“Power Up” at the Science Museum – 21/07/16


I mentioned in my last post that the Science Museum are running a very exciting exhibition over the summer, called “Power Up”, featuring 40 years’ worth of vintage video games.  Well, we got a sneak peek at it last night and yes, I did put a gloating status on Facebook specifically designed to make one particular person jealous. You’re welcome, Wiley.

But first, a little Piccadilly Line cabaret for all those rush hour commuters. We’d caught the Victoria Line down to Finsbury Park but very annoyingly, I’d stood up to make the change and realised I had chewing gum on my trousers. Not an awesome look for a press night. And Nathan had got the kids out of the house without me, was travelling light and so didn’t even bring any wet wipes with him. I faffed around a little with tissues before I realised that I had a floor length sundress in my bag that I’d not changed into yet because…well…it wasn’t that sunny. So as we passed through the unpopular stations of Caledonian Road and Arsenal, I passed from workwear into sundress using a technique I’ll describe as “clever layering meets shoulder dislocation”. All done by the time the train filled up at Kings Cross, and I think we can all be grateful for that.

An inauspicious start then, but things were about to look up. We found the right exit from the South Kensington labyrinth, and emerged at the door of the Science Museum  with both the kids we’d left Walthamstow with. The “Power Up” exhibition is on the first floor, so you need to go straight ahead after security and take the lift or the stairs. It’s quite well signposted:



It’s a chargeable exhibit, as most of the temp exhibitions are, so make sure you leave plenty of time to make the most of it. Because you could spend literally weeks in there. 160 consoles, each loaded with a different game – it’s amazing I ever got Nathan and Reuben out of there.

I lost them pretty much as soon as I got in. There was a fighting game involving some Marvel characters, which I believe was called “Marvel Super Heroes vs Street Fighter” and the Marvel fanboys got sucked right in:


The girl was not quite so convinced, so she and I went for a wander. It didn’t take her long to find a bowl of jellybeans, which I believe might have been the highlights of her evening. It kept refilling itself! If only I played Candy Crush, I would have some cool gaming in-joke to make here.


You see, I’m not really a gamer. I struggled to get the Mario game on the Wii working for her to play, and the Wii is a console we actually own. I was later chatting to a guy from the Press Association and when I said he was a blogger, he asked if I blogged on gaming. Considering I was, at the time, failing to load the Dora the Explorer game on a different Wii console, I think the answer was fairly obvious. Don’t worry though, I found something to Eva’s tastes:


And we actually managed to play it! True, it was mainly just two princesses running up and down staircases and occasionally changing the design of their dresses but she has rock-bottom expectations when it comes to video games, so she was happy.


As you may have discerned, I made up for my own failings by bringing along with me two slightly more proficient gamers. All those Saturday X Box sessions have prepared Roo well for an occasion like this and he and Nathan slipped seamlessly from Playstation to 16-player Halo and PC- Minecraft. Well, Nathan didn’t really know how to do the last one and was bitterly watching a young person behind us effortlessly build a house, complete with pot plant, while Reuben was stuck in a mine:


But they had a LOT of fun and the beer and pizza meant that Nathan was tempted to move in. It was a hot night though, and eventually even he could be persuaded to go for some fresh air. Just look at it though:

DSC05060 DSC05064

It’s the perfect Daddy-creche and it’s thoughtful of the Science Museum to provide it. I did earn some gaming kudos with a slick performance on Sonic 2 (I passed the level!) but, as the aforementioned Wiley reminded me, I never could get past the Marble Zone…

“Power Up” is on until 7th August – see here for more information.



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Nick Butterworth Winner Announced!


So, who’s the lucky person that’ll be joining the Pootle crew at the Planetarium on Tuesday?

It’s Chelsea Williams!!

Congratulations Chelsea – let us know what it’s like!

If anyone else fancies going, I believe there are still some tickets available here. Enjoy!

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Summer Holidays are Here!


