Young Voices 2018

H took part in Young Voices 2018 recently. It was a wonderful, positive experience for all of us – and I’m also claiming it as H’s first gig that she has performed in!

Young Voices 2018 is the UK’s biggest school choir. With showcase gigs bringing the children together to sing at events around the country, it’s a special day. On our night at the O2 there were 7,800 schoolkids performing from around the South of the UK.

Young Voices 2018

H has never been the most confident child. She has never been comfortable speaking out – she can do it, she has to leave her comfort zone.

When the opportunity came to be a part of Young Voices 2018 I did my best to persuade her. An added bonus was her teachers from last year run it. We decided to give it a couple of weeks, see how it goes. That wasn’t necessary – after one week she loved it!

Delights such as ‘Africa’ by Toto, and choruses to ‘Kyrie’ by Mister Mr. Oh yes, my eighties brain said. Add ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’ by Procul Harum – my mum and dad’s song – and there’s quite a cross section of tunes.

There has also been a transformation in H – she doesn’t stop singing at home, at all. She has a new-found confidence in other things too. This is all down to Young Voices.

young voices 2018 main show

With our performance at the O2 we decided to travel on the coach with people from school – it still took a while but we had enough time to grab food (top tip, preorder from one of the places inside the O2 – Five Guys was our expensive choice). The biggest delay we had was the security check at the gate to get into the O2 arena itself.

We missed the very start of Young Voices 2018 but only a couple of minutes thankfully. Armed with our National Trust binoculars we soon found H who looked like she was having the time of her life!

The two hours flew by, and before we knew it things were over.

“The children can’t leave until all the adults have gone” is possibly the best, quickest way to get several thousand families out of the O2 in record time. I say that, as some kids were leaving as we got to the main exit/entrance! It was really well done, and well organised.

Young Voices website can be found here. They’re taking registrations for 2019…

My Songs – A Spotify app for Children

My Songs is a new Spotify app from USM Junior which has carefully selected songs for children sorted into playlists.

My Songs app

My Songs can be found on Spotify here – there are several genres playlisted, including pop – which is where H’s latest direction seems to be heading.

Casting my mind back to the summer holidays in Australia, we would be driving around listening to Triple J, and they’re so less conservative than us Brits – you would occasionally get songs with bad words – and now H can read and takes in so much more, she asks questions about the lyrics. Some lady was talking about how her boy did bad things which she picked up on right at the end, and asked us questions. PHEW we thought, as the song finished, only for James’s ‘Laid’ to be the next song… uuh.  “This bed is on fire with passionate love, The neighbours complain about the noises above, But she only comes when she’s on top” – we changed channel.

This made us wish there was a radio station for children, but that had music which was tolerable for us parents too – a sort of pop music for everyone channel rather than songs about steamy love stuff. (and there’s only so many times you can listen to the Frozen soundtrack before you ban it for a few hours, for the sake of your own sanity)

This is where the My Songs app comes in handy. Much as I love that I’ve passed my love of musicals on to H, I do need a break from them. These days you can stream Spotify on your phone, and even my phone plugs into our new car stereo – so when the radio lets you down there is another alternative, and it isn’t annoying!

We’ve been looking at the Pop playlists, and pretty much everything on there is a track H likes – I know I can leave her with the music running and not have to vet the songs, making sure there’s nothing too dodgy (a bit like you can with musicals!).

USM Junior

On the launch of the My Songs App Karen Meekings USM’s Creative, Media and Digital Executive comments-

“We are delighted to be launching the first UK based music discovery app for children and their parents, available exclusively on Spotify. The animated App is easy to use and offers the best in children’s music with perfect playlists for every occasion from popular TV themes for the under 5’s through to current party hits for older children. Whatever their age the app offers a fun experience in a secure environment–it’s music fun for cool kids”

USM Junior also has its own YouTube channel called My USM Jr which already has over 2,000 subscribers and over 3 Million video views.

I like that the hard work has been done for you so you know what you’re playing is safe for young ears – and would highly recommend My Songs – give it a try!

We were sent a CD from USM Junior who are the people behind this app. All opinions are our own.

Big Fish Little Fish Are Back!

