Spring manifesto

daf_bud_opening1024
From http://www.icteachers.co.uk

Spring is such a tease. For a few glorious hours on Saturday afternoon, she made an all too fleeting appearance. Suddenly the sun was transformed – no longer a pale, distant circle in a frosty sky, but instead a wonderful bright orb sending us rays of light that actually warmed the skin. Little birds flitted in the trees. Cheering birdsong filled the air. And then today it was all gone. The sky was heavy and grey and the warmth was gone.

But the promise of Spring has made me turn my thoughts to all the things I would like to do with my toddler once the Winter is behind us. And so here are the beginnings of a Spring manifesto.

This Spring I would like to introduce my toddler to some of the sights of London, venturing beyond the little corner that we know and love to the global city beyond. My next post will pick out the visits that we plan to make.

The post after will be about making the most of the outdoors – visiting favourite haunts and searching for new ones.

And the ultimate aim? To have fun, of course. Because which self-respecting toddler doesn’t live every moment to the full.

Here’s to Spring.

Cock-a-doodle-do!

chinese-new-year-jpeg_bef31a640d9a9edb51d14f720902f0d9
Photo from the Museum of Childhood

I’m going to have to keep this one quick, because my evening has been taken away from me by a baby who won’t stop feeding.

If the cold weather keeps up, a good place to head tomorrow is the Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green, where they’re celebrating Chinese New Year.

‘Wasn’t that a couple of weeks back?’ I hear you say. Continue reading “Cock-a-doodle-do!”

Being a Princess is boring…

ef593c161fd52978daa5a04cf3ea65cd
The cold doesn’t bother me anyway (it does)

Do you live with a princess? Or are you lucky enough, like me, to keep company with an actual queen?

Most days, I help my little girl into her Frozen dress, gloves, crown, royal necklace and cape. She loves being Elsa. And I’m okay with that because she also likes being a soldier, a pirate and, occasionally, a superhero-pirate-queen. Her favourite colour is blue, not pink. She likes to play with dolls, but also trains, cars, jigsaws and board games. She’s happiest racing on her scooter being chased by ‘lions’ and jumping in muddy puddles.

What I’m trying to say is that she’s into the whole princess thing, but also a whole load of other things too. So I can deal with it.

But I was still delighted when she picked out a book called Princess Pigsty (by Cornelia Funke and Kerstin Meyer) at the library. I have a feeling she thought it would be about a regular princess, doing the whole fairy tale thing. But I was totally delighted when we took it home and found it wasn’t. And my little princess turned out to be happy too.

princess-pigsty
A good read for princesses everywhere

Here’s a quick summary. Continue reading “Being a Princess is boring…”

Meanwhile indoors…

kj30662_ksj303286_61254176_klx_white_3d_hr_cmyk-1
Other brands are available…

The Canary Wharf Winter Lights Festival runs for only two more nights (Thursday 26 and Friday 27 January 2017). If, like me, coughs, runny noses and disturbed nights’ sleep have so far prevented you from braving the fantastically atmospheric (but blummin’ cold) freezing fog, you might be interested in a toddler-friendly event that takes place indoors this weekend.

Continue reading “Meanwhile indoors…”

Let there be light!

img_2078
Photo from last year’s festival

My toddler and I have loved looking at the twinkling Christmas lights in the local area and there was something a little sad when they all come down during the first week of January (“Why do the lights have to go, mum? I want it to be Christmas for nine years”). We miss them, so thank goodness for the Canary Wharf Winter Lights festival, which starts on Monday (16 January).

We went last year and it made for a nice evening adventure (although as it’s dark by 4pm you can visit late afternoon instead). This year, there are 30 art installations around Canary Wharf and, judging by the photos on the website and the leaflet, they look great!

I have a feeling that Angels of Freedom (which involves hunting for the five angels and becoming an angel yourself) is going to appeal to my little one. The Cathedral of Mirrors, which responds to people’s movements, also sounds like a crowd-pleaser.

The great thing about this event is that it appeals to people of all ages. We’ll be putting the baby in the sling so she can enjoy it too. And if we don’t manage all 30 exhibits on our first visit we’ll be back.

The festival runs from Monday 16-Friday 27 January 4-9pm. You can download a map here and plan your route. Oh and, best of all – after Christmas – it’s free.

Midwinter sensory play #3: starry gel pouches

A starry gel pouch

I saw this idea on Messy Little Monster a while ago and finally got round to it today.

It makes cool sensory pouches for young babies to look at, squidge and explore.

I’d say under close supervision though, especially if baby has teeth. Not sure how laminating pouches stand up to chewing. However, so long as you’re watching, this is a way for baby to interact with those too-small objects they always want to touch but aren’t allowed.

I think they could also be great fun for older children as a way of preserving found objects or creating small worlds (see ideas in the recipe below).

I made several ‘adaptations’ to the original process, most of which had an adverse effect on the end result.

But it was still fun, for Finn to help make them, as well as Little B who got the final product. You can either learn from my mistakes (unless you have more common sense than me and wouldn’t have made them anyway, which is likely) or just read the original post above. Continue reading “Midwinter sensory play #3: starry gel pouches”

Messing about on the river

I’ve lived in London for a long, long time but, for some reason, I’ve never been on the Thames Clipper

… until today.

I thought it would be a fun way to travel for a toddler (as well as her parents and little sister). And it was. If, by any chance, you’re as uninitiated as me into one of the more exciting forms of public transport, here’s what I learned today.

Continue reading “Messing about on the river”