Mumbler Reviews York

Classes & Group Reviews

Real parent reviews of classes and groups for babies and kids in York

A Mumbler Review: Birth Preparation Class with Mumborneveryminute

Mumbler Holly is expecting her 3rd little one so she went along to investigate the new birth preparation class available in York offered by Mumborneveryminute.

Mumborneveryminute is a well established birth preparation course hosted by a Katy, a qualified Midwife, Nurse, Hypnobirthing Instructor, Baby Massage Instructor, Pre School Assistant and Mum of 3! Katy started her career as a nurse in the Royal Air Force, she then qualified as a midwife working across the NHS as well as spending some time in Malawi, Africa. So in terms of a birthing knowledge and experience she has seen A LOT! Being a military wife, Katy has recently moved to York so we are super lucky to have her and her wealth of expertise!

With this being my 3rd birth I had a mixture of feelings about the whole experience of giving birth. I wasn’t going into this blind, however it has been some time since my last labour with my older children being 6 and 10 years old.  There were elements of labour I had just completely forgotten or perhaps blanked out, as well as other bits I remembered vividly, especially the bits that didn’t quite go to plan and the recovery after birth. So I guess what I was really looking for was reassurance, knowledge and to come away feeling much more positive about the journey ahead.

The Mumborneveryminute birth preparation class is a half day class from 12pm – 4.30pm, hosted at Costa Coffee in Haxby. Katy has a private room within the premises which she had set up with comfortable seating, lots of props, positive affirmations and relaxing music playing in the background. Being hosted at Costa meant that we could access drinks, snacks and food when it suited us.

The course it broken up into 4 sections, so plenty of opportunity to break for refreshments, toilet visits, or to grab some lunch. I really appreciated the 12pm start time as it was less of a rush to get out the house.  It’s also a great opportunity to meet other parents in York and see things from other people’s perspectives.

Katy’s style is informative, upbeat and empowering. She gets you and your birth partner involved throughout and shares her wealth of experience without pushing you down any particular route or opinion. She helps you make informed decisions about pain relief, really explains what is going on with your body and shares her amazing breathing techniques that will aid you during labour. There is even a section dedicated to birth partners to help them understand their role and feel less like a spare part in the birthing room.

Having done birth preparations classes in the past I can honestly say this is the best one I have been to. We both came away feeling so much more positive about labour and how we can work together as a team to help this baby arrive. The course is jam packed with practical advice and information and Katy’s midwifery expertise shines through. The whole class was smiling by the end of the day as Katy delivers the course in such a friendly and upbeat way, she quickly breaks down any nerves or apprehension you may have walking into the room.

At the end of the class we were given a wonderful box full of goodies (even including a hat knitted by Katy’s mum!) as well as a template for our birth plan. When we got home that day we sat together and wrote out our birth plan which now felt like a breeze to do.

The course costs £99 per person – birthing partners come along for free! This course is excellent value and worth every penny whether this is your first time or not.

The course includes:

  • About your body in pregnancy and what happens when you are in labour.
  • Your birth options.
  • Birthing positions.
  • The different options for labour and birth as well as knowing what happens if there are deviations from normality.
  • The stages of labour and what to expect.
  • When you know you are in labour or not.
  • When to call your Midwife.
  • Breathing techniques and coping mechanisms you can use in labour and birth.
  • Preparing for when baby arrives.
  • Section dedicated to your birth partner.
  • How to complete your birth plan including a template you can use.
  • Course booklet with everything you have been through as an easy reference guide.
  • Box full of goodies!

The course runs bi-monthly, with the next classes on the 21st May and 2nd July 2022. Book your place online. | WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

Phonics with Robot Reg – A Mumbler Review

Mumbler Kelly went along to try out Phonics with Robot Reg – see what she thought here… 

An interactive and fun introduction to phonics!

I’d seen some lovely recommendations and photos of the Robot Reg classes and thought it looked lots of fun but part of me was a little unsure as to whether it would be too advanced for my Max (he is 2.5) or just more than we needed to know about phonics for that age but I wanted to give it a go and I’m so glad I did!

The class we attend is the preschool class which starts at 2.5 up until 4 so Max is one of the younger children in the class but we have both found the class to be so much fun, very interactive and all with a gentle introduction to phonics! I have been really impressed with how Max has picked up the actions to the phonics rhymes already after only a couple of sessions. From seeing the other children in the class too, I can tell how much they enjoy themselves and how well they have picked up the phonics knowledge!

