My family and I were invited to Kidzania this Easter. And since Moozles and I love it, we decided to take Husband and Dubz along. And right now, in honour of WrestleMania34, there are some WWE-related activities in addition to all the regular fun stuff. So we knew Dubz would enjoy himself.
Located at Westfield in Shepherd's Bush, Kidzania is a city (all indoors) made for children. Before arriving, you queue as if you're at the airport. Children are given 50 Kidzos each, which they can use to spend on fun activities or save and earn more money through jobs. It's probably one of the few times your child will want to work. Dubz started off as a policeman while Moozles worked at the library and then a hotel. Then she became a surgeon while he went to work at the Cadbury chocolate factory.
Okay, you obviously can't have a dinner party without cooking. But you don't have to be the one doing the cooking. At least that's what I discovered last month. The lovely folks from La Belle Assiette offered to send a chef to my house so that I could host a dinner party with minimal effort. You all know that my kitchen skills are basic, and this service seemed to be made for me. So I invited three of my lovely mum friends over for some dinner and plenty of party.
When you book with La Belle Assiette, you choose your date and time as well as the menu you'd like. Menus start at £39 per person for up to six people. And that's the most work you'll have to do (apart from making sure you are well stocked on wine and Prosecco). The chef will contact you to confirm arrangements and menu. As I am lactose-intolerant, I made sure the menu would have milk substitutions.
My son is in Year One, and this term they are learning about space. Dubz is constantly talking about the Milky Way galaxy, so we thought a family trip to the planetarium was in order. It turns out that London's only planetarium is located in Greenwich (south east London). We decided to combine our visit with the National Maritime Museum, as well as sneak in a boat ride and lunch. And what a fun day it was.
If like us, you live in south west London, you may know that it's a bit of a pain to go from west to east London. But sometimes you have to bite the bullet, especially when there's a cool attraction that you don't want to miss. So, after we arrived at Waterloo, we decided to take the Jubilee line to Canary Wharf, and then hop onto the DLR to Greenwich. While the latter offers lovely views to Greenwich - this ended up taking 45 minutes. It would have taken half the time if we had just taken two trains from Waterloo East. But sometimes it's nice to take the scenic route.
One thing that I love about Kingston-upon-Thames is that there is always something going on. Sometimes, when we have no plans, and we don't feel like staying home, we just pop into the town centre looking for fun. A few weeks ago we had a free Saturday so we went to check out the grand opening of The Entertainer in the Bentall Centre, Kingston.
To celebrate it's opening, The Entertainer had free face painting and character visits (Dubz was especially excited about Batman and Robin Lego). And of course, there was the lovely new shop. Somehow, Dubz managed to get us to buy him a new box of Ninjago Lego. That boy is Lego-mad. And since my daughter could not be left out, I took her to Claire's to buy new earrings. In exchange for their new things, I made everyone walk around Zara with me (cue evil laugh, muwharrr).
January was so cold and grey. And I was off the booze, which didn't help. But come the 31st January, it was time for some fun. Some of my mum friends and I went to Wimbledon Park to check out the opening of NYEAT - a new restaurant and cocktail bar. We were quite eager to enjoy American cuisine and sample lovely cocktails.
Actually, after over four weeks of abstaining from alcohol, I was afraid to try a cocktail. I had a gin and tonic (with Brooklyn Gin - amazing!). My friends were drinking mojitos and porn star martinis, and I have to admit being a bit jealous. But as I felt buzzed off one G&T, I knew I made the right choice. NYEAT offers a huge array of cocktails. I'll need to go back when I can handle booze again.
Every year, my family and I visit RHS Wisley to see their annual butterfly exhibit. There is something so extraordinary about living in the UK but being able to see loads of exotic butterflies. It's not an everyday occurrence, which is probably why it feels so special.
It's one thing seeing a couple of butterflies out in the open. But at The Glasshouse at Wisley, you will find so many more. They have over 50 species of exotic butterflies. Some are flying around, some are resting leaves and trees, and some are munching on old fruit. You probably won't spot more than 20 species, but it's fun trying. You can get a butterfly spotting guide for £1, which is a big hit with the kids.
Before I moved to the area, I knew that Kingston-upon-Thames was known for its shopping. And in the last few years, it has gotten even better. And it's not just shopping. There are restaurants, cafes, as well as pubs, bars and a delightful theatre. There is so much that you could easily, and happily, do to spend a day in Kingston.
A few weeks ago, I took Moozles and Dubz to enjoy some of what Kingston has to offer. We started off in the Bentall Centre. It is an indoor mall housed in a gorgeous building. And it houses some of my favourite homeware shops (Zara, H&M and West Elm). We are currently renovating our house, and I have been spending a lot of time exploring the internet for gorgeous items for my home. But sometimes you just need to get to a shop and see things in real life.
It's been a bit tough feeling festive this year. Our home renovations still haven't finished, and we don't even have a Christmas tree. But on Friday, we took the time out for some family fun in Kingston. The kids and I went shopping at Bentalls and had afternoon tea at the Hilton Doubletree. Husband then met us at the Rose Theatre to watch Alice in Winterland.
Fans of Lewis Carroll will be familiar with both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Alice in Winterland is a combination of both books. Alice's world is falling apart and all she wants to do is stop time. Her journey to Wonderland helps to show her how important it is to move forward and to accept change. The show had some really touching moments, but there were plenty of exciting moments and fun songs.
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Normally I hold off on Christmas conviviality until after Thanksgiving (this Thursday), but last week I kicked things off a little early. I took Moozles and Dubz into Kingston to check out the Christmas Lights Switch On. We had never been to a switch on ceremony before so we were keen to go.
There is actually more than just lights in Kingston, though the lights and big tree are very pretty. There is a lovely Christmas market full of things to eat and to buy as gifts (for others and for yourself). The Alpine Village has a bar as well as some delicious food. We ate burgers and bratwurst, as well as waffles and mini Dutch pancakes. There are some tables, but getting a seat depends on how busy the market is. I would expect weekend evenings to be heaving.
A couple of weeks ago, we were surprised with a sunny, warm weekend day. We were determined to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine. We remembered that a few months ago we had gotten a family membership to the Historic Royal Palaces. We had only used it once so decided to visit Hampton Court Palace again.
If you're not familiar with Hampton Court Palace, it is the former residence of Henry VIII. It is incredibly beautiful and grand. But if you have young children, you may want to skip the palace itself and just enjoy the stunning grounds. We did go inside the palace, but only for about 20 minutes. The sunshine was calling us.