What’s on in London – February 2013

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve done it again… begun a What’s on in London in the middle of the month! Hopefully no one is following my blog seriously as it looks like its becoming a trend.

I can’t say that you haven’t missed much because it was Chinese New Year yesterday. I don’t usually celebrate it but my daughter has been obsessed with everything Chinese lately. She’s studying China at school and for the last week all she has wanted to be was Chinese. Last week she was happy to have blond hair like Rapunzel, now she can’t wait to grow up and have her hair turn black “like mummy’s” (whose hair is not black incidentally). She also wanted to go to China, but she had to settle for Chinatown yesterday. Luckily, the dancing dragons, red lanterns and chinese shops seemed to do the trick. It better have – standing in the cold and rain was not my idea of a celebration! The things we do for our kids…

But on to bigger, better (and hopefully, drier) things

Rio Carnival at Guanarbara – 7 – 12 February 2013

If you feel like shaking it like Shakira, then you won’t want to miss the Rio Carnival at Guanabara, London’s most famous Brazilian venue near Holborn. Not only will there be plenty of samba, but there will be copious amounts of Brazilian street food and the best Caiprinihas in town (just in case you can’t shake it like Shakira!). Mix it up on a week night for a bit of mummy time or a pre-Valentines date night!

Imagine Children’s Festival – 11 – 24 February 2013

Its half term! Hoorah! (Not). If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, yet again, Southbank is your answer. For about 2 weeks, the Imagine Children’s Festival will be delighting your children with all sorts of entertainment with music, books, poetry, dance, workshops and wait for it… a dinosaur petting zoo! Need I say more?! In case I do, there will be some big names in children’s literature doing storytelling like Judith Kerr and Claire Freedman (best selling author of Aliens Love Underpants), a Peter Rabbit puppet show and even a Where’s Wally hunt where you can dress up like Wally and win a prize (if that’s your thing). There is really something for everyone. A perfect day out for the kids.

Pancake Day – 12 February 2013

If like me your New Years resolutions lasted one month as opposed to one year, then you won’t want to miss the excuse to gorge yourself on pancakes tomorrow! There will be pancake day races all over London, from Spitalfields to Borough Market. If you can brave the weather, this would be a great day out for the kids. Check out Time Out’s feature here. If you’d rather eat pancakes then run with them, you may want to pop down to The Breakfast Club Hoxton and challenge yourself with a Man vs Pancake challenge: 12 pancakes in 20 minutes. Go on, you know you want to!

The Marshmallow Apothecary – 12 – 23 February 2013

This is actually going to be a great month. So much food! Its definitely the weather for hot chocolate. And the perfect partner for hot chocolate has to be the humble marshmallow. Not so humble, is the Robin Collective Marshmallow Apothecary, a pop up prescribing these fluffy treats for your maladies based on your requirements. There is also a coffee shop and tasting area. A perfect sweet finish to some retail therapy on Carnaby Street, you can get your fix at Kingly Court on Kingly Street.

North & South Soup Pop Up – 13 February 2013

Its definitely soup weather and this is just the pop up to warm you up! North & South Soup is a small London based soup company specialising in home-made soups looking to make it big in the delis of London. To this end, they are having a pop up evening from 7pm at The Shop in Kensal Rise. Like with all my featured food events, there will be cocktails, as well as some interesting soups to say the least (like parsnip and vanilla?!). If you happen to live anywhere in the vicinity, you should definitely pop in!

Couple blindfolded chocolate tasting – 13 February 2013

Mmm, soup or chocolate? I think I know which event I’ll be going to (if it wasn’t for the £100 price tag attached). If you’ve got the means, then take your other half to this cocoa-based couples event at Rococo Chocolates Motcomb Street from 6.30-7.30pm. There will be award winning truffles, insider chocolate information and sparkling wine, and of course, blindfolds to heighten the taste experience!

Sex and the City (of London) walk – 14 February 2013

And you thought your excuses for eating bad were over. Thankfully, its Valentines Day this month, and chocolate is mandatory! The good thing is, you can walk it off on this new Sex and the City (of London) walk which takes place on Valentines Day in Barbican from 6.30pm. Unfortunately, its for 18s and over so would be perfect for date night.

