Yes, another photo of Richmond Park. You might be thinking that I work for their PR department, but I do not. The park is just so close by and I have been going on weekly walks with my mummy friends. There is nothing better than going for a walk on a sunny day. I have been trying to take different routes to try and see as much of the park as possible. On Tuesday, I came upon this bit of beauty. Between the trees, the light and the leaves on the ground, I was left in awe of the autumnal loveliness.
Cheers to dining out as a family! Eating out used to be quite tough, but the boy has mellowed quite a bit in the past few months. And now our weekly trips to restaurants are no longer limited to pizza and burgers (yessss!). Last weekend we tested this further by going to Bubba Gump's Shrimp Co in central London.
If the name sounds familiar, it is because it is a tribute to the Forrest Gump film. I vaguely remember Forrest and his friend discussing a million types of ways to cook shrimp. And then Forrest made loads of money fishing shrimp. To tell you the truth, I probably would never have gone to this restaurant if they hadn't invited me and my family. The truth is, it sounded really touristy. And it is. But, in a way that my family enjoyed.
If you live in London or Surrey, you will have heard of Chessington World of Adventures. It is a fab theme park that also has a zoo, aquarium and petting zoo. Last year we went for Howloween, their cool Halloween celebrations during the October half-term. As part of our visit, we spent the night at the Chessington Safari Hotel.
We wouldn't normally think to spend the night at a Chessington hotel (the park has two adjacent hotels: Safari and Azteca), as it is only a 20-25 minute drive away from our house. But as we were offered a room for our review of the theme park, we thought it would be a great idea to check out the amenities. My children love staying in hotels, but a hotel that is decorated in a spooky fashion is even more exciting. They also loved that they had a little nook for their beds AND A TV. Husband and I enjoyed our comfy double bed and the complimentary WI-FI.
There is so much to do in London. If you're planning a mini-break or a day visit this half-term, I have noted some fun family outings. For you Londoners, you could even visit all these places. I have sneakily added a Surrey attraction because if you live in south London, Surrey is a breeze to get to.
Who doesn't love Quentin Blake? Besides his gorgeous illustrations for Roald Dahl books, he has written and illustrated a fair number of books. And one of his books, Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave, has now been made into a fun family show. If you're not familiar with the Mrs Armitage books, she has a few adventures - on the road and on wheels. And her ordinary but extraordinary adventure surfing a big wave does not disappoint.
We went to see Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave at Watermans arts centre in Brentford. It is such a lovely venue, with a restaurant, cinema and theatre, and parking. The play consisted of two actresses who took on the roles, along with a screen as the background. The show is recommended for children up to eight years old. My four-year old and eight-year old both loved it. Moozles and Dubz thoroughly enjoyed the 60-minute show. Not only was it entertaining but it sparked their imaginations.
Did I ever mention that my family and I love an American diner? Many years ago, when I first moved to the UK, I would drag Husband around London looking for acceptable American fare. I needed to know where I could get burgers, milkshakes and pancakes if I had an urgent craving. Fourteen years ago, there were only a handful of places to get American-style food. Nowadays, they are everywhere. There are now more American restaurants and diners in London than I have fingers and toes. One place we have frequented a few times is Ed's Easy Diner.
If you're not familiar with Ed's, it is a chain of 1950s-style American diners. They have booths, as well as tables, cute jukeboxes and My family and I last went about five months ago. My son has recently become obsessed with cheeseburgers, and we're all fans, so it makes life easier to eat at restaurants where they serve cheeseburgers. Recently, the people from Ed's invited us for a family meal to check out their new junior menu.
Dining out with kids is made so much easier with a great children's menu. Ed's Junior Bites is made for kids 10 and under. For £5.95, you get a main, side and a drink. One issue I have with many children's menus is that there is enough food for my 4-year old, but my 8-year old ends up still hungry. I would rather the kids had more proper food and less dessert. At Ed's, my 8-year old was properly full while my 4-year old had food remaining. Take note other restaurants!
I have had one of those weeks. You know, the ones that make you drown your sorrows in gin and chocolate?! Except I am taking a break from sugar so I needed to find a replacement. So I've gone on a couple of walks in Richmond Park with my mummy friends. The fresh air, lovely scenery and sunshine have lifted my spirits. Plus it always helps to talk things out with your friends. Free therapy, no calories consumed and loads of calories burned. Noting better than walking your worries away.
You know how I love beauty treatments in the comfort of my own home? My favourite thing is getting a massage. My body never recovered from my second pregnancy (and pelvic girdle pain) and I seem to constantly have aches and pains. So today, while my children were at school, a lovely lady named Nicki from Urban Massage came to my house and gave me the best deep tissue massage ever.
A few months ago I was desperate for a massage, and as my regular beauty therapist was on holiday, I quickly booked something online. When the masseuse arrived the next day, she didn't bring a massage table (I obviously missed the small print) so I had to have my massage on my bed (and of course my bedroom was a mess). The whole experience left a lot to be desired. So I was intrigued when Urban Massage got in touch last month to ask me to try out their services.
My family and I love an outing. And there is always extra excitement when we go somewhere for the first time. After a few months of hearing how lovely The Magic Garden is at Hampton Court Palace, we finally went for a visit a few weeks ago. First of all, I should probably explain what a magic garden is. It's not really a garden, and there isn't technically any magic. It's not a proper playground, but it's more than just some artificial grass.
The Magic Garden is a play area tucked in the splendour of Hampton Court Palace's grounds. There is a big dragon for the children to climb on, a cute tree house to climb and sandpits for them to play in. Kids can climb, slide and roll around. Moozles and Dubz spent 90 minutes of non-stop activity. Their favourite bit was sliding down the grassy hills. They did this for ages, and even managed to get Husband and me in on the sliding fun. We only managed to drag Moozles and Dubz away with the promise of lunch in the cafe and a wander in The Maze.
I have mentioned that Dubz has been obsessed with superheroes for the past year. So when I saw an advert for the Marvel Universe Live show, I knew we had to take him. Last weekend we told him that we were having a surprise day out, and we made our way to North Greenwich tube station. In the two-minute walk to the O2, we saw several mini-superheroes. Dubz asked if we were going to a superhero show. The secret was out!
Marvel Universe Live is a fun family show. The show is centred around superheroes trying to find the Cosmic Cube fractals that the baddies are trying to use for no good. Crowd favourites include Spider-man, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Wolverine. Thor's brother Loki was the head villain and proved quite menacing. Both Dubz and Moozles were quite scared in the beginning and clutched onto me for dear life. But then the Avengers starting kicking, punching and fighting, and my kids were enthralled.