Good Friday was just spectacular! The weather was so good that I completely forgot to write up the Easter events round-up so my apologies but if you are still stuck on ideas for what to do with the family, check out the below.
I’ve been on annual leave for the second half of the Easter holidays and have been taking the kids out (will post on that shortly) but yesterday was a kid-free day for me. I went out with my sister to enjoy a trip to a very special museum and then took a stroll around Leadenhall Market. As it was Good Friday, a lot of the shops were closed but there was a lovely French bakery that was still open and a couple other eateries.
Get those trainers, walking shoes or wellies on and get ready to start exploring again as London and the rest of the UK gear up to leave lockdown 3.0 behind. There’s so many wonderful places you can visit outdoors that there’s no excuse not to head out for some fresh air and scenic sights.
The walkway by The Tide is now completed and looks magical in all its colourful glory, thanks to artist Liz West. More on how you can visit the walkway below. A lot of businesses are still shut until April 12th but it’s only a couple weeks away. Make the most of this time now by going to places you wouldn’t normally go to because we all know once the restaurants and cafes open, we’ll be finding ourselves a spot there as soon as we can or slotting in as many retail therapy moments as possible.
Whilst I couldn’t find any free Easter Egg hunt events in Greenwich this year (there’s one in Canary Wharf – see below), but there are Easter egg hunt events dotted about London. The Big Easter Egg Hunt in Chislehurst is our closest one on Saturday 3rd April, 2-4pm. More details and booking on Eventbrite. There’s also an Easter Adventure Quest for kids at Eltham Palace on now until April 18th but there’s a fee. Check out the website for more details.
Spring is here to bring us more sun, warmer days and outdoor events…
Greenwich Market re-opens April 1st 2021
FINALLY, the markets will be re-opening in just a couple days! Food stalls are scheduled to reopen April 1 however arts & crafts, vintage stalls and retail shops will reopen April 12 inline with government guidelines. The management team will be working hard to make sure the market is covid-safe but remember to also do your part by wearing your mask and social distancing whenever possible.
Crosstown Doughnuts have just launched their delicious Easter spiced doughnuts filled with cinnamon custard filling. YUMMY! These limited edition selection boxes are perfect for gifting. Pre-order now as they’re only available from March 29 to April 5.
Greenwich Peninsula has commissioned artist Liz West to create a new installation; Hundreds and Thousands for The Tide in 2021. The artwork wraps 700m of the walkway’s glass balustrades, creating a ribbon of undulating colour. Just in time as we transition from spring to summer.
To celebrate Hundreds and Thousands, will be a series of collaborative artistic responses exploring the human colour experience.
NOW Gallery will be welcoming one of the UK’s most pioneering young fashion designers, Nicholas Daley, to debut at the gallery. The fully immersive exhibition titled, RETURN TO SLYGO will celebrate the coming together of Nicholas’s multicultural Jamaican-Scottish roots with his passion for music in a multi-sensory installation.
Canary Wharf has a line of treats set up for us this Easter.
Their ongoing commission ‘Captivated by Colour’ by artist Camille Walala on the Adams Plaza Bridge is still on show. Following the success of London Mural Festival, Camille’s playful yet impactful design has now become a part of the city’s permanent art collection. If you’re visiting, make sure you get a shot before you leave, it’s a great backdrop for any selfie! There’s lots of artwork all around the estate, you can download their art map to find them all.
Secret Sunrise X Canary Wharf: Happy Egg-stravaganza
Saturday 3rd April, 9-10am
This family-friendly session will have you dancing and twirling this Easter weekend. Embark on an interactive adventure set out by the Canary Wharf team. All you need to join is a laptop or smart phone, some comfy clothes, and your dancing shoes on. The funkier the outfit the better!
From April 15th 2021 Thursday – Sunday at 12pm-6pm
It’s back! Test your putting skills on the colourful mini-golf course. With 9 holes to play through, including the classic ‘loop-de-loop’, the ‘death drop’, and many more trick shot opportunities this is the perfect place to show off your mini golf skills to friends and family.
