Welcome to the Autumn issue of Little London! This edition is packed with new season picks, back to school inspiration, Halloween ideas and much, much more.Here’s what else you can expect to find inside…
She’s spent over half her life in the spotlight, but Oscar winner Julia Roberts knows nothing quite compares to having a family. We find out more…
Kate Freud, along with her husband Jack and two children Jago, six, and Georgia, three, head to Flims in Switzerland for an action-packed ski adventure…
Annabel Karmel shares her healthy twist on the chocolate truffle, a perfect treat for sweet-toothed little ones – minus the sugar…
For all this and much more, you can buy your copy of Little London at all good supermarkets and newsagents, or alternatively order an issue here.
Credit: Illustrations by Sara Ogilvie from ‘Dave The Lonely Monster’
As we welcome a new academic year, it’s time to spruce up the bookshelf with the latest reads from Simon & Schuster. And you can win them all!
Dave the Lonely Monster by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie Once upon a time in a retirement cave, lived a lonely monster. His name was Dave. Discover the importance of kindness in this lighthearted and funny picture book, and remember, Monstrous beasts have feelings too!
Grandma Bird by Benji Davies A tender and heart-warming new story from the world of The Storm Whale. Join Noi as he stays with Grandma for the summer and gets swept up in the dramatic rescue of some sea birds that will mark the beginning of a touching new friendship.
Daddy Hairdo by Francis Martin and Claire Powell Amy’s hair is out of control and only one ’do will do: a Daddy Hairdo! Her dad comes up with out of this world styles, and soon everyone wants one of his hairdos. This is a hilarious tale for anyone who has had a tangled head of hair!
It All Began When I Said Yes by Simon Philip and Annabel Tempest Sometimes saying yes is a brilliant thing. You can meet new people, discover amazing things, and go on exciting adventures … but sometimes a Gorilla called Gideon shows up on your doorstep. A brilliantly funny book about what happens when you say yes.
You could win all four of these books. Simply enter your details into the form below – good luck!
Have you got a youngster’s birthday looming and want to throw a party to remember? Little London has teamed up with KidZania London – an indoor city run by kids – to offer one winner a fantastic four-hour Silver Package party, worth a whopping £875
Set to make your kids’ party exceptional, KidZania London is the perfect place for birthday bonanzas for those aged four to 14. Up to 15 kids will get to experience KidZania to the fullest, enjoying fast-track entry into KidZania and time to explore the activities, a RightZKeeper’s visit worth £50 and a photo package (worth £130).
Offering a stress-free party for parents too, KidZania will provide the room hire (worth £50) decked out to impress all party-goers, a party food menu where hot treats will be served as well as party-food bags to keep the kids fuelled during their free play in the city, there will be party bags for all the guests, and of course, no birthday is complete without a delicious cake for everyone to enjoy – the birthday star will also bag themselves 150 kidZos to spend at the Airport Shop!
To be in with a chance of winning, simply fill in your details below. Good luck!
For many parents, preparing to get their children back into the classroom can be a stressful time as they attempt to complete a long list of chores, from buying new uniform to getting children ready for the early mornings. But it needn’t be that way!
To avoid any undue stress and anxiety, these 13 tips from name label company My Nametags are sure to get you organised and ready to take on the back to school mayhem.
1. Avoid lunchtime shopping at all costs
Between midday and 2pm is the busiest time for UK shops, so if you want to avoid the masses – and subsequent queues – pick up your back to school supplies first thing or late afternoon. Many shops offer Sunday ‘browsing time’ where the doors open half an hour before the tills. Take advantage of this quiet period by going early to try on new uniform, so when the tills open you’re ready to quickly pay and go.
2. Calm nerves with floral perfume
The first day of school can be full of nerves and excitement for both children and parents. According to research, the sweet smell of jasmine is great at calming the nerves and has long been used as a natural remedy to improve mood, overcome stress and balance hormones. Spritz a small amount on the collar of your child’s school shirt to put them at ease on the big day.
