land of kids

Half term is always the best, apart from being about 5 weeks too short. And the fact that everyone else is on half term too, which means that anything even vaguely desirable to do in London is totally heaving and usually sold out 6 months before you've even thought of doing it. But despite this, we packed our sacks of snacks and braved a trip to the South Bank Imagine Children's Festival, not for the *awesome* Grandpa Joe's Giant Storytelling Bed for Roald Dahl tales & epic bouncing, because I absolutely didn't get my act together in time and it was long sold out. However, for mums like me there was the fabulous Land of Kids pop up - totally free and unbookable and all over the Royal Festival Hall. YAY! 


After fighting through the swarms of toddlers and buggies and agitated mums to park up and feed our gaggle buns and grapes and sandwiches (and ourselves very large coffees) until everyone was on a lovely blood sugar high and ready to rock, we headed up to Pirate School and let them loose. I haven't laughed so much in a long time, as the pirates dressed even little Indy in bandanas, patches and gold then led them on a rampage around the room ("Captain's coming! Scrub the decks!" etc). Lost & Found are the force behind the pirates, and I hear they even do parties so get in touch! The kids were too exhausted afterwards to even face the magical cardboard city building that we'd stuck on the agenda next, but seeing the vast kid-crafted cardboard kingdom stretching across the floor was pretty magnificent. Then it was off to get amazing churros and visit the baby animal petting zoo, cleverly avoiding the face painting…

Why can't half term be every week???

museum fail

Decided I'd be the best mum EVER this half term and make the effort to go on lots of adventures, or, failing that, do elaborate superfun crafty things. Monday morning rolled around in a cloud of extreme sleep deprivation and I mainlined some coffee and started frantically searching for something local and awesome. Nothing accessible was at all inspiring or age appropriate, and Pablo started asking to see "the dinosaurs". Heck, why not? It's actually rather easy to trundle down to South Kensington and delightfully free of charge. We got excited, got a magazine for the tube journey and made our merry way there. 

What an amateur mistake!! Even at half past ten in the ruddy morning there was a queue that went round the block just to gain entry to the museum. What kind of idiot goes to the Natural History Museum on the first day of half term? Well, many many kinds, apparently. Plus me. Once finally in somewhere half past eleven it was time so seek out a loo, somewhere to feed the baby, then track down an early lunch (thanks daylight savings!) SEVENTEEN POUNDS poorer after a couple of sandwiches, a second coffee and a strawberry smoothie for the boy and we could join another queue for an hour's shuffle towards the totally underwhelming dinosaur experience. Made faces and "nah-nah"s at the animatronic Rex to ease Pablo's nerves about him ("But why does he need batteries, mum? But why is he not real?") Waded through what felt like the entire population of Britain to grab a glimpse of the blue whale and, I hoped, render the whole day a bit more worthwhile. But it was just so average. I haven't seen much of the museum but it all feels so 80s and could-do-better. It reminded me of the depressing London Aquarium - a bit shabbier than it should be, in need of an upgrade. Is it that my childhood memories of the museums of Washington DC are very rose coloured, or are London's attractions just a bit...crap? And how can a museum that huge be so swamped with people at 10:30 on a Monday morning? It all felt so cramped and British. Either way, Pablo was exhausted but happy and kipped the whole way home. When he wasn't flicking through Metro. Hallelujah.