Back in January we set a family goal to visit London this Winter! We’ve loved our little adventures in London in the past, but as we head towards Christmas, I know that this City really comes alive with wonderous activities and pretty lights, and I thought it would be so lovely to share all of that magic with the Kids.

 For most parent’s, I think Winter is a welcomed magical time from the spooky excitement of Halloween. This time of year is certainly exciting (and busy) with Halloween, the atmosphere of Bonfire Night and the countdown to (dare I say it) Santa’s imminent arrival, and although it’s a pretty hectic season and we could all use an extra few hours here and there, it’s also pretty and very exciting. With all of this, my thoughts were – what better way to add to the anticipation than a magical family trip to the capital?

Here are some family friendly ideas we’ve had that you might find useful for a Winter trip to London this year – and most of them are FREE!

Christmas Tree Hunt

Although we are only in October, Christmas will be here before we know it, and the festive season just wouldn’t be complete without a decadently-dressed tree. After all, from placing baubles on the tree to spotting the best bedecked houses, kids love decorations. So, if you happen to be in London this winter, make sure you visit some of the best Christmas trees. From the huge tree at Covent Garden to the designer ones at Claridge’s (they wouldn’t let our monkey’s in!), I think there will be plenty of beautiful trees that will be filling little faces with awe and wonder.  

Lots of Lights

Depending on when you travel to London this winter, there is a chance you’ll be treated to magnificent light displays. The images of the lights down Oxford street all over Instagram last year were what initially planted this idea. London goes huge with Christmas decorations and displays at Carnaby Street, Oxford Street and Kew Gardens, where you’ll find hundreds of thousands of lights. Plus, if you’re heading down for New Year’s Eve, you’ll be amazed by firework displays along the banks of the Thames, and specifically around the London eye (which can be seen across central London).

Outdoor Ice Skating

Provided the kids are catered for with those little ice skating buddies, this can be such a fun family activity. And what could be more wintery than an outdoor ice rink? In London, there are loads to choose from – including Somerset House (14th November – 13th January) and the Natural History Museum (25th October – 6th January). There is also the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (22nd November – 6th January), which is our main pull to London this Winter – it boasts over 100,000 lights, festive stalls and an enchanted forest with ice sculptures! How magical! 

Indoor Attractions

Whilst Christmas trees, pretty lights and ice rinks are all wonderful and magical, in our UK chilly temperatures, it is likely that you’ll probably want some indoor attractions too. Aside from the obvious free museums across London (check their websites for Christmas events) you can Keep the family warm and entertained with a trip to meet Santa at London Zoo, or book tickets to a show like the Witness for the Prosecution play or a musical! In all of this I also hope that there will be time to do a spot of shopping – including some of these toy shops.

A family trip to London can be a lot of fun, especially in the Winter and I really hope that we can make it happen to wrap up 2018! Why not make the most of the festive season too with these magical activities and ideas for all the family! 

*Collaborative Post

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On Saturday I had one of the best moments of the year so far, when Ethan and I travelled to London for the day. We had a date in the capital and it was a fab being there and hopping on and off the tube trying to find our way! The main focus of our visit was to go see Pinocchio at the National Theatre on the South bank, but we of course manged to squeeze in a few of the sights and some sushi too!

Pinocchio

Whats makes us real? And how often are we led by others ideas, and bound by the strings of their opinions and control?

Do we live our life in all of its pleasures instead of with some honesty, accountability, balance and thoughts for others?

The moral lessons of life, love and family run deep in the story of the puppet boy that desires to be real, without really understanding what that entails. Brought to life on a giant set, with magnificent life like giant puppets, song, magic and edge of your seat action, both Ethan and I were hugely impressed and loved the stage adaptation of Pinocchio!

Pinocchio is the spectacular new production brought to the stage by an extraordinary team including John Tiffany the director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dennis Kelly the writer of Matilda the Musical. It features unforgettable music and songs from the Walt Disney film including I’ve Got No StringsGive a Little Whistle and When You Wish upon a Star in dazzling new arrangements.

