When Mini Ravers popped up on my TikTok feed, I had to know more. Clubbing with a baby? Surely not!
I immediately found their website and realised they were hosting a daytime event only 45 minutes away.
After checking out their frequently asked questions, I discovered their events are suitable for babies, are quieter than your standard club and full of colour and fun. Plus, they even have character appearances!
Taking your baby clubbing
On arrival, we were greeted and headed upstairs with our family exclusive wristband.
Grabbing a coke, the club welcomed us with bright lights, confetti cannons and many happy faces toddling about. Mini Ravers events are suitable from age 0-12 years, alongside the watchful eye of parents and guardians at all times, of course!
We’d decided to bring along some baby ear defenders for Theo despite the quieter music as we didn’t want him getting overwhelmed – he didn’t.
To get the party started, I pleaded with my partner that he needed a light-up flashing stick, which he absolutely loved chewing on to the beat.
What is Mini Ravers like with a baby?
I thoroughly recommend Mini Ravers with a baby in tow! We had a great time bopping along to many a 90s and noughties classic during the day.
It was the perfect event for parents who are looking to do something different with their children. To make some truly unique memories!
Theo got to say hi to Woody from Toy Story and even enjoyed some dancing under a giant parachute during the festivities.
We left sweaty and happy, much like your usual nightclub. I agree with my partner who said, “I think it’s important to say the parents enjoy it as much as the kids.”
We cannot wait to attend another event when Mini Ravers next comes to the South East!
Squid Game has taken the world by storm. This gripping Korean drama has become a pop-culture hit, with critics and viewers celebrating it in their masses.
For those who haven’t seen it, Squid Game invites hundreds of cash-strapped contestants to compete in a series of children’s games for a life-changing cash prize, with some deadly stakes.
So, if survival and/or post-apocalyptic TV series and films take your fancy, you’ve come to the right place.
Why are we so obsessed with survival as a genre?
Portrayals of survivalism and its themes have been heavily influenced by wartime, nuclear weapons races and political discord. The genre highlights the moral panic of societal collapse and offers social commentary on important issues.
It is so gripping in many cases because it is believable. Outside of fantasy themes such as zombies etc.
With the Coronavirus pandemic testing the world’s resolve, the appeal for dystopian survival shows has sky-rocketed.
Perhaps we’re empathetic with the loss of control we’ve had recently in our own lives. Perhaps shows like Squid Game temporarily make us feel that little bit better.
Alice in Borderland
Alice in Borderland is a Japanese sci-fi drama TV series that focuses on troubled gamer, Ryōhei Arisu.
Stumbling through life, Arisu and his two friends find themselves in an abandoned and unknown Tokyo.
To survive in this new world, the trio is forced to compete in a series of sadistic and lethal games.
The MVP of the survival-horror genre. This 2000 Japanese cult classic film paved the way for many survival films and TV series that followed.
Battle Royale sees a class of children sent to a deserted island by the Japanese government. Tired of the societal discord among youths, the group is forced to brutally fight to the death. The last one standing is free to leave.
Given essentials and various weapons, they must battle their way to victory. Meanwhile, an explosive collar is fitted around their neck to ensure no rules are broken and control is maintained.
3% is a Brazilian thriller TV series detailing a fascinating tale of elitism in a dystopian world. Candidates from the impoverished ‘inland’ face a process of elimination to gain access to the utopian ‘offshore’ island – those who succeed, are the lucky and worthy 3%.
The story follows protagonist Michele Satana as she makes her way through ‘the process’. She believes its head has murdered her brother. Working alongside the revolutionary party ‘the cause’, she aims to destroy the unfair and immoral process from within in vengeance.
Snowpiercer is a US sci-fi TV series that explores social inequality in a post-apocalyptic world.
The Earth is frozen and the last surviving humans live aboard a giant train that circles the world. However, with classism thrown into the mix, the struggle to coexist worsens with some harrowing consequences.
I’m always so surprised that so many people haven’t heard of TopCashback.
To me, it’s now a way of life when online shopping and the easiest way to save money on my everyday spending.
So, what is TopCashback?
TopCashback gains referral commissions for directing its users to partner retailers. In return, they offer you cash back incentives. These include percentage discounts and small payments for using these well known retailers.
TopCashback is free to join and each time you shop with one of these high street or online retailers, you get money back!
What’s the catch?
There is none! They work alongside over 5,350 retailers worldwide to offer you a percentage of money back when shopping via their website or application.
If you have your doubts, they are currently running a national TV campaign and their Trustpilot reviews speak for themselves.
