What’s on Christmas…

Christmas

Step aboard for Festive Family Fun at the LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM.  Families can enter a magical forest, with twinkling lights and trees and visit Santa’s Secret Christmas Cabin.  Or track him down in one of the Museums heritage vehicles for a Super Santa Selfie, and enjoy storytelling sessions and create special bunting to take home.  Get nostalgic with the Museums Festive Fun display of fabulous vintage London transport posters celebrating Christmas activities such as ice skating, walking and shopping. An absolute delight. Running up to 6th January.

The POSTAL MUSEUM will be featuring a festive twist on the Mail Rail Ride. From wartime wives wishing husbands Merry Christmas from afar, to the broadcast of the first King’s Speech on the BBC, the new projection is set to get you into the Christmas spirit in a very unique way. There will also be Christmas Craft and Making. Whether its seasonal stationary, personalized present sacks or socks, you will have the chance to get crafty in artist-led workshops and more across the Christmas season. And to top it all off, there will be storytelling. Step back in time with storyteller Olivia Armstrong, and discover the story behind the invention of the Christmas card in this enchanting, interactive storytelling session. Events running throughout December.

Join the NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM for a special chocolate decoration workshop in collaboration with The Chocolate Museum, family-friendly performances telling the stories behind Christmas postcards sent by soldiers and their loved ones during the First World War, make your own festive greetings cards inspired by the First World War Christmas cards in their collection and learn how to create your own drawing of the 1914 Christmas Truce, inspired by First World War cartoons in their collection. Varied dates throughout December.

Take a trip back in time at MUSEUM OF LONDON DOCKLANDS to the London of Dicken’s day for Christmas this year. Walk through their amazing Sailortown gallery, a vivid recreation of a Victoria Street bedecked with frost, holly, mistletoe and the sound of Christmas carols being sung in the distance to match white Christmas of yesteryear as imagined by author Charles Dickens. Then meet Santa himself in his grotto, and receive a traditional toy from him (as long as you have been nice this year!) This is running to 23rd December, advanced booking essential.

Santa is also ready to meet you at MUSEUM OF LONDON too. Take a stroll through a twinkling Victorian Walk, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of carols in the distance, and discover Santa in his secret grotto. Once you’ve found him, tell Santa your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift.

Its Festive Play Session time at the V&A for under 5’s. Take part in a free multi-sensory play session inspired by The 12 Days of Christmas. These sessions are running Wednesdays to Fridays throughout December from 5th.  They are also running festive themed family friendly pop-up performances on Saturdays and festive design workshops on Sunday.

Head over to the GEFFRYE MUSEUM for their Christmas Makers Market on 8th December. Enjoy the twinkling of the Christmas tree and live music with some hot street food in hand. There will be workshops and activities for families under cover at this family friendly event in their beautiful garden.

Join SIR JOHN SOANES MUSEUM for their free Christmas Crafts on 8th December. Using marble techniques make beautiful cards and gift tags ready for Christmas. Go along for a mince pie and get in the festive spirit whilst creating something to make your friends and family smile.

Step into a world of festive delights at TATE BRITAIN’S free Winter Fair on 15th December. Discover unique gifts, drop into a talk or tour and don’t miss the English National Opera perform. With delicious festive food and mulled wine this is the great seasonal treat for all.

Get cracking at the WALLACE COLLECTION on 15th December and make your own Christmas crackers inspired by the Wallace Collection. This is a free event.

Have yourself a horrible little Christmas at DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY on 15-16th December. Join Horrible Histories for an interactive workshop brought to you by the Birmingham Stage Company, exploring how Christmas was celebrated in the time of the Tudors, Victorian era, and the Dark Ages. Be prepared to act out different scenes, sing silly songs, and have a horrible time! Before or afterwards you can also join in the Horrible Christmas Crafting drop-in. Tickets available online.

Meet Father Christmas at the RAF MUSEUM on 15-16th December. Father Christmas is camping out in their Nissen Hut, surrounded by their First World War aircraft. Every child will have the chance to meet the big man in this special First World War era grotto. Tickets available online. There will also be Christmas storytelling. A brave robin battles through storms and other dangers in a quiet English garden. After quite an adventure he arrives just in time for Christmas to find the family who live there who have been looking for him. Expect some crafty Christmas participation – making paper chains and homemade snow flakes, decorating the tree, join in dancing the ‘Hokey Cokey’ and ‘Knees up Mother Brown’ and sing along to festive Christmas carols.

Get all festive at the WILLIAM MORRIS GALLERY on 16th December. Inspired by Polish Wycinanki paper craft, decorate your own lantern to take home. This is a free event.

The FOUNDLING MUSEUM are hosting a special family concert on 16th December. Follow the journey of a little elf from European folklore. Join accordian and piano duo Duoende for a magical melodic adventure. Then pop along to a free workshop and get ready for Christmas by creating your own festive elf ears inspired by the concert.

Discover a new take on the twelve days of Christmas at the MUSEUM OF BRANDS over the holidays, with their family trail. Hunt around the Time Tunnel for Christmas themed clues amongst 150 years of packaging on display. Available all day during the festive period.

