Travelling with kids (and babies)
It’s been a busy weekend.
Southbank centre is proposing Nordic matters, refreshingly global in a world which currently seems upside down and heading back to medieval times. Moominland adventures targets grownups and kids over 7 years old and is dedicated to Tove Jansson and its wonderful characters. Having attended with a 3.5 opinionated son, I am pleased to report it’s wonderful and suitable to little people as well. No photos or filming inside, so just a couple of hints from our trip to and at Southbank Centre.
The journey starts by entering into a book, bit of a dark tunnel which leads into a tent. Our group consists in a bunch of 15 adults and 2 boys – mine 3.5 and the other I am guessing closer to 6. There’s sand on the floor of the tent, treasuries to be discovered, pics and drawings of the Moomin characters and even a firecamp. We go ahead into the jungle areas, butterflies to be found. Lovely vintage rooms with gramophone playing jazz (Tove’s favourite), sailing boats, painting tools. A comet is threatening us, so we retrieve into the caves. The smells, echo and the sound of water are all fascinating for the grownups, a tad frightening for my 3.5 years boy. I don’t want to stay in a cave he says – so we continue our adventures into a lighthouse, crossing bridges over frozen lakes with funny monsters into a living room next to the Moomins bedrooms- all happily asleep and snoring. We draw on two boards a collective vision of the Moomins – one executed by our lovely guide Nina, the other by my son. A very delightful trip within the life of Tove, her likes, history and creation of the Moomin family. There’s talks of Muskrat character which takes after Schopenhauer, Tove’s remote stunning island with a sauna underneath a basic house, pictures of her swimming happily around and lots of vintage beautiful decor. R’s only disappointment is not actually meeting the Moomins apart from drawings and deco stuff – but he settles for hugging the Moomin by the cafe and the shopping corner.
On Sunday we popped in casually late morning by the Design Museum. A favourite of ours, where me and my 3.5 years old son love to test chairs, cups and various ideas.
On the third floor, the current New Old exhibition is an instant hit. Once R spots Paro the seal, I am left to properly enjoy, reading and engaging.
Paro is an interactive robot – one of the most therapeutic device for people with dementia. R spent 20 minutes cuddling and talking to her. There are charts, drawings, pictures and lots of stuff to digest and reflect on: old and new community, individuality, society pressure and expectations. Warmly recommended for parents and feasible with little ones.
We wrapped up the weekend with more delights, this time visual and very wet. Magical lanterns festival is back to Chiswick house and gardens for the 2nd year and this time the theme is the Silk Road. Lots of camels, magic characters, palaces, pandas and of course the rooster – to celebrate the New Chinese Year. A playful fusion of art, heritage and culture.
Don’t underestimate like us the complexity of baby and child in the rain, getting soaked, manoeuvring 3 umbrellas, 2 phones and a camera with 2 lenses. It was the 10 months anniversary for the baby, so the Lanterns were a treat – he seemed to enjoy the lights, the walk, the rain.
We enjoyed less his constant mischief – our baby loves to get rid of his boots, socks, gloves and dummy. So we kept the intro sweet and short, 30 minutes where we lost all these items and miraculously managed to find them all again.
The 3.5 years old alternated between jumping for joy in muddy puddles, admiring and talking to the lanterns, playing with his umbrella and moaning he wanted to be carried as it’s far too wet. An hour within the trail, we decided to drop him home as well with his brother and our lovely nanny and come back to enjoy a romantic wet evening out.
The plan worked really well, we got back and enjoyed the rest of the trail 8pm onwards, care free and armed with mulled wine to brave the mud and the rain. Peaceful and quite memorable, warmly recommending the later part of the evening. We also had a go on the ice rink – our first time attempt on synthetic one, quite a different experience. The ice rink is petite but just with the two of us and some lovely staff – fun!
We also had a peek at the Eis House – very cool ice sculptures and more drinks, a lovely way to wrap up the week-end. Happy Chinese New Year All!
PS: Many thanks to Magical Lanterns Festival for the complimentary passes, ice rink included. Also many thanks to Southbank centre for press tickets for Moominland. The New Old Exhibition @ The Design Museum is free. Comments, pics and adventures – entirely ours.