So we’re closing in on October and yet no closer to making any sense out of what the government says or does. I’m doing my best to hang onto the high notes (see exciting book news below) and keep you guys informed and uplifted too. As usual, I’ve got some lovely ideas for the weekend with kids in London (and beyond) to take your mind off the ongoing nuttiness of life in general.
Hope you are coping well and spending some time in the sunshine over the next few days. Happy weekend!
Bringing Up Race: Countdown to Publication
Less than 1 week to go until Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World is out. Friday was a golden moment when I got to hold a copy of the book in my hands for the first time — check out the video. I was filled with so many emotions, overwhelmingly joyful and it was lovely to share that with my kids and celebrate with my husband later. I’ll be posting details soon about a virtual launch party plus other fun things happening around the book’s release. In the meantime, you can listen to me on The Parent Guide to GCSE podcast, recorded back in June.
I was also interviewed by the lovely Lou Hamilton of Brave New You Tribe on her podcast which will be out next week. Subscribe on Spotify or Apple to get the download!
If you follow the fabulous Natalie at Style Me Sunday, I’ll be chatting with her on IG Live on Sep 22 (Tuesday) evening too. Tune in.
I’m loving the sound of BOXD, a new online shop founded by Mads Panchoo of online parenting mag The London Mother. The shop sells gift boxes for teens and tweens, available in three categories: Letterbox Gift (from £25), luxury Gift Boxes (from £42) and Design Your Own Gift Box. Each box contains a selection of carefully curated items, ranging from organic chocolate to stationery and tech accessories. Follow their feed on Instagram and Facebook at @ShopBoxd for inspiration.
9 Lovely Ideas for the Weekend with Kids in London (and Beyond)
Sat: Pirate Stew: Talk Like a Pirate with Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell, online
It’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day this Saturday Sep 19 and that’s the perfect excuse for author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell to get silly on social media. They’ll be sharing absurd and entertaining pirate speak dos and don’ts, to celebrate their latest book, Pirate Stew. The book is filled with rhymes and artwork including flying ships and doughnut feasts and is aimed at pirates of all ages. Altogether now… aargh. Follow the fun via @neilhimself and @chrisriddell50 (Sep 19)
Sat: Contact: Socially Distanced Theatrical Experience, multiple London locations
Join performers on the streets in an outdoor, socially-distanced performance that took Paris by storm. A young woman sits on a park bench, lost in her thoughts. What is she thinking? This show blends physical interaction with an immersive show that’s delivered via a smartphone app. Walk shoulder to shoulder with performers and experience state-of-the-art 3D sound design in a show described as ‘joyous, poetic and liberating’. All ages welcome. Show lasts 50 minutes. Smartphone required – read FAQS ahead of visit. 4.30pm, 6pm & 7.30pm (various dates and locations); £22.50 (until Nov 22)
Sat-Sun: Otherworld, 336 Acton Mews, Haggerston, E8 4EA (Haggerston overground)
As life feels more restrictive, it might be time to escape to a sensory world like no other. This unique VR social gaming experience offers a portal to 16 unique virtual reality experiences. You’ll enter a private space, pop on your VR headset and travel to a boundless universe, reunited with your companions as if they’re right next to you. Escapism for adults and older kids ages 12+. 11am-11pm (Sun-Mon) & 11am-midnight (Fri-Sat); tickets from £15-£50 for 40 minute session (ongoing)
Sat-Sun: Barnardo’s Super Seekers, online
Children’s charity Barnardo’s has launched a series of activity packs for kids to help develop skills like kindness, creativity and resilience. Children become Super Seekers by defeating Baron von Bore-them, earning badges along the way and collecting certificates. Aimed at ages 3 to 5, the Super Seekers packs can be downloaded from the Barnardo’s website. Pay what you feel donation, proceeds to support vulnerable children and families across the UK. (ongoing)
Sat-Sun: Openaire: The Floating Cinema, Paddington Basin Canal, Merchant Square (behind St Mary’s hospital), W2 1AS (Paddington/Edgware tube/rail)