The only annoying thing is cashback can take some time to be authorised by retailers. Expect up to 12 weeks in some circumstances!
How much can you save?
To date, I’ve saved £162.44 since November 2020. This includes shopping for things like my latest Christmas presents, moving house costs and when buying baby stuff for my baby boy due in March 2021.
You can save money on switching energy and gas or insurance providers, buying takeaways, redecorating your home and buying the latest fashion and technology!
Once authorised, this money can be paid to you via bank transfer or PayPal, whichever suits you best.
Okay, so pregnancy is a minefield in itself, more so when you don’t really know what to expect as a first-time mum.
One thing you can expect is a ton of (often unsolicited) advice. However, no one really goes into the weird (and dare we say at times wonderful) parts of pregnancy.
Hello morning sickness
Firstly, you’ll welcome the most well-known symptom of pregnancy, morning sickness. Sickness and nausea will plague your first trimester. Let’s be honest, there is nothing pleasant about feeling sick for weeks straight.
However, if you’re lucky, you won’t experience physical sickness and constant nausea in tandem.
To ease sickness and nausea in pregnancy:
Eat little and often
Make sure to keep hydrated
Rest when your body needs it
Avoid foods that make you feel unwell
Avoid strong smells that make you feel unwell
You’re going to feel tired a lot and you need to just roll with it and listen to your body. In your first trimester, you’ll likely fall asleep every few hours (for a few hours). Most people find they can not physically stay awake.
Your boobs are going to change – a lot
Nothing prepares you for the changes you will see in your breasts.
They’re going to get bigger and your areola is going to change shape, size and colour. It’s normal, please don’t panic.
Aches and pains
This is a given. You’re growing a tiny human that is stretching your body in ways it’s never had to comprehend. Be kind to yourself, rest often and be sure to unwind.
Massages and soaking in the tub (being careful not to overheat) really helps to naturally ease aches and pains.
Constantly needing the bathroom
You’ll need to pee constantly. As for pooping, that’s going to be a lot more difficult. Be sure to continue to eat well and if you need some additional support to go – liquorice is a lifesaver.
The feeling of seeing your ultrasound scans
Nothing can really prepare you for seeing your baby during your ultrasound scans. It’s shocking to see how much they can wriggle despite you not feeling anything in the earlier stages.
You can expect to have a minimum of two ultrasound scans throughout your pregnancy. However, some women have three.
Here’s what each ultrasound scan means:
12-week ultrasound scan – Your dating scan predicts your little one’s arrival, looks at their development and screens for possible conditions
20-week ultrasound scan – This scan will check the development of the baby (you may also request the sex of your baby)
36-week ultrasound scan – This scan will check that the baby is in the correct position for delivery
How scary it is to be pregnant during Covid-19
Being pregnant or a first-time mum during a global pandemic isn’t easy. Many women have missed out on face-to-face interaction and reassurance from their midwives and doctors, as well as appointments you’d usually get under the NHS.
At times, it can be quite isolating, so do your research and most importantly, don’t worry about leaning on others with experience.
The amount of clothes and toys people will buy/gift you
Everyone says, do not buy loads of things. Do mums-to-be listen? No.
You can expect lots of kind family members and friends to buy/gift you clothes and will have a fully prepared wardrobe by the time the little one comes.
Further resources to support first-time mums in the UK
Here are some useful websites and apps you can download for first-time mums:
NHS – The NHS website is brimming with healthcare advice for mums-to-be
Looking for a quirky rooftop bar in London? Say hello to Bar Elba, your new favourite tropical destination in central London.
This bright and colourful bar in Waterloo is perfect for breezy summer cocktails or wintertime drinks.
Open year round, this gorgeous rooftop bar offers panoramic views. Once inside, you will find affordable cocktails, ciders, beers and quick bites aplenty.
Bar Elba offers a lovely and chilled vibe for everyone, be it an evening with friends, a date with your other half or someone new, or even for a boozy afternoon with your mum!
Decked out with vibrant benches and tables, you could lose hours in this tropical themed bar. Most importantly, if you head down for happy hour, you can even take advantage of 2 for 1 cocktails!
However, as the sun sets, the fun starts. Get in the mood as great music, friendly laughter and excited chatter buzz in the air. Bar Elba is as perfect for daytime meet ups as it is for evening drinks.
In addition to cocktails You can also get involved with Bar Elba events, including brunch dates, movie nights and afternoon picnics!
