Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Win free books for your school or nursery!

We thought we'd celebrate the 10th Annual National Storytelling Week by running a very special competition.... Thanks to our friends at Usborne and Waterstones, we've got some wonderful prizes including a signed limited edition of That's Not My Puppy and a beautiful illustrated collection of children's stories. Two lucky winners will also be able to nominate a school, nursery, library, or children's hospice to receive a box of brand new children's books.

How to enter:
We'd love to read some creative and entertaining little stories (max 250 words) and tweets about places you've been with your kids, favourite storytelling drop-ins, your favourite story-related places (e.g. the Roald Dahl Museum) and whatever else Storytelling Week inspires you to write.

One point = One entry into the draw. Here's how you rack up points:
  • Post your story on ReallyKidFriendly.com as a review of the relevant business (you can add new businesses if need be) = 5 points
  • Add your story/review to our Facebook Page, email us, or post it below = 3 points
  • Publicise this competition (use #storytellingwk on Twitter so we can track entries!) = 1 point
    Good luck!


    The small print:
    • There is no maximum number of entries into the draw -the more often you write / tweet the better your chances, but if we think you're a spammer we'll have to disqualify you.
    • This prize draw closes at midnight on February 7th 2010, and we'll notify the winners as soon as we can. 
    • If you post an anonymous comment below, or publicise this competition somewhere other than Twitter, remember to email / tweet to let us know who you are & how to get in touch!
    • The prize draw is open to everyone in the UK over 18 years of age.
    • Only registered state schools and nurseries and child-focused group/organisations with charitable status are eligible to receive a box of books selected by Waterstones / Usborne staff.
    • Selected stories/reviews added below or sent to us by email / facebook will be published on ReallyKidFriendly.com under a guest / anonymous login. We will never share your personal details or email address with anyone.  
    A special thank you to these lovely businesses for donating the prizes:



    Usborne is a major, independent, award-winning UK publishing company. Books for early years are at the heart of their list with the popular Farmyard Tales series, classic story books and more traditional titles being published alongside cloth books, noisy books, bath books and touchy feely titles including the bestselling That's not my .... series.




    Buy books, eBooks and DVDs online at Waterstones.com - the UK's leading bookseller - with FREE UK delivery. 




      Wednesday, 20 January 2010

      Prize draw: IMAX tickets, pampering, DVDs and more

      We've got some superb prizes to give away this month to thank all the lovely mums, dads, nannies and grandparents contributing to our site, and even for the parents-to-be:

      • Two "family" sets (2 adults, 3 kids) of tickets for the IMAX theatre on London's South Bank. No, we don't dictate the size of your family - if you have less than 3 kids, borrow some for the day. If you have more than 3, just let us know and we'll arrange for some more child tickets.
      • Being Dad DVDs - great for getting dads-to-be more engaged with your pregnancy and birth
      • Mummy & Baby pampering products - lovely, all-natural skincare for babies, new mums, and mums to be, including a cute "soothing bottom butter", relaxing bath soaks, anti-stretchmark "miracle oil", and lots of other gorgeous goodies from the Boo Boo Shop
      • Pregnancy and Fourth Trimester (new mums) body treatments or holistic full body massage in the comfort of your own home by mobile spa therapist Nicky Weston (London only)
      • Eco-bags from Southbank London
      • Tickets to parent-toddler films at the BFI on London's South Bank (TBC)
      All you need to do to enter the draw is to write a quick review of your favourite child friendly spots on our website. Each review counts as one entry, and each new place you add to the database counts as one entry.
      If you're an iPhone lover and have downloaded our little iPhone app London Kids, we'll give you an entry for your rating / review on iTunes as well.

      Write 5 or more reviews on our website (www.reallykidfriendly.com) and we'll double your chances (and we'll love you forever).

      Parents-to-be: 
      Where would you most like to go and what would you most like to do once the new baby arrives? Whether it's exploring your own neighbourhood and meeting local mums, visiting galleries and museums, getting into shape outdoors with a buggy fitness class, we'd love to know. Each relevant comment below or on the MumVersusKids blog counts as one entry into the prize draw. You're also welcome to use ReallyKidFriendly.com to review places you've been with other peoples' children!


      Bloggers, Tweeps and "Parent-Preneurs"
      Become a "super-reviewer" and we'll link back to your site, blog or twitter feed (as well as entering your name in the draw). For more details, just get in touch. If we're busy with the usual toddler mayhem and can't get back to you as quickly as we'd like, just carry on writing reviews as usual - we can add the links in at any point. If the term "super reviewer" just  makes you think of Super Grover from Sesame Street, well, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

      The Small Print
      • This prize draw closes at midnight on January 31st 2010, and we'll notify the winners as soon as we can. 
      • The prize draw is open to everyone in the UK over 18 years of age.
      • Prizes are transferable if you write to us to explain the reason for the transfer.
      • To take advantage of some of the prizes you'll need to come to London (UK).
      • If you write a review on iTunes about the iPhone application, London Kids, make sure you let us know by email or tweet

      Thursday, 14 January 2010

      Review of Peppa Pig's Party - A guest blog by one of the Dads!

      Peppa Pig’s Party is a live theatre show for kids who adore Peppa and family (know any who don’t?), and their parents who know every episode scene for scene, word by word. Thank goodness for the recently released new episodes, by the way!

      I saw the play at London’s Hackney Empire in November, taking my three and a half year old daughter, and accompanied by three other dads and their similarly aged girls.

      The theatre was packed, despite it being 10am on a very wet Sunday morning – the day after Halloween. The kids weren’t exploding but there was a definite sense of kids TV celebrity in the air.

      The show opens to a scene in Peppa’s garden. A human friend of Peppa’s (a human in Peppa Pig? – now they really are stretching reality) tells us that it’s Peppa’s birthday. There’s some decent panto-like “Behind You!” shouting when George appears at a window, and the girls were by now totally hooked. Soon Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and a host of Peppa’s friends appear – sitting on the arms of bubbly puppeteers.

      I wasn’t surprised that the biggest shout went up not for Peppa but for the iconic Daddy Pig – who got the adults (especially the mums) chuckling with his boasts of being an expert at whatever he was just about to fail to accomplish.

