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We’ve had a chance to review Kidzania with a toddler in tow!20161204_175132

One might think it is the place for school children only, but this experience proved us that we can visit Kidzania with young children too. Frankly, I have put off a full family visit of Kidzania as much as  I could. But having an older child who is now seven and her talking non stop about Kidzania and what activities she is planning to do next, this is impossible. The toddler who is two years old was constantly asking about Kidzania too, as her big sister shaped a perfect picture of a magic place where children only rule!

The day came and off we went in a car to Westfield Sheperds Bush in a car. I would like to stress that you need to check the website and get the correct location as there are some works going on around Westfield nowadays. Please make sure you plan to arrive an hour or so earlier, as we spent a good quarter of an hour looking for a free parking slot. Another useful piece of advise, we realised only when leaving, do register with Westfield parking to get £8 capped price for a full day of parking. We didn’t do it and paid slightly over it £9.50. Once we arrived at Kidzania, there was quite a queue to check in to it too. My elder daughter was getting worried that we were running late for a pre-booked slot, thus losing precious play time for children. But the staff started the time slot from our check-in time and not the pre-booked slot, so we were in luck. We were presented with little maps, the elder child got her Kidzoos (Kidzania money) and off we went to explore it.

By the time we parked, checked in and entered Kidzania she was hungry, so we went to GBK  in Kidzania, so she could make her own burger and eat it. While she was busy making her halal burger, we ordered some food for ourselves and the toddler too. The elder daughter came out with her self made burger and a huge grin on her face. We all sat and ate our lunch. Then we split with my husband, he went with a toddler and I went with the elder daughter. We went to the engineering centre where my daughter was an engineer in a sports car team. They were taught a lot about the fast cars and now we can safely say my elder daughter knows what to do in case her car needs a wheel change. She also got paid for this job. Next destination was a hospital, where she was a hospital nurse looking after newborns. She was quite good at it, as she had lots of practice with her baby sister. She also got paid for this job and I regretted not taking a little bag for her. She could keep all of her kidzoos in it, her safety net for the hair in there and other little belongings too. The next things she wanted to experience was an ice-cream factory. She waited in the queue quietly, knowing she would be making ice-creams soon. When the time came she went in with other children, they all made ice-creams after learning the process and all got paid, getting the little badges as a bonus. After this we went to the Central Bank of Kidzania and deposited her Kidzoos, so that she would not lose them and can withdraw any money when needed. She was very proud having her own bank account and her very own bank card. She withdrew some money and off we went to British Airways, where she wanted to land a plane. Here we met with my other half and swapped the children.

Now having a toddler in tow, I looked at my map and sorted out the things we can do with a two year old in Kidzania. There were several activities and we did them all with her. First we went to the Kindergarten. This was a large space with tables, chaird, crayons, papers, musical instruments, soft play music on the wall, wooden play sets and more. We were the only ones in there, as soon as we entered my toddler put the apron on and sat on a table to do some colouring. Once she was done with it, she went to play with the interactive wall, pressing different animals and different sounds they made occupied her for a little while. She really liked this farm wall and it being soft lead her enjoy playing for longer. Once she was done with it, she asked for the toys neatly put on the shelves, she went through the musical instruments one by one. Coming to the next section, building toys, I never knew she would be so interested in building toys. These types of places are good to learn about your child’s interests too, as this may surprise you. While we were playing in there the Christmas songs were playing and the staff were running outside the “buildings” to perform the dance routine.

When she had enough of playing in the “Kindergarden” we went to the “Dance club”. This is a space for pre-schoolers too and I thought it is a good space to let the steam off. An upbeat music was playing while we enjoyed dancing on a colourful flashy dancefloor with my toddler. My little one liked to jump, dance and perform here. This really led her steaming off and she was calm after this activity, ready for the next one.

The next stop was “Science lab” and my toddler became a “lab technician”. She learned the importance of washing her hands and cleaning the dishes she has used. She learnt how to make different bubbles with different wands and the importance of clearing off the mess you create. Bubble blowing and catching was the highlight of this activity. A toddler and bubbles can it get any better? Apparantly it can! Our next activity proved it! “RightZKeeper’s Residence” was our next stop. We were guests there and this one place was providing different things to do. Unfortunately the kitchen area was closed off, which lead to a major meltdown. But we successfully managed to distract her with the water filled trampoline, the soft beds and the dressing up room. Where a dinosaur crazed toddler found a big T-Rex and was adamant to take him home with us. She had fun dressing up and being a fire fighter rescuing her friend the T-Rex from fire.

