Categories
London Parenthood

Event Edit: Big Fish Little Fish Hackney – Drum n Bass

The concept of a family-friendly rave has intrigued me for quite a while, the Little Londoners were ecstatic at the idea of ‘going out’ with me rather than the usual, yet rare, babysitter (read: abandonment) scenario.

That’s where Big Fish Little Fish come in, their events promise top DJs and licensed bars for the ‘Big Fish’, as well as craft areas, play areas and face-painting and more for the ‘Little Fish’. I was excited, the boys were excited and there was an ‘optional’ fancy dress theme of togas, which of course I made them wear!

Upon arrival the Little Londoners were given a free glow stick each, to add to the assorted collection already adorning their wrists. We navigated past the buggy park to the front door, they had warned of a security check but as I no longer need to carry a changing bag we had a friendly face ushering us through to the rave room.

Our first mission was to wake up a little as they had both fallen asleep on our way to the event, so we headed over to the craft area run by Captain Cookie Crafts. There was a mural and a container of felt tips that W (4) happily took advantage of. There was also a craft table with some sort of headdress craft for children to make with a few examples dotted around. It was pretty busy so we steered clear, the play dough table was even more packed and the play area itself seem to trigger a few soft play flashbacks for B (3) as he clung to my leg whimpering. We avoided that area for the rest of our time until the end when W saw the opportunity to make his own ‘pirate’ headdress (I think they were meant to be Egyptian but didn’t have the heart to dampen his spirit).

Face painting was next on the agenda, this was provided by PHACEbyPhilly. W opted for a dragon and B opted for a crocodile. She was super fast and effective, I thought the face painting the boys had done at Into the Wild was brilliant, but this was on a whole other level!

After a few marshmallow pops and a couple bags of popcorn, washed down with apple juice we were ready to hit the dance floor. W happily showed off his best moves, and even tried out some questionable break dancing, that I had to put an end to due to the number of little walkers on the dance floor. DJ SS was headlining and played some pretty decent tunes that even I (not really a drum n bass fan) could get into. They managed to top the event off with some pretty cool light effects, bubble machines and glitter cannon!

The only tears we had were from me trying to get self-conscious/Velcro ‘baby’ B to detach from my leg and join W in dancing. We also had tears and screaming when it was time to go home, but that’s always a sign of a good time and we can’t wait for the NYE event, which has already sold out!

I’d definitely recommend going to BFLF event near you if you have the chance, but make sure you bring your partner, or if you’re a single parent like me, a friend, it would have been nice to have let W happily space out on the dance floor while also allowing B some ‘quiet’ time in the play area.

***

We were invited along for the purpose of this review.

Categories
Education Parenthood

Starting School: Schultüte 

A Schultüte is a wonderful German tradition for the first day of school. My grandmother is German and so it’s a tradition that we are passing down and I intend to keep within our family. I remember receiving mine when I first started, so of course I had to make one for W (4) on his first day!

For those of you that don’t know, a Schultüte is essentially a cone packed with goodies, to celebrate the year ahead. Some parents are more creative and able to make fantastic cones but I just stuck with card, wrapping paper, tissue paper and ribbons for W’s.


What’s inside?

You can put anything inside of these, I tried to think of things that I thought W would need as well as enjoy. I got him a couple of new books to read and Star Wars themed workbooks to support his learning (I can’t help but giggle over P is for Padme, or the saying on the back ‘Learn well. You will.’). The notebook, pencils and skipping rope are from Cath Kidston and I found a CD of alphabet songs to add to the boys collection.  W loves taking photos on my phone so I popped in a disposable camera for him to have a go at taking his own (the old fashioned way), also picked up a boys fragrance bottle from Next because he always wants to borrow my perfume! The Lego set and the Go Fish! game are just for fun and great activywe can do together. Not pictured are some triangular colouring pencils as they are easier for him to hold that I also picked up for him.

How to make it? 

I cut out a square of wrapping paper, stuck it onto some thing card, put glue along one side of the square and made a cone shape, sticking it down together. I glued tissue paper along the inside at the top, stuffed a ball of tissue into the base (a little like a cornetto) and then filled it up with presents, before tying the top with some ribbon.


He had already been given a new school bag and a Swatch watch at breakfast, so the look on his face to be surprised again when I picked him up was totally worth it! I couldn’t be more proud of him and so excited to see what the year ahead has in store.

 

Categories
Activity Ideas Parenthood Travel

The Bucket List: Seaside Trip

We’ve had a couple of days wrapped up inside thanks to blocked noses and sore throats, so yesterday when we all woke up feeling marginally better a little spontaneity was in order. I decided to take the opportunity to surprise the boys with a trip to the seaside (also an item on the bucket list).

