Friday, 2 December 2016

Top Christmas Activities for Children in London: Frost Fair and Winter Tail

We Londoners are pretty lucky; 
London is one of the best cities to spend Christmas. 
The Christmas markets and fairs across town, 
the stunning decorations and jovial atmosphere 
can turn even the most Scroodgiest person into a holiday season fan. 

But Christmas in London is even more magical for children: 
with the Wonderland, the countless Grottos and shows, 
we are certainly spoilt for choice.  

To help parents navigate the festive season, 
I have put together a series of posts
with a selection of the best reasonably priced Christmas activities 
in London for all the family to enjoy.

Top Christmas Activities London, A Mum in London

Frost Fair Festival & Victorian Grotto, Museum of Docklands 

This weekend 3 & 4 December 
head to Canary Wharf for a weekend of frosty fun. 

The Museum of London Docklands will be transformed 
into a wintry wonderland full of surprises for families:  
enjoy enchanting performances, 
explore different Christmas traditions 
play fun games and do festive crafts. 

Entry is free and this event is appropriate for all ages. 

Plus, from the 3rd December, Father Christmas 
will be setting up his Victorian Grotto at the Museum of Docklands. 
With Victorian carols being sung in the distance 
and festive decorations all around, 
children can meet Father Christmas and receive a present. 
The Grotto ticket is £7 per child including the gift. 

Top Christmas Activities London, A Mum in London

Winter Tail, Chessington World of Adventures

Londoners' favourite theme park 
has been transformed into a land of Elves: 
we recently visited Father Christmas there 
and spent a day full of festive fun. 

A smiling Elf guided us through a pine forest 
to a cosy chalet where Father Christmas was waiting for the boys.
After greeting them both by their name, 
he offered them a big present and a treat. 
Then we went to the Elves' Kitchen and had messy fun decorating biscuits 
which we ate whilst watching a Christmassy play featuring pandas. 

Chessington's rides are closed now for winter, 
but the Zoo and Aquarium are as open as usual. 
What's more, visitors have got the chance to see the lions' newborn cubs,  
which were born this Autumn at the zoo.

Tickets for the Winter Tail cost £20 
and include the Grotto visit and present for children, 
plus a hot drink and snack for adults 
{babies under 12 months go free}.



Museum of London Docklands Frost Fair Festival on 3rd and 4th December | Victorian Santa from 3rd to 23th December, info and book here
Winter Tail at Chessington World of Adventures until 2nd January 2017, see info here


Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to both events. 
All views and wording my own.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Ballet for Kids: Frequently Asked Questions

It is believed that ballet is one the best forms of exercise for children; 
after spending most of my childhood afternoons in a tutu and pointes
I would definitely agree. 

The benefits of ballet in physical, emotional and behavioural terms 

make it one of the best after-school activities for children. 
But when it comes to enrolling one's child in a ballet class,
parents can have lots of questions.

Luckily, Julie Altree, Director of Pre-Ballet 

at London's Mayfair Danceworks International Ballet Academy
answers some of the most frequently asked questions 
parents have about sending their kids to ballet 
and gives precious advice.


Ballet for Kids: frequently asked questions


What is the best age for children to start ballet?

There is no "best age" as such. Children can begin to dance as soon as they can walk or toddle! So why not bring them along to a Pre-Ballet class? Some parents worry that their child won't have the focus and discipline to take part in ballet, but Pre-Ballet classes are geared towards helping little ones enjoy dance and music at their level. These classes are a colourful and imaginative introduction to the world of ballet. The emphasis is on creativity and fun in a child-friendly environment. 

If your child dreams of a career in ballet they should be building to a more technique based training from age six or seven. Danceworks International Ballet Academy aims to have their students taking a professional class by the age of 12. However, if you do have an older child who develops an interest in ballet, they should still be encouraged to try out a class. Ballet can be a fulfilling hobby and there are a few late starters who have made it: Misty Copeland, soloist of American Ballet Theatre, started dancing at 13.


What are the benefits of ballet 
for the physical and emotional development of children?

The physical benefits of ballet include improvements in muscular strength, flexibility and range of motion. Ballet teaches children to find and hold a good posture throughout moving combinations. This legacy of postural awareness is a lifelong gift and will save much back pain in later life. Balance and coordination will also improve along with proprioception. Jump combinations will improve stamina and cardiovascular health. 

