Friday, 28 September 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - September 29th -30th 2012

Well, I hope you've all got the hats and gloves out of your cupboards because boy, is it getting a bit nippy! But me personally I love this time of year. It's a chance to swish my feet through a big pile of red, orange and brown fallen leaves.

So what can we do and where shall we go?

SATURDAY (29th September)

The current forecast for Saturday suggests the sun has still got his hat on and we will be seeing lots or rays of sunshine! So we can still do outside things! Hoorah!

Today sees a central Brixton event - something called Brixton Come Together (what a nice title). It will be held at St Matthews Church from 10am to 7pm. The facebook page and website mention activities for kids but what those are it doesn't say. I'm hoping for face paints and bouncy castle! For grown up, there will be music, poetry reading, cinema and discussion.If you are in the area, check it out! There is lots of transport into Central Brixton including the following buses: 2, 3, 196, 159, 118,  35,  37, 345, 45, 333, P4, 133 and 59.

It is also Lambeth Archives annual open day. Now I know it's not the first place I'd think of taking a child along to but it does say that there will be "fun children's activities" I can't imagine they are going to be able to squash a bouncy castle in Minet Library so I'm don't know what it'll be!

The archives and this event certainly is interesting for adults. For those with pushchairs, I'm sure you can manoeuvre your way around the stalls of Lambeth's different societies whilst the baby sleeps. There is not really any changing or eating facilities here but Myatt's Field Park, just a few minutes walk away, has a baby change in the toilet and a kiosk cafe (which does great cakes)!

The archives is located at the Minet Library, 52 Knatchbull Road, SE5 9QY. The event runs from 10am til 5pm. To get to the library, you'll want to catch one of the following buses along Brixton Road: 3, 59, 159  and 133.

And it seems we are having a special Lambeth themed Saturday as we have an event at the Oasis Adventure Playground in Stockwell, to celebrate 60 years of the Stockwell Bus Garage. A bus garage? I hear you say. Well, yes, this is a rather amazing and not so well known piece of architecture. At the time of building, it was the largest unsupported area under one roof in the whole of Europe!

 This event is part of the 'All aboard for Stockwell' project. It runs from 1 to 4pm and involves junk model making, sketching and fabric painting. The Oasis Adventure Playground is located at Larkhall Lane, Stockwell, SW8 2PD. Buses near by are the 2, 196, 88 or 155.

SUNDAY (30th September) 

The weather today isn't looking so good so lets look at what's indoors in South London. I would recommend hopping on a bus to the Horniman Museum which is located on the route of the P4.

This museum is a wonderful collection of objects from stuffed animals including the rather well known walrus (who has a twitter account) to puppets to masks to musical instruments; lots to keep big and little minds occupied. Most of the museum is free. They do have a paying aquarium which means lots of time playing spot the creature in the tank. The tickets cost £2.50 for adults and £1 for kids - sounds reasonable to me!

Alternatively, if you can bare the long bus ride, take a journey to South Kensington and the museums on the number 345. A chance to see how easy it is to get there by bus! This Sunday is the Big Draw, Big Make event at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 11am to 5pm. There will be talks, pop-up studios, famous children's illustrators to hand and lots of drawing sketching fun to be had.

 And just in case the sun is out, one more out of the area event is the Pearly Kings and Queen Harvest Festival located in Guildhall Yard. Someone has made a map early for you folks to get there! Catch the 133 to Moorgate and walk from there. The event starts at 1pm. There will be Morris dancers, a maypole dancing and a marching band. Try explaining pearly kings and queens to a small child -enjoy!

Whatever you do and where ever you head to, have a good one!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Taking Baby for a swim part 2: Review of Clapham Leisure Centre

So we went swimming again. And decided to try another local facility: the very new Clapham Leisure Centre. Now the old pool was sentimental to me. I spent time there as a child; I did my primary school swim lessons there and as a teen, I hung out with friends at the pool on a Saturday morning. So I was expecting great things of this pool to make up for the loss of a place with so many memories.

And in many ways, it reminded me of the old building. I'm sure it functions better but the new pool is smaller; it's not as long. And the teaching pool looks a similar size to the old  learners pool.

