Spotlight on Nina from Cafe Craft, Chorlton

This week we extend a warm welcome to Nina from Cafe Craft in Chorlton,  gem of a find for families with great food and drinks, a lovely outdoor area and obviously tons and tons of craft! They will be bringing their creative juices to Happy Sundaze and running our Make, Do and Mess arts station!
What’s your name and where do you come from?
Nina Chesworth
I come from Manchester born and bread!
Tell us about Cafe Craft
Craft Manchester is now trading under Cafe Craft. I thought it had a nicer ring and the sign looked more enticing and also it explains that we are a cafe not just a craft shop. We serve locally sourced food, freshly made to order.
We offer hot and cold drinks and our coffee supplier is also a small Manchester based business Second City Coffee. We get our bread from Ludo on Beech road, our cake supplier is Black Cat Cakery. We also stock Shindigger and Bootleg brewery. We want to help and support small local businesses wherever we can.
Along side the food and drink we provide craft activities for people 0-100 covering all age ranges. We want to show that craft and creativity is not just for the kids!
mc 12Have you always had a passion for all things crafty?
Yes I have been involved in Art and Design from high school. I have a degree in Design and Art Direction from Manchester Metropolitan University. I also make fused glass jewellery when I can and art pieces using up-cycled items. Basically anything creative I will give it a go.


How are you involved with this Year’s Happy Sundaze?
We are facilitating the Make, Do and mess area. We are going to be doing funky festival masks and pebble craft – can’t wait!


Which tunes are top of the kitchen disco playlist on your house?
Foo Fighters Everlong,
Chris Melinchack So Good,
Oasis Wonder Wall,
Bob Marley Is this love,
I could go on and on I love music as much as art.
What are your favourite places for a knees up without the nippers?
Bars in Chorlton, my favs are The Library Beech road, Brewski, Morley Cheeks. I am a home bunny these days I don’t venture into town too often I am far too busy! 
What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on? 
Eternal on cassette
What would be your band T shirt of choice? 
Foo Fighters
What is your most popular craft sessions?
Deco patch


What advice would you give to any new business?
Be prepared for some hard times but stay positive, strong and hopeful.
What do you think is driving the new craft cafe trend?
I think it is a wanting for parents to be involved more with their children. To try and get them out of the house, off the technology and be together, active and creative.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Happy Sundaze event? 
Doing crafts with all the families and getting the adults involved too and having lots of fun!!
mc 2
Find out more about Cafe Craft at their Facebook page here and find out more about Happy Sundaze and other Our Kids Social events here

Spotlight on: (Just) Jane from Take Me To Church Prestwich

This week we shine the spotlight on the awesome Jane from Take Me To Church Prestwich. We are delighted that Jane has agreed to DJ at Our Kids Social’s end of summer family event Happy Sundaze this year at Manchester Monastery 16th Sept – having seen her at Just So Festival we know how amazing she will be!B5BCA3AD-976C-44F3-B3C9-8449A1156E20

What’s your name and where do you come from? 

Hi, I’m (Just) Jane and I’m a proud Mancunian.Tell us about what you do/or your brand or business. 

I have a brilliant day job working for the Canal & River Trust, a Waterways and Wellbeing charity developing capital and revenue projects for our canal & river communities across Yorkshire & the North East which is totally different to my night job as a DJ!


At night, I co-own & DJ at a club night in Prestwich called Take Me to Church or tmtc as it’s better known.  Despite the name it’s not a religious night ;0) it’s more a nod to the saying ‘take me to church’ when someone raises the roof when singing! But we absolutely do worship the disco!  

The night was set up my myself and 2 of my girlfriends 2 years ago because we love music and dancing, but we didn’t relish the idea of queuing up at daft-o-clock in the morning in Manchester to wait for a cab home and devoid of any club nights locally, we decided, like you do to set up our own.

From that single gin-induced idea we found ourselves with a venue, an excuse to play records again and us nervously waiting for people to turn up – but they did, in droves and over the past 2 years we’ve roped in our family and friends to help.  We’re very proud of the fact that our night sells out and we get to introduce new music to our audience, but more than that we’ve grown a wonderful, supportive and super-friendly dancefloor community.  

I DJ at my Bottomless Disco Brunch event at Basil + Lily in Prestwich as well as other venues in Manchester including Sunset by Australasia. I’m on the Board of Radcliffe Market, a new Social Enterprise selling ethically sourced produce and delivering community projects and events.   I’m also proud to be the Chair of Prestwich Arts Festival, a brand new family arts festival that runs on 29th and 30th September this year and I’m very excited that Our Kids Social will be joining us on Sunday 30th so book your tickets here: 


When and how did you get involved in the music scene? 

I’ve always been involved with music; both of my parents were jazz singers, so music was just part of growing up.  I followed in their footsteps and became a singer in and around Manchester in the late 90’s singing, funk & vocal house styles.  I also went to the Hacienda when I was just 15 (shss) and I’m old but lucky enough to have experienced it during its early days until it eventually closed.  It had a huge influence on me musically, we got to hear amazing DJ’s from America who brought the best remixes and big vocal tunes as well as the brilliant residents. Manchester was raw and gritty – it was great. Plus, I met my husband there so another reason to be grateful :0)

What’s been your most memorable gig and why?

My first singing gig was at BJ Bells or Matt n Phreds as it’s now called and I was so nervous that it was like someone else’s voice coming out of my mouth it was that surreal – but for DJ-ing it has to be tmtc’s first birthday in Heaton Park last year,  it just made us all so proud of what we’d achieved within a year and we’re looking forward to our 3rd event there on 15th September.


What’s on your Kitchen Disco Playlist?

Well disco, funk and soulful house music is my thing and anything with a great vocal in it, so yes to artists like Chaka but not the obvious stuff. I love her new release Sugar, sounds like a 70’s re-worked edit but it’s new and it’s fabulous so can’t wait for her new album to drop.  

Where do you recommend for a knees-up without your nippers in Manchester? 

tmtc of course :0) 

How do you relax, chillout and take time out?

