Mind The Gap – Travelling on the tube with children

Travelling on the underground in London can be daunting for any adult who has never done it before. It can also be very stressful, especially during the busy rush hour, but it needn’t be if you prepare your self.

Living on the outskirts of London means that we travel into London a lot of times. Sometimes we go after school during the week to get to auditions and other times we travel on a weekend just for a day out. We are so used to travelling during the rush hour that it just seems natural to us. There are some stations and routes that we will avoid at the busy times, which may mean walking through the streets to get to the next station  but they are never that far away from each other.

Travelling with a baby or young children across London can be every adults nightmare, It can also be very challenging but it is definitely possible and enjoyable.

Here are some of our tips on travelling with children on the underground

  • Grab your self and Oyster card or if you can use your phone or bank card if cantactless is set up on it.

-Children under 11 travel free on the tube, overground, DLR , TFL rail and buses if they have a 5-10 Zip or travelling with an adult (under 5 travel free)

-Children aged 11-15 can travel with a Zip oyster photocard. They travel for free on buses and trams and get a reduced rate on all other TFL service

-If you’re visiting London and travelling with children aged 11-15 who haven’t got a Zip Oyster photo card, you can still benefit from reduced rate travel for them. You can get a discount set on an Oyster or Visitor Oyster card that will allow them to pay as you go at half adult-rate for up to 14 days.

Apply for these cards online prior to visiting

  • Remember always to tap in and out at the stations on the yellow card reader with your card. If you manage to walk through a barrier without tapping out after your journey, you will be charged the maximum fare
  • Plan your route. Take a look at the underground map online or download an app. We find the app to be very useful, not only does it tell you if there are any delays on any of the routes but it also plans your route for you and tells you how long each journey will be.
  • Grab a map at the station and give to your child to look at and study. When on the train tell them your destination and see if they can work out the route.
  • Try to avoid travelling during rush hour. With commuters moving around the city, expect the trains and stations to be overcrowded between 07:30 and09:30 in the morning and between 17:00 and 19:00 in the evening. This said, I have also found some stations on particular routes in zone 1 to start getting busy at 4.30.
  • When travelling with babies, try taking a light fold away buggy/stroller or use a sling. It will make your trip a lot more easier
  • Be prepared to walk up lots of stairs. There are also lots of escalators to use.
  • When using the escalator stand on the right as people walk up on them on the left. Keep young children in front of you.
  • Take a look on the map for step free access stations. Sometimes its easier to travel to your destination by using the nearest step free station and walking the rest
  • If you are travelling with more than one child, tell them that as soon as you get off of the train and on to the platform to wait against the wall. Platforms can become extremely busy. You don’t want to be dragged along with the crowd not knowing what direction you actually want to go. We always wait against the wall and then look for the way out sign or where to go for the next line.
  • I know it’s scary but I have always told my children that IF they ever get left on the train to get off at the next station and wait on the platform against the wall for me to get them. I also tell them that if they get off of the train without me to wait on that platform and I will come back for them. This has never happened to us, but the trains do get very busy and sometimes a small child could become disoriented within a crowd of people.
  • Tell your children to always wait behind the yellow line until the train has stopped.
  • If there are two adults when travelling, always have one at the front and one at the back when walking through the stations and even through London streets. Think of a sandwich, keeping the children in the middle. I travel with my three children, who are now 15, 10 and 6. It is always me first and my eldest last.
  • Walk around London from one station to the next, instead of going by tube. For example; although travelling from Oxford Circus to Piccardilly Circus can take a few minutes on the train, it does only take 11 minutes by foot. Think of all those lovely shops and building that you will see.
  • Carry water with you. The trains can become stuffy and hot, especially in the summer. Also have a snack in your bag.
  • If you are going to be on the train for a while, play some games with them to keep them occupied. We like to play the station alphabet game or I-Spy
  • When standing on the platform waiting for the train to approach, wave to the driver. they always wave back and the children love it.
  • Use the wider ticket barriers, they will have much more room for the family to get through. They are marked with a blue wheelchair symbol and normally have an attendant close by.

