Britain's biggest theatre-circus spectacular comes to GLive

Showcasing the finest in traditional circus thrills and skills, Cirque Berserk! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the invention of Circus by bringing this treasured form of live entertainment bang up-to-date in a jaw-dropping spectacular created especially for the theatre.

Combining contemporary cirque-style artistry with adrenaline-fuelled stunt action, this astoundingly talented international troupe includes over thirty jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, drummers and daredevil stuntmen. Featuring the world’s most hair-raising circus act - the legendary motorcycle ‘Globe of Death’. Don’t miss it!

★★★★★ Great for kids and even better for adults! The Sun

★★★★ A NutriBullet of contemporary circus!’ The Times

★★★★ A spectacle that will delight any age at any time, and whether you are a fan of circus or not, there will be something in there that will leave you speechless.’ Edinburgh Guide

★★★★ Heart-stoppingly good fun’ Time Out

Find out more here.

Victorious Festival announces FREE kids arena programme

Victorious (24-26 August 2018) – the UK’s biggest metropolitan festival - continues to be one of the best value, family friendly music festivals in the UK with particularly low ticket prices for children. 5-12 year old tickets cost just £8 a day and under 5 years are able to join in the fun for just £1 with all activities in the Kids Arena absolutely FREE!

The Kids Arena stage will boast headline performances from Andy and the Oddsocks, who will take to the stage on the Saturday and family favourites, Cook and Line, who will headline Sundays family programme.

Families can look forward to a special performance from the Odd Sock Friends…. Rio on guitar, Blu on bass, Moxy hitting the drums and Random Keith on keys. They are all bonkers! They love telling stories and sing about all sorts of things from aliens and dinosaurs to rapping robots and even a groovy hoover.

Cook and Line, from CBeebies' Swashbuckle, will be performing a rip-roaring pirate adventure. Full of lively songs, crowd-pleasing games and laugh-out loud comedy, their energetic and interactive performance is sure to be a big hit on this years Kids Stage.

For those looking to get up close to the action, there will be meet and greet sessions with some of the world’s biggest names in childrens entertainment, including Victorious debut appearances from, Paddington™ and Adventure Time’s, Finn and Jake, who will be at the festival on both Saturday and Sunday.

Everyone’s favourite marmalade eating bear, Paddington will be making personal appearances. Don’t forget to bring your camera as Paddington will be happy to pose for pictures!  TV favourites, Jake and Finn are taking time out from battling the Ice King in the land of Ooo to visit us at Victorious Festival.  Characters will be appearing at intervals on both days.

In addition to all of the big-name performances and meet and greet sessions, there will be loads of other activities taking place across the huge Kid’s Arena.

The fantastic Southampton Scrap Store gang will be teaching us how to turn all scrap and waste in to fun with arts and crafts. This years ‘Out of This World’ craft project will be building space rockets!

The award winning pre - school football academy, Little Kickers, will be back giving children a positive introduction to sports and playing as a team, with games and football fun.

Children’s Parties Portsmouth will be hosting a party and everyone’s invited! So get ready to throw some shapes with a disco, dance competitions and fun games for all the family.

In the Portsmouth College Action Area (10+) you will find Game Over, Portsmouth’s only gaming console café, will be bringing their retro gaming to Victorious Kids arena. Expect something for all your retro gaming needs from Playstation 1 to Pong on the Binatone TV Master IV.

Here you’ll also discover Action Stations Nerf Area, Canoe Lake Leisure Tennis workshops, plus the brilliant Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and Mary Rose Zones!

Held in the picturesque seaside location of Southsea overlooking the Solent, Victorious Festival is the ultimate family friendly experience.

Revellers can expect an eclectic mix of live music and DJ performances, from some of the biggest names in the music industry, as well as a medley of locally sourced food markets and ale stalls, arts and crafts, and much, much more.

With standard tickets priced between £30 and £45 a day and children’s tickets starting from £1 a day, Victorious Festival remains one of the most affordable festivals in the UK! All activities and attractions in the Kids Arena are included in the ticket price. 

