Play in hospital Week

 Play in Hospital Week

This week is ‘Play in Hospital’ week. It has got off to a great start with visits to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital, The Whittington and The Royal Nose Throat and Ear Hospital. I’ve been practising my balloon modelling and made a huge Octopus and Monkey. At the other end of the scale I have a new little penguin and ladybird. It is lovely to see the children play with their balloons. I made a set of jungle animal for one little boy to play with and he gave each animal a name. I was asked to go back to one little girl who was still sleepy and sad from an operation. She started to talk about her pet dog and showed me photos. Just a little chat soon made her forget her worries.

penguin balloon
Mr Frosty the Penguin

However I do feel the week should be renamed ‘Eat your way around hospital week’ because today I had the serious munchies.

Way out West to High Wycombe, Farnham Common and Feltham

High Wycombe, Farnham Common and Feltham

High Wycombe, Farnham Common and Feltham. Auntie Julie covers events and parties from Reading all the way to Dartford and tries to stay North of the River Thames.

This week was no exception, except that all the parties were in the same direction – West.

RAF High Wycombe is a firm favourite. They have a party in the officers mess once a month and I was invited along to see, what is now, a familiar bunch of faces. The group of children does vary each month as families are posted here or away but there always seems to be a core of children happy to see me again. The parents chill out while Auntie Julie does her stuff with circus magic and for a change this month some party dances.

Farnham Common Village Hall was the venue for the next party. We had about 20 children and lots of parents having fun with the spinning plates. The parents can get quite competitive.

Not quite as far west but not far from Heathrow’s runways is Feltham. This was a party for a lovely little girl. She had been made a Moana cake. I think the pile was sand was pure brown sugar. I had a nice piece to take some for my tea.

CHECT – Childhood eye cancer trust

I had an amazing afternoon with the children and parents of CHECT – the Childhood eye cancer trust.

They were having a special weekend at Newlands Collect in Chalfont St Giles. As well as Auntie Julie’s Magic Show and Circus Workshop they had the Ark Farm visit with Rabbits Guinea Pigs, a tortoise and even a pigmy hedgehog. We had a lot of fun in my magic show but the star had to be our prickly little friend. He was so cute. Given the spikes we weren’t allowed to stroke him but he was given a big mile of mealworms to chomp through. the baby bunnies were also very popular being fed carrots and grass.

Pigmy Hedgehog
Pigmy Hedgehog
Baby bunny and tortoise at CHECT
Baby bunny and tortoise

Balloons Hooters and Whistles

Balloons Hooters and Whistles

No party is complete without a few balloons, but too many can prove a nightmare.

I went to a party in Pinner last week and the party room looked lovely. Everything was lovely except about 100 balloons scattered on the floor. They did look great and the children did have a lot of fun with them when they first arrived, but what happened to them during the show? To be fair on this occasion a  fair wind through the door blew them to the far end of the room and other than a toddler and her mum playing with one they didn’t cause me a problem.

However, I was lucky. Often a single loose balloon can cause a distraction and ruin the show. The children can fight over them, some can be frightened of them bursting and some are allergic to the latex. ( although this is rare)

Here is my suggestion. Tie a couple of balloons to the entrance of the hall, especially if it is hard to spot from the road.

All other balloons should be tied high enough to be out of the reach of the children. There should be no loose balloons in the hall. Any that come loose should be removed and placed out of sight. No guests should be allowed to play with any balloons during the show. They should be watching the entertainment.

Balloons and Clutter – more great things to avoid

Take away anything that could cause a distraction.

Some halls are used by several groups. Cover or remove anything the children shouldn’t  play with. This includes play equipment and things like table stacking trolleys or highly piled chairs. Also avoid things like hooters or party poppers; they cause unnecessary noise and mess. You have to trust me when I tell you that you don’t want to hear 30 party whistles going off at the same time. Save them for the party bags.

They can also frighten some children, and it takes time to build their confidence up again.

 

Dino Golf Tonbridge

Back in May I was invited to the opening of the new Dino Golf in Tonbridge. It was a boiling hot day and I was there to keep the guests entertained while they waited their turn to play  on the crazy holes. The trouble was , they were having so much fun with my magic and circus skills that I had to keep reminding them to take their turns. We also didn’t want to lose anyone on the bridge – although the water really was quite shallow. All in all a very good day at  Dino’s Golf. Apparently when the course is shut and the lights are turned off, that’s when the dinosaurs get to play a round.

Dino Golf Tonbridge

Lion Quays – Trix in the Stix Magic Convention

Lion Quays- Shropshire

Here are just two photos from an amazing children’s magic convention I attended this week . It is called Trix in the Stix. Named, because we learn our craft from an amazing convention centre called Lion Quays in Shropshire that is in the middle of nowhere.
I was lucky enough to be asked to produce a power presentation, or mini lecture.
I talked about the Power of Personalisation, or how I learn 20 party guests name in about 10 minutes. The talk was well received and I had a lot of fun doing it.

For the rest of the convention we were treated to lectures, shows and a chance to buy all the props we need to keep our magic shows fresh until next year. We had stalls with crazy costumes manned by Heidi and Brenda. They always had a tin of sweets to keep passers by happy.

The convention is run by the Practical Magic team. They have a  very colourful stall with all the latest in magic design.

I didn’t buy very much this year. I picked up some wonderful star sponges and a couple of squeakers to go with a new lamb puppet.

Magic Convention at Lion QuaysTrix in the Stix
Lion Quays

 

Tim Vine meets Auntie Julie

Tim Vine – Chat Show,  Recorded for Radio 4

Auntie Julie had a night off and went to see her favourite comedian Tim Vine, at the Up The Creek comedy club in Greenwich, London. He was recording an episode of his chat show for Radio 4 There is just something about him that is so clever. He entertains with a mix of jokes songs and sketches and never utters a blue word. His jokes are based on ‘words’ and are one- liners, rather than long anecdotal stories. What’s more Auntie Julie got to spend some time chatting with Tim after the show. Although he is not a magician so much can be learnt about performance style and audience management from him. Just a look or a pause can get a round of applause.

Tim Vine
Tim Vine

Alice the Bunny in Croxley Green

Alice the bunny is enjoying her retirement

Just as the sun is coming out I thought I would give you an update on the Alice the Bunny. She is now eight years old and enjoying a happy retirement. Every morning, as soon as the sun comes up I pop her out into her garden in Croxley Green – for those of you a little further away, that is somewhere between Rickmansworth and Watford. She has a very happy day chewing on the grass playing in the flower bed. Around tea time I will find her sitting next to the garden hose waiting for her supper. That’s when I pop her back in the cage above the washing machine in our kitchen. She has some dried bunny food and some fresh fruit and vegetables and settles down in her box for the night

Alice the Bunny
Alice

Gordon Ramsay at Great Ormond Street Hospital

A special visitor to the children’s ward

It isn’t often that Auntie Julie gets to meet seriously famous people. Today however, Gordon Ramsay visited Great Ormond Street Hospital to help out with a bake sale.

He had helped one little girl with some cake decorating then popped into the playroom to see another. That’s when he came across Auntie Julie in the middle of a show!

He kindly allowed us to take some photos.

Gordon Ramsey at Great Ormond Street Hospital
Gordon Ramsey visits Great Ormond Street Hospital

What Auntie Julie didn’t realise when she took the picture was that  he  was about to be attacked by a Gruffalo that was creeping up behind him. Fortunately no one was hurt and Gordon was able to continue with his visits. Apparently he is a regular and much loved visitor to the hospital