@ilovestreatham got in touch to say, now that Spring is on its way (obviously an optimist 😉) they fancied venturing a bit farther afield than the local common and asked for my thoughts on parks in south London. Turns out this is something I know a fair bit about! So I thought  I’d pop my tweets into one handy blogpost. A few are (shock horror) not in south London, but I reckon they’re worth the travel.  I’d love to hear about your recommendations and will add them to the post. Here are my thoughts in 140 characters or thereabouts:

Battersea – beautiful and vast, by river, farm, cafe. Oddly can’t remember the playgrounds. Website

Belair Park (W.Dulwich) – not huge, but ok playground, pretty space with stream. Decent local alternative. Website

Brockwell Park – fab park, great playground, lovely waterplay area, secret garden, miniature train at weekends, good cafes & a LIDO! Website

Burgess Park – cool playgrounds with huge slides, waterplay, good little scooter/bike track, nice cafe. Website

Crystal Palace – good playground, sand, dinosaur trail, mini farm, lake, nice cafe, right next to train station & parking. Website

Danson Park – good playground & fab water play in the summer. OK pub in the park near playground & kiosk & loos by playground. Website


Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens is wonderful. Loads of different zones, massive pirate ship, sand & water, good cafe. Website

Dulwich Park – lovely as a local park, but prob underwhelming at the mo if you travel from afar as building works ongoing. Website

Greenwich – 💓 this park, LOADS of playground stuff, beautiful grounds, views, cafe and close to tons of ace free museums. Website

Hall Place & Gardens has loads of space to run around (free), good cafe and interesting changing exhibitions (have to pay). Website


Hampton Court – the grounds are beautiful and free to enter outside the palace walls. Website

Morden Hall Park – is National Trust but free, has a cool natural play area, beautiful grounds and lovely cafe. Website @MordenHallPkNT


Olymipc Park – another firm favourite, interesting and cool playgrounds, waterplay, cafes, travel to or park at Westfield. Website


Peckham Rye – loads of different corners to explore – arboretum, Japanese garden, wildlife garden👍, cafe and playground ok. Website


Ruskin Park – my kids love the playground and nice paddling pool in summer. Friendly little kiosk by the playground. Website

Victoria Park – several excellent playgrounds and waterplay, great cafes, lake. One of our favourites :-) Website

Half-term in London is simply spook-tacular!

Smiley pumpkin

London really spoils us in terms of fun stuff to do with our kids, don’t you think? If you haven’t got half-term sorted, check out Time Out’s half-term guide and MyKidsy’s ideas for half-term for inspiration.

Win some chocolate! Mimosa’s Easter Egg Competition

Are you looking for a fun Easter holiday activity for your child? Mimosa’s Children’s Egg Colouring Competition starts on Monday 7th April. Mimosa has held this competition annually for the last 10 years and it has a developed an enthusiastic following in the local area.

How does it work?

Pick up two complimentary white eggs for each child at Mimosa Deliactessen, 16 Half Moon Lane, SE24 9HU.

There are two options to ensure your finished decorated eggs last till judging time – Either boil your eggs for 10 minutes so they fully cooked or prick two holes either end and blow them out- blowing out your eggs ensures they can be kept indefinitely. Then let your child be creative with their eggs- anything goes….

There are three chocolate prizes to be won – for Most Creative, Most Colourful and Most Intricate.

All Children aged 3- 12 years old can enter.

All entries must be handed in to Mimosa staff by noon on Good Friday
Judging takes places on Easter Saturday. Please ensure your contact telephone number and name are written clearly on your entry.

Every year the creativity and imagination is amazing and Mimosa is looking forward to seeing this year’s entries.

Good luck!

Cinemas for parents

If you think this is an odd blog-post title, it’s been a while since you had a baby or toddler :-) . Catching a movie was something I missed as a new parent, until I discovered the brilliant thing called baby cinema.

Lots of cinemas show day-time screenings of grown-up films that parents and carers can take their under ones to. But The Clapham Picture House has gone one further, three further in fact, by supplementing their Big Scream parent and baby screenings with parent and toddler, kids’ club, and ‘school gate’ screenings.

