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Website of the Week: Baby Style File



Our website of the week this week is Baby Style File a really fab blog brough to you byNorth London mum and stylist Poppy Norton, which we have just recently discovered.

Poppy shows us that it is possible to have lovely and fun things for your children, without filling your house with things that don't appeal to an adult aesthetic too.

If you are a parent but don't want to compromise on style, this is the place for you. Baby Style File scours the web for lovely designs and brings them to you so you don't have to.

Every day there are new and lovely things to look at and North London Mums wants to buy them all!

If you need any further incentive to visit, there are also some really great discount codes on offer for some of the sites and products that Baby Style File recommends.

We like this a lot, and we think you will too. Enjoy!

The weekend ahead: hot and cold, black and white- a host of varied activities!

There are lots of eclectic activities on offer this weekend- dip in and enjoy!

The Little Angel Theatre has performances of Pinocchio for children 4+. It promises a magical and unusual show with puppetry, shadows, imagery and music. Performance times are 11am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm, with a babyfriendly session on Sunday at 11am.

Somerset House is hosting 2 family workshops this weekend. Saturday 1 October is a First Impressions workshop where you can learn the art of monoprinting, for children 6-12 from 2 to 3.30. On Sunday 2 October join the Mini Make Believe session at 11.30 for children under 5 and their families- an opportunity to come down to the woods today, make some forest friends and join in Autumnal crafts and songs. Free tickets are available half an hour before the start of the workshop.


This weekend also sees the launch of The Big Draw, a month long event which invites people of all ages to discover how drawing can connect them with their surroundings and the wider community. Check the website for venues and dates.

Get those dancing shoes on - best dance classes for children in North London


Dancing is both good exercise and good fun. Luckily there are lots of dance classes going on in North London. Here's our pick of the best ones to keep your little ones on their toes!

Diddi Dance offers an action-packed, full-of-fun, 45 minute dance class, using various dancing games and exercises, bells, hoops and dance ribbons to move to Diddi Dance’s own funky pop songs. Every half term the class looks at different dance styles from salsa and hip hop to country and disco!  Classes are suited for both boys and girls between 2 and 4 years old. You can book a free trial and bookings are then taken in blocks of 4 or 8 weeks, instead of having to book for a whole term. Detais of dates and class times below.

Pitta Patta Dance offers creative dance classes for children including a mixture of Contemporary, Street Jazz, Bollywood, Egyptian, Salsa and Lambada! The classes encourage children, from 3 upwards, to enjoy dance as a form of self-expression, via storytelling, props and imaginative dance routines. Classes in Kensal Rise and Primrose Hill- more details below.

Competition Time: Win Tickets To Jacksons Lane Half Term Production of The Insect Circus

Half term is coming and with it many hours of entertainment to provide. Luckily, there is lots on and next week we will be providing a full round up.



One of the best things on is a production of The Insect Circus at the marvellous Jacksons Lane in Highgate bringing creepy crawly fun for all the family! Wonder at agile ants, gasp at balancing beetles and beauteous butterflies! Marvel at glimmering glow worms, wild wasps and flighty flies as astonishing seasonal novelties will be premiered!

This is a variety show with a difference featuring a concoction of thrilling circus and imaginative theatre for all creepy crawly lovers out there!


It's had excellent reviews, The Stage said it is “A wonderful treat for adults as well as kids. Gripping stuff” and it is suitable for all ages from 18 months to 100!

In conjunction with Jacksons Lane, we are offering two tickets for The Insect Circus on any date between 26th October and 30th October. The winner can chose.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on our blog or on Facebook telling us what children's books you would like to see brought to life on the stage. Or, if you follow us on Twitter you can simply retweet this tweet to be entered into the competition.


Good Luck!

Parenting Book Club: Can you read your way to a happy family?

A few weeks ago on twitter, someone who'd just had a new baby asked us and our readers to recommend some good parenting books because they were feeling confused by the hundreds of different books all promising to offer you the path to perfect parenting.


