Lifestyle

GET READY FOR HALLOWEEN

Halloween is just two weeks away so it’s time to start thinking about all things spooky. Here at City Kids we love dressing ourselves and our kids in fun costumes and also decorating our homes for the occasion – just carving a pumpkin isn’t enough for us!

So here are some of our favourite places to pick up ghoulish goodies and devilish decorations.

Meri Meri

If you’d rather do cutesy than full on scary then this is place to find adorable costumes. Think little cat ear head bands and witches’ capes.

But where Meri Meri really come in to their own is table decorations. Create the most fantastic Halloween spread with their paper plates, cups and napkins covered in sparkly bats and sculls. We also love their cookie cutter and cake topper sets. They even have skeleton crackers! Ideal for a party for younger children who might not like anything too scary or gory.

merimeri.co.uk

 

Party Delights

This online store is a one-stop-shop for all your party needs and at Halloween they offer everything to decorate your home. From hanging bat decorations, balloons and window stickers to full-on scene creating backdrops, Party Delights have it all.

 

Take your Halloween bash to the next level with fake gravestones and creepy props. They also have an amazing range of tableware and costumes galore for kids and adults.

 

partydelights.co.uk

Tether and Float

Any excuse for a balloon garland we say. Opt for green, black, orange and purple to create a suitably spooking one that will look great over a front door or indoors as the backdrop to your Halloween party.

 

Tether and Float supply everything you need, including the plump and the glue dots to stick your balloons together. As well as that they have the likes of their ‘witches’ potion’ foil balloon bouquet and many more great Halloween decorations.

tetherandfloat.co.uk

 

 

Party Packs

If you’d like to give your Halloween celebrations a ‘Day of the Dead’ theme, then check out Party Packs. They have everything you’ll need to add that spooky Mexican touch with tableware, balloons and decorations featuring the classic skull and flowers design as well as bright co-ordinating items.

Opt for one of their actual party packs that will include a set of everything you’ll need for your table including plates, cups and napkins.

partypacks.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

SUPPORT WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY WITH BODEN

Here at City Kids we are huge fans of Boden. We love their great clothes – especially for our kiddos – but we also love it when help raise awareness for causes we support and strongly believe in.

Today Boden have launched three charity slogan t-shirts in celebration of World Mental Health Day 2019 for women, men and little ones.

Back in May, some Mini Boden fans got in touch to suggest empowering T-shirt slogans that they felt tapped into what it means to be a child today. Inspired by their words and enthusiasm, Boden decided to team up charity partner, The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, and launch a competition challenging Mini Boden customers to submit their very best empowering slogans for children to support Mental Health Awareness Week.

The winning design was been selected by The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust and Mini Boden, and the in-house print and design teams have produce a very special t-shirt that has launched globally alongside two womenswear and menswear t-shirts.  All designs are complete with slogans highlighting the importance of talking, listening and being kind to each other, in celebration of World Mental Health Day, today 10th October.

From each sale, Boden will donate £5 to The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, who are dedicated to equipping young people with the life-saving knowledge they need to look after their mental and emotional wellbeing. Additionally, the factory where each T-shirt has been made will make its own charitable donation.

The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust were extremely grateful for Boden’s support and said: “The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust greatly values the support given by Boden since 2018. The partnership has been hugely productive and enabled us to develop even further in the mental health field. We are indeed proud and grateful to have been in partnership with Boden.”

Well done Boden. We will be buying your lovely T-shirts and are sure many others will be doing the same.

Visit boden.co.uk

Mens & Womens: I’m Listening Charity T-Shirt £30

Mini Boden Charity T-Shirt £14-£16

SPOOK-TACULAR HALLOWEEN DAYS OUT

Looking for some super-fun days out this Halloween? We have some hair-raising ideas that your kids will love.

Scary Stories on the London Eye

The Coca-Cola London Eye is taking Halloween to scary new heights with the ultimate series of Spooky Storytime events this October, with delicious treats being supplied by Hotel Chocolat.

The attraction will host a brand new 30-minute experience in one of their world-famous capsules. Designed with both kids and adults in mind, an eccentric storyteller will lead guests through four ghostly legends based around London and its history, with the trick being that one of them isn’t real. It’s then up to the guests to decide which story they believe to be true!

All guests will leave the experience with an exclusive goodie bag filled with Halloween Hotel Chocolat treats. The Spooky Storytime experience is available to book on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th and 31st October. With one capsule every hour from 2pm each day.

The London Eye Halloween Spooky Storytime, from £35 for an adult and child, £17.50pp for any additional people, all adults must be accompanied by a child, price includes: Spooky Storytime experience; Hotel Chocolat Halloween goodie bag; one 30-minute rotation and Fast Track entry.

