Review – Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco – London Wonderland

Monski MouseMonski Mouse is doing a monthly DJ session at London Wonderland at the moment (Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco), so we popped along today to check it out!

We were already in Central London so headed over to the South Bank Centre, finding London Wonderland eventually (it isn’t on any of the signs around the South Bank – if you’re reading this, head towards the London Eye and look for the upside down inflatable cow – it’s the area to the left of that) arriving inside just in time for some brilliant tunes.

The Lovecats by The Cure

Beware – the set is only 45 minutes long, so get there early so you don’t miss out – and you’ll find yourself in a tent-like area with seating around the sides, with cushions and beanbags to sit and a circular dancefloor which is just perfect to dance on – with tons of enthusiasm from Monica and her dancers. Songs like ’99 Luftballons’ by Nena or ‘The Lovecats’ by The Cure (Shaun and me have this as our unofficial wedding song, as my sister insisted we danced to it on the big day, so made H dance to it today), with ‘Sleeping Bunnies’ thrown in for good measure, or how about a slow then fast version of ‘Rock a Bye Your Bear’ (not The Wiggles though!) make an appearance, big smiles all round. I noticed while H was a bit shy at first and didn’t get into the dancing quickly, once she was warmed up there was no stopping her, there was no self-consciousness about her at all.

There’s some country music, the charleston, oh you name it, it was there. (apart from death metal)

There’s so much enthusiasm, and the most refreshing thing of all is how the kids all want to dance – we’ve been to two parties now with music for our kids, which has involved One Direction – there’s none of that here, no no – this is PROPER music. (to be fair, H has shrunk away from this modern pop music thing, she’s going to be a retro child like her parents I think…)

H and I doing the charleston

H and I doing the charleston

The set finished with Monica Monski Mouse joining the kids to dance to ‘Nellie The Elephant’ by The Toy Dolls (which makes me very happy as I’ve been playing it to H for a while now), and loads of happy kids.

Dancing to Monski Mouse

£8 is quite a lot for 45 minutes, but when you bear in mind the amount of free activities there are to do around the South Bank it doesn’t feel quite so bad and you could easily spend a day up there and not spend much.

H meets Monski Mouse

We received free tickets to attend, all opinions are our own – based on H’s enthusiasm when she warmed up we definitely want to come again! 

Monski Mouse – Coming to a Dancefloor Near You – and Soon!

DJ Monski Mouse & daughter Monalisa

Monski Mouse is the alter-ego of Monica Corduff Gonzalez who does discos for under 5’s around the world. She comes from Australia, and currently lives in the UK. She’s bringing her dance event to the London Wonderground this summer with Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall. We’re interviewing Monica, so we can find out loads more about the events – as well as reviewing it (and quite frankly I may be the most excited of all of us about this).

Two sold out Adelaide Fringe seasons (2012 & 2013), an Edinburgh Fringe and bookings at festivals such as Norfolk and Norwich Festival (Sold Out) and the Freedom Festival, Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall has been getting heads, shoulders, knees and toes bopping along since its launch in February 2012.

Monski Mouse has made a career from DJ-ing quirky retro tracks, while dressed as a glamour-girl-mouse, for the last ten years, at arts festivals and clubs including Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and Edinburgh Fringe. Since becoming a Mum in 2010, Monski Mouse expanded her focus to the morning audience, of bubs, toddlers and parents/carers, in a career move that fits in with her current role as a working Mum.

“I count myself really lucky to able to adapt my performance career to make work my daughter can enjoy, and I am totally blown away by how much she absolutely loves the Baby Disco Dance Hall.” says Monski Mouse,”Plus its so much fun to have dance before tea time, what an absolutely wonderful way to spend your day!”

The event features Monski Mouse hosting and DJing, two experienced early childhood performers as ‘dancers’, who work with the audience, and a ‘baby area’ where the non walkers can roll around to the music.

“I feel extremely privileged to be performing this disco, the delight I get to see in young children’s eyes and their parents faces is incredibly special, I am a very, very lucky mouse.” says Monski Mouse.

