Parenting

CHICKEN TINGA TACOS FROM JO PRATT

Chicken and Black Bean Tinga Tacos with Watermelon Salsa

With the recent publication of The Flexible Family Cookbook, we’re celebrating by reproducing the recipe for Chicken Tinga Tacos from Jo Pratt.

 

 

“This is super-easy to make and for that reason I serve it frequently at home. Tinga is a Mexican dish where chicken is cooked with onion, tomatoes and chipotle sauce and shredded when cooked. I like to do a half-halfnchicken and black bean combo, to vary things up and reduce our meat intake. This juicy watermelon salsa is well worth making. Put everything on the table to make a sharing supper for everyone to dig into.” Jo Pratt.

Time taken 50 minutes / Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp chipotle paste (or more for a spicier finish)
1 tsp red or white wine vinegar
400g/14 oz can chopped tomatoes
400g/14 oz can black beans or kidney beans, drained
2 chicken breasts, skinless or 350g/12 oz boneless chicken thighs
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salsa

300g/10½ oz watermelon, diced into small pieces
4 spring onions (scallions), chopped
½ green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
½ small bunch coriander (cilantro), chopped
juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp olive oil

To serve

1 large ripe avocado, sliced or mashed
sour cream
1 small red onion, finely sliced and mixed with
juice of ½ lime
grated Cheddar cheese
coriander (cilantro) leaves, roughly chopped
soft corn or flour tortillas, warmed

Method

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan or casserole dish.
  • Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and starting to turn golden.
  • Add the garlic and cook for a further minute before stirring in the sugar, chipotle paste, vinegar, tomatoes, 200ml/7 fl oz/scant 1 cup water and the black beans. Mix everything together and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chicken to the pan, spooning over the sauce to cover. Cover with a lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the sauce thickened.
  • Meanwhile, make the salsa by mixing everything together in a serving bowl and seasoning with salt and pepper.
  • Once cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and sit on a plate or board. Using two forks, shred into strips and then return the shredded meat back to the sauce.
  • Serve the Chicken and Black Bean Tinga with the watermelon salsa, avocado, sour cream, red onion, cheese and coriander. Pile everything into warm tortillas, wrap and prepare to get messy.

Flexible

Pescatarian: a delicious alternative to using chicken is to swap it for some chunky white fish such as cod, pollock or haddock. Let the tomato and black bean sauce cook alone for 20 minutes then add 400g/14 oz fish fillets to the pan. Spoon over the sauce, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Break the fish into flakes in the pan and serve as above.

Get ahead: once made, the chicken can sit in the fridge for 3–4 days and heated through when needed. It can also easily be doubled up so you can freeze half for another time.

 The Flexible Family Cookbook by Jo Pratt, £20 Frances Lincoln.

Photography Malou Burger

 For more of Jo’s Recipes, head to our Recipe page.

WIN A YEAR’S SUBSCRIPTION TO ANORAK

We’re celebrating Anorak’s 14th anniversary by offering you the opportunity to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

 

With a circulation of over 20 000 worldwide, Anorak and sister publication Dot (now 5 years old) have carved a niche that is internationally acclaimed and recognised. Not bad for a magazine that distributors said would never last. As fellow print lovers, we’ve decided to celebrate this momentous milestone by offering City Kids readers the chance to win a year’s subscription to Anorak.

 

 

Their latest iconic issue features artist Mugariah and is all about imagination. It’s also available both as a paper edition and as a digital one.

Cathy Olmedillas launched Anorak 14 years ago without any real strategy in mind. Alongside its sister publication DOT, it’s become an integral part of family life and inspired many children and parents to learn through creativity. This effect has been especially prominent during the turbulent times of the Covid-19 lockdown, in which homeschooling had become necessary.

After 14 years, Anorak has not only launched many great illustrators’ careers but also brought back the notion of creativity in childhood.

Following Anorak’s mission, the publication created a Little Editors scheme helping to raise the next generation of creative doodlers through drawing missions that are sent out every month! Although Anorak and DOT have been spreading joy and creativity over the past years with their uniquely themed issues, there is still much more to come with books and podcasts during the planning stage!

Don’t miss out on other giveaways, news or offers. Sign up to our newsletter here

How to enter:

All you need to do is complete the contact form below and we’ll draw a winner on Monday 5 October 2020.

 

 

Ts & Cs
The decision of City Kids is final.
No cash alternative.
If the winner does not claim the prize pithing 24 hours of notification, City Kids reserves the right to draw a new winner.
UK entries only.

ADVICE FOR BACK TO SCHOOL ANXIETY

Butterflies at the start of the new school year are normal, but after the year we’ve had, Dr Kathy Weston offers some advice for back to school anxiety.

 

By Dr Kathy Weston

It can be normal for parents, even in ‘normal’ times to worry about the new school year. Whether your child is heading off to nursery, primary or transitions to senior or secondary school, parents will worry. Often those worries centre on the administrative burden that comes with a school start and on the ‘unknowns’ that come with a child joining a new class or school setting. What follows outlines some ideas on how to handle back to school anxiety.

What is striking is that children very often possess a different set of worries to their parents. Parental worry typically centres around children or young people’s ability to socialise, connect with others, make friends and the extent to which their child’s physical and mental health needs might be met over the next academic year. Children tend to be very practical when it comes to worrying. How will I get to school? What will the bus be like? Will I get lost? Who will pick me up? Who will be at home when I get back? It is not uncommon for children to be concerned about how they might navigate around the school building, where they sit for their lunch and how they will remember all the things they have to remember.

Coupled with these ‘normal worries’ that manifest in ‘normal times’, some children may experience anticipatory anxiety related to COVID-19. Is the classroom different? Can I play with my friends? Will I be able to play the same games? Some, but not all children, will worry on a larger scale about virus transmission and carry some anxiety left over from the experience of lockdown.

Breeding resilience

The good news is that parents play a powerful role when it comes to both alleviating anxiety in children and modelling a positive and resilient approach that can help children get school-ready. As a family, it is a useful exercise to reflect back on the experience of lockdown and to extract positives associated with the experience. Where were the silver linings? What did we learn about ourselves and others? Celebrate your resilience as a family over that period, so that your child begins to see themselves as already resilient. This kind of reflection breeds resilience.

A second part of being school-ready is about airing all and any worries in a nice open chat with your child. Together, seek out solutions, ideas and thoughts that can alleviate or cancel a particular worry. Perhaps your child is worried about walking alone to school. What can we do about that? Coach them rather than provide solutions yourself. Model a proactive and positive approach and importantly, convey a sense of excitement and joy that your child is moving up a year in school, growing and developing. What are they excited about and looking forward to?

Controlling Covid anxiety

In terms of the dreaded virus, try and focus your child’s attention on life’s ‘controllables’; what your child can do or influence in relation to it. Underline the practical steps that they can take to stay healthy, emphasise the proactive work schools are doing in anticipation of school return and celebrate the innovation that is taking place across the scientific world, that will enable us, at some point to return to life, unmasked.

In the current climate, it can easy to forget the central role of school; as places of learning. It is important that parents continue to reiterate to their offspring, that we go to school to work hard and to learn and that is it important to try our best. Let’s stay aspirational, whilst making sure they stay calm, focused and positive.

Dr Kathy Weston is an academic, motivational speaker, wife and mother of two boys. She delivers talks to parents and teachers and also offers 1:1 coaching.

drkathyweston.com/

Having problems with sleep? Read advice from Rosey Davidson on getting back to healthy sleep habits.

TACKLING RACISM IN THE CURRICULUM

The Black Curriculum aims to shake up history taught in schools. Based on personal experience, Lavinya Stennett explains where the syllabus fails and how change will help us tackle racism in the curriculum.

 

The world seemed to finally notice the Black Lives Matter movement, following the murder of George Floyd. Global demonstrations gave rise to long-overdue conversations about racial history. This was the case of many parts of the world, including the UK, where cities have prospered on the foundations of the slave trade. It is a history rarely told in detail at school. The Black Curriculum is a social enterprise. It aims to revolutionise the history syllabus in this country for eight to 16 year olds. Its CEO, Lavinya Stennett, explains how she’s tackling racism in the curriculum.

System failure

Students are not being taught Black British History consistently. That is despite numerous findings which demonstrate its importance. Latest Home Office figures show that in 2017/18, there were 94,098 hate crime offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, 76% of which were racially aggravated.

The reality of racism operates in many ways, particularly through the lack of education and understanding of Black British history. The Macpherson Report showed that a culturally diverse curriculum is a way to prevent racism. Similarly, The Windrush Review recommended that colonial and migration history should be taught. So why are we still here today?

How racism in the curriculum impacts young people

When young people are not taught their history within Britain, their sense of identity is impacted. Social relations are hindered. A 2007 report on the over-representation of young Black people in the criminal justice system showed the link between these shortcomings as causing underachievement.

A proposed remedy suggests the ‘government should ensure history lessons are relevant to all young people in Britain’. The Black Curriculum recognises that Black history is British history.

The current curriculum and exam board specifications are limited in providing Black British history. Black history is not mandatory in schools that have their own curriculum. Without the resource, time and understanding, we are still going to face the same problems. We can not simply rely on parents and carers to provide this material.

Black British history is not merely a theme for October. It started hundreds of years before Windrush. It pre-dates European colonial enslavement. Our work aims to overcome these limitations. It provides a contextual and globalised history. Rooting the Black British experience in histories of movement and migration – 365 days a year.

We want to prepare students to become fully rounded citizens. Ready for an increasingly globalised world. Our curriculum is grounded in the arts, this allows them to engage with history imaginatively. It encourages satisfaction and critical thinking. Through our holistic approach we aim to remedy a wider issue.

About Lavinya

Lavinya is a historian, writer and First-Class graduate from SOAS.

The vision to create The Black Curriculum came from her firsthand experience in British education. She saw the impact of exclusion. Learning ‘Black history’ in the lone month of October was not enough. Studying abroad, she found the Indigenous and colonial history in Aotearoa was part of their everyday. It was accessible to everyone. She is determined to challenge the Eurocentricity of the school curriculum at a nationwide level in the UK. She believes in the power of education, and the arts to ultimately transform the lives of people.

www.theblackcurriculum.com

 

Many, many thanks go to Misan Harriman for use of his amazing image of Lavinya for Vogue’s September issue.

 

For more content around the subject of anti-racism, see our suggested books for children here.

 

 

BACK TO SCHOOL, BACK TO SLEEP

It’s the holy grail that all parents seek: SLEEP! Expert, Rosey Davidson offers advice on how to get back to normal bedtimes after an extraordinary year.

 



As the kids go back to school, we’re all hoping they’ll go back to sleep! 2020 has certainly been a year of challenges for most families. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the sleep of our nation. Children are no exception. Increased screen time, later bedtimes, increased anxiety, time away from friends and normal support networks… the list goes on.

During the pandemic research tells us that there has been a significant shift in bedtimes and morning wake times – 70% of children under 16 are going to bed later (Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, ref: Sleep Council). The result of this is that it is harder than ever to transition to a ‘normal’ routine at the start of the school year.

Screen time has played such a big role in home schooling, but this heavy reliance on technology can have a devastating effect on sleep. Lots of exposure to blue and white light from devices can affect our drive to sleep and our production of melatonin (our sleep hormone). Essentially this means, the more screen time we have, the less sleepy we feel!

While it is quite normal for children to go to bed a little later during summer holidays, for many parents that bedtime/wake time has shifted far further than usual. Fear not though, there are positive steps that we can take to make the transition back to school a little easier…

My top tips to improving sleep habits.

  1. Make sure that you and your child get exposure to morning light – this is really valuable for our internal body clocks. Get outside for some fresh air early in the day.
  2. Cut screen time before bed – 1-2 hours of screen free time will really help you and your little ones to switch off.
  3. If your child uses a reading light in bed opt for an amber light – this is far less disruptive that blue/white lights.
  4. Ideally try to keep homework and other activities out of the bedroom – reserve it for sleeping only if possible. If not then perhaps put a screen across the room to cover the desk/workspace at night. This is important for your child to learn to switch off.
  5. Stick to a calm, consistent bedtime routine. Bath, story/or chat, cuddle and lights out. Children thrive on having clear boundaries. If your child is resisting bedtime I really like to create a bedtime poster together – detailing all of the steps towards bedtime and teaching them about the positive benefits of sleep to their bodies.
  6. If your child is anxious about returning to school and struggling to sleep, some simple mindfulness techniques can be helpful. Deep breath in and out, focusing on the breath and movement of the tummy can really help.

Prioritising your sleep and that of your child’s is not decadent. It will improve concentration, mood, support immune system, help maintain a healthy weight and more. Most of all, a well-rested child is a child ready to learn and embrace the new normal.

For more information visit:

justchillbabysleep.co.uk

@just_chill_mama

We have more fantastic advice on how to get back to routine as smoothly as possible from Zoe Blaskey

RAISE VITAL FUNDS FOR GOSH


RBC Race for the Kids goes virtual for 2020!

 

 

The annual RBC Race for the Kids, which will help to raise vital funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), is going virtual this Autumn.

 

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital needs more support than ever so the charity is urging people to sign up for the first ever virtual RBC Race for the Kids. Over 10,000 people took part in last year’s event to run, jog, walk and scoot around the 5km iconic course in London’s Hyde Park. The hope is that more people will be able to take part virtually, wherever they are in the world.

The virtual event is open to supporters of all ages and abilities. Participants are encouraged to choose somewhere in their local neighbourhood, park or even a garden and ‘race’ your distance, your way. Race weekend is 17 and 18 October and helps to raise vital funds directly for GOSH Charity.

Who will the funds help?

The money raised will go towards funding the hospital’s most urgent needs. This includes research into pioneering new treatments, cutting-edge medical equipment, support services for children and their families, such as parent accommodation and the hospital’s Play team, and the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital.

Six-year-old Daniel will be racing for the first time with his mum Rosemary, dad Michael and older brother Joshua. He was treated at GOSH for a rare form of arthritis. A few days after bumping his knee whilst playing at home, Daniel began struggling to walk, had swelling and severe pain in his knee, ankle and elbow. Following multiple tests at his local hospital, Daniel was then referred to GOSH specialists.

 

 

 

 

Rosemary explains: “Daniel underwent many tests as doctors tried to rule out a number of conditions, he had MRI scans, blood tests, an echocardiogram, liver tests and bones looked at. Eventually the amazing team who had taken him under their wing were able to come up with a working diagnosis of Systemic onset Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, an extremely rare disease.”

Rosemary said: “We are all looking forward to taking part in the virtual RBC Race for the Kids this October. We loved the event last year and feel so lucky that Daniel is able to run and take part in something like this, as there have been times over the past couple of years when we didn’t think that would be possible. Doing the race is a reminder of the freedom we have with Daniel since his health has returned and is maintained by ongoing support from GOSH. It will be really fun doing our own race in the countryside close to where we live and hopefully we’ll raise some money for GOSH Charity!”

 

 

Be part of something bigger

Created by Royal Bank of Canada, the RBC Global Virtual Race for the Kids will bring together for the first time tens of thousands of participants to support 36 children and youth charities in 16 countries – and by being virtual anyone can take part wherever they are in the world. GOSH Charity is thrilled to be the UK charity beneficiary and is urging supporters to sign up and help raise vital funds for seriously ill children from across the UK who are treated at GOSH.

Participants can now sign up for free at rbcraceforthekids.com, select their city and associated charity and choose their preferred race distance to complete during the weekend of the 17 and 18 October. The virtual race will have support and integration with most running apps and all participants will receive digital medals and rewards.

Over the last 10 years RBC Race for the Kids has raised over £6million for GOSH Charity, helping to make a difference to the lives of seriously ill children from across the UK.

For more information and to sign up to take part, please visit: rbcraceforthekids.com

About Great Ormond Street Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity:

Great Ormond Street Hospital is one of the world’s leading children’s hospitals with the broadest range of dedicated, children’s healthcare specialists under one roof in the UK. The hospital’s pioneering research and treatment gives hope to children from across the UK with the rarest, most complex and often life-threatening conditions. Our patients and families are central to everything we do – from the moment they come through the door and for as long as they need us.

Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity needs to raise money to support the hospital to give seriously ill children, the best chance for life. The charity funds research into pioneering new treatments for children, provides the most up to date medical equipment, funds support services for children and their families and supports the essential rebuilding and refurbishment of the hospital. You can help us to provide world class care for our patients and families. For more information visit  www.gosh.org

 

SPONSORED CONTENT

 

 

FAMILY STRESS: TIME TO RESET

The last six months has been the cause of much family stress for many. Zoe Blaskey tells City Kids that it’s time to reset

 

 

Six months ago, we were collectively thrown into the challenge of our lifetimes – a global pandemic and lockdown. Families braced themselves for a ‘perfect storm’ of challenges – school closures, loss of childcare, closure of all playgrounds, playgroups, camps and in fact, anything we could use to entertain our children. At the same time many parents were trying to juggle working from home (I’ve heard parents starting work at 2am to get half a day done before the children wake up) and homeschool at the same time. Family stress was at an all-time high, no wonder it’s time to reset.

It was unbelievably intense for many. In fact, 87%* of parents told me they are stressed with family life – still.

We had very little warning, and had to adapt our lives literally overnight. It was a time of survival. Getting through each day, collapsing at the end of it in front of the TV (or a laptop) ready to do it all again the next day. We had no idea how long this groundhog day would go on or what our future might look like.

And now it’s September and that ‘back to school’ feeling is turbo charged as we think about returning to some degree of normality for the first time since March. It’s time to reset.

Here’s how to use September to press the Reset button – to process what’s happened, build resilience for whatever else this year might throw at us and get back into some sort of routine.

5 steps to reset:

1. Stress is a natural response to uncertainty – but when we’re stressed for a long time without addressing it, it can become chronic and often shows in physical signs – exhaustion, headaches, digestive issues, aches and pains. Learn about stress – how it shows up for you (we all feel it differently) and what you can do about it.

2. Supporting ourselves: during lockdown many parents’ own needs went further down the pile than ever before. Of course it did. But in times of intense pressure, it’s even more important to look after ourselves. When things get pushed down and down, the result tends to be an explosion. Think of a beachball being pushed under water and then released. Your needs don’t go anywhere just because you’re not tending to them. ‘Self-care’ as a parent isn’t about expensive spa days or candlelit baths. It’s taking just 5 minutes every day to fill your cup back up. The trick is knowing what to do – my favourites are meditation, free writing and mindful breathing.

3. How to support your children: I’ve heard consistently that across all ages, children’s behaviour has changed through this experience – they too have been on an emotional corona-coaster. It’s really important we learn the tools to help our children process their challenging feelings. There’s neuroscience behind how to do this – it’s just a matter of learning the skills.

4. How to handle disappointments and change.  One thing is for sure, whatever the future may bring, it will bring change. Despite the rhetoric, of children handling change well, studies actually show children need more help with change than we may realise. Learn the ways to help your child handle change and disappointments that will make them feel heard, loved and connected to you – not pacified.

5. Reshape your future.  In a recent study* 83% of parents shared they want to make changes to family life going forwards but change only happens when we are deliberate about it. So this is a perfect time to reflect on where we’ve been and how you want to handle wherever we might be going.

Deep breath. And reset.

Zoe Blaskey is the creator of The Family Reset Plan which, together with Dr Emma Svanberg a clinical psychologist and Dr Nnkea Ikeogu a child psychologist, dives into each of these five areas with practical, yet really effective ways to future proof your family.

You can read more about it here and if you work for the NHS – it’s absolutely free in recognition of our gratitude.

See more back to school ideas here.

*2,000 National UK parents surveyed with One Poll

BACK TO SCHOOL: START-RITE REVIEW

The countdown has started and back to school chat is on the agenda. As we get ready to go back to school, we’ve a review of Start-Rite shoes from Ivy-May and her mum.

 

Words: Jenny Estacio, Digital Marketing Guru at CK HQ

The lovely lot at Start Rite were kind enough to send us a brand new pair of school shoes to get the ball rolling on our back to school journey here at City Kids HQ. This was a perfect opportunity for 6 year old Ivy-May to give them a whirl and get started on back to school prep. She’s excited to go back to school where she’ll be reunited with her class. We hope you find this first Back to school review of Start-Rite shoes really helpful!

Measuring up 

We used Start Rite’s free printable measuring gauge to scope out just how much Ivy-May’s feet have grown over lockdown. Turns out she’s a whole half size bigger! Their measuring gauge is a lifesaver. It’s fairly straight forward and it’s great that you can beat the queues, especially with social distancing and if you’re in a hurry. In a nutshell, once you’ve got the width and length, you tap the measurements into their shoe size calculator and ta-da, you can start picking out your fave style. 

TOP TIP 1: We had to do this step twice. Please be warned, don’t assign this task to grandparents, as they’ll suggest a S13 for someone that’s actually an S11.5! That’s our lesson learned. I certainly did get flashbacks of having to wear my high school uniform 5 sizes too big at year 7. 

TOP TIP 2: If using Start Rite’s handy measuring gauge, double check your printer settings and be sure you print the measuring gauge to scale. A lot of printers will be set to “fit to page” which will make it pretty much useless. 

Picking styles on site 

For 6 year old Ivy-May this was one of the most exciting parts of the process. They had the loveliest styles for both girls and boys. From their classic Mary Janes to slightly more fun and playtime suitable looks. We filtered it down to the Patent Spirit, a modern twist on the Start Rite classic that I used to wear as a child. 

TOP TIP 3: Get the kids involved when it comes to picking the styles! Back to school prep, especially following lockdown can help to spark some excitement.

The Start Rite Patent Spirit Girls School Shoes

They arrived nice and quickly – we’re giving Start Rite a gold star for packing them in an eco friendly recycled box too. Having things delivered certainly beats heading to the shops and being met by the queues of other last minute shoppers. Of course, the shoes fit perfectly. The measuring gauge factors in room for growth too, so there really is no need to go a size (or two and a half) up! The Start Rite Patent Spirit is super smart, comfortable PLUS we love the patent shiny finish as this means it’ll look new for longer. 

Do check out Start-Rite’s wide range of school shoes here.

For more of our back to school bits, we’ve got a great round up of hand sanitisers etc here, and check out our roundup of lovely lunchboxes here. And in case you missed it, our back to school checklist here. Bring on the new school year, we are so ready!

 

 

THE BEST ICE CREAMS IN LONDON

It’s hot, sticky and we all want to cool down. What better way than to have one of the best ice creams in London. Here’s our guide.

Whether you’re a Mr Whippy fan or only the best Italian gelato will do, London serves up some of the best ice cream. Vegan, goats milk, cow’s milk, milkshakes, sorbets, sandwiches and toppings, you name it….

 

Duci
Devonshire Road, Chiswick, W4
ducilondon.com

Head to Duci for authentic Italian ice cream, Sicilian cannoli, lemon granitas and affogatos (they make great coffee).

Bears Ice Cream
Goldhawk Road, W12 & The Pavilion, Brook Green, W6
bearsicecream.co.uk

It’s not just Italians that can make gourmet ice cream. Bears offers Icelandic soft serve topped with endless goodies. Vegan options available as well as ice cream deliveries.

Marine Ices
Chalk Farm Road, NW1
marineices.co.uk

In London since 1931, Marine ices is a London landmark with over 24 ice cream flavours as well as sorbets, sundaes and cakes.

Hackney Gelato
Andrews Road, E8
hackneygelato.com

Locanda Locatelli alumni, Sam and Enrico, have won 15 Great Taste stars in the last two years and provide this corner of London with gourmet Sicilian inspired gelato and wicked milkshakes.


Yolkin
Rupert St, W1
yolkin.co.uk

What started as a stall now has a permanent spot in Soho specialising in ice cream sandwiches, largely made with macarons. Yum!

 

Related: The Best Family Take Away Picnics

Gelateria Danieli
Brewers Lane, TW9
gelateriadanieli.com

These guys supplied ice cream to the Queen on her 80th birthday, so if it’s good enough for her…They also make delicious chocolates.

Milk Train
Covent Garden, WC2
milktraincafe.com

Customise your own Milk Train ice creams and milkshakes by swirling a creamy base with different mix-ins. Or choose sundae options. Go choo-choo and add a choo-choo candy floss cloud to your ice cream or milkshake to fully board the Milk Train!

Box Park Shoreditch & Market Hall Victoria (temporarily closed)

Instagram worthy ice creams with a variety of toppings, choosing an image for this round-up was hard!