So, as you can see I’m quite a busy bee, but I’m lucky that my day job takes me to some of the most beautiful waterway locations in the country, so I find that visiting them, even for work immediately calms, relaxes and improves my wellbeing, plus I get to take the dog!  Equally I love being at home with my family and NOT going out, both of my daughters are dancers so I’m often their mid-week taxi!


Band tee shirt of choice? 

Beastie Boys

Top 3 desert island discs and why? 


Why do you think music is important in family life? 

Music is powerful, it brings people and family together.  You can be silly or serious with it, there’s no right or wrong, you can create it, it can ignite or sooth, from a young age it can influence the person that you will become, and I am a case in point.

Final question, what can our OKS community look forward to hearing on our Happy Sundaze dancefloor? 

Lots of uplifting vocals, disco re-edits, great beats, some tunes you know, perhaps one or two you won’t, but all guaranteed to make you want to dance!


We cannot wait to welcome Jane and her tunes to Team OKS Sept 16th – join us – it will be a fantastic jam packed afternoon of family fun. Music, arts, sensory, forest school, circus skills, silent disco, face paint and a mini market place – plus a bar!! Event info and tickets



Spotlight on: Nikki from Dance Like A Mother!

This week we shine the spotlight on Nikki – a wonderful woman with a fab family and superb small business. She is rocking it. We LOVE the Dance Like A Mother classes and are so excited that Nikki and her crew will be involved with future socials and she is on the festival circuit with us.

We couldn’t be happier to shine the spotlight on her busy life of Mumming, dancing and still finding time to raise money for charities along the way 🧡


What’s your name and where do you come from?

Nikki Baillie. Pontefract (in West Yorkshire…yes…I know…wrong side of the pennines!)


Tell us about Dance Like A Mother

Dance Like a Mother is a Babywearing Dance Class, and also a Community Interest Company. But it’s also so much more! I originally started teaching Babywearing Dance as part of a Franchise, but very quickly started to see we were really quite different in our approach, style and just the way the classes were run. So we recently became Dance Like a Mother CIC. I thought to start with it would be about helping Mums get fit in a fun and non-judgmental environment (I also teach Zumba)

But within 6 months it was really starting to grow and the benefits were that Mums (and Dads..we have Dads too!) were starting to feel happier, more confident, they had a much better knowledge of the safety and benefits of babywearing, were finding an increased bond with their babies and making friends with other like minded women.

We now have 9 classes a week and I took on 3 more instructors (they are my tribe!) and we are training more at the moment, so we can offer the classes in more areas. Also as a CIC we are receiving funding to work with Young Mums in Salford to provide classes; which we are very excited to be able to do.

It really is more than just a bit of Mum dancing and not like any other ‘baby class’ you’ve been to!
How are you involved Our Kids Social?

I met Hannah through a mutual friend and then after she had her last baby, she has been coming along to classes. I think the parents that attend OKS and DLAM are very similar!

Up for a laugh and love a good dance to some top (yes okay sometimes cheesy) tunes. We did a pop up Sling Hire & Advice and a few taster classes at the last event at The Refuge and we plan to offer a Sling Hire & Advice stand at future OKS events including Happy Sundaze 16th Sept at the magnificent Manchester Monastery!

Helping Mums and Dads babywear safely, get some nice close cuddles and lets be honest..have 2 hands free to hold your drink 😀


Which tunes are top of the kitchen disco playlist on your house?

My Husband and I used to to work at Mojo and I also used to be a Dancer on ‘Brutus Golds Lovetrain’ (yes if you were a student in the early 00’s in Manchester you might remember!) So it a real mix of Rock, Disco, Soul and plenty of cheese..

Never too much By Luther Vandross

Raspberry Beret By Prince

Borderline by Madonna

Musical Soundtracks for a good singalong

and we Love a bit of ABBA in our house!

What are your favourite places for a knees up without the nippers?

Errr whats that now? 😀

Love a good Gig. We recently saw Chic and the day after Flight of the Conchords; which were 2 of the best Gigs weve ever been to.


What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

I was given a vinyl single of Crazy for you by Madonna. I had the fingerless gloves and everything.

What would be your band T shirt of choice?

I think it would have to be Nirvana. They were the soundtrack to my teen years and angst.

Which band would you most like to see live and why?

It has to be the Foo Fighters. I’ve been a fan from day one and seen them every time they have come to the UK (except this time…I had a ticket and was too exhausted to go 😦 ) They are exceptional live and you can tell they love what they do

What is a fave family meal in your house and can you share the recipe?

I love a good Curry and lets be honest it’s not the best for the old Mum tum! So I recently started making a Slimming World version. Its pretty quick and easy and you can always add extra creme fresh to cool for little ones, if they want.

Recipe is:

– Marinade Prawns (or Chicken if you prefer) in Natural Yogurt, Tikka Masala Powder and juice of 1 lime. Cover and put in fridge for a few hours.

– Stir Fry (using fry light) Peppers, White onions, Garlic, Cumin, Cardamom, Chilli, Salt, Pepper. Then add a bit more Tikka Masala Powder, Tomato puree and a tin of Chopped Tomatoes and let simmer for a bit.

– Add the marinated Prawns or Chicken and stir. Leave until the meat is cooked.

– For extra veggies we add Tenderstem Broccoli and spinach. If the sauce is quite thick, just add a little water.

Then serve with fluffy rice and chopped corriander


How can we find out more about DLAM?

We have a lovely website which is still having things added; but has  FAQ’s, Class Timetable & Booking and Babywearing Advice is on there. As well as details of upcoming Socials, Event & performances. We want to have Sling Library resources for Manchester on there, as well as a Blog…coming soon.

Also our facebook page


Apart from OKS events, what are your top tips for keeping the nippers entertained in the North West?

There’s a running joke in DLAM about my love for Bury Market! I love taking Ellie and we have a morning out together to go buy Fruit and Veg (and the best big prawns ever!). Everyone is so friendly and we just get to hang out and go for lunch.

But we also love ‘The Story Barn‘ in Liverpool. Often I think the best thing with a toddler is to ask “what do you want to do today” and just do that….mostly the answer is ‘Trampolining!”


