Posts Tagged ‘Weekly review’

Storystock @ Saatchi from 7 April

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

This Easter holiday, travelling storytelling circus Storystock lands at the Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, London. On offer is a programme of brilliant workshops and the psychedelic ANTI-GUIDE for children (4-13yrs) to get into art & stories.

STORYSTOCK subscribers can enter the code ANGELS to get 10% off all tickets.

Workshops include Animation Studios, The Chocolate Tree with Rococo chocolate, MC STORY Rap & poetry, Clay Tales, drama and puppet making. Junior (4-7) tickets are £15 and Senior (7-13) are £18. Sessions begin with a tour or storytelling and include the ANTI-GUIDE – our reinvention of the audio guide to engage with the exhibition as you never have before.

Parents can sign in their children to the sessions or are welcome to join in if they prefer craft to a little shop or a coffee on the King’s Road…

We also  have Easter EGGISTENITIALISM drop-in workshops and weekend passes for only £10 (including the ANTI-GUIDE).

Looking forward to seeing you there – the Saatchi Gallery is free entry and open 7 days a week (check the website for STORYSTOCK timetable).

Enjoy and stay tuned for more exciting news about where you can find us later this year… including the wonderful Wilderness festival!

Bad hair day fundraiser for Great Ormond Street

Friday, February 28th, 2014


Can you outdo Mullet Trumps finest in a good cause?

Celebrate Bad Hair Day for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity

Can’t pretend that my own hair needs an excuse to behave badly, but I’ll do my best to look worse than usual this Friday 28 February.

It’s in a good cause, and I won’t be alone.

Salons, schools, homes and offices across the country will celebrate ‘bad hair’ to raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Bad Hair Day invites staff, customers, friends and family to sport seriously bad hair dos as part of the charity’s HAIRraising appeal.

The HAIRraising appeal brings together members of the UK hairdressing community in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.  Founded by John Frieda in 2010, the appeal has already reached its original target of raising £1 million towards new operating theatres at the hospital and now aims to raise a further £1 million towards a new Respiratory Unit.

The unit will provide more comfort and privacy for families, including space for parents to sleep by their child’s bedside overnight, and a high dependency unit will allow parents and carers to rest in comfort throughout the day and also provide space for medical equipment.

Hayley Richardson, Senior Fundraising Executive at Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity said: “We’re encouraging people in salons, offices and schools up and down the country, to do something daring to their hair on 28 February. Whether you sport an ‘80s perm or a ‘70s mullet, you’ll be raising vital funds for the hospital’s new Respiratory Unit, which will make a real difference for patients and families”

For more information visit

For more information on the HAIRraising appeal, and fundraising ideas, go to

Climb the O2 arena!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

We're booked in to climb the O2 at half term!

Seriously, how cool does this sound for a half term outing (howling gales and blustery snow showers permitting, of course).

Up at the O2 is just that, a climb across a section of the entertainment venue – at its highest point the arena is 52 metres tall. I’ve seen In the Night Garden there, I’ve grooved at the NME Awards, but can’t pretend I’ve seen the views from the top. My children aren’t old enough, but I’m taking a godson for a birthday outing. I can only hope he’s braver than I’m likely to be on our 90-minute trot across the roof.

At the start of the tour visitors are kitted in bespoke climb suits, ECCO shoes and safety harnesses by trained guides before making their way, via a short set of stairs, or lift, to the base of the tent ready to start their climb. From here, climbers will be guided, in groups of 15, to a central observation platform via a 380m long fabric walkway suspended between The O2′s distinctive yellow (yellow? did anyone else realise the masts were yellow?) masts. An observation platform at the summit enables climbers to take in spectacular 360˚ views of the Capital and many of its landmarks, including the Olympic Park, Thames Barrier, The Shard, Historic Royal Greenwich and Canary Wharf.

From £26 per person.

  • Minimum age: 10 years old.
  • Minimum height: 1.2m.
  • Maximum weight: not weigh more than 21 stone /130kg / 286lbs.
  • Maximum measurements: maximum waist measurement 125cm, maximum upper thigh measurement 75cm.

To book and to find out more, click here. Oh, and there are no refunds if your vertigo gets the better of you and you don’t climb!

Travel writers’ favourite holidays

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

And the travel writers' favourite UK beach... Holkham in Norfolk

Still on a holiday theme (I can only blame the weather), I wanted to share some insider info.

