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S’s First Visit to London

Yesterday was S’s first visit to London. We were invited to go to a 30th birthday party for the Cabbage Patch Kids at Hamley’s toy shop on Regent Street.
The party started at 9:30am, which meant catching the 7:30 train. So at 6:30 yesterday morning (I’m always stupidly paranoid about missing trains so leave hideously early) we were walking across town to the train station.
I had hoped S would nap on the train (so that I could), but she didn’t; the prospect of being on a train was far too exciting, and she enjoyed looking out the window, and practising her walking between seats.

Single mother ahoy baby looking out train window
When we got to Waterloo, I was hoping S would have a little nap while we tubed/walked to Regent Street – but she was far too interested in these new surroundings.
When we got to Hamleys, we queued to get in – I thought she might get bored and fall asleep then, but she didn’t.
The party itself would have been fun for her if she’d not been too tired and grumpy to join in – there were party games on each floor of the shop, some arts and crafts, a party tea and a magician. At one point I put her in the buggy and did laps of the third floor, trying to get her to have a nap. She did sleep, but only for a few minutes. She didn’t want to do the arts and crafts (where you could plant cabbage seeds, colour in pictures of Cabbage Patch Kids, or decorate a cup with Cabbage Patch Kids stickers and shiny foil shapes).
The air conditioning in Hamleys was apparently broken, and the higher up the store we went, the hotter and more uncomfortable it got. S was most displeased by this. By 11:30 I was wandering around the ground floor with her leaning on my shoulder. She wasn’t asleep, just worn out and fed up. Some of the staff chatted to us, and one guy stopped to play Peekaboo with her for a few minutes, which I think was the highlight of her morning.
Single mother ahoy #cpkparty
I felt so sorry for the people in these costumes! It was so hot!

Just before 12, I realised there was a reasonable crowd forming outside, and that they would shortly be let in through the massive doors at the front of the building. I didn’t think this would go down too well with my poor, frazzled little pickle, so I asked them to let us out early.
We wandered down to Leicester Square and sat in the shade while S ate some raisins and rice cakes, then pulled her sun hat over her face and laid back. I thought she’d gone to sleep, but she seems to have just been shielding her eyes from the visual onslaught. She was most displeased.
We met a friend for lunch, where S fell asleep on my lap as I ate, but cried as soon as i put her back in the buggy. By the time we walked back to Waterloo (I couldn’t face the prospect of the tube in this heat, with these crowds) she was screaming. She screamed all through St James’s Park, all across Tower Bridge, and eventually fell asleep as we got into the station.

Single Mother Ahoy baby asleep in buggy
The only sensible way to travel around London!

Half an hour before the train arrived back in Salisbury, S woke up. I winced, expecting more screaming. She had a drink and something to eat, then amused herself with looking out of the window until we got back to Salisbury.
The real magic moment of the day though, came when we got off the train. I was worried that being strapped back into the buggy would unleash more crying and general grumpery all the way home. But as we walked back down the road into town, my beautiful little Grumpzilla, clearly over the moon at being back on familiar ground, began singing to herself. She shouted her joy for our entire 20 minute walk home, giggling to herself and shouting “hiya! … buh-bye!” to any dogs we saw being walked.
I think it’s safe to say my daughter prefers her home town!

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

2 Comments
  • Jaime Oliver

      REPLY

    although this was not as joyous as initially thought it sounds like you had some lovely time.<br /><br />thanks for linking up with #magicmoments

  • Hannah

      REPLY

    I think the aircon is always broken in Hamleys! We went up last year in the Summer (I was 5 months pregnant at the time) and we sweated buckets. xx

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