After a summer break and a busy Camp Bestival, Big Fish Little Fish return to South and East London – here’s everything you need to know!

big fish little fish tshirts

September (theme – Pirates!)

14th – The Bedford, Balham with DJ Food
20th – Canary Wharf Spiegeltent with Joe Muggs
21st – Shapes in Hackney Wick with Tayo

October (theme – Halloween!)

12th – The Bedford, Balham with Terry Farley
19th – Shapes in Hackney Wick with the London Readers Wifes

On the 19th October, Big Fish Little Fish are hosting a group meet-up of Out With The Family, an organisation that arranges social events for LGBT parents.

Tickets for all the events except the Spiegeltent are available here:

Tickets for Canary Wharf on the 20th are here:


We’re going along to Balham this Sunday for a little dance and a drink and a fun afternoon (and I expect newly-turned-5-H will want to try her new Oyster card) – and we’ll be reporting back! I’m particularly looking forward to trying out my new camera! Oh, and talking like a pirate of course… arrrr!



Big Fish Little Fish – Camp Bestival Travelling Circus Tour

Big Fish Little Fish and Camp Bestival had their Travelling Circus event last weekend in Balham – and we went along to join in the fun!

Big Fish Little Fish events are ones we’re familiar with, and Camp Bestival is a festival which looks perfect for all of us. With a flyer like this, you know you’re in for a fun afternoon.

Big Fish Little Fish are in Balham these days, in a much larger venue, The Bedford. On entry you get a glowstick if you’re a young person which kept H happy!

big fish little fish colouring

Captain Cookie’s Craft Area is much bigger, with long tables and what felt like endless craft supplies, as well as a colouring in mural. With the theme being a circus one, everyone got to make hats with plenty of pom pom’s, stickers and hats to decorate. To the side were plenty of Happy Monkey smoothies and Bear YoYo snacks, all for free for children. There were free tattoos (temporary of course) nearby as well.

Big Fish Little Fish snacks

The space was shared with a small bar, snacks (£3 Hot Dogs) as well as a Dressing Up area courtesy of Badaboom, which included a photobooth (we didn’t get a chance to try as it was popular!). Adjacent to that room is the toddlers and baby rooms – loads of space and a bit quieter for younger children.

After crafting her hat, H was ready to dance. We all made our way downstairs, a circular dancefloor with a small stage greeted us, with pretty high barriers around the upstairs edge – safe enough for H to stand up and watch without (me) feeling scared. When downstairs there was plenty of space for dancing – although if you’re like H you’ll probably want to stand on the stage and do your thing.

Big Fish Little Fish Stage

Music ranged from Basement Jaxx to older music we all clubbed to back when we were younger – to the Prodigy, and so much more, all at child-friendly sound levels.

At intervals the glitter cannon was let off (we were upstairs for one which H enjoyed, though was desperate to get downstairs to, to pick up the glitter), closely followed by a bubble machine!

The best thing I found about the venue was having plenty of space to sit down – something which was occasionally a problem in Brixton – so we could sit back and watch everything, or head downstairs and join in.

Bar prices were reasonable, and snacks were priced fairly.

big fish little fish tshirts


Big Fish Little Fish have t-shirts for sale as well, at £10 which is a good price.

Big Fish Little Fish parachute

We really enjoyed the Korg Workshop – we were booked in for 4.10pm so right at the end of the day (just as the parachute dancing had started downstairs), so H and her friend M got to try out some Korg Monotron’s and a Kaossilator 2 which were a LOT of fun!

Big Fish Little Fish Korg Workshop

Big Fish Little Fish we know and love going to, Camp Bestival is a new world for us. I was a Reading Festival kind of girl back in my younger days, before festivals became some kind of weird fashion statement and less about the music. I can see us going to Camp Bestival next year as this year’s lineup is perfect for H – a good mixture of everything (especially now she knows people perform music on stage and it’s normal, y’know…) – also, if you head to Big Fish Little Fish today in Hackney you can buy Camp Bestival tickets without booking fees.

Big Fish Little Fish and Camp Bestival’s Travelling Circus visit Hackney this afternoon (Sunday 18th May) – tickets are still available and you’re set for a fun afternoon! Camp Bestival’s Travelling Circus are attending a few events around the country like this – check out their listings page for more information.