Share stories, dream and play at TATE MODERN from 19th December. Take a moment to sit back, relax and read together in their storytelling oasis for families of all ages, and discover lots of new books and exciting stories celebrating voices of colour. Drop in anytime between 12-5pm to read books together, listen to readings by their fab storytellers at story time at 1pm or read aloud at 3pm. This is a free event running until 30th December.

 

MAMA’s Museum Christmas Gift Guide

Ho Ho Ho!!!! Just 5 little weeks people, wahhhh and if you’re like me and totally disorganised I have created the perfect little gift guide for all your needs, look no further, museums have it covered…

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS…

Girls

Tatty Devine Gin necklace £40 Museum of London

Chatty Feet Yayoi Toesama socks £8.50 Tate

William Morris notebook £10.99 British Museum

And Mary Porcelain Leopard earrings £45 V&A

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS…

Boys

Space Invader socks £6 V&A

Field Notes Shenandoah Notebooks £8.99 National Army Museum

Simon Carter Way In Way Out cufflinks £49.99 London Transport Museum

NASA Hoodie £40 Royal Museums Greenwich

DOWN WITH THE KIDS…

Kids.JPG

The Jungle Book £9.99 Museum of Childhood

Children’s Colour in Space T-shirt £12.95 Science Museum

Dinosaur Tail £20.00 Natural History Museum

Colour Changing wellies £18 National Maritime Museum

HOME SWEET HOME…

Home

Oxo Measuring Jug £16 National Army Museum

London Underground Lightbox £40 London Transport Museum

Dali & Picasso Salt & Pepper Pots £20 Tate

Skull mug £6.99 British Museum

AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE…

Everyone

X Hype Astronaut Backpack £40 Science Museum

Low Battery Enamel Pin Badge £7.50 V&A

Shadow Brush No.1 Daily Planner A5 £33 Design Museum

David Shrigley Opening Hours Mug £10 Tate

And that just leaves me to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS ya lovely lot!!!!

 

What’s on Half Term

Postal Museum picThe POSTAL MUSEUM invites you to discover surprising characters and wonderful words through writing this half term.  Join them for a fun filled programme of activities for kids of all ages spanning arts, crafts and illustrator led workshops.  Drawing inspiration from The Postal Museums stories, kids can experiment with calligraphy and papermaking, or create their very own character with help from a storybook illustrator.  In the galleries, brilliant pop up performances will bring exhibits to life recounting some of the most remarkable tales from their postal past.  Also while you’re there hop on the Mail Ride and go checked out Sorted! their brilliant play area. Activities take place daily from 20-28th October.

 

Get down the CUTTY SARK for their She Tells Sea Tales – Adventure is Out There storytelling.  Brace yourself for tales of adventure, mermaids and storms in a teacup.  If you are feeling inspired by their stories join them in the Sammy Ofer Gallery to make your own adventure kid suitcase or create your own animated sea story with Chocolate Films.  These events are running from 22-27th October.

 

At the IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM this half term, families have a very special opportunity to meet war veterans and eyewitnesses, including those who lived through the Second World War and the Cold War, to hear their personal stories of conflict.  On selected days over the school summer holidays, veterans will recount tales of their wartime life, giving families first-hand insights into the causes of war and its impact on peoples lives.  This is a free, drop in event running on Tuesday 23rd October and Thursday 25th October.

 

Head to the NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM where you can get creative and construct your own signalling device, learn how soldiers send and decipher secret signals with telescopes and heliographs, make a paper poppy to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, and take your toddlers to a session of stories and song all about communicating with telescopes and signals. Events are free and running from 21st – 28th October.

 

This half term bring your family and friends to the NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY for an art extravaganza.  Celebrate the worlds biggest drawing festival from The Campaign for Drawing with their team of artists and take part in activities across the gallery which include Tracing a face, Drawing with Thread, making your own optical illusion and creating a portrait with objects in a cyanotype workshop. This is a free drop in workshop on the 25th October from 11am.

 

It’s Storytime and Make and Take at the LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM this half term.  Join them for a story time session to commemorate the end of WW1 and meet an important bus driver, Joe Clough, who went from driving the Route 11 in East London to driving an ambulance in France, and, create your own changing picture and celebrate the arrival of the Battle Bus to the museum.  This is running from 20-28th October. 

 

Roll up! Roll up! Celebrate 250 years of the circus at the MUSEUM OF LONDON in a surprising and engaging 20 minute science show.  Be prepared for tricks, pops and daring acts of courage and they’ll need your help as they make their spring-loaded cannon work, perfect the pressure for our bed of nails and much more!  This is a free event, advanced booking recommended and there are three sessions per day running from 20-28th October. 

 

Join the HORNIMAN MUSEUM for family art fun craft activities.  Make a fox or rabbit puppet on strings or  make a headdress complete with bouncing bats.  These events are free and are running Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday through half term.   

 

Party like a Pirate this half term at the V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD.  See a pirate adventure on the high seas pop up performance or join fun, pirate-themed workshops such as creating your own pirate character, costume and bandana and decorate a pirates ship.  These events are running 20-28th October.