Are there any other local small businesses / animal based bands who you would like to give a shout out to?

Yes! The list is too long so here’s a few!

So shout out to Helen at Guilty Mothers Club  I did her ‘Organise your Life’, 2 hour course and it really changed things for us. The weeks we don’t follow the tools I got from her the house feels rushed and stressed. Shes a very clever and organised lady!

Shout out to our mate Kate, who owns the ‘Coffee Sack’ cafe in Prestwich. She took it over a year ago and its a lovely place to go. The pancakes are AMAZING!

We have been really lucky to have the very talented Emma at Emma Boileau  do some incredible shots for us when we were on Strictly and for our website. Shes a great person and takes the coolest and most stunning photos.

Whats next for DLAM?

We are currently preparing for our Summer Socials. We are taking August off (I’m turning 40! and Charlie is having her 2nd baby) so this is our little party to celebrate becoming Dance LIke a Mother CIC as well as a chance for everyone to socialise outside class.


We also have an amazing Raffle to help us raise funds for your ‘Young Parents Project’

We have 2 socials; Salford on Weds 1st August and Didsbury on Fri 3rd August. Full details of our Socials can be found on the website.

We are also very excited to be at Just So Festival with you guys in August!


Spotlight on: Jo from Naturelly

This week we speak to Jo about her family, her brand and how she juggles having a small business and still makes time for the things she loves.


What’s your name and where do you come from?

I am Jo and our brand is called Naturelly. Natural + Jelly = Naturelly. We wanted something that showcases naturalness and also playfulness


Tell us a bit about Naturelly? How did you come up with the idea for your product?

My husband and I found it hard to find low in sugar snacks for the kids to have on days out / school pick up etc. Also, my daughter Della had food allergies so we came up with an idea to create a low in naturally occurring fruit sugar snack which was free from all the 14 allergens and was fun for the kids to have, we also thought ‘how can we make our product even more heathly’ so we added the RDI of vitamin C to each 100 gram pouch too…. Low and Behold, Naturelly was born!  

Describe the Naturelly business in 3 words!

Playful, Imaginative and Active.


Running a business as a couple, how so you manage to keep work at work and not bring it home?

We don’t it’s always on our mind…. If the days been particularly stressful then we just have to stop taking about work or have some me time, either go for a run or work out to try and forget about the issues


What keeps you both motivated and focused?

We probably keep each other motivated and focused. If one of us is feeling down, stressed or negged out by the business we tend to try and pull each other up…. Arrr sounds so sweet don’t it!


Whats been your biggest Naturelly highs and achievements?

There have been many achievements along the journey of setting up Naturelly but the most recent is Naturelly is launching is 555 Sainsburys store from 11th July…. This is a massive achievement for our brand and hopefully the start of a new exciting chapter on our journey.


What’s on the kitchen disco play-list in the Naturelly family house?

Dean and I normally DJ, One on One off in our kitchen disco’s here’s a few from us both:

Arcade Fire – everything now

The Foals – My number

Dianna Ross and the Supremes – Come see about me

Soul Time – Shirley Ellis

Or 90’s R n B


Where are your favorite places for a knees up without the nippers?

Probably starting off at a local pub then heading back to someone’s house for a house party  


What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

Shaken Stevens – Lipstick, Power and Paint on vinyl


What would be your band T-shirt of choice?

Talking Heads


Top tips for getting children to make healthy snack choices.

My moto is anything in moderation so vary snacks as much as possible

Apart from OKS (obviously) what would you recommend for family fun in the North West?

I would always recommend Big Fish Little Fish, you always get a free Naturelly after the event too just like some OKS parties.

Find out more about Naturelly here and check out Our Kids Social and their fab upcoming events here


Spotlight on: Karen from Burble Baby

This week we shine the spotlight on Karen and her fab business Burble Baby which is sponsoring our Happy Subdaze event in September!
Burble baby has beautiful luxury gifts for parents, babies and children – it’s well worth checking out!
What’s your name and where do you come from?
Hello! My name’s Karen and I’m a Lancashire lass living in Chorley with my husband Andy and 3 children William, Louis and Eliza.
Tell us about Burble Baby?
Burble Baby was formed when I was on maternity leave with my youngest child Elizaback in 2014. My background lies in consumer sales and marketing and I wanted to see if I could use my skills and experience to launch my own business that would work flexibly around the family. Using my own babies as inspiration, and my experiences as a new mum, Burble Baby was born!


Burble Baby is a luxurious gift boutique for new mums and their babies with a carefully curated range of gorgeous essentials and treats ranging from luxury changing bags and mama merch, to nursery décor and traditional toys. At Burble Baby we pride ourselves on helping customers to find the perfect present for baby showers, new arrivals, christenings, birthdays and more!


How are you involved with Our Kids Social?
I came across OKS through the working mums networking group Manc Mamas. I loved the concept of OKS events, and, desperate to entertain the 3 kids without losing our mind, we soon hotfooted it to one of their events in Stockport for a good old boogie with the Rockin Rhinos.
I also worked with Hannah on her blog Not Just Rita’s Mother and have worked with OKS and some other local brands to raise awareness ofsupporting small businesses on Small Business Saturday.
I’m excited that Burble Baby is going to be sponsoring the Happy Sundaze event at Manchester Monastery in September – we can’t wait to meet all the little burble babies in the sensory area! We’ll also have a small collection of products on sale too, so if there is anything that tickles your fancy from the web site and you’d like us to bring, or pre-order for collection at the event, just shout!


