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Does pink really stink? We explore whether a love of all things pink is really so bad

With four little girls between us, it would be possible for our world to be totally pink. Yet, being well educated North London Women we feel slightly troubled by this and want to explore what is behind the pink obsession and question whether in fact pink really does stink.

Up until my eldest was about two and a half, her world was made up of many hues - I could dress her in red, yellow, green and any other colour - then without warning, and seemingly from nowhere she suddenly seemed only interested in wearing pink (and purple at a push). Not only this, she absolutely refused to wear trousers.



Bemused at first, I found myself buying her more and more pink clothes to save fights in the morning (getting her dressed being painful enough as it is) but must admit to feeling slightly bewildered by where this girliness came from, as I am myself a trouser-wearing, many colour wearing woman. I have friends who have taken firm stands against the 'pinkification' of today's girls and refuse to let their daughters wear pink but although I admire their attempts at fighting back, I can't quite bring myself to do this. 

Cake, cake and more cake - buy it, make it, eat it

In the final instalment of our posts on birthday parties, and in our continuous quest to help make your lives easier, this week we have been trying to find the best place to get birthday cakes and other party treats. This has sadly involved sampling a lot of delicious cakes - all for you obviously. Here we round up the best we found.
At Home Bakers

Rock Bakehouse is run by Nathalie, who took the plunge after leaving her job in PR, having always baked for friends and relatives. She is a fantastic baker based in West Hampstead and can make beautiful bespoke children's birthday party cakes (like Harriet the Hedgehog pictured above), absolutely perfect cupcakes and other occasion cakes. See more pictures of Nathalie's amazing cakes here. North London Mums could not fault the cakes we tried which were very light with absolutely delicious icing. We highly recommend Nathalie's cakes, unless you are on a diet...
Nathalie has agreed to offer North London Mums a special 10% discount on birthday cakes. Just quote North London Mums when booking. Don't miss out on this great opportunity!


Appy Monday! Out and About with Pampers

What do you associate “Pampers” and “Proctor and Gamble” with? Nappies? Wipes? FMCG? Well think again- Proctor and Gamble are getting stuck into the world of mobile media!


The aptly named production arm- P&G Productions- has launched a number of apps connected to its brands- and here we look at two of the Pampers apps.


Out and About is the new location-based app from Pampers. You get a free Tumble Tots trial class when you download the app.

What's on next week- Dinosaurs, Tigers and Teddy Bears- that's London!

It's a short week - but we've rounded up the best of what's on to keep little ones amused!

All week

The Museum of Childhood, Bethnal Green (one of our fave places) is offering Arts Smart, a free drop in arts and crafts session 2-4pm daily.



The Butterfly House at Golders Hill Park - a recently new addition with the opportunity to see lots of exotic species- is open daily 2-4pm.

Sunday lunch with the kids - best places in North London- new for 2014

Aaah- there was a time when Sunday lunch was a large glass of wine (or 3), the Sunday newspapers and a generous Sunday roast at a pub- then came North London babies/toddlers -so here is our pick of some of the best family friendly! places for Sunday lunch.

Pubs


The Orange Tree, Totteridge Lane is a firm family favourite. In a leafy setting, by a duck pond, the pub is perfect for summer (pretty outside area) and winter (roaring log fires). On a Sunday there is a 2- course Sunday lunch offer from £13.95. Remember to book first! If you are feeling adventurous there is a fantastic walk across the fields from Totteridge to Mill Hill Village within a few 100 metres of the pub.

Bank Holiday Weekend Round Up - welly wanging, dandys and moths!

Wow, where did August go? Hard to believe that we are already at the end of the month, and almost at the end of the summer. Fingers crossed for some sunshine this weekend as there are loads of lovely things going on. We round up the best. 

All Weekend

Hampton Court is putting on an amazing summer festival - Jolly Day Out - act fast and you can get 40% off tickets through Time Out deals if you attend on Friday. This truly is not to be missed with Zingzillas opening the stage every day, Charlie and Lola, storytelling from the Roald Dahl Museum, welly wanging, Jamie Oliver providing food and much, much more. What is more, children under 12 go free!