 

Join the SCIENCE MUSEUM for a free family festival celebrating the exciting and diverse ways in which engineers change the world.  Activities include getting hands on with fun activities run by engineers, trying your hand at welding edible chocolate creations, control your friends muscles using electric currents and sending signals around the world and putting people up into space in their brand new interactive show, Problem Solved!  This is a free event running from 20-28th October.

 

Check out the NATIONAL GALLERY for some hands on art workshops.  Work together as a family of artists in the Renaissance workshop to seek out and sample traditional techniques.  This is a free drop in event running from 22nd-26th October.

 

Get down to TATE MODERN on 25th October from their Drawing Workshop with award-winning author and illustrator Marion Deuchars.  Bob the bird loves to paint pictures with his best friend Bat.  But one day Bat goes away and Bob is sad.  He tried to paint but everything he paints is blue.  Can his friends help him to find his bright colours again?  Activities will include collage and drawing.  This is a free event running from 2.30-3.30pm.

 

Head over to the GEFFRYE MUSEUM for their Sound Sketch Express for The Big Draw.  Explore and draw with a special ‘play at home’ trail in the Geffrye’s beautiful leafy gardens.  Discover how to create cool audio drawings with your mobile phone.  Send in your drawings and artwork to become part of the big audio drawing game, a fun interactive drawing game to create a giant artwork with the museums Young Producers and artists Zoe Byatt and Leon Gower. This is a free, drop in event suitable for ages 5-16 running at various dates throughout October. 

 

Parrot Street Book Club

Parrot Street

Guest Blog Post – Parrot Street Book Club

Go on a literary adventure this summer

Emily Bright and Sarah Campbell run Parrot Street Book Club, an exciting monthly book subscription for primary school-aged kids. They send fantastic chapter books that their subscribers might not otherwise have discovered and which can be enjoyed equally by boys and girls, along with a fun-filled activity pack they’ve produced to accompany each book.

Below they’ve selected 6 fabulous books to enjoy over the holidays that can be followed up with a trip to one of the capital’s brilliant museums. Enjoy!

We’re thrilled to have this opportunity to share our recommendations with you. Pairing a book with a day out is a great way to build the excitement and anticipation for your trip but we also know that encouraging children to think a bit more deeply about what they’ve read, and connect it to their own experiences, is hugely beneficial.

We’ve selected three books that younger children (roughly 5-8 years old) will enjoy, whether you read aloud to them or they go it alone, and three that would be more suitable for older readers (roughly 8-11). We’re specialists in chapter books but having taken a glance at our own picture book collection we’re certain you’d also be able to find numerous books to tie-in with these museum trips if your little ones are still at that stage!

All about Ice Cream

Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe (Barrington Stoke) by Jonathan Meres is a beautifully written and illustrated early chapter book for younger readers. Priya’s family run a pet supplies stall in the local market but trouble ensues when a rival stall opens. The relationship between Priya and her grandmother is particularly endearing and they love to eat ice cream together, hence the title.

Why not pair this with a visit to Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World at The British Museum of Food? This summer’s craziest exhibition is billed as a multi-sensory experience and features glow-in-the-dark ice cream, a vanilla flavoured fog and a sub-zero tasting chamber – all very Willy Wonka! A visit wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Conehenge, their ice cream café.

The British Museum of Food, Gasholder 11, 1 Lewis Cubitt Square, London, N1C 4BY

Until 30th September. Tickets and more information: www.bmof.org

 

Alien adventures

The Day That Aliens (Nearly) Ate Our Brains (Walker Books) by Tom McLaughlin is a laugh-out-loud comedy that sees Freddy and Sal (plus two policemen and the leaders of the free world) face the threat of alien invasion … one that they inadvertently started.

Why not follow this up with a visit to the Science Museum’s Exploring Space gallery? Find out all about the spacecraft that have explored our solar system, what it’s like to travel in space and the amazing feats of engineering that have made it possible.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2DD

Free entry. www.sciencemuseum.org.uk

 

Take to the seas!

Horace and Harriet: Take on the Town (OUP) by Clare Elsom is a fun-filled adventure for younger readers featuring Lord Commander Horatio Frederick Wallington Nincompoop Maximus Pimpleberry the Third (or Horace, for short), a statue that comes to life and, dissatisfied with his plinth, sets out to find a new home.

From invading the duck pond, to adding cannon and a crow’s nest to a garden shed, it’s clear that Horace is a sea-faring fellow, so why not follow in his footsteps with a trip to the National Maritime Museum? The AHOY! Gallery for under 7s and All Hands Gallery for 6-12-year olds offer hours of interactive fun and adventure for kids of all ages.

National Maritime Museum, Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF

Free entry. www.rmg.co.uk/national-maritime-museum

 

Look into space!

For slightly older readers The Matilda Effect (Corgi) by Ellie Irving is a rip-roaring adventure featuring a mad dash across Europe to put right an historic wrong. Matilda is a gutsy young inventor and when she discovers that her grandmother was an astrophysicist who discovered a planet but who’s boss claimed her discovery as his own, she sets out to stop him collecting the Nobel Prize he doesn’t deserve.