      There’s several scenery changes – garden, kitchen, nature trail, on the train – and events such as butterfly chasing, cake making and present opening. But the hottest topic of post-show conversation among the dads was the absence of Peppa’s supposed best friend Suzie Sheep. Had they had another quarrel? Is she planning her own spin off show? Maybe she was helping Mrs Rabbit, who does seem to do most of the work around town…

      The kids didn’t mind the fact that the characters were attached to puppeteers’ arms, and all seemed to enjoy the interaction, singing and dancing in the aisles.
      This was my daughter and friends’ first big theatre visit, and they were buzzing at the end of it. But it was nice to pass them over to their mums when home and settle down to… yet another viewing of Peppa Pig!

      - Simon Jary

      Click here to read Simon's reviews of child friendly places to go >>
      Click here to check for tickets to the next performance of Peppa Pig's Party >>

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com November 20th 2009 (80 reads) 
       


      Visit a gallery, take in a show, have a nap... or 8 things to do in London with toddlers

      As a lifelong Londoner I may be biased, but London is a fantastic place to visit with children, with so many options it’s sometimes hard to choose. It is not however an obvious destination with toddlers, with most attractions being more suitable for older children or adults. But what if you want to visit London with your toddler? You don’t need to be confined to soft-play hell to keep them happy, there are actually lots of things to do which will appeal to everyone, adults, older children and toddlers too.

      As preparation for your trip, I’d recommend you read Paddington at the Palace and James Mayhew’s Katie in London. Both these books are great favourites with our children, who love pointing out the landmarks they recognise as we travel around the city. Now you’re all prepared, let’s go…

      Ride on a bus: I don’t know a toddler who doesn’t get a thrill at sitting in the front seat on the top deck of a red London bus. Despite seeing double decker buses on a daily basis, our children always used to shout “BUS” every time they saw one as toddlers, and bus counting is still one of Dickon’s favourite games. Some of the routes are as good as the sightseeing tours, and considerably cheaper. Try route 15, which is an old fashioned routemaster bus (though not great with buggys) or any of the routes which go through Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Square. If your toddler is transport obsessed, why not make their year and take them to the London Transport Museum. Just watch out for the scary dummy people.

      Take in a show: I’m not suggesting that you take your toddler to see Chekhov or Shakespeare, but London has a thriving children’s theatre scene, with a number of theatres putting on plays specifically aimed at toddlers. Theatres such as the Polka, the Unicorn and the Peacock put on truly innovative and charming shows. I may not get out much, but I can honestly say that the production of Princess and the Pea we saw at the Polka, was the most delightful thing I’ve ever seen in a theatre.

      Visit the National Gallery: I know that it’s not obviously toddler friendly, but bear with me on this one. If you want to see some world class art, there are ways to make it fun for your toddler too. Every Sunday and during the school holidays they have themed magic carpet story telling sessions for under fives, based on an individual picture. You can also print off your own personal itinerary focussed on one of a number of themes like toddler friendly dogs, cats or nativity scenes. We went last Christmas and had a lovely time running from room to room spotting nativity scenes with the children pointing out their school play characters with great excitement.

      Horniman Museum: this South London museum is a veritable treasure trove with amongst other things – stuffed animals, voodoo temples, an aquarium, musical instruments, African masks, a fabulous ethnographic collection and a large and beautiful garden withmusical instruments at the Horniman Museum farm animals. Throughout the week they have hands on sessions, storytelling, art activities and concerts and more. There is so much to do here that even the most restless toddler cannot fail to be entertained. It’s a little out of the way, but it’s truly one of London’s hidden treasures.

      Museum of London: this venue tells the story of London from pre-history to the present day. As well as precious artefacts behind glass, the galleries are laid out in such a way that there are things to entertain the children while you look around. The highlight for us has to be the amazing full scale reproduction of a Saxon house with props to play with and sound effects for authenticity. The adults happily looked around the whole of the gallery while they played in the house, which they had to be dragged out of forcefully. They also run plenty of family art activities at weekends and in the holidays as well as a weekly baby rhyme time and a toddler group. The modern galleries are currently closed for renovation, due to re-open in Spring 2010.

      Big outdoor event: One thing Londoners do really well are the huge outdoor parades and celebrations. They can be very exciting for toddlers as well as older children, as long as you plan your day carefully. Most toddlers love flypasts (Trooping of the Colour), marching soldiers (also Trooping of the Colour), giant balloons (New Year’s Day parade), dancing dragons (Chinese New Year) and boy scouts in silly costumes (Lord Mayor’s Show). I think the key to visiting these events with very young children is to take a buggy (or other method of preventing escape) and to stay on the fringes so you get a flavour of the celebrations without being overwhelmed by huge crowds or queueing for hours. Queueing not being an activity that toddlers are keen on.

      Museum of Childhood: As its name suggests, this is a museum of childhood not a children’s museum, but it has to be one of the best museums to visit with small children. It is very thoughtfully laid out, with every section having something to engage both adults and children of different ages. So, there are precious antique dolls houses behind glass next to a sturdy wooden dolls house set up for playing with and next to the antique Punch and Judy puppets, there are two toy theatres with puppets, one tall, one small and a small sandpit with buckets and spades. There are also comfy reading corners, dressing up and a great cafe.

      St James’ Park and Changing of the Guard: London has many beautiful parks which I haven’t recommended as I’ve tried to avoid things that you could do anywhere. St James’ Park is however a bit different. It’s a pretty park, with a nice playground, and not only does it have the added bonus of soldiers in shiny helmets on real horses (on Horse Guards Parade by Whitehall), it is also home to a number of pelicans, which you can watch being fed fresh fish at 2.30pm every day. The best reason to visit St James’ Park however, is that it’s a great spot to watch the Changing of the Guard, which is at 11.30am daily in summer and every other day in winter. The area around Buckingham Palace gets really crowded, but if you stand on the edge of the park you get a good overall view as you are slightly higher than most of the crowd. Toddlers adore watching the soldiers in their red coats and busbies, it really is the stuff of fairytales. The first time we took Eve aged just three, she took one look at the soldiers on horseback and sighed “Mummy, look at the real princes”.

      A trip to London with toddlers can be really fun, and if you’re lucky, they’ll have a nap on the way home.

      - Victoria

      You can read some of Victoria’s reviews here, or click here to read her “It’s a Small World After All” blog.

      Been to any of the places Victoria wrote about? Write a quick review and we’ll enter your name into one of our prize draws. Prizes include meals at child friendly restaurants like Giraffe, canvas bags, tickets to IMAX films, tickets to parent-and-baby films, children's books, and some lovely pampering treats for mum.

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com November 18th 2009
       

      If you love beautiful, well designed, stimulating toys, then you’ll love these..

