5 Tips for Visiting London with Children

29.4.22

Whether you're visiting London with children for a fun day out or for a practical reason, you're in for a treat. The city is brimming with fun things to do and explore for little ones (and grown ups) of all ages, including culture, history and those beloved tourist attractions too. So I thought I'd put together this post to share some of my top tips for visiting London with children, so that you can hopefully have the best trip possible.


Pack as Light as Possible

The easiest way to have a successful trip with young children is to bring as little as possible. There's nothing worse than carrying heavy bags around the city - especially if you have children like ours that enjoy a carry themselves now and then. One trick to travelling light is to get each child to select one item that they want to bring as entertainment. This could be a specific toy, a book, or even a puzzle - it's best to avoid bringing their extra special toy just in case it gets lost in the city. A pad of paper and a pencil case full of pens can keep everyone entertained and are relatively easy to carry too.

If your children are slightly older why not get them to bring and carry their own backpack for the trip. This way they can be responsible for their own items and things such as snacks and a drink, and you're not left carrying everything! A pram is always good for carrying items, but I would advice to only bring one if you 100% need one. A baby carrier and backpack is much easier for navigating around London, especially if you're wanting to use the Tube.

Plan your Travel in Advance

Before you leave for a trip, it's always a good idea to map out the best route between everywhere you're visiting in London. This will not only help you plan your travel and better understand how long it will take to get from one place to another. But by planning travel in advance, you can usually save money on any tickets that you need too. Make sure to always allow extra time to account for delays, or children becoming tired and not being able to move as quickly as you think. London is a big place and takes a lot of walking.


Go at your Children's Pace

It's tempting to schedule all the museums and attractions, but that can result in super tired (and therefore grumpy) children. Instead, let them pick their pace and stick to it. They'll love exploring the city at their own pace, and you'll better understand what they like. Plus, you might find that the more free time you have, the more adventures you can create instead of sticking to a strict schedule! 

A great idea it to get each child to pick one thing they definitely want to see or do during the visit, and then plan your day around these plans. It is best to still do this ahead of time though just incase you need to prebook tickets, as I know certain attractions such as the Science Museum, Aquarium, and The London Eye definitely require you to prebook before you visit.

Book a Child-Friendly Hotel

London has a plethora of hotels for every kind of traveller, but make sure you check out the hotel and it's facilities carefully to be confident you are staying in a child-friendly hotel. Ideally you want to find a hotel that is close to your location, for example there is plenty of family-friendly accommodation near Shepherds Bush, which would be perfect for a day shopping at the Westfield Centre. Family friendly hotels usually have more rooms that fit larger family groups, and other bonuses such as child-friendly menus and even evening entertainment sometimes.

Enjoy the City for Free

It can be easy to think of a visit to London and assume you need to book the top tourist attractions. But when you're on a day out with children we all know how expensive things can get (and very quickly too!). You really don't have to spend much on a visit to the city though, as there are so many things to see and do that are completely free!

There are so many museums that you can enjoy for free - just make sure to check ahead about pre-booking like I mentioned above. London has numerous parks and green areas where children would love to run around and explore such as Kensington Gardens which has the Diana Memorial playground. Don't forget there's the fab shops such as Hamley's (the biggest toy store), The Lego Store and The Disney Store that little ones would enjoy looking around too, and Covent Garden always has plenty of free fun to enjoy throughout the year too.


What top tips would you add to my list?

This is a collaborative post.

Our Month - March 2022


Another 'better late than never' post from me, but with how hectic the last month has been, it's no surprise that I'm so late writing about how our March was really. There isn't really much to write about when it comes to the month of March though. The weather was up and down, the weeks were a blur of school runs and weekend clubs, and I felt like we were just waiting for the holidays to arrive as each week passed.

Weirdly, the month started with pancake day. Of course I'm not complaining, it just seemed strange as it usually falls in February doesn't it? We made sure to have plenty of pancakes on the day though - we're team sweet with pancakes covered in squirty cream, maple syrup, marshmallows, sprinkles and fruit (for health of course).







The same week we of course celebrated World Book Day. If you're followed us for a while you'll know that I'm not a big crafty and creative mum, so WBD isn't really my favourite day. I know it's meant to be about the books, but as each year passes it seems to be more and more about what creative costume a parent can come up with. I will forever be an 'outfit from the dressing up box' kind of mama though, so we had a Harry Potter, the Witch from Room on a Broom, and Indie was Matilda wearing clothes from her wardrobe... simple and they were just as happy!

Spring really did start arriving in March, with the arrival of all the beautiful daffodils and blossom to spot. Of course my camera roll was full of blossom photos and I had to get my annual shot of Lilah under the blooms. The weather was really up and down though, with the sun shining beautiful one day, and then we even had a crazy snow storm on the last day of term... madness! Spring of course means baby animals too, and Lilah was super lucky to not only have ducklings hatched at preschool, but they had a visit from an animal shelter where they got to feed baby lambs, stroke guinea pigs and see a hedgehog the lucky thing.






A really exciting thing that happened in March is that Indie finally took her Grade 1 Ballet exam! After waiting what felt like years for it to happen because of lockdowns and online ballet, she was so excited to get it done and move on to the next step. She was really confident and came out with a smile, and we found out that she passed the next week. Well done Indie!