The Astronomy Centre and Planetarium at the Royal Observatory offer a chance to marvel at the wonders of the universe, just like Matilda and her grandmother do in the book. Not only can you see one of the biggest telescopes in the world, but you can touch a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite. If you visit on a weekend before the end of September there’s also the chance to drop into space science and exploration-themed family workshops run by Observatory Explainers.

Royal Observatory, Blackheath Avenue, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ
Tickets and information: http://www.rmg.co.uk/royal-observatory

 

Amazing Aztecs!

The Jewelled Jaguar (Firefly Press) by Sharon Tregenza is a gripping adventure for slightly older readers set on the wild Welsh coast. When a sinkhole opens up and almost swallows Griffin, his mother and their house his life is turned upside down. Could the Jewelled Jaguar, an Aztec sacrificial knife discovered in an underwater shipwreck by Griffin’s mother, be the cause of these strange goings on?

What better place to go to find out more about the amazing Aztecs than the British Museum? Discover exquisite sculptures and mosaics in the Mexico room on the ground floor. Or if you’re feeling more adventurous, why not follow the Museum Explorer: Creatures trail which goes all around the museum and includes a stop at the famous Aztec double-headed serpent.

The British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG
Free entry.
www.britishmuseum.org

 

Curious about colours?

And finally, a book that we think adults will enjoy just as much as older primary school readers. The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare (Piccadilly Press) by Zillah Bethel is set in a war-torn future where water is scarce and robots are commonplace. Auden has a unique perspective on the world: he only sees the world in black and white. As this mystery adventure unfolds, Auden learns the truth about an extraordinary family secret and the real meaning of friendship.

Colour: The Rainbow Revealed, an interactive, family-friendly exhibition at the Horniman Museum, is all about how colours shape our world. If you visit on a Tuesday or Thursday during the summer holidays you can also try your hand at some free arts and crafts fun, all inspired by the exhibition.

The Horniman Museum, 100 London Rd, London, SE23 3PQ
Until 28th October. Tickets and information:
www.horniman.ac.uk

 

 

 

 

What’s on Summer 2018

Ivy summer

Join the POSTAL MUSEUM this summer for arts and craft activities, storytelling, gallery performances and much more.  Activities include meeting Captain William Rogers and hearing heroic tales of pirate fights, design an envelope and send them on a journey through the post, object handling drop in sessions, make your own carrier pigeon and join gusty suffragettes for a Votes for Women rally plus many more. Also while you’re there hop on the Mail Ride and go checked out Sorted! their brilliant play area.

Get down the NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM for a whole heap of family fun this summer.  Activities include creating a giant collaborative piece of art, the biggest piece of art the museum has seen, look at maps and travel in an interactive storytelling session, practice your best dance moves inspired by exploration of the sea and traditional sea shanties in a workshop for all the family and discover your senses in an interactive play session as you explore all the sights and sounds of the sea plus many more.

At the IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM this summer, families have a very special opportunity to meet war veterans and eyewitnesses, including those who lived through the Second World War and the Cold War, to hear their personal stories of conflict.  On selected days over the school summer holidays, veterans will recount tales of their wartime life, giving families first-hand insights into the causes of war and its impact on peoples lives.  This is running from 24th July every Tuesday and Thursday, 11am – 1pm.

Head to the NATIONAL ARMY MUSEUM where you can design a parachute, prepare for your mission, and attempt to land safely on the Giant Parachute drop zone in these family friendly workshops. Dates and times vary.

Take a walk on the wild side this summer on a visit to the NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM.  There are millions of years of life on Earth to explore, meet dinosaurs, stand under the largest animal in the world and take a ride through our planet’s core.  Head to the tropics and see hundreds of free flying butterflies and moths in Sensational Butterflies, and discover curious creatures in their new exhibition, Life in the Dark.  Entry to the museum is free, Sensational Butterflies costs £6.50 for adults.  Under 3’s go free.

The NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY summer exhibitions Michael Jackson: On the Wall and the BP Portrait Award and Rebel Women, celebrating a centenary of women getting the vote, provide inspiration for two weeks of fun, free daily art and craft workshops.  Decorate a white glove, learn to moonwalk, pick-up photography skills, paint a portrait, design a t-shirt, print an image or play with clay.  Bring the whole family and let artists inspire your creativity.  This free event, is running from 13th-27th August.

Families can delve into the fun and fascinating world of engineering at the LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM during six weeks of STEM related interactive challenges, storytelling and demonstrations.  Each week a new transport challenge will explore themes such as steam, electricity and design.  Young engineers can collect a sticker rewards for each session attended and a special London Transport Museum Diploma will be awarded to those attending one or more weeks of activity.  Suitable for children aged 3-12 years.  This event is running until 3rd September.