London and the rest of the UK are still in lockdown, so a lot of us have been unable to see our partners since before Christmas. If you’re like me and live with your partner – this can be a good thing or a bad thing. Good because you get to see them every day, bad because you have to see them everyday and this year, you’re not going to get off Valentine’s Day lightly if you’ve not planned anything!
If you’re living separately, at least have a Skype date. My sister keeps in contact with her best friend who’s in the US by having Skype movie nights together. They will Skype call each other, then play their chosen movie at the same time so they can ‘watch it together’. For me that’s too strange, but apparently this is how long-distance relationships and lockdown life for partners living separately looks like right now.
Valentine’s Day is coming up this week so if you’ve not planned anything but want to do something, I’ve got 5 ideas you could try out. Nothing extravagant but enough to make it memorable. After all, it’s been a bad year so any excuse to go all out for an occasion, do it! In normal circumstances you could think it’s a little overboard but in a pandemic, it’s almost a necessity for our sanity.
Date night ideas in lockdown
1. Cook (or order) a romantic restaurant-worthy dinner together
Missing those fancy restaurant date nights? I do! Mainly because we only ever saved these kind of date nights for special occasions so that included V’Day and B’days. If you’re both great in the kitchen, you can cook a delicious meal from scratch – it’s also a chance to bond and do something enjoyable together.
If you rather take the stress of cooking and focus on the eating experience, order a dinner box instead. SquareMeal have compiled a decent list fancy restaurants that are delivering Valentine’s day meal kits straight to your door. Set the scene by placing candles around the house (if you have fairy lights place them on the table as a centrepiece) for a candlelit dinner experience.
If you just prefer the sweeter stuff, afternoon tea is another great date idea. Not really for the evening but it can be if you want it to! We can play by our own rules now in lockdown. Sketch London was one of my favourite places for afternoon tea because their menu was really exciting and tasty. They’re offering a special Valentine’s Day afternoon tea delivery but only for London as national UK deliveries are fully booked. Plus, the packaging is to die for, it’s so pretty! Perfect for a galentine’s date too!
2. Go rustic with a cheese board and wine night
Cheese board and wine is really simple and rustic take on a dinner date. You can usually throw it together at the last minute. Life As A Strawberry blog has a step-by-step visual post on how to set up your cheese board.
A good cheese board should have the following elements:
Selection of cheeses – soft cheeses (ie. brie, camembert, roquefort, stilton), hard cheeses (ie. cheddar, edam, gouda) and fruity cheeses (ie. cranberry, apricot and wensleydale)
Variety of carbs – bread, breadsticks, crackers, and savoury biscuits, oat cakes
Something sweet – dried fruits ie. apricots, cranberries or fresh fruits ie. grapes, strawberries, figs, melons, apples, jams and chutneys
Pair it up with a selection of good wines ie. red, white, rose; for non-alcoholic drinkers, you could pick out some fancy alcohol-free wine or just go simple with sparkling juices like Shloer. Don’t forget to have lots of water nearby, cheese boards have a massively high salt content so you’ll get thirsty. Keep hydrated.
3. Relax and unwind with an at-home spa day
Now this one may seem like a bit more effort (it probably is) but it’s no more than cooking a big meal. We all need a bit of self care at the moment and being able to enjoy a DIY spa day together can be an amazing bonding experience.
It can be as simple as running each other a relaxing bath soak and lighting scented candles, to DIY facials and massages. On The Beach have some top tips on how to set up the best couples spa day at home including recipes for homemade body scrubs. If you really want to push the boat out, you can even hire a hot tub at home, small businesses like Bubble of London offer this at home service in London and surrounding areas. They set up, install and take down the hot tub for you, from £100 a full day hire.
If you’re on Instagram, you can join leading British spa wellness brand, @AromatherapyAssociates at 4.30pm on February 14th for their 30 minute moments of mindfulness event on Instagram LIVE.
Living room raves are all the rage right now. If you love to party, what’s stopping you from doing it this Sunday night? Get dressed up and get your partner to do the same – might as well make an effort this one night. Put an amazing party playlist on, Spotify have brilliant ones and party the night away.
