Local mum Alex Geddes is our new regular columnist. Read on for her insights and observations about beauty, fashion and parenting!
I wrote a blog a few months ago about the places that I like to take my daughter to, and received lots of positive feedback from parents who had run out of ideas.
So, I have been making it my mission to find as many new places in South West London for young children and babies. You can read my original list by clicking here.
Bertie and Boo’s Adventure Land: This offshoot of the hugely popular Bertie and Boo café opened in early April to huge acclaim by Balham mums. It is a soft play centre, with a pirate theme with a baby section and a area for older children. It has a coffee shop (with a pirate rowing boat for you little ones to eat their lunch in and say ‘Garrrr’ as frequently as possible), which serves cakes and sandwiches. The baby area has toys, a ball pit and all sorts of baby paraphernalia, while the soft play section has everything you would expect, stepping stones, scramble nets, slides, ball pits and even pirate dressing up clothes (great fun for my husband it turned out). It’s much cheaper than Gambardo, at £3.90 per child, but is much smaller and was pretty crowded when we were there.
However, it is great fun for a hour or two, and definitely brought out the swashbuckler in my daughter (and her Dad. I was informed that by not dressing as a pirate meant I would have to walk the plank).
The Science Museum: I was a bit slow when it came to finding what this amazing museum had to offer under 5’s, assuming that it was for an older age group. How wrong I was. The Garden is a section dedicated to under 5’s, which introduces young children to basic science concepts, with mirrors, shadows, building blocks, and loads of other fun stuff, which is also educational. For slightly older kids, the Pattern Pod is a step up, designed for 5-8 year olds, with even more exciting
things to play with There are also lots of great events, such as storytelling, bubble displays and talks on things like flying, for different age groups. More details are available on their website. The best bit about the science Museum is that it is free!
Mumbies Playgroup: This is a great playgroup in Parson’s Green, where I spend lots of Tuesday mornings happily watching my little girl run around church pews with a plastic truck, generally having fun, while I sip good coffee and meet other
mums. It’s a very relaxed set up, but seems to offer everything you need, without too much fuss. I personally hate playgroups, where activites are laid out that are destined to cause havoc, unmanned paint stations, paddling pools etc. It always seems to end in tears (usually mine, as a blue hand is indelibly printed on a white top). Every session at Mumbies ends with singing and a group effort at tidying the toys away (very good to teach them this young, so I’m told!), and smiles all round.
If that all sounds too much like hard work, how about a family friendly Sunday lunch. Riverford Organic farm food have teamed up with Street Kitchen, a London based street food company, to host Riverford Sunday Lunches in Battersea. The concept is that lots of families will gather around long trestle tables and eat delicious food with their children, whilst being entertained by Sharkey and George, the children’s party and entertainment company. The next lunch is on the 6th May (fingers crossed for a sunny day).
- Bertie and Boo Adventure Land, 205 Balham High Road, SW17 7BQ. £3.90 per child to use the soft play area.
- The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, SW7 2DD. Open Mon-Sun 10-6pm, and is free to enter.
- Mumbies, St Dionis Church Hall, St Dionis Road, SW6 4UH. Tuesday mornings from 10-11.30, admission is free.
- Riverford Street Kitchen, 33 Parkgate Road, SW11 4NP. Tickets for food pre-bookable by clicking here. Adults cost £25 for two courses, children £9 for a children’s menu and under 4’s eat free.