3. Avoid morning rush hour
By leaving the packed lunches, school bags, forms and everything else until the morning itself, you’re setting yourself up for a fall. Prepare the night before and put everything you need by the front door – getting the day off to a calm and organised start.
4. Invest in net washing bags
If you’ve got more than one child, you’ll know how long it can take to sift through mountains of laundry trying to figure out which items of clothing belong to who. Costing just a few pounds, net washing bagswill keep uniform together throughout the washing process, so you can spend less time hunting for rogue socks or sorting school shirts, and more time on the important things.
5. Banish pen with hairspray
Stop stains appearing in the first place by spraying uniforms with a fabric protector before they’re first worn or, if it’s too late, use ingredients from your kitchen and bathroom cupboards to tackle tough stains. Hairspray works wonders on biro, while Coca Cola removes grease and dirt. For grass stains, mix vinegar and baking soda and apply to the stain with an old toothbrush for effective results.
6. Don’t waste time sewing on name tags
During term time, children lose up to seven items per month at school – most commonly jumpers, school books, stationery, their socks and toys. Sewing on name tags to help prevent this issue can be a time-consuming task, which is why My Nametags customers choose stick-on or iron-on name tags that can be used on everything from shoes and clothes, to stationery and sports equipment.
Most fruit, vegetables and sandwich fillings, such as cheese, ham and eggs, can be frozen for up to six months. Parents can shave time off the frantic morning routine by making packed lunches in batches and freezing them. The sandwiches then act as an ice pack in the lunch box until midday, when they will have thawed out.
8. Make a front door checklist
Put a list on the front door of all the essentials needed on each day – things like water bottles’; ‘Monday – PE kits’; ‘Wednesday – reading book’; ‘Friday – class bear’. It’s the last thing you see before you leave the house so the perfect place for a final reminder. Post-it notes are your friend!
9. Give leather shoes a blow dry
Brand new leather school shoes can lead to painful blisters if they’re not properly broken in. If time is short before the first day of school, put the new shoes and a chunky pair of socks on your child’s feet and use a hairdryer to blow heat over the leather for 20 to 30 seconds. Ask them to walk around the room to loosen the material; this prevents blisters and sore feet during those first days back.
10. Don’t overspend on branded uniform
Check with your school whether the school logo needs to be on every item of clothing. Many schools are flexible with these rules and realistic about the cost of uniform, only insisting that the correct colours with logos are worn for official occasions. Buy multipacks of t-shirts, shirts and jumpers and have one for every day of the week so you don’t have to do laundry mid-week. Similarly, don’t dismiss second hand uniform sales – you’d be amazed how quickly kids grow out of their uniforms and how many unworn pairs of trousers or new school jumpers you can pick up.
11. Put boxes by the front door
Put boxes near the door with everything you need before you leave the house and for kids to dump their stuff when they return. In the summer, you’ll need sun cream, sunhats and sunglasses, whereas in the winter, don’t forget hats, scarves, gloves and wellies. This will stop you running around in the morning looking for the essentials!
12. Laminate child-friendly lists
Write a list of everything your children need to do before they leave the house and laminate it, then let them cross off each one with a whiteboard marker as they are getting ready. If they can’t read yet, show each task using a picture. This gives children the skills to help themselves and learn about responsibility, whilst giving you a break.
13. Talk to other parents
WhatsApp parent groups can be a life saver as there’s always something you won’t remember or understand. Asking the parents in your class can be one of the quickest ways to get peace of mind, and moral support. By communicating with other parents regularly, you’ll make sure your child never turns up in uniform on fancy dress day, or forgets their money for the charity cake sale.
Is your little one not the best sleeper? A few adjustments can make all the difference – here’s nine tips you might want to try at home
The new school year is fast approaching, making it even more important for your child (and you!) to get a good night’s rest. Moshi Twilight Sleep Stories – brought to you by the same award-winning team behind online game Moshi Monsters – has released a new story to help you all prepare for that first day back.