We received guestlist places for Big Fish Little Fish, this hasn’t changed our opinion of the event which remains honest, as ever.

Eurovision and Music in General

Last weekend H watched her first ever Eurovision. We allowed her to stay up a bit later than usual – much like I did back when I was her age.

When it started, when the first performers arrived on stage, H greeted the occasion with an amazed “wowwww!!” – she had never seen anything like it. People performing songs on stage, taking their turns from various countries who were eligible to compete.

“Are these people really singing?” she asked, as I confirmed this and felt sad inside. See, H is growing up in the world of the music video. Of YouTube or whichever visual streaming place you choose. A place where live performances are rare, and pre-recorded ones are normal.

When I grew up it was the opposite. There’s one reason why she’s never experienced this – because we don’t have Top of the Pops any more. Sad but true.

We would watch Top of the Pops every week when I was young, I’d be loving the Bay City Rollers, and indeed after my first Eurovision a bit of ABBA too. This was an exciting fast-moving world, bands playing live and performing on television.

Heck, I hate to say it as I don’t tend to like most of the bands, but these days programmes like Later With Jools Holland are where I get that fix. Not so for H.

It’s sad isn’t it? For just one night a year she can watch twenty six people perfoming live on stage to get that buzz back again. Performances, silly things, anything. The kind of thing which was normal when I was young. Sure, there’s Christmas Top of the Pops, but that isn’t the same – if you don’t have that connection with the songs on a weekly basis (and we don’t – we currently don’t have a radio other than the one that wakes me up in the morning) then it means very little.

But then this is the digital age, this is where you find it yourself. This is where the older kids, older siblings play it as they’ve found it and the younger kids or younger siblings pass it on to their friends. A different kind of word of mouth.

When I was at school in the eighties I wrote the Top 40 down pretty much every week, stopping around 1987. We’d sit huddled around a radio scribbling down the countdown (and that took some work) then look forward to Top of the Pops later in the week. These days the Top 40 is on the BBC website, you can click on a link and you’re taken to the music. You don’t have to sit through the rubbish (yet sitting through the rubbish helped me appreciate the good stuff) and there are occasional gems.

We recorded the second half of Eurovision and H watched it the following day. The only song she’s remembered a fair chunk of? Our British entry – Molly’s ‘Children of the Universe’. For its poor final score, the fact a four year old can remember it says to me it wasn’t a bad song. I got the Common Linnets (Netherlands) in the work sweepstake, and most of the Top 100 is peppered with Eurovision songs – with this one being the highest. H recognises what she hears, knows where she knows them from.

For all the ridicule Eurovision might get, this is our kids of today’s Top of the Pops. It’s just a pity it’s only once a year!

Some New Music from Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Happy Wags!

We’re big fans of the happy world of Mike Park in this house – his solo album is compulsory when we’re on a long journey (and it’s a great short album which needs playing at least five times in a row). Fun Fun Records is his label, where bands like Play Date release their music. As well as this is the offshoot Asian Man Records, which has two new releases coming up from Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Happy Wags.

Mike Park’s view on his releases is a great one – “After being subjected to mounds of kids music, I thought there’s got to be a better alternative than this cookie cutter stuff. My hope is that FUN FUN RECORDS will be an alternative for parents looking for more than just your run of the mill children’s music” – oh yes, and it really is too.

Let me tell you a bit about each album…

Happy Wags

Happy Wags is Jesse Wagner the frontman of the largely popular “dirty reggae” band, The Aggrolites.

After the huge success of The Aggrolites’ “Banana” on Yo Gabba Gabba in 2007 (which has also been covered by Dinosaur Jr – hunt it down on YouTube), Jesse often found himself thinking about ideas for a full-length album for kids. With some rare down time at home between non-stop tours he picked up his acoustic guitar and started coming up with rhythms and hooks for potential songs. The eventual result was a collection of songs, some reflecting his reggae roots, and others venturing into punk rock, country, even funky 1980’s-style R&B.

1.The Lion, the Snake and the Monkey
2.Use Your Words
3.Don’t Touch the Buttons
4.Pee Pee in the Potty
5.They Wanna Play
6.Adding Numbers
7.Firefighters (featuring Mike McColgan)
8.Learning Like the Animals
9.Baby Dean

Happy Wags’ self-titled debut CD will be available June 24th 2014.

