Rise of the One-Child Family

According to most places, we are not a family, as there are only 3 of us!  Even though recent research shows that nearly half of families are one-child affairs.

I always feel snubbed, I may be hypersensitive but get totally hacked off when I see ‘Group Save’ but must be for a party of 5 and families are always defined as four or more.    Grrr!  On occasion, I’ve borrowed mates kids!

I appreciate that this allows for larger families to visit such attractions but……

  • On the weekend we went to a local attraction, a family of 3 cost £20.50 when a family ticket for 4 is £22.50 – not much in it really.
  • London Zoo charges £63.00 for a family of 3 or a family of 4 for £66.70
  • The London Aquarium charges £56.40 for 3 people while a family of 4 is £64.26.
  • I applaud Legoland, as they do offer a price for a family of 3 but at £127.80, it’s still out of reach.

The bottom line is, that as a parent, I don’t normally want to go to these places in the first place, I’d rather chew my own arm off but I do it for my daughter.  I have been through things that are more painful than childbirth.  You’re getting 3 people through the door that you may not otherwise.

Come on, give us a break.  Just a couple of quid off and I’ll stop moaning!

I’d love to hear what single parents have to say about this!

Do you think this is fair?


Child Friendly Hotel in London

This is what I posted on my personal Facebook page before heading into London earlier in the week.

What little did I know?

We arrived a bit early at the Park Plaza Hotel (County Hall) for check in.  We were warmly greeted and informed that they had a lovely room for us.  I knew that already as I’d checked out the Junior Suite online; a separate room with big comfy bed for us, plasma TV, separate living space with a double sofa bed for Madame, kitchenette, bath and a walk in shower and of course Free WIFI. Rooms start from £99 a night.

As we were early, the helpful lady at the front desk had to ring up housekeeping to see if the room was ready.  I overheard her say ‘is room 1405 ready’.  I’ve stayed in enough hotels to know that room 845 would be on the 8th floor, room 310 would be on the 3rd floor and 401 would be on the 4th and so on.  I had a quick glance over my right shoulder at the sign by the lift and it said that the 14th floor was the Penthouse Suites!!!!

I did my best to stay composed, but on the inside I was squealing with delight.  No, this couldn’t be true and there must be a mistake, but yes, in fact it was true.  We’d been upgraded to a Penthouse Suite.  I’ve stayed in 5 star hotels before for work but could never afford such a treat as a family.

For someone with a fear of heights, the trip up to the top floor was a bit unnerving in the glass walled elevator which our daughter renamed the ‘Wonkavator’.

The room itself was absolutely amazing, it had everything that the Junior Suite had but a bigger bedroom with a King sized bed, a larger living space with a dining table and the most amazing private balcony with views of the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Jubilee Bridge and of course the Thames.


The Tower of London

There are loads of attractions within a 2 or 3 minute walk of the Hotel; The London Aquarium, The London Eye, and The National Theatre.  Our daughter could have spent the rest of the day in the hotel room but we dragged her out as we’d planned on visiting the Tower of London, which is only a 20 minute bus ride, just grab the RV1 bus from Chicheley Street heading to Tower Hill.


Both my husband and I hadn’t been to the Tower of London, neither of us had ever been with a child, which was built by William the Conqueror after his successful invasion in 1066. Since then it:

  • was a Royal Residence for 500 years
  • was a prison for those waiting to be marched up to Tower Hill to be beheaded
  • a place for private executions, including Anne of Boleyn (who is buried on the site)
  • contained the Royal Mint and the Royal Zoo
  • now is home to the Crown Jewels if you like a bit of bling!

To get the most out of our visit we decided to join one of the Beefeater Tours which lasted about an hour with the perfect amount of History, gore and humour to keep all of us interested.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot.

Adult tickets start at £18 and children under 5 go free.  However, do have a look online as I’ve seen loads of 2 for 1 offers to many London Attractions.

Stress free dining with kids!

We then returned to the hotel for a lovely dinner in the Spectrum Restaurant, even though it’s rather fancy, as you can see by the pictures, we felt perfectly at ease dining with our 4 year old.  The waiting staff including, Mirko the lovely maître d‘ went out of his way, including giving our daughter a stuffed animal, to make her feel welcome and at no point did I panic about her disrupting other guests.

They have an extensive children’s menu, a three course meal costs £11 and for central London we thought this was great value.  Our daughter opted for Tomato Soup, which apparently she ‘loved more than Mummy and Daddy’, Fishcakes and a Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream.

My husband and I opted for Rib Eye Steaks (£22), one of our favourites and shared a lovely bottle of wine (£20), again I think for London these prices are very reasonable.

The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the deck, with ‘another’ bottle of red wine soaking in the London Skyline by night.

