Mile End Children’s Park

A couple of weeks back, we went to Mile End Children’s Park and I wondered to myself, ‘Why don’t we come here more often?’. It’s not far. There’s loads to do and we had a great time, but let’s face it, we’re spoiled when it comes to parks…

… So what has Mile End Children’s Park got to offer?

If you’ve been, you’ll know it’s located a little further beyond the leisure centre. It’s secure – with gates all round – so there’s no fear of any little ones bolting.

On a sunny Friday morning, we had the whole playground pretty much to ourselves and there was plenty to explore. Only the water spray was out of action. There’s a sand pit, swings, a seesaw and climbing equipment that were suitable for the one-year-old and the four-year-old. There’s also plenty of green space for a game of hide and seek. And a nice slide set into the slope.

The one-year-old really enjoyed getting a stick and playing the musical instruments.

If you’ve been to Mile End Children’s Park, you’ll know there’s also a pavilion with a schedule of children’s activities. Check out the timetable here.

A visit to Mile End Children’s Park can be combined with a session in the pavilion, a swim at the leisure centre, a trip to the Ragged School museum, or simply a scoot through the rest of the rest of Mile End park.

And there are the links to some of the other small parks and playgrounds we’ve posted about.


Elderflower Cordial

Elderflower in Hackney Marshes

London’s many elderflowers are in full, joyous bloom right now and the heady, musky-sweet smell fills the air in any wild or open space.

For once, this is a scent you really can bottle and maybe even save for winter, to remind you of these sunny days.

Elderflower (perhaps unlike blackberries!) is a child-friendly plant to forage: no thorns, and some of the blooms often grow at child height (though if your child is very small you you might want to give them a boost, to avoid dog-pee height!).

A pair of child-friendly scissors might be a helpful addition to your foraging bag, as the stems can be tough to snap for small hands. Continue reading “Elderflower Cordial”

Lee Valley Nature Reserve

20180519_13581839141753.jpgEvery time we cycle to Hackney Marshes we find something new (to us).

This time it was this gem of a nature reserve, hidden away across a footbridge from the Lee Valley Waterworks centre.

It’s an easy, traffic-free cycle along towpaths or through parks from neighbouring Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Newham. Here’s a map. It’s certainly hidden away, so following signs to Lee Valley Visitor Centre is probably the best way to find it… the bridge  into the reserve is just opposite the cafe.

Ceramic signs in the nature reserve

The nature reserve is beautifully designed to nurture wildlife and charm children at the same time. There are pretty ceramic brick signs hidden in the grass, showing children what they can search for nearby. Continue reading “Lee Valley Nature Reserve”

All Points East

The hoardings are up in Victoria Park – it’s festival season again. But this year, it’s all change.

No Lovebox or Field Day or the other regulars. Instead there’s All Points East, which takes place for ten days from Friday 25th May and promises to cater a little better for local residents – including offering free activities for children during half-term.

You can take a look at the programme yourself (if you haven’t already), but here are a few things that stood out to me.

Bank holiday Monday (29th May) is a celebration of 100 years since some, but not all women finally gained the right to vote – thanks (in no small part) to the activities of women living in this area. I’m not quite sure how a free screening of Moana fits with the theme, but I’m not going to moana about it.

It’s on at 12 noon if you fancy it. Stay on until 3.15pm and you can take part in a suffragette rally. It’s billed as having a historical flavour with speeches from the time, but  I suspect there will be a relevance to much of the messaging today…

There’s also music, crafts, food stalls and that kind of stuff. All we need is some Bank Holiday sunshine.









Wedding celebrations

If your invitation to Meghan Markle’s wedding to some bloke called Harry hasn’t arrived in the post yet, it might be time to make alternative plans for Saturday 19th May 2018.

It turns out the real party is happening in Mile End park from 12 noon until 4pm, and it’s free.

With a coconut shy, arts and crafts activities, face paints and sports for kids, it sounds like a lot more fun that whatever’s going on in Windsor at the same time. So all you need to do is pack a right royal picnic, hope for clement weather, and get yourself and your little one(s) to Mile End park.

Events take place in the area of the park near Haverfield road (opposite the Victoria pub and behind the yummy fish and chip shop).

Check out the details here

Sing-along at the British Library…

The British Library isn’t a place I’d rush into with two noisy pre-schoolers, but it turns out that in three weeks time, on Saturday 2nd June 2018, they’ll be welcome.

There’s a Moana Family Sing-along.

I wonder how far you’ll go for that?

It takes place in the Knowledge Centre Theatre at 2pm. It’s not cheap. Tickets are a shiny £8 for adults and £5 for children and you need to book.

All the details are here.

If you have older children, you might be interested to know there are also free activities every month at the British Library for children age 5-11.

Find out more here.

I think you’ll agree, this blog really does give you all you need.

Like the sound of this event? You’re welcome.

Craft activity

Cutting and sticking is very popular in this house.

Here’s a simple activity that we do together.

  1. Take a clothing catalogue that comes through the door with more regularity that our purchases warrant.


2. Get out some paper dolls (or make your own)


3. Decorate them with the clothes you like (this one was so lovely it went straight on the wall)


You can adapt this activity to whatever you receive.

  • We’ve done an ‘Arts and crafts’ mood board (that’s all the things that the four-year-old sees in a kids’ crafts catalogue that she likes).
  • A treasure map with a museum newsletter that was full of gold coins and other shiny things.
  • A magic room (general homeware-type catalogue)