We’re one day in and I’m sporting one motherhecker of a sunburn, thanks to a 4.5 hr session in Myatt’s Fields this afternoon. The water was on intermittently – I think it was between 12:30 and 2 then again 3-5 – so it was a good place to hang out on a sunny day. I slowly realised though that my kids were on an inset day and Lambeth schools hadn’t yet broken up, which became apparent mid-afternoon. By the time we left, it was crazily busy and I imagine it’ll be like that on every scorching day we have this summer (so at least two more of those then). We did escape the madness briefly to have an ice cream at the Little Cat Cafe:


The kids wanted to know why it was called that and were dissatisfied with my suggestion that maybe it was run by little cats. If you know better, please fill me in…

So, what else is there to do for the next 47 days? Well, I’ve already mentioned the wonderful Nick Butterworth event at the Planetarium next Tuesday (and please do enter the giveaway to win tickets…time is running out!). The event is 10am-1pm and you can buy tickets here.

I’ve also heard tell of an exciting family festival running for the next three weekends at Canary Wharf. It actually started last weekend, but forgive me…I’ve had a lot on. Highlights include a production of  ”Danny, Champion of the World” to mark Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday. All events are outdoors and free, and there’s a lot more information here.


Another exciting event is happening at the Science Museum, and I’ll be reporting back from the launch tomorrow evening. It’s an exhibition called “Power Up“, celebrating 40 years of gaming, and it’s an immersive and interactive exhibit where you get to try out hundreds of classic games, from “Pong” to “Halo”. I’m looking forward to seeing it tomorrow, before the official opening on 22nd July, but the issue will be dragging Nathan and Reuben away from it again. Ah well, it only runs till 7th August so I guess they could just live at the Science Museum till then…

I am also super-excited about the Discover Centre re-opening. We got free tickets as part of “The Librarian” and I can’t wait to go and see the changes they’ve made. It re-opens *EDIT* next Saturday, 30th July, with a Dr Seuss exhibition and I’m sure we’ll be heading there shortly. Never fails to entertain the children!

Another museum you can rely on to keep the kids happy is the Horniman, and that has its usual program of family-friendly events on over the summer. I must confess I’ve been to the Horniman a lot less since a) we’ve not been living in South London and b) I’ve not been on mat leave. It’s always worth a visit though, and seems to have dinosaurs on in the temp space at the moment. Perfect for the dino-obsessed 5-year-old in your life (sadly, I don’t have one of those any more…)

I also need to revisit the National Maritime Museum, as I’ve heard it’s “Above and Beyond” exhibition is excellent. It’s one for older kids, 7+ (sadly I do have one of those) and it describes itself as a “ground-breaking interactive exhibition [which] explores the marvels of aerospace innovation, design and technology”. Wonder if I can ditch Eva one day to take Roo along?

And what if you have to work all summer long? Bah! Well, you can always ensure the kids have fun by sending them to Nimble Arts’ holiday club, which promises craft, storytelling, drama and a lot of fun. Places are filling up fast but last I looked there were still spaces. Once again, I’m regretting not being a South Londoner any more….

Enjoy your summer and let me know if you have any events you’d like to list here….I’ll be updating this as I find out more…

Like this – JUST IN! – Slap Haddock are taking their cinema ushers back onto the streets again, to entertain us with some “Street Theatre Saturdays”. I suspected something was afoot when I spotted them in usher gear at the Walthamstow Garden Party, but I didn’t know what and, to be honest, I still don’t. This image is the sum of information I have (filched from LBWF twitter feed):


Hope that clears it up. Slap Haddock stuff is always fun and interactive and my kids love it, so get down to South Chingford or South Leytonstone tomorrow.

I’ve also just heard about an event in Dalston tomorrow night – it’s a giant puppet opera but given its 8pm start time and the fact that it has “some frightening scenes”, I’m guessing this is one for older kids (5+ is the official guidance). It’s called “Bluebeard’s Theatre” and it’s being staged in Gillett Square. And guess what – it’s free! More info here.