Sam who runs the classes is a qualified teacher and has vast knowledge, she is always waiting to say hello when you walk in and have a chat. Sam sets up the room with vibrant coloured mats for each child and parent to sit on with their own little pack of resources needed for the session. There are displays around the room which give information to parents about the aims of the classes, term dates, contact information and anything you might need. Sam has the letter sound of the day displayed as well as the sounds we have previously learnt during the half term. There is always a basket of lovely books for the children to choose from whilst waiting for everyone to arrive which I think is a great idea!

Sam’s enthusiasm, energy and passion shines through, she keeps the children (and adults) engaged and entertained throughout!

The Preschool class starts with the children being able to select their name from a mat which i think is a brilliant way of getting them used to looking for familiar letters, Sam then comes round and asks each child to post their name in to the letter box (great for fine motor skills) and then asks each child to say their name.

Sam introduces the letter sound of the day and has props to help the children engage. She explains how is the correct way to say the sound (which is very helpful for adults, especially those who aren’t familiar with the phonics programmes) this week we did “l” and had play lolly pops to help us and a fun game of limbo.

Singing and dancing break up the different sections of the class which the children all enjoy and Robot Reg has a different game or activity for the children to help with, once they have woken him up from his snooze!

The class ends with playdoh (what child doesn’t love playdoh!) Sam has an interactive song, encouraging the children to practise different skills such as pinching, rolling and squishing to enhance their fine motor skills. Each child gets to take home a little laminated card with the letter of the day on it (each letter for the half term is also attached to their resources pack!)

Overall we find the class to be fun, interactive and a brilliant start to any child’s phonic journey! We would definitely recommend this class and especially Sam!

There is also a mini’s class available too which is from 12-30 months!

Website and Class information-

Mumbler Reviews: Toddlers World Soft Play at York Leisure Centre

Have you seen that there are some new Soft Play Sessions at York Leisure Centre at the Monks Cross / Vanguard. Mumbler, Sarah, went along with her 2 year old to check them out…

Earlier this week I went to check out the new soft play provision at York Leisure Centre (vanguard) with my little girl Lilian who is 2. The sessions are currently on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. They run from 9-12 and you need to book an hours slot in advance online for £4.20.

It’s located in the sports hall and they have a range of new equipment set out for the children to explore, including an inflatable, soft play blocks, balls, tunnels etc. There is plenty of space around the sides for buggies!

Lilian loved having the space to explore and choose what to play with. It wasn’t too busy so the children didn’t have to squabble over who’s turn it was – there was plenty of equipment to go round!

I’d say it’s a really fab place to go for an hour, and it’s good value for money. I think in the future I’d combine it with a shopping trip as it’s located close to vanguard / monks cross, and it’s nice for Lil to have something to do before having to go back into the buggy! I don’t think I’d have wanted to stay longer than an hour as Lil was getting bored after about that time period.

There was a lot of people with younger babies and I would say it was slightly more suited to babies that were just starting to crawl/walk than Lil, who now prefers more of a challenge – things to climb etc. it also seemed like a great place to get chatting to other mums; or a place to meet your mum friends at!

The leisure centre has a child-friendly cafe and small library in the reception area as well to keep little ones amused longer.I’ll definitely keep this in mind as a budget-friendly place to go to for an hour or so, it’s worth checking out and in a great location!


Little Worlds Yorkshire – A Mumbler Review

Last week, we decided to try out a new class ran by Little Worlds Yorkshire after hearing about them on social media. Each session is based on a children’s story and has a mix of sensory and small world play. I liked that you could book a single session rather than committing to a whole block straight away – as I work shifts I find this kind of flexibility invaluable!

The sessions are currently held on a Friday morning at Alne village Hall, which was around a 25 minute drive for us. There’s two sessions – one aimed at under 2s and one aimed at slightly older children although this class is described as suitable for a mix of pre-school ages. When I contacted the company they said it was fine for my little girl (Lil, 21 months) to attend the ‘older’ session if I thought she would get more out of it, which is what we did.
The session I went to was based on the book The Hungry Caterpillar. When we walked into the hall it looked immediately inviting with so many lovely provision areas set up and Lil got stuck straight in! The session formally began with a reading of The Hungry Caterpillar which invited the children to join in with finding different pieces of fruit. This lasted just the right length of time – sometimes at similar classes the time the children are expected to sit down for can be too long, especially with all the tempting toys surrounding them, but I felt this story held their interest for just the right amount of time! They were then free to go and explore.


