Fridays are special days, for Fridays are mummy and Allegra days. Fridays are my day off from a busy working week, the day when I can devote 100% (apart from the odd slightly obsessive blackberry checking, which I’m working on scaling back) to time with my little girl. And lately, with only 10-weeks to go until “d-day” and new baby Cox arriving, Fridays are even more special as one-to-one time with my princess boo.
So, this Friday, I thought I would plan a mummy and Allegra special afternoon out. Time for us to hang out, just us girls, and go “up town”.
Taking inspiration from one of my favourite bloggers, From Fun to Mum, I took a leaf out of her
book blog and decided to take miss Allegra for a bit of an afternoon of culture, with a visit to the Tim Walker – Story Teller exhibition, currently running at Somerset House, which I’d read about on her blog here.
We took the train up to London and Allegra enjoyed looking out of the window and pointing out the passing “chop-choos” and trees as we whizzed past them at high-speed en route to Waterloo. Then caught a bus for the short hop over the bridge to Somerset House (well, it was a drizzly and foggy November day, I didn’t fancy walking, so sue me!). As I’d not exactly planned our timings all that well, I decided we should have something to eat before we made our way into the exhibition, so we went for a girls lunch at Pizza Express just off Waterloo Bridge and it was great, Allegra was so well behaved, it gave me a glimpse into the future of lazy lunches with my little girl 🙂
Some colouring in kept her busy before her dough balls arrived and then it wasn’t long before she was chomping her way through her Margherita pizza with added ham (it’s all about the ham in Allegra’s world), of course being careful to leave room for a strawberry sundae and a babycino (her first ever in fact) – which did endure a bit of spillage, but the amount she did get into her mouth was followed by a “milk mummy, yummeee mummy” review. Nice.
With full tummies we then made our way to Somerset House and headed for the exhibition – which is sponsored by Mulberry and so is free to get into, love it! I wasn’t sure if it would be a successful or disastrous visit, going into a fashionista style exhibition, with an excitable toddler in tow, but I figured we’d give it a shot and see what happened! As it turned out, both of us, the other gallery visitors, and the exhibits themselves, all survived in tact – although there might possibly be some slightly sticky finger prints on some of the perspex boxes displaying props… still, no major harm done eh?
The first thing we saw as we went into the exhibition was an almost lifesized replica of a Spitfire fighter plane, which dwarfed the room and immediately captured Allegra’s attention. It was enough to send her running into the next room to see what she might find and there she was greeted with a huge swan boat, which seemed to blow her mind somewhat!
I’m not gonna lie, it was a leetle tiny bit stressful trying to keep her under control as she ran enthusiastically from room to room, weaving her way in between fashionably-clad legs and experiencing more than a couple near-misses of decapitation by oversized it-bag, but overall people were patient at the presence of an over-enthusiastic toddler and I did my best to try and reign her in as much as possible, without curbing her excitement! This did require me to pick her up and carry her about more than is probably advisable at almost 7-months pregnant, but still. It did mean that I could show her more of the photographs hanging on the walls and she enjoyed taking a closer look – shouting “Cinderella, Cinderella!” at any that featured a pretty girl in a pretty dress (of which there were quite a few!) – which seemed to entertain some of the other visitors!
She loved peering in at the oversized jellies in their perspex boxes, was bemused but entertained by the double-bass playing bumble-bee/fly, but more than a little freaked out by the giant doll – a prop that Walker had commissioned for a Vogue Italia shoot – which is the last piece in the exhibition and stands looming by the exit. In fact at one point I thought we were going to struggle to leave as Allegra seemed traumatised every time I tried to get her to walk past it towards the door. She just kept saying “big big dolly, scary mummy, scary” and “no like it”, but we did eventually make it back out into the wintery November day again.
After all the excitement, I could see that Allegra was starting to get very snoozy, so much to her dislike, I got her back into her buggy and after a few moments of protesting, she was fast asleep – dreaming of goodness knows what?! – and we were heading back to Waterloo to catch the train home.
I would never have thought of taking an almost 2-year old to an exhibition like that before, but actually – despite worrying that I might be a little annoying and in the way to the other people in the gallery – it was a brilliant thing to do and something a little different, which Allegra really seemed to genuinely enjoy. So, thank you From Fun to Mum and Miss G for showing me that entertaining a toddler doesn’t have to be all soft-play and singing “wheels on the bus”.