Love the look of Bar Elba? Why not check out their oh so pink sister bar, Tonight Josephine which is round the corner.
Take a moment to relax in Barbican Conservatory, London
Discover Barbican Conservatory, the second biggest conservatory in London. It’s time to take a moment to unwind in the big city.
Within the Barbican Centre’s cultural and creative hub, you’ll discover Barbican Conservatory. Sitting atop the dedicated arts space on its third floor, the conservatory is brimming with natural wonder, nestled within the buildings structure.
In truth, this beautiful indoor rainforest offers visitors a moment to disconnect in central London.
Inside, you’ll navigate a hidden oasis. Not to mention, it’s home to 1,500 species of tropical plants and trees. There’s even Koi fish and terrapin ponds.
Take your time when winding around the lower and upper garden. It is a beautifully tranquil and colourful space housed within glass walls. Plus, there’s plenty of photo opportunities to boot.
Firstly, enjoy leafy and verdant surroundings as you casually meander along stone walkways and across a picturesque wooden bridge delicately placed in the conservatory’s centre.
Don’t worry, there’s benches dotted around to allow you to take a moment to soak up the atmosphere within this impressive space.
If you head upstairs, you can fully appreciate the view of the conservatory from its balcony. So, take a left and you will discover a vast selection of bright and bold cacti. They come in all shapes and sizes, adorning the space from floor to ceiling.
In essence, if you are looking for free things to do in London, you’re in luck! Although opening times are limited, admission is free! There is even a pop-up bar onsite to allow visitors to truly soak up the atmosphere.
What else is there to see and do in the Barbican Centre?
The Barbican Centre is a grade II listed building within Barbican Estate. This fascinating residential area was entirely rebuilt from rubble. In fact, bombing and fire obliterated it during World War Two.
Today, it demonstrates the best of Brutalist architecture. This Utopian vision and architectural style was brought to life by British architectural firm, Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. The development was completed in the 80s. It’s simple, you will either love or hate it.
All in all, you’ll discover so much to see and do within the vibrant Barbican Centre, including:
An art gallery
Three cinema screens
Barbican Hall (home of London Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra)
A library (public lending and special arts and music collections)
The Pit theatre alongside other informal performance spaces
A shop (selling a selection of arts and design gifts)
Barbican Theatre (designed by and for the Royal Shakespeare Company)
A selection of bars, cafes and restaurants (serving bites to eats and hot meals)
Discover Cahoots Underground: a post-war cocktail bar in Soho, London
Nestled in the heart of Soho, you will find Cahoots Underground. A cocktail bar which offers a unique, fresh and fun experience in Central London.
On arrival, ask for the ‘Captain’ and you will be led down a tiled wall staircase into a post-war underground station.
Once inside, you will be greeted by period costumed hosts. With their characters nailed and wide smiles in tow. They will lead you to your table within the disused underground station. You may even be lucky enough to be seated within one of the train carriages!
The themed menus are presented as styled newspapers. Take your time and discover lots of sumptuous cocktail specials with an English twist.
Nibble on popcorn from wartime tins and listen to swing, jazz and Lindy Hop aplenty as you await your drinks. Be sure to take the time to soak up the experience in this moody lit playground.
So, what did I think of Cahoots Underground?
This 1940s-themed bar is certainly enchanting, albeit slightly pricy. Saying this, it is worth the ‘step back in time’ experience and sticks to its theme with finesse.
Cahoots Underground makes an excellent date night with your significant other, family or closest friends.
It’s happening. It is really happening. From February 2020, the majority of Studio Ghibli films will start to be available to stream in the UK. In essence, we have Netflix UK to thank.
Growing up, I remember the joy of finding Studio Ghibli films randomly on Film4. The channel would regularly have entire seasons dedicated to the Japanese animation studio. They even screened My Neighbor Totoro at the Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House.
Most importantly, 21 films from the Japanese animation giant will be available on the Netflix UK from February to April 2020.
Surprisingly, the streaming service will include fan favourite animations such as Oscar-winning Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro.
When will the Studio Ghibli films stream in the UK?
Release dates and titles on Netflix UK include:
February 1, 2020
Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Ocean Waves (1993)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
March 1, 2020
Nausicaä of the Valley Wind (1984)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)
April 1, 2020
Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Howls Moving Castle (2004)
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)
The only feature-length film excluded from the stellar line-up is infamous tear-jerker, Grave of Fireflies.
Unfortunately, these films will not be available to stream on Netflix in USA, Canada or Japan.
What is your favourite Studio Ghibli film? Which are you most looking forward to watching?
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