m i n d f u l m o n d a y s
Original post by LondonDucklings
Like it or not, we are starting to get experienced when it comes to activities for kids at home during Coronavirus isolation. Not even being able to …100 Activities for kids bored at home while in isolation
I’ve always loved the idea of homeschooling but didn’t think I’d have the intelligence, patience or willpower to do so. After these two – almost three weeks – I can tell you that it’s bloody hard! I’ve always done so but now praise teachers even more for what they do with our children, it’s not an easy job with one let alone a class full of twenty plus.
We also must need to thank all of the key workers working hard to keep our country running. The shop workers, seriously – where would we be without them? It’s amazing that we can all stand together as one and as a community, helping each other out. In Greenwich there is a mutual aid group made up of locals volunteering to help out those in need who are struggling with their daily lives.
They have a Facebook page so if you can volunteer or know someone that may need/would like the help, get in touch. Please note that it is a private group so you will need to have a FB account to access it: https://m.facebook.com/groups/greenwichcovid19mutualaid
So we have been self-isolating since the school closures were announced on Friday 20th March. We have only gone out when necessary for essential shopping which we try to limit to no more than 2-3 a week. We didn’t stockpile but made sure we had a few extras of our normal shop to keep us going for a few weeks. We haven’t been sick or had symptoms *touch wood* and have stayed away from our friends and family.
Of course, we practice social distancing and we try to only nominate one of us to do the essential shop. I get Daddy P to do it as the last time I tried to go to the shops it was a little awkward and I felt very anxious. Social distancing wasn’t entirely possible in our local supermarket and other people noticed it too. One even commented “well we’re all gonna die anyway“… okay(!)
I wanted to say something so badly but we’re all entitled to our own opinion and in these uncertain times, who knows anymore. I wrote an earlier post about the racial tension I experienced which still looms in the air. Even an NHS worker in London was recently racially targeted because she was of Asian-looking heritage. There’s only two words that people need to think of in this situation and it’s “BE KIND”. Be kind to everyone but especially those who are working flat out to keep us safe.
The outbreak is affecting us all mentally, emotionally and physically. The kids are managing well and to be honest, haven’t been asking too many questions about it. They’ve just taken it on board and got along with things. I am so grateful that they are able to have this mindset especially as they’re not allowed outside more than once a week.
Keeping to a routine will not only save your sanity, it will also give the family a sense of structure to your day. Most days, try to wake up at a reasonable time like (before 10am) and get that morning routine going. Especially as most of us are now at home it’s so easy to fall into a slump and put your body clock out of sync with the world.
If you are homeschooling you might want to wake up like you would do on a ‘normal’ school day and start your studies at 9am. For us, we’re a bunch of lazy bones and will wake up around 9-10am and start homeschooling an hour after. Our morning routine includes washing face/brushing teeth, eat breakfast, set up the desk and get into homeschool-mode. So much easier that we don’t have to faff around with school uniform!
Everyone’s routine will be a little different – the same goes with the homeschooling. Before I started, I had big plans for Little Man and a good day’s schedule all planned out. After the first day, we realised it wouldn’t work and so have adapted it to suit us since then. Now we limit school work to 2 hours a day and usually try to do it before their lunch at 1pm. However, we are also flexible so if we’ve had a lazy morning, we’d carry on with relaxing and playing then do the homeschooling after lunch or during the second half of the day.
Don’t curb on all the processed food as now you’ll actually have the time to cook. If you’re not great at it or stuck for ideas, just head online and you’ll find that the internet world is really your (virtual) oyster. If the kitchen is not really your forte, subscription companies like Gousto, Mindful Chef and Hello Fresh can actually be very helpful however they will be very busy due to demand. Have a look for food boxes from your local grocery, they might even deliver for free. You can even check out their boxes recipes online too, here’s a link to Mindful Chef’s latest recipes to whet your appetite.
Note: get the kids involved with the cooking! It’ll count towards their ‘life skills’ and makes great bonding sessions.
Breakfast: make sure you have a good breakfast to start your day. Our favourite is oat porridge with a small dollop of jam or a slice of toast with cheesy scrambled egg. For myself if I’m being lazy, I have a slice of toast with tea and then coffee!
Lunch: we keep it simple for lunch as the kids usually get involved. Recently we’ve been making easy egg-less fluffy pancakes (recipe here!). There’s also a recipe for ‘protein pancakes’ on this blog if you fancy something different.
Dinner: Daddy P and I take it in turns but I would say 80% of the time, I’ll cook and he’ll clean because he’s the best at cleaning! 🙂 Our recent meals include salmon and dill quiche with salad, seafood and fish pie, easy macaroni cheese, veggie lasagne, and even fish stew! As Daddy P is pescetarian we don’t cook meat anymore – saying that I did make sticky soy and garlic glazed chicken wings the other day which was so tasty.
If meal planning or coming up with new meals is really difficult, try to have at least one nutritiously dense meal a day. Papier have come up with some planning tips that might help: https://www.papier.com/thefold/articles/menu-planning-tips
We try to get in our daily “together time”. This is any fun activity that we can do all together as a family. There’s also a weekly Sunday family rave courtesy of Big Fish Little Fish events at 2pm on Facebook Live so don’t miss that one! It’s pretty amazing. They put on an amazing show, we’ve been to a few family raves in person so it’s really nostalgic to watch them on Sundays. Also an excuse for us to make noise and go crazy with dance.
When I want to workout alone, I put on Zumba Workouts (Youtube) and work up a good sweat, my favourite workouts are from a lady called Ysel Gonzalez – she has such a vibrant energy it’s amazing. Sometimes the kids join in which is nice too. I’ve also bought a rebounder to use at home and the kids are having a good workout on there too! I’ve not had a go yet but will try it out this weekend.
If you’re stuck on ideas, here are some ‘together time’ activities you can fit into your routine:
We’ve been doing family yoga stories together once a week, sometimes more if they’re up to it. There’s also a lot of yoga teachers offering online classes (free, pay-what-you-can and donation-based) so have a look out for them. There’s literally a class for everyone and any family. If you’ve never done yoga before, don’t worry about it – family yoga is fun and the focus is on the bonding experience between parent and child/children and having fun! If you’re still unsure, you can put YouTube’s Cosmic Kids Yoga for the kids (ideally for 3-9 yrs) to keep them busy for an hour or two.
