Saturday, 23 July 2016

Surviving Summer Holidays with the Kids in London

They're upon us; the summer holidays. 
And while parents across the country 
rejoice at the thought of not having to do the school run, 
the prospect of keeping the kiddos happy and entertained 
for six whole weeks can appear slightly daunting. 

Fear not. 

If you live in or visiting London, 
here are some ideas that could help 
with having fun with your brood.

A Mum in London

What: Roger Hargreaves's adorable Mr Men and Little Misses
will be spending their summer at the Southbank;
to celebrate 45 years,
a pop up exhibition at the ground floor of the OXO Tower
invites all of Mr Men fans to a mini museum
complete with a library and a collection of the rarest memorabilia.

When: 24 to 29 August, 10:00 to 18:00
Admission Free

Ideal: for preschoolers and early years' children

A Mum in London

What: The imposing period building right on the Piccadilly circus
is home to a wide array of very weird objects:
from a two-headed cockerel to dinosaur eggs
and a toilet paper wedding gown (!),
a visit to Ripley's is full of surprises and kitsch humour.
We went there, invited by Families Online,
and had a fun day filled with curiosities.

When: open every day from 10:00 to 22:30
Admission (pre-booked) from £13.98

Ideal: for older children and teenagers

A Mum in London

Japanese anime screenings 
What: To the delight of Japanese anime fans, 
the Japan Foundation is hosting a series of screenings 
and promises to brighten up children's summer days. 
The screenings take place at the BAFTA building in Piccadilly. 

When: Saturday 30 July and Saturday 6 August 
Admission free, booking required

Ideal: for children aged 8 and over 
(check age suitability for each film) 

A Mum in London

Video Games at the Science museum 

What: A hands-on and fully interactive two week gaming event, 
featuring the very best video games and consoles from the past 40 years. 
From Donkey Kong to Mario and Minecraft to the latest consoles, 
this event will delight video games fans, young and older.

When: from 22 July to 7 August 
Pre-book tickets for 90 minutes sessions 
Tickets from £6.50, under 3s go free

Ideal: for young children over 5 and teenagers, of course

Mr Men at the Southbank, OXO Tower WharfLondon SE1 9PH 
Ripley'sPiccadilly Circus, London W1J 0DA
Japanese foundation anime screenings, BAFTA building 195  Piccadilly, London W1J 9LN
Power Up at the Science Museum, 

Disclosure: Complimentary tickets to Ripley's,
courtesy of Families Online
and invitation to Power Up VIP event

Friday, 8 July 2016

Greek Islands Summer Style

We are counting days; 
our summer holidays can't come soon enough. 

It's true that the stubborn grey cloud over London,
the not so summery temperatures 
and the post-Brexit grim ambiance 
are not much help.

What does help though is browsing summer looks online
and preparing a virtual suitcase
full of swimwear, light dresses and sandals
for our escape to the Greek islands. 

A Mum in London

Typically, a summer's day on a Greek island 
is spent on or close to the beach;
with day temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees,
it's essential to wear natural fabrics,
shades and of course comfy sandals.

The cotton broderie maxi dress* pictured above
is a staple of my summer holiday wardrobe:
the cotton fabric is light & airy,
the maxi length is convenient for wearing all day long,
{over swimwear to go to the beach
or accessorised with a statement necklace in the evening},
and its simple straight line is flattering.

Pair it with traditionnal Greek leather sandals
{good value ones can be found
at the open air markets on many Greek islands},
good quality shades to protect your eyes
and a straw hat and you are ready
for the cool, relaxed outdoor life of the Greek Summer.

Explore Greece and its islands:
Kythira, Paros, Syros, Greece's best beaches, Tinos

1. Cotton maxi dress £30 from JDWilliams
2. Handmade Greek leather sandals 145 euros, also available at Harvey Nichols & Selfridges
3. Fendi Sunglasses, £429, from JDWilliams
4. Straw hat, currently on sale £7 from JDWilliams

Disclosure: Items marked with * were gifted.
In association with JDWilliams.

Thursday, 30 June 2016

London's Secret Wildlife Garden

I love how London is full of secret places 
that make you feel you are in the middle 
of the English countryside. 

Some of them are neatly hidden away near the Thames
while others are right under Londoners' noses. 

