The Wandering Mother Blog - Free Family things to do in Greenwich this Easter bank holiday weekend

What’s On: Easter events for the family this bank holiday weekend!

Family things to this Easter weekend

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.

The Wandering Mother Blog - What's On: Family events this Easter bank holiday weekend
Stumbled upon this beautiful Easter decorative arch inside Leadenhall Market!
Continue reading “What’s On: Easter events for the family this bank holiday weekend!”
The Wandering Mother Blog | Chinese New Year Craft Activities

February Feels: this month in photos…

Celebrating Lunar New Year festivities

Chinatown, Soho

Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year/Spring Festival ‘Tet’ to Vietnamese) was a joyous celebration in London for the first time post-covid. The lion dance was back for a short appearance on 01 February which Little Miss had the honour of watching. I have never taken the kids to watch the CNY celebrations at Soho before – simply because it was always too busy – but this year, it was slightly less of a crowd but still busy enough to showcase its bustling atmosphere.

The Wandering Mother Blog | February Feels
Little Miss in front of the beautiful cherry blossom display in Soho, London
Continue reading “February Feels: this month in photos…”
The Wandering Mother Blog | News: Waterproof and Wellies Project

BRISTOL PRIMARY SCHOOL IS FIRST TO RECEIVE WATERPROOF AND WELLIES KITS TO AID OUTDOOR LEARNING

The Waterproof and Wellies Project, part of The Outdoor Guide Foundation, is raising £5m to provide State Primary Schools with outdoor clothing & wellie boots to enable children to learn about and enjoy the outdoors.

Four Acres Academy, Withywood, is the first school to benefit from the Waterproof & Wellies Project, launched by TV presenter Gemma Hunt from CBeebies.

TV presenter, Gemma Hunt from CBeebies plays with the children at Four Acres Academy
Children at Four Acres Academy are the first to receive their wet weather gear from the Waterproof & Wellies project, Bristol

Government figures show there are over 20,000 primary schools in the UK in which a number of families do not have easy access to the right gear to enjoy the outdoors.

The project, part of The Outdoor Guide Foundation, aims to raise £5m to provide 10 sets of high-quality outdoors kit, consisting of a waterproof jacket, trousers and welly boots to every state primary school across the country over the next six years.

Children in Bristol are getting wet and muddy thanks to the Waterproof & Wellies project which is part of The Outdoor Guide Foundation

TV presenter Gemma Hunt from CBeebies, mother of a four-year-old daughter and outdoor enthusiast, says, “I am thrilled to be supporting this and encouraging more children to get outside. The kits provide the basic gear that will allow children to have wonderful outdoor experiences when at school, whatever the weather!”

Headteacher of Four Acres Academy, Matthew Cave said: “When we have taken learning outdoors we have seen amazing results – the children are engaged in the tasks, cooperate brilliantly and really enjoy this part of their curriculum. We’re delighted to be working with The Waterproof and Wellies Project, ensuring that all our children can experience the benefits of playing and learning in the great outdoors.”

Jumping in muddy puddles is always fun!

“Lack of access to weatherproof clothing is a real barrier for children engaging in outdoor learning. The Waterproof and Wellies Project aims to democratise access to the great outdoors by donating 10 kits to every state primary school in Britain, meaning all kids can join their classmates for fun, fresh air and adventures in nature.”

Gina Bradbury Fox, co-founder of The Outdoor Guide (TOG)

Keep Britain Tidy, a partner of The Outdoor Guide, donated litter pickers and reusable TOG litter bags to Four Acres Academy, encouraging children to care for the world around them and keep their local area clean and ready for play as part of their Great British Spring Clean campaign which aims to encourage everyone to pick up litter.

Gemma Hunt with the children from Four Acres Academy enjoying their new waterproofs and wellies!

London’s Most Beautiful Parks for a Summer Picnic

As the UK is on the roadmap out of lockdown, rule of six regulations are reintroduced and the sun is starting to shine. As we take advantage of finally being able to see friends and family outdoors again, it is important we choose the right spot to help maintain social distancing guidelines.

With 3,000 of London’s parks to choose from, researchers at Essential Living can tell you which of London’s parks are ideal for a summer picnic. Taking the Ordnance Survey list of biggest parks, the team have extracted the six largest within Greater London to reveal where you can relax and enjoy your long overdue catch up with the comfort of large space.

Here are London’s 6 largest parks:

Richmond Park, Greater London – 9.53km²

Image: Royal Parks

Richmond Park, situated in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, is the largest of London’s Royal Parks with an impressive size of 9.53km², meaning it may be the best place to go for social distancing. 

Essential Living has calculated that it could fit a whopping 684,788 visitors with everyone maintaining two metres between each other. 

Along with its wide open spaces, grasslands and deer herds, there is the Pen Ponds Cafe, located near Broomfield Hill. Serving a wide range of hot and cold snacks and beverages, you are spoilt for choice with bacon rolls and freshly brewed coffee followed by ice cream and biscotti.

Hainault Forest Country Park – 3.62km²

Hainault Forest Country Park is a Country Park located in Greater London. With 3.62km² of space this park is perfect for keeping your distance from others, whilst still enjoying its open space parklands, numerous public footpaths, Hainault Forest Golf Club and Fox Burrow Farm.

If you run out of snacks or refreshments, you can nip to Le Bistro Loco for some freshly ground coffee, locally baked patisseries and hot paninis and sandwiches, which you can enjoy in the spacious outdoor seating area. 

Bushy Park, Greater London – 3.45km²

Linked to Hampton Court Palace by the Longford River, Bushy Park is famed for its mix of waterways, gardens and grassland, and roaming herds of red and fallow deer. With 3.45km² of open space, maintaining social distancing isn’t an issue.

The Pheasantry Cafe refreshment point is located at the Diana Car Park, open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm in the winter. You can tuck into their traditional bacon rolls or a variety of sandwiches and hot dogs, whilst washing it down with a freshly brewed continental coffee or a nice refreshing fruit smoothie.

Hampstead Heath 3.16km²

Hampstead Heath is one of London’s most popular open spaces with beautiful countryside, located just four miles from Trafalgar Square, the heath has some of the best views and highest points in London for everyone to enjoy. 

Open from 9 am until dusk, the Golders Hill Park Refreshment House is ideal for a quick healthy lunch bite to eat, offering takeout soups, pasta pots and salads. Customers have also mentioned their great cappuccinos and comfortingly hot cups of tea for the perfect winter warmer. 

Wimbledon Common – 2.90km²

Wimbledon and Putney Commons are countryside escapes amidst the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, Putney and Kingston-upon-Thames. The Commons offers 1,140 acres of calm and tranquillity amid the urban surroundings of Wimbledon, providing an important home for wildlife and a place for visitors to relax and unwind. 

Next to the famous Windmill Museum, the Windmill Tearooms is the perfect pit-stop for a refreshing bite if you are on a relaxing summer stroll. They continued to provide for walkers despite lockdown, offering a choice of hot and cold drinks as well as their selection of homemade cakes, tray bakes and famous bread pudding.