As someone who has always been a voracious reader, I've read a great deal of parenting books - searching for the one that will make parenting that bit easier. Some have been instantly forgettable and some have truly helped me practically and/or emotionally. I'm not sure that books can solve all your problems but I think they can help to address them and these are my favourites so far....

Week Ahead: 26 September

All Week


Every week we round up the best things going on in North London.We add to this every week to include new classes that we hear about so do tell us anything you think we might have missed that we should know about. 
Have a great week!

Appy Monday- Monkey Business!

There's a rumble in the jungle - and it's pre-schoolers playing with the addictive Monkey Pre-school apps. North London Mum and Toddler went on an exploration to find out why....

There are 3 Monkey Pre-School apps- Monkey Pre-school Lunchbox, Monkey Math School Sunshine, and Monkey Pre-school When I Grow Up, published by THUP Games.  We took a look at each of them.

Monkey Pre-school Lunchbox


Where better to start than with lunch! This is a leading pre-school game  in the app store and it is easy to see why.  The app features 7 different games that teach kids about colours, letters, counting, shapes, sizes, matching, and differences.


Website of the week- Easy Cake Toppers

Actually I'm probably cheating here as this is as much about a product as a website, but as I have just completed my first ever really "professional"- looking birthday cake for North London Toddler I must say "thank you, thank you, thank you" to Easy Cake Toppers.

So- where to start? Probably in the car a couple of weeks ago when North London Toddler announced that she wanted a princess cake. Since the best I can manage is an iced cupcake I paled at the challenge. I "got creative" and bought some glow in the dark Disney princess stickers - I'm not quite sure what I was intending to do with them- North London husband pointed out that they didn't seem very edible.

A week later North London Toddler announced that she actually wanted a Tinkerbell Cake. A pink one. Expectations were clearly running high. Despair.

The solution I found was Easycake Toppers - "perfect cake toppers for perfect occassions". The site itself is very simple- it lists a huge range of topper themes, from generic categories such as Halloween to brands such as Harry Potter, Mr Tumble, Dora and, yes Disney Fairies.



The toppers are made of rice paper and can be personalised for no additional charge. The topper arrives in the post in a couple of days- delivery is free. The toppers are on rice paper and can be cut to size. Prices range from £1.50 to £4.50.

In the end I ordered both a Tinkerbell and a Disney Princess topper- both arrived perfectly customised.  I used Tinkerbell and transformed the cake. To be honest you don't even need to make a cake- you could simply buy a plain iced cake to personalise but I chose to attempt a Nigella recipe.

If your preference is cupcakes there are toppers for these too! So- if you are looking for a creative way to meet the pressure of birthday cake making- this is a great solution.




Now where did I put those candles.....

The Weekend Ahead - A Feast of Autumn Activities

Our round up of the best going on in and around North London...

All weekend

It's Apple Weekend at Fenton House in Hampstead. Fenton House is a National Trust property just a few minutes walk from Hampstead Underground that is worth a visit in itself. Apple Weekend is a celebration of the English apple. Including bee-keeping and cookery demonstrations, tastings, local produce stalls and children's activities. North London Mum's favourite High Tea of Highgate will also be there providing lovely refreshments. This sounds like a lovely day out not to miss.

Stars in the making - drama and storytelling classes for children in North London


There's a whole range of drama and storytelling sessions available in North London to entertain our little drama queens (and kings!). Here's our pick of classes which you can drop-in or join now- with some updates to our listing of pre-book classes too.

Perform offers drama classes for a range of age groups. Mini -Ps for children aged 3 months- 3 years offers catchy songs, fun games and colourful props. Sessions are divided between Starters, Walkers and Talkers.  Perform for children aged 4-8 mixes energetic games, tuneful songs and improvisations. Perform Plus for 8- 12 year olds combines drama dance and singing with theatre professionals. We have listed a selection of sessions which take place across north London but it is worth checking the website for additional dates, locations and times.

