It's the first of the two May Bank Holiday Weekends. For those of you who don't live in the UK and are not familiar with Bank Holidays, this is the name given to three Mondays of the year, two in May and one in August, where you are off work for no particular reason other than relax and perhaps planning a weekend away! I love Bank Holidays (surprise surprise!) and even if we haven't planned anything special for this long weekend, it is still very nice to spend three full days the three of us together. The weekend actually started even earlier for Emilia and me. I don't work on Fridays so on Friday morning I got both of us ready quite quickly and by 9.00 we were out of the flat and heading to the city. I love walking around the city with Emilia and thankfully the weather was quite nice. We checked a couple of stores and then we bumped into two mums with their strollers and babies who asked us if we were on our way to Little Pickles. I said that I didn't even know what Little Pickles was. One of the two then handed me a leaflet of this new playgroup for toddlers in the area that incidentally was starting that Friday at 10.00am. Emilia and I had had a quite rough night and I was desperate to stay out of the flat for as long as possible. My eyes lit up. So, we followed the mums with their kids and entered the church by the gherkin where the playgroup was held. At the entrance we were welcomed by a bunch of lovely ladies, all smiley and very sweet. We felt at home straight away. I absolutely loved the atmosphere. It was so relaxing that I was even able to enjoy a complimentary cup of coffee with the other mums, while Emilia made herself at home and started playing. The playgroup is run by volunteers at the church, all super lovely people, some with kids and others without. There are lots of activities to choose from and all the toys are brand new. There is the soft area, the library, the lego area, the dressing up corner and different tables with different activities. Emilia chose the table where a nice lady was showing how to make bracelets and together with other kids they coloured biblical images. Emilia picked the representation of the baptism of John and made not one but four bracelets! The playgroup runs from 10.00 to 11.30 every Friday; at 11.05 one othe ladies started singing the tidy up song and all the kids, Emilia included, helped putting all the toys back in their big boxes. And then the central part of the church transformed into a sort of lounge. We all sat on a carpet and listened to another lady who read a passage from the bible for babies showing lots of nice illustrations. We ended the playgroup by singing and dancing over well known rhymes. I can't say enough how much Emilia and I loved it and considering how bad the night before was and how stressed I was at the beginning of the day, I think it was something sent directly from God.
Saturday was all about strolling. The weather was very nice so in the morning we crossed the Tower Bridge and wandered around St. Katharine's Docks. Always a wonderful place to get lost in. I enjoy looking inside the boats, some people live there! I find it so charming. They have recently built a very modern boat house there and I absolutely love it. Every time I go I try to spy inside :)
In the afternoon we strolled to another favourite spot in the area, Bermondsey street. The villagey atmosphere in that street is so nice and I absolutely love all the independent shops and cafes that make this street so cool. And oh the flower shops...they are so adorable! We bought bright pink peonies that now sit lovely in our living room.
And finally today we headed East to Canary Wharf where we enjoyed a lovely brunch at Le Pain Quotidien and did some shopping for Emilia at the local mall. We had been to Le Pain Quotidien before and it is the perfect place for toddlers. When we arrived, we were taken to a quite corner in the back of the cafe' and got seated next to three other families, all with little girls. They all looked and smiled at each other, they were so cute. Also, after we ordered our meals, the waiter came back to us with an activity book for Emilia and a plastic cup full of colourful crayons. Yay, Emilia's favourite activity: coloring in! We had such a lovely time and of course it took some time to convince Emilia to leave. Thankfully, she loved running in the mall just as much as sitting, eating her eggs and colouring in her book.
My wonderful little girl, you are growing too fast. Please, let's stop the time right now and don't get bigger and older!