Hampton Court Park – 2.59km²

Hampton Court Park is a walled royal park managed by the Historic Royal Palaces, lies between the gardens of Hampton Court Palace and Kingston upon Thames and Surbiton in south west London. Its beautiful open space is perfect for those socially distanced gatherings (up to 6 people only though, remember).

The Molesey Lock cafe situated by Hampton Court Bridge has a wonderful garden oasis, perfect for enjoying their freshly made sandwiches and wonderful pots of tea. Perfect for fulfilling the needs of passers-by on their long journey.


Press release originally published by Essential Living

Note: Methodology and Data Sources
Using the Ordnance Survey’s list of 100 biggest parks, we extracted the six largest parks within Greater London and calculated how many people could visit the park based on its size and also keeping two metres away from each other. This was calculated by multiplying the number of people that can fit in a 1km2 area whilst keeping 2 metres distance between them (71,856) by the area of each park.

https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/news/britains-100-biggest-parks 

The Wandering Mother Blog | Mountain Warehouse Organic Cotton Collection Review

Review: NEW Mountain Warehouse Organic Cotton Collection

Mountain Warehouse launches their new organic cotton collection!


2021 has not dampened our enthusiasm for more family adventures, travels and days out.

Okay, we’re a little restricted with the travel part for now but you can bet we’ll still be out and about exploring real soon. We’ve been enjoying the outdoors safely in small trips. This is because I’m not great with cold weather but I still love the outdoors haha!

We’ve been visiting our local parks and animal farms. Unfortunately the almost-freezing weather meant that we didn’t get to see as many animals as we’d liked to. Last Sunday we were blessed with warm, sunny weather so we decided to visit the woods.

I was SO excited when we were asked to become family ambassadors for the new organic cotton collection and to review some of their lovely items.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Mountain Warehouse Organic Cotton Collection Review
Little Miss wears kids tunic organic cotton dress (tights and trainers: TU)

Mountain Warehouse are a well-known British brand supplying high-quality clothing, outdoor equipment and accessories worldwide since 1997.


The Outdoors Test

We visited the park and woodlands of Shewsbury Park in Plumstead Common and decided it was a good time to test out our new gear. If you love the quiet outdoors, this place is definitely worth a visit. It’s serene and calm, a totally different vibe from the busy-ness of Greenwich Park. The woods feel like a safe haven. There’s only ever a few dog walkers and families walking by. It was perfect!

We love the outdoors especially when the sun’s out!
Mummy and daughter matching dresses
Swinging on this tree swing was the highlight of their day!

These two had a field day climbing around on the massive trees and logs, swinging around on the tree swings and exploring nature. Because the woods were pretty much empty, I didn’t have to worry about getting in anyone’s way or having to tell the kids to keep it quiet. They could just really enjoy the outdoors without restrictions.

My little model: she’s getting good at posing!

Little Man felt comfy all day in his tshirt and I’m sure the organic cotton helped him keep warm. Little Miss had no problems getting around with hee dress. The cut and length are just right allowing her to climb freely without ever rising too short. It did go up a little too much on the tree swing but that’s because the swing has a rope that she has to sit around. Easiest way to solve that problem is to make your your little ones have tights, shorts or leggings on underneath the dress to avoid unwanted pant-flashing.

What we wore: Outfits of the day

Lily Womens Organic Pocket Dress
£39.99

Photo: Mountain Warehouse

Prices are RRP and correct at time of publishing which may be subject to change at the brand’s discretion.

We’ve not gotten round to test-driving the lovely, summery Penelope dress outdoors just yet as it’s not been warm enough but we’ve had fun doing photoshoots with the dress. Little Miss really loves wearing this dress around the house. She says it feels nice and soft on her skin. 🙂

The Wandering Mother Blog | Mountain Warehouse Organic Cotton Collection Review
Telling tales: Little Man always has a story or two for us to hear!

Shrewsbury park is pretty big so it’s really ideal for mini explorers. The woods make a great place to play hide and seek. The grassy hills are fab for rolling down. The massive tree swings dotted about the park are super fun and perfect for the mini thrill-seekers. Even I had a cheeky go on the tree swing. 🙂

Little Miss has sensitive skin that’s eczema-prone so I try my best to buy her clothes that are soft on her skin. I can definitely vouch for the softness of her stripy tunic dress. In fact, all the clothes we received are soft and comfy to wear. So comfy that I’d be willing to swap my loungewear for it which really says something. Little Man also hasn’t taken off his shark t-shite since!

The Wandering Mother blog | Mountain Warehouse organic cotton review
Fun times! The kids loved the DIY photoshoots

I love my Lily Dress so much, it’s comfortable enough to wear all day long. The front pockets on the Lily dress are really handy too and big enough to fit my iPhone 7+ in it. Both of the girls’ dresses above have pockets making it great for little ones who like carrying things around with them. Mine always loves bringing home a “souvenir” from the park. The clothes are cut in a regular fit which gave us room to move around freely. I’m only 5ft 1″ and the length of the Lily Dress is just below the knees which is perfect for me. I’m no longer a fan of short dresses!

As we’ve only worn our clothes a couple of times since getting them I can’t fully quote on the durability just yet but I can bet that these clothes will stand the test of time and provide us with many more wears. The organic cotton is amazing, it’s thick but in a premium, hard-wearing way. Nothing like I’ve worn before. I’ll update later on the quality as soon as they’ve had their first few washes.

Conscious buying

The last year has taught me that I need to be more conscious with my buying – I’m trying to make more of an effort to purchase clothes that are sustainably made or made from reusable or recyclable materials. This is why I love H&M’s conscious range and now I can add Mountain Warehouse to that list. This is something I guarantee you’ll see more fashion brands adopting – slowly but surely. In a world where we over-consume, it only makes sense to start living and consuming responsibly and to reuse, reduce, recycle whenever possible.

Why choose organic cotton?

The Wandering Mother Blog | Family Travel & Lifestyle

To call clothing ‘organic’ a company must meet strict international fabric standards. Brands like Mountain Warehouse pledge to become more environmentally friendly by sourcing their materials in a responsible and sustainable way.

According to Mountain Warehouse, organic cotton helps to protect the wildlife as farmers eliminate the use of pesticides on their cotton crops. This results in a softer, more durable material that not only feels good on the skin but is kinder too.

Mountain Warehouse currently have an online sale across their organic cotton range for women, men and kids.


NB. We were kindly sent samples of Mountain Warehouse’s new organic cotton collection to review for the purpose of this unbiased blog post. All words, content and photos are my own and should not be used without consent.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Cator Park Kids Playground - Kidbrooke Village

We LOVE Kidbrooke’s Cator Park North Adventure Playground!

If you’ve never been to Cator Park Adventure Playground before then it’s definitely one park that you need to add onto your little bucket list of local outdoor places to visit with the kids.

I wrote a post last year about the launch of the Cator Park playground but wasn’t able to attend as I was at work and just never really ventured out to Cator Park until last month. So where is Kidbrooke? It’s actually very close to Blackheath, Eltham, Greenwich and Lewisham – even from North Greenwich, it’s only a single bus ride away.

Cator Park North Playground at Kidbrooke Village

The park has been open for a year now and is very popular with the locals. Kidbrooke is a lovely place to visit – the specific area, Kidbrooke Village, was created with sustainability in mind.