Competition Time! Win a Family Ticket to see Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt Live!



Peppa Pig fans will not want to miss this! North London Mums and the producers of Peppa Pig’s brand new theatre tour, Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt, are delighted to offer one lucky winner a family ticket to see the show at Hackney Empire, on Saturday 22 October at 1pm.  A family ticket is for 4 people, minimum 1 adult.

In this new theatre production Peppa Pig and her friends set off on a treasure hunt. Peppa, her brother George and friend Danny Dog get up to fun and games on a day out on Grandad Dog's boat. There are clues aplenty as Pedro Pony, Polly Parrot and Zoe Zebra help them find their treasure as they all enjoy a day of adventure. Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt features true-to-life puppets, perfect sing-along songs and a new story that will charm and delight all her fans. Full sail! Ahoy!

To enter the competition, simply Like us on Facebook by clicking the like button on the right hand side of this page and if you already like us, just leave a comment below telling us what your favourite episode is from Peppa Pig. The competition is open until Tuesday 27th September and the winner will be picked at random.

For further information on the show please go to www.peppapiglive.com. No cash alternatives, accommodation or travel are provided in this competition. The tickets are non-transferable.

Peppa Pig’s Treasure Hunt is produced by Fiery Angel and Limelight Productions.
Peppa Pig © Astley Baker Davies Ltd / E1 Entertainment Ltd 2003.






Good Luck!

Want to win a family trip to Disneyland Paris? North London Mums wants you to as well.




(c) Disney
We've always wanted to go to Disneyland Paris and now we have children, we have a good excuse. This week we heard about a really great competition being run by P&O ferries called Magical Family, for two families to win an all expenses paid trip and wanted to let you know about it.

We know that there are loads of competitions out there on the web but we think that this is one worth entering as you have a good chance of winning. To enter you have to upload a picture or video of your family enjoying a magical moment and there are two prizes up for grabs - the most popular video and most popular photo. We checked today and only 398 people have entered so far so odds are in your favour.

As we'd really like a North London Mum (or Dad) to win, we asked professional travel photographer Steve Davey for his tips on taking good family photos and this is what he told us:

Appy Monday - Supernanny. Super App?

This week North London Mums has been testing the brand new Supernanny app. Most of us will be familiar with Supernanny aka Jo Frost from her Channel 4 programmes in which she whips poor performing parents into shape. This new app aims to bring her tried and tested techniques to your handset. Is it successful?

Week Ahead: 19 September

All Week



Classes resume at Swiss Cottage's Huggle. We've included our favourites in the listings below but you can check out full listings here. Most classes have to be booked in advance.


It's back to normal too in Newington Green at That Place On The Corner, a great range of classes and always open for yummy food and a great place to hang out with the kids.We've included our favourites in the listings below but full timetable here.


In North West London, there is the fab Gracelands Yard, which as well as hosting a range of great classes has a lovely and family friendly cafe.  We've included our favourites in the listings below but you can see full timetable here.

There is a drop in at the Peggy Jay Centre on Parliament Hill at 10am and 1pm.  Indoor and outdoor play. Free.

West London Tots are running classes al week at The Alice House in Queens Park. Classes include Rock-a-bye Babies, Baby Massage, Sing and Sign, Yoga Babies, Pregnancy Yoga and Diddi Dance. More classes coming soon.  Check out their Facebook Page and sign up for the great newsletter for full details.


Mini Mozart is an unusual and engaging music class where the idea is to get children actually listening, not just hearing. Each class is a mini musical featuring a piano accompanist, violin, clarinet, percussion, bubbles, a parachute and is based around a different fairy tale. Classes are organised into Babies, Toddlers, Siblings and Pre-school (a drop-in class). There are daily classes in different venues in North London (including a new Wednesday class at the Arts Depot in Finchley) and we recommend checking the site for the class nearest you!
Hartbeeps offers unique baby and toddler class, offering a multi-sensory musical experience for children. Using clever music production, original music composition, sound effects, songs and sound plays, lighting effects, innovative props and puppetry together with a vast array of multi-sensory techniques, Hartbeeps creates original and highly specialised mini productions for young children. The classes are organised into age groups from Baby Bells (babies) to Baby Beeps- 6 months to walking- to Happy House- toddlers.  There are classes in Finchley and North Finchley, Barnet  and also Crouch End and Muswell Hill. Check the website for details and times.