Monski Mouse

Designed for children under 5 and their parents and carers, to dance and have fun together, Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall runs every second Sunday from 26 May through to 15 September, tickets are available through londonwonderground.co.uk

“Children were dancing, parents were singing and EVERYONE was smiling” Radelaide Rover

“Monski Mouse is the best DJ in the world” James Campbell – Comedy for Kids
“Creates a unique atmosphere and allows friends, parents, carers, grandparents (you name it) to join together by dancing ” ★★★★ Three Weeks
“This quirky event was clearly a hit.” ★★★ Broadway Baby

Web: monskimouse.com Twitter: @MonskiMouse Facebook: @MonskiMouse

LISTING INFORMATION
Venue: London Wonderground Spiegeltent
Time: 15:00 Running Time: 45 minutes
Dates: 26 May, 9 &23 June, 7 & 21 July, 4 & 18 August, 1 & 15 September 2013
Tickets: £8 – bubs under six months free!
Bookings: londonwonderground.co.uk or call 0844 545 8282

Do you fancy an idea of what Monski Mouse plays? Here you go…

Megson – When I Was A Lad

Shaun and I met thanks to music and a music community, so it was inevitable H would be brought up with it in her life – and while we’ve embraced it (especially kids tunes and classics), there comes a point where music we like has to make an appearance and take over for the sake of our sanity!

Megson - When I Was a Lad

We were sent a copy of ‘When I Was a Lad’ by Megson which is a collection of Children’s Folk Songs. Megson are a new band to us; they’ve been going a few years now (and have self-released four albums and one EP) who took a break when their daughter was born – and ended up making this album to combine their music and their roles as parents. These kinds of albums are my favourites too – it’s the kind of music you can play in the car and enjoy.

There’s some old traditional classics in there – ‘Oats & Beans & Barley Grow’, ‘Three Little Ducks’ and ‘A Frog He Would A Woo-ing Go’ as well as some songs they’ve written themselves. ‘All The Shops Have Fallen Down’ started as a song about shops on the high street and what you can buy… except there aren’t so many shops on the high street these days…

Megson - When I Was a Lad

It’s a good mixture, when I asked H what she likes the most she told me “I like all the songs!” as her best thing, and that is a good thing; actually, right now H is playing Musical Statues with the album (which is allowing for some good creative dancing too!). The music reminds me of Sundays growing up in the seventies when we’d have days around the house listening to my mum and dad’s music – and that’s a good thing, by the way.

I’ve been reorganising our digital life, and putting more music onto the iPod (after all, that’s what it’s meant for), so we’ve been playing much more music in the car – and mixing our songs in there too, that always goes down well… – Megson is a welcome addition.

Megson Family Folk Show
Megson can be found over here – where there are tour dates and more (look out for the family folk shows – please come and play Beanie’s in Croydon!) – they’re playing at the Larmer Tree festival (which is very family-friendly) this year as well. You can buy ‘When I Was a Lad’ on their website for £10 using this link.

We were sent the CD to review – all opinions are our own

Baby Loves Disco

Way back in 2009 I was pregnant with H. I work for a record label and at the time sat next to our radio department. We had a new single by a popular dance act and they’d put on the single “because we want your baby to like dance music” (so kind!). It worked too – every time that bassline kicked in H would start kicking and moving around. Maybe she was born to dance? (the songs were ‘Raindrops’ by Basement Jaxx and ‘Talk to Me’ by Peaches – not the most video-friendly to show your child though)

While I was on maternity leave the first Baby Loves Disco CD compilation came out which I was sent – and oh yes indeed – it has all the disco classics – and seeing H these days and how she’ll pick up on any music and start dancing, I guess music was always going to be a big part of her life. Baby Loves Disco has grown too; starting in the US and now they’re holding monthly events in London, Brighton, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester. We’ve not been yet but fully intend to; last month Little Bird did a tickets deal so keep an eye out!

Actually, I thought the price for tickets was quite high, but looking at what you get for your kids, this is a pretty good deal –  facepainting, a chill-out zone with play tents, inflatables, instruments and toys, a full spread of healthy snacks and juiceboxes, bubble machines, baskets of scarves and egg shakers, arts and crafts or other quiet activities, balloons, dancefloor games and competitions with giveaways and prizes and most importantly, everything for the little ones is included in the entry price.