South Bank Centre is commemorating the Festival of Britain with Weekend 51, lots of events including a bicycle parade and Punch and Judy show. 

Mumpreneur of the Month - Elise Mendelle, Founder of Bundle-O-Joy


This month we are featuring Elise Mendelle, founder of Bundle-O-Joy and a North London mum as our mumpreneur of the month.

What is Bundle-O-Joy?
Bundle-O-Joy  is on a quest to provide pregnant women with fabulous, key piece, mix and match maternity packages without the hassle of retail store shopping and provides a maternity capsule wardrobe in one handy 'bundle'. From classic bundles of essential items, to themed bundles for sporty mums-to-be, business mums-to-be and stylish summer holiday mums-to-be, capsule maternity wardrobes are exactly what the high street is missing. Designed to give you key pieces of clothing, each Bundle-O-Joy is not only stylish and comfortable, but can be added to your existing wardrobe to create many inspiring outfits!
Bundle-O-Joy's vision is to reach pregnant women across the UK and help make pregnancy easier and more enjoyable in the form of happy, comfortable, uber stylish mummies.

Baking with mother

Some of my earliest memories are cooking with my mum- now Saturday morning is baking time with North London Toddler. Messy play, creativity and life skills (if you want to live on sugar) all rolled into 1!  Here are some of our all time favourites!

Scones



One of the first things I ever learned to make as a child- and still a firm favourite- lots of opportunities for getting stuck in!

Ingredients:
Plain flour: 100g
Butter: 25g
Sultanas: 25g
1 level teasp baking powder
Caster sugar: 25g
4 tablespoons milk

Pre-heated oven: Gas Mark 6, 200C.

Sieve the flour, baking powder and caster sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub into the flour mixture until the mixture is like breadcrumbs. Add the sultanas to the mixture. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, mixing by hand to form a soft dough. Flatten the dough on a floured surface into a circle 2 cms thick. Either cut into triangles or use a cookie cutter to shape. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Serve warm with butter and jam!

Competition Time - Win Tickets to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar!



North London Mums is delighted to offer one lucky family the chance to win tickets to see Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar brough to life on stage at North London's wonderful Arts Depot on Sunday 24 September.

Appy Monday - Two Educational and Fun Apps

If iphones and ipads are really just toys for grown ups, these lovely apps turn them into great toys for kids and are educational too.

Sound Touch


The app is very simple and intuitive and is greatly loved by North London Toddler. Simple screens show pictures of animals, birds, musical instruments, familiar household objects and vehicles and when the child presses the symbol they are shown a photograph of the animal/object and the sound it makes accompanies the photo. Very simple, very good fun and a great way for children to learn the names of different things and animal sounds.

Shiny New Term, Shiny New Classes - The best classes for children in North London

--> -->As the summer holidays come to an end (she said hopefully), our thoughts are turning to September and all the new classes starting for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and after-school activity seekers. We've trawled through loads and come up with a list of those we thist on offer in North London. We've tried to find something a bit different for you to enjoy. Many of them offer a free trial class and some are available for drop in too, so do ask when booking.




Art






The Creation Station run by the lovely Alexia offers classes in Finchley, Muswell Hill and Hampstead for 1-5 year olds. This term the theme is Scrunchy, Bubbly Texture. North London Mums can confirm that the classes are really well structured, good fun and excellent if you have more than one child as they really are suitable for a diverse range of ages. Details of classes here.
There is an early bird offer - If you pre-book for the term you will get 2 sessions FREE. Just book before 5th September.


Fine Art 4 Kids encourages children to take an interest in art from a young age and runs classes all over North London in Crouch End, Islington, Highgate, Muswell Hill and Stanmore. They have after school classes and Saturday classes. Each term focuses on a new artist. Full details here.

The Week Ahead: circus stars, farm animals and magic tricks!

