Coronavirus & me: my experiences as an Asian Londoner

*warning: ranting post*

The first cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) hit our British

It’s been hard to write this as I don’t want to be negative but from the energy I can feel around me when I’m and about… I can’t brush it off and ignore it.

shores in late January. We are now approaching mid-March and the situation has not changed much in terms of case numbers and fatalities as compared to other European countries. However, the mentality and behaviour of people in the capital has become less welcoming… well, according to my own experiences anyway.

As a Vietnamese woman, I look Chinese. Over the years I have learnt to become comfortable in my own skin but I won’t lie to you – these past few weeks and especially last two days have tested me. It’s made me doubt myself and left me feeling paranoid and anxious to say the least.

On the underground, some people avoid being too close to me, for fear that they will catch coronavirus – even though I am not sick nor coughing nor feverish. Others make sly comments when I’m passing by or near them… here are some examples of what I’ve experienced so far; a young child in IKEA shouting “coronavirus” to his sister as they both passed me down the aisle. A man and his friend sniggering whilst looking at me and saying “oh shit, coronavirus… we’re in for it now!” And the latest one which I overheard in a conversation between the bartender and a woman when he mentioned about the outbreak in Italy, “well, who do you think brought it there?” It seems that Chinese people are being blamed for the coronavirus spreading worldwide.

I feel like I want to just hide away in a corner or stay at home and not go outside. When I board an empty train carriage, I find solace in its silence and can feel at ease with myself. It also gives me time to reflect on myself and my thoughts.

My friends would normally tell you that I am one of the happiest and bubbliest person that they know. I’m usually always smiling, happily greeting those who I pass by but these past few days I’ve retreated inwards, keeping my head down and just keeping it moving. It’s not been easy and certainly not as welcoming as it was pre-coronavirus.

Luckily in my little town, everyone is more inclusive. There is more sense of a community in which my family and I are accepted and treated without stereotyping or prejudice. I used to think that a city as diverse as London would always be so welcoming, inclusive and non-judgmental but in light of recent events, I’m now starting to doubt that.

I’d like to think that things will get better soon but I’m not sure how. I would like to believe that the passive aggressive comments and racial comments will stop – but I don’t think they will anytime soon. I would also like to think that people will stop stockpiling household items like toilet roll but I don’t think that will either. Who knows what the near future will look like for London but with all these talks about lockdowns and cancelled flights etc, it doesn’t look like it’ll be a fun summer.

Blog Giveaway! Kitchen Capers cookbook

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

It’s been sooooooooo long since my last giveaway that I can’t even remember what it was! Pancake Day is coming up and to be honest I was supposed to have hosted this giveaway a little while ago (in Jan!) but I’ve got my butt back on track and it’s finally live!

With Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday (Feb 25) fast approaching, it’s time to get back into the kitchen and start cooking or baking! For Christians, Shrove Tuesday marks the last day before Lent, traditionally a period of abstinence, associated with clearing your cupboards of goods such as sugar, fats and eggs. Traditionally, pancakes were eaten on this day to use up these foods before the 40-day fasting season of Lent began.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
Get the kids in the kitchen this Pancake Day

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Not a pancake fan? Try making omelettes instead!

You can find a link to my healthy pancakes recipe here if you’re a little stuck on inspiration. The crepe maker from AO.com was super easy to use and 1-2 spritz of oil goes a long way. I’ve always loved cooking and baking but recently I’ve been very lazy. There’s more recipes you can find here on the blog and this year I’m going to make it one of my goals to add more to it. I think I’m going to try making savoury pancakes this year so make sure you come back to see what I get up to.. of course, the recipe will also be up on the blog. 🙂

Not a big fan of pancakes? No problem, you can always make something else using the same set of ingredients if you want to keep it traditional. You could try making a crepe (French pancake) which is similar to a pancake but is thinner and a little more crispy – it can be served with savoury or sweet toppings.

For other alternatives you could even opt for omelettes or eggy bread (French toast). There’s a neat little recipe in the Kitchen Capers cookbook for the latter. 🙂 For those wanting something a little more healthy with a few more ingredients, try a shukshuka. There’s actually a simple recipe for this in the cookbook too! The word shakshuka comes from Arabic, meaning, “a haphazard mixture” or “all mixed up.”

If you’re vegetarian or vegan, you can try egg-free pancakes and crepes by using substitutes like flaxseed or chia seed and water which you’ll leave overnight to create that eggy texture. I found this recipe for fluffy vegan pancakes on Tasty.co, check it out! If you prefer savoury, try Vietnamese savoury pancakes, known as banh xeo – they’re eggless and gluten free as the batter is made from rice flour, a little bit of corn flour, tumeric, salt and water. It’s absolutely delish! I can’t believe I haven’t uploaded a recipe on here! I’ll do that soon along with the savoury English pancakes.


WIN! Kitchen Capers cookbook by David Banks

The Greenwich Mummy - Kitchen Capers cookbook review

Kitchen Capers is a funny little cookbook filled with lots of tasty recipes made simple. It’s great for people who don’t want to faff around with complex jargon and boring text. Every recipe is laid out in comic strips which are nice to look at and good to have a little giggle. The kids and I certainly did at some of the comic strips!

Check out the giveaway page below for instructions on how to enter:
https://thegreenwichmummy.com/blog-competitions-and-giveaways/win-kitchen-capers-by-david-banks-cookbook-review-and-giveaway/


The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger

Review: Alice’s Adventures Under Ground at the Royal Opera House

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review

I wish I could tell you half
of the things. Alice used to say,
beginning with her favourite phrase
‘Let’s pretend.

– Through the Looking-Glass, ch.1 ‘Looking-Glass house’

How can I sum up the ROH performance of Alice’s Adventures Under Ground? It was like a whirlwind of CRAZY! Just like Alice falling down the dizzying rabbit hole, the performance was a spiralling sensation. I really did not expect the performance to turn out the way it did, but am so happy I got to watch it.

I was invited to attend the press evening performance (Feb 4) with Little Man but unfortunately he was ill that week so I took Little Miss along with me instead. I wasn’t sure what to expect as she is only turning four so I thought it might be a little overwhelming for her but surprisingly she lasted well. You could hear the animated voices of other children in the auditorium who seemed to love it. What’s not to like about a chaotic performance from giant ‘eat me’ cakes, blue ‘drink me’ bottles, four giant crying baby heads and Humpty Dumpty?

We arrived slightly later than planned and the queue to collect tickets was much longer than expected – I was unfortunately not in the right queue! How was I to know?! LOL We made it to our seats in the auditorium stalls (row L) which had great views of the stage. We took a few selfies before settling down for the performance to start.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventures Underground
©ROH 2020. Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review
©ROH 2020. Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

My thoughts on Alice’s Adventures Under Ground…

This opera is unlike any other; it breaks all the rules. Singers are pushed to the extremes with their vocal ranges (hitting over 30 top ‘C’ notes in the first five minutes of the performance!), Jabberwocky sung in English, Russian and German, and Humpty Dumpty recounts his tragic tale to a rendition of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy… all thanks to Gerald Barry and his clever mish-mash of Alice in wonderland and Alice through the looking-glass.

The Cast
Alice: Claudia Boyle
The Red Queen: Clare Presland
The White Queen: Hilary Summers
The White Rabbit: Sam Furness
The March Hare: Peter Tantsits
The Cheshire Cat: Mark Stone
Humpty Dumpty : Joshua Bloom

All of the cast above also played various other roles.

A big well done to the cast for their vibrant performance. The fifty-five minute show was a little too short for my liking but at the same time, it was just the right amount of time for families with younger children to enjoy. I really enjoyed it but for Little Miss, she just didn’t get it which was disappointing. I guess it was just too much going on at one time for her. It was her first time watching an opera performance and I’m sure if it was Little Man, he’d probably would’ve thought the same thing. However for him, he’d be able to get by from reading the surtitles – that’s what he did when we went to watch The Lost Thing.

There were also moments that made me burst into laughter. My favourite scene was after Alice went through the looking glass and witnessed the battle between the red knight and white knight. It was hilarious watching the two duelling then falling off their horses, only to apologetically help each other get back on to battle again. Little Miss’ favourite (and recognisable scene) Alice falling d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-down the endless rabbit hole that even she had to catch her breath before meeting the rabbit and the four ‘eat me’ cakes. The four baby heads which represented the four bottles totally threw us both off which was quite funny very weird! I really don’t remember that scene from Alice in Wonderland at all!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review
©ROH 2020. Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bit, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review
©ROH 2020. Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review
©ROH 2020 – Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

“When Alice tumbles down into the Rabbit Hole into Wonderland… she meets a successions of strange characters in unusual situations… Following the trial of the Knave of Hearts – accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts – Alice finds herself in Looking Glass Land…
Here, Alice becomes a Queen herself.”

