Welcome to our new entertainment feature, which we’ll be posting every Friday. We’ve got the latest books, films, recipes and events for kids and parents – everything you’ll need to plan a fun family weekend.
Kids’ films currently showing;
1. Alice in Wonderland, PG
2. Nanny McPhee And The Big Bang, U
3. How To Train Your Dragon, PG
4. The Princess and The Frog, U
5. Ponyo, U
Family days out – our pick:
What Dinosaurs Unleashed; Parklife Oxford Street, has been transformed to become a Jurassic forest with 24 life-sized, animatronic dinosaurs including T-rex, Triceratops, Diplodocus and Stegosaurus. Children can dig for dinosaur bones, paint-a-dinosaur, test their knowledge on the age of dinosaurs and view 2,000 years of the Earth’s History.
When Tue-Sat (& Mon May 3) 10am-6pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Where 3 Parklife Oxford Street, 455-497 Oxford St, London W1K 6DE
Price £16.50, concs £14, children (4-14) £12, family £48; in adv £15.50, concs £13, children (4-14) £11, family £44 (advance bookings carry a booking fee; prebooked tickets give priority entrance over the general queue but at busy times there may still be a short wait)
Booking 0844 847 1745 http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk
What Falconry Display. Using falcons is an ancient hunting method practiced by the Anglo Saxons, so visit today and let the skilled handlers of the Warren Hill Raptor Project demonstrate these majestic birds.
When 1 May 11am – 2pm
Where Sutton Hoo (in Suffolk)
Price Normal Admission Charges Apply
Booking Booking Not Needed. Visit the National Trust website to find out more.
What Teddy Bear’s Picnic: Join us for a day of fun on the Bank Holiday Sunday when the Zoo will host a Teddy Bears Picnic where there will be something for everyone in the family! Some of the events will include; Animal Mask Craft Workshop, Decorate your own bear with the Imagination Workshop (includes a small surcharge for materials), Bouncy Castle, Furry Friend (have your picture taken with Froggy) – Times TBC, Face Painters, Have a go stalls (coconut shy and hoopla).
Where Edinburgh Zoo
When 30 May 11am-3pm
Price Normal Admission Charges Apply
Booking No need to book
Books for kids
This week’s children’s books recommendations from ReadingZone.
www.ReadingZone.com is for parents and children who want to know more about children’s books and authors with reviews, recommendations, extracts and competitions.
Gargoylz: Magic at the Museum
By Burchett & Vogler
Published by Red Fox
Max and Ben have made friends with the ‘gargoylz’ from the local church after discovering that these small, stone creatures come to life and love to play tricks. When the boys smuggle the gargoylz into their sleepover at the Museum of Space and Time, trouble is sure to follow.
Sure enough, the gargoylz are soon up to mischief. They play with the dinosaurs, bring to life the bones of the sabre-toothed tiger and ride a rocket to the moon. When the gargoylz decide to bring a pterodactyl called Jelly home with them, the boys realise they may have gone too far…
The mischief and mayhem in each of the Gargoylz adventures will appeal to children aged five years plus and especially to boy readers. Each book comes with a ‘gargoylz’ character attached, no doubt to encourage collectability.
The Incredible Luck of Alfie Pluck
by Jamie Rix
Published by Orion
‘If ever a boy needed some luck, it was Alfie Pluck’. Raised as a virtual slave by his two greedy aunts, Alfie doesn’t hesitate when he hears about a professor who has discovered the lucky gene and joins the crowd who want to find out more.
A race with a chicken, a worried prime minister and an alien invasion later, and Alfie Pluck is on the run. He has inadvertently eaten the chicken with the luck gene and now everyone is after him.
This quirky story has humour in spades and it keeps its pace through a roller-coaster of unlikely scenarios. It has plenty of appeal to both boys and girls aged nine plus, particularly through the character of Alfie, an ordinary boy who holds his own in a hostile world.
Books for Parents
The Mummy Coach
by Lorraine Thomas
Published by Hamlyn
Lorraine Thomas is the UK’s leading parenting coach, and has filled this book with tips and advice to help turn frantic family life into enjoyable time spent with the kids that’s hopefully also calmer and happier.
Lorraine takes a no-nonsense practical approach to solving problems, so there’s no time for navel gazing as you wonder if
you’ll ever be the perfect parent – she quickly establishes that there’s no such thing and that only you have the power to ditch the guilt and start taking positive steps to improving your relationship with your children.
The book has been divided into ‘10 Essential Skill’s to be a great mum – from becoming a great listener to being a stress manager. If it all sounds rather daunting – fear not, Lorraine’s friendly and understanding tone is never patronising or harsh – she just gives honest advice that may help keep your stress levels under control the next time the kids kick off in the supermarket/squabble over toys/shout at you, etc…
Can’t cook, won’t cook? This super-simple lasagne from www.mushroomsmakesense.com is perfect for the whole family, and shhh, don’t tell them that you cheated to make the sauce…
Cheat’s Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 25/30 mins
30ml/2 tbsp olive oil
180g pack spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic, chopped
250g pack chestnut mushrooms, sliced
400g can chopped tomatoes with basil
300g pack fresh lasagne sheets
2 (200ml) tub half fat crème fraîche
100g/40z mature cheddar cheese
2.5ml/1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 200c/Fan 180c/Gas mark 6. Heat 1tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, and half the garlic and spinach leaves and strir fry for 1-2 mins until the leaves have wilted. Remove from the heat, season well and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, add the mushrooms and cook over a high heat for 6-8mins, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are nicely browned. Stir in the remaining garlic and sizzle for 30 secs. Stir in the tomatoes, bring to the boil and simmer over high heat for 2mins or until reduced. Remove from the heat and season to taste.
Season the crème fraîche with the nutmeg, salt and ground black pepper, then mix well. Lightly oil an 1.4ltr/2 pint ovenproof dish.
Place a layer of lasagne over the base, trimming it to fit. Top with half the mushroom mix, then more lasagne. Spoon a third of the crème fraîche over, scatter half the spinach and a third of the cheese. Repeat these layers once more. Now place a final layer of lasagne on top, spread over the remaining crème fraîche and cheese.
Place on a baking tray, then bake for 25-30 mins or until the lasagne is tender and the top golden. Leave to stand for 5 mins before serving with a green salad.