Lifestyle

GREAT KIDS’ VITAMIN BRANDS TO KNOW

If your kiddos seem to have the constant sniffles or more tired than usual it might be time to think about adding some vitamin supplements to their diet. Winter bugs and cold weather can take their toll on little ones, making them letharigic and run down.

From boosting their immune and digestive systems to increasing concentration levels and encouraging better sleep, there are countless studies to to suggest children benefit from taking vitamins. While these supplements are definitely not a substitute for a healthy diet, they can offer a top up of certain keys vitamins that children need through out the year – most especially in winter.

Here are some child-friendly brands that are packed with goodness and will appeal to even the fussiest eaters.

Kids Vital Vits, £8.40

Knowing how notoriously fussy they can be, High Nature have developed a kids’ range with taste and texture in mind. It includes a vitamin D spray, a chewable multi-vitamin, a fruity omega-3 fish oil jelly and more.

We love their multivitamins that are filled with 19 essential vitamins and minerals. They’re ideal for young children and come in three playful shapes and flavours; mango robots, lime aliens and raspberry teddies. Free from artificial sweeteners and preservatives, just one chewable tablet a day provides children with the nutrients and vitamins needed to support their diet.

Bare Biology Super Hero Omega 3, £29.50

When it comes to ‘brain food’, Omega 3 is the original super food. For your little ones to benefit from an Omega 3 supplement, it must have enough DHA (crucial for brain and eye development) and EPA, the two most important Omegas which you’ll find plenty of in Super Hero – one drop (1ml) has 500mg DHA and 130mg EPA.

With no fishy aftertaste and a handy syringe to give them the perfect dose, Super Hero comes in its natural triglyceride form which also makes it easier for the body to absorb. It can be taken from 6 months and 1ml is perfect for most age groups. Add it to smoothies or simply pop a drop straight into your child’s mouth.

 

 

Wellkid Peppa Pig Multi-vits, £5.99

Ideal for encouraging pre-schoolers to take their daily dose along with Peppa, this multi-vits provide a comprehensive range of vitamins, specially formulated to help safeguard the nutritional intake of children aged 3-7.

These soft jellies provide 10mcg vitamin D, as recommended by the UK Department of Health. Vitamin D is needed for normal growth and development of bone in children and is included in the preferred form vitamin D3 (as vegan Cholecalciferol) which is naturally produced by the skin when exposed to direct sunlight.

And – most importantly if you are under seven – they come in a delicious natural strawberry flavour

Natures Aid Kidz Daily Multi-Vitamin & Minerals liquid, £7.95

 

This liquid contains 14 Vitamins & Minerals including Zinc and Iodine which contribute to the normal growth and cognitive function in children.Kidz Daily Multi-Vitamin & Minerals liquid is sugar free and contains no artificial flavours or colours.

It can be taken on its own or added to a smoothie. The natural banana flavour is a hit with kids and it’s suitable for vegetarians.

 

 

Viridi Kids Vitamin D Drops, £6.76

It’s a well known fact that it’s almost impossible to get a sufficient dose Vitamin D during the winter months as only exposure to sunshine can supply enough naturally. However it’s super-simple to add it this vital vit to our diets.

These drops  Easy to use dropper bottle, pleasant orange flavour. Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of the immune system and supports normal bones, teeth and muscles.

THE COOLEST INTERIORS FOR KIDS

If decorating your children’s bedrooms is on your to-do list for 2020 then you simply have to check out Cuckooland, our new favourite one-stop-shop for all things interiors.
This super-cool web-based company’s raison d’être is to be ‘unique, unusual, quirky and original’, sourcing items from all over the world to give their customers something really different to what they will find on the high street. There are hundreds of stylish brands to choose from.
You’ll find all the furniture you could need for a kid’s bedroom or playroom – from bunks and desks to wardrobes and chests.
The range of accessories is equally extensive. If you need a rug, lamp or bedspread they have it covered, along with wallpaper and fabric too. Themed children’s bedrooms like Astronauts, Fairies, Firemen, Surfers, Princesses, Footballers are all featured with complete room sets for inspiration.

And the sky is the limit (if your budget is too) in the shape of some pretty outstanding designs. How about a bed in the form of a VW camper?

This amazing powder blue design is modelled on the iconic VW split screen camper van and is kitted out with a bed, a desk, a sofa, a mini fridge and a TV, plus there is plenty of storage. Now what youngster wouldn’t want to wake up in one of these?!