There was a lovely mix of high quality toys and activities – it was a perfect mix of physical toys (slide, ball pit, bouncy animals), sensory play (fruit/toys frozen in ice, water tray with fruit pieces, paint pens) and small world toys (play food, dolls). Lil absolutely loved playing with all these new items and I had to practically wrestle a doll out of her hands on the way out of the door!
Another lovely touch was that there was a small area set up with refreshments for the adults. I didn’t actually get to have a proper look as Lil was so stuck in with exploring, but it looked like there were some drinks and snacks which is great as it feels like such a treat to have something for us at a class rather than the children!
At the end of the session the children were brought back together for a last song which they all enjoyed learning the actions to.
This was such a great, friendly class and I was especially impressed with the range of toys and activities available. The session lasts for 45 minutes and it flew by. It was definitely worth the drive and we will be back next week.
Review written by Sarah Gabbatiss in September 2021

The Little Gym York – A Mumbler Review

The Little Gym at the new community stadium at Monks Cross opened its doors in April, offering classes to children from 4 months to 12 years old. Mumblers Fiona and Ashley take their children (aged 3.5 years and 19 months respectively) to weekly classes, and share their experiences here.

Fiona & Wilf – Funny Bugs class (3-4 years)

Like quite a few children, my 3 year old had lost a lot of confidence in physical skills like climbing and balancing when playgrounds and soft play were closed due to lockdown last year. When I saw that a branch of The Little Gym franchise was opening in York at the new community stadium at Monks Cross, I was keen for him to try it out.

There are different classes depending on the child’s age, so we attend Funny Bugs (age 3-4). At this age, the children are encouraged to participate in the class on their own, although the gym room is glass fronted so parents/carers can see (and be seen by) their children. The teachers are alert to the fact that some children may be shy and hesitant to be on their own at this age, so parents are welcome to come in to comfort their child if that helps to settle them in, and any nervousness is managed sensitively.

Classes are well structured, with the hour-long class split into different activity segments of just enough time to allow the children to have a few goes at something but to continue to engage their attention. The session starts with a 5 minutes free play on the equipment, before going into a group session – depending on the week, this might be using the air track (like a long inflatable pillow) to practice jumping/bouncing; moving or drumming rhythm sticks to music; or physical exercise involving early alphabet/phonics recognition. In these parts the children are often learning skills without realising.

The class is then split into 3 smaller teacher-led groups (each with a maximum of 6 children), with each group focusing on a separate piece of apparatus – this has included high beam, hanging rings, parallel/asymmetric bars, springboards onto mini “vaults”, floorwork including assisted forwards rolls. The children are brilliant at taking their turns fairly, and the teachers keep it moving so that the children aren’t kept waiting long between their turns.
The class then comes back together for another group activity before the end of the session – this could be a letter treasure hunt around the room; a game of “Disappearing Islands” (like musical chairs but with hoops); or using a pool woggle to dribble a soft ball around the floor.
Whilst classes have a formal structure, the leaders recognise that preschoolers sometimes want to do their own thing, so whilst participation in the exercises are actively encouraged, the children also have some freedom to run about if they wish as long as they are doing so safely.

The facility is brand new so all the equipment is in great condition and the space is bright and clean. The waiting area outside the gym is set up with chairs, tables and sofas so that parents can sit comfortably for an hour to view their children in the class. From a Covid point of view, the instructors wear clear visors so that their full face can be seen. There’s a mask policy for waiting adults. Sanitiser stations are dotted about and the equipment is cleaned between classes.
The class teachers are warm and professional, and pull off the tricky feat of keeping a room of excitable preschoolers engaged for an hour in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

We’ve now had a month’s trial period and my little boy’s confidence in his physical ability has absolutely skyrocketed – he loves it. With an annual membership fee per family then monthly membership per child, it’s quite a financial commitment, but for us it’s a good investment for an hour, and comparable moneywise to swimming classes, horse riding etc. If you have to miss a class then there is an option to catch up within the year so that you don’t lose out. No special outfit or equipment is required – children wear t shirts and joggers/leggings, and are barefoot.

Ashley & Pixi – Beasts class (19-36 months)

After a ridiculously long year of social isolation with my children, I was delighted to see the Little Gym pop up in my Mumbler emails. I took my 19month old along for the taster session feeling a little nervous considering her minimal interaction with children her own age has been limited to waves from the trolley in Tesco.

I was totally delighted when we arrived. We took the park and ride up to the new leisure centre, which is situated right next to the stop, and the atmosphere was immediately welcoming and calm, despite the buzz of little ones’ excitement.

We signed up to the monthly membership which allows for one core class a week and the freedom to attend another if we choose (an option available to Under 3s only, and dependent on class availability). Pixi is in the Beasts class which is for children aged 19months – 2.5 years and although she is in the younger age bracket, she was instantly comfortable and confident in exploring the space.

The class lasts 45 minutes which is the perfect timing and is filled with a variety of teacher-led activities and time and space for the children to explore the equipment. We have been for several sessions now and each week the equipment has been alternated. The children are encouraged to participate in the structured introduction and ending, but with the freedom to go off as expected at this age.

The mix of songs, play and opportunity to learn new skills is perfect and we are really pleased that this new space has opened.