Anyway, let me start the story at the beginning. We paid our money and headed toward the entrance of the wet change area. We were met with a "no buggies past this point" sign and a prompt to leave the pushchair at the buggy park. Ok, this wasn't too bad as there were two of us going for the swim although the pushchair can be really useful if you need to put the baby down so you can get changed or dressed.

So our pushchair was locked out and we headed back to the wet change, carrying nappy bag, baby and swim stuff. Except now we had to take our shoes off as we entered the changing rooms which is a good thing. Outdoor shoes make a mucky wet change area. So we took our shoes off and added them to the list of things to carry (for those old enough to remember, it started to look like a scene from Crackerjack).

As we walked into the changing rooms, we realised that keeping our  socks on was a bad idea as the floor was wet. But with our hands full of things we couldn't get to our socks easily. So we just wandered the change area getting soggy and looking for a family changing room - which we couldn't find. So we used one of the group rooms (in a bit of a presumption that maybe they were for families which considering the size of the rooms, that would be one big family!)

Then the life guard came and chucked us out and we found the one, yes one, that's ONE(!) family change room. Now the good thing about this one room is it does have a baby change drop down wall fixture which you can put the baby on (though it has no straps and means you have to keep one hand on the baby!).

Swimming is such hard work!

Moving on, we got changed, put all our stuff in a locker and went to the teaching pool. The new swimming facilities are very clean and look great. There are certainly signs of better facilities for disabled users. So big tick there.

Next stop the baby gets into the pool with us. At this point, I dislike the pool again. I can either sit out of the pool or just about sit on the bottom holding the baby up in the water. Neither of which makes for much moving about. I shuffle across the pool, bumping my bottom along the floor of the pool to move around. So lets say I didn't feel as relaxed as I did at the Brixton Rec and I had screaming kids running around me there!

Swim done and we get out to find the ONE family change room is in use! So we pop into the next cubicle which can only fit one person in (not one and a child, just one person). I head to the shower with the baby and find the water to hot so head back and sit soaking wet and wait til my partner comes back because unless I put the baby down in the walkway, I can't get dressed. This really isn't an enjoyable experience. Eventually the ONE family change room was free and we were able to get dry and dressed.

I went really wanting to like this pool but was disappointed mainly with the lack of family change facilities. I understand they will be adding some more. Seem a shame to have made such a basic mistake in a new build.

Clapham Leisure Centre Information


Clapham Leisure Centre is located at 141 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6DB

At the leisure centre, adults (non-members)  pay £4.25 per swim and babies pay £1.85. The centre can be contacted on 020 7627 7900.

The opening times of the teaching pool (public swim) are:

Monday       02:00 to 3:30pm
Wednesday  9:30 to 11:00 and 2:30 to 3:00pm
Saturday     2:00 to 6:00pmSunday        9:00 to 6:00pm

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:

Friday, 21 September 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - September 22nd -23rd 2012

Nearly time for the weekend again ! The cold air of Autumn is really starting to be felt so time to get out the big cosy jumpers to wrap up for some outings with the little ones!

Saturday (22nd September)

Saturday is abundant with things to do this weekend.

Local to Lambeth is the Stockwell Festival. Here’s hoping for good weather as local residents bring together food, markets and entertainment to Larkhall Park. Boosted by the working of the South Lambeth Market and the Cavendish Arms Pub, there will be more stalls and cabaret from the various nights at the pub. 

For the kids, there is a bouncy castle, magic show, infant funfair, children's sports day games and other entertainments. As long as the weather stays good, this should keep mum, dad and juniors very happy! The festival runs from 11:45am to 6pm and as mentioned is held at Larkhall Park. To get there, you can either catch a bus that goes along Wandsworth road, 77, 77a and 196 or one that goes along Clapham Road (Buses 88, 155).

And while you are heading that way, pop into Stockwell Studios at the former Annie McCall Hospital, McCall Close, Jeffreys Rd (off Clapham Road: Buses 88,155),  SW4 6QU. The building is open so take the opportunity to have a look around. There is a lovely garden for the kids to have a wander including a great tree house. For the grown-up you can look around at the art work. This might be one of the last opportunities to see this space as it is. It's not really buggy friendly though we have got the pushchair up and down the stairs!

