Wednesday 17 December 2014

Soft Play in Streatham at Toddlers' World

Streatham, like West Norwood, has a fairly new leisure centre so not only do locals of Streatham have a new pool (review coming soon!) but they have a new gym and the opportunity to have a new Toddlers' World! How exciting! Soft play spaces for preschool children are always welcome so to see if this one was any good I took my two year old daughter to test it out.

The soft play is located in one part of the leisure centre's main hall. Buggies are parked outside the hall and there are lockers for people's belongings. Toilets are close by though if I remember correctly, there is only one baby change!!! Upon entering the hall, shoes, coats and bags are placed by the wall if you haven't left them locked up.

The space is filled with soft shapes for babies and young toddlers to climb and jump on. My daughter had a clamber on these objects trying to avoid the babies and their mums who were sitting around the space creating an obstacle course.  I had to keep a close eye on my daughter's interactions with the little ones as she doesn't always understand that she needs to be careful around babies.

There is also a big bouncy castle with a slide which clearly works best with older kids. One side is for bouncing which is an easy win with kids (and mums). The other part of this inflatable is a slide. To access the top of the slide the children have to climb up a dark and quite steep tunnel which has no room for a parent's helping hand. Young toddlers regularly attempted to climb the stairs. They would then get scared and stuck, and their mums would have to go in to coax them out.  Often you would see a great big grown-up bottom sticking out of the entrance to the tunnel steps, head inside trying to persuade the nervous child to come back down.

In some cases, the kid would get out of the tunnel at the top and then decide they didn't want to go down the slide. On a normal slide, mum or dad can lean in and help their child down but this isn't so easy to do on this strange bouncy slide thing. So yes, I found myself going up the bouncy tunnel steps to persuade my daughter to slide down with me.

This slide and tunnel really works better with the four to five year old children. Those who were around had no problems, often walking over -  yes over - the small kids who were crying because they were half way up a dark tunnel, not sure how to get down and they couldn't see their parent.

To sum up, everything is still sparkly and new, there are soft shapes for the very little and a big bouncy thing for the big but I'm not sure it serves the 2-3 year old children very well. It also feels overcrowded which means I'm uncomfortable with letting my child really run around.

For me, the most eventful moment was when my two year old managed to bang her head. A big egg bump started to appear and I asked the guy in charge if he had a first aid kit with a cold compress. He didn't so he went up to reception to ask. They told me to put some water on a tissue and hold it to her head. This is a leisure centre with an ice skating rink! No-one was very sure about first aid for a small child!! I really wasn't impressed with that but hope it was a one off.

I'd love to hear other's experiences of the space. Did it work better for you and your family?

Streatham Ice and  Leisure Centre Information

Streatham Ice and  Leisure Centre is located at 390 Streatham High Road  London, SW16 6HX

It costs £2.85 a session.

The centre can be contacted on 020 8677 5758.

The opening times of the Toddlers' World are:

Monday       10:00 to 12:00pm  
Tuesday       10:00 to 12:00pm
Thursday     10:00 to 12:00pm
Friday           10:00 to 12:00pm


Want to know more about soft play facilities in the Lambeth area and beyond? Read the following:

Sunday 7 December 2014

LattjoPop : A new space to eat, play and shop!

Most parents want somewhere to sit, have a cuppa, a cake and somewhere to let the kids run off some steam so the opening of LattjoPop, a family friendly cafe, in South Streatham is a great addition to the area. Located between Streatham Common and Norbury, on a quiet shopping parade, LattjoPop offers a large relaxing space  which includes room to park the buggies and a little kids play area. There is a big outdoor space which will be great when the weather warms up again.

The cafe area
Regular activities for parents and children are held each week including crafts, messy play and singing and storytime. Check out their website for the latest timetables. Special family activities such as seasonal crafts run throughout the year. The space can also be hired for birthday parties.