As the summer holidays start to draw to a close, the pace of activities in this amazing city doesn't slow at all. This week's listing could have been three times as long if we'd included everything we found out about, but we hope we've captured the best. Enjoy!

All Week  


Time Out has discounted tickets available to see The Railway Children at Waterloo. With rave reviews and featuring a real train, this is one not to miss. 

Bags of fun for the weekend!

Yey- it's the weekend! As the weather looks set to pick up, here are our picks of what's on this weekend for children and families.


All Weekend



The CaLo Festival arrives this weekend, from 19-21 August at Alexandra Palace, N22. This is the first ever Caribbean Festival hosted here- celebrating art, music and food. The festival will offer a showcase of Caribbean music and arts, including 21 live band performances, the Grand Carnival Splash costume show, and a "WorldFoods" Caribbean food, drink and lifestyle extravaganza.  Sunday is designated children and young adults day and will start from 1pm and finish at 9pm.

Shop till you drop! Best children's clothes shops in North London

Children and shopping seem to go hand in hand so why not indulge in some of the gorgeous children's boutiques in North London (after all- if you have to shop....). Here are a few of North London Mums' favourites...



Olive Loves Alfie, on Stoke Newington Church Street, is in our view a North London Mum's shopping paradise!

The store features children's clothing, homewares, toys, games and books, all of which are chosen for their quality and design and are intended to have hand me down potential or to become "modern heirlooms". The store showcases a unique range of inspiring products from handpicked designers making it difficult to just browse! Clothing designers range from the fab skinny jeans line Monkey Jeans, to the bright colours of Mini Rodini. We love that Olive Loves Alfie doesn't conform to the blue/pink ranges that we find in so many stores.

You may not know: Olive Loves Alfie was Highly Commended in the category of Best Independent Fashion Retailer 2011 in the Junior Design Awards.

Rainy day? Best soft plays in North London

Ah soft play - sometimes we love you, sometimes we hate you, but when it rains, weare always really glad that you exist. As it is raining tonight, we bring you a round up of some of our favourite soft play venues. We are pleased to say that in this instance, much of the best provision is actually in local leisure centres. Bored of your regular soft play? Try somewhere new...


Clown Town, Colney Hatch
This is the largest soft play venue we've visited and purportedly the largest in North London. It's size means there is loads for kids to do and because it is separated into two areas -for older and younger children - older children are likely to find more to do here than at some of the smaller venues. In off peak times they also run activities for children such as playdough and arts and crafts. We weren't so keen on the unhealthy food served here and the fact that it can get very busy and loud.

LOVE CHOCOLATE? READ ON...

Love chocolate? Always battling with the kids to share the smarties? We have the perfect solution for you...


The Grown Up Chocolate Club is a members only chocolate club for adults only. Their hand crafted chocolates are made with only the finest ingredients- the best quality chocolate, fresh fruit purees and seasonal ingredients. Every month the club's executive chef creates chocolates especially for club members. These are packaged up and sent by first class post directly to each member. Yum.
Join the club and you will never need to be without chocolate again...each monthly package contains 31 beautiful chocolates and 2 chocolate bars. All are carefully chosen so that members can enjoy the freshest chocolate and the most seasonal variety every month.

Appy Monday! Doctors, hairdressers, robots!-Toca Boca Apps under review

Toca Boca apps are the talk of mums at the moment- so we took a journey through their apps- and loved exploring the unusual world of Toca Boca. 




Paint my Wings is one of the simplest games and a North London Toddler favourite. It is a finger painting game which allows children to paint the wings of the butterflies, with a clever mirroring effect on both wings (we saw something just like this at the Science museum last week!). The funny little butterflies have amusing voices and characters when they encourage the player to paint their wings, and eventually say goodbye. We think this works best on the iPad where there is lots of room for creative drawing.

The week ahead: Outdoor adventures, theatre pursuits and much more!

Running out of ideas? We have rounded up a tantalising selection of activities to keep the kids amused!

All Week 


The National Theatre is hosting Imagine That! - a theatrical adventure for children 2-5 years and grown ups as part of its dance week, from Wed 17- Sat 20 August at 11am and 12.30 pm. Full details here.

