Pleasance Kidzone 2016

The Pleasance Kidzone is like an oasis during the hectic festival for parents…it’s full of craft activities, puppet shows, toys, picnic tables, a buggy park and thankfully some food stalls for that all important cup of coffee !

This year they promise some new treats with the amazing scene machine, monstrous monster-making and kite creating workshops as well as the usual daily crafty activities, and this year we are lucky enough to get double as the Pleasance will be at the EICC with kids shows there too – fantastic !

Information about all of the 18 children’s shows that the Pleasance are hosting this year can be found here ,some of my top picks are :

The Snail and the Whale – Tall Stories do wonderful children’s theatre, and this is no exception. A delightful and gentle version of this well loved book about a tiny snail longing to see the world by Julia Donaldson, featuring beautiful songs, live music and some surprises too !


The Cat In The Hat – From the moment his tall, red and white striped hat appears around the door, Sally and her brother know that the Cat is the funniest, most mischievous cat they have ever met. Returning to the festival this year, this is a great and fully entertaining show for little ones, providing lots to look at and plenty of laughs.


The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad – This interactive performance looks intriguing and imaginative. Frank is an inquisitive chap with a big problem: what’s happened to Mum? Join Frank on his adventure to find her. There’ll be scavenger hunts, puzzles to solve and even some dancing to dubstep. Dealing sensitively with grief and loss, the show asks how we cope when things go missing.

The Amazing Scene Machine Does Aardinburgh ! – Celebrate Aardman’s 40th birthday with expert Aardman modelmaker Jim Parkyn and his Amazing Scene Machine. Help create a very special 3D clay painting of Edinburgh featuring some of Aardman’s stars including Morph, Shaun the Sheep, Wallace and Gromit – and your own cast of Aardman-esque people and creatures.


Edinburgh International Book Festival 13-29th August

If you have read this blog before you will know I’m a huge fan of the Edinburgh book festival, so I was most delighted when the rather lovely and jam packed book festival programme fell onto my doorstep a few days ago…

It looks like another great year and the children’s events look as fantastic as always….

Some highlights from the programme include:

Julia Donaldson & FriendsJulia Donaldson and friends – Julia Donaldson is just super duper fantastic, if you love her books, then you will love any of her shows. She brings her family and friends, she sings and engages all ages in her interactive retelling of some of her favourite tales…On three dates- Sat 13th, Sun 14th and Sun 28th August

On Saturday and Sunday 13th and 14th August, the opening weekend, there will be free drop-in activities in the story box all around the theme of ‘get stuck into science‘ which looks fun….

Jacqueline Wilson – talking about her latest tale Rent a Bridesmaid (14th August)



Picturing Harry Potter – Illustrator Jim Kay brings his breathtaking full-colour edition of this well loved wizarding story. (Monday 15th)

Guinness World Records – This looks fun – taking a look at some wacky feats from over the years.( Tuesday 16th)

Sing-Along with Nick CopeSing-Along with Nick Cope – If you’ve not seen him before, please don’t miss out (he’s also got a family show at the fringe too) – fantastic, acoustic folk songs for kids…(Wednesday 17th August)


Tea, Cake and Colouring-in– looks lovely, with the colouring book of Scotland (Wednesday 17th August)

On Friday 19th August there will be a Beatrix Potter birthday party in the story box with free drop in activities to mark the 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s birth. Celebrate with all your favourite characters…

You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum!

For fans of Mr Gum, Andy Stanton will be at the book festival on Friday 19th August with his first book of the series – You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum


Nick Sharratt – will be at the festival on Saturday 20th with some nonsense poetry….

On Tuesday 23rd August, they will be celebrating Paddington Bear’s birthday – its 60 years since Michael Bond first came up with his idea for everyone’s favourite bear from Peru…


Chris Riddell – Meet the Children’s laureate – Chris’ illustrations are exceptional, this is ure to be a great event and interactive too…(Sunday 28th August)

Pirate Adventures with Jonny Duddle – yet another pirate adventure with Matilda, Jim Ladand the Jolley-Rogers…(Sunday 28th August)




And that list hardly touches it to be honest, every year the programme gets better and better and all of the activities in the story box look great too…its a fantastic venue to take the kids to, even if you are not going for an event, the children’s bookshop is immense and you can spend a very long time browsing all of the wonderful books on offer, you can enjoy lunch in the gardens on the deckchairs and take part in the daily free activities in the story box.

Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 21st June at 8.30am – grab them while you can !!




