London bucket list

Talitha has a fixation on London, at the minute. She’ll often pack her Peppa Pig bag and tell us that she’s going to London – to visit the Queen, obviously. London is exciting. You take a big train to get there and her cousins live there.

I don’t think she remembers any of our visits other than a quick dash through for a christening, though, and I’m looking forward to introducing her to the city I grew up dreaming about. As a child, I experienced London through novels and poems. As an adult, I worked there. Yet, I still get giddy whenever we plan a trip there.

It’ll take many, many trips to tick it all off, and I may even have to book a room with Travelodge to do it all, but I’ve ambitiously (and dreamily) put together a London bucket list of famous sites. I’m not exactly going for hidden gems here. Let me know if there’s anything you think we should add.

The shops
Talitha’s great aunt gave her a gorgeous book some time ago called Clara Button and the Magical Hat Day (pictured above).

In it, Clara, who dreams of growing up to be a milliner takes a trip through London on a bus, as her mother points out the famous stores: Liberty, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Harvey Nichols and Harrods. So, of course, we’ll be doing these.

Hamleys at Christmas is definitely on the cards too. Oh, and on that note, a walk through Oxford Street to see the Christmas lights is a must-do too.

The museums
In the book, Clara visits the Victoria and Albert Museum as will we. I’m also looking forward to ticking the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Tate are all obvious. I’m also hoping to take them to the Sherlock Holmes Museum when they’re old enough to get it. I have a friend who used to be obsessed with Sherlock Holmes (probably still is!) and she always used to mention this place, so I’m Sherlock-curious.

Other attractions
So here I’m thinking that the London Eye, London Zoo, London Sea Life Aquarium and Buckingham Palace will all get a look in. I might reserve Madame Tussauds and the Tower of London and London Dungeon until they’re a bit older. Madame Tussaud’s gave me a mild fright as a teenager!

The parks

I’m mainly thinking of Regent’s Park here, possibly Kew Gardens but welcome more suggestions.

The events
Laurence has wanted to go see The Lion King for a long time so we’ll be hitting it for sure. I’m really hoping my girls will inherit their mama’s love for musical theatre so we’ll have lots of reasons to frequent the West End. Shakespeare’s Globe and the Proms will come later.

I’m dithering over whether I ever want to try the New Year’s fireworks. The older I get, the less I tolerate crowds. Certainly it won’t be for a few years to come since Talitha had mixed feelings about the quiet ones at Bristol Zoo for Bonfire Night last year.

So, those are mine. Any to add?

In association with Travelodge

When we were three – our weekend in Woolacombe

A couple of weekends ago, Laurence, Talitha and I spent a weekend in a caravan at Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks*. It only struck us once we’d arrived that it was our second time away as a family, just the three of us. As soon as I mentioned it, I realised, it’s probably our last too. I’m not sure if bittersweet is quite the way to describe how I feel about that. Unquestionably, our feelings about welcoming a new baby into the family are not mixed. This is a longed-for child. Still, I find myself savouring the last months of life with just Talitha. I always say, she gets the benefit of our somewhat undivided attention. Our next child gets parents who know a bit more about what they’re doing.

Swimming at Woolacombe Swimming at Woolacombe Holiday Parks

You’d think that in over two years, you’d have found the time to do most of things that are less complicated with just one small child. Yet, I’ve hardly ever taken her swimming. She enjoyed the indoor swimming pool first thing both mornings at the park so much that I’ve promised myself to keep this going at home. And I will. The toddler pool was perfect for her as she could walk around then go into the “big pool” with floats to “swim”. For me, it was good exercise too. I used to be a keen swimmer and she was happy to hold on to my shoulders while I did a bit. *Looks up “tips for taking a toddler and newborn swimming”*

Sitting in the caravan at Woolacombe In the caravan at Woolacombe Making a den in the caravan at Woolacombe Hiding in the caravan at Woolacombe

But we’re usually just the three of us. We don’t need a weekend break in Woolacombe to tell us that, surely? In a warm and cozy caravan, with lots of storage and all the bits and pieces we could want for comfort, we realised that getting away meant that we could just enjoy being. No cutting the grass or organising cupboards and because I’d cooked most of our meals in advance, no cooking even! We really could just be and not worry about something we should be doing. This seems obvious, I realise but I think we easily forget the stressful impact of background noise in our minds.

Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks wrist bands Playing crazy golf at Woolacombe Bay Woolacombe walk in a wompat

We fully embraced the holiday park thing. Talitha loved our wrist bands so much she didn’t want us to take them off for ages! Laurence finally got to introduce us to crazy golf onsite. Granted, Talitha didn’t really get it but she enjoyed reminding us which colour ball belonged to each of us. She seems to think golf should be played like snooker. This really is the perfect holiday for a family with small children. There’s a fantastic playground just behind our caravan and the beach an easy walk through the woods.

playing in the sand on Woolacombe bay rocks at woolacombe bay

My parents are looking at these pictures now and thinking how strange it is to be wearing so many clothes on the beach. Tobago holidays of my childhood, this is not! But after living in England for over eight years, I’ve come to recognise that the British coast has a charm all its own. It’s lucky that I have since I’ve married a surfer! Talitha has the privilege of growing up knowing beaches on both sides of the pond. I’m certain she’ll love them both.

babywearing on the beach at Woolacombe Bay

When it was time to leave, we regretted not having taken Monday off to enjoy another day in Woolacombe. Laurence noted that the tide or surf or waves or something (!) was supposed to be better on the Monday. Talitha probably wanted to build another sand castle. I hesitated to leave this last time away. As we did, I remembered that we have many firsts to come. Maybe we should go ahead and book our first holiday as a family of four to cure that bittersweet.

*We were given a three-night stay at Twitchen House in Woolacombe Bay Holiday Parks so that I could blog about it – a shame we could only stay for two!