If you scroll through my Instagram or indeed most mum bloggers you will find endless photos of perfectly happy families. Kids and parents having a great time, usually somewhere scenic, smiley faces and everyone is looking perfect.
Christmas is especially the time of year where I love making our house and leisure time magical for our four year old son. From transforming our home into a “winter wonderland”, to making a gingerbread house, to organising festive weekend plans – I love it all and I love sharing it.
Christmas in London can be wonderful…
We usually start with Christmas at at Kew since its on our doorstep and its a truly magical evening. The trail through the gardens in mesmerising, hot chocolates and churros in the chalets alongside festive music along the way. Last year, we visited Lapland for the first time. Getting hold of the “golden tickets” was an achievement in itself. But at £500 for 2 adults and a 3 year old I am not sold. In fact not sure my husband even knows how much I paid(!) Yes it was a lovely day. The whole experience is wonderful for the adults as much as children but is it worth it? I am not sure – one visit is probably enough. I have vivid memories of meeting Santa at our local Hounslow high street and that felt pretty special at the time. Not sure we really need to spend £500 to meet the main man each year!
So this year, we are going to meet Santa at Fortnum and Mason. So excited. We have already started writing our Christmas list and it’s growing!
We also love all the beautiful decorations around shops and hotels in London. Some favourites include, Claridges, the Berkeley and the Ritz. You don’t need to pay a fortune either to pop in, if you go early in the day you can slip in for a hot chocolate and enjoy the magic. Outside of London, I love Beaverbrook, Cowarth Park, Cliveden, Dormy house and Calcot.
We love the local Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, the Christmas shows (oso in Barnes is wonderful for kids shows) and of course anywhere we can get mulled wine and mince pies. We love the christmas evening at Petersham nursersies in Richmond. And chocolate making classes for kids with Melt Chocolate in their Notting Hill store.
Most of all I love the cosy evenings at home baking and making various Christmas crafts. We love Flying Tiger Copenhagen store. They have so many craft kits for kids – from card making to pottery ideas.
By the time its Christmas eve the excitement is so real. Last year I booked for Father Christmas to come to our doorstep. The kids on our road loved it and so did I. We sang songs and the kids had so many questions for Father Christmas. By this point Reyaan had met Santa 3 times (I know it’s too much but why cap the magical visits 😊. After all it doesn’t last forever).
Christmas eve is wrapping alot of presents. My husband is usually having to assemble something complicated until the early hours. All just to see the biggest smiles on Christmas morning. Christmas day itself is a relaxed family day – eating, unwrapping, music and walks!
My favourite time is those lazy days between Christmas and New Years. The early morning walks around Covent Garden and endless Christmas movies.
But I am conscious that these images don’t reflect or capture what day to day parenting looks like.
Please remember these glossy images you might see are the 5% of parenting. The 95% is boring, stressful and just HARD.
Have a lovely Christmas