Remember where ever you go in London; on bus, tram, tube or river boat to enjoy your self. Have a great trip and Mind the Gap!

Share

Bungee Jump Experience – The Ultimate Rush for a Teenager

Bungee Jump – The ultimate energy rush, the perfect gift for any daredevil and thrill seeker.

My eldest son is 15 and buying gifts for him is becoming harder every year, although he is very easily pleased and doesn’t really ask for much. I wouldn’t say that he is a daredevil but he certainly likes to experience the wild side.

Leaping 160 ft from a crane, watching the ground rush towards you at a speed of 60mph, attached to nothing but a bungee cord, isn’t really something that I would fancy doing but for a young teenager it’s certainly a very attractive activity. There are no special skills needed, just courage.

I booked him onto a 160ft jump from a crane that is set up near to the 02, London. This isn’t far for us to travel to and is an ideal spot for some lunch after or just a stroll along the River Thames.

We arrived in good time for him to be fully briefed by one of the experienced instructors, before being kitted up and securely fastened into the bungee cord.

He sat in line and watched the previous jumpers leap to the floor. Getting more nervous as he moved along the chairs, getting closer to his turn.

It was a lovely day, the sun was shining and it was a clear blue sky, perfect for us to watch and for him to jump in.

It wasn’t long and it was his turn.

IMG_6486

He was taken up to the top of the crane in cage and once at the top it was seconds before the cage door opened and out he fell, plummeting to the ground only to bounce back up again, dangling by his feet. I half expected to hear him scream, but he was very reserved and held it all back, Or maybe the force of the air in his mouth stopped him from making a sound.

Once he was lowered to the ground he was taken by the shoulders and guided to a mat on the floor where he was taken out of his cord by two instructors.

 

Jak says: “I was pretty nervous, even though I knew that nothing could happen to me I was still anxious about the experience and what to expect. The view from the cage at the top of the crane was amazing, but I didn’t get to look at it for long as I was soon guided over to the edge. I was told to stand still and put my arms directly out in front of me at 90 degree angle. They counted down from 3 and gently pushed me from the edge. I was told not grab anything as I fell from the edge of the cage. As I fell to the floor, it felt like  I was staying still and the ground was moving up towards me, however the feeling of falling was still there. I think the best part of the jump was seeing the 02 upside down. I almost felt like my heart had stopped until the moment I was pulled back up by the cord. It was an experience not to forget. I had a blast and almost wished that it had lasted longer.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It was the perfect gift for him and I was so proud that he approached the experience with such maturity and gallant.

Jak gives the day a big thumbs up

I booked the bungee jump through Buyagift costing £59, the minimum age of the jumper is 14.

Photos courtesy of Bungee UK

Share

Win A Family Ticket to Brainiac Live! London

The show that laughs in the face of SCIENCE

Brainiac Live! London

Strap on your safety goggles boys and girls, due to popular demand Science’s greatest and most volatile live show is returning with a vengeance.

Credit boom ents & Emma Tunbridge 3_opt

Based on the multi-award winning TV show, Brainiac Live! is back in London. More mischievous than ever before Brainiac Live! will take you on a breathless ride through the wild world of the weird and wonderful science. Expect exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and loads of live daredevil stunts!

Watch from the safety of your seat as the Brainiacs delve fearlessly into the mysteries of science and do all of those things on stage that you’re too scared to do at home! There will be sparks flying and lots of loud bangs.

“It’s all good, educational fun.” The Guardian

Watch explosive footage at www.brainiaclive.com

Tickets are available to buy online at Udderbelly

Length: 60 mins

Age Recommendation: 6+

16 Performances only, May half-term from 28th May – 5th June Showings 1pm and 3:30pm

For a chance to win a family ticket to a performance in London then enter below on the rafflecopter widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T&C

One winner will be picked at random from rafflecopter

Entrants must be able to attend the showing in London during May Half term

There is no cash alternative

 

Good Luck!