We visited the park with some friends who have been to the park before and was able to explore the grounds. We got there around 11am to try and beat the family crowds which helped because by 1pm it was quite busy. Kidbrooke Village’s Cator Park has two giant slides, climbing frames, tyre swings, and two giant wooden ‘treehouses’ which have a giant swirly tube slide each.

NOTE: This place is not to be confused with the Cator Park in Beckenham! I’ve realised that when you sometimes google search Cator Park, the Beckenham one shows up. This one is labelled on Google as Cator Park North and is in the Kidbrooke, SE3 area.

Children can really jump, climb, swing and slide to their little heart’s content! 🙂

Our kids were a little apprehensive at first with playing on the slides and so we started off in the park on the smaller slides and climbing frame. The kids then progressed over to the treehouses and were climbing away. Little Miss LOVES climbing so she was really in her element. She had a brilliant time and was even happier that we had a lovely day out with her nursery pals before starting school. Younger children may find the treehouses a little scary but the trick is to go on it with them a few times encourage them to explore. Over time the children will build up the courage and confidence to do it alone.

The playground is really well-made and very sturdy. The treehouses were my favourite and I even went on the swirly slide a few times with Little Miss. In one of the treehouses, there’s a set of strings which the children can strum and the sound vibrates all the way down the slide. It’s pretty cool!

What should I bring to Cator Park kids playground?

  • a bottle of water
  • something to eat plus lots of snacks
  • a picnic blanket or something to sit on
  • a light buggy or stroller if you have a toddler

Kids play is exhausting work so make sure you take some snacks along with you. There’s not really much around the park apart from new flat developments but there is a small cafe a short walk away from the park, a Sainsbury’s Local across the road and a few food truck vans. If you got little ones and plan to play for a few hours, make sure you bring at least water and snacks with you.

The food trucks are delicious but not cheap – the delicious burgers were £6 and oozing cheesy chips at £3.50. Prefer a sweet treat? Check out the waffles and crepes van for a range of tasty desserts.

PS. If you need to take the kids somewhere a little calmer, the green next to the park is perfect for chilling out. Sutcliffe Park is also just a 10-15 mins walk away and has lovely views of the river Quaggy and wildlife.

The Wandering Mother Blog | Cator Park Kids Playground - Kidbrooke Village
Say Cheese! Kids will be kids – they loved jumping off this flower display

How to get to Cator Park North Adventure Playground

Address:
Cator Park North Playground
Kidbrooke Park Road
London, SE3 9GN

If you’re lucky to live near enough to walk then yay! It’s walking distance for anyone living in the Kidbrooke Village area. If you live in Eltham it’d be around a 15mins walk if you live near Sutcliffe Park otherwise from Eltham High street, get the bus to Sutcliffe Park and walk the rest of the way.

by Bus
I think bus is the easiest, most convenient and cheapest option (apart from walking) to the park. The two buses that I’m aware of that stop closest to the park are 335 and 178. Alight at the stop ‘Cranfield Walk’ (stop M if you’re coming from North Greenwich or Woolwich direction, stop L if you’re coming from Lewisham or Blackheath Park.) If you’re coming from Greenwich you can either get the 286 to Blackheath then catch the 335 to Cator Park, OR get the 129 or 188 to North Greenwich and catch the 335 from the station. If you’re coming from Woolwich or nearby, get any bus to Woolwich town centre and catch the 178 direct to Cator Park. 

by Car
You can type the address directly into your GPS navigation system and it’ll direct you to the park however there isn’t any parking nearby the playground. You’ll have to park at either Kidbrooke station and or near Sutcliffe Park using the pay & display machines and walk to the park from there. 

by Train/Tube
From North Greenwich underground station, catch the 335 bus directly to Cator Park and get off at Cranfield Walk stop M. If you’re getting the train, alight at Kidbrooke station and walk to the playground which is a short 5mins walk. It’s literally on across the road from the park. 


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The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink

National Maritime Museum launches two outdoor family nature trails this weekend

Anyone else missing their weekly trip to the National Maritime Museum? We didn’t visit weekly but I know there are a lot of parents who found the NMM a fantastic place for children especially during the school holidays as well as term time. There were daily activities for all ages and that wonderful Ahoy Gallery for the under 5s.

This summer, post-lockdown, National Maritime museum will be launching two self-led outdoors family trails on Saturday 15 August 2020 which you’ll be able to enjoy for the remainder of August. As their doors are still closed to the public for now (re-opening in Sept!), this is the closest you’ll get to getting involved with NMM, however Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory is now open for visitors, more details on openings here.

It’s my birthday on Saturday so we won’t be taking part on the launch day as we’ve got a birthday party planned for myself and Little Man that afternoon. However, we will be keen to test out the trail next week as part of our weekly outdoor activity.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Our last adventure at National Maritime Museum for ice skating!

Outdoor family nature trails (self-led)

The family nature trails were created in collaboration with ‘Cuffs and Collars Co’, a sensory theatre company working with children aged 0-7 years with complex needs. Their work focuses on topics relating to emotional development, mental health and well-being which is something we should take very seriously in children too. The pandemic, the lockdown, the redundancies and job loss have all taken a major toll on us parents but imagine the amount of tension the children must be feeling from us. All that anxiety that manifests in us transfers over to them without us thinking about it.

Before lockdown I was completing my Aromatherapy Associates training on their new range. Forest Therapy was developed to support mental and emotional healing; helping you to reset, recover and rejuvenate. I wasn’t a big fan of it when it first came out but it really helped me to unwind and refocus my energy during lockdown. It was my little bit of the spa world that I could still hold on to at home! 🙂

NMM Nature Trail #1 – Bird Trail

The Hide & Seek Bird Trail is a simple ‘spotters’ trail. Families can use the trail sheet to help them find 8 birds in the grounds which connects to Greenwich Park. At each stop, you will be challenged to complete a small task or two ie. can you soar like a seagull? Can you stand on one leg like a flamingo? Good kids yoga pose moment right there!

NMM Nature Trail #2 – Sailer School

The Sailor School Trail has eight stops and challenges you to try different activities linked to the maritime world and the collection to become a graduate of sailor school. Each stop has a number of different/separate activities, allowing families to choose an activity suited to their child’s ability. Each location within the Sailor School trail has different activity options for more ways of having fun with the trail.

Both trails are suitable for all ages and abilities

The trails have been developed for families with complex needs in mind and allow families to complete them in any order and to drop in and out as they please. They do not have to do everything on the trail. The grounds of the trail have gravelled paths making it suitable for buggies and wheelchairs and there’s level access routes for those who have accessibility needs.

The trail sheets are available for download from the National Maritime website or alternatively, you can pick up a printed trail sheet at the Museum – simply ask one of the NMM staff on standby outside the museum.

https://www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/summer-holidays-outdoor-family-trails

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Above and Beyond Exhibition Review
Greenwich’s Gem: the National Maritime Museum

Did you know?

