Monday, September 21, 2015

Review: Tiny Giants at IMAX

This is a sponsored post

We started the school holidays by taking off to see the film Tiny Giants

It was the first time that we have been to IMAX with the kids and years since I went to IMAX myself. To be honest I wasn't sure how the girls would like it. My concerns were about Tiny Giants being more documentary than Disney. 

As soon as the preview started for another movie I was lost in the magic of the new screen. 

Firstly it's enormous. 32 metres wide enormous.

When I chose our seats the ticket seller suggested we go towards the back as the screen is so big you don't want to be too close to the front. He was right. We were five rows from the back and they were great seats. 

The new screen is the only one of it's type in the Southern Hemisphere and it's the best type of laser screen available in the world. Tiny Giants is the first movie being played on this new screen. 

But is the movie worth it? 

Narrated by Stephen Fry, it's a 45 minute show of the lives of two little creatures. A chipmunk and a mouse. It's told in such a way that at one point I jumped out of my seat I got such a fright. There is suspense, and you just don't know if these cute and cuddly little things will survive against the huge forces of nature. For really young viewers who don't like anything with a scary factor, this might be too much for them. But Immy is 6 years old and though she was hiding low in her seat at moments she still really enjoyed it. 

If anything, this finishes way too quickly. There was a family beside us whose children loudly proclaimed "I want more" as the credits rolled. The 3D aspect is brilliant and really makes you feel lost in the movie. 

In the past we have tried to get the kids to a movie each holidays, I'll be adding the IMAX experience into the mix on a more regular basis from now on and just like this week, finish it off with a play at the great park right beside it before walking to Lygon Street for an ice cream. 

Check the Trailer if you want to see more, or just pack the water bottle and go see it tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Things to do in the Victorian School Holidays

It's time again, School Holidays! 

There is so much stuff to do, it's had to only pick a few so here are eight things for you and your kids to check out in Victoria during the September holidays. 

1) Tiny Giants at Imax Cinema. 

The big, SUPER, big screen is just so much better than any tv you have at home and the movie Tiny Giants is only going to be available to watch on the IMAX screen these school holidays. This movie is also going to be using the new IMAX 4K LASER DIGITALI don't really know what that means, but apparently it's a pretty big deal and the screen is going to be unlike any I have seen before.

2) See a Show - Lord of the Dance


Remember the foot stomping that was Lord of the Dance? I never saw it when they were first here, but I am not missing out on their next visit to Melbourne. I am taking the kids to experience it too, well there is no way they want to miss the dancing, the acrobatics, the drama and excitement that this show looks like it's going to be. 

But you can go too, because I have some tickets for you to win. 

I have TWO Double passes to give away, valued at $179.80 each.

Tickets are for the show at the ARTS CENTRE, State Theatre on TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2015 at 7pm.

To enter leave a comment on facebook, or this blog post, telling me the name of your favourite concert you have ever been to. 

3) The Hawthorn Arts Centre (Town Hall)

The Hawthorn Arts Centre has a range of fun things that are fun for the kids to do a class in. There is a great range of things for kids of school age, which can be hard to find. From Cheerleading and Hip Hop classes, to circus. But my favourite is the class on creating a clay object and then bringing it to life with a small animated film. The age range for this one is 8 - 12, so I am not sure I can sneak into that one, but it could be the best $20 you spend on activities these holidays. 

Go check out all the other options on the Hawthorn Arts Centre Website.

4) Go and walk the 1000 Steps

Drive to the the Dandenongs and take the time to do the 1000 steps. 

A tribute to those who fought in WWII, the 1000 steps is a reminder of what the Kokoda trail might have been like. Except there isn't any danger, it's gorgeous, it's good for you, your body will thank you for the fresh air, for using your muscles, for feeding your mind with history. 

The 1000 steps were re-opened a couple of months ago after a big renovation. You don't have to be super fit to do this walk, take the kids and give it a go. Yes, there is a cafe too.

5. 100 Story Holiday

I love this idea! If your kids enjoy story telling and writing they will love these workshops. With a different theme each day of the week you can pick the one they like best, from Comics to Choose Your Own Adventure.  It's for the bigger kids, aged 7-12 and is $45 a session, but the funds go back in to 100 Story Building, an organisation that assists kids in the community who are struggling with literacy. 

For all the details.

6) Let the kids get crafty - 3D Adventure Scene in a Jar

This is a post from over at Be A Fun Mum. It doesn't need supervision, or hot glue guns or sparkly fabric. I think my girls will enjoy a few hours doing this one. Click over to the blog post for all the details: 

7)  Royal Melbourne Show. 