Greedy Goat
Borough Market
greedygoat.co.uk

Less allergenic than cow’s milk, these guys pride themselves on producing only goats milk ice cream. They also package their ice creams in glass jars making them kind to the planet too.

Nardulli’s
Clapham Common, SW4
nardulli.co.uk

Traditional ice-cream cones, cakes, glasses, semifreddi but also crepes (thin pancakes), confectionary and a variety of typical Italian products, all authentically made.

 

If your taste buds are awake, head to our food pages for more mouth watering ideas.

 

HEATWAVE HACKS

We’re not going to complain, god knows we like to see the sun in this country. But some of us are overheating. We’ve put together a useful list of heatwave hacks to get you through those sweaty days.

In all seriousness, heatwaves can also be dangerous. If you have a newborn you’ll be stressing about the temperature of the room, what to dress them in and how to keep them hydrated. Older kids will likely want to sit in the paddling pool all day, while you would like an ice bath. Our heatwave hacks are here to help you stay safe and sane this summer.

 

Related: The Best Ice Creams in London

Our top tips to stay cool:

  • Head to the supermarket and enjoy the air con.
  • Never mind the kids, get a paddling pool just for you.
  • Seek out a fountain and splash like a child (with or without your kids).
  • Keep a stash of bottled water in the freezer.
  • Stay home and plant yourself in front of a fan. Do not move.
  • Run a flannel or small hand towel under the cold tap and place on your neck. Better still, put the wet flannel in the freezer and use when required. Have a supply.
  • Hang a cold, wet bedsheet at the window.
  • Eat less meat. Yes really. Digesting it causes our bodies to use energy and consequently heat us up.
  • Athleisure gear always.
  • Put your moisturiser in the fridge.
  • Always wondered whether Birkenstock and sock man knows more than you? Well, socks can help keep you cool by absorbing sweat.
  • Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep out the hot air and light. A bit Miss Haversham but desperate times call for desperate measures. Open at night to enjoy the (slightly) cooler temperatures.
  • Showering before bed is a great way to cool down.
  • Another freezer trick: put your pillowcase in a plastic bag inside the freezer and use on the pillow at bedtime.
  • Drink plenty of fluids! Rose doesn’t really count for rehydration but a spritz covers both camps in our view.

 

Need some extra tips for a good night’s sleep? Read our guide to the best products to aid sleep

BEST PRODUCTS TO AID SLEEP

With sleepless nights on the increase, City Kids takes a look at the best products to aid sleep

 

 

2020 has seen anxiety hit new levels in kids and adults as we all try to navigate our new working and home lives. Sleep is commonly interrupted which adds to the problem. But sometimes restless nights or lack of sleep can just turn up out for no apparent reason at all. Insomnia is can turn into a vicious circle where we’re desperate to try ANYTHING to get some zeds. We’ve tried some of these natural remedies and put together our list of the best products to aid sleep.

Thisworks Baby Sleep Pillow Spray

Lizzie Loves Be Sleepy

Cowshed Baby Pillow Spray

Childs Farm Bedtime Suitcase 

Bloom and Blossom Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray

Bloom and Blossom Very Hungry Caterpillar Baby Pillow Spray

 

 

For grownups 

Thisworks Deep Sleep Super Blend

My Expert Midwife Spritz For Sleep

Cowshed Sleep Body and Pillow Mist

 

Rituals The Ritual of Jing Deep Sleep Pillow Mist

Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Pillow Mist

The White Company Sleep Candle

 

For more lotions and potions head to our round up of hand sanitisers and hand care.

 

Top image by Photo by Dakota Corbin

NEW CLUB GETSETGO! LAUNCHES

New Family Club, GetSetGo! will open in Putney early next year

Work has officially started on a brand new club GetSetGo! which launches for families in South West London early next year.  Expect a pool, studios, interactive play area, co-working space and a cafe. Opening in January 2021, GetSetGo! promises to be a safe, enriching and multifunctional space with a fresh take on activities for all the family.

GetSetGo! Putney is the brainchild of Claire and Alina who have secured nearly £2m of investment to get the works underway. Speaking about the brand’s vision, Founder and CEO Claire Harrison said:

“As both a parent but also a seasoned leisure professional, I saw a huge gap in the market when it came to children’s activities. I have experienced too many times the distinct lack of suitable space to provide children’s activities across the capital. I started asking myself the questions every mum, dad and grandparent asks: Why am I paying so much money for my children’s activities, yet sat on dirty church, village halls and pub floors? Why am I having to juggle schedules, dashing from one place to another waiting for my children’s classes to finish? Trying to grab twenty minutes to do some work in between classes and never ever having any time for myself.  The potential for a setting like GetSetGo! became glaringly obvious and so I decided to do something about it!”

Claire’s no stranger to the family activity market having set up hugely successful Swimming Rocks. Probably why it was essential to build a pool into GetSetGo!’s plans. And those among you with your ear to the ground will know that GetSetGo! is being created on the old Purple Dragon site in Putney.

GetSetGo! Putney will offer a full programme of activities, combining a mix of in-house signature sessions and classes offered from established activity brands. From baby groups to teen fit, ‘mummy and me’ exercise, to post-natal sessions Dance, martial arts, swimming lessons and so, so much more for children; not forgetting the adult group sessions that will be offered before and after work.

After the action, mum and dad can hit the café lounge for a light bite, healthy smoothie or much-deserved glass of wine, while little ones explore the hidden nooks and crannies that have been cleverly incorporated to encourage and promote independent play and learning.

GetSetGo! have also created a unique hybrid workspace that will allow parents to pursue their career without comprising parenthood – or facing the overwhelming guilt of trying to do it all! The co-working space offers the ideal solution, while also having the option of a lunch and coffee break, as well as an activity during the day.

Families will be able to join classes on a pay-as-you-go system or as part of a monthly or annual subscription, ensuring that the inspired setting is accessible to all without the hefty membership fees just to get through the door.

Clubs in Chelsea, Golders Green and Marylebone are due to follow.

For more information: get-set-go.com

 

FOR MORE FAMILY FOCUSSED NEWS HEAD HERE

HANDWASH, SANITISERS AND HANDCARE

We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and the coronavirus during the past few months and hand hygiene has been a constant. Here’s our roundup of handwash, sanitisers and handcare.

*Virtual* hi-fives to families for keeping on top of hand hygiene, especially since the start of the pandemic. 

We’ve searched high and low for the best handwash, sanitisers and handcare products on the market. They’re hands-down going to make hand-washing fun again (that’s aside from the happy birthday hack, of course). 

As an added BONUS a handful of our great finds go the extra mile, either giving back to the community, charities or are #plasticfreejuly compliant.

 

Handwash

SCRUBBINGTONS

With 100% recyclable and reusable refill pouches that save 78-82% of plastic it’s a big thumbs up for Scrubbingtons.

CHILDS FARM

Suitable for newborns and upwards. Dermatologist and paediatrician approved as suitable for sensitive skin and safe for people who may be prone to eczema.

BLOOM AND BLOSSOM

These guys always come up with great collaborations and this one with the Roald Dahl Story Company is a great one.  98% naturally derived ingredients and smells just peachy!

 

NEAL’S YARD

Formulated with a naturally soothing blend of organic chamomile, lavender and propolis cleanses hands gently and is suitable for little hands from newborn.

NURSEM

For every product sold, Nursem donates a month’s worth of free Nursem products to a nurse or midwife. Space NK will double the Nursem promise – so for every Nursem product sold at Space NK, two nurses or midwives will receive a month’s worth of free Nursem products.

 

Sanitisers 

MUCKY PUPS

The Mucky Pups Hand Sanitiser is the first hand sanitiser for children which has been proven 99.9% effective against bacteria, spores, viruses and moulds. Easy to use, fragrance-free and gentle enough for repeated use.

NEOM

For every pack of 3 bought, Neom gives a pack of 3 Clean & Happy Hand Sanitiser Gel to the true superheroes – the NHS. This gel has 65% alcohol to kill 99% of germs but with added glycerine, it won’t dry your hands.

MARGARET DABBS LONDON

A divine and unique antibacterial formulation that leaves hands clean, refreshed and hydrated. Contains 65% alcohol, proven effective at killing harmful germs and bacteria.

AESOP

A non-drying, alcohol-based formulation with purifying and hydrating properties, to cleanse hands effectively when fresh water is unavailable.

THIS WORKS

Travel friendly, 70% alcohol and 100% natural essential oils of Lavender, Neroli and Camomile plus Hyaluronic Acid to clean, protect and hydrate hands without the need to rinse.

 

 

GUIDE TO HOLIDAY CLUBS AND CAMPS

Activity providers have just been given the green light to reopen so holiday clubs and camps are go!

The prayers of parents up and down the land have been answered as holiday clubs and camps have been given permission to go ahead this summer. If you’re still not 100% confident about attending a holiday camp or club in person, there are still plenty of online options available, whether you’re in London or not. Booking for in-person camps will be essential as all will be running with bubbles. Here’s our guide to holiday clubs and camps to help you out.

THE LITTLE GYM

After the enforced break, themed activity camps that not only teach gymnastics but also work on confidence, self-esteem and creativity are back. The doors are being flung open for pirates, princesses, magic wizardry and superheroes for children aged 3-12yrs in Chiswick, Westfield, Wandsworth, Hampton Hill.

thelittlegym.eu/uk

CREATIVE WIZ KIDS 

A Hampstead favourite is now launching in Hammersmith too. Creative Wiz Kids is the brainchild of a professional artist who has run camps for 30 years. Creative Wiz Kids holiday clubs are packed with exciting art projects, both themed and free Art. Activities include painting, crafts, dance, drama games, music, face painting, free play and storytime. The wider age range enables children to create individually at their own level and also to collaborate across ages should they choose. We offer clubs that are both structured and free-form.
3-9 year olds

creativewizkids.com

FIRETECH

Innovative and creative tech camps covering Junior Python, all-girls coding, video game design, Python and Java coding, Creative Digital Design, Unity 3D and more.
VIRTUAL

firetechcamp.com

WILL TO WIN

Tennis and padel courts across the capital are now open. Lots of drills, games and match play with an emphasis on fun!
4yrs+ Chiswick, Ealing, Regents Park, Hyde Park.

willtowin.co.uk

ARTS ED SUMMER SCHOOL

Acting and musical theatre summer school which teaches audition techniques, gives West End training and offers the chance to make your own movie. All from the best in the business.
7-16 yrs+
VIRTUAL

artsed.co.uk

LITTLE HOUSE OF SCIENCE

Curious minds encouraged to explore, experiment and play via live online classes.
4-11yrs
VIRTUAL

littlehouseofscience.com

FIT FOR SPORT

Activity camps which have been running for 25 years to give children the opportunity to try a variety of sports and activities.
4-12 yrs all over London.

fitforsport.co.uk

CAMP ENGLAND

Multi-sports camp aiming to develop sporting talent as well as ‘Life Skills Through Sport’ such as resilience, teamwork, empowerment and responsibility.
5-13 yrs East Molesey, Teddington, Hampton, Esher, Kingston

campengland.co.uk

CAMP BEAUMONT

Multi-activity camp hosted at schools with some of the best facilities in town.
Various locations across London.
3-16 yrs

www.campbeaumont.co.uk/our-camps

CYPHER CODERS

Coding and tech-inspired camps which touch on themes such as music, robotics, nature, oceanography and art.
Various locations are now open for in-person camps but there are also virtual offerings.
5yrs+

cyphercoders.com

ET PATATI PATATA

Learn French from native speakers in this 30 hour a week immersion school. Gold Award holiday camp.
4-16 yrs
VIRTUAL

etpatatipatata.com

KITE STUDIOS

Due to Covid-19, Kite studios have moved loads of courses online, and you can even book one to one sessions.
VIRTUAL

kitestudios.org

SHOOTING STARZ

Choose from multi-sports, football, netball or mini skills and book half, full or extended days or weeks at camp.
Club Des Sports Acton.
3-13 yrs

shootingstarz.co.uk

ROCKS LANE

Multi-sports, netball and football on offer with lunchbox included.
3-12 yrs Chiswick, Barnes, Bishops Park

rockslane.co.uk

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

STAYCATION: WHERE TO HOLIDAY IN THE UK

The desire for a change of scene is strong. Here’s our staycation guide to where to holiday in the UK this summer.

 

After months of being locked up, summer is here and we’re looking for a holiday, probably in the UK so here’s our pick of staycation options.

 

SCOTT DUNN X GLENEAGLES

A first UK Scott Dunn Explorers Kids club has arrived at Gleneagles, home to an 850-acre playground set in teh rolling Ochil Hills. Launching on 1st August, the action-packed programme will offer wee ones from 4 months up to those in their mid-teens a brilliant range of activities and country pursuits in the great outdoors – the ultimate active summer staycation for all the family.

GAMBLEDOWN FARM

Deep in the Hampshire countryside, you’ll find a green oasis of luxuriously appointed safari tents. It’s a safe wonderland for kids to explore, with eggs to collect daily and farm tours by the owners. Plus you can feast on homegrown produce cooked on your BBQ each day.

HOME FARM GLAMPING

Another staycation favourite nearly fully booked is Home Farm Glamping. Snap up the last remaining yurts and have a fantastic, away-from-it-all adventure in the Hertfordshire countryside.

RETALLACK RESORT & SPA

Not far from Cornwall Airport Newquay, the culinary delights of Padstow and and the botanic wonders of the Eden Project, these timelessly stylish boutique-barns have a contemporary and globally luxurious sophistication, blending architectural design and new interiors styling. Perfect for a mini-break or extended holiday.

THE PIG HOTELS

You’ll have to get in quick to bag some nights away at one of The Pig’s gorgeous hotels. An eighth luxuriously appointed residence opens at the end of July with The Pig at Harlyn Bay near Padstow. July is almost fully booked and August is getting busy!

COWORTH PARK

If space and tranquillity are what you’re after, Coworth Park’s reopening will be music to your ears. Stunning interiors, delicious food and even polo lessons on the menu. And for kids, there’s a whole house with seven rooms dedicated to younger family members plus a den for teens.

 

And if you want to go further afield, take a look at options abroad this summer.

PLASTIC FREE JULY

The planet is in crisis. If you want to make a difference, getting involved in Plastic Free July could kick start your eco-credentials.

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. The Plastic Free July campaign also provides resources and ideas to help you (and millions of others around the world) reduce single-use plastic waste every day at home, work, school, and even at your local café.

The easiest place to start is to make swaps for more environmentally friendly products.

  • Take a reusable cup to your local coffee house.
  • Buy plastic-free toothbrushes. Bamboo brushes are widely available now, but be wary if they still have plastic bristles. You’ll have to cut these off before recycling them. Also, look for a toothpaste that doesn’t have plastic balls in the paste and many health food shops will have plastic-free packaging options.
  • Sanitary items can now be plastic-free too. Amongst them Thinx makes washable underwear, Moon Cup is an alternative to sanitary towels and tampons and Eco Femme provides fabric towels.
  • Swap liquid soap in plastic bottles for bars of soap.
  • Buy in bulk from shops like Source or Planet Organic.
  • Try making your own beauty products to reduce the number of plastic containers you end up with in the bathroom. There are numerous online recipes and tutorials for soap, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, scrubs and lotions. Using simple, inexpensive ingredients, these products are better for the planet and reduce your use of plastic too.
  • Celebrate birthdays without plastic tat. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more. And party bags no longer have to be filled with rubbish.
  • Stop using plastic wrap for food. Beeswax cloths from companies like The Beeswax Wrap Co are a great reusable alternative.
  • Teabags. Did you know that some contain plastic?! Ditch them and buy leaf tea and a teapot instead.

For more ideas on how to make a change head to our article about Going Green.

TEACHER GIFT IDEAS

The strangest summer term is drawing to a close. We’ve all learned a lot about teaching children this term so now’s the time to give thanks with our teacher gift ideas.

 

 

Lockdown has strengthened our respect for our kids’ teachers. FACT.  One key learning for us all over lockdown was that they really are super. From quickly adapting to digital classrooms, hours of marking all those assignments and remaining flexible at a time of uncertainty and helping to put their students (and parents) at ease. We owe a lot to our teachers for doing all they can to give our kids the best possible experience of learning from home. So here’s the City Kids roundup of teacher gift ideas which you could also access to give yourself a pat on the back!

PAPIER

 

A gift that’ll brighten up any teacher’s desk. We love that these Papier notebooks can be personalised PLUS  Papier is donating 50% of profits to AKT, the brilliant charity dedicated to providing safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people.

BLOOM & WILD

 

Flowers through the letterbox. Genius! We’ve got out eyes on the summer collections at Bloom & Wild.

BISCUITEERS

 

Hand-iced gifts from none other than Biscuiteers.

THORTFUL

 

Pop a card in the post along with a choice of chocs or something to add to their questionable sock collection! 

ARTISAN DU CHOCOLAT

 

Apple or chocolate? An easy decision to be the teacher’s pet. Dubbed “The Bently of chocolate” by Gordon Ramsay – it’s got to be good.

COTTON TWIST

 

 

A favourite for any personalised gifts, these tins are lovely for teachers and have room for a special message.

NOT ON THE HIGH STREET

 

And finally. Leave them with a fun task to do over the summer hols with this Rainbow Teacher Gift Bag With Seeds from Notonthehighstreet.

 

WEAN IN 15: CARIBBEAN SPICED CHICKEN AND SQUASH CURRY

Wean in 15 by Joe Wicks contains 100 recipes to take your child from milk to solids and beyond, including this recipe for Caribbean Spiced Chicken and Squash Curry.

 

When we spoke to Joe Wicks about Wean in 15 he told us his favourite recipe was Caribbean Spiced Chicken and Squash Curry. So here’s the recipe for you!

This is the tastiest curry in the whole book. Remember your baby’s appetite can vary day-to-day, so don’t be upset if they don’t eat all the food you offer them.

Makes 1 adult and 2 child portions

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ tbsp Caribbean curry powder or normal curry powder
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp minced ginger
½ tsp allspice powder
4 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk
400g frozen cubed butternut squash
Juice ½ lime
6 spring onions, roughly chopped
Small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

METHOD

Sprinkle half the curry powder over the chicken, mix well and put to one side.

Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan or casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the onion, thyme and bay leaf and fry for 2 minutes, stirring regularly. Add the garlic and ginger and continue cooking for a further minute.

Sprinkle in the remaining curry powder and the allspice and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add in the chicken and cook for a couple of minutes to seal. Add in the tomatoes and continue cooking until they start to break down.

Add the coconut milk and squash to the pan and continue cooking for 8-10 minutes or until the squash is cooked through. Stir in the lime juice, spring onions and coriander. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs before serving. Serve with Rice.

Keeps for up to two days covered in the fridge.

MORE FROM JOE WICKS HERE

 

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE

The death of George Floyd has sparked many questions from children and all of us. City Kids spoke to children’s author, Mark Lemon, who says conversations about race must continue.

 

My name is Mark Lemon. I live in Bristol with my wife Simone (personal stylist) and our two children, Otis (9yrs) & Thea (5yrs). I’ve been thinking about how I can contribute to the tragic and senseless murder of, George Floyd – it stopped me in my tracks, and has made me re-evaluate how I view my children’s future in this world.

In 2015, I made the important decision to write stories for my mixed-race children, Otis & Thea. Disillusioned with the lack of diversity in children’s books, I decided to create a series of storybooks with non-white characters.

I wanted to create children’s books with characters that looked like my own children. My first book Otis Lemon & The Spectacular Submarine was awarded the Platinum Junior Design Award 2016 in the Children’s Book of the Year category. I wanted BAME children to feel represented in the mainstream bookstores.

Only a very small percentage of British children’s books feature a main character who is black or minority ethnic. In a research project that was the first of its kind, and funded by Arts Council England, the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) asked UK publishers to submit books featuring BAME characters in 2017. Of the 9,115 children’s books published that year, researchers found that only 391 – 4% – featured BAME characters. Just 1% had a BAME main character, and a quarter of the books submitted only featured diversity in their background casts. This compares to the 32.1% of schoolchildren of minority ethnic origins in England identified by the Department of Education in 2016.

 

Racism comes in many forms, and to still see such a lack of representation in the publishing industry is wrong on so many levels. I was speaking with Otis yesterday about George Floyd and why he died – it’s incredible how children think and their viewpoint of the world – and he was asking me why the police knelt on George Floyd for 9 minutes, and why they didn’t just talk to him about it. As we talked the news came on, and we continued the conversation over breakfast. And this is what we must do to continue the conversation as parents or guardians. Continuing to have these conversations at home is where education starts for all of us. Schools must get better, but as parents, we are obligated to teach our children, and ourselves, at the same time.

I understand that I must do better to educate myself, my children, and my friends & family. I want my children to grow up in a world where they feel equal to their peers. But, the Black Lives Matter movement has taught me that there is still a long way to go before this happens. Businesses and organisations must change at the root and introduce an equal playing field, and we must ensure that diversity is represented across all elements of our lives.

This conversation isn’t just for one day, a week, or more, but it should be a continuous conversation to educate ourselves behind the squares of our social media. I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand. I stand for my children, my wife and my friends of colour across the world.

To buy Mark’s books:
lemondropbooks.co.uk
Follow him @marklemonofficial

For more books on race and equality head to our books page

 

LAST-MINUTE FAMILY SUMMER HOLIDAYS

Where to book a last-minute family summer holiday

 

For some, the summer has come to soon to dismiss concerns about Covid-19 so a UK staycation is on the cards. For others, a trip abroad on a family summer holiday is an annual event not to be missed. European resorts are open so we thought we’d take a look at what’s on offer if you want to book a last-minute family summer holiday. ALWAYS check health guidelines and quarantine of the country you are going to and returning to.

 

Greece

A true gem waiting for you in Corfu this summer is Villa 1870, a historical five-bedroom, three-bathroom residence offering a private hideaway just 3km from Corfu Old Town. Sleeping up to 16 guests, Villa 1870 is ideal for families wanting a reunion trip following lockdown, whilst still enjoying privacy and isolation. On the property, you’ll find a heated outdoor seawater pool and games room as well as a private in-house chef (yes please!), daily housekeeping, access to their own chauffeur-driven mini-van, and local, insider knowledge from the owners. Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers plenty of sightseeing even during the cooler months, so guests can spend their days discovering Venetian architecture, exploring quiet cobbled squares, and even joining the Corfiots swimming in the sea!
Nightly rates between €800 – €1,400, depending on the season. Rate includes accommodation, daily housekeeping, private mini-van airport transfers and to/from Corfu Town, baby equipment, laundry facilities and in-house private chef. Guests only pay for the ingredients of meals, not for the Chef service. For more information, please visit www.villa1870corfu.com

The photography from our next summer holiday destination is enough to get you to book your flight. Sani Resort is open from July and with it their 1,000 acre ecological reserve with 7km of unspoiled and private sandy beaches leading to the ocean, spacious rooms and suites with private terraces, gardens and pools. From beach yoga, windsurfing and paddleboarding, to more educational activities such as beekeeping and bird watching in the Sani Wetlands, there’s something for every family at Sani Resort.
Prices at Porto Sani in a Suite with Terrace or Balcony start from €180 per night, on a half-board basis. For more information, visit www.saniresort.gr

Spread across 22 acres of landscaped gardens, the luxury all-inclusive Ikos Olivia offers a range of outdoor activities to suit the whole family during their summer holiday. There are complimentary clubs for kids and teens aged 4 – 17, operated according to strict British OFSTED standards. Heros Crèche with professional childcare crèche services for children up to the age of 4 is also available at an extra cost. After a day filled with activities, families can enjoy Michelin starred cuisine. The resort’s spacious Deluxe Collection suites and bungalows (above) offer the ultimate privacy for families, including one- and two-bedroom suites. 
Ikos Olivia will reopen on 1st July with enhanced health & safety measures as part of Ikos Resort’s new Infinite Care Protocol: https://ikosresorts.com/the-ikos-world-of-safety-freedom

France

Located off the western coast of France, the Ile de Ré couldn’t feel further from our current surroundings in the UK. With its picturesque villages, whitewashed streets, long stretches of sandy beaches and cycle paths winding through cornfields and vineyards, the Ile de Ré is a picture-perfect destination for a post-lockdown getaway with the family. Stay at the idyllic Villa Clarisse, nestled down a quiet cobbled street off Saint-Martin-de-Ré’s harbour, and enjoy a laid-back retreat where the staff are on hand to arrange picnics, bicycle hire and day trips. There’s a lovely outdoor heated pool and sandpit in the walled garden – the property has a relaxed feel which is great for families after months in lockdown together. The summer months see Parisian families flock there too!
Nightly rates at Villa Clarisse start from €290 per night in a Premium Room (room-only). For further information and reservations, please visit www.villa-clarisse.com or call +33 546 684 300.

