Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Taking Baby for a Swim Part 4: Latchmere Leisure Centre

So far our adventures into swimming have been fairly drama free however this visit came with a scenario I had expected at some point but so soon?

Let me begin at the beginning. We decided to visit the pool at the Latchmere Leisure Centre in Battersea. I'd read some good reviews and had been there a couple of times as a child. We got to the centre, got tickets and hired a padlock for the locker. We were pleased to see that in the shared changing area, they had several family sized cubicles with baby change facilities though many had a notice which read that they should be used by school groups during the hours of 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday which is peak Mummy and baby time!

Anyway, we got changed for the swim and noticed we had walked out onto a rather empty pool with a few people standing around. Yes folks, There was a poo in the pool and not just an ordinary poo but a scattered one! Yikes! poo!

The life guards were all scratching their heads and eventually told swimmers that it would take at least 20 minutes to sort out. So me, a few other mums, a couple of school groups and various others headed back to the changing room to get into our dry clothes. This is where the wearing the swimsuit option under your clothes fails!

I was not too sure about what to do once dressed; should we go home or should we wait? We headed up to the cafe for some lunch and waited til the pool clear. It definitely took more than half an hour for some poor guy to swim up and down with a net and goggles poo-hunting. I suppose it's preparation for if his partner has a water birth.

So, undressed again, a sprinkle in the shower and off into the pool. The teaching pool was busy with school groups. From what I can see it steps down into the water and also has a little slide for the kids. The main pool slopes down like a beach so you just walk into the water. The space also has a water slide. There is a step in the water which is great to sit in whilst holding a baby. Boo-boo really got into it and enjoyed jumping up and down.

After a splash around, we went back to change. We didn't shower as some were being replaced and it felt quite cold on the edge of the pool so got us dry and changed. Getting better at doing this.... honest.

Overall, facilities were good. Changing rooms smelt a bit but weren't dirty and seem regularly attended. Pool was family friendly. And it was only £3.70 for the pair of us - cheapest so far!

Latchmere Leisure Centre Information

The Latchemere Leisure Centre is located on Burns Road Battersea SW11 5AD.

It cost £4.55 for an adult swim and £2.80 for a junior swim (age5-16). For parent and baby under five between Monday and Friday - 9am to 5pm during term time it costs £3.70.  Telephone for further information on: 0207 207 8004

You need to bring your own padlock for the locker or you can hire on.

The pool timetable is located here, The teaching pool doesn't seem to have a timetable and was full of school groups however the larger pool is baby and toddler friendly.

Wave machine operates hourly Mondays-Fridays 16.00-19.00 and weekends 9.00-18.00.

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, 26 October 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - October 27th-28th 2012

Earlier this week I was thinking that I didn't have much to write about; everywhere is all half term, half term and Halloween with not much cheap or free stuff earmarked for the weekend and then, ker-plunk!, it all landed down. Lots to do and see, so here goes!

SATURDAY (27th October)

Let start local and the visit the lovely Brockwell Park Greenhouses which will be participating in the Big Draw this week. So on Saturday, pop up there, taking buses 3, 37, 68, 196 or 322 to Brockwell Park, march up the hill and have a go at drawing the plants and structures. This years theme is 'In Lines' and artworks will go up along the brand new vertical fencing. This takes place between 10:30am and 12:30.pm. Donations welcome.

And later on, for the cost of £5 a child, there is play dough session including tips of how to make your own using vegetable dyes and incorporating natural materials! Booking essential. Phone 07427 685714. The session takes place between 2pm to 4pm.

If you want more of a spectacle than Brixton Bolt should be more your cup of tea. This is the chance to see who is Brixton's fastest man, woman and child! All future Olympian sprinters get to it! The first race takes place on Popes Road at 11am. The market on Station road will be supporting this little venture! Come out and watch the action! Buses through Brixton include P4, P5, 188, 196, 59, 159, 3, 133, 333, 45, 345, and 37.

