Kingston

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The Witches at The Rose Theatre KingstonMoozles loves reading. And one of her favourite authors is Roald Dahl. His books really capture the imaginations of children, and adults. So Moozles was thrilled when we found out that The Witches had been turned into a live show and would be playing at the Rose Theatre Kingston. The Rose is our local theatre, and always seems to show the best plays and musicals.

If you're not familiar with the book, The Witches is a story of a boy who goes to live with his grandmother after his parents' death. And it is from her that he learns of the true account of witches. Witches walk among us, though you probably would never notice them. They always wear gloves and they loathe children. And one day, the Grand High Witch comes up with a plan to get rid of all the children in the UK. *gasp* If you want to find out what happens, you will have to go see The Witches live, or read the book.

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Neapolitan Cuisine at Rossopomodoro

I love pizza. Husband loves pizza. Moozles and Dubz really love pizza. And we are always on the lookout for a good family-friendly pizza place. I had been to Rossopomodoro twice before - once for a bloggers' dinner and another time with Moozles. But last week, the four of us went for our first family meal at Rossopomodoro in Kingston upon Thames.

Rossopomodoro is more than just great pizza. They specialise in food from Naples, so everything tastes like you're in a proper Italian restaurant. The pizza, yes, is wonderful. But there are loads of delicious pastas to choose from. The starters are also quite tempting. We had a very generous bowl of olives and a lovely platter of rice and cheese balls (Frito Napoletano--you must have it).

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Mr Popper's Penguins

Last weekend I took the kids to watch Mr Popper's Penguins at The Rose Theatre Kingston. My in-laws had been babysitting the previous day so I invited them along and we made it into a family day out. I am always so proud to take guests to the Rose Theatre. It is a lovely theatre with great productions. Kingston is so lucky to have such a gem.

The live show of Mr Popper's Penguins is based on a novel (I haven't seen the film so not sure if it is based on the same novel - I assume so). Mr Popper is a painter/decorator who has a nice but boring life. He dreams of exploring Antarctica and seeing polar bears and penguins. Then one day a real-life penguin arrives at his door. We see how his and Mrs Popper's lives change as they start taking care of a penguin (and then many penguins). So, there weren't real penguins. But puppet penguins controlled by the actors. Still cute, and probably more easily controlled than real penguins. Probably.

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The Boat to Hampton Court

We have been very lucky with the weather this week. So often we must endure rainy and windy conditions during the Easter holidays but we have had such warm temperatures. Husband had a day off on Thursday. We considered going to a beach, since British people flock to beaches in droves at any kind of decent weather. Instead we thought we would take the boat/ferry from Kingston Upon Thames to Hampton Court.

After a look on the Turks website to see the boat timetable, I was happy to discover that it was Thumbs Up It's Thursday run by Kingston First. Besides all the free activities that they provide for children in Kingston during school holidays, they offer free boat rides at 10.30am and 11.15am from Kingston. I am always keen to save money so was pleased that we only had to pay £15 for Husband and myself to travel round-trip.

We got on the boat at Turks Pier in Kingston, which is behind the John Lewis. The boat is covered so you won't get too cold or sunburnt, and you don't have to worry about little ones falling overboard (though you can slide open the glass windows). We all enjoyed riding on the boat - looking at rowers and other boaters, waving to the people on land. After 35 minutes, we arrived in Hampton Court. We decided to explore the gardens. We stayed in the free bit, and the kids loved playing and hiding in the field of daffodils. We could have paid to go into Hampton Court Palace, but we weren't sure if Dubz (who is almost three) would get much out of it. Moozles went to Hampton Court Palace a couple of months ago with her school and had a great time. Husband and I have never been, but perhaps we will all go soon.

After some hide and seek in the daffodils, we had lunch at the cafe. We were pleasantly surprised at how nice the food was (about £35 for the four of us to have hot meals and drinks plus the kids had giant cookies - I had the fish & chips, which was yummy). People were having picnics on the grass, and Dubz was very sad that we did not have a picnic. But as it was our first visit there, we were not sure what to expect. But at least now we know we can go and enjoy some of the grounds and have a picnic. After some running around, we hopped on the boat back to Kingston. We will definitely be taking this trip again.