 

Share

Geocaching in London with the children

Geocaching is a real life outdoor treasure hunt. A hunt that you need to use GPS to track down a geocache (container), following specific coordinates to find the cache hidden in a location. A geocache is a container that will contain a log book and sometimes little trinkets for you to swap with, if you take one you must replace it with something else. Geocaches are located all over the world, hidden in locations that are of interest or beauty. Locations are quite diverse, they could be under water, in a city centre or in the middle of a field.

We have found caches on street signs, in church grounds, under park benches and even abroad whilst we was in holiday to Malta.

Using an app that I have downloaded to my phone, we search for caches that are local to where we are. The only rules are to replace the cache back to where you found it and to have enjoy and have fun.

Living so close to London, made me think of having an adventure with the children. Searching for geocaches and looking at the sights that the Big City has to offer. I did a little research the night before, looking for an area that contains a few caches to find. Along the Thames looked like a good spot. I didn’t want to walk too far between caches as I didn’t want the children to tire too quickly and I wanted to keep them entertained as much as possible.

We made our way to Embankment station, which only took us 40 minutes by tube. We had packed some food and drink in a bag, made sure that my phone had a full battery and we was ready for our little London treasure hunt.

The children were excited and couldn’t wait to find the first cache. It was located very close to the station but as we neared the spot we noticed a homeless person sleeping, We decided to halt our search and waked away, we didn’t want to disturb them in any way.

Victoria gardens runs along side the Thames in between Embankment and Temple station. It’s a lovely place to escape the hustle and bustle, beautiful flower beds and statues to look at. The eldest boys brought along their scooters, so the children enjoyed scooting around whilst us adults topped up on some caffeine intake from the nearest coffee shop. We knew that there were a couple of table tennis tables spotted in the gardens so we had gone prepared and had packed our paddles for a game.

Scooting around
Scooting around

victoria geo

After a short break we made our way to the second Geocache which was located near Temple station, just a short walk away. We walked through the gardens and along the Thames and was soon with GPS mobile device in hand searching for our find. Lots of people were around looking at us but we didn’t care. Along with the details to follow, there was also a hint which was to un-scramble some letters to form a word. It wasn’t long before we had found what we was looking for, all we had to do was hunt down the cache. The children had a feel around and soon found it inside the sand bin.

DSC_3978-opt

With one geocache logged the children couldn’t wait to find the next one. We headed on over Waterloo Bridge towards the Southbank.

Here we found the next one. We had to climb a few steps to get to this one.

DSC_3981-opt

The children were excited now and couldn’t wait to find more. The eldest boys wanted to visit the Southbank Skatepark, so we made our way to it to have a look about and watch some other skaters do some jumps. It was a pretty cool place with lots of street art to look at and it was under cover, which was ideal as the weather had taken a turn and the hail stones began to come down. _20160330_141350

As the sun was beginning to fight through the fast-moving clouds we headed on down the Southbank towards the London Eye. This was where we found our next find

DSC_3988-opt

Knowing that the cache is magnetic helps you know where to look.

The hidden cache
The hidden cache

It was time for a quick spot of lunch. The children enjoyed a play in the park and the eldest watched a magic show that a street performer was doing along the Southbank.

IMG_20160329_180837

We had heard about a street that was near by to Jubilee Gardens where there was lots of street art and wall graffiti. After we had refueled with food and drink we headed on over. It wasn’t far. We knew we was in the right spot as we could smell the fumes from the spray cans before we could see the graffiti. There were a few artists in there, adding their tags and art to the walls. It wasn’t quite a street as such, but a tunnel that went beneath the tracks of Waterloo station.

I'm so cool
I’m so cool
DSC_4003-opt
On the ceiling of the tunnel

We had one more cache to find before it was time to head on home.

Passing over the GPS device to the children, they navigated us to the last one. We was all looking up and down the street, but knowing that it was a magnetic cache meant that we had to look for something that was metal.