Of course March ended with us celebrating Mother's Day, and after the last two years being a bit rubbish because of lockdowns, it was so lovely to have a proper day to celebrate. We went out for brunch at a lovely little cafe in Brenchley called The Little Bull Cafe, where we had eggs benedict, pancakes and of course all the hot chocs. We then spent the morning at Scotney Castle having an explore and enjoying the park now the it's back open again. It was a really lovely day and I'm just so pleased that we have this normality back again.

Of course there was the simple things that happened during the month too. Such as the big two having lovely school consultations and finally getting to go and watch their class assemblies. And just enjoying my mummy and Lilah days before school starts in September. I can't believe that this time next year I'll have three in school!

Make Use of ALL the Available Space in your Home

22.4.22

When it comes to interior design certain areas of your home can be tricky to fill, often leading to them becoming a wasted potential space. But call in any expert and they’ll tell you that there’s a fabulous solution that will revolutionise your home - corner wardrobes. 

Made to fit, they will literally take care of all your unused alcoves, and can be beautifully built to add a touch of class to any interior. In fact, if you enlist the help of a skilled carpenter, a corner wardrobe can transform your room into something quite spectacular. And if you're still not sold, then maybe the below points will get you on board.


You Can Get Creative

Commissioning a corner wardrobe allows you to order exactly what you’re looking for. From lifestyle requirements and functionality to final aesthetics and size, it’s entirely up to you. Choose from a range of stylish doors, sleek handles, colour options and bespoke finishes to make sure that your final product blends seamlessly into your home’s existing interior. And if you're a parent who has toy baskets overflowing, why not custom make some corner space for toy storage too?

They Make Use of Unused Space

There are many places in a home that seem impossible when it comes to furnishings. Under the stairs and lofts are perfect examples, and almost always come with sloped ceilings and awkward angles. But whatever the issue, it’s no match for a corner wardrobe. Because they’re made to fit any space to a tee, you’ll be able to turn ridiculously impractical nooks into fantastic storage solutions with no hassle at all. Have a look at the wide variety of luxury corner wardrobes by FCI to get a feel for what’s out there. 

They're Easy to Accessorise 

Just because they’re in a corner, doesn’t mean you have to abstain from all the bells and whistles a fitted wardrobe has to offer. In fact, whatever you can dream up is 100% possible. Don't create a full length wardrobe so that you can add a lamp, candles or a vase on top. Or Have them 'floating' so you can add a potted plant underneath. There are so many options!

They Add Value

Any home refurbishment is guaranteed to add value to your property, especially a contemporary fitted corner wardrobe. Storage space is always highly valued by potential buyers and is often an incentive to put in a decent offer. So should you ever decide to put your house on the market, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Are there any points you would add?

This is a collaborative post.

5 Super Common Mistakes for a Failed MOT Test

12.4.22

Your annual MOT test is an important signal that your car is in great working order, and of course safe to be on the UK's busy road network. Passing this test should be a simple matter, but sometimes quite silly things are the reason for a fail. In this post I'm going to be sharing five super-simple (but shockingly common) reasons for an MOT failure, and ways to help you to avoid these.


No Screen Wash

It doesn't matter if your windscreen is beautifully sparkling clean - if there is no screen-wash in the reservoir, you will receive a fail on the MOT. This is because driving can be unpredictable: a sudden rain shower can cause the car in front to throw a film of mud on your windscreen, a swarm of insects might be too slow to get out of the way, or a careless fellow driver might chuck the dregs of their coffee out of the window without realising that you are in the path of the flying liquid. In each of these cases, your visibility will become highly compromised until you can clean it off, and you won't be able to rectify this without any screen wash/ A handy tip for this is to buy a larger bottle of wash, and keep the remainder in the boot of the car so you can top up regularly. Of course a regular check of this is also essential!

Having an Unreadable Numberplate

It is a legal requirement that your numberplate should be easily readable at all times, especially when on the road. And it is not the MOT inspector's job to clean a dirty numberplate at the beginning of the test – it is your responsibility. Check your numberplate every now and then as all sorts of things can mount up to make it unreadable. These include damage causing a distortion or loss of one or more of the numbers or letters, fine road dust smothering the high-viz surrounds of the numberplate, or mud plastered to the back of the car. Make sure to check more regularly in the poorer weather months, as dirty road conditions are more likely to have an affect.

Faulty Lightbulbs

The most common MOT fail is with the lights. Many of these issues boil down to a lightbulb having burned out. It is almost embarrassing to fail the MOT because you forgot to check your lightbulbs and spend three pounds or so on a replacement to fit yourself! Of course, sometimes the issues with the lights are more serious, but by testing it with a new lightbulb, you will at least be aware that there is a problem. If you don't think you can change the bulb yourself there are many garages that will help to fit these for you, but you may have to pay a little extra for this service.

Seatbelts

Not only must you wear your seatbelt when driving, but the seatbelts must be fit for the purpose. Give your seatbelts a check before you book your MOT test and make sure that they lock when tugged sharply, click firmly into place when put on, and are not very worn and tattered. Any of these are understandably a point of concern for the MOT inspector!

Having a Dirty Car

Your MOT inspector will not fail your car if it is indescribably filthy, but he or she can refuse point-blank to test it at all. Which is the equivalent of a fail before the test has even begun. Once you've booked your test, take out anything which does not need to be in there (car seats for example if you have a family car), ensure that the windows and mirrors are perfectly clean, and perhaps even get the vehicle valeted so it looks and smells nice for the MOT inspector. 

Now you know some things to look out for and are ready to book your test, make sure to book asap. You can get DVSA approved MOTs in London at Elite Direct with peace of mind and confidence.

This is a collaborative post.