Saturday, 16 March 2013

Gymboree, Whiteleys

Surely that's a cynical look in Cosmo's eye?
My twin sister recently made an 'observation' that I project my own feelings onto Cosmo. So, her theory goes, when I say "Cosmo's tired" what I really mean is "I'm tired". Naturally I told her "Cosmo's sick of you talking nonsense and wants a cup of tea". However, I was forced to reconsider my sister's theory when I found myself telling my partner that Cosmo was skeptical of Gymboree.

Gymboree, for the uninitiated, is a nationwide organization that offers "Sensory Baby Play classes".  Using song, movement, infant signing, puppets, fibre optics, bubbles, musical instruments, their website promises "endless amusement for the babies – and adults too"!

Hmmmm... its not that I'm a killjoy (I really am) but anything that promises "endless amusement" is bound to either leave me shuddering with revulsion, crying with embarrassment, or dying of boredom. However they offer a free trial class. And just as I can't pass up free food (I've never refused a single slop of unidentifiable airline food), I can't pass up a free class. Thus it was I found myself in a Gymboree class in Whiteley's shopping centre trying desperately not to laugh. Someone should have warned me they sing so much. Like everything: "Lets put the toys awaaaaaay! Awaaaayyyy!!!" I'm not saying the girl had a bad voice... quite the opposite. But that made it even more funny.

A glance at Cosmo told me he was of a similar frame of mind. Incy wincy Spider? Meh. Round and Round the Garden? Yaaaawn. Like mother like son. He doesn't like this kinda forced jollity either, do you Cosmo? Cosmo..? Oh dear, I turned my gaze for one second and when I look back Cosmo was looking at - no, laughing hysterically at - a hideous puppet in the form of Gymboree's mascot, Gymbo the clown. What's going on? Surely he couldn't actually be enjoying this? And is that a look of wonder at the bubbles being blown around the room? Oh dear...

And as a hideously weak-willed mother, Cosmo's little chortles had me signing up for the whole course and forking out an extra fifteen quid or so for the hideous lump of garish fabric that is Gymbo, the Clown. Lets never speak of this again.

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I once sneezed so loudly Cosmo vomited. (That's not a joke and not funny... okay, it is a little bit...) He sleeps with ear-splitting white noise, but a sudden noise somehow scares the bejeezers out of him. And I'm guessing as a baby, he's not unique - why then do so many baby change areas install ridiculously loud Xcelator-style hand-dryers? (See post on The Serpentine Bar and Kitchen...) At three million decibels, the dryers at Selfridges once again assisted in scaring the proverbial out of my darling bub.

Anyroad up. If you find yourself down the Marble Arch end of Oxford street and your baby needs a quick feed, you can do worse than heading to the third floor of Selfridges where you'll find nice comfy seats for feeding, a good baby change and toilets large enough to bring in your buggy. It's not totally private, but it's private enough for the self-conscious.

Once you're done, head done to the food hall and have yourself a Pinkberry frozen yogurt... remember to add the chocolate "goodness crunch" - nom, nom, nom...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

V&A, South Kensington

Take the corridor opposite this lovely statue for the Education Centre and cafe   
Oh my! I think I've found the most stylish changing rooms in London. Look at those tiles! And gold taps indeed! Cosmo's getting ideas above his station... forget about the exhibits, we're staying in the bogs...

While the V&A doesn't have a dedicated nursing room, they do have individual toilets/changing rooms off the cafe (not signposted, ask for directions...) which have a chair - so I guess if you're really desperate for privacy (who really likes feeding so close to a toilet...?) you can ensconce yourself here.

Alternatively, you can use one of the lunch rooms (the smaller one is usually empty) in the Education Centre. They even told me they'd be happy to open up a seminar room if someone wanted complete privacy for feeding.

The cafe is another Benugo (boys done good) with a beautiful seating area. It has plenty of room for buggies but can get busy and noisy - and the chaotic food section isn't ideal either. However, the central courtyard is a mere hop and a skip away if your baby (and you) need to escape the madding crowds. (At least, in winter, no doubt it's packed in summer...)
Not the most flattering angle...
Private changing room / toilet off the cafe