Most importantly of all, there’s a cash bar for mum and dad should you choose to have a shandy or two.
LONDON

Sway
61 Great Queen Street
Covent Garden
London WC2B 5BZ
The LAST SATURDAY of every month* 1pm-4pm
(*excluding local easter/summer/xmas school holidays)

Four different rooms of toddler-friendly disco delights await at SWAY… experience the ultimate child-pleasing ‘Saturday Night Fever’ style flashing dancefloor in Groovy Wonderland, or head for the sophisticated and elegant Crystal Bar to enjoy a more relaxed soundtrack.

EDINBURGH
Electric Circus
36 Market Street, EH1 1DF
The LAST SUNDAY of every month* 2pm-5pm
(*excluding local easter/summer/xmas school holidays)

In addition to the main club at Electric Circus, the neon corridor opens up a pandoras box and room after room of toddler-friendly disco delights await… head for the Lizard Lounge to enjoy a more relaxed soundtrack from the comfort of the leather sofas while the little ones play, or sing your hearts out in one of the venue’s swanky private karaoke booths.

GLASGOW
Mansion House
20 Glassford Street
Glasgow G1 1UL
The FIRST SUNDAY of every month* 2pm-5pm
(*excluding local easter/summer/xmas school holidays)

2 different rooms of toddler-friendly disco delights await at Mansion House… experience the ultimate child-pleasing ‘Saturday Night Fever’ style flashing dancefloor in Groovy Wonderland, or head for the oriental oasis of the Kanaloa Bar to enjoy a more relaxed soundtrack.

Each month has a different theme in all venues:

2013

Jan – Onesie Party
Feb – Carnival Time
Mar – Onesie Party
Apr – Pyjama Party
May – Tropical Beach Party
Jun – 80s Neon

I know we’ll definitely make it to one of these – keep an eye on their website and Facebook page  for more information!

App Time and Giveaway – Little Red Wagon App

I love it when people in bands make music for kids and base it around more ‘traditional’ things – and even better when there are interactive elements to it – such as the Little Red Wagon app based on the song recorded by Cat Doorman.

Cat Doorman is Julianna Bright and various musicians who has recently released an album, ‘Cat Doorman Songbook’. The album features appearances from local Portland OR musicians Seth Lorinczi (Corin Tucker Band), Nick Reddel (The Golden Bears), Chris Funk (The Decemberists), Garth Klippert (Old Light), Ralf Youtz (Built to Spill/Halo Benders), Kate O’Brien-Clarke, Annalisa TornfeltJenny Conlee-Drizos (The Decemberists), Cory Gray (Carcrashlander), Jennifer Harrison (Portland Brass Quintet), and Sara Lund (Corin Tucker Band).

littleredwagon2

One of the tracks on this album is the traditional folk song ‘Little Red Wagon’, which is where this Little Red Wagon app from Night & Day Studios comes in.

Little Red Wagon has hand painted illustrations from Julianna Bright – it’s simple and that’s what makes it enjoyable, plus ‘Little Red Wagon’ is a wonderfully catchy song – we’ve been singing it a lot. You start by choosing your instrument (H likes that part a lot and will play all three parts in a row) – guitar, piano or full band. There’s plenty of interactive parts to the game – touch the sun and it spins and changes its expression. Touch the cow, and it does a poo (this was one of our favourite bits, it makes H roar with laughter) – drop the food at the bakers and a bird swoops down to pick it up, drop an apple in the orchard and the mole has a magnet which picks it up, and so on.

littleredwagongarden

For older readers who are looking at learning songs and reading music, you get the song with notes along the bottom of the screen which I like!

The ending is cute, and one that pleased H a lot as well.

littleredwagonend

The drawings make this feel different too, it has a lovely homemade feel about it, I love Julianna’s voice (and I’ll be buying the album), it has a real warmth to it and the songs are easy to sing along to.