From the moment the lights went down it was filled with magic, wonderment, adventure, illusions, familiar songs and to me – great symbolism and life lessons. Ethan’s jaw dropped and he was fixated on the set…the lights and the giant puppets. He marvelled at it all and told me afterwards how magical and amazing it was and how he loved it so much. He even had the opportunity on the way out ro chat to the light and sound guy who truly inspired him for a career in technical theatre!

It is a fantastic musical to take children to, truly enchanting, and the way it was created for stage was spectacular.

The adults and set were all done on a giant scale to help you feel the smallness of Pinocchio in his character as a little puppet. And each scene was captivating as we followed his new life which he has magically entered, the choices he has before him and the paths life takes him on, often influenced by the deceit of others.

It rather similar to the film and yet full of surprises too. I found it really interesting to see that the main human characters of the show were all played by giant puppets, and yet the only “real puppet” was actually played by a “real boy”!

Each of the puppets were so impressive and breathtaking and so fabulously made. They were very life like and had amazing stage presence. It all felt so life like and drew us in, and certainly helped put Pinocchio into proportion.

I really loved it all, but especially the depth and lessons that ooze out of the story through song, dance and general performance. It left me afterwards pondering on many of the lessons in life that it explores, and I suppose generally evaluating my own choices. I always love shows that leave an impact!

One of my favourite scene’s (aside from the ones with high energy singing and dancing), would have to be how they created the whale and underwater part of the story. You may remember from the film that Gepetto is swallowed by a whale and Pinocchio goes into the sea to find him. This part of the show absolutely fascinated both of us as to how the lighting and effects so perfectly gave the illusions of being under water. Jamie Harrison (who also worked on Harry potter and the cursed child in London’s West end), certainly knows how to amaze and enchant audiences of all ages!

Being in a London theatre on a date with my biggest of kiddies was an adventure in itself, but seeing a musical of such depth and amusement, with wonderful magic and mind blowing artistry was just amazing. Everyone involved did a brilliant job and as a result we have been on a high all weekend. It was an outstanding day, filled with several extraordinary moments, and I keep doing little jigs around the kitchen whilst singing “I got no strings”…

The Lyttelton theatre and all on stage, gave a magnificent show, and it was lovely to enjoy a day together that made us truly feel alive and joyful!

Pinocchio run at the Lyttelton Theatre at National Theatre London until 10th April! I would highly recommend it as it is so amazing. If like us you have a family railcard, then trains to London can be Mega cheap even from Yorkshire for a quick day trip of fun and some theatre adventures!

*Thanks to National Theatre for inviting us to review this spectacular show! 

 

Family Fever
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There is something special about being in a capital city… being in such a famous place that is filled with so many people, so many stories and spectacular sights. There is something special about taking your own kids to all of the places you have loved from being a kid and sharing in their excitement as well as holding your own, over all of the famous sights of our beloved London!

For a few weeks now Ethan and I have been excited about our approaching trip to London which took place on Saturday. We had plans to go on a date (just the 2 of us for just the day) and see a few sights, go to the theatre, ride the underground and eat sushi. I love that because we live in Yorkshire, going to London always feels like such an adventure for us, and whilst parent/child dates are becoming an ordinary for us – this one was certainly more extra ordinary!

I really love London these days. We used to live a short tube ride away as a kid, and I have fond memories of being on daddy daughter dates with my Dad there! I also remember in my early 20’s I spent a lot of time visiting my now sister in law at Uni in London and it was always a lot of fun. But as I have had my kids and entered my 30’s, I haven’t had that many opportunities to visit, and at times (with current affairs) I have also felt more than a little anxious to go!

However, since blogging more seriously over the last couple of years I have had many opportunities and reasons to go, and each time I have grown more in love with it again and found myself feeling way more comfortable there. I love that no matter how many times we visit, and no matter what the weather, London never fails to impress and excite me, and being in the capital feels so special!

Seeing London through the eyes of kids is something else though, and the moments spent there with Ethan this weekend were wonderful. It felt so much lighter and less rushed than it usually is. We wandered along those city streets avoiding puddles and laughed as we ran for the tube and through each barrier. We stood in awe at the London eye and the river Thames (because its “such an amazing river”). And we snuggled and sat mesmerized together at the theatre, before enjoying the lights of Leicester square in the evening (and a quick trip to Zara!!).