For the architecture fans, it’s London’s Open House Weekend, an opportunity to wander around London's buildings for free. Is there anything the family can do together?  Lets have a look...

Open only on the Saturday is City Hall, (The Queens Walk, SE1 2AA  near Tower Bridge) the home of the Greater London Authority. It’s definitely worth a visit. You catch a lift to the top, check out the view and them walk down a very long spiral staircase. They have an activity for children between 11am -3pm on the top floor..This is for kids aged 5-10 and involves creating a re-imagined London.
The building is open between 9am to 6pm. From LB of Lambeth, it is best to catch buses 133 or 35 to London Bridge and walk to the building. This visit is probably not suited for buggy babies (although you could just catch the lift up to the top and back down again).

And whilst you are down that way, check out the Bermondsey Street Festival, just down the road from City Hall. Activities includes, fancy dress, maypole dancing, a tug of war and a dog show. Sounds intriguing! Do visit!

Looking to stay local, then head to Myatts Field to celebrate the Harvest Festival with them. There will be music, chutney making and a wild food trail. The park has a good playground and a cafe using produce grown in the greenhouses.

Myatts Fields is located on Cormont Road( SE5 9RA) (Buses 36, 185 and 436 to Camberwell New Road, Buses 3, 59, 159  and 133 along the Brixton road. A ten minute walk from there.) The event is on from 1pm til 5pm.

Sunday (23rd September)

 For your Sunday, there are still many Open House places to visit this weekend.

For those with the baby in the pushchair, a history tour of West Norwood Cemetery might make the day pleasant. Walks start at 2pm, 2:30pm and 3pm and take around an hour and a half. I’m sure you can leave if Junior starts screaming! Meet inside the Cemetery Gates. Buses from Brixton to West Norwood are 2, 322, 196 and 432.

Across the road is another Open House place, the South London Theatre, the Old Fire Station, 2a Norwood High Street, SE27 9NS (open from 1pm to 5pm). Unfortunately this isn’t buggy friendly but work with those who have older children. With all it’s nooks and crannies and it’s history as a fire station and theatre it is sure to get the imagination going!

For those in the Streatham area, take a hop across South London to Tooting for another place which probably can’t cope with the buggy – the Gala Bingo Hall (open from 9:30am to 11:am). This has an amazing interior – there is something rather magical about the place. I’m not sure how much a child would appreciate it but I still dream about the castles I visited as a child so you never know what might stay in a young child’s minds. Buses to Tooting are 333, 155 and 355.

And a last place to pop into on the Open House weekend is the Dulwich Picture gallery which will be holding some activities for children. Catch the P4 to this part of the world!

Come rain or shine, inside or outside, whatever you are doing this weekend, have a good one!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Baby Massage -Attending A Babistic Course

When the Boy developed a habit of screaming the house down when he got out of the bath, I was advised Baby Massage was something to try. I wanted him to continue feeling the relaxation he got from the bath without the fury which followed his expulsion from it, but I was sceptical about trying massage as it seemed a bit fluffy for me. But when he seemed to have colic, and his little face screwed up with misery and pain, I was told again that this was the answer and so I signed up.

The class I go to is in a church hall in Brockley in a group of seven, with a friendly and relaxed tutor run by As we walk in, the warmth and calming music creates an immediate soothing haven from the pouring summer rain outside. The Boy noticed it too, and his reaction, as I layed him gently onto his mat, in a circle with the other babies, was to fall peacefully, deeply and frustratingly asleep.

We were issued with crib notes and a bottle of organic sunflower oil and the tutor talked to each mother about the reasons we were there. She explained the benefits: soothing the baby, tackling colic and creating a strong bonding experience being among the most important. And then she told us the guidelines. The most significant one to me was that you should not massage a sleeping baby. I looked down at the Boy. As did everyone else. While their babies looked interested and alert, Boy slept on, his arms flung above his head in joyful abandon, snoring gently. As each mother showed their hands to their babies and asked permission to massage them, I looked at mine forlornly, unable to join in.