I have a giveaway! I have a code for the Little Red Wagon app – just leave a comment to this post. I also have a copy of the ‘Cat Doorman Songbook’ to give away – so please say if you have a preference (iPad App or CD).

Cat Doorman’s website is here
Cat Doorman on Facebook
Cat Doorman on Night & Day

App Time at Mum Friendlya Rafflecopter giveaway

‘Dare Make A Wish’ with The Land of Sometimes

The Land of Sometimes have joined forces with the charity Dyslexia Action to release a charity single on December 9th, which will be a version of one of the album tracks from The Land Of Sometimes, ‘Dare Make A Wish’.

Ladbrokes have also announced that ‘Dare to Make A Wish’ is now in the chart battle for the coveted Christmas Number One Spot with odds of 10/1!

Four hundred children also from the Oxford area came together to record the song, alongside the two main youngsters (taking the lead vocals for Elise and Alfie), which will see all proceeds being donated to the Dyslexia Action charity.

Francesca Longrigg, writer and creator of The Land of Sometimes CD from which the single is taken from has said:

“This single is by children for children. In the music industry particularly with the likes of X Factor and Novelty singles competing for the top spot we wanted to remember what the heart of Christmas is all about – the children – and give them a chance to shine and have their special moment.”

Dare Make A Wish Cover

The proceeds will go to the charity Dyslexia Action, the biggest dyslexia charity in the UK. We believe in the tremendous power of music in helping to transform learning difficulties, and indeed the Land Of Sometimes very own Isadora, (who plays Elise on the album) felt that her involvement in recording The Land Of Sometimes boosted her confidence and helped her overcome learning difficulties from her dyslexia enormously.

The Land of Sometimes is a musical CD for children; A magical story of two twins who go on a journey to a far away land and along the way meet the most eccentric characters who all have their own song. Fans include Ewan McGregor and Laura Bailey and reviews have appeared in many national papers such as The Daily Telegraph and The Times. All have been enchanted by this wonderfully unique cd.

Dare Make a Wish group shot

“Dyslexia Action are so grateful for being the partner charity of the single made by all at the ‘Land of Sometimes’. We are very keen to have enthusiastic fundraisers such as LOS on this team, supporting the charity. It is both such a lovely and unique idea and we are glad to be a part of it. The money raised from this single will be used to help change many lives and help to break down the barriers in education that those living with dyslexia face. On behalf of Dyslexia Action, I’d like to thank all those involved in making this wonderful piece of music and to all those who purchase it and therefore support this very worthy cause”

Buy the single now from iTunes – help get the single a good Christmas Chart placing by buying from this Sunday! Let’s try and get it into the charts!

Cbeebies – The Album – A Giveaway

Cbeebies - The AlbumWay back in the summer, my friend at Demon asked me which songs I thought should go onto a Cbeebies compilation, and I excitedly bombarded him with emails of songs I thought of which hadn’t been on many (if any) of the compilations we’ve got. Alas, it looks like they couldn’t get the ‘Roll up your sleeves’ song from ‘I Can Cook’ (which would have been the best thing ever) but a big huge hurrah, as this new compilation – released today – has the Cbeebies presenters songs included for the first time  – something these compilations have been missing for a while.

Oh, and MoMo’s song from ‘Show Me Show Me’ too! In fact, it’s got pretty much every current Cbeebies character’s song, so you too can dance around the room in a crazy manner to the Yacki song from Baby Jake. or just the Tree Fu Tom theme instead. Or a little bit of bopping around the room to the sounds of Rastamouse, perhaps?

