Breakfast With Dame Jacqueline Wilson At The Foundling Museum

Dame Jacqueline Wilson has been a part of our family for many years with her books being a source of great pleasure over the years. In fact my eldest who hardly ever picked up a book would often be found engrossed in the adventures of Tracey Beaker which always bought me such delight.

A new generation of fans is now coming through in the family with Izzy and Frankie finding a love of her books.

When we were asked along to The Foundling Museum have breakfast with her I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed and the children…and myself were super excited at the prospect.

The Foundling Museum in West London is currently home to the Hetty Feather exhibition that is showing how the history of the Foundling Hospital has been bought to life through the character of Hetty Feather in Jacqueline Wilson’s top selling book that has since been won awards as a fabulous stage show and extremely popular TV series.

The interactive exhibition at the museum allows the children to see historical artifacts from the days of the Foundling Hospital and try on period costumes which allows them to get a real feel for how things would have been in this era.

Izzy and Frankie also loved putting pen to paper and creating a menu of food they would love to eat and comparing it to the bland and basic meals the poor Foundling children would have had to have eaten.

After exploring the exhibition the children all settled down for Jacqueline Wilson to tell us a little more about the museum and read an excerpt from the Hetty Feather book that the children all listened to intently. 

They then all queued patiently to get there copies of Hetty Feather signed and to have a chat with the wonderful lady herself.

We came away with wonderful memories of meeting such a humble and inspiring lady and highly recommend going along to see the exhibition yourselves which is on until the 3rd September.

Father Christmas At The London Transport Museum

For as long as I can remember a trip to Covent Garden at Christmas has been a must.

I love the beautiful lights, the majestic tree, browsing the many shops and having a cheeky glass of mulled wine.

I do however hang my head in shame at the fact I’ve never taken the children to the London Transpost Museum.

So when we were asked to come along and visit Fathet Christmas there I was more than happy to take the children to see the main man himself whilst checking out what the museum has to offer.

We arrived a little early so got the chance to have a look round the museum out for a while whilst finding clues on the Elf Trail sheet we were given.

The children immediately scampered off to climb aboard real life buses and trains, pretend to drive a tube train in a fantastic simulator and really got into character by donning some fabulous outfits.

To be honest they had to be prized away when it was time to head over to Father Christmas as the museum is such a hive of activity.

We were greeted with a beaming smile from a train driver whos hat was festively wrapped with fairy lights and was standing amongst Christmas trees and a snow covered floor.

There was a matter of minutes to wait before we were shown through but we still managed to have a quick play with the huge train set that was there to occupy busy fingers and a big box of festive hats were delved into to really get into the festive spirit! 

Father Christmas was sat in his throne with this sleigh stacked with presents resting next to him.

He gave the children a very warm welcome and even managed to coax number five out from under my coat for five minutes!

The children couldn’t wait to unwrap there pressies that were fittingly wrapped in lovely London transport style paper.

The boys were both over the moon with their trains and number three couldn’t wait to get her snap watch on!

The fun didn’t end there for us as we headed over to the ‘All Aboard Family Playzone’  the children played for well over an hour in a fantastic area filled with a small soft play area for tiny ones, small scale buses and taxi to climb in and drive and train sets that the boys were very taken with.

The last pit stop for us was the shop on the way out.

I’m never a fan of shops attached to museums as the selections are normally limited, lack thought and are over priced.

I was however more than plesently surprised with the shop here – even if you weren’t visiting the museum I would highly recommend a peruse of this gift shop as it was stacked with so many different, well priced gifts that I could have got so many great buys that I know would have been very welcome under our tree!

 My favourite items though had to be the beautiful and very different Christmas decorations that I would have loved to have purchased if my husband’s beady eyes hadn’t have been on me!

Having a trip to Father Christmas here offers you much more than just that as the museum itself has so much to offer.

If you have little ones that love transport and would love a Father Christmas trip based round that then this is the perfect place to go.

He is only there for a limited time so get booking your place now before he head back home on the northern Line North Pole Express.

Rainy Summer Holiday Trips In Surrey

I knew that my post on outdoor summer days in Surrey was tempting fate, and I was right!  A few days later we  have horrendous torrential rain.

For me a bit of rain never puts me off getting outside and to be honest all the places such as farms are empty which I love!  Unfortunately though even I have to give in sometimes and settle for indoor activities instead.

I’ve listed a few of my favourites for you here:

Mother Kitty’s

  

If you have under fives, nestled at the top of Rickman Hill in Coulsdon is a wonderful little softplay and vintage tea rooms called Mother Kitty’s perfect to relax and have a cup of tea whilst you watch the little ones play.

   
 

The soft play is only sutiable for under 5’s but I bring my older ones along as they are more than happy to sit and have a drink whist making use of the free wifi!!

  
If the weather holds out then there is a large park and playground that is great to have a run around in too.

Airhop

  

If you want your older ones to let off some steam and get away from their games consoles, Airhop is a fantastic place to visit.

Over 4’s can bounce around to their hearts content on the many trampolines, foam pits and basketball areas.

  
You need to book your hours session online and they do get full very quickly, so make sure you book well before your intended visit.

Little Street

I have only visited this fantastic place once, and it completely blew me away.  

The name says it all and once inside Little Street really is a mini town for your little ones to play to their hearts content.

   
 

They can do their shopping in the supermarket, go to the hairdressers, visit the doctors, pop to the cafe, drive up and down the street, work on the construction site and lots more.

   
   

This is a refreshing change to your run of the mill soft play area which I loved playing in as much as the kids.

   
 

You book your hours slot online as numbers are restricted to ensure your child can play in the best environment.

I couldn’t recommend this place more.  Really is a fantastic trip.

Honeywood Museum

We came across the Honeywood Museum last year after years of visiting Carshalton and were pleasantly surprised.

The entry is free and they simply ask for a donation as you leave.  The house is fasinating to explore and you can pick up question sheets from the front desk that the children can fill in as you walk around.

   
 
They put on regular craft sessions for the children that mine really loved taking part in.

I would suggest checking out their Facebook page to see what events they have going on before taking a visit.

  
Kidspace

Kidspace is a mega softplay area along the Purley Way in Croydon.

With a large age range in children places like this can sometimes be tricky for me, but this cover all ages for me.

There is a smaller area with a sensory play section, mini trampolines, climbing areas and slides that is sutiable for the little ones.

  
  
The main area homes a huge area that they can climb and slide around, a big ball shooting area, go carts and climbing walls.

   
   

It is more expensive than most soft plays, but it is worth the money.  

They have a lovely cafe serving hot and cold food that is a great addition to a great soft play.

The Lightbox

I love art and love to find places that the children can explore the arts in a fun yet educating way.

The Lightbox in Woking, Surrey is a small gallery perfect for children.  They  regularly change their exhibitions and always have something to capture the thoughts of little minds.

   

They have a craft room where they can get hands on and create their own masterpieces with the help of the lovely staff.

   
 

There is a all cafe serving a small selection of snacks and some wonderful homemade cakes.  Theses can be enjoyed in the beautiful garden to the front of the gallery of the weather is good.
I hope you have found something here that your children would love to visit; I would love to hear what you think.