Monday, 20 February 2017

David Gibb's Seriously Good Music for Children

We love our music in this house. 
There is always a tune playing on our Alexa in the kitchen, 
although most of the times it's children's rhymes and music. 

Which, I hate to admit,  
can have a bit of nerve racking effect on adults, 
especially if you listen to it on loop 
{as much as one can like Sleeping Bunnies
it can get a bit too much after the 18th time}.  

So, when David Gibb contacted me 
to send us his music and invite us to his concert, 
I was pleasantly surprised to discover 
that his music was very different from what we are used to. 

A review of David Gibb's music for children

You see, David Gibb was frustrated 
at the lack of high quality music for children, 
and set out to create an album aimed at families 
with lovely lyrics and quality musicianship at its heart. 

This very tall award winning songwriter and storyteller 
had his music played on BBC Radios,  
performed at Glastonbury Festival, 
and played over 400 concerts.  

And let me tell you, his music is seriously good. 
Inspired by folk music, 
the songs themes feature dragons in bedrooms, 
dreams about swimming in the sea, 
and monkeys swinging in trees. 

David Gibb children's music review

Lyrics are imaginative and telling stories, 
which makes one's mind travel with them. 
Melodies are refreshingly high quality ones, 
using a wide array of instruments, 
and will have you taping along with them. 

You can have a listen to his music over on his website 
and look out for his concert dates; 
his high energy stage presence and lovely music 
will delight both kids and grown-ups. 

In a nutshell: seriously good music for children 
that is actually fun for parents too. 

Find out more about David Gibb's music here

Disclosure: We were invited to David's concert. 
All views and wording my own. 

*All images courtesy of David Gibb.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

February Half Term in London

It's that {dreaded} time of the year again;  
the February half term is upon us, parents. 

Planning lots of fun activities for children 
is the only proven way to keep a bit of sanity 
and maybe to enjoy a *hot* cup of coffee. 

Luckily, London has lots going on this February for families, 
so get out your calendar and start planning!

Half-term activities in London

Family Festival at the Tate Britain

For the art loving families, 
Tate Britain's galleries will be transformed into 
a playing ground on the 11 and 12 February. 

On the menu are artist-led performances, dance, music, 
that will allow children to play with art, architecture and other children.
Plus, there will also be a giant game of catch
and a futuristic journey in 2217!

The festival is FREE of charge 
and runs on the 11 and 12 February 
from 11:00 to 16:00.

Workshops at the Museum of London Docklands

One of London's most family-friendly museums, 
the Museum of London Docklands, 
will be hosting a transport themed array of workshops 
that will have the little ones beeping with joy. 

My top picks are the Set Sail workshop, 
where children will learn about the Cutty Sark 
and build the ship's model to take home, 
and the All Aboard where we'll get to create 
a whole range of train carriages. Choo Choo!

All workshops are FREE drop-in 
and aimed at children over 5 years. 

Orchids Festival at Kew Gardens

This February half-term, the amazing Kew Gardens 
are inviting families to celebrate India's rich culture 
with an array of colourful activities. 

There will be block printing, leaf colouring, face painting 
and, of course, the massive gardens for children to run 
and admire nature at its best. 

Most of the activities are free (except from the face painting) 
and drop-in, so no need to book in advance. 
Entry to Kew Gardens costs £3.50 for children over 3 years. 

Tate Britain family festival, more info here
Museum of London Docklands workshops, read more
Kew Gardens half term activities

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A Day in London: The Tube Delays

London is famous for lots of things: 
its quaint pubs, its rainy weather, 
Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, 
and for its notorious Underground. 

Also known as The Tube. 

Riding the Tube in London is one of the best options 
for tourists and visitors who are visiting the capital
it has an extensive network, 
meaning one can get pretty much everywhere in London with it, 
and the daily cap on the ticket makes it the most affordable way of transport.

On the other hand, things are not so bright 
for Londoners travelling during rush hour with the Tube.
In fact, it's a source of daily misery for commuters, 
who face delays and overcrowding almost everyday. 

Tube Delays in London

As this infographic shows, 
the average working Londoner 
spends over 11 days commuting per year, 
five of which are spent in the underground tunnels. 

Pretty grim, right? 

We know first hand the reality of the Tube delays, 
as Mr K is doing a daily commute of 90 minutes: 
he is spending his mornings rushing to catch an overcrowded train 
in hopes that there will only be 'Good Service' announcements, 
the boys see their daddy less, 
and I spend my evenings checking the Tube's Twitter feed 
to see if he will be back on time.

This is why we introduced the WFH {Work From Home} day, 
and it has been a real game changer.

With teleworking and flexible working being much easier nowadays, 
people can reclaim at least three hours of their life per month
simply by working from home one day a week; 
which they can then spend doing far more enjoyable things 
than staring at their smartphones in a packed train. 