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | ROH Alice's Adventure Underground review
©ROH 2020 – Photo by Clive Barda / Lewis Carroll Cast featuring Claudia Boyle as Alice

The story is told in a most peculiar yet enchanting way. Lewis Carroll would’ve been appreciative of this wonderful approach. There’s singing, shouting, speaking, growling and squealing alongside the orchestra accompaniment. With two performances a night for 6 nights, it’s pretty intense. The show itself was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it type of performance. It’s fast, it’s wild and it’s fantastic. If you missed it (it went by as quickly as its performance dates) then I hope the Royal Opera House will put this opera on again next year.

It’s definitely one not to be missed. 🙂

For a more formal take on the show, you can check out British Theatre Guide’s review from Vera Liber who I met at the last ROH performance I’d attended. Unfortunately I didn’t bump into her that night but if she’s reading this, I send my love and warm greetings!

More on the show here: http://bit.ly/ROHaliceadventures


NB. We were kindly gifted tickets to the performance in exchange for this blog review. All words, opinions and content are my own. ©ROH 2020 copyright photos that were provided to me by the Royal Opera House have been credited respectively. 

Happy New Year! #mybestnine2019

Just a little recap of 2019…

Happy New Year everybody!
I wish you all a fabulous year ahead and may 202 bring you all happiness, good health and good fortune. To wrap up last year fully – in blogger fashion – I share with you all my best nine moments of 2019. 🙂

Our best nine:
  1. Litte Man’s first theatre experience watching The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House
  2. Our first-time pumpkin picking at Stanhill Farm
  3. Celebrating my Curly Girl hair journey, 18 months on
  4. Our family holiday to Disneyland Paris
  5. My kids-free getaway to Lisbon
  6. My cheap day trip to Paris via coach
  7. Ice skating fun at Queen’s House Greenwich
  8. Little Miss’s very pink birthday brunch at Elan cafe
  9. Sketch London afternoon tea experience

…and the BEST quote to start you off in 2020:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | London Family and Lifestyle Blogger
via Twitter

Decor: How to decorate your home according to your horoscope

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
2020 is just around the corner!

How quickly has the year gone by?!

This time is also the time when most people find the need to redecorate their home and that’s totally me. New year, new home right?! 🙂 Decorating the home can be really difficult, but have no fear because I’ve got something pretty exciting to help you out.

I’m quite a spiritual person and believe that a positive-energy in the home home can have a positive impact on my daily living. Everybody knows a cluttered home can lead to a cluttered mind and de-cluttering can be quite therapeutic, it can also have good effect on your mental well-being. I’m naturally a hoarder so regular de-cluttering is definitely high on my list but that doesn’t mean I always manage to get round to doing it. Instead I usually save the big de-cluttering for spring (hence, spring cleaning) and for the new year.

In Chinese culture, it’s considered to be a good omen to do a thorough deep-clean and de-cluttering the week before Chinese New Year.

Decorating your home according to your horoscope…

Wayfair UK have teamed up with expert astrologers, Francesca Oddie and Sally Kirkman to create a guide on how to decorate your home based on your horoscope. If you don’t know which star sign you are, just look for your birthday next to the horoscope name. Luckily for our household, we’re pretty much the same. Little Man and I are both Leos, Daddy P and Little Miss are both Taurus. Cool right? Even weirder, Little Man was born the day after my birthday and Little Miss’s due date was a day after Daddy P’s birthday.

Here’s a great little infographic that they have created to help us out:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope


Decorate like a LEO (Jul 23-Aug 22)

For Leos, the astrologers say;

For a Leo, your home is your castle and nothing says ‘let it reign’ like a huge fireplace located in the beating heart of your home – the living room. A fire sign who loves a good social gathering, your home is adorned with bright colours: orange, red and plum, and accented with a few gold accessories like frames, cushions and lighting. For those who are Leo-born, there’s no such thing as too much animal print, so make 2020 your year to go wild and lay down that leopard print rug you’ve been pining for.

… very interesting!

I definitely agree with the gold. I love gold accessories! I’m not sure I 100% agree on ‘there’s no such thing as too much animal print’ but I do like the odd leopard print or peacock print. I prefer textures than print so a beautiful fluffy or shaggy rug would be amazing but I think an animal print rug might be too much for my taste. I think I’d prefer adding small touches of animal prints and figurines instead. Animal wood carvings and metal ornaments of elephants, giraffes and lions always looks great and a statement animal print cushion would jazz up the sofa nicely.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
My animal print & gold accessories list

  1. Roda Feline Cushion by World Menagerie
  2. Gonzalez 3 Piece Giraffe Statue Set by Alpen Home
  3. Cervantez Lion Figurine by Rosdorf Park
  4. Mahoney Elephant Metal Strape Trunk Up Figurine by Happy Larry
  5. Ouled Africa Cheetah Cushion Cover by World Menagerie

As for a big central fireplace in the living room, that would be amazing but I live in a new build so a fireplace would be a dream. Perhaps I could go for an electric one – we could have it fitted where the radiator is currently placed. That’s up against our living room feature wall so might work well.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
I have to admit this leopard print rug is pretty cool! / image: Wayfair UK

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
‘Let it reign’ with a feature fireplace / image: Wayfair UK

 


Decorate like a TAURUS (Apr 20-May 20)

For Taurus, the astrologers say;

A true Taurus appreciates the finer things in life and where better to show off your taste for lavish décor than at home? A sign who loves to add indulgent fabrics wherever possible, from cushions and throws to a dreamy velvet sofa, all tied in with a few eclectic artworks and elegant lighting. Admit it, you are also slightly obsessed with earthy colours and stepping into your home is like walking into a botanical oasis. With the motto ‘you can never have too many house plants’, investing in a fancy new vase or chic plant pots might be worthwhile for the new year.

Daddy P is a fan of velvet and we are both loving this new lush green shade that’s popping up everywhere. We are actually going to paint our living room in this colour sometime in the new year which will be exciting! We’ve always dreamed of buying a velvet sofa but with two young children, it’s not the right time for us to do it although it’s in our future plans. In the meantime we will definitely be adding more indulgent fabrics to our home/

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
My indulgent fabrics and plants list

  1. Luxe Cushion in teal by Symple Stuff
  2. Berkshire Cushion by Canora Grey
  3. Ione Cushion in ochre by Rosdorf Park
  4. Monstera Floor Foliage Plant in Pot
  5. Throw in charcoal by Christy
  6. Drummond throw in silver by Rosdorf Park

Daddy P is actually not a fan of the botanical look but I am totally mad for it – we have started our plants collection and will continue adding to it. We currently have a mix of real and artificial plants because it’s easier to manage and it also gives the room a little more depth… or so I like to believe. We have two pots of beautiful pink winter heath but they died from lack of water and sunlight on our balcony – oops! The good thing about the winter heath is that the beautiful coloured bulbs don’t fall out until the next season so they look alive and colourful but are in fact dead. It gives us enough time to try and revive them or thrown them out and purchase some new ones.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope
Luxe textures and indulgent fabrics / image: Wayfair UK

 


P I N  T H I S  P O S T !

 

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - How to decorate your home according to your horoscope


This post was created in response to Wayfair UK’s latest article on decorating your home according to your horoscope: http://bit.ly/wayfairhoroscope – I was sent the inforgaphic but was not compensated for this post. I genuinely wanted to share this great content with you all.

The Blogmas Edit: an interview with SarahLou Writes

The Greenwich Mummy | UK Family Lifestyle blogger

Only two more sleeps to go! #christmasiscoming

Today I’ve got for us mummy blogger, Sarah from SarahLou Writes. She tells us what the true meaning of Christmas should be and what ‘The Grumpy Guide to Christmas’ is all about…

1. WHAT’S THE BEST – OR WORST – CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

The best present I’ve ever been given was weirdly a hair dryer, which sounds so silly but I genuinely needed and wanted one, I still use it to this day.

2. NAME SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS THAT MOST PEOPLE LIKE, BUT YOU HATE (OR AT LEAST DISLIKE)

Christmas Pudding and Mince pies, I don’t know why, I am not overly keen on fruity cake and honestly after the heavy main meal having something equally heavy for pudding hurts my tum!