Another thing I noticed last night was a poster for family holiday activities at the V&A. I haven’t managed to find out any specifics but if anyone knows, do tell…!


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Things We’ve Done in July


I’ve got so far behind in blogging and the summer holidays are coming up so fast that I’m throwing the towel in slightly and just doing a giant round up post. I still have a summer preview to write and gosh darn, it’s just all too much.  First though, a reminder that I’m running a giveaway for the Nick Butterworth event. It’s closing soon, so enter quickly! It sounds like it’s going to be ace.

So, what have we done exactly? Well, there was a day out in Leytonstone, where my family dressed in black and hung out in graveyards:


I was singing at St John’s Church, with WAM, as part of the Leytonstone Festival. They were taking part in a giant craft exercise outside that looked a bit like this:

sum3 sum2

The all-black dress code was because Eva told us to. Hope that helps.

Then we went to a park just around the corner from Leytonstone tube, which had a zipwire among other  excitements.


And then on to a beer garden, where our friend Marika hyped Reuben up and encouraged him to stuff his pockets full of grass. Probably best we don’t dwell on the journey home too much.


There was a strike day in East London, which probably deserves its own post

There was a morning in Kings Cross, where we found a lovely cafe to brunch in with the grandmothers. It had wooden tables and flowers outside, and the most accommodating staff but it was priced like a greasy spoon. Perfect. It’s called Cafe Oz, and it’s currently behind a whole bunch of roadworks/building works which means you might miss it if you didn’t know it was there. Have a look here for more details.


Then we hung out on the grassy steps and chased some bubbles around the plaza.



There was an illicit child-free trip with my friend Amy to the edge of the Olympic Park, and cocktails at the very hipster Tina, We Salute You. You know it’s hipster when they don’t have a sign outside, just a hashtag-lightbox on the bar. But the staff were lovely, and knocked up an off-menu virgin cocktail when requested (no, we’re not all that rock and roll after all). A tasty Cosmo as well.

There was another child-free trip with my cousin to the equally hipster Sodo pizza restaurant in Walthamstow. This one’s hipster credentials include a cider made from an “urban orchard” (pound a bowl from the market?) and a chipboard toilet door that can only be opened by a man listening to Shed Seven. Lovely pizza though.

On both these child-free trips out, other people had brought their children with them for a post-bedtime pizza/cocktail. One of them knows Reuben. Sigh.

There’s been a lot of singing. On the steps of the Town Hall, protesting about library closures:


At Highams Park Day:


And at Walthamstow Garden Party, with WAM again. I failed to take any photos of that but it was thrilling to share a stage (almost) with David McAlmont, the man whose voice could move me to tears when I was a moody teen. Hopefully there will be videos up soon.


Then today, Roo and I discovered London’s spookiest station. It’s called Essex Road station and it was completely deserted when we went through (apart from one person in the ticket office). You go through some pinkish tunnels that feel like an underground spy route, then emerge onto a platform which still has its signage from the 1980s. I swear no-one has used that station since the last time we had a female Prime Minster. I was amazed when a train actually stopped there and deposited us in Moorgate six minutes later. How did they know we were even there?

Then we threw some wet sponges at our ex-pastor. All in the spirit of fun and charity, obviously.

Is that enough to be going on with? Seven weeks of bloggables stretch ahead…there will be many more adventures to come!

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GIVEAWAY! – Q Pootle 5 Event with Nick Butterworth


The summer holidays are approaching fast but I have a few ideas that’ll keep your kids happy. Like this event – renowned children’s author and illustrator Nick Butterworth is coming to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich  on 26th July for “Holiday to Space with Q Pootle 5″. He’ll be reading from his book, entertaining with live illustrations and you will also get the chance to watch episodes of the show in the suitably atmospheric Planetarium. Sadly, I won’t be there (dang day job!) but YOU could be, as I have a pair of tickets to give away! Just answer the question below by 21st July and I’ll be announcing the winner on 22nd July.