Happy Wags can be found on Facebook here

Koo Koo Kanga Roo

Koo Koo Kanga Roo love having a big ol’ dance party. One night you can see them performing with Yo Gabba Gabba and then the next night with Dillinger Four. You might have seen them on tour with Frank Turner and The Smith Street Band or your kids might have told you about this crazy band that played their school cafeteria. Regardless of the age, KOO KOO are all about FUN.

“Whoopty Whoop” is the band’s debut release with Fun Fun Records/Asian Man Records. Songs about Fanny Packs and pizza might sound trivial, but once you hear the groove it will hook you in immediately and the body will follow suit with dance moves you never knew you had. Oh, and a few earworms.

“I thought it was strange that a children’s music band was on tour with Frank Turner, but when I saw them live I understood how genius the band was and it all made sense” – MIKE PARK (label head Asian Man/Fun Fun)

1.All I Eat Is Pizza
2.Fanny Pack
3.The Coolest Person
5.Get Yo Body Moving
6.Shake It Well (feat. P.O.S.)
7.I Like Cake
8.Left 2 Right
10.Superheroes Unite

‘Whoopty Whoop’ is out on May 13th on CD and digital with vinyl following June 24th.

Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s official site is here, and they can be found on Facebook here.

Asian Man Records site is here too, Fun Fun Records are over here, and they can all be found on Facebook.

We were provided with a free download of Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Happy Wags to help spread the word – all opinions are our own!

Big Fish Little Fish Balham – Coming Soon!

We’re big fans of the Big Fish Little Fish events held in North and South London – nice social events where you can relive the music from your past with your kids at an acceptable volume, with themes and plenty of crafts to go with it.

Big Fish Little Fish Craft Room

Big Fish Little Fish Balham is about to launch – the Brixton events continue and now there’ll be further events held at The Bedford on Bedford Hill, a short walk from Balham tube and mainline rail stations.

Here’s the press release-

Big Fish Little Fish is a two-and-a-half hour afternoon rave for families with kids aged 8 and under. Born of a desire to create fun and friendly social events that adults and children could both enjoy, it brings together credible DJs playing quality music, craft activities for older children and a safe space for babies to chill out and play. Owner Hannah Saunders started BFLF to provide a place where music lovers of all ages could cut loose, enjoy themselves and meet like-minded souls. Her vision resonated so well with parents all over London that every single event in 2013 sold out.

We are pleased to announce that from January 2014 Big Fish Little Fish will run monthly in both Brixton (Effra Social, 89 Effra Rd, SW2 1DF) and Crouch End (Earl Haig Hall, Elder Avenue, N8 9TH) and from March in Balham (The Bedford).

Big Fish Little Fish dance floor

All venues have a fully licensed bar, two top DJs, club lighting system, free glowsticks, bubble machines, confetti cannons and a parachute dance. BFLF provides everything you would expect from a grown-up night out – but on a weekend afternoon, and with extras for the younger attendees. There is a cake stall, baby/chillout room playing a mix of music by Speakeasy D (with tents, tunnels, ball pool, inflatables etc), Happy Monkey craft room managed by child craft expert Captain Cookie, buggy park, full changing facilities and free healthy snacks (provided by Bear) and free smoothies (provided by Happy Monkey) for the children. There will also be a fancy dress theme each month.The craft area will have materials to make accessories fitting the fancy dress theme, temporary tattoo station and a giant mural that everyone can add to.

The Talent

The headline DJ for Brixton on January 18th was Frank Tope (Wild Geese/Rooty) and in Crouch End on the 25th it was Robin Hexstatic. In February in Brixton on the 15th we have Mark Force (Bugz in the Attic) and in Crouch End on the 22nd Jonny Trunk (Trunk Records). Our first Balham event  on the 2nd March will feature Mixmaster Morris.

At previous parties DJs have included: DJ Food (Ninja Tune), Will Nicol (Big Fun/Soulshaker), Nihal (BBC Radio 1/Asian Network), Si Begg, DJ Chefal (Rinse FM / Anti Social Entertainment / Deep Medi Muzik); JC (Queen of Hoxton); Joe Muggs (Mixmag; Sound of the Cosmos; Beat Hotel Glastonbury); Jody Thompson (Secret Garden Party) and Amanda Gettrup (Bestival).