The National Maritime Museum holds the world’s largest maritime collection, housed in historic buildings forming part of the Maritime Greenwich World Heritage Site. The museum is part of Royal Museums Greenwich which also incorporates the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 17th-century Queen’s House and Cutty Sark. Royal Museums Greenwich works to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people. This unique collection of museums and heritage buildings, which form a key part of the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site, welcomes over two and a half million British and international visitors a year and is also a major centre of education and research.

www.rmg.co.uk

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review

Review: The Lost Thing at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House

So you want to hear a story?
Yrots a raeh ot tnaw uoy os?

Last week we were invited along to attend a showing of The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House. As the show was suitable for children aged 6+ I was allowed to bring a plus one and naturally, I took Little Man with me. We don’t go to the theatre regularly and normally when we do go, it’s usually to our local Greenwich Theatre (which is fantastic for families!) so going to a fancy one like the Royal Opera House, I had to make sure my little monster was going to be on his best behaviour.

We attended the evening performance (7.15PM) but there are days when a matinee performance is showing. We made our way from North Greenwich to Covent Garden easily and just missed the rush hour period as we set off around 5PM. When we arrived at the Royal Opera House, we were ‘greeted’ by the doorman (they just opened the door, no smiles and we were the first to initiate the actual greeting, but hey ho) who showed us the way to the reception desk. Looking around I could see why we were not as warmly welcomed as we would be at our little Greenwich Theatre. The majority of the ROH attendees are mostly older, mostly middle-class and attended without children. A totally different demographic than what we’re used to seeing.

As we headed downstairs to the Linbury Theatre, it was a little less intimidating as we saw more families and young children. Little Man didn’t notice anything but as a parent, I feel like the theatre should be a more welcoming place for those with young children. Perhaps if we had attended a matinee performance it would’ve probably felt less judging as we usually associate evening shows with adult guests rather than young families.

As we were a little early, we decided to head back up and have a look around the small gift shop. We bought a laser-light keyring and a ballet pump keyring for Little Miss. We then headed back downstairs to the cafe outside the Linbury Theatre and had a hot chocolate and a brownie which satisfied our sweet craving.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review
A quick photo before heading inside the Royal Opera House

What is The Lost Thing?

The Lost Thing is a picture book written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. It became one of his bestselling books worldwide and well-recognised in the literature world. The story is about a boy who discovers ‘The Thing’ which doesn’t seem to belong to anything in particular, making it ‘lost’. In the book, The Thing looks very mechanical and is orange-red with greenish metal claws and legs whereas in the theatre production, it’s more organic and living with a green, moss-like body and ever-changing number of legs.

In this theatrical adaptation by Ben Wright and Jules Maxwell (from Candoco Dance Company, a world-leading professional dance company) we are treated to a different kind of storytelling; one that’s filled with not only music but also theatrical singing, opera and dance along the way. ‘Mixing it up’ is definitely a good way of exposing children of this new generation to a variety of performing arts.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
Joel Brown as The Boy

Review: The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House

Despite the lukewarm review of the show being “too static and slow” from The Guardian online, I much agree with the reviews from Culture Whisper and British Theatre Guide. The performance was pleasantly executed, and provided both children and adults with some true thought-provoking moments. In the programme booklet they gave me, it mentions that The Thing in the performance is not meant to replicate Tan’s illustration but instead, represents something living and organic. The Thing can shape-shift changing from two legs to eight legs, growing larger or smaller depending on its mood.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Boy finds The Thing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review
Shaun Tan’s ‘The Thing’ / Photo Credit: ACMI

“We wanted to take it in a completely different direction and build on the skeleton of the story, which is about celebrating difference, supporting what is lost, and potentially contemplating what we are losing. We decided to shift the nature of The Thing itself to be this odd, biodiverse, many-limbed organism…
Ben Wright, interviewed by Lyndsey Winship

I can understand why there may be some disappointment as to why the original story was never followed through completely but then again, adapting a picture book into an opera/theatrical performance is not ordinary neither. The story lines is minimal but I think that makes it easy for children to understand. There’s also surtitles and audio description for those hard of hearing. The diverse cast are fantastic – all extremely talents and a good mix of both disabled and non-disabled dancers, musicians, singers.

I thought the interpretation of The Thing as something organic and living, familiar yet somehow forgotten, was like a metaphorical example of the world we live in today. There is a scene where The Boy almost hands The Thing over to the odds and ends department, but then a janitor appears and strongly advises against it, saying that things left there get permanently forgotten. We then see the janitor being comforted by The Thing and feeling happy that it’s in his presence. It reminded me of how happy and content we once were to just enjoy simple things ie. nature but now we’re constantly fixated on our phones and devices.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Boy and The Thing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Janitor, The Boy and The Thing

“In the book, the denouement is that it finds a place where it belongs. In our version that place is a very saturated, green, mossy jungle…”
Ben Wright, interviewed by Lyndsey Winship

Summary: my thoughts on The Lost Thing

Little Man loved the performance and has asked to go back to watch The Thing come to life again. We will aim to go before the new year. He also lost his thing (a small toy) there at the theatre, which has now become his ‘lost thing’ – now isn’t that a story within a story for you?

I loved the story so much that I ordered the picture book online for Little Man, he instantly recognised the book from the ochre colour scheme and enjoyed reading it however he told me that he much prefers the ending that he saw in the opera adaptation.

The Lost Thing is showing until January 4th 2020 and tickets are between £7.00-£35.00 for a seat, how can you resist a familiar yet story?

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
Taking The Thing to the place where it belongs

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
So you want to hear a story?

You can watch the video of Shaun Tan’s story here:

P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Lost Thing


[AD] We were given complimentary tickets to attend the performance of The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House in exchange for this review post. All opinions and content are in my own words and photos that have been used are credited to their sources respectively.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink

Review: ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen’s House ice rink

Queen’s House Greenwich Ice Skating Rink
Dates: 29 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
(closed Dec 25)

Winter time is the only season where I need no excuses to drink my body weight in hot chocolate and look like a Michelin-man. I’m loving all of the fluffy layers, borg-lined jackets and teddy-fleece fabrics this year. It’s been a real long time since I’ve skated however this past week I have been going regularly to ice skating rinks around London. In an upcoming review, I’ll be sharing my favourite outdoor ice rinks in London with you so look out for that soon. For the past few years living in the area, there’s always been an ice rink in Greenwich. It’s a a lovely little suburban town that draws people from near and far to visit and sample its culture and cuisine.

The Queen’s House is part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, one of the UK’s Top 10 visitor attractions. It’s also a UNESCO protected Heritage site and has been beautifully preserved. Next door, you’ll find the National Maritime Museum and they have a wonderful under 5s play area that’s free to drop-in. Across the road is the Old Royal Naval College where you’ll find the newly renovated Painted Hall. Behind the museum is the ever-popular Greenwich Park, and just a short but steep climb up the hill, you’ll find The Royal Observatory.

