Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Christmas in July: the Argos edition

Being a blogger in London is never boring. 

In the midst of a heatwave, 
you might get invited to a gorgeous Marylebone town house  
and get greeted by an array of Christmas trees 
and a giant Lego Santa. 

Welcome to Christmas in July 
{it's a bit weird, but in a fun way}.

A Mum in London

Along with the Toddler, 
{who just couldn't believe his eyes}  
we had the chance to preview 
all the latest trends & products for Christmas 2014 
and here's what we report. 

We loved the FujiFilm Instax camera, 
which produces brilliant instant pictures 
and is super easy to operate 
{it makes a great present for gadgety dads}. 

I liked the festive tableware and decorations;   
they were simple and unpretentious, in warm shades of red. 

A Mum in London

In the toy room,
the Toddler was equally in awe & terrified
of a big moving dinosaur
{extra mummy points for being inflatable & easy to store}.

He also liked the floor piano keyboard,
ideal for creating family concerts by running along it.

We saw some other novelty toys,
like a creature with slime
{it's supposed to be a big hit with kids},
but I think Santa will be delivering more traditional toys to this house,
like the old time classic Lego toys.

After eating a few gingerbread Christmas cookies,
we waved goodbye to the giant Lego Santa
and I had to deal with convincing a 2 year old
that Father Christmas won't be visiting for another five months.

FujiFilm Instax, £80.99, at argos.co.uk
See the whole Lego range at argos.co.uk 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mushroom Ragout for Two

"My sister is a great cook". 
This is what I'll reply when asked about my cooking skills.  

Since apparently the cooking talent passed me by, 
I always rely on easy & simple recipes 
to avoid a kitchen disaster. 

Like the scrumptious recipe created 
by Michelin starred chef Tom Aikens for Lactofree 
I was invited to try out 
{special thanks to Mr K for a perfect execution}.

A Mum in London

A delicious mushroom ragout on bread, 
perfect for a brunch or a late night snack. 

It just takes 20 minutes to prepare, 
and it's perfect with a glass of chilled white wine. 

Ingredients 

2 large Portobello mushrooms cut into eights 
150 cream 
100ml Madeira wine (sweet) 
50g finely diced shallots 
40g spreadable 
50ml vegetable oil 
2 garlic cloves finely chopped 
2 slices of sourdough bread (toasted) 
1 tsp picked thyme leaves 
1tbsp chopped chervil 
10 turns of milled pepper 
2g salt

A Mum in London

Cook Me

1. Put a medium frying pan on medium heat, 
add the oil and then, when it is hot, add the spreadable until it melts.

2. Add in the mushrooms and season with the salt and pepper. 

Cook the mixture for 5-8 minutes without stirring it so they start to caramelise  
before adding in the shallots, garlic, and thyme.

3. Cook this for 3-4 minutes then add the Madeira wine.  

Reduce by 2/3 before adding in the cream. 
Reduce this by half and then add the chives and sorrel leaves. 

4. To assemble, place the toasted sourdough onto the plate, 

spread with spreadable and put the mushrooms on top. 

Bon appetit! 

Discover more Tom Aikens lactose free recipes at Lactofree.co.uk

Monday, 14 July 2014

ArchiKids: a Family Festival of Architecture

If flying kites between skyscrapers 
and building a four-metre Lego Gherkin inside the Gherkin 
sounds intriguing & entertaining,  
then save the weekend of 26/27 July 
for lots of creative fun. 

A Mum in London

Archikids Festival

Archikids is an architecture festival   
full of fun and free activities 
that aim to encourage little Londoners 
to explore and interact with their city 
through play and creativity. 

Architects, artists, engineers, designers, students and city workers, 
in association with Open-City's education team,  
run fabulous activities, 
all centred around four festival hubs 
across the City of London's Square Mile. 

A Mum in London

Archikids Activities 

The free activities, aimed at children aged 5-11,  
are utterly brilliant 
{younger/older children are welcome, of course}. 