For more information and prices and to book tickets, go to londoneye.com/whats-on/halloween

Spooky Afternoon Tea

Just in time for half term Roast Restaurant in Borough Market will be turning their much-loved classic afternoon tea into a spooky Halloween-inspired version. For just £25 per person, guests can indulge in an array of Halloween-themed sweet treats including spiced pumpkin cake and a decadent chocolate witch’s hat, alongside classic savoury delights such as smoked salmon and crème fraîche and roast beef, watercress and mustard finger sandwiches.

The scones have also had a spooky Halloween makeover, infused with charcoal in honour of the season. Complementing the experience is a selection of 13 teas and infusions, from apple and cranberry to Japanese sencha and organic camomile flowers. Available daily from midday – 6pm, in the light and airy restaurant, overlooking the historic market To book and for more information please visit www.roast-restaurant.com/whats-on.

Boogie Monsters Disco

Join Boogie Monsters, the UK’s award- winning LIVE rock and pop band for children, as they bring their fun and interactive daytime gigs to you with a Halloween twist.

Let the Boogie Monsters guys and ghouls entertain you and your little monsters at their ‘toadally eerie-sistible’ Haunted Halloween family gig in Woolwich.

Come and enjoy a spooky musical ‘monster mash’ up of Halloween themed chart hits, rocked up action songs and funky nursery rhymes, played by their brilliant professional musicians, with electric guitars, keyboard and drums, and brought to life with colourful props, bubbles, dance moves and more!

Fancy dress is optional, but kids are encouraged to wear a Halloween costume if they want to. Doors open at 3.30pm and the performance will begin at 3.45pm and last for 60 minutes. Get your inflatable guitars and flashing wands ready to rock!

For more information and to book check out boogiemonsters.co.uk

Hair-raising fun Halloween Fun at Chessington

For a great day trip head to Chessington World of Adventures. With hair-raising fun for all the family, untangle the web of lies with the launch of brand-new attraction, Spyders, plus the award-winning Creepy Caves Unearthed – Chessington’s scariest attraction.

This year also sees the return of Trick or Treat Wood and the Haunted Howl’o’ween Live Show, as well as rides in the dark. There’s also a series of spooky animal shows and a daily fancy dress competition all included in your ticket, which start from just £29.50 per person, if booked online at chessington.com five days in advance, with children under the age of three getting in for FREE.

Brick or Treat at Legoland

This autumn, the spooktacular Brick or Treat returns to the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort. New for 2019, Lord Vampyre’s Brick or Treat takes place from 17 October to 2 November, complete with six nights of dazzling LEGO® themed fireworks shows.

This Brick or Treat, LEGOLAND’s newest resident monster; the fang-tastic Lord Vampyre, is throwing the ultimate Halloween party. Little ones are invited to get stuck into a host of spooky LEGO activities throughout the Brick or Treat season, including October half term. There will be plenty of fun for the whole family with LEGOLAND’s awesome rides, shows and attractions to enjoy and the chance to join Lord Vampyre and his monster friends at the topsy-turvy new Haunted House Monster Party ride.

On 19/20 and 25/26 October and 1/2 November, the skies will light up with a truly spectacular 3D fireworks display, celebrating Lord Vampyre’s favourite day of the year – Halloween! Plus with 3D glasses, families will see the fireworks explode into thousands of tiny LEGO bricks* Families can visit legoland.co.uk for more information.

Sweet Treats at Fortnums

For the ultimate sweet Halloween treat head to Fortnums. The Parlour is the perfect destination to indulge and try the Halloween Sundae if you dare…made with Bickfield Farm mint chocolate chip ice cream, spooky spirulina, raspberry sauce, Chantilly and charcoal powder, each finished with Fortnum’s very own Halloween sugar decorations.

With over 19 flavours of ice creams and sorbets, kids (and adults!) alike can customise their creations with hundreds of topping options, from sauces to sprinkles, it’s sure to solve any resting Witch faces.

fortnumandmason.com

Wand Crafting

Little witches and wizards will love this wand crafting class at Gunnersbury Park Museum. Create your own ‘Harry Potter’ style wand using a range of wood carving tools. Under the guidance of a talented woodcarver, you’ll be able to carve your own magical wand to take home. This workshop is designed for a child and their accompanying adult to learn wood crafting skills and make a wand together.

Please note that both children and adults will need to purchase tickets for the workshop as they will be learning and working together to create the wood craft. Suitable for children aged 8+

eventbrite.co.uk

 

FANCY STAYING IN A CASTLE?

 

Hever Castle’s Bed and Breakfast scores 96% and maintains its 5* Gold status after Visit England assessment

 

Hever Castle’s luxury Bed and Breakfast has maintained its 5* Gold status and a Breakfast award.

The accommodation was assessed by Visit England and received a 96% quality score. To gain a 5* rating businesses have to score between 85% and 100% and are marked on bedrooms, bathrooms, cleanliness, hospitality and breakfast.

The Gold award is given to accommodation which offers the `best of the best’ including exceptional quality and going the extra mile for their customers and the Breakfast Awards recognises breakfasts which exceed guest expectations.

