Micro-Scooter Love

She may never ride the bicycle again. . .

We were super excited to review the Maxi Micro-Scooter this month, and my older daughter (age 4, a fairly tall age 4) was just the girl for the job! The specs say it’s for children weighing up to 50kg, so it looks to last around here for several years. She was given an Ozbozz for Christmas last year and she used it a little, but I saw nothing like what I’ve seen in the past few days. The girl is zooming away, using the brake to slow down and stop, and doing tricks! The Maxi Micro-Scooter is stable under her feet and quick. We’ve had it for two weeks and we’ve been around the neighbourhood and in the parks with it. It’s easy to transport in the car boot and very light, so I don’t mind carrying it if I have to. My niece (8 years old) and nephew (9 years old) in the USA both have Micro-Scooters and they love them as well. They were really excited to find out how we liked it. Evidently, it’s THE scooter to have, even on the other side of the Pond. And I do see why.

Compared with the other scooters we’ve had in the house, the Micro-Scooters are clearly better designed for action (and looks). Both of my girls had a Little Tikes 2-in1 as their first scooter, which was good in that they could sit on it or stand, but it was stiff plastic. At £29.99, it was a good value, but I do think they would have had more use out of the Mini Micro-Scooter, had they had it instead. The Little Tikes scooter doesn’t turn at all really, so it’s only good for going in straight lines, but at least it was sturdy underfeet. We also have the Ozbozz “My First Scooter” which is VERY heavy (and so I never like to carry it), not to mention unstable. My daughter fell many times in the early days–even with all four wheels on! Luckily, she is not the type of child to give up. It appears to ride roughly over city pavement. You can hear the wheels banging and knocking over every bump. Not good.

The Maxi Micro-Scooter glides along. . .  quickly! Even at speed or down hill, my four-year old is able to control it. Our three-year old who got the Mini Micro-Scooter for her birthday last month is also happily scooting along.

Maxi Micro-Scooters are priced from £99.95. If you want a fancier model or accessories, you’ll pay up to £123.95. Micro-Scooter offers free delivery on the product and spare parts are easy to come by. These scooters also offer excellent resale value on eBay, so it’s definitely worth buying it new and getting several years’ use out of it.

We met up with some of our Mumsnet friends who also got Micro-Scooters to review at Tumbling Bay playground at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park over the Easter holidays. The kids had a ball. It was a cloudy day, so we had this amazing place mostly to ourselves. I think they had fun!

lechyd Da! to Mumsnet Gwent and Kate Humble

This week, our South Wales Editor spent the day with Kate Humble at her working farm, Humble by Nature. After retiring from the head post at the RSPB in 2013, she’s thrown herself into life on the farm, and with her husband Ludo Graham, she’s created a truly special offering. Visitors are welcome to drop in for the day or to stay and learn about farm life. Even sleep over!

800px-Kate_Humble_-_Springwatch_farm_(publicity_pic)_15June2006

Kate Humble Supports Local: Read it here

It’s another great feature, brought to you by Mumsnet Local.

Mumsnet Local serves 180 individual communities in the United Kingdom, bringing you the best local advice “for parents, by parents.” So check in with us for life at home or if you’re planning a trip. Our Local Editors are friendly and knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions.

Meeting the Purple Pumpkin

Sometimes you meet some really lovely people on the Internet. This week, whilst preparing for this week’s newsletter, I made a terrific find: thepurplepumpkinblog.co.uk!

Blogger Michelle Ordever has an amazing photographic and writing talent, making the Purple Pumpkin lovely to look at and a worthwhile read.

7622206370_cbc3d51489_z

We’ve used her beautiful, serene depiction of Fairlop Waters sailing lake for this month’s Redbridge home page. It’s part of her blog entry in which she woke up at the crack of dawn to watch the historic Olympic torch relay leg at Fairlop. Do have a mini-scroll down memory lane: The Olympic-Torch at Fairlop Waters park.

Thanks Michelle! And we’ll definitely be checking back in with you.

Allons Le Tour!

Cambridge / Londres

Stage 3 of this year’s Tour de France will speed through our streets on Monday, July 7th before whizzing off to France via air transport. We’d had a rather fanciful thought involving a tardis, though.  .  .

stage 3 tour

Full route details online at www.letour.fr

Beginning in Cambridge just after Noon, le Tour will arrive in Redbridge and Waltham Forest in the early afternoon, criss-crossing the boroughs on the way into Central London. The promotional caravan–get your free Tour gear–arrives in Epping New Road from approximately 1.05pm followed by the race at approximately 2.40pm. The route continues down Woodford New Road, through the Whipps Cross roundabout, and onto Lea Bridge Road into Leyton via Orient Way then on to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, through East London and into Westminster, where Stage 3 ends.

Best viewing points in the order that the race will reach them:

  • Epping New Road (Roadside, E4)
  • All Saints Church in Woodford Wells (Inmans Row, Woodford Green, Essex IG8 0NH) is opening its doors to the community for the duration of the event (café, toilet and TV screens) as well as family activities on the green.
  • Whipps Cross roundabout—large television screen to watch the race, Waltham Forest council-run activities
  • Lea Bridge Road (no facilities, roadside viewing)
  • Leyton Green
  • Baker’s Arms junction

If you’re watching from Epping New Road or Woodford New Road, be sure to check in at either of these spots:

  • Woodford Wells Club in Monkhams Lane (IG8 ONL) is welcoming the community to bring picnics, make full use of the club’s facilities and its newly refurbished club bar.
  • The Larder at Butler’s Retreat, 12 Rangers Road, Chingford, E4 7QH Click here for their menu.