DSC_4004-opt

Looking behind the street sign, we soon had found our fourth find of the day.

We had a wonderful time in London and found four caches located along the southbank and embankment area. The children felt like real life explorers. But after being on our feet for 5 hours we was all ready to head on home. It was an eventful day and we can not wait to add some more logs to our Geocache account

Do you enjoy geocaching? Where have you found your treasures?

Share

Rave-A-Roo The new clubbing mash-up at Ministry Of Sound

The ultimate family clubbing experience hits Ministry of Sound, London.

ravearoo3

Imagine an indoor festival vibe with a focus on families partying together and getting their rave on….and you have Rave-A-Roo; a new clubbing mash-up of festival fun for all the family.

At Rave-A-Roo kids can be themselves, dance, let loose, create, watch or chill.

Launching at London’s most iconic club, Ministry of Sound, in February half term, Rave-A-Roo is an entirely new concept. From toddlers to grandparents, everyone is invited to join in the madcap fun.

ravearoo

It’s the ultimate clubbing mashup party with top DJs, the Disco Ball Games, a Big Fish Little Fish takeover, LIVE stage performances, hosts Tom and Adam (from Babyhead and Lost & Found), PlayGlow toys, confetti mayhem, neon craft, Glow Chill Room, and a UV tattoo station.

At Rave-a-Roo there is the chance for mini-clubbers and their adults to take on the dance floor with resident artists Go!Go!Go! as seen on Nick Jr. They’ll be debuting their Electro Set and revealing their brand new look.

For time out from the dance floor and the little ones who can’t party quite as hard, they can take it easy in the Glow Chill Room, with an area for babies, whilst parents watch their little faces light up.

With a fully licensed bar (and tea, coffee and snacks), a convenient onsite buggy park, baby changing, professional security, carefully monitored sound levels and beautifully lit rooms, Rave-A-Roo offers a unique and safe environment for families.

Kids. Play. Rave. RepeatKIDS. can be themselves. dance. let loose. create. watch. chill.PLAY. hard in a safe environment. There’s games for all. tons of our PlayGlow toys. then hit the Chill Time area.RAVE. party. dance off. however you want to do it, do it as a family.REPEAT. have it. share it. It’s for all ages. and all of us.

ministry2

Further dates in iconic venues around the UK, including more dates in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Brighton and Cardiff to be announced

Rave-A-Roo will launch at London’s Ministry of Sound on Friday 19th February 2016. Sessions are 1pm to 3pm and 4pm to 6pm.

Tickets are priced £7.50 (earlybird), £10.00 (advanced) and £12.50 (on the door). Babes in arms go free.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.rave-a-roo.com

Share

Sunset Safari at London Zoo

Ever wanted to experience the magic of the zoo after hours?

London Zoo have a special after hours summer evening event running every friday until 17th July 2015, where visitors get to watch the sun go down amongst the company of many of the 750 animal species from around the world. Listen to many of the fascinating talks that are being held around the zoo, learn about the animals at special times of the evening from their keepers.

The zoo opens up at 6pm and closes at 10pm, with most of the exhibits closing between 8:30 and 9:30. Everyone needs their sleep, even the animals!

As the sun sets visitors are invited to relax at the Safari Base Camp in one of the many comfortable chairs and beds that are scattered around the Lawn, with an acoustic guitar performance providing an idyllic end to what promises to be an unforgettable evening. And if you are an adult, there are plenty of waterholes to grab a glass or bubbly or a pint of lager from (your even allowed to roam around with glass/plastic in hand)

DSC_0842_opt

The middle boy and I visited the zoo on Friday 3rd July, it was a birthday present to my son as he absolutely loves animals. He was really excited to meeting all of the animals but I was a little worried that it was going to be a late night for him. I didn’t plan on staying until closing time as we had to travel back home using public transport and didn’t want to be out too late with him. I planned on leaving at about 9.