For yourself, now is a better time than any to start your own yoga practice. Yoga really is for everybody. Don’t think that you need to be flexible to start yoga – flexibility is a by-product of yoga!
My advice for you would be to look for yoga ‘flows’ (classes/sessions) that are specifically for beginners if you have no/very little yoga experience. These sessions are the best at easing you into simple poses and will have more options for modification. Restorative yoga flows are also great for beginners and they focus on releasing tight areas and are friendly enough for those who suffer from mobility issues or injuries. It’s also great for those who just want a much slower and relaxing pace.
It’s so easy to try and cram as much in as possible, especially when we’re provided with so much choice and now have a lot more time on our hands. Take each day as it comes and as much as having a routine and structure is important, so is the ability to be flexible and realistic with your expectations. If the children seem like they have too much energy, have some time out and maybe even skip the schoolwork for the day. Enjoy the time you have with each other.
It’s hard for the children to not be able to release their wild energy normally like they would do running about in the playground and so they can become restless, mine certainly do! Be more understanding towards them and give them a little lee-way.
Learning to be in the moment – being present, becoming mindful is something I am trying to teach myself. I can get quite riled up from the children that sometimes I lose my sh*t and go on a shouting rampage. What good does it do? Nothing. How does it make me feel after? Like a crappy parent. So why continue to do it?
Stop the cycle by observing and not judging whether it’s a good or bad situation, just accept it as it is. Only then can we move forward to a more positive outcome. I bought a mindfulness book which helps me to challenge my thoughts and behaviours – almost like a CBT book that helps me to keep calm and become more mindful of everything around. There’s also brilliant mindfulness apps for adults and children. For adults, I love the CALM app and for kids, we use the Moshi Twilight stories app. It really helps the children to relax and usually sends them off to sleep. Other mindfulness activities can include mandala colouring (great for kids too!), guided meditation and yoga nidra.
I’m sure you have heard this everywhere. Keep your immunity levels high to keep your health in good condition. You don’t have to purchase the world of tablets but multivitamins with omega 3 or vitamin D, and vitamin C tablets can go a long way. A good way of getting in vitamin C is through eating fruits like oranges. Try not to juice them as this extracts mainly the sugars that’s contained in the fruit. You’ll get more benefit from eating oranges whole and eat fruits with the skin on like apples as the fibre is in the skin.
When I’m not feeling too well, I like drinking my honey and ginger tea. Just hot water, a teaspoon of honey and a thumb-size knob of ginger (crushed) is the best thing ever.
Turmeric is also another fantastic ingredient that is an immune-booster, it’s anti-inflammatory and said to help with healing. My mother used to buy fresh turmeric root and rub it over her acne spots to help it heal faster. Unfortunately the root can be hard to find but they would be available in most Asian food stores but turmeric powder can be found in most supermarkets.
I like making turmeric lattes with turmeric powder and dairy-free milk (oat milk or brown rice milk is the best for this!) and enjoy. If you have a frothing tool you can get a really lovely foam going and a professional barista-style turmeric latte.
Whether you have a big garden or an apartment balcony like me, there’s always time to get some fresh air. We are still currently allowed to go outside for an hour of exercise so you could use a few minutes of this time to go on a gentle walk. If you’re up early enough, take the kids with you so they can get some fresh air too – by going earlier you’ll avoid unnecessary crowds of people. Of course, continue to practice social distancing and stay safe when outside.
If you prefer to go stay indoors the garden is a wonderful place to be, learn to make use of your green space – perhaps get the kids involved with some gardening or have a little campfire (no actual fire of course!) but you can teach them camping skills or scouts activities which you can find online. If like me you have just a balcony, leave the balcony door open for a few hours each day to let fresh air circulate inside the flat.
When you have a family, looking after number one *yourself* can sometimes become the last priority but during this lockdown, your own mental/physical/emotionally self must be taken care of first. It’s the time to be selfish because you don’t look after yourself, who will look after your family?
I’m not saying splash out on something lavish – unless you can really afford to – I’m saying do something nice for yourself at least once a week or month. Whether it’s allowing yourself to binge on one whole Netflix series or eating that whole batch of chocolate brownies you made, just do it!
I re-joined Birchbox last month and I’m looking forward to this little treat. Other beauty subscription boxes include Look Fantastic (check out their pretty April box here), Glossybox and Beauty Pie. If you prefer natural or vegan beauty products, I’d highly recommend trying out the LoveLula boxes. I need to start reviewing the boxes again but I stopped as it took a lot of time, though now I have a little more time… why not!
These beauty boxes are life right now and the best thing is that you can choose to pay in block to save money or pay on a monthly basis and cancel at anytime. If you change your mind, you can resubscribe at anytime too.
Lots of love to everyone during these uncertain times. Take care of family and more importantly yourself in both mind and body. x
*NB. this post contains affiliate links
I first met mumpreneur Nahdia @Nahdz_Adventures from a Paint & Slurp event that was ran by her and London artist @artsybeaumont which was super fun. This was a few years ago and the craft event is all about bonding with your child making art together on canvas whilst enjoying a healthy smoothie. Since then, I’ve been going to Nahdia’s amazing sensory workshops, Sensory Sunday with Nahdz.
The now-mum-of-three is an amazing, a real supermum – she blogs, runs her own business, takes care of her boys and travels with the kids in between. Mumspiration right there! She’s also supports lots of small businesses; when I first qualified for my kids yoga teacher training, she came along to my classes with her boys without fail. I’ve since moved away from there so haven’t been able to yoga with her and her boys as much anymore but I’m so glad I got to spend a good few months with teaching them family yoga. I could see the boys progressing in their yoga poses and strength every week.
Sensory Sunday with Nahdz is a monthly workshop that allows children to explore, play, and experience sensory stimulation (messy play) in a fun and safe environment. Parents can sit back and mingle with other parents or get just as involved with their children. The children can play to their heart’s content without anyone telling them “don’t make a mess” – every child’s dream. At the end, parents can walk away happy whilst Nahdz and her team work their magic clearing everything away. It’s guilt-free fun!
