Friday, 28 May 2010

Are you a Mumzilla?

Just read an article on the beeb Is Mumzilla Competing at the School Gates.
I haven't got to the school gates yet but have certainly come across the competitiveness at toddler groups and when groups of mothers come together. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised as a person quoted in the article saying the phenomenon is worse in SE England.
So are you a mumzilla or dadzilla?

P.s. to my local mum friends...I don't mean YOU, honest I don't xxx

East Greenwich Pleasaunce

Yesterday, I met a friend and her tots at East Greenwich Pleasaunce which is just off the Woolwich New Road. Parking was plentiful on Chevning Road where you can stay for 2 hours for free. Ample time for our excursion.

We were early so walked around the Pleasaunce and I had to explain what a grave is to my tot. I don't think she got it but to my relief, just carried on walking instead plaguing me with her current WHY, WHY, WHY???. The grave we stopped at was that of Rear Admiral Henry John May. I know nowt about the man but his grave with anchor was very distintive.
The Pleasaunce is a good mix of the dead and the alive. There is a under-5's centre with a great outdoor space. It's run by a welcoming lady called Joy, and is open from 1 to 3 every day of the week. On our visit there was a good mix of bods who were friendly. My only concern would be on rainy days as the centre indoor space was small. But they have a very large and well stocked outdoor area.
The Pleasaunce also has a separate children's play area and even an area that's dog free. Now dog-lovers, please don't jump down my throat as I'm just noting that's it good to have an area to put down a picnic blanket without worrying about dog poo. That's if you are happy to eat above interred remains. GULP! Luckily if you don't have a ready made picnic then you can visit the best thing about this park IMHO.... Pistachio's in the Park which is an eco friendly cafe that opened in 2007. Our snack of coffee, hot chocolate and millionaires's shortbread was very tasty.

I'm so jealous of the people who live near here as the now obsolete definition of Pleasaunce, "Source of pleasure", is most appropriate.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

15th June: Phoenix Trader Fundraiser

Hi all. I'm not opening myself to be a local advertiser but if there is a good event / cause / bit of info I'm interested in, I'll post it up. Especially if it's something being run by a local mum. This is from Livi John who is our local Phoenix trader. It's a good cause so I hope she gets some support:

Dear All
Some of you are already aware that Phoenix Traders are trying to raise £150,000 in the month of June for Children's Hospices UK (CHUK). Last year we raised £136,000. So far we have raised £22,000 from the pre-sales of the beautiful charity card and Phoenix head office have managed to release 60,000 more cards (seeing as the last ones sold out in less than 6 hours) so in total that will be £52,000 straight to CHUK.
Our MD has done a huge bike ride and is hoping to raise £10,000 and the rest will come from all the efforts of the traders and their Tea Parties across the country.
If you can't make it to my Tea Party but would still like to support this very worthy cause then you can online
If you can make it please let me know and feel free to bring your kids and a friend, date and contact details are below. There will be cards, coffee and cakes and then for the children there will be a Minimessymakers stall with a playdoh table and also butterfly decorating and biscuit decorating.
If you can donate a cake on the day please let me know.
Tuesday 15th June
10.00 - 12.00
4 Macoma Terrace
I hope to see you on the day
Many thanks
Livia John
Independent Phoenix Trader: 20229
Tel : 07966 523315 / 0208 3165737
Livia's Phoenix trading website - Click on New Release to see the products from the latest supplement

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Comedy no more

Have just read on the Comedy on the Common site that due to falling numbers there won't be a regular comedy night anymore.
OK, OK I am the first to stand up and admit I didn't go. Sunday nights are not a great night to find a baby sitter and go somewhere drinking (god I am so, so old).
What would persuade me to go?
  • Have it on a Saturday
  • Have it on a week night and get some female comics in - I'd get all the local mums I know to attend. We all live so near the Common but normally go to Greenwich for our meet up.
  • Have a weekend lunchtime comedy gig but that doesn't seem right does it? The comedians would have to make sure the humour was family friendly without becoming too BBC like! Also I guess the rugby boys may get annoyed with all the comedy lovers taking over their drinking hole
Does anyone know what the deal is with the Rugby Pavillion? Who runs it? I know it's owned by the council but anymore info? I often pass it and wish it were open though that may cause issues for the Old Mill pub?????

