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Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Best shop in the world chooses Diane’s Puppets

It’s official, Diane’s Puppets has come of age!

The best shop in the world voted by the Global Department Store Summit in Paris  is Selfridges.

And lovely , lovely Selfridges have asked Diane’s Puppets to appear in their Xmas shop from early November to late December on Sunday afternoons.

I can’t tell you how excited I am about this.

I’ve already spent the day at their Press show, showcasing my Xmas puppet show to a whole lot of journalists, a challenge to say the least. Important grown-ups really don’t know how to respond to such a child centred thing as a Diane’s Puppet show. But I’m really, really glad that the wonderful Harvey and Katie of Selfridges London office recognised the value and charm in what I offer and have totally understood the Diane’s Puppets ethos.

Quirky, very English in its charm , a little shabby , old fashioned but with a modern twist, with a genuine concern to bring the best experience possible for  its’ customers and just a little bit bonkers. That’s the Diane’s Puppets way.

It could also be argued that that is the Selfridges way too.

So Diane’s Puppets , in a Selfridges Xmas shop near you ( as long as that is in Oxford Street, London. )

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The Power of Puppets : See you Later Alligator!

Yesterday was a very special day. In my previous post I shared with you my granddaughter’s very special second birthday moment.

But what was I doing earlier on in the day?

Well, I was helping a very lovely client find closure for her daughter through the power and play of puppets.

Like a few of my clients, this lovely lady and her family had decided to uproot and move her family to Switzerland. She had called me and asked me to perform a puppet show for a goodbye party where her daughter had the opportunity to say goodbye to her school friends and have fun at the same time. Could I perhaps include references to saying Goodbye in my show?

I considered it for a brief second and my answer was ‘of course!’

With my 20 years of working with children as a children’s entertainer, I’ve encountered many a child who has trouble with saying goodbye. Goodbye  is hard for the adults, so why shouldn’t we expect children to be upset at the prospect of saying farewell?

I’ve had my fair share of tears after a puppet show where children have burst into tears the minute a puppet show has ended .

The reason? They didn’t want me to go, they didn’t want the fun to end and most importantly, they didn’t want to say goodbye.

My own way of dealing with this outburst is to gently reassure the distressed child that you have to say goodbye otherwise you can’t say hello another time, and hello is the most wonderful, exciting thing to say!

Ending with a ‘ See you later Alligator , in a while Crocodile , (Bye Bye Apple Pie!) ( Fifi the Fairy’s own invention) is a sure fire way of using the power of silly to put the smile back on those tear stained faces too.

Snap! Snap!

So I tootled off to Belsize Park yesterday and set up my puppet theatre outside in the very welcome sunshine. ( It made a brief appearance yesterday, we just had to make the most of it before it rains again).

Bobby Bunny was sad that  Tabitha cat was going to Australia and had lost his will to hop. The children were encouraging him to hop and have fun and reassured him that Tabitha would still be his friend even though she was going to Australia.

In between the silly behind-you’s and the silly slapstick humour and chases, I inserted lots of chat and references about using Mummy and Daddy’s  Internet to keep in touch and spoke about having friends to visit. Rather than focusing on the leaving aspect, I stressed the new adventures ahead. Tabitha cat was excited to be going, it was her friend that was sad. This allowed the little girl in question to be able to chat to the rabbit about her leaving in a safe and reassuring way; indeed it was a little bit of a therapy session without anyone even knowing it! Lots of hugs were given to the girl in question from the puppets and she said goodbye with a smile on her face- which was painted just like my lovely puppy puppet Toby

Traditional Toby dog to start the show

So bye bye lovely Taya, we will miss you here at Diane’s Puppets. Don’t forget to send us a postcard from Zurich ( some chocolate would be nice too! ) Only joking. Silly Sausage.

Let’s hope that fun and laughter and puppets have eased the pain of farewell.

The power of puppets never cease to amaze me.