It’s a very inclusive event and is suitable for any child that likes sensory/messy play or you’d like to introduce your child to sensory/messy play. Little Man and my nephew loved the one I took them to a couple years ago. I haven’t taken Little Miss before so I think she will really enjoy the event. As I now work weekends, this makes it harder to do things with the kids when I’m not around. Daddy P is not really the best at looking out for these fun things to do.
Nahdia usually sets up around 4 different trays (depending on number of children attending, PS parents/carers go free!) each with a different sensory element. The one we attended we had a dinosaur tray filled with pulses, rocks and plastic dinosaurs, another table had coloured rice and magnetic numbers and letters. It was even fun for me to plunge my hands into so I know the kids loved it. There’s also usually a special guest (ie. a book reading with an author) at the end of the workshop too which is a perfect way to wrap up the event.
The workshop is for children as young as pre-walking babies and toddlers up to primary school age. I took Little Man when he was 5 and he really couldn’t get enough of it!
Check out @Nahdz_Adventures instagram page or Eventbrite for upcoming Sensory Sunday dates. So far, the events have been held at Space@61 in Dulwich which is a cosy space that can be hired for events. I love the venue, it’s super family-friendly. It’s quite easy to get to with parking spaces nearby and outside the venue.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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/
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.
P I N T H I S P O S T !
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.
PARIS, the capital of France is only a 2hr train ride via Eurostar from London St. Pancras or a short 45mins flight from London Stansted or Gatwick. However, train tickets and flights can cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t book far enough in advance. But fear ye not, because I’m going to tell you how you can visit Paris on a budget AND do it in a day (Well, sort of – I’ll explain later)… Happy days!
If you really want to travel to Paris the cheapest way possible, it would be by coach. But for that dirt cheap price comes the compromise – time. The journey is approximately 7-9hrs and depending on which coach company you go with, you can either arrive close to the centre of Paris, the airports or the suburbs of Paris.
This is why I previously wrote “sort of” for doing Paris in a day. If you want to be able to explore Paris in a day, you’ll need a night coach journey so you’ll arrive in Paris early in the morning allowing you to have all day to explore the city.
The main coach companies taking you to Paris from London are Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus. Coach tickets will set you back £11-15 one way and if you’re lucky, you might even find a next day return ticket for as little as £18! Now take that into consideration to a £49+ one way Eurostar ticket. However, saying this… IT IS POSSIBLE to travel to Paris from London cheaply on the Eurostar if you book during their promotion sale. These start from just £29pp one way which is amazingly cheap plus, it’s the quickest way to get to Paris.
When my sister and I went on our impromptu day trip to Paris from London, we took a night coach and arrived early morning. We spent all morning and afternoon exploring and sightseeing then caught an evening coach back home. We spent around £100 each for our day trip which included a few Uber rides in between. I bought a lot of dry food to bring back home with me so that added to our expenditure however it is possible to eat cheap, skip the hotel and save your money for the attractions and museums.
The easiest and cheapest way to get around the city is by metro (underground). It’s fast, frequent and pretty reliable. Just like London travel, you’ll need a ticket to get around – a day pass is the cheapest at 12EUR but they also offer 3, 5 and 7 days pass. The main parts of Paris are within zones 1-3 but if you need to get to the airports (CDG and Orly) or Disneyland this will be outside of the zones and you’ll need a separate ticket for this. If I’m not wrong, you can buy an extension which can be added onto your current pass.
Just like London, there are LOTS to do and see in Paris. However with only a day to spare and doing it on a budget won’t be easy so your planning skills need to be on point here. Research beforehand on Google maps all of the main attractions you’re interested in and see where they are located and how close they are to each other. Below are some great touristy places to see. I’ve included all of these locations in the Google Maps, just click on the markers to view them.
For a day trip, visiting 4-5 attractions should be enough to satisfy your wanderlust without burning you out and still leave you with time to relax and have something to eat and drink. Check admission prices online to make sure you stick to your budget. Alternatively, skip entry and make up for it with lots of photos instead.
*ONLY if you decide to make them your only attraction to visit in Paris.
Tickets to Paris museums are free if you are a child under 18 or a student under 25.
One weekend a month, the museums do offer free entry to everyone but this varies from museum to museum so check out their admissions/tickets page for more details.
Another fantastic way of seeing many attractions in one go is to go on a walking tour.
You basically pay as much or as little as you like. Some are completely free and you can just tip instead. My sister and I did a free Montmartre walking tour which was a great way to see the area and learn some cool facts along the way. Ours was a tip-only tour so we tipped our guy €5-10 for his time.
Check out the sites below for free walking tours:
Top tip: make sure you wear comfortable trainers or walking shoes when embarking on a walking tour as they can range from 1-3 hours.
Just like London, there’s all different cuisines for you to try from in Paris. The Independent online compiled this list of the best cheap eateries in Paris with main dishes coming in less than €10 it’s a win-win situation.
Top tip: AVOID the restaurants opposite the Eurostar Gare du Nord station because not only is it severely over-priced, the food is absolutely terrible! I made the mistake of eating there once and spent over 60EUR for our family of four and the food was terrible! We would’ve been better going to the McDonalds also on the same row of restaurants.
Not sure what to order?
Try some French classics; order an onion soup for your starter or a creme brulee for your dessert. If you’re feeling really brave, why not try their delicacy of snails… let me know how that one goes! Paris is well known for their pastries so head to a café and order something sweet, team it up with a hot drink like a latte = café au lait (“kaffay-aw-lay”), hot chocolate = chocolat chaud (“shoh-koh-lah-shaw”). If you fancy something stronger, ladies would usually order a red wine = vin rouge (“van-roozj”) or a white wine = vin blanc (“van-blohn”) and men typically a beer = bierre (“bee-air”).
If you have some cash to splash, buy a box of delicious Ladurée macarons. The macarons come in many flavours and colours and the box packaging is to die for!
I was craving some home cooking and headed out to a local-looking Vietnamese cafe in Choissy and ordered traditional dishes. The starter was around €4-5 and main was between €9-13. I spoke to the staff in Vietnamese (which was nice) and funnily enough it felt really comfortable like being at home. I think most Vietnamese cafes in this district are family-owned which is nice because there are so many chains and franchises nowadays it’s nice to support small and local businesses.
