Sunday, 27 March 2011

Malina's Dream by Angel Heart at The Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol

Being a Sunday, the journey to was effortless along the A370, so we arrived at The Tobacco Factory Theatre with an hour to spare, which was very lucky because a market of books, food, home-made craft wear and even bicycles was in full swing in their outside area. We sat in the courtyard amongst the lovely smells and hustle and bustle and ate a little of our mammoth sized picnic, enough, it turns out, to last the whole day.

Inside, after queueing with all the other excited families, we took our chosen seats at the very back of the theatre, with a great view: this theatre is small and well-planned enough to ensure that everyone can see the stage. My Girl worked out that there was an igloo on set plus a lake and possibilities of fishing. We guessed as to the animals that might live here: fish, seals, penguins, polar bears. Polar bears! Without realising (I think), she had opted to bring her Mummy Polar Bear, a bag that unzips to reveal Baby Polar Bear nestling inside, so they got to sit on our laps and watch the entire show about their "home."

Angel Heart Theatre presented Malina's Dream, the story of a little girl and her Grandpa and all the creatures Malina counts as her friends - Yes! Penguins, seals, a polar bear and a very smelly Walrus, who kept blowing off, to the delight of everyone in the arena. The two actors used the puppets with great skill and it was enlightening to see the expressions on their faces as they played their parts. I have never seen this done before and it really worked.

We were treated to some lovely pieces of live music, including the flute, the concertina and a sweet lullaby. The music punctuated the sometimes intense scenes and at one point we all got to clap along. The two scenes that could have proved a bit scary were well handled, though she did reach for my hand when Samuel, the yellow haired sailor man, went down with his ship, surrounded by Whales: "How did that get there?" she asked.

The yellow haired man, his spirit lost in the Land of Dreams, was saved by the metamorphosis of Grandpa into an eagle and went on to play a part in young Malina's life. "But where is the land of Dreams?" asked my spellbound companion. "Wherever you want it to be," my reply.

The show lasted for about an hour and, two minutes before it finished, she asked, "Has it finished yet?" I guess you could say then that it was the perfect length.

After the show, we were all invited by the actors to come and meet the puppets, so we took Mummy and Baby Polar Bear to meet the huge ice-bear, quite possibly, for us, the star of the show.

The Tobacco Factory Theatre is an excellent venue, with so much to look at in the building. And the tickets to Malina's Dream cost just £5 each. Once more, an absolute bargain.

We stayed for an ice-cream and a cup of tea and then headed up to Greville Smyth Park to burn off some energy on the very impressive play areas on offer here - an absolute must if you have the time!

A very successful and fun-packed day for both of us.

Weston-super-Dad, Nutty Noah, continues his "Magic, Music and Mayhem" tour at the Tobacco Factory Theatre on April 10th, 11am and 1pm, £5.

Review by Becky Condron

Love Food Spring Festival from a Food Lover's Perspective

So finally we got around to getting out of Weston to check out The Love Food Spring Festival. Easy to get to it was in Brunel's Old Station - for those of you who may remember it used to house the Science Museum many years ago.

As we get there its early and relatively quiet still, a couple of stalls are outside selling sausages and plants, so we sneak a quick peak then go in. Slightly smaller than I had expected but lots crammed in and, as we wonder around, the aroma of all the different stalls starts to soften my somewhat fragile state this morning. The stalls range from Jamaican food, pies, wine, locally sourced fruit & vegetables and even Greenpeace showed up so it was certainly eclectic. My interest lies in the food and to be more specific the cakes and wow I was not disappointed: the Beach House Bakery cup cakes were so beautiful you didn't dare touch. However, Crumpet Cakes were so simply irresistible, it was all I could do not to scoff my way through the entire selection.

Cakes aside, we did peruse Smokey Joes, the delicious B-B-Q Sauce stall, Kernow Kreperie, Franks & I enjoyed a tomato cheese & spinach sensation and finally we tried the drip filter coffee. Lovely way to while away a couple of hours this morning and great to have possibly found a new supplier of cakes that is relatively local and definitely independent.

Review by Weston-super-Mum, Clare Morris, Owner of Coco Browns in Regent Street, Weston-super-Mare

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Time Out From Anger - Lighthouse.

On 10th March I began a parenting course at St. Paul's church on Walliscote road. The course is led by Julie Lanham, who works for an organisation called Lighthouse. I saw the course advertised on the Weston-super-Mum website and I would like to tell other Mums and Dads about how helpful I am finding it.

The title of the course is "Time out from anger". I think that some people may be put off by this title. It can be really difficult for people to accept that they get angry sometimes. The course is aimed at parents but the issues are ones that we face in all aspects of life. As a parent of over 5 years I understand that some parents feel they need to hide their feelings and pride can stop themselves seeking help. There is no instruction manual for this important role and we are all trying to cope in our own way.

The course is 4 sessions long. The first 2 deal with our own anger (as parents) The last 2 help us to cope with anger in our children. Each week there is discussion about why we feel so upset and ways we can deal with situations (for example, how to explain things to our children) There is also advice about having a break from your children, doing exercise or other relaxation etc.

Many of us who are attending the course have felt a lot better just by talking things through with other parents. We have been very open about our feelings. For instance, It can be reassuring to know that someone else has felt very hurt when their child refuses to eat the meal they have cooked.

For more information on this and other courses available see the web site.

Review by Weston-super-Mum, Emma Hartley

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Our Response to Water Park Charges

Collated response of local parents to the £1 per person charge to be introduced at the Water Park, Knightstone Road, WsM – from the Weston-super-Mum discussion Water Park Charge

The majority of parents would not mind paying a £1 per person charge to enter the Water Park, as long as facilities were improved at the site.

The general consensus is that a permanent toilet block is a priority and this is the main source of concern amongst parents. The Town Council should also consider offering a nappy-changing area.

That the Water Park is clean and safe is paramount for all families who enter. If the charge helps to deter older, unaccompanied children from using the Park, then it is a good thing.

Though most who responded to the discussion understand the need to charge for entry, a flat £1 per person might preclude larger families from using the Water Park, which has become a much valued resource since opening in 2010.

The fear was expressed that once an entry fee has been introduced then it might continue to rise.

Points for consideration:

· A reduced rate for residents, a season ticket or a discount scheme.

· An unlimited day pass that permits re-entry