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Appy Monday - App Attack on Eurostar

Question: What do you do with a 1 year old and a 3 year old on Eurostar to Paris for 2 1/2 hours? Answer: Get out the iPhone. Two Apps which saved my life this weekend:


For the baby: Peekaboo: Ladybird Baby Touch


Published by Penguin, this is the virtual version of the Peekaboo touch book which was a staple with North London Toddler a couple of years ago.

The week ahead

Summer holidays week two and there is just loads of great stuff to do in North London. Aren't we lucky? Here are our picks of the best things to do to keep the kids occupied and to keep you sane:

All Week



Round Up of Weekend Loveliness

The forecast for this weekend may be patchy, but hey we're British, we can still bring the fun in...
Our picks for this weekend are:

Saturday:



Pick of the day is the BBC Proms Free Family Prom - Horrible Histories, 11am at the Royal Albert Hall. Whilst seated tickets have sold out, there are 1000 free promming places available on the day. Family poetry workshops are also running at 2pm and 4pm to follow up the event, making this a very cultured day out. Full details here.

If the weather is bad and you don't fancy a trip up to town, you could go to the Kids Club at the Phoenix Cinema, in East Finchley where they are showing Ponyo (from the maker of the amazing Spirited Away). Arrive at 11am and there are activities before and after the film.


If you fancy a boogie with the kids (before they get to the age where they wouldn't be seen dead dancing with you!), you could head to the fabulous That Place on the Corner in Newington Green where they have a disco night for all ages on the last Saturday of the month, 6.30pm. Booking is essential so do call or email ahead.



Sunday:


For a vintage day of fun, and our pick of the day, head to the fantastic Vintage Festival at the Southbank Centre. If you buy through Time Out deals, you can get a ticket for £19 - a huge 68% discount. They promise to have lots to entertain the kids including classic toys and games and art and craft activities. This sounds like a really great day not to miss. 



We also recommend a trip to Butterfly World in St Albans. Costing £27 million to build, when it is finished it will be the biggest butterfly experience in the world. There is plenty to see there now with a large butterfly house and themed gardens including a Very Hungry Caterpillar garden. On Sunday there is face painting too.

Over on Hampstead Heath, there is music on at the bandstands at Golders Hill and at Parliament Hill at 3pm so take a picnic blanket if the weather is nice.

Get a babysitter for:


For some laughs (let's face it we need them), we recommend Saturday night at Jacksons Lane to see Shappi Khorsandi, who is reliably funny about family life, amongst other things.

Catch the end of the Stoke Newington Shakespeare festival and see A Midsummer Night's Dream at Abney Park Cemetery. Full details here.

Shopping:

For some crafty loveliness - eco-friendly and vintage inspired, do check out the Green Gables sale on their website. You could pick up a bargain of up to 50% off. 

For fab vintage and modern design furniture finds, head to the twentytwentyone sale in Upper Street, which finishes on Sunday, where you can pick up some real bargains to make your house look super stylish.

 Deals:

Best deals for families this weekend are LivingSocial and Vouchercloud are both offering deals for Gambado, Watford. A good staple if the weather is bad.



Whatever you do and buy, have a fab weekend and do tell us if you try out any of our recommendations or if you think we've missed anything out.

Get some parklife! Best family friendly parks in North London

The summer holidays are at large and luckily there is some sun to make them worthy of the name. Yesterday I bumped into a mum of three on her way to the same park for the second time in one day. It got me thinking about how a change is as good as a rest, and as we mums really need rest, here is a list (in no particular order) of our favourite parks for families in and around North London to encourage you to give a different park a try this holiday or weekend.

Best In North London: 




Why go there: Those of you in the know will recognise our photo as being of a sculpture in Golders Hill Park. We are big fans of Golders Hill with its free (small) zoo, butterfly house, large sandpit, ducks and beautiful open parkland. You can also walk from Golders Hill on to the Heath if you fancy a walk on the wilder side.

Food: Golders Hill has a good, small Italian restaurant and an absolutely fab ice cream parlour serving some of the best ice cream you can get in London.

Priory Park, Crouch End 


Why go there: A really fun park with a super playground, a very large paddling pool and large wide open spaces for exhausting children.

Food: The Fun Yum Cafe is a great cafe serving healthy food for kids and in summer kids can splash in the paddling pool while you relax with a paper.

Alexandra Palace Park

Why go there: There is so much to do at this park with a playground, a boating lake, a deer enclosure and indoor play at the fabulous Little Dinosaurs.

Food: With five cafes you are spoiled for choice. The Grove Cafe serves Italian deli style food. Little Dinosaurs serves healthy, homemade food and has a good kids menu. There is also a lakeside cafe, a cafe in the garden centre and the Bar and Kitchen.
Highgate Wood, Highgate


Why go there: Highgate Wood is a thoroughly peaceful place close to Highgate Tube. There is an excellent adventure playground that is separated into different age groups so is suitable for all.

Food: In our opinion, the best park cafe in North London. Time Out gave it four stars (full review here). A varied menu including healthy options, a daily homemade muffin and other luscious cakes.

Sunny Hill Park, Hendon


Why go there: There is a fairly good playground here but the main reason to come is definitely for the food!

Food: A close challenger for best park cafe, Sunny Hill Cafe serves absolutely awesome meditarranean style food including delicious falafel, mezze and shakshuka. Highly recommended in good weather when kids can run around the wide open space outside in full view, whilst you eat.

Queens Park




Why go there: There is so much to do here with a massive playground with large sandpit, fab splash pool and great play facilities. There is also a small farm. This is yummy mummy central though so stay away if that bothers you!


Food: The cafe serves nice light snacks and ice creams. Even better though is picking up a picnic from one of the many nice delis and bakeries nearby.

Best Around North London
Aldenham Country Park, Hertfordshire 


Why go there: This place is an absolute gem. Costing only £5 for the whole family at weekends and holidays and £4 at other times, it is real value for money. There is a small farm, an adventure playground, lovely woodland walks around the lake and 100 Aker Wood - a Winnie the Pooh themed area.


Food: There is a small kiosk selling ice creams, pasties and sandwiches but you are best to bring a picnic and eat in one of the lovely spots overlooking the lake.


Do you agree with our selection? Have we missed out your favourite park? Do tell us what you think and tell us if you visit any of these places that you haven't been to before.
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