This summer put your observation skills to the test at the MUSEUM OF BRANDS with themed family discovery trails.  Take your pick from a selection of three family trails for all ages and then travel round the Time Tunnel to find all the answers and win a prize.  Do you have an eye for fashion? Then the Fashion through the Decades trail will be a perfect match, while transport enthusiasts will love our Transportation Discovery trail.  Lastly, Spotting Shapes and Colours is the ideal fun and stimulating activity for younger visitors. 

From Roman rituals to sewage scourers, the MUSEUM OF LONDON have a range of fun, fascinating and free activities to keep the whole family entertained this summer.  Activities include finding out who the lousiest Londoners were with a Top Trumps style card game, an interactive summer show that explores how the Romans treated their dead and join a Victorian ‘tosher’ in an energetic storytelling session!  Not only that but kids eat free at London Wall Bar & Kitchen and Rum & Sugar at Docklands.  Events are running until 3rd September at London Wall and Docklands.

Join the HORNIMAN MUSEUM for performances, storytelling, arts and crafts and films as they celebrate what makes us human and connects us with nature.  Look out for special activities inspired by their new arts space, The Studio which opens later in the year.  Big Wednesdays Shared World is a free event running every Wednesday in August from 10.30am-3.30pm.

Go Nordic this Summer at the V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD, and join them for a series of family days, celebrating and inspired by the Century of the Child: Nordic design for Children exhibition. Activities include storytelling, performance, design, drawing and craft activities.  These events are free, drop ins happening every Thursday in August from 11am-4pm.

Climb aboard the HMS BELFAST this summer and take part in their exciting family activities.  Meet veterans and eyewitnesses from home and overseas who have lived through periods of conflict and hear more about their experiences.  From life at the front line and being evacuated during the Second World War, to living through the Korean and Falklands Wars, their family friendly sessions allow you to get an insight into conflict that you wouldn’t find in the history books from those who witnessed it first hand! This event is running every Wednesday from 11am-3pm and is free with a general admission ticket.

The SCIENCE MUSEUM are running a number of activities this Summer.  Join them on a mission to Mercury in a hands-on workshop, discover how rockets fly with your very own handmade rocket mouse and go on an interactive tour of the Exploring Space gallery, where you’ll discover roaring rockets, amazing astronauts, space poo and much more.

Check out the NATIONAL GALLERY for some summer fun.  Try out techniques used by artists and school children featured in this years Take One Picture exhibition. Encounter the women of power and mythical, magical sea creatures from Pintoricchio’s Penelope with the Suitors and discover how artists record and reimagine changing landscapes from epic environments to everyday urban scenes in Artists, Activists and Environmentalists! Ink up and try screen-printing techniques with graphic designer and printmaker Dan Mather. Every Tues-Thursday throughout August.

Get down to TATE MODERN for their 20 days workshop where they will be ‘gamify-ing’ the everyday by deconstructing family life and roles. Participants will pick special abilities to take on as they move through Tate Exchange, encountering various obstacles and activities that will explore what that ability means and the meaning of the family. You can create potions and charms that enhance your abilities and there will be a Fabrication Station where visitors can take apart household objects and reconstruct them with toys to make their own Frankenstein creations. A giant bed and breakfast cereal space will offer a relax and discuss area, and the walls will be wallpapered for comment making. This is a free, drop in event running every Wed-Sun from 8th August.

Enjoy creative workshops and hands-on activities at the GEFFRYE MUSEUM garden this summer.  Sessions include Nursery Rhyme Time, digital workshops, drop-in craft workshops, Geffrye Explorers and family-friendly tours of their Restored Almhouse.  Create a miniature toy theatre, experiment with water colour painting techniques and make bunting to decorate your bedroom plus much much more. Running until 31st August.

There’s a huge range of family activities at the SIR JOHN SOANE’S MUSEUM this Summer. Make your own collage of buildings in an imagined landscape, design our own coaster or tile which you can decorate and take home, make your own model town of houses, build a city with a load of Lego and Duplo and go check out a pop-up board games café.  There are also paid workshops too. These events are running every Wednesday and Thursday in August.

Lots of family friendly events happening at the GARDEN MUSEUM in August to coincide with their new exhibition Flower Fairies, including storytelling, cookery workshops which explore the use of edible flowers in food and garden workshops which will allow children to make fairy gardens.

Take part in The Imagination Station free activity at the V&A during the Summer holidays and learn about the future of fashion.  Become a sustainable fashion designer, make new pieces and learn about the circular economy.  Running various dates up until 27th August.  On Monday 27th August you can also join in with their summer festival with music and dance.

Museums in the holidays

I know I know the holidays are nearly done but it wont be long and then it will be the next holidays so I want to give you a few tips on how to cope with museum visits during these crazy busy times. I can guarantee you they are a much more pleasant experience than a load of other family attractions as they are so well equipped for families and quite often free so just follow the below and your visit will be that little bit easier…

GET THERE EARLY

I cannot emphasise this one enough…be there for when the doors open.  It’s pretty likely if you have kids you will be up early anyway so just get out the PJ’s and get yourself  to the museum for opening…then feel smug for being the first in the queue 😉  Well behind me, obvs!