Following its annual closure and full redevelopment, the five-star Hotel Crillon le Brave is set to re-open its doors to guests on 2nd July. Nestled within a village eponymous of the Vaucluse region, the hotel offers families the chance to explore the picture-perfect Provençal countryside and quaint, historical nearby towns. Children can visit old Roman castles while parents enjoy a glass of rose from the neighbouring vineyards.  Crillon Le Brave is a gateway of adventure where children will discover hidden doorways along the garden walls and can cool down in the hotel pool when the excitement of running around has tired them out. This timeless hideaway combines chic design, complete privacy and attentive but discreet service, offering the ultimate French getaway for families to enjoy a quieter pace of life. 
Nightly rates at Hotel Crillon Le Brave start from 350 Euros on a bed & breakfast basis. For reservations and information visit www.crillonlebrave.com.

Italy

Image: Antonio Furigno

A winter favourite of City Kids, Courmayeur Mont Blanc, is also a summer playground. It’s situated on the Italian side of Mont Blanc with car-free cobbled streets, family-run hotels, charming atmosphere, short transfer times and the superb offering of hiking, biking and fresh air. Food is gourmet standard, and hands up if your child doesn’t like pizza or pasta. No, we thought not. Head to the Skyway for a unique view of Mont Blanc and the valley below or try white water rafting, ice skating, indoor climbing, tennis, table tennis, golf and 5-a-side football.
For more information on Courmayeur Mont Blanc visit: https://www.courmayeurmontblanc.it/en. Images: Courmayeur Mont Blanc.

Villa Le Fauci is a traditional and historic 19th-century Tuscan farmhouse located between coastal Livorno and fashionable Florence. It’s quiet and secluded and ideal for families looking to escape the crowds. Surrounded by flora and fauna, it is perfect for exploring with the kids, and families may even spot some of the wildlife that is common in the area, such as wild boar, foxes and deer. It has plenty of outside space, a full-size pool and a thoughtful mini pool for little ones. A converted roof terrace with 360° panoramic views of the hilly landscape, is a great place for parents to end the day with a glass of wine in hand. The villa sleeps eleven guests in four bedrooms.
Rates from £3,858 for a seven-night stay. To book, visit www.oliverstravels.com or call  0800 133 7999.

Portugal

If you’re in need of a health MOT but the family deserve a holiday too why not combine the two at this spa hotel which also happens to be a superb beach resort in The Algarve. With a new 7 night Family Wellness Package, Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa is the ultimate family-friendly wellness destination. Families can enjoy a variety of activities together including yoga, fitness and healthy cooking sessions. It has one of the best Thalassotherapy Centres in the world set within 11 hectares of land with five outdoor pools of fresh or seawater, four tennis courts and two excellent restaurants providing quality healthy cuisine. There’s also a superb Kids Club and a range of options for kids to stay healthy and active alongside their parents.

Vilalara Longevity Thalassa & Medical Spa (longevityvilalara.com, reservations@longevity.pt, +351 967 108 244) offers the 7-night Family Wellness Package from €2,347 / £2,028 based on two adults and one child staying in a Junior Suite Garden View and from €3,422 / £2,957 for a family of two adults and two children. 

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on the Vale Covo cliffside, the family-friendly five-star Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort offers coastal bliss for all the family just a 10-minute walk from the small fishing village of Carvoeiro. As well as the iconic circular swimming pool and rooftop bar, the spacious hotel also offers three restaurants, a Tivoli Spa and easy access to outdoor a multitude of fun, family activities, like the Seven Hanging Valleys Trail, that make the most of the beautiful location.
Nightly rates at Tivoli Carvoeiro Algarve Resort start from 220 EUR. 

 

Spain

With a spectacular setting in the rolling hills of Andalusia overlooking Spain’s southern coastline, the independently-owned Finca Cortesin is the epitome of refined, yet relaxed Mediterranean living. The resort comprises an award-winning 67-suite hotel; one of the best championship golf courses in the world; an outstanding spa and sports facilities; some of the best Japanese raw cuisine outside of Japan; exclusive shopping area and a Beach Club, in addition to stunning five-bedroom villas that are perfect for families. The villas are located at the heart of Finca Cortesin, offering the utmost privacy from the main resort and offer unsurpassed views of the Sierra Bermeja mountain range, the golf course and the Mediterranean Sea. These all en-suite residences have been built on spacious individual plots of up to 2,200m2 – perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends seeking more space.
Nightly rates in the 5-bedroom Green 10 villas start from €3,467 (currently approx. £3,057). www.fincacortesin.com

Turkey

Hillside Beach Club in Fethiye, Turkey, is a luxury hideaway perfect for family summer holidays. It has extensive outdoor space, including three stunning beaches and a beautiful private bay. Children and adults looking for activities and adventure are spoilt for choice, with water sports galore and activities from robot building to football competitions and DJ masterclasses. Hike through history and explore nearby ancient historical sites including the deserted village of Kayakoy, or take to the water and explore the coast on a sunset boat tour discovering 12 magical islands speckled across the Turkish coastline. 
Nightly rates start from £250 based from on two people sharing a standard room on a full board plus* basis. 

 

BEST FAMILY TAKEAWAY PICNICS

Top 10 Ready-Made Picnics for Families

Sun’s out, guns out, but more importantly, it’s time for the best family takeaway picnics! Luckily, one of our fave contributors, Tiny Table, has put together a fantastic list of ready-made picnics for families to enjoy.

 


LUXE LUNCHES: PIQUE
Born out of Battersea, Pique’s luxury handmade picnics are vast in choice and ideal for families looking to really roll out the red picnic blanket. Birthday Breakfast hampers come complete with brunch essentials: banana and dark chocolate loaf with birthday candles, party hats, flowers and bubbles (for the big kids!). The natty named Leonardo de Veggie box is packed with veggie delights and the full monty is called The Pique-Nique. Chorizo, apricot and thyme sausage rolls, Lemony hummus and crudités, charcuterie, brie, pickles & chutney, orzo pasta salad, baguettes, brownies and more. Order with 48 hours notice and their picnic boxes will arrive to your door with disposable, compostable and plastic-free packaging.
ORDER HERE

THE DELI DELIGHT: MELROSE AND MORGAN
Melrose And Morgan are always our first stop for deli delights in Primrose Hill and Hampstead Village. From the Park to the Heath, their summer picnic hampers scale up from two to six, making them the perfect for family feasts in the sun. The Meadow is ideal for a family of four and packed with divine delights – salad, veggie or meat scotch eggs, cheddar cheese, hummus and spelt crackers, truffle crisps, broad beans, olives, feta stuffed peppers, cherry tomatoes, a punnet of strawberries and sinfully gooey chocolate brownies.
ORDER HERE


FULL ON FAMILY FEASTING: JIMMY’S POP UP
We waxed lyrical about their BBQ hampers and Jimmy’s Pop Up new picnic box is equally as impressive. Serving up to four, this hamper is just the ticket if you’re looking for a really special family alfresco feast. The best of British picnic fare, artisan cheese and meats sit nestled next to giant sausage rolls, handmade pork pies, homemade chutney, pickles, smoked salmon and for pud – strawberries and cream. Grown-ups can toast all their hard work during lockdown with a bottle of red, white or rose. Get ordering as Jimmy’s picnic box is set to be a popular one!
ORDER HERE

SUNDAY LUNCH: THE EMPRESS
East London gastropub The Empress is keeping to tradition despite recent events. Their takeaway Sunday roasts are pretty special and ideal for weekend picnicking. Their classic Empress Sunday Roast comes served with Yorkshire pudding, braised red cabbage, roast carrots & parsnips, spring greens & roast potatoes. So what will it be roast beef, pork belly or a vegan beetroot and nut roast? If you can squeeze room in for pudding there’s an unctuous sticky toffee pud and apricot Bakewell tart, both served with clotted cream. Order in advance to avoid disappointment!
ORDER HERE


PIES, PASTRIES & PICNICS: POPHAMS
We’re partial to their pastries, so when Pophams announced their picnic kits we jumped for joy…and in the nick of time for National Picnic Week. The ideal day-date treat for if you’ve snatched a few hours away from the kids whilst they’re at school, Pophams hamper is overflowing with deliciousness – root vegetables pithivier, olives, build your own porchetta focaccia sarnie, herby Isle of Wight Tomato salad, PB & J bread pudding sando, Pophams Eccles cakes with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese and more. A lush lunch in the sunshine if we ever did see! Nip over to pophamsbakery.com to order your picnic
ORDER HERE

VEGAN PICNIC PICK: PETERSHAM NURSERIES
Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty only moments away
from the River Thames and on the doorstep of Richmond Park, Petersham Nurseries are serving up one heavenly park-ready vegan picnic. Priced at £40 for two (double for a family of four) the dishes are as mouthwatering as their restaurant fare. Vivid green pea hummus, farro and pesto salad, mushroom, chard and onion filo start, a moreish focaccia and English strawberries with mint sugar and Amalfi lemon. Orders for collection from Petersham Nurseries Richmond, Thursday – Sunday from 11.30am to 4.30pm. Order by 4pm for next day collection.
ORDER HERE

MUMS THAT BRUNCH: THE FARMER’S MISTRESS
If you’re bringing up your brood in South London, you’ll be familiar with The Farmer’s Mistress and their brilliant brunches. Their brand new Farmer’s Mistress Picnic box is not only environmentally friendly in a biodegradable box but is perfect for mums lunch dates on Clapham Common. With mini brioche aplenty tuck into non-Dairy cream cheese, balsamic onion, roasted pepper, wild garlic pesto, prawn, crème fraiche, avo, baby gem and chicken, smoked bacon. and sun-dried tomato. Caramelised apple & apricot sausage roll, date ketchup, scotch eggs and mustard mayo and wholewheat fusilli pesto pasta salad. Sweet endings? The salted caramel fudge brownie & millionaire shortbread bites are EPIC!
ORDER HERE

MEAT FEAST: FIELD & FLOWER
Award-winning online butcher Field & Flower have been keeping the country fed on the finest meat, poultry and fish during lockdown with their amazing array of delivery boxes. As part of their BBQ box range, their Summer Picnic BBQ box comes primed with thick-cut ham, artisan scotch eggs and British charcuterie alongside a hefty hunk of Barber’s Haystack Cheddar Cheese and pickles galore. With 32 whopping servings, this box will generously feed 3-4 people at least and comes in under £50. A top picnic pic for hungry families.
ORDER HERE

ICE CREAM DREAM: CHIN CHIN LABS
Kids picnics at home call for one thing – ice cream! Those clever chaps at Chin Chin Labs have gone all out this summer with their brand new Ice Cream in the Post! Using liquid nitrogen means their ice cream stays colder for longer so they can post freshly churned & hand-packed nitro ice cream straight from Chin Chin’s Soho kitchen to your front door! Each ice cream box includes one tub of Burnt Butter Caramel, one tub of Tonka Bean and one tub of Strawberry Milk ice cream. Please note that only grown-ups can handle the unpacking due to the dry ice in the box.
ORDER HERE

ALFRESCO AFTERNOON TEA: HAM YARD HOTEL
Firmdale Hotel’s Ham Yard Hotel may still be closed but they’ve kept their kitchen open to bring us one sweet treat – afternoon tea boxes. With delivery to most postcodes across London, Ham Yard Hotel have boxed up their favourite treats including delicious finger sandwiches, sumptuous savouries like tomato arancini and sausage rolls, scones with clotted cream and preserves and our mouth-watering cakes, including lemon drizzle and raspberry Bakewell tart. Place your order prior to midday on Thursday for a choice of Friday, Saturday or Sunday delivery.
ORDER HERE

Now you’ve got the best takeaway picnic, time to choose the park. Our best London Parks for Picnics guide should help!

 

You can find more fantastic family-friendly foodie recommendations from the Tiny Table website and over on Instagram.

 

FAMILY PROTESTING: BLACK LIVES MATTER

Protests supporting the Black Lives Matter campaign have taken place worldwide and families have been getting involved too. We asked one parent to give an account of her experience of organising a family friendly protest.

 

Words: Carey Johnstone

NW London Children’s Protest

Sitting in our flat, in a terrace on the edge of Kilburn, with our baby and our three year old, we were trying to figure out what to do. Like many people, we’d been staring at our phones, watching the Black Lives Matter protests in America, watching events escalate and spill over into the rest of the world, and our own lives. We were trying to work out how we could get to the protests that were happening in the middle of the city.

Protests and marches are a type of activism that I truly believe in and we have taken our toddler to various big protests since she was a baby. But in lockdown it was different. We didn’t feel like we could get to the protests safely, and once we were there we weren’t sure we would be able to keep ourselves and our children at a safe distance – small children and babies can’t wear masks. It felt wrong to go; it felt wrong to stay at home. Our friends Taio and Phoebe were in the same boat, with two kids the same age (one of whom is our eldest daughter’s best friend).

A throwaway WhatsApp suggestion by Phoebe on Wednesday night, to go to our local park together with our placards and hold our own family protest, grew by Thursday morning into the idea of organising a protest for children, families and whoever else wanted to come. We decided on the coming Saturday – three days away – and agreed that as long as we could get four families to attend then it would be a success.

Spreading the news

Taio volunteered to speak at the start of the protest, and my partner made us a flyer which gave the event a sudden sense of legitimacy. By that evening we were ready to send it out to friends and to post it on social media. We didn’t set up a specific page for the event, and had no names or contact details on the flyer – so once we’d posted it, we had no idea who or how many people would attend. We sent it to our nursery WhatsApp group; a couple of Instagram accounts (including @Citykidsmagazine!) with large followings; and we got some attention (mainly positive) on local mums Facebook groups. On Friday my two biggest fears were these: What if no-one comes? What if everyone comes?

On Saturday morning the weather was fairly grim. My fear of the protest turning into Woodstock and social distancing being impossible was allayed. It looked far more likely that our protest would be a small gaggle of friends meeting and marching through a rainy, empty park. Phoebe and Taio came round to ours, and we all walked to the park together – as always with toddlers, running a little late.

But as we walked through the park gates, 5 minutes before the protest was planned to begin, we could already see a crowd gathering. Some familiar faces, but mostly people we’d never seen before. More and more people arrived. Small and large families, old and young people, a group of teachers from the school where I work, black, white, mixed heritage. By the time Taio stood on a rock and called everyone to attention, there were around 250 people gathered (at a distance) holding placards and signs, wrapped up in raincoats or with umbrellas.

Communicating a message

Taio read from James Baldwin, and spoke about the specific fears black parents have for their children. He listed the statistics of the inequalities black people suffer in the UK’s justice system. He spoke about his experience of being black and a father, and his own fears. And then we marched. As we marched, social distancing meant that we formed a ring around the whole park, marching and chanting together. (Our daughter Joni announced she didn’t like all this shouting, and was worried we’d wake people who were sleeping!). Some teenagers walking through the park to buy Lucozade stopped and joined us, as did some people doing exercise. After the march, we knelt together for a minute’s silence.

What did the protest do? How did it feel? It felt powerful. It felt joyful. It felt good.

Two things really stood out. One, that very few people in that park knew who had organised it, or who was speaking, and it didn’t really matter at all. People came because they felt the same, because they really wanted to do something and, even though we’re in the middle of this awful, scary pandemic, they wanted to be together.

And two, that despite our surprise at the number of people who came, we were only 250 people, in a park, in a corner of northwest London. The government and the media wouldn’t even know that we’d been there. But we all knew. All the people in that park – and their children – could see that others living around them, felt the same way, supported each other, and are fed up with the way that black people are treated. Black Lives Matter.


All images courtesy of Amanda Oba

JOE WICKS INTERVIEW PART 2: FATHERHOOD

In part two of our interview with Joe Wicks, he tells us about his inspiration and how he’s taken to parenting.

 

Image: @thebodycoach

Thirty minutes on the phone with Joe Wicks flies by. What you get is what you see. He is how you’d expect him to be: friendly, talkative, genuine and interested in what you want to ask. There is no edge. And he seems at his most content when he’s talking about his family, whether that be his parents, babies or wife, Rosie. And during lockdown, there’s no other place he’d rather have been holed up.

“Apart from not being able to go for dinner or to the cinema and see our family and friends it hasn’t changed much in the sense that we’re always at home together, you know I do my YouTube videos and my content, recipes and stuff here so we kind of always live in each other’s pockets, even from the start, before we had kids. We’re our happiest when we’re together, we want to be together, so it hasn’t been too difficult.  I’ve actually spent more time with them than ever while being busy. It’s been quite intense but in a positive way. I think we’ve had a nice time, I don’t think it’s been negative for us as a family.

Marley’s almost six months old now, but could you share the recent scare you had with him?
For the first couple of months he was so needy, he didn’t want to be left alone and we didn’t know if he had reflux or colic. But then it got to the point where  we realised he could never make eye contact with you. He would look to the right or to the left of you, never at you. It was this thing called delayed visual maturity and so he was always crying, you couldn’t put him down, he was blind as a bat basically. He was in a black room all on his own, he didn’t know where we were. One day, it was like the light went on and he could see and he’s become a different kid – it’s changed his personality.  He’s more relaxed, he’s got this wonderful energy and he just smiles and he just wants to be looked at and smiled at, he loves it so much. I fully accepted that he could have been blind, 100%, I said we’re going to love him the same, it’s not going to change our world, we’re going to look after him and be there for him and as it turned out he was fine and we didn’t need to deal with that. It was definitely scary and upsetting.

Indie’s a good big sister?
She loves him. She was really jealous of me being with him but now she’s cool. She understands he’s there and she knows he’s her little brother. I look round and she gives him his dummy and kisses him on the head and she wants to hold his hand. It’s an amazing thing to see, I love how nurturing she is. She’s very maternal and she looks after him like he’s her baby it’s so cute.

Indie’s often seen with you training, what activities does she enjoy?
Indie goes to The Little Gym and she did go to Gymboree but that’s now closed but she loves all those activities and I’d love to take her to ballet and horse riding. I’d like her to try everything, have a go at karate, at skateboarding to see what she loves really and try to encourage her to be creative and active and whatever she finds her love for I’ll obviously encourage.

Image from @thebodycoach

Are you a strict dad? Do you deal with tantrums well?
I try to be really patient with her, so we don’t shout and swear we try to be really calm around her. She’s challenging, she’s tough, we do have our moments. I think I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to it. She always wants fruit so she comes up to me and says “ a strawbee, as strawbee” and I can’t help but just give her one – I love seeing her little face light up and getting a kiss and a cuddle when I give her a strawberry. But I definitely need to stop as she knows I’m a bit of a softie, I’m a bit of a pushover. I just can’t say no, I just love her so much.

You’ve been through tough times and shown resilience when your business was getting off the ground. But you had the confidence and resilience to carry on. What’s the most important life skill you’d like to pass on to your kids?
I think being kind and positive are amazing traits to have. When you’re considerate of other people, whether at school or at work, whether you’re in hospital, how you treat the people who look after you and are around you, that’ll be the most important thing I can teach Indie: kindness to everyone, either that’s being polite and sharing with kids in nursery or wanting to just be friendly and welcome new kids to the class. I really hope that those are the things that she picks up from me and Rosie. I think me and Rosie are quite similar in that way, we’re not judgemental, we’re quite open to people and her personality is quite open.

And who has shaped that open nature of yours?
My mum definitely. She had quite a strict upbringing. She left school when she was young, got kicked out when she was 15, so how she raised me and my brothers to be who we are I really don’t know. My dad was in and out of rehab, he was a heavy drug addict and he wasn’t there, he wasn’t a role model. But my mum was. We always knew rules, we always understood what was right and wrong and we always respected her. She taught me how to look after my room, how to respect my clothes and my house and that means soemthing. When I look back now I realise that we had our difficult times during the teenage years, we obviously banged heads and stuff but she wanted the best for us and without doubt, she taught me to be loving and caring and she shaped the person I am, no doubt in my mind. But later on in my adult life, my dad is obviously a good role model and he’s there for me as well.

Image Maja Smend from Wean in 15

Do you worry about the world that your children will be growing up in?
More so than ever. Especially around the environment and the impact on the oceans and the forests. Seeing plastic in the ocean breaks my heart and the animals and the wildlife getting squeezed out of their natural habitat, it’s depressing if you think about it. It’s hard to accept what’s going on and to realise as a human race we’re moving too quick and we’re destroying too many things. And now with everything that’s going on with equality and racism I want to make sure that I am being diverse in my life with Indie so she experiences that and so she doesn’t have any prejudices when she grows up.

You recently got into meditation. Does it help with the stresses and strains of running a business and parenting?
I did Russell Brand’s podcast Under the Skin and he said just give it a go, I think it will really benefit you. I gave it a go every day for a couple of weeks and it really opened up my mind about leaving my phone and being present and having a little moment to breathe. I’d be lying if I said I do it every day but I do it maybe three or four times a week and on those days I do it, even if it’s ten minutes, it just centres me a bit, grounds me and gets me present cos I’m always on this conveyor belt of work, this hamster wheel that never stops turning. I really do enjoy it. I always said I’m too busy to do it, I’m mindful but I can’t be mindful, but you can. It’s like training. Some days you do a work out and it’s sh*t and other days you love it and feel really good and it’s the same thing with yoga and meditation, just good practice and bad practice.

Before we go, what would be your best advice for new parents?
You have to go to bed when your kids go to bed, not every night cos that’s not going to happen. You’ve got to put them in bed, have your dinner early and then get straight in there with them, go to bed and if you can get that extra few hours sleep. If you stay up til half ten or eleven, and you’re getting woken up you can’t catch up so you have got to sacrifice sometimes you need to get to bed a bit earlier and you’re going to  feel much better at the end of it.

You can find part one of our interview with Joe here.

Wean in 15 is available on Amazon and via all good bookshops. You can follow Joe on Instagram @thebodycoach and use his workouts on YouTube.

JOE WICKS ON HIS GREATEST WORK

Half a million pounds raised for the NHS, millions of followers on Instagram, nine best-selling books and now a PE teacher for the nation’s kids. In the first of two features, Joe Wicks speaks to City Kids about his motivation, his lockdown experience and his greatest work…

Image: @thebodycoach

Just three months ago, Joe Wicks was putting the finishing touches to his latest book, Wean in 15. But the Covid-19 pandemic set him on another path, with lockdown accelerating his phenomenal success thanks to PE with Joe. The Body Coach tells Victoria Evans about what he considers to be his greatest work.

“It looks like an overnight success, but I’ve built my brand, trust and loyalty over eight or nine years of YouTube, going to schools and doing UK schools tours. I really believe in what I’m doing, I’m really passionate. It takes a lot for a parent who’s never heard of you or seen your content to let you into their room and their house live on a stream.
I always dreamed, I knew this was going to happen, but I thought it was going to take me 10 years of hard work and it happened in the space of three months because of the lockdown and PE with Joe, that’s the truth. I know I would have worked so hard to make it happen anyway, but it just intensified it and magnified it.”

So, did you always want to work with kids?
I dreamed of being a PE teacher, that was my first ambition. My career went into personal training and when I realised I had a massive audience and a massive reach, I thought, “what means a lot to me?” I really think young people, mental health and fitness is very important so then I did a trial whether it was a Facebook live or YouTube live with schools, very small numbers and it grew from that. Then I went out on the road to real schools and got to know the teachers, parents and the kids and really understood how to engage children, how to make it fun and that evolved into PE with Joe. We’re now in our 12th week.

Alongside PE with Joe, you’ve launched your ninth book, Wean in 15. Was this an obvious business decision?
It wasn’t a forced thing, “oh now I want to capitalise and monetise this”, it was more like, I’ve got an opportunity and people really need this advice. I’m getting so many questions online about when to start, what to do, so I took all the information I learned and all the research from [nutritionist] Charlotte Stirling-Reed and put it into a book. I can’t believe how many people have got this book already. I’ve given out so much free content, I’ve given out all those free recipes, I’ve given so much advice on Wean in 15 that when you do the book, people support it.

