Written by Amy Trevaskus, illustrated by Alison Heath

"I've got you a present."

"Wow!" said my 4 year old girl.

Two minutes later, we started to read Splash, the first in a series of books about Ping and Pong. She's just started school and has recently learned most of her letters, phonetically of course.

As I told her how Lucy was going to the park with her two friends, Ping and Pong, miniature beings, who live in the clock in the hall, she listened. On the fourth page, My Girl let her fingers glide over a series of letters and voiced them, "P-I-N-G. P-I-N-G," she looked up to the ceiling. "Ping!" she announced suitably proudly. Then she searched the text. "P-O-N-G. Pong!" We both got excited. And so the journey has begun.

After school today, still with her uniform on, she sat down with Ping and Pong and read quietly to herself. I was unable to hear the words of the story, until she shouted, just like Pong does, "I LOVE PUDDLES!"

At bedtime, we revisted our new friends. She relayed the story, in her own words first. It went something like this:

"Right, what do you think is in the story?" I ask what happens. "That's Lucy. Look. Ping got all ready to go out in the park. She puts her boots on just in case it rained. They went out. What do you think happened? It's really good!" She turns the page, "Hello frog, where did you come from? I came from the pond." There is no frog in this story, it's called imagination ;)

"And what do you think happened? It's not good! It got raining and raining and raining. And Pong said, 'I LOVE PUDDLES'. And what do you think happened? She poured water out of her boot. That's Ping."

Then, she spells out ten words. We both get excited again. Cue my turn to read the story, this time in the author's own words, beautifully written and cleverly illustrated, one of those books that I actually enjoy reading and one that she hangs onto every word of, only interrupting me to give her analysis, "Pong likes to go up high in the swing, Ping doesn't like swings a lot." Or to ask a question, "Why is she taking the water out of her wellies?"

We finish reading our new book and she says. "I love Ping and Pong. I love your presents, Mummy. Thank you."

If only all bedtimes were this easy! She's asleep now: I wonder what she's dreaming about....

Weston-super-Mum has a signed copy of Ping and Pong: Splash to give to one lucky winner.

For more information about Ping and Pong and to order your own copy, please visit their website

Friday, 5 November 2010

Weston's Outdoor Treasures on Foot or by Bus

Weston is the ideal location for getting out in the open air and for walking, running and exploring. For the price of a picnic (we take one everywhere with us) and maybe a bus fare, leisure pursuits in this town are many. Two years of being a non-car family has really shown me how much there is to do in Weston with young children, at very little cost. All these hills mean that you will develop strong legs and sturdy kids; we've certainly become a family that isn't afriad of a little rain, or a lot of rain come to that.

Bus routes up to South Road mean that the Old Town Quarry and Weston Woods are easily accessible to all, although a slow walk up through Grove Park and to the top of Queen's Road will also lead you there, and this area is no more than ten minutes on foot from the High Street. Alongside the Quarry entrance is a path to the woods that will lead you to Water Tower or the Encampment (Iron Age Fort), depending on whether you take the left or right path at the top.

Old Town Quarry

Weston Woods, Encampment

If you have a whole day, drop down by the Water Tower and head over to Sand Bay, which isn't as far as you might imagine, though for this you will need food and drink as there is nowhere in Sand Bay to buy anything at all, which for the budget-conscious parent must be a plus! And any energetic child will be in his element here, with all those sand dunes to slide down and millions of tiny shells to find. If you don't fancy the walk back, the Number 1 bus runs half-hourly from the beach, along the magical toll road and back to Weston town centre.

Winter at Sand Bay

Going the other way, catch the 14A or the 5/5A/5B from Worle or Weston to Uphill and check out the boats in Uphill Boat Yard, climb up to St Nicholas Church and take in those magnificient views (you can see Glastonbury Tor from here!). Wildlife aplenty and lots of room to run.

Brean Down & Boat Yard - View from Uphill

It's comforting to know that all of these Weston treasures are really easy to get to, even without a car!

Monday, 11 October 2010

StoryShed @ North Somerset Museum

We hadn't been to North Somerset Museum in Burlington Street since their highly successful arts and crafts sessions with Helen and the Punch & Judy shows by Professor Walton during the summer holidays, so after Bargains 4 Babies and Toddlers at Victoria Methodist Church on Saturday, we decided to pop in for an hour.

The women on reception kindly let me put my shopping bags behind the desk and we entered the courtyard to a new but temporary structure - StoryShed! This turned out to be a locally recycled wooden hut decorated with all manner of sparkly and interesting items, each one relating to one of the stories that you can listen to on the laptop inside.