If you are happy to travel further afield hop on the 133 or 35 up to London Bridge and visit the Old Operating Theatre and museum at 9a St Thomas Street, SE1. This Saturday, it's open for free. Surgical demonstrations will take place on the hour, every hour. I'm not sure this is a buggy friendly space so might be worth giving them a ring on tel: 0207 188 2679. Also worth booking your visit as I expect lots of people will be popping in to see it!

An alternative trip out of Lambeth could take you to Somerset House located on the 59 bus route. Between 2pm and 4pm in the West Wing, there will be a chance to cut and paste things. Make a scary mask or a witches hat or a wand. All welcome to join in the gluey fun!

SUNDAY (28th October)


Back to staying local, pop over to Myatts Fields Park for a Halloween Event. Between 2pm and 4pm, there will be African drumming, a children's fancy dress event and spooky cakes at the Little Cat Cafe. Fancy dress prizes are awarded for the best costume: 5 and under; 12 and under; and anyone else; judging  is from 3pm to 3.20pm.

Shock at mummy's cake eating habits at the Little Cat Cafe

Myatts Fields Park 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. It's a ten minute walk from there.

Another local Halloween event is at the Brixton Windmill in Windmill Gardens. It's another opportunity to turn the children into scary monsters with a fancy dress procession at 3pm. There will be tales of a haunted mill, pumpkin carving and spooky games. The event is £2 per child. Sounds like lots of fun and action! To get there, travel up the hill on buses 159, 109, 133, 45 and 333.

And finally pop along to the Tate Modern for a family event in the Tanks. From 11pm til 5pm, visitors of all ages are encouraged to "explore moving image through interventions, projections and the live creation of 16mm film works with moving image collective, no.w.here, artist Anna Lucas and live publishing collective CATALOG". Sounds curious! Whose going?!  Local blog A baby on board has recently written a post on her visit to the Tate - check it out here!

To get to Bankside for the Tate Moden you can catch the bus 45 which passes through Brixton and  stops at Blackfriars Bridge Road. Alternatively, there is always the tube to Southwark.
So peoples, have a lovely weekend. Fingers crossed for good weather!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

The Snow Spider at Ovalhouse Theatre.

It is sometimes easy to over look the small theatres in south London. One such venue is the Ovalhouse Theatre in Oval, Kennington. Most of the plays are for grown ups but I've been sent some information about a forthcoming show suitable for children age 7 plus.

It's called the The Snow Spider and is adapted by Io Theatre Company from the award-winning novel by Jenny Nimmo. The play tells the story of Gwyn Griffith who on his ninth birthday gets five strange gifts which  unlock the door to a series of exciting discoveries. Gwyn is drawn into an adventure in which he must confront powerful forces from the past if he is to come to terms with his own future – but he has the help of a silver spider from another world...

 It's on from 31 October - 17 November at the Theatre downstairs at the Ovalhouse.

Public Performance Schedule

Wednesday, 31 October 3pm
Thursday, 1 November 10:30am
Thursday, 1 November 3pm (Press Performance)
Friday, 2 November 5:15pm; 7:45pm
Saturday, 3 November 3pm; 7:45pm

Friday, 9 November 5:15pm; 7:45pm
Saturday, 10 November 3pm; 7:45pm

Tuesday, 13 November 7:45pm
Wednesday, 14 November 7:45pm
Thursday, 15 November 7:45pm
Friday, 16 November 5:15pm; 7:45pm
Saturday, 17 November 3pm; 7:45pm

There are a couple of special offers available: 

Book 1 full-price ticket and you can bring up to 2 children free (under 16). Valid on 2nd and 3rd November at 7:45pm only. Quote 'KIDSFREE' when booking online or by phone.

SPECIAL FAMILY TICKET (Applicable for full run):
Book at least 1 adult and 2 children’s tickets, and get 20% off your entire booking

Keep us posted of any other theatricals going on locally!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Soft Play at Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre

The baby is now big enough to want to crawl everywhere and anywhere and make decisions that everything is to be pressed or open or sucked. She is into everything! So soft play is a good place for her to go. We have visited the one in the Brixton Recreation Centre so thought we'd check out another local option, Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre located in Southwark.

