The big presents are often the easiest to buy because our kiddos make it very clear exactly what they want in their (lengthy) letters to Santa. But it’s the great little stocking filler that can be trickier to track down. Here are 10 that we think most kids would love to find on Christmas morning.
Oh how we love a Christmas Jumper here at City Kids. From Fair Isle to sparkly, there is a great selection of festive knits for kids this season.
And there are so many opportunites to wear them, but none better than Save the Children’s Christmas Jumper Day on Friday 13 December. Sign up your work, school or friends and get a free fundraising pack. Then donate £2 (or £1 if you’re at school) and that money will help children all around the world. Raising money for a fantastic cause and getting to wear a super-fun festive outfit – what’s not to love?
So here’s our top 10 picks from the high street to keep your kiddos look cool this yule.
Taking the kids to see Father Christmas is a real Christmas highlight. There are still tickets available to meet Santa and we’ve rounded up the best grottos and places to meet the big man himself.
Santa Land in Hyde Park
Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is a Christmas extravaganza. In the heart of the Capital, you’ll find fairground rides, the largest open-air ice rink in the UK, a Christmas market and exciting new attractions such as the world’s tallest transportable observation wheel. And of course, there is Santa Land where you can meet the man of the moment.
The grotto will be open from 10am to 6pm and is free. Santa will have a gift for all children who’ve been good but be aware that you can’t book a visit to the grotto as it’s run on a first-come first-served basis, so make sure to factor in some potential waiting time. There is certainly plenty to make your visit a great day out.
Father Christmas once again returns to his secret London headquarters at the Royal Albert Hall. In this theatrical walk-around event, children will encounter a range of magical North Pole characters in various spaces of the Hall on their way to meet Father Christmas himself.
During this fun and festive experience, they’ll discover the stories and characters of Christmas’ past through engaging puppetry and live music and will even gain some secret elf knowledge with the chance to make and bring home their very own stuffed toy.
The experience in this iconic London landmark will last roughly one hour and is most suitable for children aged three and up, but all are welcome. Those of all ages will love this special event.
For the quintessential festive outing into London to see the Christmas lights and meet Santa, head to the Christmas Festival in Leicester Square and it’s amazing grotto.
The man himself hosts an audience with small groups of children and parents (up to 20 people at a time), reading a Christmas story, before meeting them all individually and handing over a little gift to take home. The ideal place to pop into if you are in city centre for the day.
A Victorian Grotto at Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands
For a taste of Christmas past head along to the Museum of London to see Sant as he was over 100 years ago.
Part of the museum is transformed into a Victorian walk, with Santa waiting at the end. He’s once again taking up residence at both museums, to a soundtrack of Victorian carols and against a backdrop of festive decorations. A gift is included in ticket price and children will love this nostalgic step back in time.
Santa’s Victorian Grotto at Museum of London, £10 per child, 29 November-23 December 2019.
If you’re prepared to venture just outside London to find Santa and his elves, your journey will definitely be reward with a truly fantastic festive day out. Lapland UK in Whitmoor forest just outside Ascot takes little ones of an exciting journey to meet Father Christmas.
Along the way they will come across Mrs Claus, make toys in the workshop and decorate cookies as the elves guide them through the snowy forest.
This 4-hour immersive experience has been beautifully designed with fantastic attention to detail. It truly does feel like you’ve been transported to the north pole – complete with fake snow. There is a chance to meet husky and reindeer as well as try out ice skating and even send your letter to Santa at the special polar post office.
With a restaurant and shop onsite, Lapland UK is a truly lovely place to spend the day and, while it might be on the expensive side, you’ll definitely feel like it’s worth it for such a magical experience.
laplanduk.co.uk, prices start from £59pp and vary depending on the time and date of your visit. From 16th November to 24th December.
We still have a quite a few weeks to get all our Christmas shopping done (thankfully!), but considerably less time to to get the advent calendars sorted. Whether you prefer old-school paper ones, chocolate treats or toy filled boxes, or even those you fill yourself, advent calendars are loved by all kids. Here are some of our favourites.
Our latest round-up of super-cool things for kiddos
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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…!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
A sunny bank holiday weekend? Must be time for a picnic. Here’s our guide to the best London parks for picnics
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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