We arrived at the zoo for about 6:30 and the first place that we went to was to go and see the Lemur. The animals are in an enclosure that you can walk through so if you are lucky enough the Lemurs can come up close to you.

PicMonkey Collage lemurs

As Joseph was posing in front of some of the Lemurs, one of them came right up behind him. He was a little scared at first but the Keeper told him to stand still and just let the Lemur come close. He was very happy to see them up so close and couldn’t believe he got the chance to be within breathing distance to them.

We went off through the Nightlife and Rainforest area on our way to see the Otters. We saw Fruit Bats, Mice, Rats and Meerkats.

We were very lucky to see the Otters being fed at the Otter Holt. They were very noisy and it seemed that one of them took a fancy to Joseph as she just kept screaming at him, and he was mimicking the noises back at her.

DSC_0800_opt

 

We couldn’t wait around as we had lots of areas to cover in such a short space of time.

We made our way along the canal to ‘Into Africa’ my favourite place! Giraffes I adore them!

The Giraffes are so graceful and beautiful, with their long slender legs and smooth fur. As we stood on the bridge looking over at them, one decided to gallop over and take some feed from the basket that was just hung up on the bridge in front of us.

Hello there!
Hello there!

So beautiful!

PicMonkey Collage africa

Just next to the Giraffes are the Zebras and Pygmy Hippos

DSC_0803_opt

 

There are plenty of statues scattered around the zoo to pose with and play areas to explore

PicMonkey Collage animal

 

Lots of photo opportunities around the zoo too

With so much to see and do, we hurried round the Aquarium and the Reptile HousePicMonkey Collage reptiles

And went off to Tiger Territory to search out some Tigers, we saw them laying down up high on a balcony in their enclosure, probably time for bed!

The next place we went was to meet the Monkeys. As we walked through the enclosure, I heard a rustle within the trees. Joseph and I searched through the leaves with our eyes and was greeted by this little dude

IMG_20150703_204836

 

He was nibbling away on some of his food but was happy enough to run down a branch to say hello to us and then run back into his hideaway amongst the branches.

We was almost to the end of our night at the zoo, but not without a visit to Joseph’s favourite mammal, the Penguin! Joseph adores these species, so we saved the best til last. It was crowded at the Penguin Beach when we got there as it was Penguin Chill Out time. There was a little show going on so we found a little spot towards the back of the pool and waited by the glass to see if a Penguin would swim by

DSC_0834 (1)_opt

 

DSC_0839_opt

 

Just to see the smile on his little cute face was enough to last me a lifetime.

It was time to go home, the sun was setting and the sky becoming dark. We had a brilliant time and Joseph has asked to go back again next year. He told me on the way home that it was the best present ever!

There are two more dates available for London Zoo Sunset Safari 10th and 17th July. Ticket prices are Adult: £20.80 Child: £14.56

 

Share

Hold on to your hats!

Travellingon the London underground and wearing hats do not go well together!

On quite a few occasions, on our family trips into the big city, the boys have had their hats blown away from the gush of wind that you get on the underground when a train is arriving or pulling away from the platform.

My two youngest boys like to wear trilby hats, especially the middle boy. Whenever he knows he is going somewhere special he will choose one of his many hats to wear with his outfit. He is one groovy boy. The youngest wears them in the summer to protect his little head which is full of blonde, thin hair.

Last month the youngest lost his hat as he wasn’t holding on to it. As we was just about to walk up the steps from the platform, a gush of air grabbed hold of his hat and blew it onto the tracks of the Northern Line at Goodge Street. We was very lucky as the station attendant went down and using a grabber, picked it up for us. The little one was over the moon and very happy as he thought that he wouldn’t be seeing it again, it didn’t even have a mark on it! The hat must have landed in between tracks.

We have learnt our lesson now, so whenever we are travelling on the underground the boys always take off their hats or hold onto them as they wait in the platforms. Yesterday we travelled into London and I didn’t even have to tell the youngest, he just sat on a bench on the platform and as he heard the train approaching and he could feel the wind coming, he yelled to everyone who was waiting on the platform “Hold on to your hats everyone!”

