Category Archives: Weekends Away

Secrets for the Weekend : Oct 18/19


The Iescape team & The Sunday Times are offering a 50% discount at 50+ of their boutique holiday locations. Get your code, and book by 7 Nov – no later.

Lego is planning a reality TV show alongside its development of a Batman movie spinoff, say reports

Lego, is now the worlds biggest toy maker (having overtaken Barbie maker Mattel of course). So after basking in the $500m success of The Lego Movie, they are now working on a documentary, apps, reality TV Series, and (breath) a 2nd Lego movie. If that wasn’t enough to float your lego boat, then book your tickets to Brick2014 at Excel 27-30 Nov. They bill it as “Lego Heaven”, I think Grandpa will agree, don’t you?


If you like the words; high, end, net-a-porter and special discount, then treat a friend to a drink at Soho’s private members Groucho Club, and visit the girls, Tamara and Shelia who are behind hot new sportswear label LAAIN. They will be selling their collection at wholesale prices on Monday 20 October (5-10pm). Twitter & Instagram here.

portrait earth

Entitled “Out of Many, One” — the English translation of the Latin e pluribus unum on the seal of the United States — the massive portrait is the work of artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. Composed of 2,000 tons of sand and 800 tons of topsoil, it spans over six acres and took four weeks to complete. The face itself is a composite image created from photographs of 50 young men from different racial backgrounds. Now that piece of work would definitely impress your art teacher, and geography teacher, and science teacher …

If you want to do something different on Monday night, how about listening to artist Tim Wright in Conversation at Cass Arts, Islington on 20th Oct’ at 8pm (you could go after your visit to The Groucho at 5pm!)? He was the painting advisor to actor Timothy Spall for his role in Mike Leighs new film ‘Mr. Turner’, and is super super talented. Check out current his exhibition at Shine Artists.

Make yourself smug, and get organised by booking tickets for your Christmas Family Show : There Was An Old Woman, part of Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival 2014. The Oily Cart theatre company specialise in multisensory, immersive, interactive performances ‘without the fourth wall’ for very young children, and we have never not been impressed with their work. See Listings Info Below.

russell brand

Russell Brand may live in Hollywood and be bendy, but he is still our Pied Piper of Hamelin. To celebrate the launch of his new book out on Nov 6th, he and illustrator Chris Riddell, are turning the story into a family show at the Royal Albert Hall : Russell Brand’s Tricksters Tales. This event isn’t cheap, but is bound to be a very memorable evening. Tickets start at £28 for under 14, but are selling fast. ps. you also get a copy of the book with your ticket.


I cannot leave without totally recommending that you listen online to the current radio4 series : 21st Century Mythologies. It is a series of 15 daily shows at 12pm where author, scholar and critic Peter Conrad ranges over the defining effluvia of our era, from the Cronut, Celenbrity Pets, the selfie, and Oscar Pistorious, as well as the Kardashians (which I especially found fascinating). Totally brilliant programming from the BBC (again).



World premiere of Oily Cart’s There Was An Old Woman
Part of Southbank Centre’s Winter Festival
Dates: Saturday 13 December 2014 – Sunday 4 January 2015
Times: 11am and 2pm on Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 December, Saturday 20 – Wednesday 24 December, Saturday 27 – Wednesday 31 December and Friday 2 January – Sunday 4 January 10.30am and 1.30pm on Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 December
No performances: 15, 25, 26 December and 1 January
Venue: Blue Room at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall
Ticket prices: Adult £14, Child £7
Ticket Booking: / 0844 847 9944
Duration: 55 minutes
Age guidance: For ages three to five

Something for The Weekend

1. There are just three weeks left to catch this the Sadler’s Wells exciting Cuban Dance show : Ballet Revolucion. It is a show with powerful street dance and hip hop, the phenomenal cast of 19 dancers perform daring jumps and sensual moves in this high octane production, with a soundtrack featuring new hits from Bruno Mars, Usher, Beyoncé, David Guetta, J-Lo, Prince and Rihanna.


2. Don’t miss the Divertimenti Culinary Salon. Over three nights, in an intimate setting inside the shop in Marylebone you can join Simon Hopkinson,  restaurant critic Fay Maschler, author William Sitwell or Chefs Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (Honey & Co.: Food from the Middle East) amongst other esteemed food experts. During the evening they explore the tantalising link between food and memory with a panel of top chefs, writers, philosophers and psychologists.