Still, the hour-long session was relaxed, relaxing and informative. Some babies cooperated fully, others wanted feeding and others just wanted cuddles. And all of those things were fine.

The first session was an introduction and then concentrated on the legs and the second examined the tummy and chest especially for the treatment of colic. The moves are simple and well-explained and easily repeated at home. I’m not sure how effective it has been in dealing with the Boy’s angry or colicky moments yet, but spending that hour in such a calm and relaxed environment cannot fail to be beneficial to us both.

I attended a course of four sessions for £55 in Brockley (contact for details of courses in East Dulwich and Brockley), but Baby Massage is available all over.

Another paying Baby massage class can be found through in Balham. The next course starts in the beginning of October, is on Thursday 10:30am to 11:30am and lasts for 4 weeks. £65 per baby. Contact

Baby Massage is available in Lambeth for free at Ethelred Nursery School  SE11 6UP.
Email for details.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Taking Baby for a Swim. Part 1: Brixton Recreation Centre

Most mummies (and daddies too) look forward to the chance of taking their little one down the pool for a splash about. It's great to get the kids confident about swimming from an early age. So finally, health permitted, me, my partner and baby Boo-boo got a chance to go swimming.

So what do you need for a swim:

-The usual for yourself but remember you probably aren't going to have ages in the shower so not worth taking shampoo and anything else.
- Swimsuit for the baby
- Swim nappies for the baby (available at Boots, Mothercare, Superdrug and the Leisure Centre)
- Baby towel and any baby washing stuff
- Clean, normal nappies
- Milk/food/breast for feeding baby after swim

You'll most likely take the baby into the sightly warmer teaching pool. Remember this outing is more about the baby and less about an opportunity to go swimming yourself unless you make an arrangement with your partner.

The question about floats

So we had managed to get most things for the baby for her first swim but wanted to know whether it was essential for the baby to be in there with a floating device. Well, none of the guides said it was essential. And it was actually hard to obtain any - seems any shops presume your child won't go swimming once the sun has gone! The sports centres do seem to sell some equipment (including swim nappies) however the arm bands they were suggesting are more for a person actively participating with the water. I have also been informed that the pool might be able to lend an appropriate float - probably best to ring and ask.

So we decided to not use a float for the moment. Our nearest pool is the Brixton Recreation Centre so once, we found out the times that the pool is open, we set off to dip the baby in the water. The centre is easily accessible with ramps and lifts. We got to the changing rooms and they have a section of their facilities for families. The changing rooms were fairly clean but the toilets were messy and really unusable. We were there on a Saturday so it could just have been a busy afternoon and the cleaning had been overlooked. The baby change which is in the same space as the toilet looked fine.

We bought the pushchair into the changing room to put the baby somewhere whilst we got undressed. The pushchair can then go into a buggy area (leave at your own risk) or if it folds, it can fit into a locker - which is what we did. (And don't forget your £1 coins for the lockers!)

After a little bit of juggling and a few arguments we all managed to be in costume with everything locked away. Now to the pool.

For baby's first swim, choose your timing wisely! The weekend is busy and we had kids constantly running in and out of the pool which could be upsetting for the baby. However, our Boo-boo put on her serious face and played around with the water. She seemed to really like it - lots of splashing and trying to drink the water off her hands. (Ewwwww!!!)

You can stay in the water with the baby up to half an hour and Boo-boo managed about 20 minutes before grumbling a bit. So we went to the family changing areas and I tested the shower which was too hot for the little one so forget washing. We headed back to get dry. Now this is the tricky bit, with buggy folded away, and nowhere to put soaking wet baby, it's hard to manage to get dry. My partner had also decided to go off for a swim and then a shower so I had the loud wailing Boo-boo and a wet me! We figured it out eventually though lets say, we had a few more arguments, some crying from the baby, a feed for the baby and finally we were sorted.

So to sum it up, the first swim has to be finely planned like a military procedure!

Brixton Recreation Centre Information

The Brixton Recreation centre is located at 27 Brixton Station Road  Brixton, SW9 8QQ

At the Brixton Rec, adults (non-members)  pay £4.25 per swim and babies pay £1.85. The Rec can be contacted on 020 7095 5100

The teaching pool doesn't seem to be open for everyone at the moment. So here are the times for the main pool.