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Wenlock and Mandeville

I am trying to love the Olympics. Trying to be proud they are going to be held in London. But gosh sometimes it's hard.
For one, I wish it was a UK Olympics, not just London, something we could all get behind (like England in the World Cup).
Then there was the whole logo stuff...I just didn't get it. I thought it was ugly in the extreme.
Then there is the tower of steel that serves no real purpose and in this day of recycle, reuse blah blah, it seems an awful waste of metal.
Then there are the speed restrictions along the North Circular near the stadiums. Probably a good thing as people slow down to look at the construction. Me, I wonder why they have such huge car parks if they are trying to encourage people to go via public transport.
So yesterday when I saw the new mascots Wenlock and Mandeville, I tried to keep an open mind. I'm still trying. I suppose in the future tot may ask for the dolls but so far it's not made me love the Olympics anymore.
The funny thing is that even though I don't watch football, don't know a stuff about the game, I'll be watching England play all their World Cup games because I know it's about the game and not the pomp, circumstance or guff.

Segregated SE

Does Boris Johnson really hate SE London? He's making it damn difficult for people to get here, or to get away.
First we have the whole Blackwall Tunnel nonsense. You can escape SE London and return to the happy North without any trouble. But woe betide any SE Londoner who dares to visit or worse still work in the North to try to get home.
Then bang out goes the Gateway bridge. Now I hear the Greens are happy about this...get on your bikes they say, forget the car. Well sorry dear eco friendly bods...with tot and her paraphernalia, there is no bleeding way I'm getting on a bike. And if I did, there is a bloody good chance some Neanderthal in a white van would take me out in one corner move. Plus as Mr Plummy Mummy pointed out, with less ways to get moving, more cars will spend longer in traffic and pollute the SE even more. Thank god for Kent where we can escape to if we could afford the mortgages. Oh damn :S
NOW, I hear the Abbey Wood line of the Cross Rail may not happen. So no easy access for SE Londoners to the City or west like Slough and Maidenhead. The latter would have been tres useful for me as many telecoms companies are based in Maidenhead and Slough and I could have got a job and not have to travel for what would seem like most of my fucking life.
So Boris, old bumbling buddy, what's your beef with the SE and why are you trying to segregate us from the rest of shiny London?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Couture Food Hall, 1 Cadogan Street, Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6YS
Tel: 0208 317 4320

After our art trip on Sunday, we popped into Couture Food Hall as I wanted to get some veg and had never been there.
It's there clearly on the sign "Organic fruit and veg". But inside none to be found. Quick call the Trades Description bods...this place doesn't sell any fruit and veg! Apparently they used to but didn't make any money out of it. Now this surprises me as they are in the hidden, posh, Woolwich of townhouses and flats in converted old historical looking buildings populated by bods I don't think would step across the road to the real rough Woolwich except to get the DLR into town.
I have to admit if this foodhall deli was in London town centre, I'd be very disappointed at the lack of variety. Yes, some were interesting like the meal packs in the chiller and some of the sauces, but these were mixed in with the plain and ordinary like jaffa cakes. Also, it sold fresh meat which is of little interest to veggie me. But it isn't in town, it's in an area which has nothing even remotely close so judge it along those lines.
Another misleading sign we spotted was "Service with a smile" as we politely waited for a few minutes for the girl behind the counter to clean a spotless counter before she deigned to raise her oafish head and ask us what we wanted. But again to be fair, later on the charms of our tot worked on the other server and said smile was forthcoming.
The sandwich and panini were very nice, fresh and tasty. The coffee was also good - not like the rough Costa coffee. This was proper brewed java.
There were only 2 other customers in the cafe. So we had a choice of tables.
Whilst sitting there, I couldn't help but think the whole place should be converted into a cafe as the food on sale was not brilliant and this area is screaming for decent eateries esp. one where you can take a paper, maybe a drink (they have an alcohol license), have a lazy lunch and then saunter back to posh domiciles (OK OK I'm jealous!). And with the owning organisations background in catering, an evening of food demonstrations wouldn't go a miss or a taster menu. Given a choice between eating here or at the Firepower museum, I would choose here.
Finally, I big bonus for parents out there.... though small this place has a toilet with a baby changing table. That's was a pleasant surprise even though tot will be out of nappies soon, very, VERY, soon.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Open Studios at the Second Floor Studios 15th & 16th May