Tube Delays infographic, A Mum in London

Infographic from GoToMeeting UK Blog: find tips and advice about working from home

Disclosure: Collaborative post.
All views and wording my own.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall

One of the high-on-the-list/do-not-miss things 
to do and see when in London 
is definitely going to the Royal Albert Hall. 

This architectural delight of a building just across Hyde Park 
and a 10-minute walk from South Kensington 
is in the heart of Albertopolis, 
a London area which comprises the Natural and Science Museums 
named after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband. 

So, if you are like me and wanted to tick one box off
your London iconic buildings list, here's your chance: 
the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil is presenting 
its latest show, Amaluna, at the Royal Albert Hall.

Cirque de Soleil Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall

We were invited to the premiere of Amaluna; 
having never been to the Royal Albert Hall 
and having never watched a Cirque du Soleil's production, 
we promptly said yes and ticked off two boxes out of our London bucket list. 

And we were in for an unforgettable experience. 

For those that wonder if Cirque du Soleil is worth the money, 
I will quickly reply 'Yes!" 
The costumes, the impeccable performances, 
the live music, the props, the settings and the acrobatics 
transport the audience and can have one saying 'wow' every couple of seconds. 

Cirque de Soleil Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall

Is the Cirque du Soleil Amaluna kid friendly?
Most certainly, if your child can sit and watch a performance. 
The story is a quite simple love story 
and there are some moments where the music can be a bit loud, 
but nothing too scary for young children. 

In fact, on our way out we saw lots of families 
with very happy and excited kids, 
so I guess that when my little ones grow up a bit 
I will definitely be taking them to watch a Cirque du Soleil show.

In a nutshell: a breathtakingly spectacular circus show
for all the family.

Amaluna from the Cirque du Soleil at the Royal Albert Hall, from 12 January to 26 February 2017 | Tickets from £20

Disclosure: Complimentary tickets.
All views and wording my own.

*All images courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

London's Best Views {Alexandra Palace} & Ribs {Bodeans}

Where can one see the best views of London?
Well, that's a question I get asked a lot.
And it has no straight answer
cause, you see, London is quite flat.

So unless you climb on top of one of the City's skyscrapers,
the best place to get a panoramic view of London
is to head north to Alexandra Palace,
one of London's most iconic palaces and the birthplace of television
{the first TV broadcast was made from there in 1936}.

London views from Alexandra Palace

Built on top of a hill and surrounded by a beautiful park,
the palace's terrace offers the best view of London's skyline.
On a clear day, one can see as far
as the Crystal Palace Transmitter in South London.

We went to Alexandra Palace on a sunny but crisp winter's day,
had a stroll around the boating lake,
the children ran along the palace's terrace
and we all soaked up some sunshine
before heading to picturesque Muswell Hill for lunch.

We were all very hungry and craving a big hearty lunch.
So, we went to Bodean's, the BBQ specialists,
and, let me tell you, hearty it was.

First of all, Bodean's is very child-friendly;
the restaurant was full of families enjoying their Sunday lunch
and staff were very nice to our little ones
{plus, they have a kids-eat-free policy from noon to 5pm}.

Secondly, the interiors are cosy and comfortable:
leather banquettes and wooden boards
make the restaurant ideal for those cold winter months.

Thirdly, the food is delicious and the portions enormous.
Bodean's speciality is BBQ meat and sauces,
which will satisfy the most demanding barbecue snob. 

Bodean's Muswell Hill Review

We picked the Nachos supreme {£7.50} with grilled cheese 
and an assortment of sauces for our appetiser: 
we were presented with a mountain of crisp nachos 
covered in grilled cheese and fresh sauces. 

We then shared the Boss Hog meat platter for two {43.90} 
with fries and coleslaw. 
The price might be a bit steep, but this platter is well worth it. 
Firstly, the reality is it can easily feed four adults, 
secondly the meat cuts were tender and full of flavour, 
and thirdly, this is the best BBQ I've had in a while. 

Bodean's kids' menu features children's favourites, 
like burgers, chicken wings and mac 'n' cheese 
and a selection of ice creams for dessert. 
The portions are enormous and both the dishes 
they chose were delicious and went down a treat. 

On the pudding front, one can choose 
from a selection of classic American desserts, 
like brownies, pecan pie and New York cheesecake, 
if, of course, one has space in their tummy after such a feast. 

In a nutshell: Excellent barbeque restaurant 
with a kids eat free policy from noon to 5pm.

Alexandra Palace, Alexandra Palace Way, N22 | Nearest tube station Wood Green 
Bodean's Muswell Hill, London N10 | Nearest tube stations Highgate & Wood Green 
Check your nearest Bodean's here

 Disclosure: Complimentary meal.
All views & wording my own.

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