It's the Pinky Ponk...At Brent Cross

It's hard to imagine that any child under 3 or so in the UK has not at some time watched the enchanting In the Night Garden and become attached to one of the unusual characters who live in this magical world. It's a challenge to imagine how this can be effectively translated to a live stage show, but the producers of In the Night Garden Live certainly pulled it off.



The location itself is super child friendly. Inside a bubble like dome- which could be straight from In the Night Garden, the auditorium is reasonably small and arranged in steps so there's plenty of room to spread out and for small children to wander. As usual at these sort of events it is almost impossible to avoid buying  one of those strange fluoresecent whirling toys- a whole auditorium full of them- we know it and expect it but still wonder if it's really necessary!


The story of the performance which we saw (and there is an alternative story too) is based around Makka Pacca looking for friends in the garden to wash their faces, and then losing his sponge which is found by Upsy Daisy.  The story gently pulls you along, allowing the audience to interact with all their favourite characters as they appear one by one (and in almost pantomime fashion a little cheer goes up each time the next one arrives.) Each character performs its signature song or refrain for everyone to join in with. The children love Makka Pacca whenever he appears, especially the bubbles which are released when he washes the faces of his friend and fill the auditorium at the end. The audience interaction is quite limited- but probably enough given the age of the children.



The staging is extremely clever- the characters move between puppets and life size characters to capture the different sizes of the characters.  So little Makka Pacca is a puppet when he is next to Igglepiggle washing his face, but when he's on his own he's life size. Even the Pontipines manage to move round the set with clever puppetry. This technique also puts some perspective into the piece- so you see the puppet Igglepiggle in his little boat in a way sea- but when he presents himself on the stage he is full size.




The setting of the garden is also imaginatively represented through a projection of the garden in the background, which moves as the scenes change. But even more cleverly, the whole area around the stage is filled with projections throughout the show, from the stars at the beginning (a 100 parents' hands pointing these out to the kids) and the blooming flowers, to the chorus of birds and extended garden scenes. It's easy to get carried away in the magical world when it feels like it is all around you. And all the trademark elements of the show are captured- from the little boat on the sea at the beginning to the story at the carousel in the end with the Haahoos bobbing in the background.  The story itself might be a bit slow, but the familiar refrains and the fantastic staging really draw the piece together and makes it a fabulous hour of entertainment. We would highly recommend!

In the Night Garden Live is showing at Brent Cross until 24 September.

Website of the Week - Timeless Toys


Our passion for classic, well made, non disposable toys is no secret and this week we feature a website which features a really fantastic range of traditional toys


Timeless Toys was set up by Beth France and her husband Dave only six months ago. At the time they were both police officers working shifts and felt that they had no quality of life and spent no time together as a family so they looked for an alternative. They were also beginning to realise that the plastic toys they were buying for their son Harry were not lasting and standing up to the 'Harry test' and started looking for somewhere to buy some more sturdy (and prettier) wooden toys. That's when they realised there was nowhere locally to purchase such toys.... And Timeless Toys was born!

Like us, they are very passionate about wooden toys and just how lovely, durable and how much value for money they are! Lucky Harry gets to be their main toy tester so he is loving it too!


They stock such a wide range that there is something to encourage the imagination of any child and they only have one battery powered item on sale in the shop and that is the little train that chugs around the train set in the shop all day long!

We particularly like the role play toys, and recently indulged in  Tea for Two (pictured above) and this lovely tray of petits fours all made from fabric.

