Taking the stress out of your child's annual celebrations!

Posts tagged ‘humour’

A Case Of Mistaken Identity…Or Was It?

It’s been a busy few days.

In my job as a children’s party entertainer, puppeteer and face painter, I do get to meet lots of lovely children. Today was no exception.

I spent the morning in  sunny Kensingtonat a lovely party for Eva. She is a delightful little girl with very lovely, caring parents. We spent a good forty five minutes giggling with my puppets, in fact one young boy was laughing so hard he could hardly get his breath. Twinkle the Baby Monkey

Twinkle, my very cheeky baby monkey. A dear friend.

charmed the children with his refusal to say hello and his banana trumpet,  Bobby Bunny

Bobby Bunny puppet for birthday parties

Diane's favourite puppet bunny, Bobby.

played Sleeping Bunnies with 20 or so chuckling children and naughty bunny that he is, snored when he was supposed to be sleeping and kept shouting out Tuna fish! (You have to be there to understand). Trust me, if your sense of humour is like mine, it’s all hilarious.  Fifi the naughty baby fairypuppet

Fairy puppet Fifi from Diane's Puppets

Look at her pretty hair!

got all the words wrong to Twinkle Twinkle and Baa Baa Black Sheep but managed to give lovely twinkle toes wishes to sweet 3 year old Eva and sing Happy Birthday in her own inimitable style. Hilarity was all topped off with a good old jumping on the bed session with Jaffa the Monkey.

During the lunch session, I was on duty face painting. I painted numerous butterflies with twinkly noses , flower fairies, a lion, a tiger , a bunny and a few kittens. Face painting little children is so rewarding. It’s all about that moment when you show them their completed painted faces in the mirror. That magical moment when their faces light up and the smile crinkles across their cheeks, it’s just the best feeling . The last child I painted today was a sweet, shy girl who didn’t put herself forward for face painting immediately. In fact, I wasn’t sure she wanted her face painted, but I was ready to pack up and needed to make sure that she didn’t want to have a go first before I made my way to the next party. After all, no one likes to disappoint children. So I smiled at her and gestured towards my chair, asking her gently if she would like her face painted. She was a little reticent but after  a little cajoling she had her face painted as a very delicate flower fairy.

It was time for the big reveal. I picked up the mirror and held it in front of her face.

There it was, that wonderful smile that made the eyes twinkle.

She ran off to her mummy, clearly very delighted with the result and maybe just a little bit proud of her courage.

” Mummy,Rosie painted my face!” she kept exclaiming, over and over again.

“But that lady’s name is Diane”, said mummy.

“No mummy, Rosie did it” insisted my little flower fairy.

I decided Rosie was a lovely name and accepted it with grace.

At the next party in the afternoon, also in Kensington , after painting rainbow butterflies, spiderman and a host of flower fairies, princesses and notably for the very first time of my 18 years of face painting, a volcano(!) another child referred to me as Rosie to her mummy. I mentioned to this mummy that that was the second time today and did she know why ?

Rosie is on CBeebies. She is a ragdoll character who wears ribbons in her hair.

AAAAAh! So that’s it!

Spot the difference.

This is Rosie

This is me.

 London Kids entertainer and puppet show provider Diane

Rainbow on my head

I know,  I know. Totally indistinguishable.

I love my job. The life of a children’s party entertainer is just full of surprises!

If you’d like “Rosie” ( aka Diane aka me ) to come to your child’s party, just pop over to my website www.dianes-puppets.co.uk to find out more about my party entertainment service.

Diane’s Puppets: Children’s puppet parties to remember with fantastic facepainting and giggles galore.

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A Face Paint Fiasco

Here is Aunty Lena and her wonderful hat and myself with Fifi the fairy.

Anyone who knows me  and Diane’s Puppets over the years, will know that for over ten years I was more than ably assisted by my dear friend ‘Aunty Lena’. We made a formidable team, being best friends gave us a natural rapport and an understanding that didn’t need much communication to work. We simply knew what each other was thinking.

Having a laugh with Aunty Lena

Lena would also assist me with the face painting during the tea time.

Aunty Lena face painting

When I first approached Lena about working with me, she said ” I’ll do anything but I won’t be able to face paint”. Oh woman of little faith. You turned out to be a face painter of much merit, able to turn out fast and delicate faces with a deft touch and always with a silly sense of humour and a gentle manner.

The picture speaks for itself, never easy to face paint a one year old, but here is a very happy little baby with sweet flowers.

Too sweet for words

So, Aunty Lena was able to tackle most challenges in the face painting department, including rising to tractors and even racing cars. Not bad for someone who claimed not to have any artistic merit.

However, there was one memorable exception: the notorious, hysterical case of the rocket.

Picture the scene, a busy party, lots of mums are standing around chatting while the rest of the children are eating their tea.  A sweet four year old girl sits down in front of you, eyes wide and excited, looking forward to being face painted. After asking what she wants, you start to paint a rocket.  It’s not looking quite right so you ask the other person to help you. That other person was me.

