Getting High in the City- Sky Garden

So Bank isn’t the most buggy friendly tube station but a kind  helping-hand up the exit flight of stairs and we were on our way up to London’s highest public garden at Sky Garden for the third time in a year.

There are a plethora of places to lunch around the city if you head in early (around midday) you’ll beat the rush and can make more of your trip into town. Nandos were super friendly and accommodating as usual (and had a lift!).

Unfortunately I timed our trip slightly poorly on this occasion so little man ended up falling asleep as we exited the lift on the 35th floor but did get a glimpse of the sights after I’d had a chance to roam the 3 levels of the tropical flower beds and enjoy a surprisingly reasonably priced tea and scone on the higher level terrace.

There were plenty of buggies up there besides us despite the FAQ’s saying you might be asked to leave your buggy at reception at busy times.

The view is epic and even a seasoned Londoner will feel excited and proud at the marvellous landmarks London has to offer. No, you’re not at the top of the Shard, but the Shard is PART of the panorama, which in my view, is even better. The best bit of all is that it’s FREE, just book a ticket online at least a week in advance, and further ahead if you want a weekend ticket.

We popped to St Dunstan in the East ruined-church gardens after as these are known for being a green haven of tranquility in the hustle and bustle of the city, but we weren’t overly impressed- not enough green, but still nice to be able to sit down for a minute before grabbing the bus home.

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Columbia Road Flower Market- If you love a crowd

Just a quick post to reflect the quick visit to Columbia Road flower market one Sunday morning.

The flowers are plentiful, colourful and if you get there at closing time- cheap! It’s a must do before you leave London, just probably not with a buggy. I don’t like slow shuffling crowds even when I’m on my own but I couldn’t even face delving into the thick of it with our wide (but light 😉 ) Graco-Evo pushchair, and instead skirted round the edges of the market window-shopping some of the permanent stores lining the street.

The highlight was lunch at a pizza restaurant (Stringray Globe Cafe) with a pub feel, sitting outside on the picnic benches watching everyone stroll by with their bunches of flowers. The staff were great even bringing some children’s books out for little man.

Sky Garden action soon!

 

Some welcome (?) tips

I was marvelling at the number of Friends I have who are growing little people inside them right now or have just joined the crazy club and thought I’d do a bit of sharing of some resources that I’ve found super helpful.

Hopefully these will be helpful to first time parents and some of the second time ones too as I still dip into them regularly with a toddler.
Apologies if you aren’t interested.
First off- blogs:
There is so much to do in London, but you don’t want to make the trek out sometimes unless you know how baby friendly it is. These blogs have been great for inspiration and also just a laugh as none of them take themselves too seriously.

lots of ideas for days out of the flat and I still have plenty to get through.

 

also does lots of reviews of products

sign up to the monthly newsletter for tons of activities and they have a book called “little london” with stacks of suggestions for things to do in town.

Websites:
I found these really good for finding local mum and baby groups and playgroups to get my local mummy network going which is so valuable when you can’t be bothered to go far from home. Also good for finding local nearly new sales as well as local parent Facebook groups.
netmums.com
mumsnet.com
nct.org.uk
Books: (during those long feeds in the early days)
The top 2 books made me see that despite how horrendous the situation feels at the time ( as well as magical of course) you will laugh about those moments eventually- and until then you can always laugh at other people’s retelling of those moments that you will only find yourself in when you have a little person in your care in these books:
  • sippy cups aren’t for chardonnay
  • I just want to pee alone
  • For weaning your baby on to food I only needed this one book- very helpful and complete- still use some of the older recipes now:
And finally, if you fancy doing something together, let me know!- I’m assuming people reading this will know me already- my audience isn’t that big!
Take a look at the list I’m making my way down and if something grabs you we can try and co-ordinate!
Lots of love and luck to you all!
bring on the summer fun and I hope to see you all before we leave london in the Summer (that’s the plan at least!)
sarah xxx

London City Farms- the “baaaaar” is set high!

My first blog request- City farms review. A great excuse to go to a new one. We headed to Hackney City Farm not far from Hoxton overground station for some horsing around.

At first the farm seemed to tick all the boxes- gated animal area, chickens and ducks on the loose to add some craziness for the kiddies, huge hairy pig, donkey, goat, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs all housed in comfortable looking pens and sheds, a lovely vegetable garden a shop, cafe, what more could you ask of a farm? What’s more, it’s free to enter they run pottery classes on site for a small fee, it’s next to Haggerston Park (technically inside it I think), right by Columbia Road flower market, and there’s a funky little BMX track to the north of the farm for the older kids.

