Weekend adventure #10: Imperial War Museum, London 

Being an avid museum goer, I was always conscious that I had never been to the Imperial War Musuem, London! So we headed there a few weeks ago to check out the new galleries and redevelopment of the Museum. 

The new central atrium has planes and vehicles suspended and jutting out of the architecture – reminiscent of the Science Museum – which makes for an impressive entrance into the museum, although a bit tricky will all the stairs, as you find yourself looking up and not where you are going! 

The main collection is centered around a series of balcony sections over several floors, all with a view into the main atrium. 

As our little man is still quite small we didn’t have to deal with any difficult questions (yet) around the function of the objects in the collection as he was happy enough to identify the different types of transport and have a bit of a run around. He was very taken by the various planes and is a bit of a plane spotter when we are out and about!

It’s not the most family friendly museum we’ve been to (but then again the subject matter isn’t exactly balloons and bunnies) and there wasn’t much in the way of interactives for children so we spent quite a bit of time making sure we didn’t leave any jammy fingerprints on the collection! 😳

We did really like the ‘A Family In Wartime’ gallery, which had room mock-ups and some nice interactives including radios that you could turn on and off and (I’m guessing quite expensive!) touch screens to explore the different rooms in a house. This gallery also had an air raid shelter that you could go into and had a good sense of atmosphere so we spent quite a bit of time in there.

The Secret War gallery was also an great winding gallery space with lots of interesting objects on display. It would have been nice to explore this gallery more fully but by this point the little man clearly thought this gallery was a race course for himself and daddy so we had a job keeping up! (We also realised once we reached the end that somehow we had managed to do the whole thing backwards… which might not have helped!!)

We will certainly be back. I think for the time being with the little man the age he is, it will be a case of having a few of the galleries we really like and then expanding once he is ready to move beyond the plain spotting!

A Family in Wartime, IW London gallery 

Secret War, IWM London gallery 

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Weekend adventure #9: Musuem of London Docklands 

We headed over to Canary Wharf this weekend to visit the MoL Docklands and on the way we went to the new crossrail roof garden which was great! It’s not massive but the roof garden has lots of winding paths that our little man absolutely loved charging along, looking for (imaginary) dinosaurs in amongst the trees and ferns. The garden is well kept and there were two pianos that were around for people to just sit and play! 

After a good run around in the garden we went over to the Museum to play in the brilliant Mudlarks children’s gallery. It’s such a great gallery with soft play, building blocks, ropes and pullies and water play that all relates brilliantly to the museum’s themes and is really interactive.

The sessions are timed to avoid overcrowding but the museum wasn’t too busy so we were able to just join the current time slot.It’s so nice to have a dedicated, genuinely hands on under 5’s gallery that’s safe and contained and that is so well integrated into the museum that it doesn’t feel like an add on.

But the whole museum is family friendly too so once we had dried off from our water play we headed up into the Sailor town gallery which is a great immersive street scape. 

We will be back soon! 

Canary Wharf roof garden 

Docklands Museum mudlarks gallery 

Monday outing #4: dragon hunting in Greenwich 

We used to pop to Greenwich quite a bit but we hadn’t made it recently so while the weather is still good we jumped on the bus (thankfully there was space for the buggy!) and headed down to the river. Just like our local park, it turns out that Greenwich flora is equally stuffed full of dinosaurs and dragons. With the current love of Noddy and the Dazzle Dragon we headed off in search of dragons.

Once we had explored a good chunk of the trees and had a few goes on the swings and slides (the playground in Greenwich Park is massive and well with a visit!) we headed into the National Maritime Museum… …which, as luck would have it, had several dragons for us to spot and we ventured into the Ahoy gallery for the first time too. There is plenty of space to run around in the museum, which is really family friendly with lots going on in the holidays too! 

National Maritime Museum (RMG) 

Weekend adventure #8: Godstone Farm

(Technically not a weekend adventure as we went on a Wednesday but…)

Our little one goes to nursery for most of the week and recently the nursery did a trip to Godstone Farm for the children and parents. I had heard good things from a friend but it suppassed what I had imagined it would be like and it’s a great family day out!   I had though it might be a larger version of Mudchute Farm, with more land and animals, but there was so much more to it than that! There was a huge indoor play barn with a jungle gym and little cafe, a tractor ride, a dinosaur train with models and sound effects around a little lake, a petting area, large outdoor adventure playground and a great variety of animals large and small. (oh, and a shop of course!)

I was particularly impressed with the petting area as the animals were in raised areas at a height the children could reach and of course, with a little boy obsessed with dinosaurs, the dino trail was a particular favourite of ours (I think we went round at least 4 times!)  The farm is clearly geared up for lots of visitors and schools groups. There are a whole series of sheds for each pre-booked group/class to have as a base which was great and well thought through – even if ours did seam to be the furthest away! 😉

The only downside for us is that we don’t have a car, which you certainly need to get there, but we can’t wait to go back! 

godstonefarm.co.uk 

Turning two! 🎉🎉🎉

A few weeks ago our little one man turned two. As I’m sure a lot of parents feel, it seems to have gone so quickly, yet we can’t remember life before him! Some of our friends are onto number two and seeing the recently arrived newborns really reminds you just how much they grow, change and develop in those first two years!