For parents with under-ones they have the twice-weekly BIG SCREAM. Details can be found here

This year they have started a twice-weekly club for parents with toddlers called TODDLER TIME. Details can be found here

Then as the kids get a little older they have the weekly KIDS’ CLUB. Details can be found here

They have also recently started scheduling one show every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at a specific time so parents can watch a film in time to pick up their kids from school (The finish time will always be 14.45). These are known as their ‘School Gate‘ shows. Details can be found here

The Ritzy in Brixton also has the Big Scream and Toddler Time and the Peckhamplex has Watch with Baby.

Let us know of other family-friendly film screenings and we’ll add it to this post.

Zombie disco!

Friday 25th October 3.30pm at Rye Books, 45 Upland Road, East Dulwich

This Friday afternoon (25th Oct) from 3.30 pm – Rye Books has teamed up once again with the Clock House pub to create some very scary goings on…so if you want to make some spooky things, have your face painted spooky fashion, hear some Ghostly tales or dance your bones off at our Zombie Disco! This is where you should be!

And here’s what you need to do (if you think you’re brave enough):

Go along to Rye Books in East Dulwich for 3.30 pm and have your face painted…maybe like a witch, maybe a Vampire, or a Ghoul, or anything real scary!…And then do your best Zombie walk (remember to be very scary) around the corner to the Clock House pub (on Barry Rd) for 4.30pm where the real fun begins!

This is a free event for ages 3 and up… but everyone is welcome!

Does colic exist? I don’t know, but the crying certainly does

Having experienced my second baby’s crying, I’m pretty sure my first born had colic. When he was about three weeks old, he would cry for hours, especially in the early evening and after feeds in the night. Whereas with our first baby, we were bouncing on the exercise ball, using the hairdryer and other white noise, singing, shushing, swaying, swaddling and whatever else we could come up with to get any respite and sleep, our second baby gets very slightly grumbly. Sometimes. I know, they’re all different, but I also wonder if it’s just us parents who are different second-time round?
I read an interesting article about how colic was just the baby saying “get out of my face!” And what a ‘colicky’ baby needs is to be held close by their mother, in a dark, quiet room, and not to be passed between friendly visitor after friendly visitor. I think there’s some truth in that in terms of second babies being more chilled, but I’m also pretty sure we tried the ‘peace and quiet’ approach to no avail.
If you’re in the midst of colic or just want to learn more, there’s a free workshop on next week in Battersea, which you might want to check out:
“Infacol have teamed up with expert midwife Nikki Khan to bring mums some help and advice on colic. The workshops will explain what colic is, how to treat and prevent it, the benefits of baby massage and the chance to ask Nikki any colic related questions on a one-to-one basis. Each mum who attends will receive a goody bag (approx worth is £40), full of products for mum and baby such as baby massage oil, skincare products and an Annabell Karmel cookery book. The workshop is free of charge and will be held on Tuesday 29th October, from 10am – 2pm. The workshop will take place at the Katherine Low Settlement, 108 Battersea High Street, London, SW11 3HP.  Refreshments and a light lunch will be provided.”
Places are limited and it’s first-come-first-served, so to reserve a space email

Burrito lasagne. Somehow wrong, but oh so right.

I came across a recipe for burrito lasagne and being a fan of burritos and lasagne, well, what I was I waiting for? I simply had to give it a go. It’s super easy, very tasty, and can be pretty nutritional and healthy. You can Google ‘healthy burrito lasagne‘ to find one that suits your family’s tastes, but basically, make a Tex-Mex tasting beany, chopped tomato, vegetable, mince (Quorn/TVP/meat/whatever) filling; layer the filling between flour or corn tortillas; top with cheese and bake for 30 minutes – hey presto!

A few hints:

  • to get you Tex-Mex flavour, add a small or large can of refried beans, cumin powder, chilli powder, smoked paprika, garlic etc Just keep adjusting until it suits your tastebuds and heat preferences
  • pack the filling with kidney beans, black beans, refried beans for protein and iron, and if you’ve got vegetable-haters on your hands, it’s also a good candidate for that ol’ hidden vegetable trick. You know, the one where you grate carrots, chop up spinach and whizz it with a blender to make it look like tomato sauce?
  • it makes a great leftover lunch
  • the tortillas make a good alternative to lasagne sheets for coeliacs or other gluten avoiders, so you could use them to make more traditional Italian-style lasagne, too

It takes about 20 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to bake on 200C/Gas mark 6.