My 4 year-old, attracted initially by the fairy lights overhead, made a bee-line for the computer and clicked randomly. The first story we listened to (and that she wanted to hear 3 times!) was called "Dancing at the Hippodrome," all about Jasmine's experience of going to the Bristol theatre, a venue we could both relate to. Hearing another child's voice kept mine transfixed and she listened intently. An accompanying logbook assigns each story a set of keywords that can be used as an educational extension and you can search for the related objects dotted around. We looked for an item or two on display that might be connected to the story and we found a pair of ballet shoes.

Produced by Theatre Orchard, StoryShed brings together pupils from our local Priory Community School and adults from Somerset Racial Equality Council's Friendship Group, who, between them, have documented their personal experiences and diverse cultural backgrounds. It's a good example of how interactivity can really work in a museum setting, relying on visual, audio and kinesthetic stimulus.

It kept us occupied for a good 10 minutes and then she was off to dress up as a ladybird, torment Mr Punch, decorate a paper vase with coloured pencils and set up an imaginary picnic for both of us.

Storyshed closes on October 22nd.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Weston Hospicecare "Strawberry Jam" Bike Riding Fundraiser

Over the last few weeks the fundraising team at Weston Hospicecare have been busy planning a new and exciting event called the ‘Strawberry Jam’. The event is a cycling event and is suitable for families and keen cyclists alike. The Hospice hopes to raise over £10,000 from the event which would pay for all the medication to keep patients pain free in the Hospice In-patient Unit for well over 12 months.

The Hospice is a lifeline for people with life-limiting illnesses all over Weston-super-Mare and the surrounding communities such as Burnham on Sea, Cheddar, Wedmore, Yatton and Congresbury. The Hospice sees 1300 patients and their carers through their doors every year and without it a lot of these people would have nowhere else to turn. The funds raised at the Strawberry Jam will contribute to the £3 million that the Hospice needs to raise every year to keep its services running – Only 20% of these costs are funded from the NHS.

One team that is getting really excited about the event is the team in ‘Cupcakes’ the new Hospice café that opened in Weston-super-Mare this summer.

Mark who heads up the team at Cupcakes says “I started working for the Hospice in the summer and I absolutely love it. I am from Weston-super-Mare and being local it has always been an organisation very close to my heart, I am very proud to now be part of it. There will be a group of us taking part in the Strawberry Jam including the volunteers that help out in the shop. We are being very ambitious and are going to have a go at the 50 mile route, we have started to get sponsorship in already and are determined to raise as much money as we can so there is no going back now!”

If you would like to take part in the event either on your own, as a family or as part of a team it takes place on Saturday 2nd October and you can choose from 3 routes.

10 Mile: The Strawberry Line - Yatton Station to Cheddar (passing through Congresbury, Sandford Winscombe and Axbridge)

25 Mile: From Cheddar to Uphill - through Cocklake, Wedmore, Blackford, Mark, Burnham on Sea, Berrow, Brean, Lympsham and Bleadon

Or for the toughest test of strength and endurance the…

50 miler which smashes through the Strawberry Line section and out into the 50 mile all out circuit! You will pass through Hutton, Locking, Banwell, Puxton, Congresbury, Wrington, Claverham.

Olly Joseph who is organising the event says “We have had amazing feedback from this event which is great as its new this year. We have been very careful to make sure that it is suitable for everyone so whether you are a family with young children or a keen road biker there is a route for you. Spaces are limited so hurry to ensure that you have your space reserved, you can pop into cupcakes to pick up your registration form and talk to the team there about the event or give me a call - I guarantee it’s going to be a fun day!”

To register for the event call the fundraising team today on 01934 423960 or visit the website

Friday, 23 July 2010

A free day of FUN at Weston's new Water Park

Woo-hoo!! This week we spent an afternoon at the new Water Park on Weston’s sea front.

It’s free. Completely free. Doesn’t cost a penny. And for this reason alone, I was ready for absolute mayhem. It must be chaotically busy right?

Well, yes, there were certainly a lot of people enjoying the July sunshine, children everywhere, darting from swing to slide, from fountain to fountain, mums and dads all over the place, changing nappies and drying little bodies. But, no, the Tardis-like size of the place means that there is enough room for everyone and, in fact, it was a relaxing experience.

There are enough trees to find some shade and the wall that runs all the way down the left side of the park means that you can easily rest against something solid. Everyone seemed to be taking the fun in their stride and the sound of laughter and excited screams dissolved up into the skies above. I don’t even think I heard anyone crying.

We bumped into a few other Weston-super-Mums with children ranging from babies to four years old (the Summer Holidays had not yet started but the Park invites anyone under the age of 13, let’s see whether the tempo changes now schools have broken up). The café offers inexpensive snacks, drinks and toys and I was amazed to pay only 30p for a Mini-Milk!