The app, which is free to download on either tablet or smartphone, includes specially-designed audio tales of soothing narration and soundscapes that help kids drop off into the land of nod. Blurp the Batty Bubblefish tells the tale of Blurp, who is getting ready to go back to school and see his friends and teachers, and preparing to wake up that little bit earlier again. It’s designed to be played right before that final ‘lights out’ moment, so the dreamy melodies, calming narration and guided relaxations can really get to work.
To mark the new story, Moshi have teamed up with sleep expert Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, who has put together her nine top tips for helping your child sleep in the run up to the new school year (or at any other time that sleep problems arise!)…
1. Establish a routine two weeks before school starts
To help your child get to bed earlier, set an incrementally earlier bedtime, and every morning, an incrementally earlier wake-up time. Make sure that when school starts, they’ll wake up with the amount of sleep they need for their age-group:
3-5 year olds – need 11-13 hours
6-9 year olds – need 10-11 hours and are more tired from school so are ready for bed by 7.30pm
From 10 years old – need around nine hours for good daytime alertness
2. Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine
Before bedtime, allow a period of quiet time to allow your child to unwind. Doing this consistently every evening is key; children thrive on routines, which are vital for setting the path to deep, restful sleep. When they go back to school their day will be one big routine!
3. Stick with the schedule
Once your child’s sleep schedule is established, stick with it! Don’t use the weekend to play ‘catch up’ with sleep.
4. Avoid big meals close to bedtime
A heavy meal may prevent your child from falling asleep. However, a small protein-rich snack such as peanut butter on a cracker and a glass of milk (dairy or almond) can help optimise melatonin production.
5. Manage technology an hour before bedtime
Limit exposure to television, video games, and other over-stimulating electronic activities before bed.
6. Avoid caffeine
Sodas and other caffeinated drinks should be limited as an after-school treat and especially at night. If consumed after noon, caffeine can interrupt your child’s natural sleep patterns, making it difficult to fall asleep.
7. The perfect sleep story
Allow your child to drift off to sleep with audio sleep stories playing in their bedroom. One of my favourite apps for this is Moshi Twilight. Listening to a variety of stories and music is essential, a new story might be a nice treat but an old favourite might be just what they need to drift off effortlessly. There’s even a sleep story specifically for children worried about going back to school that helps relieve anxiety before the start of the new term.
8. Create a sleep sanctuary
The bedroom environment should be peaceful and this might mean a dark room with some low level lighting, a comfortable bed, and a room temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold. Ask your child what they need to help them feel peaceful and secure in their bedroom at night.
9. Be the change
Set a good example for your child. Establish your own regular sleep cycle and maintain a home that promotes healthy sleep. This means having healthy boundaries around technology in the home – times and areas where you can and can’t use technology. For example, you might start a campaign in your own home to ban technology from the bedrooms and at mealtimes. Make a point of telling your children how you are using technology more consciously and healthfully yourself.
Lygon Arms Hotel, a charming old coaching inn in the heart of Broadway village – often called ‘the jewel of the Cotswolds’ – boasts a rich history, coloured by the many characters who have stayed here, from Oliver Cromwell to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
The Cotswolds bolthole offers a range of dining experiences, from Eggs Benedict brunches, Italian dishes and wine late at night in the Wine Bar, to delicious celebrations in the Lygon Bar & Grill, you’ll be spoilt for choice. With a new spa tucked in a tranquil pocket at the hotel, there are so many ways to soak up the countryside pace.
The all-new Lygon Arms recently underwent a renovation which has heightened its inherent Cotswold charm to provide a boutique hotel full of character with an element of whimsy. From classic to quirky, there are rooms for everyone here at The Lygon Arms, with Cosy Rooms to Master Suites in both the old house and new wing, you’ll find vestiges of the past everywhere – wooden beams, panelled doors and stone-framed windows to name but a few. Fine fabrics, original art and glossy white tiled bathrooms are common to all. Some Deluxe Rooms lead on to their own landscaped terraces while Junior Suites feature a double bedroom with double sofa bed – ideal for family stays.