Which tunes are top of the kitchen disco playlist on your house?
If we’re not having an impromptu boogie in the kitchen we’re definitely re-enacting our own version of carpool karaoke on our endless trips ferrying the kids hither and thither.
It’s a bit of an eclectic mix of tunes in our house –  I asked the question to the troops, this is what they came back with:
i. Andy – Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nirvana
ii. Will – All Star, Smash Mouth
iii. Louis – Fire Starter, Prodigy
iiii. Eliza – Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash
v. Me – I am the Resurrection, Stone Roses


What are your favourite places for a knees up without the nippers?
These days we head to the Northern Quarter or Gorilla in Manchester or try and keep our eye out for concerts or gigs; Delamere Forest is a lovely setting for summer gigs and we’ve seen the fantastic Elbow there a few times.
What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on? 
My first ever single was gifted to me by my mum on vinyl at Christmas and was Do They Know It’s Christmas by Band Aid. The first album I bought with my own pocket money was Silk & Steel by 5 Star on cassette!
I loved the song Rain or Shine and would play it on repeat. They were my very first gig too, I thought they were all so glamorous and handsome with their high cheekbones and ginormous shoulder pads! I was defo a child of the 80’s!


What would be your band T shirt of choice? 
Well of course I had a 5 Star T-shirt, but my band T Shirt of choice would be a Stone Roses one. They were the sound track to my teens and also a firm fave on repeat on the Walkman!
Which band would you most like to see live and why? 
I’d love the opportunity to see an all-timelegend in a BIG show stopping performanceMadonna would fab – will she do a comeback tour do you think?
I saw David Bowie at a really small gig when I was at uni in Newcastle but was too young and drunk to appreciate the enormity of being in the presence of a legend at the time.


How do you seek out some of the great brands you sell on Burble?
Instagram is a great platform for watching new trends and brands emerge, so I try to keep a close eye. I visit trade fairs and use trade magazines to spot new products too.
Generally though, I pick brands that I like and try myself as a mum. The range is curated from organic or British brands that I think have a WOW factor and that other mums would love to receive as a gift, or buy as a treat for themselves. I’m also really proud that at Burble Baby we stock unique brands from some very talented local Manchester mum bosses – see my shout out below!


What are your best sellers?
The collection is a moving feast with seasonal additions and new lines added regularly. However, the nursery and changing bag categories are very popular with our customers beginning their parenting journey and we are always looking to welcome new brands in these areas.


What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Happy Sundaze festival? 
Manchester Monastery is such a beautiful venue and I can’t wait to see it come to life with all the happiness and joy that an OKS event brings.
We’ll be welcoming the little babas and hosting the baby sensory area (whilst simultaneously bopping away to some Britpop on the old silent disco headphones), but I know my Eliza will be going wild for the outdoors area and forest school with the Conker Crew. It all sounds fab and the perfect end to the summer.


Are there any other local small businesses you would like to give a shout out to?
My shout out goes to these amazing local mum bosses who we stock on the site and help make Burble Baby a unique collection of gifts for new mums and babies: the very talented Eleanor Bowmer for her awesome nursery artwork, Lisa at Mama Knows for her beautiful and stylish teething jewellery, and the lovely Kate from A Year Of Dates, a woman on a mission to keep the romance alive with couples, one date at a time!
You can catch up with Burble Baby and Our Kids Social at Happy Subdaze – tickets on sale here

OKS Spotlight on Oliver – AKA Yan Tan Tethera – AKA Prof Jigget



This week we talk to one of our very very favourites. Yan Tan Tethera – AKA Prof Jigget!

There is always a queue when he is story telling at Our Kids Social events and it’s easy to see why. Captivating and mesmerising for all ages – The Prof is the King of all faeries, goblins and fables. We find out more about his real life, his inspiration and the best kitchen disco playlist we have ever seen. Head to our Fb page for our kitchen disco competition involving his wonderful playlist and win Family OKS tickets!

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Oliver Bishop and I come from the land of the black pudding – Bury, North Manchester.


Tell us a bit about Yan Tan Tethera, what does it mean?

Yan Tan Tethera means  ‘1,2,3’ in the old  shepherding language of the north.  It comes from the traditional poem used to count sheep up on the hillsides or down in a dale. There are a multitude of local variations but the one I use and remember is as follows:






















How did you become involved in the magical world of story telling?

I’ve always loved the world of folklore – of faeries, goblins, knights and dragons – but I never thought I’d make a living from it!  Yet, while at university, studying for my PhD, I began leading guided walks around the newly created arboretum throughout the campus.  To make the walks more interesting I would tell the stories associated with the trees in the arboretum.  I enjoyed this but it wasn’t something I had thought of doing full time.  Then, by the time I completed my PhD I had a nervous breakdown and suffered heavily from depression and anxiety.  It was a horrible and horrific time.  But when I got better I re-evaluated what makes me happy and what is important.  And I thought back to the goblins, faeries, knights and dragons. And it was then that I decided I wanted to make other people happy – using the things that give me such pleasure. Now I get to tell stories to smiling faces and mess around with costumes, puppets and, of course, goblins.


Who is Professor Jigget?

 Prof. Jigget is the bombastic voice inside my head that said ‘just do it – what’s the worst that can happen!’  He is an explorer, a faerie hunter, a goblin scientist and a storyteller.  He lives for discovery and adventure.  He loves to learn and to share this information to anyone listening (and anyone who isn’t listening, or at least wasn’t listening to begin with but now has a booming voice in their ear forcing them to listen!).


Describe him in 3 words!

 Stories, adventure, nonsense!


You’ve been a regular at Our Kids Social events from the beginning, what’s been your favourite event and why?

Oooooooh, I think it has to be the Let’s Glo Social!  The Prof. asked the children to help wake up Allerion the King of The Birds.  To do this they decorated a large puppet and learnt a special song and dance.  At the end of the event the Prof. rode in on the back of Allerion and everyone danced for him!  It was fantastic!


What is on the kitchen disco play-list in your house?

 Hall and Oates – you make my dreams                            Harry Belafonte – Jump in the line

Rusted Roots – Send my on my way                             Talking Heads – This must be the place

Paolo Nutini – Pencil full of lead                                         Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere

Steve Winwood – Higher love


Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Cheek to cheek

The Cure – Close to me                              Led Zepellin – Rock ‘n roll


Where are your favorite places for a knees up without the nippers?


 For a proper dance it used to be Tiger Lounge but it’s gone now (RIP)!  Now a quiet local will do. Love a tapas restaurant in Ramsbottom called Levanter.