For more information on the event, and to buy tickets click here. And to read my interview with Nick, have a look over here. He’s a very nice man. If you don’t win, tickets are £6 and the event runs from 10:00-13:00 on the 26th. Enter now!

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Mudchute Farm – 08/07/16


I’ll start with some big news – Nathan won a pub quiz last week. He stored up a question to ask me at home because he thought I would find it nicely challenging, TfL geek that I am.

It was not challenging. “Band who sang “Tiger Feet”, on a slide”.

Clearly, it was Mudchute and I demanded extra points for going there just a few days later.  Now, that’s dedication to pub quizzing.


I was there to meet R, the lovely ex-intern that featured in this post. But first, Eva and I were riding on the wizard train  and that’s exciting enough for the whole day. In fact, I’m surprised that anyone can sit on the Wizard Train and not look excited. Yet some people were managing it. Even when we went up the big hill from Bank (wheeee!) and when we could see all the boats in the docks and when we went round that really tight corner (wheee!) and when we went past Canary Wharf and saw the Important News of the Day scrolling by on a screen. And all this without a driver! How did these people contain themselves?


The farm itself had a lot to live up to. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to the Isle of Dogs before (look out, fact fans…it’s not an island!). Somehow in my mind’s eye I’d imagined it as an ultra-modern place, packed with shiny offices and one massive Asda. We didn’t see the massive Asda but I was surprised to see some pretty, period houses right next to the station. Maybe this is where bankers sleep..if they can actually sleep at night.


The entrance to the farm is a little oblique from Mudchute station but the website tells you where to go. Basically, cross the zebra crossing and there’s a big grassy park in front of you. Don’t go into it. Instead, find a small gate to your left which will lead you onto a bridle path. You follow that for a long way until you come out at the back of the farm, faced with an entrance you can’t get through. So take the path on the left at that point, behind the stables and you’ll find the bit you can go through.

Or you can do what the website suggests and go to Crossharbour instead. You get to visit the Asda too!


We started off in the courtyard, which had the smaller animals in – birds, rabbits, things in cages. It wasn’t overly exciting so we went to look at the horses instead. There was only one in the stables but we’d meet them in the fields later on. So, what else can you meet at Mudchute?


Llamas! This guy was a bit of a looker, although I think a trip to the orthodontist wouldn’t hurt. There was a school party looking round the farm  and as one small child was feeding a different llama, he leaned right over and started eating her high-vis. We thought it was hilarious but I’m not sure the child in question did.

Also, it did make Eva even more scared of the pigs than she already was. I jovially said that they might eat her (which is true) and then she ran away, quivering. I don’t think that’s a problem – a fear of pigs is healthy. They aren’t all cuddly like Peppa. We also saw this sign, which handily reminded us not to kiss any animals:


And slightly randomly, an ack-ack gun:


We wandered around the paddocks – there is quite a lot of space and you can see sheep, goats and alpacas grazing. But we too needed to graze, so we sat down in the courtyard to picnic. Eva of course ate the tiniest amount of sandwich then ran off to clamber over the benches. I slightly regret bringing a picnic, as the food at the cafe looked good, but since Vauxhall City Farm a few weeks ago, I am taking no chances.


She was clearly restless, so we headed for the adjacent Millwall Park to have a climb about. But how to get there? We went back the way we came and could see the park as we walked along the ridge, but a steep slope and a bank of stinging nettles stood in our way. We had to go most of the way back to the road, but I’m sure there must have been a better way. If you find it, let me know!


There were two play areas in the park. Eva tired of the smaller one quite quickly and wanted to go on the giant climbing frame on the other side of the park. I thought she’d be way too wussy to try it but no, she proved me wrong. A few cautious steps but she managed to get to the highest basket. This newfound confidence is terrifying. Maybe I should threaten her with the pigs again.