If you want to stay in Paris on a budget, the best option (if you don’t mind sharing) is a hostel. Unless you have a lot of cash to splash, most hotels in Paris are budget hotels and 1-2 star. It’s usually not much different from a decent hostel in my opinion. Some hostels like the Generator Paris offers single rooms with private bath/shower rooms at a premium so at least you have the option to choose.
There’s a super useful post by the Budget Traveller which has a list of the best budget stays in Paris so make sure to check those out as well as doing your own research on cheap stays: https://budgettraveller.org/6-of-the-best-budget-places-to-stay-in-paris/
The Generator Paris hostel is a popular choice – voted by The Independent Online and the Budget Traveller as one of the best places to stay in Paris. It offers free WIFI, sharing rooms (dorms) and private rooms, female only rooms, bar, lounge area and more.
I hope that this post has given you some inspiration or ideas on how to construct your day trip to Paris on a budget. There’s so much information online and Paris in a day is usually already on most travel blogger’s list so don’t be afraid to read their experiences and recommendations.
P I N T H I S P O S T
Father’s Day is this weekend already! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! Now officially in mid-June, summer is approaching and the warmer days we had a couple of weeks felt fantastic. I even tried out my Bondi Sands fake tan which was lovely – I need to write a review on that soon. Below are gift ideas I’ve got in mind for Daddy P but I hope they inspire you if you haven’t found anything just yet….
For the last few years, a Father’s Day mug has always on the list for Daddy P. I usually order a personalised 15oz photo mug from Snapfish (£12.99) which was always big hit. I’ve ordered one again this year too! I love adding our own photos to the mug, it gives a personal touch which I think is a little special (and cheesy) but the kids love it. They’ve also got a promo code for 30% off your total basket with no minimum spend so get purchasing. They also offer next day delivery.
My personalised photo mug has arrived! I love it, it’s so sweet. The only thing I forgot to add to the mug was some text to say “Happy Father’s Day 2019!” …oops!
I love simple yet stylish watches for men. With most of us constantly on our phones today I feel like sometimes we were slowly getting rid of functional accessories like watches. I found this beautiful stainless steel watch on Not On The High Street and best of all, it can be personalised and they have free standard delivery.
The silver colour stands out and is so stylish but they have a few other colours so have a look. For £69, it’s a good price too! There’s so much on websites like NOTHS and Etsy I love looking for special and unique items to buy. At the moment (for myself!) I’m obsessed with dainty necklaces and personalised bracelets. Check out NOTHS’s fathers day gifts for even more ideas.
It’s good to look after yourself; self-care is one of the things most people tend to overlook in themselves. Daddy P is lucky he has good skin (not oily, not dry) however he doesn’t do anything to look after it. Men usually like to keep their skincare simple so the basic essentials are key; to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise.
These two kits below are my favourite; the Look Fantastic Father’s Day collection which has a mix of face and body products from premium brands. And the Aromatherapy Associates The Refinery kit is a new favourite of mine which comes with a wash bag. I use this brand at my workplace and I’ve really fallen in love with it. I’ve already gotten Daddy P the face wash and shave oil which is fab and suitable for all skin types.
Cleansing clears the skin of dirt and debris build-up, preps the skin and leaves it fresh. Toner tones the skin and minimises large pores, and leaves the skin matte yet hydrated for the absorption of the moisturiser. Exfoliating (especially if they shave) helps to buff away dead skin cells and reduces ingrown hairs as the pores are clear, allowing the hair follicle to grow out of the skin instead of inwards (which happens when the pores are blocked with dirt or natural oils). I would also recommend a beard/shave oil for those growing a beard. The oil will help to nourish the skin but also condition the beard hair, keeping it soft. Moisturiser is the last step and works as a barrier against daily pollutants and keeps the skin hydrated and moisturised.
If your man prefers something a little more active, why not take him out for an evening of fun? I’ve picked outdoor cinema or a raving night out at Ballie Ballerson. The Rooftop Film Club hosting in Peckham is showing Schwarzenegger’s classic, The Terminator on Father’s Day. You can book tickets directly from the RFC’s website: https://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/bussey-building/film/the-terminator-1984/
Ballie Ballerson is an adult-only cocktail bar that has its very own giant ball-pit! So if you and your partner want to bring out your inner child and just spend a night together feeling like kids again, this is not a place to miss out! Tickets are from £7.50pp for admission only or you can go all out with a VIP package which includes food and a designated booth for £25/35pp. Check them out here: https://www.ballieballerson.com/tickets/https://www.ballieballerson.com/tickets
Daddy P LOVES football and I’ve just found a deal TravelZoo for Behind-the-Scenes tour tickets to Wembley stadium… just £9! That’s almost 52% off the standard price. Best thing of all is tickets can be redeemed up until September so he can choose to use it now for Father’s Day or choose to wait for another day when he’s ready to use it. A behind-the-scenes tour is a guided and self-guided tour of the stadium including the footballer’s dressing rooms, the press room, the player’s tunnel, pitchside and the Royal Box. Imagine all those insta-worthy photo moments!
Daddy P’s been talking about going to Barcelona but hasn’t been able to get round to it. Between juggling parenting and job hunting it’s been a struggle. Weekend breaks work out really well because you can travel but still be back in time for parenting duties. I love looking for my holiday breaks from OnTheBeach.com so naturally I had a search for Father’s Day trips to Barcelona and found some good deals. You can either search for flights and hotel separately or let On The Beach’s deal finder search for you. I found the following deals for 2 adults; 2 nights in Barcelona (flights & hotel) flying out from London Stansted:
The Mirror Barcelona £292pp, B&B double room
It’s not called The Mirror for nothing. Photos of the hotel show that the rooms are loaded with mirrors from the bedroom to bathroom but in a very playful and tasteful way. Great for us ladies to check out our outfits and makeup throughout the day. Th price is reasonable and the Tripadvisor ratings look good too. The hotel offers free WiFi, air conditioning, pool and close to local amenities.
On a budget:
Catalonia Bristol £171pp, double room only
This was the best low budget option I found on the site. Pretty decent price and the hotel looks really nice and modern. Their Tripadvisor rating looks good and they have free WiFi which is perfect for a short weekend break.