The Little Gym, York – York Community Stadium, Monks Cross Drive, YO32 9AGF

Find out More about the classes by clicking the image below:

Level Up Personal Training York: A Mumbler Review

Paul at Level Up Personal Training started running outdoor bootcamp classes as the first lockdown started easing to give people some structure to their exercise after months of working out alone.Level up logo

Paul has also introduced an online membership group with workouts via Zoom for those not wanting to go to a gym or who are stuck for time and want something more convenient. He also takes on a limited number of 1-2-1 clients online too with bespoke 12-week programmes.

Helping busy parents 

He’s focused on helping busy parents and professionals find ways to fit their exercise into their schedule and support a healthy lifestyle. A lot of coaches do that but Paul can back it up with real-life experience because he is a busy parent and professional. Paul has two young children and has a successful corporate career.

What does Level Up Personal Training offer? 

  •  Outdoor bootcamp sessions in Poppleton – these are really varied and run in a way so they’re challenging for all fitness levels. Paul says you can even bring your kids if needed! At the moment they’re socially distanced and not using any equipment to keep everyone safe.
  • The Level Up Tribe – this is an online membership group with 4 workouts each week run over Zoom. This is super convenient and the workouts are really varied, with loads of extra content to help you on your fitness journey.
  • 1-2-1 clients – due to the time involved Paul takes on a limited number of 1-2-1 clients with bespoke 12 week programmes. These are delivered via an app and video call consultations. These are great, you get out what you put in and if you put in the work you will get results.

We thought we’d put Paul to the test and sent off a local Mumbler to review the outdoor bootcamp sessions in Poppleton. Find out what Andrew thought below!

Guest Review of Level Up by Local Mumbler, Andrew

Like many our household was introduced to the joys of HITT/circuit training via PE with Joe, which did become a daily feature of life for a few months in the Spring and Summer of 2020. With gyms having been out of action up until recent times, setting up exercise groups outside is a great idea. The Level Up group runs twice a week with a session on a Sunday morning at 9am and a Thursday session which starts at 7pm. These sessions are run on the field next to the Poppleton Centre.

What do you need to bring? 

The set-up couldn’t be simpler with all the equipment needed being some cones and your own exercise mat (which you must be prepared to get muddy!). Your money is being spent on someone else planning the exercise for you and the encouragement/push for you to get on with it. In the group that I was in on Sunday morning, there were 3 of us and 4 on the Thursday, but usually, there are about 5-7 people.

What about the exercises? 

As for the exercises, there are stretches and shuttle runs to start with so we quickly warmed up. The shuttle runs are then mixed up with sets of circuits that work on whole-body fitness. As someone who’s fitness is based on running I found the exercise that worked on my upper body quite tiring, but these can be done based on ability. I will admit that my shoulders and thighs felt pretty worked for the rest of the day! I did find that I was less achy after the second session and hopefully, that will get better.

How much is it? 

The price of the sessions start at £7 if you choose to do them as a one-off single Group Class, or you can pay for a month in advance for £16 if you want to do 1 Class Per Week or £25 if you sign up to 2 classes per week. This compares really well with other classes that do something similar in the local area and works out at only £3 a session if you pay per month for both classes a week.

Final thoughts… 

If you want to get out there and get fit, but are on a budget this is a great choice. Paul the instructor is very approachable and was good at giving alternative approaches for those who had niggles and couldn’t quite do the exercises fully. Never once did I feel that I couldn’t go at my own pace. After being generally unsure about an early Sunday start, by the time I had finished on Thursday I actually signed up to do it all again the next week!

Find out more about Level Up Personal Training

Find out more about Level Up Personal Training on York Mumbler here.

Level up Personal Training

This is a sponsored blog for Level Up Personal Training 

ToddlerSense @ Home online classes – a review

By Fiona Brook

Entertaining an active toddler in lockdown has been a unique test of both my resourcefulness and my patience. So thank goodness then for the wonderful ToddlerSense classes moving online whilst we are still unable to get together for classes in person.

My little boy (now 2yr 10m) and I had been ToddlerSense regulars for over a year by the time lockdown kicked in, and it was one of the things I was most gutted about being Covid-cancelled. In “normal life” it’s a very lively interactive class with lots of props and mini activities, so I initially wondered how it would translate into an online class with just Wilf and me in the living room.  I needn’t have worried! The ToddlerSense franchise very quickly stepped up to the plate.

Each week has a different theme – think Animal Safari, Dinosaur Dig, World Party, Castles & Dragons – but every class follows the same sort of template: warm up activity, welcome song, a series of short activities around the theme, then the Goodbye song. In the last few weeks, we’ve enjoyed a teddy bear’s picnic; excavating dinosaurs from ice; going on a “safari” with a homemade cardboard box jeep and a cast of random safari animals plucked from the toy box; “beach volleyball” with a balloon; lounge discos; and making our own dragon puppet show.