The Cotswolds bolthole offers a range of dining experiences, from eggs benedict brunches in one of the lounges, to late-night drinks in the Lygon Wine Bar or an indulgent seasonal British menu in the Lygon Bar & Grill. There’s a new spa tucked away in a tranquil corner of the hotel, but to unwind in the fresh air, pull on your wellies and explore those beautiful rolling hills. So what are you waiting for? Pack the car, and don’t forget, furry friends are welcome too!
The benefits of learning a second language at an early age are well documented, but what many parents don’t realise is that children can become fully bilingual even if the rest of the family aren’t!
How can parents help their child embark on the wonderful journey of bilingualism when the second language isn’t spoken at home? Some parents are under the false impression that a child needs to live, or be educated in, a bilingual environment to become fully proficient in that language and to attain an authentic accent.
The desire for children to learn a second language early on in life is growing, as parents become increasingly aware of the numerous benefits. Countless studies have concluded that learning a second language increases critical thinking and creativity. Multi-lingual children do better in both verbal and numerical tests at school than those who speak only English.
All well and good for children born into bilingual –or even trilingual – households, but what about the rest of us, who struggle with the simplest exchanges of conversation in another language?
“Worry not,” says Stella Bataille, who runs Club Petit Pierrot, London’s leading French club for babies and children. “It’s completely possible. Whilst you’re probably going to have to expose your child to native speakers, there are lots of things you can do to help your child along.
As young children are less inhibited and able to learn through play, the earlier you expose your child to another language, the better. After all you learnt your own native tongue at birth and even before! Recent research on brain scans of toddlers at King’s College London suggest before four years old is the “optimal window”. Songs and rhymes are an excellent place to start as children absorb vocabulary and grammatical structures, and they can also practise their accent. The Club Petit Pierrot CD is a great place to start – it features 36 original songs and rhymes.
Take them to a fun immersion class
Babies and young children have an insatiable appetite to learn and communicate. They don’t mind in which language they do this, as long as the exchange is full of meaning and fun! So choose a class where the emphasis is on communication. You’ll be amazed how quickly they pick things up! At Club Petit Pierrot there is no translation whatsoever. Instead, children are fully immersed in the language and learn actively. They get involved in a wide variety of stimulating activities which are age appropriate, such as songs, dances, arts and crafts, cooking and there are fun language games and worksheets for the older children too.
Find a Native Teacher
Your child will copy an authentic accent and a native teacher will pass on all the intricacies of the language and its culture. All the Club Petit Pierrot teachers are enthusiastic native French teachers and are passionate about teaching French to young children.
Learning is much easier when you’re having fun! In the right environment children will learn without pressure through play and exploring. They will learn without even realising it and the results will be far better – gone are the days of sitting down with flash cards! At Club Petit Pierrot they sing, they dance, they create, they read, they imitate, they play…they have fun!
Don’t force them
It is important not to force a child to speak in a second language. They will only speak if there is a need to, or if they want to! So keep it practical and fun without putting any pressure on your child. This is confirmed by the feedback which Club Petit Pierrot receives. Recently a parent reported to the teachers that while on holiday near Bordeaux in France, her two and a half year old daughter was spontaneously using all the vocabulary and phrases learned during the classes.
Relax and get involved
As adults we become self-conscious and inhibited. Thankfully, most children don’t have that problem. Follow their lead and unleash your inner child! Speak, sing, dance and play along with your child at home, and don’t worry if your accent isn’t up to it or you’re not pronouncing the words perfectly. We all make mistakes and that’s part of the learning process. Some of the best classes are the ones where parents join in – and the children really benefit from seeing their ultimate role models having fun! Just don’t be upset if your child makes much more rapid progress than you.
Play at home
You can also reinforce what they learn in their language classes at home by finding online language videos, cartoons, films, songs and rhymes, books, exercises and even apps. Join in with them and have fun!
Any child can learn a second language. They learn it in exactly the same way as they learnt their native tongue, but learning a second language does take commitment. Regular exposure to the language is crucial if bilingualism is to be achieved. That does take dedication, but with proven benefits for the young (and also now for those with, shall we say, more mature grey matter!) it’s a fantastic and extremely rewarding activity for the whole family to engage in. So there’s no excuse – launch your child on a wonderful journey to bilingualism today!