The Love Nest Valentines Ball – 14 – 16 February 2013

If you want to do something a little different for Valentines Day, you may want to take your other half on a date night, or your girlfriends for a bit of mummy time fun, to the Artful Dodger’s Love Nest Valentine Ball which is taking place in the secret vaults of the Old Vic Tunnels. The Old Vic Tunnels team have set to work creating a romantic wonderland full of DJs, live bands, Peacock mating dancers, Kingfisher Kissograms, Tandem bike rides, a spanking parlour, face painting, costume stalls and a whole lot more. Not for the faint hearted, tickets are now on sale at 40% off through Time Out at only £15/pop.

Vodafone Fashion Weekend – 21 – 24 February 2013

If you fancy yourself a bit of a fashionista (or a want to be), then make sure you come and strut your stuff over to Somerset House this weekend. There will be over 100 designers all selling one-off pieces and their SS13 collections at discount prices. Get a group of girls together for a stylish bit of mummy time. Tickets start from £15.50 for shopping only to tickets including entry into the catwalk show. Go on, spoil yourself and buy your ticket here. For a 20% discount on all tickets (except Luxe) enter URBANJUNKIES at the checkout.

The Baby Show – 22 – 24 February 2013

If you’re expecting a baby, chances are you will not be going to the Vodafone Fashion weekend. That doesn’t mean that you don’t get to shop. You can still get your retail fix at the Baby Show at ExCel London. There will be all the top brands all in the one place and experts to offer you specialist advice on their products. Its not all about the shopping of course. There will also be some great speakers, like Professor Robert Winston and my personal favourite, children’s food guru, Annabel Karmel. For 40% off the ticket price, just quote BSX022 here. A great day out for the whole family and invaluable for first time mums.

Designer Sales UK – 28 February  – 2 March 2013

If you’ve still got money left over from attending Vodafone Fashion Week, you may want to bag some more bargains at the Chelsea Old Town Hall from 12 – 6pm. Designers include: Belstaff, Armani, D&G, Westwood, Chloe, Equipment, Ralph Lauren, Pringle, Paul Smith, Moschino, and Hugo Boss. Make sure you’re looking your best because Designer Sales UK will also be scouting for models for The Real People Catwalk Show 2013. A great way to spend some mummy time. For more information, check out the website.

The View from the Shard

Move over London Eye, the Shard has arrived. If you want a bird’s eye view of London, then you can’t beat the Shard which has just opened up this month to the public. Its looks amazing… and very high at 244m above ground leve. Definitely not one for those scared of heights! Advance tickets £24.95 for adults and £18.95 for children. Under 3s go free. Book your tickets here.

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Essential buys for a new baby – Breastfeeding


breastfeeding (Photo credit: sdminor81)

Breastfeeding – feeding baby the old fashioned way…

I didn’t say “the natural way” for good reason. For some mothers, its anything but. Noone tells you how hard breastfeeding can be. With the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.

1. Nipple Shields

You may not need these but if your nipples don’t happen to be willing breast feeding participants you’re going to wish you had. Breastfeeding isn’t easy. First the baby has to latch, and then once it has, your nipples need to be up to task to withstand ferocious sucking the likes of which you’ve never felt before. You may not have any trouble with your baby latching, in which case, you may not need one of these. Well not initially anyway. However, when you’re crying from cracked or bleeding nipples, and particularly when you’re dreading the next feed, you might want to pop one of these on for relief.

Favourite Brand: Medela Contact Nipple Shields

Pros: Where do I start? I was able to breast feed all my three babies thanks to these beauties. They come in small, medium, large and extra large sizes in their own handy storage case. They are also relatively cheap at about £8 for a 2 pack. Baby has something to latch on to if you have flat, inverted, or even small nipples and because your nipple is effectively shielded, you feel no pain. I also find baby gets less wind because they’re not slipping off. Finally, baby transitions easily to a bottle because its used to a teat. Its a win-win all around.