We needed to head back to get Roo, but first one of Millwall Park’s sights – a statue of a woman and a fish. Wanna guess what it’s called? “Woman and Fish”. Great stuff Mudchute!


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LWAT is 5! A Disappointing Post

roo 5th

This is Roo and Nathan two years and a month ago, on Reuben’s 5th birthday. I prepped hard for that party, baking a special cake, setting a dinosaur hunt and filling party bags with dino-related goodies. Now my second child, the blog, has turned 5 and I didn’t even remember till this morning. Goodness knows whether I’ll remember Eva’s next year. I’m busy, OK? My choir is making their debut at Highams Park Day this week, the choir I sing in (WAM) is singing at Walthamstow Garden Party on the same day and there are so many local campaigns going on that I struggle to remember which side of which argument I’m on. So I have entirely failed to organise the annual bout of LWAT madness like we did for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th birthdays. I promise I’ll conjure something up for the 500th in a few posts’ time Instead then, I’m going to pull a Facebook and invite you to look over some memories. Here’s a rundown of….LWAT’s Top 5 posts of All Time! At Number 5, we have…

The Winner of the Toddler-Friendly Cafe Awards!

lwat5 Now, this is a project I super-enjoyed as it involved lots of eating cake and drinking coffee and then writing about it. Pity we decided to move house halfway through, which distracted me somewhat. It was a hard-fought contest but the Dish and the Spoon emerged victorious. I hear they have a new, interactive mural wall in there now so I may need to go and visit again soon…Mmm, carrot cake…

4. Getting Around London With a Toddler


  Now, this one is a workhorse and no mistake. I wrote it when I was pregnant with Eva and pushing Reuben around in a giant buggy. So I knew a thing or two about stations with huge flights of stairs (yes you, Kentish Town West!) and I think of that every time I see a parent struggling with steps now. And yes, I helped a mother with her buggy just this afternoon. Thanks for asking. But apparently this has been a popular subject among the toddler-wranglers of London, and this humble post has kept bringing them in over the years. Plus, it really makes me appreciate the wonders of buggy-free travel nowadays.

3. Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures

lwat3   Bless you Andy – a half term visit to a program launch at the Natural History Museum has provided me with one of my most popular ever posts. It was a great bash, and I had a lovely chat with Andy’s Dad in the queue for the cloakroom. Sadly, the kids got chickenpox a few days later and our lives spiralled downwards for the two weeks afterwards. But 2 years on and people are still googling Andy to find out whether that clock is always at the museum. It’s not – sorry about that.

2. Katie Bloody Hopkins

lwat2 I know what would be a good procrastination while I’m supposed to be writing  commercial copy for clients – dash off a sarky blogpost about that woman who shoots her mouth off on “This Morning”. Little did I know that it would generate 30,000 hits in one day and forever ruin the rest of my stats. Thanks for that Katie.

1. 100 Things to Do With a Toddler in London

lwat1 Luckily though, another hardworking post has managed to keep Katie off the top. We were having a spectacularly bad week the week I took these photos – a bit of blue sky allowed me to escape the house with my newborn and 3-year-old. We got some lovely pics and when we got home, there was a shiny new lodger waiting for us on the doorstep. After that, all was well. And people still look at my list of 100 things to do all the time, especially on Pinterest for some reason. I even made it into an ebook. And what a positive post to be No 1 (take that Hopkins!) Thanks for all the love and support over the last 5 years. I’m aware that I no longer have a toddler, but at long as I have stuff to write about, I think I’ll keep this place going. And start thinking now about what kinda craziness we can pull out of the bag for post 500!

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#MoreinCommon Picnic to Discuss Brexit -09/07/16


Now, I’ve been trying to keep politics off the blog as much as possible – that’s fodder for my HuffPost posts – but this was a bona fide London event where toddlers were welcome. I’ve never taken the kids on a protest march – they’re whiney enough about walking anywhere, let alone walking for the sake of it – but this sounded like something they’d be OK with. A picnic in Green Park where we discuss the implications of Brexit and try to figure out a way to move forward. What a very English way to protest.

