Treasure on the foreshore

We decided on another trip to London, I don’t want to bang on about how much i love art, but i do.. Galleries make my heart full, it was a huge part of my life when i was studying, and it continues to be, and it really does capture NJ’s imagination which makes it all the more important. We decided on Tate Britain this particular Sunday.

We headed down on the train, we drove to Epsom from Horsham as the plan was, NJ would sleep in the car on the way to the station and get a good 40 mins shut-eye, however, he proceeded to sing jingle bells most of the way there interspersed with some impressions of a pterodactyl and an Allosaurus. The journey on the train is only about 30mins from Epsom so it means a shorter train journey for us to endure the pain of NJ shouting at commuters and telling everyone he is a pterodactyl.

We get off the train at Vauxhall. It’s a short walk across Vauxhall Bridge, then down Milbank to the Tate, we stopped off opposite the MI5 building and watched the Duck Tours car/boat thingys coming in and out of the Thames, NJ told me this was ‘rubbish’ he is 2.5 years old??!!! We thought it was pretty cool! (That’s a blog post you wont be seeing anytime soon!)

There isn’t a charge for the Tate but donations accepted. We got there around 11am and it was busy..quick toilet stop for us as we are still only a month into potty training. The website states there are changing facilities, I didn’t have a look for them, but there was a baby changing drop down in the ladies next to a hand drier which with long queues isn’t really well placed.

As you walk in you are greeted with the stunning Cerith Wyn Evans light installation, its huge and you can walk underneath the length of it. It was quiet until we got there. NJ then ran the length of the hall screaming at anyone that would listen that there was a spaceship in the room. I don’t mind this, it makes me so happy that art can capture his imagination like this, and it makes me laugh… ALOT. We are not those parents that get embarrassed when our child is loud or is impersonating a goat whilst running down the street or telling everyone in a deep growl that there is a spaceship above their heads.

We follow NJ through the rest of the rooms, there are other families there and a few toddlers roaming around so don’t feel you can’t go to these places! If you are organised unlike us, go to the Tate Website (link included) and check out the top tips for visiting Tate Britain with families hindsight I probably should have!

NJ stops in front of a few of the larger paintings and we ask him what he can see.. “Terradactyl…Trex… goat..” we were actually stood in front of Mark Gertler’s Merry Go Round, a painting said to express the horrors of war…erm what was I saying about imagination?

After about 45 mins we start having to negotiate with NJ, he’s on the floor in the pre raphelite room, thrashing and screaming “my paint” over and over again, we have reached meltdown mode, we get to the point where he is demanding lunch even though he has made his way through a bag of pom bear, a large packet of raisins and 2 crackers.

There are two places to eat at Tate Britain Djanology Cafe and The Rex Whistler Restaurant bookings advised for the Rex Whistler, the Cafe was rammed, we left pretty sharpish as NJs screeching for chicken echoed throughout the gallery.

Screeching promptly stopped when we told him we were getting on a boat. Just opposite the gallery is the Milbank Pier, where you can get the Tate Boat between galleries and it will drop you at Bankside. It cost us £5 each on top of our travel cards. Having not been on a boat before, NJ quickly forgot about lunch. If you have a buggy with you it’s not the easiest way to travel and I would probably be more inclined to jump on a bus and walk if it’s a nice day, plenty to see along the river.

We got off at Bankside, by lunch on a weekend it’s heaving, but we make our way past The Globe down to Wagamamas in Clink Street. Safe bet for a quick and easy lunch where we don’t even need to read the menu, and we know NJ will be super quiet because he has a complete fascination with chopsticks and eats better with them than he does with a knife and fork, I’m not quite sure how this is even possible?

After lunch we head back down towards the Tate and as the tide is out we head down onto the foreshore just under the Millennium bridge.

So geeky fact about me, I LOVE TUDOR HISTORY, so period drama, books, paintings, literally ANYTHING slightly related to that period in history im all over it. When SJ just in passing mentioned I might find something medieval well, complete game changer for me!

We walked along the foreshore picking about in the pebbles, skimming stones, lifting rocks spotting all sorts of interesting objects that some how lost themselves in the Thames.  Now I did actually find something that i convinced myself was Tudor.. it’s a totally in love with it (my sister-in-law, a conservator has confirmed that yes its super old but it’s not going to make me rich) I’m completely chuffed with it and NJ calls it “mummies treasure”.

Be careful with minis that are unsteady on their feet, there is glass on the shore, and although most of it isnt sharp there are the few odd broken bottles, if you are a bit nervous of stuff like this or you have a new walker, i wouldnt advise a wonder down there. NJ will pick up anything that looks even slightly like a stone and lob it in the direction of water, if you have a mini like this keep a close eye, there are lots of dogs being walked some owners slightly more conciencious and you dont want a rock covered in dog shit being launched… its not the cleanest place so wet wipes and antibac at the ready people.