Cons: Cleaning these suckers in the middle of the night is a drag to say the least. And that’s if you can find them! I’ve lost count of how many I’ve lost… They also make breast feeding in public virtually impossible, certainly not discrete. Let’s just say you have positioning difficulties. Finally, some midwives say they affect milk supply. Thats why they don’t usually whip these out at the hospital if you’re having trouble breastfeeding – you literally have to be bleeding! The shields didn’t affect my supply at all. Its much better to risk reduced milk supply than not to breastfeed at all so make sure you have some of these in your hospital bag.

2. Breastfeeding Pillow

This is a must have unless you are a die hard weights fan who doesn’t need to eat. Babies may seem light to start off with but they don’t stay that way. Give it a few minutes and you’ll be wishing you had one of these.

Favourite brand: Tetra nursing wedge

Pros: Baby latches more easily because the wedge puts their head at the right level and you can essentially breastfeed with both hands free so you can eat, read and even write a blog! Unfortunately, you can only buy the Tetra nursing wedge in Australia but I’m sure a nursing pillow would do the trick.

Cons: Mmm… I can’t think of any apart from the fact that it will unfortunately become a permanent fixture in your living room, or your bedroom, wherever you happen to be feeding!

3. A Breastfeeding Chair

If you’re breast feeding you’ll be spending an awful lot of time sitting. You need to be comfortable. If you have an armchair or lounge where you can sit upright with your feet on the floor and have a breastfeeding pillow there’s no need to fork out a whole lot of money on a special breastfeeding chair.

Pros: Breastfeeding chairs put you in the right position to feed and some even recline so you can catch up on some much needed zs.

Cons: Breastfeeding chairs are expensive and take up space which will probably be at a premium if you’re already making room for a little one.

4. Muslin wraps

These are essential. So many uses… The first use that comes to mind is as a wrap, but I also use these when I’m breastfeeding in public as a cover.

Favourite brand: Aden & Anais

Pros: They are light and thin so baby can breathe easily while feeding and you can tuck the sides into your clothes. They are also much cheaper than breastfeeding covers. Make sure you get the 120cm x 120cm wraps. The Aden & Anais wraps aren’t cheap at about £47 for a 4 pack but they are great quality and you’ll definitely get the use out of them to justify the cost! Most other wraps come in 70cm x 70cm or 100cm x 100cm and they are just too short to do anything with. If you live in Australia, grab the Weegoamigo wraps from Target.

Cons: They can slip off quite easily and you won’t exactly look like a fashionista.

5. Breastfeeding Tops

On the subject of fashion, breastfeeding can be limiting. When you’re out and you need to breastfeed discretely, you need a top that you can either pull down easily or pull up without exposing the rest of you! I don’t know about you, but my stomach was not in a great condition for baring after I gave birth. You can go out and buy special breastfeeding tops from maternitywear shops, but you really don’t need to. So long as you have a top with buttons that you can undo, or a top that has enough elasticity in it to pull down to feed comfortably, you’ll be fine.

Favourite brand: any top with buttons or any top with a singlet top underneath

Pros: Wear an elastic singlet top underneath any top and you can pull up the top and pull down the singlet top and breastfeed without baring anything at all!

Cons: Steer away from specialised breastfeeding tops – you will generally pay more for them and you’ll only be able to use them for a limited time.

6. Breast Pads

Breast pads are a must have. You don’t want to “let down” without one. Too often I’ve forgotten to put these in and it can be quite embarrassing…

Favourite brand: Boots Ultra Slim Breast Pads

Pros: I love the Boots brand of breast pads. They are the closest to the Pigeon brand of breast pads I used to wear in Australia. As well as being super absorbent, they are thin so not even noticeable under tops and they are also very comfortable. They come individually wrapped so you can pop them in your handbag in case you need an extra pair when you’re out. What seals the deal for me is that they’re only £2.59 for a pack of 36!

Cons: These pads are a necessity so I can’t really think of any. Of course, if you want to be environmentally friendly you may want to consider washables. Or not.

7. Breastfeeding Pump

I know many mothers who weren’t able to breastfeed their babies but still managed to give them breastmilk through pumping. Even if you can breastfeed your baby, if you want to be able to go out or get some sleep while your partner does the night feed, then you will definitely want to invest in one of these.