Obviously, we dressed for the occasion, with a loose kind of yellow-and-blue theme. Believe it or not, this is the most normal-looking photo I could get of the kids:


I said a loose theme, right? Here’s my attempt at EU-themed nail varnish:


I’m in no way artistic enough to do 1 star, let alone 12 stars. This was as good as it got.

We travelled to Green Park using a route prescribed by Reuben (I am so proud) and got there a few minutes early. No sign yet of a giant protest-picnic. Luckily, there was an air ambulance taking off to entertain the kids:


We were still early, but managed to find some other lost people with kids so sat down to start picnicking together. The stewards came over to say hello and tell us what was happening and gradually other people joined us. One particularly snarky article on the event called it a “houmous revolution” so I’m pleased to say our picnic-houmous made it into Getty Images:


Pity we can’t all agree on how to spell houmous though.

Obviously there were always going to be people who snarked at this picnic but it was a nice atmosphere – chatting with others who worried about Brexit and the various economic and political craziness that has since ensued. Some people were hardened campaigners; others were, like us, middle-class parents with lefty leanings who were dipping their toes in the political waters. But it was good to be there together with nothing dividing us. Oh except a big fence that someone erected:


That was odd. Surely we were together, #moreincommon etc…a windbreaker right through the middle of the picnic seemed divisive. Unless…could it be…a counter-picnic?

Yup, new one on me too. Apparently this is a thing now – when people stage a peaceful protest it is OK to stick your own protest right in the middle of that, with big posters and your own camera crew. I have been trying not to generalise about Leave voters and I know that many of them are totally tolerant, altruistic and lovely people…but this bunch of Leave voters did not do anything to make me warm to them. I mean, who sticks a fence up in the middle of someone else’s picnic? And as for stereotyping, well this lot stereotyped themselves. I shall say no more.

(Now, I should point out that I am being a tad hypocritical here, as we did indeed once hijack someone else’s protest. But that was different – it was to point out the hypocrisy of IDS turning up and sadfacing about parking restrictions when he had a whole load of benefit deaths he should probably be getting on with. Besides, we stood politely to the side while they had their photoshoot.)

Anyway, we tried to ignore the counter-protest and get on with the admin of the day – looking through a list of proposals and voting on which ones we thought would move things forward in the best way. The online poll is now closed, but you can have a look through here and see if you agree with any of the ideas. We agreed with some more than others but it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. It was also interesting to chat to the people we were sitting with – a 17-year-old who couldn’t vote but has her whole university career in jeopardy over the result, a mother who fears her child will be racially abused in this new climate, a small girl who knew a lot about the Octonauts. Reuben occasionally shouted out “Stay in Europe!” or regaled our new friends with facts about Scotland’s voting record. Boy is learning about politics and the Victoria Line. An afternoon well spent.

Plus, I finally found and used the Green Park station toilets. Big moment, I know. You go through the tickets barriers and straight forward (with the park exit on your left). After a while, you’ll be able to follow the smell. It was 50p for each child (and a big sign saying that children must pay) and I can’t say it felt like a pound’s worth of toilet visit. They were a little manky and a sign inside advertised the price as 6d. That I would have paid. Still, the walk across the park gave the kids the opportunity to find a massive stick and drag it back to the picnic area:


We’d spent a couple of hours protesting/eating homous but the thrills of wordsearch books and CBeebies app were starting to wear off. It was almost time to go, but first the kids wanted to see Buckingham Palace – Reuben explained that Eva was going to be a princess when she grew up, so she needed to know what a palace looked like. They are so anti-establishment, huh?


Then, it was time to further stick it to the man by paying an extortionate amount of money for ice cream:


My kind of protest, I tell ya…

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Baby Broadway – 25/06/16


There’s no denying that life has been a little gloomy these past few days. And I’m not saying that singing Broadway tunes for 45 minutes will make the pain all go away but well, it’ll help.