AVOID THE BIG GUNS

The Natural History Museum, as amazing as it is, will without a doubt be absolute carnage, the whole world and their wife will be heading there so avoid, avoid, avoid!  If you do go and cant face the carnage, head on over to the Science Museum.  For some unknown reason to me, it is always less busy and will save the day and, well, you know you get to hang out with spaceships and astronauts! But really, just check out the smaller museums, The Postal Museum, National Army Museum and the Museum of London Docklands are all absolutely brilliant for the kiddies and will be a whole lot more pleasant.

HAVE LUNCH EARLY

Go grab a table at 11.30, wait any longer you’ll be fighting with the masses and while everyone else is then having their lunch hit the museum while it’s (a teeny weeny) bit calmer. And on that note take your own lunch (museum cafes tend to be, in my opinion, a little expensive) so for a cheap day out, or even a free one in most museum cases, pack some sarnies!

GO WITH MATES

As many as you can muster, the more mates, the more eyes, hands and support.  And you may even get to talk to them for all of 5 seconds while you have your lunch…happy days!

DON’T EXPECT TO SEE IT ALL

Have an idea of the exhibitions you really want to see and I would say do a bit of research before your trip so you know where you’re heading.  At least then you wont be disappointed when you’re kids get tired and you haven’t yet seen that gallery you had your heart set on.

And last but by no means least…

TAKE SNACKS

I know pretty darn obvious right, but I’m talking a bucket load of snacks, crisps, raisins, bananas whatever it takes.  They have literally been a life saver to me on museum trips, for the train journey, the queue, the afternoon slump… SORTED!!!!

And that just leaves me to say Happy Holidays…you know where I am if you want a fellow companion 😉

MAMA’s Museum Christmas gift guide

Ho Ho Ho!!!! 2 weeks people, 2 weeks and if you’re like me and totally disorganised I have created the perfect little gift guide for all your needs, look no further, museums have it covered…

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOYS…

Gifts him

London Bus cufflinks £14.99 London Transport Museum

NASA Space Shuttle T-Shirt £20.00 Science Museum

Mr D Camouflage Socks £10.00 National Army Museum

A5 Starter Sketchbook – Whaam! by Roy Lichtenstein Tate £2.50

GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS, GIRLS…

D7DA5BCE-6B98-4D37-AFEE-9167195C9707

Wolf & Moon Egyptian Necklace Navy £32.00 National Army Museum

Chatty Feet Modern Artist Frida Callus Socks £7.50 Tate

Votes for Women mug £10.00 Museum of London

Milk Tooth LDN Vase Earrings £42.00 Wallace Collection Shop

DOWN WITH THE KIDS…

928E4414-AA73-497C-956F-A05F7881799C.jpeg

Knitted Dinosaur Mittens £12.00 Natural History Museum

World Map Mini Backpack £12.00 Royal Museums Greenwich

The Wind in the Willows book £9.99 V&A

Rocket Night Light £25.00 Science Museum

HOME SWEET HOME…

45AC4F80-630D-4E8D-804E-CCD7AD12A708

Hidden London Set of 4 Mugs Gift Box £29.99 London Transport Museum

Marimekko Plate £20.00 Design Museum

Vintage PG tea tin £7.00 Imperial War Museums

Frida Kahlo ceramic travel mug £15.00 Tate

AND FOR EVERYONE ELSE…

3E18D4FD-42F1-4873-9843-674060BAC64E.jpeg

David Bowie is a Face in the Crowd exhibition bag £7.50 V&A

Interstellar Spacemask Box Set £15.00 Science Museum

David Hockney pocket diary 2018 £6.95 Tate

Hackney Tea Towel £12.00 Museum of London

And that just leaves me to say HAPPY CHRISTMAS ya lovely lot!!!!

 

Why everyone should visit Santa in a museum

We had the most special day visiting not one but two Santa’s at the museums on Saturday.  London Transport Museum and Museum of London Docklands to be precise and what incredible places to experience our yearly festive jaunt to see Santa.  If you’re looking for more than your average Santa trip then look no further than these museums which offer above and beyond the norm.

First up was the London Transport Museum where we were greeted by a beautiful Christmas tree on arrival to give us all the festive feels.  Whams ‘Last Christmas’ was playing out on the tannoy and lots of cute friendly Elves were dashing about the buses and the trams keeping the children entertained.  Our first stop was the singing and storytelling for Under 5s.  This was located in Santa’s secret hideaway where a super friendly elf enthusiastically told the children a story about the colours of the underground lines.  The kids were mesmerized by their very engaging story teller and it was a perfect start to our festivities.  Next up was Origami tree decoration making in an area filled with Christmassy lights and snowy scenes.  The activity was to make a lucky star with public transport patterned paper.  A lot of help was needed for our 1 and 3 year old but it was a fun task where all the family could get involved.  The husband was particularly taken with this one, so we left it to him to make his work of Christmas art.  The smell of sweet temptations lingered so we made our way to the café, ideally situated by the All Aboard childrens zone for 0-7 year olds.  A slight chance for us to rest our legs while the smalls played with taxi’s, buses, the baby train and the Thames nipper café.  They were in their element and so were we as we ordered hot chocolates and the most yummiest of waffles.  All of this before we even met Santa.  The big man made his appearance soon after and we located him in a 1940s electric tram which was awe inspiring alone.  The children loved him and his merry chat and received a badge which they refused to take off for the rest of the day.  There weren’t even any tears.  A morning of Christmas joy for us all and such a wonderful setting.