Splash the cash:
MELIÁ Barcelona Sarriá £439pp, B&B level junior suite
If you want to pull out all the stops this Father’s Day, this is the hotel for you. Hotel Meliá has a lot to offer in terms of room quality, style, and service. This 5 star hotel has a spa on-site so you can treat yourself (and hubby!) to a relaxing massage or spa day in the evening on your mini-break. Free WiFi, air conditioning and a gym are standard amenities and the location is a short car journey from the beach.
NB. This post contains affiliate links
Whenever I tell someone that I’ve been to Ibiza, I am always greeted with a surprised face and “Ibiza? I didn’t know you was a party girl”… The thing is they’re right, I’m not. However there’s more to Ibiza than just parties even though they are said to be amazing! Ibiza will always be a place for the party goers but the island does have more to offer.
It’s a beautiful and magical island that’s great for all kinds of travellers; from solo flyers (yes, I’ve been to Ibiza alone too!) to family funsters and soul searchers. My case of wanderlust always brings me back to this place and I’m thankful for On The Beach’s low deposit holidays option. It’s perfect for people like me who find it hard to save or book in full. You pay an initial booking deposit from around £30pp and then the remaining balance up to 2 weeks before departure. Paying off my holidays in small, manageable chunks helps me to budget better around my bills, rent and other expenses.
Here are my top 5 reasons why Ibiza should be on everyone’s bucket list. Pretty much self-explanatory and simple but that’s where the beauty lies. X
Ibiza’s climate is balmy and generallly warm all year long with moderate rainfall. When I first went to Ibiza back in August 2010 the temperature was around 26-30 degree celsius. I went back again in September 2017 and 2018 and the temperature varies from 24-28 degree celsius. In 2018 there was one day we got caught in torrential rain that lasted about 15-20 mins but as soon as it stopped, it was warm and humid again.
From the beautiful sea views around Antonio Bay to the historical old town of Dalt Vila, there’s a lot to see around the little island. On Sundays, you can head over to Benirras beach to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets accompanied by the sensational drumming. It happens every Sunday during the summer and is an event not to be missed.
I tried to go there by bus but got mixed-up with the bus times (or perhaps the bus just never came) so I missed it. My advice would be to catch a cab there early or travel to San Miguel a day before as the roads leading to Benirras beach gets very busy by Sunday afternoon. If you’re driving try to get there in the morning, chill out by the beach all day then get ready for the sunset in the evening. Bliss!
If the Ibiza mainland is boring you a little, take a trip out to its sister islands. Whether you head out to the pristine white sand beaches of Formentera or stop off at the secluded island of Espalmador (I’ve visited both!) it’s definitely a trip not to miss.
Formentera is a fantastic escape from the mainland. Within 40mins by boat (Aquabus) you’ll reach the pristine shores of Formentera. It looks like somewhere out of a postcard. Plenty of luxury yachts dock at its marina and its beach shores are filled with white sand and turquoise waters. You can easily find places to eat and drink, go surfing or cycling, and explore different parts of the island. It’s a great place to explore with the whole family. The cosy coves dotted along the coastline are calming and lovely enough to enjoy before the tide comes in.
There are frequent Aquabus services to Formentera from all over the Ibiza mainland for about €20 (day return). You can even stay on the island with many B&Bs, luxury apartments, charters and yachts available to rent.
There’s a tiny secluded island on the way to Formentera called Espalmador. It lies between Ibiza and Formentera and is basically a mass of land which has become a secluded getaway for Ibizan goers looking for peace and quiet.
There’s not much to do on the island apart from sunbathe – you can go nude, semi-nude, as free as you like! There is also a mud spring somewhere on the island which you can take a dip in. There’s hardly any coverage on the island so apply plenty of sunscreen, if you burn easily I’d say skip Espalmador and just visit Formentera as there’s plenty of secluded bays there plus rocky coves where you can salvage some shade.
If you’re keen on visiting Espalmador, bring a picnic, plenty of suncream as there’s not really shady areas and water bottle – there’s no food/drink places here and the Aquabus only passes here a couple trips per day. Also there’s no toilet so make sure you go before you arrive either on the boat or mainland.
Even if you’ve never visited Ibiza you would’ve heard about their famous Hippy Market which is open every Wednesday throughout the summer. I remember my first time going to the Hippy Market; it was busy, chaotic but super fun! There’s something for everyone, there’s even a little play area for the kids. The last time I visited it was less chaotic but still just as busy.
There was so much to see and if you’re looking for special or unique gifts you will find something here. I picked up a gorgeous amethyst crystal necklace on a leather cord. I’d seen so many similar necklaces before but they were too expensive. I think mine cost me around €15-18 which wasn’t too bad as the quality was great and the amethyst stone looked genuine enough.
Here’s a short list of the markets you can visit on the island:
Check out Ibiza Spotlight for the full list of Ibiza’s markets sorted by days.
The Ibizan atmosphere is super chilled. I always felt relaxed and the pace of life here seems very easy-going which is fantastic. But despite the relaxing lifestyle, there’s plenty of activities you can do around the island to keep you healthy, fit and active.
and so much more!
If you regularly work out, there’s plenty of gyms around the island for you to keep up your strength. Lots of the cafes offer delicious and nutritious healthy food so you don’t have to worry too much about eating junk. There’s a healthy cafe for #fitfams in San Antonio Bay called ‘The Skinny Kitchen’. They make a good salad/buddha bowl for a decent price,plus it was the only place I could find that offered matcha lattes. There are loads of nice healthy cafes around the island so don’t be afraid to explore.
For a more extensive list of things to do around the island, visit Ibiza Spotlight’s Things to Do page.
I’ve visited most parts of the island and it’s excellent wherever you go. You’re bound to find a beach near you no matter where you stay in Ibiza. Here are some of my recommendations:
Top tips: If you want to avoid the major party season, visit the island in May/June or September/October instead. Also, the island is well connected by bus so take advantage of this if you have more time on your hands to explore the island. X
Bank Holidays are fantastic because it’s a day when school’s out and I don’t have to take a day off work to spend it with the kids. We haven’t been able to spend a lot of family time like we used to because I work both weekends now so Last Monday we decided to make the most of it. We headed out to the new VUE cinema that opened up on Eltham high street.
