The Day My Three-Year-Old Stayed In A 5* Hotel

welcome-note-edition-hotel

Kids today, hey? *rolls eyes* London Edition Hotel family style package

That phrase is usually used when talking about kids wearing hoodies and tearing it up in a shopping centre or two, but I mean it in a ‘These kids! They don’t know how lucky they are!’ way. Yes, I fully realise this makes me sound 55. But it’s true.

There are so many things that my three-year-old has experienced in her short little life so far, that I didn’t experience until I was an adult. She’s been to the Royal Albert Hall (something I didn’t do until I was 22). She’s been abroad (something it took me until I was ten to achieve). She’s been to a festival (my first one was V97 when I was 18).

She has also now stayed in a five star hotel.

My posh hotel habit has had to go slightly on the back burner since having my daughter. Aside from the money aspect – we’ve been spending more on nappies, small boxes of raisins and entry to London Zoo than extravagant mini breaks – I’ve never considered 5* hotels as being particularly child-friendly. Until now, that is.

A few weeks ago, we headed into central London to stay at the London Edition. The Edition group of hotels is a new concept from Ian Schrager, the man behind The Sanderson in London, The Mondrian in West Hollywood and The Delano in Miami. He knows his hotel stuff. As well as being brimming with luxurious touches (and an awesome bar and restaurant… more on that later) the London Edition has a Family Style package which looks after the little ones as well as you.

london-edition-hotel-lobby-bar

London Edition Hotel room

London-Edition-Hotel

London Edition hotel books

What the three-year-old loved…

She had attention lavished upon her from the moment we arrived. At check-in, the staff used her name and chatted to her, complimenting her on her Rapunzel dress. The fact that she had a room of her very own went down well (we were given a Loft room with a connecting room) and you should have SEEN her excited face when she realised she had her own bathroom (“If you need a wee, you can use your toilet. But if I need a wee, I’m going to use MY toilet”). Continue reading

Win 4 Tickets To OnBlackheath Festival

I was having serious Camp Bestival withdrawal symptoms this weekend – a year ago, we went to our first family festival together and it was utterly fantastic. But this weekend, while I was watching lots of people I know have an amazing time there (and quietly sobbing into a paper cup of wine for that genuine festival feel) I’m looking forward to another family friendly festival… and this one is much closer to home.

On September 14th, we’re heading to OnBlackheath. The inaugural festival on Blackheath Common in south east London is in partnership with John Lewis and sees Massive Attack and Frank Turner headline with performances from The Levellers, Aloe Blac, Grace Jones and Athlete.

There’s also going to be a real foodie presence with a farmers’ market and a cooking demo stage hosted by Gizzi Erskine and featuring a range of Michelin-starred British talent – all cooking up tasty creations for you to sample.

sum11_late-august-farmers-market

For the younger festival goers, OnBlackheath promises a fabulous area designed specially for kids, with arts & crafts workshops, games and special performances. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

camp-bestival-painting-fort-2

Blackheath holds a special place in my heart – I lived there for three years in my 20s and loved mooching around the gift shops and drinking coffee outside the many cafes. The common is a beautiful space that I used to sit on (usually outside the Prince Of Wales pub if I’m honest, with a Bacardi Breezer in hand) and watch the kites flying by. I’m super excited to go to the festival – and giddy at the thought that it’s just a bus ride away from my house!

I can’t wait to put my floral hairband on (might get one for the three-year-old too) and soak up the atmosphere… and late summer sun hopefully.

OBH14_3_61_RADIOTIMES_IMAGE_620x374_AW

And you could be there too! OnBlackheath have given me four tickets for Sunday 14th September to give away. To be in with a chance of winning:

• Comment on this blog post, saying which act on Sunday 14th September you’d most like to see if you win

• For an extra two entries, follow @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweet the following ‘Win four tickets for @OnBlackheath festival over on @alisonperryblog’

• Fill in the Rafflecopter box below if you want your entries to count

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions:
1. Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Not Another Mummy Blog or the Promoter.
2. One winner will receive four tickets for OnBlackheath, valid on Sunday 14th September 2014 only. The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
3. The prize draw starts at 12.01am BST on 4th August 2014 and closes at 11.59pm BST on 29th August 2014.
4. Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post. Entrants can gain bonus entries by following @alisonperryblog on Twitter and tweeting about the giveaway, then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
5. The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
6. In the unlikely event that the prize becomes unavailable the Promoter reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal value.
7. The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
8. By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
9. The Promoter reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
10. The Promoter is: AKA, 115 SHAFTESBURY AVENUE, LONDON WC2H 8AF

