Last week Violet got to see her third theatre production this year when my mum treated us to tickets for The Tiger Who Came to Tea. I grew up seeing theatre productions fairly regularly. From pantos at local theatres to small productions at oldie-worldy theatres in London to full scale musicals in the West End. I didn’t always thank my mum for signing me up to watch all these productions however now that I look back I am really pleased I got such a wonderful opportunity. In the summer I took Violet to see Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales at the Leicester Square Theatre. Naturally it was really geared up for kids and the staff even handed out booster cushions for the younger ones to sit on. The show ran through Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s stories of A Squash And A Squeeze, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant In Town and ofcourse Tiddler. Violet really enjoyed the songs and imaginative story telling. It was great that she knew these stories so well so she could follow the plot and know what to expect next. Had she not have known these stories I suspect it could have been a little overwhelming for a just-turned 3 year old. After the success of her first theatre outing we promptly booked tickets to the London production of The Gruffalo. Joe took her and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I gather that the costumes were more involved and the characters even came into the audience.
So when my mum suggested seeing The Tiger Who Came to Tea as an early Christmas treat I jumped at the chance. Violet and I made our way into central London on the train.
We have a train game of playing eye-spy however we tend to use colours or other descriptions rather than letters. Me and my little mate then made our way to Piccadilly Circus on the Underground which was a bit noisy much to Violet’s dismay!
She then decided that her legs were tired so I got the sling out and she jumped up on my back.
I keep wondering when I will have my last carry with Violet. It’s funny that at 3 and a half years she still feels really comfortable on my back and we do have a real giggle nattering to each other. I also love how she gives me a giant cuddle and tells me how much she loves being in the sling.
We met my mum and went in to find our seats. This theatre didn’t offer boosters to little ones so we loaded Violet’s seat with the sling and our coats so that she had a good view. The Lyric Theatre is such a traditional and old venue. The carvings and ceiling are really beautiful and brings about a sense of occasion and anticipation for the show. There was a lovely atmosphere from all the kids, some of the girls were wearing beautiful dresses for the show.
The production lasted about an hour. I wondered how they were going to make a book which takes about 5 minutes to read into such a long and worthwhile production. But they managed it. The costumes were fantastic and really matched the distinctive drawings in the book. The tiger was actually quite amazing, the way he moved and slinked around the stage was exactly how I hoped. There was even some magic! When the tiger ate anything then it seemed to disappear before our very eyes! I feel like I should really have figured out how they did it but so far I’m still clueless!
The show was excellent and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to any children aged 3-6 years.
We then decided to take a trip to Hamleys. I haven’t been since I was a child and wanted Violet to see what a magical toy store really looks like.
We started off looking at the Christmas window displays. They featured snowy scenes with cuddly toys that had the biggest eyes. I’m not quite sure what they were called, but they were very cute! Violet enjoyed pointing out Father Christmas and watching the toys moving.
Once inside it was a bit manic! There were hundreds and hundreds of people plus staff demoing toys. We explored the ground floor and Violet loved cuddling all the animals.
She found a display of dinosaurs and we talked about which one Ezra would like. Violet has told Father Christmas that Ezra would like a dinosaur and a flower so I think it’s important that we listen! Once Violet had moved on to look at the Pepper Pig section I told mum to sneak a Diplodocus into her shopping basket. I hope Ezra loves his dinosaur teddy and I also hope Violet loves that Father Christmas really did listen to her suggestion!
We carried on exploring the different floors. Up near the dollies we came across a lady talking about glitter body stamps. She did a demo of a glitter penguin on Violet’s hand. Unsurprisingly Violet chose to have a pink penguin and the results were fantastic.
Violet was SO happy with her special stamp and it lasted 4 days before wearing off. She proudly showed the staff and her friends at pre-school and told me she wanted to go back to Hamleys to get another.
We looked at the Sylvanian Families scene on display, played with a remote controlled car, popped loads of bubbles, tried on tiaras and had a go on a dance mat. Violet loved it. If our empty tummies hadn’t forced us to leave I’m sure we could have carried on exploring (and spending money!!!).
I had such a brilliant morning with Violet. She is leaving the trying tantrum phase behind her and maturing into a little girl who I love spending 1 to 1 time with. We have fantastic conversations, play games and I love introducing her to new experiences. It’s like I get to be a kid all over again. But it’s better because I’m doing it with my lovely little girl.