Image Maja Smend from Wean in 15

That’s an interesting way to build your business as you do offer so much for free.
I always believe you’ve got to share free content. You have to give before you get given. I’ve always been like that, even now. My YouTube is an example. I’ve had DVDs in the past, I’ve had cookbooks, but I still love doing my YouTube videos because they’re free and they’re for everyone. I also have my Instagram with loads of recipes for free because I don’t want anyone to feel they can’t access it or they can’t get to it. I always say, my 90-day plan is a great plan, but you don’t need that, you can use my Instagram recipes, my Wean in 15 Instagram or my YouTube videos and you can still have a transformation; you can still go on a journey and that’s important to me because I don’t want anyone to feel left out of my business and my brand. I mean you need money to survive and have a company, but the majority of my content is free for everyone to access. That really is the stuff that motivates me. When I get a million people doing a workout with me that’s fantastic, that’s true motivation and that inspires me you know.

Your life is very public, and your business has been built on social media. How often do you reflect on the kids being involved in that?
I contradict myself sometimes about the way I feel about it. You either go all in or you don’t. We have conversations where we dip in and out of not wanting to be on there but then there are some things that we love to share – Indie’s on the front cover of my book. I suppose even if I didn’t have millions of followers, as a culture I think we all like to share our pictures and our children so it’s just the way of the world now. I just embrace technology. It’s allowed me to have a fantastic life so there are pros and cons to it.

Do you ever feel pressured, or is it stressful living your life so publicly?
I don’t feel like it’s pressure, I feel like this is my role, this is what I’m supposed to be doing with my time. I could hand over my Instagram to someone else and ask them to run it for me and answer all these questions, but I know that I need to connect with all the emotions that people are feeling. I need to know why I’m doing this, why I work so hard and who it’s affecting and how it’s helping people and so I don’t feel like burning out I feel like I’m just getting into my groove and that I’ve got more to offer. and that I can reach more people so it’s not a pressure.

What memories will you take from this period?
For me, PE with Joe is the thing I will remember forever. I’ve been there for people when they’ve needed it the most and it’s kept me sane and kept me happy as well. I think this is the greatest work, and it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t know whether I’ll do anything as meaningful as this again.

Image from @thebodycoach by Ollie & Nix Photography

You always talk so lovingly about Rosie, what’s your relationship like?
There’s no power struggle really with us, it’s quite balanced. She’s an amazing mum, she’s really good with the kids. I always look at her when the kids are screaming and I think, how are you so patient and calm and it makes me think if she can be like that then I can too so I’m learning from her every day.
100% she’s made me a better person, especially as a parent. I was shouted at and screamed at as a kid. In my head I’m screaming and shouting but I’ve learned to internalise it and be more patient. There are days that you do want to pull your hair out and scream at the kids but it doesn’t get you anywhere, it doesn’t help. So, learning to communicate better is something I’ve learned from her.

Your parents must be so proud of the person you’ve become.
A lot of my friends from my area ended up on drugs or in prison but we broke that mould. You’d have expected us to have been like that you know. I believe in three things and my motto is work hard, have fun and be nice. If you do those three things with relationships, with work, with everything you attack in life, if you have fun doing it and are kind to people and you put in the effort, you will be successful. That’s such a simple way of living life and it’s always what I think about. Am I being kind enough, am I working hard enough and am I having fun and living my best life and if I think I am then I normally am.

So back to Wean in 15, how will you approach weaning with Marley as you’ll be starting soon
We’re going to repeat the process which his basically a two-week veg led approach so for the first two weeks we focus on one new vegetable a day so whether it’s spinach or kale so really develop a palate for those savoury tastes. Then you can introduce sweeter things and start combining stuff. It’s all about consistency so lots of variety, try not to offer alternatives if they kick something back. I really want Marley to love food like we do. Me, Rosie and Indie all love food, we live for food, we’re obsessed with it so I hope that if we repeat the same process and have the same principles that he’ll be similar or the same as Indie, but who knows. We’ll see, it might change.

Food does seem to be a big part of Wicks family life. 
I love any food. I love chocolate but I like being in control of what I’m eating and feeling energised. Food can make you feel so happy and energised but you can also have a complete blow out all weekend and it can make you feel knackered and tired and bloated and so I allow myself treats and I know the effect it has on me but I still really do prefer eating healthy food that’s home-cooked.

Picnic or Lion Bar? 
Lion bars and the white one’s good as well.

What’s your favourite recipe from the book?
Broccoli and cheddar tots are really easy to make and super more-ish and there’s a chicken and and butternut squash stew at the back which is for older kids. They’re really good recipes for families. If you’ve got kids who are a bit older there are some great recipes in there, you don’t have to be weaning to enjoy it.

Recipe and demo for Broccoli and Cheddar Tots from @thebodycoach:

https://www.instagram.com/p/CANT4gQjqZi/

For more from our interview with Joe, stay tuned to the site and @citykidsmagazine when Joe talks more about family life, his inspiration and his hopes for the future.

Wean in 15 is available on Amazon and via all good bookshops. You can follow Joe on Instagram @thebodycoach and use his workouts on YouTube.

CELEBRATING PRIDE MONTH

June is normally a month awash with rainbows celebrating Pride Month, a time to commemorate, learn and recognise the positivity of the LGBTQ community. It’s also a chance for LGBTQ families to share their experiences with the wider world.

Of course, Covid-19 has put a stop to large gatherings, but there are other ways to acknowledge the contribution of LGBTQ communities as well as educate those who are not up to speed. Here are some ideas and resources for family and child-friendly things to do.

LEARNING

 

Pop N Olly

A fantastic resource for families, carers and teachers, Pop N Olly provides videos, free downloads, educational resources and advice, all accessible by kids and their parents.

 

Downloadable Pride Crossword

Woo Jnr has created an LGBT Trailblazers curriculum as an educational resource which will help with completing crosswords, word searches and quizzes which are also available to download.

 

LGBT History Month Wallchart

This is another downloadable and fantastic visual to outline the history of the LGBT movement and its milestones and personalities to help everyone celebrating Pride Month.

 

BOOKS

Love Makes a Family
By Sophie Beer
0-5yrs

Kenny Lives with Erica and Martina
By Olly Pike
5yrs+

Shine
By Sarah Asuquo
5yrs+

Lumberjanes Series
By Noelle Stevenson
8yrs+

The Pants Project
By Cat Clarke
9-13yrs


George
by Alex Gino
10yrs+

The Secrets of Billie Bright
Max Kowalski and Susie Day
11years+

 

CHARITIES

The Trevor Project

Although based in the States, The Trevor Project has a fantastic range of resources and support for young people. It provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services and lots of materials for young people everywhere who are curious, confused and scared. It also is an incredibly useful place to use if you’re an educator, business owner or parent – in fact anyone!

 

Mermaids UK

Mermaids began as a group of concerned parents sharing experiences and trying to find ways to keep children safe and happy. It’s grown into one of the UK’s leading LGBTQ+ charities, empowering thousands of people with its secure online communities, local community groups, helpline services, web resources, events and residential weekends.

Stonewall

Stonewall is probably the most recognisable name on our list of charities working to provide a programme of services to organisations, including children’s education settings.

The Outside Project

While your kids may not be direct beneficiaries of this homelessness project, you may want to donate of help with the charity for your own self-development. The Outside Project of LGBTIQ+ colleagues, friends & activists work in the Homeless sector & have lived experience of homelessness & the unique, complex issues their community faces.

Mind Out

Despite Covid-19, Mind Out is still running mental health services and has useful information for those seeking help as well as those seeking education.

AKT

akt supports lgbtq+ young people aged 16-25 in the UK who are facing or experiencing homelessness or living in a hostile environment. It was originally formed in Manchester in 1989 by Cath Hall, an experienced foster carer, and founder member of Manchester Parents Group (MPG), who had become acutely aware of the rejection and ejection of young LGBT people from their family home and the homophobia they faced within school and society.

 

Cover image by Yoav Hornung

MEASURE YOUR CHILD’S FEET AND WIN

Measuring your child’s feet without access to an expert in a shop is an issue during lockdown, but Start-rite has come up with a solution.

And with your new tools at the ready, you’ll be able to request the right size when you enter our competition to win this season’s top selling canvas shoes.

 

The College of Podiatry, those who take a keen interest in foot health, estimates over half of children have suffered injuries by wearing shoes that were either too small or unsuitable. We’ve all had the experience when suddenly your child’s feet have grown overnight or you’re looking last-minute online but don’t have the equipment for measuring your child’s feet.

Now Start-rite has produced a downloadable measuring gauge for parents to use quickly and easily to measure their feet at home. They’ll also send one to your address if you get in touch with them.

They’ve even produced a short film on how to use it here:

Start-Rite recommends measuring children’s feet every 6 to 8 weeks to ensure shoes fit and are also fit for purpose. Once you’ve made your purchase, there’s a really useful “Check If They Fit” checklist to help reassure you when you try the shoes at home.

Fancy trying it out? What better way than by entering our competition to win a pair of this season’s top-selling canvas summer shoes. Choose from Jurassic Navy Dino or Pink Glitter Floral.

All you have to do is complete our entry form. Simples. When we draw the winner we’ll get in touch to find out the size you require.

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Ts and Cs apply:
UK Entries only.
Prize is non-transferable.
No cash alternative.
The decision of City Kids is final.
Draw for winner will be made shortly after 12pm on 16th June.
City Kids reserves the right to redraw if there is no response from the original winner within a reasonable amount of time.

FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas

The City Kids guide to 30 of the best, fun, kindest gifts for fathers, dads and any father-figures in your life.

 

Build Your Own Man Package
From £8.50
dontbuyherflowers.com

 

Case of Cider
From £20
sxolliecider.com

God Slayer Chilli Sauce
£10
justchillies.co.uk

Tefal Toast ‘n’ Egg ‘n’ Beans 2 Slice Toaster
£34.99
argos.co.uk

Mobro’s Personalised Signature Beard Care Box
£45
mobros.co.uk

Coconut White Chocolate Bar
£5.95
yardconfectionery.com

Personalised Hip Flask
£35
noblemacmillan.com

Country Brown Baker Boy Cap
From £40.00
english-heritageshop.org.uk

 

Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery – 2 pack
£34.95
amazon.co.uk

Personalised Toblerone
£11.50
menkind.co.uk

Sega Megadrive Mini Console
£75
menkind.co.uk

Theragun Pro
£549
johnlewis.com

Personalised Superhero Frame
£32.99
Etsy.com/uk

Etnies Trainers
£79.99
etnies.com

Big Green Egg BBQ
From £685
biggreenegg.co.uk

Dad’s Delights Gift Box
£65
fortnumandmason.com

Best Farter Ever Mug
£8
wish.com


Cabin Porn Book
£25
waterstones.com

Stitch Fix Subscription
£10 styling charge
stitchfix.co.uk

Mixologist Cocktail Equipment Kit
£29.95
notonthehighstreet.com

Jigsaw Puzzle
£18
oliverbonas.com

Charcuterie Hamper
£32
therealcure.co.uk

Men’s Health Subscription
5 issues for £15
hearstmagazines.co.uk

 

Roberts’ Get Baking Kit
£8.50
robertsbakerydirect.co.uk

All New Dad Jokes
£8.99
blackwells.co.uk

On Air Neon Sign
£95
oliverbonas.com

Papa T-shirt
£19.60
babymori.com

Dodow Sleep Aid
£49
mydodow.com

Coffee Subscription
From £7.95
pactcoffee.com

Baxter of California Let’s Face It Men’s Skincare Grooming Kit
£36
amazon.co.uk

Travel Bag
£35
thaoss.com/uk

ANTI-RACIST BOOKS FOR KIDS

Black squares and hashtags are all well and good. Promising to educate yourself, also. Actioning those promises is what’s needed, and knowledge is going to help you and your kids take action.

City Kids has put together a collection of books for children and their parents who are committed to making a positive change. Our anti-racist book list for kids features stories with black characters in central roles as well as highlighting leaders of colour and those who have stood up against prejudice through the years.

“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength”. Maya Angelou

This small list of what’s available is just the beginning…

 

AN ABC OF EQUALITY
By Chana Ginelle Ewing
0-5yrs (Board book)

THE MEGA HAIR SWAP
By Rochelle Humes
3-5yrs

LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET
By Matt de la Peña
3-5yrs

THE NEW SMALL PERSON
By Lauren Child
3-6yrs

LOOK UP!
By Nathan Byron & Dapo Adeola
3-7yrs

LITTLE PEOPLE BIG DREAMS
Featuring Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Harriet Tubman, Jesse Owens, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Evonne Goolagong
4-7yrs

ELLA QUEEN OF JAZZ
By Helen Hancocks
4-8 yrs

THEA LEMON AND HER SUPER SPORTY FAIRY GODMOTHER
By Mark Lemon
4yrs+

LEON AND BOB
By Simon James
5yrs+

ADA TWIST’S BIG PROJECT BOOK FOR STELLAR SCIENTISTS
By Andrea Beaty
5-7yrs

THE SILENCE SEEKER
By Ben Morley
5-7yrs

SOMEDAY IS NOW: CLARA LUPER AND THE 1958 OKLAHOMA CITY SIT-INS
By Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
6-9yrs

DEALING WITH RACISM
By Jane Lacey
6-8yrs

40 INSPIRING ICONS: PEOPLE OF PEACE: MEET 40 AMAZING ACTIVISTS
By Sandrine Mirza
7-10yrs

LITTLE GUIDES TO GREAT LIVES
Featuring Nelson Mandela and Maya Angelou
7-11yrs

YOUNG, GIFTED AND BLACK: MEET 52 BLACK HEROES FROM PAST AND PRESENT
By Jamia Wilson
7-10yrs

40 INSPIRING ICONS: BLACK MUSIC GREATS
By Olivier Cachin
7-10yrs

THE POWER BOOK: WHAT IS IT, WHO HAS IT, AND WHY?
By Claire Saunders, Georgia Amson-Bradshaw, Minna Salami, Mik Scarlet, and Hazel Songhurst
7-11yrs

LESSONS FROM HISTORY, ELEMENTARY EDITION: A CELEBRATION IN BLACKNESS
By Jawanza Kunjufu
7yrs+

LITTLE LEADERS: EXCEPTIONAL MEN IN BLACK HISTORY
By Vashti Harrison
8-12yrs

LITTLE LEADERS: BOLD WOMEN IN BLACK HISTORY
By Vashti Harrison
8-12yrs

BLACKBERRY BLUE
By Jamila Gavin
9-11yrs

THE YOUNG MAGICIANS AND THE THIEVES’ ALMANAC
By Nick Mohammed
9-11yrs

WHO ARE REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS? WHAT MAKES PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR HOMES? AND OTHER BIG QUESTIONS
By Michael Rosen & Annemarie Young
9-17yrs

IGGIE’S HOUSE
By Judie Blume
9-12yrs

SPEAK UP!: SPEECHES BY YOUNG PEOPLE TO EMPOWER AND INSPIRE
By Adora Svitak
10yrs+

THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST: 20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK
By Tiffany Jewell
11-15yrs

THE HYPNOTIST
By Laurence Anholt
12yrs+

WATCH US RISE
By Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan
12yrs+

NOUGHTS AND CROSSES
By Malorie Blackman
12yrs+

THE LIFE OF STEPHEN LAWRENCE
By Verna Allette Wilkins
13yrs+

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
By Harper Lee
13yrs+

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR
By Nicola Yoon
14yrs+

THE HATE YOU GIVE
By Angie Thomas
14yrs+

DEAR MARTIN
By Nic Stone
14yrs+

BookTrust Recommendations

Our friends at BookTrust have shared a link to more books collated as part of their BookTrust Represents campaign created to promote children’s authors and illustrators of colour.

For teens

For Primary

Picture books

Book shops:

We Need Diverse Books

Blackwells.co.uk

Whsmith.co.uk

Amazon.co.uk

hive.co.uk

pagesofhackney.co.uk

 

WHERE TO BUY FACE MASKS

Where to buy face masks: our guide to face coverings you can wear with style

 

The latest government guidelines come into force on 24th July for shopping. Face masks are becoming part of everyday life so there’s a huge demand. Whether you’re using public transport, heading to the airport, going to the supermarket or social distancing, here are some of the less surgical looking coverings available from businesses large and small to help you wear face masks with style. This is our guide to where to buy face masks. Bear in mind that they sell out fast, but are restocked often!

Government guidance
The official guidance outlines that children under two, who cannot put on their own mask, or if they have a respiratory condition, do not have to wear a covering. Also note that it is not mandatory that children under 11 wear a face mask on public transport.

KEEP EM QUIET

Not just facemasks here. Visors for kids and adults as well as all your Covid needs for travelling.

GAP

Gap have adults and kids’ sizes available right now in packs of three and in various colourways.

MORI

For little ones and grown-ups, luxury childrenswear brand Mori has released these sustainable, reusable masks priced from £8.50.

LOCO LOLO AND CO

What started as a grandfather’s hobby while on furlough has expanded into a community project supporting various charities. Masks for adults and kids ordered via Instagram.

KATE HILL

There’s no reason why face masks have to be dull. Add some sparkle with these fully lined masks from Kate Hill available at The Dress Shop London.

THAOSS

Masks for both adults & children with a wide range of patterns from cars to unicorns and pink elephants all made to ANFOR guidelines.

BODEN

Each three-pack features a mystery mix of Boden colours and prints and £5 from each pack goes to the charity Helpforce.

RACHEL RILEY

Available in age three and up, these masks are unmistakably Rachel Riley. They include matching styles for mums and dads and retail at £19 each.

 

PREZZYBOX

£1 from every purchase is donated to the NHS Charities campaign with these pet print masks from Prezzybox. Seven different prints available. £15.99

 

CITIZENS OF HUMANITY

Citizens of Humanity have been making masks for front line workers and they have several designs to choose from for public. They’ve also partnered with the Haas Brothers to make these limited edition masks in kids and adults sizes. $16.

 

BRORA 

Brora’s range of Liberty print face masks are raising plenty of money for NHS charities – £10 from every mask sale goes to NHS Charities Together. £19.

 

VISTAPRINT

These Vistaprint RFS reusable masks are engineered with a Replaceable Filter System, tailored for comfort, and printed in unique designs for adults and kids. 10% of mask sales goes to local communities. From £13.

ZAZZLE

There’s a wide variety of face coverings for adults and kids on the Zazzle website. We liked these monster mouth masks. £12.65.

 

JUST HYPE

Just Hype have a dazzling array of prints available which can be bought singly or in three packs. These three below are more understated! £24.99 for three.

 

 

CASETIFY

Buy a Mask, Donate a Mask – Casetify’s new mantra. Breathable cotton and filters provided with these. £12 buys you one and one for a health care worker.
Thumbs up from us for this initiative.

ADIDAS

Made from a minimum 40% recycled content, £2 from every pack of face covers sold also goes to Save The Children’s Global Coronavirus Response Fund.
£12.95 for 3.

WOLFORD

For something a little more high end, the designers at Wolford have put their minds to three designs. This lace face covering is made from the finest silk. For the less brave, there are other designs. From £20.

 

 

SEE OUR GUIDE TO CHARITY T-SHIRTS HERE.

ARE SOCIALLY DISTANCED BBQS OK?

As the government loosens restrictions on lockdown, City Kids evaluates whether the socially distanced BBQ you have in mind is ok

From Monday, we are permitted to meet in small groups of up to six people from different households outside and, with the weather we’re having, it seems BBQs are top of the agenda. However, it’s worth noting that we are still on threat level four, which means the transmission of Covid-19 is still high. Confused? Us too! In fact, the initial Stay Alert message on the gov.uk website is the same as it has been all week, and it’s probably worth a reminder:

Stay Alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
gov.uk

It’s understandable that after almost three months of social distancing that people are desperate for some human contact. And following the Prime Minister’s words suggesting social distance gatherings can now take place, it’s the green light that most have been waiting for. But how to manage these gatherings while still adhering to social distancing?

Perhaps the best advice we’ve seen comes from Dr Xand van Tulleken, perhaps best known for Operation Ouch series on CBBC. Speaking on the Today programme, he said:

“Everyone is going to have to make a judgement on how much risk they are prepared to accept. For someone like me, I’m certain I have had it so I would be pretty relaxed. if you are someone older, more vulnerable, more anxious then bring your own plates, there’s no hard and fast rule. The important thing to say is that there is no way of stopping this virus, only slowing it down.”

He went on to note that a socially distanced gathering for six people would require a 48 metre squared space, around one-quarter of a tennis court, beautifully sketched on Twitter.

From @xandvt on Twitter

How to have safe 6 person picnic in park/ garden:
– obtain TWELVE (!!!!) 2m x 2m blankets
– sit at the intersections
– bring your own coleslaw

How to run a safe loo for visitors: (not evidence based)
– abundant soap – cleaning spray
– disposable towels for drying hands & wiping surfaces
– egg timer (enforce 20 seconds)
– gaps of >2 mins between visitors
– sign: “wash your hands & flush w seat down”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s The World at One, Professor Sally Bloomfield, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, advised against groups hosting BBQs at all:

‘The thing that really worries me is people are starting to say to me, oh, can I have a barbecue? That is the really dangerous thing because then we are really starting handling things backwards and forwards to each other – plates, glasses, cups and so forth.

So if you really want to have a social gathering and a meal, and the more time we spend outdoors the better, then it should be a picnic where we each bring our own food and knives and forks and plates and everything and keep them to ourselves and take them away with us. Then we can have a really nice social gathering.

But barbecues, please no, at the moment.’

If you decide against the BBQ but do want to get out of town try our suggested walks which will take you off the beaten track.

BBQ Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash

EASY DAY TRIPS FROM LONDON

Avoiding the hoards when the sun shines is not easy. Here are 10 easy day trips from London that you can take with your family while social distancing.

 

While the sun shines and the rain stays away heading to the beach is the obvious choice. But guaranteed you won’t be the only one thinking the same. So when we decided to research day trips we thought we’d choose places that shouldn’t be overrun by the public.

No matter where you go though, please respect the countryside and others around you, take care to follow social distancing rules and have consideration for the farmers and landowners who look after the countryside for us to enjoy. Also note that some car parks are now operating a booking service so check all websites for regular updates.

ABINGER ROUGHS AND NETLEY PARK


Hidden woods with ancient trees and flower-sprinkled grasslands, just off the North Downs and Pilgrims Ways provide plenty of options for a day away from the city.
nationaltrust.org.uk/

ASHRIDGE ESTATE


Ancient trees, rolling chalk downlands and lush meadows in an area of outstanding natural beauty is what Ashridge is known for. Also expect to see deer roaming freely in the estate.
nationaltrust.org.uk

CHILTERNS WALKS


Little Marlow walks
The Water Walk is an almost flat route following the Thames Path National Trail to the flooded Spade Oak gravel pits. The gravel pits are now a haven for wildlife, particularly birds, with good access to the waterside on permissive routes. Keep clear of the water’s edge. No swimming.

Circular Walk near Christmas Common
2.5, 3 or 6-mile circular routes in the Christmas Common area, starting from the National Trust car park at Watlington Hill
Box Wood walks
chilternsaonb.org

WELLESLEY WOODLANDS


Trails have been created that wind through the woodlands, past retained military features such as the Wellington statue and firing range walls. To the north of Duke’s Wood, the Basingstoke Canal provides walkable links to Lake and Canal Side and further reaches of Wellesley Woodlands.
wellesleywoodlands.co.uk

CS LEWIS NATURE RESERVE

This tranquil woodland and large pond used to belong to celebrated Oxford author CS Lewis. It was said he enjoyed wandering here while writing his children’s book series about Narnia which includes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. With the A40 nearby and surrounded by houses, it is a surprise that the reserve has kept its sense of stillness.
bbowt.org.uk

SNELSMORE COMMON

When you visit in spring you may be lucky to hear woodlarks singing across the heath. On brash and log piles, look out for adders basking in the sun. You can also see grass snake, common lizard and slow-worm, and the large pond supports a breeding population of palmate newts.
bbowt.org.uk

 

WARBURG NATURE RESERVE

A hidden wildlife gem nestling in the Chiltern Hills, rich in wildlife that will lift your spirits whatever the season.
High up in the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Warburg Nature Reserve is a remote and magnificent place, rich in exciting plants and animals all through the year. The flower-rich grasslands in the valley bottom give way to extensive woodlands rising up the valley sides. It is the richest BBOWT site in the three counties for orchids. From April right through to August orchids can be found in all of the habitats, including fly orchid and bird’s-nest orchid. Warburg Nature Reserve even has its own microclimate with exceptionally cold temperatures on winter nights.
bbowt.org.uk

 

AUBRY BUXTON NATURE RESERVE


Visit a beautifully wild nature reserve with its woodlands, ponds and species-rich grasslands, filled with amazing wildlife.
Once a wildlife and pleasure park to Norman House, this beautiful reserve was donated to Essex Wildlife Trust by the late Lord and Lady Buxton in 1976. It is now a thriving wildlife haven for the many rare and uncommon species found here, including the strange-looking Adder’s Tongue Fern and Lesser Lady’s Mantle.
essexwt.org.uk

NORBURY PARK

A varied natural landscape, including woodland, grassland, river valley and farmland. The three farms within the park encourage skylarks to nest in some of the fields and maintain hedgerows to support a wide variety of birds, such as linnets and yellowhammers, as well as mammals and invertebrates. The river Mole is stocked with coarse fish and is home to swans, kingfishers, herons, various duck species, and little egrets.
surreywildlifetrust.org/

 

CHARITY TEES TO SUPPORT NHS WORKERS

Fashion brands are making charity tees to support our NHS workers, the World Health Organisation or other charities in the battle against Covid-19. Beware of bandits – the following are totally legit. And there are sizes for kids.