Classes are run on Zoom, so you can see all the other families participating too. Danielle who runs the York classes does a great job at engaging the children through the screen, and her energy and enthusiasm is infectious. She has a preschooler of her own, who also participates like her mini assistant, which is great for my little boy to see what he’s supposed to be doing.

The classes are very interactive and do require parental involvement both prior to the class and during, as well as a little preparation. Don’t expect to be able to leave your child alone in front of Zoom for half an hour whilst you get on with other stuff! However, it’s lots of fun and the prep is not too onerous – a list of things you might need to hand during the class is emailed out a few days before the class, and it tends to be a mixture of items you can find in the average toddler household, or simple things that you can print and cut out from templates sent. The basics can be pulled together easily, and you can get your little one to assist in some of the prep as an extra activity in the days before the class – a scavenger hunt to find items around the house, or making a flag or simple puppet to wave.

ToddlerSense @ Home has been a real high point of our lockdown week, and helps us to shake off the Monday morning blues and kick off the week in energetic fashion.

Classes run live on Zoom 3 times a week (Monday, Thursday and Friday mid mornings), and you can choose to attend more than once a week if you wish for no extra cost (useful for rainy days!).  Currently running in 4 week blocks, at £20 for 4 weeks, but you can start at any time for £5 a class. Contact Danielle Taylor via the links below for more details.

Tel: 07762 525599

Song Box Music Sessions, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Tanya

York Mumbler Tanya and her 16-month-old daughter recently went to a Song Box Music Session in Fulford. Find out what Tanya thought about the experience in her useful review. 

Song Box is a long-established, local, independent provider of interactive, creative musical opportunities across the community. The “4G” (four generations) format brings together young families and Care Home residents to share musical fun and friendship.

I attended the session last Thursday morning at a care home in Fulford with my 16-month-old and we both had a lot of fun, singing, interacting with residents and playing.

If you enjoy a good old fashioned sing-song then this is the perfect group!

The session is held in the unit for residents with dementia. The unit itself is so light, bright and homely with lots of stimulating things of interest for the children to look at. The session is run by Thea who provides everything needed during the hour-long session.

The Song Box session is made up of two parts. The first half is sharing songs and nursery rhymes with props or instruments to entertain the children and for the second half, the residents choose a selection of songs that they enjoy to sing. Song Box has a songbook with many well-known songs from the resident’s era to pick from, plus the words so everyone can join in, although I surprised myself by how many words I knew.

Everyone is encouraged to join in…

The session is fun for all and parents, carers and children are encouraged to get involved. It was lovely to see the interaction between the residents and children and the whole session was so happy and positive and seemed to give the residents a real boost.

Useful links and information

🎵 If you would like to attend a 4G Songbox session please contact Thea Jacob via the contact form on her website

🎵 4G Songbox is weekly (term time only) and runs various care homes:

  • Tuesday afternoons in Huntington at Minster Grange
  • Wednesday mornings in Fishergate at Lamel Beeches
  • Thursday mornings in Fulford at Connaught Court

🎵 There is plenty of parking at Connaught Court plus on the road nearby. There is a toilet and private room for baby changing but no changing table.

🎵 The centre is kept quite warm for the residents so keep that in mind when dressing children and yourself!

🎵 Song Box is paid for by the term (inline with schools) and a trial session is available for £5.50 for the hour session. Half price sessions are available for families with low income.

🎵 All adults and children must wash their hands before and after the session to help with infection control.

🎵 Song Box ask you don’t attend the session if you or a child are unwell as this can quickly spread between residents and if you have been ill with anything infectious, please be clear for 48 hours before attending.

🎵 Please do not take any photos during the session

For more Mumbler reviews of the shows, attractions and classes in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Disclaimer: Tanya paid for her Song Box session and was kind enough to provide the York Mumbler community with an honest and helpful review.

The images used in this review have been approved for publication by Song Box. 

The Blue House Bookshop, York: A Mumbler review by Awesome Books Club

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Amy of the Awesome Books Club

York Mumbler Amy and her two children recently visited the Blue House Bookshop, Bootham, York.  Find out what they thought about it, along with lots of useful information in her review.

Here at Awesome Books Club we never need an excuse to go to a book shop! I was really excited when asked by York Mumbler to go and visit the newest independent bookshop in town. The Blue House Bookshop at 10 Bootham in the centre of York specialises in children’s books from birth up to young adults. From the outside, it looks incredibly inviting to any children’s book lover with a beautiful display of children’s books and gorgeous coloured lights.

