Looking forward to Spring

Magnolia in bloom. Photo from Kew

I love Spring and, despite the recent dismal weather, there are signs it’s only just round the corner. The daffodils are out, the magnolia is in bloom, there are crocuses pushing their way through the grass…

… If only it wasn’t so bloomin’ freezin’.

To cheer myself up, I’ve been putting together a list of places to go with my toddler as soon as the glorious Spring of my imagination starts (and is quickly followed by a sweltering Summer).

Continue reading “Looking forward to Spring”


Handa’s Hen


Handa’s Hen (photo from Half Moon Theatre site)

I’m excited!” (Not me, my toddler). This outburst, accompanied by jumping up and down, occurred this afternoon as we went down the steps at Limehouse DLR station. She knew we were heading for the Half Moon theatre. And, actually, maybe I was excited too. I’m really pleased about her enthusiasm for going to theatre and I hope it lasts.

Our first trip was shortly after her second birthday, and we’ve been maybe four or five times in total. This afternoon, it was Handa’s Hen, a Little Angel theatre production that’s touring the country and will be at Stratford Circus in 17-19 March 2016 (get tickets!), then at the Little Angel theatre for a longer run.

Continue reading “Handa’s Hen”

Paradise Wildlife Park

You get a really good view of the animals at Paradise Wildlife Park

Seeing wild animals in captivity isn’t to everyone’s taste, but there’s no doubt kids love having the chance to get close to the incredible creatures they see in their storybooks. Every morning, my toddler asks to see cheetahs and snow leopards on my phone. I’m pretty sure her interest was sparked by a visit to Paradise Wildlife Park.

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The Way Back Home: brilliant inspiration for imaginative play

The Way Back Home
The Way Back Home (pic from Foyles)

This has been one of Finn’s favourites ever since he was given it for a Christmas present. But I particularly wanted to write about The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers, because of the amount of imaginative play it has inspired.

Maybe it’s the simple but compelling story, or the simple but compelling illustrations, or the fact that it features a plane, a spaceship, the moon AND monsters… but something about it has really stuck in Finn’s head just at the age when he’s starting to make up stories as part of his play, and he is constantly recreating (or asking us to recreate) parts of The Way Back Home. Continue reading “The Way Back Home: brilliant inspiration for imaginative play”

Toddler Time on the Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark (Cutty Sark museum pic)

Wednesdays at 10 – 11.30 am during term time is ‘Toddler Time’ on board the Cutty Sark. Finn (2) and I visited recently with a friend and her 1-year-old and enjoyed a lovely, child-centred story and play session led by two facilitators, followed by as long as we liked to explore the ship – all for £5 for the adult, free for the toddlers. Continue reading “Toddler Time on the Cutty Sark”

Sugar-free ‘Owl Ice Cream’

2016-02-02 15.40.16

My toddler is convinced this is proper ice cream (and yes, he has had the real thing!). He likes it so much he’s named it in tribute to The Gruffalo…

It’s super simple to make, basically a frozen smoothie made with a pre-frozen banana or some ice cubes so that you don’t have to wait around while it freezes. Continue reading “Sugar-free ‘Owl Ice Cream’”

Another wet weekend, another soft play…

You’ll find this great slide at Owl Play Centre

A few weeks ago, we paid our first visit to Owls Play Centre at Fairlop Waters. It was a Saturday, it was wet and we’d fatally gone past the point when WE MUST LEAVE THE HOUSE (or one or all of us loses our sanity).

So instead of leaving in a leisurely manner sometime around 9.30am as planned, it was mid-morning by the time we left the house – and we were in a frenzy of stress. Or I was anyway.

Continue reading “Another wet weekend, another soft play…”