Archives for posts with tag: kids

Robinson Crusoe

I have been meaning to write the review for Robinson Crusoe since Saturday morning when we saw it, I haven’t until now for two reasons. One, we weren’t blown away and so I haven’t been inspired to write about it and two, I’ve had tonsillitis (still have tonsillitis) which when combined with the lack of things to shout about this film has, until now, created nothing.

Robinson Crusoe (although, of course it has a different title in the USA, The Wild Life) is a Belgian-French 3D computer-animated adventure action comedy released by Studio Canal.  Maybe this didn’t quite hit the spot as we saw the film in 2D, but I believe that 3D shouldn’t be used to enhance a film, it should be as entertaining and work just as well in 2D, because if a child has autism and 3D is just a bit too much for them why should they miss out on a film being good because of that?

Having now stepped down from my soap box…  It’s not a bad film, the animation is good, typical kids film style, the story line has goodies against baddies and overcoming adversity, typical kids film style, the characters are lovable, moral and build good friendships, typical kids film style, even the baddies as mean bullies are entertaining and comical, in typical kids film style.  The film is aimed at kids aged 6 and under and when I asked my 5 year old if he enjoyed it (as I ask him with all the films we see) he said yes… and that was it! No excitedly telling me about the bits he enjoyed or the who he liked most, just a yes.

The film sticks to the story we all know of Robinson Crusoe, the island, the dog, encountering new animals and pirates but it’s told from the perspective of the animals on the island which is a nice touch. However, you’ll be glad to hear for a kids film, no cannibals, although they were mentioned but not enough to spike the curiosity of my 5 year old to ask what they are.

The story in a nutshell, as written by Studiocanal (as I can’t quite manage to do this as it would take a level of creativity that my brain can’t quite reach at the moment as my tonsils are getting in the  way)

On a tiny exotic island, Tuesday, an outgoing parrot lives with his quirky animal friends in paradise. However, Tuesday can’t stop dreaming about discovering the world. After a violent storm, Tuesday and his friends wake up to find a strange creature on the beach: Robinson Crusoe. Tuesday immediately views Crusoe as his ticket off the island to explore new lands. Likewise, Crusoe soon realizes that the key to surviving on the island is through the help of Tuesday and the other animals. It isn’t always easy at first, as the animals don’t speak “human.” Slowly but surely, they all start living together in harmony, until one day, when their comfortable life is overturned by two savage cats, who wish to take control of the island. A battle ensues between the cats and the group of friends but Crusoe and the animals soon discover the true power of friendship up against all odds (even savage cats).

So to sum it all up this is a typical kids film. The plot is simple and straightforward and maybe that’s why it didn’t inspire us, albeit we saw it in 2D and this may have a bearing (and my tonsils, which are just about ready to move out and get their own place, wont have helped).  My son hasn’t asked a single question about the film since or mentioned any characters from it so we are giving it a 2.5 out of 5.   If you do see it, it’s in cinemas in the UK tomorrow, go for 3D if you can (and let me know if you think it makes it any better) otherwise wait for it to come out on Amazon or Netflix and see it at home of you have 90 minutes to while away.


Little girl playing with mothers makeup

I’m not sure if it’s just me but does anyone else find pamper parties for children that are 4 years old just plain wrong?  Even up to the age of 8 I wouldn’t feel comfortable – maybe age 12 would be OK, when they start senior school? Although I know I’m being a bit naive there when I think about what makeup I used to wear when I was 12 and what some of my friends were getting up to.

I have to admit I have a little boy but if I had a little girl and she or my son were invited to a pamper party where he could get his nails and makeup done, that would be one party he wouldn’t be going to.   Take the fact that applying makeup so young is surely not good for such young skin out of the equation, what about the message they are getting about their appearance at that age.  Shouldn’t 4 year olds be outside playing or playing on the cbeebies app rather than thinking about how they look?  Are we not breeding a generation of kids hung up on looks?  Should we not be talking to them about what they see in the media and all around them so they feel confident in themselves and have self-esteem as they naturally are rather than encouraging them to use makeup and cosmetics to make them look different?

Pamper parties are all around now though.  Within my family and circle of friends, parents are having pamper parties for their 4 and 5 year olds. While at the hairdressers the other day having my locks cut off they were preparing for a birthday pamper party. It looked great! Cocktail glasses full of mocktails, nail bar set up with an array of nail varnish colours to choose from and a range of hair styles to pick from that I couldn’t get my head around how they would possible pull the styles off. Plaits and braids that looked out of this world! But the kids were a group of 6 year olds.  For a business I understand that its big money and so it’s at the parent’s discretion, but for parents is it about pester power or peer pressure?  If I had a little girl would I end up letting her have a pamper party giving into peer pressure and pester power?