What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

 I think it was The Offspring’s Americana on CD.  I remember buying it from Asda – it was that or Sisqo’s Thong Song (as that is what everyone in school liked).  I think, all things considered, I made the right choice!

What would be your band T-shirt of choice?

 The only band shirt I own is the Spooky Mans Choral Choir (go check them out if you haven’t already!) but given the choice I would like a T-Shirt of the band I use to be in, Thugs on Wolves.  

That was pre kids! Then I could reminisce about being ‘cool’.  9CED4776-1CCE-4B96-8C98-212BED31B74F

In your opinion, why is story telling essential to childhood (and adulthood)

 Ah, to answer this I’ll have to borrow from the late great Sir Terry Pratchett:

‘People think that stories are shaped by people.  In fact it’s the other way around’ 


Top tips for creating stories with your children at home.

Just getting the inspiration going is the most important thing!  Try make your own story stones (give it a google- loads of ideas out there).  Or try giving your children an interesting item (a strange looking antique) and telling them you (or a long gone ancestor) found it at an interesting location(e.g in a cave at the bottom of a waterfall) and then asking them who do you think it belonged to? How did it get there? Is anyone looking for it? What powers could it have?  This gets them thinking – gets them inspired to create!


Apart from Our Kids Social (obviously) what would you recommend for family fun in the North West?

 Well Chester Zoo have some great events on and their staff love telling stories (and you know it will be good as we have given them some training!).  The champions of magical, family focus events has to be Wild Rumpus!  Oh, and if you like theatre come to Bury and watch a show at the Met Theatre.


What are you looking forward to most at future OKS events?


we are super excited because The Prof is back with OKS this September at Happy Sundaze – we cant wait to hear his stories. You can get tickets for this and all OKS events at

Spotlight on: John Cooper Cat from The Rockin’ Rhinos!


This week we shine the spotlight on The Rockin Rhinos ahead of their Father’s Day gig at The Union. We absolutely love this band of animals and their family focussed gigs. We thoroughly recommend and hope to see you all at a gig  soon!


1 What’s your name and where do you come from?
Hi I’m John Cooper Cat and I come from the People’s Republic of Manchester

2 Tell us about Rockin Rhinos – what can families expect at your gigs?
The Rockin’ Rhinos are a bunch of animals,  a rock band , that play real rock gigs for kids, but importantly gigs that  the grown ups can enjoy too.Have a dance with your kids, whilst having a little Sunday afternoon drink. We play a mixture of songs and styles,  some original tunes,  e.g. The Growing Up Song, Dino Rap ; a few covers , Monkey Man and Starman are particular favourites but as it’s summer we’re enjoying Mr Blue Sky at the minute; and Nursery Rhymes, but in a  Rockin’ Rhinos stylee – Wheels on The Bus as if it were played by Deep Purple anyone?. We want our gigs , our music, the whole Rhino Experience , for want of a better phrase, to be infused with JOY – you guys know the joys of having a great old boogie with your kids whilst at the same time being able to have a beer. That’s pretty much what we’re about.

3 How do you know Our Kids Social?

OKS who are they ? No we love what OKS do, we love how you get it, all your events are filled with that joy I was talking about,  you realise that its possible to have events that both parents and kids can enjoy at the same time.


We love your energy and commitment to that . We first met, I think, at one of our gigs and then we hooked up and played at one of your events in Stockport- OKS and The Rockin Rhinos – it was a marriage made in heaven, we had a ball that afternoon…there’s a lovely review of it online by the ace @mcrmother here

4 Which tunes are top of the kitchen disco playlist on your house?

Phew that’s a tough one – I listen to so much different sorts of music, I do pretty much have it on fairly constantly , can range form some old classic Soul, William Bell, or Marvin, or Booker T,  loads of Ska , some old school  punk and new wave, The Clash, Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Talking Heads , loads of bands that you might not have heard of, but I’ve discovered when visiting festivals with a couple of mates, bands like Hope and Social – an amazing band from Leeds who are a joy to behold live, a New York band called The Slambovian Circus of Dreams, who are just ace,… god just so much music – BOWIE obviously – he’s a constant for me …erm and listening to Idles a lot at the moment who Guy Gorilla put me onto …that probabaly more than answers your question


5 What are your favourite places for an animal knees up without the nippers?

Well my nippers are not nippers anymore my youngest has just finished her GCSE’s and my eldest has just finished her first year at Uni – so pretty much any raving is normally in their company ! I love to go to gigs , love the Castle and Gulliver’s for gigs and Band On The Wall, it was great to play there last year, so yeah going out seeing bands, maybe having a beer or two – probably my favourite restaurant is Bundobust in Manchester, Indian Street Food, with some great beers always on tap as well , if you haven’t tried it , you must check it out , but living in the Heatons we’re spoilt for choice with some great bars and restaurants to nip out to

6 What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

Now this is going back a long long time …I think the first album I ever got was Mud’s Greatest hits , I think I was 8 or 9, would love to say it was something really cool like Ziggy Stardust, but no, Mud – which was cool enough for an 8 year old I suppose, I was into Mud and Slade and 10CC – they were the first band I ever saw live at the good old Apollo, then punk came along and my record collection changed somewhat …and it was on vinyl obviously as nothing else had been invented back then !

7 What would be your band T shirt of choice? 

I have a few again, sorry , I do tend to go on don’t I? I have a Prince Buster Tee that a mate of mine gave me for a birthday a few years back , we’d just seen the legend Prince Buster at a festival so I love that Tee, also have a really cool Patrik Fitzgerald Tee, which took me ages to track down, love that, similarly with my X Ray Spex Germ Free Adolescent long sleeved tee, that’s rarely off my back and then of course on stage I always have a red band tee on – I have quite a collection now , The Specials, The Ramones, The Primals etc

But… my most favoured and what I shall be wearing this Sunday are my special one off Red editions of the Metallica and Ramones Feminist tees from the awesome Everything’s Sweet Threads – love Al, Gerry and of course CeCe – funnily enough there’s a few pictures of me and the Sweets from our gigs and on every picture,Al , Gerry and me are all grinning away like loons but CeCe is always eyeing me suspiciously, smart kid that one – the real brains of the family !