Visit England said that: “Hever Castle Bed & Breakfast presented extremely well on this year’s day assessment, comfortably retaining its Five Star Guest Accommodation rating.”

Hever Castle’s four bedroom holiday cottage, Medley Cottage also maintained its 5* Gold rating, scoring 92%.

House Manager Roland Smith said: “We are delighted that the hard work and high standards of cleanliness and customer service has been recognised by Visit England. It is testament to our dedicated members of staff that we have retained this accolade. We look forward to welcoming more guests to our luxury accommodation throughout 2019 and 2020.”

The bed and breakfast is housed in the ‘Tudor Village’ – an Edwardian extension to the Castle which consists of the ‘Astor Wing’ and recently refurbished ‘Anne Boleyn Wing’ – with 28 bedrooms in total.

The extension was added to the Castle by William Waldorf Astor to accommodate staff and guests was previously only available for weddings and corporate events.

In 2012 underfloor heating, flat screen TVs and wifi were added as part of a refurbishment to open the accommodation up to the general public. The doors opened in March 2012.

All bedrooms are en-suite and individually styled, with some offering four poster beds, roll top baths or walk in showers.

Guests to the luxury bed and breakfast, which recently received the TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence for the fourth year running, have exclusive access to some of the 125 acre award winning gardens when they are closed to the general public.

For bookings head to hevercastle.co.uk

Photos: Hever Castle & Gardens

 

AMAZING HALF TERM DAYS OUT

Half term is just around the corner so here are some super-fun things do with your kids across London. From spooky feasts to cultural activities and exciting days out, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Big the Musical

All of parents can remember the classic 80’s movie Bigwhere a young boy makes a wish to be to be older and wakes up as a grown up played by Tom Hanks. And those who loved the film, will be thrilled to hear that Big the Musicalis now at London’s Dominion Theatre and stars Jay McGuiness and Kimberly Walsh. Relive a childhood memory and take your own kids along to see it this half term.

Bigthemuscial.co.uk

Afternoon Tea at the Potion Room

Young witches and wizards will love Cutter and Squidges Potion Room, a truly unique experience.

Leave the busy streets of London behind as you descend downstairs into the potion class. Get cloaked up, and then take your seat at the school-style desks and await your Potions Master who will have you whisking up all manner of concoctions in no time.

During the immersive 2-hour experience, you will be treated to a delicious sweet and savoury Afternoon Tea inspired by classic British flavours. Combined with the drinkable and edible potions you will be creating, the Cutter and Squidge team will ensure that you are bubbling to the brim by the time your class ends!

The class is suitable for children from age 8 upwards and they cater for many dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan, and wheat-free, and the vegetarian menu is halal-friendly.

Prices start from £49.50 for adults, £39.50 for kids.

cutterandsquidge.com

Join the hunt for Where’s Wally?

Families can join the hunt for the nation’s favourite hard-to-find character at London Transport Museum this October half-term.
With a ‘Play Trail’ map in hand, visitors will weave among the Museum’s collection of historic buses and trains as they try to track down Wally in his iconic red and white striped jumper, taking part in family activities at different locations along the way.

The fun will include puzzle solving, singing and stories, sneak peeks inside special vehicles not usually open to the public, and family games for all ages.
There’s also the opportunity to explore the Museum and its three newest galleries – Untangling the Tracks, Future Engineers and Digging Deeper and play on real buses and trains and the All Aboard play zone.

Kids go free and adult tickets allow unlimited daytime entry to London Transport Museum for a whole year, so families can come back as often as they like to explore, learn and play. For further information visit www.ltmuseum.co.uk or call (0)343 222 5000.

Ice skating at the Natural History Museum

This year for the very first time, the Natural History Museum Ice Rink will be open during the October half-term break, providing the perfect outdoor activity which is fun for all the family. Combine whizzing around the ice with a trip inside the museum for a truly amazing day out. Skating starts from Saturday 19 October 2019, throughout the winter period until Sunday 12 January 2020.

Book tickets for the Natural History Museum Ice Rink via www.nhmskating.com or call 0844 847 1576. For group bookings including schools call 0844 847 1575.

Kidtropolis

There are days out and then there is Kidtropolis. This mega family event at London’s Excel is aimed at children aged 12 and under and is packed full of live shows, well-known children’s characters from film and TV and a host of amazing activities.

Kids will love seeing their favourite YouTubers, character mascots and TV superstars. In the huge space you’ll find a gaming area, fairground rides, ice skating. and giant inflatables to play on, plus science shows and plenty of kiddie-friendly places to eat.

From 19th to 21st October, advanced purchased tickets are £12 for both adults and children.

kidtropolis.co.uk

Comedy Club 4 Kids

Kids love a good giggle. Take them to the the Comedy Club 4 Kids for a hilarious afternoon.

Since 2005 the club has been getting the best stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children (aged 6+) and their families.

Expect to do lots of heckling as well as laughing at this interactive show. At venues across London on various dates during half term. For more info visit comedyclub4kids.co.uk

Brick Wonders at the Horniman Museum

Lego fans will love a trip to the Horniman Museum’s Brick Wonders to see historical highlights from around the world made entirely from Lego bricks.