 

Related posts:

The Power of Puppets for Change

Silly is a Serious Business

Puppets: An Emotional Connection

 

A very Special Birthday : A picture story.

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: i.am.rebecca)

Today was a very special day.

My Granddaughter turned 2.

Her favourite tv show in the world  is Luxury Comedy, well, Grandma is an artist so has alternative tastes It  is a strange world of comedy invented by Noel Fielding ( of Mighty Boosh fame) that is weird and colourful and quite bonkers. Despite the odd rude word (which we overlook) it quite captured my little granddaughters imagination. She calls it Boom Boom ( referring to the theme tune).

This is why my ‘birthday card’ to my granddaughter consisted of two paintings of two of the crazy characters from Luxury Comedy. They’re two of Erykah’s favourites:

                                                                                          Fantasy Man

and The Audience ( Fish Finger for later) .

Whilst not strictly conventional fayre for most 2 year olds, my Granddaughter absolutely LOVED these. I should have taken pictures of her reaction upon opening them… but I was enjoying the moment too much. Suffice it to say, after hanging the two pictures in her brand new big girl bedroom ( she has just moved house ) she kept excitedly pulling me by the hand to show me her new paintings when I went to visit.

 

I went over with a small stack of gifts ( mainly books) for her. I’m a terrible present wrapper. This time however, I think I managed something quite inspired . They say necessity is the mother of invention and I needed something to top my stack of gifts . I had a bunch of hair elastics that I had squirreled away for  a rainy day and these made a really sweet ( and ultimately useful) bow topping. See what you think.

A stack of gifts topped with hair elastics.

pretty and practical

When I got to my granddaughters new house , she was fast asleep. She looked like Sleeping Beauty, butter wouldn’t melt. It’s great isn’t it how we forget the tantrums when they’re sleeping?

She’s so beautiful, it almost takes my breath away.

 

I woke her up and we went to sing happy birthday with her cake. It’s one of two, as I was so busy recently, I cheated and bought one from the supermarket and I intend to make a very special one tomorrow that we can all enjoy .

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

I’m two. Two candles on my cake.

Blow….

Blow, not spit!

Fffffffffffffff phhhhhphhhhhhhhhffffffffffffff

Yeyy! They’re out. Check out the smoke.

Yum. I’m a big girl now so I’ll do it by myself thank you.

 

Because Grandma was so busy on this special day, we’re going to celebrate tomorrow as well. We’re off to the Rainforest Cafe for a very special dinner tomorrow with Aunty Imogen, Mummy, Aunty Riri and Maa and Dandaa.

 

Sigh.

I love being Maa.

 

 

 

 

 

The International Language of Puppets

Painting by children, International Peace Day ...

Image via Wikipedia

One of the wonderful advantages of being a London Children’s Entertainer is the opportunity I get to meet people from all over the world and to share in that cultural festivity that is a children’s birthday party.

I’ve performed for people from all over the the world in my 18 years of being a children’s entertainer including Japan, Russia, Saudia Arabia  and Australia. In the past week  alone I have done parties for people from:

South Africa : land of braaivleis ( barbecue to you and I) and boerewors ( very yummy meaty sausages) the Springbok rugby team and also the land where I lived between ages 10 and 21. The party children sat enraptured and giggling their socks off at the antics of the silly puppets.

 

India: It was a splendid outdoor party for a lovely gentle couple with the sweetest daughters. I wish I had a waterfall in my back garden.

 

Italy: This was a fun, boisterous but enjoyable party with energetic boys who relished being vampires and tigers. I loved performing in their ‘football ‘ room complete with it’s full sized football stadium wall piece. Go Chelsea!

Fifi loves giving hugs

Fifi the fairy got lots of  hugs at this party. Boys really do love her!

 

France:  The French really appreciate puppets. I have  many French clients and they are always a joy to work for. It’s always fun to practice the French I learned at school. My puppets mask my ineptitude as I struggle with my vocab. Joyez Anniversaire! ( The cake is always splendide!)

