Monthly Archives: September 2007

A Bed! And Breakfast too!

In the not too distant past, you’d grab any opportunity for a weekend out-of-town. Meetings in Milan? Presentations in Paris? Not a problem, you’d make a romantic mini-break of it. Now the thought of travel leaves you cold – queues, security checks, 5 hours without your Bugaboo.

Located in the heart of Northamptonshire and just over 2 hours drive along the M1, Fermyn Woods Hall offers the perfect get-away for exhausted and “in-desperate-need-of-a-recharge” parents. While they won’t actually take junior off your hands, David and Mary Laing’s warm welcome and thoughtful hospitality make travelling with a baby relaxing and enjoyable – embroidered cotton bedding on the cot, a high-chair at table and excellent grand-parenting skills.

from-rach-046.jpgSensitively restored in the last 4 years, the House is a Grade II listed building boasting beautifully furnished bedrooms all with en-suite or private bathrooms. Its also spotlessly clean so you can relax about junior’s newfound interest in dust. And, with 6 acres of beautiful gardens and 350 acres of parkland, your little tyke will really appreciate the sense of space while you savour the tranquillity. Feeling more energetic? The surrounding Northamptonshire villages are charming and relatively crowd-free. Or sign up for one of Mary’s cookery days including the optimistically titled “Men do Cook.”

Dinner can be arranged (think locally sourced meat and seasonal vegetables) or try one of the local inns and pubs.

Details at Fermyn Woods Hall.

What Mini says: So they think it’s the dust I’m interested in? Well, I guess that’s true but only in so far as I am keen on molecular biology…

Mini-et-Moi.com is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.

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Why We Love Gymboree

– Great classes for London’s babies and toddlers

 

Mini-et-Moi’s irreverent style getting to you? Hard to handle the humour on however-many-hours of sleep? We understand and that’s why we’ve decided to bring you some of our reviews in plain English.

 

Simple, straightforward and to the point, these reviews witll give mums ideas on babies and toddlers classes, activities and great products for those babies and toddlers.

 

If you feel like a giggle, click here. Otherwise, read on to get down to business:

Class:  Gymboree Quarter Notes Classes for babies aged 6 to 16 months. There are classes for babies and toddlers aged 16 to 30 months (Half Notes Class) and for children aged 2½ to 4½ years old (Whole Notes Class).

Website: Find out more about these excellent classes for London babies and toddlers on the Gymboree Website.

 

Duration: The weekly classes last 45 minutes

London Locations: Classes take place in bright, dedicated – and importantly – convenient locations around London. Like the O2 Centre on Finchley Road (NW3), Brent Cross (NW4)  and Whiteley in Queensway (W2), or The Docklands (SE14). See the website to find a London class near you.

Class Theme: The theme for the classes change every two weeks so babies, toddlers and mums don’t get bored. The themes are as diverse as Indian, Broadway and Jazz. The classes have just enough repetition and structure for valuable learning. And enough weekly changes to keep my mums interested.

Notes: The teacher cleans the room after each class, with disinfectant wipes. (Honestly!) And any instruments (bells and tambourines, man) that are chewed, sucked or similarly explored by babies or toddlers are placed in a special box for cleaning.

 

Classes vary according to the teacher but with a free trial you will know what you’re signing up for.

 

For details see the Gymboree Website.

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Chim, chiminee, chim, chiminee, gym, gym, Gymboree ….

OK, OK. But even babies need artistic license once in a while. And with regular classes at Gymboree Quarter Notes, I’m on my way to becoming a major artiste, dah -ling.

from-rach-048.jpgThe weekly classes last 45 minutes and take place in bright, dedicated – and importantly – convenient locations around London. Every two weeks we focus on a different type of music – as diverse as Indian, Broadway and Jazz. The classes have just enough repetition and structure for valuable learning. And enough weekly changes to keep my mummy interested.

My mummy also loves the fact that the teacher cleans the room after each class, with disinfectant wipes. (Honestly!) And any instruments (bells and tambourines, man) that are chewed, sucked or similarly explored by me or my friends are placed in a special box for cleaning. This appeals to her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Personally, I enjoy chewing on friends’ toys, shopping trolleys and other people’s sunglasses.


Classes vary according to the teacher but with a free trial, you and your mummy will know what you’re in for. And can gauge how much practice you’ll need before you sign that recording contract, dah-ling. Everyone, after me …

Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay

For details see the Gymboree Website. Music classes are for babies from 6 months – but there are plenty of options for older tots too.

