Thursday, 31 January 2013

Lambeth - What's on for the family - February 2nd-3rd 2013

The weeks are sailing past much helped by my return to work and being busy away from my job. I can’t believe we are in February already!

So what’s on this weekend?

SATURDAY (2nd February)

Yep, it’s still a slow winter season however there are things on that only take a bus ride for everyone to get there.

The weather is looking bright for Saturday so head out to Vauxhall City Farm to see how the animals area faring! It is open from 10:30 to 4pm (same times on Sunday too!)

Not too impressed by the hens,

The farm is located off Spring Gardens, Vauxhall, SW8. To get to there, catch the 88, 36 , 2 or 196 bus.

Looking for something indoors? Then the Southbank Centre is showing an animated family-friendly film called the Cunning Little Vixen  at 3:30pm in the Foyer spaces. The 59 to Waterloo will take you there.

SUNDAY (3rd February)

Cross the river to 2 Temple Place and create an indoor seashore as part of an exhibition about artists in Cornwall. Craft workshops are at 12:pm and 2pm. To get there, cross Waterloo Bridge and head right along the river front. 

Want to take a walk in the fresh air? Then head out to Sydenham Hill Woods and Cox's Walk. Enjoy a bit of countryside on the city. The P4 will take you to the entrance to Cox's Walk (which is near the Horniman museum).


Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lambeth - What's on for the family - January 26th-27th 2013

Well, the snow was wonderful last weekend and a great excuse to run around outside making snowmen and throwing snowballs.

Will there be more snow for another weekend of fun or is it back to finding other things to do?

SATURDAY (26th January)

If it's not too cold, then head out to the Horniman museum in Forest Hill on the P4 from Brixton, for their Big Garden Birdwatch. Starting at 11am, there are lots of free activities including story telling for under fives and Garden bird bingo - suitable for all the family.

Happy to embrace the cold, then this weekend is Walk London's Winter Wanders Weekend, a chance to go on a free guided walk. Great for parents with buggy babies or older children happy to walk. Check out the website and pick a walk. Many are local to Lambeth

SUNDAY (27th January)

Have lots of energy to Junior Dig the Park at Brockwell Park in Herne Hill? Well, this weekend lend a hand creating loggeries and insect habitats . Meet at 10.30am at the Community Greenhouses.

They are located not far from the cafe on the top of the hill in Brockwell Park. Buses to the main park entrance at Herne Hill include  3, 196, 322, 68 and 37. You can also catch the overground to Herne Hill.

Head out of the area to the Museum of London for "Enter a Victorian Photograph" - a chance to create fictional Victorian characters, dress up as them and enter a photograph using the technology of blue screen. This is on at 12:30, 2 and 3:30 and it's free!

The museum is in the Barbican which can be reached by tube or bus (133 and 35) to Liverpool Street and a ten minute walk.

And finally I've mentioned it the last couple of weeks, so here's a reminder that the National Gallery has Sunday story time for under fives and art for older children. Boo-boo went with her dad last week and had a great time.

Boo-boo likes the painting!

Enjoy the weekend!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Tips For Returning To The Workplace After Maternity Leave

It's been nearly two weeks back in the workplace and I'm happy to report that it hasn't been too bad at all.

So what tips can I give you to get you ready for your return?
1.     If you can spare the cash get a hair cut or buy a new pair of shoes or clothing. It'll give you a bit of confidence going back feeling like fresh mummy and not worn out mummy.

 2.    Sort out your work clothes. Check what clothes fit and how you feel in them. If some items don't fit, then get rid of them; it's best not to have lots of clothes you can't wear in your wardrobe.

3.    Check with your manager that everything is ready for your return - desk, access to computer passwords sorted, whatever it is that needs to be set up for your arrival.

4.   Are you planning to go on breastfeeding when you return to work? Your employer should make sure you have somewhere to express milk and a fridge to store it in.  Broach this subject with your manager or personnel early on as it's not something everyone is comfortable with.

4.     If you can, do more than one settling in day with your little one at nursery. If there is any problems, then you might be able to resolve them before you are stuck at your workplace worrying about your child.

5.    Organise your morning the evening before. Lay clothes out, check bus pass, money bag, etc, anything you need and anything the baby will need for nursery.

