Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Science Museum and Natural History Museum

So, while on Saturday we went East, on Sunday we headed West and while we promised rabbits on Saturday, on Sunday we told Emilia she would see dynosaurs!  Needless to say, she was excited.

On Saturday morning we took the tube from Tower Hill to South Kensington and visited not one but two museums in the area, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.
Rob and I had never been to the Science Museum, so we spent a considerable amount of time there and Emilia was overwhelmed and fascinated by all the computers around, each of which featured a different technology. Like the Museum of London Docklands, the Science Museum also has a designated area for little ones and we took Emilia there first. She particularly liked the magnetic puzzle, although, she didn't want to follow the rules dictated by the museum's worker and went on to make not a puzzle but an artistic creation instead :)

After what felt like forever, we eventually exited the museum and walked to the Natural History Museum. We patiently queued for a bit and finally we were inside, admiring the beautiful and majestic dynosaur that welcomes visitors at the main entrance. Emilia was entranced! The museum was very busy and we were getting tired so we didn't really spend a lot of time here but we will be back...in the meantime, we bought Emilia a cute book featuring the Queen and her dog's visit to the museum, which we have been reading at every nap and bed time since Sunday! 

Overall it was a rather tiring weekend but a quite nice one too, and we are already planning our next weekend's activities! It's nice to be able to be a tourist in your own city and London has so much to offer to everyone, even for peole who have been around for more than ten years like us!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Museum of London Docklands and Mudchute Farm

Rob and I were on a mission to have a busy weekend so we planned two full days for Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we opted to go East and visit the Museum of London Docklands, highly recommended by some local friends. On Friday night we did some online research and learned that the museum has a dedicated area for under 5s called Mudlarks. We had to go! Also, looking at the map, I noticed a farm nearby, another good reason to go. The weather forecast was promising and we were all up for a nice day out. 

We absolutely loved the museum! What a nice surprise. The Mudlarks area was excellent, very well done and Emilia loved playing with the water, the building blocks, and everything else in the room. The whole museum is a real gem, such a charming little space, hosted in an old sugar warehouse. We spent a couple of hours wandering around and then we had lunch in the cute restaurant before heading out to the Mudchute park and farm

Getting to the farm was a bit tricky but we promised Emilia some rabbits so we had to go. And her excitement when we eventually saw the rabbits paid us back for all the efforts we mad to get there. It was a beautiful day out, we walked so much and when we got home we were all exhausted and ready to go to bed! 

Art Class

It has been a very busy weekend. On Friday morning, Emilia and I met with our friends Ariana and baby Alexander and ventured to the lovely area of St. John's Wood to attend an art class at 3 House Club. Emilia was super excited to spend the day with her friend Alexander, get messy and meet other kids. The club was very cute and after the class we hung around at the cafe' where we had lunch and then the kids played some more in the soft play area. Needless to say, it took some time to convince Emilia that it was time to go home! It was a beautiful sunny day and we all enjoyed it very much! 

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Intrude at the Southbank Centre

Last Sunday morning we strolled to one of our favourite parts of London, the Southbank, to visit the Intrude exhibition at the Southbank Centre. The exhibition was part of the Winter Festival and we caught it on its very last day. I had saeen pictures online of this installation and I knew Emilia would love the giant rabbits. To my disappointment, the rabbits had been moved inside the foyer of the Royal Festival Hall and there were only three (I expected at least ten!). But Emilia's reaction didn't disappoint. At first she was a bit intimidated by their size and didn't dare to get too close but then, as expected, she didn't want to leave and she kept running to say goodbye and blow kisses from one rabbit to the other! 

We concluded the morning with a yummy meal at a local Mexican restaurant, always a great choice for Emilia! 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Maltby Street Market

In an effort to explore new parts of London and see as much as we can before our imminent move to Wasington D.C., we have vowed to do something we haven't done yet if not every weekend, at least every other weekend. So yesterday we finally paid a visit to Maltby Street Market, a little food market, tucked away under a rail tunnel, just a few minutes from our flat. I first read about this street market on a friend's blog last year and since then it has been mentioned on almost every food or London blog. Both Rob and I (and I think Emilia too!) really liked it. It is a very small market, nothing comparable to Borough Market, but it is incredibly cool and sweet. The highlight was definitely a treat that we took home with us: vanilla cream and butterscotch doughnuts from St. John! We have already planned to go back...next on the list are the Garden Museum, Petersham Nurseries and Hoxton Street Market...oh London, we will miss you much! 

First London Playdates of 2015

It's so nice to have friends with kids in London so that we can have playdates from time to time. I always try to get organised with Emilia and find activities to do either at home or out and I am always happy to spend some time with other mamas and their kids. It's also important for Emilia to be with small people like her, to relate to them, socialise and share her toys. 
Since we got back to London we have had three playdates already, two with best friend Elias and one with baby Alexander, a 16-month-old little boy who lives just one floor below us. And tomorrow, we are hosting a playdate at our place! 

Back to Dark!

So, we left Italy on the night of the first. I will admit, I was a bit sad; I am always sad when I leave home but this time especially since we didn't get to do any of the things we had planned so well in advance. As Rob put it, we work hard during the year and this was our time to relax and sadly we were all sick and trapped inside the house. It was a missed opportunity! Anyway, we were now on our way back to London. Emilia was an absolute angel on the plane; she is so used to flying that she knows exactly what to do and when. As soon as we get on the plane and find our seats, she fastens her own seatbelt. She then opens her table and puts her books, colors and toys on it. While we are on air, she constantly checks if the light for the seatbelt is on, and if so, she promptly fastens it. She loves looking outside the window, and if we fly at night, she admires all the lights. It has become so much easier to fly with her now. Thankfully, the queue at passport control at Stansted was inexistent and we quickly got into our booked car. Everything was running smoothly...until, we got home! We arrived home around midnight to find a very cold and dark flat to welcome us! Apparently, the flat had been without power since the morning of the 31st. We burned some candles, bundled up and went to bed hoping to solve the issue the day after. 

So, as soon as we woke up, Rob starting phoning all the emergency numbers and long story short nobody could do anything! The weekend was approaching and we were still in the middle of holiday time and the emergency team failed to help us out. We were at home without power for almost four days before an electrician was finally sent to check what the problem was. Since everything tuns on electricity here, we had no light, no heating, no hot water and we couldn't cook. It was a nightmare but thankfully we managed. Rob bought a very long power extension and we connected to a socket in the hall; at least, we could make a warm cup of tea and have some lamps on! It was terribly cold out, so eventually we also had to buy a little electric heater that again we connected to the socket in the hall using our super long extension. The thing we missed the most was hot water! I had to go to a local hairdresser to get my hair washed! In the end, we had some light, we had a little heater, and we could eat take-away from the local restaurants, but nobody could give us hot water! Some of our friends offered their help and we did take advantage of it a bit, we did laundry at a friend in the building and we went to other friends for a nice and warm meal as well as an afternoon playdate. 

By Sunday afternoon, however the flat got so cold that we couldn't bear staying in, so we went to a near by shopping centre, spent a couple of hours window shopping and then eventually we dined there. It was the first time Emilia went out and after more than a week spent inside my parents' house and then three full days in our flat in London, needless to say, she was super euphoric to be out and about! 

We were all very happy when eventually the power was back on Monday afternoon but at the same time it was kind of sweet to be in the flat wearing cosy loungewear, covered with lots of blankets and with very little light, lots of candles and the Christmas tree on!