Dinosaurs in the Wild – a trip back in time at The NEC

Last night I traveled back 67million years in time to Time Base 67, a groundbreaking research facility that is finding out all that needs to be known about the Cretaceous period, and the dinosaurs that roamed and ruled the world. No, I haven’t gone mad, I’m talking, of course, about ‘Dinosaurs in the Wild’ a groundbreaking mixture of show, theme park and hands on experience that will open at the Birmingham NEC this weekend, and is sure to be the hit of the Summer with both adults and children alike.

Dinosaurs in the Wild is an experience that is so real you could almost believe you have traveled back in time. A mixture of CGI effects, animatronics and real life actors playing the part of scientists, lab workers and tour guides, you are taken through lots of different stages relating to dinosaurs, from a lab where you can examine dino dung for teeth and bone fragments, to a dinosaur autopsy which is funny rather than too gruesome. You meet dinosaurs who are nocturnal, farting and snoring whilst they sleep, and see dinosaur eggs being looked after prior to hatching, even meeting a newborn pterodactyl.


The whole attraction is well thought out, and there are so many things to see, which is why, even at 70 minutes long, you could still go back and keep noticing things.  The attraction works well at suspension of belief, with safety films telling you to be careful at windows (if you can see a dinosaur it can certainly see you etc, etc), and even the 3d glasses are described as radiation glasses, with a warning you must put them on immediately when told. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the piece de resistance, the viewing platform where you see the dinosaurs in their natural environment. It is very lifelike and doesn’t shy away from the true reality of nature, a rather cute baby triceratops being eaten shocked me, although the kids in attendance didn’t seem to mind so much.

I don’t want to give too much away, but Dinosaurs in the Wild is very, very good, a definite must visit for the upcoming school holidays.

With Nina Wadia from Eastenders and The Kumars

With Donna Air

Dinosaurs in the Wild, Hall 2, Birmingham NEC

24th June – 23rd August

Click here for more information and tickets.


Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch – other highlights.

The fashion, embroidery and stitch at Birmingham’s NEC was a fab experience for any budding  designer, seamstress or anyone with even the slightest in fashion. The catwalk show was fantastic and has already been reported in detail, but here are some of the other highlights from the two-day event.

Creative Textiles

Creative Textiles is a project run by the Leicestershire Adult learning service which offers learners the opportunity to be creative whilst studying for level 2 and 3 qualifications. Their work was frankly amazing. Taking inspiration for Art Nouveau artist Erte and from The Chronicles of Narnia, they had produced beautiful white pieces using spun bond fabric CS500. These were both beautiful and eye-catching.

Walsall College – Midlands hotbed of new design talent

I had a lovely chat with Liz Schild, course leader for HND Fashion at Walsall College. As I worked in Walsall for quite a few years I was amazed at just how successful the college is in terms of fashion. Liz told me how students are currently working with super-talented Wayne Aveline, the winner of Project Catwalk 2007, who also designed a special capsule collection for Designers at Debenhams.

On display was the beautiful Brazil Carnival rain forest inspired dress produced by Rosannah Hines. Rosannah was runner-up in the 2010 Clothes Show Live Young designer of the Year and is a student at Walsall College. She is a talent and her name is one to watch out for.

I really enjoyed chatting with Liz and the students and am hoping to go into the college very soon in order to give some tips on setting up a fashion blog.

Seonaid Brooks

Seonaid Brooks is an exponent of experimental knitting. Her work incorporates the use of materials such as wire and  felt. At the show she had bought an exquisite collection of corsets that she had made using wire. She explained her collection to me. She had first become fascinated by images of trees with the bark peeling away to reveal the wood underneath. This had led her to think about human bodies – how we layer them with clothing and then peel the layers off to reveal the skin underneath. That had led to an exploration of corsets – an item of beauty that has been used to cover womens bodies which have also been damaging to women’s bodies – crushing ribcages, leaving women unable to move and breath. Seonaid uses wire in the construction  of her corsets to symbolise the damage they cause to women. Padlocks are also added to some corsets to show how women were locked into them like a prison. And yet the corsets were items of supreme beauty, because they also produced a most womenly shape – an ideal of beauty which isn’t really true. There is an element of beauty at what cost about the corsets. I thought they were beautiful and thought provoking.

To tie in nicely with Seonaid’s work, there was a fantastic little exhibition showcases the history of underwear. There were original corsets, bustles and hoops on display showing how undergarments had been used to enhance, conceal and reveal our bodies through history.

My sister Jodie enjoys the Undoing of the Corset exhibition