We were invited along to watch a film – we chose Wonder Park. It’s 1hr 28mins long which is a perfect length for two kids under 5. Daddy P and I really wanted to watch Avengers: End Game with the kids but after seeing that the film was 3hrs long, we decided to give that a miss.
From our home in Greenwich, the 286 bus takes us directly outside the cinema in 25-30 mins. If you’re coming from Eltham station it’s a 10mins walk (0.5mi) or short bus ride up the hill. For those that drive, are a few car parking bays on the high street but the nearest car park is at Sainsbury’s directly behind the cinema (£1 p/hr and free after 6.30pm). I really like Eltham as it’s just like Greenwich – totally accessible in south east London. Also, there’s a cheeky Nandos restaurant door which is a bonus!
The cinema is one of the smallest I’ve been to with only six screens however its size doesn’t compromise on its quality and standard. Bank Holidays are really busy so it was only natural to expect lots of people and queues.
The location of VUE Eltham is superb because it’s right on the high street and is so easy to find. You really can’t miss it. If you’re a local, you’ll have no problem finding it. If you’re not then just take any bus that will get you to Eltham high street and it’s a short walk – you can see the big VUE sign anywhere on the high street so you really can’t miss it.
The queues were not that long but it did take us a while to get served. I’m pretty sure it’s because the cinema had just opened and the staff had to quickly deal with the influx of people coming through the doors. I pondered on the choice of snacks to pick for our film but decided to keep it simple. I got a regular soft drink for Daddy P, Kids combo pack for Little Man and a mixed slush puppy for Little Miss. I decided not to buy anything for myself but was very tempted to get nachos with cheese because they looked so good! The price was not bad too, all of our snacks and refreshments came up to nearly £20 which was a bargain in my eyes. I’m sure we’d normally spend £40 in another cinema.
Little Man and I also eyed up the pick and mix bar but decided to be good for the day. 🙂
The VUE cinema in Eltham has two floors and is accessed by the stairs or the lift. My only little niggle is that there are no signs in the lift to point out which screens are on which floor – this would’ve helped us a lot as we ended up heading up onto level 1 only to realise our screen 4 is on level 2. With a total of six screens and 857 seats, all screens are fitted with two wheelchair bays per screen which is great for those who require accessible seating.
All screens are fitted with Digital Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound and Sony 4K Digital projection for that clear picture quality and audio. We got to sit really close when we watched Wonder Park which was amazing! You can really see all the tiny details very clearly on the screen. Our seats were also super comfy and pretty spacious. There were also booster seats available just outside of our screen which would come in handy if you have young children.
Our chosen film, Wonder Park was absolutely amazing! Splendiferous, you could say. I won’t spoil it for you but I can tell you there’s no super sad ending like in other animations and there’s no talk of death but there are some sad moments quickly erased with lots of happiness and laughter. If you’ve not seen the trailer, definitely have a look.
I can say it’s definitely worth a watch and the kids have already asked to watch it again and for just £6.99 a ticket you can’t really go wrong. It’s the cheapest cinema ticket around and Vue Eltham does offers the best value in seat, screen and sound. They also do morning special screening for toddlers (Mini-Mornings) and autism-friendly screenings. Check their website for more details on showings.
Our family experience at Vue Eltham was smooth and very enjoyable. I feel like it has more of a family vibe than most of the other cinemas I’ve been to. Whether that’s because it’s smaller and intimate, or because it just seems more tolerable for us all, I loved the family-friendly atmosphere.
The closest cinema to us is actually just a 10 mins walk from home but we’d happily make this Vue my new go-to cinema location for £6.99 and short bus ride. I still owe Daddy P a cheeky movie night and dinner for his birthday last weekend and the kids have been pestering to go back and watch Detective Pikachu!
NB. We were gifted family tickets to VUE Eltham in exchange for this blog review. All content, opinions and photos in this post are my own and cannot be used without permission.
Like many people, I suffer from fallen arches, also known as “flat feet”. It’s not something I had noticed until my late teenage/young adult years as I’ve never really worn high heels so just assumed that the pain from wearing them was due to infrequent wear and not because I have very low arches in my feet.
When I was pregnant with Little Man I started becoming more susceptible to ankle sprains and whilst pregnant (last trimester) with Little Miss, I badly sprained my left ankle walking home one night by missing a step on to the pavement from crossing a road. I remember the crunching sound was so loud I thought I broke my whole ankle but surprisingly was still able to hobble home with a 15mins walk. It swelled that nice and became extremely painful when I got home and sat down.
I carried out the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and eventually made an appointment to see the GP but it was too late. The GP confirmed I had torn the whole ligament and because I left it so long (3 months post sprain), it will never fully heal as I was supposed to strengthen the ankle and foot muscles as soon as the ankle was healing and had no pain. Since then I have been extremely cautious – even now, my ankle sometimes gives way and I get mini-sprains but I can carry on with normal activities.
With my low foot arch and being prone to ankle sprains what else? I also suffer from over-pronation. What’s that you ask? Over-pronation is when the feet roll/tilt inwards either due to foot alignment or fallen arches. This can cause knee and hip problems in some people. I think most people with flat feet would suffer from some degree of over-pronation. Stability shoes are recommended for us over-pronators but they usually look bulky or just plain ugly.
There’s many different ways but here are five ways which I think are simple yet practical and effective…
Working as a spa therapist, I am always on my feet and on top of that, either in bare feet or super flat shoes. Standing for long periods of time can also take its toll on flat feet, resulting in flat feet pain.
Recently I started suffering from really bad feet pain and I couldn’t understand why. After coming home from work I would soak and massage my feet, rest them but they were still in pain. It then dawned on me that it could be due to standing for prolonged periods, combined with flat shoes that offer no support. So I did some research and looked for decent-looking shoes with support. I first checked out Sketchers as my sister said they’re a good brand for support shoes but I wasn’t attracted to any of the designs. They either looked really ugly but practical or just plain bulky. Their trainers looked nice but unfortunately we are not allowed trainers at the spa.
I then discovered FitFlop and saw they had a few nice designs. I’ve always wanted a pair but could never afford buying at full price but they currently have a spring offer on and found a pair I absolutely love!