There are lovely dollshouses, toy castles, dressing up clothes, art materials, and much much more.

We recommend you take a look and that when ordering your next birthday gift - instead of going for something plastic, go for something fantastic!

As a special offer for North London Mums readers, Beth is offering a 15% discount on all orders (free postage and packaging as standard) if you quote 'NLMReaders'when paying.

We love bringing new websites to our readers and try to find small business and mumpreneur run companies that you won't have heard of before. Do you have any that you recommend we feature in future? Do let us know. 

The weekend ahead- it's open house!

This weekend is "We Love Hackney" weekend featuring food and drink, children's entertainment, makeovers, films, live music and performances, architecture and the return of Hackney One Carnival.


Highlights include a food festival  hosted by Hackney Homemade Markets on 17th Sept 10am–6pm at St John-at-Hackney Churchyard Gardens, Lower Clapton Road. Eat your way around the globe and be entertained by world music with food on offer ranging from   Japanese pancakes to Indian curries, Spanish tapas and British burgers. Children’s theatre, juggling and giant board games will also be taking place on Narrow Way.

On Sunday the Hackney One Carnival (postponed after the Tottenham riots) is taking place- from 12pm at Ridley Market. This is the fourth annual event and will feature hundreds of performers from carnival and community groups across the borough as part of the Cultural Olympiad - giving residents the opportunity to celebrate arts and culture alongside sports in the run up to the 2012 Games.

Open House London, the capital's architectural showcase, also takes place this weekend. A large number of architects homes, eco and retrofit buildings, tours of major regeneration projects, landscape projects, government buildings, historic landmarks and towers, major infrastructure sites are taking place this weekend, including Sutton House, Hackney Empire, Stoke Newington Town Hall,
and St Augustine’s Tower, all in Hackney, and Myddelton House, Enfield. It is worth checking out the website for the full listing and details of advanced bookings.


For a trip out of London, the Creative Craft Show is taking place at Sandown Park Exhibition Centre, including workshops and make and take sessions.

Mini music- fab music classes for babies and toddlers!

Music is such a great way to encourage children to learn and develop- there are a broad range of music classes available to North London Mums- here is our pick of the best... 

All Week

Lydia's Baby Music Classes take place daily in West Hampstead at Emmanuel Church, Lyncroft Gardens, at the following times: Mondays 3.30-4.30, Tuesdays 10.30-11.30, Wednesdays 3.30-4.30, Thursdays 3.30 -4.30 and Fridays 9.30-10.30. Classes are drop in and cost £5. 

Mini Mozart is an unusual and engaging music class where the idea is to get children actually listening, not just hearing. Each class is a mini musical featuring a piano accompanist, violin, clarinet, percussion, bubbles, a parachute and is based around a different fairy tale. Classes are organised into Babies, Toddlers, Siblings and Pre-school (a drop-in class). There are daily classes in different venues in North London (including a new Wednesday class at the Arts Depot in Finchley) and we recommend checking the site for the class nearest you!

Hartbeeps offers unique baby and toddler class, offering a multi-sensory musical experience for children. Using clever music production, original music composition, sound effects, songs and sound plays, lighting effects, innovative props and puppetry together with a vast array of multi-sensory techniques, Hartbeeps creates original and highly specialised mini productions for young children. The classes are organised into age groups from Baby Bells (babies) to Baby Beeps- 6 months to walking- to Happy House- toddlers.  There are classes in Finchley and North Finchley, Barnet  and also Crouch End and Muswell Hill. Check the website for details and times.

Take time for tea - where to get the best afternoon teas and cakes in and around North London

We're delighted to report that North London has a glut of lovely, vintage inspired tea rooms. We've looked for special places where you can have a relaxing  time - so maybe leave the kids at home! As you can imagine, research for this feature was a terrible chore....


Appy Monday- Peppa goes mobile!

