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.

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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.

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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Coram’s fields: Perfect for a picnic

It was predicted to be hot and sunny today, so we headed out, two mobile mamas, to Coram’s fields on the basis that they had a paddling pool!

It was a whole hour and a half after arriving that we realised the pool wasn’t operational, because we were far too busy having fun!

Beans and Mini Malik were ravenous upon arrival, so we picnicked first, and then made our way round the various play areas and to see the animals.

Coram's field'sThe play areas were great, they cater for a wide range of different ages and abilities with a great slide and zip wire!

Be warned – Its very popular with school groups as it does provide activities specifically for them, so you will have to play around them.

The security is good, as there is one gate for getting in and out. Adults are not allowed in without a child, but there was no one enforcing this when we were there.

The ‘city farm’ is not much more than a handful of chickens, some birds, rabbits and a sheep.

The toilets were great and there is a little shop selling drinks and food onsite.

They have a lot of events on, so its worth checking their website in advance and planning a few future events in your diary for the future, as well as a good place for ‘I NEED TO TAKE THE CHILDREN OUT’ days!

Beans and Mini MalikTo be honest, it was a lot smaller than I thought it would be, but this didn’t stop our two playing for over 3 hours!

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Micro Malik really enjoyed a taste of my apple

Mini Malik loved playing in the sand

Mrs Malik enjoyed having a leisurely picnic chatting to Beaniemum

Beans loved playing with a new friend

Beaniemum had fun chatting to Bean’s friend’s Mowhawked dad!

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Kit List;

Picnic blanket & picnic – It’s an ideal place to sit and eat and chat while the children play safely.

Swim kit and towel for water play (Check ahead!)

Bucket and spade for sand play

Bubbles!

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Count of the day; 5 Fabulous hairstyles