The Übernit Bow Ballerinas shoe is not only cute, it’s also practical and super comfortable. The breathable knit material is comfy, soft on the skin and lightweight making it ideal for a warm spa environment. The soles are slip-resistance which helps when performing massages so no more need to do it barefoot on hard floors!
The shoes are ergonomically designed to provide maximum comfort, thanks to FitFlop’s Anatomicush technology. They give my fallen arches that extra bit of support. Since wearing these babies, my feet don’t hurt as much by the end of the day and some days they stop hurting at all so result! If you work a job that requires you to be standing, walking or just being on your feet all day definitely have a look for a shoe that has good cushioning to give you support and avoid those super flat shoes at all cost. They may look pretty but in the long run, they’ll do more harm than good.
A no-brainer here. If you experience pain in your feet, it could be due to weakened muscles. Just like any other muscle in your body, the muscles in your feet also need to be worked on and strengthened, especially considering how much we actually use it.
Like our gluteal muscles (bum muscles in layman’s terms) – they are one of the largest muscle groups in our body but are the least worked. The muscles weaken, eventually cause a posterior imbalance that leads to lower back pain and other postural issues. You can find many foot strengthening exercises online; the most popular ones are:
Check out this article by Runtastic which has all the exercises above plus a couple more. Ideally aimed at runners but can be for anyone with feet pain. You can also find a couple of other exercises on Arthritis Research UK which also gives you a printable PDF option.
If you’re lucky enough to be referred on the NHS then great but if you’re like me then you will need to look private. According to my local complementary therapies centre, Blackheath Complementary Health Centre who does offer chiropody/podiatry services, an initial 30mins consultation will set you back around £45 and follow-ups around £40 for 30mins. This is quite a reasonable price as I have seen some places charging a lot more by the hour.
Some footwear stores, especially running trainer stores like Asics offer free gait analysis checks in store so you can see discover the pronation of your feet; which would be either over-pronated (feet roll in), under-pronated (feet roll out) or neutral (neutral alignment). If you love going for a jog or run, or run professionally then choosing footwear best suited your pronation can improve your performance and help with stability.
**update** I had my podiatrist appointment and she told me that my feet and femur are anatomically misaligned so there is a natural deformation of the bones – that caused my over pronation and with also having flat feet, my feet are basically F’ed up. She told me I can no longer wear flip flops and I have to buy only stability trainers/shoes from brands like Skechers, Fitflop or Asics and choose the footwear that offers good arch support. That, and the constant wear of orthotic insoles that I can get from Amazon for around £10.
Having a good foot soak once a week is a brilliant thing to do and we really should take the effort to make time for our feet.
Feet get neglected a lot until summer when people want pedicures to show off their cute tootsies but it’s not good enough. I’ve set myself a new wellbeing task of treating my body monthly to some good ol’ pampering. Either I do it myself, or if I have a bit of cash then book in for a treatment. In winter, I treated my toes to paraffin wax pedicures which was AMAZING. If you don’t know about this treatment then google it and get ready to book yourself one asap!
Anyone can carry out a good foot soak at home, either in the bath or with a bowl of warm/hot but not boiling water and add in some bubble bath and you’re good to go. You can get fancy and add in bath salts or epsom salts which help refresh tired feet and even essential oils. Finish off the treat by drying feet thoroughly with a towel and massaging in a nourishing foot cream or oil. Put on socks to help the products penetrate a little deeper into the skin.
If you prefer something more luxury, have a look for a foot spa, you can get a decent one from Amazon for around £30-40 but check whether it can be used with bath salts or scrubs if you intend on using those.
High heels can give feet pain due to the curvature of the arch in high heels design. Swelling can offer, especially around the ankles due to pressure.
Most people with flat feet will find that they can’t wear high heels or any heels over four inches because of the shortened arch muscles. As the arch is low or completely flat, it cannot extend properly to accommodate the height and curvature of high heels.
Medium, low or kitten heels are the best options for flat-feeters wanting heels. Alternatively, if you crave the height you may be able to get away with blocky platform heels as they offer additional height to the whole foot and the chunky heel provides more stability.
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I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by! New Year celebrations are a great way of getting everyone together, especially if it’s with family and loved ones. I’ve been actively trying to be less consumed by social media but it’s pretty hard when as soon as you open instagram, a million and one fabulous places pop up and then your bucket list of places to go just gets longer.
I created this post because I wanted to share some of my favourite places and some insta-famous places in London where you can get something to eat (or perhaps drink). I’ve only been to a couple but committed to getting out more and exploring these wonderful places.
Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
Best known for… the champagne button
After being introduced to this restaurant by my best friend it’s now become one of my favourite restaurants. It’s fine dining so slightly pricey but the portions are generous. It’s not child-friendly so be aware if you have young children and wanted to dine with them,. Under 14s are not permitted at BBR however if you’re planning a meal with friends or a loved one, it’s a fabulous place to eat. The food cuisine is Russian and British which threw me off at the beginning but it’s fantastic and everything is cooked with perfection.
We went here for Daddy P’s 30th birthday (see photos of our day) and I was blown away again by the opulent decor and good food. Our favourite thing to order was the pelmeni for the starter, mariner’s fish pie and lobster mash for the mains and for dessert, the BBR signature chocolate glory which looks amazing and eating it is really a little experience in itself! The waiter/waitress comes over to drizzle hot chocolate sauce over your beautiful gold ball to reveal the delicious goodness inside… amazing!
The Ivy Chelsea Garden, Chelsea
Best known for… the floral installations
I’m sure anyone who passes the doors of The Ivy Chelsea Garden is bound to be tempted to take a photo. Look at the glorious arrangement – it always looks so opulent and beautiful! For this festive season, they’ve kitted it out in the style of a gingerbread house – check it out on their instagram page, @ivychelsgarden
I have been to the Ivy Cafe in Blackheath and really loved the environment. The Chelsea Garden branch is like a super-magnified version of that – all the photos of the interior decor is amazing and so beautiful. However if you’re not a big fan of botanical plants and flowers, it may not be the best place to eat for you. It really does feel like you’re dining in a garden at The Ivy.
Élan Cafe, various locations
Best known for… the pretty pink flower wall
Élan cafe, also known as EL&N (Eat, Love & Nourish) must be one of the ULTIMATE pink cafes that is known for it’s insta-worthy status. I love the style of this cafe and it really is one of the prettiest cafe in London – it’s definitely the pinkest! It’s a great place to go for an all girls catch-up.