Today we took tot along to the Open House at the Second Floor Studios. The studios are in an industrial estate which also houses Woolwich's own wall climbing centre called Reach. There is a view of the river along the car park though the view itself is not impressive as you are looking at the Tate and Lyle factory and a recycling centre dump. The studios are also spread across a number of buildings and there is no wheelchair access so we got plenty of exercise climbing up and down (often carrying tot who got bored near the end of our visit). There seemed to be more spaces being built and hopefully this area will become a hub of creative talent. One thing that struck me is the mix of more established creatives with those who are just starting out. It's a bit odd seeing art in the making. This is not a museum and the artists and craftspeople are clearly working to earn a living so sometimes it felt intrusive to be there when we had no intention of buying anything. However, many of them were very welcoming and willing to talk about their work.The first room we went into was a showcase for a number of the artists who use the Open Studio spaces. Images that capture my attention included the giant teddy bear, the Rod Hunt illustration "B Movie City" and the image of the "Elephant who wants to be a Cheetah" Rod Hunt's studio was full of more illustrations including some funny ones of Stig from Top Gear. This room alone was well worth the visit.Upstairs we saw the huge mosaic work-in-progress by Gary Drostle which is going to be shipped to Iowa. This is art on a large scale with much intricate work. I can't imagine how long it takes to create one of these pieces.
Further along we came to Abigail Dace, a recent graduate who had only just moved into the studios. She has just come back from a internship in a Dehli
furniture maker.
Her work
included some knitted pieces which included teapot covers shaped like hats, and owl and bird animals. She also had some clothes on show including a gorgeous salmon coloured dress.
Beka Smith. From a distance, many of her portraits like a photographs. A lot of her work is bright and humourous. If I had dosh, I'd want her to paint a picture for me. Not least because her studio included a display of bathtime ducks including my own Bath Vader.

Other artists who I found interesting:
Angela Summerfield who's landscapes were serene visions in vivid blues and white. She told us that a lot are painting commemorating recent deaths and also 20th century deaths. In truth, if she hadn't told me that I would not have guessed. And I suppose that's one of the benefits of meeting the artists that they can tell you what they are trying to achieve.

Klaus Degener - a German carpenter who had worked on the Cutty Sark. His art used salvaged materials to create pieces that were usable. The piece shown above is made of wood and marble salvaged from a fireplace. email:
Spot on Art: Gary Clark was very happy to talk about the work of his partner Bitchell Masrani who creates micro photographs encased in acrylic. This can include images supplied by clients and he showed us some baby ones that were created. His work includes pieces that were inspired by science fiction which he worked on over the course of a year.
Miles Campbell Clock Maker - I wish we had gone here first as tot is a bit of clock fan. Miles was very welcoming and even got the tot to help work the first clock he made. This is where I learnt that the clock is the mechanism as he explained that he now had made contacts with clock fascia and surround makers. A good tip we got from him was to visit the clocks in the Wallace Collection. Also he's just moved into the studio and he advised us to come back in November to see more work on display. That's a date!