My four year old went on just about everything and three hours were taken up in the blink of an eye. We met a boy called Sportacus, who showed us his talents for standing up on the zip wire, so that My Girl had to follow suit and proceeded to stand on the adjacent zip wire, on the regular swing AND at the head of the snake swing that sits at least four kids at a time. She insisited on taking off her wet swimsuit and replacing it with her dress, in order to whiz down the curly slide atop the climbing frame castle and she made music on the upright glockenspiel type instrument.

I stood with her in the water pool, which has no depth at all and is suitable for those not yet old enough to walk. The water levels go up and down and I hadn’t noticed that I was standing on a floor fountain until it hit me from below, quite a surprise – but a funny one! Even more entertaining to see it happen to others.

This is a must-visit for the summer and I felt so at ease with this excellent and safe playground that, next time we go along, I am sure to take a book to read.


By Becky @

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Weston-super-mums first monthly meet up

On Saturday July 3rd, The Purple Sheep Centre on Hughenden Road threw its doors open to the Weston-super-Mums for our very first monthly weekend meet up. It was a particularly special day for me, as my girl Ruby had turned one a couple of days before, so we were kicking off her weekend birthday celebrations here.

By the time we arrived, there were plenty of people already there and taking full advantage of the glorious weather. Outside The Purple Sheep Centre is a great space with loads of outdoor toys and play equipment. In such a safe environment where the kids could run free, the mums and dads at the event were able to relax and have a coffee and cake whilst their kids played. There was a really welcoming vibe to the place, and it was great to see a few new faces who I have not met yet at other meet ups and playdates.

We decided to make the most of the fact that most of the action was happening outside by having a cheeky go on the bouncy castle. I have been to The Purple Sheep a couple of times before, but it has always been too busy to take Ruby on the castle. Today with most of the kids being under 5, it was the perfect time. Also, I couldn’t let her on on her own, could I?! (I LOVE bouncy castles….) I was able to let Ruby off to explore, and she loved it, laughing her head off when others were jumping on it and flinging her around. She was only ever in danger when 3 over excited four and three year olds wanted to take it in turn holding her whilst bouncing. She gave me a look as if to say “quick, mummy, SAVE me…” so we jumped off and back out into the sunshine.

After blowing it out candles and eating birthday cake, we all carried on playing, chatting and enjoying the sun. It was amazing to see how a simple chocolate cake could make all the kids gather in one spot so quickly though…..

When the time came to leave, none of us could believe the event had gone so quickly. We all reckoned most of the kids could have gone for at least another hour of play. Its safe to say that the first super mum gathering was a roaring success and we can’t wait for the next one!

Weston-super-Mum will be having a monthly meet up at The Purple Sheep Centre on Hughenden Road in Weston on the first Saturday of each month. For more details of the next event, keep an eye on the website,

Monday, 7 June 2010

Where the fun never ends!

My Girl isn't yet of school-age so I haven't done a half-term proper but she is at pre-school five mornings a week. "What do parents do in the holidays?" I've always thought.

If they're a Weston-super-Mum, they wouldn't have been stuck for choices, that's for sure. Half-term was, no other word for it, full-on!

Bank Holiday Monday saw us camped up in Grove Park, watching the very talented Klair singing live at the bandstand. She belted out a fair few numbers, from Shania Twain to Queen to Carole King and Amy Winehouse. Fabulous! Most of us took a picnic and the cafe must have practically sold out of ice-creams. It was a real family affair in the sunshine - friends, food, song and blue skies, what more could a parent wish for?

The kids? They all collected themselves on the steps of the bandstand - as Weston-super-Dad, Mike, pointed out, looking like they were following the Pied Piper, magnetised to the music. And that voice.

Tuesday lead us to Hutton Moor Leisure Centre where Debbie had organised a couple of hours of inflatable fun, more music, lots of bouncing, followed by a buffet-style dinner for the little people. Thanks Debbie :)

Wednesday. Ah, Wednesday. An amazing Funday at the Purple Sheep in Hughenden Road, Milton. This was a laugh a minute: face-painting, an 8 foot hedgehog, more bouncing, garden toys, stalls, pizza and BBQ'ed food and a fire engine. With real-life fire-men. The kids got to sit in the big red truck and put on the yellow helmets, while some of the mums managed to hose down one fireman with particularly big muscles. A treat for all.

It's Friday - slap on the sunscreen and head over to Ashcombe Park with a picnic for hours of play and chatter. Well done to Gin for getting us together for this one.

And then Sunday, a truly magnificent event by the team at North Somerset @Play Forum. There was so much to do up there in Worlebury Woods by the Water Tower. But this deserves a whole blog post on its own - please check into our Weston Mercury Blog sometime later this week to read all about it.