 

There are plenty of things you can do to support charities and NHS workers at this time. Rainbows are everywhere and fashion brands are diverting their profits to support NHS charities. All items are selling fast, so if they’re out of stock now, chances are they are working on producing more. The following brands are making charity tees for kids and adults or diverting profits from existing lines.

 

Everpress

EVERPRESS has joined forces with Adam Tickle to raise funds for NHS Charities, with an homage to Adam’s iconic ‘Utopia’ tee. Let’s get through this together.
Priced at £20 per t-shirt (or £15 for kids) 100% of the proceeds will go to NHS Charities Together to support frontline staff, emergency workers and carers.

 

Joules

Joules has created The Rainbow Edit from its collections. Many of their clothes and accessories are splashed with the colour of the rainbow so now, by purchasing one of these items, profits will be donated to NHS Charities Together. This money will contribute towards funding anything from well-being packs for staff to vital accommodation for front line workers.

Joules dress £8.95

Harry Styles

Style icon Harry Styles has produced a charity tee with 100% of profits to be donated to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization, powered by the UN Foundation. It may take a while to come, but you’ll be saving the world and getting your hands on some of Harry’s merch when it does arrive.

 

Kindred was created with one aim: to raise the maximum amount of money for global charities through everyday purchases. The UK has seen amazing unity through the Clap For Our Carers campaign, and we wanted to do our bit to support our incredible NHS at a time when it is easy to feel a little helpless. Order this organic cotton charity T-shirt and do your bit for our wonderful NHS staff while staying safe at home. All Kindred’s proceeds from the sale of this t-shirt go directly to NHS Charities Together.

Thank You NHS Kids T-shirt £15

 

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer has just released a range of charity tees  featuring a rainbow or the ‘All In This Together’ slogan made from soft and breathable cotton. The short-sleeved tees are available in men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes, so there’s a design for the whole family. Furthermore, all cotton used for M&S clothing, including these t-shirts, is sustainably sourced. The M&S design and buying teams brainstormed and re-purposed existing stock and printing the designs in the UK.

 

All In This Together tees from £8

HOW TO KEEP A FAMILY LOCKDOWN JOURNAL

Remember writing your first diary? The content won’t be the same these days, but Morag Turner looks at ways to keep a family lockdown journal.

 

 

Right now we are all longing to return to normal life and for kids to get back to school. Real school. But a few months down the line we may want to reflect and remember the experience of this life changing and significant moment in history. Diary writing or journaling has also been recommended as being meditative and mindful, and who doesn’t need some of that in their lives right now. Like a lot of self-care suggestions, keeping a diary may seem like another task to add to the long list of things to do. But like yoga, meditation, running or any of the other things we make time for, this could be another routine you’re grateful for in a couple of months.

Adding children to the mix could also make this a fun family project, and perhaps get them using those imaginations and perhaps picking up a pencil to practise their handwriting. The journal could be one of Smythson’s finest (see below), a large scrapbook that you write and stick items in or it could be a box that you put objects in too. There are no rules here and the more creative the better.

Write it down

The most obvious way to recording your lockdown is by writing about it. Every member of the family can jot down what they have being doing and how they are feeling. Parents can takes notes for little ones. This can include what you did each day and how your new routine was formed. From what games you all enjoyed playing together and how you got your daily exercise in, to FaceTime calls with grandparents and Zoom quizzes with friends.

Make a note of all the things you did, especially the things that are new during this time. Even if this is just a few lines every other day, it will build up a picture of how your family spent their days. Maybe everyone gets a page or maybe it’s a page per day that you all add a few lines to. There are no rules so you decide.

 

 

Make it about feelings as much as activities

This is frightening, worrying and difficult time for everyone – kids included – as we adjust to our new reality and wonder what the future will hold. Many people are concerned about their health and the risk of catching Coronavirus. And many are dealing with grief.

But there can be pockets of positive emotions and happiness without the distractions of the outside world and our usual busy schedules. On a daily, even hourly basis how we feel can change. Children are getting used to their new routine and home schooling timetables. It can be frustrating and challenging for kids and for parents.

These are the kinds of things to write about it your journal. Times when each of you felt good and also when you really struggled and why you think that is. Not only will it form part of your memories when you look back, it may also be a very useful way of everyone communicating how they are feeling and coping. Use the journal as a mechanism for openness and resolving problems. It might help you to see the lockdown from your children’s perspective.

Take photos and print them off

A visual record is just as good as a written one. Take snaps of all the things you get up and print them out. If you bake a cake, build a fort out of sheets or create play do masterpiece then take a photo of it. Include yourselves and your kids as much as possible.

We are all chatting with family and friends online so take pics or screen grabs of these Zoom and FaceTime conversations. These human interactions are a vital part of staying positive and making sense of our current situation and a reminder of why it is necessary.

Make videos too. Keep them on a memory stick that can be stuck into your scrap book or places in a box. Ask the kids take their own pics and make films too. Maybe even video diaries for older children.

Draw pictures too. Little kids will love doing this. Keep all little doodles and stick them in.

 

Get grandparents involved

Missing relatives you haven’t seen for a while? Ask other family members or even friends to contribute. Ask them to email over their thoughts or write them down and pop them in the post. Older relations will be having a different time to younger ones and it’s great to have their input too. Or you could ask them to write down some family history to add into the mix.

 

Remember things unique to lockdown

There are certain things we are all doing now that are unique to this time. Clapping for Carers every Thursday night in recognition of our amazing key workers is one of them. Make a video and take photos of your family doing this. It’s most probably not something that will happen ever again. Likewise the drawings of rainbows that children are putting up in windows. But there are also other changes to our everyday lives such as home haircuts and zoom calls that are new to us. Make a specific note of these and their significance.

Keep items and documents that relate to this time

In years gone by this would include newspaper cuttings, but if you don’t get an actual paper then you could print out significant pieces from newspapers websites or jot down headlines and what they might mean.

Keep any letters and cards that you receive or government correspondence like the letter Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote to all households a few weeks back explaining the need for the lockdown. These are all part of our current experience, contribute to how we feel during it and also how we will feel as we hopefully start to move back towards some form or normal life in the coming weeks and months.

This is a historical document for the future

Right now this is a fun way for your family record the experience of lockdown and to express the emotions it brings. But in future this journal will become not just a family heirloom, but also a historical document of one of the most significant events in recent history. Our grandchildren will study this at school in the way we did the First and Second World Wars. It will be fascinating for future generations to delve into family life during this time and discover what it was really like for those living through it, as we did the diaries kept by soldiers and child evacuees in the 1940s.

By creating a journal you will not only helping your own family to remember a time that reshaped the world, but also help those in years to come have a greater understanding of what the Coronavirus meant to real people.

 

Some great places to find journals:

paperchase.com

papier.com

smythson.com

noblemacmillan.com

 

For more lockdown ideas why not look at our bonus April issue.

 

 

THE CITY KIDS BONUS ISSUE HAS LANDED

With lockdown well underway, the City Kids bonus issue has landed. We’ve scrambled to produce a bonus mini-version of our quarterly print publication.

It’s been created with a view to supporting small businesses who have been dealt a blow by Covid-19. Inside you’ll find most of our regular features with a bit of a twist.

Brands get to showcase their collections while their stores are closed as well as promoting new initiatives they have worked on during this crisis. Our What’s On calendar is neatly entitled What’s Online featuring fun and educational things to do for all the family.

Expect features on food, interiors, fashion and those all-important tips on schooling at home.

 

 

By signing up to our newsletter, you’ll be the first to receive links to our future digital editions. And you’ll hear about our latest offers, collaborations and competitions before anyone else.

 

WIN A PAIR OF WORLD CLASS MICRO SKATES

WIN A SET OF WORLD CLASS MICRO SKATES

City Kids has teamed up with Micro Skate, the leading inline skate range endorsed by urban skaters and skating champions across the world, to giveaway a set of skates. Whilst we can still have our hour of exercise, these are a super fun way to keep fit and active while observing social distancing.

 

 

Stars of the skating world, including Giorgio Cossaro, Ekaterina Grigoereva and Faustina Busto, are already big fans, and now British kids can now follow in their footsteps by learning how to skate and improve their skills with the very best skates on the market.

Suitable for children aged 3 and over, the range has different models to suit varying skill levels, from complete beginners through to pro skaters. Each is adjustable up to four sizes to grow with your child.

Enter our giveaway

To celebrate the launch of this award-winning brand in the UK, we’re giving one lucky winner the chance to get their hands on a set of Micro Skates and protective gear.

All you have to do is head to our Instagram page, find the Micro Skates competition and follow the instructions.

 

 

To check out the skates (and some great tricks and tips!) head to Micro Skate’s social media pages.

 

twitter.com/MicroSkateUK
facebook.com/micro.skate.uk
instagram.com/micro.skate.uk

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

PRIZE: 1 set of Micro Skates. (The exact prize model will depend on the age and skill level of the competition winner. Size range available 23-36 European)

Prize is non-transferable. No cash alternative.

The decision of City Kids Magazine is final.

If prize is unclaimed within 48 hours, City Kids will redraw.

UK Entries only.

 

20 SCREEN-FREE BOREDOM BUSTERS DURING LOCKDOWN

Looking for some screen-free things to do to stave off cries of boredom during lockdown? Here are some ideas which need more or less input from parents depending on the age of your kids.

Teabag challenge
The aim of the game is to get the teabag in the cup. All that’s required is a drained teabag and a cup. Take in turns, take scores and take steps back from the cup to make it harder.

Make a Facemask
Great for adults as well as kids and easy to make. Squish half a banana with around 1 tbsp orange juice and 1 tbsp honey. Mix well. Apply to your face and leave for 15 minutes. It may be lumpy but that’s ok. Wash off and moisturise.

Sink or swim
Fill a washing bowl with water and find objects that sink or swim.

Make a magazine
But of course, we would recommend this! Start with a plan of what you’d include, what kind of magazine is it, who is its audience, research some pictures, draw sketches, think of headlines, copy out some recipes or useful tips. Check out magazine designs that you really like. Click on our Green issue below for some CK inspiration. No computer required, can all be done by hand and stapled together. Trust us. Our 12 year old self did just that!

 

 

Wash the car
This has got to be a winner. Supply soapy water, sponges and chamois, crack open a beer and sit in the sunshine. Older kids may require renumeration…

Lego Tower
Compete to see which family member can build the tallest tower or longest snake.

Guess the object
Put various objects in a bag and then each person takes a turn to be blindfolded and guess what’s inside.

Donuts on a string
If you’re lucky enough to have found ring donuts or clever enough to make them, tie onto some string and hang from more string across the room or garden. See how fast you can eat one. No hands and no licking the sugar off your lips!

 

 

Pin the tail on the donkey
Old ones are the best ones. Haven’t got a pin, use a sticker. Click the link for a print out, or to buy some time, get the kids to draw a donkey.

Bushtucker trial
A true test for the family’s fussiest eaters. Requires a blindfold and a selection of different foods, both nice and nasty(ish). Players guess what they’re tasting and the score master keeps note. The winner guesses the most correct. You could use ice cream, biscuits, pasta, olives, mustard etc.

Homemade snap cards
Use a ruler and pencil to divide an A4 piece of paper into 12 cards. Draw pictures on each one. Do this twice and then play snap or the memory game.

Shave a ballOon
Again, one for the older kids. Blow up a ballon, cover in shaving foam and try to shave it without popping it. Could also be seen as training for an important life skill!

 

 

Board games tournament
For committed families, dig out your favourite games and run a tournament, jotting down the winner each time. We can’t promise there won’t be arguments and tears from the most competitive members of the family!

Paper aeroplanes
Come on. You remember how to do this.

Make an obstacle course
Inside or out. Be careful!

Build a den
Again, inside or out and play with toys, eat lunch, snacks etc. Must have blankets, duvets and cushions.

 

Hangman
Requires two or more people and possibly some adult interaction so coffee break will have to wait.

Research an animal
Copy a picture of your favourite animal from a book and write a paragraph of fun facts. Older kids can put a little more effort into their research!

Hide and seek
No explanation needed!

Paint pebbles
Collect on a walk or find in the garden. Wash at home and then paint.

FREE DOWNLOADABLE CORONAVIRUS BOOK ILLUSTRATED BY ALEX SCHEFFLER

Alex Scheffler, well known for his work in The Gruffalo, has illustrated a free information book for children about the coronavirus. Alongside expert advice from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the aim of the publication is to reach every child around the world.

 

The book answers key questions about the pandemic in simple language appropriate for 5 to 9 year olds:

  • What is the coronavirus?
  • How do you catch the coronavirus?
  • What happens if you catch the coronavirus?
  • Why are people worried about catching the coronavirus?
  • Is there a cure for the coronavirus?
  • Why are some places we normally go to closed?
  • What can I do to help?
  • What’s going to happen next?

You can download a copy of the book here.

The Kindle version is available here.

And a readable online book version is here.

Publishers, Nosy Crow suggest that families might make like to make a donation to help our health service if they find the book useful: https://www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk/.

Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo, said:

“I asked myself what I could do as an children’s illustrator to inform, as well as entertain, my readers here and abroad.  So I was glad when my publisher, Nosy Crow, asked me to illustrate this question-and-answer book about the coronavirus. I think it is extremely important for children and families to have access to good and reliable information in this unprecedented crisis, and I hope that the popularity of the books I’ve done with Julia Donaldson will ensure that this digital book will reach many children who are now slightly older, but might still remember our picture books.”

Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said:

“This pandemic is changing children’s lives across the globe and will have a lasting impact on us all. Helping children understand what is going on is an important step in helping them cope and making them part of the story – this is something that we are all going through, not something being done to them. This book puts children IN the picture rather just watching it happen, and in a way that makes the scary parts easier to cope with.”

5 FUN ART RESOURCES FOR KIDS

So it seems like we’re in this for the long haul, so we’ve had a look at some of the best and fun art resources for kids.

There’s so much information out there at the moment, so we’re going to break things down into bite-sized chunks. Enjoy!

 

Melissa and Doug – Not only sell many toys (listen to the podcast How I Built This to hear their business journey) but they also provide free printables.

 

Create an art selfie – download the app, take a selfie and it will match your facial features to one of the thousands of worldwide portraits stored. Then you tap on your match and learn about the artwork.

 

 

Art for Kids Hub – YouTube channel with online tutorials following a family and their kids developing art techniques.

 

 

Glued to my Crafts – great ideas to do at home with tutorials.

 

 

Rob Biddulph – the official World Book Day illustrator provides a draw-along video every day so parents and kids can make nice pics. Tutorials so far include sausage dog, Fred bear and Gregosaurus.

 

 

A PARENT’S GUIDE TO HOMESCHOOLING

One week down, who knows how many more to go? We asked one seasoned homeschooling parent to give us her guide to teaching and parenting at the same time.

 

Words: Kate Blackwell

So homeschooling has begun. This is the third time I’ve homeschooled the girls (they were seven, nine and 11 first time around, then nine, 11 and 13 last time). I’ve learnt a few things that I thought I’d pass on. They might be useful to you or maybe not, but I’m all for learning from each other right now.

1) I am not a teacher, I am a mum who is doing her best. One of the reasons why I respect teachers and schools is because I have tried to teach our girls and found it very hard. I am not good at it!

2) You will see lots of posts of people doing an amazing job. Don’t compare yourselves to them, but instead pick up good tips. Everyone will be finding this very challenging.

3) Don’t worry that your children will fall behind during this time. No one is expecting you to produce a genius, and their whole cohort is going through the same thing. If you google how much time you need to spend homeschooling compared to the school day you’ll realise that actually a couple of hours a day of homework is plenty.

4) Affection, nutrition and exercise are just as important as schoolwork. You can exercise in a very small space and it will really help their mood. Learning how to make a healthy dinner might be messy, but it’s short term pain long term gain. I’m as proud of the fact that Sukie made dinner last night as any school test she’s ever done (yes it was pretty messy to clear up, but that’s not important).

5) Let go of some things. The house is going going to be messier. Give them the opportunity to be in charge of their own space – they can mess up their room, but before bedtime, it needs tidying away.

6) Don’t beat yourself up for putting the tv on to have some breathing space.

7) Our first attempt at homeschooling started with lots of big ideas and plenty of school books. It boiled down to nailing times tables and spelling bees in impromptu places (they became fun). Plus, we rolled with it – hearing a James Brown song on the radio then became a few hours learning about him, his music, his story. Making a meal can become a history or geography lesson. Kids love learning, let them lead it sometimes and it can go off on wonderful tangents.

8 ) Our girls missed their friends while we were away. They love school, probably because they love learning with their friends. I am relaxing my rules on phone use as I know it’s going to be very hard for them to adjust to not chatting to them all day. But I’m giving it some structure so a catch up with their friends is something they can look forward to rather than reacting to their phones during the day.

9) This is a chance to pause, and to give them the opportunity to work out what interests them the most. I know a couple of people who became successful after an accident – they were forced to sit still and think about what they really wanted to do. Looking back I don’t know how many of us really had that pause.

10) Ultimately this is a time of a big unknown. Our children will be looking to us for reassurance and love most of all. The last thing we need is to put pressure on ourselves that we are not doing a good enough job in homeschooling. We are spinning enough plates right now, and no one will be marking our teaching skills.

If anyone else has any tips, please do share them. Hopefully, we will come out of this with a respect for schools, and as happy and well-adjusted children as we possibly can. One day, this will be a time we will tell our grandchildren about.

 

 

 

TALKING CORONAVIRUS WITH KIDS

News about Coronavirus and how to wash hands is everywhere but many parents are wondering how to discuss it with their children.  The Parent Practice has this advice to help us communicate without causing anxiety.

 

 

 

A hot topic in our classes this week was, not surprisingly, Coronavirus. You would have had to be extremely isolated indeed not to have been aware of the general panic setting in as the Covid-19 virus which originated in China at the end of last year has spread around the world. As panic stockpiling of toilet paper and other basics indicates, even the adults are becoming very anxious so it’s no wonder if our children are worried about what they’re hearing.

The first thing we can do to help is to be aware of what they ARE hearing. Never assume that your children aren’t listening to your adult conversations even if they seem to be preoccupied and not bothered. If you’ve been talking about it within earshot of your children or they’ve heard radio or TV reports about it or it’s being discussed at school then you need to address it with them in a way that they can process.

The spread of this virus is something that is still unfolding and we don’t know what the scale of it will be. It will probably have some effect on the lives of ordinary families even if they do not contract the disease themselves.

Be informed.

As usual in the internet era there is misinformation swirling about so do make sure you get your facts from a trusted source such as government websites. At the time of writing there have been over 100,000 cases worldwide with 460 confirmed cases in the UK and 8 deaths. While this is a serious public health emergency it is worth putting it into perspective by comparing the number of cases of influenza each year (about 600 deaths a year – Oxford Vaccine Group) and the number of deaths on the road (1,794 in 2018) which we are very used to. Researchers estimate that about 1% of cases of Covid-19 result in death and those who are elderly or who have immune system issues or underlying health problems are more at risk. Very few children have died from the virus. The risk of contracting the disease is higher if you have recently travelled to China, Italy, Iran or South Korea although the number of countries at risk is increasing.

Ask the children what they know about it already and give information according to their age. The questions they ask will help you to make what you say relevant for them. 

Listen to your children’s concerns.

Obviously one of our main concerns is not to make our children needlessly worried. They need to know that the adults can and will keep them safe. But it will not help any anxiety they are experiencing to dismiss their concerns. Don’t tell them not to worry.

When –if your child brings it up do respond to them there and then if at all possible. If your child has brought it up at an inconvenient moment such as when you’re dropping them off at school or at bedtime (very common, in my experience) then bear in mind that if you put off the discussion they may be carrying around their concerns so will not be able to focus at school or get to sleep. If it’s just not possible then assure them that you will talk about it as soon as you can. If they don’t raise the subject it might still be a good idea for you to introduce the subject calmly so that you can set the tone before they hear rumours elsewhere which worry them. Choose a time when things are calm and you will be uninterrupted.

How –stay calm. We know that anxiety is very contagious so it’s important that you get your own feelings in check before having a conversation with the children. This is particularly important if you know your child is of an anxious disposition. If you’re aware that you seem stressed acknowledge that and let them know that you are handling your feelings by getting proper information and by using your usual stress-busters such as going for a walk, listening to music, taking a bath or meditating. Give your children hugs and accept hugs from them too.

What to say –acknowledge their fears and don’t make false promises. If your child is worried that people they care about might die acknowledge that some people might die from the disease but that it is rare, less likely when people are healthy and that there are things people can do to protect themselves. Explain that most people who experience symptoms will get better on their own. “I can see this is really bothering you. Of course you don’t want anyone to get sick. I’m glad you care. Mummy and Daddy and Gran and Grandpa are all fit and healthy so we should be ok. Papa and Nana are old but they are generally well and they are keeping themselves at home mainly so there is less chance of picking up the virus. If any of us do get sick the doctors and nurses will take good care of us.”

Give control.

Much anxiety comes about from feeling we can’t influence events so it will help to empower children as much as possible and let them know how you as a family plan to deal with things in the event that someone gets sick or if you need to be quarantined or if their school closes. Let them know that the government has put in place plans for dealing with the situation. What they can do is follow basic hygiene procedures. Revisit proper handwashing and how to catch a sneeze or wipe a runny nose properly in a tissue and throw it away. Remind them about coughing into their elbow rather than their hands.

Dispel racist views.

Although the virus originated in China this does not mean that Chinese people are at fault. Challenge any racist views you hear and encourage your children to be compassionate and respectful. Depending on their age you may want to make them aware that there are racist views circulating and let them know that in your family you don’t subscribe to these and that they are based on misinformation.

About The Parent Practice

Established in 2004, The Parent Practice draws on the latest thinking in psychology, neuroscience and psychotherapy. The team is trained in parenting and facilitation skills and has vast experience in parenting training. They work with parents and carers, schools and nurseries, corporate and business clients.

“Everyone at The Parent Practice is a parent and encounters the everyday challenges that all parents face. Our own family lives have been enriched and transformed with the parenting skills we teach, so our aim is to pass on our skills to help parents bring up children to be happy and the best they can be.”

theparentpractice.com

020 8673 3444

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

IZZY JUDD’S MINDFULNESS FOR MUMS WORKSHOP

City Kids Magazine, The Little Gym Chiswick and Izzy Judd team up to deliver a Mindfulness for Mums workshop hosted by Beverley Turner

 

When running after the kids, working, juggling and managing life gets a bit too much, some time out can be just what’s needed. But when your list of things to do only gets done when you do it, setting time aside is really difficult. That’s where Izzy Judd’s recent book release Mindfulness for Mums can help. At a workshop organised by City Kids and The Little Gym Chiswick, Izzy had the chance to show some of the techniques she uses to stay calm each day.

Broadcaster and owner of The Happy Birth Club, Beverley Turner, opened proceedings with a question and answer session. The mums gathered got to know Izzy a little better and discovered how mindfulness has helped her anxiety, and more importantly, how she now weaves it into her day.

 

Very quickly into the session, Izzy put everyone at ease as she demonstrated some easy exercises to help mums feel calm and connected to the world before answering questions from the floor.

Izzy said: “As mothers, we grow humans, our bodies have changed, how we feel about ourselves is quite different and this mindset can be negative. If we can change these negative conversations into positive ones, we won’t feel like we’re constantly failing.”