A warm welcome

The Blue House Bookshop, York outsideOn entering the shop Karen, the owner of the shop was instantly lovely and welcomed us with a warm smile. The shop was easily accessible with a pushchair from the street to the downstairs. My two mini Mumbler’s aged (1 and 4) soon made themselves at home finding some books and taking them off the shelves and Karen was more than happy for them to sit and look at the books on the child-sized colourful chairs available for them.

There was a huge variety of children’s books on offer for every age range both fiction and non-fiction. There were some classics such as Peter Rabbit and We’re Going on a Bear Hunt to some less well known. Karen informed me that she really enjoys finding new books to stock the shelves with and encouraging young children to come into the shop and get excited about reading. It was apparent that it had been Karen’s lifelong dream to own a book shop and this became clear as you started to browse what is on offer.

You can tell the shop is stocked by someone with a good knowledge of children’s books and with an understanding of the importance of reading for children. When you continue upstairs there are books for older children to young adult age again you a greeted by more wonderful books and there are more chairs to sit on and read! What a lovely way to encourage children to pick a book and delve straight in!

Look out for weekly story sessions coming soon…

The Blue House Bookshop, York windowIt was no wonder finding out from Karen that some of her working background was in retail and window dressing. It really showed, how she displayed the books with such love and care. Karen also shared that she has lots of exciting ideas in store such as weekly story sessions (possibly going to be on a Tuesday morning so watch this space). Karen also shared that she is hoping to get local authors in to share their latest books and carry out signings. If you are looking for a new book or want a gift of a book for a child, you know I really would recommend a trip to Blue House Bookshop as there are a great variety of books to choose from and plenty of help with recommendations. Karen mentioned that if they don’t have a book you would like in the shop they are more than happy to find it for you.

Children are very welcome

The fact that my mini Mumbler’s didn’t want to leave all the wonderful books on offer at The Blue House Bookshop means it was a hit for my children (we might have stayed all afternoon if we didn’t have a party to get to!). At Awesome Books Club we love children’s books and we are so excited to find anywhere that helps spread the joy of reading to children.

The Blue House Bookshop would be a great place to visit if you have children who love to read already or if you want to encourage more reading. There are so many different books on offer in this absolute treasure of a book shop that it would be hard for them not to find one they would like! The fact that children are welcomed to look at the books and you don’t have to worry about them touching anything is always a plus when you have little ones.

Useful links & information

  • The Blue House Bookshop is open Monday –Friday from 10am -5pm
  • Saturdays 10am-4pm and Sundays 1pm-4pm

For more information see the Blue House Bookshop on facebook.
For more Mumbler reviews of things to do in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Awesome Books Club logoYou can follow Awesome Books Club on Facebook and Instagram for lots more book & reading recommendations!

Don’t miss Awesome Books Club post on the Top 10 Children’s Books for Christmas.

Hoglets Theatre Company York, Fairietold: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Nikki

Find out what local Mumbler Nikki thought of Hoglets current production, Fairetold when she went along with her 4-year-old to watch it. 

About Hoglets Theatre CompanyHoglets Theatre Company

Hoglets Theatre Company runs storytelling and drama classes aimed at young children and their parents and carers.

With their unique way of bringing stories to life, Fairietold was always destined to be a success, offering by their own admissions a ‘dark, hilarious and imaginative new production, turning fairytales on their heads’.

We went along to their first production at Acomb Library and were met with approximately 20 children ranging from babies up to about 8 years old. The production is recommended for children from 5 to 11 years old but my 4-year-old sat through it enthralled, as were most of the children in the room apart from a few screaming babies which incidentally didn’t phase the actors in the slightest.

Before the show

We arrived a few minutes early so waited in the onsite coffee shop for the doors of the library’s side room to open. Whilst waiting we overheard a very enthusiastic lady talking to one of the cast members explaining she had seen their last show and loved it so much that she had come on her own with no children in tow today, especially to watch the production.

After a quick register of the pre-booked ticket holders, we entered the room to the sound of softly playing banjo music and sat on the row of chairs. Most children sat on the mats at the front although my little one sat on my knee throughout the entire performance.

About the performance

Within the first few minutes, we were introduced to the three cloaked storytellers who explained mysteriously things are not always as they seem. Their sudden entrance onto the stage floor from behind a pre-lit theatre screen made some of the smallest children jump in fright which is why I think their age advisory of 5 years and over is just about right.

Throughout the production, the storytellers invited some of the children from the audience to exchange a silver coin (given to them when entering the room) for a story tale. The first tale was Hansel & Grettel and without wanting to give too much away, it’s not Hansel & Grettel who meet an untimely end!