The centre's soft play area is a shiny, new, two tiered affair with ball pits, soft shapes, tunnels and slides; this is spread across a room overlooking the swimming pool. There is lots of room along the side for parents to sit and plenty of space to park the buggies. They also have a bloke overseeing the proceedings. He explained how it worked (the take your shoes off bit and where parents can't go) and kept an eye on what was going on. There is a ladies and gents toilet in the area but I didn't check if they had any kind of baby change facility in these toilets. It certainly didn't indicate that you could change a baby in those toilets. Maybe the centre's designers didn't think a baby would be hanging out in the soft play section.

We enjoyed our visit to Peckham although there was some limitation to what we could do.  Boo-boo is crawling but not much else. We had a go on a rocking horse, played around with the soft shapes, chased some balls and had a play on a slide. All good and at £2 for an hour, pretty good for a baby whose only going to have a limited interest in the space. For bigger children, they might want to stay longer so it might be easier to take them somewhere where they can run around till you need to go or they are tired .

It was a pretty uneventful visit though the man on guard did tell off a grandma for taking a photo of her kid in the play area. At least we know he is doing his job!

Peckham Pulse Soft Play is £2 for a 50 minute session. Sessions are available from 9:30am to 6:00pm.

 It is located at Peckham Pulse Healthy Living Centre, 10 Melon Road, Peckham, SE15 5QN. You can travel there by buses 36, 436 and 345 

For any other information, the telephone number is 08448 933 888. Good luck with getting through to anyone!

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

Friday, 19 October 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - October 20th-21st 2012

Right, it really has got cold. I'm still searching for some kind of mitten option for the Boo-boo whilst spending my spare time in TK Maxx trying on winter coats!

Boo-boo gets to try on hats!

 Forecast for the weekend so far - Saturday is cloudy, Sunday is cloudy!!

So lets see what's on offer in the local area!

SATURDAY (20th October)

It's harvest time and places are celebrating by holding harvest events and apple days. Ruskin Park will be holding a tree planting day on the site of the Old Bowling Green. From 11am to 3pm, there will be a chance to hear live music from Dulwich Ukelele Club, plus face painting, arts and crafts and Apple Day activities to keep the little ones entertained!

Ruskin Park is located at Denmark Hill, SE5 8E. Buses in the area are 35, 42, 45, 68, 345 and 468.

Looking for more harvest time festivities? Then in the late afternoon, head to Landor Road to the Edible Bus Stop between 5pm to 7pm to celebrate their harvest festival. They ask that you bring food to share and good vibes! Landor Road is on the 322 bus route.

For something completely different, head to Cathedral Square for the RNIB Literary Wonderland. Based on Lewis Caroll's Alice in Wonderland, it is a multi-sensory experiences set  in five magical realms, including the Mad Hatter's Story Corner and The Forest of Talking Mushrooms.

The event is from the 18th to the 20th October, 9 to 6pm at Cathedral Square, Hibernia Wharf, London Bridge, London SE1 9DA. Buses 133 and 35 head up that way.

SUNDAY (21st October)

The harvest festivals and apple days continue into Sunday! Hop on the 133 or 35 and head up to Borough Market (by London Bridge) to celebrate the apple harvest. From 12pm to 4pm learn from the market traders about the different types of apples and have a taste of the various flavours.

Loving the celebration of apples?  Then pop along the way from Borough market to the Globe Theatre where there is an Autumn harvest celebration called October Plenty which mixes ancient seasonal customs and theatre with contemporary festivity. There is a Corn Queen and a Berry Man (Autumn's Green Man) who will be part of a play performed outside the globe. There is an apple orchard created for children to decorate the trees and listen to stories. Events start at 12pm.

Want to do a bit more learning? Then Morley College (located on 61 Westminster Bridge Road in Waterloo on the 59 bus route) has a day of Family fun learning. From 11am to 4pm families can decorate cupcakes, make fruit kebabs, listen to storytelling, learn circus skills, pot a plant and many other things. Plenty to do here!