Tickets cost £10 and can be redeemed against the purchase of books by Salon panelists on the night. The ticket also includes a 10% Divertimenti shopping discount* that evening.

3. How about making a date with your Mother-in-law? I have just the event. The Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia London, 4-9 November 2014. Recommend a friend… with a very special offer £15.70 per ticket (15% off advance tickets), including a copy of The Fair Book, available on arrival. You can book online at or call 0871 230 1089* and quote EX110 to receive this offer. The team at Atlas & I on Stand C92, would love to meet you so pop over, and get familiar, you never know what you might end up with for Christmas this year.


Image: Ed Skrein photographed by Gavin Watson

4. Grab a cuppa and get mooching over this 5 minute interview from the Motherland team. Ed Skrein, 31, is an actor and musician best known as Daario Naharis in ‘Game of Thrones’. He grew up in North London and launched his acting career in Plan B’s 2012 film ‘Ill Manners’, which he filmed while working as a swimming teacher. He lives in East London with his partner and their three-year-old son, Marley.

5. It’s Sample Sale time again, and here are some more dates for your diary from The Music Rooms in South Moulton Street : Reiss : Tuesday 28th October – 1pm – 8pm to Friday 31st October – 8am – 8pm & Issey Miyake : Wednesday 5th November – 12pm-7pm & Thursday 6th November – 10am-5pm & Nicholas Kirkwood : Tuesday 25th November – 10am-8pm & Wednesday 26th November – 8am-8pm.

pumpkin stencil

6. Did you say earlier that you can’t wait to carve up a beautiful non-wonky scary faced pumpkin for the kids this year ? Well because I’m kind to you, I’ve found you 10 stencils from the generous PicMonkey blog. Share your #busdaysout instagram pictures please, if you don’t i’ll screammmm….

bat jacket

7. If I had a proper job, I would buy all my little boy-friends one of these jackets from Bangbang Copenhagen. That would be Halloween sorted, and every other night of the year too.

football cupcakes

8. My little angel girl has made her present wish list for her 6th birthday next week. On the list are (1) roller skates (2) a football of her own (3) a football book and that’s about it. So I am wondering if she might like these fantastic football-themed cupcakes from the bookhoucraft blog ? It will be a true test of really how tom-boy she is under all that beauty.

9. Someday as a family we will take a trip East, and find out more about life in China. It is high on the bucket list. Here is a great read from A Cup Of Jo : 16 Surprising Things about Parenting in China, to get us in the mood.

10. As much as I try, I’m not really into Beauty so to speak. I blame it on my pure lifestyle, constant state of detox, and the endless amount of unbroken sleep I get. As I know many of my sweet friends do like a bit of beauty chat, I am sharing this post about The 40 best beauty bloggers from The Telegraph.


11. I’m quite tempted to try this service from Sticky9. They cleverly will turn your instagrams and photos into magnets for you. Prices start at £9.99 for a set of 9. Maybe when this website is rich and famous, I will work out a way to send out a Sticky9 present to each of you that share your photos on #busdaysout over in Instagram world. Did you like that cheeky plug?

royal opera house 3

12. I told you I like to share secrets, well here’s a sweet one. Book your tickets now, for a Family Sunday at the Royal Opera House. They are one of my top 5 days out, and honestly great for both boys and girls alike. They even serve white wine for the thirsty parents. Trust me on this one, you don’t want to miss out.


13. Don’t you think that a decent adventure is character building? Some how in my travels I fell upon The Exploration Society. Adventure is their middle name, and they love kids, camps, adventures, fresh air, and run one-off trips for individuals from Year 1 and above (and for schools). During the holidays they offer days, and camps in partnership with Sharky and George. They even run them for adults? Hen weekend anyone?


Something for The Weekend

somerset house 5

1. I quite fancy getting the kids involved in the Young Filmmakers After school club at the BFI. They run on Tuesdays during term time, from either 4.15 or 4.30pm. The courses offer a full range of filmmaking activity – from stop-motion animation to special effects and everything in-between. For ages 8+.