Monday  - Friday      7:00 - 10:00pm
Saturday - Sunday    8:00 - 8:00pm

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, 13 September 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - September 15th -16th 2012

Well, folks, it finally here. The weekend which half of Lambeth has been waiting the whole summer for!  That's right, it's the Lambeth Country Show weekend. For those who don't know what that is, over the last 38 years, Lambeth has run what it calls a country show: a large event in Brockwell Park, which has food stalls, craft stalls, funfair, music stage, farm animals, vegetable growing competitions...the list is endless. When I use to go as a kid, they had steam engines! I seen people sky dive into the event! It's that good!!!

But before we have a look at the country show, what else is on?

SATURDAY (15th September)

For those children who like boats, there is a chance to watch lots of them race down the River Thames.  Saturday is the Great River Race which starts at Docklands at 10:40am. According to information, the  boats will go past Westminster Bridge (Bus 159) at 11.30am and  Lambeth Bridge (Bus 3) at 11.35am. So either find a place on a bridge to watch them go past or along the embankment - take a small flask of a hot drink for the parents and some nibbles for the kids. And just remember to wave at all the boats as they go past!

If the kids don't like boats but like a bit of gardening then this is the thing for your family, the Big Dig Edible Open Gardens 2012. As the title of the event suggests this is all about creating spaces to grow your own food. There are several sites in Lambeth which will be doing workshops with children on the day.

Myatts Fields, Cormont Road, SE5 9RA (Buses 36, 185 and 436 to Camberwell New Road, Buses 3, 59, 159  and 133 along the Brixton road. A ten minute walk from there.)

Opening times from 10 til 4pm.

There will be an opportunity to visit the greenhouse, participate in a cooking session (10.30am-1pm), try the amazing food made at our Little Cat Cafe. There is also a vegetable trail that children can paint which goes from the greenhouse to the cafe

Cowley Estate, Gosling Way, SW9 6LZ (Buses 3, 59, 159  and 133 go along the Brixton road, past the Cowley estate)

Opening times from 11am til 4pm

They will be holding a harvest fun day with a BBQ, apple pressing, bird box building and wheat harvesting.

Colonnade Flats 8 Wren Road, Camberwell Green,  SE5 8QS (This is located behind the shopping centre in Camberwell. Buses 35, 45, 345, 36, 185 and 436 to Camberwell.)

Opening times from 11am til 4pm

There will be a BBQ at 2pm, tile-painting, art workshop, seed swap and a plant swap.

Looking for something less serious, perhaps a bit more fun and games, well maybe Hide and Seek Weekender at the Southbank is for you. Hide and Seek invent lots of new games for adults, children and families.I've been to an event before where we played a giant pass the parcel game and made a balloon disappear into the night sky by answering quiz questions! They have events all through Saturday and Sunday - not only are they fun to get involved in but they are often curious to watch.

SUNDAY (16th September)

As Saturday looks very busy with events and Sunday is quiet, I'll put the country show in here. What a lot of fun is to be had. I don't even know where to start.

Visiting the farm animals is fun. Last year I learnt all about the different types of sheep and was very excited to see St Kildas breed, which is a very rare sheep, in our city! I also love the owls and birds of Prey on display and still haven't got round to holding one yet. These creatures can all be found in the Farm Zone.

Another animally thing I like to do is watch the sheepdogs get the ducks into a box. This is in the Main Arena. And this years stars are some racing pigs which sounds great! They also have a Lurcher Falconry and Ferret display. What a combination - I wonder what that involves?

Asides from the animals, another event which many people seek to see or be involve with is the vegetable character competition in the Flower Zone. This competition has involved taking vegetables and turning them into famous people. Examples that spring to mind are AmyWinehouse and the Muppets.

Other stuff for the kids is in the Cultivate zone which has children's entertainments, workshops and taster classes.

And of course there is the funfair - lots of rides for older children. And there are plenty of food stalls to meet the demands of hungry big and little people.

To get to Brockwell Park, you are served by the overground at Herne Hill or Buses 3, 37, 196, 68 and 322 or on the other side of the park, 2, 415 and 432.