We walked past studios where photo shoots were taking place, jewellry being made, clothes designed and displayed. Some had fascinating instruments and machines in them. In a world where so much is mass manufactured, it's a privelage to be able to see beautiful work being hand made. And to think it's on our doorstep, not quite Plumstead but certainly not just Greenwich town centre either. I am looking forward to the other art inspired activities taking place in the borough this year including Arty Picnic in the Pleasance (6th June) and the Art Deco Fair (11/12 Sept, Eltham Palace).

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Second floor studios 15th and 16th May

This weekend we are going to pop into the Open Studios at the Second Floor Studios. I've only just found out about them via the Greenwich events mag and it looks like a very exciting place. I'm going along with tot who will NOT have sticky fingers and will be told to NOT touch anything!

Monday, 10 May 2010


At a loss what to do on Tuesday mornings? Want to visit the farm and do more than see the animals then why not join the following:

MiniMessyMakers is delighted to announce the first of their planned children’s arts and craft sessions on Tuesday 1st June, 10.30am at The Woodlands Farm Trust, Shooters Hill.
The parent-accompanied sessions are open to children from 18 months to 8 years. The sessions will be structured with a number of different individual and fun activities, along with an element of free-play.

Spaces are limited so to ensure you don’t miss out or if you’d like further information, please give me a call on 07789 276 904 or send me an email.

07789 276 904

Arts and crafts sessions at Slade Library

This morning, we went to the last Toddler Arts and Crafts session run at Slade library before the refurbishment. The library will stay open until 29th May and then will be moving into the Slade hall next door while work is undertaken in the library. The toddler rhyme time held on Tuesdays will continue until the 29th so please carry on going to that.
The librarians Chris, Chris and ? always made the sessions fun and who can ever forget their renditions of Jellyfish, Jellyfish, Wheels on the Bus, Flying spaceman and so many more. They were amazingly good natured with the children who don't always pay attention and they managed to ensure there was a different activity each month for them to do...even if it was the parents that ended up doing much of the colouring, cutting and glueing (sound familiar?).
So a big thank you to them and a special thanks to Chris (in the picture telling a story) who will be retiring...a huge loss to the community.
I'm sorry about the awful picture but I was grabbing it quickly mid-story! While sometimes it's hard to talk to parents you only meet once a month, the group that went were very friendly and included dads on occasions which was great and both tot and I will miss it. I hope when they resume they will be as good.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

What a chore

Here is my list. What's yours?
: cooking dinner
Least favourite: cleaning toilet. Closely followed by: defrosting fridge, vacuuming and dealing with skid marks on underwear
Most frequently undertaken: Loading the evil washing machine. Closely followed by vacuuming
Least frequently undertaken: ironing (We tote the crumpled but homely happy family look)
Chore I would love to excel at: weeding
Chore I suck at: keeping dining table free of clutter. Closely followed by keeping house clutter free. I swear clutter is just attracted to me...wherever I am, it creeps up and surrounds me.


This is my new toy and I love it!!! A soprano ukulele which Mr Plummy Mummy bought for my birthday last week.
I can't read music yet but I'm having lots of fun strumming and hoping that,Eric Clapton like, I can learn to play by ear. Emma has told me I just need to learn chords and I'm looking forward to a lesson from her. In return, she may get something nice and spicy to eat. The barter system is working but I recommend earplugs for a while if you are walking around the streets of Plumstead.
P.s. my knitting/crotchet craze is also going on so watch your feet in case you slip on errant bits of wool too.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Throw out the baby with the bathwater

That's how I feel about the results today. As a cautious person, I erred on the side of the party with experience. I also grew up in Thatcher Britain and wasn't keen to return to that - anyone remember the poll tax riots, or anyone be in a situation where a decision is made by committee? I suspect more of the same will be on the way.
So lets see what happens if/when 2 inexperienced parties get together and try to get this country out of the fix it's in. Much as I don't believe in them, I hope for the sake of us, they can manage to do just that.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Flexible childcare