What Moi says –
… Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay …
Um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay …

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

 

They say that I’m not yet old-enough for caipirinhas and I lack the co-ordination needed for a salsa (although I hear that Brazilian babes can get down with the best of them). Despite all these short-comings, when it comes to Latino sophistication, baby, Lambada is my middle name.

 

 

At an early age, I received a brightly coloured maracas adorned with a whimsical and somewhat camp creature. Mine is a chicken that could easily be mistaken for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Like any camp creation, my rattle can brighten up any grey, London day and more importantly, it can lift me out of one of my moods.

 

Oh, and all the other kids want it too. Anything this desirable must be French (sorry Latino-lovers) and that’s true of the wonderful Pylones rattle. Available from Octopus stores in all the right places.

 

Olé! Or is that au lait?


Recommended for children ages 10 months and up (though I’ve been attached to mine since I was a few weeks old), the Pylones rattles are durable and coated with lead-free paints.

 


What Moi says –
This is one of those toys that has every tot in town wanting one, and every mummy wanting to cross-examine me on my shopping savvy …

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Scrambled or Fried? (And no, we don’t mean your brains.)

So next time you need a little time to prepare a gourmet meal (Who said scrambled eggs can’t be gourmet?), sit junior in front of his own eggs and see his talents flare. Move over Sweet Baby James. Babies of all ages will enjoy these simple and educational eggs – “crack” them open to reveal six brightly coloured press-and-cheep chicks. It’s also a shape sorting and matching game. But if your angel doesn’t have the inclination to sort or squeak, the eggs have great rolling potential too.

 

And with all this culinary stimulus, junior may just grow up to be the next James Martin.

 

Now that’s definitely sunny-side up.

 

 

 

Tomy Hide ‘n’ Squeak Eggs. RSP ₤4.99. Available from good toy shops like Happy Returns, 36 Rosslyn Hill NW3 1NH,   020 7435 2431  .


What Mini says –
The pressure! I’m only six months old and already my parents have unrealistic aspirations for me. Sweet Baby James! My cooking skills may not develop in line with their dreams but with these fabulous eggs I am learning to appreciate Fabergé from an early age. I do love those eggs.

Mini-et-Moi.com is the ultimate review site for London mums, babies and toddlers. Click here to read more about our reviews of classes, activities and great things for Mum and baby or toddler.

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Fleeting Tunes

In the good ol’ days you’d be making moolah on Fleet Street. These days you’re more likely to be making music on Fleet Road. Yes – in Hampstead.

We know, its a far cry (or is that a hum?) from your glamorous former life – twenty something tots dancing, crawling, bashing bells, beating drums and singing along as chief cacophonist Caroline Chun strums out well- and lesser known tunes. But on a cold and rainy day, you may want to sit stupefied from exhaustion with your fellow thirty-somethings and watch the spectacle.

The classes are popular and places are limited. Get there early to reserve a space, giving you and your little maestro plenty of time to warm up your vocal chords in the Starbucks across the road.

They say the early years are fleeting. Make the most of your time by putting some hum into the humdrum. At £4 a session, you certainly don’t need much moolah for this music.

Friday mornings at 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am at the Royal Free Hospital Recreation Club, Fleet Road, London NW3. See www.greenmeansgo.co.uk

What Mini says: Cacophony – now that’s worth practising for my first word. Imagine the looks on their faces. Anyway, why is it that cacophonic fun is always so fleeting?

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Is your New Mummy pushy?

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If boot-camp with a stroller is her thing, and admittedly that’s a pretty big “IF,” then Pushy Mothers may motivate your new mummy. It’s certainly not for everyone.

My mummy and I joined Pushy Mothers at Kenwood House and rather foolishly – I blame it on sleep deprivation – signed up for a course of 4 sessions before testing her mettle. Her enthusiasm is endearing. She never was one for exercise before my birth so who did she think she was kidding? My arrival may have changed a lot of things. It has not made her an exercise-junkie who energetically pushes me round the park while periodically doing squats or sit-ups when so instructed by an out-and-out pushy woman. The sessions (we managed a total of 2) last an hour each and provide an excellent work-out, no baby-sitter required. So, if your mummy plans to hit the slopes this season, this may be the solution.

As all babies know, the species of pushy mothers is not indigenous to North London. In South and West London, your NM may prefer the more subtly-named Buggy Fit

Pushy Mothers is in 14 parks in North London. See Pushy Mothers. Four sessions cost ₤20 plus ₤15 registration. Trials cost ₤5.

What Moi says – Who doesn’t like exercise? Not Moi! I’ve always been a fan of a good spectator sport …

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