Watching at Whipps Cross Roundabout or Lea Bridge Road?

Alfred-HitchcockWalk down to the friendly Sir Alfred Hitchcock Pub and Restaurant (147 Whipps Cross Road, E11 1NP). Full facilities are available and the manager is preparing a warm welcome for racegoers, including a BBQ! Unless, of course, it rains. . .  Do expect a lovely cream teas and the manager’s Tour specials–fish and chips, steak and ale pies. Full kids menu available.

And if sitting in the afternoon sun leaves you needing a little peace and quiet, take a break and visit Hollow Ponds Boating Lake, row a boat or sit in a shady spot. Just down from the Sir Alfred and opposite. Snacks and drinks available at the outposts, minimal facilities.

hollow-pond-boats

A bit further afield, the Duke pub in Wanstead is super family-friendly and is the perfect spot to head to for an early supper after a full day. Plenty for the kids to do there.

Le Tour’s official web site is www.letour.fr.

Plan ahead and make it a great day out!

Check out our Mumsnet Local partner sites whoa re also hosting Le Tour 2014:

If You Went Down in the Woods Today. . .

2014 Hainault Forest Easter Egg Trail, organised by the Woodland Trust

. . .yes, you would have seen bears (carved ones, of Yogi and Boo-Boo Bear). On this, the first ever Easter Egg Trail in Hainault Forest, organised by the Woodland Trust, we also saw a panoply of beasts and birds carved into the woods.

The North-western end of Hainault Forest has a one-mile long walking trail which is home to the Trust’s annual Halloween ‘Monster’ Trail and, now, a delightful Easter trail for families. The trail is accessible for buggies and most wheeled vehicles. There are some narrow bridges, but detours are available.

Bunnies in the woods

Bunnies in the woods

The Hunt was free to anyone who requested a ticket; the Trust asked only for donations. And thanks to Derek Wright of the Trust for organising a ticket for us at the very last minute.

Enjoy the photos and play along to see if you can spot some of the carved creatures, done by local chainsaw carvers and willow bark sculptors.

 

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy Easter from Yogi, Boo Boo, Emelia and Liesl

Happy Easter, from Yogi, Boo Boo, Emelia and Liesl

At Tumbling Bay Playground in the Olympic Park

I now see what everyone’s raving about. We visited the Tumbling Bay Playground at the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park at Stratford this weekend. It’s in our neighbouring borough of Newham, so just a short ride on the train. And yes, it’s totally WOW. Agreed.

Beautifully landscaped, the architects have taken pride in preserving the natural riverside environment as you walk up to the play area, which has been thoughtfully designed for kids of all ages: Sandpits, water play, climbing, a rope bridge, slides, and loads of green space to run and play. There’s plenty of space to picnic, or you can have a meal at the Timber Lodge cafe, which shares the play space.

The walk up to the play area is full of very picturesque views of the river and London in the distance. Modern art is playfully placed all around (see photos), and there’s a poetry installation at the Playground. We saw a poetry potter’s shed last Sunday with free workshops for the kids. And it’s just really cool to be in the Olympic Park.

We took a wrong turn on our way and ended up at the London Aquatic Centre. Another WOW! I’m booking in a swim for us next week. It’s easy to use during the week and busier on weekends. But as my 8-year old nephew said, “You’re going to swim in the pool where Michael Phelps swam? WOW!” The Copper Box also is now home to an amazing gym. We saw people playing table tennis outdoors.

Here’s some more WOW from the Park. For pics of the Playground, see the link to the web site, below:

DSCF9051

The view down to the river. One of several large spherical sculptures. The Park is full of modern art like this. During the Olympics, this space was used as a picnic area.

 

DSCF9049-001

Nearly there. . . a final hill of daffodils before we reach Tumbling Bay. Just there is the Athlete’s Village. These are privately owned flats. More are being built just behind the play area. Lucky local residents!

DSCF9054

A nice welcoming entrance to the play space, keeping the all natural theme.

DSCF9061

The view across to the Athletic Stadium, which will reopen in 2015 for the Rugby World Cup and then be home to West Ham United’s football team. Next to it is that thing. . . er, the ArcelorMittal Orbit, which you can still climb for a view of the Park.

DSCF9068

Yes, there was a lot of tumbling at Tumbling Bay. . .

How to get there: Many people cycle to this park, but if it’s not local to you, then you can easily take public transportation. From Stratford International rail/bus/tube, it’s a 15-minute walk (through Westfield and then out on the main road) OR two stops on bus route 388 to the Copper Box stop.

Tumbling Bay Playground’s web site: http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/the-park/attractions/tumbling-bay-playground

The Promise of Camellias

DSCF9010

I took the girls to Valentine’s Mansion and Park this morning. Beaming sunshine beckoned us outdoors instead of to mass; we’ve been under the weather for what seems like weeks now, so our bodies are craving vitamin D and outdoor play. A quick glance at the weatherstation promised rain. I ignored that. Got to the park, aboard tricycle and scooter, and realised that the sun was quickly disappearing. A quick look at the ducks and geese in the pond before hitting the playground, and I spotted this lovely Camellia bush aching with abundant flowers and had to take a photo (or five). My little ones are used to me wanting to look at flowers and plants and trees and so indulged me for a moment. It’s just the loveliest flower, bright and big and bold against vibrant evergreen foliage. And at a time of the year when one seems just desperate for bright, big, bold, and vibrant. Glad I ignored the weatherstation this morning. Am happy now.