      If you love beautiful, well designed, stimulating toys, then here are some ideas for Christmas gifts from our guest blogger Armineh from Tup Tup Toys:

      Christmas is almost here… like it or not, it’s that time of year already. Personally, I like it. In fact, I love it: the planning, the surprises, the look of delight in my children’s eyes, when they bounce into our room on Christmas morning, beside themselves with excitement and happiness at the fact that Father Christmas has been!

      This year, Christmas is that bit special – it’s our first Christmas at Tup Tup Toys and we’ve done all we can to put together what we think is a fantastic selection of toys for you to find that perfect gift.

      For the Very Smallest Children
      For babies we have a wonderful selection of very funky wooden rattles, like Toot Toot, by Haba. There´s also a great range of soft toys, including our colourful Discovery Cubes, an interactive experience with lots of little surprises.

      Take a look at our popular range of charming cuddly animals by France’s premier maker of soft toys, Trousselier. We love the wonderfully cuddly pull-along dog- a delight for every toddler, sure to be much loved for years to come.

      We also have a wide range of early learning toys to keep little ones amused for hours while developing essential skills. There are wooden toys to hammer, sort and bash; lacing kits to thread, such as “My First Tools” - great for boys and girls alike; floor Puzzles by Crocodile Creek, with themes from Dinosaurs, through Solar System, to Ocean Animals.

      If you’re shopping for a Little Girl
      I fully recommend our range of Jewellery and Accessories, by Haba. Take a look at our Amelie Bag. It´s the perfect size for little hands, and makes a colourful addition to any child's wardrobe. We also have a wonderful selection of wooden jewellery, hair bands and jewellery cases that will be sure to delight. View our full range of Jewellery and Accessories here

      For when the weather’s not so good
      And if the weather’s not great, there's plenty to keep little hands busy indoors! Take a look at our fantastic range of arts and crafts kits for children of all ages. Each kit is packed with lots to do, and can be brought out again and again.

      We have a wonderful selection of painting by number kits that have proven great value for money with four pictures in each set to colour and two picture frames to display your works of art afterwards. Our activity kits have also proven very popular, with My Tissue Art and Paint a Zoo a great favourite for younger children.

      Fantastic Stocking Fillers
      And, importantly at this time of year, we have put special thought into those little extras which add the perfect touch to Christmas morning: we have chosen some very funky Bead Bags by Bead Bazaar - a wonderful assortment of different shades, shapes and sizes of pink wooden beads, for making your own jewellery. From Adventurers to budding artists, we have some great ideas and essentials to put a smile on their face - take a look here for our full range.

      - Armineh from Tup Tup Toys

      Tup Tup Toys are featured in our “We recommend” section – we love their beautiful and engaging toys, but also their commitment to using sustainable materials and minimal packaging.
      We only list websites and businesses we've checked out for ourselves and would happily recommend to other parents. Want to get your business, service, blog, or product listed recommended through our site? Just email ideas@reallykidfriendly.com with a few details, and we'll be in touch. We look forward to hearing from you!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com November 2nd 2009 (119 reads) 
       


      Fantastic Giveaways and Competitions

      Write to us with your experiences or review a child friendly spot on our site and we'll enter your name in our next competition. Prizes include meals at child friendly restaurants like Giraffe, canvas bags, tickets to IMAX films, tickets to parent-and-baby films, children's books, a craft kit and some lovely pampering treats for mum.

      Most competitions are open to everyone over 18 and are transferable, but to take advantage of some of the prizes you'll need to come to London (UK). Click here to write a review now.

      MORE ABOUT THE PRIZES:

      Pregnancy Massage, Postnatal Massage, and Pampering Sessions

      We've teamed up with mobile spa therapists Nicky Weston and Return to Glory to offer you some blissful pampering sessions in the comfort of your own home*. The mobile spa and beauty therapists also offer treatments which are completely safe in pregnancy, and can work around a busy mum's schedule, including some post-bedtime pampering at your home.

      To enter, just write a quick review (good or bad!) of anywhere you've been with your kids in the UK. Each review you write during the competition period counts as one entry, so the more reviews you write, the better your chances - and if you write 3 or more, we'll double your chances of winning. The current competition runs from October 1st 2009 to midnight on 15 January 2010.

      *Note that many of the mobile spa therapists are based in London and the South East, so you may need to live in or be visiting London (UK) to take advantage of this prize.

      South Bank London Canvas Bag Giveaway

      Tell us about a family day out on the South Bank and you could win a South Bank London canvas bag, travelcard holder and badges. The bag is nice and light and just the right size to pop into your handbag as a stylish alternative to those awful plastic bags when you're out shopping. The draw is open to everyone, worldwide, but numbers are limited. Click here to write a review now and enter this giveaway.

      Tickets to BFI Southbank Films, IMAX Films, Parent-and-Baby and IMAX 3D Family Films

      We're giving away tickets to your favourite films* at the BFI South Bank and BFI IMAX in London (UK) - it's up to you to decide whether you want to take the whole family or just book a sitter and enjoy a romantic date with your other half.

      To claim your tickets, all you need to do is write a quick review (good or bad!) of anywhere you've been with your kids, and then email us with the name of the film you'd like to see, date, time, and number of adults and children who will be attending. The tickets have no cash value and are not transferable. If for whatever reason we can't get tickets to the requested film or date, we'll let you know some alternatives. Numbers are limited, so get writing! *Note that we can't give you any freebies to new releases during the first 2 weeks.

      Craft Kit and Miffy the Artist Book

      We've teamed up with Tate Online Shop to offer one person the chance to win a craft box containing lots of goodies for craft projects and a Miffy the Artist book, one of the best loved children's characters of all time. Click on the links to view the prizes: Craft box | Miffy the Artist book

      3 ways to enter:
      1) Write a quick review (good or bad!) of anywhere you've been with your kids in the UK.
      2) Email ideas@reallykidfriendly.com or send a little tweet to @kidfriendly_uk with your 3 favourite places to go with children
      3) Mention our competition on your blog or website (and email us or tweet to let us know!)

      Terms and conditions:
      The free prize draw is operated by The Board of Trustees of the Tate Gallery ("Tate"). There is no purchase necessary to enter this free prize draw. The free prize draw is open to residents in the UK over the age of 18. There is a strict limit of one entry per person. Multiple entries from the same entrant will render all entries from that entrant invalid. Entrants must comply with all the prize draw rules to be eligible to win. The closing date for admission of all entries is 23.59 GMT 15 November 2009. The winning entry drawn will be drawn at random by a member of Tate staff or Really Kid Friendly staff. The winner will be notified by 20 November 2009. Tate's decision on the winning entry is final and no correspondence will be entered into. This prize draw is not open to employees, freelance contractors or families of Tate, Tate Enterprises Limited, or any person directly or indirectly involved with running the prize draw. By entering this prize draw all entrants are deemed to have accepted the prize draw rules.