For upcoming events, please check our Events Board on

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Badge Design Competition

After searching the town, high and low, for talent amongst the little people of Weston-super-Mare, we are pleased to announce that we have our winners.

A very cheery thank you to staff at the Purple Sheep Cafe in Hughenden Road and Baby Break Parent and Toddler Cafe at Victoria Methodist Church for hosting fun Arts and Crafts sessions for us during February and March and to all those who took part.
The finalists were displayed at the Children's Corner of Central Weston Library and here's to Librarians Tricia and Tricia for hanging the entries on their wall and for encouraging members of the public to vote.

The badges will be used on our Community, twitter and Facebook sites and .....

here they are:
WINNER - Caitlin Heathcote
Family ticket to Court Farm Country Park

Runner Up - Neve Tait
Family Ticket to Puxton Park

Runner Up - Celeste Condron

2 Film Passes to the Odeon, Weston

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Introducing Amy Nation!

Amy Nation, tells us all about life as a Weston-super-Mum to her baby daughter, Lexie.

Hi Amy! How's life? A bit topsy turvy but OK.

What do you like about living in Weston? I like the fact that there are plenty of child-friendly places to take children and that you can go down onto the beach and have a bit of fun before all the tourists turn up.

Anything you’d change? I think I would change the selfishness of people when you are trying to walk around town with a buggy, also the lack of slightly cheaper baby clothes shops

Where would you like to be right now? And who with? I would like to be at the Harry Potter Theme Park over in America with Lexie, her dad and her godparents.

You’re involved with the Children’s Centre in Central Weston. Tell us about that It's great. I take Lexie to the ‘Stay and Play’ every Monday morning. It lets us meet other mums and their children and I’m able to get my confidence up. It’s a brilliant place for Lexie as well, as she gets used to the environment of having other children around, some older than her and others the same age so she gets to grow up and make friends her age. The Centre also holds a health visitor drop in clinic, allowing us to get Lexie checked up easily without having to go to our doctor’s.

So how, as parents, can we take ownership of what happens in our local community? I guess by making our voices heard about important issues, as we need to make sure this community is safe for those growing up in it. By either making a Parent Committee that meets up once a month, then having one or two representatives and taking our concerns to the Council.

Tell us about your work at Weston Hospital. Well, I do paid work there at the holiday club. There is a nursery at the other end of the building and more often than not the children come to us from them but, in the past year and half or so, we have started taking on children outside of the hospital so everyone is welcome. I often work from 8am - 6pm about 2 days a week and have done for the past 5 years. During the summer holidays, we take the children on two trips. Just to break it up a bit. We also do things at Christmas and Easter and we make the weeks themed as well so we do different activities on different days like cooking or arts and crafts. The kids love coming every holiday, they sometimes don't want their parents or who ever brings them to leave but, once they start playing with the other children, they go home with the biggest smiles on their faces, most of all when they have made something. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that you have helped them make something. It’s a long day but its themost rewarding job and its made me realise that I want to go into childcare full time.

Share a Mummy Moment with us. When I go into town for something and I don't get Lexie a little toy or some clothes, I feel guilty. Also when she is crying for me and she launches herself from her daddy's lap just to get to me faster then gives me a filthy great big grin.

What are your hopes for the future? For Lexie to grow up big and strong and to be herself.

Click here to see what's on at your local Children's Centre

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Introducing real-life super-Mum, Karen Blake

What makes you smile? Monty Python, The Mighty Boosh, Bill Bailey, Vic and Bob, and my baby girl Ruby, who is swiftly developing into a little comedy genius to match those already mentioned!

What annoys you? The current obsession with “celeb culture”, amongst so many other things, but that is a whole blog post in itself!

Where, in Weston, do you like to take Ruby? – She is a real outdoors girl, so we are loving all this good weather. We like walking in the woods, on Sand Bay, around Knightstone, and up to The Old Town Quarry where I have my art studio. Also love going to Grove Park, which is near where I live. It’s all got so much more interesting now she is crawling!

Who has been your biggest inspiration personally? I can’t pick out anyone specifically, but I was really inspired by all the artists I met and had the opportunity to work alongside whilst I was a volunteer artist at Studio Upstairs, a mental health charity and arts community based in Bristol. (

Who has been your biggest inspiration professionally? An American artist called Keri Smith. She is into guerrilla art, (nothing to do with monkeys!) and writes about how to free your creativity and get out of creative ruts through being more playful and rebellious in the way you work. She is also a fairly new mum like me, and I can really relate to her struggles to keep on being creative whilst balancing her role as a mum.

