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Cocktails & Mocktails

If you are feeling a bit fried over half term, meet up with a friend and take the tribe to Balans Soho Society at the Westfield, Shepherd’s Bush for a cocktail.

Ok, so the Westfield gives me a slight headache if I spend too long in there (although there is loads of free stuff that would keep the kids amused such as the ‘musical armchairs’ and a good dose of lego building in the lego shop to name a few).


We went to the Kids Club Cinema first. It is on every Saturday and a Sunday at 1030. (I don’t advise going on a Sunday though as I snuck out with the youngest to do some shopping but hte shops didn’t open till 12. Of course. Doh.)


Away from the main concourse of restaurants, Balans Soho Society is a little gem of a restaurant not only serving all your favourites beautifully, they have just started a Cocktail and Mocktail menu for you and the little ones. (The former for you, the latter for them – unless they are a bit hyper then knock them out with a cocktail – joke).


They are presented exquisitely and taste as good as they look. I went for a gin based ‘Mummy’s Pick Me Up’. Alex had a slightly more manly sounding ‘The Society Teddy Bear(!)’ which included bourbon, vanilla, cinnamon and cranberry.  The kids tried all of the mocktails – the favourite was unsurpsingly ‘Cheeky Little Monkey!’  We were even allowed to take home the bear bottles!


Icce cream, pancakes AND maple syrup. We rolled out of the restaurant! The kids from food and ourselves from one or two ‘Teddy Bears!’


Try it, you will be looked after so well – the staff are fun & friendly (especially Elias who had of averting disasters before they happened!)


Events Family Life Places

Tea Fit For A Queen… And The Kids

I don’t know about you, but I have never considered taking the kids for a smart afternoon tea in a hotel before. It is something I equate with adults and luxury and not something I want spoiled by having to keep the children quiet!  That was before I heard of the St Ermin’s Hotel in St James’ who are specifically welcoming little ones with a children’s afternoon tea in commemoration of the Queen’s 90th Birthday year.

Ermin's Daytime Ext 3

We made an afternoon of it (you can park on a yellow line nearby at the weekend). We visited St James’ Park and Buckingham Palace working up an appetite barging through the crowds.


We gave the kids the ‘chat’ about behavior before we arrived, so of course they kids immediately went potty, particularly about the sweeping staircase, running up and down it until we finally managed to pin them down. Then the oldest stubbed his toe pretty badly but to his delight he was swooped on by the resident doctor who swaddled it up with a bandage and gave a him a light up yo yo  for his woes..


This was all before we were shown to our beautiful table on the terrace over looking the courtyard. Thank goodness for the glass of bumbles that arrived once we sat down!


The children’s tea was presented in a very novel way which gave us 10 minutes peace whilst they plowed their way through penny sandwiches and crown shaped chocolates. The adult tea was a taste sensation too, with a plethora of treats I hadn’t tried before.


I know some of you like a menu so here you go… Adults starts at £35pp




We definitely didn’t need supper afterwards and as we sat down at 5pm it doubled up as kids tea too.  STE_NineTea_crownl retouched

St Ermin’s is also home to 350,000 bees on the terrace on the 3rd floor. It is a fantastic sight and finished off the afternoon superbly.


They are also hosting a Courtyard Tea Party on 12th June or if you would prefer to go one afternoon it is running until August. Book online.


Activities Days Out Places Services

London Cultural Trips For Kids

Clarendon Tutors offer a bespoke tutoring service in London. However, it isn’t another tutoring agency that matches child to tutor and leaves you on your way.  They understand a parents need for continuous feedback and they also maintain open communication with whichever schools the children attend, ensuring that they are working in co-operation rather than conflict.

‘The thing I loved about Clarendon was the constant support. The agencies I have used in the past have just sent us anonymous tutors and that’s been the end of it. Clarendon helped us through every step of getting ‘M’ into his school.’

The charming and knowledgeable founders, Henry and Orlando, are excellent at matching their highly experienced Oxbridge tutors with a pupil, being tutors themselves, and have a 100% track record of getting your child into the school of your choice.


What makes Clarendon Tutors really unique is their Cultural Trips. Consisting of 1 tutor to 1-2 children, the day out combines traditional learning with experiences such as visiting a museum and also a more active pursuit such as a tennis lesson or a round of crazy golf, for example. Whatever you require, they will endeavor to tailor the day for you and your child including picking them up and taking them home. The tutor also visit a few days before so that you are comfortable with who will be looking after your children for the day.