      Meals at Giraffe Restaurants

      To win 2-for-1 meals or 50% off your food bill at participating Giraffe restaurants across the UK, all you need to do is write 3 or more reviews (good or bad!) of anywhere you've been with your kids in the UK, or write one review of any Giraffe restaurant. You'll need to email us to tell us the name of your closest Giraffe restaurant, the number of adults and children in your group, and the time/date you wish to take us up on this fantastic offer. The draw is open to everyone, worldwide, but numbers are limited and you'll need to be in the UK to enjoy this prize. Note that we can't give you any freebies for Giraffe restaurant on the South Bank, but the offer is valid at most other Giraffe restaurants across the UK. Click here to write a review now and enter this giveaway.

      Good luck!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com October 26th 2009 (140 reads) 
       


      Fed up of bedtime battles? You’re not alone. Thank goodness for Ready for Bed week!

      With 8 out of 10 parents admitting their children sometimes go to bed too late, and a further 7 out of 10 wishing children would stay in their beds a little longer in the morning, it would appear our children are burning the candle at both ends! Results are tired and grumpy children who don’t always behave their best, and parents who have to put up with the tears and tantrums plus miss a bit of time to themselves!

      But with the clocks going back giving us all a precious extra hour in bed, parents have the perfect chance to get bedtime routines in order, so make the most of Ready For Bed Week (October 25th to 31st) to get bedtime back on track! Best of all, your support will help Worlds Apart reach its target of providing bed kits for 100 boys and girls in the world who don’t have a comfy place to sleep.

      The folks over at ReadyForBedWeek.com have created some very fun and useful Bedtime Reward Charts to enable you to monitor your child’s progress and help your child feel proud of how well they are doing. You can record teeth brushing, tidying up, settling to sleep well and on time and even staying in bed until morning, so your children can learn exactly what a happy bedtime is all about.

      For every 100 Bedtime Reward Charts that are downloaded, ReadyForBedWeek.com will fund a much-needed bed kit for a child in an undeveloped or developing country. Click here to download your Bedtime Reward Chart

      For a little added incentive, your child can get sponsored to stick to their bedtime routine and raise money for less fortunate children. Click here to download a sponsorship form.
       
      To learn more and to watch Sophia’s video, visit ReadyForBedWeek.com

      Source: ReadyForBedWeek.com

      * Best Buys for a Good Night's Sleep *
      If you’re quick you can get some beautiful Cosatto and Tutti Bambini cot-beds, sweet little knitted baby blankets and Graco travel cots in the Bambino Direct clearance sale. Also in the clearance sale is a KidSleep nightlight / alarm clock with little daytime and nightime bunnies showing your child when it’s sleep time. A must for any parent with an early-riser or a bed-escaper.

      You can find a huge range of books about night-time parenting on Amazon – our favourites are:
      Teach Your Child to Sleep (Millpond Sleep Clinic)
      The No Cry Sleep Solution (Elizabeth Pantley, foreword by William Sears)
      The Complete Sleep Guide for Contented Babies and Toddlers (Gina Ford)
      Toddler Taming: The World’s Bestselling Parenting Guide (Christopher Green)
      Toddlers – Mumsnet Guide: A Million Mums Trade Secrets.

      Last but certainly not least, to help your little one off to sleep we wholeheartedly recommend these lullaby renditions of your favourite rock tunes by the Beatles, Coldplay, AC/DC, Metallica, Nirvana and the Rolling Stones by Rockabye.

      Goodnight!

      - Janis

      P.S. You can follow me, my bedtime battles and grumpy mornings on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MumVersusKids

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com October 22nd 2009 (108 reads) 
       

      Expecting another baby? Read The Bump Wear Project's top tips on refreshing the Maternity Wardrobe

      Our affair with credit cards is over, or so it should be - we have to start looking for value and to be more frugal when it comes to maternity wear. Who wants to spend hundreds of pounds on a temporary wardrobe? Actually, let me rephrase that, who can afford to spend hundreds of pounds on a temporary wardrobe?
      Many pregnant people we have spoken to who already have children tell us that they just reuse what they had before, and then go on to say, that this doesn't make them feel as fabulous as they would like to be. Sound familiar? Fear not, there are some simple things you can do though to ensure that you get the best out of your existing wardrobe. It's all about refreshing!

      Clean Out Your Closet
      The procrastinator in you may scream, ‘No', but be realistic, if those vests are faded, bobbley, or stretched out of shape from your last bump. Ditch them. Don't abandon the things you wear when you want to feel comfy at home, everyone needs their comfy clothes, but if you want to rock your bump in public, be firm with yourself. If you love the print of an old top that's seen better days then make it in to something new. There are lots of sites out there that can help you get crafty!

      Use Accessories
      Have fun with accessories - you can find accessories for very little money and the new item will often inspire an old outfit. We're talking about ribbons, bows, broaches, bangles, bags and necklaces. Wrapping a beautiful ribbon around a top (either above or below the bump depending on your preference) can create a whole new outfit - as demonstrated on The Bump Wear Project. Wide ribbons look fabulous like this. Team up with some bangles and you could create a whole new look very easily. And change the look again the next day. We consider the use of accessories as one of the Golden Rules in looking great throughout your pregnancy.

      Invest in Base Wear
      When we say base wear, we're talking about clothes than can be layered. Get yourself a good selection of long vests in. They can be found cheaply, a couple of pound, and can make your wardrobe so much more versatile. You can wear your shirts undone, or just layer the vests. This is a really cheap way to add to your wardrobe and get change from £20. Base wear also includes items like BumpBands and leggings.

      Customise
      It's not as hard as you may think, and doesn't have to be permanent. Sure, if you are up to it, trousers can be made into shorts, long skirts can be made short - but if like me you're not quite up to that, keep it simple. One of the easiest ways to quickly change the look of any item is to add new details. Buttons can transform and outfit and can be found everywhere - just replace old ones with new funky fresh ones or if it's more your style, some vintage ones. You can change your plain tops and shirts in to statement pieces with fabulous buttons and the same goes with ribbons.