And there is one that is nestled 
in the shadow of one of the world's finest museums
right in the middle of one of the city's busiest roads,

A Mum in London

The Natural History Museum's wildlife garden 
is a little green patch of peace and quiet, 
that is full of surprises and hidden adventures for the little ones. 

Every time we go to the NHM, 
after the obligatory visit to see the dinosaurs, 
the boy always asks to go to the 'secret garden'.  

You see, opening hidden compartments 
and searching for ancient fossils 
are pretty exciting things to do for a 4-year-old.

A Mum in London

The Wildlife Garden, despite its rather small size, 
has plenty of  things for the little ones to discover: 
there is a Bee Tree, a tree trunk with an in-built beehive, 
and cupboards that reveal the different colours of the soil layers. 

The most impressive one though is the limestone slab 
with an Iguanodon's footprints that date back 140 million years. 

There is also a pond with beautiful water lilies 
and an adventurous stepping stones crossing,  
as well as a fenced meadow full of wildflowers. 

A Mum in London

What's extraordinary 
is that this little garden in the heart of London 
is home to an impressive 2,600 species of fauna and flora.

From tadpoles and holy blue butterflies 
to foxes, blue tit birds, and bee orchids.

This is an invaluable place
to initiate children to the wonders of nature 
and make exploring and learning about the world around us 
so easy and so much fun.

In nutshell: a piece of natural heaven
in the heart of busy London.
The Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum
is open daily from the end of March to early November.
Entry is free. More info here.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Tiny Talk: Babies' Signing Classes

Every new parent knows the frustration 
of not being able to understand why their baby's crying. 

Do they want milk, a nap, a cuddle?
It's hard to know those first months. 

This is exactly what Tiny Talk
an awarded baby signing class, 
aims to resolve in a fun and very interactive way. 

A Mum in London

Research shows that from as early as 6 to 9 months old, 
babies can begin to tell you what they want and how they feel. 

Since babies gain control of their hands 
much earlier than they start talking, 
baby signing can help them communicate, 
thus alleviating the frustration 
of not being able to get their message across. 

We attended the new Tiny Talk class in Fulham
taught by the lovely Linda,
and had a fantastic time of learning through fun. 

A Mum in London

The hour long class focuses on a different set of words each time 
and the signs are integrated 
with the use of rhymes, songs, and toys. 

There are also plenty of sensory activities, 
like bubbles, tactile rubber shapes and voile scarves 
to encourage the little ones to develop their communications skills 
{the bubble machine is a firm favourite}. 

At the end, a certificate, followed by a round of applause, 
is handed to the babies who manage to sign a new sign, 
and lovely treats await babies and adults alike. 

In a nutshell: a fun and educative class 
for babies in SW London.

Tiny Talk classes in SW London: Putney, Fulham, Battersea and Balham, see more details here
Cost is £8 per class

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Piccolo Plates: Healthy Food for Fussy Eaters

I know first hand how some little ones 
are hard to please when it comes to food; 
'too green', 'too crunchy', 'not crunchy enough', 
'I'm not hungry, mummy'... know the drill. 

So when Piccolo Plates got in touch to kindly ask 
if we would like to review their homemade dishes for children, 
I promptly said yes.

A Mum in London

Piccolo Plates was created by Eleanor and Bella, 
who have a real passion for healthy, nutritious food; 
with a background in the food industry
and a degree in personalised nutrition,
they decided to offer families a helping hand 
with cooking healthy food that the kiddos will enjoy.

Piccolo Plates' menu features 
a variety of utterly scrumptious classic dishes, 
like fish and cottage pie, cod goujons, butternut squash, and risotto.

All dishes, costing £5 each and providing 2 servings, 
are made with the freshest ingredients, 
do not contain added salt or sugar, 
and are packed with vegetables and natural flavour. 

A Mum in London

The dishes, which are delivered for free across London, 
are chilled and only need to be warmed up in the oven.

We were kindly sent the whole menu to taste 
and I can safely report it went down a treat 
and the kids kept asking for more 
{our favourites were the cottage and fish pies}. 

And, if you are like me and secretly dream of the kid's fish pie, no problem! 
Bella and Eleanor can make larger portions for adults, 
more jazzed up with herbs and spices. 

In a nutshell: a perfect way to get the little fussy eaters 
eat their greens and ask for more!

Piccolo Plates, all dishes cost £5 (two servings)

In association with

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