Hey, how are you all coping? The days have been blurring into one another and as I’ve been caught up on a big deadline, it’s been hard to keep track blog-wise. But I’m back with a May Bank Holiday Lockdown Kids Weekend Scoop and a guide to all the cool stuff happening in the week ahead. Enjoy story time with Tom Hardy or Michelle Obama, cooking a cheeky Nando’s at home, opera, ballet and theatre live-streamed, virtual raving and more.
Enjoy the Bank Holiday and to my US readers, here’s wishing you a happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. Stay well, people.
May Bank Holiday Lockdown Kids Weekend Scoop + Week Ahead
THIS WEEKEND ONLY
The Big Book Weekend
A three-day virtual book festival (top picture), bringing authors and readers together both young and old. Just register ahead and then click on the link for authors including Bernadine Evaristo, Michael Murpurgo, Alexander McCall Smith, Marian Keyes, Neil Gaiman and Robert Webb. Recordings will be available but tune in on time for live chats and Q&A. See full programme. Fri-Sun from 10am GMT daily (May 8-10)
ALL WEEK AND WEEKEND LONG
Tom Hardy reads Bedtime Stories (Again)
Did you miss out on Tom Hardy reading Bedtime Stories on CBeebies? Fear not, quarantine mamas. You can see him all week long on BBC iPlayer. Watch it with the little ones…. or solo. We won’t judge. Available until the end of May. (ends May 31)
Opera for Kids: Royal Albert Hall at Home
They’re closed for quarantine but you can still enjoy the Royal Albert Hand’s popular strand of concerts for children. Watch Opera for Kids featuring arias from Bizet’s Carmen, Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, plus teddy bear hunts, bubbles and more. All ages. Watch on demand.
The Wind in the Willows Musical
Toot toot! This wacky, windy and willowy musical from the West End is available online, streamed for £4.99 rental. Watch Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger get up to hijinks in a theatrical adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s children’s tale. All ages. (ongoing)
Fleabag on streaming
Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sell-out show (inspiration for her award-winning series) is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video or via Soho Theatre’s website (tickets from £4). All proceeds will support COVID-19 relief efforts. Watch it with your mates via Zoom or Houseparty with a Quarantini. Grownups only. (ongoing)
Festicket’s Guide to Livestream Concerts
So gigs have been cancelled and artists have resorted to live-streaming from their living rooms. If you still have the urge to groove while the world goes down in anti-bacterial spray, definitely checkout Festicket’s list of musicians and DJs captured via YouTube and social media. It’s a great selection with recent sets from Christine and the Queens, John Legend, James Blake, Chris Martin, Radiohead, DJ Carl Cox, Little Dragon and many more. Updated regularly too. Partying with you in spirit! (daily/ongoing)
The Shows Must Go On
Alright so the movie Cats was an unexpected comedy horror (and we only saw the trailer) but you can’t deny Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s musical genius. He’s the uncrowned king of the West End and if you can’t make it there, you can keep a beady eye on YouTube. Some of his most beloved shows are being streamed weekly, but for 48 hours only. This Thursday, catch By Jeeves (tune in 7pm, Thu-Sat). Subscribe to stay in the loop. Every 48 hours. (ongoing)
Bring Your Own Baby Comedy: Lockdown Laughs 4 Parents
The madcap crew behind this live standup series for parents have taken the show online. Every Thursday evening, Lockdown Laughs 4 Parents invites you to put the kids to bed, grab a drink and tune in to their YouTube channel for some giggles. It’s interactive as they’ll be sharing parents’ funny lockdown stories and it sounds like just the ticket amidst all this doom and gloom. Subscribe to their YouTube channel for access. 8.30pm; FREE (every Thursday)
If your kids are anything like mine, they can sit and rhapsodise about Nando’s for what feels like hours. Truth be told, I love that peri peri bird myself. Now every Thursday, you can join a celebrity guest via Nando’s popular Instagram feed for a ‘cook along’ session. Their line-up has included rapper Aitch, singer JGrrey and Man U’s Jesse Lingard. Recipe cards featured so you can make your own Nando’s fakeaway. Thu at 7pm; FREE (Thursdays until Jun 4)
National Theatre at Home
We missed out on Treasure Island, but you can still catch Frankenstein with my selfie buddy Benedict Cumberbatch for ages 12+ (streaming until Fri May 8, 8pm). For the grownups, Antony and Cleopatra starring Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes goes live this Thursday evening for a week (May 7-14, from 7pm). NT shows stream live every Thursday evening and then you can watch the recording all week long. Live Thu at 7pm, each show available for 7 days (until 7pm Thu May 7); FREE (Thursdays)
