Wednesday, 10 June 2015

London with a three year old - the lowdown

This week we were lucky enough to enjoy a trip to London whilst the baby had a sleepover at his Nanny's. A night away in a swanky apartment opposite Harrods no less [you don't need to know where we stayed so I'm trying to act casual but it's just not every day you stay opposite Harrods. I won't mention it again].
A romantic break for the three year old.
Yes we took Hurricane Henry on our (very) mini break to London. In fact, the trip was designed with him in mind - the rare opportunity to go away for a night presented itself and we knew London would be kind of a big deal for a small boy from Devon. We also knew he had been fobbed off with "in a minute" almost every minute since his brother arrived nine months ago and reckoned a bit of undivided attention for 24 hours, for old time's sake, would be a nice treat. 

Well, a treat it was. Quality time with much less shouting and under-breath swearing on my part (I am all too guilty of 'you're fucking kidding me I SAID YOU MUST BE KIDDING ME DARLING' outbursts at home, and I just didn't have that urge whilst away). It was fun. Seeing his little face when he got on the Underground for the first time was priceless. It blew his mind bless him. I could conclude the post here with a picture of the three of us with our city break brochure smiles (#lovingeverysecond #makingmemories). But I thought I'd share some of the other moments. The moments that don't ever make the are my Top 10:
1) Henry asking "is this London?" at every station on the journey up, including ours before the train had even left the platform. And when our train manager announced the range of drinks and snacks available in the buffet cart he shouted "Mmmm hot chocolate. Yummy in my tummy. Then it comes out my bum!" Somebody tutted.

2) Him falling over chasing a pigeon outside the Natural History Museum. We had to crack out an emergency Rowntree's Random to distract from the bleeding knee.

3) Our overly ambitious expectation of 'showing him Hyde Park.' The reality was he became weirdly obsessed with the Diana memorial fountain and wasn't interested in doing or seeing anything else. We only got him to leave by promising "we'll come back this way" and then buying a teeth-rotting orange lolly instead. I recognise that this is not a desirable parenting tactic.

4) Our equally overly ambitious expectation that he would walk everywhere. HA HA HA HA HA. At home, he generally does walk everywhere. In London, his legs were seemingly too tired to walk anywhere. I think 2.5 stone of child has killed my husband's shoulders.

5) Us hoping the 'big boy trip' would encourage him to try new foods. By new foods I mean actual meals and not Bear YoYo snacks or jam on toast cut into FOUR triangles. We played it safe by heading to Pizza Express for our early evening meal. Sat with G&T in hand, I read out a whole range of really grown up foods he could eat because he was on a grown up trip with Mummy and Daddy. He ate dough balls. Just dough balls. Though he did try an olive (I think it was the lure of the cocktail stick/weapon).

6) Back at apartment, my hubby uttered the phrase of doom: "did you pack him a bedtime nappy?" Shit. I always forget he still wears a nappy at night and couldn't risk the pissy sheets. Hubby had to dash to Sainsbury's Local.

The pad. Citybase London apartments were top notch.
7) I ran a nice hot bath. I even took a face mask. I can't tell you how much of a novelty this was, not least because our bathroom at home doesn't have a bath. Henry pottered in, having undressed himself, and asked to get in. We shared the bath. And the face mask.

8) After finally tucking him in and settling down for some grown up time* he got up. He needed a wee. Twice. He was thirsty. Twice. He needed to 'have a little chat about Hamleys.' Every so often we'd hear the air con unit kick in and later discovered he had found the remote for it and was controlling the room temperature from his bed. The little sod tinker.

[*by grown up time I mean telly, obviously... once upon a time I might have packed something special for a night away. I packed a Christmas pyjama top and his sports shorts. He's a lucky guy.]
9) We went to Hamleys. HOLY MOTHER OF GOD the people working there are on crack surely? Nobody is that happy to be at work. Nobody is that happy to be surrounded by five floors of extortionately priced and annoyingly noisy toys. Henry loved it of course. And I quite enjoyed watching businessmen with huge baskets guiltily buying their kids toys because they can't give time. I'd lost the will to live by floor four. Stop demonstrating your giant fucking Frisbees near my head.
10) We also went to Harrods. Did I tell you our apartment was just opposite? *inserts monkey hiding behind hands emoji*. Did I get to look at anything in Harrods? Did I fuck. We went upstairs to the Toy Kingdom where another piece of my soul died.
The big question is whether I would recommend taking a three year old to London for the night? YES I WOULD. In all honesty, it was pretty special.

#makingmemories #lovingSOMEseconds
You're welcome.
The Unmumsy Mum
I'm a finalist in this year's MAD blog awads, votes received with thanks!

We stayed in a fabulous Knightsbridge serviced apartment by City Marque


  1. Made me smile :)

  2. Loved this, we are taking my 2.5 yr old boy to London for the first time next month so I'm sure we'll experience quite a few of these for ourselves!

  3. Our trip to London with our then 20 month old consisted of me lugging said girl around on my back in a carrier, having to stand on the tube because I couldn't sit down without crushing her and speed walking everywhere so we could see enough interesting shit (look it's the Rosetta stone! What do you mean "want juice"? Marvel at history child!) before having to get back to make her sleep before we all turned into pumpkins. Oh and riding the whole of the London Eye with her stinking of her own poop because she dropped one just as we were entering the pod and another day running the gauntlet of the ridiculous maze that is the aquarium trying desperately to find the toilets before nappy leakage occurred. Happy days!

  4. Epic! I remember taking my now 12 yr old when she was 3 for a day trip. Natural history museum and that science museum. She was sooo excited to see the dinosaurs, right up until we went through the room with the tyranasaurus (special? !) Rex that moved! Scared shitless is an understatement 😜 cue the calm down chocolate biscuit! Don't remember much from the science museum except having to chase said 3 yr old here there and bloody everywhere amongst a million other squealing kids, balls, bubbles and god only knows what. Still, it was a great day out and definitely worth the memories we made. Can't wait to take the 18 mth old in a year or so 😛

  5. This post has saved me! Perfect timing. We are about two travel to london with our two kids (1 and 5). The thought can be nauseating at times but I think we will be ok. We are coming from Oz so the flight scares the bejesus out of me! 😭

  6. I took two four year old boys to London last weekend - I can highly recommend the London Transport museum, which is mainly full of parents chasing four year olds around. The boys had a great time and were excited about being in London until I bought them a small train each in the museum shop - then they just wanted to go home and build tracks! I think the train and underground journeys were their highlight!

  7. I took my 4 year old last October and had a great time checking out the ants, looking at the poppies, going to Hamleys. Great fun even though the train was an hour late leaving. I too had the "is this London?" question at every stop! Best advice? Don't expect Natural History Museum to make anything out of Andy's Dinosaur Adventures (they haven't), and don't plan too much.

  8. Glad you had a fab time in ole London town. This blog made me smile especially the pizza express outing, our Sons are the same - dough balls all the way !! Xx

  9. We are taking the 6 year old in August. Despite the age gap im pretty sure we will do most of these thing. Esp the falling over, Hamleys obsession and eating NOTHING. Now, how much do 6 year olds weigh...!?

  10. This is my favourite phrase from your post:

    A romantic break for the three year old. :))

  11. This post made me laugh so much, you really do tell it like it is! I always tell my friends never go to Hamleys on a Saturday as it is literally like the end of the world.