Happy October. This feels like the longest year in history and at the same time, it’s whizzed by like Santa on steroids. I can’t believe we’re less than three months until Christmas (or just 84 sleeps as my youngest keeps reminding me). For those of you dreading the holidays what with pandemic fears, employment worries and the Rule of 6 (+ ongoing idiocy from Boris and his gang), I feel you. My goal as always with this blog is to provide you with some cheer, entertainment and inspiration for the whole family. I’m dreaming up some fun giveaways to brighten your mood and to say thank you for sticking with Babes about Town through thick and thin.
Coming up in October: How to celebrate Halloween in London on (semi) lockdown, cool things to do with the kids over October half term, and of course Black History Month. I’ve kicked off the latter with a post dedicated to Bookshops run by Black owners around the UK and abroad. It’s Black Pound Day on October 3, so I have a directory of shops and services that will go live this weekend. And throughout the month, I’ll be sharing activities for kids of all ages in the London Kids Weekend Scoop.
You can also hear more about Bringing Up Race: How to Raise a Kind Child in a Prejudiced World that has been out in shops for a week, and I’m loving the response so far. Check out Babes About Town on Instagram for bookish news. I held a Virtual Book Launch on Wednesday that was so much fun (and emotional)! It was very last minute so I was honoured that more than 100 people registered and we had a brilliant turnout. You can watch the replay on my YouTube channel HERE.
Whatever you do, wherever you are, have an excellent weekend.
Celebrate Black History Month in London and Online
Fri-Sun: Rocks (on Netflix)
Maybe the movie and surrounding controversy around tween drama Cuties has you more than a little alarmed. Here’s an antidote – a bold and authentic portrayal of teenage girlhood by filmmaker Sarah Gavin and writers Theresa Ikoko and Claire Wilson. It follows a teen trying to protect her younger brother from a family separation, while navigating the ups and downs of adolescents. Features a group of British girls whose backgrounds include Nigerian, English, Somali, Polish, Bangladeshi and Congolese-Ghanaian. One to watch with older kids. Age guidance: 12.
Fri-Sun: Turn It Up: On Paradoxes, Horniman Museum (Balcony Gallery/above the World Gallery)
Photographer Jide Odukoya’s series turns the lens on Nigeria’s paradox of affluence and enjoyment, and economic degradation. It brings to light the poverty of much of the population as well as the richness of Nigerian culture. 10am-5.30pm; FREE (until Oct 4)
Fri-Sun: Black History Month Exhibition: Honour, Remember, Inspire, Zari Gallery, 73 Newman Street, London, W1T 3EJ (Piccadilly Circus tube)
Zari Gallery presents works by British and international Black Artists in celebration of Black History Month sent in response to an open call. The Zari team has carefully curated these talented artists each with their own story. 9am-5pm; FREE entry but booking ahead required (Oct 1-30)
Fri-Sun: Windrush: Portrait of a Generation, Brixton Library, Brixton Oval, SW2 1JQ (Brixton tube)
A vibrant and poignant photo story by award-winning social documentary photographer Jim Grover, first exhibited at Oxo Gallery on the South Bank. Part of the 70th anniversary celebration of the arrival of SS Windrush. Photos taken in clubs, homes, churches, cemeteries and memorials around Clapham, Brixton and Stockwell portray the lives of the first wave of Caribbean migrants, now in their late 60s to 90s. Signed copies of the accompanying book and transcripts of interviews with twelve members of the Windrush Generation, will be available to buy at the Library. Book your viewing slot: 020 7926 1058. (Oct 1-Dec 2020)
Fri-Sun: Black History Month at Museum of London Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL (West India Quay DLR/Canary Wharf tube)
Celebrate stories of Black Londoners at Museum of London Docklands with a series of bitesize digital talks performed by knowledgeable Hosts. They can be accessed via QR codes positioned in the galleries throughout October. All ages. From 11.30am (opening hours 11.30am-3.30pm Mon-Fri & 10am-6pm Sat-Sun); FREE but require ticket booked in advance. (Oct 2-31)
Fri-Sun: Dub London: Bassline of a City at Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN (Barbican/St Paul’s tube)
Beats and basslines are the heart of this exhibition spanning 50 years of dub, from its roots in Jamaican reggae to how it’s shaped London communities and identities. Explore a speaker stack that’s been at Carnival since ’83, a bespoke record shop, hear stories from London locals and icons, and browse a curated audio selection (bring your own wired earphones/headphones to listen). An entertaining history lesson for you and your little listeners. 10am-5pm; FREE with general museum entry (Oct 2-Jan 31)
London Kids Weekend Scoop
Fri-Sun: Little Angel Theatre: Watch Online (online)
Throughout lockdown, the Little Angel Theatre have been smashing it online with their virtual puppet theatre performances. It’s not quite the same as being in their cosy physical space, but the sense of wonder and enchantment your little one will experience comes pretty close. Ages 2-8 and families. Currently playing on their YouTube channel: Scoop’s Space, Moon River, The Little Fish, Flyboy and Mr Robot, There’s a Bear on My Chair and Mr Gobble’s Garden. FREE but donations welcome. (ongoing)