Weekend ahoy - round up of North London family fun

As usual there's loads to do this weekend. We round up the best for you. We're exhausted just thinking about it....


All Weekend


The fabulous Kids Week starts next Friday with a fantastic line up of West End Shows. During Kids Week, a child aged 16 and under can experience the magic of London theatre and see an awesome selection of shows for free, plus two additional children can go at half price (per transaction), as long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult.

That's entertainment - best party entertainers and extras in North London

Last week we gave you a list of some of the best party venues in North London and this week we want to make your life even easier by recommending some of the best entertainers, party organisers and companies that provide that extra something to make a party special as well as giving you some ideas of things you can do yourself. 


Story Time...children's bookshops in North London

Whilst so much that we buy can easily be done over the internet, there is something inescapably magical about plunging into a children's book shop. Here are a few of our favourite children's bookstores and bookstores that are particularly child-friendly...


A tale of two farms

One of the first things that a baby learns is how to say "moo", "baa" and other farm animal noises- but where are the best places to see farm animals in real life? North London Mums investigates two popular farms..

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Appy Monday! NCT Babychange App


We've all been there - your baby has filled their nappy with something less than fragrant, and yet you are nowhere near any decent changing facilities as far as you know. Of course we all tend to carry portable changing mats but it is not always easy to get them out in a crowded street, restaurant or public place if the weather is bad or if you feel like it will be frowned upon by a non parent crowd. This is where this handy little app from the trusty NCT comes in.

The week ahead - Falcons, tigers and teddy bears

Summer Holidays Week 3 and we're all still standing, just about. Luckily there is loads to do this week for families in North London. We round up the best.

All Week 

Its Falconry Fortnight at the RAF Museum. Suitable for children of all ages, the museum will hold three daily falconry displays at 11.30am, 1.30pm, and 3.30pm showcasing a different set of birds each day: either falcons, owls, hawks or eagles with one lucky child given the active role of Junior Falconer In Training as part of the display. After each session children will have the opportunity, for a limited time, to handle an owl and have their photograph taken with these wise and wondrous animals.


The Museum of Childhood has a retrospective of Judith Kerr's work, whose work includes The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog.  There are also activities every day for children. All Free.

Breakfast meeting with the kids? North London's most family friendly breakfasts

Where do you go when you have been up since 5am with the kids and they are tearing up the house by 8am? Here are a few ideas for child-friendly (and parent-friendly) breakfast places.

Feast on the Hill, Muswell Hill

A quirky cafe with delicious home made food. An extensive breakfast/brunch menu should satisfy the fussiest of appetites, all at reasonable prices. And once you've enjoyed a fabulous cup of strong coffee you can dive into Fagin's Toys with the children.


Something (child-friendly) for the weekend?

The weather may be cooling off slightly but the fun is heating up this weekend. Here is North London Mums' pick of what's on - in one of the best weekends for North London families we can remember.

All Weekend

Lollibop arrives! Finally the long-awaited Lollibop is pitching tent in Regent's Park. Open 5, 6 and 7th August, the "Big Bash for Little People" has an incredible line-up including Zingzillas, Rastamouse, Charlie & Lola, as well as activities such as Little Kickers and Baby Loves Disco. We can't wait! More details here.
North London Toddler is literally speechless with excitement, and so are we (mostly about seeing the lovely Alex from CBeebies, but don't tell...)

Party time - don't panic! Best children's party venues in North London

In days gone by, we were all satisfied with a rug in the garden, some cheese sandwiches and your dad dressed up as a magician. These days parents are getting ever more creative with parties and it doesn't have to mean spending big, just being imaginative.


We round up some of the best places to hold a kids party in and around North London in all price ranges and next week we will feature some of the best entertainers and party supply companies.

Peppa Pig Goes Large!

With a generation of toddlers jumping up and down in muddy puddles, does Peppa Pig World live up to their expectations? North London Mums went to find out...


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