How do you juggle your art and motherhood? It’s difficult trying to fit it all in, but my art is such an important part of my life I have to try. I remember just before Ruby was born lots of people said with absolute certainty that I would abandon my art as soon as she arrived. I’m pleased to say I proved them wrong, and I’m currently busier than ever. It helps to have a great support network of grandparents, and her very “hands on” dad who relishes time with Ruby at weekends so I can get to my studio.

How would you best describe your paintings? That’s a toughie, as my work is pretty abstract. I always tell people to have a look at my website so they can see what I do. So! If you want to know, go to

Tell us what’s happening in the world of Karen Art then! Like I said, I’m pretty busy right now. I am currently designing some fabric for American company Pansy Maiden Bags ( for their Autumn collection. I am also involved in the forthcoming Donkey Parade ( that will be hitting the streets in Weston over the summer. 40 life size donkeys will be appearing in a sculpture trail all over town, and I am painting one of them! Lastly, I have an exhibition coming up with Camilla Stacey at Loves Café in September as part of Weston Arts Week. Phew! It’s manic!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever had? A woman who approached me during an exhibition and told me that she had felt inspired to paint again after 20 years because of seeing my work. That felt great!

What are your hopes for the future? Simple really. To keep painting, to watch my family grow, to stay true to myself and to be happy. I want Ruby to be proud of her mummy!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Tyred Pool on WsM Beach

Monday, 19 April 2010

Introducing real life super-Mum, Claire Palmer

At home, Claire is mummy to her 3-year old son, Leo. At work, Klair is a singer with soul. Here, the Dutty Girl gives us a window on her busy life.

What makes you smile? My little son Leo :)

What annoys you? Judgemental people who don’t give you a chance!

Where, in Weston, do you like to take Leo? In the summer, the beach and Grove Park and other times, Baby Break Cafe and the Purple Sheep Centre

Who has been your biggest inspiration personally? My parents: they are awesome. They are grafters and they give so much love to all of our family.

Who has been your biggest inspiration professionally? My dad. He was in a band when I was growing up. He now has a recording studio and has always helped me to focus on becoming a professional singer. He helps me out a lot. Thanks Dad!!!!

How do you juggle work and motherhood? It’s hard sometimes, but I manage. Leo’s a good boy and my parents are superstars!!

How would you best describe your sound? Soulful, Heartfelt and Powerful!

Tell us about Dutty Girl. Dutty Girl are a crew from Bristol that musically span a multitude of genres from Hip Hop, Dubstep to Grime, Drum n Bass, Bassline, Funky and Dancehall. We do things our own way, with our own sense of home-girl haute couture style! Providing our audiences with an alternative from the overtly male-dominated scene and bringing a light-hearted, cheeky and feminine approach whilst always taking seriously our music and our audience's enjoyment.

What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever done? Probably my first big gig with my friend Emma. That felt weird!!! It was a charity gig in Clevedon ...... on a trailer!! One minute the place was dead, the next thing we knew the entire sea front was full of people watching us! We even got called back on to do another set!!!

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever had? “You’re the best singer we’ve ever heard!’’

Who would you most like to meet? Beyoncé

What are your hopes for the future? Simply to make a good living out of what I enjoy doing, to be happy and to make Leo proud of me

Klair will be performing her very own set live at Grove Park Bandstand, Weston, on Bank Holiday Monday, May 31st, 14:30-16:30

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Weston-super-Mum Does Sports Relief

A few of us met at the Silica, aka the Carrot, so that we wouldn't get lost in the crowds, though the way a couple of us were dressed, that was unlikely to happen.

For Sports Relief this year, Debbie Smith organised a small but dedicated group of Weston-super-Mums to join the rest of Weston in running a mile from the Grand Pier to the Seaquarium along the beach and then back again on the promenade.

We were all so excited to step onto the half-built Grand Pier dressed as Superheroes, among us Wonder Woman, an unimpressed 9-month old Princess Leia, two Supergirls (one of whom maybe should know better, the other was three years old), Sportacus, SuperFairy, an extra cute Superbaby and Glasto Girl, plus one dad and three Supergrannies without costumes but with amused expressions.

We got our foot in the door of the Pier, amid the near-frenzy of hundreds of fellow Westonians, some serious in their running shoes and shorts and others, like us, in ridiculous fancy dress: the prize really should go to the man dressed as a Curly Wurly, even though he scared the superpants off of one of our younger team members.

You could tell that our team was more serious about dressing up and having fun than about coming in in record time as we waited, fizzy drinks in hand, chatting instead of doing our warm up exercises. And then we were off. Well, in fact, we weren't because we thought we should wait until those with stopclocks and determination on their faces got their race well underway first so as not to get trampled underfoot.

