Family visits are always special, especially now that I have a little girl who gets to spend time with her cousins. We had my sister and her family visit us for their vacation a few weeks ago. Even after over 6 plus years in London, we are always excited to take our visitors out and about as London in spring, I think, is one of the most beautiful places to wander. We’re a little biased towards West London, because it has been our first home in the city. I fell in love with the green spaces, and the calm it provided after everyday life in the city. We’re now slightly further field in Chiswick, but Kensington, our first home in London will always be dear to our hearts. It is particularly special for us to share our world with our own blossoming 17 month old, Little M.
So the two families, two sets of parents, and three kids started our Spring Summer Saturday with an Activity Session at Tiny Explorers at the Kensington Palace. These 45-60 minute sessions are great, both for babies as well as toddlers. There are themed classes ranging from Movement and Drama, Messy play, and Rhythm and Sound.
Photo Courtesy: ©HRP/Hadley Studios.
On this Saturday, we attended Sensory Storytelling with London’s known storyteller, Olivia Armstrong leading the session, standing there with her very big and colorful macau in hand, welcoming us all! What a treat, for both Little M, Daddy S and myself. I may have been more excited than Little M, given that the brightly multicolored macau frightened her a little bit!
Olivia did a fabulous job of bringing past history very vivdly to life for the little ears and eyes. She narrated a short story about a past Royal, in our case it was all about the monarchs, William and Mary. We wandered about some of the rooms in the palace hearing about tales of times gone by. We marched, we walked, we marched again…we even sang… “How much is that doggie in the window…bow wow”,
and then“Lavender blue, dilly dilly….” as we learn about Queen Mary II’s penchant for gardening. It really is a fun experience, and I would recommend you book a session in advance, if you are a Londoner, or even if you are visiting from faraway lands. It’s just a bit different from the usual modern day activities that fill our children’s day, and it is also very affordable. (link to the website is below).
Photo Courtesy: ©HRP Hadley Studios.
After the session we wandered down to meet the Queen’s iconic and protected swans that look gorgeous and elegant, but mask a feisty personality!
As we were getting hungry, we stopped by one of our old time haunts, Whole Foods on High Street Kensington. We love it because apart from offering healthier, cleaner eating options, it is also great for bigger groups as a pit stop. The food court upstairs is busy, but it has something to keep everyone happy. We had pizzas, soft shell crab ramen, and Korean chicken wings from Bone Daddies,
barbecue ribs, and wings from another restaurant, and an open tostada from another. The healthier alternatives for drinks were the fresh watermelon juice, and one of my favorites, Coco Vita. See, I told you, something for everyone! And once, Little M woke up from her nap, she was happy to munch a bit on a variety of things, the best way to expand her palette.
Quick nappy changes, loo visits by all, and we headed off onto the next stop. We walked down the High Street, popping into a few shops until right at the end of the street, we entered Holland Park, one of London’s most beautiful parks, and one of my favorite places in London.
The park is big, not huge when compared with many other green spaces in the city, but the balance it offers the visitor I think, is lovely. Bang in the middle of the city, theres a rustic charm, ….the crunch crunch as your feet walk over the dried leaves or the squirrels jumping about on the ‘forest’ side, and then the coiffed precision of the Kyoto garden with its bright colored fish on the other side. There’s a small children’s play area too which is great to hang out as you grab your coffee from the café next door.
On your walk out, you can say hello! to the resident peacocks, sitting high up in the trees, or prancing about in the grass. Sigh. I do love this park, and I’m so happy that Little M and my niece and nephew are able to enjoy it so much at such an early age.
The world is getting busy. Too busy in fact. There’s activities, meetings, noise, deadlines, blah blah…all of that takes up so much time, and I feel it important to offer Little M the chance to learn, see and love all aspects of it, well before the busyness takes over her life too.
Well….back to our Saturday. With tired legs, and happy hearts, we wandered back home.
Today I’m humming: Boum by Charles Trenet
More info: Tiny Explorers
Thank you so much Saroj! Makes me want to go to London right away…