From an ancient Egyptian pyramid and Old London Bridge to a coral reef and the international space station, kids will travel through history and explore more than 50 models made using half a million Lego pieces, recreating the likes of Niagra Falls, the Great Wall of China, and even space travel.

Kids (and grown-ups) can build their own brick wonders in interactive play areas, which include a graffiti wall and big bricks for little hands. Plus the exhibition includes a mini-cinema showing short Lego animations. If Lego is your thing, Brick Wonders is unmissable. Until 27th October

Visit Horniman.ac.uk

Learn to Beatbox

World record-breaking beatboxer SK Shlomo leads kids on a beatbox adventure, teaching them how to make music using just their mouths and a microphone. Join this sonic superhero and become one of his sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music. Great fun for all ages. There are two shows on Wednesday 23rd October and tickets are £11.

royalalberthall.com

 

Halloween Biscuit Decorating

Making spooky cookies is one of the most fun Halloween activities. If you think your little ones would like to have a go then head to a Gail’s Bakery as they are hosting Halloween biscuit decorating workshops throughout half-term. Designed for children under ten, classes will guide them through the process of decorating spooky-shaped gingerbread biscuits with icing.

Classes are free of charge and the workshops run in Gail’s bakeries across London. Various locations across London; from 29th October

Visit GailsBread.co.uk

See the world on the Cutty Sark

This half term set sail on a musical adventure across the high seas with our Ports of Call activities. Enjoy music and dance performances inspired by Cutty Sark’s voyages and take part in some music-inspired arts and crafts.

There will be African drumming, Bollywood dancing and steel band performances. Visitors can join in and have a go, learning new skills and having fun. 21-26 October

Visit for more information rmg.co.uk

YUU KITCHEN AT ICEBAR IN MAYFAIR REVIEW

 

Our Editor, Victoria Evans, took her two kids to experience Asian food at Yuu Kitchen followed by the deep freeze at Icebar in Mayfair

 

You Kitchen at Icebar is the brainchild of two of the founders of Icebar with the canny employment of head chef Jon de Villa from Nobu Mayfair. The combination makes for supremely tasty food in dramatic surroundings adorned by the artwork of Lunatic.

If you’re a fan of bao buns you won’t be disappointed. And for kids this was heaven.

7up braised pork belly got the thumbs up; wagyu, soy and buttermilk crispy chicken baos were also good. Going Asian means the standard order of edamame, but we also chose the baby back ribs, chicken wings and spicy tuna tostada. Two kids (13 and 10) made the most of what was on offer and the kitchen was happy to remove all sauces from orders for the fussy, trying-to-be-adventurous 10 year-old.

Topping off a savoury selection with a sweet bao bun filled with ice cream is always going to be a winner with kids; mid-life waistlines not so much.

The decor is achingly cool thanks to the stripped back benches, bar area and exposed brick, as well as that artwork by Lunatic. Manga lovers will be delighted but if you’re the wrong side of forty you might find the lighting a touch too moody.

A visit to Yuu isn’t complete without a trip to the Icebar, and guess what?

It’s cold. Very cold. Not surprising that you are put (quite literally) into a cloak before heading into the deep freeze. Fantastic sculptures and a shot of something warming (or non-alcoholic if you prefer) are the order of the day. The kids enjoyed it, but even they were feeling the cold after about 15 minutes. We did stay long enough for a photo though!

 

 

 

For reservations:

31-33 Heddon St, Mayfair, London W1B 4BN

yuukitchen.com

icebarlondon.com

HOW TO HAVE HEALTHY, HAPPY FAMILY MEALTIMES

New research shows most parents like to eat healthy meals as a family, but only 40% manage it.  Charlotte Stirling-Reed gives us her top tips to make mealtimes easier.

Feeding kids isn’t always is easy is it? For so many reasons it can be a minefield. Finding healthy meals that children actually want to eat is often very tricky. Getting your toddler to swallow a piece of broccoli must surely be one of life’s simplest but greatest pleasures!

Add to the struggle of getting youngsters to eat well with the constant juggle of our busy lives and you have a recipe for a challenge.  It’s hard to managed a family’s schedule and still try find time to prepare and cook nutritious suppers for all the family to enjoy together.

Of course, in an ideal world every family would love to sit down around the table to eat a homemade meal, but for many that’s a logistical impossibility as parents try to balance out their working lives and with kids’ – often equally hectic – school timetables.  It can feel like you need a family spreadsheet just to get everyone together for dinner.

Indeed a recent survey of 2,000 parents of children under 14 by Scandinavian nursery brand, Stokke, found that while 86% of parents believe it’s important to eat dinner as a family, just two in five (41%) say they eat together every night. Stokke are behind the iconic Tripp Trapp highchair that has sold more than 10 million worldwide since its launch in 1972. Central to to principle of the design is that children should join their parents at the table.