3. WHAT HOLIDAY MOVIE OR SPECIAL DO YOU WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

The Grumpy Guide to Christmas. I watched it once on DAVE and it’s the thing I love to watch this time of year, oh and Muppets Christmas Carol! We save that for Christmas Eve!

4. WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST/UGLIEST CHRISTMAS DECORATION YOU’VE EVER OWNED?

I don’t think I have any weird or ugly ones; I have plenty of homemade ones but I wouldn’t describe them as weird haha!

5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Step into Christmas by Elton John and Merry Christmas everyone by Shakin’ Stevens

6. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR CHRISTMAS, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Somewhere where it snows this time of year, I want that magical wake up on Christmas morning to a white Christmas. I can dream!

7. WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE ITEM ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TO-DO LIST?

Clean up! Everything looks so pretty until the mess gets created and needs cleaning!

8. IF SOMEONE OFFERED YOU A GIFT CARD TO ANY STORE YOU WANTED, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Lush I think, or The Body Shop

9. WOULD YOU RATHER BUILD A SNOWMAN, GO SLEDDING, HAVE A SNOWBALL FIGHT, OR STAY INSIDE DRINKING HOT COCOA?

Can I do all three? That sounds like the makings of a perfect day to me!

10. NAME THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE CHRISTMAS FOR YOU.

Family, Food, Fun

*BONUS QUESTION* THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS…

Family, the most important thing is who is around the tree and not what’s under it!


Bio: SarahLou Writes
The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Blogmas Edit: an interview with SarahLou Writes

Sarah is a single mum of three humans and two cats surviving off lots of cups of tea and plenty of cake! amateur photographer and jewellery maker. She loves crafting things such as crochet blankets, patchwork, jewellery and the occasional DIY. She’s also addicted to tea and shamefully eBay. (my kind of gal!) 🙂

Connect with Sarah!
Blog: www.sarahlouwrites.com
Instagram: @sarahlouwrites0
Twitter: @sarahlouwrites0


P I N  T H I S  P O S T !

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Blogmas Edit: an interview series
PIN IT!


If you would like to participate, visit my Blogmas Edit page for more details.

Look Fantastic Black Friday beauty box review 2019

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review

With the lead-up to Christmas, I always end up taking forever to write up my Black Friday beauty box. You may remember a few years ago I finally wrote my 2016 Black Friday box review… a year later! LOL It’s a mix between procrastination, being busy with family and the children (I had Little Miss in April 2016) and then being sleep-deprived meant that anything I did, I took like a million years to do so. I’m a little faster this year, only a month out! Haha! 🙂

The Black Friday Edit box: first impressions…

On first impressions, the box looks pretty fancy!

I really like the black and gold marble design and the gold text ‘The Black Friday Edit‘ adds modernity to the box. I can’t seem to find the 2017 design however the ‘Back for Black’ 2018 was super sleek and was actually my favourite design but I never bought the box.

I’m happy with the design of this year’s box and the products look really good. I can see one repeat product (the eyeliner) from last year but the others are new. I think for 2020 I would love to see a new design however something similar to this year’s or last year’s would be fantastic. Now let’s get on to the products…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review
The Black Friday Edit: I love the fancy black and gold design

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beauty Box Review

What’s in the box?

Here are the products I got in my Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 box:

  • Luxie 504 Large Angled Brush*
  • Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser
  • Eve Lom Cleanser including facial cloth
  • Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter*
  • We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir
  • Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm (Scarlet Sorbet)*
  • Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner
  • Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask
  • Naobay Radiance Body Lotion*
  • Crystal Clear 10-minute Glow mask

The majority of the items are full-sized products. I’ve added a star (*) next to my favourite products which I am still using now. I’ll write a little more below about why I love them so much…

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday 2019 Beauty Box review
Inside this year’s box / Photo Credit: Look Fantastic

Luxie 504 Large Angled Brush * (my fave!)

I absolutely ADORE this brush! I’m not sure if it’s because of the pretty pink handle or the softness of the synthetic bristles, but I do know it’s a really good brush. One of my favourite angled brushes and currently my go-to for when I need to apply my bronzer or highlighter across cheeks and hollow for contouring. It’s super soft and so easy to use whether you have powder or cream textures.

I can’t seem to find the brush for sale on the LF website, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s because it’s sold out. There is the Luxie 741 angled contour brush which would be a good alternative.

Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Exfoliating Moisturiser

For a long time I really thought I had combination skin with an oily t-zone. Turned out that my skin isn’t actually oily but dehydrated. When the skin is severely dehydrated (lacking in water, tight-feeling skin) it will start producing excess sebum. To re-balance the skin, I introduced serums and facial oils into my skincare routine which has helped a lot.

Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta exfoliating moisturiser is a product that really works. The ingredients list checks out and even though this product does contain silicones (dimethicone! there are other cones too) which I am not keen on but it’s near the end of the ingredients list which is a little more forgiving. The creamy texture is lightweight but hydrating and once applied, my skin feels super smooth and matte soft.

Packed with a cocktail alpha-beta acids and fruit actives, this moisturiser not only hydrates and brightens the skin, it also improves radiance (ginger) and re-balances the sebum production (lavender). When using this moisturiser, I avoid using my usual peeling exfoliator (The Ordinary AHA/BHA peeling solution) on the same day. I’d use my facial oil and day cream in the morning then use the peel in the evening before my night routine. Remember to use a sunscreen during the day when using skincare products with AHA acids (Alpha Hydroxyl Acids; Glycloic, Lactic, Tartaric and Citric).

Also be aware that excessive exfoliation can over-stimulate the skin which can cause uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmentation, sensitivity and redness. So use with caution – you’re using two or more exfoliating products daily or regularly, you could be over-exfoliating.

Eve Lom Cleanser

I’ve heard so much about this Eve Lom cleanser. It’s a trending product and so many beauty magazines rave about it so I was very intrigued to see it in my box. I haven’t tried it out because when I look at the ingredients, the first ingredient is Paraffinum Liquidum… also known as Mineral Oil – same stuff baby oil is made from. Not bad, but it doesn’t scream out luxury to me like how the brand markets itself. They also use lanolin which is a great emollient for dry skin (it’s used in nipple creams) but again, I expect more from Eve Lom. Where’s the high quality oils like rosehip oil, jojoba oil or evening primrose? There’s none.

I’m not impressed… and the 8ml sample size pot is even more laughable.

If you love rich balm cleansers, you’d be better off with the Elemis Pro-Collagen cleansing balm which is only £43.00 for 5g/5ml more (1ml = 1g) and contains skin nourishing oils however you can’t use this product to remove eye makeup. Another great value-for-money alternative is the Trilogy Makeup Be Gone cleansing balm 80ml for £20.50 (more than half the Eve Lom price!) which is on my to-buy list and can be used for both face and eyes. Winner!

Ciaté London Glow-To Highlighter (shade: Celestial) * (my fave!)

The packaging of this highlighter is so pretty. The Ciaté Glow-To highlighter is a powder texture, almost baked-like. The Celestial shade is beautiful (an iridescent peach/gold shade) and perfect for my medium olive skin tone. Little Miss likes putting this stuff on herself too and it also looks beautiful on her caramel complexion. The shimmer is very strong so you really only need a light sweep and you’ll be good to go!

I liked brushing it over the top of my nose, under the brow bone and lightly dab over cheekbones. The little mirror is really helpful and a useful tool for anyone who likes doing their makeup/touch-ups as they go. Be careful as it does crumble easily, well… mine did anyway.

We Are Paradoxx Hangover Hair Elixir
Free from parabens, PEGs, sulphates, perfume, mineral oil and toxins.

I’ve not used this leave-in hair treatment just yet but will get round to trying it once I’ve washed my hair. I’m glad that Look Fantastic are including more vegan-friendly products in their beauty boxes. The We Are Paradoxx hair elixir contains silica and alcohol which is also why I am a little hesitant to try out the product. It does says that the alcohol content comes from the Irish whiskey and the silica (natural quartz, absorbs moisture) – which is different from silicone (a synthetic plastic). The hair elixir isn’t exactly CG-friendly but if you decide to give it a go, see how your hair reacts then make sure you give your hair a good cleanse the next wash day with a low-poo cleanser or an ACV (apple cider vinegar) or rice water rinse.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday Box review
Inside this year’s LF Black Friday Box

Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm (shade: Scarlet Sorbet) * (my fave!)