I can see why the hotel was voted best family friendly hotel in London by HRS.  As parents we often feel that we have to give up quality when we have children, so it was a really nice change to be able to enjoy a short break that resembled what we would have done pre-kids.

Disclosure:  The room (£540) and meal were compliments of Park Plaza Hotel and our Entry Tickets to the Tower of London were compliments of Super Break





Child-friendly pubs? Do they exist in the UK

One thing we really lack locally is truly child-friendly pubs.  We have pubs that tolerate children but none that really go beyond offering a children’s menu and many don’t even do that.

It’s not that we want to take our daughter to the pub and get ‘fall down’ drunk but on a sunny day it would be great to go and enjoy a pub garden with other families and have a couple of drinks whilst the children play.  A swing, slide or climbing frame wouldn’t go amiss.

Years ago, prior to kids I was in Slovenia and vividly remember going to a restaurant early evening and sitting on the patio.  I noticed many families having dinner together, drinking responsibly but they had a fantastic play area for the children.  Everyone was happy!  Is this a cultural difference?  Why don’t we do this more in the UK?

A couple of months ago on a trip to Shropshire, we stopped at a pub that was advertised on my Good Pub Guide App that was supposedly child-friendly.  When we arrived, we quickly worked out that children were not allowed in the main part of the pub, which looked fantastic, open fires, beamed ceilings, etc. Unfortunately we were relegated to the scabby conservatory and felt like second rate citizens.  What I also found interesting is that dogs were allowed in the pub but children were not.  Not all pubs need to be child friendly, as not all people like kids, but please don’t advertise them as child-friendly if they’re not.

The closest pub to us that is truly child-friendly is Moor Mill in Park Street which is about 5 miles away.  We went last week when it was really hot.  There’s a pond where you can feed the ducks, a smallish playground, which could use a bit of an upgrade, the children’s menu is quite extensive but I did like that they had a special menu for even younger children and it being an Old Watermill the building in itself was interesting.

Do bear in mind it is a Beefeater, so if you’re a foodie it may not be for you but we found the menu extensive, the prices were reasonable, and the service was outstanding, but this may be due to the fact they knew that we were reviewing the restaurant.  Overall, we thought it was okay but most importantly our daughter was happy, which meant we were happy.  However, when writing this review I did come across a few negative reviews so please do make sure you do your homework.

Disclosure:  Our meals were compliments of Beef Eater Grill





Raising an only-child

I’ve dated two only-children in my lifetime.  One was the stereotypical only child, spoiled, lack of social skills and an introvert; however, I married the other one.  Nonetheless, I distinctly remember the first saying that he absolutely hated receiving games for 2 or more players as an only child.  My daughter is an only child and I can’t see this changing anytime soon.  So, why have I purchased 3 new games for Madame that requires 2-4 players!  Don’t worry we do play them with her but hopefully it doesn’t highlight the fact that she doesn’t have any siblings.

If you’re an only child or have only children is there anything else I should avoid or do?  She’s very independent and appears to be content.

Would you let someone else breastfeed your baby?

I do believe that breast feeding is best; however, I was unable to breastfeed Madame.  This is not the issue I wanted to cover, as it has been done to exhaustion.  The only thing I will say on the matter is that whatever someone decides to do, woman should support each other no matter what.

However, I read a tweet a while back and to be honest it made me very uncomfortable and I want you guys to help me through it.  This is not an opportunity to call me names or say that I’m closed minded.  If I was close minded I wouldn’t be asking the question.  I can’t remember the tweet word for word but it was someone saying how happy they were that their friend, and adoptive mother, was able to breastfeed successfully.  Initially, my mind boggled, so I quickly Googled it and learned that yes, in fact, there are drugs women can take to bring on lactation, fascinating stuff.

I would never want to deny an adoptive mother the opportunity to experience the bond with her child that a birth mother would through breastfeeding.  However, there is something about taking drugs to bring on the process that makes me feel uncomfortable.  I’m sure they’re safe but really can’t get my head around it.  If I think about it a bit more, I drink milk, cows are fed hormones to produce milk which has measurable quantities of herbicides, pesticides, dioxins antibiotics blood, pus, faeces, bacteria and viruses and there is nothing natural about it so what’s my problem?

Then a few days later I read yet another tweet.  It was from a childminder who was looking for a bit of advice.  The woman that she worked for was unable to breastfeed and she was wondering if it would be appropriate if she offered to breast feed her child!  I know she meant well, but I did tell her I would be extremely uncomfortable if someone asked me this. I know back in the day, people had wet nurses and the survival of children relied on other mothers to help out.  But nowadays formulas are very extensive.  As a mother I couldn’t sit and watch someone else feed my child it would break my heart.