Spring manifesto

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.

Being a Princess is boring…

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.

A good read for princesses everywhere

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

Meanwhile indoors…

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!

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.

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”

Ten things to do on a rainy day…

It rained on Saturday. It rained and it rained and it rained. And it reminded me how hard it can be to keep a restless toddler entertained indoors. So as much for myself as anyone else, I’m starting a list of rainy day activities. Here are the first ten, there’s another ten to follow – please feel free to add suggestions via the comments section below.

Continue reading “Ten things to do on a rainy day…”

Fun (Palaces) this weekend…

A weekend of indoor activities – a godsend if it happens to be rainy…

Looking for something to do with your toddler this weekend? Well, October 1st and 2nd is Fun Palaces weekend with free arts and sciences events (mostly drop-in) throughout the country, including here in East London.

You can find all the details here, including:

Saturday 1st October 12.30-5pm, at Discover Children’s Story Centre, Stratford

Although you usually have to pay to Discover from what I can make out it’s free to visit their Fun Palace. They’ll be making a Giant Story Machine with your help…

There’s also a chance to attend The Fantastic World of Dr Seuss, but you need to call first on 020 8536 5555.

Find out more here

Saturday 1st October 10am-3pm, at Stratford Circus Arts Centre, Stratford

At Stratford Circus, there’s a chance to search for hidden animals in the jungle, play games, try out musical instruments, get messy and more.

Find out more here


Saturday 1st October 10am-4pm, at Half Moon theatre, Limehouse

Pop in and enjoy free performances, arts and crafts activities and science demonstrations.

Find out more here

Depending on where you live, you might also be interested in events at Aberfeldy Street, Poplar or the Boundary Estate, Bethnal Green.