London’s first official floating cinema opened this month and you can still visit in your bubble of 6. Enter a boat to bob along Regent’s Canal before docking at Merchant Square to catch the big screen action. If you miss out on a boat, you can book one of the few available deckchairs along the canal. Family films showing this weekend: The Greatest Showman (PG) (Fri), Frozen Singalong (PG) (Sat). 3.45pm doors/5pm start or 7.15pm doors, 8.15pm movie; £215 per group of 6 (boat hire and optional pre-show trip around Little Venice), £150 (boat hire and film only), £16.50 deck chair tickets (until Sep 27)
Sat-Sun: Errol’s Garden: This Is How We Grow, online
The show must go on for Errol’s Garden, the green-fingered musical production on hiatus until 2021. Golden Toad Theatre have put a music video online to help spark kids’ imaginations and creativity. The sweet video features kids who were encouraged to sing along and share their photos and drawings of their garden creations. (ongoing)
Sat-Sun: A Celebration of Slytherin, at The Making of Harry Potter, WB Studio Tour, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, Aerodrome Way, Leavesden, Hertfordshire, WD25 7GS (Watford Junction rail)
For the first time ever, you can walk through a Great Hall decorated in Slytherin colours and also see the Slytherin Common Room up close. Fans will appreciate a 25-foot section of the set with imposing stone walls and authentic props. The exhibition has been extended, as part of the reopening of WB Studio Tour with hygiene and social distancing guidelines in place. Visitors age 11+ must wear face masks or coverings for the duration of their visit. 9am-10am first tours, last tour 4-6.30pm (closing time 3 hours after last tour); adult from £47/child from £38/family £150/ages 0-4 FREE but require tickets. Pre-booking essential. (extended until Nov 12)
Sun: AfroRetro: Upcycle Your Life
Join Ugandan Sisters Anna and Lilly of AfroRetro for a crafty online workshop recorded especially for artsdepot. Pick up some tips and tricks and learn how you can help stop your clothes from ending up in landfills across the world. Can’t sew? No worries, Anna and Lilly will help you upcycle your old t-shirts and sweatshirts into handy bags. Check out their work on www.afroretro.com. For ages 8+ (and a grownup). 11am (Sun Sep 20) to 10am (Sun Sep 27); pay what you can afford, suggested £5 – only one ticket needed per household (Sep 20-27)
Sun: Big Fish Little Fish Kitchen Raves, online
Every Sunday since lockdown began, the award winning, Glastonbury playing, baby-friendly ravers have been streaming the tunes to your living room. Live appearances will kick off again from September (check out their events page for bookings) or join more than 500k virtual ravers who have parties with them virtually. Kitchen Raves are Suns at 2pm. NB: All live streams are FREE (never pay to access or it’s a fraudulent link) — view via the links on BFLF website or their Facebook page.
Read my Tips on Talking to Kids about Race + an Antiracist Playlist on Big Fish Little Fish Blog
Looking for something to read with the children? Karen Beddow of the fantastic blog Mini Travellers and her co-author Lyndsay Macaulay have written a book for kids, The Little Museum. It’s the first in a new mystery series that follows Extraordinary Travellers Lucy and Tom in a race across France to uncover who stole the Eiffel Tower… amongst other French treasures. Lively and witty and filled with fun facts, language and travel tips, The Little Museum is an exciting start to what promises to be a magical adventure series for ages 8-11. Buy the book on pre-order here: The Little Museum (£7.99 + p&p).
Tue: Gamewagon Virtual Minecraft After School Club, online
Worried about your kids going to after school clubs but still need a way to keep them busy? Here’s something that will appeal to junior gamers. Gamewagon, the brilliant video gaming truck, has launched a virtual club run by a Minecraft master. Over 10 weeks, you’ll team up with 10 miners and crafters to learn new skills and keep the group alive. Do you have what it takes? Limited spots, book early to avoid disappointment. Requires a PC, laptop, ipad, phone, Nintendo Switch or an Xbox, plus another device (phone/laptop or iPad) to be able to see/hear workshop leader and teammates. Clubs run weekly 5pm-6pm or 5.30pm-6.30pm on Tue /Wed/Thu or Fri; £100 for 10 weeks (no club over half term) (Sep 22-Dec 4)