We dutifully took our place near the back of the hoards, pushing buggies and holding tiny hands. The sun shone down gloriously, quite remarkable considering the weather 24 hours before. Wonder Woman was thrilled that Theo Paphitis spoke to her as we passed him but 3-year old Sportacus got a strop on about a totally unrelated incident, I'm sure.

We didn't run the mile, we didn't even walk it, we toddled - our very own Sports Relief Toddle. One circuit equalled one mile and so we were overtaken by the fit people running the three mile race: in fact, some madmen and women overtook us twice! A very nice man dressed as a horse chased Superfairy and Sportacus until they looked a little worried and we witnessed 5 girls painted blue tied together so they only had six legs between them fall over time and again.

It was great fun and we all deserved an ice-cream at the finish line! Furthermore, we raised over £150 for Sports Relief: Ker-pow!! A super-douper thank you to everyone who sponsored us.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

All Aboard

Activity is high at Weston-super-Mum, with memebers really making the place home, joining in discussions and organising events. Super Grandmother, Kay Blake, created the group Into the Arena, where we can tell others about those bargains that we have seen around town and household tips that we just can't keep to ourselves. On our Forum you can share tips on how to be green-minded. Some funny comments have appeared on the discussion "Mummy Moments," about those odd times when it really hits home that you're a parent - like when you go clothes shopping for yourself and come back with bagfuls of stuff for your little one instead!

Karen Blake hosted a play-date at Central Weston Children's Centre and Emma Tait organised a super-Mums get together at Milton and Old Worle Children's Centre, while Gin got a few of us together for a picnic at Ashcombe Park, for which, miraculously, the sun shone bright!

The Arts and Crafts Afternoon at the Purple Sheep Cafe in Hughenden Road brought in a number of colourful entries for our Logo Competition - many thanks to Chris, Claire, Shane and Kayleigh at the Purple Sheep, who all made us feel very welcome, and to all of you who manned the event or who brought your children along. The competition hasn't closed yet, so there's still time to get your entries in!

In fact, it's all gone a bit Competition Loco over on the Community. We're running a blog writing competition for our Weston Mercury online slot. So if you want to be in with the chance of winning a family ticket to Puxton Park, tell us all about a place you like to visit in North Somerset with the kids and mail it to us at Closing date is 14th March.

At the end of March, one lucky Community member, picked at random, will receive a game of Cluedo, which has been kindly donated by Lloyds Toys in Weston High Street. To enter the draw, simply sign up as a member of Weston-super-Mum :)

We're organising charity events too - Debbie S has brought us together to dress up as superheroes and raise money for Sports Relief on our Toddle from The Grand Pier to Seaquarium with other entrants from all over the region. It's not too late to sign up. Alternatively, if you'd like to sponsor the Weston-super-Mum Team, you can do so here:

Please support us!

Exciting news from Weston Hospicecare! Olly Joseph and the team at WH are ready to organise a Family Fun Day in the summer, with entertainers, face-painting and the like. We need as many people to sign up for the group dedicated to Weston Hospicecare so that the event can go ahead. Olly welcomes any suggestions you may have to make this a day designed for YOU and would also like to know whether any of us would like to take a more active role in the preparations and staging of the event. Sign up to the group to ensure that the Fun Day can be staged and tell us your views on it.

In other WsMum news, Kelly has launched her very own website,, which sells homemade nappy cakes and beautiful wooden gifts, perfect for Mother's Day and beyond. And Claire Palmer aka Klair appeared on HTV news in her role as one of the Dutty Girls and and their excellent work in "encouraging young women to express themselves through music to boost confidence and self esteem." View it here!

If you have any news you'd like us to share with the Community, sign up to our site and tell us all about it.

Happy Parenting in Weston!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Gaining momentum

It’s been another busy week for the Weston-super-Mum community. The site keeps gaining momentum, with another twenty members joining this week.

We have had lots of involvement from our very active members on the site. Kate R has set up a breastfeeding support group where members can share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of breastfeeding. Already, members of the group are starting to share their thoughts on places in Weston that are breastfeeding friendly, but so far it looks like Weston-super-Mare is a pretty welcoming place for breastfeeding mums!

Apes has also set up a Health Support Group online this week. This supportive and friendly group is already helping members to share experiences and gain support from others who are experiencing physical or mental illness.

Lucy F has been keeping our community up to date with what is happening with the campaign to save Weston museum. A protest was held this week at the museum, and the story can be seen in this weeks Mercury.

Kay B has posted a heart-warming account of her experiences of being a new grandparent in the blogs section of this site. Its great to see that we have lots of super grandparents and aunties joining our community too.

Lots of members had news to share this week. Debbie S’ sister Angie is opening up a brand new hair salon in Clevedon Road called ‘Angie’s Hair Obsession’. The salon opens on Saturday 20th Feb, so why not pop along and see her? Not only will you be supporting a Super-mum, but you could have a bit of pampering time too, and we all know how important that is as a busy mum!