I looked over at sweet four year old to see her with a white rocket shaped object , but with a red triangular tip on her cheek. Child is blissfully unaware of the two ladies in front of her starting to giggle.

I realised the rocket was missing engines.

Paint some engines on, I suggested. That should do it.

NOOOOOOOOOO!

Both of us realised what we had done was inadvertently ended up painting a rather gruesome phallic looking thing on this very sweet and innocent girls face.

That’s when the giggles started to take over. Aunty Lena couldn’t speak for laughter, tears were streaming down her face as she realised how inappropriate this face paint had become. Quite innocently of course, but there it was, a four year old girl with a very rude looking face paint.

I hastily reached for baby wipes and started over, tears running down my face.

We both hoped none of the yummy mummies had witnessed our fiasco.

Aunty Lena avoided rockets from then on. I tackle ( no pun intended fnar fnar) them carefully to avoid repeating any  similar situations.

I mean what was that little girl thinking asking for a rocket anyway ? What’s wrong with a fairy?

( As a very dedicated feminist , that last statement is not to be taken seriously )

 

 

Aunty Lena now works in Morley Gallery but remains my loyal and lovely and very delightfully silly friend.

Ah those were the days.

 

Wordless Wednesday

Ooo Aargh Matey!

Wordless Wednesday

Funny Grandma

Tears, Mr Punch and the great water pistol disaster.

Puppet theatre (~ Punch and Judy), c. 1770

Image via Wikipedia

Don't cry sweetheart!

It's okay...

I’m often asked how I started in this wonderful job of being a children’s entertainer /puppeteer. It was almost over before it began. But let me share with you my very first paid gig as a London Children’s entertainer.

Eighteen years ago:

I was fresh to the business. I had secured my first gig in a very posh bit of Clapham for a party for two year olds. ( Now the red light  should have been flashing right about now, but … sigh, I was new and green) The client had requested a Punch and Judy show, ( alarm bells were ringing but I was deaf to their cacophony). I had just made my very first set of Punch and Judy figures, had bought my swazzle so I could do that distinctive Mr Punch voice so I was really keen to have a real audience to play to. I was keen, too keen. I drew up some lovely pictures of Mr Punch and Judy and photocopied them for colouring in sheets after the show, oh, I thought I had it all covered.

How wrong can a woman be?

In my excitement and enthusiasm and naivety I had forgotten a basic thing. I had forgotten to think about my clients. No, not the client who had booked me, for I clearly was fulfilling all of her requests and more by doing what she had requested, but my REAL clients – the children I was going to be performing for. I had forgotten to think about the fact that this party was for a child who was turning two. So the majority of the audience were still in nappies, they were mere babies really.

You can tell this is going to end in tears, can’t you?

Well I got there nice and early. It was a beautiful and grand house in the very nicest part of Clapham. I have to admit that back then I was more than a little bit in awe. ( Nothing much phases me now). I set up my brand new puppet theatre, it looked the business, really fresh and bright and visually exciting.

Now I have to admit to my shame that I did a terrible thing. As part of my props I had brought along a filled water pistol. And a really big crocodile.

Snap! Snap!

Well it was all part of the slapstick fun wasn’t it? Surely that was the way to do it?

This next part is hard to write.

I snapped the crocodile at the children then squirted water at them. Mr Punch beat the bejeezus out of Judy and the crocodile ate the baby. All good family fun huh?

I hang my head in shame and laugh at the me that was me back then.

Of course all of the children cried. Oh how they cried. Even my colouring in sheets didn’t help ( as if!).

The miracle of the day was that I got paid. Not much, you understand, but I still got paid.

I went home and cried like a baby. I cried more than all those two year old’s put together. Oh the tears of a clown.

Then when I finished crying I pulled up my soggy socks and decided that I would never make a child cry again.

I sat down with a pen and paper and the from out of the ashes of that first disastrous show my most popular show was born.

The BOBBY BUNNY SHOW.

Based on the idea that all children love to jump up and down, Bobby Bunny was a mischievous rabbit who liked to hop. My show was interactive, fun and above all not scary. High energy with a healthy dollop of naughtiness to keep the giggles coming, it hit the spot. I previewed it at  play groups to great feedback.

So it was almost worth terrifying those two year olds. I hope I did no lasting damage to their psyche’s. Those two year old’s will be about  20 years old now.

Gosh, now I feel old.

Older but infinitely wiser and much better at my job.

So do I still perform Punch and Judy?

No .  Turns out Punch and Judy was never meant for children anyhow.

It was meant as satire for adults ( before the days of television and Rory Bremer, you understand) . Ah! Now the penny drops. Now we understand the wife-beating and the hanging of Mr Punch by the devil and the Beadle. Because they were puppet characters, adults these days always assume that they are just for children.

No, my puppets are for children. No more Mr Punch for me.

I learned that the hard way.

Older and wiser.

As for me, like my puppet booth, I have a few cracks and scars, I may not now be as fresh or as pretty as when I started but this London Children’s entertainer now does  a damn good job. But don’t take my word for it, have a look at my reviews for yourself.

 

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