The biggest ever survey of the UK’s travel journalists – including lots of newspaper travel editors, and a few celebrity travel names such as Ben Fogle – has revealed favourite cities, countries, beaches resorts, and airlines. Each journalist was also asked where they’d go if they could have a free airline ticket to anywhere in the world.

Some of the results are surprising (who knew Las Vegas and Dubai would be the destinations that travel journalists are least likely to return to?). Others less so. France was the favourite country, New York the favourite city, and Holkham in Norfolk the favourite beach.

All the destinations in the ‘fly for free’ category were outside the Europe (hey, if you’re going to get a free airline ticket you might as well make it an expensive one!). Australia, Brazil and the USA came out top, with Bhutan and Chile making it into the top ten. Iceland was the only European nomination, with a single vote.

For the record? My favourite beach destination is Waikeke Island, off Auckland. There are more blissful beaches there than you can visit in a month of holiday, vineyards to drink and cycle your way round, laid-back bach beach houses to stay in, and green-lipped mussels to pick on the beach and cook on the gas-fired barbeques provided for free by the local council.

Now just off to mop up the windowsill, victim of yet another torrential downpour.


Celebrity Christmas audio stories

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Meryl Streep reads this classic Christmas tale, featuring Donner, Blitzen, Prancer et al

Happy Christmas!

Nearly there…, the UK audio download provider, has six clips of Christmas tales to enjoy.

My favourite is Meryl Streep reading The Night Before Christmas. She’s almost as good at it as my grandmother was. Every Christmas Eve she would tell us this story which she knew by heart, and I can still recite a lot of it myself. I only have to imagine the line’…while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads’ to know it’s truly Christmas.

Other celebrity tales include Joanna Lumley reading Merry Christmas, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark. Merry Christmas, Splat, is narrated byPhil Jupitus, while everyone’s favourite feline, Mog, undertakes a Christmas adventure in Mog’s Christmas, narrated by BAFTA award-winning actress Geraldine McEwan. Lastly, Bernard Cribbins OBE brings to life the excruciating dilemma that Santa faces every Christmas Eve in, Father Christmas Needs a Wee.

Enjoy! I’m going to download at least one to listen to in the car on the way to Christmas lunch.

Bernard Cribbins reads this hilarious story to perfection


Free personalised Christmas ebook

Monday, November 18th, 2013

Read all about it. And dig out a decent photograph of your child. is giving away a free personalised Animated Snowman e-story book to every child between now and Christmas.

As part of each e-story book a child’s face will be included with the illustrations, making them the star of the story. Also included is the child’s name, the name of a friend, and the village, town or city where they live.

It’s a sweet little story with an animated snowman taking a magical Christmas adventure to the North Pole. There’s something to spot on every page, from falling snow and glowing candles to a roaring fire and flying fairies.

The story follows the child’s adventures when they wake on Christmas morning to discover a double-decker bus parked in the garden full of snowmen. Without hesitation the child jumps on the back of the bus and heads to the North Pole to help Father Christmas and his elves wrap, sort and deliver all the presents. Will they make it back to their home before everyone wakes up? And will their family believe that they have helped save Christmas?

It’s really easy to make a personalised story at Itsyourstory couldn’t be easier – upload a digital photo to their website, fill out the information about the child and Itsyourstory will do the rest. You will then receive an email with a link to view the e-story as many times as you want.

To create a free Animated Snowman e-story simply visit It’s Your Story before Christmas and use the code FESTIVEFUN at the checkout.

Mr & Mrs Smith’s best family hotel 2013

Friday, November 8th, 2013

angels & urchins editor Emily Turner was a lucky guest at the inaugural Smith Hotel Awards held at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. It was cool. There were cocktails. Celebrity judges (Marcus Wareing, Mariella Frostrup). And no children. But we were very interested in the winner of the Best Family Hotel category.

Soneva Kiri, Thailand: Mr & Mrs Smith Best Family Hotel 2013

Soneva Kiri in Thailand was the winner, a hotel that’s been on angels & urchins’ radar for its enormous villas, private infinity pools, endless selection of exotic fruit and beaches straight out of a Bond villain’s island hideaway. The Den kids’ club with retractable rope ladder drawbridge and focus on creative play (name another kids’ club where children can learn the Thai alphabet or make a local toy?) is another massive draw, and the hotel was one of our top 10worldwide earlier this year.