 

 

Spain: Pinata! The wonderful spirit of the Latin party, full of noise and ebullience and fun. Not for the shy and retiring , the spanish party is a family affair with the grown- ups having just as much fun as the kids. This last party I was really touched by grandma of the birthday child coming up to me and saying: ” Diane, my English is not good but you were magnificent. ” Thank you Grandma. I appreciate the love.

 

I just love London. What other city is such a wonderful melting pot?

 

 

 

 

Why I don’t make balloon animals

2007-12-28 Roy's Balloon Modelled Poodle 02

Image by Roy Stead via Flickr

Quite often when I take inquiries for my Children’s Entertainment Service , Diane’s Puppets , people ask if I do balloon modelling. I don’t. Sometimes this is a deal breaker and I lose the opportunity to take a booking.

The thing is, I could make balloon animals. I’m a creative person, as my craft blog attests, I can turn my hand to making things. It’s not a problem. It could be another skill that I could use.

But I choose not to.

Am I being foolish?

Some might say so.

I choose not to because I believe strongly  that children appreciate our time and attention over things. Our very materialistic society which bombards our children with advertising constantly teaches that children have to have STUFF to be happy.

I don’t agree.

I’d like to point you in the direction of this  blog post by a very well respected expert in the field of parenting in the UK and a lady whom I admire greatly, Sue Atkins. I found this lovely lady on Twitter. She is responding to a recent UNICEF report that children in the UK are the unhappiest despite our tendency to throw material goods at them. This post didn’t just speak to me , it sang, danced and performed.

This is the reason I don’t twist up balloons to give out to children as part of the entertainment process. Sure , children like it.

But I don’t.

I like to feel good about the sort of entertainment I do. I much prefer to make children giggle, jump up and down, squeal with delight, interact with a puppet, feed them, receive magic wishes and kisses from a puppet, take children on imaginary journeys to feed their very fertile imaginations.

To me giving out balloons pales into insignificance.

Hey, I’m not saying that there aren’t some incredible balloon artists out there ( and I mean artists!) What some people can do with simple balloons is mind blowing,  and kudos to them.  I just won’t be joining them anytime soon.

 

Fairy Pretty

I love fairies.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a fairy.

As a child, my favourite book was an oversized picture book ( probably about as big as the 4-year-old me) all about fairies. I would sit for hours on end, pouring over this magical book , dreaming of being a fairy.

I was never dainty. Despite this, I still had ambitions of growing up to become a fairy.

It never really came to pass. Well not exactly…

I now become a fairy through the magic of puppetry. When I take Fifi the Fairy out of her bag, she borrows my spirit and in the words of the lovely Spice Girls “Two become One”.

I did also, in a moment of post divorce/thirty somethingth madness, acquire a dodgy fairy tattoo. Children seem to love it though, but I always tell them it was a bad idea. Even though it is a fairy.

I have also crocheted two fairies. One of them I have named Fifi. I do hope the original Fifi the Fairy doesn’t mind. The other one is an amigurumi fairy, cute and dumpy ( a little like my fairy self). They’re both on sale on my new Folksy site .

Dumpy cute amigurumi fairy and her toadstool.

Isn't she pretty?

Fifi the crochet fairy in her box

Wings and curls detail

Anyone that knows me, knows I have visits from a real life fairy every day.

She is the cutest one of all.

 

 

 

An invite to a free London Puppet Festival

It’s not often that you get owt for nowt.

Coinciding with my birthday each year, ( serendipity rocks!) the beautiful St Paul’s  Covent Garden ( The Actors church, where Gwen Stefani married, incidentally) hosts the splendid May Fayre.

It’s FREE folks! Yes you heard it right, FREE.

A whole day of entertainment for the kids ( and for those young at heart) celebrating the art of puppetry.

So , the 36th Annual Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival

at St Paul’s Church Garden , Bedford Street WC2 on Sunday 8th May 2011  from 10.30am -5.30pm .

ADMISSION FREE

If I’m not at a birthday party, I shall be there.

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