I spent a delightful day at Westfield Stratford yesterday in the company of some really lovely bloggers at Save the Children’s Woolly Wonderland. In theory I was there with my work hat on but I slipped it off, swapped it for antlers and joined in the festive fun! Woolly Wonderland is a veritable feast of free activities and workshops all to celebrate and highlight Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day. It runs every day from today until Jumper Day on Friday 13th with something for all the family, yesterday we ran two blogger preview sessions to give people a little taste of what’s on offer over the next 9 days and I got to go to both!

Meeting the Gruffalo!

I didn’t have my own children with me and I thought I would just mooch about a bit and take some photos but this story is not one I can go all ‘I’m a grown up’ on! The storyteller got it just right, the warmth and gentleness in his voice drew us all in, he worked his storytelling magic

The Gruffalo, Scrummy Mummy

Scrummy Mummy

But something was missing…and then, this fella put in an appearance and we were transfixed!

The Gruffalo Arrives

The Gruffalo arrives!

There was cuddling, lots and lots of cuddling. There were some very happy children and even those who had been a little unsure at first were totally won over by the Gruffalo

The Gruffalo at Woolly Wonderland

Even some very big children! (No, I’m not wearing a fetching festive hat, that is a woollen Christmas tree behind me!)

The Gruffalo meets Thinly Spread!

In the evening we moved the beanbags to one side and welcomed some very crafty bloggers into Woolly Wonderland to have a go at customising a jumper to wear on Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.

With instructions from the John Lewis make over team we snipped and sewed, chattered and nattered; this was the mellowest, most relaxed blogger event I have ever been to.

I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of our labours on Friday 13th when I hope all these bloggers and YouTube vloggers will don their finished projects and help make the world better with a sweater! The knitters amongst us were delighted to get some expert tuition from Sue Stratford who demonstrated how to make a tiny Christmas jumper to hang on our trees and I learnt a little bit about intarsia which I have been meaning to have a go at for ages! I’ll let you know how this one turns out when it’s finished!

If you fancy having a go at some jumper decorating, meeting the Gruffalo or Elmer, knitting with Wool and the Gang, Debbie Bliss or Sue Stratford or being read to by some very special guest celebrities, sign up for a free session here. If you are at Westfield Stratford and realise you are in need of a quick story or desperately need to get crafty pop on over to Woolly Wonderland outside John Lewis and Costa on the first floor and see if there is space in a session!

While you’re there why not pop into the Woolly Wonderland photo booth and get snap happy? Liz and I did just that!

Thinly Spread and Me and My Shadow Save the Children Christmas Jumper Day

Full details of workshops, times and details on booking can be found on the Woolly Wonderland website but here is an outline of what’s in store!

Wool and the Gang

Knitwear brand Wool and the Gang’s workshops will cover all the basics skills you need to get you knitting your very own Christmas jumper in no time. During the session, you’ll start a Christmas knitting project – a perfect woolly yuletide gift for you or a friend. You’ll receive everything needed to start and complete it: 1 yarn ball and Wool and the Gang’s easy-to-follow pattern, Rosewood Knitting Needles and expert guidance from The Gang.


Enjoy an interactive storytime at Westfield and meet the real Gruffalo face to face! There will be fun activities to keep you busy on the day and to take home for Christmas holidays.

Mary Portas will join the Gruffalo on Saturday 7 December from midday.

Elmer in the Snow

Join Elmer the patchwork elephant for an hour of story-telling, giveaways and fun activities. Best of all children will have the chance to meet Elmer himself! Included is a reading of Elmer in the Snow, which is being given away for free by Me Books this Christmas to all Save the Children supporters with Apple tablets and phones. On the 12 December we will have special guest Dom Joly narrating Elmer in the Snow, do not miss out on this fun filled session.

Debbie Bliss

Join knitting supremo Debbie Bliss for a festive knitter natter on 9 and 10 December. She’ll be sharing insider craft tips and running through an especially made pattern to create a cute mini-Christmas jumper. All wool, materials and needles will be provided by Deramores (though you are welcome to bring your own) and you can take your handy piece home.

Customise your Christmas jumpers with John Lewis

Pimp, vamp and customise festive sweaters at a customisation workshop by a makeover team from John Lewis. All you need to do is bring a jumper and then choose your favourite design!

Knitting with Sue Stratford

Best-selling knitting author Sue Stratford will show you how to knit a mini Christmas jumper. Attendees will receive everything needed to knit their very own mini Christmas jumper decoration complete with an intarsia heart so that they can take it home with them ready for Christmas Jumper Day.

And LOOK! Wool ball Christmas Trees!

Woolly Wonderland

And happy children!

This post is part of a mini Christmas Jumper Day Blogathon here on Thinly Spread! Come back on Monday when I will have some very special #XmasJumperDay news!

Some of you will know that I have had a very close blogging relationship with Save the Children since Thinly Spread first started back in 2010. Newer readers may not know that back in my archive there are tales of a trip to Mozambique as part of the vaccines campaign, a further trip to the UN in New York to highlight the Healthworkers campaign followed by posts on campaigns and fund-raising ever since – I am now working part-time as a community liaison officer for Save the Children which makes my heart sing. Thank you to all the people who have supported my charitable blogging efforts over the years and who rise to my call to action again and again, you have helped me find my niche and encouraged me on this journey – you all know who you are, I hope you’ll join me now as this year ends and on into the new one! Thank you – from the bottom of my heart.

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