What’s Included

  • 9am pick up from home (or the train if your child is old enough to come into London for the day)
  • 1 hour of tutoring in the morning
  • An exhibition or museum such as Imperial, Natural or Design Museum
  • A healthy lunch
  • An Afternoon activity such as tennis, football, Go Ape, Putt In The Park
  • 1 hour tutoring
  • 5pm finish


Outside the Ai Wei Wei Exhibition at the RA




Ready for tennis

Ready for tennis at The Hurlingham Club

For international parents and children that are new to London, they are able to help you by showing them the British culture and system.  Whatever your requirements are, these are your guys.  With the gaping summer holiday looming, they will be able to take the children off your hands knowing they are being well looked after and educated in a fair few things too!

Tuition rates start at £50/hr. Day trips start from £200/day.

Drop them an email for more information and to ask any questions – / or give them a call anytime on 020 7206 2569


Activities Days Out Events Places

An Adventure Far Far Away

When it comes to entertainment and theme parks I thought the Americans couldn’t be beaten but from the moment Shreks Adventure commenced I realised it was up there with the big guns over at Universal (speaking of which did you know Disney World are opening up a Star Wars WORLD next year?)

Anyway, Merlin Entertainments strike again!

Set amongst the tourist trail on the South Bank, nestled between Sea Life and London Dungeons, Shreks Adventure is situated in County Hall overlooked by the London Eye. It is an impressive building and the entrance lends itself to making a great first impression.
The queue moved quickly and we found ourself in a group of about 40 people aged between 4 and 80. I wouldn’t recommend younger than 4 as this interactive adventure with real actors made even my bullet proof 5 year quake with nerves, especially when the real life witch dangled her finger in his face and asked him what his name was!

Library Imagery for Shrek's Adventure London © Mikael Buck / Shrek's Adventure London

I don’t want to give too much away about this 1.5 hours walking adventure to the Far Away Land, through different well known fairy tales to finally meeting the ‘real Shrek’ but take it from me it was a spectacle.
There was lots of interaction with the characters (Sleeping beauty falling asleep during her monologue raising lots of laughs) and the decoration is second to none – I nearly freaked out from claustrophobia in the mirror maze and the sound affects and 4D affects such as water spraying and rats crawling over your bottom were brilliant.

Library images of Shrek's Adventure London. © Mikael Buck / Shrek's Adventure

If you have a Shrek fan or a movie fan for that matter (Kung Fu Panda and Toothless to name but a few featured throughout) it is an absolute must and would make a wonderful birthday treat (starting from £18 a ticket it isn’t a walk in the park!)


There was also a ‘play area’ at the end which was super fun, although it leads into the most expensive gift shop I have ever seen although I managed to leave with just a bit of Shreks slime at only £3.50…

The book that they hand to your little one on exit is an artwork with photos of yourself on the journey already printed which if money is no object would make a great memento!

Activities Days Out Events Places

Countryside in London

If the children are crawling up the walls and you are over your 15th visit to your local playground these holidays, take advantage of the quiet roads and head down to the London Wetland Centre in Barnes. There is so much going, we didn’t know where to begin!  Other than the occasional plane going over head, you wouldn’t know you were in The Big Smoke.

At the beginning of our visit we signed up to the Giant Egg Hunt and had to hunt the giant ducks dotted around. Each duck had a letter on it that you jotted down that made a word. Completed forms won… a chocolate. Yum, it is the Easter Holidays after all.


There were lots of Easter related activities such as egg painting which kept even the whiniest children quiet (yes my family won that prize).


There was also ‘build a Lego duck’ for the older children.


Other than enjoying different types of birds that the Wetland Centre homes in their natural habitat, there was a plethora of things to do. The Pond Dipping at the Pond Safari and the interactive talk on Otters were a hit.


The Wetlands is equipped for children of all ages and it is perfectly suited to a buggy too as the whole of the Centre has smooth paths around it.


For the more energetic, the giant playground Explore has a zip wire, vole tunnels and a climbing wall.  There are a couple of lovely little cafes where you can buy those genius pick n mix lunch boxes.

If 2/3 of my children hadn’t jumped in a puddle that went in and over their boots in the first five minutes (there was only one puddle after the recent rainfall – and yes they found it!) we could have easily wiled away the whole day and enjoyed the extensive indoor play areas too.


So much to do, so little time!  The good news is, it is cost effective to get a season ticket as it is redeemable against the entrance fee, so after a couple of trips it would pay for itself.

Definitely one for you if have an energetic explorer in your midst and want a refreshing change of scene…

The Giant Duck Hunt is on until 10th April.

