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Move over The Greatest Showman now it’s back to The Great Yorkshire Show.

This iconic show is celebrating it’s 160th year on the lead up to this epic show is the tour of a magnificent galvanised steel sculpture of the Craven Heifer .

Show organisers the Yorkshire Agricultural Society commissioned renowned Whitby-based sculptor Emma Stothard to recreate the Craven Heifer who became a national phenomenon in the 1800s. People would pay to see the heifer who was put on show on her way to Smithfield Market, London, and remains the largest heifer ever shown in England and lived in the same era as the first show.

Weighing more than half a tonne and standing at 6 ft tall, the GYSheifer sculpture left for its tour from the Craven Heifer’s birthplace at the Bolton Abbey Estate.

The GYSheifer has travelled nearly 50 miles aboard a specially designed truck to Fulford, York where she was met by police motorcyclists and escorted into Imphal Barracks, adjacent to where the very first Great Yorkshire Show was held in the Barrack Yard of the 5th Dragoons in 1838.

Charles Mills, Show Director, said

The Craven Heifer was an iconic animal born and bred in the same era as the first Great Yorkshire Show and was the wonder of farmers across England. We want to take the GYSheifer on tour, just as the Craven Heifer did, come and see her yourself at the Great Yorkshire Show where she will be put in prime position on the President’s Lawn.”

The sculpture project has been months in the planning and involved research with experts at Bolton Abbey Estate and the Great Yorkshire’s Chief Cattle Steward Margaret Chapman, whose family have been part of the show for more than 100 years, to ensure the sculpture’s authenticity.

Emma Stothard, sculptor, said: “This has been one of my most ambitious projects to date, requiring hours of research with the help of Margaret Chapman – an expert in cattle. We’ve poured over many paintings and different documents charting the Craven Heifer’s size. We wanted the GYSheifer to be as lifelike as possible and it’s been exciting to bring the Craven Heifer back to life for everyone to get an idea of how big she really was.”

The GYSheifer popped up at locations across Yorkshire to promote England’s biggest and best agricultural show before taking up position at the Great Yorkshire Showground ready for the event. The public are encouraged to post their selfies with #GYSheifer  but remember to #Yorkshire on Twitter too.

Enjoy your visit and I look forward to seeing your tweets.

The trend for unicorn love doesn’t appear to be diminishing at all. Every shop appears to at least a nod to this mythical creature.

Unicorns first made an appearance in our household back in 2015 where Emily’s big sister pressie was the biggest unicorn you can imagine which lays proudly in Emily’s bed and is named Una (you can see Una on a Little Live Pets review)

Now it’s time for something a little more manageable and this comes in the form of  My Fairy ‘Unicorn’ Garden.

The Unicorn Garden is what it says on the box. A garden fit for a fairy, her unicorn and a magical wishing well.

Included: bunting, wishing well, arbor (garden arch), flowers, mouse, unicorn, fairy princess, multi-coloured stones, grass seed and bowl.

Excluded: One of the items not supplied is compost, we had a massive bag that we’d bought from Aldi for a plant potting exercise.

Assembly: Only the arbor and bunting need assembling. The arbor was simple, the bunting was a little fiddly but manageable.

Now to begin. Get the bowl (I tried to get Emily to use one of our pretty bowls but she was having none of it and opted for the one supplied) and fill with soil to just over half.

Emily decided she wanted it EXACTLY the way it was on the box and she placed the arbor and wishing well at opposite ends and started to lay the path which was made from brightly coloured stones.

Next for the sprinkling of the seeds. This doesn’t need to be accurate or even just make sure there is a good coverage and the seeds are watered. Within two days the seeds seemed to shoot away and this continued. I wish the grass in my garden grew as well.

Overview

Time to put together: 60 minutes (we didn’t rush and spent the time talking about the growing process)

Played with as a garden: only a couple of times

Played with in general: Emily plays with the unicorn, mouse and fairy often within other imaginary play games rather then the garden.

Maintenance: It requires watering and cutting, if this isn’t done it  will die off.

Would I buy it?: Yes but it does fall into the ‘considered purchase’ category as on average it is over £20, however I have seen it for as low as £14.99

Top tip: Once established move this outside and create a perfect outdoor toy that can’t really be ruined unless there is torrential rain.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This item was provided for review purposes only. All opinions are mine or my family's own.