So how can we make it a bit easier to eat together as a family?

Charlotte Stirling-Reed BSc, MSc, RNutr., a specialist in baby and children nutrition for Stokke, has given us her top 10 expert tips on how to enjoy a healthy and happy mealtime.

 

Eat together, whenever possible

Make the most of family time around the table and try to sit together to eat whenever possible. Even if it’s just you and your baby or child –  you being a part of their mealtime can make such a difference to their experience and even how much they enjoy it.

Get kids involved

I love the idea of bringing baby into the mealtime and right up to the table as early as possible. Get them involved in food by surrounding them by everyone else tucking into a delicious meal. Children learn the skills of eating, social skills and even WHAT foods they enjoy by first copying others. For older children, get them involved in prepping, shopping or even choosing what’s on the table at dinner times.

Eat similar foods, regularly

Rather than serving separate meals for everyone in the family, try and have one option that everyone tucks into. Even if you’re offering similar options such as gluten free pasta, dairy free cheese etc, it’s good for your little ones to see you eating similar foods (including all those veggies) to encourage them to eat a wide variety themselves.

Establish a routine

Having a routine around when meals are served can help get little ones ready for food, especially for infants, who tend to like set routines. Establishing a “pre eating” routine can also help to get children involved and get them excited about mealtimes too. It might be clearing away toys, laying the table, playing some music or starting with a little game, which helps to set the tone for the rest of the meal & get everyone talking and excited for what’s to come.

Try and make it distraction free

Distractions such as toys, TV or phones can take away from the concept of food and meals being important. They also distract from what can be a really vital social occasion for a family too. However, if we want little ones to grow up to love their food, we need to show them that the delicious, varied foods you put in front of them each day are worth their attention and time. So, try clearing away, switching off distractions and just focusing on you, them and that delicious bowl of food!

Take the pressure off and leave out the rules

That said, making mealtimes too pressured and setting mealtime rules such as clearing the plate, eating veggies first, sitting down until everyone has finished, can end up making mealtimes pressured and less enjoyable for kiddies. Stick to rules that you think are 100% necessary and avoid too much pressure for children to “eat up” a specific part, or all of their meal. It’s good to keep mealtimes light and enjoyable to help children WANT to be a part of them.

Give kids some choice

Offering choices between A and B can give your little ones some autonomy when it comes to food choices. It’s a form of covert parenting that allows you to still have the ultimate control of what’s offered, but it gives them some independence and allows them to feel like you’re also valuing their opinions too. This can also help with fussy eaters. An example might be “do you want that with potato or pasta today?” “Do you want peas or carrots on the side?”

Try sharing platters

I love the Mediterranean style of sharing platters for mealtimes too, offering an array of foods, and allowing everyone to help themselves to whatever parts of the meal they want. This might not always work, but if you allow them to have their independence whilst also role modelling and showing how you, yourself, have a wide variety on your own plate, they are likely to pick up some tips and eating habit just from watching you!

Vary what’s on offer

One of the biggest reasons I see for children going off food is boredom. It’s SO easy to get somewhat stuck offering the same foods each week, but by offering a really wide variety, not only are you exposing your children to a variety of tastes and flavours and nutrients, you’re also preventing them getting fed up with the same meals over and over again. I am totally aware this one is easier said than done, but try making some bulk meals at the weekend and then tapping into them where possible during the week. Menu plans can really work for some families too.

Make it fun

Just try to relax, stay calm and make those mealtimes enjoyable for everyone. Once you step back, take away some of the rules and start enjoying the social time with your little ones, it’ll become so much easier to make the occasion fun and enjoyable for everyone else too. Try using colourful napkins, tablecloths or even a beautiful bowl of fruits and veggies to keep it vibrant or play some calming music in the background to set the scene. What works will differ from family to family, so have a play with some ideas that make you and yours happy, and see what works!

 

 

 

GET YOUR KIDS PLAYING RUGBY

Is Rugby World Cup fever is sweeping through your house? It certainly is ours! Watching such amazing high-level sport is so inspiring for children as they see their heroes tackle opponents and score tries. It’s a fantastic sport that both boys and girls  can enjoy watching and playing.

If your kiddos already play rugby then you’ll know that the school season starts soon, indeed many clubs are already training. And if your new to the game and your children would like to give it a go, then there has never been a better time to find out more.

Very little ones can join in with the fun sessions at the likes of Rugby Tots or Try Time Kids Rugby or Muddy Knees Kids Rugby. All offer the chance to take part in non-contact training and games (often a bit like tag) that help to learn the key skills involved in the sport. Boys and girls as young as just two years old can join in.

If your children are a bit older check out the findrugbynow.com website to located clubs near you or contact englandrugby.com for more information. Rugby is a sport that you can take up at pretty much any age and complete beginners will find that they can join in very quickly.

There are clubs and groups all over the Capital that would love to welcome new young players who might just become the World Cup stars of the future.

