London with a Tiddler part 2

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Eva and I have been busy again. Evidence keeps suggesting that the best way to keep Eva asleep during the day is just to keep moving. How does that work for me? Ah, it doesn’t really…but it means we’ve had some fun excursions while Reuben’s been at nursery. And she’s slept through some of them, but not as many as you’d hope.

Last Friday’s adventure really pushed the boundaries of how far you can get in 2hrs 25mins that Reuben’s otherwise engaged. Eva’s friend H invited us to the Barbican for a cup of tea and a bit of shopping. It’s a bit of a trek – I may have mentioned in this post that our last trip there was somewhat of a farce. It took us hours to get there and even longer to get back. We missed the kids cinema event we were aiming for, and my American friend learnt the hard way that the Barbican was not on the South Bank. H’s Mama is Canadian, so I had to check that we weren’t falling for the same thing again. No, turns out H’s Mama has some idea of where the Barbican is.

So, I decided to go for it. As our trips have got more daring, I’ve worked out precisely how long it takes to power-walk from the tube to nursery, and the best route to take. We haven’t missed pick-up yet, but there is still time. But this was to be an efficient trip there and back. We Northern-Lined to Moorgate, with both babies wide awake and entertaining our fellow travellers. Then from Moorgate, we took this suspicious looking passage:

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Which somehow brought us out at the back of the Barbican. Score! I will remember that route for next time we’re meeting the geographically-challenged one. Total time from shoving Roo through the door to stepping inside = 35 mins. Could I do that with a buggy or a runaway 3-year-old? Who knows?

The first thing we did was dismiss the idea of going to the Rain Room. The queue was huge. Some well-prepared people had brought folding chairs with them. A queue that requires folding chairs is of little interest to me. I’d love to take Roo there, but with a waiting time of 2 hours it seems unlikely in the near future. So instead, we had a nice sit-down and H’s Mama had a fairly average sandwich. Like the Royal Festival Hall, it seems to be the kind of place where there’s no obligation to spend any money – you can just hang out all day if you want to. So we put a muslin down for the babies to play on, and Eva greeted her friend with a poke in the eye.

IMG-20121207-01907They got on really nicely apart from that, honest. Eva just learns from her aggressive big brother. We also had a potter around the shop, which had some cool things, even if they are a bit overpriced. I loved the robot cushions but could never justify paying £30 for one. Then we had a look at the Christmas shop:

IMG-20121207-01905That just looks exciting, doesn’t it? I found some East London-themed presents for an East London-themed friend, and an apology present for another friend. Let’s not go into why I needed to apologise to anyone. Ho hum. Then I abandoned H and her Mama in order to rush back for pick-up. I assume they made it home OK.

So, where else have we been? Well the day before that we had a full day to ourselves (full by nursery standards, anyway) and got all the way to Angel for lunch, even after our exercise class. We were meeting another friend of Eva’s – a boy called T from church, who was born the same day as her. And his Mum, obviously. We picked a lunching place at random and ended up at BananaTree, just south of Angel tube. It was “indochinese cuisine” and I’m still not entirely sure what that means but it was yummy. I had the crispy chicken in sweet mango sauce, Eva had the money bags and both were good (not that I stole any of Eva’s, no no). And it was pretty cheap – the lunchtime mains were £6ish. The staff were friendly and welcomed two babies but our waiter seemed curiously reluctant to offer T a highchair. He kept saying he might be too small for it, despite the fact that he’d given Eva one without a problem. We explained that they were..yknow…exactly the same age, what with having been born the same day an’ all…and how T is bigger than Eva if anything. But no dice. Eventually he gave us one as long as we agreed that it was at our own risk. Bizarre. Oh, and the changing room was outside the back door, along an outside corridor and pretty chilly. And the benches were a bit too close to the wall and table to comfortably breastfeed in. But these were minor niggles, as Eva thoroughly enjoyed lobbing bits of crispy pastry around and grinning at the waitress. One to return to, as long as you’re prepared to sign a waiver before putting your child in a clip-on highchair.

Such exotic expeditions make today’s trip to the 99p store in Brixton look a bit pedestrian really. But I mention it just because I wanted to share the amazing range of Christmas gifts they have on offer:

IMG-20121210-01952Look, if you’re stuck for ideas for your loved ones, why not buy them some rubber gloves or some drain unblocker? Gosh, this photo is almost worthy of Danny Wallace! Seriously though, I do love the 99p store and me and E bought a whole pile of Christmas accessories, as well as a book about Katherine Howard. Then we went to Iceland and bought a selection of quality frozen party snacks. As psychotic as Iceland in Brixton was, it was better than the one we went to in Hackney on Saturday…

I know what you’re asking and the answer is yes, I DO know how to show my little girl a good time. Well, I might as well before she learns to answer back…

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8 Responses to London with a Tiddler part 2

  1. H's mama says:

    For the record, you missed a stellar walk home from the Barbican, in which H and I wandered through cobblestoned arcades, down the disconcertingly Saxon-sounding Throgmorton Street and around the Bank of England, and then over the bridge to Borough Market. One of us slept pretty much the whole way (except for in the wind over the Thames) and the other one got a brownie. Good times.

    • katese11 says:

      Oh, that sounds lovely! Esp the sleeping bit…Eva fell asleep at the lifts at K tube so was tireed and claw-y all the way on the tube. Dang nursery pick-up times!!

  2. Madeleine says:

    I am a big fan of London and of pound shops (or dollar stores now that I am in Canadaland).
    Those are some lovely gifts!

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