The last remaining tea-clipper, the Cutty Sark is a short walk away and on Wednesdays, there’s a toddlers soft-play session under the ship. If you have a young child, you can really make a day out of your visit by combining a few things to do together. Check out this post of when we went along to the Toddler Time session at Cutty Sark. There’s always lots going on at Greenwich Market over the Christmas period so be sure to check out the their website.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Cheeky faces outside our favourite museum

Ice skating in Greenwich

We were kindly invited along to the opening launch of the Queen’s House Greenwich Ice Rink. Apparently this outdoor ice skating rink is the only one in South London There wasn’t many of us there which made it a lovely first experience for the kids, despite the rainy weather. We will definitely be back in the next week or so for more skating!

We left school and arrived at the National Maritime Museum at 3.40pm, as we were a little early we popped into the museum for a little look around. We could see that the brightly lit lighthouse beacon from outside the museum and, like boats to a lighthouse, we were pulled in by the light. We had a little look around the souvenir shop before heading back out and across over to the Queen’s House. The weather was not too cold but I’d highly recommend dressing the kids up warm for the ice. We warmed ourselves up with delicious hot chocolates but you can also choose from teas, coffees and mulled wine. Snacks and sweet treats were also available.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
There’s always a good photo opp at Greenwich!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink

Checking in at the QH reception and getting a hot chocolate before our skate sessionSkating sessions can be booked in advance online. Prices are from £13.50 for adults and £6.75 for children. The skating sessions are 45 minutes which is pretty standard timing. The prices are also similar to other outdoor ice rinks in London. If you add in the benefits of the rink being stunning and on the doorstep of two museums, it’s decent value-for-money. After checking in we went to change into our skates, children’s size starts from infant UK 9, if your child’s feet is smaller than this they offer bob skates which go over your child’s actual footwear.

Skate aids are also available to hire for £5. They have two types of skate aids to choose from; the penguin which is suitable for single beginner skaters and the banana skate aid which is a godsend if you have more than one child. Just pop your little ones on and push them around the ice but be aware, it’s tiring work especially if your kids are older as their weight makes it harder to push and steer if you are also a beginner skater.

Our best moments & highlights…

The stunning background views
When it comes to outdoor ice skating rinks, the view has to be one of the highlights.

I can confirm that the Queen’s House lit up after dark for our session was truly amazing. It really added to the magical experience. Even if you skated here during daylight hours, I think it would still look just as beautiful. I will be back very soon for a solo skate and will definitely opt for a morning session. During the daytime, the Queen’s House is always open and free to enter so make sure you pop in and have a look around at the wonderful artwork and don’t forget to check out its stunning Tulip spiral staircase.

Unfortunately, I get blisters on my feet each time I skate because my feet are flat and over-pronated. If you have a similar condition, make sure you wear thick socks and/or bring some gel cushion pads to avoid excessive rubbing. For me it’s also self-inflicted as even though I can feel my feet are over-rubbing I never get off the ice. Quitting is for losers… haha!

Processed with MOLDIV
Even with the dark clouds, the building still looks beautiful!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
…and at night, it looks even better!

The family-friendly size
The Greenwich ice skating rink is on the smaller side compared to the likes of Winter Wonderland and Somerset House however I personally think this is much better and safer especially if you have a young family and/or you’re not that confident on the ice. A smaller rink usually means staff can be more attentive and approachable for handy tips and help on the ice. As it’s a newly opened rink, there’s less of a crowd on the ice which gives you a better skating experience however I am yet to go here on a weekend so it might start getting busier as the days go by.

If it’s your first time on the ice, I’d recommend watching some Youtube videos on how to fall safely and how to skate. It’s always important to learn how to fall safely as a bad fall on the ice can really do some damage to your body especially your back and even head. If you’re an experienced skater you can still enjoy the beauty of the rink but may find yourself doing several laps pretty quickly. Not a problem as there’s also less people on the ice so you can practice those backward swizzles and turns. 🙂

A priceless first-time experience
Little Man and Little Miss thoroughly enjoyed their first time on the ice. The laughter and fun and giant smiles on their faces was priceless! For Little Man, it’s technically his second time on the ice but the first time he actually skated. As much as they loved Daddy P and I pushing them around, they were brave enough to get up on the ice and skate with one of us holding their hand. Little Miss seems a natural on the ice, Little Man needs a little more practice to find his feet and his balance.

The Greenwich Mummy | Review: Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queens House ice rink
The kids checking out the ice before getting on

A local attraction for us
Lucky for us, we now have an ice skating rink a short walk or bus ride away from us which is fantastic. There’s always so much on offer here and I am more that grateful to live in such a wonderful area. I’ll be taking the kids to see Santa once December hits and we’ll surely be back for another skate and visit to the museums. Schools around here break up on December 19th so we’ll have the Friday free to get out and do things.

If you live further afield, Greenwich is only 10 minutes from London Bridge and is very well connected with public transport. I’d advise leaving your car at home as there’s hardly any parking spaces available. You’ve got the national rail close by as well as the DLR, the river boat (Thames Clipper), numerous buses and the underground (Jubilee line) at North Greenwich which is a bus ride away, approx. 2 miles away.

Perfect for intimate skate dates
A smaller, intimate ice rink also makes a great place to skate for couples wanting a skate date. Daddy P and I have said that we’d like to return to skate together, probably on a school day when both of the kids are still in school so we can have a little bonding time together.

This rink is a great venue for couples however, I wouldn’t recommend considering a skate date if it’s your first time on the ice as what happens is you’ll end up just clinging onto the side of the rink instead of actually skating and having a good time together. Although saying this, at least here you can hire a banana skate aid to help you move so if one of you can skate… you can push the non-skater. 🙂 The other romantic place to skate is Somerset House however they don’t offer any skate aids so avoid going there if you’ve both never skated.

For more details or booking, visit the RMG Queen’s House website

#ExploreGreenwich
#QueensHouseIceRink
#QueensHouse

P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Greenwich Mummy | Ice skating at the Queens House Greenwich ice rink review


NB. We were invited to the press launch and compensated for our time on the ice in exchange for this blog review. All words, opinions and content are my own and photos must not be used without my consent.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

Disneyland Paris in a Day: visiting on a tiny budget

We survived Disneyland Paris!

We are now back from our short trip Paris and Disneyland Paris. It was an amazing experience but looking back it, it did feel a little chaotic. We rarely stay or visit anywhere expensive because (1) we just can’t afford it and (2) we don’t want to travel anywhere too far because we want to be mindful of other passengers on the plane. The kids are very active and I don’t think the other passengers will be thrilled with us on a long-haul flight, no matter how much we could try to bribe them with on-board treats.

How to visit Disneyland Paris on a shoestring budget

Before our trip, I googled Disney Paris on a budget but it seems like the word budget is not all it seems. There’s different types of ‘budget’ – I always thought budget meant as cheap as possible but apparently not.

We are not a family with disposable income so we really do have to save for months on end and make sure our money goes far when organising the kids’ birthdays. This year we splashed out and booked two nights in Paris and a day’s visit to Disneyland Paris. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and it was a first-time experience for all of us so that made it even more special.

If you’re like us and want to visit Disneyland Paris but only have a tiny budget, this post might be a little eye-opener for you. Make sure you do your own research too so you can really make the most of your family trip. There’s a few things we had to cut out of our plans due to the awkward weather when we went and lack of time.

…Let’s get started!