Hello everyone,

recently I’ve spent more time sleeping on the sofa then it being my go to place to write, chat and be.

Like everyone from time to time I needed to consolidate and learn to love my content again and in the background I have been writing some excellent stuff. A lot of it is quite personal and writing it down has been cathartic and I’m almost ready to share.

On May 1 I will be starting to publish and here’s a few things what you can look out for;

Learning to love, in my case my tummy and many more things.

Learning to let go and forgive myself.

A 40 plus view of New York including a blast from the past Sex and The City Tour

House renovation (when plans need to be fluid but ideas set in stone)

The A-Z of my life

and so much more.

 

Happy reading…

There was a little kitten who needed a home and a little girl and boy who were ready to show their love. The brother and sister waited patiently for days and days. The little girl, Emily hoped she didn’t have to wait as long as she did for her little brother, Luke aka Mr. Fox or Mr. Moo Moo to arrive. The kitten’s sleeping basket was prepared, nothing was too good for this new addition.

After school one night Emily asked her mummy,

Has my, I mean our, kitten arrived yet?

And the mummy replied,

It has and we’ve been waiting all day to share her with you.

The glee on the little girls face melted her mummy’s heart. Instant love appeared as Emily nuzzled her cheek to little kitten and the little kitten purred in a much louder voice then expected.

Mummy can we call her Snowy?

Of course Emily that’s a lovely name.

Welcome Snowy, our newly adopted Little Live Pets Kitten.

Snowy was aptly named as she’s white and soft and it’s the lead up to Christmas was sent for us to review. A lovely little bundle of fun without the need to feed or clean up after. Snowy has been tried and tested by my seven year old and also secretly tried out by my two year old (I know this is below the recommended age but I was with him when he was loving the kitten).

Snowy loves to be handled and is robust enough to be thrown around by a toddler (and carried around by her neck). Snowy cuddles into the cheek and responds quickly to changes in position and depth of touch. She likes her tummy tickled and I’m so envious as to how quickly she can fall asleep too.

Overall, Snowy has six different play modes and 20 kitten sounds, plenty to keep the little ones entertained but, for how long?

I’m so glad you can’t overfeed this kitten as both children are a little eager to provide food and water (Luke can often be found sharing his snacks). It comes with a little bowl but don’t worry if it goes a miss as it’s the positioning of the kitten that makes the lapping sound rather than any connectivity between bowl and cat.

I’ve found both Emily and Luke sitting cuddling Snowy without her being turned on and it’s so nice to see. Also Mr. Fox is calmed down during the night by stroking Snowy previously he’d often want our dwarf hamsters out and with a sleep deprived mummy and a lively but sleepy toddler this wasn’t a great combo.

Would I buy this toy? Prior to the review the price would have put me off but because of the opportunity and living with the kitten I would buy it, sorry adopt a Little Live Pets Cuddles My Dream Kitten for my niece and nephew to share.

Pros of the toy:
Easy to fall in love with, children can play with it independently.

Great for allergy sufferers.

Lots of variety.

Cons of the toy:

The price may be restrictive to some.

This cat moults lots.

The mechanism is very loud indeed which the two year old didn’t mind but annoyed the seven year old a little.

Little Live Pets My Dream Kitten Cuddles is available from many toy shops including Smyths Toys. RRP £54.99

 

We visited Northern Stage in Newcastle to watch the ballet production of Rumpelstiltskin by balletLORENT and here’s our review story…..

A time upon once, is where this story starts, Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpelstiltskin, Rumpelstiltskin a name like no other, this once Grimm tale has been rewritten by another.

A golden Queen and a handsome King spend a lot of time caressing and kissing. Watching over their beautiful flock in a rural world of balletLORENT.

Frolicking and free from babies to grannies this idyllic world is one in which you would want to be.

Alas tragedy occurs at the birth of their son. The sun goes down and the golden love has gone. The King is now an angry man, denying the child, his only one. A raging man who blames his son for the loss of his wife, a boy desperate for love but shunned from the King’s life. Little lambs and mummy sheep playfully watch and keep a smile on our faces when the King’s actions are a disgrace.

Left to roam among the countryside the boy becomes one with nature; a little feral and wild. The children are kind beckoning him to play and a shepherd’s daughter brightens his day.