Fri-Sun: Hold Still at National Portrait Gallery (online)
A unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown, spearheaded by The Duchess of Cambridge. People of all ages were invited to submit photos on three core themes – Helpers and Heroes, Your New Normal and Acts of Kindness. Out of 31,000 submissions, the final 100 have been selected creating a powerful and personal record of these extraordinary times. From clapping the NHS to handmade rainbows to the depths of grief and isolation, some of these images might prove upsetting so do get support here if you need it. Enter the exhibition online, view themed highlights, and share your thoughts using the #HoldStill2020 hashtag. (ongoing)
Fri-Sun: Everyday Heroes at Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, SE1 8XX (Waterloo/Embankment tube/rail)
Southbank Centre hosts a site-wide tribute to the heroes of the pandemic with this outdoor exhibition of portraits across its buildings. See more than 40 large-scale visions of ordinary but remarkable people including frontline staff, shop assistants, bus drivers and faith workers. (until Nov 30)
Fri-Sun: Shebaa’s Adventure to Jopplety How, Stratford Circus (online)
Shebaa has no wool and feels like the proverbial black sheep in the herd. Then she goes on a quest to meet The Wisdom Cow of Jopplety How to see if he can grant her greatest wish. 25 mins multi-sensory show aimed at audiences living with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Available 24 hours online for up to a year after download; FREE (until Mar 31, 2021)
Fri-Sun: Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage: Family Workshops (online)
If you can’t get to the theatre, the theatre will come to you. The Digital Stage is a series of shows and workshops bringing the best of Sadler’s Wells to your home. Join in dance workshops for kids aged 2 to 6 years (big kids welcome). The series of 10 different movement activities are led by Cherie Coleman, who runs the popular Family Fridays sessions at Sadler’s Wells. On YouTube. (ongoing)
Fri-Sun: London Restaurant Festival: Socially Distanced for 2020, multiple locations (also delivery and online)
If you’re not comfort eating like a bear through autumn, are you even part of this whole pandemic shizz? And here comes the London Restaurant Festival to tempt you into more establishments. Discover neighbourhood gems and London legends with socially distanced tables and food to make you cry with happiness. For those who aren’t keen on sharing space with strangers, the LRF is bringing the festival into your home with chef’s experiences, virtual masterclasses and restaurant-quality food delivered straight to your door. Tuck in. (Oct 1-30)
Fri-Sun: Telling Tales Family Festival: Macbeth Workshop for Secondary Kids, Shakespeare’s Globe (online)
The Globe’s annual Telling Tales festival for families is online this autumn. This weekend, there’s a Macbeth workshop for ages 12+ (Oct 3-17). Other upcoming sessions: A Midsummer Night’s Dream puppetry workshop for ages 3+ (Oct 17); A Midsummer Night’s Dream workshop for ages 5-8 (Oct 10); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oct 10); Macbeth Storytelling for ages 5-12 (Oct 17) and The Tempest Storytelling for ages 5-12 (Oct 17). All shows available online on set dates from 11am (times vary, confirm with booking); price range from £20-£45/pay the price that works for you (until Oct 17)
Fri-Sun: The Drive In London, Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, Edmonton, London, N18 3QQ
Enjoy live events, movies, classic cinema refreshments and sound broadcast straight to your car’s FM radio. Featuring Knives Out, Tenet, Bill & Ted, Back To The Future, Grease and more. Also West End Musical Drive-In with live performers. Various screenings, arrive 45 minutes before showtime; £35 per movie/live event prices vary (until Oct 24)
Fri-Sun: The Luna Drive-In Cinema at Thorpe Park, Staines Rd, Chertsey, KT16 8PN
The travelling movie show rides into Thorpe Park for autumn. Watch film classics (Back to the Future, Rocketman, Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, Get Out, The Greatest Showman and more) while safe and cosy in your vehicle. Refreshments served and contactless payments only. Various times and films (check age ratings for movies); from £29.50 per car (2 people) (until Nov 1)
Sun: Chiswick Flower Market, Chiswick High Road, W4 2DR (Turnham Green tube)
Bloomin’ ‘eck. The first new flower market to open in London in 150 years offers a range to rival Columbia Flower Market including house plants, succulents and other speciality offers. First Sunday of every month in the High Road’s market place, outside the police station. 9.30am-3pm; FREE entry (Oct 4/Nov 1/Dec 6 and every first Sunday)
Sun: Big Fish Little Fish London & Kitchen Raves, multiple locations (also online)
The award winning, baby friendly ravers have a number of London events scheduled in autumn. Stay locked on their website and social pages for updates. And get your party fix via their massively popular (more than 500k visitors) virtual Kitchen Raves for the whole family. 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 (ongoing)