A year ago you’d have been lucky to see me anywhere near Central London – trying to manoeuvre a buggy around the crowds was not my idea of fun. I’d go as far as Waterloo if I really had to, but prefer to stay locally, it’s just easier and there’s plenty to do. But! A year on and I’m kind of patting myself on the back – not only did we make it to the West End, we did it without a buggy – which is quite an achievement considering how much she walked (and she only asked to be ‘pickened’ up once).
Being slightly disorganised I hadn’t realised it was Trooping the Colour – until we got to Westminster on the bus and I realised that Whitehall and most other areas were closed to traffic – fortunately this meant getting off at the tube and seizing the photo opportunity I got a picture of H and Big Ben.
A couple of photos she’s going to treasure there…
So down Whitehall we walked, pointing out the landmarks on the way until we got to Trafalgar Square, where a bus turned up (hurrah! traffic!) to take us to Regents Street to Hamleys, a place you’d probably not choose to go to on a Saturday, but we did, and actually it wasn’t too bad – even better, H was a bit tired so didn’t want everything like I’d feared she would.
We made it to the area we were meant to, got our name badges and grabbed some food as H was hungry and I needed caffeine, and within five minutes we’d recognised Mags from Mummy’s Space and said hello. Ben her boy is a month younger than H, and both toddlers were looking tired.
Fortunately one of the staff had some Haribo. H had her first Haribo. I think it’s what kept her going – all of a sudden a tired toddler became a much more sociable one thanks to the sugar rush, although she has a great scowl on a Build A Bear teddy she really liked. You wouldn’t think so on seeing the picture. The children got to play on various toys around the shop (that was interesting…!) before we headed back for a raffle, and some goody bags (even the parents got one which was really nice), and Ben and H had a last cuddle and kiss and were too cute for words by a mile.
There was meant to be a group photo, but there was only a short window for us to do it as H wanted a sandwich, so we hovered around a bit but nothing seemed to be happening, so rushed back into the store and bought H a Jubilee Corgi Mini from the Hornby range which was a nice memento and an even better distraction technique on the way home on the train when she had a mini meltdown and I felt like I’d heard a collective sigh from the entire carriage (too bad).
So we wandered around Soho for a bit, found a cafe, and eventually braved Oxford Street via Leonidas, got a bus and had the classic toddler boredom stick her fingers in everything moment while in gridlocked traffic, until we got to Victoria with a decent wait for our train, where H stared out of the window telling me about everything she could see.