Check some of them: 
building a lego Gherkin replica inside the Gherkin, 
attending a city planning masterclass for mini architects, 
drawing London's skyline from a roof terrace, 
helping build tree-houses and leafy lairs, 
snapping a London view and turning it to a postcard, 
design, building and testing the Broadgate Skatepark 
and many many more exciting activities. 

In a nutshell: a weekend full of creative fun 
for the whole family. 

Archikids festival, free to attend, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July 2014, from 10am to 17pm
Activities across the City of London’s Square Mile, see map &  info 
View the full programme & book where necessary.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Odds Farm Park Review

A few days ago we hopped in the car, 
said goodbye to the hectic pace of London life, 
and 50 minutes later we found ourselves 
immersed in the beautiful English countryside, 
surrounded by the most adorable farm animals. 

Where? 

in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. 


Odds Farm's Animals 

We were delighted to see that the animals 
seem to live a very happy life. 

They live in big enclosures, allowing plenty of space, 
the farm is very clean 
and the staff seems to genuinely love the animals.

In addition to that, 
being approved by the Rare Breed Survival Trust, 
Odds Farm Park is home to some very rare breeds.

You can see the biblical Jacob sheep, 
the pristine British white cow, the endangered Bagot goat,  
and the adorable Lottie, 
an Eriskay pony, a species classed as critical. 

A Mum in London

Odds Farm's Activities 

There are so many activities for children of all ages. 

Start your visit from the barn,  
where you can feed and pet hens, sheep, 
goats {with very long ears}, and the cutest rabbits. 

The staff holds demonstrations, 
like cow milking, egg collecting and bottle feeding lambs, 
giving the little ones the chance to learn more about farm life. 

Then head outside where the kids can do some go karts, 
ride mini tractors, play crazy golf, watch sheep racing 
and even climb on a real tractor for a tour of the farm 
{this was the Toddler's favourite}. 

A Mum in London

Odds Farm's Playgrounds 

And, if all those activities are not enough for your little ones, 
you'll be glad to hear that Odds Farm Park 
has four outdoor play areas 
and a huge indoor soft play area. 

The new sand and water play area is brilliant 
and the children enjoyed getting wet sand all over them 
{just remember to pack extra clothes}, 
the slides are high and super fast 
and the baby playground has cute wooden play equipment. 

A Mum in London

All in all, Odds Farm Park is a great place for children 
to learn about animals while playing and enjoying themselves. 

The Toddler was ecstatic after petting sheep & rabbits 
and keeps asking when are we going back to the farm. 

And what is really important when visiting places with animals: 
at Odds Farm Park children can see happy animals,   
that are well taken care of and that live in their natural habitats. 

In a nutshell: a great rural outing for all the family.


Odds Farm Park, Adults £12.50, Children over two £11.50. 
There is a cafe & restaurant & plenty of picnic tables if you pack your own lunch. 
They also have year round special events, check them out before you visit. 

Disclosure: we were invited to review the farm park. 
Views & wording our own. 



Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Hopper Tribute at the BFI: Two for One Tickets

After the brilliant Dennis Hopper: the Lost Album exhibition, 
it seemed only natural to continue 
the trip back to the Sixties Americana 
in London's Southbank. 

There, the British Film Institute 
dedicated the whole month of July 
to Dennis Hopper's most radical films from the '60s, 
like the iconic Easy Rider,  
and to some of his later work, 
like the exquisite film noir Blue Velvet

A Mum in London

What is really great about that kind of tributes 
is that one can watch those classic masterpieces come to life 
in state of the art screening rooms with perfect sound. 

Tip for cinephiles: the BFI has the most comfortable chairs 
{and cosy bar} in all London. 

And last but not least.

The lovely people at the BFI are offering you the chance 
to enjoy a special 2 for 1 offer 
when booking your ticket for the Dennis Hopper tribute.

Simply quote 'Hopper' online, 
in person or over the phone (020 7928 3232). 

Dennis Hopper Tribute at the British Film Institute, tickets £10.45, more info
Do not miss the photography exhibition Dennis Hopper: the Lost Album at the Royal Academy of Arts

*photo courtesy of the British Film Institute

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