Infused with shea butter, this Pixi lip balm keeps my lips soft and hydrated throughout the day. I do find that I have to re-apply but no more than my usual lip balm. The Scarlet Sorbet is really pretty like a bitten lip red colour but because it’s a lip balm, it’s more of a subtle tint than full on pigment.

It’s one of my favourite product because it’s something I can use daily and it does the job very well at keeping my lips moist. I also like using it in-between top-ups with my Doucce liquid lipstick (fave shades are rusty red and red velvet). It’s one of the best tinted lip balms that I’ve tried and is a staple item in my beauty bag.

Eyeko Eye Do Mini Liner

So this eyeliner is the only product that made it into both last year and this year’s box. Perhaps people just really love the Eyeko Eye Do eyeliner! I think I had this product from another beauty box before and did enjoy using it. I never got the chance to use it this time round as Little Miss got her hands on my box when I was at work one day and decided to use it like a marker pen… then left the lid off. Yep, it died that same day which is sad times as it seems like a really good eyeliner.

I love pens as they give the user much more control when drawing the line. Liquid brushes create the best thin lines but are so tricky to get right and when you’re short on time, it’s way to fiddly. If you like doing your makeup on the go, I’d recommend using a pen like this one by Eyeko.

Seoulista Beauty Charcoal Mask
Free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil and artificial colours.

Seoulista is a Korean skincare brand and everybody knows how amazing Korean skincare is so what’s not to love about this natural purifying face mask? Get a thorough deep-cleanse without stripping the skin thanks to the charcoal and volcanic ash extract. Unfortunately my skin is too dehydrated to use this mask so I’ve given it a miss.

Seoulista offer a few other types: super-hydration (hydration) version as well as a gold glow (anti-ageing) and brightening (radiance) so I’ll have to get my hands on one of these instead!

Naobay Radiance Body Lotion * (my fave!)

I love this body lotion so much. It’s lightweight but totally hydrating on the skin… no wonder why it’s completely sold out on Look Fantastic! Hopefully they will restock this item soon as I’m sure many people will be chomping at the ankles for this.

Naobay is a natural skincare and body care brand hailing from Australia. I do love my Aussie natural skincare brands! Enriched with olive oil, shea butter and avocado oil, Naobay’s radiance body lotion is going to leave your body feeling super soft and nourished. The soothing aloe vera extract helps to calm and protect the skin, this lotion would be gorgeous in the summer.. better stock up now!

Crystal Clear 10 Minute Glow

Another sold out product on Look Fantastic! This peel-off mask is said to work its magic on your skin in just 10 minutes, leaving you with a radiant glow. Again, it’s another deep cleansing product so a pass from me but lots of people seem to love it. You can choose to apply this Crystal Clear 10mins glow mask over the whole face or just on targeted areas ie nose, forehead, chin.

With alcohol denat present, I would assume that this product will leave your skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’ and matte soft. Just be careful if you have skin that’s a little on the dehydrated side as it will make it drier.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday beauty box review

…and that’s a wrap!

I hope you enjoyed this beauty unboxed review – I really love reviewing beauty boxes but I get so lazy to write it all up! I guess one of my new year’s resolution can be to make sure I always review my unboxing. I need to find a better way putting up the content because I can never get those beautifully curated shots like other beauty bloggers. When you have two messy-wild kids to manage, the house is always a state and I’d be lucky to find a corner of peace where I can shoot from… however, there is a little co-working space next door to me so I might have to take a look and see what they can offer. 🙂

Happy Holidays!


P I N  T H I S  P O S T!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Look Fantastic Black Friday Box Review

The Blogmas Edit: an interview with Jupiter Hadley

The Greenwich Mummy | UK Family Lifestyle blogger

Welcome to the The Blogmas Edit’s first interview! Today, I’ve got for us the lovely lifestyle blogger Jupiter from Jupiter Hadley. She tells us the real reason why she doesn’t like snow and more about those funky lava lights…

1. WHAT’S THE BEST – OR WORST – CHRISTMAS PRESENT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

Many of my Christmas gifts have been very functional. No one has really messed up when it comes to giving me gifts, as I tend to very much explain what I would like, as gifts should actually be something you’d like. The best gift I have ever had was a few years back, I had just moved into a small flat, and had been given a grow-your-own chili pepper plant thing. We planted the chilies and watched them grow, then ate them. They didn’t last another year, but it was a great little experience that I wasn’t expecting! The chilies were really good too.

2. NAME SOMETHING ABOUT CHRISTMAS THAT MOST PEOPLE LIKE, BUT YOU HATE (OR AT LEAST DISLIKE)

I don’t like snow. I know in England you don’t get much snow, but in America (where I grew up) we got a lot of snow. It’s pretty, I’ll admit it, but it’s not fun. Snow is so cold! It gets dirty and black so fast. In England, even the littlest bit of snow just makes everything in London break down – from trains not running to traffic piling up. It’s not beautiful enough to outweigh all of it’s negatives!

3. WHAT HOLIDAY MOVIE OR SPECIAL DO YOU WATCH OVER AND OVER AGAIN?

This may sound really silly, but I tend to watch American claymation films from the 1970s. My two favorites are Santa Clause is Coming to Town which tells the story of a king banning toys, so Kris Kringle creates and delivers them in a mysterious way, with a penguin side kick and A Year Without Santa Clause, which is about Santa taking a break for a year and the two seasons (Heat and Snow) fighting over control of the Earth. This one has a classical song called Heat Miser/Snow Miser which all of my family knows from heart.

4. WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST/UGLIEST CHRISTMAS DECORATION YOU’VE EVER OWNED?

The weirdest Christmas Decoration I own are these little lava lamp-looking lights that go on the tree. They are SUPER DELICATE and were passed down from my parents. They are called Retro Christmas Bubble Light Bulb String Lights – see photo below:

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - The Blogmas Edit: An interview with Jupiter Hadley
Credit: Jupiter Hadley

5. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE CHRISTMAS SONG?

Oh it’s going to have to be Heat Miser/Snow Miser.

6. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL TO ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD FOR CHRISTMAS, WHERE WOULD YOU GO?

Probably Spain. I really love Spain and it’s not too cold there.

7. WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE ITEM ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TO-DO LIST?

This is a pretty hard question! I really like decorating, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and purchasing gifts. I guess my least favorite item (this might be a cop-out) is cleaning up after Christmas dinner or cookie decorations!

8. IF SOMEONE OFFERED YOU A GIFT CARD TO ANY STORE YOU WANTED, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Lush – always can use more bath bombs!

9. WOULD YOU RATHER BUILD A SNOWMAN, GO SLEDDING, HAVE A SNOWBALL FIGHT, OR STAY INSIDE DRINKING HOT COCOA?

I’d much rather stay inside drinking hot cocoa and looking at the snow from a distance.

10. NAME THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE CHRISTMAS FOR YOU.

Festive, Food, Chilly.

*BONUS QUESTION* THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS…

Family, friends, and good food.


Bio: Jupiter Hadley The Greenwich Mummy Blog - The Blogmas Edit: An interview with Jupiter Hadley

Those these questions were answered by Jupiter, she runs a blog along with her partner Dann. They both write about days out, travel adventures, cooking recipes, reviews and so much more! With a focus on Lifestyle, you can follow their journey through their posts.

Connect with Jupiter!
Blog: www.jupiterhadley.com/category/life/
Twitter: @jupiter_hadley


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The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Blogmas Edit: an interview series
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If you would like to participate, visit my Blogmas Edit page for more details.

Review: The Lost Thing at the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review
So you want to hear a story?
Yrots a raeh ot tnaw uoy os?

Last week we were invited along to attend a showing of The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House. As the show was suitable for children aged 6+ I was allowed to bring a plus one and naturally, I took Little Man with me. We don’t go to the theatre regularly and normally when we do go, it’s usually to our local Greenwich Theatre (which is fantastic for families!) so going to a fancy one like the Royal Opera House, I had to make sure my little monster was going to be on his best behaviour.

We attended the evening performance (7.15PM) but there are days when a matinee performance is showing. We made our way from North Greenwich to Covent Garden easily and just missed the rush hour period as we set off around 5PM. When we arrived at the Royal Opera House, we were ‘greeted’ by the doorman (they just opened the door, no smiles and we were the first to initiate the actual greeting, but hey ho) who showed us the way to the reception desk. Looking around I could see why we were not as warmly welcomed as we would be at our little Greenwich Theatre. The majority of the ROH attendees are mostly older, mostly middle-class and attended without children. A totally different demographic than what we’re used to seeing.

