Crystal Palace park – The maze

Despite having been to this park more times than I can count, we only made it to the maze very recently. Possibly only because we set out specifically to find it, and im glad we did!

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There are markers set out around the paths that you find to help you on your way – the different symbols of the girl guides. Not that it stopped us running round in circles!

I was on the verge of giving up, and was trying to find a way out, when I discovered a new path that (finally!) took us into the heart of the maze.

Its great fun! Mini Malik and I raced round the different paths, taking turns to find dead ends and find the right way, while MrMalik trailed behind as MicroMalik was in the buggy.

DONT take your buggy! The paths are loose pebbles, so it’s a pain in the bum!

When you finally get to the center, the maze is mapped out on the floor with the different marker stones and is a great place for a picnic.

Alternatively, you could go straight to the center of the maze first, through a special gate that you’ll see as you enter the maze. The center is a lovely place, very peaceful and quiet.

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South Norwood Country Park

As a Canadian, I am always surprised to see totem poles in the UK.

As a Canadian, I am always surprised to see totem poles in the UK.

A few weeks ago, long before the weather turned, we were having a lazy Sunday at home.  Well at least we were trying to.  Beans was bouncing off the walls and Sprout was restlessly crawling around the lounge. Neither BeanieDad nor I were feeling particularly ambitious and didn’t really want to head too far, but an outing was desperately required. So after lunch we decided to go for a walk to South Norwood Country Park.

I’ve been meaning to head to this park since we moved to the area a year ago.  We live less than a mile from it and the website made it sound wonderful.  I made us walk there too, just to make sure my darling 3 year old burned off as much energy as possible.

Beans on the slide at the playground.

Beans on the slide at the playground.

The park is made up of several acres of woodlands and meadows. There’s also a lake and wetlands. The playground is new and extensive. There was lots of different equipment for all age groups, as well as a two small wooded areas perfect for hide and seek and exploration.

It’s also a foragers dream. Most of the paths are lined with blackberry bushes and we also spotted apples, plums, rose hips and elder flowers.  I’m sure there was much more that my untrained eye missed.

Beans hanging out in the woodland.

Beans hanging out in the woodland.

There’s a great lake, with lots of wildlife, as well as streams throughout the park.  The pathways are perfect for wondering and talking your time, and the city seems far away. It was lovely to have a little bit of the country so close to home.

On the way home I described it as the hidden jewel of South London, but Beans insisted that she was in fact the hidden jewel of South London. So there.

Coombe woods: Some Foresty Fun

Coombe woods has the best of both worlds, beautiful gardens and a fantastic bit of forest!

The Maliks all went out for a picnic expecting just a bit of woodland, (We are having a series of picnics instead of a family holiday this year as I’m off to Canada for my brothers wedding with MicroMalik) but were greeted with a beautifully mature rockery garden, pond and lawn with HUGE beautiful borders.

We started out with our picnic on the ‘broad lawn’, enjoying the gorgeous flowers in the borders, then packed it away to explore the woods.

These woods and paths are really unsuitable for buggies, so don’t even try! You will have much more fun exploring with a toddler, or a baby in a carrier. Check out our post on being mobile with baby here.

We really enjoyed climbing the stairs, clambering over trees and just enjoying a beautiful forest.

After the woods we then explored the more ‘tamed’ parts of the garden, the pond with huge fish and lilly pads, the rockery garden with little stream and more!

Its a perfect trip for the family, as long as you are all fairly mobile!

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Brixton Village: A busy market

One Saturday morning, the boys and I headed into Brixton to check out the market! Its not the first place you’d think of to take a pair of under 5s, but we had quite a fun little morning out.

There are a wide range of shops, boutiques and stalls selling everything from bespoke art, to chicken feet and everything in between!

We stopped for lunch at this little cafe WAG – ‘Wheat and gluten free’, for a cuppa and some toast. Mini Malik was a bit confused as to why his toast wasn’t ‘proper toast’, but ate the whole lot anyway, and I happily breastfed on a busy market street! The staff were lovely and even didn’t charge us for Mini Malik’s milk! Fabulous.

We picked up all the fruit and veg we needed, plus some goodies from the health food store, doing lots of learning and stopping to chat to different people on the way!

If you’re struggling to get kids to eat fruit and veggies, take them out to a big market and let them choose from all the wondrous produce. We even got to try some sugar cane!

Its not a fun place for a buggy, much better to have the freedom of a carrier for this one!image

Sydenham wells park: Fabulous play fountain

It was a beautiful day, so the Malik family decided to head for some water. I had been told that Sydenham Wells had a play fountain, so we went to check it out.

We set up our picnic under a mature maple tree and attempted to persuade MiniMalik to eat some picnic before he went off to play!

Its a lovely park, with a playground with a good variety of play equipment and water play fountains. I had the foresight to pack swim kit for MiniMalik, so he played all afternoon in his trunks!

There is a good sized playground, lots of grass and shady trees, an under 5s park (which didn’t look great), bits of cultivated garden and a putting green and nature area which we didn’t go to.

As we were leaving we realised that we couldn’t see MiniMalik … He had taken off his trunks and was playing naked on the swing!

Apologies for the lack of pictures, we were so busy having fun that we forgot!