Kids Presents Gifted By A Wicked Uncle

Question: How can you amaze and impress your children when it comes to present choices this Christmas?

Answer: By thinking outside the box when it comes to presents, avoiding the Barbies and Star Wars that are found on every supermarket shelf, and instead looking for something creative, funny, brain expanding and different. The sort of present that a cool, wicked uncle might chose for their favourite niece or nephew. The sorts of presents you can find at Wicked Uncle, who have recently taken on Uncle Christmas to help make 2017 super special for the young and young at heart.

We have lots of interesting, fun and unusual presents and we have teams of elves under the leadership of Uncle Christmas who can write Xmas and birthday cards and even gift wrap for you.

Wicked Uncle has a wide range of toys that are suitable for boys and girls of all ages. They also arrange their website by age groups, so if you are looking for a gift idea but aren’t really sure what to get, they will give you some ideas to choose from.

Here are a few of my key picks from a brilliant website.

Fluffimals – Bring a Bear to Life

If your little one is obsessed with the Build a Bear factory, but you are not quite as obsessed with the price, then the Fluffimals Bring a bear to life is the perfect gift this Christmas. It is your own bear factory where you can stuff your bear, give it a heart and basically allow your child to get creative. It’s a fantastic Christmas gift idea that will give your child something to do once the Turkey is eaten on Christmas afternoon.


Fluffimals – Bring a Bear to Life
£19.95 Click to visit Wicked Uncle

 

Football Brainbox

The perfect game for the whole family to play on Christmas Day, or over the Christmas period. Football Brainbox allows you to study facts and figures about teams from the English Football League for just 10 seconds and then looks to see what you can remember. This ranges from questions such as when was the team formed, to what colour socks do they wear? You can find out who is the football brainbox in your family.


Football – BrainBox
£10.95 Click to visit Wicked Uncle

Sticky The Poo – Splat!

Based on everyone’s favourite poo emoji, Sticky the Poo – Splat! Is a brilliant stocking filler that is sure to raise lots of giggles on Christmas morning. It is tactile and squashy and can be thrown and will stick to any number of surfaces. Lots of fun for everyone.


Sticky the Poo – Splat!
£6.95 Click to visit Wicked Uncle

How will you think outside the box when it comes to Christmas Gifts this year.

101 Dalmatians at the Rep Birmingham – Just Wonderful

How a 101 Dalmatians would play as a stage show, particularly one based more on the Dodie Smith book rather than the Disney version was a question that I had been asking, particularly after watching a rehearsal session early last month. The answer is that it is a totally wonderful, heartwarming piece of theatre that makes you laugh, makes you cry, makes you gasp at the sheer brilliance of the puppetry, and gasp at what is the cutest spectacle you will see all Winter. It is, is short, a masterpiece that I totally fell in love with.

Morgan Philpott_Mr Dearly Nadi Kemp-Sayfi _Mrs Dearly Oliver Wellington_Pongo Emma Thornett_Missis credit: Graeme Braidwood

Pongo and Missis meet when their owners fall in love. It is love at first sight for the dalmatians too, and soon they are one big happy family, a happiness that is further enhanced by the news that Missis is expecting a delivery of pups. But that happiness is short lived when Mrs Dearly bumps into an old school friend, Cruella De Vil, a fur obsessed creature who takes and unhealthy interest in the puppies. Little do the Dearly’s know that Cruella is currently coveting, indeed obsessing over a dalmatian fur coat, and needs the dalmatian pups to make her warped dream a reality. The Dearly’s refuse to sell their puppies to her, but there is more than one way to skin a pup, and with the help of her husband Horace, and her henchmen the Badduns, she devises a plan to steal the puppies and get her coat. Will Pongo and Missis, and their friend Perdita, get the puppies back before Cruella is able to carry out her evil plan?

Morgan Philpott (Mr Dearly) Gloria Onitiri (Cruella) with Pongo & Missis credit: Graeme Braidwood

First we need to talk about the puppets that dominate the stage for large parts of the show. The range of ways that have been developed by puppetry designer Jimmy Grimes to house so many dogs on the stage are both ingenious and delightful. They truly enchant the audience, particularly the youngest members. There are a range of dogs and cats, as well as the dalmatians, and the fact that they dogs have been created to resemble their owners is just a wonderful, funny touch. In addition, all the animals have their own character and personality that is brought to live wonderfully by the talented puppeteers. In particular, Pongo, Perdita and Missis are exquisite, given their own unique personalities and mannerisms by Oliver Wellington, Lakesha Cammock and Emma Thornett. You feel their pain at losing their puppies, and this is no mean feat when you are working with animal puppets.