As we headed downstairs to the Linbury Theatre, it was a little less intimidating as we saw more families and young children. Little Man didn’t notice anything but as a parent, I feel like the theatre should be a more welcoming place for those with young children. Perhaps if we had attended a matinee performance it would’ve probably felt less judging as we usually associate evening shows with adult guests rather than young families.

As we were a little early, we decided to head back up and have a look around the small gift shop. We bought a laser-light keyring and a ballet pump keyring for Little Miss. We then headed back downstairs to the cafe outside the Linbury Theatre and had a hot chocolate and a brownie which satisfied our sweet craving.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review
A quick photo before heading inside the Royal Opera House

What is The Lost Thing?

The Lost Thing is a picture book written and illustrated by Shaun Tan. It became one of his bestselling books worldwide and well-recognised in the literature world. The story is about a boy who discovers ‘The Thing’ which doesn’t seem to belong to anything in particular, making it ‘lost’. In the book, The Thing looks very mechanical and is orange-red with greenish metal claws and legs whereas in the theatre production, it’s more organic and living with a green, moss-like body and ever-changing number of legs.

In this theatrical adaptation by Ben Wright and Jules Maxwell (from Candoco Dance Company, a world-leading professional dance company) we are treated to a different kind of storytelling; one that’s filled with not only music but also theatrical singing, opera and dance along the way. ‘Mixing it up’ is definitely a good way of exposing children of this new generation to a variety of performing arts.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
Joel Brown as The Boy

Review: The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House

Despite the lukewarm review of the show being “too static and slow” from The Guardian online, I much agree with the reviews from Culture Whisper and British Theatre Guide. The performance was pleasantly executed, and provided both children and adults with some true thought-provoking moments. In the programme booklet they gave me, it mentions that The Thing in the performance is not meant to replicate Tan’s illustration but instead, represents something living and organic. The Thing can shape-shift changing from two legs to eight legs, growing larger or smaller depending on its mood.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Boy finds The Thing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Linbury Theatre review
Shaun Tan’s ‘The Thing’ / Photo Credit: ACMI

“We wanted to take it in a completely different direction and build on the skeleton of the story, which is about celebrating difference, supporting what is lost, and potentially contemplating what we are losing. We decided to shift the nature of The Thing itself to be this odd, biodiverse, many-limbed organism…Ben Wright, interviewed by Lyndsey Winship

I can understand why there may be some disappointment as to why the original story was never followed through completely but then again, adapting a picture book into an opera/theatrical performance is not ordinary neither. The story lines is minimal but I think that makes it easy for children to understand. There’s also surtitles and audio description for those hard of hearing. The diverse cast are fantastic – all extremely talents and a good mix of both disabled and non-disabled dancers, musicians, singers.

I thought the interpretation of The Thing as something organic and living, familiar yet somehow forgotten, was like a metaphorical example of the world we live in today. There is a scene where The Boy almost hands The Thing over to the odds and ends department, but then a janitor appears and strongly advises against it, saying that things left there get permanently forgotten. We then see the janitor being comforted by The Thing and feeling happy that it’s in his presence. It reminded me of how happy and content we once were to just enjoy simple things ie. nature but now we’re constantly fixated on our phones and devices.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Boy and The Thing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
The Janitor, The Boy and The Thing

“In the book, the denouement is that it finds a place where it belongs. In our version that place is a very saturated, green, mossy jungle…” –Ben Wright, interviewed by Lyndsey Winship

Summary: my thoughts on The Lost Thing

Little Man loved the performance and has asked to go back to watch The Thing come to life again. We will aim to go before the new year. He also lost his thing (a small toy) there at the theatre, which has now become his ‘lost thing’ – now isn’t that a story within a story for you?

I loved the story so much that I ordered the picture book online for Little Man, he instantly recognised the book from the ochre colour scheme and enjoyed reading it however he told me that he much prefers the ending that he saw in the opera adaptation.

The Lost Thing is showing until January 4th 2020 and tickets are between £7.00-£35.00 for a seat, how can you resist a familiar yet story?

More info on The Lost Thing performances and tickets: http://bit.ly/TheLostThing

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
Taking The Thing to the place where it belongs

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House Review
So you want to hear a story? 

You can watch the video of Shaun Tan’s story here:



P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Lost Thing


[AD] We were given complimentary tickets to attend the performance of The Lost Thing at the Royal Opera House in exchange for this review post. All opinions and content are in my own words and photos that have been used are credited to their sources respectively.

The Top 5 open-air ice skating rinks in London review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice Skating Rinks in London this Christmas

This winter is the best time for us to get our skates on and unleash our inner figure skater vibes! I cannot skate but that doesn’t stop me getting on the ice. I try to go at least once every year and each year I tell myself that I will take up skating and get better… but like NY resolutions, the feeling and motivation disperses and I’m left saying the same thing year on year.

I’ve taken it upon myself to give myself a Christmas mission and visit 5 beautiful and magical ice rinks in London. Below are my favourite five rinks which are all outdoors so you can enjoy the stunning views of majestic surrounding buildings.

There are so many ice skating rinks in London to visit but here are a few a good places to start you off…

1. Somerset House ice rink, Strand

Somerset House is mainly known for hosting London Fashion Week/Weekend events but every winter they also put on a spectacular ice skating arena, especially if you visit late afternoon/evening time when the lights are on. There’s a big Christmas tree as the centrepiece, plus having the building as a backdrop for your skate is simply amazing.

The Greenwich Mummy | Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice skating rinks in London
Personally, I think the Somerset House ice rink is the beautiful rink in London!

A few days I went with one of my work girls to skate and we really enjoyed ourselves. It really is a stunning location but get ready to see a lot of couples skating together, a lot of newbies clinging onto the edge of the rink and more experienced skaters showing off their moves in the middle of the rink. There’s no skate aids here apart from for young children so I wouldn’t recommend skating here if you’ve never been on the ice as you will just be clinging onto the sides of the rink for the whole session. I am not great on the ice and found it quite challenging without any skate aids but managed to get by a little although I had to have lots of resting time in between because my legs got tired… Real quick. Also it gets quite busy on the ice but really feels festive and enjoyable.

They play good music on the ice and the lights change colour which creates a lovely skating atmosphere. Sessions are 45 mins which is a good amount of skate time. The skates for hire are really good quality and I’ve found lace-up skates to be extremely comfy compared to the standard clip-in ones.

The Greenwich Mummy | Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice skating rinks in London
Quality lace-up skates really make a lot of difference!

The Greenwich Mummy | Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice skating rinks in London
A great evening skate but be aware, there’s no skate aids available here!

Adult tickets are from £11 for the 45mins session which includes skate hire. Arrive at least 15mins early to drop off your bags at the hut (first bag/item is free, £2 per item thereafter). Then go into the other hut to collect your skates. There’s also Skate Lates from 8pm where you can enjoy skating listen to the latest hits and some classics from the venue’s DJ. Good vibes!

http://bit.ly/somersethouseicerink


2. Queen’s House ice rink, Greenwich

Based at the foot of a UNESCO Heritage site, voted as UK’s Top 10 visitors attraction the Queen’s House in Greenwich is one of the most beautiful places in London. The ice rink here is the only outdoor rink in South East London and is beautiful to skate around. This year, the rink at Canary Wharf has not been brought back so this is currently our closest ice skating rink.

We had the pleasure of skating here on its launch event (you can read our ice skating review here) which was fantastic. The kids had such a wonderful time and I am so glad to have an ice rink so local to us! For me, this rink comes in as a close second behind Somerset House because even though it is an amazing rink with really magical views, the skates let me down – they are the really cheap clip on ones which hurt my feet so bad. The good thing about this rink is that they have not one, but TWO types of skate aids for you to choose from. A penguin aid for less confident skaters and the banana aid (seen below) which is ideal for tiny skaters and complete first-timers. The banana aid is really fun but for those pushing the aid around, it’s hard work! Get ready to burn extra calories with that thing.

Processed with MOLDIV
A view of the Queen’s House ice rink

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
The ice rink all beautifully lit up at night

A night – or late afternoon skate here would be stunning. As you can see from the image above, the Queen’s House lit up at night is really something. It looks magical and so festive! The rink doesn’t get overly busy too which is great as it means more space on the ice to go round. Tickets are from £13.50 for adults and from £6.75 for kids, unfortunately there are no family tickets but if you’re a Royal Musuems Greenwich member, you can take advantage of their discounted tickets.

