CITY BUZZ: It’s a jolly holiday with Mary Poppins

Nik Farah family City Buzz
Nik Farah family City Buzz
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It’s a jolly holiday with Mary - and a pretty fab Saturday afternoon too apparently!

I wasn’t too sure what to expect, at the weekend, heading into my first immersive cinema experience, but we were bowled over by Handmade Cinema’s efforts at turning a plain Sheffield studio space into a world of chimney sweeps and carnival horses, where umbrellas are an acceptable form of transport and you can expect words like ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ to come up in regular conversation.

Nik Farah family City Buzz

Nik Farah family City Buzz

We were greeted at the door to the Bamforth Building, in Hillsborough, by a Burt look-a-like playing ‘chim chim cheree’ on the accordian. Once inside a face painter was waiting to ‘smudge’ up our faces, to help give us the appearance of having just finished a gruelling shift ‘on the rooftops of London.’ My two year old wanted to be a cat instead. Luckily our resident artist didn’t bat an eyelid as she drew a nose and whiskers on a moving target (who’d just spied the soft play area and was eager to get going).

The room was spectacularly decorated with umbrellas, kites and chimney brushes, a floating table and chairs (for those who Love To Laugh) and dozens of twinkly lights. There was food and drink and games for little Poppins-lovers who were invited to make up their own strange words - to rival Mary’s - or try their hand at creating some chalk drawings - to rival Bert’s.

When the lights were dimmed, the adults took to the rows of chairs infront of the drop-down screen and the children sank on to blankets and pillows in the middle of the room to enjoy the film. It’s a film I’ve always loved and have seen dozens of times, though not for over 20 years, so it was a real treat to sit in this space, at 4pm on a Saturday afternoon, and soak up the magic of an old classic, as - around me - dozens of littles ones (including my own) got their first taste of this magical story. They giggled when Mr Banks banged his head on the fireplace, pointed in awe as they got their first glimpse of Julie Andrews gliding down - umbrella aloft - and landing infront of the Banks’s London home, and gasped with delight when Mary, Bert and the children jumped into the chalk drawing at the park.

Handmade Cinema launched in Sheffield in 2012 when founder Ellie Ragdale decided she wanted to create a completely immersive and interactive cinema experience in her hometown.

Nik Farah family City Buzz

Nik Farah family City Buzz

Job done. My family’s afternoon with Handmade Cinema truly was ‘Practically Perfect in every Way.

Visit Hande Made Cinema for details of upcoming screenings.

Join in some Roald Dahl delights!

Do your little ones adore Roald Dahl? Well obviously they do, who doesn’t?!

Nik Farah family City Buzz

Nik Farah family City Buzz

This Saturday, Off The Shelf will be celebrating the 100th birthday of the beloved children’s writer with a big bash on The Moor, from 1pm to 4pm - and everyone’s invited!

There will be a whole afternoon of free, wizz-popping fun in honour of the man behind all our childhood favourites, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG, to The Twits and Matilda.

Come dressed as your favourite Roald Dahl character and strut your staff on the catwalk to be in with the chance of winning a prize; enjoy songs from all Roald Dahl’s films; follow a trail around a giant peach in front of the Moor Market; join in a host of craft activities, including making masks, crowns and even your own pair of BFG ears; Sheffield artist Samantha Galbraith will be doing Dahl style instant portraits for people to take away with them; enjoy a walkabout with your favourite character - wile away some time with Willy Wonka, or make friends with Fantastic Mr Fox; enjoy Dahl-themed drama sketches with Pyjama Drama; let you little ones speak to a robot in a phone box who will produce a poem just for them based on Dahl’s stories.

REVIEW: Meadowhall’s monthly ‘Mini & Me’

A Disney theme can usually be guaranteed to get people’s attention, and it certainly did the trick at Meadowhall as the shopping centre decided to explore Disney at their monthly Mini & Me baby and toddler group last Friday.

The completely free sessions, hosted in The Oasis from 10am on the first Friday of every month, are a great escape for busy mums and dads. There is plenty of soft play for babies and exciting bits and bobs, like little trampolines and slides for toddlers to try, before diving into some activities. This month, with a gorgeous Disney theme, that was drawing your favourite characters and plenty of colouring action. Immy had a brilliant time and I loved letting her try her hand at a few different fun things, all within a stone’s throw of some of my favourite shops.

Visit Meadowhall Mini & Me for details.

PYJAMA DRAMA, Meersbrook United Reform Church, Tuesdays

Bring your imagination and come play!

Explore endless themes - from friendship and starting school, to pirates, families and underwater creatures at Sheffield’s Pyjama Drama; the ‘pretend and play’ class which uses drama and storytelling to enhance your child’s imagination and confidence.

Visit Meersbrook United Reform church every Tuesday at 9.45am for pre-school children, or 10.40am for young tots who are just steady on their feet!


Say farewell to the Herd of Sheffield

Not had chance to check out the Herd of Sheffield yet? Now’s your last chance!

The elephants will be marching off Sheffield streets this Friday and heading to Meadowhall for a farewell weekend-long event in the Orange Zone car park - people’s last chance to see them in all their glory before they’re auctioned off charity next week.

Visit Herd of Sheffield to get your tickets to the farewell exhibition from Friday to Sunday.

I GOT SUPERPOWERS FOR MY BIRTHDAY, Multiple shows at The Civic

Come enjoy live children’s theatre

Ethan, William and Fiona are as different as three almost-teens can be. Except they’ve all just discovered they have superpowers. Which is lucky because someone needs to protect the world from an evil overlord with plans to turn everything to ice. Suitable for children aged 7+, join the three heroes on their epic quest to save teh world this week, at four shows held in Barnsley Civic’s Mandela Gardens. Visit Barnsley Civic for tickets.

What’s on

A few more things to try...

Roll and squeeze your way through ‘Sponge,’ a new malleable family dance show, set to a 1970s score, at Barnsley’s Mandela Gardens at 10.30am next Sunday - perfect for babies and young children aged six months to four.

Take a fun foray into the fantastic world of funghi this Sunday when ecologist Ziggy leads Sheffield General Cemetery’s ‘Mushrooms & Toadstools’ day, from 11am. Visit Sheffield General Cemetery Trust for details.

Visit Concord Sports Centre every Thursday from 10am, for an hour-long multi-sensory coffee morning, where kids aged 0-5 can explore and develop their senses and skills, work on problem solving and interaction.

Get in touch

I’d love to hear from you about what’s happening in South Yorkshire in the next few weeks.

Is something coming up that you’re particularly looking forward to? An annual event you and your family always attend that you think others should know about?

Maybe there’s a hidden gem of a class, workshop or visitor attraction that you’d like to shout about in our review section?

Do you run a class, event, activity or club that you would like to highlight in our weekly listings or offer a competition giveaway for?

Whatever your thoughts or feedback, if you think other families in the area should know, I’d love to hear from you and see your photos.

Please send to or tweet me @n1kfarah