I did a quick Google search over breakfast for the best beaches near London and Margate was the first one to pop up, so I searched for day trip suggestions.

After a less than 2hour drive, we parked in the recommended car park for Turner Contemporary (parking at £2.70 for 12 hours = a bargain). Unfortunately the art gallery closes on Mondays so that idea went straight out the window. Instead we went for a wander in the various antique shops and stumbled across The Curious Cupcake Cafe for a spot of lunch, and of course cupcakes. I really loved the old school milk bottles they served the boys’ milk in!


We then went to the highly recommended Shell Grotto, via the Tudor House. The boys were fascinated with the house but less than enamoured with the Shell Grotto. Made using 4.6million shells and no way of knowing how old it is, or why it was made in the first place. This underground Grotto was little more on the creepy side, too much for the boys, especially B who ‘escaped’ screaming his head off in fear. There is something to be admired about the intricate details and artistry that must have gone into it.


We couldn’t leave without a trip to the beach! (Dreamland was recommended to e by many friends when they knew where we were but I thought the boys could be too young to appreciate it) I hadn’t brought any swimsuits with me as I thought the sea would be too cold and the day too miserable for them to enjoy paddling in the sea. But we were graced with some glorious sun, they paddled and W promptly fell into the sea, face first much to everybody’s amusement!


We picked up a fish and chips, with mushy peas, dinner before heading home in another journey lasting less than 2 hours. It was such an easy drive and has definitely made me want to explore more of what our British coastal towns may have to offer!

Categories
London

Foodie Friday: Rabot 1745

Chocolate lovers rejoice! Rabot 1745 has been on my radar for a number of years now, but I have never had the chance to sample the delights they have on offer. If you’re not familiar with Rabot 1745, it’s Hotel Chocolat’s restaurant that serves cacao-inspired cuisine in the midst of London’s Borough Market. In other words, a chocolate lovers’ dream.

They do not have a children’s menu so I chose a few dishes for us to share amongst ourselves. We started off with the sourdough with cacao three ways. I then opted for the Seared Sea Bass for myself, sharing a small portion of it with the boys and chose the Mac + cheese for them to share, as well as a small avocado salad between us all. They demolished everything put in front of them and seemed to enjoy the meal as a whole, which brings me to…

What did the Little Londoners think and would they go back again?

W (4) said: “It was yum, can I have dessert?”

B (2) said: “CHOCOLATE-Y”

What do I think?

Even though they don’t have a children’s menu, they were very good at accommodating us. The boys enjoyed being able to look out over Borough Market and were luckily well behaved enough for a place that doesn’t really cater to young families. I would definitely take them back to try some of the other dishes on offer, if you don’t feel your children would be suited to the restaurant upstairs there is a bustling cafe/shop at ground level.

Categories
Parenthood

New Beginnings

When I left my ex and moved back to London, W was still an only child, we had a few more weeks left until B would join us. I took him to Greenwich Park, I wanted him to experience the park that had been a large part of my childhood. I took this photo of him as he embraced the view of London I had grown to love sprawled in front of him. I felt like it was a new beginning for the both of us and this photo represents exactly how W approaches any new situation or environment, with open arms.

Last week we had an information session at W’s new primary school that he will be starting at in September. We were introduced to the headteacher and class teachers, the children were invited to play in what will later be their classroom and he went. He ran off to play with his new friends, full of excitement, he didn’t look back once. Parents around me were emotional and tearful at the idea of their little ones off to school and while I could relate I wasn’t going to start crying about it. Others couldn’t wait to wave their children off, as the rejoiced at the idea of no longer being somebody’s snack b*tch 24/7, asking if there was a summer school program to sign them up to, and already organising the details for wraparound care (breakfast clubs and after-school activities).

I, however, felt a mixture of relief and disappointment. I was disappointed that it was a day I had to navigate alone as a single parent, without a partner to feel excited or upset with. Nor did I have my mother, who we had lived with until she lost her battle with cancer last summer, so she wouldn’t be home that evening to relish in our shared love of paperwork. Despite these negatives, I was relieved, the day signified a new beginning, it made everything a bit more permanent. I have uniform to buy, I had forms to fill in, he will be at this school for the next few years and B will join him there at a later stage, our lives and the dream of bringing my boys up in the London I grew up in and love has become a little more concrete.

I know that W will be fine, he will make new friends, he will charm his teachers, he will learn and grow, laugh and play. He will be fine and so will I. Though I may be saying something different come September, you may find me at the gates with the other parents holding back the tears. But for now I am celebrating with a glass of prosecco* and saying ‘cheers, to new beginnings!’.

*because that’s all I could find