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Next up was our second Santa of the day located in the fantastic Museum of London Docklands.   I love this old Georgian warehouse building that was built in 1802.  It has such a warm feeling about it and I always somehow feel at home there.  We began our visit with a scrummy lunch in Rum & Sugar, the Museum’s tres trendy restaurant.  The food is very tasty with plenty of kids options too and we were fueled for our second Santa meet of the day.  Our eldest was not going to let us get away without a play in the free Mudlarks gallery, an interactive space for children up to 8 years old, first.  5 minutes of peace for us as we were able to confine both kids in one space, the soft play area for babies and toddlers, where they can climb into a boat or drive a DLR train.  Once we managed to tear them away from there we made our way up to the second floor, where we followed the footprints leading us to Santa.  To reach him we had to enter Sailor Town, a recreation of 19th century Wapping.  Now this was everything.  The quaint shops in the cobbled streets were all decorated creating the perfect Christmas ambience.  Never mind the kids I was so happy.  The most atmospheric setting transporting you back in time as we made our way in to the traditional Victorian Santa’s grotto.  The experience was wonderful, Santa was as you imagined him to be and I didn’t want to leave. Ok just remembered he’s for the kids right.  You’ll be pleased to hear they loved him too.  They received a wonderful wooden gift and we couldn’t leave without a picture of this truly magical experience.

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And that is why everyone should visit Santa in a museum.  It is so much more than your average Santa experience you usually receive.  Not only do you get Santa in a unique educational environment you get play areas, parent friendly facilities, workshops, storytelling, delicious fun food and the most perfect settings.  Ones we will never forget, both visits have by far been the best Santa experience we have ever had!!  I cannot recommend it enough.

Tickets to the London Transport Museum cost £17.50 for adults, children go free.  Tickets allow unlimited entry for 12 months. 

Museum of London Docklands is free entry.  To visit Santa, entry (includes gift) from £10 per child.  You can purchase a picture of the experience for £8.

 

 

Why I have an issue with the ‘Stay at Home Mum’ label?

IMG_0043Ok well first off what is this, the 1950s?! Geez Louise can someone possibly update this title already. Now I’m sure it’s not just me that feels that it comes with such a stigma attached to it. Google stay at home mum images and you’ll get exactly what I’m talking about. To me it implies that you maybe sit indoors all day watching a bit of day time telly, doing some ironing, washing and cooking and baking of course, in a pinny with your marigolds and feather duster on while entertaining the kids. PURLEEEEASE!!!! I can’t think of anything worse and if this is was what I actually did on a daily basis I would be bolting for the door.

It is also quite derogatory, I mean the amount of times I have heard people express ‘I am just a stay at home mum’. JUST…what is that?! Talk about doing yourself an injustice, it is the hardest flipping job in the world that you don’t get paid one penny for and you can’t even be proud of that fact. We are responsible for literally raising the future. Every day your actions alone will be an example to them of how they should behave in the outside world. Could there be a bigger more rewarding task. I feel the phrase makes us feel shameful and inadequate when really we should be feeling like we are the absolute bomb.

For me the stay at home bit couldn’t be further from the truth and I’m sure a lot of you other Mamas will agree. My two smalls and I go out every single day, maybe to the supermarket, playgroup, park, the local caf and errr a museum or two. This is mainly for my sanity as a whole day at home would drive me crazy, let alone the kids. Don’t get me wrong we spend a few hours indoors, mainly when the kids nap so I can get stuff done in the house but apart from the peace and quiet this is my least favourite time of day. While we are out and about they are being educated socially and mentally whilst taking in all that fresh air. What’s not to love!

Also it just sounds so uninspiring. Not sure I ever would have admitted to wanting to be a ‘stay at home mum’ when I was younger. How dull and boring does it sound. It was something I fell into unwillingly due to my wages not covering the child care costs.  How could I justify working for nothing when I have kids?! But turns out I absolutely love it (well…there are times I most definitely want to quit and leave the little rascals, like every day last week) but generally I wouldn’t change a thing, apart from being constantly broke, that bit kind of sucks. At the end of the day though it is such a short period of time which I am definitely going to look back on as some of the best years of my life.

This pretty much just leaves me to say that really I would like to rephrase this term and start calling it ‘Getting out and educating the kids on the world Mum’ and holding my head high in the process!  What do you reckon?