Book park tickets far in advance

Booking your park tickets in advance will save you a lot of money. If you do plan to visit the park more than once in the year, an annual pass might be worth a considering. However if you can’t afford the annual pass or unsure that you’ll visit again in the year, just buy the day tickets. Admissions during the holiday periods are much more expensive than term-time visits so keep that in mind too. If you have a young child or children in nursery, you can really make the most of those off-peak tickets by going term-time. We went during summer holidays so we had to buy SUPER MAGIC (super-peak) period tickets so we didn’t get a hold of cheap tickets.

One day/one park tickets for 2 adults, 2 children = £281
Total spent: £281

Shop around for deals. We booked our tickets directly on the DLP website but there are many online websites that offer Disneyland ticket deals. For example, after booking ours I found tickets for one day park, hotel and Eurostar tickets for £99 per person.

Save ££: if you don’t have a specific date in mind, search on travel deal sites for the best deals. Usually you can get a good deal on Travelzoo for park tickets, flights and accommodation. Yay!

Top Tip: Go during term-time for the cheapest tickets. If you can’t help going during the more expensive period, look for package deals on sites like 365 Tickets which offers theme park ticket + accommodation and travel deals.

Travel by Eurostar from London for cost & convenience

I personally think the cheapest and fastest way to travel to Paris is by plane (40mins flight!) however the hassle of going to the airport, passing through the long queues at security and customs can sometimes be a bit too much especially with children in tow. The experience via Eurostar is much more convenient and can be cost effective if you book far in advance or when they have their promos (£29pp single).

Our train departed from London St. Pancras at 6.01pm and arrived in Paris at 9.35pm local time so about 2.5hrs journey ride which is not bad. The children were a little restless by the end of the train ride but did good enough to stay seated. Children under 3 do not need a ticket as they can sit on your lap however if the train is empty you can be cheeky and place them on a sit next to you if no-one takes the seat.

Eurostar staff are incredibly courteous and staff speak both French and English fluently. You can pay by card or cash (euros or pounds) at the refreshments cafe on board. There’s a toilet on every coach, air conditioning throughout the train and free WIFI access on board.

Eurostar tickets based on 2 adults and 1 child (under 3s go free) = £153
Total spent: £153

Save ££: purchase your tickets when Eurostar are having promotions, you could bag a single ticket as cheap as £29 per person and under 3s are free. It’s usually cheaper to purchase two single tickets than a return ticket when there’s promotions.

Top Tip: Download a few movies or shows for the kids onto a tablet or device beforehand and bring some books, activity packs to keep them entertained for the journey. That way you can minimise any tantrums or tears.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Eurostar journey from London to Paris

Don’t head into the first cafe/restaurant you see on arrival

We were hungry when we got off and wanted to eat before heading to the hotel so we stopped off at a restaurant opposite the station. Big mistake. I already knew in the back of my mind it would be a bad idea but I couldn’t bring myself to take us to McDonalds but in hindsight, I wish I had.

At the restaurant we ordered, one margherita pizza, one salmon dish, one lamb confit, two glasses of orange juice and a hot chocolate. The bill came to 60 EUROS – I was NOT impressed! I would suggest bringing more snacks with you on the Eurostar or eat before you get on the train at St. Pancras. Alternatively, opt for cheap eats or supermarket ready-foods.

Expensive crappy food = 60 EUR
Total Spent: £54 (approx.)

Pick a hotel close to amenities

We stayed at the Renaissace La Defense in the finance district of Paris. An urbanised area complete with its own shopping centre, restaurants, metro, train and bus station. It’s very easy to get around via public transport but man, it’s a different story via taxi. None of our taxi drivers were familiar with the area as it’s not really visited by locals and one driver even said to us “c’est compliqué” when trying to find the location. All of the hotels in the area are built up a level above street level so when you arrive by car you’ll need to head upstairs onto the upper level to get access to the hotels and shops.

On our arrival night we weren’t aware and walked through what felt like a labyrinth to find our hotel. Lucky our driver spoke English and Daddy P spoke French so communication was good. I’m sure if I was alone, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way around at night. Once we arrived at the hotel, we felt much better. The hotel was stunning; the staircase was beautiful and the reception area was clean and bright. For the price that we paid, we could’ve gotten a hotel room closer to the city ie by the Eiffel Tower. In hindsight, I would definitely compromise on a beautiful hotel for a closer proximity to the city centre.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The stunning staircase at Renaissance La Defense

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Beautiful decor at the Renaissance La Defense

Renaissance La Defense hotel was close to restaurants, supermarkets and retail stores. The metro station was within walking distance and the area looked really modernised and spacious. We didn’t have enough time to visit all the shops but had a look around the mall. There were a mix of known retail stores H&M, Zara and also a few French brands which was really nice.

Hotel stay for two nights in a family room = £189
Uber ride on arrival night = £30
Total spent: £219

Save ££: Have a look on Booking.com for hotel deals or if you prefer more privacy, check out Airbnb.com for great one or two bedroom apartments you can rent in Paris. Sometimes you’d get a better deal on these than the hotels. You can save more money by shopping at the local supermarkets to make home-cooked meals instead of eating out.

Top Tip: stay central if you want to visit the main landmarks or see more of the city. The further out into the suburbs you go, the more time you will spend travelling and you’ll also spend more on travelling costs buying train tickets.

Get the train to Disneyland but check for scheduled closures

After a good night’s sleep we woke up around 9am to leave the hotel around 11am. We went to buy snacks and food at the local Monoprix before heading to Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately for us, there was no direct RER train to DLP in Paris due to train engineering works which was going on all day from August 10-18. This was something we didn’t know about until we got there so make sure you check the train schedules online a few days before leaving so you can plan your route effectively. Using the Metro and RER trains were very easy and buying a ticket was also very easy. Ticket machines are available at metro station and offer different languages so you don’t have to work it out in French. Our RER ticket cost us €30.00 one way (2 adults, 2 children) which covered our journey for zones 1-3. I’d definitely recommend travelling to Disneyland via train – it takes around 1-1.5hr normally and is the cheapest option compared to taxi, Uber or coach. If you rented/hired or brought your own care to Paris, driving is another option but be aware it’s about 26 euros to park your car at the resort’s car park.

We started our journey at 12.00 and got to Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland’s station) at 2pm. This is because part of our journey (from Auber to Vincennes) required us to exit the metro, walk 10mins to the next station (chateaux de vincennes) to resume our journey. During that walk we stopped off at a McDonalds for lunch. Children’s Happy Meals in Paris are great; the kids got a nugget happy meal each and it came with the toy, 4 nuggets, small chips, apple juice and a strawberry yoghurt drink. Amazing. Parisian Happy Meals are way better value than our UK ones and offer more of a balanced diet.

Train tickets for 2 adults, 2 children = 60EUR (30EUR one way)
2 kids happy meals, large drink and chips at McDonalds = 12EUR
Total spent: 72 EUR (£65 approx.)

Save ££: Catch the train for the cheapest route to travel from Paris. Alternative would be to take the car or use a taxi but this can be costly as the resort is very far from the city centre.