Favourite brand: Medela Swing

Pros: I made the mistake of using a manual pump with my first two girls. Such a mistake! Pumping was such a chore. Often, my manual pump wouldn’t work so I would end up trying to express by hand. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it. You’ll end up with RSI. The Medela swing is easy to assemble and it even comes with batteries so you’re not stuck in the one place pumping. You just hold it in place and away it goes.  Make sure you pump in the morning – it will take you less time to get the milk you need than any other time of day!

Cons: The Medela swing isn’t cheap at about £130. It can also get messy, especially if you have a lot of milk. You need to make sure that it doesn’t go back up the valve into the machine as its not easy to clean. You will also feel like a cow and get strange looks from your older kids. Don’t worry, as with all things in motherhood, you’ll get used to it 🙂

If you pump milk, then you’re going to need to bottle feed! To find out my essential buys for bottle feeding, stay tuned for my next instalment.

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Essential Buys for a New Baby – Introduction

Nappy bag with accessories in Red

Nappy bag with accessories in Red (Photo credit: aus_chick)

I’ve been meaning to write this post for awhile. In fact, it was lists like this that motivated me to write my blog in the first place. I guess I got too caught up with the fun stuff like What’s on in London and My Not so Daily Deals.

Can you blame me? My blog is about escaping Groundhog Day after all and baby essentials aren’t exactly all that exciting. But. And here’s the but. If you don’t have the right tools for the job its going to make your job as a parent more difficult than it already is. Let’s face it, we can’t escape every Groundhog Day so you need to make sure it’s going to be  manageable and at the very least, tolerable. Parenting is difficult enough at the best of times. So hopefully this list, and these items, will make your job as a parent much easier.

The list is going to be long. To reduce the shock factor I’m going to split it up and deliver it to you in instalments. Then when I’m finished I’ll add the complete list as a page to my blog so you can go back to it all in the one place. At least that’s my intention. Now that I’m a mum of 3 kids, 4 and under I know better than to hope to presume I’ll actually be able to finish something!

If all goes well, stay tuned for the first instalment where I’ll cover the all important subject of feeding – the old fashioned way…


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Not so Daily (Special) Deal for 26 January 2013 – Mon Marcel on Zulily

My not so Daily Deal today comes from Zulily, my all time favourite one stop discount shop for fashionable, quality kidswear and toys.

This is another deal close to my heart, as the baby modelling this beautiful Spanish childrenswear brand, Mon Marcel, is my very own cheeky little monkey.

Out of my three girls, I have to say that my youngest probably shows the most promise for modelling. She stayed still, smiled for the camera, and didn’t bust out any compromising gangnam style moves like her sisters. Of course, she has age on her side – she’s only 6 months. Given time, I’m sure she’ll be following in her older sisters’ foot steps!

IsabelleFor now though, she’s the perfect model, and this is the perfect childrenswear brand. The quality of these clothes is superb. The designs are simple, but the beauty is in the detail – like the gorgeous little pink star button on the white and rose knitted dress she’s wearing. Its subtle, but really cute. The dress is also reasonably priced at £16 – down from over £40! Its the pretty pink rosado shorts, however, which won me over in the end. How can you resist those frills? I couldn’t! They are the quintessential baby bottoms. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only person to think so as they have now sold out.

Not to worry though, there are so many beautiful classic pieces to choose from in this collection. Take one of the beautifully knitted cardigans, for example. They would complete any outfit in the variety of colours they come in and they are so soft and comfortable. They are also currently half price and start from £17.50 which is amazing value given the quality of these pieces.

If you’re looking for stylish, practical and comfortable clothes for your baby, that have a touch of European elegance about them, then you can’t go past Mon Marcel, and you particularly can’t go past this sale.

You do however need to be a member of Zulily to take advantage of the sale, so if you haven’t already done so, you can join here:


You won’t regret it. Your credit card might though…

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Not so Daily (Special) Deal for 18 January 2013 – Kliky Construction Toys

Eva KlikyAnother Not so Daily (Special) Deal from Zulily!

This time, my eldest is modelling solo for these great Kliky magnetic construction toys.

