On Friday evening we hit the M1 to London, the little ones slept all the way, leaving Leeds by night and waking up the next morning in North London. ‘Magic’ Xander exclaimed!

We always find it’s best to drive at night, Peter doesn’t mind it (I would no doubt battle staying awake at the wheel), the motorway tends to be quieter, late on, and the kids literally fall asleep as soon as we hit the motorway. Good times.

…With almost tropical temperatures (for autumn anyway)-shades were firmly on, the kids behaved impeccably well and it was a weekend of fun, fun, fun.

family in London

I’m not sure we’ve had a greater family weekend together, yet!

The kids were wide-mouthed amazed by the crowds, the electric London buzz, that overwhelming, intoxicating excitement you can only find in the capital. We love our lazy, country life in Yorkshire, we really do but equally we crave our Big Smoke hit and weekends like this satisfy us no end.

I loved the way the boys clung to us on the Tube and made zooming noises as we rattled through tunnels, Oliver tracing the stops above his head.

kid riding tube looking at the tube

They watched in wonder at bendy red buses (‘why don’t our buses, bend in Leeds Mummy?’) navigated winding roads, shiny black cabs swished by, and the London landmarks came alive by nightfall: The Eye, Charing Cross Bridge, Big Ben…

London sunset

We started (and ended) our day at the Southbank, playing in the park overlooking the river-

playground St Berts clothing for kids portrait Southbank cute kid playing in London London Eye

Thank you to St Bert’s for the cooler than cool clobber perfect for our break. Bright, vibrant, multi coloured, unisex clothes that suit my boys down to a ‘tee’.

kid in front of the London Eye ice cream

The Sherpa Hoodies in dazzling blue and poppy red were sherpa lined meaning the kids didn’t need coats and get warm when the sun went in.

The tracksuit bottoms too were beautifully well made (I’d ordered the wrong size for O) so he wears jeans here.

art installation, London

Long sleeved tees are perfect transitional pieces and the timeless super cool surfer style with a nod to the 70’s is sublime. I want one for myself!

…It was lunch at Feng Sushi for the boys’ favourite cucumber maki and Japanese fish and chips-the ideal pick me up pre theatre.

Hello miso and fish katsu curry for me!

miso soup fish katsu curry

We’d been kindly invited to review Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-the New Musical at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Dark in parts, it’s perfectly pitched at 5+. Alexander, just 3 who we ambitiously brought with us (under 3’s are not allowed), left 10 minutes in, rather bored but enjoyed returning to the park with Daddy.

Oliver on the other hand, a mature 5 going on 15, was utterly captivated by what was most definitely, a world of pure imagination. Crucially where Tim Burton failed to muster in his film adaptation, the musical hinged the narrative rightly so, on the tender relationship between Charlie, Grandad Joe and of course Willy Wonker.

showbiz-charlie-chocolate-factory-production-stills-2

4*

The musical felt much closer to the text and undoubtedly Roald Dahl would have approved

Charlie was more humane and 3D than the recent film, and with stand out performances from all, (Willy Wonker had the right amount of crazy but wasn’t frightening) and I was brought to tears several times.

Charlie Choc
*

A spectacle too: the special effects, flying glass elevator, electronic squirrels and streamers and sequins strewn into the audience made for jumping, happy little ones all round.

My only tiny concern was a few too many references to death or dying throughout which meant battling the odd awkward question in the break I managed to brush off.

I didn’t feel the closing scene of the narrator losing his head was necessary though and would advise they lose that. It should have ended on the uplifting note it was headed for moments earlier.

Nonetheless a 5 star show and one we’d return to again, we left incredibly moved, uplifted and in dire need of ‘real life’ as Oliver calls it, actual chocolate!

Thank goodness for the sweet treats in the foyer!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Musical

Smile 🙂

sweets

Brothers reunited, it was back to the Southbank for fun in an art installation, running through vibrant plastic old school door flaps, the boys couldn’t get enough of.

Southbank St Berts clothes cute Alexander sweetie child model London fun brothers

Oliver loved this street busker, a little too much and nearly took away her CD accidentally when he left some change for her!

busker…An outdoor market, open until 9pm meant sampling cocktails (us), sizzling sausages (them) and white chocolate cookies (everyone of course).

Pizza Express was smiling at us from the street lights so it was salad nicoise and pizza for the boys (and man) before Peter captured the prettiest of sunsets.