Hold onto your hats!
Hold onto your hats!

He knew he was being cheeky as this is what come next

DSC_0680_opt

Remember next time your travelling into London on the underground, hold onto your hat! 🙂

 

Share

A day of PBs at the City of London Mile

DSC_0557_opt

On the 14th June, the family travelled into central London to partake in a mile race. The race was sponsored by Amba Hotels and is in its second year. We attended the race last year and enjoyed it enough to enter again this year. One good thing about this running event is that it is absolutely free! All you have to do is register your details on-line and turn up on the day at your given start time.

I registered the whole family to run, Dad in the adult male race, Jak in the youth Mile and the two youngest boys and I in the family race. We was all sent our starts times in an email and was given the choice of collecting our bib numbers and chip a couple of days before the race. As Dad was racing in the first wave, we thought that we would just collect our bibs at the collection point in the runners village.

We arrived in good time. We had decided on driving into the City, as Dad works up there he knows on the best places to park. Dad’s race was starting at 10:30 and we got there at about 9:45. There was no queue in collecting out bib numbers, the volunteers were really helpful and very quick in finding our letters. Although the lady did say that it was huge help that I had written down all of our bib numbers, so she didn’t have to look for our names.

We found a quiet spot in a sheltered area, as the great british weather had decided to show up on the day too! Lucky for us it wasn’t a heavy down pour just a light spray, but it did rain for most of the morning.

DSC_0519_opt

The boys played chase whilst Daddy warmed up. It wasn’t long before Dad had to make his way to the start line.

The race was to start on Canon Street just in front of St Paul’s cathedral. The course passes by some iconic buildings, it’s flat but has some sharp turns in it. Starting at St Paul’s cathedral you head down to the Mansion House Station where you then swoop left to the Bank of England, turning left at Bank Station and heading up Moorgate then taking the first left up towards the Guildhall then a sharp left again to Cheapside and then it’s a slight incline up Cheapside to the finish line.

We was given some inflatable batons to cheer people on in the race. You had two so that you could bang them together and make a lot of noise.

IMG_20150614_121025

The boys and I stood along Canon Street, just in front of the Festival Gardens and waited for Daddy to pass. We could hear the starting gun so we knew he would be running by pretty soon, in fact it was so soon that I missed him on the camera!

DSC_0522_opt

We walked through the One New Change (a shopping precinct) as Cheapside was through the other side. We waited along the railings until we saw Daddy in the distance, running up to the finish line. We cheered him on and watched him cross over the finish line in fourth, with a time of 4:29. Daddy was given his medal and we all went over to congratulate him. The boys were so proud of him and couldn’t wait to give him a cuddle. Once Daddy had caught his breath back and got changed into some dry clothes, we sat down and got ourselves ready for the Family Mile.

IMG_20150614_122443

Daddy was running again with Joseph and I was going to run along with Oliver, but Jak was running in the Youth Mile race so he was going to watch us. We waited along New Change where a man with a megaphone called us all over so that we could head towards the start line. We was all running in the Family wave 1, so we was the first of many families to run the route that day. I believe there was 6 in total.

DSC_0536_opt

 

Oliver was so excited, as we waited with other runners at the start line, he didn’t talk much but did say that he was going to run the whole way. Everyone was talking to him and asking me how old he was, they couldn’t believe that a 3 year old would run a mile.

The gun went off and we was running along with  the crowd, I held onto Oliver’s little hand as it was quite busy and everyone was running so fast. We passed by St Paul’s cathedral and it wasn’t long before we saw Jak cheering us on. We gave him a little wave, the fast runners had sped off ahead so we was left with some space on the road. I let go of Oliver’s hand and let him run by himself.

