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.

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.

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!

Grangewood park: You’d never know it was there!

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On our way into Croydon we always drive past this park, so this time we thought we would explore it, and Im so glad we did!

The best of both worlds with a dense forest area with pavement paths, perfect for buggies, fallen trees and plenty more for some nature play. There was a playpark, not fantastic but pretty good, and some cultivated garden for a bit of picturesque picnicing.

MiniMalik really enjoyed climbing fallen trees, being able to RUN and just playing in the dirt.

MrMalik and MicroMalik even shared a picnic blanket snooze whilst MiniMalik played in the dirt and MrsMalik collected some seeds from the flowers (My new hobby; seed foraging for our empty garden!).2013-08-19 12.26.57

Folkestone: Tunnel slides by the sea!

I decided that we should make use of the beautiful weather and head out beach wards, so on a recommendation to me by my local mum’s Facebook group, we went to Lower leas coastal park because her daughter raved about the slides for weeks!

Car parking was good, great access to the play park from there.

The playground was really good, caters from babies right up to pre-teens, with slides, sand, climbing walls, a pirate ship, those little diggers that you sit on and move the sand around (Mr Malik liked those! And he went down the slides several times!)

The seaside was lovely too, mostly pebble with patches of sand. Mini Malik put on his swim suit and went straight into the sea! We brought our beach tent, but didn’t put it up as there was no wind at all. There was a little sandpit further up the beach, perfect for building sand castles.

The little cafe was lovely too, with chips (Pretty cheap!), ice cream (Not so cheap) and the usual seaside delicacies.

If you are desperate for a decent play area, with a dip in the sea as an added bonus, then this is the place for you! Also, if you’re holidaying in the area, then pop it onto your to-do-list.

Mini Malik also raved about the ‘Tunnel Slides’ for weeks!

For a kit list, see my previous seaside post – here

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Streatham Kite Festival

Thanks to the wonderful British Summer we’re having the Streatham Kite Festival was postponed from its original date in April to June.  We were grateful though, since it made a wonderful day out for Father’s Day. IMG_8988

It was a bit rainy and dark when we arrived, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. There were gigantic salamander and alien kites featuring in the main arena when we arrived and there were several dotting the skyline from the hill behind. The first thing we did was take stock of the various tents. There were a few selling kites (of course), a face painting tent (at a steep £5 per face) and many food tents. Beans immediately gravitated to a kite tent and picked out a pretty butterfly kite.

We didn’t have a lot of luck keeping it up in the air for an extended period of time. IMG_8934But we had a lot of fun trying. When we weren’t failing at flying our kite Beans loved watching all the other kites and guessing what they were. We saw seagulls, octopuses, dragons, bats, and many many more. There were also some shows in the main arena including a very talented man who made three kites dance through the sky all at once.

Even though the aromas from the food tents were quite tempting, the rain was beginning to fall a bit more heavily; so we chose to head across the street to one of the many restaurants across from the common. The Waterfront restaurant was very cleverly advertising 2 pizzas for £15, and we weren’t the only family taking advantage. IMG_8948

The sun came out while we were eating, so we headed back to the festival. The playground at Streatham Common is absolutely brilliant, with climbing frames for all ages (including one in the shape of a rocket ship) and a sunken cement pool that several children were kicking footballs in.

I highly recommend this festival and we’ll definitely be returning next year!

IMG_8964Beans loved running around with her kite.

Sprout loved watching her.

Beaniemum liked seeing all the kites.

Beaniedad liked flying a kite with his daughter on Father’s Day.

Kit:

Picnic and picnic blanket

Kite

Snacks

A bit of cash for ice cream