Our four hours came to an end and we went to a picture room to see the photos of our little ones and if we want to buy some. After this we went through an immigration and checked out. The other point I liked was that all the children were wearing the bracelets and the alarms go off, if they are leaving with strangers.

After this visit, now I am sure I can take my toddler to Kidzania too, as she had as much fun as her elder sibling. She still keeps asking for “Pidzania” (that’s how she calls “Kidzania”) each time she behaves well. Kidzania – a place for all the children young or older for a unique unforgettable experience.

 

 

 

 

 

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Most parents of the toddlers live with Peppa Pig’s family. Our two year old is obsessed with this show. So when  I got the review tickets to the West End show of “Peppa Pig’s surprise” she couldn’t wait for the day to come.

The Phoenix Theatre where the show was taking place was easily reachable from the Charing Cross station. We arrived 20 minutes earlier as we had a buggy. The Theatre staff are really helpful, as they are aware of audience arriving with young children and buggies. They try to sort people out as soon as possible trying to prevent the possible toddler tantrums. After getting our tickets we were shown where we can leave our buggies. At the entry our little one made us buy a windmill of her favourite character George. I thought it would be a good idea if that meant she would keep happy throughout the show for the price of £8 . Little I knew what an exciting experience for the whole family was ahead! The theatre has rather clean toilets with baby changing and feeding facilities. You leave the buggies and get it with your tickets. Extra toys and merchandise can be purchased upon arrival and they sell some snacks too.

Little after we went to our seats, we realised my toddler is a little bit small for her seat. So we paid an extra £1 for a booster seat. In retrospect I would not get it, as she spent the whole show dancing, singing and jumping around!

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There were four of us, two adults and two children. My seven year old was a little bit sceptical as she thought this is only for toddlers and she was too old for the show. These were her thought before the show. As soon as the show started with children’s favourite characters coming to the stage and the energy of actors coming on waves we were all mesmerised and were simply enjoying the brilliant production! The show is a hit with all ages from start to finish with songs, dances, engaging the audience, special effects, bubbles, snow and is just fun!

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I found that the production team has done an excellent job, the storyline is close to the original Peppa Pig cartoon. The puppets and the actors are oozing with energy that is easily transferred to the audience making everyone happy and bouncy. My toddler who is fan of George really like how they made him cry just like in a cartoon, making her squeal from excitement. There are two acts during the show, which gives enough time to have a loo break or get some snacks. If your little ones have never been to theatre before, this show provides a perfect first time experience! Helping you nurturing cultured children who look forward to their theatre outings. The little twist at the end made us all feel the Christmas joy again and it was a very welcome bonus! We thoroughly enjoyed the show, even my seven year old who was not very keen on it initially said that she loved it and she was happy that she came. A perfect family day out and an unforgettable experience for little ones! The show is still on this week at Phoenix theatre. We are looking forward to see some more productions of this team, as they truly are magical! If you have not seen it yet, book quickly and enjoy watching your little ones joy! It gets thumbs up from us and we recommend it!

 

 

Scooterpeg – review

If you have kids and have several scooters cluttering up your entry way, which drives the minimalist in you up the wall -there is a solution – Scooterpeg.

 

I loath the view of a messy hallway, which apparently comes in package when your bundle of joy arrives. I like the Nordic style clean and breathable house. But the struggle is real! It is a daily battle to overcome the clutter and finding their right places. The buggy, the scooters blocked the entryway far too long. And when I was contacted by the founders of Scooterpeg” Danielle and Becca to review the product, I was really glad!

They have sent me two scooter pegs – a yellow and a green one. They arrived nicely packaged in a beautiful box and the peg was wrapped in  a tissue paper. The first thoughts on seeing these packaging and boxes, that these make a nice gift! The boxes and packaging are well thought and presentable. It is so difficult to find a present for people who have it all. But innovative products like Scooterpeg make an excellent present! And with Christmas looming upon us this is a great option!

Once you order a scooterpeg you do not need anything else! It comes with a little leaflet explaining how it works and the correct screws to drill them onto your wall. So we only needed to open the box which contained all of the needed bits and drill two holes on the designated wall. I thought a tiny porch is a place for the scooters. Once they are neatly hang up in there we can just grab and go. As opposed to storing them in the shed and not having enough time in the mornings to take them out. Mums know that every second is precious during the morning school run. This little tool gave our scooters a designated place meaning my mind is in peace and there is no trip hazard anymore. The scooters are now ready to go, peacefully waiting on their scooterpegs.

