Posts Tagged ‘Treats for teenies’

Soho Hotel Summer Film Club

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Looking cool in anticipation of the inaugural Summer Film Club at London's Soho Hotel

There comes a time in the life of every holiday-bound parent when some grown-up enjoyment is essential.

A few minutes to sit and think, stare into space, and try and scramble the brain away from a mantra of cook/clean/arbitrate.

But where? And how? And can this be done while keeping the children happy at the same time? YES! Meet The Soho Hotel’s Summer Film Club!

Peace reigns at the Soho Hotel Summer Film Club

The Soho Hotel is in the gorgeous Firmdale Hotel. Not wanting to namedrop, ahem, but while staying/lunching/brunching in the various branches I’ve seen Gwyneth Paltrow, Christina Ricci, Scarlett Johansson and Robbie Coltrane.

The Summer Film Club is genius. A delicious buffet starts at 11.15, packed with teeny burgers, fish and chip cones, dips and fruit kebabs. There’s prosecco for grown-ups (I know! and you’re allowed to drink it while watching the film), Fruit Shoots and fruit juice for children. The film of the day starts at midday in a plush private screening room, with huge flippy-up seats (leather, which means you can easily wipe them down should your children be as sticky as mine). You even get a box of popcorn per seat. The screening room is air-conditioned, and as you’re surrounded by children everyone understands if you need to race a child out to the loo. Child 3, did you really need four Fruit Shoots?

Tickets cost £20 per person, which I think is a bargain given that a slap-up lunch is included.


19 July: Despicable Me 2
26 July: The Lego Movie 3D
2 August: Rio 2
9 August: Frozen 3D
16 August: How to Train Your Dragon 2 3D
23 August: Peter Pan
30 August: Muppets Most Wanted
6 September: Finding Nemo 3D
13 September: ET
20 September: Planes 2: Fire and Rescue

For bookings and more information, contact:
020 7559 3007

South Bank playground

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Wooden playground in the shadow of the London Eye

One of my favourite places in London is the South Bank.

When I first came to London, long before I had children, I’d wander here. Partly to be by the side of the Thames, with thousands of years of history floating past. Partly because it’s arguably the most vibrant, exciting place to hang out for free. You can take in buskers, views, art installations and the melting pot that is London, without spending any money.

Now that I’ve got children, I appreciate the virtues of a day out that doesn’t cost a fortune even more.

Enjoying the urban jungle

We hadn’t visited for a while, and hadn’t previously noticed a really cool, mainly wooden playground. It was full of challenging bits to scramble up and along, and it kept us busy for nearly an hour. Then it was on to the buskers. Our favourite was the ‘bubble man’ who created giant bubbles. Children followed him as though he were the Pied Piper, running and jumping to pop the bubbles.

Apart from the few coins that we gave various buskers, it was a free day. And we’ll head back to enjoy the urban beach, which returns this year as part of Festival of Love

Festival of Love Urban Beach Opening Times
Friday 6th June – Sunday 14th September
Monday: 12pm – 6pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am – 6pm
Thursday, Friday: 10am – 8pm

Sit down on a BookBench

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Dr Seuss' 'Things', painted by Sarah Jane Richards. Photograph: Chris O’Donovan for the National Literacy Trust

This has to be one of my favourite things happening in London this summer.

50 unique BookBench sculptures have been created and dotted around the capital, designed by local artists and famous names to celebrate London’s literary heritage and reading for enjoyment. There are four trails to explore, where you can discover green spaces and historic sites, while you look for the BookBenches. At the end of a literary summer, the BookBenches will be brought together in a final display on October 7 and auctioned off to raise money for the National Literacy Trust.So I’m planning a tour.

What’s not to like? It’s free fun, and you even get to sit down at the end of it!

One of my favourites - The Wind in the Willows, painted by Mik Richardson

Stop press!!
Visit the Sherlock Holmes BookBench on 19 July at 1pm for a unique opportunity to see a photo shoot of Sherlocks. The Sherlocks are taking part in a Guinness World Records attempt for the most number of people dressed as the iconic detective.

Bounce off the walls!

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

The weather, as those brave souls battling it out at Wimbledon, will attest is


Nearly school holidays, though. Which will probably mean rain, rain, rain.

Apparently indoor trampoline parks are all the rage in the US, and the concept has spread to Australia, Amsterdam and Singapore. Get fit, have fun, and enjoy being up, up and away in the great indoors where it doesn’t matter if the sun either doesn’t shine, or shines too much.

The UK’s first indoor trampoline park has recently opened near Watchmoor Park, Camberley, in a 27,000 square foot warehouse. Action includes dodge ball, giant foam pits, and angled trampolines that let you bounce off the walls.

Such a great idea, and fingers crossed Gravity Force catches on and other branches start springing up all over the country.


Kids free – half term at The Shard

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

London is out there. Somewhere. A drizzly outlook at The View from The Shard

I’ve got vertigo. Not surprising, 800 feet up, with London’s rooftops like a model village below. But it’s not the views. It’s the prices.