      Mix it Up
      Instead of wearing the same item combinations as you did during your last pregnancy, mix it up. Try teaming different pieces with different accessories and details and see what you can come up with. Think about textures, prints and shapes. Don't try and follow trends - create something stylish. As the almighty Yves Saint Laurent once said: Fashions fade, style is eternal...

      Spend some time doing this as soon as you start needing to think about getting the maternity clothes out, and you will save money.

      This guestblog was brought to you by The Bump Wear Project. For smart, sexy maternity fashion follow The Bump Wear Project on Twitter

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com October 8th 2009 (358 reads) 
       


      Kids In Museums - The Guardian Award 2009

      Kids in Museums is a charity that is very close to our hearts. For the charity, as for us, museums aren’t collections of dusty old objects, lying idly in a musty, dim room. Instead they are places where families can go to enjoy interactive exhibitions, where the kids can dress up, play around, get hands on and learn something as you enjoy a fresh cup of tea. Happily, a move toward this is what many museums in London and around the UK are making, in no small part, thanks to Kids in Museums and their push for change.


      The story of how the charity came about might well chime a few bells of recognition with all those of you lucky enough to have a toddler (even luckier in the plural).

      It all started back in 2003, when journalist Dea Birkett wrote an article in The Guardian, describing how her two year old had been thrown out of The Royal Academy for shouting “monster” at a five foot Aztec statue of an eagle man. Told you it might sound familiar.

      Anyway, Dea’s sounding off of this (mis)treatment of her child gave rise to a wave of public opinion, voiced on The Guardian website. People were generally split on the question of how to deal with children in museums, but what became clear was that a system was needed to appease those who didn’t want to go to a museum full of energetic kids, and those that wanted to take their energetic kids to a museum. Born of this was a manifesto, detailing what parents wanted from a museum, and born of that was the first Guardian Family Friendly Museum Award in 2004. This award allows families to judge which is the best museum for them to visit with their kids, based on facilities, entertainment, and child friendly places to stop and refuel.
      Kids in Museums are basically doing everything for museums that we here at ReallyKidFriendly.com are trying to do for… well, everything. For this reason we think you should definitely get involved and cast your vote . You can even apply to be one of the families who will decide on the overall winner for 2009’s award, the details of which you can find here.

      If you want to check out what people have made of London’s museums, including the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum, then look them up on ReallyKidFriendly.com, where we have descriptions and reviews of most of the museums in London. If you’ve got a few minutes, why not write a review (good or bad) of one of the museums below, and help another family enjoy (or avoid!) the same experience you’ve had.

      - George

      p.s. For easy access to some kid friendly information about some of London’s most popular museums, here’s a quick list of links for your perusal:

      Museum of Childhood
      Museum of London Docklands
      Science Museum
      Natural History Museum
      National Maritime Museum
      Victoria and Albert Museum
      British Museum
      Imperial War Museum


      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com September 25th 2009 (124 reads) 
       


      Mayor of London’s Skyride and Open House London add up to make one exciting weekend!

      The weather may be speedily cooling, but this weekend there’s plenty in London to help keep you warm. First up is the Mayor of London’s Skyride (formally known as Freewheel), where you can ride around the city with your kids in complete safety thanks to the banishing of traffic along the chosen routes. If this safety is impaired by your kid’s lack of bike riding prowess, there are even cycling safety lessons available for children aged 8 – 16, where your kid can earn themselves a goodie bag and you can take a much needed sit down. If you get tired along the way there are six pit stops available, all with toilet facilities. To find out more visit their website .

      If on your bike ride you see an interesting building and ponder to yourself how wonderful it would be to have a guided tour, possibly even by the architect of said building, then this weekend you are in luck, as this is exactly what you can do.

      Open House London, which runs this weekend, gives people the opportunity to get guided tours around some 700 of London’s most interesting buildings. Some of these tours require pre-booking, which sadly it’s a bit too late to do, but there are still many free tours on offer, for which you can just turn up. You could take a look around anything from the Bank of England to the Alleyways of the City. For more information on buildings or walks near you, take a look at the directory here.

      Of course the children may not appreciate walking around old buildings all day, so there are some things for them to get there teeth into. At City Hall from 10am – 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday there is something called City of a Thousand Architects, where children aged 5 – 10 can express their creativity by helping design a new skyline for London (and parents can join in too!). For all the budding photographers out there, there is Snap! a photography competition for the under 12’s. Your child has to simply take a photo of a building they have visited, and email it to kidscompetition@openhouse.org.uk . Winners will get a lovely large print of their photo to put up on their bedroom wall.

      So there you go, a weekend full of culture and exercise, just what the doctor ordered. So enjoy yourselves, and don’t forget to let us know what you thought at reallykidfriendly.com

      - George 

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com September 18th 2009 (72 reads) 
       


      Tuesday, 12 January 2010

      London Mayor’s Thames Festival 2009 is here, with a line-up that looks promising for both parents and children.

      Tomorrow sees the start of London Mayor’s Thames Festival 2009. The riverside from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge promises to be jam packed with exciting festival type things for you and your family. Street art, carnivals, choirs, music, and food are just some of the tidbits available. Highlights come in the form of a Harvest Feast on Southwark Bridge (Saturday only), The Thames Beach (where you can hang out down on the sand, eat ice cream, and join in with traditional British beach activities), and finally the Sunday Fireworks Display (starting at 9.45pm).

      If your children (and you) need to refuel somewhere a little calmer, then some nice places to go for lunch are Giraffe and Strada (at the Southbank Centre), both of which have good facilities and kids menus. If you fancy a quiet break you could try walking across the bridge to St. James park near Trafalgar Square, where it’s certain to be a bit quieter than by the river.

      So far the weather forecast is for cloud but no rain, so fingers crossed…

      - George

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com September 11th 2009 (85 reads) 

      3 great prize draws this September - massage therapy, canvas bags and IMAX 3D film family tickets

      We’ve got 3 great competitions on the site this month – win a luxurious massage worth £75, a lovely canvas bag and family tickets to IMAX 3D films.

      Massage Therapy Prize Draw
      Everyone who writes a review of any child friendly place or activity between now and the end of September will be entered into a draw to win a luxurious massage by mobile spa therapist Nicky Weston. No, she doesn’t do it from her mobile, that would just be silly. She transforms your living room into a little oasis of calm and gives wonderfully relaxing massages, including a range of pregnancy and postnatal treatments.
      Each review you write counts as one entry – so the more reviews you write, the better your chances. Write 3 or more reviews and we'll double your chances of winning. The competition open to everyone and is transferable, but to take advantage of the prize you'll need to come to London (UK). Click here to write a review now.