UPDATE: save 43% off your ice skating tickets on Travelzoo for just £9 per adult ticket: http://tidd.ly/b1c5abaf**

http://bit.ly/greenwichiceskating


3. Natural History Museum ice rink, South Kensington

South Kensington is well known for their museums and now every winter, for their ice skating too! Passing here last winter with Little Man I thought about taking him on the ice but unfortunately he’s not a big fan as I am with ice skating so we gave it a miss. I’m planning to head out this year with Little Miss as the ice rink is small but good enough for parents with young families. There is a morning parent & toddler skating session which includes skating, skate hire and a free hot drink for both… of course we will opt for the hot chocolate option! 🙂

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice Skating Rinks in London this Christmas
Credit: Natural History Museum

This rink is on my list to take the kids once we break up for Christmas holidays. It looks like it’ll be a good one and a skate by the NHM would be a delight! Naturally, we’ll head into the museum after for a little look around and lunch at their cafe or a nearby restaurant. Adult tickets are from £12.65 and tickets for children start from £8.80. There’s also a reduced family ticket for four cost from £39.60.

Every Friday evening from 7-8pm, fragrance brand Viktor&Rolf will be transforming the ice rink into a Flowerbomb fantasy. Join in as they turn the ice pink, hang sparkling baubles from the Christmas tree and the infuse the air with their new Flowerbomb fragrance.

http://bit.ly/naturalhistorymuseumicerink


4. Hampton Court Palace ice rink, Hampton Court

Situated in the gardens of Henry VIII’s historic home, the Hampton Court Palace outdoor rink offers you the chance to glide across the ice whilst being surrounded by spectacular views of the amazing Tudor palace. This scenic skate is perfect for all skaters from complete beginners to the advanced. Skate aids are available, and just like at Queen’s House you can choose from the penguin or the banana.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice rinks in London
Look at that awesome view and rink size!

Tickets are slightly pricier than the other rinks already mentioned (apart from Somerset House) from £15.00 per adult and £10.50 per child. This will have to be a solo skate for me or with friends as it’s slightly out of reach for us and to be frank, the prices are a little more dear. From the images on their website, I can see that people are wearing the blue clip-on skates… a big turn off for me however that view does look really appealing. There’s also a cafe bar by the rink so you can grab a hot drink and something to eat before or after your time on the ice. 🙂

http://bit.ly/Hamptoncourtpalaceiceskating


5. Winter Wonderland ice rink, Hyde Park

Skating around an outdoor bandstand playing live music? What more could you ask for! This rink looks pretty amazing in the day time and at night, even more special. When I visited this rink with my girl friends, unfortunately it was a very wet evening and we all got caught in the rain. It was only a mist but so much water pooled onto the ice, it made me really nervous with skating on it. However it wasn’t all bad – the wet ice actually made it easier to glide and skate but it was certainly more slippery in some areas of the ice as the rain froze over.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice rinks in London
Credit: Time Out

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Top 5 Magical Outdoor ice rinks in London
The fairy light canopy added a little bit of magic to our open-air skate

There are penguin skate aids at this rink for hire £5 per aid which I bought but ended up not using. There were many families on the ice that couldn’t really skate but didn’t want to put money out to get an aid and were really struggling. I ended up giving my penguin to a young child who skated with his mum and sister who were also inexperienced skaters.

There was a professional photographer on the ice when we skated so be aware that staff will tell you that you can’t take photos on the ice – because they want you to obviously purchase theirs so if you must take a photo like we did, make it snappy and do it discreetly.There was also live music; we had a singer performing with her guitar. Her acoustic renditions of Christmas songs were mellow, festive and added perfect ambience to our wet skating session. We enjoyed our 45 minute skate and of course, my feet got blistered from the clip-on skates which were in really bad condition. They had the worst skates compared to the rinks at Somerset House and the Queen’s House.

Apparently Hyde Park’s rink prides itself as the largest outdoor rink in the UK I can’t tell you for certain. From photos, I thought the Hampton Court rink looks bigger but I won’t know until I go there myself. As soon as I can tell you, I’ll let you guys know. 😉

http://bit.ly/winterwonderlandicerink


Bonus: Tower of London ice rink, Tower Hill

Okay, I know my post title says Top 5 but think of this as your bonus ice rink location because I couldn’t disregard it.

Tower of London is one of the Historic Royal Palaces in London (like Hampton Court Palace) and a very popular attraction for visitors in the UK and overseas. You can skate outside the fortress and admire the beautiful ambience as it’s lit up in the evening.

Prices are similar to Hampton Court; from £15 for adults and from £10.50 for children. For me, this one will be a miss but I’m sure it’ll be a great visit if you’re a History buff. Skate aids can also be hired here (must be booked in advance) but their website doesn’t specify what kind of skate aids are available.

http://bit.ly/toweroflondonicerink


I hope you enjoyed this little round-up posts of my top 5 magical outdoor ice rinks in London. Have you visited any ice skating rinks this year or perhaps you’re looking to go soon before Christmas? Leave me a comment if you have any other recommendations of open-air ice rinks in London too! x

The Greenwich Mummy | Top 5 open-air ice skating rinks in London**contains affiliate link

Beethoven and the Dinosaurs storytelling concert for under 5s

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beethoven and the Dinosaurs concert review

When I was a young girl, my father decided that he wanted me to develop musical talent. Lucky for him, I wasn’t too bad at it and was able to pick up playing piano quite easily. Unfortunately, I stopped playing piano around the time I was doing my GCSEs because I felt like it was all too overwhelming for me. In hindsight I am a gutted I didn’t carry on but that’s life and my priorities were different to what my dad wanted/expected them to be. To this day however, I still enjoy listening to piano music and admire those who play it.

The Aurora Orchestra at King’s Place

The Aurora Orchestra create interactive, musical storytelling concerts aimed at under 5s. This was something unheard of to me but I thought the chance to exposing my little ones to classical music early on would be a great idea. The only other time the kids got close to hearing classical music was when they were still inside the womb and I’d occasionally put on classic.fm for them to listen to.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Beethoven and the Dinosaurs concert review
The Creative Team introducing the audience to Beethoven and the Dinosaurs

The Aurora Orchestra are currently performing their new storytelling concert, Beethoven and the Dinosaurs at King’s Place in Kings Cross and last week, I went along with Little Man. He’s six so older than the recommended age but I didn’t mind and neither did he! The Orchestra will be there until the end of this week then they’ll be back again in February to perform Chopin and the Dragonfly. You can also go on Youtube and have a little look at how the concerts are performed: https://youtu.be/GPjSTd-moZ4

A little bit of participation from the grown-ups is always good fun but the Aurora Orchestra team are really good at retaining the children’s attention. The concert was 45mins long was was definitely long enough. Each musician had their own solo part to play which was lovely; our musician trio was made up of the flute, the cello and the piano.

The following pieces by Beethoven had been specially arranged for the concert:

  • Symphony No. 4
  • Symphony No. 6
  • Bagatelle Op. 33 No. 2
  • Symphony No. 6
  • Diabelli Variations
  • Piano Concerto No. 3
  • Moonlight Sonata pt. 1 & 2
  • Piano Sonata No. 2 in A major
  • Symphony No. 7 (adapted)
  • Piano trio Op. 1 No. 1

All of the children really loved the concert. They were all so attentive, there was only one outburst from a teary child but he soon settled after seeing some more dinosaurs appear. We had moments of dancing and laughter especially towards the end when the storyteller asked the children what dance move could the dinosaurs do and a little girl shouted out “pooing” it was refreshing to see the storyteller going along with it. 🙂

The concert is on show from December 1-8 so don’t miss out on booking your tickets for Sunday if you want to check it out. As it’s in King’s Cross you can make a day out of it with the family by heading over to the British Library. Check their website for timings and prices. A family ticket for 4 (2 adults 2 kids, or 1 adult 3 kids) cost just £23.50 which is great value.

I am really looking forward to the next concert, Chopin and the Dragonfly (in February) so I can take Little Miss with me to experience the concert. I think it’s brilliant how they can weave these classical pieces into stories and make it fun and immersive for the children. We’ll be going on a weekday as I’m at work on the weekends but hopefully that should mean less crowds for us to battle on our commute!