SPECIAL NT OFFER: Throughout lockdown until end of May 2020, UK state school pupils can gain FREE access to the amazing National Theatre Collection of recorded performances. These include classic productions for different ages, such as Peter Pan (primary school) and A Streetcar Named Desire or The Cherry Orchard (secondary school drama and English students). If you’d like your child to watch this at home, they’ll need to go through school so contact a member of the teaching staff to register. Full details here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learning/national-theatre-collection
Do you enjoy a good singalong? Singing is a wonderful way to release tension, plus singing in unison creates a sense of community and has untold health benefits. Sofa Singers, led by vocalist James Sills, brings 100 people together for a 45 minutes bi-weekly sing-song and it’s already got them on the evening news! If you fancy joining in, register for their next event (hurry, spots fill up fast). 7.30pm on Tue & 11am on Fri; FREE (Tuesdays and Fridays)
Everyman House Party
Missing going to the movies? Join Everyman Cinema for their weekly #EverymanHouseParty cinema club. Each week they’ll post up a movie to their Instagram page and you can watch along (maybe with a cocktail and snacks). Previous picks include The Florida Project (pictured). Ongoing. (Saturdays)
Rave with Big Fish Little Fish
Every weekend, the award-winning family ravers Big Fish Little Fish have hosted a Kitchen Rave via their Facebook page. Get your daytime clubbing fix with a selection of BFLF DJs and team members, playing uplifting dance tunes for you and your little ones to rave in your living room, garden, kitchen or rooftop (if it’s safe!). All ages. Sun at 2pm; FREE (Sundays)
Roast Dinner Delivery
Fancy a proper Sunday roast? If you’re in London, you can get one delivered from some of these popular outlets still in operation. Check out the list via Hot Dinners.
Read-Along Mondays with Michelle Obama
Have you been tuning in to Mondays with Michelle? This Monday is the last live-streamed session by former First Lady Michelle Obama, but of course you can watch previous episodes on demand via PBS Kids YouTube Channel or Penguin Facebook page. Mon 5pm GMT/12pm ET (Mon May 11 and on demand)
BBC Bitesize with Sir David Attenborough and others
It’s ‘back to school’ Monday. For us, like many parents, homeschooling is a hair-raising challenge. But one site we appreciate is BBC Bitesize for its mix of helpful learning resources, and a little star attraction. In case you’ve missed it, your daily lesson plan can include geography with Sir David Attenborough, science with Professor Brian Cox, Bitesize daily with Dr. Who’s Jodie Whitaker, Spanish with footballer Sergio Aguero and history with Danny Dyer. Lessons and activities include videos, activities, book club and more.
Shakespeare’s Globe at Home
Bring Shakespeare and the world famous Globe theatre into your home via YouTube, as they offer FREE livestreams of select plays for two weeks each. You can still catch lesser known play The Two Noble Kinsmen (until May 17) and we can’t wait for Macbeth, premiering this weekend (Monday May 11 at 7pm).
See details above (Fridays). Tuesday sessions at 7pm.
English National Ballet: Wednesday Watch Party
English National Ballet have launched a Stay at Home programme of ballet shows streamed to your living room. Shows are available for 48 hours and premiered this week with Rudolf Nureyev’s production of Romeo & Juliet (playing until Fri May 8, 8pm). Subscribe to their YouTube to get regular updates on their #WednesdayWatchParty
Affordable Art Fair: Kids Activity Packs
Get involved in some at-home making with these fabulous activity packs from the Affordable Art Fair. Their creative worksheets are released weekly and will keep little hands busy and provide some art therapy for you too.
Little Angel Theatre At Home Resources for Kids
The wonderful puppet theatre has a wonderful section of storytelling and at-home crafting videos for children ages 3-11. Try out anything from sock puppets to shadow play and paper dolls.
Lockdown Cooking for Kids and Grownups
Sick of making the same old sarnies and soup for lunch? Join the Cook Stars Cookalong Facebook group where they’re posting up family-friendly recipes every day. It’s interactive too, so you’re invited to share photos of your efforts for a chance to win prizes.
Family Cooking with mymuybueno
Cook along with your little ones, taking inspiration from Justine Murphy, founder of mymuybueno Cookery School and author of the mymuybueno Cookbook. She’s got a mix of yummy, healthy and indulgent treats (sticky toffee pudding, oh yes) shared via quick and easy videos made with her sweet little boys.