      South Bank London Giveaway
      The first 10 people to tell us about a family day out on the South Bank will receive a lovely canvas bag, travelcard holder and badges. The draw is open to everyone, worldwide. Click here to write a review to enter this giveaway.

      IMAX 3D Films – Family Tickets Giveaway
      You can win a set of Family Tickets (5) to see any of the IMAX 3D films at the BFI IMAX. To enter, simply email discoverfilm@bfi.org.uk by 30 September 2009 with IMAX 3D in the subject header. This prize has no cash value and is not transferable. The competition open to everyone and is transferable, but to take advantage of the prize you need to come to London (UK).

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com September 6th 2009 (205 reads) 

      Get the family holidays off to the right start - take the later flight!

      As usual at the start of the school holidays there's plenty of travel advice around, particularly about flying with young children.

      Some of the best advice I ever read about flying with kids was 'avoid airports at busy times - particularly first thing in the morning'. Coincidentally this came after a particularly miserable flight that had left at something like 8am, necessitating getting to the airport at six and leaving the house at around five in the morning - not easy under any circumstances, let alone with a load of suitcases in tow!

      While it's tempting to go for the early flight in order to maximise time at the holiday destination, the reality of getting that early flight is that by the time everyone arrives on holiday you'll all be too tired to care where you are and won't be in any condition to enjoy that extra half day. Better to book a later flight, have a more leisurely trip to the airport, get on the plane in less busy and fraught conditions and arrive at your destination in good shape, albeit a little later. It's a theory I've tested several times, flying both early and later with the kids and it definitely works. So my top tip for flying with kids - take it easy, don't book the early flight and arrive in better shape!

      You can find other useful travel tips on the trunki website, at KidsTravel2 or at Thomas Cook's site. You can also check out our "Really Kid Friendly recommends..." section for some great websites to help you plan your family holiday.

      - Tim 

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com August 12th 2009 (260 reads) 
       

      Breastfeeding your baby? Here are some nice breastfeeding-friendly places in London

      Any nursing mum will have had to tackle breastfeeding in public at some point and now mothers rights are protected by law whatever the child’s age... so why have we got a “breastfeeding friendliness” rating? Well, as a mum I can assure you that it’s a lot more complicated finding a “breastfeeding-friendly” spot than it would seem. While I was nursing M and E, most places fell into one of 3 categories:

      1) Friendly and buzzing little spots but with so much activity in the background that Baby M just kept darting her head around throughout the feed, leaving the lady at the table next to me wondering why the back of her neck was wet and why I was hollering in pain.

      2) Otherwise child-friendly cafes and canteens with tables and chairs bolted to the floor (who steals tables and chairs??) so there wasn’t actually any room for my new-found enormous (it’s all relative!) bosom, let alone baby, between myself and the table.

      3) Pubs that had not yet entered the Gastropub era, with slightly dodgy folk giving me the eye when I readjusted my breastpads.

      Every now and then, though, I would stumble across a quiet little gem of a place with comfy seats, baby changing, and enough room to park the buggy beside the table so I could have a healthy lunch while the baby napped after her feed. Many of the gastropubs and trendy cafes also tend to have leather seats – perfect for letting the baby stretch out a bit, and more importantly, easily wiped down!

      The other important factor to consider when choosing somewhere to go with a breastfed baby is Baby Time Warp. This is the well known phenomenon where lunch with another mummy friend takes 5 hours and by the end of the day you still haven’t accomplished the one job you promised yourself you’d do. By ‘job’ I mean posting a stamped letter in the postbox 100 metres away. If you find somewhere that’s quiet during the day, you and your new mummy friends can linger for hours feeding, burping, changing, napping (baby, not you – that’s usually frowned upon in restaurants), comparing notes, and going through the whole cycle again without feeling under pressure to pay the bill and go home.

      Click here to read about some of the places mums & dads have told us are very breastfeeding-friendly

      We’d also love to hear about anywhere you think is breastfeeding-friendly. Just log in and write a review (don't forget to rate their breastfeeding-friendliness!), add a comment below, or send us an email

      - Janis 

      PS: You can follow me on Twitter @MumVersusKids

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com August 9th 2009 (120 reads) 
       

      Congratulations to our first competition winner!

      As a special thank you this summer we’re offering everyone who writes a review for our site the chance to win a luxurious postnatal massage, pregnancy massage or holistic full body massage (for men or women) in the comfort of their own home.

      The winner of July's draw was RustyP, who wrote a review of Music with Jeremy in Priory Park (Crouch End, London). He was delighted to hear that he had won but, being a true gentleman (possibly aided by an elbow in his ribs), immediately offered the prize to his wife. We can’t wait to hear what Mrs RustyP thought of her lovely postnatal treatment!

      Will you be our next winner? To enter just share your experience (good or bad) about somewhere you’ve been with your kids – it can be your local playground or cafe, a gastropub, the zoo, or even a postnatal buggy fitness class. It only takes a few minutes, and your tips will really help other parents plan stress-free family days out. The more reviews you write, the more entries you get to the contest!
      Click here to write a review and enter the August prize draw. We look forward to hearing about your experiences.

      - the Really Kid Friendly team

      PS – click here to read Janis’ 5* review of mobile spa therapist Nicky Weston

      Thank you to Tate, Kids in Museums, London Interesting, and the rest of our 154 followers on Twitter!

      A huge thank you to everyone who is following us on Twitter. The numbers
      are growing daily and we've now reached 154 followers on @kidfriendly_uk and 83 followers on @MumVersusKids! Here's a small selection of our newest followers on Twitter:


      • BibbleDribble - a website selling funny slogan and personalised baby clothes and bibs and cute personalised gifts for twins.
      • TheSmallers.com a french webzine about children, featuring kids fashion, travelling with children, family meals and baby food, kids toys, and some fantastic stuff for decorating the kids rooms.
      • Musicbugs who run singing and music classes for children in London (Chiswick), Bath, Bristol, and other spots in the South of England.
      • CuddleDry - you may remember their adorable award winning organic baby bath towels from Dragon's Den?
      • London Interesting - well, basically lots of interesting stuff about London and Londoners. Obviously they found us interesting!
      • Tate - A family of four art galleries in the UK: Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and Tate St Ives.
      • Kids in Museums - giving families visiting museums and galleries
        across Britain a dynamic and powerful voice.
      We'll write more about some of our favourite followers later, with a special little feature on Kids in Museums and the Guardian Family Friendly Museums Award 09.