A trip up Europe’s highest building seemed an ideal half-term outing. An easy way to get a sense of London’s geography, and a truly memorable experience. I looked into prices and nearly got vertigo.

£29.95 per adult
£23.95 per child (4-15)

Quite a lot? I thought so, for a half-hour outing. Well, 40 minutes if you include the 10-minute wait in the street below, in the pouring rain.

You can book in advance, as we did. Prices then go down to £24.95 per adult, and £18.95 per child. Unfortunately, you then risk getting grim weather and poor visibility, as we did. And it’s worth visiting this half term (26 May to 1 June), when kids (up to two per paying adult) go free.

The 'real time' telescope highlights the main sights. It's a film, so doesn't rely on the weather for good visibility

We still saw most of the main sights, including the Tower of London, the ‘Gherkin’, and Tower Bridge. Whizzing from the ground to floor 33 (you then change lifts) takes an amazing, literally ear-popping, 28 seconds. Watching the lift screen count up the numbers excitingly speedily is fun. But we didn’t get those gorgeous views for miles in every direction.

So the verdict? Worth it, even in the rain. But I don’t think I’d pay nearly £150 for my family of six to visit.

50 Things Before You’re 11 3/4s

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

It’s going to be a busy summer…

I’ve just taken a look at The National Trust’s 50 Things to do before you’re 11 & 3/4s. Lots of inspiration to get muddy, closer to nature, and generally get out and about in our glorious great outdoors. The website lists loads of sensible, fun things to do, and most of them easy to achieve: go on a really long bike ride, climb a tree and build a den. Most can be done in London, including visiting a farm and playing with conkers.

Here’s the full list - how many has your family ticked off?

Exclusive Baby Event at The Hurlingham

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Your invitation to an exclusive event at The Hurlingham Club, 20 May

Exclusive, exciting, and packed with invaluable information for any new or about-to-get-there mum, Bump to Baby is nearly with us.

angels & urchins are very happy partners of the event, and you can find out more, below. Hope to see you there!

The best view in London?

Thursday, May 8th, 2014


The view from the London Eye is amazing. If you’re brave enough climb the O2 Arena, then you’ll already have seen London spread out beneath you.

But what you see from the Shard is something else. From the viewing platform at the top, London is spread beneath you like a map. Tower Bridge and The Tower of London look like dinky exhibits in a model village. Canary Wharf is three miles away as the crow flies, but it looks close enough to reach out and touch. And it’s all so silent, as though you’re in an aeroplane.

Soaring views from Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London

The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London has just opened. Here’s a picture (taken on my camera phone’s maximum zoom) from the lobby on the 35th floor. Seriously impressive, and I recommend booking in for a cup of coffee and a glass of cola with the children to enjoy it in comfort. Or indulging in afternoon tea. At £15 a head, it’s one of the headiest bargains in the entire city.


Giant Playmobil take over London!

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

It’s Playmobil’s 40th anniversary!

We’ve played a lot in their world, and now they’re taking over ours…

As part of celebrations for Playmobil’s 40th anniversary (I know! that plastic look does wonders for crow’s feet), giant cowboys, builders, knights and princesses took over Camden Lock in London.

Here’s what our roving angels & urchins’ reporter saw earlier today. So the capital first, next stop world domination. Look out for a giant pirate, with c-shaped hands, on a street near you soon.


FUNharmonics Sunday 11 May

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Roald Dahl-inspired musical fun on 11 May, Royal Festival Hall, London

FUNharmonics – Noses

No, that isn’t a typo

‘Noses’ is a concert with activities for all the family, happening at the ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL, LONDON

The actual concert starts at midday (so plenty of time to enjoy a leisurely brunch, and even a lie-in if it’s your turn that Sunday), and there are free activities to enjoy from 10am.

Here’s what you’ll enjoy – Roald Dahl’s The Ant-Eater, a musical feast by Benjamin Wallfisch.

Stuart Stratford is the conductor

London Philharmonic Orchestra provides the dazzling music

It’s the second of three concerts inspired by Roald Dahl’s Dirty Beasts poems we meet dreadfully spoiled hero, Roy, and his very hungry pet ant-eater, inspired by Dahl’s tale of The Ant-Eater. We then go on to meet the whole zoo in a fantastic selection of pieces celebrating our animal friends, from Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie to John Williams’s Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter.Presented by CBeebies’ Chris Jarvisand featuring 80 of the country’s finest musicians, FUNharmonics concerts are the perfect introduction to the extraordinary drama and colour of orchestral music.

Come and join the party!

Throughout the day there are free musical events around the building offering a fun and interactive way-in to the concert.10.00am–2.00pm: Have a go at an orchestral instrument of your choice under expert instruction; join our music-making workshops on The Clore Ballroom, and explore Southbank Centre with our free activity sheet.1.15pm: The music continues in The Clore Ballroom – a guest ensemble of young musicians entertain with a selection of great tunes.

Tickets start from £10 – find out more HERE