It will set you back a whopping £33,140, but thankfully there are other much cheaper novelty beds to choose from, including a London bus bunk bed and a tree house high sleeper.

The toy selection is great too so keep that in mind when you’re on the hunt for interesting presents. Whether you are kitting out a nursery or a teenager room, there is something to suit for all ages.

Cuckooland are also committed to working with suppliers who take an ethical approach during their manufacturing processes and, for example, one of their rug makers use a percentage of their profits to support schooling for children in India.

So, if you fancy creating dream rooms for your kids, or just need a few items for a quick and inexpensive update, then definitely have a look at the Cuckooland website. They are a pretty cool company.

www.cuckooland.com

 

 

 

 

FIVE GREAT HEALTHY COOKBOOKS FOR KIDS

Ask anyone their number one New Year’s resolution and it will almost definitely be to improve their diet. After all the cocktails, canapés and puddings we enjoyed over the festive season, most of us are now desperate to eat more healthily by cooking from scratch with more wholesome ingredients.

But it’s not just us grow-ups who need to press reset on our eating habits in January. From chocolate Santas to mince pies, our children have also not been consuming the healthiest selection of food for the past month. Anyone else noticed their kiddos are expecting a couple of Quality Street with breakfast?!

Children can be pretty reluctant to make the switch to healthier options, however. While adults know a plate of kale will do them good, youngsters are less keen to ditch all the sugar that they enjoyed over the Christmas holidays. But this process can be made much more enjoyable if we encourage them to participate in the preparation of delicious nutritious meals. By getting kids to chop the vegetables, measure out the ingredients and add herbs to the pot, parents can teach the valuable lesson that cooking fresh food from scratch is both important and also fun.

So, here are five of our favourite kids’ cookbooks to spark their interest in all things culinary.

Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes, £8.88

If your kids are fans of Julia Donaldson’s classic tales, then they will love the opportunity to make actual ‘Gruffalo crumble’. This clever cookbook is dedicated to replicating all the flora and fauna found in the deep dark wood.

From ‘mouse toast’ to a show-stopping chocolate cake depicting the Gruffalo’s warty, toothy face, this is a collection of recipes that are inventive and ideal for younger children.

The Kew Gardens Children’s Cookbook: Plant, Cook, Eat, £9.35

This beautiful kitchen-garden cookbook, produced in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, contains step-by-step guides to show children how easy it is to grow the likes of peas, beans, potatoes, carrots in the garden, in patio containers or in window boxes. Then transform the home-grown goodies into delicious meals by following easy, step-by-step recipes.

So much more than just a cookbook, this inspiring manual teaches kids how plants grow, from seeds to seedlings, watering and weeding, to harvesting and composting. It is also packed with information on minibeasts and garden creatures. The perfect way to encourage a love of wholesome cooking and an appreciation of how food gets to the table.

Good Housekeeping Kids Cook! : 100+ Super-Easy, Delicious Recipes, £16.99

Good Housekeeping has created the perfect cookbook for kids of all ages who are eager to step into the kitchen. It features more than 100 delicious, fail-safe recipes, accompanied by colourful photographs and basic kitchen and cooking how-tos that kids will find easy to follow.

This book isn’t trying to follow any faddy diet trends, but instead is packed with classic wholesome grub that kids actually enjoy. From lasagne to salads and smoothies, together you can make their favourites from scratch.

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story: Fifteen stories and recipes for children, £10.38

When you do want to give them a treat, this is the book to turn to. The former Great British Bake Off’s winner Nadiya Hussain has created it using all her baking know-how and combining that with storytelling and lovely illustration.

It features 15 original stories that are paired with brand-new recipes from yummy butter-bean patties and the tale of Jack and the Bean-Patty Stalk, to Ruby-Red and the Three Bears and her Very-Berry muffins. Nadiya manages to understand exactly what will hold a child’s interest as well as the food they love to eat.

The World In My Kitchen’ by Sally Brown and Kate Morris, £12.99

Try out recipes from around the world with this collection from across the globe. It is divided into continent sections Not only will this book teach children about food in different regions, it is also full of  information about geography, history and other cultures too, such as culinary habits and favourite dishes. From curries and stir fries to snacks and drinks, it’s a feast for the senses that kids will love bringing to life.