8 Which has been the best gig you have been to? (Obvs discounting your own)

Oh my this is tough – I tell you what, I’m going to tell my people to phone Kirsty Young and cancel my forthcoming appearance on Desert Island Discs , it’s so hard to choose, ermm I was lucky enough to see Bowie four times,  ( we don’t really count the Glass Spider Tour – we all makes mistakes !) probably the last time I saw him was the best, it was at Old Trafford, Cricket ground, I’d blagged my way into the V.I.P. and he opened with an amazing version of Life On Mars , it was incredible…but was that the best gig ever…no I tell you what the best gig I ever saw was, The Jam at the Apollo, can’t remember which tour , think it was the Trans Global Express tour early 82 but they were playing two nights and I had tickets for the second night but went to the soundcheck at the first one to see if I could get in, long story short I got a guest pass off Bruce Foxton and watched the gig which was good, but hampered by a few technical issues, sound problems, guitar strings snapping on a number of occasions, just little niggly things, which clearly frustrated the band, Weller especially, afterwards he was really angry and apologetic about the quality of the gig, and checking if I had tickets for the following night and promised tomorrow we’ll get it sorted out and make up for it ….they came on that night and were on a mission, they were always an incendiary band but that night they were on fire…so yeah The Jam in 82, it was the best I ever saw them and I saw them a few times .

9 What is a fave family meal in your house and can you share the recipe?
I love cooking and if I say so myself i can rustle up a few delights – my eldest daughter is Vegan, and both my other daughter and wife are Veggie ( I’m not, although am pretty much by default !) so a few Vegan/veggie delights include Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne,Sweet Potato Chilli ( the secret is a bit of dark chocolate ), I make a pretty fine Moroccan Tagine, my Pea and Panner curry is always popular although not Vegan, and I like to make my own Chapatis …but if push comes to shove and you asked my family what’s the favourite family meal it’s what has become known in our household as Saturday Tea ( although it is possible to have Saturday tea on a Sunday!) It’s basically sandwiches and crisps, and cucumber, carrots, little tomatoes  and occasionally as a rare treat for me a pork pie…mmmmm… and more often than not a home-made cake and we sit and eat that IN FRONT OF THE TELLY – the only meal of the week when we don’t sit at the table so when the girls were younger this was a real treat for them and they still love the ritual…

So a cake like Chocolate Biscuit Fridge Cake – which is easy to make Vegan – dark Chocolate, melted with a little bit of non dairy spread and some golden syrup, break up Digestive biscuits ( the cheaper own brand versions tend to be Vegan – some have have milk ingredients) Mix  together with some chopped up dried apricots  – line a tin with cling film, spoon it in and let cool in the fridge…absolutely delicious…dead easy to make with the kids although you might have to share licking out the bowl then !

10 What goes on a Rhino rider?
Okay I see where you’re going with this, these rumours have gone on for far too long, so I would just like to put on the record and state  categorically  that I do NOT have a Cat Nip problem,…ok?…so I may have rolled around it in a little, when I was younger, but it was recreational and it was never a problem, just a bit of harmless fun…I have never demanded Cat Nip on the rider. Never.To be honest most of the rider is just taken up with bananas…Guy loves a banana…so yeah bananas oh and some top quality litter , but let’s not dwell on that !

11 Apart from Rhino gigs and OKS events, what are your top tips for keeping the nippers entertained in the North West? 

There’s so much to do for  the little ones nowadays – God how I wished OKS were around when my kittens were small. But as I say my two are grown now so I’m probably not the best person to ask, although Rainy City Kids is great resource drawing up a list and letting you know what’s going on, I’d always recommend anyone to have a look there , they always come up with some great choices of what to do and so many of them are free events or budget events, as it can be costly days out with the family, so yeah the ace Rainy City Kids

12 Which is your fave Rhinos tune and where can we get our paws on your fantastic CDs?

Boy you’re worse than Paxman with these questions, erm I’ve always loved the Growing Up Song, I remember hearing the finished recorded version and feeling pretty damn proud, if that’s not too conceited of me,  but I did . Off the new album I’m really looking forward to singing Kickstone 1-2-3- live  – Phil,who puts together our amazing artwork, described it as ‘a post-punk classic’ – I’ll go with that ! Where can you get our albums, well our first album is up on our bandcamp page and is across all the usual digital platforms, but our new album CRASH! will be on sale at our album launch gig tomorrow ….TOMORROW ! at MMU, tickets are still available at a discounted price today at Billetto – they’ll be on sale online until about teatime today ( Saturday) – I’ll take them down after my Saturday tea !… but failing that tickets will be available on the door …it’s going to be an absolute hoot, we’ll be playing some of these songs for the first time ever live so I’m really excited to see how they sound and how they go down…can’t wait.

13 Are there any other local small businesses / animal based bands who you would like to give a shout out to?

Well obviously your good selves, we love what you lot do, and I’ve already mentioned Everything’s Sweet Threads, but they are worth mentioning again because they are so awesome. Phil, our talented art designer , is part of the incredible they are really worth a look at they create some fantastic artwork, Rock and Roll Zoo on the first album was about one of their prints…oh and I better mention Heaton Hops…it might get me a free flagon…Damian?…a pint?  It’s a lovely little tap house with some great beers and just a lovely, lovely vibe

14 Can you do the floss and will you be showing us at your next gig? 

The whole band have a strict dental regime, which is very important and I’m glad you brought it up…( young person whispers in ear it’s a new dance craze that’s sweeping the nation ) …oh you mean the dance ..yes I knew that, I’m really down with the kids, can I do the floss, well I can mash potato, I can do the twist …but really Guy Gorilla is the one to be asking abut this …Guy is the bands dance leader, so I’m sure Guy will be showing us his very best floss tomorrow …won’t you Guy! ( he’s going to kill me !)  Actually you’ve just given me an idea, as it’s fathers day maybe we’ll have a dads floss dance off .Anyway must dash…got a thousand and one things to do before the gig tomorrow, most importantly I need a nap , I do like a good nap! Lovely chatting to you and see you tomorrow.