We know that Peppa Pig is one of the most successful children's franchises, and has influenced a generation of children to jump in muddy puddles, but how successfully has the brand moved into the mobile space?

Peppa Pig has branched out into 3 games apps, two for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPhone and one for iPad only. Here's what we think...

Happy Mrs Chicken

The  Happy Mrs Chicken App, first released in 2010, is an app based on the beloved computer game featured in the series. There are 4 interactive games and a special bonus reward sticker book featured in the app. The app begins with the familiar music and montage of Peppa's family, and Peppa and George chase across the screen at the beginning of each game, which makes the app comfortably familiar.

The games are all straightforward, but with enough challenge to keep North London Toddler engaged.  And if you (ahem your toddler) always wanted to know what the Happy Mrs Chicken game was - now you can find out! The app is also really easy to navigate with clear signposting (ticks, crosses and doors) for little ones to work out. Some of the games give you the option to beat the clock which makes the games more challenging for slightly older children.


What we loved: We particularly love the  Muddy Puddles which can be played as either Peppa or George against one of their friends. Be the first to jump in as many muddy puddles as possible.

What we didn't:  The actual happy Mrs Chicken game is probably our least favourite of the lot!

Week Ahead: 12 September

All Week

This week is Haringey Children's Literature Festival taking place at venues all over the borough and with a lovely line up of authors, storytelling, workshops and shows. Full timetable here


Classes resume at Swiss Cottage's Huggle. We've included our favourites in the listings below but you can check out full listings here. Most classes have to be booked in advance.


It's back to normal too in Newington Green at That Place On The Corner, a great range of classes and always open for yummy food and a great place to hang out with the kids.We've included our favourites in the listings below but full timetable here.


In North West London, there is the fab Gracelands Yard, which as well as hosting a range of great classes has a lovely and family friendly cafe.  We've included our favourites in the listings below but you can see full timetable here.

There is a drop in at the Peggy Jay Centre on Parliament Hill at 10am and 1pm.  Indoor and outdoor play. Free.

West London Tots are running classes al week at The Alice House in Queens Park. Classes include Rock-a-bye Babies, Baby Massage, Sing and Sign, Yoga Babies, Pregnancy Yoga and Diddi Dance. More classes coming soon.  Check out their Facebook Page and sign up for the great newsletter for full details.

Website of the Week: Cool Mom Picks

shopIf you are looking from some savvy mum picks from across the pond, then look no further than Cool Mom Picks, our website of the week.
This website seriously restores the faith of North London Mums that it is possible to be cool and a mum at the same time!

Written by a group of mums, located across the US, the site aims to track down cool stuff for mums. The focus is on non-mainstream products and services, particularly those from indie or emerging designers and female- run companies- an angle North London Mums love. Picks range across boutique and independent brands, emerging designers, handmade goods, organic kids snacks, the best baby gifts, cool kids CDs and books, family friendly events and travel ideas, and products with a social or eco-conscious backstory.

Weekend Round up - fun come rain or shine

Lots of great things on this weekend as usual. We round up the best....

All weekend


This weekend is the Kings Place Festival in Kings Cross. There are 100 events in four days including lots of great things for the family. All tickets cost £4.50 online. Highlights are included in the listings below but do check out the fab programme for tuba picnics, tots concerts, musical storytelling and much more. We have never been to Kings Place but will defintiely be checking it out this weekend as a good way to introduce toddlers to live classical music.

It's also The Mayor's Thames Festival this weekend as festival season draws to a close. Billed as "A totally multicultural and all-embracing celebration of London and the Thames... a spectacular and hugely enjoyable event that also succeeds in promoting environmental awareness and community spirit” this sounds like one not to miss and there is absolutely loads going on all along the river including: live music, storytelling, and barge racing! Full programme here.

The Haringey Children's Literature Festival starts on Saturday and runs until 17th September.  Taking place at libraries across the borough, there is absolutely loads on including storytelling, theatre performances, workshops and book readings. All events are free. Full timetable here.

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