To enrol on the workshop you need to get there from 10:30am to register for the things you'd like to attend. A donation of £1 is suggested. For information, telephone 020 7450 1929.

And down the road from the college, head to Funharmonics at the Southbank Centre for some more educational fun! Between 10am to 2:30pm in the foyers at the Royal Festival Hall, have go at playing a musical instrument or join the family Orchestra workshops. The Clore Ballroom at Royal Festival Hall will be hosting a free ceilidh  at 1pm. Travel here on the 59!

So that's lots of apples and learning fun to be had! Drop us a line if there are any events in your area you would like listed! Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Family Learning Festival 2012 in Lambeth - Events for under fives!

Over the next few weeks the London boroughs are having family learning festivals so I have rounded up (copied and paste) some local events for under fives in Lambeth and surrounding boroughs. Addresses of venues are at the bottom of this post!


“You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man!”

Decorate your own gingerbread man with storytelling, singing, puppets and fun!

Thurs 1st November 2012, 1.30-3pm

Battersea Park One O’clock Centre

Jactito Puppet Theatre

Geoffrey the Lonely Giraffe is thrown out of Giraffe Land because he has a short neck. He tries to fit in with the other creatures he meets by turning himself into a tortoise, a rabbit and a bird, but his disguises don’t work... at last Georgina the Giraffe resolves the problem in a totally unexpected way.

24 October, 10.30am

Streatham Library

Storytelling with Margaret Bateson-Hill

Master storyteller Margaret Bateson-Hill tells stories from around the world.

29 October, 2.30pm

Old West Norwood Library

31 October, 10.30am

South Lambeth Library

2 November, 10.30am

Minet Library

Yoga Stories

Have fun learning, yoga, making animal poses and stretches.

5th November 1:45pm 

Thomas Calton Centre

Toby and the Sausages - puppet theatre

When Toby is left in charge of Mrs Chippolata’s sausages with strict instructions not to eat them before tea time things start to go badly wrong - An interactive puppet show or families with children under five.

26 October, 10.30am

Minet Library

2 November, 10.30am

Clapham Library

9 November, 10.30am

Carnegie Library

Storytelling with Sandra Agard

Come along and join in with and listen to stories by the ever popular Sandra Agard.

19 October, 10.30am

Waterloo Library

Bollywood Punch and Judy

Upbeat and funny, Professor Patel’s Punch and Judy Show is a wonderful combination
of the traditional and modern with a dash of Bollywood panache for all the family.

30 October, 10.30am

Brixton Library


Thomas Calton Centre
Alpha Street, London, SE15 4NX
Tel:(0)20 7639 4875

Buses: 37,  36, 345 

Battersea Park One O’clock Centre
Near Adventure Playground
SW11 4PY
Tel: 020 8871 7541

Bus: 345 (Get off before Battersea bridge and walk down Parkgate Road)

Brixton Library, 
Brixton Oval,
Tel: 020 7926 1056

Buses: 3, 35, 37, 133, 159,109, 45,345 and 59

Clapham Library
Mary Seacole Centre
91 Clapham High Street
SW4 7DB 
Tel: 020 7926 0717 

Buses:  88, 35, 37, 155 and 322 

Streatham Library
63 Streatham High Road 
SW16 1PN  
Tel: 020 7926 6768

Buses: 50, 57, 60, 109, 118, 133, 159, 201, 249, 250, 255, 315, 319, 333. 

Carnegie Library
188 Herne Hill Road
SE24 0AG  
Tel: 020 7926 6050

Bus: P4

Old West Norwood library
14 - 16 Knights Hill
SE27 0H 
Tel: 020 7926 8092

Buses:  2, 68, 196, 315, 322, 432, 468, X68

Minet Library 
52 Knatchbull Road
SE5 9QY 
Tel: 020 7926 6073 

Buses: 159, 3, 133 and 59

Waterloo Library 
114-118 Lower Marsh
SE1 7AE 
Tel: 020 7926 8750 

Buses: 159 and 59

South Lambeth Library
180 South Lambeth Road 
SW8 1QP  
Tel: 020 7926 0705

Buses: 2 and 88 


Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Taking Baby for a swim. Part 3: Camberwell Leisure Centre

We haven't been swimming for the last couple of weeks due to Boo-boo having a cold and us testing out the soft play areas. However the cold seems to be clearing up and so we decided to pop to the Camberwell Leisure Centre. to check out their recently refurbished Victorian swimming pool.