Top Tip: Check scheduled train closures days before your arrival so you can plan your route in advance. Leave for DLP early especially if you want to go on lots of rides because queues everywhere were long!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The beautiful gardens at the start of the park entrance

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Main park entrance

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Disneyland Paris: Sleeping Beauty’s castle looked amazing!

Be prepared for long queues and the ‘fast pass’ ticket isn’t that fast!

The main park was spectacular but man, the crowds! Soooo many people! I wasn’t prepared mentally for how busy it was going to be. I should’ve known better as we arrived in the afternoon – it was a bad move on my part but okay for our first experience.

We ended up going on about 3-4 rides in total but for us, it wasn’t a bad thing. The kids enjoyed their overall experience so much that they weren’t concerned on how many rides they went on. Originally, we wanted to arrive at the park as early as 10am but I am so glad we decided on a later afternoon time. For us, with our younger children, it worked. If you have older children, they will want to queue up for as many rides as possible so do arrive early.

With our entry ticket, we were given ‘fast pass’ access – I think Disneyland will continue to offer this for a while. Simply head over to the rides that are available with the fast pass (you can find out on the resort map which ones are) and print out your advance tickets. Unfortunately, you can’t select specific times but the tickets will allow you to skip the queue when it comes to the time for you to go on the ride. We printed out our Buzz Lightyear laser blast tickets at 2.30pm but was given fast pass for 7.30pm! We didn’t mind but that will give you an idea of the timings that’s given because of the number of people.

Save ££: Bring food, snacks, drinks and water with you to save on food costs. If you have younger children it’s not too bad but if you have big eaters or older children they will get very hungry and want to eat/snack constantly so stock up on these things by heading to a local Lidl, Auchan, Carrefour or Monoprix supermarket before entering the park. You’ll also save time queuing for food at the park’s restaurants.

Top Tip: If you’re not staying at the parks, travel to the park via train – it’s cheap and easy. The station is right outside the entrance and it’s hassle-free. Another tip, if you have young children, bring a stroller! Your feet, legs and sanity will thank you for it later.

I was extremely close to not bringing our stroller but a friend of mine who went a week before said don’t even think about not bringing one. The park is large and little legs will tire fast. Also they’re bound to fall asleep at least once during the day (Little Miss did!). You’ll also save around 30 euros by not hiring one from the resort.

We queued up for a mini boat cruise in Fantasyland which was enjoyable and relaxing once we got on the ride. The queue was about 30-40mins which was pretty long for one ride – some of the other rides had even longer wait times. The longest wait time I noticed was 90mins – my advice would be to check out the rides you want to go on online ahead of the visit. Anticipate long queues and wait times so plan to go on about 4-8 rides if you are there for a day visit. It’s impossible to complete the park in one day no matter what season you go.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Family Time: Quick selfie outside sleeping beauty’s castle

After we finished our boat cruise, we went to check out Sleeping Beauty’s castle and the sleeping dragon underneath the castle. The boys went on the Pirate tree house and Phantom Manor ride whilst Little Miss and I went over to the town square to watch the street parade at 5.30pm which was fantastic. If you’re not going to be able to see all the Disney characters or only have a day ticket like we did, I’d highly recommend watching the street parade – it is one of the best things you can do and you can easily get a good spot and you will be able to see all the Disney characters in one sitting. The parade is approx. 30 mins so perfect length for the kids. Donald and Daisy duck, Mickey and Minnie mouse, all the princesses, the Lion King characters, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends, Anna and Elsa from Frozen were all characters we spotted on the parade!

Character Meets: Mickey Mouse

This was the only character meet that we queued for. We tried to look for Toy Story’s Jessie and friends in the Western World part of the park but we were too late. At the Princess Pavilion, it was Rapunzel from Tangled that we could see in the afternoon but the queue for her was even longer so Daddy P and I made the decision to go and see Mickey as we thought both of the kids will enjoy it more. We weren’t disappointed.

Even though the wait was 1.5-2hrs long and we even missed our fast pass entry for Buzz Lightyear’s laser blast ride, it was SO WORTH IT! The kids were kept entertained in Mickey’s theatre with short movie clips that were on a loop. I loved the concept they developed for it – like it was a special backstage meet with Mickey. Just before it was out turn to see Mickey, one of the animation team saw Little Man’s tshirt and noticed it was his birthday – they made a quick call and was able to get Mickey Mouse on the phone to him before our meet! Little Man said Mickey wished him Happy Birthday and just seeing his face lit up was an unforgettable moment.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Meet Mickey Mouse backstage at his theatre in Fantasyland

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The kids with Mickey Mouse

We took our photos with Mickey – you are free to take your own photos using your phone of your Mickey meet but Daddy P and I were too filled with awe from seeing him with the kids we couldn’t move much haha! The photographer took the photos for us and gave us a little card so at the end of the meet we can purchase the photos if we wanted to. As we didn’t take any of our own photos, I bought them but they looked amazing so it was hard not to buy them. You can purchase just the images or with a photo frame. Of course they offer a deal for multi purchases and I bought two photos with frames for 25.99EUR which is around £23 – not bad for two beautiful photos but if you do want to save money, you can just take your own photos at the meet! The staff will even help you take a photo on your phone if you want to get a full family shot, no extra charge. 🙂

Staff at Disneyland were incredibly friendly, smiley and very talented. They are able to switch seamlessly from one language to another; from what I gathered all staff speak French, English, Spanish and German. In that order. And I’m sure they can speak Italian and possibly Mandarin too as there was a lot of Asian visitors too. They cater for pretty much everyone which was amazing to see. Language barrier is really the least of your concerns at this place.

Framed Disney photos at Mickey’s meet: £23
Total spent: £23

The Fireworks: Disney Illuminations

This has to be the real highlight of my Disneyland trip and I am so so glad we didn’t leave before it. Everyone gathers in the centre around 9pm onwards for a good spot and I don’t blame them. However we decided to head back to the Western World and go for our dinner. We dined at The Lucky Nugget Saloon which was affordable and tasty. A meal deal for dinner was 21.99EUR and for that you get a main dish, side, dessert and soft drink. The service was quick and super easy – we queue to order, pay and get seated shortly after. That took around 15mins and our food arrived at our table around 5mins after being seated. We took our time to enjoy our meal which was delicious – I had the rack of ribs and Daddy P and co had the fish with chips. We didn’t opt for dessert. We left the restaurant around 10.30pm and by then the park will filled with people waiting for the fireworks display. We walked all the way to the park entrance as we wanted to be one of the first to leave and had a decent spot watching the illuminations. We didn’t stay for the whole thing which is around 30mins but we watched the majority before running off to catch the train home. If we were staying at the park’s resort we wouldn’t be in a rush and take our time to find a good spot close to the Sleeping Beauty castle which is where they project the illuminations from. All I can say is whatever you do, stay for the show. Don’t miss it because it really does highlight your whole experience.

Top Tip: If you want to make it home before the crowd, leave the park slightly before the end of the illuminations. You can do this by choosing a good viewing spot close to the park entrance so you can make a quick escape.