Gareth Jones, head of St Andrew’s Prep School in Eastbourne, offers his advice on keeping children safe on social media
Move over millennials; it’s time to make way for the Alpha children, born after 2010, who will grow up with iPads in hand and never live without a smartphone and the ability to transfer a thought online in seconds. Alphas have the power to control their individual lives in a way that no generation has before.
Why is it that young people use social media as their main form of communication – rather than face-to-face dialogue – in the belief that ‘group chat’ is more profitable? On the contrary, it is more superficial with potential for realities to be distorted and misinterpreted. So how can we educate our children and keep them safe online?
Firstly, we need to educate ourselves. Finding out about new social media platforms, privacy settings, parental controls and the latest online scams will help us help them – there are plenty of tips online, and Parent Zone is a good starting point.
Understand the legal age limits for different social media sites. Popular sites are 13+, while some (eg. Whatsapp) is 16+. These restrictions are there for a reason and once your child does have an account, keep an open line of communication as this keeps things honest and make it easier to establish ground rules such as no phones at the table or in the bedroom at night. The important thing is to model the same behaviour as adults.
Ultimately, ensure your child knows you care but is not being spied upon. As with most good parenting skills, talking about it is the best way to help our children stay safe online.
Now you can shop the kids’ line alongside the womenswear designs on the Net-A-Porter website with the new Gucci ‘shop-in shop’
Net-A-Porter is venturing into kidswear for the very first time with its new Gucci shop-in shop. Online for six weeks only, Gucci’s romantic yet light-hearted styles will be available for girls and boys of every age, from baby up to age 12.
Alison Loehnis, president of Net-A-Porter and Mr Porter, says: “The kidswear pop-up on NET-A-PORTER is such an exciting moment for us. It’s our first foray into the category, and we’ve found the perfect partner in Gucci. With MR PORTER’s kidswear project also underway, this really marks the beginning of something special.”
The Gucci line for kids features the brand’s signature animal print motifs and the iconic logo on smocks, dresses and babygrows; from a pink party dress complete with a roaring embellished tiger, to brightly embroidered hoodies and floral playsuits. There’s an exciting campaign to go alongside the collection, too; it narrates the story of The Imagination Booth, as a group of children explore an antiquated photobooth that brings to life their fantastical stories through illustrated animations and Gucci motifs.
You can shop the children’s collections from 16thJuly for six weeks – ideal if you need to find something special for the summer holidays!
The Little London Awards is back – and we want your votes!
Whether you’re a brand new mum or have been in the game for years, we all have those can’t-live-without products that make parenting life that little bit easier; from the mop-it-all-up baby wipe to the buggy that transitions from tube to train to park with no fuss, the travel agent that caters for your child’s every need and the food brand that always satisfies your hungry little one.
So, show your favourite brands and products a little bit of love by voting for them in this year’s Awards. We want YOU, our loyal readers, to pick the very best in each category. You better think about this carefully – we’ve put together 18 categories for you to select winners:
Best baby fashion brand
Best children’s fashion brand
Best occasion wear
Best children’s shoe brand
Best online retailer
Best interiors brand
Best breastfeeding brand
Best baby feeding essential
Best children’s food brand
Best baby skincare
Best baby carrier
Best changing bag
Best children’s toy
Best group, class or attraction
Best family travel company
Best travel essential
Best parenting influencer of the year
There’s also four special categories – best new brand, best new product, best product and brand of the year – which will be chosen by our judges – a group of esteemed individuals from within the industry.
The Harbour Club, Kensington
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PLUS, vote now and you could win a year’s family membership to Harbour Club Kensington. One of the most extraordinary clubs in London, Harbour Club Kensington is packed full with innovative ways to keep fit and healthy with your family.
Voting closes Wednesday, 19 September, so – ready, steady, get voting!
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...
Little London is the essential bi-monthly guide to the most exciting activities and cultural events in and around the capital. Packed with the hottest holidays advice, coolest kidswear and interiors ideas, Little London will inspire you and your family.