Here's a map of the site to help you out on the day. Print out and put in your handbag!

So fingers crossed for a good sunny weekend. Enjoy!!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Bea's Baby Bop at the Florence Pub in Herne Hill

The other Friday, I decided to take Boo-boo to try out Bea's Baby Bop at the Florence Pub in Herne Hill. At 6 months, she is so much more aware of her surroundings so I thought she would appreciate some songs, music and dancing. Bea runs two session at the Florence on a Friday and we arrived for the 11 o'clock class. For those who haven't been to the Florence Pub,  it is really geared up for people with children so has a kids menu and a large play room at the back which is an ideal setting for a small class.

There were about ten little ones, mostly under a year old, who had bought along a parent or carer. The class opened with a song saying hello to all of the babies. I found it lovely that Bea sang hello to each of the children individually by name. In fact I like this song so much that when I finally remembered the tune, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. I am now singing hello to all the objects in the house!

After the opening song, it was mixture of singing, doing songs with actions, rattling instruments and dancing. It finished with a goodbye song to everyone and to each individual child.

The session lasted an hour and was very entertaining. I enjoyed meeting other mums. Boo-boo enjoyed noming all of the instrument.

Classes are held at the following times at the Florence Pub:

Wednesday 11am
Friday 10am -11 am
Friday 11am -12am

They are suitable for children from 6 months to 3 years.

The address of the Florence pub is 131-133 Dulwich Road, Herne Hill, SE24 0NG

Buses to the Florence are the 3, 196, 322, 37 and 68.

Please contact Bea on or for more information.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - September 8th -9th 2012

It's looking like September is the month to enjoy many fun filled weekends. There is lots of free entertainment for the children and the parents, and plenty of things to choose from. Not forgetting the excitement of the Paralympics and all it brings.

And on that note, I'll mention that the 8th is the the last day to take a stroll around the Olympic Mascots  which I mentioned in a previous blog post. We have spotted a few as we have visited the city and have entered the corgi competition to win lots of little model mascots.

Suitably unimpressed baby!

Another event finishing this week is the wonderful carousel at West Norwood Cemetery.  Visiting information is here and the last day to view is Sunday. We popped in last week and got to learn a bit about it. It is located in the Greek chapel which does have steps up to it so is rather buggy unfriendly ( but not awful!). The images on the carousel are all about the magnificent seven cemeteries - seven large burial grounds built in the early Victorian period. There is a man on hand who will tell you the stories. Plus you get to crank the handle of the carousel which makes it turn and changes the illumination which is projected onto the wall!
Boo-boo was delighted with the examples of Neo-Classical architecture.

SATURDAY 8th September

This weekend sees the Friends of Kennington Park mark their tenth anniversary by holding a  fun day  for the family. There will be live music, children's entertainment and nature trail safaris. If you haven't been to this park, they have a lovely cafe! Check  it out! Buses passing near Kennington Park are 185, 36, 133, 159, 59, 3, and 155.

Travel a bit further down the road and we have the fabulous Thames Festival. Yes, lots and lots of different ways to be entertained.  A couple of South Bank things to see is the weekend lineup at Watch this space at the National Theatre. Acrobatics, Circus entertainment. and theatrics are to be had in this area from 1pm to 6:30. There will be juggling, sword swallowing, acrobatics, and hula hooping all performing over the space of the afternoon. So pull up a pew, bring some snacks for the family and prepared to be entertained. A timetable of events can be found here. And this is all repeated again on Sunday!

Another treat at the South Bank is free performances of a play call the Garden, described as gravity defying outdoor theatre. The main player perform on swaying poles which were featured in the opening ceremony of the Paralymics. I saw this play the other year and was very taken by the movements and the stories. Do go and watch. There are performance at 1pm and 6 pm on the Riverside Terrace on both Saturday and Sunday. The best buses to the Southbank is the good old 59, or the 159 and walk along from the London Eye.

If you fancy getting involved with the creativity instead of just watching, the National Theatre runs The Pop-Up Workshop located up a set of stairs to the left of the Theatre Square. You can design a set, make a sock puppet or create a costume. It is free but you do need to book (Tel: 020 7452 3388 for more information) and it's suitable for kids age 6 and upwards! There are workshops on Saturday and Sunday from 1 til 5pm.