As they don’t have a reservation system, you can end up queuing for a while as it’s really popular with models, influencers, bloggers and anyone wanting a piece of the insta-worthy-selfie-pie. Turnover for your table for 1.5-2hrs max so don’t think that you’ll be able to spend a whole afternoon at this gorgeous place.
The prices are really high (somewhat extortionate for some drinks) so it’s a place for a treat than a regular coffee spot. You’re looking at £6 for a matcha latte, £4.50-4.80 for a regular latte or cappuccino and snack bites start from £5. I’m not a massive fan of their food, drinks are okay but the winning dessert has to be their giant strawberry macaron which actually tastes as good as it looks. They are almost everywhere with their 8th store opening at Bicester Village shopping outlet.
Best known for… the bamboo ceiling & the drinks
A great place to eat, drink, and party! Sushi Samba is a very popular place to go after work and even more so on the weekends. The decor is simple but very stylish – I really love the bamboo ceiling, it’s something you don’t normally see with London architecture. I haven’t been here yet so hard to comment on the nightlife here but everyone has told me the atmosphere is very lively and amazing.
Sky Garden, Fenchurch Street
Best known for… the rooftop garden
Sky Garden is a rooftop garden in the middle of the city which you can visit for free but entry needs to be pre-booked online. You also need to make sure you have a valid form of photo identification to enter. Families and children are permitted to enter but under 16s are not permitted to enter without an accompanying adult. There are several restaurants and bars at Sky Garden including the Fenchurch restaurant and the Darwin Brasserie which overlooks the garden.
It’s a great place to visit which is on my to-do list but as the entry is so popular, the free tickets always sell out before I can book them. Admissions go live on their website every Monday for two weeks ahead. It’s only an hour’s admission but if you can book yourself into one of the bars or restaurants, your entry to the Sky Garden is free. Be aware, the temperature is similar to the weather outside so if it’s a cold day, wrap up warm as it’ll be chilly inside the Sky Garden too.
Aqua Shard, London Bridge
Best known for… the views of London
I have only been here once for a friend’s birthday but the food was great and the views were even better. Service was good and the food tasted delicious but slightly on the small side for me. It’s not a place where you can arrive hungry and expect to leave feeling full or with a food baby. You need to have something light to eat beforehand to leave feeling ‘content’. The tables are lovely and even if you’ve not got a window seat you can still catch a glimpse of the skyline.
If you’re planning to head here for just the drinks, the bar area gets really busy. Not ideal if you’re short like me because everyone else felt like they were towering over me with their sky-high stilettos. Some advice – if you’re dining in the evening, dress to impress. It’s a formal dress code so make sure you’re looking glamorous!
Clos Maggiore, Covent Garden
Best known for… the romantic setting
A restaurant after my own heart. Look at that romantic atmosphere, the ceiling is adorned with fairy lights and cheery blossoms… and with the fireplace blazing… absolutely beautiful! It’s been dubbed as ‘World’s Most Romantic Restaurant’ and it’s not hard to see why!
Clos Maggiore serves contemporary French cuisine. I haven’t dined here but my sister has and she said she loved the setting but not a fan of the food. Check out their menu before booking so you’re not disappointed because it’s not the cheapest place to dine either.
Palm Vaults, Hackney
Best known for… the vegan cakes, hanging plants & rainbow lattes
I first came across this cafe through a friend – she posted an instagram story of her pink latte and I instantly fell in love… after that I was on the hunt for pink lattes. I love matcha lattes and before rainbow lattes were popular, the hulk-looking latte was the only coffee alternative you could get. At the cafe, I tried either the velvet rose or pink velvet tonic latte (the difference is rosewater in the velvet rose one) which tasted okay but not what I expected. However, their pink latte was so so much better than the one at Élan cafe and for a cheaper price too!
I also tried the ‘blue moon’ tea latte (Thai butterfly tea, lavender, oat milk) and it was AMAZING! I would definitely order this one again as it tasted like a mild lavender latte – really delicious and it tastes nice. The vegan cakes are delicious and the icing doesn’t taste overly sweet. Check out Sweet Monday’s review of Palm Vaults for an idea of what to expect. This place is currently one of my favourite vegan cafes.
The Oval at the Wellesley, Knightsbridge
Best known for… the fine dining experience
I’ve only just discovered this place and it looks amazing. It looks really fancy so I don’t think it’s a place you’d feel comfortable cam-whoring at but a shot like the one above would be dreamy!
The Wellesley also have a jazz lounge where they have live piano music playing daily and serve afternoon tea. Again, it’s another pricey place to eat but the menu looks good.
Sketch London, Mayfair
Best known for… The Gallery aka David Shrigley’s pink room
This is one place I am dying to go! According to Secret London, Sketch is one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. Again, not a cheap eaterie but it’s different compared to your usual dining experience. Afternoon tea here in The Gallery aka the pink room, surrounded with artwork and crockery commissioned by David Shrigley is amazing. The cute little tea cups, tea pots and plates are labelled with creative text (they are also available to buy!) and the sandwiches and pastries look good… and very instagrammable indeed!
I went here with a girl friend for afternoon tea and I can say it was a lovely experience, the food was very tasty and you can get endless refills on teas and sandwiches however I wasn’t a big fan of the atmosphere – slightly pretentious and everyone seemed more concerned with taking selfies or photos of their food than actually eating it.
Tonight Josephine, Waterloo
Best known for… the cocktails & THAT neon sign
Okay, so this one is not really a restaurant or place to eat but it is DEFINITELY one of the most instagrammable places in London! Tonight Josephine is a new and trendy bar that popped up in Waterloo. They have another trendy bar opening soon in Shoreditch which will also be kitted out in the same pink glitzy glamour.
I’m not a drinker so I haven’t been but my other sister went for a night out with her girls here and they absolutely loved it. Banging tunes, fantastic cocktails and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails) and of course, loads of chances to cam-whore with the surroundings and especially those insta-famous neon signs. Just type in the hashtag #tonightjosephine on instagram and you’ll see what I’m on about!
If you have any suggestions of other instagrammable places to eat in London, let me know. I’ll add it to my bucket list of restaurants to visit!