      - janis

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com July 21st 2009 (93 reads) 

      Reasons to take the kids swimming at your local child friendly pool: You can't do housework or check Twitter while swimming.

      Much as I hate trying to squeeze my baby and my toddler into their little swim nappies and bathing suits, I just love taking the kids swimming at our local family friendly pool. Besides just having the opportunity to have undisturbed fun with your kids (you can’t cook or do laundry or check Twitter while swimming!), you’re pretty much guaranteeing that your little ones with come out of the pool with a ravenous appetite and will have a long restful sleep that night.

      My toddler loves to tell everyone “I going swimming!” for days in advance, and always demands to be put her swim nappy on well in advance of any contact with water…actually, well in advance of even leaving the house. Once we get to the pool, she is (like her mother) a bit fussy about water temperature and is the type to dip one toe into the water before deeming it “too cold” even when it’s as warm as a bath. For the first 10 minutes she clings onto me for dear life and tries desperately not to get her hair wet, lest she lose her “lovely curls”.

      Baby E, on the other hand, is such a little water baby. He gets totally overexcited and splashes around like a maniac, completely soaking everyone and everything in a 5 m radius. When we are at the pool on our own, I sometimes sit him in a little inflatable ring so we can do laps together. Sounds silly and obviously looks pretty ridiculous, but what better way to get back in shape than to swim laps while pushing a baby along the lane in an inflatable ring? E thinks it’s hilarious, though maybe he’s only laughing at the fact I’m still wearing a maternity swimsuit 11 months on.

      Children are completely fascinated by water and as a parent it really is a magical experience taking them swimming, whether it is to swimming lessons, your local paddling pool, or an impromptu watery sing-along session with a friend. There are plenty of indoor pools, outdoor pools, and paddling pools to choose from, and some even have water slides and wave machines for older kids.

      To read about some of our favourite pools, click here, or browse all the pools on our website here.
      Some of the pools are pretty cold, so I would invest in a swimsuit with a bit of insulation, and at the paddling pool, a long sleeve sun suit is a must. You can also get some nifty flotation aids for your little one - for babies you can try an inflatable swimming ring, and for toddlers and older children you can get inflatable water wings or even a specially designed swimsuit with buoyancy inserts until they gain confidence in the water.

      We'd love to hear your comments and stories about swimming with babies and children, and please let us know about your favourite pools, lidos and paddling pools! Please add your comments below...

      And remember, this summer if you review your favourite child friendly swimming pool, lido or paddling pool, or any other family friendly spot, we'll enter your name in our prize draw to win a well deserved pampering session with Nicky Weston.
       
      - Janis

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com July 21st 2009 (106 reads) 

      London Zoo still a great day out for the kids

      We’ve just had a fantastic trip to London Zoo, a full 30 years after I last went there. A good time was had by all - especially our toddler who just loved the new splash zone and the animal adventure playground. Click here to read our 5* review of London Zoo. If you go along this summer, let everyone at Really Kid Friendly know your thoughts. As the line goes - we’ve been to the zoo zoo zoo, how about you?

      - Geoff

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com June 25th 2009 (90 reads) 
       

      Write a review for your chance to win a luxurious home massage!

      What better way to unwind from a day out with the kids than with a relaxing massage in the comfort of your own home? Really Kid Friendly has teamed up with mobile spa therapist Nicky Weston to offer all our readers the opportunity to win a luxurious home massage. Nicky uses Mama Mio products designed to nourish your skin during pregnancy and after the baby is born, so her massages are just perfect for new mums and mums-to-be…and anyone else! Click here to read our 5* review of Nicky’s postnatal massage.
      Entering the draw is easy - over the next few weeks, just write us a review of somewhere you’ve been and we will enter your name into our free draw to win a relaxing massage at home. The more reviews you write, the more entries you get!
      Click here for more details, or just click here to start writing! Good luck! 

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com June 17th 2009 (73 reads) 
       


      Follow Mum Versus Kids on Twitter

      For some insight into how completely nuts it is starting up a new website while trying to outsmart a 2 year old and a 10 month old baby, follow Janis on Twitter: @MumVersusKids

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com June 22nd 2009 (145 reads) 

      47 followers so far

      We're being followed by some really interesting folk (47 of them to be precise) who have a lot to say about child friendly places to go, child health, feeding your kids, postnatal and pregnancy issues, being a single parent, raising autistic children, and generally surviving (and sometimes even enjoying!) life with kids. Click here to have a look at our list of Followers - and if you're on Twitter too then we'd love to have you join the growing list of followers.

      - Janis

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com June 22nd 2009 (145 reads) 

      Follow us on Twitter!

      Follow us on Twitter to get regular updates about what's on and what we've been up to, and read snippets of some reviews written by our users: http://www.twitter.com/kidfriendly_uk

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com May 22nd 2009 (145 reads) 

      Movin' on up

      Things are going pretty well for us here at Really Kid Friendly – our reviews are steadily increasing and the feedback on the site so far has been really positive. If you’ve been somewhere recently with your family, why not write a review and share your experience with all those out there seeking a little inspiration for the coming bank holiday!

      We're also very excited about the brand new posters that just arrived - they will be going up in venues across London. Keep an eye out for us.

      - Geoff

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com May 22nd 2009 (81 reads) 
       

      Monday, 11 January 2010

      Spring has sprung

      Things have been a little quiet here after the Easter break, so we are using the time to make a few changes to the site based on your feedback. We are doing some clever stuff behind the scenes to make our pages easier to find on Google and the other main search engines. We are also changing the registration page and some other parts of the site slightly to make it even easier for people to join up with ReallyKidFriendly and share their experiences of the places they’ve been. Watch this space over the next few weeks.

      And at last the early summer sunshine seems to have arrived – isn’t life so much easier when you can just let the kids run themselves ragged outside rather than being cooped up indoors? With so many people planning to holiday in the UK this year, let’s hope this sets the scene for a fantastic summer and a vast improvement on the soggy wash out of last year!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com May 4th 2009 (64 reads) 
       



      Exciting news!!