For baby and me....
6.    Have a talk to your partner about how they can help make the transition back to work smoother by taking on a few baby chores such as feeding the child first thing. Also if you have been doing most of the baby care during the night, then you might want to agree with your partner a way for you to have a good nights sleep.

7.     Figure out your daily routine and get a sense of how long everything takes. You will find to begin with that you feel time-poor. There is never enough hours in the day so try not to beat yourself up if you can't get as much done. Give yourself a break.

8.      Put your watch mobile phone a few minutes forward. This is useful for making you leave work promptly. It's easy to get distracted leaving the office and over estimate your timing.

9.    Try and use lunchtime to do some chores but also take a break and hang out on your own or with work colleagues.

Good luck with it all! 

Friday, 18 January 2013

Lambeth - What's on for the family - January 19th-20th 2013

It's the weekend! Hooray! Time for some family fun. Except it's possible the snow is going to change what we can do this weekend. Anyway lets see what's on!

SATURDAY  (19th January)

Lambeth is rather quiet this weekend. Winter seems to lack one-off events in the area. If you don't fancy traveling too far, then take a visit to the library - get some books and films out and settle down at home as the weather gets cold.

Otherwise let's take a bus ride to get a bit of south London culture and head on the P4 to the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. They have two different family sessions on today - one which allows you to handle objects (free) and another which is about having a go at art (£3 a child).

Or head in the opposite direction to Bankside to visit the Tate Modern. Seek out the Clore Learning Centre where they have an open studio so the children can explore and create. It's open from 11am to 4pm.

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.

SUNDAY (20th January)

The Victoria and Albert Museum has a drop in design event about creating costumes. This is on all day in the lunch room.

The museum is located in South Kensington. The number 345 bus will take you there; alternatively take the train or tube to Victoria and catch the District Line.

Get involved in a family activity at the National Gallery. They are also doing regular Sunday events for the family. Under fives have the Magic Carpet Storytelling at 10:30am and 11:30 am; and five to eleven year old children have a hands-on art workshop called postcards from Arcadia running at 11am to 12:20pm and 2am to 3:20pm.

The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Hop on the number 3 bus or 159 to get there.

Head down to the  British Museum for a free medieval animation workshop for kids age 7 +. There are two sessions - one starts at 11m and one at 2pm.

The British Museum is located at Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG. Hop on the 59 bus to get there.

If the snow does arrive, then Brockwell Park is a good place for a bit of sleighing. However it gets very busy. If you can get out of the house, check out Spit-spot blog for some ideas of things to do.

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Taking Baby for a Swim Part 5: A review of Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

Over the Autumn, me and baby Boo-boo got into quite a regular habit of going swimming and I wrote several reviews about the places we went to. One week, we decided to head out up the road to the Palace, take a dip in the pool and afterwards, meeting Gill who writes A Baby on Board blog.

Now I know the pool is in the middle of the park and the park is full of steps (beautiful steps but not buggy friendly!). So I caught a bus that took we to the train station which is slightly down the hill. Well, I thought that this should have been straightforward from here except it wasn't really. I could see the centre but getting to it took me on a tour around the running track, past a very crashed car and then I was faced with a flight of steps! Oh dear me! So there was I bumping the baby up the stairs, hoping my arms wouldn't give out.

It took me way to long to get to the swimming pool but anyway, we were here now and raring to get in the water! Crystal Palace National Sports Centre was built in 1964, is a listed building and until the recent Olympics was some of the best facilities in the capital. The main pool is 50m long and there is a teaching and a training pool. When we finally arrived, we got in, paid our fees and asked the receptionist what we needed to do. We took a lift down to the changing rooms. These were big open spaces with some private cubicles and at least one which had room for a buggy. We sheltered in there and wrestled with getting undressed (I am still so rubbish at this -I go into panic mode).

They don't have a buggy park in the changing room but there is plenty of space for them. Also they have big lockers which could store a folded up buggy. So everything was in it's place, clothes away, towels in hand, baby tucked under arm! And.... here we go!