Oliver Wellington (Pongo) credit: Graeme Braidwood

Of course, there are also acting performances by humans in this play, and, in Gloria Onitiri, we have a true Cruella who dismisses the other Cruella’s with just a swish of her fur cape. She is phenomenal, dominating the stage with her style, beauty and cruelness. Her monologues, which she sings, are so powerful and memorable, and, it has to be said, wickedly funny too. She may not have got her wish to get that coat, but you know she would have totally rocked it, in all honesty.

Gloria Onitiri (Cruella de Vil) credit: Graeme Braidwood

Cruella is supported brilliantly by the fabulous Jo Servi as Horace. The dynamics of his relationship with Cruella are integral to the play, and they have wonderful chemistry together. Highlights of his performance include the jazzy 1920s dance routines that he performs with Cruella, and his own final monologue.

Luke Murphy (Saul) Lewis Griffin (Jasper) Gloria Onitiri (Cruella de Vil) Jo Servi (Horace De Vil) credit: Graeme Braidwood

The Dearly’s are lovely. Nadi Kemp-Sayfi is perfect as Mrs Dearly, the right combination of kindness, and a bit of insecurity when Cruella is around. Morgan Philpott shines as Mr Dearly, having a lot of the shows funny lines as he gets confused over whether it is his wife, or the dog that is pregnant, and also very funny as he describes Cruella, unaware she is listening to every word.

The Badduns are also hilariously funny in their ineptness and reluctance to hurt the puppies. They have so many funny moments, from their dance routine to something that resembles ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, to the way they try to catch the escaping puppies, encountering the older dogs and the feisty cat Tibbs (Mei Mac). Their musical number is performed with verve and swagger, and even though they are bad through and through, the audience absolutely loved them.

Luke Murphy (Saul) Lewis Griffin (Jasper) and ensemble credit: Graeme Braidwood

The whole play is flawless, from the pastel coloured sets, the stunning costumes worn by Gloria Onitiri, to the perfection of the direction from Tessa Walker.

This is one show that should not be missed this Christmas. It is simply stunning.

101 Dalmatians

Birmingham Rep

30 Nov 2017 – 13 Jan 18

Click here for ticket information

 

 

Christmas At The Botanical Gardens

Last Thursday was possibly the coldest night of Winter so far, but it was also a night full of magical sparkle and beautiful lights. A very special blogger event was taking place at Birmingham’s beautiful Botanical Gardens which have been transformed into a wonderful illuminated trail for the festive season, and with the promise of vintage fairground rides, warming mulled wine and deliciously festive food, we donned our hats and scarves and braved the cold in order to see the Botanical Gardens in a whole new light.

We were not disappointed.

The glasshouses, trees and bushes of the gardens are totally transformed as they twinkle and sparkle in the darkness. There are tunnels that are emblazoned with lights, and the eerie glow of the fire garden bathing everything in an orange light. The whole gardens are a riot of colour and sparkle, with lots of wonderful Christmas touches, from the 12 days of Christmas mural, to a reindeer trail which ends with a golden Rudolph. You can also find Santa, and some of his helpful elves along the route too.

There are numerous food and drink concessions both inside the trail and at the start of it where you can feast on gourmet hotdogs, festive cookies and a variety of hot and cold drinks. The mulled wine and ciders are delicious, and there are also bottled cocktails that are well worth a taste. This is also the area where you will find a beautiful, traditional carousel ride and a helter skelter, a definite taste of Christmas past.

But it is the finale that really takes the breath away. The lawn aviary finale is quite simply stunning, as the lawn and glasshouses are all light up and Christmas music plays. If there really is such a thing as a Winter Wonderland, then this just might be it.

Christmas at the Botanical Gardens runs until December 30th, you can find opening times and ticket information here.

With thanks to the Brum Bloggers for the invitation.