Monthly Archives: October 2007

Trick or Treat?

– Why Babies (and Mums) Love Whole Foods

metm4.jpgDon’t miss a trick! In-the-know mums are heading to Whole Foods Market in Kensington for organic, wholesome goodies for their little ones. With an entire aisle dedicated to baby food, you’ll find all the usual suspects (but with extensive selections) and lots of other treats too. There’s also a range of chlorine-free and environmentally friendly nappies and wipes, and shelves of baby cosmetics and vitamins. And, they’ll deliver your goods so no need for balancing tricks with your bugaboo (except for the nibbles for the way home).

Don’t miss a treat! The real fun begins on the first floor, in the café. With seating for over 350, there are also plenty of super clean highchairs and an amazingly dedicated staff – they’ll happily help you find a treat for the little one, be it from the kids’ selection or “mini”-mising an adult’s portion. The atmosphere is relaxed and inherently family-oriented (without the patronising racket of a child-friendly chain) – a great place for laid-back weekend treats.

Don’t miss “trick or treat”! Whole Foods is also a great place to pick up those Halloween goodies.

Happy Halloween!

Whole Foods, the Barkers Building, 63–97 Kensington High Street, London W8 5SE Tel. 020 7368 4500, delivers to W8, W11, W2, SW7, SW3, W14, SW5, W9, W12, W6, NW8 and SW10. Check out the website for details of their Clapham , Camden , Soho and Stock Newington stores. See our other posts of Whole Foods.

What Mini says:
Halloween! So that’s what a pumpkin’s for … Those scary faces are fun, but now they’ll start feeding me all the pureed stuff . (*Sigh*) I thought I’d grown out of that phase.

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the times they are a-changin’…

– funky and durable change mats

Come gather ’round people …*

metm9.gifA change, they say, is as good as a holiday. The littl’un may not know any different, but 396 or so days in, I’m all for the mini-break. (I mean, 396 days and, conservatively, 2376 nappies changed – okay, okay, not all by me. But still, who doesn’t need a holiday?)

Albetta’s fresh and funky change mats are covered in plastic making for easy wipe down, with white plastic on the reverse side for changing on. Generously sized and padded for baby’s comfort, they come in a range of great prints making it a little like that resort wear you’d pack for an island getaway – the tropics, island paradise, you get the picture. And unlike your island get-up, this folds away neatly.

Mini-et-Moi put the Albetta mat to the test. After daily wear and tear (Is that once, twice, three times a day? We lost count), and in a variety of locations – some tropical, some alpine and some downright metropolitan, our mat is still in good condition. That makes a change.

What Mini says:
When the “winds of change” are starting to get her down, this may be all the help your Mummy needs.

The Albetta change mat retails for £12.95 and is available from The Cat’s Pyjamas of Marylebone, 69 York treet W1H 12D, Tel 020 7723 7537, Iris, 73 Salusbury Road, NW6 6NJ and 97 Northcote Road, W11 6PL Tel. 020 7372 1777.

* With apologies to Bob Dylan.

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Making Moore of the Weekend

– Henry Moore exhibition at Kew Gardens

 

metm8.jpgEven at my young age, I’ve noticed the general inability of the Met Office to predict the weather with any accuracy. If you believe the forecast for tomorrow – cloudy with highs of 17°C – you may want to make more of your weekend with a visit to Kew Gardens and the Henry Moore exhibition.

 

Kew (a World Heritage site) is great for tots of any age – dinky dots enjoy the fresh air … and may doze off leaving their parents to enjoy a couple of hours (minutes?) together. For those keen on displaying their mobility, what better than 200-odd acres to drag a grown-up through? Imagine the back-ache Daddy will have from helping you find your feet! And for the budding aviator, there are all the Heathrow-bound planes to admire.

28 large-scale works by Henry Moore have been dotted around this metropolitan Eden. The exhibition is the largest display in London of Moore’s works for decades and it’s really impressive. According to the website, it’s enjoyed comfortably in 2 hours – longer if you picnic. We didn’t last that long but we loved what we saw. My daddy pushed me round as I dreamed of being old enough to scale the sculptures like the other children. (He was a little disapproving of this and pointed out that it’s not allowed. Spoil sport.) I say, more fun you!

The Gardens are open from 9.30am to 6.00pm with last admission at 5.30pm. Tickets cost £12.50 for adults with tots going free. Information on planning your visit is available online.

 

What Moi says:

Sadly we didn’t stop at any of the cafés but stole a peek at the cakes when we used the change facilities and … they looked positively more-ish. (Groan.)

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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The Great Pumpkin

– Halloween costumes for toddlers

metm_24oct_01.jpgSo he’s not yet able to carry his loot home (never mind that you certainly don’t want him consuming all those eek! e-numbers) but that doesn’t mean your little pumpkin should miss out on the Halloween fun. Why not dress him as Ollie the Owlmetm_24oct_2.jpg and watch him hold his own with all the ghosts, ghouls and skeletons of Kensington and Chelsea. (We know, he’s already all too familiar with the witching hour so he’ll get into the spirit of things.)