My kids love to build. I’ve lost count of how many blocks they have. The great thing about these construction toys is that they’re magnetic. So chances are you won’t lose them because they have a tendency to stick together! They also won’t stab you in the foot.

Apart from being more parent friendly, the kids will love the vibrant colours and shapes of these toys. They range from choo-choo trains to herbie looking cars and funky geometric shapes so your kids can learn while they play. The Kliky numbers (at only £17) are particularly good if your kids are learning their numbers at school.

At just under half price off the RRP, these construction toys are great value. Protect your feet and invest in some Klikys!

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What’s on in London – January 2013

Cirque du Soleil, Alegria, at Royal Albert Hal...

Cirque du Soleil, Alegria, at Royal Albert Hall, London, UK. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Its a New Year! It has definitely started off slow though, kind of like me, posting a What’s on in London for January in the middle of January. But don’t worry, you haven’t missed much – just an ice sculpting event in Canary Wharf. I’m sure you got to do some ice sculpting of your own on Monday in any case, and I hear there will be plenty more opportunities this week with the freezing weather ahead. Being January, most of you have already made resolutions to detox, save some money and get serious about the year ahead. Bah humbug! Get out there and enjoy yourself!

English National Ballet The Sleeping Beauty – 9 – 19 January 2013

Start the year with some culture and catch The Sleeping Beauty at the London Coliseum. Its the world’s favourite fairytale performed by what is arguably the world’s best ballet company. Need I say more? Hold off taking the kids until March when the English National Ballet performs My First Cinderella (they performed My First Sleeping Beauty last year I’m afraid). Perfect for a date night (if your partner is so inclined) or a bit of mummy time. Book your tickets here.

London Boat Show – 12 – 20 January 2013

Chances are if you have a boyfriend, or a husband, you’d have heard about this already. If you’ve already been roped into going with the kids, then the good news is that this year there will be activities to keep them occupied. In fact, there is a multi-activity pool with model-boat racing, marine challenges and kids’ activities. If you haven’t been lucky enough to escape London for the warm sun and seas of the Southern hemisphere, you could always dream… In fact you can even climb aboard! For more information check out the show’s website. The ticket price also includes entry to the Outdoors Show, the London Bike Show, the Luxury Brands Show and the Active Travel Show, all of which open at the same venue on January 17. All the fun can be found here at the ExCel Centre, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1XL. You can get discount tickets to the Boat Show on Wowcher here – pay £13 instead of £17.75. Up to two children under 15 go free. Perfect for the whole family.

London Art Fair – 16 – 20 January 2013

If you like going to art exhibitions, or even if you don’t and are thinking of making the walls around your home look a little more interesting, then chances are you will find what you’re looking for at the London Art Fair at the Business Design Centre in Angel. The Fair features over 100 galleries presenting the great names of 20th century Modern British art and exceptional contemporary work. There will also be talks, events, exhibitions and tours. Great for a date night or a bit of reflective mummy time. Tickets cost £16 each but you can get them at a discount of 40% (£9.60 each) if you buy them through Time Out here. For more information see the London Art Fair website.

Destination Unknown – 17 January at 7pm

For those of you who agree with my bah humbug philosophy, and are still keen to frolic, then you may want to get a few friends together and indulge in a night of cheeky cocktails at some of London’s secret drinking dens and bars. If you get a little foggy, your very own drinking guide will be there to lead you (astray no doubt). £29 gets you pre booked tables, priority entrance and transport. Book tickets here for some mummy time with the girls or a date night to remember (or not).

The Outdoors Show – 17 – 20 January 2013

If you like the outdoors then chances are you’ll like the Outdoors Show at London Excel. The Outdoors Show is the UK’s Number 1 show for outdoor enthusiasts and in 2012 attracted over 85,000 visitors. Whether you’re interested in walking, hiking, climbing, mountaineering, camping, photography, canoeing, cycling, mountain biking, sailing or anything else outdoorsy – you’re sure to find plenty of interest and have a great day at the show with the whole family. If you’re not really into the outdoors (who is at these temperatures?!) then head for the Food Lovers Britain Farmers Market and gorge yourself on all the delicious goodies available. When you’re feeling guilty, just mosey on over to the Active Travel Show because remember, one ticket to the Outdoors Show gets you entry into the Active Travel Show, Boat Show and Bike Show (makes me exhausted just thinking about it). Grab your ticket at a discount here.