5 Fun Things Happening In London This Summer

Hahahopscotch

School’s out for summer! (OK, if you live north of the border, it’s been out for quite a while now…) But it’s time to plan some fun, get out there and enjoy this gorgeous sunny weather we’re getting. There are LOADS of cool things happening in London this summer. It’s a time of year when I feel so lucky we live here. But whether you’re a local or you’re planning a trip to the capital this summer, here are my top five things you should do…

1. Hahahopscotch

What do you get if you cross unusual cocktails with locally grown herbs and flowers… with green-fingered fun for kids? Hahahopscotch at the Brunel Museum! This awesome-sounding event happens on the last Sunday of the month and while the kids get stuck into some soil and play traditional games like tug-of-war, you can get stuck into some infused cocktails.

Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue, SE16

27th July, 31st Aug, 28th September 2014

£4.50 per child

2. The Elephantom

This show is by the team behind Warhorse and it looks fantastic. It tells the story of a young girl who has a phantom elephant in her house, and it causes all sorts of trouble…

New London Theatre, Drury Lane WC2B

Until September 6th 2014

Tickets start from £13

Camden beach

3. Camden Beach

Hang on, back up  - what? Yep, Camden has got its very own beach – on the roof of the Roundhouse. There are deckchairs, bars, food stalls, beach huts and a swimming pool. Kids are welcome, but after 5pm it might be a bit ‘lively’ for families.

The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, NW1

July 26th – Aug 23rd 2014

Entry: Free Continue reading

Bluestone National Park Review: We Loved It!

Bluestone Wales review

If you’re looking for a fun, relaxed UK family break, Bluestone National Park in Wales should be right up there on your list. Set in the Pembrokeshire countryside, Bluestone is a huge resort with eco-friendly wooden lodges surrounding a small ‘village’ area with shops, places to eat, spa and a play area. A short walk away is a huge activity centre and a leisure centre style swimming pool. We recently spent four nights there and we loved every minute.

Why it’s amazing, in a nutshell

Bluestone National Park offers something for families with kids of all ages – so whatever stage your family is at, there’s loads to do. For younger kids (like our three-year-old) there’s the outdoor play area, soft play zones in the Adventure Centre and activities like messy play and puppet making. For older kids, there’s archery, climbing walls, a tree-top obstacle course and a 40ft zip wire and kayaking. For all ages, there’s the swimming pool with flumes and a fun toddler area. It’s beautiful to walk around, with wild flowers and forest paths and there’s a big selection of eating places. Oh and it has a fab spa to relax in too.

arriving-bluestone-wales

What’s the accommodation like?

The lodges are all modern and clean – our Caldey Lodge was semi-detached (with an adjoining door which would be handy if you knew the family next door) and had an open plan kitchen/living/dining area with patio doors that opened out onto a paved and grassy area with a wooden picnic table. We had a bathroom (with bath, although not all lodges have them, so if you have a baby or toddler to bathe, be sure to ask for a bathroom) and two bedrooms. It was the perfect base for our holiday – lots of room to do jigsaws and play, comfy leather sofas to snuggle on watching CBeebies before bed, and a great space for cooking and eating. The decor is all a bit beige and safe, but suited the wooden eco lodges. Continue reading

Work.Life.Mum: Mr & Mrs Smith’s Juliet Kinsman

Juliet Kinsman, Smith Hotels

Juliet Kinsman is Editor-in-Chief of Mr and Mrs Smith – the travel company which handpicks the most stylish places to stay, around the world. As well as being an expert in luxury travel, Juliet is Mum to six-year-old Kitty and lives in North West London with her partner. The recently-launched Smith & Family is the go-to place for perfect family hotels, with a child-friendly attitude and grown-up features alike.

Which, for someone who is as posh-hotel-obsessed as I am, is the most exciting thing ever. Being the typical Mr & Mrs Smith customer during my 20s (tripping off to Babington House of a weekend or arranging my hen do at Calcot Manor) I now can’t wait to try out the hotels recommended by Smith & Family.

In the first of a new series of Work.Life.Mum interviews with inspiring women, I caught up with Juliet for a chat about her own travels, how she balances work and life and (naturally) to get some travel tips from her…

Juliet Kinsman and daughter Kitty

Continue reading