2. This workshop at Somerset House was a super-sell out last year, so here’s a sparkly secret for all budding artists aged 12+. Young Adults Studio Day: Join the authors of How to Draw Vintage Fashion, Celia Joicey and Dennis Nothdruft : Saturday, 18 October 2014 : 11.00-12.30 ; £4. Book online super quickly.

Harry Potter / Johnny Duddle
Harry Potter / Johnny Duddle

3. Here’s a Christmas present idea for any Harry Potter fans out there. Limited edition prints (sets of 20) signed and numbered from children’s illustrator and author Jonny Duddle : Giclee Print Signed : 400 x 560 mm : £90 + £18 VAT (UK only).

4. Who is in, and who is out on the world of Chinese medicine, that’s what I want to know. On the subject, this has to be a fascinating event : The Thing Is… Chinese Medicine : Thursday 16 October 2014, 19.00-20.00 Nancy Holroyde-Downing, a Chinese medicine practitioner and historian, will explore conversations between Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine at The Wellcome Collection.

5. The Royal Academy of Arts has been hard at work curating their new exhibition of Renaissance portraiture ‘Giovanni Battista Moroni‘ which opens on 25/10. There are some interesting events running alongside the exhibition, such as the free lunchtime talk with Dr. Arturo Galansino, the exhibition curator who will demonstrate why Moroni was the foremost portrait painter of his day. (1-2pm on Monday 27th October). Book your place now, and then you will be sure to have some interesting conversation at your next drinks party!

PCC with Bompas & Parr - image by Katie Scott6. As part of Kew’s Intoxication Season from 20th September until 12th October, Bompas & Parr is taking over the Secluded Glasshouse on weekends. With guidance from an expert panel of medics they will run workshops that will examine our collective attitude to drugs and contrasting our own socially acceptable substances – tobacco, alcohol and caffeine – with other less familiar stimulants and sedatives. Tickets are £5 each + Entrance Fee.

7. All you food-ies should check out The Urban Food Fest in Shoreditch :  : Every Saturday Night From 16 August To 25 October 2014.

somerset house
somerset house

8. One that all the cool kids get excited about is the return of the annual Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason. It starts on 11 November 2014 “The coolest rink of all” The Sunday Times. After dark, the rink hosts some of the best international clubs and festivals at Club Nights, après-skate, enjoy a cocktail or tasty treat from Fortnum’s Lodge or the Skate Lounge, and enhance your experience with Skate Extras.

9. Everyone loves a curry right ? Grab a lassi and head down to Papi’s Pickles’ Indian Sunday Brunch Series at Brixton Cornercopia – Sundays until 2nd Nov. The incredibly popular Papi’s Pickles Indian Brunch is coming back to Brixton Cornercopia, in Brixton Village, for a series of Sundays, between 14th September and 2nd November.

10. I really fancy this exhibition, being a lady ‘n’ all that, it finishes soon, so keep it in your diary : 100 Leading Ladies: A Portrait of Influential Senior Women in Britain by Nancy Honey : 2–26 October 2014 in the Somerset House, Courtyard Rooms, South Wing : Free admission.

11. Designer Sample Sale dates for your diary :: At The Music Room, South Molton Street :: ISSA London : Thursday 2nd – Friday 4th October & Joseph : Monday 20th – Friday 24th October

12. For any lovers of Scandinavian Style, this interview with British journalist Cathy Strongman is a good read from the hip Wear & Where blog.

13. I wouldn’t let you go without reminding you about one of the hottest shows that is on sale now, Here Lies Love. Straight from a run in NYC, It is now playing at The National Theatre until early Jan. See it as more of a theatre-come-club night experience with music by David Byrne and Fatboy Slim. The show traces the astonishing journey of Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, from her meteoric rise to power to descent into infamy and disgrace


Something For The Weekend

1. Please Sir, can I have some more? The Carlton Tower hotel is offering Etiquette Lessons for children. Of course parents are encouraged to splash out on a finger licking meal at The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant whilst their children take part in the workshop.


2. Fancy lunch in Brussels? Here’s a weekend getaway guide to all things mighty and chip-like from the ever stylish Babyccino Kids girls.