Book Festival Opening this weekend !! 9th August

I LOVE the Book Festival – I love the atmosphere within the gardens and how i’ts such a different calm space from the Fringe festival going on elsewhere…I love the bookshop and the children’s book shop is even more fantastic with lots of space to sit down and get lost exploring new books…I also totally love the fact that everyday they have a room dedicated to children filled with storytelling, arts and crafts, face painting, books to read and activities to get stuck into all for FREE! This means that even if you haven’t managed to get tickets to some of the events, you can still comfortably while away a morning or afternoon there and the kids will be fully entertained…

The Book Festival opens this weekend and as usual Julia Donaldson will be doing some events – she is always fantastic, performing some of her well known books and singing songs – it’s great fun for the whole family – you may still be lucky enough to get tickets on the day if there are returns :

Flumflums and flying baths – this event on Saturday 9th includes live drawing with illustrator David Roberts – there will be trolls, fish, dinosaurs and possibly even the Gruffalo.

From Superworms to Scarecrows – this event on Sunday 10th is with illustrator Axel Scheffler and will feature Room on the Broom in Scots with translator James Robertson.


Over the opening weekend the storybox which is the childrens area will feature ‘The Secret Stories of toys’ – with toys from the Museum of Childhood, each toy has a story to tell, drop in to discover toys from the collection and create some of your own. Both Saturday and Sunday 1.30pm till 4pm.




Apply for BBC tickets now !! (closing 22nd July)

Wowee – my investigations into the BBC area this year at the festival were obviously not that thorough as I missed the page detailing what shows are on and what shows you can apply for tickets for…and it turns out there are lots of great kids shows being filmed at the BBC tent and best of all we can all apply to get free tickets. You have until the 22nd July to apply for tickets and then names will be randomly drawn.

But if you don’t manage to get any, don’t despair as it says ” On family fun days tickets for additional shows are available at the venue. Please note, these shows cannot be pre-booked and will be ticketed on the day as first come first served. The family fun days are: Saturday 3, Sunday 4, Saturday 10, Sunday 11, Saturday 17, Sunday 18, Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August.”   Great ! I like the sound of the family fun days and if last year is anything to go by, its definately worth taking a look whats on and bringing the kids along one weekend…

So, shows you can apply for tickets for now include:

That looks like a great bunch of shows and lots of opportunities to be part of the magic at the BBC tent ! If you do apply, fingers crossed you get tickets !

A few of my favourite things…

I’ve only just managed a quick glance through the festival programmes so far this year – life is a little hectic right now, so I am sure there is plenty I will have missed off this list, but below are a few of the shows that I’m excited to see this year across the various festivals…

  • Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and His Singing Tiger  Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown and his singing tiger – If you’ve not seen Dr Brown before- he is not to be missed (he does fantastic adult shows too !). His show for children is a delight – children are fully engaged with his rather silly antics as he blunders his way through the day and the singing tiger adds a great musical dimension and ensures that the silent performer is even more accessible for kids. Don’t miss this – in Edinburgh for two days only this year, the 17th and 18th August
  • Julia Donaldson –  Julia Donaldson comes to the Book Festival most years and for the past few has opened the childrens events and every year has been brilliant – we’ve been going to see her each time and the entire family has loved it. This year she has two events in the Book Festival opening weekend and I guarantee both will be excellent; Dolls , Dragons and Dinosaurs on the 10th August and From Worms to Wizards to Weans on the 11th August. Both feature a different selection of her books and will have puppets, songs and plenty of audience interaction.
  • My Brother the Robot My Brother the Robot – This production is brought to Edinburgh by Tall Stories who have previously done The Gruffalo and last year brought The Snail and the Whale to the Fringe which was a delight. This show, about a Robot playmate for a girl living with her inventor father promises to bring music, magic and mayhem. Well worth checking out…from the 31st July to 25th August.
  •    Aliens Love Underpants – Our family loves this book and I’m very excited to see the first stage production of it. Judging by the book , I think it will be a fast moving, lively and funny show.  It does however come with a warning : this show will blow your pants off !  August 7th – 22nd (not 14th)
  • Rumpelstiltskin and the Wheel of Fortune Rumpelstiltskin and the wheel of fortune –  I was fortunate enough to see last years production of Elves and the Shoemaker by Theatre of Widdershins which was totally captivating and the puppetry and details memerising, so I am hoping that Rumpelstiltskin will also be a delight. The Storytelling Centre is a great venue, small and intimate enough that you always feel included as the audience and means you will get to fully appreciate the handcrafted puppets and sets.  30th July to 25th August (not 19th August).
  • Cinderella and the Flower Fairies Cinderella and the Flower FairiesA friend said she had booked tickets for this today, so I looked it up and I think my daughter will love this ! She loves her ballet class and loves the flower fairies book , especially the illustrations – so hopefully we can’t go wrong as this combines both ! August 9th-17th
  • Tilly and friends – Maybe its because my daughter is called Tilly, or maybe because the pictures are so beautiful – but I love these books. Featuring six best friends who all live together in a little yellow house, this event with Polly Dunbar during the Book Festival should be great and it set to include puppets and music too, so should be fun for little ones ! August 13th 10.30am.