A Little Square has gorgeous costumes for toddlers (of the dinosaurs, dogs and little princesses variety). With Halloween just a week away, you may want to add this to your to do list. Now all you need to do is find a great pumpkin …

metm_24oct_4.jpgThe costumes usually sell for £22 (plus £4.95 P&P) but as a special offer for Mini-et-Moi readers, A Little Square is offering our readers a 15% discount. Please remember to mention Mini-et-Moi when you call to place your order. Contact Alex on 07957 748 616 or alex@alittlesquare.com for details.

What Mini says:
“T-wit t-woo!”

metm61.JPG

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A Game of Cat and Mouse

– Bright and beautiful wooden stacking toy

Junior’s toying with you. Getting some sardonic satisfaction from watching you sweat as you dart around the nursery trying to find a toy that will stave off his afternoon moodiness. This may be fun for him but for you? Suddenly your life seems to depend on finding that one toy that will capture his imagination and let the time slip by until the refuge of supper, bath and bed.

metm_22oct.jpgGot it! The beautifully-made wooden Pet Stacker from John Crane Toys. Gotcha, Junior! With its brightly coloured blocks and cute animal faces, it’s bound to keep Junior mesmerised. He’ll love to grab and sort the patterned blocks. And stacking them to create a cat, mouse and dog will help promote hand-eye coordination. That will keep him ahead of the pack (and restore the natural order in your home). Now that’s a well-played game of Cat and Mouse (and Dog).

metm6.jpgWhat Mini says:
The toys are designed for ages 2 + but I’ve loved playing with mine from the age of 1 – proof that in this dog eat dog world, I’m ready for the rat race (Note to self – must not mix metaphors).

The Pet Stacker by John Crane Limited is available at Cheeky Monkeys 202 Kensington Park Road, W11 1NR Tel: 020 77929022. It retails for £15.

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Knit Wits

metm5.jpgThe best hand-knitted clothing

You were one of the first to join a stitch ‘n bitch, but the chardonnay proved too much for you. Soon ‘knit 1, purl 1’ became ‘knit 1, sip 1 … sip 2 … sip 3.’ So how will you achieve hand-stitched exclusivity for your little pip (short of conjuring up a knitting granny)?

Try Sue Hill Handknits for old-fashioned, beautifully knitted cardigans and shawls that are sure to become heirlooms (at these prices, they should). Or Nicola Levy at J.W.Beeton for exclusive hand-knitted sweaters with a Boho-chic edge (and Notting Hill prices). Or the fun and friendly Woolshed where funky colours and simple styling turn hand-knitted on its head.metm_19oct.jpg

You could always take up knitting again. (For inspiration check out Debbie Bliss patterns and yarns at John Lewis – a welcome change from the nursery department.) Who knows, if you avoid the chardonnay maybe you’ll be done in time for your first grandchild? On second thoughts, maybe it’s best to hand over the cash for the knits and keep your wits to yourself.

metm_19oct_2.jpgWhat Mini says:
I loved grabbing hold of the wool and watching it (and Mummy) unravel … talk about a knitter at her wit’s end.

 

Stockists
Wow Baby (52 New King’s Road, Parsons Green, SW6 4LS Tel: 0207 384 2008) stocks Susan Hill and Woolshed.
J.W. Beeton (48 – 50 Ledbury Road W11 2AJ) stocks Nicola Levy.
Woolshed is at Igloo (Islington – 300 Upper Street N1 2TU Tel: 0207 354 7300 and St Johns Wood – 80 St Johns Wood High Street NW8 7SH Tel: 0207 483 2332), Not so Big (31A Highgate High Street Highgate London Tel: 0208 340 4455), Bunka (24 Bedford Hill, Balham, SW12 Tel: 020 8291 4499) or buy direct from the website.

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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All Well and Good

metm21.JPGFab food in Hampstead – Baby welcome!

Bless.Mummy obsesses about her pre-baby lifestyle, hankering after hip ‘n happening places, so we had Sunday lunch at The Wells in Hampstead.

Described as “ultimate pub with restaurant,” you would not think this was the place for me. From the moment I arrived, I felt really welcome. Our table was upstairs (there is also comfortable seating below) and waiting for me was a spotless high chair from which I was able to admire the beautiful surroundings. Tablecloths. Napkins. Sparkling glasses. Fresh flowers. No more will I endure the supposed charm of a “child-friendly restaurant.” There were plenty of other tots too.

The staff were friendly, and never tired of picking up my toys as I continued to test Newton’s theory of gravity. (Mummy could take a leaf out of their book). Sadly I did not partake of the food which looked fantastic. Both parents looked satisfied and well-fed at the end of the meal (excellent gastro-pub fare).

The only downside is the lack of baby-changing facilities. Miraculously I remained dry. As the saying goes, all’s well that ends well.

The Wells, 30 Well Walk NW3 1BX, tel. 020 7794 3785

What Moi says:
A restaurant for grown-ups avec bébé? Was I dreaming? And the baby staying dry? Now that’s a happy ending!

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