SUNDAY 9th September

Lets take a short break away from the South Bank to see what else is happening on the Sunday.

Today sees the Bandstand Marathon - live music performances between 1pm to 5pm.
on bandstands and other outdoor performance spaces across the UK. Lambeth has two spaces involved.

From 11am to 2pm, there will be bands playing outside the Herne Hill Train Station. This is also part of the Herne Hill Music Festival and marks the official opening of the Herne Hill Sunday market. Buses passing through Herne Hill are the 3, 196, 322, 37 and 201.

Clapham Common Bandstand also has a couple of bands playing. Some details here. Buses stopping by the common are 35, 37, 88, 322, 155 and the 345.

If you aren't quite in the mood for live music, then you can always learn a little bit of local history by coming on the free Brixton Mural Walk led by the London Mural Preservation Society. Now admittedly I'm a bit biased because I will be leading the walk. However, it's quite doable with a buggy or with older children. My daughter has been on the walk 4 time (twice in the womb and twice in her pushchair) and she is just 6 months! Meet at Stockwell Tube Station at 11am. Buses going near the tube station are 2, 196, 88,155 and 345.

And finally back to the South Bank for the Thames Festival Night Carnival. Perhaps a little late for the little ones but alright for slightly older children. It's a visually delightful illuminated evening spectacle of dancers, drummers and lantern-carriers. The parade starts at 7:15pm with performances starting at the beginning of Blackfriars bridge. The procession goes over the bridge and along Victoria Embankment. Probably best to catch a bus (No. 59) or tube it to the south bank and then a quick walk to Blackfriars Bridge.

So whatever you do this weekend, have a good one!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside! Me and the baby go to Brighton

Sometimes the parameters of an area get rather stretched to include various suburbs (Brixton is a good example) however we can't really get away with pretending that Brighton is somehow just a quick drive down the Brixton Road (and secretly part of Lambeth).

However with cheap train fares, it isn't too far away or too expensive to have a seaside day out! Last week myself and the baby Boo-boo took the 133 to London Bridge overground station, bought a £15 First Capital Connect train fare to visit the South Coast. The bus ride up was a breeze, taking about 30 minutes. When buying the tickets, make sure you press FCC only (which stands for First Capital Connect only); they are doing a £15 ticket on weekdays and a tenner on the weekends! Hooray! Seaside for all!

So the next trick is finding a space on the train to comfortably sit yourself and the baby buggy. There are usually a couple of areas for wheelchairs. So you can find limited space for the pushchair/pram. However this isn't really a trip for a large bunch of mummies with baby wagons. This is either a family activity or a one for mum, baby and a none child carrying adult. Or Mum and little ones.

I didn't use the train toilets however I did notice on the way back that some carriages are buggy unfriendly and don't have a toilet so you'd be stuck if you needed to pee or wanted to change the baby's nappy or get the little one onto the loo. So that's really a warning!

So what did I do in Brighton.? Well, a little bit of window shopping doesn't do the purse strings any harm so I went for a good old browse in the North Laine. We also saw some nice street art and the little one was force to pose in front of a few pieces for mummy to take some photos.

Learning about street art.

I also popped into the Brighton Museum for two reasons,one - to see their lovely collection of furniture and ceramics and two- to use the loos. They have decent disabled toilets with good space for a buggy. After some food for me and food for the Boo-boo, we did eventually see the sea. However, please note Maclaren XTs do not go over pebble beaches -I carried the baby and dragged the pushchair across the beach!

Lunch by the Pavilion

What I thought is nice about going on your own is you can do it all at your own pace - no pressure to see or do too much. If you want things of interest, there is a child friendly listings online. There was many things we didn't get around to doing like visiting the Pier or the Aquarium. We will save those for next time!

 For food and drink, generally the large high street eateries have decent facilities for babies and little ones. Anywhere else can be bit hit or miss. Or just plain old unbuggy-friendly.

So all in all, it was a good (and affordable) break away from the Big Smoke!