Spotlight on: Gerry from Everything’s Sweet Threads


This week we shine the spotlight on the fantastic Gerry from our fave Manc T-shirt brand ‘Everything’s Sweet Threads’. Gerry and her fella Al set up their brand championing feminism a little over a year ago and they have gone from strength to strength.


What’s your name and where do you come from?

I’m Gerry and I’m originally from the North East but I’ve lived in Manchester for about 6 years and feel very at home here! Especially as my daughter Cecily has a proper manc accent!

Tell us a bit about Everything’s Sweet Threads!

The brand is all about positivity and female empowerment.  My husband and I started it after we attended the Women’s March last year with Cecily. It’s a wonderful thing to have a daughter, I’m so excited for her future and at the same time I feel a huge sense of responsibility that she has all the same opportunities as if she had been a boy.

How are you involved with Our Kids Social?

We met team OKS at one of their ace events in Manchester Town Hall. They’ve always been really supportive and they’ve got quite a few Everything’s Sweet tees between them! They gave us the opportunity to do our first pop up shop and we jumped at the chance – we’ve been the best of friends ever since!

Which three words best describe you and why?

Loud, proud, feminist! I’m only little but I’m told I have a big mouth… I’m a proud wife and mum and I’m passionate about equality!

Tell us about The Pankhurst Trust and your involvement with them

Having a charity element to the brand was super important to us and we wanted the charity to be local and have a female focus. The Pankhurst Trust work out of Emmeline Pankhurst’s actual house (how cool is that?!), which is the UK’s only suffragette museum and is also home to Manchester Women’s Aid. It’s an incredible place to be, it reminds you how far we have come and how far we still have to go all at the same time.


What is on the kitchen disco play-list in your house?

We love music and are massive Bowie fans – let’s dance always gets CeCe going! I‘m also a sucker Hip Hop and RnB, preferably from the 90s and 00s… Montell Jordan is all I want to hear on a Friday night! This is how we do it!!

Where are your favourite places for a knees up without the nippers?

We love going to gigs and tend to use our babysitting tokens for something at The Albert Hall or Gorilla. We’re also partial to a bit of jazz down at Matt & Phreds.

What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?

The first single I ever bought was Boyzone – Father and Son on CD. I was seriously into Boyzone, especially Ronan! I can also vividly remember asking my brother for the Friends theme tune for Christmas one year and getting the Aqua album on tape.

What would be your band T-shirt of choice?

You’ve probably noticed that we like a good band tee, the bootleggers that we are! But my favourite band tee is a Dolly Parton tshirt I got when I saw her in concert. I am a huge Dolly Parton fan. She is perfection. Ridiculously talented, kind and glamorous. I’ve even been to Dollywood in Tennessee and I’d highly recommend a visit!


What is a favourite family meal at your house and do you have a great recipe to share?

We love a good weekend brunch in our house. Cece is obsessed with sausages and Al and I love Huevos Rancheros – especially after one of those kid free knees ups!

Make a spicy tomato sauce with onions, garlic, fresh and dried red chillies, bay leaves, red peppers and tinned tomatoes. Allow to thicken, add sliced tomatoes to the surface then make some little wells in the sauce and crack the eggs in. Allow them to poach to a dream and serve with tortilla wraps, homemade guac, natural yoghurt and cheddar cheese! Muy Bien!

Apart from Our Kids Social (obviously) what would you recommend for family fun in the North West?

Obviously we love a good OKS event! We’re also massive Rockin’ Rhino fans – those guys are seriously good and I find myself listening to their CD in the car when I’m by myself…

We also like a good Shake, Rattle & Roll at Band on the Wall on a Saturday morning and The Whitworth do a brilliant outdoor toddler art club come rain or shine – great messy fun!

What are you looking forward to most at your next OKS event?

We were supposed to be going to the Brit Pop event – Al was especially looking forward to the tunes at that one! But I got roped into doing the Manchester 10k with the Pankhurst and 99 other women to celebrate the centenary of the first women getting the vote! We will be sure to back at OKS soon – looking forward to the variety of summer events.

Are there any small businesses you would like to give a shout out to?

I’ve discovered loads of lovely independent kids brands (and some ace women) through the power of insta – Albie & Sebastian and Marmalade Sky are definitely worth a look! If you haven’t visited the new Hatch space down on Oxford Road then you need to get down there. It’s a load of shipping containers, under the ring-road that house some wicked independent retailers and eateries – our fave is Nonsense, which also has a shop in Prestwich and sells the best plants in town!

Find out more about EST here

Find out about all upcoming OKS events here

Top 5 gifts for Dads (or anyone you love)


Here it is – the OKS essential top 5 pressies for Dads – or any other lovely people in your lives – this Fathers’ Day!


1. The fantastic T shirt

We ❤️ Disko Kids for this fantastic turntable T. Available in black and navy it is perfect for all those tunes loving Dads out there. Plus we are obvs all over supporting small businesses and this one is owned by a super cool Mama who doesn’t need us to big her up – just check out her website. 

Other fave Ts of ours include Everything’s Sweet Threads – feminism is not just for females!

And also Cribstar – ‘hang with the gang’ being one of our absolute faves. 


2. The family gig

Looking for a Fathers’ Day event? Something you can all enjoy? Wishing there was a bridge between The Ramones and Wheels on the Bus? There is! 

The Rockin Rhinos – the wonderous family live music band gig goodness are coming at you on June 17th. On stage at The Union – Manchester Metropolitan Uni – we know from experience that they are ultimately epic and not to be missed. Who doesn’t love a band of animals rocking the stage to an audience of families and with beer available? We dare you not to love Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes – or their latest hit – If It Looks Like A Duck! 

With favourite songs for all ages – do your whole family a favour and book tickets for this spectacular asap before they sell out. 



3. The meal out

Where will we be on Fathers’ Day for food? No brainier – Yard and Coop on Edge Street. 

We ❤️ Yard and Coop. Great food, fab cocktails, wonderful service plus totally family friendly with Lego boxes and colouring in sheets on all tables. Plus it won’t break the bank. 