Went out for drinks with a bunch of mums last night. Woke up this morning thankful for the blackout blinds Mr Plummy Mummy put in last week!
One of the things that came up in conversation was the need for flexible childcare. This would be for parents who want to work but don't have set hours each week so cannot take advantage of nurseries / childminders. For example, people who like to freelance.
So does anyone out there know of any flexible childcare available around here? Ideally somewhere you could book a day in advance or even on the morning of the day.
Even better would be a place that had said flexibility but enabled the parents to stay on-site to work (so wifi would be necessary) or to network with other parents, do courses, meet traders who work flexibly (such as the Phoenix bods) or just have a break from the kids safe in the knowledge that they were being looked after.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

See Woo

After a lot of urging from a friend, I finally went into See Woo at the weekend. Full of great ingredients many of which are explained in English.
Unfortunately, unless you know which brands to buy, it's impossible to tell which taste the best. And in the case of some dried cassava to cook them.
Wouldn't it be great if someone ran tours of foreign supermarkets and gave you tips on what to buy and how to cook it.
I need to make friends with experts in Thai and Chinese vegetarian cuisine. In return I can take said friends round Indian supermarkets.
Any takers?

o2 / myVue / Iron Man2

I'm a bit of a cinema snob. I like my cinemas to be clean, not too big, not full of oinks who eat noisy food and talk all the way through to each other and to unknowns on their phones. I like the Curzon Soho, the Phoenix in East Finchley and my own front room (alas, not a cinema but if I sit close to our TV, it can feel like it!).
Various things had previously put me off going to the cinema at the o2. - the crowds, the price of tickets, the cost of parking and the lack of direct public transport from Plumstead Common. However, thanks to a lovely mate, we were able to have a rare night out at the pictures. And luck was a lady last night as we picked a day when there wasn't a big gig on and there weren't too many people about. Plus we found out parking is free for cinema goers who use car parks 2 and 4.
Booking tickets online was a bit painful but when I rang the helpline, the operator was very pleasant. And when we got to the cinema, we were ushered past the bouncers on the o2 door with a smile, breezed up the machine and collected our tickets within 30 seconds. We had opted for the Adult VIP seats - the fun began with trying to find our way into that part of the screen. Lots of escalators later, we managed and then were miffed to find that our seats were separated by a table - something not evident on the cinema ticket site...very poor usability. Worse still, the view was obscured by a handrail. Luckily, the place was empty and we managed to move along a bit. If you are paying that much for tickets, you don't want an obscured view.
If a film has not been made specifically for Imax, and is a huge blockbuster than it's well worth giving screen 11 a go rather than going to the Odeon (or the Odious since it's such a nasty experience using the Odeon in Charlton).
The sound was loud but very clear. Good for a rock based soundtrack on Iron Man 2. And good as the first 20 - 25 mins of the film was so boring that I would have fallen asleep. However, when the action kicked in the film livened up. Again we are shown visions of touch based technology and impressive hardware on show. You also get a real sense of the speed at which Iron Man travelled in the suit as he whooshed across the huge screen.
I didn't think much of the Gary Oldman lookalike who played the Hammer, Stark's competitor. There was even a scene where he was showing weapons that reminded me of Fifth Element scene where Oldman's character Zorg is selling weapons to the aliens gits Mangalores.
Robert Downey jr was on top form but I had hoped for his acting talents to be more stretched. The same for Mickey Rourke and Scarlett Johanssen. I felt they were all underutilised. But then again, this is a comic book action flick and not Shakespeare. The men have their eye candy in the form of Johanssen's Black Widow costume and her fight sequences.
It's funny that Nick Fury is now a black guy as in the comics he was a ginger haired agent who took an Infinity formula to stay young. But Samuel L. Jackson is infinitely preferable to David Hasselhof who played Fury for a TV show.
The best bit for me was after the credits when you saw a teaser for Thor. OMG I am so excited about that film having been a reader of the comics when I was young. I wonder if and who will play Loki.
As for the o2, on a dark windy bank holiday, gig free day, I'd be tempted to go there again.