About: Far, Far Away series

Far, Far Away is Aurora Orchestra’s series of immersive storytelling concerts for young children aged 0–5 and their families. These interactive musical adventures bring to life music by a particular composer or style of music, weaving together live performance, an original story by critically-acclaimed poet Kate Wakeling (Aurora Writer-in-Residence), and a set design built around the audience and musicians. Audiences are invited to step inside each story through guided listening, singing, dancing, holding props and much more, becoming immersed in a magical world of music, language, discovery and play. Some past Far, Far Away productions have been Beethoven and the Dinosaurs, Tchaikovsky and the Marvellous Kingdom, and Bach and the Noisy Night-time.

https://www.kingsplace.co.uk/whats-on/family/aurora-orchestra-far-far-away-11/


NB. We were kindly given complimentary tickets to see Beethoven and the Dinosaurs concert for the purpose of this blog post review. All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Review: ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen’s House ice rink

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Queen’s House Greenwich Ice Rink
Dates: 29 November 2019 – 12 January 2020
(closed Dec 25)

Winter time is the only season where I need no excuses to drink my body weight in hot chocolate and look like a Michelin-man. I’m loving all of the fluffy layers, borg-lined jackets and teddy-fleece fabrics this year. It’s been a real long time since I’ve skated however this past week I have been going regularly to ice skating rinks around London. In an upcoming review, I’ll be sharing my favourite outdoor ice rinks in London with you so look out for that soon.

For the past few years living in the area, there’s always been an ice rink in Greenwich. Greenwich is a lovely little town that draws people from near and far to come and sample its culture and cuisine. The Queen’s House is a part of the Royal Museums Greenwich, one of the UK’s Top 10 visitor attractions. It’s also a UNESCO protected Heritage site and has been beautifully preserved.

The National Maritime Museum is next door and they have a wonderful under 5s play area that’s free to drop-in. Across the road is the Old Royal Naval College where you’ll find the newly renovated Painted Hall. Just behind the attraction is Greenwich Park and a short but steep climb up the hill, you’ll find The Royal Observatory. The last remaining tea-clipper, the Cutty Sark, is a short walk away and so is the popular Greenwich Market. On Wednesdays, there’s a toddlers soft-play session under the ship.

If you have a young child, you can really make a day out of your  visit by combining a few things to do together. Check out this post of when we went along to the Toddler Time session at Cutty Sark. There’s also lots of interesting events going on at Greenwich market over the Christmas period so be sure to check out their website.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Cheeky faces outside our favourite museum

Ice skating in Greenwich

We were kindly invited along to the opening launch of the Queen’s House Ice Rink. Apparently this Greenwich outdoor ice rink is the only one in South London There wasn’t many of us there which made it a lovely first experience for the kids, despite the rainy weather. We will definitely be back in the next week or so for more skating!

We left school and arrived at the National Maritime Museum at 3.40pm, as we were a little early we popped into the museum for a little look around. We could see from the outside that the lighthouse beacon was on and like boats to a lighthouse, we were pulled in by the light. We had a little look around the souvenir shop before heading back out and across over to the Queen’s House. The weather was not too cold but I’d highly recommend dressing the kids up warm for the ice. We warmed up with delicious hot chocolates before or our session but you can also choose from teas, coffees and mulled wine. Snacks and sweet treats are also available.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
There’s always a good photo opp at Greenwich!

The Greenwich Mummy | Review: Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queens House ice rink
The kids checking out the ice before getting on

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Checking in at the QH reception and getting a hot chocolate before our skate session

Skating sessions can be booked in advance online. Prices are from £13.50 for adults and £6.75 for children. The skating sessions are 45 minutes which is pretty standard timing. The prices are also similar to other London outdoor ice rinks. If you add in the benefits of the rink being stunning and on the doorstep of two museums, it’s decent value-for-money. After checking in we went to change into our skates, children’s size starts from infant UK 9, if your child’s feet is smaller than this they offer bob skates which go over your child’s actual footwear.

Skate aids are also available to hire for £5. They have two types of skate aids to choose from; the penguin which is suitable for single beginner skaters and the banana skate aid which is a godsend if you have more than one child. Just pop your little ones on and push them around the ice but be aware, it’s tiring work especially if your kids are older as their weight makes it harder to push and steer if you are also a beginner skater.

Our best moments & highlights…

The stunning background views
When it comes to outdoor ice skating venues, the view has to be one of the highlights. I can confirm that the Queen’s House lit up after dark for our session was truly amazing. It really added to the magical experience. Even if you skated here during daylight hours, I think it would still look just as beautiful. I will be back very soon for a solo skate and will definitely opt for a morning session. During the daytime, the Queen’s House Greenwich is always open and free to enter so make sure you pop in and have a look around at the wonderful artwork and don’t forget to check out its stunning Tulip spiral staircase.

Unfortunately, I get blisters on my feet each time I skate because my feet are flat and over-pronated. If you have a similar condition, make sure you wear thick socks and/or bring some gel cushion pads to avoid excessive rubbing. For me it’s also self-inflicted as even though I can feel my feet are over-rubbing I never get off the ice. Quitting is for losers… haha!

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Even with the dark clouds, the building still looks beautiful!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
…and at night, it looks even better!

The family-friendly size
The Greenwich ice rink is on the smaller side compared to the likes of Winter Wonderland and Somerset House however I personally think this is much better and safer especially if you have a young family and/or you’re not that confident on the ice. A smaller rink usually means staff can be more attentive and approachable for handy tips and help on the ice. As it’s a newly opened rink, there’s less of a crowd on the ice which gives you a better skating experience however I am yet to go here on a weekend so it might start getting busier as the days go by.

If it’s your first time on the ice, I’d recommend watching some Youtube videos on how to fall safely and how to skate. It’s always important to learn how to fall safely as a bad fall on the ice can really do some damage to your body especially your back and even head. If you’re an experienced skater you can still enjoy the beauty of the rink but may find yourself doing several laps pretty quickly. Not a problem as there’s also less people on the ice so you can practice those backward swizzles and turns. 🙂

A priceless first-time experience
Little Man and Little Miss thoroughly enjoyed their first time on the ice. The laughter and fun and giant smiles on their faces was priceless! For Little Man, it’s technically his second time on the ice but the first time he actually skated. As much as they loved Daddy P and I pushing them around, they were brave enough to get up on the ice and skate with one of us holding their hand. Little Miss seems a natural on the ice, Little Man needs a little more practice to find his feet and his balance.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
Daddy P pushing the kids on the banana 2-seater skate aid

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Ice skating in Greenwich at the Queen's House ice rink
The kids are absolutely loving it but it’s tiring work pushing them!

A local attraction for us
Lucky for us, we now have an ice rink a short walk or bus ride away from us which is fantastic. There’s always so much on offer in Greenwich and I am more that grateful to live in such a wonderful area. I’ll be taking the kids to see Santa once December hits and we’ll surely be back for another skate and visit to the museums. Schools around here break up on December 19th so we’ll have the Friday free to get out and do things.

If you live further afield, Greenwich is only 10 minutes from London Bridge and is very well connected with public transport. I’d advise leaving your car at home as there’s hardly any parking spaces available. You’ve got the national rail close by as well as the DLR, the river boat (Thames Clipper), numerous buses and the underground (Jubilee line) at North Greenwich which is a bus ride away, approx. 2 miles away.

Perfect for intimate skate dates
A smaller, intimate rink also makes a great place to skate for couples wanting a skate date. Daddy P and I have said that we’d like to return to skate together, probably on a school day when both of the kids are still in school so we can have a little bonding time together.

This rink is a great venue for couples however, I wouldn’t recommend considering a skate date if it’s your first time on the ice as what happens is you’ll end up just clinging onto the side of the rink instead of actually skating and having a good time together. Although saying this, at least here you can hire a banana skate aid to help you move so if one of you can skate… you can push the non-skater. 🙂 The other romantic place to skate is Somerset House however they don’t offer any skate aids so avoid going there if you’ve both never skated.

For more details or booking, visit the RMG Queen’s House website

#ExploreGreenwich
#QueensHouseIceRink
#QueensHouse


P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Greenwich Mummy | Ice skating at the Queens House Greenwich ice rink review


NB. We were invited to the press launch and compensated for our time on the ice in exchange for this blog review. All words, opinions and content are my own and photos must not be used without my consent.

Discover: Where to find Santa’s Grotto in London this Christmas

Where can you find Santa’s Grotto in London?

The simple answer is… everywhere!

There are loads of places where you can take the kids to experience Santa’s Grotto no matter what part of London you’re from. I’ve mainly sourced out the ones most local to me but you can even find a grotto by heading to your closest shopping mall and maybe even department store.

Some of the big department stores experiences (Harrods, Hamley’s, Fortnum & Mason, and Selfridges) are all sold out already! It seems like every year when I look, I’m always too late however it’s not a bad thing as the tickets for these places are usually around £25+ which is extortionate in my opinion. Christmas should not be all about commercialising and keeping pockets fat for the big companies. Instead, head to your local events and support your local or small businesses.