At future events DJs will include Noodles; Mixmaster Morris and Altered Natives.

The Minnow Club

BFLF craft room leader Captain Cookie runs a craft and music cafe where parents and children can relax, socialise and have fun at the Prince of Wales pub, 469 Brixton Road, SW9 4HH on Thursdays from 10 – 12. Entrance £5 per family, no pre-booking.

BFLF Radio

Hannah and Natasha present a monthly magazine show on MEATtransMISSION (the new radio station run from MEATmission in Hoxton Market) with special guests, music and parenting chat.

 You can buy tickets for all events here

We can’t make it to the March Big Fish Little Fish Balham event, but will be there in April! Their website is over here.

Big Fish Little Fish Brixton

Big Fish Little Fish September Event

The Big Fish Little Fish September event had its official launch in Brixton, at the Effra Social club. We went to a pre-launch in the summer which we enjoyed. Big Fish Little Fish is a new afternoon club for those of us who used to go out; think of it as being like a playgroup which plays music you can dance to as well, with beer!

Big Fish Little Fish flyerBig Fish Little Fish September had a theme – a nautical one. That was fairly easy for us, so we got H ready to be a pirate – a stripy t-shirt and leggings plus a neckerchief I quickly made with spare fabric and some wonder web, though we had no hat. Fortunately the craft room was up and running where you could make so many different kinds of things – which included the aforementioned hats – fun!

Actually, most of Saturday was about fun; be it dancing, eating, making, or creating.

Big Fish Little Fish September craft

H got a free Cheeky Monkey smoothie and some Bear YoYo snacks and got on with the job in hand – there was plenty of craft supplies to choose from too, as well as some nautically themed temporary tattoos. At the licensed bar there were sausage rolls and scotch eggs at a reasonable price, as well as cupcakes from Rosie’s Deli Cafe in the craft area.

Big Fish Little Fish September pirate

What is there to say about the Big Fish Little Fish September event, compared to last time? The volume of the music was lower and one we could talk and dance with – it was perfect – not too loud for kids (or my) ears. The event just had two DJs this time – Strictly Kev aka DJ Food from Ninja Tune and Will Nicol which I felt kept the downstairs area going – I didn’t notice the changeover. H danced to some Future Sound of London, reggae, I tried to get her to dance to 808 State (she refused), and so much more – The Prodigy and SL2 (“mummy’s work put this out” I told her, she wasn’t impressed but still danced). There were glitter bombs, bubbles, a large parachute at the end and one very tired H. She loved her glowstick which is given for free at the door, which she made into a bracelet.

Big Fish Little Fish September dancefloor

We didn’t get to the chill-out room but did spend a lot of time in the craft area – which was brilliantly organised, with plenty of supplies – there’s plenty of things for kids to do, and if they love dancing the dancefloor is just the right size.

October’s event is on Saturday 19th with a theme of ‘Things that go bump in the night’ – and for us it’s an easy journey, the train from Carshalton to Herne Hill just twenty minutes, and the walk from there no more than ten – and a good route via Brockwell Park, avoiding the main roads too which also has a giant wooden conker near the venue. If you fancy food in the area afterwards we can recommend Olleys – we had a feast and came away with change from £40 too – and it’s very child-friendly.

brockwell park giant conker

We really enjoyed the Big Fish Little Fish September event and already a few of my friends are talking about going to the next one, see you there!

Thank you to Natasha for organising free tickets for us, this hasn’t affected our opinion of the event at all!

Lollibop 2013 – Our Review

Lollibop 2013 started today, the first day of a three-day festival for kids.

H meets characters at Lollibop 2013

Lollibop 2013 moved venues to the Olympic Park this year, and although we haven’t been to previous ones, both Shaun and I are seasoned festival goers, a bit of rain wasn’t going to scare us, so we were ready!