With another exchange of a silver coin, we swiftly moved onto a very modern twist to the age-old tale of Little Red Riding Hood.
This, I felt, was where the three actresses really got into the swing of it and absolutely shone. With numerous one-liners and references to the modern age (Red Riding Hood’s attitude and love of Instagram would resonate with the parents of most older children!) this story had a strong underlying message, that greed and deceit are not good traits to have.

The final story was all about Rumpelstiltskin and portrayed him as a misunderstood and lost soul who simply wanted a friend. After his friendship was spurned by the newly appointed queen that he had helped into power, he took his revenge.

The whole production lasted around 45 minutes which was just right for young children. It certainly kept them captivated and with some real laugh out loud moments, including a hilarious rendition of ‘You’ve got a friend’ sang by Rumpelstiltskin himself. Our banjo playing friend who was in charge of the sound effects did a great job too, helping to bring the stories to life.

To sum up Nikki thought…

“This was a fabulous production and one that I feel hasn’t really got the coverage it deserves. You should really aim to see it before it’s too late, especially as it is their last production this year.”

Useful links & information

For more information on Hoglets classes see the details on York Mumbler.
A review of a previous Hoglets production can be read here. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Further showings of Fairietold are scheduled for:

  • Tang Hall Library: Wed 30th Oct 2019 at 1.15pm + 2.45pm (For tickets call 01904 552655 or go along in person)
  • York Explore Library: Thurs 31st Oct 2019 at 1.15pm + 2.45pm (For tickets call 01904 552828 or go along in person)
  • Tickets are £4 each – all children must be accompanied by a paying adult.

Disclaimer: York Mumbler was given free tickets for Fairietold by Hoglets in exchange for an honest review.

Trainmaster, York: A Mumbler review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Tanya

York Mumbler Tanya and her three-year-old recently went to a Trainmaster session in York. Find out what they thought about it, plus lots of useful information in her helpful review.

If your child loves trains, these sessions are for you! Enjoying the ride on train at Trainmaster York

What could be more fun for a train-loving toddler than a Trainmaster session? My three-year-old was so excited to walk into a room full of toy train tracks and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the session. Although we have train track at home, that’s nothing compared to the amount provided by Trainmaster.

There was lots of train track already set up plus extra to add on and more than enough trains to go round everyone. There are also bridges and tunnels on various parts of the track for added interest. The Holgate session at Poppleton Memorial Hall was mainly busy with toddlers, however, children (and babies) of all ages are welcome at the sessions. What makes Trainmaster York even more fun is the two mini ride on trains that go round their own track –  these were a big hit with everyone. My little boy waited patiently for his turn and loved being a train driver for a few minutes. A craft table is also available with things to colour in if anyone wants a break from the trains.

How much does it cost & where is it?

Trainmaster is currently running every month until December offering two timed slots for hourly session at Poppleton Memorial Hall and Pocklington Scout Hut. It costs £6.50 for children and adults go free. Trainmaster also offer a saver ticket for four sessions priced at £20. Plus siblings, multiples and group discounts are available.

Useful tips & information from Mumbler Tanya

  • There is some car parking available at the Memorial Hall but spaces are limited. However, there is plenty of on-street parking available and we had no problem finding a space.
  • Tea and coffee are available for the adults (donations welcome).
  • There are chairs around the room to sit and chill or chat with a cuppa while the kids play.
  • I had a chat with a few parents and many of us remarked how calm the session was and how there were very little disagreements between the kids.
  • Having lots of trains helped and the track was big enough so that if any little ones need their own space there was plenty of track for them to do their own thing.
  • We left via a trip to the child-friendly toilet, the small toilet was an added bit of novelty for my son.
  • Baby changing facilities are also available.

The Trainmaster York session was a really enjoyable way to spend an hour with my little boy and it was nice to walk away knowing I didn’t need to tidy away all the train track! My little train enthusiast can’t wait for the Trainmaster session next month.

Useful links

For more information about Trainmaster, York, see their website. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Ravin Rascals: A Mumbler review

Review by Helen Goodwill

Ravin' Rascals Logo transparentThe last time I went to a rave was in 2001 with my then boyfriend (now husband) and I spent most of the night waiting for a song to come on that I could sing along to (it never happened!).

Fast forward eighteen years and we’re off to another rave, this time accompanied by our 7 and 5-year-old daughters. This family friendly event, hosted by Ravin’ Rascals, promised bubbles, face painting and glow sticks and did not let us down.

The music was much more up my street this time with dance classics like Rhythm is a Dancer combined with more modern songs like Paradise by George Ezra and the irrepressible Baby Shark song!

The free ice cream halfway through the two-hour session went down a treat as did the bubbles which came on intermittently throughout the afternoon. I had a slight concern about how slippery the floor was becoming, but as soon as the bubbles stopped a member of the team could be seen mopping up the residue to ensure no slips or falls.