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There are also free Santa experiences at shopping centres so check those out too. I will carry on updating this post as we draw closer to Christmas in case I come across others. So without further ado, here’s a list of where you can find Santa in Greenwich and the surrounding areas:

Santa’s Grotto at Greenwich Market

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: The Search for Santa's Grotto in London
Credit: Greenwich Market

Dates: November 30 – December 24
Price: £5
 (proceeds going to the Greenwich & Bexley hospice)

The Grotto in Greenwich is a great little local spot. It’s right in the heart of the old covered market so you can enjoy the festivities around the area, grab something to eat before queuing up to see the Big Guy. Children also receive a small gift during their visit. If this is your child’s first experience or you just want a relatively short experience, I’d recommend seeing Santa here – it’s a no-frills visit but at least you can still get a photo with Santa and save your money for Christmas shopping!

https://www.greenwichmarket.london/events/detail/father-christmas-2019


Victorian Santa’s Grotto at the Museum of London Docklands

The Greenwich Mummy Review: Museum of London Docklands
Credit: Museum of London Docklands

Dates: November 29 – December 23
Price: £10

For a Santa experience with a bit of a difference, I would recommend coming to see Santa at the Museum of London Docklands. It’s a great museum in general and will definitely keep the kids busy. There is even a play area for the under 5s called Mudlarks Gallery and is free however you will need to reserve your child’s space. You can do this online or on the day. I’d recommend online to avoid any disappointment as the Mudlarks gallery does get full very quickly. Tickets for this year’s Santa visit is £10 per child.

A few years ago we visited the Santa’s Grotto here and got some really nice photos however I remember the queue was extremely long! Staff are on hand to check on you every 30mins or so and to usher you into the room where Santa is. You can read our Victorian Santa’s Grotto experience review here

https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/santas-grotto?id=23408


Santa’s Snowflake Grotto at Westfield Stratford City

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Santa's Grotto experiences in London
Credit: Caleb Woods via Unsplash

Dates: November 21 – December 24
Price: £7.50
(parents, children and infants all require a ticket)

I really loved the Santa experience we had at Westfield Stratford City years back when Little Man was a toddler. I don’t have any photos to share with you of the experience but I remember it was really immersive. It started off with families being ushered into a room to watch a short show about Christmas then we were slowly ushered into another room where we then waited to meet Santa. The price was only for the experience and the photoshoot but we had to buy the images. I think I bought a framed photo and a photo bauble.

This year, the experience has a North Pole theme where families will be “magically transported to the Snow Factory in the North Pole, where Santa’s elves make all the snow in the world. Children will create their own personalised christmas decoration and explore all the fun activities within the Grotto.” The kids will then receive a gift and have a photo opportunity with Santa. After that, you’ll be ‘magically transported’ back to London.

https://uk.westfield.com/stratfordcity/entertainment/events/santas-snowflake-grotto/54380


Selfies with Santa at Lewisham Shopping Centre

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Dates: December 17 – December 24
Price: FREE

Last year, Lewisham Shopping Centre had a Santa meet & greet event and we were invited along. The Santa and elves from The Holly Jolly Co. were so lovely and really made the experience special for us. The team are entertainers and are also available for party hires so check them out if you want to host an event and in need of good friendly entertainers. This year, they are back again so make sure you pop along from Tuesday 17th December until Christmas Eve!

We also donated gifts to the giving tree. You pick the the tag that you want which has a child’s age and gender on there so you can pick a gift for them. Buy your gift(s) then come back and the staff will help you attach your tag. I let the kids pick a child each. If the tree is there again this year, we shall do the same. After all, Christmas is about the gift of giving and spreading joy to all.

https://lewishamshopping.co.uk/articles/come-meet-santa-claus-lewisham


Santa’s Grotto & Christmas fayre at Lesnes Abbey

The Greenwich Mummy | Family Lifestyle Blogger

Dates: December 7 & 8 
Price: FREE

A two day Christmas extravaganza at Lesnes Abbey. With over 30 different craft and gift stalls, a Christmas Scavenger Hunt and live festive music. On Saturday you’ll enjoy a Christmas Market, Grotto, stalls, mulled wine, minced pies and lots of kids activities. For Sunday there will be more new stalls and the kids can be entertained on the Frozen bouncy castle and indoor Christmas pop-up disco. Amazing!

https://www.royalgreenwich.gov.uk/events/event/7168/lesnes_abbey_christmas_grotto_and_fayre

with love x

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Linking up with the #DreamTeam

Getting into the Halloween spirit with Pumpkin Carving at Lewisham Shopping Centre

The Greenwich Mummy | Lewisham Shopping Centre Halloween Special

This October half term has been a lot of fun for the kids this year. Normally I am not involved with Halloween activities as I’m not a big fan of the day (Vietnamese superstitions and all) but this year I wanted to put myself aside and let the kids have their fun.

Pumpkin Carving in Lewisham

Little Man had a lot of fun carving and decorating his pumpkin at the Lewisham Shopping Centre‘s Pumpkin Party. It was a free event and lots of people came by the stand to have a go at carving. Little Man and I had a team effort – we traced the stencil together then took turns to carve sections of the pumpkin. When it came to scooping out the fleshy bits (which he called “scooping the guts out”) he left that to me.

When it came to decorating it with glitter he was great at doing it himself. Of course, I had to join it – who can resist a bit of glitter fun?

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Family Things to Do this Halloween Half Term

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Family Things to Do this Halloween Half Term

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Family Things to Do this Halloween Half Term

Halloween shopping at Lewisham Centre

We also did a little bit of shopping after our pumpkin carving. We headed to H&M and I bought for Little Man the coolest reversible sequin ghost jumper which he has loads of fun flipping around. For Little Miss, I got her a glittery black tulle dress and alice cat veil as she wanted to be a cat for Halloween. We also went to M&S and picked up loads of treats including chocolates, jelly sweets and lots of Halloween snacks for a mini party at home. *update* the stores now have their Christmas range in stock. H&M also have a lovely collection of Frozen apparel, also in time for the movie launch.

H&M reversible sequin jumper, £9.99

H&M tulle dress, £9.99 / alice band with veil, £2.99

Spookalicious treats at M&S Lewisham

Our last little shop was to Smiggle for some stationary fun. We had a good look around the little shop. At the moment, they’ve just launched a new range of Frozen stationary – in time for the Frozen 2 movie. The backpacks look amazing and kids can choose from the sparkly gold Anna accessories or the shimmery icy blue Elsa accessories. My preference would be the Anna collection as it’s such a beautiful gold colour but I know Little Miss would prefer the Elsa collection. We also picked up a handy all-in-one Smiggle dinosaur pencil case for Little Man. It’s got a section for pens and pencils, a special compartment for the eraser and the sharpener and even comes with a mini calculator. Perfect for secondary school kids but just as cool for primary school kids IMO. Also, Smiggle Lewisham currently has a 25% off everything promo in store (excludes Frozen 2 and Star Wars collections) so make sure you pop into your local store and check out the goods.

Frozen 2 stationary now available in store at Smiggle Lewisham

Smiggle pencil case, £13.50

Lewisham Shopping Centre opening times

The centre is open 7 days a week. Times of the stores may vary during seasonal periods ie. Christmas, New Year and Bank Holidays.

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday (Late night shopping – yay!)
Friday
Saturday
Sunday

Check out their page for Christmas opening hours: https://lewishamshopping.co.uk/your-visit/opening-hours


More pumpkin fun…

On Wednesday we headed out to Stanhill Farm to pick some pumpkins. It was a first experience for all of us so it was really nice to be able to share that with each other.

It took us two buses to make the journey however as the buses take a longer route, it also took us around 1.5hrs when by car it would’ve been a decent 25-30mins journey. On our way back, we took an uber ride home as we had heavy pumpkins and I wasn’t ready for any restless tantrums on the buses for another 1.5 hours.

The pumpkin patch at Stanhill Farm is a good size with lots of pumpkins to choose from. There was even a little area where the farmers had put a load of pumpkins together so you can take some lovely photos if you wanted to. Only Little Man was cooperating with me for the photos but I did get some really nice shots of them around the patch. 🙂

I made a little video of our outing too. You can watch it here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hVb3GeecdhI


NB. We were kindly gifted shopping vouchers in exchange for our pumpkin carving experience review. All words, content and unbiased opinion are my own.