Read the full list of Mr & Mrs Smith award-winners HERE - and be prepared to want to pack your bucket & spade!

Open Weekend at London Transport Museum

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Children go FREE this weekend at London Transport Museum Depot

Transport yourself into a different era FOR FREE this weekend at London Transport Museum Depot.

The Museum Depot at Acton houses the majority of the Museum’s collections which aren’t on display in the main Museum in Covent Garden. You’ll be able to explore over 400,000 items, including many original works of art used for the Museum’s celebrated poster collection. There are also lots of vehicles, all guaranteed to enthrall young children. And big ones – I personally quite like seeing old vehicles too!

As well as having a rare opportunity to explore the Museum’s treasures there will also be a number of family-friendly activities throughout the three day Open Weekend. These include:

  • Creative workshops and activities for families and for adults
  • Miniature tram rides
  • Miniature railway rides
  • Talks and film screenings
  • Heritage bus rides
  • Artist Ross Ashmore live painting of the Metropolitan Locomotive No.1 and Jubilee Carriage 353
  • Curator-led tours of the small object collection
  • Costumed interpreters  - look out for a Victorian steam train traveller, an 1880 tunnel miner and a 1930s suburban housewife
  • Signalling frame demonstrations – help operate signals using the Westinghouse power frame from Marble Arch which dates back to approximately 1906 and the Westinghouse style N lever frame circa 1936
  • Talk by Ross Ashmore about his project to paint pictures of all London Underground stations
  • You can add your photographs of the Depot Open Weekend to our Flickr group; the one that gets the most “likes” will win a prize.
  • Retail from the Acton shop including decommissioned original luggage racks, train models from Bachmann, Hornby and Exclusive First Editions

Beautiful Christening robes

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

A stunningly beautiful antique Christening gown, from a selection at

It’s Sunday evening, and this morning we saw the a smiling, chatting Christening party walking past our house. The baby was wearing the most beautiful antique gown, the kind of hand-embroidered and handmade lace-frilled heirloom that could only be the result of painstaking hours of labour. It looked lovely and symbolised love; simply by looking at it was to feel peaceful.

If you don’t have your own family heirloom and want your baby to look adorable in something similar, take a look at the Christening robes at Each of them is unique, beautiful and full of history.

Good night and God bless!

Read – and look – our fave picture books

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Charlotte Voake

Well, when you think about it you’d probably quite like to know how well one of the world’s oddest marriages proceeds. After sailing into the sunset in their famously beautiful pea green boat, the Owl and the Pussycat must head off in search of their stolen golden ring. They travel far from the safety of the Bong-Tree Glade in search of the thief, across to the Chankly Bore and beyond. Only Julia Donaldson’s deft touch and way with whimsical rhymes could match Edward Lear’s, and this is definitely a family heirloom that will entertain all the generations.

Rabbityness, by Jo Empson

Author & illustrator Jo Empson’s first picture book is filled with stunning images to help children realise their individuality and deal with loss. Rabbit enjoys being a rabbit and doing lots of rabbity things. But one day he disappears, leaving his friends sad. Fortunately for them Rabbit has left behind some presents which help his friends discover their own unrabbity talents. Charming and moving for your own little warren.

The Worst Princess, by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie

I buy this for friend’s new baby girls to help show them that being pink, and waiting for a handsome prince to come along, isn’t necessarily what life’s all about. There are shoes to buy and cakes to bake, too. Ha. Sad Princess Sue royal prince is a pain in the ‘royal bum’ and this is a tale of how the feisty princess manages to escape his clutches.

The Journey Home, by Frann Preston-Gannon

One of the most beautifully illustrated books I’ve ever seen, and with a powerful conservation message that children can really relate to. When the ice starts to melt Polar Bear has to search for a new home. His adventures take him across the oceans, meeting new friends along the way. This offers lots of discussion opportunities for older children, and its illustrations really attract younger ones.

Lost My Name Personalised Books

I’ve fallen for personalised books before, and always been disappointed by the quality of the printing, the illustrations, the story, or a combination of all three. The Lost My Name books are truly beautiful and don’t disappoint. There is so much to look at in the stunning illustrations that you and your child will see something new every time they look. The books are printed to high environmental standards in a large format so that they’re comfortable to read on a lap. And children adore finding their own name at the end of the story. Highly recommended.

We’ve always got loads of ideas for children of all ages in our fabulous Book Reviews for  Kids section.