If you want to go all out, why not purchase an LED multi-light bulb that you can connect to Alexa or Google assistant and get the lights to sync to your music for the full-on rave experience. Get some drinks in and make your own DIY minibar. Learn how to make the classic cocktails here or if you want special Valentine’s Day concoctions here’s some inspiration:
Too tired by the evening? Start off the morning with amazing breakfast in bed instead. Not sure what to make? A delicious stack of pancakes and good coffee is simple yet effective at filling your belly. Or go healthy with a fresh fruit bowl, natural yoghurt and a smoothie or green juice.
If you prefer something more indulgent, try making eggs benedict with croissants and pastries on the side. If that’s too much, sometimes a simple full English breakfast fry up and a cup of tea hits the spot just right!
I hope you all have a good Valentine’s Day date night! Leave a comment if you have of your own suggestions too. X
NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link, I may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.
We’re not going to let lockdown take away our summer completely are we?! With the sun shining away this week, why not get into the kitchen and cook up a mean treat for your family at home this summer. There’s no need to go away just yet and a summer party or mini-BBQ at home might be the best way to go. If you have a slightly bigger space and are seeing people in your social bubbles, you could even try to organise a mini-festival!
I took the kids to visit a friend in our social bubble this week and she has a massive outdoor communal garden where we were able to create a mini-retreat space for the kids. We had a pool so the kids could take a dip when it got too hot, a healthy picnic lunch, games for the kids to play and we ended the evening with kids yoga. It was an awesome day and we all had an amazing time!
How to throw a sizzlin’ summer party…
Depending on how much effort you want to put in, you can still throw a decent party by doing the following:
setting the scene
save time by preparing easy to make food
get the music and drinks flowing
get out the party games
take photos to remember the day
Setting the scene: have a party theme
If you’re stuck for inspiration or your Google search is not you any justice, I’d highly suggest checking out Pinterest. It’s an amazing media platform where you’d find photos for absolutely anything. I usually like to do a brief search on Google before heading over to Pinterest to find examples of what my theme/concept is. There’s usually many variations and interpretations of “summer party idea” so try to be as specific as you can ie. ‘summer tropical party idea’ or ‘vintage summer party idea’.
If you’re also going to be hosting for friends and family in your social bubbles, it might be easier to use disposable party-ware but forget all the plastic stuff. Party-ware has officially stepped up their game with recyclable, compostable and biodegradable disposables so it’s more friendly to the environment.
Swap your plates, cutlery and straws for these beauties. They look so pretty too! I’ve found a whole range on Party Delights and Amazon offers both square and round plates.
I’ve got my eye on a super-cute children’s 6pc bamboo set on Amazon- they’re easy to wash and nicer to use than plastic tableware which we have quite a few of now.. no more breaks and chips woop woop!
Save time by preparing easy to make food
As much as I love to cook, I actually hate preparing food for a party. I find it’s too time consuming and so much planning need to go into it. I’d simply rather buy something already made well than trying to DIY for the first time, or get a caterer in. However, there are a few simple dishes that I love making for a party which don’t require too much time, I’ll have to upload my own recipes for some of these but here’s my list of easy-to-make dishes:
Need more recipe inspiration? Tesco have 10 quick BBQ recipes that are simple and easy to follow. They look super tasty too!
Get the music + drinks flowing
No party is a party without music. The easiest way is to connect your phone or electronic device to the speakers and you’ve got your own sound system. You can also play music straight from your TV if the speakers are loud enough. We have our own mini speaker that’s mega-powerful for its tiny size. Forget all those big name brands, the name you need to know is ANKER. My friend told me about this brand and I’ve not looked back since. I got my SoundCore bluetooth speaker for a third of the price I would’ve paid for a Sony speaker. Simply connect it to bluetooth on your phone and that’s it – music! On my phone I use Spotify and another music app to play YouTube videos so I can use my phone whilst the music plays.