3. Giddy Up. Do you fancy a spooky horse ride around Richmond Park on Halloween? On the evenings of 30 & 31 October and 1 November, with just eight people on board you can huddle together as you listen to tales of highwaymen, ghosts and a Victorian murder. You will also marvel at the Park’s majestic stags, who at this time of the year sleep by day and fight their rivals at night. Limited spaces. £48 per person. Money raised will help the Operation Centaur charity.

4. It’s the BFI (British Film Institutes) 58th London Film Festival during October.  On Thursday 9th October at the Odean West END you can watch Björk: Biophilia Live. It is the film of her multi-media performance recorded at Ally Pally last September by Director Peter Strickland, and edited by Nick Fenton. It will be presented as the Sonic Gala at the  Festival in partnership with American Express®. 

5. Here is a feature about a real beauty routine that will restore your faith in women, found on the most adored blog Cup of Jo.

6. If you are partial to a baby animal that is cuddling it’s Mum/ Dad, and like to feel better about the world out there, take a look at Cheetahs In My Shoes FB Page here.

ottie and the bea

7. If you want to support local bookshops, and meet some very sweet and kind people. Go visit the Ottie and the Bea shop in Blackheath. They run fabulous kids workshops, book clubs, and more.

8. Here’s a recommendation of a very good book for people with talent (you, yes you!), who fancy a little advice from one of America’s leading creative thinkers, and if you liked ‘Mad Men’ then you will love this.

9. I know you need a DIY christmas present idea for your god-child, so I choose this (which can be turned into a fierce Lion easily). Here Kitty, Kitty Pillow tutorial (ps. cat napping not allowed).


10. This show at the National Maritime Museum will be A-MAZEBALLS. It goes like this, the Royal Museums Greenwich and Punchdrunk Enrichment present an exciting new experience for 6 – 12 year olds. Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted. You need to book NOW for this new family exhibition, which promises a theatrical journey through the Museum, the like of which has never been seen before. (I told you, don’t read this book the ticket, you will love me for it).

11. A few of you might be thinking about choosing the right school for your angel childl Here is some light reading for you all. A handy guide from The Good Schools Guide, and this from Mencap for children with special needs, and finally this article from The Guardian on choosing a primary school.

12 If you appreciate hand knotted rugs, then make a note as there’s a Luke Irwin sample sale happening next week on the Thursday 2nd (11-8pm) and Friday 3rd (9-6pm) October at the 20th Century Theatre, 291 Westbourne Grove W11 2QA.

house of illustration 1

13. Do you love or even appreciate illustrated cards, books and children’s books? It’s hard not to, make a visit to the House of Illustration’s gift shop in their unique new HQ on Granary Square. You can also book your tickets to their new winter show Paula Rego/ Honore Daumier : Scandal, Gossip and Other Stories (runs until 22 March).

Old King Cole © Paula Rego courtesy of Marlborough Fine Art

5 Best City Breaks for Families

Look what I found for you lovely lot who really really need a (city) break, some fantastic food, and a shot of culture for 1/2 term. Here is a bespoke list of the best City Breaks for Half-term : Guest posted by Nadine Mellor the Kids Collection Editor at i-escape kids. Now, think about this one super quickly and get on the phone to your banker, as these places will go faster than you can say “why didn’t I stop watching Made In Chelsea and book that holiday” Don’t say I don’t look after you. xo

1. Casa Capella, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a great city to bring the kids to. They’ll love all that wacky Gaudi design – Park Guell is the perfect introduction – and don’t miss the Museum of Ideas and Invention, which has a slide and a corner of the absurd. There’s even a beach. Stay in this architect-designed apartment, which is in a safe shopping area, has every gadget you could want in the kitchen, and three spacious bedrooms, two bathrooms, designer furniture, black out blinds, state-of-the-art acoustic insulation and laundry facilities.

2. Istanbul Place Apartments, Istanbul, Turkey

Even hard-to-please teens and tweens will get a kick out of exploring one of the world’s most fascinating cities. This complex of seven stylish apartments in the bohemian Galata district makes a great base for sightseeing. Take them on a boat trip up the Bosphorus, up the dizzying Galata Tower, to marvel at the Haghia Sophia or the extraordinary relics and blood-curdling history at Topkapi Palace, or shopping in the Grand Bazaar which contains thousands of shops and bags of local colour.

