Under-fives activities in Haringey

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The fact that I can never tell when and for how long Gertie will sleep makes planning out-of-the-house activities quite tricky. When she wakes up from her morning nap (anywhere between 9am and 11.30am) I usually have to scramble through various children’s centre and library timetables looking for something on at that precise moment. There’s no room for delay as the time between naps equals exactlythe amount of time needed to get out and get back without risking a pushchair sleep.

Anyway, I’ve been promising a listings post for some time now, organised by days so it is an easy reference for others like me. Sorry it’s taken me so long but it turns out there’s bloody loads going on in Haringey. I’ve managed Monday-Wednesday – rest of the week to follow.  Continue reading



Filed under Local stuff, Things to do with kids in Haringey

The rise of budget gyms

Originally written for The Guardian

easyGym, Wood Green

easyGym, Wood Green. Photo: Mohammad Hoseini

Poor gyms. They’ve suffered a few knocks recently. First there was an OFT investigation into unfair membership contracts. Then there was the Twitterstorm when LA Fitness refused to cancel the contract of a couple when the woman had fallen pregnant and the man had lost his job. And this double-dipper recession certainly isn’t helping membership numbers.

But out of the ashes rises a phoenix – in the form of no-contract, budget operators. A few weeks ago, not one but two leaflets advertising new no-contract gyms in my area dropped through my door. One was from The Gym Group, which has been on the scene since 2008 and currently has 20 gyms across England, with plans to open 20 more by the end of the year. The other leaflet was bright orange and familiarly fonted – easyGym; yes, Stelios has entered the fitness market.

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Filed under Clippings, Local stuff

Back to Netball

There are so many things from my youth I wish I could do again. I don’t mean to do them better, I literally mean to do them again because they were fun. Take GCSEs for example – how nice to spend your days doing a bit of art followed by an hour or so of French study, followed by some messing about in a science lab, followed by a nice swim. Or university clubs and societies – all those activities laid on, and on your doorstep – fantastic. A summer camp – that would be fun wouldn’t it? Heck, I never even went to girl guides as a kid but I sure would like to go now.

While, sadly, I can’t go back and do most of these things, but tonight I did get one welcome blast from the past … Continue reading


Filed under Local stuff

A Gertrude by any other name would still look as sweet

My daughter’s name has been listed in the top ten most hated baby names. Apparently Gertrude is considered too ‘ugly’. This doesn’t come as a huge surprise to me – there are members of my own family who refuse to speak her name and insist on calling her Trudie. Continue reading


Filed under Family

Painting pebbles

Stan is off school sick again so we are back to trying to find enough activities to fill a day that feels very long when you can’t go out and have no visitors. Inspired by the fab Red Ted Art’s blog, today we made these cute little fellows:

Painting pebbles: Five Little Ducks

The idea is that they are props for singing ‘Five Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day”. We collected the stones from the garden – possibly the bit Stan enjoyed the most – making sure we had a mummy and daddy (in our sexist version mummy duck quacks away and no little ducks come swimming back, but when daddy duck gets on the case they all come rushing home). Continue reading


Filed under Crafts, Family

Day trips from London: Mountfitchet Castle

Mountfitchet castle

We gave Stan his first castle experience at the weekend with a visit to Mountfitchet Castle, near Stansted. Continue reading


Filed under Days out from London, Family, Things to do with kids in London

I heart London parks – Stationers, Mayfield Road, N8

Stationers Park map

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and that was certainly true when we left London to live in Shanghai for a year in 2009. In China entertaining Stanley usually involved a sweaty 45-minute cab ride across the city just to visit a soft play area, such was the dearth of accessible and affordable things to do with kids. Here in London there is an embarrassment of freebies – museums, galleries, children’s centres, city farms etc etc. But my favourite of all, is the parks – specifically, local playgrounds. Continue reading


Filed under Family, Local stuff, Things to do with kids in Haringey, Things to do with kids in London, Uncategorized

Stanley says … #1

(Sitting on the toilet)

“Don’t let me fall down into the poo tank. That would be nasty.

But if I fell into the poo tank with you, that would be ok.”

We found love in a hopeless place.

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Filed under Family, Stanley says

No-sew tutu – #pinaddicts challenge

I’m taking part in a blogging Pinterest crafting challenge! (This will come as no surprise to those who know me well, it was only a matter of time before something like this happened). It’s very simple – you find something you want to make on Pinterest, make it, and then show everyone else.

I decided to make this no-sew tutu that I pinned on my Pinterest board from Red Ted Art’s Blog.

It really is easy-peasy. You just cut strips of netting into lengths (I ordered mine off eBay – £2.99 for 25yds). Fold them in half and lay on top of a ribbon or piece of elastic Continue reading


April 8, 2012 · 8:32 am

Chocolate Cornflakes Easter nests

I found this fantastic idea on the blog Oscar’s Lunch. You take a simple chocolate Cornflake cake recipe, make a little dip in the middle and fill it with mini eggs. Et voila, crafting, baking and all sorts of yummy mummyness in one go. (I’m already such a cliche, I may as well embrace it.)

Chocolate cornflakes Easter nests

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Filed under Family, Interesting stuff online, Recipes