From feeding and sleeping constantly (more feeding than sleeping I seam to remember!) to chatting and running all over the place it’s been a really full on but great two years.

With the best intentions is really hard to keep a track of their development so I thought I’d do a quick snap shot of what being two looks like in our house!

A day in the life with our 2 year old

We usually get up,thanks to the mini human alarm, sometime between 6-7am. First things first is a bottle of milk accompanied by pip ahoy on Chanel 5 (mon-fri) or CBeebies at the weekend! 

We have breakfast (usually Cheerios or wheetabix) – pausing Andy’s dinosaur adventures to get some self-delivered spoonfuls eaten (!) – and try to protect the pain au chocolat I’m rather partial too from having all the chocolate pinched out of them 😀  We usually play for a bit with the many dinosaurs and trains that have pride of place in our living room before going for a morning nap. Most of the time we are still doing two naps at the weekend but starting to go down to one (like he does at nursery). We usually get a good two hours which is time spent cleaning, washing up and sorting the next load of never ending washing! Once up, we head out and about and have lunch. If the weather is nice we usually head to the park for a go in the playground and a good run around or head to soft play or swimming.

(If we are going for two naps we are usually back by about 3/3.30 and we catch up on Game of Thrones during nap time.)

Back at home the toys and books come out and we play until dinner time. We might do some drawing or painting and then it’s bathtime.

Bedtime is at 7 with a bottle of milk and a CBeebies bedtime story then a book and an attempt at teeth brushing before a few more books and twinkle twinkle little star. 

Our day usually includes:

Running, climbing and he has just started to jump with two feet off the ground.

Lots of chat – mostly around dinosaurs – he can identify quite a few now. Favourite TV shows: Andy’s dinosaur adventure, Dino Paws, Chuggington, Thomas and Hey Duggee (or at least those are the ones that don’t drive us mad and we can bear to watch on repeat!!)We are finally starting to use mega blocks to build and not just destroy and we do like a game of match the mummy animal to the baby animal! 

If we ask for a kiss he will grab our face with both hands and pull it towards him for a big wet one! 

We sing twinkle twinkle before bed and if I stop he will fill in the gaps! Aww!

Looking forward to the next year 😀

Weekend adventure #7: Dulwich Park Fair

This weekend we headed over to Dulwich to check out the Dulwich Park Fair. 

Heading to Dulwich is nice and easy for us as it’s just a 20min bus ride away. The sunshine was out so once the little man woke up from his morning nap we headed straight over to Dulwich to meet some friends in the park.They had Punch and Judy, magic show, petting zoo, May pole, lots of stalls and a fair ground (and that’s just the stuff we found!) The park was very busy, but not uncomfortably so, and the sunshine was a very welcome addition to the event! Pimms stalls too – another very welcome addition! 

Little man loved the petting area (as always) and went on a carousel for the first time 😃 We spent most of the day walking up and running down mounds of grass with our pull along bee, that’s the toy of the moment. Even when he was in the pram, bee was being pulled alongside! 

It was a really nice family event and a great mix of activities on offer. The park itself is lovely too with a lake and pedalos to hire. Lordship lane and Dulwich village and both close by and worth a visit. 

Before we headed home we went to The Plough pub, by the library. It’s a good pub with lots of space, and big garden and great food. Lots of high chairs and space for the little ones to wander around too.

Dulwich Festival website

The Plough pub website 

Weekend adventure #6: Mrs H & the Singalong Band

We first discovered Mrs H and the sing along band at the Imagine festival at Southbank in February. Instantly loving their mix of toddler and child friendly music / actions / interaction / puppets / props /dancing I quickly hunted down their website and Twitter account to make sure I knew when I could see them again! Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long and last Sunday we went to see them at the Aversham Arms pub in New Cross. We hadn’t been to the pub before and were pleasantly surprised by their great gig/stage area and bar where the event took place. 

They have a really good set up – which I guess is more used to rock and metal that toddler antics – but the space worked really well… And it was the first thing the little man has been to that had a bouncer on the door!! Ha! 

Mrs H and all the band were wonderful once again. Our little man sat transfixed before getting stuck in and jumping up and down with manic excitement (which had nothing to do with letting him have some of my coke! Whoops! 😊) The band had all the kids and adults alike captivated and joining in.

  
I really love the way they interact with everyone and bring the props and puppets down into the audience. It’s such a fun and upbeat experience. If you get the chance to go and see them I thoroughly recommend it! There was also some painting and playdough set up for those who were a little shy to get stuck in / easily distracted / fancied doing something different. It was a great and well thought through set up and I hope the Aversham Arms will have them back.We certainly will be! 

Find out more: http://www.singalongsongs.co.uk

Or you can follow them on Twitter: @singalongband