Rebecca Moore

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    Fascinated by London’s four-legged friend the fox? London Hilton Bankside has launched a summer-long fox marks the spot trail, perfect for families exploring this culturally-rich central London destination

    Whether you’re a London local, or a frequent visitor to the Big Smoke an area you mightn’t be so familiar with is Bankside, often overshadowed by neighbouring Southbank – especially when the kids are in tow.

    Rich in history it’sone of the oldest settlements in Britain, dating back more than 6000 years. When the Romans founded Londinium on the north bank of the Thames, a bridge was built near London Bridge, and the surrounding area has been lived in ever since.

    Flagship design hotel, Hilton London Bankside, is keen to celebrate this history as they embark on a summer-long campaign with Fox Marks the Spot. Sure to inspire wildlife and design lovers of all ages, the hotel is partnering up with local businesses and nature conservation charity, London Wildlife Trust to offer a creative urban design trail for all ages to follow throughout the summer in London.

    It all ties in with the hotel’s longstanding relationship with the four-legged mammal. It is said that when the hotel was being built, the architect and construction team had regular visits and was soon dubbed as the ‘Bankside Fox’ and even left his paw prints in the concrete as the hotel was taking shape.

    Running until 31stAugust, the urban design trail sees visitors navigate the local streets – making pit stops along the route lets you dip in an out of a selection of independent eateries, artisan baristas, gin distilleries (more for the grown-ups!), and delicious foodie markets. Spot the foxes in creative crevices – you’ll even find one floating on top of your cappuccino in Tibits Bankside restaurant. London Wildlife Trust have also handpicked secret urban wildlife spotting areas in Bankside.

    Kids will love spotting the three-metre high 3D fox artwork by 3D Joe & Max, just outside the hotel itself. In fact, there are 49 hidden fox designs and artworks to spot at Hilton London Bankside plus a large fox installation marking the entrance of Flat Iron Square’s new outdoor space, Secret Garden.

    All you need to do is collect your map from the concierge desk at Hilton London Bankside, or if you’re treating yourself to a stay you’ll be given one automatically. The hotel itself has a wonderful set up for families – opt for a stay in two deluxe rooms, with interconnecting doors and child-friendly treats including a goody bag with crayons and a children’s city map, adorable child-sized bathrobe and slippers and our exclusive Bankside Fox onesie for children up to the age of three.

    There’s also a chance for you to win a weekend’s stay at Hilton London Bankside and 25% off food and beverages at the hotel’s OXBO restaurant. All you need to do is take a photo of one of the bespoke Bankside Foxes and share using the hashtag #FoxMarksTheSpot and @hiltonbankside.

    Want more information and inspiration on everything parenting and lifestyle? Just hit ‘Like’ on our Little London Facebook page, and ‘Follow’ on our @_Little_London Twitter account, and you’re all set.

    WORDS: REBECCA MOORE

     

     

      Radici

      School’s out, which means eating out is in! When hunger strikes take your little diners to our three favourite kid-friendly eateries in London, where feasts for the whole family are served…

      Radici-2

      Radici, Islington
      You can’t knock Italians  when it comes to their passion for family feasting. Set back from buzzy Upper Street, Radici serves up seasonal splendour for all ages. Bambinis aged five to 10 can chow down on chicken milanese served with zucchini fries or keep it classic with a margherita pizza. Save room for dessert, too. Opt for cake of the day, ice cream, or a fruit salad. radici.uk

      Mayfair

      28°-50°, Mayfair
      A stone’s throw from Oxford Street, kick the weekend off in style with 28°-50°’s newly revamped kids’ menu. The Saturday lunch offer sees little ones eat for free – watch them wolf down the cod and chips – while deserving parents receive 20 per cent off their food bill to boot.  2850.co.uk

      TPH

      TPH of Chelsea, Chelsea
      Around five to eight per cent of children have a food allergy, which means buttery curries are off the menu for many. TPH of Chelsea has removed ghee, butter, cream, milk and any other dairy product from the cooking process. Its kids’ paratha rolls stuffed with chicken tikka or onion bhaji are served with poppadoms, chutney, a drink and sorbet. tphofchelsea.com

      WORDS: Rebecca Moore

        learning-to-sign

        In light of short film The Silent Child scooping an Oscar, we look at the importance of children learning to sign

        Author Joe Jacobs was overwhelmed when Maisie Sly, the profoundly deaf four-year-old star of Oscar-winning The Silent Child, thanked him in person for the sign language books he’s written for children. Like Rachel Shenton, the ex-Hollyoaks actress who wrote the film script, Joe wants sign language to be recognised and taught in schools. He puts forward five reasons why all children should learn to sign.

        1. Fewer tantrums

        “Babies taught to sign can communicate with you months before they say their first word,” says Joe.” That reduces their frustration, gives you an insight into their world, and strengthens the bond between parent and baby.” Physically, it makes perfect sense: “The arm and hand muscles needed to sign develop more quickly than the muscles in the mouth and larynx required for speech.”