I have since put my adult scooter and my elder daughter’s scooter on the pegs. I thought it would not hold the adult one, as it is quite heavy. But so far so good, the scooters are snuggly held by the scooterpeg and it appears that they are quite sturdy too. I have waited long enough to write this review and since the day they went up no scooter fell of! This is a big plus for me.

I applaud Danielle and Becca for their genuinely helpful product for parents with scooter riding children. Making the scooters accessible and yet off the way is practical and aestetically more eye pleasing.Thus this product gets a thumbs up from me. If you are looking for one, go ahead and try one, I am sure you will be left like me – pleased! I wish there is a peg to put the my buggy up as well. May be another product for them to explore -HintHint-

 

 

I have been sent Infruition bottles for a review. The timing was really good as I was looking at buying some. I was planning my fitness regime and I thought these would be a bonus. And was I right! This is an honest review after using the bottle for weeks.

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The bottles came nicely packaged with a sweet note. Opening the carefully packed products you feel the joy. I always like when people put extra thought of making your day of it. I received Infruition sport and Infruition mini bottles – for me and my child. I thought I would give it to my seven year old, but my two year old toddler was quick to claim it hers. It is quite sturdy and survived many drops by me while running, by my toddler while having a tantrum and more.

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So right away we washed them, packed with some fruits and off we went to a school run. I like the fact that it has a handy handle that you can easily sling over your buggy’s handle. My toddler likes carrying it around holding it through the looped holder too. This time rushing out the house I did not need to stress about packing extra snacks for her. As she likes to munch on something while she has to seat on the buggy. I simply told her finish your water and then you can have the fruits inside as a prize. She really liked the idea and kept holding onto  bottle to see when the water will finish 🙂 It was an achievement for me, as she usually demands juice and crisps and throws a huge tantrum when she hears she wouldn’t get them.

Now we take the bottles everywhere with us. Dashing it of the house in the morning for a school run and a 5K run afterwards, for our swimming lessons, visits to the parks and playgroups. During the weekends we keep them in the car. We take both bottles with us while out in London for family activities. Having a family means most of the time, one needs to pack a whole house. Nowadays we only take these bottles, an umbrella stroller and a change of clothes for the toddler. This is it! The bottles provide both water and snacks. Now kids know that they  can have the fruits inside as a snack while we wait for a proper meal. Yesterday we went to the Eltham Palace. We only took is our kids and these bottles. Looking around the house and doing the activities they drunk the water. Afterwards they had the fruits of the fruit compartment in a car as a snack without spoiling their appetite for a proper meal.14858599_10153782823937522_1411059639_o

Being a runner I love these bottles, as the fruits inside flavour the water and by the time you are done with your run, the fragrant deliciousness would be ready as a after run treat! I have tried so many  commercial “flavoured waters” and they are full of sugar. This goes against fitness plan. I would rather have my infruiton water and choose where I get my daily dose of sugar rather than being sugar dumped by producers. If you are a busy parent like me and do not get a chance to wash the bottle right away, it may get a little mouldy. As the bottle didn’t have any nooks and crannies it was easily washed with soapy water. And dishwasher got rid all of that, so the bottle is like new now, phew…Unlike other sports bottles these do not have a vile plastic taste and provide you with deliciously flavoured water. Just don’t forget to wash if you opt for sweeter types of fruits like I did for my toddler.

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I really like these bottles. They are easily washable. You can chuck them in the dishwasher and fill them up in the morning with your favourite fruits. Each bottle comes with the code for a special recipe that you can claim online. I received a 4 week booklet through the code and it gives plenty of ideas  to help us to vary. I look forward receiving my weekly mails with shopping list and plenty of infruition water ideas from their resident nutritionist.

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Infruition bottle is A must have for a city parent, who can dash off the house with the infruiton bottle, a child and a buggy only roaming around busy  streets of London!

 

 

 

 

I was really happy when I was asked to try out the private guided tour of London provided by Planet Pass. For this I needed to download the app from AppStore.  The app is really easy to use. It doesn’t crash or close on it’s own. I was able to go through different tours of London. I had a look at the list with my seven year old daughter and we chose Shakespeare tour. We chose the day and the time of the tour and booked it. The payment was taken via card and was straight forward. As soon as I booked, I saw where I will meet my guide and his photo. So it is easy to spot him in busy crowds of London.