Let me know your thoughts.  Have you had a pamper party for your little one?  What was your thinking behind it? I’m interested to know if I’m alone in my thoughts or if you think little ones should be getting their hair, makeup and nails done.

The Gruffalo – every parent (nursery worker and reception class teacher) knows all the words by heart – I promise you that.  If you are one of the above and you don’t then how have you got away with that?!  I’d like to know your secret.  We have read the book, along with the Gruffalos Child, more times than I would like to remember, seen the films, have the Gruffalo soft toy and the Gruffalo Childs fancy dress.  And now we have been to see the theater production!


A lovely end to Kids Week (if you don’t know about Kids week in London check it out here and get ready for next year). A fantastic production with 3 fantastic actors, a great set that moved adding an extra element to the scene, perfectly used ambient lighting and wonderful costumes. The production was an hour long but it whizzed by as although it used the wording from the book and the story line it was intermingled with the  odd catchy song and some silly messing about which was actually funny, mainly as it wasn’t too childish or over the top.  (No inappropriate adult humor which we have found in some productions) Our 4 year old found it hilarious and even got the giggles at one point.

As always with a children’s production there is some interaction with audience and some children and parents found themselves sitting next to the Gruffalo for a short time. This wasn’t over the top in length which meant it was fun for the children not directly involved to watch too.

An awesome production, as we have found with other Julia Donaldson’s books which have been turned into theater productions – all created by Tall Stories.  A definite must see! It’s on at London’s Lyric Theater until 6th September and then takes a tour round the country.  Check out where here.

And our 4 years olds favourite bit – “the funny big Gruffalo” (of course it was!)


We have two weeks left until school starts (I feel school is starting quite late for us) but we have managed to only cross off 3 more items from our ‘Ten things to do with Mummy and/or Daddy before I start school’ list, leaving 4 more items to complete!  Camping is starting to look unlikely, as is climbing a tree as we can’t find a tree that is possible to climb – there is time though! (Does being lifted onto the lowest branch count? maybe not)

Over the last few weeks we have…

…Gone to the theatre – twice!

Hopefully you’ve seen the Dinosaur Zoo review.  If not check it out here! And today we went to see Gruffalo (review for this coming soon) which was fantastic.  There is something magical about taking a 4 year old to the theatre.  For a while before we first went to the theatre our 4 year old didn’t understand that it wasn’t the cinema – he was in awe when he saw what happened.  The hour long performances for kids theatre is just about enough depending on what the performance is and it’s such a great trip out and something different, but I always end up giving in to the merchandise!


…Grown something we can eat.

This wasn’t quite as we wanted it to be.  We had visions of potatoes and carrots and maybe even tomatoes but alas I had left it too late to do any of those things so we opted for a fast growing herb.  Cress! What we learnt from this – don’t leave things to the last minute and our 4 year old doesn’t like egg & cress sandwiches.


…Created something from cardboard boxes. (actually just one big box!)

We could have played at this for days! Opted for a train created out of a big ole box we recently had a delivery in and a few things from around the house (stools, electricians tape, cushions…). It has taken on many guises over the last few weeks, even having its own canopy at one point and is now a storage box for a few toys. We were going to paint it and as the box was big needed to do this outside but the rain stopped us 😦  We’re planning a full set of carriages next time – better get ordering some large items that will come in boxes big enough for us to use!

cardboard boxes

This leaves 4 items on the list.  We are determined to cross everything off!

Here is what we have left.

  1. Grow some butterflies (sons idea)
  2. Camp in the garden (my idea)
  3. Cook a meal – main and dessert ( a mixture – I say cook he says bake)
  4. Build a den using things we already have at home
  5. Go to the theatre
  6. Grow something we can eat
  7. Climb a tree
  8. Create something from cardboard boxes
  9. All play in the park like children, like REALLY play like children all of us
  10. Face painting DIY style

Last 2 weeks are going to be busy!  Look out for the next blog to see if we managed it.

Until then, toodlepip  x

My 4 year old son has been dancing around saying ‘my arms are in the air like I just don’t care!’ since we first saw the trailer for Home, oh so long ago.