Making Christmas cards.
Not only is it a family café  but there are things to buy including cards, toys and jewellery offering a much needed opportunity to buy gifts in the South Streatham area. But LattjoPop isn’t just about selling food and gifts; it’s a place which supports local businesses by offering the possibility to rent the space to sell products, to run events or to use it as a hot desk space.
Space to sell
The retail boutique can accommodate two businesses a week to pop up and offer their products to local people. The back office room is available if you need a space to work.  The main café can be hired to run workshops as part of the daily LattjoPop family friendly café or can be taken over for a day or an evening to run an event such as an all-day sewing workshop. This is a really great opportunity for South Streatham and for those looking for a platform to promote and sell their products or services.  

I’m currently doing a free singing and storytime session on Fridays from 1pm to 2pm.  Come along and join in. Bring your instruments – it’s an opportunity to make noise.
Making music!
LattjoPop is located at 544 Streatham High Road, SW16; it is open Monday to Friday 10 til 5 and Saturday 10 til 4. For those interested in the business opportunity, contact Isra through the LattjoPop Facebook page or go and visit the shop.  For those looking to start out in business, there is a great opportunity here.  Let’s use it and not lose it! 

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Taking Baby for a Swim Part 6: West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre

So things are a-changing! New leisure facilities have arrived and they need reviewing!

Princess Boo is less of a baby and definitely a toddler at 2 & 3/4 so our needs at the swimming pool have changed; however some issues are still the same. Let's take a look at Lambeth's latest addition to their swim facilities!

West Norwood's eagerly awaited lesiure centre opened during the summer. Would there be a creche to show that the council and leisure centre understood the needs of local mums? Hell no! The protest by Streatham Mums have been ignored. So although local parents aren't going to get a chance to take a small break from their kids to go to the gym or have a swim, they can bring the whole family for one of the family swim sessions.

The first rule of West Norwood swim is there is only one pool and it looks small. It is a standard 25m long and when it gets divided up so that other users can have private lessons, it starts to feel a little crowded. Saturday's swimming session felt a little cosy at times; however because the session is around lunchtime, most parents will be feeding their kids and shouldn't be taking them for a swim directly after food. A bit of strange planning by the leisure centre!

As Princess Boo is walking and talking and running and screaming, our needs at the swimming pool are slightly different. We still need a buggy park - and they do have a few spaces to store the pushchairs. On arrival, we gathered our swim stuff, parked the buggy (known as robot bug) and headed to the changing rooms. The pool is on the ground floor so easy to get to. There are separate male and female changing rooms. Each facility contains cubicled showers, toilets and changing areas. The changing space are good sizes so that even the single units have enough room for a parent and a child.

Me and Boo did some swift undressing as she kept trying to unlock the door which was very easy for her to do. I then had to load up our belongings into my arms and carry them out to the locker whilst trying to locate a pound coin to work the lock and hold onto a small child who was desperate to throw herself at the water even though her experience of it is limited.I spotted her dad and he came to the rescue so I managed to put our clothes away without dropping them in puddles.

Next up, the pool! Family swim sessions involve lots of floats and my daughter thought this was fab as did her father who tried to build a giant raft. A small area of the pool is divided from the main pool and the floor is 0.8 metres so Princess Boo could just about stand up in it. In this section I could securely rest on the bottom and hold her but in the main bit of the pool I had to stand to hold her which made it a little less relaxing. There are a few steps which lead into the main pool area but it's not really enough space for parents to sit and let their little ones walk up and down. Plus, the space feels a little cold. I was glad to be under the water.

So we had our swim fun and decided to try out the family change space. They have two very  big cubicles outside of the main changing rooms. These have a baby change and you can take in a push chair if needed . We went into the slightly smaller size which was a bit crowded for two adults and one small child who was still trying to open the door and revel naked mummy to the  people of Norwood. The biggest inconvenience of the family changing room was that they were very far away from the showers which are in the male or female changing room so one family member had to sacrifice shower time.

So overall, the facilities aren't bad. The pool looks out onto trees and lets in lovely light. And the space is generally clean and new. It's great for the area to have a pool. Check it out and let us know what you think!

West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre Information

West Norwood Health and Leisure Centre is located at 25 Devane Way, West Norwood, SE27 0DF

At the leisure centre, adults (non-members)  pay £4.20 per swim and babies pay £1.85. The centre can be contacted on 020 8761 1159.

The opening times of the pool are:

Monday - Friday       6:30 - 10:00pm
Saturday                    8:00 to 5:00pm
Sunday                       8:00 to 4:00pm

It's always worth phoning the pool to check it's open or that there hasn't been a change to the timetable.

Want to know more about swimming with babies in the Lambeth area and beyond? Read the following:

Thursday 3 July 2014

What's on for the family: 5th to 6th July 2014

What's this? Another weekend post? Oh yes, I've actually managed to get it together - enough to pull together a post giving you some highlights of what's going on in and around Lambeth this weekend!


  • Telferscot Primary School: Telferscot Road, SW12 0HW
    • @ 12pm - 3pm // Adults: £1, Children: FREE
    • It's Summer Fiesta Time at this little primary school that's jam packed with lots of fun for the family: games, crafts and music workshops with Kinetico Bloco to name a few.
  • Young Lambeth Cooperative: Windrush Square, Effra Road, SW2 1QJ
    • @ 12pm - 5pm // FREE
    • "The Young Lambeth Cooperative (YLC) will be having a Community Launch Party this Saturday 5th July at Windrush Square, 12pm-5pm. The aim of the event is to let the community know who we are, and get everyone signed up as members, so the community can have a say in where the funding goes for young people's services in Lambeth. We will be having food, a chance to sign up as a YLC member, live music & entertainment, and performances from local acts of all ages."
    • "What is the YLC?
      The Young Lambeth Cooperative (YLC) is a membership organisation set up by the community and the council to be the new vehicle that commissions services for young people in Lambeth. Anyone aged 11 and over can sign up and become a member to have a say in what services should be provided for our young people."


  • Northcote Road Summer Fete 2014: Northcote Road.
    • @ 11am - 5pm // FREE, but rides charge - £15 ride-all-day wristbands are available!
    • You've got the Teacups, Astroglide and a new Toyset Roundabout to play on along with ping pong tables, a live entertainment stage and a market. They've even mapped everything out for you here.
    • The event is supporting Ickle Pickles, a local children's charity - you can find them in the playzone!
    • FYI you can get those wristbands from All Good Gifts and Hamptons International (both on Northcote Road)
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: Omnibus Clapham, SW4 0QW
    • @ 11am & 3pm // Adults: £9, Children £7
    • Suitable for 5+
    • Performance by Box Tale Soup, it has wonderful reviews and is sure to be lots of fun for young and old!
  • West Norwood Feast: Norwood Road.
    • @ 10am - 4pm // FREE
    • With July being such a sporty month, West Norwood have incorporated it into this months theme. Head to the children's activity tables or Artisans and one of their lovely volunteers will paint the flag of your choice. 
    • The garden at St Luke's will have the radio tuned in so you can listen to the Wimbledon final whilst munching on a slice of strawberries and cream cake - yum!
  • Books About Town: All over the city.
    • Books about town launched on Wednesday - benches shaped like open books are popping up all over London for everyone to find and enjoy.
    • BookBenches feature stories linked to London and are based on some of the most iconic - from children's stories such as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to adult titles including 1984.
    • They've also launched a new website which includes family events, activities and quizzes, downloadable trail maps and information on each BookBench.
    • We're particularly excited to check out the Riverside trail - The Gruffalo, Dr. Seuss, Paddington Bear and lots more to add!


If you've been living under a rock like me then you won't have realised that the annual Lambeth Country Show is happening on the 19th/20th July in Brockwell Park.

A fun weekend to be had by all it seems, so be sure to take a look here to see what's going on across the weekend.

That's all for now but be sure to keep checking back for updates!