Activities Events Places

Hoop – Events & Activities App


If I was given £1 for every friend who asked me if I had heard of Hoop – I would be a rich woman!  There is a huge buzz around Hoop as it is easy to navigate and packed full of event and activity ideas.  Plug in the age of your kids and your location and bingo, a informative list of events and activities suitable for YOU and your family. It is great for mums, dads, nannies and grannies!

I am very excited to hand over today’s post to Max who is the co -owner of Hoop.  He will explain what it is, how and why they started it and give you fantastic ideas of what’s on over Easter in London.  It will  give you a taster to what you will be missing if you don’t download it! Over to you Max…

There are so many great things going on in London but they are easy to miss. No one has time to browse thousands of listings and it seemed funny that in 2016 there wasn’t an app that made it easy to uncover things to do with your kids.

Hoop Events.jpg

We built Hoop to help families discover fun things to do, and to make it as easy as checking your email.

Hoop Event.jpg

On Hoop you’ll find thousands of family friendly activities happening locally and across London. Interesting exhibitions, creative workshops, local baby and toddler groups, fun shows and sing-a-long classes … whatever your family loves to do you’ll find it on Hoop.

Hoop Home.jpg

Hoop lists over ten thousand events and activities each month across London, a third of which are free to attend. Best of all, everything on Hoop is suited to your family so you’ll only see events and activities that are age appropriate for your children.

Here’s a small taster of some of the fun stuff you can find on Hoop taking place this Easter across London.

Easter Egg Hunts

Easter Egg Hunt at the Royal Mews.pngGetting creative at the Easter Egg Hunt at the Royal Mews

It wouldn’t be Easter without a family Easter Egg hunt, and this Easter there’s loads of Easter themed activities going on across London.

Our picks include The Great Egg Roll & Egg Hunt at Lauderdale House where you can decorate your own egg, The Easter Egg Hunt at the Royal Mews, where you’ll follow a treasure trail to find eggs hidden around the Royal Mews and an EGGcellent Easter Adventure at the Bank of England, where you’ll join the hunt for a giant golden easter egg and three little chicks.


The Magic Beanstalk.pngPuppet adventures, The Magic Beanstalk

If you’re looking for something special to do over Easter, there’s some wonderful shows taking place for kids of all ages.

The Amazing Bubble Man at Arts Depot promises to inspire awe in kids of all ages, as a world-class bubble comedian and artist hits the stage. The Little Angel Theatre is always a safe bet for a great kids show. This Easter they’ll be starting a new adventure with The Magic Beanstalk. Lastly, for more traditional family entertainment, don’t miss Zippos Circus performing a mix of acrobatics and stunts throughout Easter in Blackheath.

Interesting Workshops

Willy Wonka Cookies.pngTasty treat at Willy Wonka’s Cookie Class

Looking to inspire your kids or give them the chance to learn something new? There’s loads of incredible workshops happening this Easter for kids.

The Cartoon Museum is running a series of creative classes throughout the Easter holidays, stand out sessions include How to Create a Comic Strip and Superhero Comic Book City where you get the chance to think up your own super-hero character then write your own super-hero comic.

For something more active, as part of the Southbank Centre’s busy family holiday sessions, you can learn the basics of Skate Boarding in their beginner’s workshop, or master Circus Skills at the Albany.

Kids that interested in baking will love BKD’s Willy Wonka’s Cookie Class where you’ll get to decorate Wonka-themed cookies.

Something Different

Disco Loco Under the Stars.pngParty on with Disco Loco

If you’re looking for something different, how about Disco Loco Under the Stars at the Hackney Showroom, a hipster daytime rave for families, or for something more calm a sleepover at London Zoo. Another Hoop favourite is the Comedy Club for Kids, a non-patronising, swear-free hour with the international circuit’s best stand-ups and sketch acts, especially for children.

Hoop London.jpg

The app’s completely free, and you can download it in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. We’re adding new events and activities every day and we’d love to hear what you think of it. Please email us at with any suggestions – we want to make it as useful as possible for families.

You can find these and stacks more fun family friendly events and activities on Hoop. We can’t wait for you to join the fun, and download Hoop.

Another alternative – is to go into your Apps and search Hoop and download it on your screen! Happy hunting.


Activities Places

Skiing In London

We took an after school activity to a whole different level on Wednesday, when my 5 year old and I went for a joint ski lesson at Chel –Ski in Chelsea, off the Kings Road. We were greeted by the friendly staff and introduced to our coach Kieran who immediately put us both at ease. After 5 years off the ski slopes, I was a little apprehensive about donning ski boots and getting my jelly legs working once again.