The UV paints and accessories all added an element of fun that the adults could get involved with and the entertainers interacted with the children enthusiastically, providing energy and dance moves for the children to copy!

The event was well organised and the mix of entertainment, bubbles, ice-cream and competitions ensured that the two-hours flew by and we all had a great time!

For more information about Ravin’ Racals visit their facebook page HERE

Woodland Adventure Company – Gruffalo’s Child: A Mumbler Review

Guest Review by Local Mumbler, Jo Neill

Woodland Adventure Company

The woods at the Woodland Adventure Company

Find out what local Mumbler Jo thought about the Gruffalo’s Child session at the Woodland Adventure Company in Stamford Bridge in her review of her recent visit.

We went on a great adventure into ‘the deep dark woods’ with the Woodland Adventure Company recently.  We booked onto the Gruffalo’s Child session which is aimed at 2 -6-year-olds. It is set in beautiful woodland just outside Stamford Bridge and this 90-minute session includes craft making, a hunt through the woods, marshmallow toasting and free play.

About the session 

The session began with each child making their own stick man out of whatever they could forage from the woodland floor and the results were brilliant. The children then took the stickmen on an adventure through the woods to find the characters from the Gruffalo storybook series.  The group included children ranging from 2 to 6 years and the session leader skillfully involved all of them. They made sure they each got to take part in the hunt, find the clues and stroke the animals when they found them if they wanted to.

The hunt through the woods was great fun, with clues that were carefully strewn about and some lovely special effects. The idea of walking through the deep dark woods and actually finding the familiar creatures from the stories worked so well – for Gruffalo fans and newbies to the story alike, it was lovely to see the children’s imaginations really fired up. I won’t spoil the surprise but the ending of the trail is an absolute highlight and safe to say something I’m sure they will all be talking about for a long time to come.

The route through the wood was pram friendly and not too far a walk for little legs to manage.

Back at base, the campfire was lit and the children got the chance to watch popcorn being popped over the fire, toast their own marshmallows and wash it all down with hot chocolate. The base itself is a great area with dens, seating around the fire, a self-service café and woodland toilet.

This was a special school holiday session. The 90-minute session was £10 including the refreshments.

For a magical experience, a great way to get kids enjoying the outdoors and a picturesque walk I would highly recommend booking up. We will definitely be back.

Useful links

More information about the Woodland Aventure Company summer sessions on York Mumbler here. 
For more Mumbler reviews of the attractions in and around York visit the Mumbler Review section here.

Mumbler Reviews… Lingotots

Review by local York Mumbler Mum – Claire Marchment

This week I popped along to Lingotots with my youngest Mini Mumbler Harry (23 months). We both enjoyed it and wanted to share our experience with our fellow Mumblers.

Louise, a mum from York, runs Lingotots and spends most of her time teaching languages in local schools and nurseries. However, on a Tuesday morning she holds sessions with parents and their babies, toddlers or pre-schoolers. We went to the 10am Spanish group but there’s also a French group at 11am.

The group is held in the Community Space of the Tesco store at Askham Bryan. You can find it upstairs through the clothing section next to the lift. It’s a lovely little room with a separate toilet and small kitchen facilities.

Louise lays out mats and fabulous cushions to keep parents and children comfortable. There are lots of activities using props, songs, actions and even some crafts to suit those short attention spans. All while listening to and joining in with the words and songs in Spanish or French. It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, so little ones can join in as much or as little as they like.

Harry, normally quite reserved, was easily engaged in every activity. We pegged clothes on a washing line, Harry’s favourite item were the pantalones (trousers). We played with different vehicles, el bus being held onto tightly for fear of losing!

We sang the wheels on the bus, twinkle twinkle little star and head, shoulders, knees and toes amongst others…or I should say we joined in with the actions! We enjoyed playing with musical instruments, always a winner, and particularly enjoyed the craft activity to make our own picture of el tren (the train). There was even time for a snack!

It’s a lovely group with plenty of interesting activities to engage children of a range of ages with a different language thrown in for good measure. It’s also a great opportunity to expose young children to another language at such an early age given the inclusion of languages now in most primary schools. I’d also recommend it for any parents looking for an activity with more than one child due to the size and security of the room and the nature of the activities.

If you are free on a Tuesday morning then why not give it a try. The class is subsidised by Tesco making it even better value for money.

What’s more, when you’re finished you can pop into the café or pick up a few groceries. I only needed milk, but I came home with two bags of shopping, oops!

You can find details of the Lingotots sessions HERE
Muchas Gracias to Lingotots for having Mumbler along for a free taster session to sample your class.