      We are absolutely thrilled to report that yes, advertising actually does work. Emails to our friends and handing out cards to other mums at the Bringing Up Baby screening at the Phoenix and at our local cafes brought us a whopping 500 visitors since launch, and Tim's little ad campaign on Google has enticed another 300 people to visit our website in the past 2 weeks alone.
      Anne did a brilliant job of writing our "What's on over Easter break" feature, so she will be pretty chuffed when I tell her it was read by nearly 400 other parents.
      In other news, I read on the Plum Baby website (yes, I actually read the plum baby website...how my life has changed!!) that Pizza Express has upped their baby-friendliness by adding Plum Baby food to their already child-friendly menu. They are running a two-for-one special offer at the moment if you order a main and a plum baby, so I'm looking forward to a credit-crunch friendly lunch outing with one of the NCT mums! Click here to take advantage of this offer.
      More good news soon we hope!
      - Janis

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com April 17th 2009 (106 reads) 
       


      We're back, back, back...

      For the last 10 days we have had a nightmare with our site hosting company who quite simply have no idea about customer service and, it seems, not a lot of ideas about technology. After a number of days with the site up, slow, and down altogether we have finally switched host and so far, we seem to be back in business. If they continue to be fantastic, I’ll name check our new partners here, but let’s not count our chickens.
      On a more positive note, we have our first adverts running on Google targeting people looking for Easter activities for their kids. Response so far has been really positive – if you found us through that route, thanks for coming and we hope you find the site really helpful.
      On the home front, our kids have just entered some of those ‘challenging phases’ – Elliot has perfected the bum shuffle which means he can now move around the room with some independence, but invariably gets stuck in a corner and needs rescuing on a regular basis. Meanwhile Madeleine is fully ensconced in the ‘terrible twos’, swinging seamlessly from cheerful angel to seething ball of rage in an instant. And of course, we now continually get the questions “ why…why…why…?” which she has either developed as part of her natural language progression – or from overhearing me on the endless phones calls last week to our recently fired site-host provider !
      Geoff

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com April 8th 2009 (88 reads) 
       


      One step forward, two steps back!

      When it comes to IT, why is life so rarely simple!? We have just moved our site from Windows to Linux servers in order to easily re-index our pages and make the whole thing more visible on the big search engines. This means anyone searching Google for child friendly pubs, restaurants or activities will be able to get to us that little bit faster. That is of course if we can solve the mysterious problem this platform move has now thrown up with our home page.
      If you have had an error message in the last few days we are really sorry our tech team are working hard to solve the issue so normal service can be resumed in time for the Easter holidays.
      Let's just hope they don't fix this, and then break something else!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com March 31st 2009 (103 reads) 
       

      Estimated date for keyword search fix

      Anyone who has tried doing a keyword search lately will have been ever so slightly annoyed by the fact that you get too many results. We are in the midst of fixing the search so that you can look for whole phrases and not just words. Hopefully this will be fixed, tested and ready to go by the 1st week of March.

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com February 23rd 2009 (128 reads) 
       

      Making it easier for you to add new places and activities

      We've taken your comments on board and have completely changed the look of the form you use to add new places and activities. In essence it looks less mad and it is much more user friendly. It is now super-easy for you to tell us about new child friendly places and activities. So please do!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com March 23rd 2009 (128 reads) 
       

      Bug fixing spree!

      Well, this week has been pretty thrilling and agonizing in equal measures. Our first wave of visitors came across a few bugs that had escaped our notice, so we have gone on a bug-fixing spree and those should be fixed soon...Among other things, we are fixing the keyword search, rewriting the slightly mad "welcome" email, and adding some better labels to our Add Venue form. I'll post comments below when various bits are fixed. The thrilling bit (as if bug fixing wasn't thrilling enough) is that we actually have visitors!!! And they aren't all related to us!!
      Janis


      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com February 18th 2009 (128 reads) 

      So far so good

      A few weeks on from launch and so far so good. We’ve not told too many people about the site yet – we’ve mainly been fixing bugs and tidying up. In fact, if you find anything odd looking around our pages, let us know and we’ll get it sorted.
      The last few days have been exciting for 3 reasons. Firstly, both kids have been sleeping through the night, gradually allowing us to remove that fog of tiredness that besieges all new parents…until of course the next round of mystery illnesses and random demands for a night feed plunges us back in to our semi-comatose state.
      Secondly, I got to go to the RAF museum in North London for the first time since I was in short trousers. A great day out and a welcome break from the once exciting, now a bit annoying, snow that we have seen of late.
      And finally, we took delivery of our new promotional postcards and business cards which we are about to release on the parents and premises of London to let them know about Really Kid Friendly. And then there’s no going back…
      - Geoff

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com February 12th 2009 (128 reads) 

      It's alive! Alive!!

      How exciting - ReallyKidFriendly.com has now been live for 24 hours!!!
      A few niggles to sort out, and then we wait with 'bated breath for our first visitor to arrive....

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com January 11th 2009 (183 reads)

      Getting ready to launch our new site!


      The girls in my NCT group used to call me 'Janis.com' on account of my slight obsession with online research of nurseries, buggies, travel cots, child friendly places to meet up, you name it. I would get phone calls out of the blue from other mums saying, "Hey Janis.com' I'm in John Lewis! Which travel cot am I buying?", "Where can we meet in Muswell Hill with 6 buggies, 2 double buggies and 820 lbs of baby paraphernalia?", and (my favourite): "Is anyone else really bored today?"

      It got me thinking how great it would be to have a website where parents could get some inspiration, some inside knowledge and could share their thoughts about great places to go and things to do with their kids. Actually, at the time I was still breastfeeding Madeleine, so my list of places to go was restricted to restaurants serving enormous portions of pasta and where I didn't feel completely conspicuous readjusting my breast pads.

      Anyhow, Geoff and I had some initial thoughts about 18 months ago and wrote the outline idea for a site on the back of a menu in our local child friendly pub. A few months later we shared our thinking with Tim and Anne (and 3 excited toddlers) over a roast chicken dinner, and managed to shape our notes into an actual plan. Further on we were joined by Martin and Becky and between the six of us, ReallyKidFriendly.com was born.

      Since then, we have worked through pretty much every nap-time and many evenings, with a brief interlude when our adorable baby Elliot was born in August and amazingly our idea is suddenly about to become a reality!! Yay!! The excitement of our impending launch is second only to the thrill of a full night's sleep.
      I really hope you enjoy using our site, and find a few new really kid friendly things to do with your energetic, frustrating, taxing but usually lovable little ones!

      Janis

      P.S. - The database is still pretty small and we don't yet have all the details for all the businesses, but with your help we can flesh it out and expand. Obviously this is a work in progress so please email us about any ideas you may have for improvements!

      originally published on ReallyKidFriendly.com January 9th 2009 (285 reads)