Having a variety of drinks at your party is a good idea. We’re not drinkers in our house so I’m not sure what is the best one to choose but from what others have told me, summer alcoholic beverages are a treat, such as PIMMS, strawberry daiquiri cocktails, rum punch, sangria, and prosecco. Binary Botanical offer a range of gluten-free, vegan beers
If you’re T-Total like us, then these drinks might quench your thirst:
Alcohol-free alcohol – Kopparberg do an alcohol-free cider, Shloer is another great supermarket name and alternative to wine, Seedlip offer a premium range of alc-free botanical gins. For mocktail lovers, try Sipling cocktails which are alc-free and Outfox for a range of non-alc wines
lemonade and ginger beer are summer party staples – I love the shop bought stuff but if you want to get more involved, try making your own homemade version
summer fruit smoothies – The Honestly Good Smoothie Co. for ready-to-blend smoothie bags help cuts down prep time and saves on wastage
naturally spiced soft drinks – with choices like tamarind, ginger and sorrel, Carisips have got you sorted
Get out the party games
Party games are fun for everyone. Best children’s games include giant ring toss, giant snakes and ladders or connect-4. You can usually purchase these from Argos. Other kids games that only need a few or no props include:
team races – eg. relay race, egg and spoon race, sack race
hide & seek
who am I (using post-its or sticky labels)
We nabbed a cheap plastic kids bowling set for £5 from a cheap store. If you want games that won’t cost a penny, Thifty Parent and Buzz Feed have a decent list of games you can play.
Take photos to remember the day
Take photos of the day to remember either on your phone, tablet or electronic device. Snapfish (10cm x 13cm) and SuperSnaps (6.7cm x 7.7cm) offer retro square prints that have that cool, polaroid picture effect to make your day really memorable. I’m still torn on getting an INSTAX square camera for Little Man’s birthday but that’s an extra splurge I don’t think I want to get into.
I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by. We’ve all been experiencing highs and lows. We’re trying our best to stay sane. Hoping normality will return soon. Summer is starting to arrive but we’ll see how long it’ll last.
So what’s been going on the blog?
10K Blog Views
Last month was the most visitors the blog has had… EVER! We reached a record of 10,000 views and I am so thankful for all the people who passed by. Seriously, I never thought I would get that many views to the blog – whether it’s a one-off or ongoing, it’s too soon to tell but I hope it’s the latter!
I’ve also been trying to make some vlogs again – I need A LOT of practice and my editing skills are still very poor but practice makes progress right? The video is a hair post on my wash day routine, I will upload this to a blog post soon as I originally uploaded it to a previous wavy hair routine post but that one’s becoming a bit long to read IMO. For a sneak peak, here’s a photo of how my hair’s looking so far if you’re interested. It’s getting a little more defined and after three years… I’m thankful for the process. It’s a long one for sure but saying that, I’ll not go back to my old ways. 🙂
July was the start of the children’s school holidays and I am thankful we don’t have the pressure of homeschooling right now but I would love to do a little more. Only because I feel like if Little Man doesn’t get in his daily learning, he might struggle when he goes back to school. We use Purple Mash (school login details) and Little Man loves a bit of coding and lego-building throughout the day. I’ve recently gotten him into Minecraft the game as he loved Minecraft coding but I’m thinking that may have been a wrong move as he’s watching Minecraft building tutorials more than actually playing it. Who knows?
I have a few things I need to get my butt in gear for – including another beauty box review and video, more hair videos and more posting in general. I’m coming down with the travel bug and really want to go away but with the current situation in the UK, travelling may have to be put on hold until 2021 but at least I can share my travel plans with you in the meantime.
What we did last year:
Last year we visited Disneyland Paris for mine and Little Man’s birthday which was AMAZING! We will definitely be back but when, we’re not yet sure as it did cost us a lot of money and we just don’t have that kind of money available to make it a yearly thing or go for a longer stay just yet. I also have my eyes set on returning to Ibiza or perhaps one of the Canary Islands as Little Man had his first holiday there, it would be nice to take Little Miss to Spain for the first time too.