Shane Dean has had an article published in this weeks Mercury where he talks about his experiences of young people with antisocial behaviour problems. He wants to spark a debate with local and national politicians to come up with positive solutions to the problems faced.

Also, congratulations go to Maxine, who passed her driving test this week, and was telling us about the freedom this will bring her in getting out and about with her children.

This week has been another busy social one for the Super-mums. On Wednesday, a play date was held at Court Farm. Although the weather was against us and kept some of the mums with prams away, a few brave souls still met and enjoyed a day out with the kids. Thursday night saw an altogether more adult gathering, as around twenty of us had drinks, food, giggles and good conversation at The Manor Inn in Worle. Thanks to Debbie S for organising the night so we could let our hair down without a child in sight!

Next week is looking busy, with a Monday morning knitting group organised by Camilla, an arts and crafts afternoon on Thursday at The Purple Sheep café for your little ones to design a logo for our competition, and then a play date at Weston Childrens centre on Friday afternoon. For more information about these events, pop over to Weston-super-Mum and see us!

Have a good week.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Bumper Week at Weston-super-Mum

We are delighted to welcome the 50 or so new members who have joined Weston-super-Mum this week and, phewie, what an active and interesting bunch they are! 

Lucy Frampton has added the "Save our Museum" group, in protest of the threatened closure of our Burlington Street Museum (the one and only museum in Weston) and is continuing to post updates - supporters of the museum will be meeting at there on Weds 17th Feb admist much fanfare: the local press and news channels will be on site.  Please go along if you can to show support and keep our museum where it is!

Natasha Sykes is furious about the state of her local park in Walford Avenue, Worle, and through a discussion dedicated to this subject, "Get our park Fixed!" finds that she is not alone in her wish to improve facilities there.

Everyone's getting excited about the new Water Park promised for June of this year at a sea-front location, while the new inflatable centre due to open in March on the Oldmixon, Bounce!, is still creating much positivity.

Magdelena H is our first member from Poland and she shares with us her new blogs:  and At the top right hand of these blogs, google will translate from Polish into English for you, just click.  And self-confessed History geek, Melanie, has a stunning blog, "Kill them all, God will know his own" all about the French Revolution: it's well-worth a look.

Groups have now been set up for those living in Milton, in Weston Village and in the Oldmixon, so if you live in these areas, please join your respective group and meet others living very close to you.  Also Karen Hoodinott has created a supportive group for all working mums.

Our Friday play date at Central Weston Children's Centre in Meadow St, Weston, was so popular that Health and Safety dictated that we couldn't have squeezed any more parents and children in!  We were also thrilled to see 2 dads at the event.  Another has been arranged for Friday 26th Feb, 1-3pm.

We're collaborating with dad and WsMum member, Shane Dean, to bring you a special event called "Arts and Crafts Afternoon: Design a Logo" at the Purple Sheep Cafe in Hughenden Road on Thurs 25th Feb, 1-5pm.  The cafe and all facilities at the Purple Sheep will be open as usual, so you have a cup of tea while the kids get arty or bounce around on the castle.  Winning entries will receive either a family ticket for Court Farm Country Park or Puxton Park or film passes for the Odeon.   If you are unable to attend the afternoon, you can still bring your child's entry along to any other one of our playdates or email us on

And ...

We've just announced a blog writing competition.  Write a blog about where you like to take the kids in North Somerset for Weston-super-Mum to be published at the Weston Mercury and enter into a draw to win a family ticket to Puxton Park. All entries can be posted to before the closing date of Fri 12th March.  The lucky winner will be picked at random and announced on our site on Mothering Sunday.

DON'T FORGET our Sport's Relief Toddle on March 21st, brainchild of Debbie S, where we will be walking with the children from the Grand Pier to the Seaquarium with the rest of the town.  Our fancy dress theme is superheroes.  Sign up here.

Look out for our exciting March draw in conjunction with Lloyds' Toys on Weston High Street!!

Happy parenting in Weston!! :-)

Monday, 8 February 2010

Winter Draws to a Close

Is it really only two weeks since the last post?  If so, two weeks is a long time in the world of Weston-super-Mum. 

More mums, dads, aunties and grandparents have been getting involved in the Community and we are almost 100 strong.  Discussions and groups are multiplying: Made in Milla asks us about Child Trust Funds and Lady Martina informs us of a new play centre, Bounce, that will soon open in the Oldmixon.  Our chat room is now open, the hours of 8-10pm being reserved for general chat each evening, a natter en masse if you like. 