Unlike our last swim visit (to the Clapham Leisure Centre) this pool has a whole wet change area dedicated to families and disabled people. There is a place to leave the buggy, big lockers and mixed size cubicles for big and little families. And it was all very clean!

Admittedly I'm still struggling to get everything done swiftly when it comes to getting the baby in and out of the pool. However I had taken a tip from Amelia's Mum blog and had my swim suit on underneath my clothes which made life a little easier.

All ready and changed, we both pranced off to the leaner pool. And what a great space it is! The pool has several longs steps going down into the pool which is similar to the Brixton Recreation Centre pool but much smaller. It seems to me that when a new swimming pool is built, there is a rule to make them smaller than they were. Am I imagining this?

There were a couple of other people in the water with their children so it really wasn't over busy though I imagine it could get a little crowed if we were all on the steps with the babies and toddlers!

After the water fun, we got out and tested the showers. Amazingly, these have some form of temperature control. Now admittedly I was a little wary of getting the tempretature right but me and the little one managed to get the water luke warm and have a shower even if we didn't get to use the shampoo because I had put it away safely and it really wasn't accessible!

When I was getting dressed, I could put the baby in the buggy which gave me peace of mind that she was in a safe space rather than on the floor finding someone's old plaster (not that this has happened!).

So to sum up, a very good experience. Pretty good changing facilities, Fab pool. Nice interior and feel to the place. And a cafe on the way out! Please do visit the place!

Camberwell Leisure Centre Information


Camberwell Leisure Centre is located at Artichoke Place, off Camberwell Church Street  SE5 8TS

At the leisure centre, adults (non-members)  pay £4 (off peak) or £4.30 (peak) per swim and babies (under 3) are free otherwise £1.50. Family Swim (2 adults /2 children) is £8.80. The centre can be contacted on 0844 893 3888

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

Monday       9:00 to 10:30 and 12:00 to 1:30pm
Tuesday       9:00 to 10:00 and 12:00 to 1:30pm
Wednesday  12:00 to 1:30pm and 1:30 to 3:00pm
Thursday     12:00 to 1:30pm
Friday          12:00 to 1:30pm and 3:00 to 4:00pm
Saturday     1:00 to 3:00pm
Sunday        11:00 to 3:00pm

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, 11 October 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - October 13th-14th 2012

We've been lucky with the weather as the sun is still striking out and blessing us with it's rays! So what mini adventures can be had this weekend then?

SATURDAY (13th October)

As mentioned last week, this month is the Big Draw event - a celebration of drawing with lots of  happenings across the country (and in a space near you!). Last weekend the Brixton Windmill and Brixton Library hosted  a selection of art activities.

The library event is repeated this weekend on Saturday between 2pm and 4pm. There will be drawing and reading based upon the theme of children in Victorian Times. Open to all of the family and easy to get to; buses running through Brixton including the 3, 2, 195, 415, 133, 59, 159, 37 and 345.

The Big Draw is also on at Myatts Field Park this Saturday. Between 1pm to 5pm, there is an opportunity to have a go at drawing in workshops located around the bandstand. There is also a chance to hear the  London City Reggae Choir perform.
Bandstand and Little Cat Cafe at Myatts Fields Park

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. It's a ten minute walk from there.

And from drawing by hand to a bit of computer fun and photoshop technology, we can head to the British Museum (using the wonderful 59 bus) to play with the Green screen time machine, a family activity where you can place an image of yourself with museum objects. Fun for kids who know what's going on and parents who want to do comedy pics with unaware little ones!

The screen is located in the Samsung Centre and is open from 11:30am to 3:30pm. It's free but limited spaces. Otherwise the rest of the museum is always amazing to have a look around!