Pre-ballet classes will help children to pick up useful skills such as listening to a teacher, observing and following activities, building a circle or line, taking turns and working as part of a group. These skills can transfer to nursery or school situations. I've noticed that the children grow in confidence and independence with each class. A really important benefit is happiness. The children and parents seem to enjoy the class so much. For an older child the benefits are even more sophisticated; finding their own motivation, achieving a sense of pride and accomplishment which can boost self-esteem. Taking part in a performance can help develop commitment, artistry, teamwork and confidence. 

Ballet and boys: is ballet training for young boys different?

In the early years, the training for boys and girls is the same. It's only later that boys and girls will take specialised classes; boys will focus on jumps and pirouettes, girls will take pointe class. There are some ways in which we teach boys a little differently, for example, port de bras, the way we move our arms, boys are encouraged to be a little stronger, with clean, simple lines.

How can parents choose the best ballet/dance class for their child?

You can, of course, check out websites. These will give you a wealth of information about the school's mission, the teachers, their experience and qualifications and the class timetables. But I think the best way is to try a class! You can see how your child responds to the teacher and the class. 

You should be looking for a safe environment, a knowledgeable and approachable teacher who has a good rapport with the children and is able to control the class with appropriate firmness and fairness. Every child and every teacher is unique so trial a class, see if your child is comfortable, happy, engaged and feels encouraged. With a pre-ballet student, I'd advise persevering for a few weeks; sometimes it takes a little longer for the child to feel confident, especially for a shy child.


Danceworks International Ballet Academy (DIBA) offers pre-ballet classes for children aged 18 months to 4 years at their central London studios in Mayfair (nearest Tube station is Bond Street). You can book a free trial class.




Many thanks to Danceworks International Ballet Academy 
and Julie Altree for this interview. 
Photo courtesy of DIBA.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Best Sleeping Bag for Baby: Swiss Zizzz

Did you know that one of the most common reasons 
children wake up in the middle of the night 
is because they are too hot or too cold? 

Both adults and children's body temperature 
fluctuates during sleep cycles; 
this way our body help us fall asleep and adjusts our temperature 
depending on how cool or warm the bedroom is. 

Natural fabrics like cotton, linen and wool 
help our body regulate its temperature, 
thus increasing our sleep quality and quantity.

In simple words: the more comfortable a child is,
the more they are likely to sleep!

Best sleeping bag for baby

Cue Zizzz sleeping bags for babies 
and children up to 4 years-old. 

Zizzz sleeping bags are made with carefully selected materials
that promote healthy and comfortable sleeping:
the sleeping bag's filling is made from Swisswool,
a natural breathable material of the highest quality
made from 88% virgin Swiss wool and 12% vegetable fibres.
This makes it naturally thermoregulating and helps it trap moisture away.

The made in Europe sleeping bags
have a lining made from soft organic Fair Trade cotton
which is free from toxins, thus reducing the risk of allergies.

We were sent a Zizzz sleeping bag 3 years ago,
and have been using it every day ever since.
Both the boys look very comfortable and sleep soundly in it,
it is machine washable {wool cycle} and very durable.

Best sleeping bag for baby

Zizzz just launched their new collection,
with Scandi inspired patterns in beautiful bright colours.
They also added some new practical features:
a double zipper to make nappy changing easier
and double press stud opening for an adjustable neckline.

So, if you are looking to buy a new sleeping bag
or replace your polyester-filled one,
Zizzz sleeping bags offer amazing value for money.

What's more, they are offering all A Mum in London readers
a fantastic 10% off of the purchase of a sleeping bag;
{use code LONDON10 at checkout, valid until 20/05/2017}.

In a nutshell: Tried and tested for 3 years,
this is the best sleeping bag for babies and children out there.


Zizzz sleeping bags start from £70 | Shop the range here


 In collaboration with

Monday, 21 November 2016

French Chic in Richmond: Jacadi Opens New UK Store

Every Christmas, my mother used to dress me and my little sister 
in Jacadi's velours shorts and embroidered Peter pan collar shirts; 
it was like a family tradition. 

