Tuesday, 29 July 2014

London's Best Fountains & Paddling Pools

"Sunny with temperatures reaching 30ºC"  
is always a welcome forecast in England, 
but it can prove a bit difficult to keep cool  
and entertain children at the same time. 

Luckily, the capital is bursting with cool spots 
and water features to keep everyone refreshed 
during the summer months. 

This is our top three {and free} 
London pools and fountains. 

A Mum in London

Southbank's Fountains

A fountain with a twist: 
jets of water appear and disappear quickly, 
creating water rooms 
where you can keep dry{ish} if you go to the centre. 

 A very fun way to keep cool, 
both for adults & kids. 

Parent Tip: unwind with a Pimm's 
from the bar next to the fountain.

A Mum in London

Bishop's Park Urban Beach 

London's only urban beach 
is a brilliant place combining sand and shallow pools,  
on the banks of the Thames. 

The big sandpit, the pools with the sprinklers 
and the trees make Bishop's Park 
one of the best summer destinations in London. 

Parent Tip: pack a picnic 
and pick a premium spot under the leafy trees. 

A Mum in London

 Wimbledon Park Paddling Pool 

The exciting water features 
and the beautiful park surrounding it, 
make Wimbledon Park's paddling pool 
a busy happy place on a hot summer's day. 

Plus, if the children get bored 
there is a big playground for them to enjoy. 

Parent Tip: make a day out of it 
and go for some mini golf or tennis in Wimbledon Park.

Southbank Fountains, open every day except Mondays, excluding bank holidays. 
Nearest tube station is Embankment.

Bishop's Park Water Features, open daily 10am to 7pm during the summer months.
Nearest tube station is Putney Bridge.

Wimbledon Park Paddling Pool, open from June 1 to August 31, from 10am to 5pm. 
Nearest tube station is Wimbledon Park.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Family TV

The Toddler and I were recently invited
to the gorgeous Ham Yard Hotel in Soho
to celebrate, along with the very cute SpongeBob,
NOWTV joining forces with Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. 

With the all mighty Peppa reigning high in our house, 
this could only be good news, 
as we always rely on her to keep the Toddler entertained 
while we rush to prepare dinner after a long day out. 

Featuring an array of children's favourite characters 
like Peppa Pig, Dora, Ben & Holly and SpongeBob 
this means plenty of entertainment 
for the summer holidays. 

A Mum in London

What is even better 
is that you can get access to all this fun 
with just £4.99 a month 
via NOWTV's instant and contract-free 
Entertainment Month Pass

With 12 channels, there are plenty of series and shows 
for parents to enjoy too, 
once the kids are tucked in bed. 

Plus, the NOW TV Entertainment Month Pass
works on all the devices (iPad, smartphones, etc),
so you can be sure to have it with you
wherever you go this summer
{super convenient on long car journeys}. 

In a nutshell: entertainment for all the family 
that won't break the bank.
NOWTV Month Pass £4.99, more info here

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. 


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.