It's heaven for kids. Can be hell for parents, but hey, that's why you had kids isn't it - to be able to spend all your cash on watching them smile at the joy of a ride, or laugh at the knowing feeling of having to only pick one (maybe two) showbags from the gazillions that are there. The show also has all the animals and fireworks and crafts and foods and just so so so much stuff to check out. 

My tip - wear comfortable shoes, pack a brolly in your handbag, and get the train. Plan a rest day following.

There are too many great things to list, check them all out here.

8) Even More Ideas

Lot's of the ideas in the July post are still relevant - the Chocolate Factory is apparently tops, if you go, I'd love some of the peppermint chocolate please.

Don't forget to leave a comment if you would like to see the dance spectacular Lord of the Dance, either here of facebook is totally fine.

If you know of any other great things happening these holidays, feel free to include them in the comments too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to help when you don't know how to help. #6Letters

Sometimes when there are people you know who are having a shit time it can be really hard to know what to do to help.

There are the little things such as taking a meal or food, providing funds if you can or if they are needed, helping around the house and just being a good person and friend.

There is also the option of just sending a little card in the mail. A note that says nothing more then "I am thinking of you, and I hope things get better for you soon."

Often we get stuck trying to work out what to write in those cards. Well I do. I can get really caught up in how important my words need to be. It's as though my words will be the make or break point of a day. I can feel as though the right words, cleverly crafted into something inspiring and hopeful will be the cure required. Well, the truth is, my words are not a magical cure to a shit situation.

Instead, my words can fill a  very brief moment. They can be a simple reminder that my friend is not alone, even though they may feel that way. A card with your simple words can be a break in a hectic day. A break that was badly needed and might not have otherwise occurred.

I love to send cards and letters to people and also love to receive them, and if the card has arrived for no real reason, then it is even betterer and gooder then anything.

Thinking about this is a  reminder to me that it has been AGES since I did my #6letters. A project I used to share with you about sending a letter a week for six weeks, or 6 letters out in a week, or  2 letters for 3 weeks...whatever you want to do. There are no real rules, it's just a little challenge to send six handwritten notes in the mail.

Handwritten things are extra special because the receiver knows how much extra effort you have made. You have organised a card and a stamp and gone to a post box and considered your words. You have really had that person in your thoughts for more then a 'virtual hug'* on facebook.

There is nothing bad about a handwritten card.

I am going to be sending out six in the next few weeks.

If you'd like to consider doing the same, here are my top three tips.

1) Buy al the cards, or note paper, or use the pack of your kids artwork and have it ready to go.
2) Buy all the stamps at one time.
3) Don't overthink what you are going to write, it doesn't have to be an essay.

Go write, scribble, draw, doodle and send it in the post.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

What makes a great presentation?

When I have to present at a conference, the preparation nearly drives me insane.

I am an anxious speaker, I am critical of myself and question why I have been asked in the first place. I wish I was more relaxed about it, but that just isn't going to be my style.

Instead I find the best way for me to get through it is to be really well prepared and not eat to much beforehand!

Last week I spent the week in Brisbane at a conference with lots of speakers, I was just one of many.

It went ok. I still used my notes like a security blanket, but apparently it didn't seem like I was totally reading from them.

I then watched lots of other presenters and used my time to think about what made a speaker someone I would like to hear again, which speakers would I recommend?

There were a few things that really stood out.

1) The best presenters were really well prepared. They had something on a screen that was more than dot points for them to read from, they had a plan to their presentation and had timed it well for their allocation.

2) Great Presenters shared real stories. They told you what had worked for them and what hadn't and they were real about it. They mentioned why things didn't work out and what they would like to do to change this or how they will do things differently next time.

3) The best speakers are generous. They give. They give of their time, just being there, as rarely do people get paid to talk at these things. They have spent a lot of time in the preparation. Then, they are generous with what they know. When attendees have paid hundreds of dollars to be at a conference they really deserve to leave having learnt a lot. It's not great when a speaker says, 'you can read my blog post about this..." or gives a little teaser and finishes with "and you can buy my book to find out how to do this". Sometimes this might be ok, but make sure you give the audience a lot too.  If a group of people have paid with their time and money to be there to listen to what you have to say, share with them what you would have liked to know.

4) Be available afterwards. People like me don't enjoy public speaking, and this includes standing up to the microphone to ask questions in other sessions, even if I have a really great one. If you have the time, be available in the breaks when delegates can approach you. I had lots of people talk to me about my presentation, it was handy for me to hear the projects my talk might inspire and I was also excited to talk more about my work, and so much more relaxed.

That's it. Those four points can be the difference in taking your presentation from ok to really marvellous.

Sorry, these tips are probably not going to help with the bit about being nervous. That's a tougher nut to crack.

Tell me what have you noticed about great public speakers?