Tag Archives: family

FUNharmonics – London Philharmonic Orchestra for kids

Official London Philharmonic Orchestra logo

Official London Philharmonic Orchestra logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the recommendation of a fellow London-mum blogger I have just booked tickets for the family to see the London Philharmonic Orchestra, FUNharmonics at the Southbank Centre in May. Presented by CBeebies’ Chris Jarvis, and featuring an 80-strong orchestra, it’s billed as  “the perfect introduction to the extraordinary drama and colour of orchestral music.” Continue reading

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Filed under Family, Things to do with kids in London

The Rain Room at The Barbican

Rain Room, Barbican

Stanley in the rain

My advice to anyone visiting the Barbican’s Rain Room is to treat the two-hour queue as part of the outing. Bring games, books, a picnic. Bond with your neighbouring queuers. The kids can run off and make friends like they are in a Mediterranean holiday club. You can read a book, sit back, relax.

Don’t turn up there with two children, half a Tommee Tippee of watered-down orange juice, one Maisie book and 23% charge on the iPhone.

Ordinarily I would have about-heeled around as soon as I saw the sign: “Queueing time two hours from this point”. Especially as ‘this point’ was about 20 people away. But we’ve all been house bound by sickness for so long – and I was so proud of myself for having made it this far with just me and the kids and public transport – I couldn’t face the idea of going straight home.

In fact, even with my poor preparation, it wasn’t as awful as it sounds. Gertie slept for most of the 140 minutes; Stan didn’t whinge about being bored too much – and it is pretty cool when you do eventually get in there. Continue reading

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Stanley says… #2

“I’m not willy obsessed anymore.”

Stanley, aged 4 1/2

I’m sorry darling, that’s a lifelong affliction.

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My List of Shame: are organic veg boxes harming the environment?

Excuse the handwriting

Ok, ok, the headline is a bit extreme. It’s not like those weekly waxed-boxes are flying private helicopters to climate change conferences or anything. I’m just wondering how many shrivelled turnips and soggy Swiss chard are filling up food waste boxes because of people’s good-intentioned ordering. I know in our house we have been shockingly wasteful with food at times, particularly when we get a box of veg we’re not too keen on. Would the environment actually be better off if we bought our veg from the end of the road, as and when we needed it?  Our purses would certainly be fuller, but the produce would most likely have been flown in and certainly not organic. Continue reading

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I’m more tired than you. No, I’m more tired than you

Recently me and Boyfriend seem to have got into a bit of competitive ‘tireding’. It goes a bit like this:

I say (having been given a lie in until 8am): What time did Gertie wake up?
(I mean: I hope it wasn’t so early Boyfriend thinks he can go back to bed)

He says: I’m not sure, about 5.30am. I’m shattered.
(He means: 6am. I’m so much more tired than you)

I say: Oh dear
(I mean: I bet it was more like 6.30am. Stop complaining about being tired. I look after the kids all week while you swan off to work. That makes me MORE TIRED THAN YOU)

He says: How are you feeling?
(He means: Aren’t you lucky you had a lie in. You’d better give me one tomorrow)

I say: I’m quite tired. She was up a fair bit in the night.
(I mean: Didn’t you hear me? I’m more tired than you. Don’t go thinking I owe you a lie in tomorrow.)

He says: Oh was she? I didn’t hear.
(He means: I heard you and you were up ONCE in the night)

I say: Is there coffee in the pot?
(I mean: Did I mention I’m tired? I need a coffee just to get going – that’s how tired I am)

He says: It’s probably cold
(He means: I made it hours ago, while you were enjoying a lie-in – something I haven’t enjoyed for months…)

And so our day begins.

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Five things a good mother wouldn’t do

In the midst of all this blogging and crafting and baking I realise I am at risk of coming across a bit Stepford or supermum. So, just to set the record straight – here’s five things a good mother probably wouldn’t do (but I have).

1) Skip the plate stage and put food straight on the floor.
Yes, I confess. But desperate times lead to desperate measures (why won’t the buggers just EAT??), and anyway, they seem to prefer it a la linoleum.

2) Allow play with inappropriate objects just because it keeps them quiet.
“Don’t be ridiculous of course a 15-month-old shouldn’t be allowed to play with a £500 mobile phone. Oh, it keeps her quiet for 45 seconds you say? Go right ahead.”

Then there’s the destructive play. I run a constant ticker tape, calculating energy-required-to-tidy-up-mess-being-made VS energy-saved-by-getting-a-break-while-destruction-is-wreaked. Eg toilet roll unravelling = well worth it. Emptying clothes draw on the other hand, is not.  This is Gertie’s latest ‘toy’:

See how happy and contented and QUIET she is? Definitely worth it.

3) Allow big brother to dress little sister just because it keeps him happy. This picture was taken in March and yes, we did leave the house like this.

Believe me, this is better than some of the combos Stan has chosen for her.

4) Invent role-playing games that allow you to doze while playing. Classics include doctors and nurses where you are the patient; Christmas Eve when you are the sleeping child waiting for Santa; night-time at the farm etc. But my personal favourite is ‘Builders’ – I am always on a tea break. He falls for it every time. Ha!

5) Do anything for a good photo op – even if it makes your child cry. Oh come on, everybody does that – don’t they?

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Under-fives activities in Haringey

Locator map of the , shown (in red) within . {...

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

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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

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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

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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

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