The day of the tour arrived and off we went with my seven year old daughter and her eight year old friend. They are both book worms, know a lot and have a curious nature. So they could barely contain their excitement. I left my toddler with my friend, so that I could enjoy the tour more. In the midst of trying to get out of the house quickly I left my other phone where I downloaded the app and had all the details of the tour. I knew that the starting point was St. Paul’s cathedral and that our tour was at 1 p.m. I quickly googled the phone number for PlanetPass and told them all about it. They were really helpful in finding my guide and they even called me back to ask if I found him. I was really glad they did, as this shows they look after their customers. If you are not me – a parent who rashes around and you are more organised to have your phone all the time with you. You can just call the tour guide directly from the app.

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Anyways drama averted and our guide James found us, so our tour began. Our tour guide – James was an exceptional person. He is an Oxford graduate, loves his job, has passion for history and very patient. All these contributed to our tour being a true experience one would like to live through. He transported us right back to history, walking on the footsteps of Shakespeare and living through his life effaced busy London for us. And for those hours London was something out of movies, as we could imagine what it would be like back in time. Where Shakespeare lived, where he got married, where he himself acted out his play, where he went to church and the places he would spend most of the times writing up his timeless chef d’oeuvres. James explained everything in a beautiful English, accessible to kids that were with me and all at the same time keeping their focus on history. Even if the girls’ imagination would wonder to other things, he would take his time to explain it. The girls were really happy to know that such an academic is paying them full attention and satisfying each turn of their curious minds.

20160804_141827James took us to the hidden corners of tranquil (yes!) London. I did not even know these places exist and a peaceful environment there made our travel back to Shakespeare’s London even more realistic. After showing the temples that Shakespeare himself acted out his plays in front of all London’s elite, we started to pay attention to all little creatures around London. As our guide explained their meaning and now we knew what they stand for.

 

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He explained us why The Mermaid Theatre, The Rose theatre and the Globe theatres are important. He showed us where all they were and told us the types of plays that would be acted out in them. He showed us where original Globe was, why it was there and the scope of how big it used to be. After seeing the place of original Globe and going back to see the Globe on the other side of the Millennium bridge, we agreed that the one built later is not as big as original one. He explained what those little creatures on the gates of the Globe stand for too. 20160804_150451

Being kids the girls were distracted by other historical monuments. James being a very patient person he answered all their questions about them. And kept introducing us to the new things we would otherwise pass. From now on my strolls through the streets of London won’t be the same thanks to the tour guide James. I will take every opportunity to stop and to cherish what is around us as this is a real source of positive energy. If you are a tired parent like me and feel like you need a boost of energy this is the best way of doing it. As London is full of mysterious places to be discovered and the knowledgeable guides like James from PlanetPass provide you with an unforgettable experience!

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We had a brilliant day immersed in Shakespeare’s London, living through ups and downs of those days and feeling, seeing it ourselves. Thanks PlanetPass from me and the girls. We came back inspired, full of positive energy and can not wait for another tour like this, as there are many more provided by the same company. I truly recommend the PlanetPass private tours for all, be it a tourist, or a Londoner and you want to taste a quintessentially English experience.

We had a delight of sampling Agatha Christie’s timeless classic  “The Mousetrap” at the Orchard Theatre last night. I always wanted to find out for myself what is that keeping this production so popular for the last 64 years! The only way to know was to go and see the production.

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There is no surprise that the theatre was full to the bream! Everybody was excited and trying to guess what is it that kept the show for so long or how would the events would turn out. Finally the curtain opened and an unforgettable journey to experiencing Agatha Christie’s wit began. As soon as you see the décor you recognise the oak panelled library and the skips a beat with excitement. From the very beginning of the play all of your senses are peeled to the stage, so to not to miss anything out to figure out the events. Young Mrs. Ralston (Anna Andresen) comes inside, followed by her husband (Nick Barclay) hiding a package in the box, making sure you get suspicious from the start! Later the guests Christopher Wren (Oliver Gully), Mrs Boyle (Louise Jameson), Major Metcalf (Tony Boncza), Miss Casewell (Amy Downham) and the unexpected Mr Paravicini (Gregory Cox) setting a perfect scene to solve the murder that happened in London and echoed to the little idyllic Monkswell Manor guest house. Mrs. Ralston receives a call about the imminent arrival of the police sergeant Trotter (Lewis Collier) and upon his arrival the guests learn that there is going to be two more casualties.