Centre 1

Chel-Ski is London’s largest indoor ski centre, which opened on the 10th December right on time for the 2015-16 ski season. From the team behind the phenomenally successful Clip ‘N Climb Chelsea – an indoor climbing wall attraction that has been drawing record crowds since its opening – the appropriately named Chel-Ski provides a fun, safe and controlled setting for ski and snowboard lessons and training, using BASI approved technology.


Hugo went first and was introduced to ‘pizza’ and ‘chips’ (snow plow and parallel) by a very patient coach.


After 15 minutes, it was my turn… I can certainly say it was slightly harder than actual snow and any technical inability is heightened by the revolving carpet, however once I found my feet so to speak, I managed to zone in and pretend I was skiing in Trois Valley! The faces watching us from Clip n Climb where none other than the Jolie Pitt kids (sadly it was lost on Huggy and I had to get excited by myself), so I had to give it my A game in case Mr Pitt was in the vicinity. Then it was H’s turn again and as he was was knackered by the end of the second session, he finished with a spot of tobogganing.


With no lifts or queues, Chel-Ski is the perfect venue in a central location where customers can brush up on existing skills or take their very first steps into the fun-fuelled world of skiing and snowboarding. Expect cool design aesthetics and an engaging environment in which to take to the slopes; the centre features the largest print of the largest panorama ever made of Mont Blanc by In2White, covering an entire wall. Very cool.

They have a range of deals to choose from, from private to group lessons.  This summer there is incredible deal – for £695 you can ski EVERY day for 5 months – May to September. Not only would it be great exercise, there would be no finding your ski legs when it was time to hit the real slopes.

Off the slopes, check out Chel-Ski’s fantastic alpine café where you can relax and enjoy some après-ski, taking advantage of the delicious refreshments on offer.

Cafe 2

In addition to individual bookings, Chel-Ski is also available to hire for family or group bookings, ski themed parties and corporate networking and teambuilding events. Chel-Ski provides an enticing new leisure and party destination in West London.

As we left, a little voice said ‘can I do it every Wednesday after school?’  You have to try it whether you are heading off skiing or not. It’s a great introduction to the slopes (and alot cheaper!)

For further information, please email:

Places Travel

5 Family Friendly European Hotels

Due to the combination of one of TLM’s recent posts, Stylish Child Friendly Holidays and the drizzle that is making my hair particularly frizzy at the moment, I have enjoyed researching a few holiday destinations that will keep everyone happy. It’s a mean feat but something I think these hotels will do easily.

Anassa Hotel, Cyprus

Anassa has award-winning kids programmes and all-embracing babycare. It’s a family-friendly hotel in Cyprus and a regular nominee for World’s Best Spa, has inspiring childcare facilities and delivers deliciously grown-up dining, too.


The Family Rooms are incredible and have a particularity good range of size (and price).


Pine Cliffs Resort, Portugal

Pine Cliffs Resort, one of the leading and award-winning Luxury and Family Resorts in Europe, is truly an exquisite hidden jewel enjoying a spectacular, prime seafront location on the amazing coastline of the Algarve, in Southern Portugal.


Pine Cliffs is an all integrated resort, managed by Starwood Hotels through its Luxury Collection brand, with different options of accommodation, investment opportunities and a luxurious lifestyle for the whole family. The children’s club, spans 7,000sq m, and catering for babies through to teens.



The Peligoni Club, Greece

Set in the unspoiled north east of Zakynthos, The Peligoni Club offers a boutique escape quite unlike anything else.


Peligoni attracts a well-heeled, well-dressed crowd, and club life can seem like an extended Home Counties drinks party at times – not sure whether that appeals or not, but I know one thing is for certain – you are likely not to see the kids much!



Ritz Carlton Abama, Tenerife

Situated in the tranquil enclave of Guía de Isora, our resort in Tenerife, Spain exemplifies the delicate harmony that can exist between man and nature.


The lively Ritz Kids club has an ever-changing schedule of inventive activities, with games designed both for outdoors and in the shade.


Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Ok, not in Europe but worth a mention, especially if you are need of some ‘winter sun’.  Apparently this is the most family friendly resort in Dubai. It is filled with loads of activities and adventures designed especially for kids.


The hotel doesn’t look too bad either!


Worth a peruse… Luxury travel & lifestyle for single parents Mr & Mrs Smith… For Families The original ‘Luxury Family Holiday’ website