Izzy also talked about creating a mindfulness corner for little ones as she’s done for her children, Kit and Lola. It’s a safe place they can go to with a cosy blanket to sit on and a basket of items such as puzzles, colouring and a cuddly toy.

While mums were engaged in the workshop, the children were entertained by staff at The Little Gym who introduced them to their exciting gymnastics equipment. Win, win for everyone!

Watch this space for more events from City Kids and The Little Gym soon…

Thanks go to Piccolo, CanO Water, and Fruit Bowl for supplying delicious snacks for hungry little people as well as Meri Meri and Cotton Twist for supplying gifts for the goody bags.

 

 

For more information about The Little Gym Chiswick and to book a free trial, contact 020 8994 3729 or go to their site: chiswick.thelittlegym.eu/ 

Izzy’s book Mindfulness for Mums is available here.

 

 

TOP FIVE FREE THINGS TO DO AT HALF TERM

 

It can seem like a day out in London during the school holidays has to cost a fortune. But thankfully there are plenty of completely free ways to entertain kids that can be found all over the Capital. Here are our top five free places to visit.

The Museum of London

The River Thames has always been a defining factor in the history of London. Running right through the Capital, we can now discover how humans and animals have adapted to live alongside this iconic river and its waterways at the Museum of London who are hosting amazing interactive storytelling sessions.

These will look at the past, as well as what we might have to change in the future as the Thames adapts to our modern needs. For more info check out Museum of London.

 

 

The LookOut Centre

 

Get back to nature in the city centre by spending the day at The LookOut Centre in Hyde Park, discovering the amazing array of birds who live nearby.

Learn how to make a bird feeder (and take one home with you), follow a trail to learn more about the feathered residents, and don a pair binoculars to take part in some bird watching.

Such a great way for children to learn about the Capital’s wildlife. Check out royalparks.org.uk to find out more.

The Science Museum

 

The Science Museum is the most visited science and technology museum in Europe – and we are lucky enough to have it on our doorstep. Plus it’s completely free. There are over 15,000 objects on display and nteractive galleries that bring to life first scientific principles and contemporary science debates.

There are so many exhibitions to enjoy. From Top Secret: From ciphers to cyber security, which explores 100 years of intelligence gathering and Driverless: Who is in control? which looks at how AI will shape the future of transport. They have also just opened Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries which feature historical objects like the first MRI scanner and fun interactives.

Visit sciencemuseum.org.uk to plan your visit.

The Museum of Childhood

If you’d like your kids to see that there was life before gadgets then take them to the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. This fantastic place houses the UK’s national collection of childhood objects, ranging in date from the 1600s to the present day.
As well as toys, dolls and games, the museum has a wealth of objects relating to aspects of childhood including home, childcare, play, learning and clothing. Rare, hand-crafted objects sit alongside well-loved toys from the 20th century, allowing an insight into how different children might have lived, thought and felt, through the objects they were surrounded by throughout their childhood. In addition, the museum runs temporary exhibitions and displays, activities, events and workshops. Check out vam.ac.uk to see what’s on.

Mudchute City Farm

If you’d like to experience a trip to the countryside without heading outside of London then head to Mudchute City Farm. Set in 32 acres of rolling hills in the heart of East London, the Mudchute is a community charity, with a working farm, stables, a children’s nursery and a wide range of education activities.

Kids can meet a range of animals in the petting zoo and residents include sheep, cows, pigs, horses and geese. There is a cafe on site or if the weather is nice, bring a pic nic. Plan your visit at mudchute.org.

LONDON’S CLEVEREST CHILDCARE

Imagine how great it would be if you could find an enthusiastic, educated young adult who could pick up your kids from school, help them with their homework and get their supper on the table before you get home from work?

Well that’s exactly what Student Nannies are offering parents across London. By matching university students who are keen to take on part-time nannying work that fits around their studies with local parents looking for flexible childcare, this clever company are creating the perfect partnership.

Most importantly children are being looked after by fun, engaged young people. Kids will love playing and doing their homework with student nannies who are musicians, mathematicians, actors, artists, linguists… and even the odd rocket scientist!

It’s entirely possible to match your nanny to your child’s interests, finding someone who can really inspire and encourage them. Or indeed if you feel your youngster could do with a little extra help with their English or maths homework, you can opt for a nanny who is studying these subjects. While they are definitely not a replacement for a tutor, a student nanny can offer a helping hand with homework and make it a more understandable, enjoyable process for your child.

The Smart Option

Student Nannies refer to themselves as ‘London’s cleverest childcare platform’ due to the high calibre of those on their books. They are also one of its fastest growing – around 500 new nannies have signed up in the past few months from top universities like UCL, LSE, King’s and Imperial. The talent and skills they can bring to their new part time jobs is quite frankly superb.

To get started you simply sign up to the Student Nannies website and create your online profile, outlining what your requirements are – school pick up, babysitting, school holiday cover. Including the ages of your children, their interests and any tasks your nanny would be ask to do such as prepare dinner for the kids or iron school uniforms.

You can browse nanny’s profiles too and make a match by getting in touch and arranging to chat or meet up. Subscription is £12.50 per month and is paid directly through the website. This allows you to access hundreds of students. It may be that you find a couple of nannies you like, and they work for you on different days when they are available. There are so many flexible childcare options and that’s the joy of the platform.

Generally, student nannies earn between £10 and £12 per hour and will put pay expectation on their profiles. All payment comes through the platform and no cash changes hands.

Peace of Mind

Of course, the team at Student Nannies do plenty of checks to ensure both the safety of families and students. These are a combination of hi-tech meets the human touch. All potential nannies are ID checked using Yoti (a leading digital ID verification platform), while all parties are background checked with Comply Advantage (real-time checks on global Watch Lists, Politically Exposed Persons and Adverse Media).

Candidates are interviewed before their profile goes live and some don’t make the cut. The team ask a series of questions to check for fluent spoken English, babysitting experience, the ability to think on their feet and a kind, calm manner – all the things parents will be looking for.

All nannies are over 18 and sign up with a verified university/college email address. Most are women but there are some male nannies too.

On their website the team have a comprehensive F&Q section that will help parents navigate the whole process, from how to interview and hire a potential nanny to tax and online security queries.

This fantastic childcare concept is the brainchild of London mum Tracey Blake.

“As a working mother of two, I experienced the childcare crisis first-hand when I couldn’t find any after-school help for my two children on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Childminders wanted to finish at 6pm but I didn’t get home till 7.30/8pm; professional nannies wanted a full day, not 4 hours. I was stuck and getting increasingly desperate,” recalls Tracey.

‘Then I heard two students talking in my train station waiting room and I said, “Do you live locally and are either of you interested in some babysitting work?” One of them, Louise, said yes, we swapped numbers and after a chat at our house we hired her. Louise was an art foundation student and did amazing craft projects with the children so there was always something for me to admire when I got home. It was such a good fit for us that when Louise left I wanted to find another student but as a 40-year old woman I couldn’t reach into that network. So Student Nannies was born!”

So if you are looking for really smart form of super-flexible childcare be sure to check out studentnannies.com or drop Tracey and email at tracey@studentnannies.com

Follow them on Instagram @studentnannies

 

OUR FAMILY SKIING TOP TIPS

It’s that time of year again when we turn our attention to all things skiing. Now you might have already been on the slopes this season (you lucky things!), but whether you have yet to go on your family ski holiday in 2020, or are planning a trip for next year already, it’s always great to get some top tips to make skiing with the kiddos even more fun – and straight forward.

So here are some amazing brands and companies we have discovered that we know all ski-loving parents will find useful.

 

Anyone who has ever been skiing with kids will tell you how important it is to have the right kit. Children who are warm, dry and comfortable are much more willing to learn to ski. So avoid early morning tantrums on the lifts by getting your little ones everything they need before you leave.

There are so many places to buy skiwear, but if you are looking for a one-stop-shop they get down to Snow and Rock where you’ll find literally everything – from salopettes and boots to gloves and helmets. There are a number of stores in and around London and all stock brands such as North Face, Roxy, Spyder and and Quicksilver. Definitely worth a look if you need to stock up.

If you’re dressing younger children for the slopes, then you must check out the super-cute ski-suit range from Dino Ski. This season they have introduced three new characters, including a unicorn, tiger and panda, all of which have been designed by children’s illustrator Jane Foster.

Each has aqua seal zips, is helmet friendly and has removable hoods and an anti-stain coating, ensuring children are kept warm and dry. All are made fromrecycled plastic bottles and products are shipped by sea to reduce the brand’s carbon footprint. Not only are Dino Ski’s suits adorable, they are also very distinctive – making it easier to keep track of your kiddos in the snow.

For thermals we head to Uniqlo because it’s hard to beat their HEATTECH range for mega-thin and comfortable base layers at very reasonable prices. Or for super-fine 100% merino wool tees and leggings go to Love My Smalls who have a great selection of colours and styles for both boys and girls aged from infant upwards.

 

 

 

Another favourite skiwear brand is Polarn O. Pyret. This Swedish company have warm clothing for for kids of all ages, from cosy thermal base layers to durable outwear including ski jackets and salopettes and The outerwear collection is windproof to keep out icy blasts, has a water resistance of at least 10,000mm and has Primalost Insulation to keep youngsters’ snug.

Plus, they have also just launched POP repairs, a free service available to all customers that have purchased any outerwear, regardless of when they bought it. It doesn’t matter if the garment has been worn by two or 10 kids, Polarn are offering a free repair service to fix zips and replace broken poppers to ensure their clothing is sustainable.

Find the perfect instructor

While ski school can be great, there is no doubt that one-to-one lessons with a private instructor will improve your child’s skiing much faster.

Particularly good for complete beginners, but also super for intermediate skiers who want to improve their technique, a lesson with an instructor is a great experience for kids of all ages.

Generally you can opt for sessions from one to four hours at a time and have solo lessons or in small groups if you’re on holiday with other families. Private lessons are considerably more flexible than ski school. Yes they are more expensive, but you really do get what you pay for when learning to ski is concerned.

But it’s not always easy to track down a great instructor who is based in the right resort, speaks great English and is available when you need them. Some ski schools find their one-to-one lessons get booked up a year in advance!

So we were thrilled to hear about SkiBro. This innovative new platform enables parents to find the perfect instructor, mountain guide, ski school or adventure and book instantly. Each provider has a comprehensive profile including profile video & customer reviews, so you know exactly who or what you are booking and can be 100% confident that they’re the best possible match for you or your kids.

With instant booking it’s sorted in a few clicks. With SkiBro, long-winded email chains, awkward phone calls, transfer day mayhem and closed booking offices are a thing of the past!

Get some pre-holiday practice

Unless you hit the slopes as a family three or four times a season, it can be quite a long time between one ski holiday and the next. And, therefore, all too easy for little ones to forget lots of the skills and technique that they have learnt.

So it might be a good idea for kids to brush up before they head back to the mountains again and an indoor ski slope is the best place to do it.

In London head to Chel-ski, London’s largest indoor ski centre offering the very best hi-tech slopes in a fun, safe and controlled environment where you can learn to ski or snowboard as well as advance existing skills as the speed and angle of the slopes are adjusted to match your ability.

Or for some actually white fluffy stuff, jump in the car and drive up the M1 to The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead which offers a range of great lessons for kids and teenagers on large slopes covered in faux snow.

Keep cosy

If you’ve every been on a chair lift in a blizzard with a small child wailing because they are frozen, you’ll  appreciate the value of handwarmers. If you haven’t lucky you and please don’t allow yourself to get into such a situation!

These amazing little pads from The Heat Company are 100% natural and so easy to use – simply open the packaging for instant heat within minutes that will last for hours. Pop them inside gloves to warm up tiny frozen fingers. They also do heated foot warmers too. The golden rule of taking children to the slopes is that cosy kids are much happier skiers!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

Friday Five Weekend 16-17 November


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

GROOVE BABY PRESENTS GROOVE ONTO THE MOON
Royal Festival Hall
Against a backdrop of Ally Pally’s panoramic views of London, fireworks will light up the skyline in a unique display. There will be music, cabaret, bars, a funfair filled with retro rides, the great bonfire and a family friendly area.

southbankcentre.co.uk

 

DECORCAFE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL
Strawberry Hill House
Enjoy a day of festive shopping and seasonal decor in this stunning setting. From bespoke and original handmade gifts, local crafts and produce, Christmas styling across the historic rooms, demonstrations, tastings and inspired gifts to purchase. And festive foods!
All weekend
strawberryhillhouse.org.uk

JAZZ FOR TODDLERS

Royal Festival Hall
Get the kids syncopating at an interactive music session for toddlers aged 2-5.
southbankcentre.co.uk

COUNTRY LIVING CHRISTMAS FAIR
Business Design Centre, Islington
A fair where you can channel your creativity thanks to numerous workshops or shop til you drop.
All weekend
countrylivingfair.com

 


RUMPELSTILTSKIN
Watermans Brentford
Theatre of Widdershins with their trademark puppets, music and storytelling perform Rumpelstiltskin and the Snail of Fortune. This golden production is perfect for 4+ years.
Sunday
watermans.org.uk

 

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

 

Friday Five Weekend 2-3 November


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

FIREWORKS FESTIVAL
Alexandra Palace
Against a backdrop of Ally Pally’s panoramic views of London, fireworks will light up the skyline in a unique display. There will be music, cabaret, bars, a funfair filled with retro rides, the great bonfire and a family friendly area.
Saturday
fireworks.london

 

BAUHAUS BABY BALLROOM
Whitechapel Gallery
Celebrate 100 years of Bauhaus with a family disco, music and art. Mocktails will be served plus there will be abstract costume creation, geometric mobiles, architectural collages and Bauhaus badges.
Saturday
whitechapelgallery.org

 

FAMILY ART DAY
October Gallery
Engage with the galleries current exhibitions in this imaginative art making and multi sensory storytelling session for 0-7s.
Saturday
octobergalleryed

 

FIREWORKS SPECTACULAR
Crystal Palace
Food, drink, entertainment areas, fairgrounds, a Lords of Lightning Light show plus a spectacular firework display with lasers to boot.
Saturday
fireworksspectacular.co.uk

 

DIWALI IN LONDON
Trafalgar Square
Come and enjoy the delights of Diwali with a day of entertainment in the capital. As well as music, dancing and mouthwatering Indian treats there will be a children’s zone with plenty of fun activities on offer.
Sunday
diwaliinlondon.com

 

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

 

Friday Five Weekend 26-27 October


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

HARVEST CELEBRATION
Borough Market
Celebrate Autumn at this harvest event for the whole family. With face painting, storytelling, pumpkin carving and cooking demonstrations there is something for everyone.
Saturday
boroughmarket.org.uk

HORNIMAN HALLOWEEN FAIR
Horniman Museum and Gardens
Get dressed up in your scariest costume for this fiendish Halloween family fair. There will be spooky storytelling, creepy crawlies and treats at the food stall and arts and crafts market.
All weekend
horniman.ac.uk

DIWALI FESTIVAL OF LIGHT
Natural Maritime Museum
Celebrate Diwali with some free family fun at the National Maritime Museum. There will be music, dance, arts and crafts, a parade and a celebration of light.
Saturday
rmg.co.uk

 

DESIGNING HEY DUGGEE
Design Museum
Explore the design, animation and production process behind Hey Duggee, the much loved CBeebies animated series, in this free family friendly display.
All weekend
designmuseum.org

 

 

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

 

Friday Five Weekend 12-13 October


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

HIDDEN LONDON
London Transport Museum
Go on an immersive journey of some of London’s most secret spaces in the oldest subterranean railway in the world in this new exhibition opening just in time for the weekend. Visit an ‘abandoned’ Tube station underworld and see a recreation of the secret dining room where Churchill sheltered.
All weekend
ltmuseum.co.uk

 

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CHELSEA HISTORY FESTIVAL
Various locations in Chelsea
Celebrate the history of Chelsea at this family friendly festival. Activities include Giant Games for little soldiers at the National Army Museum, the hidden history hunt at the Royal Hospital and Medicine Through Time at the Chelsea Psychic Garden.
Saturday
chelseahistoryfestival.com

 

BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL
October Gallery
As part of the Bloomsbury Festival, the gallery are running a Family Art Day inspired by the 1969 moon landing with art making activities and story telling.
Saturday
bloomsburyfestival.org.uk

 

THE HOUSE FULL OF STUFF WORKSHOP
Tate Modern
Inspired by her new book, author and illustrator Emily Rand is putting on a make and do workshop where you can create an invention and make a collage with images of junk objects.
Sunday
tate.org.uk

 

NEW SCIENTIST LIVE
ExCel London
Get your mind blown by some fascinating Science in this festival for all the family. Take part in a rocket building workshop, hop on a VR rollercoaster ride, launch your very own Saturn V rocket to the moon and enjoy some science story time with Maddie from CBeebies.
All weekend
newscientist.com

 

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

 

Friday Five Weekend 5-6 October


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

SOUTHBANK SINFONIA FAMILY CONCERT
Southbank Centre
There will be live musical performance, film and theatrical lighting in this immersive classical music concert for all the family. You will also get to meet the musicians and try out their instruments at the end of the show.
Saturday
southbankcentre.co.uk

 

FESTIVAL OF THE GIRL
Tower Hamlets, E14
Girls from across the city have been invited to attend London’s first ever Festival of the Girl. A family event packed with workshops, interactive sessions, speakers and live performers.
Saturday
festivalofthegirl.com

 

FUN PALACES
Half Moon Theatre
A fabulous way to educate the little ones on recycling with this free family fun day which is all about reducing, reusing and recycling.  There will be storytelling, pop up performances, arts and crafts plus tea and cake.
Sunday
halfmoon.org.uk

 

THE PIRATE CRUNCHER
artsdepot, North Finchley
A comically gruesome adventure of pirates, monsters and the ingenuity of one small girl. Check out this new hilariously exciting play by Toby Hulse, adapted from the best selling picture book by Jonny Duddle.
Sunday
artsdepot.co.uk

 

APPLE WEEKEND 2019
Fenton House and Garden
Try out different varieties of apple and juice from the Fenton House trees while the kids make badges, do some apple juicing and partake in giant lawn games, at this annual celebration.
All weekend
nationaltrust.org.uk

 

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

 

 

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

 

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.

 

Friday Five Weekend 14-15 September


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

FAMILY FESTIVAL: QUEEN VICTORIA’S CIRCUS
Windsor Castle
It’s time to celebrate Queen Victoria in the 200th anniversary of her birth. There will be a Victorian circus, some regal storytelling, falconry and horse riding displays and costume handling in this fun filled family festival.
Saturday
rct.uk

COOKBOOK FESTIVAL
Chiswick
Chefs, cooks and authors come together for talks and demos all weekend. Jo Pratt and Michael Fort are two names to celebrate but there are many more. Turnham Green Terrace will also be closed to traffic on Sunday for a very special street party. Events are ticketed.
Saturday & Sunday
cookbookfestival.org

 

BERNARD MAKES A SPLASH
Tate Modern
A make & do workshop around author and illustrator Lisa Stickley’s new book, a story about courage and self-belief. Make a spinning Bernard, design your own swimming costume, spot the difference and get drawing on a giant colouring in sheet.
Sunday
tate.org.uk

 

TOWER OF LONDON FOOD FESTIVAL
Tower of London
The Tower of London Food Festival returns with an array of delectable treats. The little ones will also be looked after with a range of exciting activities including kids cookery classes with Cordon Bleu, vintage games and face painting.
All weekend
hrpfoodfestivals.com

 

COLOURSCAPE MUSIC FESTIVAL
Clapham Common
Colourscape is back at Clapham Common with a 4 day concert inside the walk in structure of colour and light.
All weekend
eyemusic.org.uk

 

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

 

 

Friday Five Weekend 7-8 September


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

CUTTY SARK FLOTILLA
Cutty Sark
As part of Thames Festival 2019 Cutty Sark invite you to create your own tall ship to add to a magnificent flotilla of masts and sails underneath the ship. Listen to poetry from students of the Rivers of the World project and write your own poem on your ship.
All weekend
rmg.co.uk

 

THE CLASSIC BOAT FESTIVAL 2019
St Katherine Docks
The festival will host an impressive display of beautiful classic boats. With plenty of activities for visitors, families and friends to enjoy including a tour of the historic Lady Daphne, paddle-boarding in the Marina and the all important Kids Club.
All weekend
skdocks.co.uk

 

FAMILY STUDIO: PUT IT IN PORTRAIT
Royal Academy
Experiment with printmaking techniques in this free workshop for families. Inspired by the graphic prints in their exhibition Felix Vallotton: Painter of Disquiet find your own printing style and make some artwork to take home.
Sunday
royalacademy.org.uk

 

DIDDI DANCE
Jewish Museum
Get your dancing shoes on for this funky music session.  There will be dancing games, hoops,  bells, ribbons and exercises with dance moves from hip hop and salsa to disco and country.
Sunday
jewishmuseum.org.uk

 

BERMONDSEY FOLK FESTIVAL
Bermondsey
Head on down to South East London for a free family friendly folk festival. Folk music, craft beer, street food stalls and family activities including the opportunity to meet some friendly farm animals with Surrey Docks Farm Petty Zoo.
Sunday
bermondseyfolkfestival.co.uk

 

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

 

Friday Five Weekend 31 August -1 September


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this bank holiday weekend in London.

TWIRLYWOOS LIVE
Underbelly Southbank
Twirlywoos are coming to the stage and will feature all your favourite characters from the hit TV show. There will be puppetry, music and a load of surprises throughout.
All weekend
twirlywoosliveonstage.com

LONDON MELA
Southall Park
Inspired by South East Asia, Southall Park brings you a festival for all the family. Expect musicians, an Asian food market, dancers and DJ’s plus a children’s fun area in this celebration of Asian culture.
All weekend
londonmela.org

MUD CLOTH ANIMALS
William Morris Gallery
It’s family day at the William Morris Gallery and this month you can have a go at making a textile from Mali, mud cloth and you get to meet the Suntrap animals who have come all the way from Africa.
Sunday
wmgallery.org.uk

LONDON ZOO SUMMER FAMILY FESTIVAL
ZSL London Zoo
Say goodbye to Summer with the ultimate experience for your little ones. There will be an interactive kids quiz, animal themed storytelling, crafts, and vet or zookeeper role play at this action packed festival.
All weekend
zsl.org

KIDS MINI FEST
London Designer Outlet, Wembley Park
A weekend of family festival fun awaits. Activities include hula hooping, face paints, bubble wizards and ribbon twirling plus live music and a DJ playing kids favourite tunes.
All weekend
londondesigneroutlet.com

 

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

N21 POP-UP AT HARRODS

Even though we’re seeking out the last drops of summer it’s time to start looking at the autumn wardrobe and N21’s pop-up at Harrods will do nicely.

 

 

N21's pop-up at Harrods

We’ve been blown away by the images from this collection and you will be too. The fashion brand, created and directed by Alessandro Dell’ Acqua is now available at Harrods. Signature tie-dye that Alessandro featured in his SS19 women’s collection is present here, as well as maxi logo sweatshirts and oversized bows.

N21's pop-up at Harrods

Not only are there super stylish pieces for girls and boys, there are also some Mini Me items to double up with your sons or daughters.
For boys, expect prints capturing a fanciful image of the ‘American Dream’, using a strong, graphic statement on sweatshirts, cotton shirts and tracksuits. A stars & stripes theme characterises the check jackets with soft sheepskin detailing, as well as the tartan plaid shirts with logo embroidered, while a 1950s feel is featured in the maxi checkboard knits.

N21's pop-up at Harrods

The collection for girls includes chic, modern pieces with fun at the heart of it.  Rock’n’roll vibes are clear thanks to red & black leopard prints on maxi hoodies, retro sport tracksuits and bombers. Pop accents can be found on the black-on-pink star prints that add a graphic touch to piping-embellished shirts, smart pleated skirts which are paired with sweet ruche-trimmed stripe blouses and poplin polo dresses with stylish, yet simple yokes.
The range is suitable for girls and boys aged 4-14.
Head to Harrods for the N21 pop up which will remain open until early October.

Friday Five Weekend 24-26 August


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this bank holiday weekend in London.