Our journey wasn’t too painful, a train to London Bridge then just a few stops on the tube to Stratford with a fifteen minute walk to the park. We also got to walk past the Olympic Stadium, somewhere we never got to last year – it’s huge! (I am seriously struggling imagining West Ham having it as their home)

The Lollibop 2013 site was clearly marked – and helpers were starting to line up to guide everyone. I suspect people with buggies may struggle cutting across Westfield, so look into other ways there, but as we were on foot it wasn’t an issue.

Poppy Cat at Lollibop 2013

We made it inside just in time for Poppy Cat who did some dance moves on the main stage – the sound cut out a bit but that didn’t spoil it for H. It was running late which was fortunate – H says Poppy Cat was probably her favourite thing about Lollibop 2013 (that and fifteen other things).

GoGoGo Show at Lollibop 2013

On the way in we got chatting to two boyfriends of the GoGoGo Show, and found them near us when they came on stage so insisted they join in with the dancing (they did). Shaun had no idea who they were then realised it was the band he sees every morning when he does his ironing – he knew the songs best of the three of us! H enjoyed it, and I like that one of them wears glasses so hopefully H can relate. We have never spoken about this.

Rastamouse at Lollibop 2013

There was no time to stop, as once they left the stage Rastamouse came on – and did a neat little set. The creator of Rastamouse came on too, as well as a lady and man who make the music – and it was perfect festival music, really enjoyable, plus everyone was handed Rastamouse flags. Somehow we caught Rastamouse three times over the day which was pleasant.

Chobani at Lollibop 2013

Shaun found free yoghurt courtesy of Chobani who were giving away full-sized tubs opposite the main stage, so we helped ourselves to one each and decided to have a wander around the site.

Magic Belles at Lollibop 2013

We found the Magic Belles stand, and got to chat for a long time to the lovely Maxine – H coloured in two postcards and posted them, it was such a sweet idea and good to stop. We love the Magic Belles and really you should be signing up for the Flutterbud Club – it’s free and it’s fab – every month we get a lovely picture and some fab goodies from them. H loves them too and they’re a really positive influence for little girls – their tent wasn’t just for girls though, it was for anyone who wanted to send a postcard to the fairies, boys of course are included.

Bear Nibbles were handing out free samples of their scrummy food, and next to them were some Barny edible teddy bear cake-y type things (which H loved). There was also a Haribo man making his way around the audience giving out free packets for those moments when it becomes too overwhelming for your little one and you need to give them sugar.

After that we headed back into the main area to get some food. Oh my, everyone else had arrived and the queues were long. Fortunately Dick and Dom were on stage, my Lollibop 2013 highlight, too funny, no ‘bogies’ but plenty of Dick Vs Dom and brilliantly funny. I think it opened up a new kind of comedy to H who wasn’t sure what to make of it. Definitely the best thing we saw – I could have cried laughing at times. H still finds it very strange someone would shout in a library ‘as you’re not meant to do that’ (oh, she’s so good).

Food queues were getting silly, so after a quick scoot around (Nando’s – too long, The Food Stop – too long) we decided on toasties. Reasonably priced Shaun queued while H and I had a little rest – we hadn’t sat down by this time (Hello Kitty had been cancelled on the main stage much to H’s disappointment and the Mr Men had finished which was our only stage clash) plus we were hungry.

The Toasties are quick, but the queue is slow – we got them after about 20-30 minutes in the end, and headed to the press area to sit down and eat them.

After that we felt a bit more refreshed and headed out to catch the end of the GoGoGo Show – we really liked the sets were repeated so at least we caught them at the start of the day when it was quiet and didn’t miss anything as Rastamouse started again. This time we wandered around the shops.

I saw this. I managed to hold myself back. Just.

The Book People Lollibop 2013

There were loads of great stalls but we don’t have a lot of money to spend with H’s 4th birthday next week, so we were sensible – in the end I got her some Hello Kitty Top Trumps as I think she’ll like them. There was an entire Top Trumps stall, so that was good to see. I spotted some Moshi Monsters ones too but will wait for now.

Katy Ashworth at Lollibop 2013

We headed towards the Lolli Kitchen where Katy Ashworth from I Can Cook was about to start, which coincided with Andy & Sid from Cbeebies on the Lollipalladium – both stages pretty much next to each other so you can easily get between the two. Actually, H wanted to stop at the Parentdish stand and colour in some bunting. Eventually we got to see both, and both were excellent. Katy was especially funny and got H giggling – a very talented lady – another Lollibop 2013 highlight. Sid and Andy were singing nursery rhymes by the time we got there and being ever so funny – H was getting tired though and by now was on Shaun’s shoulders.