As the mourning continues the villagers embark to make the King happy and have a lark, but alas the King was now mean and dark; far from the passionate bright light that we saw at the start. The only thing that kept him going was the thought of gold which sets the scene for a story retold.

A shepherd not a miller be the boasting father of a little she. For the man gave up his daughter, a lie could lead his sheep to slaughter. As of course it can’t be true, to weave straw to gold…can you?

Three rooms filled with straw and a challenge with each one and Rumpelstiltskin was the hero elevating him from a position of zero. The gift of changing anything to gold was given by his mother; a gift like this can’t be squandered nor smothered. With each challenge, he won a prize. The Shepherd’s daughter had nothing to lose yet and agreed to a ring, a kiss and her first baby (she lies).

The marriage was quick and so was the baby as nine months later she was in labour. The gift of her baby was now long forgotten but Rumpelstiltskin still wanted the offering.

The distress that this caused to the Shepherd’s daughter, made him think of the past the games and laughter she’d taught him. Three days were given to find this youths name otherwise who knows what would be the baby’s demise?

The whole kingdom searched for the name but none were found true. But the shepherd didn’t give up and did all he could do. He heard a youth in a clearing dancing around a fire and suddenly heard the name of desire. The shepherd rushed back to his daughter and told of his news now a game with Rumpelstiltskin did infuse.

Upon finding his name memories of fondness came flooding back – this youth was boy she had loved in the past. The King saw it too and the hate turned to love and he was released from his life to be with his queen above.

Rumpelstiltskin and the shepherd’s daughter now became a happily ever after.

The venue:  Northern Stage Newcastle – big enough for impact and small enough for intimacy.
My plus 1:  Daughter aged 7 who has been connected with Northern Stage since she was a bump in the 40 year anniversary ’40 babies’.
The cast:  Aged 4 to 79 both professional and from local schools, care homes, day centres, community groups (including some people from a knit and natter group). Anne Mead (see the video I shared on Sofa Stories Facebook page), reminded me of my gran and that made me smile.
Rehearsal director: Caroline Reece sat directly behind us during the performance and it was lovely to speak to her during the interval about the performance.
The audience:  A truly eclectic mix spanning generations. Bring everyone you know!
Advice:  If you are taking children do stick to the seven plus guideline as there are some dark parts that may cause younger people a little distress although these scenes didn’t seem to bother the younger cast members).
In show highlight: There were so many moments for me and I found my breath taken away as Rumpelstiltskin is a beloved dark fairytale in our household the added parts and adaptions of the story worked. When the little childhood versions of Shepherd’s daughter and Rumpelstiltskin appear on the
edge of a scene with the adults my heart was ablaze as childhood memories of friendship always seem to be the most special.
Interval highlight:  An avid fan of Ben Crompton was gushing over him and wanting to nab my pen to get an autograph in her programme whilst I was still using it (I was completing the feedback form).
Unexpected:  The level of emotion felt by both myself and my daughter. balletLORENT you brought me to the edge of emotion, made my heart pound and my eyes weep. And I thank you for that.
Warning:  Moral dilemmas of abandonment of a child. Violence towards a child (no one was hurt in the performance – it was very strongly implied). Verbal and threatening abuse of a girl and her father and his livelihood.
Quirkiest moment:  The dancing sheep, mmmmmmm it lightened it a little too far for me but I’m sure it will be loved by most.
At the ballet:  The thought of ballet can often turn people off or bring connotations of a non-inclusive club with membership only given to the truly gifted and well off. balletLORENT are far from this. They are a company so progressive and all-encompassing and embracing that it may drive  many of us to try and partake in ballet again (Dance City here I come) or at least in a knit an natter group and hope that in years to come the production comes around again and I too could be one of those grannies.

Overall:  I simply adore watching my daughter being drawn in and absorbed in a story, searching for my hand and putting my arm around her to hold her closer in the darker parts. Her naivety is a breathe of fresh air and she pointed out the kissing and the naked top half of Rumpelstiltskin. Emily loved it and clapped until the last person left the stage. She underlined her love by popping her gold coin in the heart bestowed emoji feedback cup to prove it.

Dates:  Rumpelstiltskin productions run at Northern Stage Newcastle until 28 October. Tickets are available from £10 so be part of the next well deserved standing ovation.

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the production but all content and thoughts our own.

Images included are by Khara Pringle and Bill Cooper.