Directed by Tim Johnson and from the creators of The Croods and How to Train your Dragon, this Dreamworks animation stars Rhianna as Tip, Jennifer Lopez as Tip’s mum and Jim Parsons as Oh. This obviously meant that Rhianna released a concept album for the soundtrack so you can imagine what the tunes sound like. But even if you don’t rate Rhianna’s music you really can’t help but wave your arms in the air like you just do not care!

When an alien race called the Boov conquer earth and relocates the human population to the far corner of the world (you can imagine where that far flung place might be), all apart from Tip (Rhianna) who managed to hide from the aliens during the relocation process, a great friendship forms when Tip meets fugitive Boov Oh (Jim Parsons). We soon realise that Oh is not like his alien comrades and Oh realises that humans are not as simple as their leader has led them to believe and they form a great friendship and set out to find Tip’s mum (Jennifer Lopez). Along the way they get a little side tracked as they learn that the Boov’s enemies the Gorg are on their way to destroy earth which is all Oh’s fault…… maybe.

Running at 98 minutes this was a great film for ages 3 and up. The film isn’t scary even though aliens take over the earth (there was one moment when my 4 year old jumped) and it’s especially good for those who are learning and can understand emotion. With every Boov wearing their emotions all over their bodies as they change colour with how they feel which allows for some great moments around telling fibs and being ‘sad mad’.

Home official trailer

We really wanted to love this film and maybe our expectations were too high as it is a goodie but it was just lacking in a little……something. About an hour in my son was more interested in finding number 4 on the seats as the pace reduced but 10 minutes later and he was interested again. It wasn’t lacking any fun or one liners….. there are some great one liners that to be honest only a parent will like and probably use from now on – I will! When it looks like Oh may not keep his promise Tips face turns to anger and is met with ‘what is the purpose of your face?’ and Oh feels that ‘I do not fit in, I fit out’ – we all know how that feels…

This film is great for showing kids emotions and also about how people can’t be judged by the way they look – the Gorg, who are a bit scary to look at (SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT) are not anywhere near as scary as they seem and it turns out that they have a very good reason for following the Boov everywhere they go. Great for conversations around keeping promises, owning up to mistakes and not taking what isn’t yours.

Home is released on 20th March – go see it! All in all a good watch but just missing a little something….

I’ve heard Big Hero 6 being referred to as Frozen for boys. Why there has to be a gender differentiation I don’t know (that is a whole other blog post) but boy or girl Big Hero 6 has got to be the best film out of Walt Disney Studios in a long time. Directed by Don Hall and Chris Williams and created by the team behind Frozen and Wreck it Ralph this action packed 102 minutes was not disappointing. My 4 year old was on the edge of his seat and at one point even got up and walked down the isle a little to be closer to the action.

The similarities to Frozen? Younger brother Hiro has his older brother taken away from him when he dies akin to how Elsa has her older sister taken away from her when Ana hides herself away from from the world. The obligatory group of friends help Hiro deal with the adventure he is thrown into as Elsa is by Olaf and Hans and the siblings are orphaned when their parents are in an accident, but that’s where the similarities end. There is no singing, but the soundtrack scored by Henry Jackman is Disney Epic, as you would expect and theme by Fall Out Boy adds to the greatness. The animation is right up there at the top and makes Frozen look bland in comparison.

An action-packed comedy, there is nothing more brilliant than an oversized inflatable huggable robot named Baymax, programmed to give top priority to human healthcare not wanting anyone to be hurt, embroiled in a superhero vs villain adventure full of chases, tight spaces and a teenage boy going through puberty. That in itself is enough to go see the film on but add the storyline, the emotion, watching 4 geeks, Baymax and Hiro turning into Superhero’s and then just add the names of Hiro’s friends and it gives you even more reason.

There are some themes to talk through with your child depending on their age. Death, losing someone, anger, revenge and why the bad man wanted to hurt the good guys are the main ones that my 4 year old asked about but it’s a fast paced colourful entertaining watch and for the likes of you and me it’s one that can be watched over and over again as many times as your child wants (with no songs to get stuck in your head). No jump in your seat moments that we noticed but there is a little fighting which comes with a superhero vs villain storyline but it’s ‘Disney fighting’ and the weapons are not your usual variety. My son wants to know if I can make him enough play dough that he can stick Daddy’s feet to the floor so he can’t walk anywhere.

Big Hero 6 Official Trailer

So would we rather watch Frozen or Big Hero 6 over and over again in our house? Big Hero 6 for sure!! I’ve already started planning the robot/superhero party for my sons next birthday and the cake will be pretty easy – big white robot, but then I guess that’s pretty similar to an Olaf cake it’s just that a Baymax will be a bit more epic.