 

 

 

 

GIFTS THAT GIVE SOMETHING BACK

Christmas can feel like a bit of frenzy of consumerism can’t it? All the Black Friday madness and emails constantly popping up in our inboxes tell us about all the ‘must have’ presents we simply have to buy.

If, like us, you’d like to give gifts are that are more meaningful and in some way give something back to the world, then here are a selection of ways you can still buy Christmas presents your children will love, but also support excellent causes and encourage your youngsters to understand the importance of supporting charities at Christmas and throughout the year.

Shop directly from charity’s websites

All children love toys, but did you know that if you buy them directly from a charity website you’ll also be donating at least some of the purchase price to a good cause?

Charities such as Unicef, Marie Curie and The Dogs Trust all sell brand new presents for children. From puzzles and books to wooden train sets and dolls, you can choose from a great selection that you’d find on the highstreet – the difference being a percentage of your payment will go directly to a good cause.

Oxfam now have a section on their website where you’ll find second hand toys, games and books in great condition, just as you would find them in one of their actual shops. You’ll discover some real one-off, unusual items for all the family. And of course Oxfam are selling their usual selection of ethical, fair trade gifts and products, the proceeds of which go directly to help those those who made them.

Shop from stores that donate to charity

Scamp and Dude are a brand that we love for their stylish clothing and amazing prints, but the thing we admire the most is that it’s a company with a conscience. If you by their cosmetic ‘swag’ bags then 100 per cent of the profits go to a range of charities.

To get your own £28 ‘Swag Bag with Purpose’ visit scampanddude.com or take a trip to the Scamp & Dude shop in Highgate village in London.

 

 

 

 

Pickle London have the most fantastic range of fun, bright clothing, as well as bags and stationary. This year £5 from every @picklelondon HAPPY Logo Sweatshirt , and £2.50 from every Happy logo tee will be donated to UK Mental Health Charity MIND. Check them out for lovely presents that also help and extremely good cause.

Adopt and animal

By sponsoring an animal you help to protect endangers species and the habitat they live in. There are so many charities that offer this gift, including the WWF , where you can choose from the likes of lions, elephants, polar bears and turtles.

 

For as little as £3 per month (you can opt to give a larger donation) your little one will receive a fact pack full of information about the animal they are adopting and why their help is so important; regular updates about what life is like for their animal including any developments in research; and of course a lovely little cuddle toy version of the animal they (or you) have chosen.

This is a wonderful way of connecting children with the natural world and encouraging them to care about  animals they might otherwise not know much about in a very tangible and relatable way. Plus they will know that they are really making a difference to endangered species.

Give gifts to others

While we are definitely not suggesting you don’t buy your children toys for Christmas, giving them the chance to select a charity gift themselves is an excellent way to help older kids realise the importance of charity and giving. You could ask your children which cause they would like to support and why, encouraging them to think about those less fortunate who won’t be receiving gifts under the this year.

There are countless charities, such as World Vision and Save the Children which enable you to give gifts to people in developing countries, such as food for a family for a month or an mini library for a school.

Closer to home charities such as Refuge and Shelter offer the opportunity to give much needed aid to families in the UK.

 

 

 

 

KONNIE HUQ GOES BACK TO SCHOOL

Konnie Huq returned to her old school to curate a science-fuelled workshop `Science, Explosions and Scribbling’, to tie in with the launch of her first book Cookie!… and the Most Annoying Boy in the World.

Konnie, who attended Notting Hill & Ealing High School between 1986 – 1993, shared her fascination and self-confessed obsession with science with current students via her curated science workshop.

“Science is super cool. Science is the reason the tech all works. The reason we can fly planes, drive cars. That the floor doesn’t fall down”.

All girls from NHEHS Junior School in Years 3-6, along with children from neighbouring school, Christ the Saviour, C of E Primary School, were treated to an uplifting hour of fun and games. Konnie started the session with an imaginative draw-along, creating a comic strip story with input from the 200 children gathered in the School Hall. This was followed by a brainbusting quiz, which had hands straining to provide answers and an uplifting reading from her book. An experiment with mints and lemonade created an explosive finale.

 

Recognising the importance of reading, Huq commented:

“Reading books is so mega important. Books give people empathy, which makes people good kind people and become amazing adults, which makes the world a nicer place.”