Time and time again, Yard and Coop never lets us down – kids’ menu is ace and they will no doubt have a special offer on for Dads. Book a table to avoid disappointment. 


4. The keepsake 

Ah there has to be one slushy present and this year we have gone for lyrics of one of our fave songs. We have gone to the fab ‘the blue butterfly emp’ on Etsy for our lyrics as artwork – Here comes the sun.

There is a variety of lyrics to choose from The Beatles to The Stone Roses and everything inbetween. Plus you can choose background colour and frame etc and it’s all very reasonably priced. Supporting small businesses is the theme of our presents and this fits that theme perfectly. 


5. The family event 

 Obvs no Dads’ Day pack is compete without tickets to the ultimate family socials with Our Kids Social!

Who wouldn’t want to open a card with the promise of fantastic family fun inside? With dancing and arts, dress up and great tunes, face painting and always a bar – we absolutely guarantee something for everyone. Our two channel silent disco will ensure the whole family is up dancing – kids’ pop vs adult guilty pleasures, you decide! We welcome all kinds of Dad-dancing on our dance floors so come on down and show the kids how it is done!!

Our Kids Social have a whole host of events up ahead and we would absolutely love to see you and your tribe there. Families should be filled with fun, laughter and great memories – we can guarantee all of these!

Join us at – 

Red House Farm – Dunham – Supper Club – 20th June

Brockholes Nature Reserve – Preston – End of term Silent Disco – 22nd July 

Refract at Waterside – Sale – Make, Do and Bop – 27th July

Bombed Out Church – Liverpool – Silent Disco – 29th July 

We look forward to seeing your tribe on our dance floor soon – join us for a knees up with your nippers!


Spotlight on: Chantel from The Conker Crew


This week we shine the light on The Conker Crew. Chantel’s classes are one of our most favourite things to do with our kids on Mondays at Longford Park. We are so excited to be collaborating in August at Stockley Farm for Stockfest, and in September at Happy Sundaze – the Our Kids Social ultimate family sundowner.

Find out more about the classes, Chantel’s Crew at home and also her fave things…

03CDDE64-F56C-4A7C-B3F3-202302C9AABFWhat’s your name and where do you come from?

Hey there, I’m Chantel.  I’ve been an adopted Manc for about 20 years now, but my roots and accent remain firmly, and obviously, in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.


Tell us a bit about The Conker Crew! What can families expect?
So, The Conker Crew seed was planted a few years ago – I was a new TwinMama and I was gagging for some not-too-intense camaraderie; something engaging for the fellas but chilled and relaxed for me and above all else, I just wanted to get out of the house!
And so The Conker Crew grew from there – a cosy and relaxed forest school style playgroup where kids can enjoy muddy play, physical challenges, natural arts and crafts, singing, dancing, socialising, chilling with some practical skills thrown in for good measure.  Grown ups and kids can join in as much or as little as they want and we always share a story, fire, hot drink and a snack.  And the absolute bobby bonus is that it all happens in the convenience of your local park with me!

How are you involved with Our Kids Social?

Well, previous to the lovely Hannah and Jo being original Conker Crew members, we’d been to a couple of OKS as a family.  We love a tune, a good old boogie and the fellas love to show off in a ‘performience’, so OKS is perfect for us!  The Conker Crew will be at Stockfest and Happy Sundaze with OKS this summer and man, we can not wait!


Which three words best describe you and why?

I reckon ‘chatty’ – I absolutely love a chinwag, a debate, a good old conversation.  Erm, ‘chilled’ – with three under 5s there really is no other way.  Nothing is ever that bad that it can’t get better.
This is hard…the third is ‘proud’, I think.  Yes, it has negative connotations but I’m happy to own this one – I’ve always proper enjoyed and celebrated the achievements of others and it’s only recently that I’ve learned to do the same with my own.  I’m one proud Mama, daughter, sister, wife and friend.
What is on the kitchen disco play-list in your house?
It’s probably always going to be some 90s indie with a healthy dose of Motown, Northern Soul and Ska.  Who doesn’t get up to dance when The Snake comes on?

Where are your favourite places for a knees up without the nippers?

These days it is probably at a willing friend’s house or a gig; we really do love a gig.
What was the first album / single you bought and what format did you buy it on?
This is like a big disco glitter-ball spotlight on my age… It was Paul Young ‘No Parlez’ bought as a present for my Cabbage Patch Doll, Zoe.  She was mad into vinyl. Oooo this has got me all nostalgic now – I remember how the papershop at the  bottom of the street sold three 7″s for £1.00.  Soft Cell‘s ‘Tainted Love’ was definitely amongst the first pocket money purchases there.


What would be your band T-shirt of choice?

More nostalgia… there were many.  I proudly rocked Silverfish’s ‘Hips, Lips, Tits, Power’ for a time and on reflection the trip to HMV for a Beastie Boys t-shirt was ill-advised at 13 when unbeknown to me it screamed ‘Get Off My Dick’ on the back of it!  To be honest, my ultimate fave is always going to be The Charlatans ‘looking for the orange one’.


What is a favourite family meal at your house and do you have a great recipe to share?

It’s an oldie but a goodie… the classic roast dinner.  No top tips I’m afraid, other than best shared with a whole load of friendly folk and maybe a vino tinto or two.


Apart from Our Kids Social (obviously) what would you recommend for family fun in the North West?

I’m scared to share our gems, but this is easy – Projekts Skatepark, Rock Over Climbing and… The Conker Crew!

What are you looking forward to most at Happy Sundaze in September?

Another easy one… A right good boogie – might practice that flossing-malarky.  Ukelele playing must surely feature somewhere and of course, The Prof.  And as for The Conker Crew, well, we are looking forward to sharing our fresh air fun with a whole host of fabulous people at a fabulous venue.  Can. Not. Wait.


Happy Sundaze is going to be at Manchester Monastery 16th Sept – tickets will be on sale soon from Our Kids Social website here
Follow The Conker Crew on FB here and get yourself on these fantastic classes!