Over Christmas and the New Year something occurred to me, I (we) watch a lot of kids films and by kids films I mean rating U and PG. This occurred to me as hubby and I settled down to watch Brave one evening. Just us. Our 4 year old was tucked up fast asleep in bed.

On Christmas day night we had watched Prisoners, it’s rare for us to watch any films rated over PG and we decided to go back to our usual ways after watching children being abducted and parents going crazy over it – as any parent would – just a bit too depressing.

So, here is a rundown of my top 10 kids (and one for the adults) films that you and your kids may or may not have seen that you should, with some that you definitely will have but I think should be watched again and again. I’ve thrown in a film rated 15 for that time when we get a little us time (if you’re lucky enough!)

1) Brave – a couple of jump in your seat moments for a two year old but a brilliant watch. Girls are tough too.

2) The Lorax – I can watch this film over and over, never mind about my 4 year old. A colourful and moral filled film with Taylor Swift and Zac Efron staring (in animated form) and a soundtrack so fantastic you’ll be singing your way through your days for a while after.

3) Tangled – my son loves this! We watch it over and over and it doesn’t get old. How Rapunzel goes about her adventure without getting her hair in major knots or ripping her hair out in clumps amazes me.

4) The Lego Movie – really one for the adults with the moral of the film really aimed at them (‘not the kraggel!’) but good for all kids, just the oder they are the more they will appreciate the full extent of this film.

5) Kingsman: The Secret Service – Out in the UK on 29th January. See review coming soon – definitely one for date night. A big enough cast and enough twists and action to keep you on the edge of your seat but enough laughs to keep it light so that you can sleep a night – if your kids will let you……

6) How to train your Dragon 1&2 – OK that’s two films but still- some jump in your seat moments and a lot of fighting but a brilliant watch, showing you that doing things differently from everyone else is not a bad thing.

7) Cars (1&2) – never tire of these films. Good ole Disney Pixar fun at it’s best.

8) Toy story 1, 2 and 3 – I know that’s 3 films but are goodies you can’t disagree!

9) Lion king – Hakuna matata, what a wonderful phrase, hakunta matata aint no passing craze!!! No more needs to be said.

10) We’re Back! A Dinosaur Story – rather scary in places with old Screw Eye but balanced with just how great this is. My 4 year old loves it and started watching it when he was 3. My brother loved it too when he was that age and still does over 20 years later!

Where is Frozen I hear you all exclaim! Well I thought that one went without saying so didn’t include it 🙂

Right, off to book tickets to see Big Hero 6, can’t wait! Has been dubbed ‘Frozen for boys’ – we shall see and I’ll let you know.

Toodlepip x

We are coming to the end of our first week of crowdfunding, 6 days in and I’m exhausted.

Crowdfunding isn’t for everyone, it might not be for you. There are many pros which is why I chose it. Being beholden to the people I created Momawoo for is one great pro and really knowing if people believe in you and your idea is another.  The ability to get your services or product out there to those who have pledged is also great so they can help shape the company. But there are cons too, one being it is hard work! It’s not easy. The pledges don’t just roll in, you need to work at it and not get deflated when there is a day with no pledges at all. I’ve done six days, I have 24 left and I’m overwhelmed by the engagement as well as rather sleepy.

Lots of conversations on lots of different platforms from Twitter (@charlimomawoo) and Facebook (MomawooLtd) to email, phone and face to face with people I know, and random people I have started speaking to in shops (in that bright orange hoody with ears!).  I’ve taken to carrying a small notebook around with me – as apposed to the larger one I also carry – so I can whip it out to write down ideas as they come – I have spent quite some time racking my brains the past few days about what it was I thought was a great idea earlier that day or who I should contact. (Remnants of baby brain after nearly 4 years?  That’s what I keep telling myself!)  I also have a lot of draft tweets in my drafts folder, scared I’ll hit ‘send all’ at some point but so far so good. If you get a random tweet from me you know what has happened.

Crowdfunding is a fantastic platform for on many levels for raising the cash needed to start a business or take your business to the next level but if you’re not passionate about your idea or just want the cash to land in your lap, it isn’t for you.  If you are passionate, hard working and you are driven then it is for you.   If you have people around you that can help then even better, and the end game is very rewarding. Well I know it will be when we get there……

Visit our Crowdfunder page and tell us your thoughts and if you’re around in Sheffield next week at MADE: The Entrepreneurs Festival 2014 then say Hi! We’ll be at the Crowdfunding and other forms of funding debate with Irwin Mitchell on Thursday morning, bright and early!

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