Social Media, my highs and lows of being an “Insta mum”

Ha even the word Insta mum makes me chuckle!  I discovered the big wide world of INSTA back in December last year and boy is it big!! I mean I had already been a mum for 2 years so not quite sure how I missed it.  I worked in a Museum for 10 years but when my mat leave was up I discovered that my wages barely covered my child care costs so it was a no brainer to stay at home with the kids.  Not one for staying at home with nothing to think about I decided to set up Milk at the Museum which has given me an amazing platform to raise awareness of some of my favourite places in the world and continue my passion in all things Museum whilst meeting some incredible Mamas along the way.  I would say I have had my fair share of ups and downs on it though so I wanted to jot them down in this little blog.  I really hope this is not too controversial but literally I typed as I thought.  SHITTT!  I might be in trouble later but I hope if anything some of you can relate to it too.

THE NUMBERS GAME

It’s like being promoted/demoted 50 times a day, getting a kick where it hurts and then a big fat hug all in the space of an hour.  My number of followers is minute but that wasn’t the reason I started.  Instagram gave me an opportunity to talk about my passion so numbers were not key to my agenda, however, you cannot help but get a little wrapped up in it all.  I remember one account I followed, who followed me back, had put up a post about being kind for which I liked and commented, the next thing I knew they had unfollowed me.  Where’s the kindness in that Insta!?!  And what’s all this buying followers malarkey, can’t get my head around why anyone would want to do that, surely you want your followers to be legit.  I have also noticed a number of big accounts follow me then I follow back then a week later they drop me again.  Errr is this not someone full of their own self importance to think I would still follow them if they’re following/unfollowing?!  Or are they just playing the game!?  It’s a funny old game though isn’t it!?  And one I don’t want to play in this way for sure!

POPULARITY CONTEST

Ok so I don’t want to ruffle any feathers here but it kind of, at times, feels like I’m back at school and what I mean by this is sometimes it can feel a little cliquey! Those that get chosen for the party reminds me of the school netball team. I mean there are the funny, slightly extrovert accounts who are loved by all and get all the mentions, then the less so.  I was always an Inbetweener, a term for which I am entirely happy with.  I had friends who were considered “cool” and friends that weren’t.  If they were generally good people who I got on with I was mates with them regardless.  Surprisingly barely any of my pals are on Instagram, so I pretty much walked into this friendless.  Walking into a world where there are quite obvious friendship groups already made has at times made me feel pretty damn lonely which is the weirdest feeling as I have loads of mates away from it.  On the plus side I am forming relationships on here with the most wicked people and beginning to have my own little Insta support too!!

FRIENDS

Speaking of friends I have actually had a couple of non Insta friends unfollow me.  Now that was a real choker and there were actual tears.  I still to this day don’t know entirely why.  One has completely fallen out of my life.  Is it because of what I am doing? Am I offending people?  Do people think I am a dick?  All questions I have had to battle with that have actually made me feel really quite horrible.  All for having a public Instagram account.  I would like to add that generally my mates have been really supportive!

MALE vs FEMALE RATIO

I love women but I also love men.  Men have always been key to my friendship groups so walking into a world that is mostly women has been a bit strange.  All of the events I have been to are predominantly women which I am not knocking by any means as sharing motherhood has been a life saver and I would be lost without it, it has just taken a bit of getting used to I guess.  All hail the Insta Dads, the reality is we need them at home to look after the little ones!

FOMO

So many events I want to go to but so little money and I want to support all you amazing Muthas out there, I mean you’re all bloody marvellous and for this I get major FOMO!  As well as a few Mothers Markets I’ve only been to one Pizzup so far but I absolutely loved it.  The other downfall of being skint is there are so many Mama led brands out there that I want to buy everything from all of them but I can’t and this at times can feel pretty depressing in a world full of Mums that appear to literally have it all!!

COMPARISON

Which leads me on to comparison…how do other Mums afford stuff, how do they juggle everything so well, how are they managing to cook, clean, mum, work, party and look good!  And where do they get their stamina!?  My stamina is really low, one night out a week and I’m pooped!

MOTIVATION

Some days I wake up and am not motivated whatsoever, what should I put up, I can’t think straight let alone write an interesting caption.  A lot of people seem to have their views of what should be put up but I think that is entirely down to the individual.  No one but you can tell you what is right or wrong.  It’s your page after all.  I’m a sucker for a nice colourful image but I completely understand that some prefer a more real life stance.  There are so many motivational accounts out there that continue to inspire me daily but still I have days where I get insta block and for the life of me can’t decide what to post.

ABSOLUTE HIGHS

I have loved having an output for all my thoughts, passions and interests.  Instagram has allowed me access to the most talented, inspiring bunch of people, ones I feel privileged to now know.  Museums to me are vital to our children’s upbringing and getting to spend much more time in them because of this little Insta project has been bloody fantastic.  The opportunities that have come my way since doing this, writing for a magazine, attending previews to exhibitions and meeting the incredible people behind the scenes, were only previously dreams and I cannot thank the world of the GRAM enough for this.

ADDICTIVE

And lastly how flippin addictive is it all though!!!  I have parent guilt daily, should I be on my phone a lot less in front of the kids, should they even be on social media, am I sharing way too much of my life and should I be in reality a lot more, is it even good for my mental health?! All things to think about in this little Insta bubble I guess but a bubble I currently enjoy a lot more than not at the moment.  The day that changes I guess you’d stop right!?  And speaking of bubbles…🍾