THE FAMILY FOLK SHOW
Canary Wharf Crossrail Place Roof Garden
Award-winning folk duo Megson put on a family friendly interactive theatrical musical performance. With clever storytelling between playful folk songs, audiences are introduced to the instruments played and the stories sung about.
Saturday
halfmoon.org.uk

 

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SMITHFIELD STREET PARTY: A BEASTLY ADVENTURE
Smithfield Market and Rotunda
A free street party where animals top the bill. Learn how to dance like a bee, take part in running classes and animal amusements, look up and watch aerialists fly through the sky and learn how to look after the animals that live alongside us.
Sunday
culturemile.london

 

NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL FAMILY DAY
Notting Hill
Sunday is family day at Europe’s biggest street festival, as crowds are smaller and floats more family-friendly plus there is a children’s parade. Fancy dress is definitely encouraged.
Sunday
thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com

 

A ROYAL FAMILY FESTIVAL
Buckingham Palace, The Royal Mews, The Queen’s Gallery
A family festival is taking place at all of the above locations which will be packed with exciting activities for the family to enjoy. Drop-in circus demonstrations, arts and crafts, dressing up and more will bring the role of the Palace and the Royal Family to life.
All weekend
rct.uk

 

 

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

 

CITY KIDS BACK TO SCHOOL GUIDE

Back to School guide labelling stationary

We love September and the excitement of that ‘back to school’ feeling. Summer is fantastic, but as the holidays reach an end we love looking forward to the new term and Autumn.

But with the new school year comes the need to sort our uniforms, pencil cases, sports kit and a million other things. So here’s our Back To School Guide with a few great stores and websites to help you get your little ones ready for the first day of term. Let’s make the transition back to routine all a bit easier.

Get their name on it

Back to School Wonderlabels labelling

There is something nice about getting all the shiny new uniform ready for the new school year. What is less enjoyable is making sure everything from blazers to socks is labelled with your little one’s name.

Take the hassle out of the process with Wonder Label. They make personalised stick-on name labels designed to be extra resistant. Their labels are washable and heat resistant making them suitable for washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, microwaves. Thiss makes them perfect for everything from sports kit and shoes to water bottles and lunch boxed.

wonder-label.com

New kit

Back to School guide personalised stationary

Sticking with the labelling theme, check out gettingpersonal.co.uk for a great range of back to school kit you can personalise.

From schoolbags and pencil cases to notebooks, pens and lunch boxes, you’ll find everything kiddos need for their school day and you can have their name printed on all of it. Making it much less likely to vanish in lost property.

The site has tons of great designs that are perfect for boys and girls of all ages.

 

 

 

 

Healthy snacks

Back to School guide healthy snacks

Packed lunches can be tricky. Trying to find tasty healthy snacks isn’t easy. So, we love the delicious, but also healthy snack, from Muchachos.

Their nutritionists have created a selection of yummy treats, each one inspired by flavours from around the world and all are made with natural flavours, no added sugar or salt.

Each box has a combination of 5 snacks that are ideal for lunchboxes or after-school hunger pangs including crispy pitta bread dipped in creamy tzatziki and paella inspired rice cakes. Simply order as many boxes as you think your hungry little people will need. And maybe have a nibble yourself – they are seriously tasty.

munchachos.com

Staying organised

storage ideas

During the first week of term, you will get precisely 387 letters home from school all containing ‘vitally important’ information about games kit/clubs/homework. Some will find their way to the ‘pile of doom’ in the corner of the kitchen (we all have that every growing stack of post don’t we?!). Others (usually the genuinely necessary ones) will somehow end up in the recycling.

Well not any more we say. It’s time for a bit of new term organisation. Be it a box file, a plastic folder or a storage tray, we all need a designated place to keep the school correspondence – add certificates and party invitations to the letters over the course of the year too. So, when it comes to that form you need to fill in for the school trip, you’ll know exactly where to find it.

Check out aplaceforeverything.co.uk and theholdingcompany.co.uk for some great storage solutions.

 

 

Friday Five Weekend 17-18 August


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

THE LOST LUGGAGE ADVENTURES
The Cockpit
Every suitcase has a story to tell and this show will take you on its magical journey.  With puppetry and a special pop up set the audience will be captivated from start to finish. Suitable for ages 3+.
Saturday
thecockpit.org.uk

 

ROYAL WHARF SUMMER FETE
Royal Wharf Park, E16
This free fete will offer food and drink vendors, entertainment including a soft play area by Gymboree, face painters, balloon modellers, Gandini jugglers, bubble performers and more.
Saturday
royalwharf.com

 

THE GREAT FETE
Alexandra Palace
Alexandra Park will play host to a delightful and eclectic mix of entertainment, education and performance at this free family Summer fete.
Saturday
thegreatfete.alexandrapalace.com

 

THE LONDON DESSERT FESTIVAL
The Old Truman Brewery, East London
Every kids dream, and adults for that matter.  Walls covered in chocolate, chocolate infused tastings orbs, ice cream flavoured bubbles, a patisserie zone, a chocolate wrapping room and rain in the form of sprinkles. Sounds sweet right!?
All weekend
londondessertfestival.com

THE JUNGLE ADVENTURE
Westfield Stratford City
Get a bit of jungle fever at this free event which features a climbing wall, animal toy rides, face painting, a photo-booth and the first ever Virtual Reserve for mini adventurers that transports them from the city into a real life wilderness.
All weekend
westfield.com

 

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

 

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS – FUN

The City Kids weekly round-up of super-cool things for your little ones to enjoy

My Moozik

If your children have grown out of nursery rhymes and the likes of ‘Baby Shark’, but you’d rather they didn’t listen to grown-up pop music just yet, then My Moozik could be the ideal thing for them to boogie along to.

This new musical venture for kids is designed to bridge the gap between kiddie tunes and inappropriate lyrics. Written by musician Newton Faulkner, My Moozik has just released the debut single ‘Breaktime’, and the album first ‘My Day’ will be available at the end of October.

The CD album comes packaged with a beautifully illustrated, hardback, lyric book. All songs can be streamed and downloaded via all the usual platforms and all songs will be available for the whole family to enjoy on the My Moozik YouTube channel.

As well as offering families an album that won’t make parents want to tear their hair out, the it has also been designed to support kids and their development. The songs explore key themes such as kindness, making friends, why we learn, why we have to eat our greens and everything in-between.

Catchy tunes and nice words to sing along to make My Moozik, perfect for kids of all ages.

mymoozik.com

 

Vild – House of Little

Vild House of Little mix great Scandi-inspired design with stylish, quirky prints to create really unusual clothing for kids. The patterned pieces can be combined with their neural basics to make amazing outfits.

The new ‘Dog Family’ AW19 collection is made up of prints featuring happy hound families including the curious pug, the brave beagle, the proud dachshund and adorable stray dogs. There is a long-sleeved t-shirt, a collared bodysuit and bomber jersey jacket. Super-cute and a little bit different.

Check it out at vildhouseoflittle.com

 

 

 

KiwiCo

So we are just over half way through the school holidays. Roughly three weeks left to fill with endless fun and activities. I mean it’s so easy isn’t it?!

Well if like us (all) parents you are frankly a bit frazzled and running out of ideas you might just like to hear about KiwiCo.

This amazing company make creative, innovative and educational hands on arts and science projects that are delivered to your door. Their ‘crates’  are age appropriate with a selection of activities for babies right up to age 16 plus. Projects include making models and instruments and encourage problem solving, experimenting and exploration.

Each crate is tested for over 1000 hours by the KiwiCo Team of experts, artists and scientists and engineers before they are delivered to you. Sign up for a one-off crate or take out a monthly subscription that you can cancel any time. Perfect for summer holiday entertainment or to bring out on any rainy day.

kiwico.com

 

 

Friday Five Weekend 10-11 August


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Canary Wharf
As part of the Canary Wharf Summer Family Festival, Let’s All Dance will be performing their adaptation of The Princess and the Frog. A magical ballet for all the family!
Saturday
canarywharf.com

TARGET PRACTICE: NERF GUNS
National Army Museum
This Fortnite-themed target practice session ties in with the displays from Abram Games who designed a number of posters to educate soldiers about the use and care of weapons. Guns had to be kept clean and maintained to fire accurately. 8yrs+
Saturday
nam.ac.uk

FAMILY DAY: MICHAEL RAKOWITZ
Whitechapel Gallery
Inspired by the Michael Rakowitz exhibition, this family day will look at identity, borders culture and the significance of every day.
Saturday
whitechapelgallery.org

LEICESTER SQUARE SUMMER SCREENINGS
Leicester Square
Leicester Square plays host to a free family friendly festival of films. Screenings include The Little Mermaid, E.T, Mary Poppins Returns and a Grease, Frozen and The Greatest Showman singalong.
All weekend
leicestersquare.london

LONDON WILDLIFE FESTIVAL
Walthamstow Wetlands
Head East for a new family friendly urban event that celebrates the conservation and culture of Britain’s natural world. There will be fun family activities and immersive workshops inspired by nature.
All weekend
londonwildlifefest.com

 

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

Friday Five Weekend 3-4 August


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

WHIPPERSNAPPERS FAIRYLAND 2019
Dulwich Park
Enter the magical land of Wyld Woods this Summer and go on a mythical adventure. Meet the tooth fairy, have some sparkly face paint, make your own fairy garland, help prepare fairy cakes and enjoy some theatrical storytelling.
Saturday
whippersnappers.org

 

THE LONDON SLIME FESTIVAL
York Hall, Bethnal Green
It’s all about the goo at this years biggest slime event where there will be workshops, messy play, live demonstrations, a nail bar, face painting and plenty of interactives for the little ones to enjoy.
Saturday
slimelondon.com

CAPTAIN MICK SWAGGER AND THE SWASHBUCKLING PARROTS
The Golden Hinde, SE1
Arrrrrr! Come meet Captain Mick Swagger and the parrots and check out their latest antics in this pirate themed family friendly show on board a boat.
Sunday
goldenhinde.co.uk

 

WALTHAM FOREST MELA
Leyton Jubilee Park
Celebrate South Asian culture at this free family friendly event which features music, dance, theatre, food, traditional art and crafts and a giant funfair.
Sunday
wfculture19.co.uk

 

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

Friday Five Weekend 27-28 July



It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

SHAKESPEARE’S TELLING TALES
The Globe Theatre
The Globe’s family festival brings together families, children’s authors, performers and storytellers to celebrate the power of imagination.
All weekend
shakespearesglobe.com

FIESTA DE MEXICO
Guildhall Yard
Head to London for the first ever Mexican festival.  The Yard will come alive with the sounds, smells and tastes of Mexico and there will be plenty of Mexican food, drink and family entertainment available including art workshops, ‘loitas card’ making and basket weaving.
All weekend
paternostersquare.info

ILLUSTRATOR TAKEOVER DAY
Discover Story Centre
Head over to Discover for a whole day of doodling with some brilliant illustrators and authors, who will demonstrate their skills and teach you how to draw pirates and aliens. The day will be completed with a head to head Draw Off.
Saturday
discover.org.uk

 

BIG FISH LITTLE FISH FAMILY RAVE
Horniman Museum
Big Fish Little Fish are taking over the Horniman Gardens for an afternoon of outdoor festival raving fun.  Dance with your family under bubbles and balloons to acid house, techno and drum and bass. The Orb are playing and there will be crafts with Captain Cookie, face painting and storytelling for the little ones.
All weekend
horniman.ac.uk

 

PARCHMARKS PROJECT FAMILY FUN DAY
Fulham Palace
Find out about the marks that appear on the Fulham Palace lawn each summer.  Get hands on with archaeology, take a tour of the site, and recreate their lost medieval chapel with cardboard boxes.                                                                                                                                                Sunday
www.fulhampalace.org

 

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

Friday Five Weekend 20-21 July



It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

KEW SCIENCE FESTIVAL
Kew Gardens
Get your lab coat and goggles at the ready, it’s time to experiment.  Fun for all the family, there will be workshops, behind the scenes tours, hands on experiments, shows and a bunch of Kew’s scientists to explain how they are protecting rare plants and fungi.
All weekend
kew.org

 

FESTIVAL OF PLAY
Museum of Childhood
It’s all about celebrating play at this free weekend festival. Suitable for all ages, there will be plenty of games, workshops and activities including making robot sculptures, baby sensory play and how to make a video game.
All weekend
vam.ac.uk

 

LAMBETH COUNTRY SHOW
Brockwell Park
Head on over to Brixton for this family friendly event where you can get to meet animals from Vauxhall City Farm, browse stalls, listen to a bit of live music, do some arts and crafts, get some yummy grub plus loads more, there is something for everyone!
All weekend
lambethcountryshow.co.uk

APOLLO 11 FAMILY FESTIVAL
Science Museum
Get dressed as an astronaut, find out what happened to all the Moon rocks, discover how your body changes in space and see a special screening of the Clangers at this festival which marks the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo Moon landing.
All weekend
sciencemuseum.org.uk

 


OVER THE MOON: OPERA FOR BABIES
Canary Wharf
As part of the Canary Wharf Summer Family Festival, Over the Moon is a free interactive, operatic adventure for babies. A calm, playful and relaxing first opera experience for the small ones and their grown ups.
Sunday
canarywharf.com

 

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

DAME JESSICA ENNIS HILL LAUNCHES FITNESS APP

With her new fitness app, JENNIS, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill aims to share the expert advice and support she was so grateful for during her pregnancies

 

When did you start thinking about creating the app?

The original idea came when I was pregnant with Reggie. I found it overwhelming trying to find the right information about fitness in pregnancy and post-natally. Luckily, I had an incredible physio to help me navigate this and I am so grateful for that, so I wanted to find a way to share the information with women everywhere.

What can it do?

There are three options within the app: workouts for pregnancy, post pregnancy (Jennis Pregnancy) or people who have busy lives and want a quick effective workout (Jennis Fitness). The workouts are all very easy to follow and are tailored to different levels of fitness.  The pregnancy workouts allow the woman to choose what activity they do based on how they are feeling and are tailored to suit each trimester of their pregnancy.

What kind of advice and support does the app have?

As well as the work outs, we have created something called ‘Your Pregnancy Questions Answered’. There are videos of me with physio Ali Rose chatting about some of the big things I discovered when pregnant and answering some common pregnancy exercise questions too.

On our website we will also host lots of informative pregnancy content, alongside our own content we have partnered with experts in their field – there will be lots of advice and support for mums to be – and Dads too!

How did you feel when you were pregnant?

I loved being pregnant but like every other woman I had no idea what to expect.  Our bodies go through so much change and I was super lucky to have an amazing team around me to explain what was happening and why. That was incredibly reassuring and that is why I have created Jennis, to share these insights and training programmes.

Did you feel any pressure to get your body back, particularly as you’re Jessica Ennis, World and Olympic Champion?

After the birth of my first child I was still a competing athlete and I really wanted to get back – I was always asking Ali if I could start doing some ab work, she was very careful and taught me ways to check if my abs were knitting back ok. I am so glad I listened to her advice and that of my coach as I came back all the stronger for it.  A gradual strengthening of your core muscles and building back strength sensibly is definitely advisable.

How do you fit fitness into your daily routine with the children?

I just try and grab 20-minute windows when I can, either when the kids are at school or after they have gone to bed. If they are around, I will still try but sometimes they might get cut short if the kids want to ‘get involved’ but even 5 minutes is better than nothing.

We’re told that through the app we’ll see the real Jessica Ennis-Hill. What’s she like?

Ha! I’d like to think… energetic, cheerful and honest. I am very down to earth and love a bit of a laugh.

Did you find becoming a parent tough?

I don’t think any parent is prepared for sleep deprivation! Having a baby is the most joyful thing you could ever imagine – but the lack of sleep is really tough. I am absolutely loving being a mum – it is a new challenge every day but the joy my two bring to our lives is immeasurable.

What advice would you give to new parents?

To accept help from family and friends and that there will be days when you have a newborn that you get nothing done and that is absolutely fine!

How well do Reggie (4) and Olivia get on (1)?

Brilliantly, I am so lucky!

What’s your favourite thing to do as a family?

I think holidays are the best time as we are all together 24/7 – otherwise a lovely walk with our dog Myla on a weekend.

Jennis app £9.99 a month www.jennisfitness.com

Friday Five Weekend 13-14 July



It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

FAMILY FUN OPEN WEEKEND
London Transport Museum Depot, Acton
A weekend of family fun giving children the chance to explore, learn and play in a treasure-trove of iconic artefacts from London’s transport history.
All weekend
ltmuseum.co.uk

 

JAZZ FOR KIDS
Royal Albert Hall
Enjoy a relaxed jazz concert perfect for little ears in an informal environment, performed by musicians from Albert’s Band.
Saturday
royalalberthall.com

 


ONBLACKHEATH 2019
Blackheath
A load of family fun to be had at ONBlackheath 2019 this weekend. Head to The Family Playground where you can meet Mister Maker, see Andy and the Odd Socks, touch a tarantula in the Mini Zoo or get stuck into a slime workshop with The Science Museum.
All weekend
onblackheath.com

 

CITADEL FESTIVAL
Gunnersbury Park
Messy art, storytelling, music, sport and even Peppa Pig at this one day family-friendly festival in West London.
Sunday
citadelfestival.com

 


WALTHAMSTOW GARDEN PARTY
Lloyd Park, E17
Enjoy a brilliant two day free festival celebrating global culture in London’s 2019 Borough of Culture this weekend. There will be music, arts and crafts, dance, circus and much more in this family friendly event.
All weekend
walthamstowgardenparty.com

 

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

 

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.

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS – We all have our favourite Marks and Spencer’s food don’t we?

We all have our favourite Marks and Spencer’s food don’t we? Here at City Kids we are very partial to a Percy Pig or two. So we love that M&S have just launched the cutest little collection of their best loved items in the food hall.

‘Little Shop’ comprises 25 iconic M&S Food products, miniaturised into collectables for customers and their families to collect, play and swap over the summer holidays, building their very own M&S Little Shops.

Small but perfectly formed, the collectables  (they are toys and definitely not edible) include a range of exclusive M&S Food icons, from mini Percy Pigs to plant-based favourite, Plant Kitchen Cauliflower Popcorn, alongside birthday party legend, the Colin the Caterpillar cake, and there are even family faves such as Chicken Tikka Masala, marking M&S’ introduction of the first ever chilled ready meal in the UK back in the ‘80s.

Collecting is simple. From 10th July, every customer in M&S Food stores spending £20 or more on food will be offered a Little Shop collectable pack containing one of the 25 iconic minis (and additional collectables for every subsequent £20 spent).

Hours of Fun

Ensuring kids both big and small get a surprise every time they receive a Little Shop collectors pack, collectables are given out in concealed paper packets and must be opened to reveal the mini M&S Food icon inside.  Alongside the food collectable, the pack includes a fun collector’s card with facts about the product and a joke.

With playing and learning at the heart, Little Shop collectables encourage imaginative play as well as helping to teach kids a little bit more about where food comes from.  Brightly coloured collectors cards provide fun food facts with further details at www.marksandspencer.com/little-shop where parents can find additional food and sustainability information as well as downloadable activities including quizzes and games- perfect for keeping the kids entertained this summer holiday.

Swap Shop

Kids (and grow-ups of course – we want to play too!) can also swap till they have they full set and there are even swapping events in 70 M&S Cafés across the UK where customers can trade their duplicates. Can’t wait for swap shops?  Use the #mylittleshop on social media to locate other collectors and create your own swapping communities.

To take their collection of collectables to the next level, customers can shop an exciting range of mini accessories available in stores. The range includes everything a Little Shopkeeper needs including a replica cardboard Little Shop front complete with till and shopkeeper sign (£10), mini metal shopping basket and mini trolley (£3 each), Little Shop apron (£3) and a must-have collectors’ album to keep collectables safe.

Such a fun idea for the summer holidays – we are sure these lovely little items will find their way in to every play kitchen and pretend shop all over the country.

Friday Five Weekend 6-7 July



It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

RHS HAMPTON COURT PALACE GARDEN FESTIVAL
Hampton Court Palace
Kids go free at this glorious festival which promises to be a fantastic family day out, featuring children’s entertainment.
All weekend
rhs.org.uk

 

TRINITY LABAN DANCE FESTIVAL
Horniman Museum
Enjoy a day of family fun with dance performances, workshops and music from around the world. Bring your dancing shoes and join in the fun.
Sunday
horniman.ac.uk

 


FAMILY PRIDE
Royal Opera House
Head to the Royal Opera House for some family fun the day after the Pride in London Parade.  Continue the festivities and celebrate the triumphs of the LGBT+ community.  Take part in a Big Tea dance, make activities and dress up.
Sunday
roh.org.uk

 

BALLET SHOES
The Peacock, Holborn
London’s Children’s Ballet return to the stage for an adaptation of this classic tale which sees the determined sisters take to the stage in order to support their adopted family.
All weekend
londonchildrensballet.comSUPER SATURDAY OF SPORT
Chiswick
Super Saturday of Sport is back! Let your kids experience new sports, and find their active passion. Free sessions all day, starting with a full family warm-up with AnimalFu.
Saturday
supersaturdayofsport.net

 

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

COOL THINGS FOR KIDS – ENJOY

Our weekly round-up of super-cool things for your kids to enjoy

Family Rule

Do you ever look at your children and think ‘how did they get so big so quickly’? It’s a feeling all parents have. With Family Rule you can keep track of their progress – no marks on the wall required.

Each of their gorgeous, handmade wall rulers come with a sharpie pen so you can write directly onto it. Unlike pencil on a wall, a Family Rule height chart can be removed when redecorating, taken with you when you move, and passed down through the generations.

A really special way to record the many stages of your family.

 

Outside the Lines

If you have little girls, then you need to know about Outside the Lines. Established by two friends to create a collection that delivers a unique boutique look for girls and doesn’t compromise on quality or design, it’s a treasure trove of fashion for girls.

They search the globe for beautiful trims, fabrics and details to ensure their products have that little something extra and unique touches.

We absolutely love the embroidered playsuits and dresses for summer and the gorgeous accessories such as hair clips and super-cute bags. They currently have a fantastic sale on and there’s even a few items for mums too – just saying.

Little Tikes

 

The summer holidays are literally days away so it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your little ones entertained during those lovely (hopefully!) sunny days.

A new addition to the garden toy collection is always a good idea and we think Little Tikes get it just right for pre-schoolers with their outdoor range. How about an interactive water table or handy little sandpit that comes with a lid and is easy to pack away?

Check out their range at littletikes.co.uk and you’ll be sure to find toys that will bring hours of happiness (and peace and quiet) to your garden this summer.

 

THANK YOU GIFTS FOR TEACHERS

Looking for a great end of term present for your little one’s teacher? We have some great ideas for original gifts they are bound to love

It’s coming to the end of the school year which means sports day, prize giving and summer parties. It’s also time to remember those who make it all possible – the amazing teachers.
Thank goodness for these wonderful humans who teach and care for our children. Their creativity, commitment, patience and enthusiasm are what makes learning fun for our little ones. They work tirelessly all year and we’re sure we are not the only mums who often think how to do they keep a class of 20 kids under control all day when we struggle with two or three?!

So, it’s time to say a little (or big) thank you to teachers. Parents often club together (thanks class reps everywhere for organising this) to buy a more expensive gift for their  teacher, which means a donation of a few pounds per family can accumulate into a sum big enough to purchase something really special.
While a homemade card is the only thing teachers ever say they want, a pressie is a nice way to show your appreciation.

A box of chocolates? A bottle of wine? Of course, these are lovely gifts but if you are looking for something a little more special then here are a few places you can pick up a present for you’re the person who has looked after and inspired your child all year.

Make it personal

Everyone loves a personalised gift. A mug or a notebook with their name on it shows you’ve put in a bit of time and thought. These things are particularly useful for teachers – it’s so handy to spot your own cup straight away in the staff room.

A message from their pupils – ‘thanks for being a great teacher Mrs Smith from the class of 2019’ – is a lovely keepsake to remind a special teacher of how important they are to the children. You could even opt for a little piece of jewellery. Something they will treasure forever.

There are lots of places to pick up personalised presents. Our favourites are Not on the High Street, Prezzy Box and All By Mama. Check them out and you’ll find a great range of gifts and something for every teacher will like.

 

A gift that’s great for everyone

How about letting your teacher choose their own gift? The One4all Gift Card can be spent in over 55,000 stores ranging from clothing to food. Stores include Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, Curry’s, John Lewis, WH Smith and Topshop.
It’s the ideal voucher to give because your teacher is bound to find something they love -that could be a little treat or something practical they really need.
The card can be bought online from One4all.com or from any local Post Office and what’s more, it suits every budget as you can put anything from £10-£400, so you can group together with parents or purchase your own.

