The British Library: Storytelling at its best

This was a special half term excursion for us, as they had a special storytelling event with craft. It had a Peter Pan theme which was perfect for us, as MiniMalik LOVES Peter Pan.

So off we trundled to see Peter Pan, not in costume as I struggled to whip something up in that short a time (pajamas had not occurred to me, despite how obvious!), and followed various costumed children in the walk from the underground station to the library.

On arrival we immediately went to listen the story telling, the story of Peter Pan  told by a magnificent story teller (Kevin Graal), all the children were completely captivated. After the story was finished, some of the children stayed upstairs to add to the crocodile and do other Peter Pan related crafts, but we followed the story teller downstairs.

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In a room downstairs the story continued with some riddles and participation, again all children were completely captivated!

The thing that impressed me the most was that the staff admitted that they were expecting perhaps 20 children, not the 60 or so, but they responded quickly and found a room and more activities for the children to do, without us parents noticing that it wasnt planned!

We didn’t get to see much of the rest of the library, although the toilets were great!

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.

V&A: Childhood Museum

This was the Malik family’s second visit to the museum this year. The first time we came for the ‘Great cloth diaper change’ and this time the main reason for the visit was to drop off some milk for a mummy in need. (Find out more about that here!)

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Both times MiniMalik had LOTS of fun in the sandpit (despite barely touching his sandpit at home!) and generally running around trying to find all his favourite toys in the different displays.

MicroMalik was big enough to join in a little this time, he sat in the corner of the lights for ages just watching them change!

We indulged in the cafe, which is a little more expensive than we usually go for, but still quite reasonable. MiniMalik had a fish finger sandwich and I had pumpkin soup, both of which were lovely. There is a picnic area downstairs, so next time that’s what i’ll be doing!

I had dressed MiniMalik in a yellow t-shirt, which usually makes him highly visible … not so much in amongst the crowds of school children wearing yellow tabards!

Oh Canada!

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MicroMalik and I headed off to Canada for two weeks to celebrate my little brother getting married! It was really hard leaving MrMalik and MiniMalik behind, but we had some great adventures.

Blue Mountain

We werent actually staying in the resort, but my brother and his new wife both previously worked in the resort and so I managed to visit parts of the site. The ‘village’ itself is a bit like butlins goes to Canada, lots of shops and family pubs with a man made lake in the center, it was really lovely to wander around at night with all the lights. On Labour day, which we were there for, they had a massive free fireworks show which was fabulous!

Niagra Falls

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We drove 4 hours each way to get to Niagra from where we were, but it was worth it! The falls itself are amazing, tv and film never do it justice. We stood at the top and worked our way along the side to where we could catch the ‘Maid of the Mist’. The boat is expensive, but totally worth it. They give you the rain macs included in the price and you’ll need them because it is wet and wild at the bottom of the falls! I was wearing MicroMalik on my front during the trip, so put the mac over both of us and made a hole for his head to pop out. Then I put a waterproof hat on him to keep the worst of the wet off. The water was dripping down his face but he didnt seem to mind! He got a bit scared when we first pulled up the falls as it is very wild, so we ducked behind the cab. There is a lull just after that which is great for the kids who are a bit nervous. As the boat pulls away it got wild again, so we hid!

The cottage

My sister-in-law is very lucky also that her family own a patch of land further north in the wilderness. They even have their own lake, and within 10 minutes of fishing I had caught my first fish! It was amazing being so far from cilvilisation and being able to actually see the stars, I have never seen so many in my life. We were quite near to Huntsville, which was another beautiful little town with some fabulous art.

Collingwood

This is the town that my new sister-in-law grew up in, its really lovely. They have a little craft and food market, the usual big chain shops and some independent gift shops. You can see the history in the buildings, just like in a western and if I shut my eyes very tightly I could almost see the cowboys riding down the street! They also have the most beautiful public library I have ever seen!  It is very close to Wasaga beach which is very well known as the longest fresh water beach in the world.

The details

There is NO public transport, so if you dont want to stay put, then you’ll need to hire a car.

Food is really quite expensive here, especially bread, milk & cheese, but its not too difficult to eat cheaply if you are creative

Tower of London

The Tower

The Tower

Last Christmas my brother gave us an amazing gift. He bought my little family a membership to the Tower of London. This membership also gives us access to Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace.  For free. It also gives us 10% off in the cafe’s and the gift shop. In short it’s amazing.  And it lasts for a year, from our first visit. Which was good for us, since we didn’t actually make it out to any of the five palaces until the end of August.

Now going to the Tower of London on the bank holiday Monday was a bit of a mistake. It was hot and crowded with lots of queues. But we still managed to enjoy ourselves. The line up for the Crown Jewels was excessively long, so we gave it a miss but did head to the White Tower and the Bloody Tower. Beans loved walking up and down all the spiral staircases, her mother less so.

 

The White Tower had lovely armour to admire, and full-sized horse statues. Each horse had it’s own unique facial expression, which was in quite the contrast to all the blank “faces” from the armour.  At the top of the tower was an amazing dragon made out of  weapons, jewels, armour, and scrolls.  It was my favourite thing of the day.

Family packs are available from the ticket desk and I recommend picking one up. Beans was pleased as punch to get her “Practicing Princess” badge and the workbook was age appropriate. It encouraged us to look out for all the wonderful animal statues scattered around the Tower, which gave our visit some direction.

I’m looking forward to visiting again. Perhaps when it’s not as busy.

 

Hyde Park: Isis Education Centre

On a sunny Wednesday the mobile mama’s headed into central London for the Isis Education Centre’s Discovery Day.  Throughout the summer the Education Centre has open it’s doors and provided free entertainment for young families.

IMG_9514The Isis Education Centre is located in the heart of Hyde Park,  and provides a natural oasis in the centre of London. They have been running “Discovery Days” this summer, inviting families to come in for Arts and Crafts, mini-beast hunting and plant “identifying.

IMG_9515The building itself is a lovely example of environmentally responsible architecture and the staff and volunteers are wonderfully welcoming. We started by making bee puppets and painting ladybird and butterfly pictures, before heading out into the garden for some mini beast discovery. The staff had set up several plastic containers with various wee creatures in them, but the part both MiniMalik and Beans enjoyed most was the bug habitat. There were several logs to look under and magnifying glasses were provided. One lucky girl found a toad (less lucky for the toad). We all got a good look at it before it was whisked away by a staff member to keep it safe.

IMG_9522 IMG_9519 IMG_9518The gardens surrounding the centre are full of herbs, flowers and trees. MrsMalik and I had some fun identifying the plants for the kids. There is also a gorgeous pond filled with interesting wildlife: newts, sea snails and slugs were all spotted.

IMG_9526After exploring the centre we had a picnic on the grounds of Hyde Park and then walked to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain. We let the big kids splash around while Sprout napped and MiniMalik people watched.

The Isis Education Centre has several different events throughout the year. Check out their website  for more information.