Here’s the full tracklist:

Disc One
1. Justin’s House – Theme Tune
2. Baby Jake – The Yacki Song
3. Iconicles – Theme Tune
4. Rastamouse – Give It Up For Da Easy Crew
5. Abadas – My Name Is…
6. Mike The Knight – Theme Tune
7. Mr Bloom’s Nursery – Meet The Veggies
8. Gigglebiz – Theme Tune
9. In the Night Garden… – Theme Tune
10. Big And Small – Theme Tune
11. Timmy Time – Theme Tune
12. Everything’s Rosie – Theme Tune
13. Woolly & Tig – Theme Tune (I Love Woolly)
14. Andy’s Wild Adventures – Theme Tune
15. Grandpa In My Pocket – Boom A Boom Whoop Zing Zoo
16. Tweenies – Theme Tune (Hey Hey Are You Ready To Play?)
17. Alphablocks – Theme Tune
18. Cloud Babies – Theme Tune
19. Tree Fu Tom – Theme Tune
20. Something Special – Theme Tune (Hello Song)
21. CBeebies Presenters – Summer Song
22. CBeebies Presenters – Goodbye Sun, Hello Moon
23. CBeebies Presenters – Winter Song
24. CBeebies Presenters – The Big Fun Time Song
25. CBeebies Presenters – Christmas Song

 Disc Two.
1. Rastamouse – Hot Hot Hot
2. Abadas – Medley (Abadas Song / Let’s Play / I Found The Word / Goodbye Song)
3. The Lingo Show – Theme Tune
4. Show Me Show Me – Momo’s Song
5. Mike The Knight – Huzzah For Glendragon
6. Raa Raa The Noisy Lion – Theme Tune
7. 64 Zoo Lane – Theme Tune
8. Charlie & Lola – Bestest In The Barn
9. Postman Pat – Special Delivery Service Theme
10. Num Tums – Theme Tune
11. Zingzillas – Do You Didgeridoo
12. Guess with Jess – Theme Tune
13. Tinga Tinga Tales – Theme Tune
14. Balamory – Theme Tune
15. Mr Bloom’s Nursery – The Finale Song
16. Big Barn Farm – Theme Tune
17. Mister Maker – I’m A Shape
18. Waybuloo – Time For Yogo
19. 3rd And Bird – Theme Tune
20. Nina and the Neurons – Go Engineering Song
21. CBeebies Presenters – It’s The Weekend
22. CBeebies Presenters – The Discovery Song
23. CBeebies Presenters – Lunchtime Song
24. CBeebies Presenters – The Birthday Song
25. CBeebies Presenters – The Time Has Come to Say Goodnight (2012 Version)

So see, you get loads there! It’s all really ace, anyway. EVEN better than that, I have a copy to give away! Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions and maybe, just maybe this bundle of Cbeebies goodness will be on its way to you, just in time for Christmas….

The competition will finish on the 18th November, and is limited to UK entrants only. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Play Date

Last night I made a new discovery via Brooklynvegan – a band Play Date who play the kind of music that doesn’t drive you mad, in fact its proper indie – and aimed at kids!

Play Date

Do you want to hear some? All you have to do is like their page on Facebook and you get access to five songs; ‘Rad’, ‘Anyone Can Sing’, ‘Imagination’, ‘The Number Song’ and ‘Dance Like A Monster’. It’s all fun guitar pop and catchy enough that children like H will get dancing (and hopefully it’ll start her on the way to realising there’s music outside the mainstream). At times the harmonies remind me of bands like The New Pornographers (least appropriate band t-shirt to wear at a Children’s Centre EVER – note to self), and it’s all good.

There’s some YouTube goodness here –

Play Date are Bouncing Souls frontman Greg Attonito and his wife Shanti Wintergate who have recorded an album of children’s music  ‘Imagination’, due on October 9 via Fun Fun Records (who I already love as they say they’re putting out Kindie Rock). Fun Fun Records started as Mike felt that there wasn’t a label out there putting Kid Friendly music out – and most of the bands he knew had become parents and wanted to make music that would appeal to their children. As they say “The idea is to keep the DIY PUNK ethics intact while providing quality and educational music for our kids.”

Play Date

Go and check them out!

There’s also a free Fun Fun Records sampler over here.

Play Date’s page at Fun Fun Records

Play Date’s Facebook page

I received a link to download Play Date’s album, all opinions are my own. I have received more download links to feature other Fun Fun artists, so keep an eye out! 

We Saw The Wiggles

Wiggles Hammersmith Apollo by Silver Ash Photography

The Wiggles at Hammersmith Apollo by Rosanna Ashworth-Jones at Silver Ash Photography

I’ve blogged about it elsewhere, but thought I’d do a brief summary here of things I wish I’d known.