 

For rugby kit head to Decathlon. From tops and shorts and boots to head and mouth guards, they have everting you need play the game including rugby balls of all sizes so you can choose one suitable for little hands to pass.

 

 

 

 

 

Also how about picking up a copy of the Rugby World Cup 2019 Kids Handbook to help young players really understand the rules of the game and the teams playing it.

WHO ARE…BLOOM AND BLOSSOM

We interview the founders of Bloom and Blossom about creating a dream business, working with family and building a brand

 


Three words to describe yourselves.

Julia: Committed, honest and a giggle.

Christina: Determined, loyal and fun.

What’s it like working with a relative?

Julia: It really is great, and we know we are lucky. At first our family thought it could be too close to home, but we really are each other’s biggest supporters. We give each other the sanity check we know is essential in business. We support each other emotionally and physically. We don’t take ourselves too seriously and, as we build Bloom and Blossom, we are enjoying seeing ourselves develop as business women and as parents, this ensures our brand is continues to grow authentically.

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve faced while being in business? 

Christina: Business is challenging, that is the truth, but we have learnt to embrace that. Managing manufacturing, NPD, retailers and customers makes it the rollercoaster ride that it is but we are happy with that and know it will continue. We take time to look back and evaluate decisions, the right ones and the wrong ones, to ensure we learn along the way. We are brave, we take leaps, and we aren’t scared to try new things, and with that we also take on the challenges of business, but that is half the fun, it is a little bit bonkers, but we wouldn’t change a thing.

Who does what in the business?

Julia: We are lucky to have built an incredible team of talented, dedicated and passionate people. For many years it was just us two, so we have literally done every job within the running of our business from financial accounts to product development to social media and packing up orders. We are not afraid or too grand to turn our hand to any task, and this is the attitude we look for in all our employees.

Now we have a strong team means we can focus our time on fulfilling our sustainability promise, developing new products, discovering new innovations, understanding our customers’ needs and building an authentic business focused on helping families thrive.

How did the initial collaboration with Roald Dahl come about?

Christina: All our product development comes from a place of authenticity, flowing from the products we need and want as parents. We developed incredible pregnancy products when we were pregnant and incredible baby products when our children were babies. So, it was almost a given we would bring out products for older children as ours grew up. As parents we know the importance of routine in promoting quality sleep and reading plays an integral part in that. Reading should be part of every child’s day and particularly their switch off process at bedtime. Who better than to partner with the world’s number one author Roald Dahl. Two British brands in partnership promoting the importance of sleep.

How do you decide on fragrances for the different lines you have?

Christina: Our fragrances sit at the heart of our formulations and play a powerful role in the efficacy of our products. Fragrance is key in evoking mood and wellbeing – we start with how we want our customers to feel when they use our products then blend in the ingredients to achieve this.

What has it been like to support Beauty Banks?

Julia: Having seen Jo Jones and Sali Hughes set up Beauty Banks and having watched the incredible impact it has had to people living on the poverty line – it was a no brainer. Being clean is a human right and whatever we can do to help get toiletries in to the hands of families, we will do. Our ‘one for one’ initiative was kicked off alongside the launch of our hand washes, and this is just the beginning.

Last book you read?

Julia: Sara Cox’s Till the Cows Come Home: A Lancashire Childhood. I am from Lancashire, I adore Sara Cox’s writing, her humour and outlook on life.

Christina:I AM, I AM, I AMby Maggie O’Farrell. A brilliant biography of one of my all-time favourite authors and her many brushes with life and death.

What’s your top tip for date night in London?

A top tip for date nights in London is to try something new. We are so lucky to live and work on the doorstep of one of the best cities in the world and there is always something wonderful and new to explore. Some favourites include Palomar (amazing middle Eastern food) and Kyseri (Turkish) but also enjoying the London parks, grabbing a picnic, taking in the views and enjoying walks around the city, when the weather permits.

Where’s your favourite place to go in London with the children?

Julia: The Southbank. Walking along there with the children is incredible, taking in the views, the atmosphere and the entertainers.

Christina: Kew Gardens. It’s got everything. The new children’s playground is insane. Just make sure you book in advance!

Tell us one thing that people don’t know about you.

Christina: I bought my first house on a property TV show.

Julia: I have a Blue Peter badge.

What would you take to a desert island?

Julia: Suncream and Spotify.

Christina: Complete library of Sex And The City and a lifetime supply of mango sorbet.

Signature dish?

Christina: Cooking is not my forte, but I do a mean Indian takeaway…

Julia: I love cooking, particularly cooking for friends and family. A favourite of mine is crab linguine – super simple, but so tasty. And then throw in some Ottolenghi inspired salads…I could go on and on, don’t get me started on puddings!

Your proudest moment?

Christina: my daughter recently won a coveted award at school for kindness. I really couldn’t ask for more. Very proud mother!

What’s next on the list of things to do?

Christina: is world domination too much? We have big, exciting plans ahead. Watch this space…!