SUNDAY (14th October)

From a big museum to a little museum, pop into the Cuming Museum on Walworth Road. It contains the collections of the Cuming family and a room of local history information, very much designed with children in mind. There is also an exhibition about Charles Dickens on until Saturday 24th November. To get to the museum, you can catch a 35 or 45 along the Walworth Road or go to Elephant and Castle on the 133, 155 or 415 and it's a short walk from there.

The FREE button pressing exhibition in East Dulwich is back again with a second round of  Cabaret Mechanical Theatre automata! Hop on the 37 bus from Brixton to East Dulwich (catch this bus on Acre Lane opposite the Town hall) to visit the exhibition at Space Station 65, located off Lordship Lane at 65 Northcross Street. Exhibition is on til 6th Jan 2013 and opens Thursday to Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm.

Boo-boo wondered whether it was in a plastic case to stop her from chewing it.
And if this automata has whetted your appetite for robots, then head to the Southbank to see Six Robots named Paul, a Merge Festival exhibit in which six robots draw a portrait of a sitter. As I understand it, you can book to be drawn by the robots and these pictures become part of an exhibition. How cool is that! Well, not sure how much small children will like the piece but it would certainly be curious to them for a while (five? ten? fifteen minutes? And then use bribery for a longer session.)

This exhibit is located at NEO Bankside, Pavillon A, 50 Holland Street, SE1 9FU (behind the Tate Modern) and is open Wednesday to Sunday, 12 to 7pm. Last day of the exhibition is October 21st. To get to Bankside on bus, the 45 which passes through Brixton stops at Blackfriars Bridge Road. Alternatively, there is always the tube to Southwark.

Not interested in robots but want to see something real, then head down to the Battersea Dogs and Cats home to go on a tour of the building! Yay for persuading mummy and daddy you need a pussy cat! Tours are on Saturday and Sunday at 11am or 3:20pm (Sunday) 4:20pm(Saturday). Donation entry price of £2. The home is located at 4 Battersea Park Road, SW8 4AA and can be reached by taking the P5 to Ascalon Street. Get off here and walk up Savona Street to get onto Battersea Park Road- you should come out opposite the Power Station.

Well, there's a weekend of robots, drawing, dogs and cats and in the immortal words of Looney tunes, "That's all folks!"


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Soft Play at the Brixton Recreation Centre

As you have probably gathered from the pictures on some of my posts, my child is a little one at only 7 months and counting. However, I do want to take her out and about to new things to see what she makes of them and if it's somewhere we can go to now or wait until she's a bit older.

So I checked out my nearest soft play space which just happened to be down the road at the Brixton Recreation Centre. Boo-boo is crawling and appreciating having the space to do it. I'm always a little worried at home about what random object she has found to eat and what new spaces she has found to explore! So at least I know that soft play should be fairly safe.

We arrived to find there were a few other mums and about five small kids, all of varying ages and wobbliness. Some were running around and others were just being baffled by the whole experience.

There are two areas for the kids to play in; a small under fives area which consists of lots of soft mats, some rocking horse shapes to play on and a little ball pen. So this is pretty good for the very small children. However, when I went, this was where the mums were hanging out and this meant their children tended to come back to them and run riot in the little uns areas. There were lots of mums telling their children to"MIND THE BABY!"which, of course, the kids ignored! Having said that, my baby didn't get bothered and wasn't bothered.

The other part is a three tiered climbing structure of  nets, slides, ball pit, rope swing, ladders  and more; an adventure space for the kids to ramble around in. I was surprised that the kids weren't all in there; it looked far more interesting than hanging out with mum. I managed to get a little look around by putting Boo-boo under my arm and having a clamber around the structure. We did have a go on the slide together. This section looked great for the kid who isn't quite old enough for the adventure playground but likes to climb up things and launch themselves off stuff and throw small balls at objects and people.