A break from the classroom

Teachers work so hard all year and it would be really nice to give them an opportunity to kick back and relax. So how about travel vouchers that they can put towards a nice break?
For example, Cool Stays have portfolio of hand-picked places to stay around the world, with vouchers available from £20-£500. There are villas and hotels as well as more unusual properties such as lighthouses, buses and boats. Many are family friendly and there is accommodation to suit all budgets.
Or if you’d really like to spoil your teacher get him or her a Mr and Mrs Smith voucher. They can be used towards booking any of their amazing 1,000 boutique hotels and houses around the world and are available for any amount from £50 upwards. The company have lots of fantastic hotels in the UK, so a night away is entirely possible if a group of parents buy a voucher together. A special treat that anyone would love to receive.

 

Friday Five Weekend 29-30 June


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.


THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG
Barbican
The family film club continues at the Barbican with the fairy tale The Princess and the Frog.  The heroine Tiana being transformed into an amphibian by an enchanted frog will be the twist for this show.  There will also be an opportunity to learn some froggy facts in their show and tell, and you can get involved in their paper puppet workshop inspired by the film.
Saturday
barbican.org.uk

 

FAMILY DAY: COLOURFUL TEXTILES
William Morris Gallery
It’s family fun time at the William Morris Gallery in this free, drop in event suitable for children of all ages.  Get creative and make colourful textiles inspired by Madge Gill.
Saturday
wmgallery.org.uk

 


‘BEAT OUT THAT RHYTHM’ FAMILY SUNDAY
Royal Opera House
This Family Sunday will see the building transformed into a playground where children can make crafts and sing and dance in a host of activities inspired by the opera Carmen.
Sunday
roh.org.uk

 

THE GREAT EXHIBITION ROAD FESTIVAL
South Kensington
This festival is a three-day celebration of curiosity, discovery and exploration.  There are hundreds of hands-on activities including the chance to play chess with robots, multi-sensory experiences and virtual-reality headsets too.
All weekend
greatexhibitionroadfestival.co.uk

 

TOWER BRIDGE 125th ANNIVERSARY
Tower Bridge
Head to Tower Bridge for anniversary celebration where families can recreate the huge flotilla that passed under the Bridge in 1894, alongside a number of family activities taking place including ‘Meet the Victorians’ where the stories of workers, engineers, and passers by, will be brought to life by costumed actors.
All weekend
towerbridge.org.uk

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

GLORIOUS GLAMPING AT GAMBLEDOWN FARM

Editor-in-Chief, Victoria Evans, takes the family glamping and reviews one of Hampshire’s gorgeous glamping sites.

 

Let’s get this clear. We’re not camping experts, we’re pretty amateur, but we have been glamping before so we have some points of reference.

Previously a Feather Down farm stay, owners Tamara and Richard have struck out alone to bring you their take on the glamping experience at their 200-acre farm in Hampshire. Gambledown Farm sits within a slice of heavenly countryside on the outskirts of the New Forest, comprising the main farmhouse, barn conversion, cottages and four African-style safari tents. Tent underplays the situation somewhat. Here you have accommodation built on a raised platform, complete with running water and gas supply: yes, a flushing loo and hot showers shall be yours!

Inside you’ll find wooden flooring, a kitchen with gas hob, a wood burning stove, sofa and dining table as well as two bedrooms (one double, one bunk) and a cubby hole room reached from a fixed ladder which also sleeps two. At times it’s hard to remember that you’re in a tent: it’s very clean, comfortable and the ceilings are high. Plus, there rechargeable lanterns and lights dotted in and around the rooms.

Out on the veranda you can survey your kingdom which houses a herd of shorthorn cattle, two horses, chickens (you can collect eggs whenever you want), two Gloucestershire Old Spots as well as beautifully protected hedgerows, maintained expertly by Richard. In fact, Richard will happily take guests on a tour of the farm, explaining how it works, what lifestock and crops he grows and also what farming is like in today’s world.

 

On Tuesdays and Saturdays, Richard and Tamara host Pizza Night where you can create your own pizza and have it cooked in the wood-fired pizza oven. And when you run out of supplies like milk, charcoal or wine, you can head to the well-stocked honesty shop in the barn.

When we stayed, we weren’t fortunate with the weather – it hit two degrees overnight. However, the fire and the duvets kept us going until a hot cuppa and cooked breakfast in the morning.

Nearby Romsey hosts a Farmer’s Market every weekend, plus a large Waitrose if you want to stock up on other necessities.

Highlights for the children were definitely collecting eggs from the chickens. In fact, our son gave names to all of them and is campaigning for us to get some chickens at home. The secret rope swing down the lane was also fun. But perhaps what we and the children probably enjoyed most was the sense of freedom they were able to have, running off to enjoy the countryside, with us knowing that they could play in the copse or fields without us hovering nearby.

Tamara and Richard were fabulous hosts – nothing was too much trouble and they were incredibly knowledgeable about the area and the land that’s been in the family for years.

We have forged some happy memories at Gambledown Farm and definitely hope to be back.

Cool Things for Kids – For all

Our weekly round-up of super-cool things for your little ones to enjoy.

My Busy Bots

The school holidays are just around the corner which means we will all have kids to keep entertained 24/7. But don’t let the thought of endless ‘what are we doing now mummy’ questions send you into a panic. We’ve got your back and will be sharing lots of ways to keep you children boredom-free (and your sanity intact) this summer.

First up check out the fantastic My Busy Bots. Founded by two mums, this clever company create award-winning ‘busy bags’ containing fun, educational activities that will encourage learning through play. These bags engage your little ones and keep them having fun, learning and occupied – very important when you have weeks of school holidays to fill.

 

Colourful and fun, they are an excellent resource and can be used either at home or on the go – they’re perfect for keeping children happy and absorbed while you’re in a restaurant, airport or travelling.

Each includes an activity with all the relevant materials required and an information card. Suitable for children aged 18 months – 8 years old with an age indication on each bag.

We will definitely be pulling a few of these out of our hand luggage this summer.

Hibou Home

All the mummy’s out there who enjoy designing and decorating their children’s bedrooms as much as any other room in the house will fall in love with Hibou Home instantly.

This amazing interiors brand has everything you need to create the dream bedroom or playroom for your little ones. We can’t get enough of the linen canopies that can either drape over a bed or in a corner with cushions inside to create a cosy little den. Their range of fabric and wallpaper feature the most beautiful designs and illustrations – all very tasteful with Scandi influences.

 

 

 

Hibou Home is a real one-stop-shop, packed with inspiration for a nursery or older children’s rooms, . Their experts are also happy to give you decorating advice so if you are planning a room revamp then definitely pay them a visit online.

 

Cienta Kids

When they aren’t running around barefoot on the beach this summer, our children will be wearing Cienta canvas pumps.

These classic children’s plimsols are stylish and practical in equal measure. Adorably cute, but also wonderfully practical, they come in a range of colours for boys and girls aged 12 months to 12 year.

 

 

 

 

A Spanish classic, these shoes are now worn all over the world and made from all-natural materials. We love that they go in the washing machine and even hold a little surprise – a natural fragrance is injected into rubber during production and the soles smell of berries! So cute.

 

Friday Five Weekend 22-23 June


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 


MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL
Canary Wharf
Head to Canary Wharf to celebrate the longest day of the year, where there will be live performances, a free drop in flower crown workshop, bubble magic and a drop-in Children’s Circus Skills workshop.
Saturday
canarywharf.com

 

GREAT GET TOGETHER 2019
Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford
Why not kick off the Summer with a huge picnic get together. There will be music, storytelling, face-painting, family dance and singing workshops, street food and much more.
Sunday
www.queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk

 


OPEN HOUSE FAMILIES WEEKEND
Canary Wharf, Here East, Gasholder Park, Gherkin and more
A weekend of family activities across London as the largest architecture festival in the UK kicks off, designed to inspire the next generation of city shapers.
All weekend
open-city.org.uk

 

WEST END LIVE
Trafalgar Square
London Theatres host this medley of highlights from the top West End shows which include Mamma Mia, Thriller Live, Phantom and the Lion King. Free and fun – what else do you need?
All weekend
westendlive.co.uk

 

GREENWICH FAIR
Greenwich Town Centre
Greenwich and Docklands International festival, London’s leading outdoor theatre and performing arts festival, is back.  The free festival kicks off with the Greenwich Fair which features street theatre performance, games, art, Roll Play, a mixture of Hip Hop and Circus, and a family friendly drag show.
All weekend
festival.org/gdif

 

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

 

 

FAVOURITE FAMILY HOLIDAY DESTINATIONS: IBIZA

We take a look at the best family holiday destinations, starting with Ibiza

Summer holidays seem to be the main topic of conversation at the moment don’t they? Where you are going, when, and for how long. Closely followed by the all-important ‘what’s it like for the kids’ ’cause let’s face it, if the kids aren’t well catered for then mum and dad aren’t going to be having that much fun either.

So, we have decided to put together some features about some of our favourite family holiday destinations. Even if you are booked up for this year, this may give you some ideas for next.

First up is Ibiza where our editor Morag Turner heads off to every summer with her husband and three sons.

What makes Ibiza so special?

This island off the coast of Spain has become one of the most popular family holiday destinations in the Med. And for good reason. The laidback vibe and child-friendly atmosphere makes it an ideal place to go to  with kids of any age. Yes, it’s famous for its clubs and nightlife, but these days you’ll find just as many families chilling out on the beach as ravers heading for the party scene. Ibiza’s natural beauty combined with great hotels, restaurants and endless activities make it the perfect place to everyone from babies to teenagers.

The Beaches

Ibiza has 80 stunning beaches. From secluded coves to long sandy stretches, they are picture perfect. Simply rock up a and pop your towel on the sand or rent a sun lounger for the day for around €10 to €15.

A firm family favourite is Cala Vadella in the South West which sits on a charming little bay with a very gradual incline into the sea – ideal for younger children. There are a number of great places for lunch right on the beach such as the Maya Beach Club, or simply nip into the village supermarket to grab some sandwiches for the kids to eat on the lounger.

Just a few minutes around the corner is Cala d’Hort, a dreamy little beach with views of Es Vedra, a rock just off the shore that reaches out of the sea and is said to have mystical powers. The restaurant on the beach, El Carmen, does a cracking paella but book a table as soon as you arrive at the beach because it’s a favourite with locals too.

 

Head further up the west coast to discover Cala Bassa, an amazing long sandy beach that is also home to one of the island’s best beach clubs, CBbC

You’ll find cool shops, a restaurant and bar and sun beds  with waiter service. Just a few steps further along the sand you can hire jet skis and arrange other water sports. Cala Bassa has something for everyone to enjoy. This is the kind of place where you arrive in the morning and leave after sunset already planning your next visit.

Talking of sunsets, another spot on the West coast that is famous for its glorious evening vistas is Sunset Ashram on Cala Conta. It’s one of the island’s most popular restaurants. During the day the beach is packed with locals who love the crystal clear water and snorkelling. Then by evening the restaurant takes on a cool, hippy vibe as the sun goes down with chill-out tunes and great cocktails. A very cool spot to hang out until the day draws in and the kids get tired.

If the hippy scene is your thing – and even if you don’t think it is, when you’re in Ibiza you’ll suddenly love embracing it – then head to the north of the island to Benirrás beach. Every Sunday evening this sheltered bay is home to musicians who come to ‘drum down the sunset’.

This iconic hippie ritual has become a real tourist attraction but yet still feels very upspoit and relaxed. Even if the music doesn’t appeal, the beach is a gorgeous place to while away the hours and don’t forget to pop into the Elements restaurant which has a fantastic menu and is super kid friendly.

Where to Stay

There are so many different accommodation options in Ibiza that are great for families, with something to suit every budget and taste. From traditional to minimalist, you’ll find it all on the White Isle.

For those want peace and privacy a villa is the ideal option. There are thousands of them scattered all over the area. Unlike France and Greece, not that many have gated pools, so you’ll have to do a bit of research to find one of those. Rental companies such as Unique Ibiza Villas and Ibiza Rural Villas are a great place to start. Or check out Air BnB where you’ll find a huge selection of villas and apartments.

If you would prefer a hotel or bed and breakfast,  again there are lots to choose from. Thompsons, Thomas Cook and Jet2holidays all offer packages to family friendly resorts.

Fun for all the Family

If the beach isn’t enough to amuse your gang then there are tons of other activities to get up to.

Waterparks

Kids love a waterpark and there are a couple of good ones to choose from. Aguamar (next to Space nightclub), in Playa d’en Bossa, has plenty of parking, a range of different slides and pools (including paddling pools for smaller kids), picnic areas, a decent restaurant and a play park.

For kids and adults who can swim, Ocean Mania Waterpark in San Antonio is great fun, and is essentially an inflatable playground in the sea. The park is a bit like an assault course, and the inflatable circuit has rope swings, trampolines, balancing beams and slides.

 

 

Adventure Park

For a really fun day out head to In S’Argamassa, between Santa Eulalia and Es Canar in the east of the island, where the Acrobosc Adventure Park has an exciting set-up in the pine trees involving ziplines, trampolines, slides, nets, ladders, climbing walls, tightropes and rope bridges. There are three circuits of graded difficulty to suit children from three years old up to teenagers – although adults can join in the fun too. Everyone is kitted out with harnesses and tuition is provided before letting them loose.

Horseriding

If you fancy trying out horse-riding, then Active Ibiza offer amazing sessions that cater for complete beginners right through to more experienced riders. The kids’ package has basic tuition provided in the paddock before a gentle trek on small horses, with a maximum of four children in the group. The route through the interior of the island leads through fields and farmland. A great thing to do if you fancy a break from the beach.

Boat Trips

One of the nicest ways to see Ibiza is from the sea. Often you will find small dinghies available to hire along with paddle boards from the water sports companies found on most of the larger beaches. There are also lots of companies that offer boat trips, charters or let you to hire your own small boat for the day. Star Boats Ibiza have great little six person boats that you can hire without a licence just to stay close to shore and potter in an out of the coves. It costs €180 for the morning which isn’t cheap, but is a lot less expensive than chartering a larger boat and is such great fun.

However, if you do fancy hopping aboard a speedboat or yacht, get in touch with the likes of Charteralia or Smart Charter Ibiza who will sort you out with skipper and take you on a fantastic tour of the island and beyond.

Pop over to Formentera

Ibiza’s little sister island Formentera is definitely worth at least a day trip. It’s small, unspoilt and has stunning beaches with great restaurants. A really fun day out. There are lots of different ways to reach it by boat but for a simple, inexpensive day trip try Aqua Bus Ferry Boats who do regular trips back and forth from a few ports on Ibiza and as well as various excursions. When you are there head to Besso Beach Club for great people watching and wonderful food.

Visit the Old Town

No trip to the White Isle is complete without a trip to the beautiful Old town with its narrow cobbled streets lined with wonderful little restaurants and boutiques. Head there early evening if you are taking the kids and enjoy a lovely stroll around the marina and the old city walls before it gets busy later on.

Shopping

Ibiza is shopping heaven and the markets are the best place to pick up some unusual holiday buys. Think floaty kaftans, beach bags and beaded bracelets as well as artisan homewares.

There are markets on most days all over the island but one of the best is Las Dalias hippy market in San Carlos. It’s home to around 200 stalls where you can find crafts from all over the globe, clothes and antiques. It’s open every Saturday and weekday evenings during the summer.

Another shopping experience that’s a real must-see is Sluiz in Santa Gertrudis, a picturesque little village in the centre of the island.

This store is an eclectic treasure trove of homeware and fashion that has become a real destination for those looking to take back something special from their holiday. Definitely check it out.

 

Check out these website for more general information on Ibiza as well as villa rentals.

White-ibiza.com

Ibiza-spotlight.com

tourism.eivissa.es

Top image: Cotton Beach Club Ibiza

Friday Five Weekend 15-16 June



It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.


FAIR IN THE SQUARE
Highgate
Plenty of family fun over in Highgate this Saturday at this free Summer fete.  There will be live music, dance and theatre as well as fairground rides, stilt walkers and a children’s tent with musical and drama activities.
Saturday
www.fairinthesquare.co.uk

 

FATHER’S DAY
Market Halls Victoria
Launching conveniently for Father’s Day, Kid’s Table will be providing supervised fun every Sunday  for kids aged 3-10 so you can enjoy the ultimate Sunday brunch. Now, parents can finish a sentence while they eat too and the kids won’t be bored. Win, win.
Sunday
www.markethalls.co.uk

 


RAVER TOTS DRUM & BASS ROOFTOP RAVE
The Prince of Wales, Brixton
It’s time to get your dancing shoes and head on down to The Prince of Wales for some open-air family raving fun.  The music will be provided by Drum & Bass/Jungle legend Kenny Ken and there will be plenty of food, drinks and entertainment for all ages.
Sunday
www.ravertots.co.uk

 

MARYLEBONE SUMMER FESTIVAL
Marylebone Village
Marylebone celebrate Summer with a weekend of family fun that includes live music, stalls, film night and a Sunday Street party.
All weekend
www.marylebonevillage.com

 

CARTERS STEAM FAIR
Clissold Park, Stoke Newington
Fancy checking out the most beautiful vintage steam fair you ever did see?  Head on down to Clissold Park where you can get on rides dating from the 1890s to the 1960s, the kids will love it and so will you.
All weekend
www.carterssteamfair.co.uk

 

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

 

Author Matt Coyne on being a dad

Here at City Kids we love Matt Coyne’s hilarious book Man vs Toddler. It hits all the rights notes and will have parents everywhere in nodding recognition of the highs and lows of family life.

So in honour of Father’s Day, we asked Matt to choose an extract from the book to give us readers some idea of what it’s like to be a dad.   

Here’s a weird thing: when you’re a man on your own, some people assume that you can’t possibly be in charge of a baby or toddler. Twice now someone’s had a go at me for parking in parent/child spaces when I’ve actually got Charlie in the back seat. They see a man pull in and assume that I am just another childless dickhead taking advantage of the space.

I was in Asda car park just last month when, upon arrival, a woman knocked on my window before I could even turn the engine off.

‘Excuse me! You know these spaces are for people with children?’ she demanded.

I literally had to point my thumb in to the back of the car and say: ‘What’s that? A fucking cat?’

 

WHAT IS A DAD?

It is odd that in 2019 so many people struggle to comprehend the idea of dads being in sole charge of their own kids.

As a man who often has Charlie on my own I come across this attitude all the time. It’s usually not malicious, just ingrained. And so I might be asked things like: ‘Ooh, is it daddy and son day today?’ or ‘Ah, bless, are you giving mummy a break?’ These questions are normally asked with a patronising nod – as though I am being humoured – like I’m the local fuckwit taking his pet brick for a walk.

When Charlie was very little, I was even asked a couple of times if I was ‘being mummy for the day’. To which I was tempted to respond, ‘Yes, apologies for the damp circles on my Def Leppard T-shirt, I’m currently lactating.’

This last example I find one of the strangest. It speaks volumes that there are people, in this very century, who would describe a man parenting as ‘being mummy for the day’. As though dads are not really parents but temporarily assuming the role and just putting on a costume like Mrs Doubtfire.

One thing is certain, Lyns would never be asked the same questions: ‘Is it mummy and son day today?’ or ‘Aww, bless, are you giving daddy a break?’ It just wouldn’t happen. There is a sense that this is the correct order of things.

Another variation on these questions I’m asked is: “So, where’s mummy today?’ This seems like a pretty innocent enquiry. But again, I doubt Lyns would ever be asked the same thing, just because she is out with Charlie alone. In truth, the subtext to this is obvious: ‘Where’s the real parent today numbnuts?’

I remember that the first time I was asked this particular question was by a cashier in Home Bargains and it confused me completely. When she casually inquired Where’s mum today?’ I genuinely thought she must know my own mother and was actually asking about her. It’s no wonder she looked so confused when I answered that she was at home and that she’d just phoned me to say that her arthritis was acting up, the neighbours were still acting suspicious and she couldn’t find her teeth.

(It is only in hindsight that I understand her horror. Particularly, when from her point of view I went on to mention that we’d just celebrated my wife’s seventieth.)

BABYSITTING?

Interestingly, Lyndsay is also asked questions that I would never hear if the positions were reversed. So if she is out alone and without Charlie she will often be asked: ‘Is dad/Matt babysitting today?’

Okay, I object to being called a ‘babysitter’ for a few reasons. Not least because I’m a forty-odd-year-old man and not a fifteen-year-old girl with braces, twirling her hair and covering her school books with pictures of Zayn from One Direction because he’s super dreamy (although, in fairness, he is super dreamy).

But my main problem with being called a babysitter is that it is to be considered something less than a parent. When I have Charlie I have exactly the same responsibilities that Lyndsay does. Important stuff like feeding him, watering him, changing him, making sure he doesn’t jump off a motorway bridge chasing a fucking bee, that sort of thing. And yet whereas Lyndsay is parenting, I can be described as ‘babysitting’.

And these are not my only objections. I also object because, and forgive me if I’m wrong, but one of the defining characteristics of a ‘babysitter’ is that they get paid. I do not get paid for looking after Charlie. Fair enough, I could write something touching here about how every moment with Charlie is priceless and I am paid in the glowing love of my child. But, yesterday I was’ paid’ by being shat on in Debenhams and by Charlie pouring his Ribena down the arse of my jeans as I was trying to retrieve a plastic stegosaurus from under the settee.

And this is the point: it’s hard this dad-babysitting lark, almost as hard as parenting. In fact, it is as hard as parenting because guess what? When I’m being shat on in Debenhams or lying on the floor having pissing Ribena poured down my arse-crack…it’s exactly the same fucking thing.

For me, a father is not a babysitter any more than a mother is. And there is a growing movement, that includes mums and dads, who agree that it is impossible to ‘babysit’ your own children. I’m not particularly militant about this sort of thing but they’ve got a point. Their slogan is ‘Dads don’t babysit, they parent’ and this is not just semantics. There is a problem with reducing a father to the role of babysitter and it’s not just that it might hurt a dad’s feelings (we can handle that shit, we’re men and into car engines and stuff…grr).

The real problem is that it suggests that a dad’s role is something lesser. That it is a novelty for a dad to look after his own kid. It is something outside the natural order. And those who suffer most from this attitude? Mums. It reinforces the idea that dads are a backup plan rather than 50/50 partners in parenting, the secondary alternative for when mums, like Lyns, want to go off and do something really selfish like be ill or work. Dads are the spare.

Well, Lyndsay isn’t selfish. I’m not the spare. And I don’t babysit.

Check out more of Matt’s musings at man-vs-baby.co.uk or follow him @manversusbaby

Man vs Toddler is available to buy from amazon.co.uk The paperback version will be out in September.

 

 

Friday Five Weekend 8-9 June


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.


WORLD OCEANS DAY
Horniman Museum
A free day of family fun at the Horniman as they celebrate World Oceans Day. Take part in an ocean-themed poetry competition, enjoy arts and crafts, an underwater themed story, and explore ocean objects with the museums curators.
Saturday
www.horniman.ac.uk

 

LONDON DOCK SUMMER FAIR
Wapping
London Dock celebrate the start of Summer with a free fair.  There will be street food stalls, a live band and children’s entertainment including fairground games.
Saturday
www.londondock.co.uk

 


STORYTELLING WITH MYLO FREEMAN
Discover Story Centre
Hear award-winning children’s author Mylo Freeman read her newest book ‘Princess Arabella is a Big Sister’ and watch how she draws and paints Princess Arabella and friends in this storytelling session for ages 4+.
Sunday
www.discover.org.uk

 

OPEN GARDEN SQUARES WEEKEND
Various locations in London
Some of London’s most beautiful gardens are opening up their gates for the public this weekend.  There will be plenty of activities for all of the family to enjoy in some of the best green spaces the city has to offer.
All weekend
www.opensquares.org

 

SUGAR FAMILY FESTIVAL
Museum of London Docklands
Make your way down to the Museum of London Docklands for a sweet weekend of workshops, arts, crafts and performances that explore our relationship with sugar.
All weekend
www.museumoflondon.org.uk

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

Friday Five Weekend 1-2 June


It’s time to check out our latest Friday Five – a handpicked selection of the best things to do with kids this weekend in London.

 


101 DALMATIONS
Barbican Cinema
The Barbican Cinema have joined forces with Battersea Dogs Home for a special Family Film Club screening of 101 Dalmations.  Be sure to drop by the Family Film Club Kiosk before the screening for some creative activities.
Saturday
www.barbican.org.uk