She added:

“Notting Hill & Ealing High School has a special place in my heart. I remember doing English in Room 24 and I fondly remember the Science block – which is still there. My English and Science lessons have come full circle now that I’m introducing current students to my new book”.

nhehs.gdst.net

Cookie!… and the Most Annoying Boy in the World (Piccadilly Press, £10.99) is the first of a series for young readers (aged 8-12) and introduces the world to Cookie Haque – nine years old, obsessed with science and ready to take on the world.

JO PRATT’S PEA AND PANEER SAMOSAS

We’ve been lucky to work with Jo Pratt since the very early days of City Kids Magazine. Here we have an exclusive, yet to be published recipe, straight from the test kitchen.

 

BAKED PEA AND PANEER SAMOSAS

I’m a huge fan of making family friendly recipes from simple to source ingredients, often using ones that are already sitting in my fridge or cupboard. These crunchy baked filo pastry parcels are a perfect example. Strips of pastry are filled with a mildly spiced vegetable and cheese filling. I have used paneer, a classic Indian cheese, but cottage cheese, feta or even halloumi would work equally as well.

It’s not just the cheese you can be flexible with, as you can increase the spice by swapping the korma paste for a hotter spice such as tikka masala or rogan josh. Once cooked, the samosas can be served hot or cold, as a snack, starter, lunch with mango chutney and raita, or as an accompaniment to a curry feast.

Makes 16

sunflower or rapeseed oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tbsp korma paste
1 tsp tomato puree
200g paneer cheese, finely diced
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
175g frozen peas, defrosted
4 sheets filo pastry
sea salt
1-2 tsp nigella seeds and or sesame seeds

 

 

Method

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the onion, carrot, garlic and ginger, and sauté for about 10 minutes until the onion is beautifully soft.

Stir in the korma paste, tomato puree, paneer, coconut, peas, 1 tbsp water and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 5 minutes stirring frequently until the filling has all cooked together nicely. Check for seasoning and add more salt if you feel it needs it.

Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Cut each piece of the filo pastry into 4 strips. Working on 4 strips at a time, brush each one lightly with oil. To prevent the remaining pastry from drying out, keep covered with a damp towel.

Spoon a heaped tablespoon of the filling onto the bottom corner of each lightly oiled pastry strip. Fold over diagonally to create a triangle over the filling. Continue to fold/roll the pastry around the filling, keeping the triangle shape, securing in the filling.

For more of Jo’s brilliant recipes, or to buy The Flexible Vegetarian  head to jo-pratt.com

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS

Our latest round-up of super-cool things for kiddos

Personalised Scooters

Kids love scooters don’t they? Whether it’s the journey to school or a trip to the park, they just love whizzing around of them. And now the clever people at Micro Scooters have made them even more fun but adding a personalisation option. Now you can pop your little ones’ name on the base of the scooter along with a range of patterns and colours. This is available on all their models, including the Cruiser, the Sprite and the Speed. Prices start from £129.95. We think it’s a genius idea because it makes it so much easier to spot your own at the school gates!

micro-scooters.co.uk

Sharky and George at Beaverbrook

London’s most sought-after children’s entertainers, Sharky and George are now to be found at the fabulous Beaverbrook hotel. The team are organising the Adventure Club at the five-star property which is just off the M25 at Leatherhead in leafy Surrey.

As well as fun activities such as missions, pranks, adventures and projects in and around the Estate grounds, youngsters can also enjoy the amazing play area and fantastic tree house. And at Beaverbrook they think of everything so if the weather takes a turn for the worst, there are lots of indoor activities available too, including board games, an air hockey table, arts and crafts and movies.

 

This amazing hotel is equally fantastic for adults – think stunning rooms, dreamy spa and delicious food. So, if you are looking for the perfect place for a weekend away that is within easy reach of London and will tick the boxes for all the family, look no further than Beaverbrook.

beaverbrook.co.uk

Treasure Trails

Winter can be a tricky time to get kiddos out and about as the temperature falls but here at City Kids, we are always keen to avoid screens whenever possible and get youngsters out in the fresh air. So we love the idea of Treasure Trails which allow children (with the help of mum and dad) to follow a self-guided Treasure Trail through their local streets in the villages, towns and cities around the UK., cracking clues along the route to unlock incredible stories from the past and solve a mystery at the end.

The trail will on average be a couple of miles, but kids probably won’t even notice how far they’ve travelled as they’ll be so caught up in the fun of the adventure.

Visit treasuretrails.co.uk to find out more and to download one of more than 1,200 Trails across the 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

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

 

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!

 

 

 

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