3. Vinorhady Boutique Apartment, Prague, Czech Republic

Live like a local in this super apartment which has one double and one twin bedroom, and is just 15 minutes walk to the centre. Kids will like exploring the castle, cathedral and chocolate museum plus you can take boat trips on the river; there’s a playground near Wenceslas Square. Return to kids TV channels and WiFi; and for those kids unwilling to give Czech cuisine a go, you can whip up child-friendly fare in the modern kitchen.

4. Jnane Tamsna, Marrakech, Morocco

For a really exotic half-term break and (nearly) guaranteed sunshine, book into this delightful rambling hotel spread over five houses in a walled estate on the outskirts of this colourful city. Here the whole family can revel in extensive gardens, ideal for hide and seek, plus five large swimming pools (one is even heated). Kids have a host of interesting activities to try from learning Arabic calligraphy to playing tennis, Moroccan cooking lessons and camel riding.

5. Apartment 43, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain

Set in the heart of the beautiful car-free old town, this sleek, light-filled two-bedroom apartment has been cleverly conceived within a former nobleman’s mansion house, and is best for slightly older kids. Who will be impressed that the sound system synchs to smartphones; as are parents by the swish kitchen and wealth of yummy eateries and food markets on the doorstep. Outside are plazas, playgrounds, botanical gardens, and beaches just a 20 minute-drive away.


5 Best Family Travel Websites

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1. Conde Nast Traveller

Packed with features on all things family, yes on the more luxury side, but if you dig around you are likely to find relevant information that will help you research your holiday. Take your pick from culture club info on European city rental apartments, all inclusive hotels luxury resorts with the extras included in the rate , How to Travel with Children tips on what to research, ask and what first aid to pack, and for those happier to pack the car full of snacks and book in a ‘valet steam clean’ on their return read up on the 10 child friendly UK country retreats.

2. I-escape with Kids

A website winner of various awards, the site has over 850 family-friendly hotels, B&Bs, city apartments and house rentals.They split the choices into Boutique hotels, Family villas, City Apartments, and School Holidays, then select locations specialising in Babies, Toddlers, 4-12 years, or Teens. Their personal touch means that you will always be able to contact a ‘real’ person at I-escape when booking or making enquiries, and every one of their sites has been visited by someone on their team – maybe they offer summer work experience ?!

3. Kodomo

The site was set up by freelance food and travel writer Cass Chapman. Kodomo (and its team of fabulous writers) gives you well-researched, personal, and detailed information on hotels, villas, and restaurants across the world, with much-needed detail on when to visit, what to do once you get there, and essential need-to-know information specific to each destination. It is a simple, beautiful and smart site where you can browse via Country or Holiday Types, and essential reading for life-style lovers is the blog, which is full of Q+A’s from well-heeled style icons and cool travel features.

4. Baby Friendly Boltholes

A site run by parents, that has the best pick of child friendly hotels in the UK, Europe and Worldwide. They also offer sister websites for Bridal boltholes, and Boutique boltholes. Check their list of ‘10 Best Boltholes in the UK or Overseas, Romantic, Chicononic or Boutique‘. A handy read is the BFB Blog, covering a range of useful posts featuring travel experts, holiday tips and parenting gossip. It’s worth signing up to the site to keep ahead of the offers they run, as well as the competitions, and their special discounts on the shopping page.

5. Telegraph Newspaper : Family Holidays

A wide range of travel guides with suggestions for child and teen-friendly holidays, travel reviews, news and expert advice, with a specialist section on family trips of a lifetime. There are also various offers, and an impressive picture gallery, to get the whole family inspired about where to choose for their ‘lottery winning’ holiday. Search online with any keywords, and you are 99% likely to find some information to help guide you to making a decision, as well as provide you with a whole lot of ideas of holidays you may never have considered.

What are your travel tips ?

This 5 Best list is just the tip of the iceberg. If you dig deep out there in the online wilderness, there are lists of travel blogs written by well-travelled parents. I’d love you to share your favourites with the Bus Stop readers. Or, just share a few of your travelling tips; the best and worst airlines, airports or cities. What toys or apps do you travel with ? Which are your favourite campsites ? All and any tips would be great to have.

Please leave your comments and share with us all. xo