DSC_0538_opt

I stayed close to him and constantly asked him if he was ok and if he wanted to carry on running, he just nodded his head and carried on. People were cheering him on and shouting ‘Come on Superman!’ I think it helped as each time he heard someone cheering him he had an urge of energy and his speed had a little burst in it. We had no idea where Daddy and Joseph were as they had gone off ahead at the start, they are much faster than us. Although Jak did get a photo if them near the finish line

DSC_0540_opt

As we turned the corner onto Cheapside and could see the finish line up ahead, Daddy and Joseph joined us for the last 200 hundred metres

IMG_20150615_192350

We all held hands and ran together, we let go as we neared the finish and let Oliver cross over by himself.

Oliver finished with a time of 10:47 and Joseph in 7:47, smashing their times from last year by 3-5 minutes. We collected our medals and goody bags, which had water and sweets in for the children and an energy bar for the adults.

DSC_0554_opt DSC_0551_opt

We found a spot opposite the Amba Steel Band and watched the other milers run towards the finish line, we cheered everyone and even had a little dance to the music. The atmosphere was alive and fun.

DSC_0524_opt

After watching all of the family waves pass by, it was time for the Youth Mile. The future athletes. Jak made his way to the start and we waited eagerly at the finish line for him. We knew he wouldn’t be up with the first children to be crossing the line but was hoping he would make it in 6 minutes. We could see him as he steered the corner onto Cheapside, was he going to make it?

DSC_0559_opt

With his brothers cheering him on and his parents shouting out his name, Jak crossed over the line in 6:06. After collecting his medal he made his way over to us, he didn’t look happy! Jak had a tough month with quite a few late nights and no time to train due to his part in a theatre show and his acting in a film, so I had explained to him that he shouldn’t be upset and mad with himself for and to look at what he had achieved so far. He didn’t get the time that he wanted but he did have fun and enjoyed the day. After a little rest and a bite to eat, whilst we watched the Elite Athletes race, he was soon back to his smiling and cheery self.

We had a lovely family day at the City of London Mile, which is sponsored by Amba Hotels and can not wait until next year to enter. The city Mile for us, is about Family time and having fun. We danced to music, we got sore throats from cheering, we got tired legs from running, we raced with some lovely people and had a lovely enjoyable day. We came back with some lovely memories of our mile experience. The children have taken their medals into school to show all of their friends and teachers. The youngest wears his all of the time.

Thank you Amba Hotels for sponsoring such a lovely event! See you next year!

 

Share

A Proud Mini Marathon Day

My children make me proud everyday, there is always something that either one of them has done that makes me take a deep breath and well up inside. I am proud of all 3 of my boys. But yesterday was a very special day where the whole family was proud of the eldest boy. We watched him compete in the London Mini Marathon.

It was the second time that he has had this amazing experience. He first ran it last year when he was 11 years old, read about the post here . He is not the best runner but he tries really hard to achieve his best. This year was a struggle for him as he had lost his running mojo and as much as I get telling him to go out training he just kept saying ‘yeah, tomorrow’. It wasn’t until the last three weeks that he actually began to put the time in to his training and then he started to get a little worried. On Saturday he got bit by a gnat/horsefly and straight away he had a bad reaction to it. Unlucky for Jak, the bite was on his ankle. It wasn’t long before it was swollen, inflamed and blistered. I gave him piriton and rubbed cream on the bite but it was too late to stop it from swelling, the poison had already got into the blood stream. By Sunday morning the swelling had gone down a little but it was still blistered.

Sunday morning had arrived, Jak had to be at the coach for 6:45. He was going to be travelling with the rest of the boroughs team. As I waved him goodbye amongst his friends, a tear welled up in my eye. My baby wasn’t a baby anymore but instead a young lad. I am proud of him everyday for who he is and who he has turned out to be. Running in races, achieving goals in school and his acting are just those little extra moments that make me more proud of him (if it’s even possible).

The coach pulled away, the next time I will see him will be running down Birdcage Walk, on towards The Mall to the finish line.

Jak’s race was starting at 9:09. We left at 8 to catch the train into to London, dressed up in layers to keep us warm and armed with umbrellas incase it rained we was ready to get a spot along route.