        1. Speak sooner

        The trend for hearing parents using sign language to communicate with hearing children began with baby-signing in the 1970s. “Studies show that babies who sign will learn to speak sooner, so long as you say the words as you sign them and your baby can see your face. The evidence also suggests that children who learn to sign have a larger verbal vocabulary.”

        1. IQ boost

        Psychologists Dr Linda Acredolo and Dr Susan Goodwyn have conducted one of the largest studies into the benefits of baby signing. “Observing 140 families over two years, they found that at seven and eight years old the mean IQ of those taught to sign as babies was 12 points higher than that of the control group.”

        1. They’ll love it

        “Children love sign language and pick it up quickly, perhaps because they think visually and enjoy performing actions to words. Signing can relieve the frustration of trying to express ourselves, especially in the early stages of language acquisition. It can enrich the lives of all children.” And it’s easier than you think – children and parents can learn the sign language alphabet in an hour.

        1. Inclusivity

        Of the 40,000 plus deaf children in the UK, 78% attend mainstream schools with no specialist provision. “Learning just ten signs with your child could make a huge difference to the lives of deaf children,” believes Joe. “Signing can also help children with language, speech and learning difficulties, autism and Down’s syndrome, as well as aid comprehension for those with English as a second language.”

        Author and illustrator Joe Jacobs published his first book, How to Sign Animals with Terry the Monkey, in 2017. Other titles in the Terry the Monkey series include How to Sign Halloween and How to Sign Christmas. Joe is now working on a screenplay for a Terry the Monkey cartoon.

          Shrove Tuesday is the sweetest day of the year! It’s time to put your best frying pan forward and create delicious pancakes the whole family will enjoy.

          Here are some of family cooking expert Annabel Karmel’s favourite pancake recipes to make with your kids.

          Looking for more food inspiration? Visit annabelkarmel.com

          BUTTERMILK BLUEBERRY PANCAKES – these fluffy pancakes are perfect at any time of the day

          PANCAKES WITH CARAMELISED APPLE – traditional pancakes go beautifully with sticky caramelised apple

          HUNNY BUNNY PANCAKES – fun to make and super tasty!

            THE SWEET AND PLAYFUL PANCAKE

            With banana slices for ears and whipped cream for a nose these pancakes look and taste delicious!

            Prep: 15 minutes

            Cook: 20 minutes

            Makes: 6 pancakes

            150g self-raising flour
            1 tsp baking powder
            2 eggs
            150ml milk
            25g caster sugar
            20g butter
            1 tbsp sunflower oil
            125ml double cream
            3 bananas, sliced
            Honey or maple syrup, to serve

            1. Measure the flour, baking powder, caster sugar, eggs and milk into a mixing bowl. Whisk until you have a smooth batter.

            2. Heat a little butter and oil in a frying pan. Spoon tablespoons of batter into the pan to make fairly large round pancakes for the body.

            3. When bubbles appear, flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side for a few minutes.

            4. In the same way, make smaller pancakes for the face and the paws of the rabbit. Continue to cook the pancakes until all the batter is used up, adding more butter and oil to the pan as and when necessary.

            5. Arrange the pancakes on plates to make the shape of a bunny and decorate with slices of banana for the ears and the feet.

            6. Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then pipe a tail onto each of the bunnies.

            7. Drizzle with a little honey or maple syrup.

            Looking for more food inspiration? Visit annabelkarmel.com

              THE PERFECT PANCAKE FOR APPLE LOVERS…

              Get ready to flip! These traditional pancakes go beautifully with sticky caramelised apples – will you go ice cream or double cream?

              Prep: 10 minutes

              Cook: 20 minutes

              Makes: 8 pancakes

              100g plain flour
              A generous pinch of salt
              2 eggs
              300ml (½ pint) milk
              50g melted butter
              8 small dessert apples or 4 regular apples
              50g butter
              50g light muscovado sugar
              Double cream or vanilla ice cream to serve

              1. Whizz the flour, salt, sugar, eggs and milk in a blender or food processor until smooth. This will only take a few seconds. Alternatively sift the flour with a big pinch of salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and add the eggs.  Use a balloon whisk to incorporate the eggs into the flour and gradually whisk in the milk until smooth and the same consistency as double cream.  You can add a little water if it is too thick.  Set aside for 10 minutes if you can.
              2. To make the pancakes melt a small knob of butter in a thick –bottomed 18cm to 20 cm (7 to 8 in) frying pan.
              3. When the butter sizzles pour out any more than just coats the bottom of the pan – alternatively brush the base of the pan with melted butter.
              4. Pour in enough batter (approx.  4 tablespoons) to coat the base of the pan and quickly tilt the pan from side to side to spread evenly.
              5. Cook the pancake for about one minute, then flip it over (you can use a spatula for this) and cook until the underside is lightly flecked with gold.  Continue with the rest of the batter, brushing the pan with melted butter when necessary.
              6. Meanwhile, core the apples and cut into thin slices.
              7. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the sliced apples, sprinkle with some muscovado sugar and sauté for a few minutes.  Delicious served with the pancakes with cream or vanilla ice cream.