Pizza Express

London viewThe following day, was glorious sunshine again so this time we drove to Cambridge, somewhere we’ve not visited for years, happily stumbling updon a Mid-Autumn Chinese Festival with mooncakes and dancing a-plenty plus a bouncy castle for the boys.

Cambridge

traditional Chinese dancers

bouncy castle playground running portrait park

Enjoying the open parks there, a quick stop in John Lewis (hurry up and open in Leeds please), purchasing new boots, trainers and clothes for the little ones as we move into Autumn/Winter, it was a deliciously lazy, sunny Sunday.

park in cambridge

-What was so wonderfully restorative about this weekend was how fully present we all were, simply enjoying one another’s company, no rushing, running, arranging, working, checking phones/ clocks, dashing for school runs, getting homework done, meeting deadlines and being caught up in the general day to day madness that is week life-we were simply a family in the moment, basking in the sun, taking in the sights, relaxed and happy as can be.

Total and utter bliss.

The most perfect weekend away.

It’s Monday and I’m missing it already!

kids

*Charlie and the Chocolate Factory press photos.

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  21. Lucy Bishop

    Oh darling – what a truly amazing weekend you all had – your boys are simply the most divine kids – so photogenic! (I wonder where they get it from? – haha definitely their gorge mumma and Daddy!) We’re mad fans of Roald Dahl too – have you seen Matilda yet? If not you absolutely MUST- Best musical I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen quite a few! We also love Cambridge, it’s only a 40 or so minute drive from us – we’ve been meaning to go back…must do that soon. Thanks so much for linking up to #WonderfulWeekends yours was definitely a really wonderful one! 🙂 xxx
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  22. Sarah Bacchus

    What a wonderful weekend, the South Bank is always my number one destination when I visit the capital too. Your pictures are stunning and capture the days so well. Thank you so much for joining our linky, here’s to many more #WonderfulWeekends x
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  23. Katie / Pouting In Heels

    What an amazing weekend! Looks like you all had a ball. Gorgeous photos darling, there’s nothing quite as precious as family time is there? x
    Katie / Pouting In Heels recently posted…MONK BRETTON PRIORY (EXPLORING & FINDING TREASURES)My Profile

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  24. Ebabee

    Sounds like a packed and amazing weekend. But in London you are never short of things to do and that’s why I love this incredible city – so much on offer for every age. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory sounds great and I can’t wait to see it. Your pics are incredible as always. xx
    Ebabee recently posted…Autumn by Donna Wilson + a giveawayMy Profile

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  25. Babes about Town

    Aaargh timing, can’t believe we missed you all and you visited all our favourite haunts too! LOVE the Southbank, always so much to do I could simply move in there. And really would like to see Charlie and Choc Factory too – mainly because of the chocolate hehe. Your boys are so gorgeous, next time we must plan a proper boys get together they would have so much fun and I will take you to some of my fave spots. In fact you must come and have hotdogs eh? 😉 Your trip to Cambridge looks great too, that’s actually where Abiye grew up mostly so holds loads of dear memories for him, such a beautiful town. Perfect weekend but next time it will be even more perfect when we hook up xoxo
    Babes about Town recently posted…London Kids Weekend Scoop (September 25-27, 2015)My Profile

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Aw I know hun, it would have been more perfect had we seen you guys, next time for sure and yes to hotdogs. So lovely Abiye grew up in Cambridge, such a serene atmosphere there. Miss you all so definitely see you guys soon. How amazing is the Southbank for kids too? It was where I hung out the most in my student days and so lovely to be back with the babes now xx

      Reply
  26. amanda

    Ah, what a lovely fun-packed weekend. You never stop! Love that park on the Southbank. and Cambridge always rocks. xx

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  27. Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas @Kahanka

    What a weekend for you, shame we did not get to see you at the end. The weather was awesome and we also had a very relaxing weekend. Next time we have to catch up, sorry was so tired after my looong run and Andrew had to work too, so going to London was a bit too much xxx miss you all, and look at Peter! What has happened to the beard??? x

    Reply
    • Honest Mum

      Don’t worry lovely, hope you’ve recovered, it was gorgeous and sunny wasn’t it, such a fab weekend! I know, Peter shaved it off, it’s growing back though x

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  28. North East Family Fun

    Wow you packed a lot into your weekend! We love the food festivals at the Southbank too x
    North East Family Fun recently posted…A luxury overnight stay at Jesmond Dene House Hotel, NewcastleMy Profile

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