It’s become my thing- a summer holiday adventure in London. My children are used to me travelling to London with work most weeks. So this has become their ‘thing’. The answer to what mummy does when she’s away. Alongside London’s reputation. And this has been the first year where they’ve all wanted the same adventure. So for the added kick we extended our stay to three days.
The most important aspect of this trip, is regardless what happened, we want to do it all over again! Despite my moments, their moments, and my doubts- all three would rather come back next year together. That’s all the confirmation I need.
Because it’s true. There’s no pressure quite like the pressure of trying to create memories. What happens if they don’t enjoy what’s planned? What happens if we’re away when E is struggling most with his behaviour? And what happens if CM decides she’s missing her dad too much and wants to come home?We were all amazed how quickly we arrived in London – something to do with “the three marker challenge” which they are not only obsessed when but keeps them occupied. We stayed in Greenwich as I left it late in booking. I wish I had read Sarah’s post about everything to do in Greenwich beforehand as we used the hotel as a base, not appreciating everything which surrounded us.
Instead we headed into Central London on the overground and headed to SEA LIFE London. It was great to while away time and introduce so many new experiences. Made all the better as the boys had just finished learning about the beach at school.Whilst the selection of places to eat in London is vast, we did stick with what we knew for dinner. It had been a long day without much time for food. With a Pizza Express just behind the Southbank Centre we celebrated our adventures with a well deserved ‘chink’.Refuelled and re-energised we slowly meandered back along the South Bank. There is so much to take in when time is on your side. There is bliss in not being in a hurry to be anywhere.And with food in their belly, the children also decided they’d rather take the MBNA Clipper back to Greenwich which was a fantastic way to landmark spot across the capital.We woke the next day and decided to hop on another mode of transport- the double-decker bus. There is so much more to be gained using public transport than paid tours. With the bonus of an increased chance of claiming the front seats.We were headed to the Monstrous Festival at the Printworks. We had such high expectations for the children’s festival, having been granted press accreditation. The children had created a shortlist of everything we were looking forward to experiencing. It wasn’t to be, and as a result there is much ill will surrounding the event.
There was little at Printworks which compared to what had been advertised, with far more tickets sold than entertainment. Like most families, we tried to make the most of our time there, and fortunately the children have held on to some memories. But whilst we had tickets which allowed us to stay for the morning, it was at the children’s request that we left. Nothing, in their view, warranted the queuing time, and the things on their shortlist were absent.
Whilst we didn’t pay entrance, I empathise which those who had. We planned our trip to London to experience a children’s focused festival, staying in Greenwich for this reason. There is much to be made right for those who bought tickets due to the experience which was promoted.
Fortunately clouds do have a silver lining. We headed back into London on the DLR and made the most of our time by heading to Leicester Square. And once you’ve stacked up on food and street entertainment- there’s no saying ‘no’ to a trip to the LEGO store.Especially if it offers the chance to get a snap of my three, happy together.The afternoon was the pinnacle to my trip, with the knowledge that a good experience at the theatre with my children will never be taken foregranted. A trip with CM at 6 will always be my benchmark for how wrong things can go. School of Rock was a brave decision for me given the boys are 7. They loved the film at Christmas but I had no idea how it would translate, whether it would be too old for them.
The added pressure was that we weren’t travelling in Kids Week this year. Mr J (and yes, I am still in shock) was my advocate for paying the price I paid for tickets. Yes, I probably would have done it anyway, but it meant a lot that my Yorkshire man- who will never appreciate cities or the theatre- agreed that this was a good investment.And it completely was the best investment ever. Yes, there was a little choice language- which the children recognised and accepted as humour. Yes, there were talented young people on the stage who made my children sit up a little straighter. And there was a great cast and production team bringing a fantastic script and lyrics to life.
Yes. All this is said because my children loved it. And for any trials or tribulations, their FOMO is high. There is no way they are missing out on next year’s trip to London.
Visiting mummy’s work was one of them. I’m sure my boss couldn’t have had a better start to Monday than me and my motley crew walking in. She cheered the boys up immensely by asking about the hair (“Have you heard of Toni & Guy?”, “Well, this was Tony.”). And made me feel better about how much I bring my home life to work by saying “are they twins, I didn’t realise you had twins”. Thinking she was being flippant I replied “they’re just really close in age”, not expecting the response “really?”.
Suitcase left at the office (the perk of working in London and knowing you’re going home to come back the next day) we undertook the unenviable trip to Hamley’s. The children were fantastic.
The boys’ last trip to Hamley’s came with a young boy from the USA explaining how much better priced everything was on Amazon. It means they are so much more considerate about their purchases. We walked away with happy children- some Playmobil, Bean Boozled and slime. And I walked away not feeling broke.And with a quick trip for a purchase for mummy- my heartfelt apology to the Big Issue seller who I wouldn’t say where I was trying to find on Google [Bravissimo]. Despite his repeated attempts to help, I much preferred our conversation about it being 25 years since In Utero was released. With Bravissimo being very conveniently located to Oxford Circus, it was time to head home.
The journey back to Wales was as painfree. And for once I am left thinking I am winning at parenting. So, what should our 2019 trip include? After reading Gorgeous George’s Mama’s post I’m tempted to plan a trip which includes Kidtropolis.
Disclosure: We were invited to SEA LIFE London which we wrote about in our review, and we were invited to Monstrous. All words and opinions contained are our own.