So Saturday morning saw us up bright and early and ensuring the residents of Blackheath were up bright and early with us, by parking outside their hugely expensive houses and repeatedly triggering our car alarm. It was an inauspicious return to South London but things were about to get better. We were off to Baby Broadway, an event for kids and adults to enjoy music together, sung by Broadway professionals. The name suggests it’s aimed at mums on mat leave who want to do something a bit more interesting than your average playgroup sing-song – I went to something similar with a toddler Roo, where a classical pianist played for us in a church in Borough and tried to fend off the hundreds of tiny hands also wanting to touch the shiny keys. There were lots of couples with babies there but also a fair smattering of older kids and it worked really well across the ages. Roo, at 7, was probably the oldest there but he had the advantage of knowing most of the set and being able to sing along. Plus, he could read what was coming up:


The venue was Mycanae House, near Greenwich Park which we’d visited once before for an NCT sale many moons ago. It’s a little outside our turf nowadays but not far off the route to Crawley that we were taking later in the afternoon. So, why not stop for a bit of razzmatazz along the way?

Let’s start at the very beginning then – our singers were Robine Landi and Jay Bryce, who have a wealth of theatre experience between them. Robine started by giving a sung guide to what was happening, where the exits were and whether it was OK to dance and sing along. Happily it was, as the very first song was Do Re Mi, which was, as you might predict, a very good place to start. I can’t not sing along to anything from the Sound of Music and Roo knew the words too. I have to say, Robine did a very credible Julie impression….and I can be choosy when it come to Julie impersonators.

Next up was Zip-a-dee-doh, which I’ve recently introduced to the kids via “Now That’s What I Call Disney” and more Julie-channelling in the shape of “Spoonful of Sugar”, which also features on that CD so they knew that one too. I was a little worried about “The Sun Has Got His Hat On” because I seem to remember there’s a very unfortunate verse to it tucked away somewhere…but my worries were unfounded. It was just a verse about peanuts, nothing to see here.


The grown ups all enjoyed a sing along to “Sunny Afternoon”, while Robine delighted the babies with a bubble-trumpet. Then came Eva’s current fave – “Once Upon a Dream”, though both kids noticed that it was introduced as being from “Cinderella”, rather than “Sleeping Beauty”. Nothing gets past Princess-obsessed girl. She listened to it in an awestruck way, because Robine really can sing like a Disney Princess, and afterwards whispered to me that she reayyeyy reayyeyy yiked it. She didn’t produce her normal running commentary on the song (“And dis is where de bunnies are in the boots!”) so I’ll take that as a mark of respect for the singers.

Next, a lovely version of “Over the Rainbow” and then the one Roo had been looking forward to most of all – his favourite song of the moment.  It’s Mother Nature’s recipes. Jay taught the kids how to look for ants and Roo and Eva did the maddest little dance at the front. They both love “The Jungle Book” and had already watched it once that morning so it was bound to be a smash hit.

I won’t spoiler the entire set for you but I did know every song and love nearly every song (there may have been one that was schmaltzed up by a boyband in the 90s). We got the chance to sing backing vocals on a “Joseph” classic and by the end we were all up and dancing. Eva took this dance routine very seriously – she had her knees bent in tight alright:


So, an enjoyable treat for our whole family. It was always going to be an easy sell, given that I love musicals and the kids love Disney but it was really well done and both singers (and the pianist) are great at what they do. There was some lovely interaction with the kids and the atmosphere was really relaxed, so crying babies could cry away without parents getting stressed.

Afterwards, I’d hoped to grab a sandwich in the cafe but there was literally only one sandwich left and neither Nathan nor I fancied it much. Luckily I’d packed for the kids, so they had a picnic on a bench under an ever-darkening sky and then we legged it to the car before the torrential rain started. Don’t worry about me and Nathan – we had a panini on the M25 later.


There will be more Baby Broadway events coming soon – have a look here for more details.