…and yet we weren’t satisfied. I believe the problem is we’ve been spoiled thoroughly by so many other well thought-out city farms that when we got to Hackney city farm we were disappointed with the size and range of animals but it is still a great city farm if you’re in the area! Of course this is just one mum’s opinion on one day, made from a fairly brief visit, so take from it what you will. I’ll go back in the future, but combined with other things in the area.

So where are all of these other farms I’m banging on about?

I hope the little table below is helpful- it is by no means scientific or completely factual as it has been cobbled together from memories and photos which will be affected by who I was there with, the weather and what side of bed I got out of that day. (p.s. I hope I don’t come across as ungrateful!- all of our city farms rock and the volunteers who put their backs into running these pockets of magic are rockstars!)

Farm nearest station size animal variety café comments
Hackney City Farm Hoxton medium small-med large pottery workshops!
http://hackneycityfarm.co.uk
Surrey Quays Farm Rotherhithe + C10 bus medium medium, goats galore! small-med donate to help these guys!
http://www.surreydocksfarm.org.uk/save-our-bacon/
Mudchute farm Mudchute DLR large- 32 acres dudes! large large East side entrance for buggies!
http://www.mudchute.org
Spitalfields city Farm Shorditch/ Whitechapel medium medium small (tea hut) Goat race! 27th March 2016
http://www.spitalfieldscityfarm.org

Transport me away – please!

Early wake up, hungry crying before breakfast, cold & windy weather. The day ahead wasn’t looking good and I longed to be transported away to a happier place- well, we were! To the London Transport museum in Covent Garden 🙂

For £15 your ticket you get an annual pass and so we were back here again today to meet up with one of our favourite mum and baby combos. After a brisk wind-swept march over Waterloo bridge we were inside saying hello to early 20th century passengers on carriages, driving pretend buses and running wild around the museum with a toy buggy (standard). There was happily a sing-song & story session for under 5’s while we were there which we managed about 5 minutes of before JJ had to take the toy buggy for another spin, but a nice touch nonetheless.

The café space was fairly limited but we swooped into a booth, once some other mums and bubs had finished, to enjoy a £5 panini and a £1 soft drink can and have a catch up. Us mums also enjoyed the gift shop- perfect for stocking up on London memorabilia.

There were lots of school groups there making the play areas slightly frantic, but once they’d headed back to school you had free reign of the play areas (2 large role-play areas on the ground & first floors).

A great cold/wet weather activity, again with plenty to do in the area with covent garden shops, restaurants, leicester square, trafalgar square and Waterloo all fairly close-by.

I’ve had a request for some info on city farms, so we’ll try and get that coming your way by the weekend. Thanks for the suggestion!

Walking on water at Tower Bridge

We’re not too far from Tower Bridge (30 minute walk) but why would we go up the towers? It’s a tourist trap, over-priced, busy and probably a let down. Right?

It was £9 per adult, under 5’s were free and 9.30am on a Sunday morning- guess what? It was pretty empty. We did fall into the honey trap that is the gift shop though, spending £40 on die-cast toys, tea-towels, themed cupcake cases and canvas bags- but the souvenir guides were only £1! The staff were friendly and there was a lift for buggies but we tired JJ out on the stairs.

The highlight was the view from the walkways between the towers, mainly the one through the floor! Little man showed us what he was made of walking along the toughened glass floor over the road and river below pointing out all the cars, while others skirted around the edges.

Tower Bridge Toddler from sarah price on Vimeo.

It was a nice Sunday activity with plenty more to do nearby (City hall, the Scoop, Butlers Wharf restaurants, Design Museum, Tower of London, HMS Belfast, St Katherine’s dock).

See you for some more London fun soon.

 

To Market! The hipster-foodie kind, not the farmers’ kind

Our experience of foodie markets in London have been the hugely overcrowded, non-buggy friendly likes of Borough Market, Maltby Street (Ropewalk) market and the more spacious Royal Festival Hall food markets.

I’m pleased to say that Broadway Market situated south of London fields in Hackney was more spacious and bustling with buggies. The spaciousness could well have been due to the fairly poor weather as we did get caught in a mini hailstorm but nonetheless there was a family vibe going on.

The street is lined with great restaurants and the stalls are a good mix of food and crafty /clothing wares.

The afternoon was bliss despite the rain as we spent the majority of it in Buen Ayre– an Argentinian restaurant with it all: authentic Argentinian parilla, fantastically helpful and knowledgable staff, space for the buggy and highchair and most importantly, the delicious dulce-de-leche pancakes that I got to enjoy while little JJ had a nap in the buggy, although my other half would say it was the slab of perfectly cooked meat that made the day!

Thumbs up from us, but slightly awkward to get to due to the fairly infrequent 394 bus from Hoxton.

Next up: Tower Bridge Experience and the glass floor!