Monthly Archives: April 2009

Green as Grass

metm21– Green living for small sprouts


Now that Spring has sprung, your focus is (understandably) on which green patch you’ll be spending Spring and – a hopefully hot – Summer. While you may guiltily enjoy the spoils of global warming, the truth is that the grass is not the only thing that should be green.


Here’s our guide to giving your tot great green values, from the get-go. Afterall, early childhood is the best time to establish good habits for lifetime, and green ones are no different.


Love of Nature

First and foremost, instill a love of nature in your little miracle (of said) nature. Simply being outdoors can sow the seed and even very young babies appreciate the feeling of a fresh breeze. Consider a family outing to do some cherry-or-berry-picking.


Green Fingers

Use your tot’s natural fascination with how things grow and get him gardening, even if that means tending to a tiny pot (on a windowsill).


‘To market, to market’

This season, give the local farmer’s market the green light. While there, chat to the vendors about their wares so that your little one can start to understand where food comes from. (It goes without saying that you should bring reusable bags for the experience).


Green Sleeves

Fill your bookshelves with books with a green message, like Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, about the perils of pollution. Or the next  story in the well-loved series by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? It’s a fabulously illustrated rhyme about ten endangered species.


What Mini says:

With an eco-friendly and principled mummy on my team, I foresee the rise of a green-eyed monster.


Click here to see our other tips for Earth Mothers.


Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Piecing it Together

metm_monkey-puzzleAnother great read


Choosing the next book to add to Junior’s ever-growing library is something to puzzle over.

After all, it’s becoming a bit of a (squash and a) squeeze on that bookshelf. But don’t go to pieces …


We’ve got the perfect fit – You already know the hugely popular and highly successful partnership of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (the duo responsible for the delights of The Gruffalo), so Monkey Puzzle will slot right in.


In this charmingly illustrated tale, the friendly Butterfly tries to help Monkey find his mum. Following Monkey’s clues, Butterfly draws misguided conclusions which take them on an adventure and a celebration of diversity as Butterfly leads Monkey to animals that couldn’t possibly be Monkey’s mum.


And, while the clues aren’t cryptic, they are clever and in the end, it becomes clear why Butterfly is repeatedly mistaken.


Beautifully illustrated and lyrically written, this puzzle will have your little monkey thrilled to pieces.


What Mini says:

I want my mum!


Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (SSP £5.99) is available from leading bookshops and online 

1 Comment

Filed under Other

The Masters

– Picasso at the National Gallery (WC2)


metm141I’m master of my own universe (and my Mummy’s too), but sometimes I enjoy giving her a small reminder of what life was like before me (just so she appreciates me even more).


I’ve seen the posters just about everywhere – stuck all over London, they’re hard to miss really. And I’d noticed the Picasso exhibition at the National Gallery was on her ever-increasing “To Do” list (between planning my Summer activities and re-organising my toybox). So, taking Mummy off to see it as a special treat was a brilliant part of my master plan.


By using Mini-et-Moi’s Five E’s of Museum Outings with Under 5s, and our Vital Stats on the National Gallery, we were able to take the eek! out the experience; and it turns out that the Sainsbury Wing (where the exhibition is housed) has ample room for me, my buggy and my Mummy’s general paraphernalia.


We marvelled at the 60 works of the great master, all the while chattering about the paintings (though I must say I suspect I could have done a better job on some of them).


I even had a short nap, and let Mummy wander around before being brought back to earth by Her Master’s Voice.


What Moi says:

Pure genius – a master stroke!


The exhibition is open daily from 10:00 – 18:00 and runs until 7 June 2009. There is also late opening on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets cost £12 and are timed-entry.  Once finished, head to the coffee shop for a Mini-friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Click here for our Vital Stats.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Mini-et-Moi’s Five E’s of Museum Outings

metm121– Take the eek! out the Experience


Set realistic expectations and keep it short. You probably won’t be able to pore over every last item on display. So decide, do you want to have a general overview and complete the exhibition? Or would you prefer to really enjoy a handful of pieces?

Exactly the Right Moment

Time it carefully – don’t go at the busiest time when other visitors are going to tut tut intolerantly and make you feel under pressure. And don’t go when Junior is cranky or hungry. Of course, we’d love to say that you should go when the little beauty is asleep but we’re pretty sure we’ve never got that quite right either.