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Big Fish Little Fish – 12/06/16


This has taken a while to write up because I was trying to get that epic Legoland post out of the way first. And if you’ve read that 2000-word monster, you’ll understand how tired we were when, the very next day, we went to church and then on to Big Fish Little Fish at Hackney Wick. And you might just understand how, on the number 30 bus, this happened:


Weirdly, this state of affairs was actually an improvement, given that moments before she’d been making strange noises and saying her tummy hurt. I was cautiously holding the Tupperware of Doom when suddenly I realised that instead of throwing up, she’d bedded down. Ah well, a quick snooze on the way would give her a bit of energy for the disco, right?

Maybe not. We arrived and she was still asleep, having been scooped out of her bus seat by Nathan and carried into the venue. There was a walled-off baby area with a generous amount of seating in it, so the two of them settled in a corner there and she slept on. It was meant for crawlers and babes-in-arms only but she was quite literally in-arms so we were let in.

It’s a pity because, out of all of us, she was the most suitably dressed for the hoedown theme. I’d had to throw some outfits together in a post-Legoland haze and I was quite pleased with this one:


She looks pleased as well, doesn’t she? Roo was in a cowboy-themed pyjama top and Nathan? Nathan’s always ready for a hoedown.

Except for now, when Nathan was stuck in a dark corner with a sleeping girl and a beer and Roo and I were the only ones roaming around the dancefloor. Don’t feel sorry for Nathan though – he was pretty happy having a sit down, a cuddle and a beer. It’s his idea of a good Sunday afternoon.

First stop for Roo and I was the craft table:



The craft activity was butterfly making, but with some randomness from Kids’ Church still buzzing around his head, he decided to make a fishing rod instead. So, the pipe cleaner became a hook, some tissue paper became a worm and some string the fishing line. But what to use as the rod itself? Aha, time for an ice lolly!


Job’s a good un.

BFLF with just one, 7-year-old child is a strangely serene experience. We could do whatever we wanted and not worry about Eva throwing tantrums because her lolly was the wrong shade of pink or it’s melted all over her outfit because she eats so darn slowly. I felt strangely free. Nathan, at this point, was still trapped.

Roo spotted a giant red balloon passing over the crowd and started to chase it. Man, he was a dedicated chaser – knocking over toddlers in his pursuit of the balloon, eyes fixed upwards as he darted through legs to catch hold of it and bat it away again. Sadly, the game was brought to a premature end as it it the ceiling and burst with a spectacular boom.

Yes, Eva still slept through that.

Next, we did a bit more craft. Roo was still thinking off-piste (is he ever on-piste) and this time turned the butterfly template into a nightvision mask. Then he pulled a few moves on the dancefloor:


I’m going to try something new now, which may well die on its arse..but here’s my attempt to capture some of those moves, via the medium of YouTube embedded video. If it doesn’t work, click here for the direct link.

think he’s trying to do the Coconut Calypso from his Perform class, but it could well be his own invention. Who knows? Waht’s that Roo, you’d like a biscuit? Sure! After all, it’s just the one kid I have to buy for….right?



Uh oh…the kraken awakens. She may have slept through a full-on rave, but the sound of her brother biting into his cowboy cookie half a room away must have pushed her injustice alarm. She was awake, confused and demanding baked goods within moments:


By now, it was darn near time to go home but she still had time to receive her tuptake, do a bit of the parachute dance and then play in the play area for a few minutes. Reuben, meanwhile, was busy adding superheroes to the colouring wall:

bflf6 bflf5

I’m sad to say Nathan and Eva probably didn’t get the most out of our BFLF trip but hey, they probably both needed the rest. I was pretty exhausted by the end, so it was lucky that Bob had invited us over and was prepared to feed me tea and crumpets and cook for my kids while I gibbered gently. Still, fun times though! And there will be a next time for poor sleepy girl…


Posted in Creating precious childhood memories or something (days out) | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment