Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - September 1st -2nd 2012

Another week, another weekend. Hope you all had a good bank holiday. We popped along to the Leonard Street party and then wandered along to Spitalfields City Farm where the baby proceeded to sleep whilst we enjoyed viewing the animals. The joys of sharing stuff with the children!

So what’s on this weekend? Well, unlike last weekend we have some good local bits and pieces. Southwark has its Elephant and Nun festival which celebrates community from the Elephant and Castle through to Nunhead. We have listed a couple of events which are fairly local to Lambeth with the usual details of bus routes.

SATURDAY 1st September

Performing at Camberwell Green on Saturday at 12:30pm  and 2:30pm will be one of Barcelona's finest street clowns, Leandre. Buses 35, 45, 36 and 345 all run past the green.

Just down the road in Burgess Park,  Circumloqui present Ne Ne Titere Pas, a mixture of mayhem and theatrics presented by a puppet and a musician on top of one of those three-wheeler french little vans. Press the link and watch the clip - it looks like good fun entertainment for little and big kids! Head towards Chumleigh gardens within the park. Showtimes are at 1pm and 3:30 pm. Buses to the Camberwell Road side of the park are the 35 and 45.

If you want a bit more of an outing, then attend the  Peckham Rye Fete on the common from 12pm to 5pm. They have a dog show!! Borrow a pooch and enter him! They have a tea tent! Nom cake! They have Punch and Judy show and a Pimms tent! Sit the kids in front of the puppets and leisurely sip a glass of Pimms. An entertaining afternoon has been conjured up on the common so pop along. The number 37 will take you there!

If you are down that way don’t forget to check out the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre in East Dulwich off Lordship Lane. We mentioned it in an older blog post and then visited the other week. The baby had a go at pressing some buttons and although the exhibition is little, it was very enjoyable – definitely a family winner!

So that’s a good choice of local events happening. However for those who like a good long bus ride adventure, up in Kings Cross (at the end of the 59 route) they are having an ice cream festival. Now as a kid I loved ice cream, so free ice cream is always something I find exciting. This event has a petting zoo and an opportunity to milk a cow as well as the story of ice cream in London and lots of free ice cream samples. It is a bit in the middle of no-wheresville in Kings Cross so good if you are pushing a little one in a buggy or have kids who don't mind a little bit of walking.

SUNDAY 2nd September

There are more events at the Elephant and Nun festival today.

The Burgess Banquet is a music and food event held at Burgess Park from 12 to 5pm near the lakeside. It features an afternoon of live music, cooking demonstrations and food-themed arts and crafts activities. Buses that run from Brixton to near the park entrance are the 35 and 45.

Caramba is a celebration of Latin music and dance held at St Mary’s Churchyard (Newington Butts, SE11) – that’s the bit of land next to the (now being dismantled) Elephant and Castle Leisure Centre. There is also a children’s play area there. Events are on between 12 to 6pm. The 133, 45, 35, 155 and 415 all go past this green space.

If none of this is quite your cup of tea, the Tate Modern has a family day in the newly opened up tanks beneath the main structure. Entitled Sound and Performance, it is described as a “participatory event inviting visitors of all ages to explore, collaborate and create, in an experiential day of sound and performance”. So parents who are experts at singing songs and making shapes with the little ones should be able to take this to the next level and make it arty. The family event is on between the hours of 11am to 5pm. I haven’t been to the tanks yet but my daughter has….

Another thing to check out while you are there, is the Under Fives Zone on the 4th floor – an opportunity for your little ones to clamber and explore giant shapes from a cubist still-life drawing! To get to the Tate Modern on bus, the 45 which passes through Brixton stops at Blackfriars Bridge Road. Alternatively, there is always the tube to Southwark.

For those who really want to stay in Lambeth or if you loved yesterday’s Southwark dog show so much that you want MORE, there is a fun dog show from 2 til 4pm opposite the cafe on Streatham Common which is situated by the car park at the intersection of Covington Way and Streatham Common south.

Have you got a dog you want to enter or do you just want to have a look at all the dogs. Events include cutest puppy, dandiest dog, bonniest bitch, dog and spoon race and includes stalls and raffles. Event should come with a warning as undoubtedly some kids will be asking their parents for a puppy! Buses to Streatham Common are 159, 50, 333, 118, 109 and 250.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Big Scream! Baby Cinema

Who would have thought that when it was our turn to bare the next generations, we could be keeping ourselves entertained, not with nursery rhymes for the little ones but by viewing the latest movie with babe in arms, either asleep or sucking furiously at the breast.

Yes, a big thank you to the person who thought of baby cinema. What a great idea - creating specific times when a mum can take her baby (as long as s/he is under 1 years old) to watch a film. The sound is not quite as loud as normal and the auditorium is not as dark. The showings are always on first thing (so around 11am at the Ritzy in Brixton). Tickets are at matinee prices.

When I was a bit more settled with my baby, we ventured out to baby cinema. I made sure the nappy bag was packed and slung it onto the pushchair. Upon arriving, we bought a ticket, met our other mummy and baby friends, and proceeded to park up the buggy. Then came the tricky bit, you have to take the nappy bag and the baby into the cinema.

So once in the cinema, I got a seat for all our stuff, and a seat for myself with the baby on my lap. The lights came down, adverts and films came on and the sights and sounds of baby cinema began. For a start there is usually some baby whaaaahing to be expected. But as we are in close proximity to the other mothers, we have noisy breast feeding babies and the sound of nappies being filled with poop! In fact it's actually quite funny when you look over to you neighbour with an "oh no, I just heard that too". My first visit had a leaky nappy drama - not once but twice.

We were watching the Being Elmo film ( a movie about the puppeteer behind kid's favourite Elmo) which I really wanted to see. However, the baby had other ideas. Or rather her nappies didn't work for her so half way through the movie I noticed I was wet and we had to navigate our way out of the cinema, jumping over little ones lying on the floor, to rush to the baby changing toilet for a complete change of clothes (for her not me).

However I had left my nappy bag on the pushchair so I had to wade through a mass of Maclaren XT and bugaboos with a mucky baby tucked under my arm. Even worst, I'd left the bag tightly wedged under the pushchair. ARGHHH! We survived.

I mention the explosive nappy happen twice. The second time I missed a key moment of the film - when Jim Henderson dies (insert sad face here). And this was not to be the only movie this happened in! Still, baby cinema is good for mums  - gives you something grown up to do whilst caring for the little one.

The Ritzy (Tel: 0871 704 2068 ) has their screenings on Friday morning at 11:00am. It's worth getting a booklet with listings to check what is on as the website isn't always up to date. There is usually two films to choose from. A ticket cost £7.50 and includes a hot beverage.

The Clapham Picture House (Tel: 0871 704 2068 ) has a screening on Thursday morning at 10:30am. Tickets cost £7.

For both cinemas, you have to join the Big Scream club but this only costs a £1. Enjoy your chance to catch up on all the latest film releases!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - August 24th -26th 2012

It's the bank holiday weekend - time to raise our glasses, plastic baby cups/bottle and toast the end of the summer. Here's to the end of one season and the beginning of the smells and sights of Autumn.

So what to do, what to do? Well, we are not sensing any major free local events to go to! Perhaps I'm missing a trick. So I'm just going to have to suggest some general local free things and some other events a bus ride away!

SATURDAY (24th August)

So Saturday, if the sun is out head to Slade Gardens, Robsart Street, SW9 in the Stockwell/North Brixton area (Bus 159, 3 133 and 59). It's a rather small flat piece of land with several playgrounds, from a recently added one for the under-fives, to the big adventure playground next door.

It certainly suits a family with kids of different ages who want to let off some steam. It lacks a bit of shade and really can't compete with the big parks, however, take a picnic and unleash the children and it might keep everyone happy for a couple of hours.

Parents, you can always stop in the new pub the Crown and Anchor, by the exit onto Brixton Road. It's children friendly so you can get some lunchtime food for the kids, and for the grown ups, they have a wide range of beers, ales and ciders for you to try (not that I'm encouraging you to get drunk whilst parenting!). No baby changing facilities and the toilets are downstairs, however they are probably the nearest set of loos if the children are doing the "I need a wee" hop.

Of course, this is very much an outdoor activity and we know what the British summer is like, so for something in doors, take a visit to the Tate Britain. A number 2 or 88 bus ride across the river takes you to view some art. Fabulous.

And they cater for a wide range of ages! Liminal is a family event every weekend betweeen 11 til 3pm. Go to the information desk for details. Website says it " invites families into a physical, material and social experience of sculpture through touch, interaction and collaboration" so basically a chance to not have to tell the children not to touch the artwork. Sounds good. I'll check that out soon and properly review it!

SUNDAY (25th August)

If you don't do local and want to travel, this weekend is the Leonard Street Party at Shoreditch... yes, I know it sounds mile away but it's only a bus route from Brixton or Clapham. Yes, the 35 takes you to the home of the hipster. From 12pm to 8pm, there'll be music, DJs, food and games. Not specifically aimed at children, it probably works better for parents with buggies rather than a gaggle of toddlers. So whilst the little one is locked in her baby wagon, you can bop around the pushchair like it's a handbag and stuff your face with streetfood. Cool!

Of course, if you in the area, check out the Hackney City Farm or Spitalfieds City Farm - both a walk or bus ride away. I'm not going to write them up as, well, we are starting to spread out of the realms of local. So links included and you can make your own mind up.

What if you want to be local, well one for parents with buggy bound children is the Streatham Society local history walk - an opportunity to learn a few local stories and meet some of your neighbours.  The walk starts at 2:30pm at Streatham Station. Buses to Streatham include the 109, 50, and 159.

MONDAY (26th August)

We mentioned farms earlier and a not so local but not too far away farm is Deen City Farm near Colliers Woods. So from any of Lambeth Tube stations, make your way on the northern line to Colliers Wood. Then follow the signs to Merton Abbey Mills which sits on the River Wandle. You can stop there for a bite to eat or look at the shops and the water wheel.

But on, on, find the Wandle, and take a walk up it, heading away from Wandsworth and up towards Carlsharlton. The farm isn't too far away (though alternatively if you drive that might just be easier....) Anyway, on Monday, the farm has a summer extravaganza with a BBQ, stalls, games and a bouncy castle as well as the usual farm animals to look at. On the couple of occasions I've been, they have had a white peacock - very impressive (probably more for the grown ups than the kids). And the adults get to make funny noises at the animals, something that isn't so easy to get away with when one is childless. This outing works best for the littleuns in buggies or with older children. There is probably a bit too much walking for toddlers.

Usually I try to list the free and cheap however I thought I'd throw this next event in here. It is free for under 15s however does cost £14 for adults. It is the Festival of Flowers at Southwark Cathedral (from 23rd to 27th August). This is probably a nice thing to take a little one to as there is opportunity to see and smell  a variety of flowers in a beauiful setting whereas the older child might just find it all rather boring! Buses to Southwark Cathedral are the 133 and 35 - get off at London Bridge.

Have a good bank holiday and let me know if you visit any of these places!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - August 18th -19th 2012

Actually I thought I'd be helpful and throw in something interesting for this Friday.

So Lambeth folk, heard of Archbishop Park? Well you north Lambethers will probably be aware of it but for central and southern residents, we are unlikely to have come across it. Situated near St Thomas's Hospital, it has tennis courts, cafe and a nice kids playground. It's a good little space!

And this Friday 17th August 2012, they have a Summerfest between 12pm and 8pm. There will be a bouncy castle, outdoor gallery, music and sports. Dr Bike will be there if you need anything checked (not sure he can do buggies), make artwork with Block 336 and visit the pop-up Cinema Museum. Nearby bus routes are 3, 12, 53 and 159. Check out the space - it might be somewhere you would like to re-visit.

SATURDAY (18th August)


Any parents who have ventured into central London will have spotted the painted Olympic mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, dotted all over the town. I'm sure some of you have taken a pic of one - either on it's own or with yourself, the kids, the baby's buggy or random tourists climbing all over the poor thing.

These figurines are all part of the Stroll Discovery trails - 6  different walks to take you around London's sites and to visit the different games mascots. These walks can be downloaded online.

For Lambeth folk, the red trail starting at Westminster (bus route 159) is our local walk which at 4.8km (2.9 miles), it's not too bad a distance - works for parents with kids in buggies. For parents with walking children, you can always put in lots of stops. Of course, the main point of doing this, apart from seeing London sites and getting exercise and fresh air, is to take photos with the mascots! And you can enter them into a competition. Let me know if any of you win!

SUNDAY (19th August)


So if the weather is going to remain good , lets head for the park. As the summer starts to come to an end, we know that means only a month or two left to get around to visiting the miniature railway at Brockwell Park.

A brief experience but a  novel one and great for fans of Chuggington and Thomas the Tank Engine. The Railway is open on Sundays from 11am to 4pm til the 28th October. A return ride is £1. Brockwell park  can be reached by bus route 2, 3, 68, 37 and 196 as well as the Overground at Herne Hill.

Now if you want to see the real thing or rather the big version, steam engines regularly leave Victoria station. The next is due to leave Victoria on Thursday 23rd August at 9:44am  Get to the station early to join the train spotters getting excited about steam!

If trains aren't your thing, perhaps you like a little bit of art. West Norwood Cemetery has an art instillation in its Greek Chapel. The Streetscape Carousel are London cityscapes cut into three metre high steel drums. These can be turned by hand which creates large silhouettes inside the building. Not only is it an opportunity to muck about with shadows but a chance to see inside this chapel located in one of the more beautiful parts of the cemetery.

The art exhibit is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday til 9th September between 12:30 to 5:30. Bus from Brixton to West Norwood are 2, 322, 196 and 432. Have a stroll around the rest of the cemetery; it's a rather beautiful place.



As mentioned last week, AMAZEment at the South bank (catch the 59 bus) is still on. We did a test drive of the the piece. It's buggy friendly and about ten minutes of entertainment for a parent with a baby. Plenty of places to sit and feed the small one.

 For bigger kids, there are inflatable pillows for them to jump over and part of the maze wall is kids books, so you can read them a story.

Also outside, as you head towards the Hayward gallery, there are structures they can wander into and crawl over. Check out the you tube film about how they were created.  And don't forget to visit the big Lego map!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Lambeth Children Centre Events for 15th & 16th August 2012

Got a message yesterday about a Family Summer Fair TOMORROW (Wednesday 15th August 2012) at St Stephen's Children Centre, located in the  Stockwell /Vauxhall Area off South Lambeth Road.  The address is Dorset Road, SW8.

Catch a bus - number 2 from Brixton or 88 from Clapham.  The event starts at 11am and ends at 2pm. There will be a free BBQ, bouncy castle, and childrens' activities -jewellery and cake making, face painting and ice cream decorating. There will be a live DJ and talent show. Bring cash to spend at the stalls.

Sounds like a lot of fun!! Hope the weather stays good

And THURSDAY (16 August 2012) sees the Effra Children Centre hold a fundraising event at Brockwell Park One O'clock Club from 10:30am to 2pm. The number 2 bus from Brixton will take you past the nearest entrance to Brockwell Park and the One O'clock club

 Entry is £1 a family. The money raised will help support families who have no access to public funds.

Things to do include a bouncy castle, face painting , craft table and cake stall!

So there you go, two days of bouncy castles and face paints!! (Do you reckon the adults have a go after the children have left?!?)

It's a Sling Thing !

After months of daydreaming from afar, Milo and I finally made it to the fabulous South London Sling Library. The founder, Emily, provides the opportunity to try out a very wide range of slings and wraps and they can even be rented out for a small fee!

Although Milo, at nearly age 2, is erring on the side of 'heavy and wriggly' and we were surrounded by lovely, sleepy, obliging babies, Emily was extremely helpful at demonstrating plenty of different types and styles of sling and helpful advice.

We tested the Scootababy - which worked the best for us; it is a shoulder carrier and Milo was relatively happy to be slipped in and out, he got decidedly fidgety with all the other carriers. He also seemed content to be carried on my back - something I haven't tried before!

 As we are leaving Lambeth I was unable to rent a sling, but there were plenty of happy mums and dads who had. Just a warning, the session became very busy so be prepared to wait but it's worth it! There is a box of little toys, tea and biscuits for the grown ups and changing facilities so persevere, and you will soon realise there's more to life than a Baby Bj√∂rn!

Follow the library on twitter @SLSlingLibrary

Friday, 10 August 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - August 11th -12th 2012

Wondering where to take the kids this weekend? Here's a few suggestions:


This Saturday 11th August,  Foyles bookshop on the South Bank is hosting the Vintage Children's Classic Family Fete, an opportunity to discover some new stories. Kids can get their face painted, make a mad hatter's hat for mum or dad (or themselves, of course!) and be a pirate for a day. The event runs from 11am to 5pm. To get there, you can brave the tube to Waterloo or from central Brixton, get the 59 bus.

Everyone, old and young, loves a maze so if you have headed to the South Bank, pop into the Clore Ballroom, located in the Royal Festival Hall, to see aMAZEment, a labyrinth of books. A quick win- win of family entertainment, this maze should surely offer ten minutes of bafflement. Open from 10am to 11pm, until 26th August.


Today is your opportunity to get the family into a little bit of art! The Friends of Windmill Gardens have organised an event at Windmill Gardens, Brixton Hill, SW4. Art in the Park encourages all ages to exercise their arty side. There will be t-shirt painting and mask making for the kids and the grownups can have a go at their artistic interpretation of the windmill with support from a professional artist. Find your inner Van Gogh (famous local arty resident!)

Also there will be an opportunity for the kids to have a go with spray paints - is your child the next Banksy?

Event runs between 1pm to 4pm at Windmill Gardens, nr Blenheim Gardens, SW2. Map here

Alternatively,  if your kids love to press buttons, hop on the 37 bus from Brixton to East Dulwich (catch this bus on Acre Lane opposite the Town hall) to visit the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre at Space Station 65, located off Lordship Lane at 65 Northcross Street.

So what is it you ask? Lots of automata usually with buttons to press to make them work. You'll all head home trying to figure out how to make one! Open on Tuesday to Sunday between 11pm til 6pm. Showing til the 7th September.

Any events you think we should know about local to the Lambeth area, drop me a mail (see my profile for contact details!)