 We followed the sign to the pools. We weren't quite sure -were we in the teaching pool or training pool? We followed one sign, had a peek in and there was a swimming lesson in progress so not there! Then we ask a life guard fella, who was very helpful and told us where to go (and then had a good look at my bottom - I so hate wandering around in my swimsuit!)

So we reached the pool which has several steps going into the shallow water. It is is in a huge, very light space next to the main pool and some people have suggested it is a bit like being outside. We sat on the steps and had a play. I did find it a little cold sitting half in the water but we had our fun and then went back to the changing rooms for the complication that is getting dressed.

We used the shower briefly and then got changed in the main area as it gave me more space to manoeuvre. The baby was put on the floor quite a few times so I could get bits and pieces for her. It is still not a smooth operation. They didn't teach me this at school or antenatal class.

So I'd say we quite liked the pool, changing room space was good, larger lockers for folded buggies but no clearly marked buggy park.  I did feel a bit cold at the pool side. I would go back if my partner was with me because I'd like a swim in the big pool enveloped in water and light while he looked after the baby!

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre Information

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre is located at Ledrington Road  London, SE19 2BB

At the sports centre, adults (non-members)  pay £4.50 (peak) or £2.55 (off-peak) per swim and  junior (non-members) pay £2.25 (peak) or £1.85 (off-peak). Family Swim (2 adults /2 children) is £9.10. From Monday to Saturday before 10am (during the school holidays), kids go free. After 10am, they can swim for a £1 during public swims.

The centre can be contacted on  020 8778 0131

The opening times of the  swim for all and are:

Monday       12:00 to 1:30 and 3:00 to 5:00pm (Teaching Pool)
Tuesday       7:00 to 9:30pm (Training Pool)
Wednesday  3:00 to 5:00pm (Teaching Pool)
Thursday     10:00 to 12:00pm (Teaching Pool)
Friday          3:00 to 5:00pm (Teaching Pool)
Saturday     9:00 to 2:00pm (Teaching Pool)
Sunday        9:00 to 12:00 and 3:00 to 5:00pm (Teaching Pool)

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:

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Lambeth - What's on for the family - January 12th-13th 2013

Taking a glance at the weekend weather, it looks like it's going to be a cold one.So I've had a look for indoor adventures to be had!

SATURDAY (12th January)

Went my dad was a kid back in the 1940s in America, a Saturday morning would be spent at the cinema, so in the tradition of parents and grandparents, why not take the kids to the pictures? I've mentioned in a previous post that the Clapham Picture House and Ritzy Cinema have kids club. The Odeon in Streatham has a Saturday and Sunday kid's screening. This weekend they are showing the Lomax at 11am. Prices range from £1 to £4 per child and adults go free.

The Streatham Odeon is located at 47-49 Streatham High Street, SW16. To get there, catch buses 133, 59, 109, 118, 333, 255 and 319.

Those with babies in buggies and happy to brave the cold, there is a January full of free walks run by Footprints of London. There are a few to choose from at the weekend. Click through and book yourself on one!

Looking for a bit more culture, then head to central London and visit the Wallace collection who are holding a family event called A Day in the Seventeenth Century. This includes meeting a 17th century Dutch merchant, making a delft tile or participating in an interactive music workshop.

The Wallace Collection is located at Hertford House, Manchester Square, W1U 3BN, which is off Wigmore Street behind Selfridges. Catch buses 2, 137 or 159.

SUNDAY (13th January)

One of my favourite London Museums is the British Museum. There are so many things to look at from all over the world. This Sunday, children over 7 can get involved in a Manga Comic Workshop.

The British Museum is located at Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG. Hop on the 59 bus to get there.

Another great central London outing is a trip to the National Gallery. They are also doing regular Sunday events for the family. Under fives have the Magic Carpet Storytelling at 10:30am and 11:30 am; and five to eleven year old children have a hands-on art workshop running at 11am to 1pm and 2am to 4pm.

The National Gallery is located in Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN. Hop on the number 3 bus or 159 to get there.

And for anyone who is prepared to travel further afield than my normal suggestions, we have the London Ice Sculpting Festival in Canary Wharf. Many different things to do and see, running all through the weekend!

I would recommend the tube for this one. Head out on the Jubilee line or pretend to drive the train by travelling on the Docklands Light railway!