The equipment does look a little worn and the parents are in charge of their children in there so it can be a bit hit and miss as to what level of running riot the kids are at. Whatever it's small flaws, it has lots to offer and at £2.70 for non-members, it's a cheap way to let the kids wear out their energy. I will certainly be popping in again, quite probably weekly as it was great fun and good value!

The soft play area is called the Play zone and located on the same level as the reception. It opens between 10am to 6pm daily and it is £2.70 (under fives ) and £3.20 (over fives) non-members for approximately an hour session. It is best to phone if you plan to visit on a weekend as it is often used for children's parties. The number is 020 7095 5100

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


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

Friday, 5 October 2012

Lambeth - What's on for the family - October 6th-7th 2012

The heating has been put on at home, an extra blanket on the bed and the search is on for a good winter coat for baby Boo-boo. So I was hoping for a few events indoors however it looks like we will be getting out hats, gloves and scarves because this weekend's offerings are outdoors!

So lets take a look.

SATURDAY (6th October)

Now it's all gone a bit arty this weekend as it is the Lambeth Open, an opportunity to poke one's nose into the studios of the local art community. Unfortunately it's not necessarily a child friendly event though if you have a baby in a sling, I'm sure this event is accessible to you. Anyway, I thought I'd put it out there for those who want to brave it! Let us know how it goes.

Neighboring borough Wandsworth also have a similar event with their Wandsworth Artist Open House. They have a couple of arty trails mapped out in Battersea and Balham/Tooting area so fairly easy for Lambeth folks to get to!  Again probably not on for those with toddlers who might run riot around valuable art works!

However these events also coincide with the Big Draw. YAY! say the parents, because this has some things that children of all ages can get involved with!

First up, the Brixton Windmill is holding a Big Draw event. Travel up the hill on buses 159, 109, 133, 45 and 333 to Windmill Gardens and get involved in their Flour Power event from 1pm to 4pm. This involves helping create a large participatory Rangoli drawing, "a traditional folk art from India, involves creating large designs on the floor using bright colourful materials such as flour, seeds and pulses". There will also be chalks around so kids can chalk the paths with pictures and patterns. There will be tea, coffee and cake available and the gardens has a kids playground so this makes a good opportunity to let the children have some fun and mum and dad eat cake!

If that doesn't do it for you, make sure you factor in some time to pop down to Brixton Library where they also have a Big Draw event from 2pm to 4pm. This will be a reading and art workshop based around the theme of children in Victorian times. Open to all of the family and a great chance to do something and stay very local. Lots of buses run through Brixton including the 3, 2, 195, 415, 133, 59, 159, 37 and 345.

Now I reckon some of you don't mind a bus ride into central London so just to let you know the Big Draw is also on at the National Gallery which is only a bus ride away being served by the 159 and no. 3. This event is on between 11am to 3pm in room 9 and consists of working on a collaborative art installation, drawing the pics in the gallery with different materials and learning new skills. The event is repeated on Sunday.

So we've finished indoors for today. But we're off outdoors again tomorrow!

SUNDAY (7th October)

Coats still on? Couldn't let you get to comfortable! We are off to visit the West Norwood Feast, a selection of markets selling local items whether that be printed illustrations, hand made jewellery to home grown veg and cooked on the spot burgers and burritos! Yummy! We certainly enjoyed it last month. There seems to be a hub of activity around St Luke's church where the hot food is served and where the children can go mental in their own little area. It really has provided a children friendly space! The feast runs from 10am til 4pm every first Sunday. Buses into the area are the 2, 68, 432, 196 and 322.

Boo-boo enjoys eating outdoors at the West Norwood Feast!

Heading from deep south Lambeth into North Lambeth, we can take a moment and try a  bit of gardening with the Elefest Mobile Gardeners on Wansey Street and be part of creating a jigsaw pavement mural, help plant a sofa (?!) or adopt a box for seed planting.This event runs from 12pm to 5pm and is located on Wansey Street which is just around the corner from the Cuming Museum. Local buses to the Elephant are the 133, 415, 155, 35 and 45.