• a door open time of 3pm does not mean the auditorium opens at that time. Try to get there half an hour beforehand and you wont be packed into a small area!

• driving is better than going on the train if your naptimes wont work. A cranky toddler at a Wiggles gig does not work. A refreshed toddler ready to jump around for an hour or so does.

• Watch those DVDs yourself, as don’t think you’re getting off scotch-free parent. At least learn the dances, it helps. Your child will have less of a disappointed look towards you when you know how to ‘Do The Monkey’ (and so on)

• Take food for yourself too. You’ll forget and take snacks for your little one then end up stealing their Pom Bears (if you don’t already). Take water too.

• Don’t forget to make a bone for Wags and a flower for Dorothy. If you’re really lucky you may even meet a Wiggle in the process.

• They really don’t have time for photos, but you can stand in line and take a photo of them collecting things which is much nicer.

• You don’t need earplugs if you have to wear them for gigs like I do. Toddler-volumed gigs are the way forward. Bring it on.

• You can take posh cameras into the show. Having said that, the two or three song rule like at regular gigs goes right out of the window. No flash though please!

• If you want to meet a Wiggle, then we found the aisle seats were the best ones, or seats where there’s a gangway. Failing that, they do eventually come out of the building. You can convince your kids that in a few more years they’ll be doing it on their own for the latest teen heartthrob pop star (or band or whatever).

• The merch stands are there to lure you in. If you’re lucky they’ll be cash-only but if you’re unlucky then they’ll take cards. It’s all lovely and bright and colourful and quite expensive too (for some things). There’s also some great bargains at a fantastic price – we love the Eco bags – at £2 that’s a really good price too. Can’t wait to do the weekly shop…

I think that’ll do. Did you see The Wiggles? Do you have any top tips? Let us know!

Question Time – The Wiggles Live

The Wiggles

The Wiggles – 20 years older and three quarters set to retire

Very soon H and I are going to see The Wiggles live. We’re very excited about it as we only really got to know The Wiggles when we visited the in-laws in Australia in 2010 – with the new (but not as new as the New new) yellow Wiggle. However, we got back to the UK to find that The Wiggles Show was on Nick Jr every morning, so with the V+ programmed we got used to the old (proper) Wiggles with the original yellow Wiggle, Greg.

So soon ‘our’ Wiggles became the original Wiggles as it was meant to be. Just to add to the confusion Nick Jr started to show ‘Wiggle And Learn’ which featured new yellow Wiggle, but we were used to Greg.

The Wiggles

The Wiggles with new-old-yellow Wiggle

So it was with a bit more excitement from us mums than actually from our kids when we found out there’d been some goings-on with The Wiggles, with original yellow rejoining the group, and new-now-old-yellow Wiggle (are you keeping up here?) no longer a Wiggle – and they were going to do a tour. I’d felt H was too young last year, so snapped up tickets the day they became available, rather excited to see the original line up. (n.b. see the following image, it’s not the original-original line up, as there’s only four of them these days)

There Once Was Five Wiggles

Once upon a time there were five Wiggles and they were young but they didn’t have colour coded shirts

I mentioned to a friend how this felt like a final tour, and that I suspected something would be announced, and OH LOOK. Three Wiggles are retiring – so now there’s a New new yellow, a new purple and a new red – which makes me look forward even more to the shows coming up as it’s our first and last chance to see them. H, being almost three probably wont remember a thing.

One thing I do want her to remember if she does hold any memories in later life of it is that she still has her hearing.

Which brings me to my question – how loud is a Wiggles concert? I have to wear earplugs because of my tinnitus, and I’m bringing H up with a healthy attitude (I hope!) to protecting her ears. We own some KidProof ear defenders – am I being over the top to take those with us, or are the volumes at a Wiggles show much lower than your regular gig? (I’d hope so!) Which of course, in turn, may mean I don’t need earplugs either! Bonus!

Please let us know, anyway – I’m hoping it wont be too loud!