Archive | London RSS feed for this section

And THIS is why I love London so much

12 Mar

On Wednesday I was wandering through Soho and saw this.  It’s fake hair.  The building is an art gallery which used to be a gunmakers.  History, bizarreness, art.  We’ve got it all in London.


London Wetland Centre

12 Mar

The London Wetland Centre is a lovely place were you can learn about camouflaged bugs, flying feathers and mating shrimps that aren’t really shrimps.

I’m sure it’s 42 beautifully landscaped hectares are even lovelier on a day that’s slightly above freezing, but as we seem to have entered a mini ice age, I may never find out.

We’ve pond dipped, stroked ducklings, zipped on the zip wire in the fabulous playground, admired the wide open spaces and gorgeous planting.

Next time, we might even go in summer.

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. For lovely travel pictures, click here

Gong Hei Fat Choi

26 Feb

“What was your favourite thing about Chinese New Year?” I asked Eve as we travelled back from Soho on Sunday afternoon.

“Nothing was particularly my favourite, I really wanted to watch the dancing dragons, but we could hardly see anything through all those people’s legs.”

“What about the atmosphere, I enjoyed that?”

“What do you mean, atmosphere?”

“Drumming so loud you can feel it in your chest, babies dressed in colourful silk outfits, the warm wheaty smell of steamed buns, reedy flute music playing over the tannoys, busy stalls selling paper dragons and red and gold souvenirs, the popping and sparking of fire crackers, escaped balloons floating up into the clouds, streets festooned with rainbows of paper lanterns.  All of that is atmosphere”

“Oh, yes, my favourite thing was the atmosphere.”

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. For lovely travel pictures, click here

Fish Club

24 Feb

We are lucky to live within cycling distance of an award winning fish and chip shop.  Lucky because it’s close and lucky that we can exercise off some of the calories on the way home.  Fish Club isn’t any old run of the mill fish and chip shop, it is really special, what all fish and chip shops should be.

First, choose your sustainable, market fresh fish, then choose how you want it cooked.  Traditionalists can go for battered and deep fried, those looking for something healthier can have it grilled, or panfried.  You can then watch it being cooked in the open kitchen, the perfect entertainment for distracting hungry children, particularly if there are large flames involved.

On this occasion, Ned had a prawn and chorizo kebab, Eve and Dickon had a children’s portion of battered fish and chips and I had stir fried squid with chilli and garlic.  Everything was absolutely delicious, the batter light and crispy, the squid tender and spicy.

Pudding came courtesy of Lollipop sweet shop a few doors down the road.  We then cycled home across the muddy, wintery common fueled by a combination of chips and sugar.  A good day.

This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday. For more travel food stories, head here.

We love museums

17 Feb

What makes a museum good for children?  I don’t buy the argument that they can only be entertained by high tech flashing lights, pressing buttons and touch sensitive computer screens.  I think the very best museums engage and entertain children in the most imaginative of ways.

We’ve been deafened by explosions, created artistic masterpieces, become Saxon householders, been eaten by a Venus fly trap,  joined a band of revolting peasants, met the young Queen Victoria, peered down microscopes, danced with Chinese Dragons, camouflaged ourselves and sung carols around a blazing bonfire.

Museums are wonderful places for families and we are lucky that so many are free.  But what of museums that charge?  Does their family ticket suit your family? Does your local museum ticket admit 2+2, while you are a single parent with three children?  Kids in Museums is asking for your help.  They are gathering information about how family tickets suit real families, because families come in all shapes and sizes.  Let them know by filling in their simple form or by leaving a comment on this post, which I shall pass on.  Thank you.

Does your local museum ticket admit 2+2, while you are a single parent with three children?

I’m not a liar, honest…

15 Jan

October 2008

After a few unseasonably cold days, my newly-moved-to-London-Australian-friend asks me about London winters, is this as cold as it gets?  I reassure her that London winters are generally mild, with just a few cold days here and there.  It rarely snows, and if it does, there’s usually just enough for a few snowballs, everything melting within 24 hours.

February 2009

We stand huddled together on Clapham Common on a magical day when the entire city has stopped.  An unprecedented 25cms of snow, closed airports and ungritted roads make London uniquely still, the only sound being children squealing with excitement as they glory in the unexpected bonus of a free day off school.

Later, warming up with hot chocolate in our sitting room, we talk about how lucky they are to experience such deep snow.  How this has only happened a handful of times in the last 40 years.  The nearest they get to cold in their tropical hometown of Brisbane, is when the airconditioning it set to high.

January 2010

We are into our fourth week of snow and ice.  Waterproof gloves and woolly socks have become essential items.  The weather forecast predicts more and yet more snow.

We pass each other outside school, me pulling a sledge carrying two small boys along the slushy pavement, her hunched, miserably into her overcoat as fat, white, wet flakes continue to fall.  “I thought it never snowed in London, Victoria?”

This post is part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby. For lovely travel pictures (some hopefully of sunny places), click here

Christmas Feast

23 Dec

Shoppers hurried from stall to stall, huddled deep into their overcoats for protection against the biting wind.  Snow fell in flurries onto the traders whose tables, pitched in the shadow of the Cathedral, were groaning with oysters ready for shucking, artful displays of winter vegetables, bubbling, crusty, grilled cheese sandwiches, and giant, billowy, meringues.

Inside the market, mallards, pheasants and partridges were hanging infront of butchers stalls, groaning with turkeys and geese, while the spicy steam from vats of mulled wine, fugged the chilly air.   Huge pyramids of tiny, orange clementines

teetered next to bags of sweetie-like, mouth puckering, cranberries and wrinkled sultanas still on their stalks, begging you to make mincemeat.

Stepping into the Cathedral for warmth, and the chance to hear the beautiful choir practising for the Christmas services.  A moment’s stillness in a hectic pre-Christmas week.

Back outside, and to the dairy under the brick railway arches, where hundreds upon hundreds of cloth covered truckles of cheese, as think as tree trunks, were stacked in columns from floor to ceiling, while buckets of soft, white cream cheeses and hand shaped pats of yellow butter sat on a groaning table with samples of sharp, creamy cheddar to encourage you to buy their wares.

Borough Market the last weekend before Christmas, with snow falling as Londoners gathered their Christmas feasts, was a scene straight out of Dickens.  Fabulous.