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It is amazing how the story turns out, as I personally suspected that nothing will happen with police present. But little I knew that the turn of the events would be so unexpected and difficult to solve. As Agatha Christie puts it nicely herself “It is sort of play you can take anyone to. It’s not really frightening. It’s  not really horrible. It’s not really a farce, but it has a little bit of all these things and perhaps that satisfies a lot of different people”. Watching the play you grow into liking some of the characters, get to laugh a lot to hilarious comments and actions of others. The nursery rhyme “Three blind mouse” will never sound the same any more. And you come up starting to deeply analyse all the people around you. So go ahead and enjoy this classic while it is here at the Orchard Theatre. Savour yourself the witty play of Agatha Christie directed by Ian Watt-Smith. This is the once in a lifetime experience and the only way to know why the show is so popular throughout the decades to sample it yourself!

“The Mousetrap” is running at the Orchard Theatre until the 21st of May 2016.

 

Twenty first century is giving us lots of opportunities to brake the clichés. Nowadays girls are doing as much as man do in different fields of science, politics, economy and more. But we still have to go and choose the toys from boys section, as those are more colourful and adventurous, whereas for girls everything is pink, frilly, princessy to say the least.

Tara Binns books are a breath of fresh air in these monotone world. They encourage girls to try different professions, to dare dream of doing everything else not only being a princess trapped in an ivory tower. Tara Binns books are written by Lisa Rajan and Eerika Omiyale. Lovely Lisa sent all three of them for a review. They were very welcome as I myself have two girls and anything that empowers them is a big plus. Author Lisa Rajan puts it quite eloquently: “. I wrote the Tara Binns books because I am trying to raise girls’ aspirations, build confidence and counter some of the gender stereotyping in children’s picture books”. These lines alone made me interested in books. We were really happy to receive them and my six year old daughter took them and read them before me. She said that she absolutely loved them, that they are easy to read and gives her wings of hope to dream her future ahead. Nowadays when she has her friends over for a play-date she makes them read the book, or they read together and act it out. This is such a bliss to watch girls getting inspired to be a scientist, an engineer, a pilot, a doctor or more.

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First Tara Binns book is “Tara Binns Eagle Eyed Pilot”. The book itself is very colourful. The character Tara Binns is very friendly looking and girls see themselves in her easily. The whole book is written in rhymes which makes it even easier for them to read and remember. We as parents loved reading it out to our children too. Tara Binns goes to the attic to the old chest and it magically puts her in a costume she would not normally choose. From there she embarks on an interesting adventure journey. This time she is a pilot. She learns how to fly a plane, how to avoid lightening and a spot of geography. On the way she sees an island being destroyed because of the heavy rain and wind. When they finally land the plane she finds a treasure. She decides to give the treasure away to people with destroyed houses. This alone teaches kids to be compassionate, brave and still enjoy life.

The second book is “Tara Binns Double Choc Doc”. Here Tara Binns gets dressed as a doctor and embarks on a journey of being a doctor and trying to find a cure to common cold. After a lot of thinking and analysing she comes to solution. Nobody on North Pole gets cold, as the cold bacteria won’t survive there. So she decides to give ice-creams to everybody who has cold would help the situation. Everybody is happy including Tara Binns, as she came up with the solution. This encourages kids to think outside the box and use the information and knowledge they have to solve everyday problems.

The last books is ” Tara Binns Crash Test Genius”. In this one Tara Binns gets dressed in a blue overall and she is an engineer. She tests the brakes and tyres of family cars and analyses them with help of computers. One day going to work she falls down and grazes her knee badly. Then she thinks that she needs to come up with something that would protect her from falling, as the air bag in a car would protect the driver. She designs the pants, matching top and gloves that would inflate while falling. Everybody loves her idea and they go on a massive production. While testing out her new invention she discovers it can even be used as jet packs. So here she is from just an engineer, she becomes and inventor. This book was my daughter’s favourite. As she now wants to pay attention to every little detail and come up with a solution.

All in all these are must reads for kids be it for boys or girls. As they would educate kids that both genders can have any profession they like in the future and it is not restricted to one gender or another. I would totally recommend Tara Binns books and if you have birthdays looming they make a great gift. The recipient’s family would thank you for a gift with thought.

We are now running a competition to win all three of these fantastic Tara Binns books. Grab your chance enter the competition and win all three of them. Hurry competition ends on 30th of May 2016.

To enter the competition email us Greenwich@mumsnetlocal.com or comment here to the following question:
Who wrote Tara Binns books?

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