 

Bloomandblossom.com

beautybanks.org.uk

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

Our weekly round-up of cool things for kids

Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids UK have just launched their new autumn collection. Renowned for its furniture and accessories for children’s bedrooms and play rooms, this American company has taken the UK by storm. From desks, beds and storage to lighting, rugs and cushions, Pottery Barn is a one-stop-shop for all your kiddie decorating.

We can’t get enough of the beautiful bedding and stunning quilts. They have designs that cater for little ones who still want dinosaurs and princesses in their rooms, right through to more sophisticated, preppy looks for teens. The quality is top notch and every product is extensively tested to make sure it is perfect.

Or if you have a really tiny one check out Pottery Barn Baby. Think dream nursery and you’ll have an idea of what the brand has in store for their youngest customers.

Pottery Barn have plans to expand in the UK and open more stores, but for now you can find a selection of their range in John Lewis or online at potterybarnkids.co.uk.

The Little Writing Company

The kids are now all back in the classroom and homework is starting to appear in school bags most evening. While some will be gliding through their work easily, others may need a little bit of assistance.

If you’d like to help your little one with their learning, then check out the Little Writing Company. Launched by teacher Jo Britland in 2017, the company produces beautiful stationery and literacy workbooks for children. All are carefully designed by teachers to help parents improve their child’s handwriting as well as their overall learning.

They are perfect for primary school aged children but by no means exclusively for this age group. Lots of older and younger children use them too. Plus they have lots of free worksheets and tips on their blog . Well worth a visit if you’d like to find some really helpful and inspiring advice.

We particularly like the story writing activity notebooks that encourage children to be imaginative and really stretch their use of the English language through writing.

littlewritingcompany.uk

 

Scamp and Dude

Here at City Kids we are huge fans of Scamp and Dude. We love their super cool kidswear and fun prints. So, we were thrilled to see the launch of Superga x Scamp & Dude, a range of trainers featuring their iconic Leopard and Lightning Bolt print.

The collection includes the 2750 Cotu Classic trainer, both lace up and with Velcro. 100% cotton, they come in neon coral with Scamp & Dude branding on the heel and an embroidered ‘Superpower Button’. Prices start from £33 for the littlest feet. The perfect trainers for Autumn.

scampanddude.com

MORI X THE GRUFFALO

MORI X THE GRUFFALO

 


Today is the launch of MORI’s The Gruffalo collection for babies and toddlers. The London based clothing brand has also devised a secret Gruffalo crumble recipe in celebration of the book’s 20th anniversary year.

Mori’s signature organic cotton and bamboo fabrics, which are the base for their sleep and daywear ranges, is now adorned by illustrative details from the celebrated children’s story. Expect to see favourite characters, scenes and quotes from The Gruffalo across the range. Featuring four exclusive prints, the day and sleep collection ranges from newborn up to 4 years with prices from £18 for a T-Shirt to £69.50 for the Clever Sleeping Bag.

Akin Onal, MORI’s Founder says:

“We were thrilled when Magic Light Pictures reached out to us about collaborating for the character’s 20th anniversary. The Gruffalo is such a memorable part of family story time, making this the perfect partnership for MORI. As a brand dedicated to helping to improve a family’s sleep, we believe that story time is an essential part of a child’s bedtime routine as it helps to strengthen bonds between families. That’s why we’re so delighted to be a part of creating this experience.”

Written by renowned children’s author Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo has won countless awards and sold over 13.5 million copies, delighting readers – young and old alike – for two decades.

Stella Afnaim, MORI’s Head of Product says:

“As a grandmother, reading bedtime stories to my grandchildren is the highlight of my day. Being Head of Product at MORI, I appreciate how important soft yet functional clothing is for little ones, especially at bedtime. Our sleepwear is created with love and I can’t wait to read The Gruffalo with my three grandchildren sitting on my lap in their Gruffalo PJs.”

The Gruffalo collection is available now at babymori.com and in selected retailers nationwide.

© 1999 J Donaldson/A Scheffler. Licensed by Magic Light Pictures Ltd.

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

Here’s our pick of our favourite cool things for kids this week

The Magic of Marvel

Marvel Universe Live tour 2019 will arrive at the O2 from 26th September until 6thOctober. This all new show unites Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Doctor Strange in a race against time to recover the Wand of Watoomb. A must for all Marvel fans who want to see their favourite characters performing some amazing stunts in true action hero style. Visit marveluniverselive.com to book.

 

Ethical Footwear

Footwear brand  GEOX have developed a new capsule collection as part of their partnership with one of the world’s leading conservation organisations WWF.

This unique collection of footwear for both babies and children, which includes graphics inspired by endangered animal spices, such as the giant panda and the polar bear. For every pair of shoes purchased, 2€ or equivalent in local currency will be donated to the WWF to support their efforts in safeguarding the natural world.

Geox is one of our go-to brands for kid’s shoes – especially their super cosy leather high-tops in winter – so we are thrilled to see that the company has substance as well as style.