We found (what we thought to be a perfect place) along Birdcage walk, propped against the railings we waited for the under 13’s to arrive. We watched and cheered on the other boys that was passing, recognising the odd boy from our boroughs team and shouting their name to cheer them on.

DSC_0198

The first past us was the under 17 boys in black t-shirts, then it was the under 15 boys in blue t-shirts. Up ahead we spotted the first red t short to come along, it was the under 13 boys. We wasn’t expecting to see Jak within the first lot of boys, so we cheered the boys on and waited a couple of minutes. It is so hard to spot your child as they are all in the same colour t-shirts and about the same height. It wasn’t long before we spotted him. We shouted out his name, but he just kept on running. He looked good. He had a good stride.

I never got to see him pass over the finish line as we had a little trouble trying to cross the road. We had positioned ourselves on the wrong side of the road to the finishing line, and had to wait for a gap in the runners to get across. When we eventually crossed over, Jak was already waiting at the borough’s coach for us to pick him up. Once I had signed to say that I had collected him, we was ready to take him off for a well-earned breakfast.

One other thing that made so proud that day was how his little siblings cheered him on and the look on their little cherub faces as they saw him pass by. My two youngest boys look up to their older brother. As soon as they saw him after the race had finished, they ran up to him and gave him a huge hug.

Proudly showing off his medal
Proudly showing off his medal

Jak is a little upset with his time and was hoping that he would have done better, but to me he was the winner as all I saw out on that big wide road was him. Jak. My big boy. The boy that makes me proud every day.

Well Done Jak!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Share

A visit to The Sky Gardens

The sun was shining and the sky was clear, not a cloud in site. A perfect time to visit the Sky Gardens, London situated at 20 Fenchurch Street or locally known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building. London is a beautiful city and it wasn’t til our recent trip into the city that I realised that behind all the tall buildings and beyond the many Royal Parks there are so many delightful places to see.

Living about 35 minutes away from London makes it so accessible for us to get into and an ideal place for family day outs.

A friend of mine had previously visited the Sky Gardens and I knew as soon as I saw the photos of her visit that I would have to visit and see for myself the stunning indoor hidden gem that London has to offer. Entry into the Sky Gardens is free, Visits are pre-bookable, we booked our visit the day before but it is advisable to book at least a few day before you want to visit.

DSC_0029 (1)_opt
The Walkie Talkie Building

We planned on meeting Daddy for an early lunch so booked our visit for 11:45. After going through the security down on the ground floor we was ready to embark in the lift and to travel 35 floors up to the top of the building.

DSC_0032_opt

The lift went really fast and within seconds and a pop of the ears we was on the 35th floor, as we walked out through the lift doors we was greeted with the most beautiful sight. Not only was there the 360* breathtaking view of London to admire but also a gorgeous landscaped garden with a viewing area. The whole area is one big dome, spanning over 3 floors including a bar, cocktail terrace, restaurant and cafe.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The plants on the gardens have been individually chosen to work in the particular quality of light under the roof canopy. You can immediately smell the freshness of the herbs and the ferns. The viewing terraces are naturally ventilated, As we planned to visit on a warm day the temperature within the sky gardens was warm.

We enjoyed a relaxed walk around the terraces and as we strolled round the Sky gardens we appreciated the uninterrupted views of the City.

As a family we really had a superb afternoon in London’s highest hidden gem, the boys were excited when looking out at the views. They spent a while pointing out buildings and areas that they recognised, the youngest even pointed down to the Tower of London and told me that was where his childminder lived lol.

After a stroll around the Gardens and Terraces we sat down in front of the Flowers and took joy in drinking a Latte and ate some croissants (bought in the cafe) The children found a cute little cycle to pose in front of, there were a few of these scattered around the Sky Pod area.

DSC_0048_opt

 

We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend a visit if you Live or planning a visit to London.

Hope you enjoyed my post 🙂

Share