              BUTTERMILK BLUEBERRY PANCAKES

              These fluffy pancakes are perfect at any time of the day. If you like it sweet drizzle maple syrup before serving!

              Prep: 10 minutes

              Cook: 5 minutes

              Makes: 12 pancakes

              200g self-raising flour
              50g light brown sugar
              1 tsp baking powder
              1 egg
              234ml buttermilk
              1 tsp vanilla extract
              Pinch of salt
              190g blueberries
              Maple syrup (optional)
              A little oil or butter for frying

              1. Put the flour, sugar and baking powder into a bowl.

              2. Mix the egg and buttermilk together and pour into the dried ingredients.

              3. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk until smooth.

              4. Add the blueberries and fold into the mixture.

              5. Heat a little oil or butter in a frying pan.

              6. Fry the pancakes for about 2 to 3 minutes each side until lightly golden and puffy.

              7. Serve warm with maple syrup and butter.

              Looking for more food inspiration? Visit annabelkarmel.com

                Want to get fit but don’t have time with the kids? British and national wrestling champion, and owner of Right Path Fitness Keith McNiven shows how you can exercise with the help of the children

                 

                171213 - RIGHT PATH FITNESS - PUSH UP 2

                1. PUSH UPS
                Push ups are usually the first exercise that we are introduced to, so it makes perfect sense to do this workout with your little one. Having your child on your back when doing push ups, will help to strengthen your upper body.
                HOW TO DO IT: Begin, by placing your hands underneath your shoulders. Your legs should be straight and extended, and the balls of your feet are firmly on the ground. Your child should now place themselves on top of your back. Keep your core tight and your butt squeezed as you lower your body down until your chest touches the ground. Keep your body in a straight line as you push away from the floor and bring your body back up to the starting position.

                2. LUNGES
                Lunges help to tone your legs and backside, but you need to make sure your form is correct. Incorporating your child into this workout will help to maximise its effects.
                HOW TO DO IT: Most importantly, make sure your body is straight. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. Now extend your arms to grab your child and have them placed on your knee, as you go back to your starting position.

                Squats

                3. SQUATS
                Squats are the signature exercise when it comes to toning your lower body. Having your child on your back adds a whole new dimension to the workout.
                HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees and lower your hips as if you were sitting down. Your child should now climb onto your back, the child should put their arms around your neck and their hands on your chest. You should hold onto your child’s hands to keep them safe and sturdy. Now, you lower your hips until they form a 90 degree bend at the knee. Contract your abdominal muscles, pushing your weight down into your heels. Push straight back up, lifting your hips up and forward.

                 

                171213 - RIGHT PATH FITNESS - SIT UP 4

                4. SIT UPS
                Sit ups help you to strengthen and firm your stomach. Doing sit-ups with your child, can help you to get those washboard abs even quicker.
                HOW TO DO IT: Lay down with your knees bent and your feet placed flat on the ground. Your child will be bending down opposite you, and have their hands on your knees. Cross your arms over your chest so your hands touch the opposite shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles and draw your belly button in to your spine. Slowly sit up, by bringing your head up first and then your shoulders. Hold the position for a second, and then slowly lay back down.

                5. THE PLANK
                Planking helps to improve your core and strengthen your posture. Partnering up with your child adds another dynamic to this straight forward workout.
                HOW TO DO IT: Get into the push up position on the floor, and have your child climb onto your back. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest you and your child’s weight on your forearms. Make sure your elbows are directly beneath your shoulders, your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold the position for as long as you can. For best results, hold it for two minutes.

                rightpathfitness.co.uk

                Create the best Christmas treats with these winter-inspired recipes from Annabel Karmel

                Throwing a party this holiday season and in need of some fabulously festive inspiration? Look no further… leading children’s cookery author Annabel Karmel has Christmas well and truly covered, and what’s more, you can get the whole family involved in creating this spread to remember!  From festive puff pizzas to Christmas jumper cookies and hot chocolate snowmen, these recipes are sure to impress your guests. So get those invites out, don your best festive apron and get cooking. ‘Tis the season to get baking after all

                Looking for more food inspiration? Visit annabelkarmel.com

                  santa-in-london

                  Santa is putting in an early shift all over London this December, here’s where and how to find him

                  Below you’ll find a map that shows all the different locations, opening times and booking information of where Santa will be across the 32 boroughs of London this December. Whether you choose to go low key with a local visit or take on the crowds at Winter Wonderland, watch your little one’s face light up as he tells Santa his Christmas wishes.

                  Map Source: Opening-Times

                  EDITOR'S PICK

                  Mum of one, Meriel Miller and daughter Emilia test drive the Stokke Scoot My little Emilia is now two-and-a-half so I was on the hunt...

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