 

Well Read

The benefits of reading at every stage of a child’s development are well documented and of course there is the simple joy of getting lost in a good story. In their new book How to Raise a Reader Pamela Paul and Maria Russo, editors of The New York Times Book Reviewhave created an indispensable guide to welcoming children—from babies to teens—to a lifelong love of reading. It will undoubtedly help all parents to encourage their kids to pick up a book.

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

Best Brekkie

All parents are constantly on the lookout for healthy eating options that their kids will actually enjoy. We suggest you check out the Great British Porridge Company for a great breakfast choice. All 100% natural, with no added sugar, their instant porridges are made with wholegrain oats and with no artificial colours or preservatives, making them full of protein, calcium for growing bones. Also, worth noting they are vegan, dairy and gluten-free

Ideally for filling kids up and give them the energy to get through the morning at school without the need to reach for unhealthy snacks. There are three flavours to choose from: Red Berry & Pumpkin Seed, Blueberry & Banana and Strawberry & Peanut Butter. Add some more fruit or a spoonful of honey to make them a little sweeter.
Find them in Sainsbury’s, Wholefoods Market, Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and selected retailers nationwide, RRP £3.99 for 385g bag. For more info visit www.thegreatbritishporridgeco.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 5 LONDON PLAYGROUNDS


We all spend a lot of time in playgrounds with the kiddies so we have narrowed down our Top 5 in London

 

TUMBLING BAY PLAYGROUND
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
This huge playground built on the landscape of the Olympic Park encourages your children to experiment in a natural environment.  With tree houses, rock pools, sandpits and rope bridges your child will not only be entertained they will be inspired to.
queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk


CHILDREN’S GARDEN
Kew Gardens
The new interactive Children’s Garden suitable for ages 2 to 12 years old is now open. There is an earth, air, water and sun garden with lots of fun things such as a bamboo tunnel, a worm-hole tube slide, trampolines, a stream and splash pool and much more.
kew.org

 

PADDINGTON RECREATION GROUND
Paddington
An excellent large playground that caters for both the big and little kids..  With an adventure castle, a mini street, a percussion garden, a shipwreck climbing frame, a train station and a zip wire you will struggle to get them to leave this one.
westminster.gov.uk

 


RAF MUSEUM
Hendon
An outdoor playground with mini models of iconic aircraft such as the famous Spitfire and powerful Sea-King helicopter, there is even a mini version of the historic Grahame-White building.  With slides, nets, poles and ladders this play area is a wonderful place to fuel the little ones imaginations
rafmuseum.org.uk

 


BATTERSEA PARK ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND
Battersea
There’s heaps of fun to be had in this playground where kids can ride a tractor, hop in a car, ride a life size helicopter, get creative drawing their own animals on the chalk boards or be a fireman in the fire engine. The playground invites them to test their skills as they build, swing, balance and ride while the parents can have a sit down on the picnic tables surrounding it.
batterseaparkzoo.co.uk

 

For more things to do head to our What’s On page.

BEST LONDON PARKS FOR PICNICS

A sunny bank holiday weekend? Must be time for a picnic. Here’s our guide to the best London parks for picnics

Primrose Hill
One of our favourite London views is from the top of Primrose Hill, a whopping 63 metres above sea level. A special spot to watch the sun go down.

Victoria Park
Over 86 hectares, this is one of London’s larges parks, as well as one of its oldest. Sadly the splash park isn’t open until May but you should be able to find a little piece of green for your rug.

London Fields
Close to Broadway Market, if you can’t be bothered to pac the picnic, you can buy supplies here. The Olympic-sized lido might be worth a look in this weather too!

Holland Park
There’s plenty to do here if you need to keep the kids entertained with football, golf and netball. Plus the Kyoto garden may just be a hint of how Japan is looking during blossom season.

Richmond Park
Ignoring the roads that criss-cross this huge expanse of land, you really could be miles from the city here. Don’t talk to the deer though, they can do serious harm.

Wandsworth Park
A nice spot by the river, with a couple of pubs close by if the mood takes. Plus Putt in the Park which is fun for all ages and abilities.

Brockwell Park
If you get here early you’ll have time for a swim at Brockwell Lido and then a wonderful picnic in the park. Explorers will discover the 19th-century clock tower, a walled garden and some formal planting.

Thames Barrier Park
Who knew there was an accompanying park to this feat of engineering. It’s a whole day out too, including fountains, flower gardens, manicured lawns and a café.

St James’s Park
Give a nod to the new arrival, if she or he arrives this weekend, with a trip to one of London’s most royal of parks. Surrounded by royal residences and Horse Guards Parade, there’s also a fountain, lake and pelicans to amuse.

Kew Gardens
Always a popular choice when the sun shines, it’s still possible to find a quiet spot for a sarnie. Plus there’s the chance to see the Chihuly at Kew showcase.

Images courtesy:
Primrose Hill: Royal Parks
Holland Park: travellingdaveuk
Brockwell Park Lido: Brockwell Park Lido