Whilst we are at the Elephant we can either make a choice to head to Camberwell or the South Bank. Now what's on where? Well, one for buggy parents is the free Camberwell Radical History Walk featuring stories of anti-fascists, rioters and squatters! Meet at 2pm, on Camberwell Green, by the corner of Camberwell Church Street, London, SE5. Transport through Camberwell is buses, 36, 45, 185, 35 and 68.

Not for you? Then perhaps head to the Southbank Centre for the Real Bread Festival! Yes, it's all about bread but more importantly there is an opportunity for the family to get their hands dirty and have a go at making bread. Check out the Brockwell Bake arena (yes Lambeth folk, our Brockwell as in park) and have a go at making pizza. There is an opportunity at 11am, 1pm and 3pm to learn about the best methods of baguette making. Travel here on the 59!

And while you are down the Southbank don't forget to check out the great playground in Jubilee Gardens next to the London Eye!

Ok folks, I think we have had food, gardening, art viewing, art creating and a spot of radical history. Hopefully you have found something that either yourself or the little one can enjoy!

Happy weekending!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Books, Babies and Clapham!

My search for good things for kids, fun stuff for families and baby friendly cafes take me out and about into Lambeth. A couple of weeks ago, I trotted into Clapham to seek out their baby friendly cafes.

Now the first way to find these places is to look in and see how well I can get my pushchair through the door and into the building. Many spaces lack this basic welcome. And then the next thing I look for is high chairs to feed the little one and a good toilet in which I can change the baby or go to the loo whilst keeping an eye on my little one.

And so in my perambulations, I came across Under the Greenwood Tree; a bookshop which also serves coffee and cake and baby food (for the little ones of course - not to go with the cake)! As you enter the building, there is a long ramp that takes you into the shop. This not only makes it accessible to buggy mums but to disabled people. The shop is full of goodies, lots of children's books and toys for little kids and some that big kids would be very pleased to receive.

Under the Greenwood tree - Clapham Old Town

You can also stop and have a coffee and (like I did) give the little one some food. So my young un sat in the high chair whilst I fed her. They also sell some baby food in case you have been caught short -starving baby and no puree! For the slightly older child, there are some toys for them to play with. So it is a really good space to take a break.

Boo-boo enjoys contemplating her next read as she has her lunch.

However what makes it superb asides from the lovely things to buy is the fantastic toilet! For a start, you can comfortably get the buggy in and move around. And then, the toilet is kitted out for every kind of small child toilet moment procedure Whether toddler step, potty, nappies and nappy wipes, you name it and its probably in there. It's also a very cosy warm toilet. Possibly the best baby change and toddler toilet experience in Lambeth!

This shop is located in 11 The Polygon, Clapham, SW4 0JG. It can be reached by buses 88, 37, 155, 322, 35, 345 and 137. For further info, call them on 020 7627 4557. They hold a storytime session at 11am on a Saturday morning (which I haven't been to).

However, I have been to the Wednesday storytime session (for pre-school children) at Clapham Books. This is on at 11am in the back of the shop which has a whole area dedicated to children's books. Myself and the baby Boo-boo, travelled to see what this storytime has to offer. The books are read by a lady called Seta who does a fantastic job. There are some stools the children (or grown ups) can sit on and a play rug that goes on the floor. With the range of books in the kids department, the session can be geared to whoever comes along. We thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone in the area.

Clapham Books is located at 120 Clapham High Street Clapham, SW4 7UH. The same buses as above will get you into the area. For further info, call them on 020 7627 2797

And finally, ready for some more storytime? Well, Clapham library, in it's wonderful new space, offers toddlers' storytime, rhymes and singing 3 days a week! So on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:30am pop along to the Mary Seacole house where the library lives, descend the ramp and hang out with Clapham's little ones as they listen to stories.

Clapham library is at Mary Seacole Centre, 91 Clapham High Street, SW4 7DB. . Buses are already mentioned. The area is served by two tube stations (if you are brave): Clapham North and Clapham Common. And the overground passes through here at the Clapham High Street station.

So mums and dads, pop over to Clapham for some book based activities and try not buy to much for yourself from the lovely shops in the area!