For tickets and details go to:

(booking and transaction fees apply)

Monkeying around with reading: Reception children in England given free books

School starters in England will receive their very own copy of the book Little Monkey this September as part of BookTrust’s Time to Read campaign.

Now in its third year, the Time to Read campaign from the UK’s largest children’s reading charity encourages families to make time to read together, share stories every day and find the fun in reading.

This funny and empowering picture book tells the tale of a little monkey in a big troop, in an even bigger jungle. Monkey has enough of missing out, of being too small for big adventures, so she bravely heads off all alone to climb to the top of the tallest tree in the jungle. Written and illustrated by the renowned Marta Altés, Little Monkey (Pan Macmillan) shows us that the world is a big, wild and wonderful place where anything is possible.

BookTrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald said: “Children are more likely to read if they’re having fun with stories and we couldn’t think of a more colourful, enjoyable and entertaining book. At BookTrust we want to ensure all children have access to books and enjoy the adventure and escapism that comes with getting lost in a good book. Little Monkey is beautifully illustrated and brilliant to read aloud.”

A panel of experts chose Little Monkey because of its fun, detailed illustrations and great message that no matter how small you are, or how big the world seems, you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it. It’s perfect for reading together and the challenges Monkey faces of being too small and not wanting to miss out are easily relatable for little children.

Marta Altés, author and illustrator of Little Monkey said: “I'm so excited and it's such an honour to work with BookTrust on their Time to Read campaign. It's wonderful that Little Monkey will be used to start little people on their reading journey. I hope that Little Monkey and her adventures in the jungle not only inspire a love of reading but also remind children that even when you're small you can do amazing things!”

Every reception age child in England will start receiving Little Monkey at school from September. The book is delivered inside a special Time to Read pack that each child gets to keep and take home. Inside each pack is a message for families about the importance of shared reading, alongside practical tips and advice to help them bring the story to life at home.

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, Publisher at Macmillan Children's Books said: "We are absolutely delighted to be working with BookTrust, supporting this wonderful and important initiative to ensure that a love of reading goes beyond the classroom walls and stays with a child for life. Marta Altes' Little Monkey celebrates the amazing things we can achieve if we put our minds to it, regardless how big or small we are, making it a perfect and encouraging read for children who are just starting their school lives. We hope that Little Monkey's plucky and adventurous spirit will be embraced by the children as they embark on a lifetime of reading for pleasure."

‘Keeeep reading’ says Strictly Star Ore Oduba, the face of BookTrust’s new story time video

BookTrust has partnered with popular TV presenter, new dad and Strictly Winner Ore Oduba, who playfully reads a new story time video bringing this year’s National Bookstart Week title A Busy Day for Birds to life. 

BookTrust, through its partnership with Walker Children’s Books, will gift 450,000 hard copies of Lucy Cousins’ A Busy Day for Birds to children across the country through National Bookstart Week (4-10 June).

This year, BookTrust will be giving over 32,000 packs to outreach partners across the country, including 10,250 packs to Food Banks and 1,600 packs to Women’s Refuges. 

Ore Oduba said: “I’m delighted to be taking part in BookTrust’s National Bookstart Week. Having recently had our son, my wife and I love reading to him - even at such an early age - as it’s so lovely for all of us to spend time together. Shared reading is also a good way to stimulate kids, creating images in their mind that ultimately enable them to express themselves so much better.”

National Bookstart Week is an annual celebration of BookTrust’s flagship reading programme, Bookstart. Since 1992, BookTrust has gifted over 34 million books to children across the country through Bookstart. Children in England and Wales receive Bookstart packs at two key stages before they start school. 

Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said:A Busy Day for Birds is a brilliantly entertaining book, we are thrilled it’s been chosen as our National Bookstart Week title. Ore’s playful and enchanting reading really does bring the book to life and shows parents that reading can be fun and light hearted. We hope families across the country enjoy snuggling down with their copy of the book imagining they are all the different birds!” 

This year’s National Bookstart Week theme is ‘Bookstart Bird Boogie’ and from Monday 4th – Sunday 10th June there will be hundreds of free events around the country for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and their families, at libraries, children centres, nurseries and bookshops.