The London Bike Show – 17 – 20 January 2013

Whether you’re a serious cyclist, or just like watching the Tour de France, then you should find something here at the Bike Show to interest the whole family. There’s a huge range of equipment on display, some great deals to be had and there is even an indoor criterium. Hats off to you if you know what that means. I believe its a series of races. Unfortunately I don’t think you get to participate. Its more of a spectator thing. Again, entry into this show gets you entry into the Active Travel Show, Boat Show and Outdoors Show. I know where I’ll be headed – the Farmers Market at the Outdoors Show. Grab your ticket at a discount here.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get in the mood for exercise in this weather. January is a terrible month to make New Years resolutions. How are you supposed to keep them? Its all very well in the Southern Hemisphere like Australia, where its too hot to do anything but drink water. But here in this weather?! Mulled wine thanks.

The Telegraph Adventure Travel Show – 26 – 27 January 2013

If you didn’t get your fill of outdoors and active travel at the Outdoors Show and the Active Travel Show, then you might want to take the whole family to the Telegraph Adventure Travel Show at Kensington Olympia. Its the UK’s only event dedicated to holidays off the beaten track. Its not really my thing – the closest I’d come to a holiday off the beaten track is a cycling holiday somewhere in France where you cycle between wineries and stop for picnics in between. But that’s just me. If you’ve ever wanted to climb Everest, or go to Antarctica or somewhere else suitably arduous and uncomfortable to get to, then you won’t want to miss this show! For a limited time only, you can get day tickets for £5 (rather than £8) by quoting “S5” here.

Kooza at the Royal Albert Hall – throughout January until 3 February 2013

Cirque du Soleil is back with a new show, Kooza. When I lived in Australia, one of the highlights of my year was going to Cirque du Soleil’s new show with my husband. It was the perfect date night. I’ve been to quite a few now and I never tire of them. They are stupendous. The acrobatics are amazing, sometimes downright dangerous and the costumes are dazzling, almost other worldly. I guess that’s the point though, to transport you to another world.  And they do just that. I can’t think of a better month to escape – buy your tickets here!

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Not so Daily (Special) Deal for 16 January 2012 – Portami Con Te from Zulily

zulily girls photoThis Not so Daily Deal from Zulily is close to my heart.

And why?

Because my 2 little monkeys aka “stylish sweeties” (according to Zulily – who clearly don’t know them!) are the face of today’s featured kids’ clothing brand, Portami Con Te.

Don’t ask me what this means, but I’m pretty sure its Italian. Expensive Italian.

I calculated that at one point, my eldest was wearing over £300 worth of clothes! It was certainly the most stylish “tracksuit” she has ever worn, and probably ever will wear. The great news, for me at least, is that I can now buy this same outfit (the Peach & Grey Jumper, Peach Leggings and Orange Woollen Coat) for only £120. That’s 60% off!

orange zulily coatThis is the coat that my eldest was wearing. Unfortunately it didn’t make it into the photo. It looked fantastic. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was how my eldest was wearing it. For some strange reason, she had the unfortunate tendency of using the coat to stage her own cabaret performance. She just couldn’t resist “flashing”. That wasn’t quite the look they were going for… I think my eldest would be better suited to cabaret than modelling I’m afraid!

As for my youngest, as sweet as she may look in her Red Pleated Ruffle Tee (originally £129.50 and now down to £52.50!), she isn’t really model material either. She just doesn’t have the staying power (and I say that literally) to be a model. It was impossible to get her to stay in the one place for even a second. I was chasing her around the studio like a mad woman. Believe it or not, the photo that was taken for the brand above was actually taken while the girls were dancing gangnam style! Miraculously, we got through the shoot thrust-free!

But I digress. This is about the clothes, not my children (cough, cough)! These really are absolutely gorgeous clothes that are surprisingly practical and comfortable. You really don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort with this brand. You can have both! My girls are the proof – your kids too can look high fashion while dancing gangnam style.

Don’t miss out!

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