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Normally, when I go to John Lewis, I go to the kids department or homewares. When my friend Ella and I went to the John Lewis in Kingston last night, we were unsure what to expect. We didn't know what the big beauty event would entail, besides having our make-up done. Being SAHMs, neither Ella nor I spend much time getting pampered. It is so easy to forget about making yourself feel good when you are concentrating on taking care of your family.
 
After grabbing a glass of cava, we were introduced to Murad. I had heard of this brand before, as they are American like me. Murad was developed by a dermatologist and specialises in combatting ageing and blemished skin. They even have a men's line. First off, Daisy took a special photo of my skin which showed my problem areas (don't be too alarmed at what I look like with no make-up). The photos show that my main issues are the redness in my cheeks and t-zone blemishes. As I approach 40, *clears throat*, I feel like my skin is changing. I've always had combination skin but I feel like the dry skin is drier and the oily skin is oilier. Plus I'm breaking out like a teenager. Daisy recommended some products which would help and then gave me a mini-facial. Normally, after a facial, my face looks and feel smooth but I also look a bit unkept. After the Murad facial, my skin looked so glowy. Both Ella and I commented that we looked just as nice as if we had on make-up, if not better. Thank you Murad!
 
99 problems and my skin is number 1
John Lewis Kingston had a major refurb in October 2013, adding an extra £7,000 square feet which substantially increased their beauty department. They have all the big international brands, and a great selection of British brands too. Ella and I both got manicures at Leighton Denny. She got her make-up done at Benefit, while I had mine done at Bobbi Brown. Neither Ella nor I wear very much make-up during the day. Being American, I don't leave the house without any lipstick. But it was lovely getting the whole shebang done. 
 
Sophie at Bobbi Brown introduced me to the miracle of a purple eye liner, which makes brown eyes look green. And their BB cream made my skin look flawless! Ella loved the natural look she got from Mary at Benefit. When Mary saw me, she had to add the Gimme Brow which sleeks eyebrows wonderfully. I especially liked this as my eyebrows are a bit on the skimpy side. I grew up expecting to have Brooke Shields' eyebrows, but alas it was never meant to be.
Ella and I had such a giggle last night. We loved the pampering and the girly time, and I arrived home feeling lovely. I don't think that you need make-up, necessarily, to feel pretty. But as mums, I think it is important to do things for yourself. And of course, it helps to have a girlfriend along for laughs.
 
John Lewis Kingston invited me and a friend to their Beauty Event for the purpose of a review. I was not paid for this endorsement. All opinions expressed are my own.
 

 Snow Gorilla
JugglersHuman Cannon Ball
Today I went to see The Snow Gorilla at the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames. I did not go alone. I was with my five-year old daughter and about 15 of her school friends and their mums. It was magical.
 
I didn't know what the story was about before seeing the show, apart from the big clue in the title. And what a nice surprise to find that it was part story and part circus. The show centred around a circus, and the story took breaks to show the rehearsals. There was flamenco dancing, aerial acrobatics and juggling. There was also a clown, a contortionist and African acrobats. And of course there was a lovely talking gorilla, voiced by Brian Blessed. Brian has had quite a distinguished career but I know him as the voice of Grampy Rabbit.
 
In case you have never been to The Rose Theatre before, it's a lovely little theatre. Fab for family shows (we have previously seen 'Room on the Broom' and 'What the Ladybird Heard' there). There are normal seats, but in the front there is a floor sitting section, so you can bring cushions and sit/stretch out (which we did this time). I prefer normal seats, but it's nice to be on the floor when you're in a big group. There is often audience interaction at the Rose, which is nice. My daughter was so thrilled that the clown had come and sat next to us and rubbed our heads. 
 
If you're in or not far from Kingston, try to see The Snow Gorilla. It's a fun and entertaining show. The children oohed and aahed. They enjoyed the tricks and silliness. There was a baddie and a love story. What more could you ask for? 
 
The Snow Gorilla runs until the 5th January 2014. The show lasts for two hours (flew by), with a 20-minute intermission. Book tickets if you can.
 
 
Photos by Helen Maybanks