Usually, the three of us would go buy our festive outfits 
in a central Paris Jacadi boutique 
and left with our buys beautifully wrapped in light blue boxes. 

Since then, Jacadi has expanded across the world  
and has opened several boutiques in the London, 
the latest addition being the Jacadi boutique in Richmond 
that opened its doors a few days ago. 

Jacadi opens new store in Richmond, London

Christmas in {Parisian} Style 

Jacadi's focus is on classic timeless designs 
high-quality materials and craftsmanship. 
Being inspired by France's cultural heritage, 
the AW16 collection is available for newborns to 12-year-olds. 

From Liberty print dresses and embroidered jumpers 
to velvet rompers and traditional leather shoes, 
browsing through the collection 
will have you think 'I wish this would come in my size'. 


New Jacadi store in London,

It is most certainly the place to go 
to shop festive outfits for the little ones 
{my favourites are the pleated dresses for girls 
and the jumpers with the knitted patterns for boys}.

Jacadi also offers a comprehensive range 
of nursery essentials like super soft sleeping bags, 
embroidered bed linen and the cutest cuddly toys, 
all of which are available at the new Richmond store.

In a nutshell: elegance, quality, timeless style: 
the best of Parisian chic for children.


New Jacadi boutique in Richmond, 10 the Quadrant, TW9 1BP
View the collections here


In collaboration with

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Top Natural Beauty Products Made in England

When it comes to purchasing products
I will be applying on the children's and my skin
I can be a bit particular.

A firm believer in the adage
'If you would not eat it, don't put it on your skin',
I want our beauty products to be as natural as possible.

And made locally.

Luckily, some pretty amazing beauty products
for adults and children are being made in the UK.
And - good news - they don't cost the earth.

Natural beauty products made in England

Yardley of London 

Boasting the Queen's seal of approval and made in Britain since 1770,
Yardley London is a distinguished British brand
offering a wide array of beauty products
which contain over 95% natural ingredients.
I was sent to review Yardley's newest products,
and I only have good things to say about them.

First of all, Yardley's new Moisturising Fragrance Body Mist
is one of the best moisturising products
for women who have little time on their hands.

It is light, not oily, smells delicious 
and is made from 97% natural ingredients. 
Simply spray it on the body after showering
there is no need to apply a moisturising cream 
and wait for it to dry out before getting dressed. 

Then, the new 'English Dahlia' range smells absolutely fabulous.
The warm, feminine fragrance smells of peony, citrus and dahlia, 
ideal for the winter months.

It comprises the Eau de Toilette, 
the deodorant and the nourishing hand cream; 
which priced at just £9.99, £2.49 and £4.49, 
make this is the perfect pampering gift 
for your loved ones or even yourself. 

Natural beauty products for children made in England

Dubble Trubble by Daniel Galvin Jr

Dubble Trubble is a children's products range 
containing organic botanical extracts 
that was created in 2012 
by celebrated London hair colourist Daniel Galvin Jr 
after the birth of his son. 

Most haircare products contain chemicals and synthetic ingredients 
which are easily absorbed by the children's delicate skin 
and can lead to health issues, like asthma and eczema.

Dubble Trubble range's emphasis on the organic market 
translates into great beauty products that are gentle to children's skin, 
as they are made with over 70% organic ingredients 
and are free from nasties, like parabens, 
mineral oils and animal ingredients. 

The range comprises of five pH balanced hair and body washes 
and of one detangling conditioner spray; 
all products come in fun colourful containers 
and smell absolutely fantastic.

The 2in1 wash is a shampoo and body wash, 
 a convenient solution for parents who want to avoid using 
two different products on the hair and body of their children. 

The Cool Cucumber Detangling Spray 
is the go-to product if your child has fine curly hair. 
The Baby has the most adorable corkscrew curls, 
but they tend to become like a sugar cloud every time I comb them. 
I used the Detangling spray on his wet hair, 
and his curls kept their lovely shape. 

Magic!


* Yardley's new products are available at major and independent chemists and online at www.yardleylondon.co.uk
* Dubble Trubble products are priced at £3 and are available to buy from Ocado and Tesco.

Disclosure: Products marked with an * are PR samples. 
All views and wording my own. 


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