We've had a play-date at the Central Weston Children's Centre, Meadow Street, where it was great to see new faces and some, it has to be said, adorable babies. We will be meeting there again this Friday 12th 1-3pm.  It's a comfortable and safe area for all those with children under 5 and you are most welcome to join us.

We launced our Logo Competition in the Weston Mercury this week (page 18) and we have secured prizes from some of the top attractions in the area so it's getting very exciting.  Entries designed by the budding young artists in the family can be emailed to us at  We'll also be organising some arts and crafts play-dates based around our Logo Design very soon - we'll let you know.

Debbie S is busy rounding up entrants for our mile walk for Sports Relief, for which we'll be promenading the seafront in (non-obligatory) super-Hero costumes on March 21st, 2pm, joining other entrants from Weston-super-Mare at the Grand Pier and then heading down to the Seaquarium on our toddle.  Join us if you can and help raise money for this worthwhile charity; sponsorship forms can be downloaded and attendance confirmed on our discussion board. 

Karen B has written a humourous and heart-warming blogpost for Weston-super-Mum at the Weston Mercury about how her gorgeous baby girl has helped her to fall in love once more with her home town. 

That just leaves me to tell you about upcoming events ('What's On' downloadable posters and leaflets are now available on the discussion board).

Friday 12th Feb, 1-3pm  - Play-date at Central Weston Children's Centre, Meadow Street.  Under 5s

Weds 17th Feb, 10am-2pm - Play-date at Court Farm Country Park, Banwell. All Welcome (half-term week)

Thurs 18th Feb, from 7:30pm - Girl's night out at The Old Manor Inn, Queensway Worle. Child-free!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

The week that was

Well, it's been a lively week!  Since the creation of our on-line Community last Wednesday, over 45 local members have joined, we've had a well attended play date and a Mums' night out.

The site is attracting not only Mums from Weston but aunties, grandmothers, mums-to-be and today, our very first Dad joined the ranks!  And we've expanded a little southwards with a member from Burnham-on-Sea.  Via the forum, our members have discussed places to go in the local area, the swine flu vacination, the 2010 school intake, holidays and work, among some other 11 topics.  They've set up groups dedicated to food, mums-to-be, twins and multiple births and single parents.  Members are also invited to share those things they love about Weston-super-Mare and have debated what's missing from the town.  Hhm, a central swimming pool seems to be quite a talking point.  Funny that!  There is now a group for Mumpreneurs and a place you can go for a good old rant when you've had one of those days.

Karen Blake is in the midst of creating a much needed database of places to visit with children in Weston so that parents can find a suitable group to attend at a glance.   Please help Karen to achieve this by sending her information about activities in the area (see our forum).

Debbie Smith wrote her very first blog, wittily chronicling her family's joy at her eldest's daughter's school allocation by North Somerset Council.  Furthermore, Debbie has bravely volunteered to set up and help run some of our play-dates.

And Clare Kingsbury-Bell's amazing IT skills have been most welcome.

Thank you to every single person who has joined Our Community and a special thanks to all of you who have contibuted to the discussion and group wall - MUA!!

Around 15 of us (plus kids) met at the Purple Sheep Cafe in the H Church in Hughenden Road yesterday.  Quite a turn out!  And, oh, how the children old enough to bonce bounced!  MANIC.  Thanks to Shane, Lorraine and Chris for making us so welcome.  We will be writing about this in the Weston Mercury very soon.

Last night (yes it was a busy day!), five of us enjoyed a gorgeous meal of 7 small courses plus wine/cider/peppermint tea at The Alasia restaurant in West Street (opposite The Playhouse).  Outstanding food and excellent service, revealing chats and some whirring heads.  A couple of us carried it on in the pubs across the road.  Thank you to Michaela and Charlie at The Alasia.

And the future?

On Tuesday, Rebecca Condron is attending a meeting for professionals who work with parents, which is being held at the Central Weston Children's Centre.  It's a chance to promote our Community and to find out more about what going on for parents in Weston. 

We're currently organising a shopping trip to Bristol, brain-child of Emma Tait, while the indefatiguable Debbie Smith is getting us together for an evening of pubbery at the Old Manor Inn in Worle on Feb 18th.

Join us if you can ....


Friday, 15 January 2010

Starting From Scratch

Change is afoot.

This is a brand new blog that will chart our new Community of Mums in Weston-super-Mare: Weston-super-Mum with a clean twitter account,

Weston-super-Mum is an organisation that welcomes all mothers in this area of North Somerset.  Our social network was set up earlier this week and is attracting new members - it is a joint effort and therefore is not personalised (Anyone wishing to follow Rebecca can now find her own blog at Celestial Motherhood and on twitter). The blogposts here will now be written by a collective of Mums who are coming together to share information about life in Weston.

We hope you enjoy it :-)