Lucy Cousins, author of A Busy Day for Birds said: “I’m thrilled to know that A Busy Day for Birds will take flight with the wonderful Bookstart programme! It’s so important for all young children to have access to the joy that reading can bring and I hope that families up and down the country enjoy sharing this story together!”

A Busy Day for Birds was chosen as this year’s National Bookstart Week title for its bright and colourful illustrations, fun, rhyming text and for its ability to work well in both group and one-to-one readings. Previous titles include Everybunny Dance! By Ellie Sandall, A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea, adapted by Jessica Law and illustrated by Jill McDonald, Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz and Super Duck by Jez Alborough. 

Mara Alperin, Senior Editor, Walker Books said: "We’re delighted that Lucy’s beautiful book has been chosen for the Bookstart programme. With vibrant colours and a wonderful read-aloud text, A Busy Day for Birds is the perfect book for a parent and child to share together. Thank you to BookTrust for their great work giving out books and inspiring a love of reading!"

The cost of adding to your brood: How your growing family can impact your finances

  • A new study from MoneySuperMarket reveals the costs involved with growing a family
  • See how living, shopping, and transport increase in cost from one person’s £12,160 through to a six person family at £79,400.
  • Having two children can be as much as £34,300 more a year than a person living alone,

Adding to your household can be an exciting step in your life, but it can come with unforeseen costs. To help Britons understand how much it can cost to increase the size of your family, MoneySuperMarket has conducted research that looks at a series of metrics including home purchase, energy and water bills.

Regular Payment Increases

To cover all regular payments like bills and rent, a person living alone has to spend about 45% of the average UK salary of £27,195.[1] However, living with a partner can actually cut down the costs, as bills only slightly increase from £12,161 to £13,248, but two salaries can contribute to paying them back.

With each child comes a series of costs, such as £1,065 a year just in energy bills, food, and rent. For those who choose to send their children to private school, it can cost as much as £13,194 annually per child. Other examples of costs can include:

  1. Rent – Monthly rent for a one-bedroom house is an average of £840.This increases to £962 on average once you add a second bedroom – which will be needed as soon as your first child is able to sleep in a room alone. The child benefit (£20.70 a week for the first child and £13.70 for each child beyond this) pays for only 17% of the difference.[2]
  2. Bills – Having your first child can also incur a difference of around £212 on average to your energy and water bill through extra usage. However, Child Benefit provided by the government is enough to cover this and still have an excess of £864 a year to put towards other costs.
  3. Food Shop – The average weekly food shop for a couple and their child is about £42.70, as opposed to £37.20 for a couple. As a result, the £20.70 a week Child Benefit can go a long way towards providing much-needed support.

Buying For The Kids

It’s not just regular payments that increase with a bigger family. Two major expenses that you might have to consider with larger families are housing and a new car.

While a standard 5-seater Ford Fiesta should suffice for families of up to four, a 7-seater will be needed if you’re going to transport the entirety of a five person family or larger. And if you’re buying new, that can be a cost difference of over £10,000.

In terms of houses, if you’re looking to buy with the intent of having more children, an upgrade can set you back by over £100,000. The average cost of a house can range from £168,000 for a one-bedroom house to £585,500 if you’re buying bedrooms for four children.

 Stephen Murray, energy expert at MoneySuperMarket says,

“There are numerous factors that households across the UK have to consider when looking to increase the size of your family, whether it’s buying a new car or house. It is therefore important to see what you can do to bring these costs down, with household bills being a good place to start.

“Many consumers across the UK are unaware that they are currently overpaying on their energy bill, due to the fact that they are on an expensive standard variable tariff. For those who are considering increasing the size of their family, we urge them to take control of their finances and shop around for a competitive, fixed rate deal, either with a Big Six or new supplier. This means that the cost of each unit of gas and electricity you use is fixed for an agreed term – even if your supplier decides to increase prices. Switching could not be simpler - it literally takes five minutes online and you could save £250 or more. It’s a quick and easy way to bring down your bills ahead of your new arrival”.

For more costs of growing your family, and an insight into how it’ll affect other features of your life, check out the full study on the MoneySuperMarket website here