Dinner at the Lucky Nugget Saloon = 21.99EUR x 4 = 87.96EUR (service not included)
Total spent: £85 approx. including service charge

Have a back-up plan of activities/excursions

We decided to have another lie-in as we didn’t get home until 1am the night before from DLP so we woke up 9am and checked out by 11am. We stopped off at McDonalds for ‘brunch’ – I forgot to mention that McDs in Paris offers macarons as a dessert! They are delicious and quite cheap, around 0.95 cents per maracon but I’m sure you can get a pack of 6 or 8 for a discounted rate. It was pouring down with rain on Saturday so our plans to see the Eiffel tower and Montmartre were out of the question. We hadn’t packed any weather-proof items or warm coats with us so we didn’t want to risk getting wet and coming down with a cold on our way home. We bought Metro day travel tickets and spent a day at the Louvre Museum. After here, we made it to the station where we waited until it was our time to go home. There are no free toilet facilities at the Louvre – it cost between 1.10-2.00 euros to use the toilet here so make sure you have some change with you.

Using the toilet at the Louvre Museum = 1,10EUR
Metro day tickets for 3 of us (U3s go free) = 29,80 EUR

Total spent: 30,90 EUR (£27 approx.)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Hiding away from the rain inside the Louvre Museum

We got to Gare du Nord by catching the metro from Louvre to Gare d’lest then changing at the station for the train to Gare du Nord. After spending a few hours wandering around the station, we headed upstairs to check into our Eurostar journey. There is a small children’s corner on the platform for kids to burn off some of their energy. Little Man did some reading, some colouring in and Little Miss joined in every now and then.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Little Man having fun at the Eurostar’s kids corner

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

The highlights of Disneyland:

  • Night illuminations
  • A chance to see all of the characters at the parades
  • No need to pay for additional rides
  • Fast-pass ticket with every admission ticket
  • Public transport nearby (train station is opposite the park)
  • Ample car parking spaces

The downside of Disneyland:

  • Very long queues and wait times
  • Expensive and limited food choices
  • Expensive car parking charges (around 26 euros)
  • Expensive buggy hire (around 30 euros)

Total spent on our trip to Disneyland Paris: £809

Would I recommend it?

YES! Especially if you’ve never been before. It really is a wonderful experience despite the negatives. Yes, it can cost a fortune but the magic is still there and you’ll see it in your children’s eyes.

Just make sure you take them at an age that they can actually enjoy it (3 years and above) otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it unless you can really afford to spend at least £800+ on a few days. Booking off-season would definitely help (avoid UK and French school holidays) and you should be able to find cheap park prices and better parking capacity.

I hope you enjoyed this blog review.
We are looking forward to going back but whether that’ll be next year or in a few year’s time we’re not sure yet. It was definitely a memorable experience and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. 🙂 You can watch a video of our day trip on YouTube:

Au Revoir for now… we will be back soon!

Keep Calm… we’re going to Disneyland Paris!

9 days until my 30th birthday & our journey to Paris…
10 days until Little Man’s birthday & our day trip to Disneyland Paris!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay

We are all SUPER EXCITED!

It’ll be our whole family’s first time to Disneyland and we are so excited for it! We’ve started preparing what we’re going to bring and wear including those insta-worthy Mickey Mouse ears which we’ve bought from Ebay for £3 each! It’s so much cheaper online than buying on the day or at the Disney store but if you prefer to splash and go all out then definitely purchase your official Disney ears prior to DL to save yourself some cash.

Disneyland Paris via Eurostar

We’ll be travelling via the Eurostar from London St. Pancras. I managed to bag tickets during a summer sale promo for £29pp per way which was a bargain! The Eurostar will take us from London to Paris in just under two hours which works well for us as we’ve booked an evening journey so will arrive in time for dinner. We’ve decided that we will play it by ear and see how the kids feel on the day before deciding where we will eat. If the kids are super tired, we’ll have an early night instead.

One thing I really love about London is how well connected everything is. Sure our transportation has its good and bad days but no-one can fault how easily accessible it is to travel around the country and abroad from London.

My 30th Birthday Plan

I can’t believe how quickly the years fly by! Being an August baby means I get to see nearly all of my friends turn 30 before I do – not a bad thing – but it makes me feel slightly pressured to do something BIG. We’ll see how that’ll pan out as I don’t have anything planned right now with friends.

However, on the morning of my birthday I’ve managed to book free tickets to SKY GARDEN which is going to be amazing! Insta-worthy photos, here I come! I’ve also just treated myself to a Fenty Beauty bronzer and highlighter kit so let’s pray that does me some justice… now to just plan an outfit fit for the occasion… plus or minus a 30th birthday tiara! Then after my morning birthday breakfast treat, we’ll probably just wander around London with the kids then get back home for a quick afternoon nap before leaving for the Eurostar journey.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Sky Garden London
A view of Sky Garden / Photo Credit: Secret London

We will board our Eurostar to Paris around 6pm and arrive at Gare du Nord Paris. We will be staying at the Renaissance in La Defense – the financial district. As it’s summer, I’m hoping it won’t be too busy around the area but pray the weather will be nice enough for us to explore Paris on the Saturday before we depart as we’ll certainly be spending all day Friday at Disneyland Paris.

Our itinerary:

Thursday:
20.00 Arrival at Paris Gare du Nord (depart from London St. Pancras)
21.00 Hotel check-in and dinner at hotel or local restaurant
22.30 Bedtime

Friday:
07.00 Breakfast at hotel, then straight out on RER to D’Land
FULL DAY
Disneyland Paris + dinner at the resort
22.00 Night illuminations and park closing parade
23.00 Back to hotel for bedtime

Saturday:
08.00 Breakfast at hotel and pack bags for hotel check-out
12.00 Visit to Jardin D’acclimatation
15.00 Late lunch at a local restaurant
16.00 Eiffel Tower visit
18.00 Depart from Paris Gare du Nord (return to London St. Pancras)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay
Disneyland Paris / Photo Credit: Sogol Salehi on Unsplash

I’m going to try and document our Disneyland family vacay as much as I can and will add to my instagram stories so if you’d like to check out our trip, follow me at @mannyngo_yogi

New adventure playground opens at Kidbrooke Village

Cator Park, Kidbrooke Village

On Saturday 8th June, a new (and free!) outdoor play space, Cator Park, had opened up at Kidbrooke Village. Unfortunately I work the weekends and was unable to attend the launch but judging from the images below, the opening turned out a big success with many families enjoying the space and the sun! Lucky bunch!

Children can jump, climb, swing and slide to their heart’s content. The park also incorporates a series of stepping stones designed by local children, dotted around the park alongside a number of brass rubbings as part of an educational ecology trail.

Photo Credit: Camargue

Photo Credit: Camargue / Berkeley

There was also a fete going on at the launch opening which offered craft sessions and learning sessions about the local animals and wildlife with London Wildlife Trust. Families and children learnt about “how the ‘rewilding’ of the green space is helping to increase biodiversity and encouraging birds, mammals, amphibians and insects to make their home among the plantlife.”

It’s really nice to see that the local authority and government are trying their best to utilise the green spaces we already have and create refreshing new ones for the local community to enjoy.

To find out more about Kidbrooke Village and the new play space visit the Kidbrooke Village Community Facebook page (@kidbrookevillage).