Take the necessary equipment. Snacks that he can nosh on (surreptitiously). Toys that he hasn’t seen for a while and where the novelty factor will keep him busy in his buggy while you read the blurb.


Entertain or Enlighten the Infant. Smaller tots will love the sound of your voice as you describe what you’re seeing and older ones will enjoy looking at paintings and objects themselves. Kneel next to the pram to be at Junior’s eye level and enjoy the exhibition through his eyes.

(Alternative) Entertainment

If all else fails, do it in relays. There are times when the stars are just not aligned. Hopefully on those days you’ll find yourself in the gallery with a supportive friend or partner who is happy to let you have some time alone in the gallery while he or she entertains the little master.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Vital Stats – The National Gallery (WC2N)

– Our litmus test of how child-friendly a museum or gallery is


Fab family fun at the National Gallery every weekend.

There’s story-telling on a magic carpet for the under 5s, and lots for older tots too.

Storytelling is every Sunday at 10.30 am and 11.30am. Sessions are free and last 30 minutes. Meet in the Education Centre Foyer and then head to the magic carpet.

Check out the website for more details.

AddressThe National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN

Website click here

Hours – Open daily from 10.00 – 18.00 with late openings on Fridays until 21.00

Nearest Underground – Charing Cross (Northern and Bakerloo), Embankment (Northern, Bakerloo, District and Circle) and Leicester Square (Northern and Piccadilly). The nearest Underground station with a lift is Westminster (Jubilee, District and Circle)

Bus Routes – 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 53, 77A, 88, 91, 139, 159, 176, 453.

Wheelchair & Buggy AccessThe main temporary exhibition galleries are located on Level -2 of the Sainsbury Wing and we suggest you use the Sainsbury Wing Entrance as it has flat access from street and lifts to the other levels. For full details of access with a pram (including lifts) – click here. And click here for official details on visiting en famille.

Pit Stop – The change facilities in the Sainsbury Wing are easy to access and clean. And the cafe is very child-friendly.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other

A Bug’s Life

 Brilliant (sound)bites for musical babes


Today was gorgeous, and you made the most of it. Walking on Sunshine, you and your little ray.


So it’s really going to bug you tomorrow when the chance of rain is high, and you won’t be taking that bugaboo of yours out to catch the rays (sadly, it’ll be a cold more like).


Instead, stay as snug as the proverbial while entertaining your little one in front of the warm glow of your computer screen. Well, for a few minutes at least, while you catch a well-needed breather. Afterall, while you don’t get much exercise indoors, that’s never put Junior off.


Let the little bug boogie to our fav videos by The Beatles. Teach your tot the basics – and enhance his musical repertoire – with the classic animated All You Need is Love.


If you enjoy The Beatles – it certainly is a break from Incy Wincy – then see a group of them (bugs that is), perform She Loves You, artfully performed by the Muppets. He may not get the pun, but he’ll enjoy the music. And the whimsy.


Then, when it starts to rain have a little underwater fun of your own in an Octopus’s Garden. With three different versions to choose from, you can even decide which one you like most (or which one bugs you least).


What Mini says:

Go on, don’t be a muppet!

Leave a comment

Filed under Other

Mini Olympians

metm13– Relaxed and enjoyable swimming classes for babies from 6 weeks (N11)


Butterfly, breast-stroke or doggy paddle. What’s your style? Give your tot a head-start in the swimming stakes for your Summer holiday (and that gold medal come 2012) with Ann’s Swimming Club.


Tots as young as six weeks old enjoy being in the water – babies are excellent swimmers due to their diving reflexes.  And you (or your partner) will love it too. The weekly 30-minutes classes go by in a flash as you dance and swim to different nursery rhymes, all while learning important lessons for a future Phelps, or upcoming Adlington.


Like all dedicated supporters, you’ll cheer watching your one learn to hold the bar. Or thrill to see your little wonder under water. The relaxed atmosphere and Ann’s wise and caring manner make this an excellent place to learn (and to have fun!).


Get ready for the qualifiers!


What Mini says:
I’m a natural, darling, a real water baby.


Contact Ann on 07885 027 489 to arrange for your little butterfly to get some wings. Classes are on Sunday mornings at St John’s Primary School, Crescent Road, Friern Barnet N11 3LB (where the North Circular makes for easy access) and cost £56 for a term (exact price may vary depending on the length of the term) or £10 for an individual session. Times depend on your tot’s age.

Leave a comment

Filed under Other