Sid & Andy Lollibop 2013

After that we were a bit Lollibop-ed out, and decided to check the face painting queue – it was still long, but we spotted a Hello Kitty Meet and Greet, so joined that queue instead. They closed it when we were FIVE away from meeting Hello Kitty, cue lots of sad kids who just bombarded her with cuddles. That was enough for H, that and there was a Hello Kitty Twister on the hill too which was pretty awesome (and we got to sit and let her get on with it which was even better).

Lollibop 2013 random

A quick wander back to the main area and the face painting queue had gone right down so we joined it, where the fabulous ladies from Kattoo were, giving out free tattoos to everyone – we already had ours and I got to have a chat with them. It’s a brilliant idea and perfect for events like Lollibop – keep an eye out for them! H had her face painted like Hello Kitty (see a theme here?) and we headed back towards the Magic Belles stand for one last colour in.

Kattoo Tattoos at Lollibop 2013

After that a quick stop at the Wow Toys stand, I’m kind of sad as we’re at the top end of their age range, their toys look excellent though and one I’ll consider for my new nephew when it comes to Christmas time. Duplo were next door so we had a quick play before it really was time to leave Lollibop 2013 and make a move back home.

All in all we spent the day from around 10.10 until 5.30 which is pretty good going. I was pleased how well H handled it, there was plenty of space to rest up, plenty of shelter from the rain and everything was reasonably priced. Lollibop 2013 was a fantastic day out and I really wish we’d got to the National Geographic Kids area as I would love to subscribe for H if it was age appropriate and they had a good deal on. We missed the science area too. I feel like you need an even longer day to do it all!

It was a wonderful day, we have no complaints and we’ll be back next year.

You can still buy tickets here!

We received free passes for our day at Lollibop 2013 – all opinions are our own and honest.

The Ultimate Summer Driving Playlist

What’s your Ultimate Summer Driving Playlist?

MoneySupermarket have a new competition, to compile the Ultimate Summer Driving playlist, as THINK! research suggests that almost 20% of accidents on major roads are sleep or tiredness related. Long journeys on motorways can lead to a lack of concentration and, as well as other preventative measures, listening to songs you love can be a great way to stay alert and focused on the road.

Back when I had to drive back to York a lot on my own, I created a playlist on my iPod to help keep me focused and awake, and a lot of these songs featured. When you’re driving for four hours or more you need something which doesn’t let you drift off.

This is mine – it’s going to be easy as we created a Summer Playlist on Spotify at work which keeps getting songs added to it.


This reminds me of the Reading Festival in the early 90s, Buffalo Tom playing ‘Summer’ on the stage and my friend Helen and I dancing on the grass clutching a pint of beer singing along. Aah. It’s good for driving too.

Bananarama’s ‘Cruel Summer’ is another essential. They make fun pop music and there isn’t enough of that these days. They also didn’t take themselves too seriously.

But when you’re driving you do need your music faster with lots of ‘oo’s in there, you know the sort of thing. Lucky we have The Undertones then with ‘Here Comes The Summer’. See, you can mix up the slower with the fast too, that way you’re always kept on your toes.

Not all summer music needs to be pop. Everyone needs a bit of rock in their lives and Queens of the Stone Age have theirs with the top driving song ‘Feel Good Hit of the Summer’ which probably has the least appropriate refrain to sing in front of your child. Better save that one for solo drives… or headphones.

This one always makes it on to my summer playlists – I was a huge Lush fan, and when they (sadly) split and Emma formed Sing-Sing their first single was this, a top summer pop moment, ‘Feels Like Summer’.

If I was to choose the ultimate two driving songs which I think are in my key, these two win. They’re not summer songs, they’re perennial. But they DRIVE.

and this because the video makes me think of the summer and it’s really silly. One night driving home from work Magic AND Heart played it within ten minutes of each other. I drove the long route home. Oh yes.

I hope you like them, I could have made a longer list but I’m sparing you all.

I was gifted an amount of money to pay for these songs – all opinions are my own.