We didn’t see everything, but we saw enough. He got to see the River, Big Ben, the London Eye, and the main focus – We got to have a wonderful afternoon at the National theatre seeing Pinocchio. And then to tip it all off, we scoffed sushi and noodles on the train as we headed back north in the evening which is something we both share a love for, but that the rest of our little family turn their noses up to!

I really loved my date in London with Ethan. I loved how exciting things felt that I have seen so many times before, and I loved the moments we shared in the capital on our adventure together. I feel we bonded in a way that was much needed between us, and as we headed back to Kingscross station for our train home we made plans to return again very soon to see where the Great fire broke out (his latest interest) and to visit the pigeons and fountains of Trafalgar square.

Parent and child dates provide so many ordinary and special moments together and this is a special little date we will both treasure for a long time.

The main purpose of our visit was to see Pinocchio – if you would like a sneaky preview then you can catch it here. My review should be live in the next day or so if you want to pop back and have a read! It was a spectacular and magical show and we haven’t stopped talking about it!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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Saturday was such a random and far from ordinary day for me, and yet when you look at it, it’s such an Ordinary moment in the calendar for many bloggers! I finally attended Britmum’s live (a parenting blogger conference) down in London, where I had the pleasure of meeting lots of new people, familiar people and even famous people! I travelled down on the 5.30am train, and whilst anxious, nervous and exhausted, I was also VERY excited to go to a blogging conference I have had on my goals now for a couple of years and be kid free in London (Thanks Nath)!

I sometimes feel scared to call myself “a blogger” (or maybe embarrassed?), and therefore admit to the world that this is what I do. And not just what I do, but that it’s something that I thoroughly enjoy doing and am very passionate about too! I think people who don’t get blogging or blogs will never get it, and that’s why ordinary moments like blogging conferences are so great – you get to meet and be with people who love what you love/do, and you get confidence to say “Yes I am a REAL blogger!!

I love blogging and being a blogger because I love to share our story and my view of life (with all of my pains, experiences, adventures, bargains and ordinary moments). I love to write about loss and grief and hit it head on in a hope to educate, inform and break the silence of stillbirth and life without one of your kids. I love to share things people might think are awkward as well as documenting the day to day with parenting wins and fails, life as mum and the moments that make us cry, laugh and feel proud. I love to share my style, my interests and what makes me, well me !

I am a blogger – it’s what I do and what I love, and there is nothing more empowering and joyful than taking a trip to the capital to be in the presence of so many wonderful and inspiring people I have admired and become friends with online. People like me that have a love or passion and want to share it with the world too. People who share their stories, their adventures, their beautiful families and their highs and lows in their own unique way. People I see as friends that I can finally grab and hug, laugh and chat with, and brainstorm with whilst putting the world to rights! Being at a blogger conference is more than learning the tecchy stuff or eating gorgeous food (it was lush!), its an opportunity to be with friends and like minded people. Its filled with moments that empower and motivate you, and fuel you to go for it (whatever “it” is to you).

I have in the past been mocked, degraded and criticised for my blog. People have opinions, and sadly some of them aren’t kind. I am at times a sensitive soul and so even though I knew they were just opinions, they still hurt me and made me question myself and what I was doing. But I quickly realised that that is a few small people with their own view points, and bringing another person down (for whatever reason) is nothing short of mean! I write to help others, and I write because it brings me joy to focus on the good things in life despite the rubbish. I am grateful that the majority of people who see that as a good thing and something to enjoy with me and celebrate for our family.

I am a blogger and its cool what I do. Its inspiring and its a wonderful thing to have a passion (especially one that comes with rewards beyond that of the joy of writing it). Its something that helps me, whilst helping others. It’s an outlet, a journal of our big moments and ordinary moments, and a log of our life’s adventures together! I learnt a lot at Britmum’s live from YouTube experts to big bloggers, but I learnt most of all that London is a beautifully quiet place early in the morning, and contentment and confidence in the fact that I am a Blogger – Yes a real blogger, that loves to blog, be online and work with brands. I absolutely love what I do, I loved being with the people who get it and I love those (near and far) who support me in it! Blogging is great and there’s room for all.

The Ordinary Moments
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