Boo-boo wrapped up for her travels!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Maternity Leave: A reflection on that which has past.

I'm just coming to the end of mine so I thought I'd have a look back at the reality of this period.

1.    Do take the pre-birth time to have a well earned break. You have been growing a baby and that is hard work. Watch some films, read a book, eat cake, go for a pamper (pregnancy friendly, of course) and take it easy.
8 months and time to put the feet up!

2.    People might mention getting as much sleep as possible before the baby arrives however most women find sleep in the third trimester uncomfortable so instead of worrying about lack of sleep, just chill out. Try a You Tube guided meditation to have a power nap. Or have little snoozes when you feel like it.

3.    After the baby is born, please rest. Adrenaline and excitement tend to course through the veins days after the baby is born and you will be on full alert. I found I wanted to get back to life as quickly as possible but I should have been resting and letting my partner do more.

Brand new baby Boo-boo!

4.    You are allowed to say no to visitors. Your guests will all want to turn up when the baby arrives and you might not be in the mood for it, so put them off for another day.

5.    There are lots of free things for babies to do such as the one o'clock clubs, Sure Start centres and library story times. You don't have to feel obliged to go along if you are just enjoying the peace with your baby at home. If you do intend to visit one of these places, I recommend phoning to check whether things are on.

6.    Eat, cake or lunch and sip coffee with friends (other mummies or otherwise). And remember that you need a break - most mother's are spending lots of the night time up with their baby and deserve a treat!

Coffee, cake and baby Boo-boo

7.   It's ok to feel a little stir crazy in this period. Day in, day out, night in, night out of baby, baby, baby can make you feel a little irrational and yearning to have a grown up conversation. If you can find an outlet to keeping you sane, try and make a bit of time for it whether that be writing a blog, a regular evening out with friends or doing some sports.

8.   It is likely that there will be times when you feel hugely resentful of your partner. Sometimes, I think it's the hormones othertimes it's because he thinks I'm playing with the baby and having fun all day. The level of anger is a new emotion to me. I understand these things fade with time.

9.   It goes past very quickly. And it will be hard to step back and reflex on it all. People say that kids grow up so quickly and to remember these times but most parents (particularly the main carer) don't always have the energy to enjoy these moments.

I feel there  is lots more I could say on this subject! But what do others think? What have I missed? Or anything that you disagree with. Post comments below!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Lambeth - What's on for the family - January 5th-6th 2013

Happy New Year! Hope the first few days of this new year have been good. I'm back to work next week after a long maternity leave! Scary stuff.

However, lets see what we can do at the weekend:

SATURDAY (5th January)

Staying local, let the kids learn a bit about nature at the Brockwell Park Community greenhouses with the Saturday Morning Nature Explorers. Aimed at 7 to 12 year old, it runs from 10am to 12pm and cost £2  a child.

The Brockwell Park Greenhouses are located not far from the cafe on the top of the hill in Brockwell Park. Buses to the main park entrance at Herne Hill include  3, 196, 322, 68 and 37. You can also catch the overground to Herne Hill.

If you don't mind a little bit of a journey, head to the Victoria and Albert Museum for another chance to see performances from the Nutcracker It can be viewed in the lecture theatre at 11am, 1pm or 3pm.

The number 345 bus will take you to South Kensington; alternatively take the train or tube to Victoria and catch the District Line.

SUNDAY (6th January) 


Take a trip to the West End and make a collage mask at the Photographer's Gallery. The family workshop runs from 2pm to 5pm.

The gallery is located at 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, W1F 7LW, near Oxford Circus. Buses to the area include the 88, 137, 159 and 3.

Heading to London's East End, visit the Geoffrye Museum and join in the farewell to Christmas festivities including making Epiphany puppets. The workshop runs from 1:30 to 3:30pm.

Hop on the number 35 bus to Shoreditch. The museum is a five minute walk from there.

And finally, celebrate Twelfth Night outside Shakespeare's Globe, when the Holly man (the winter guise of the Green man) arrives on a boat up the Thames and toasts the people, the river and the Globe. The Bankside Mummers then perform a play. Head to the front of the globe for 2:45pm.
The Holly man arrives!

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.

Enjoy taking the decorations down and have a lovely weekend!