We carried on down the shore down to Blackfriars and make our way back up, we carry on walking down past the OXO Tower to Gabriels Wharf. Lots going on, A perfect place for lunch, dinner, or snack which was our main mission. Boutique independents selling everything from wooden garden sculptures, to baby clothes, to handmade jewellery.

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After a hunt about for sugary snacks turns out fruitless,  we decide to carry on down towards the Southbank Centre. With the aim to stop at the market there for a wider choice to get us through the journey home, which after NJs decision to skip a nap could be touch and go!

The Southbank on a sunny day is busy, so keep hold of those minis. There is so much to see, street performers, lots of boats up and down the Thames, lots of dance troupes blaring out hip-hop practising in sheltered corners, the book market is crammed to the rafters with second-hand books, old and new. We don’t stop but i’ve spent many an afternoon rifling through a pile of yellowing old books.

We stop at the Skatepark NJ picks a spot and we stand and watch for at least 30 mins whilst he gawps at passing borders, there were some older children (5-10 years old) on their scooters/bords , so if you have older confident minis what better place to let them have a go and get involved. (For some interesting reading on the skatepark follow the link.)

NJ is only enticed away by the promise of cake, we make our way round to the Southbank Centre Food Market. It’s not huge but rammed full of amazing street food, from Ethiopian stews, to Greek Spanikopita, to good old bangers and mash! Its open every weekend from noon through to 8pm, 6pm on a sunday. There isn’t a huge amount of seating, so if its busy you might have to wonder a little further to enjoy your food or just perch somewhere.

We find the cake we have been hankering for and make our way over to Waterloo just in time for the 1554 to Epsom. Armed with a brown bag full of cake and my ‘Tudor nail’ we sit down and NJ passes out as does SJ.

In hindsight we probably should have planned our trip to the Tate a little better, now knowing the things that are available we will go again, and make sure NJ has had a nap so there are no epic screaming fits.

Get down to Tate Britain, or Tate Modern or both, take your minis and let them run around and enjoy the space, dont worry about any of the tuts or stern looks you get, we bloody well dont! Art is for everyone, both galleries have space for buggies, changing facililties, places to sit and places to eat. There is so much to do inbetween.

If you time it right and you do get down to the river and the tide is out, get down onto the foreshore and have a treasure hunt of your own, you might be lucky and find a rusty iron nail too!!

In a bit

x SJ



Way out East

Jardines like to loiter, just hang out and enjoy whats going on. We kind of wander from place to place with no real meaning or plan, and just see what we encounter along the way.

Mothers Day this year had changed from one thing to another, we knew we would head up to London for the day just not sure where.  We finally decided on Hackney City Farm as NJ has now perfected his  farm animal repertoire and who could ask for a better audience than a selection of livestock.

We drive most places from Sussex, we don’t mind the train (travel cards for two adults are £20 each from Horsham). On this occasion we decided to drive. It means NJ gets to nap and we can listen to his catalogue of farm animal sounds, and listen to the Mary Poppins soundtrack on repeat. Because who doesn’t want to listen to Step in time 456789098765 times.

We found parking on the Hackney Road just a 5-7min walk from Hackney City Farm, on a single yellow, free on a Sunday. If you do decide to drive up on a weekend there were lots of roads closer that weren’t residents only or metered on a Sunday.

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We weren’t really sure what to expect, we are quite spoilt in Sussex with huge farms bursting with animals and space. I grew up in London and don’t ever recall going to a city farm so this was a first for all of us.

Its small so don’t go there expecting to spend the day, you don’t have to pay for entry but donations are accepted, we read it costs £20,000 to feed all the animals on the farm for a whole year, and they run on donations, so be generous!

The cobbled courtyard is really sweet and its small enough to let your minis roam around, there are chickens, sheep, donkeys, pigs, goats, rabbits guinea pigs and ducks. Slightly off the courtyard is a path leading out to the field, where NJ spent most of the time shouting at two completely unfazed pigs. There was a touch and go moment where NJ decided he absolutely must see a horse, so we did try to explain that donkeys were like small horses but it was absolutely not good enough..cue huge meltdown tears stamping, thrashing the works, thank fully we were able to distract him with the prospect of lunch…

There is an Italian Cafe at the farm called Frizzante Cafe just off the courtyard, which smelt incredible and sounded busy, but we had already set our sights on Spitalfields Market for lunch, but maybe next time.

After about an hour of letting the pigs know that they smelt at high volume, and numerous farm animal impressions to a few unimpressed goats, we decided it was time to leave the farm and find lunch.

We headed down the Hackney Road to Kingsland Road, and then onto Commercial Street, there are lots of places to duck into for lunch on the way Morito, Pizza East, Boxpark to name a few. If you want to go on to Spitalfields though carry on down Commercial Street and you will hit Spitalfields Market.

By this time NJ was ravenous and negotiating busy London streets with a semi hysterical toddler isn’t the most fun thing in the world, we were all ready for a sit down and some food.

There are lots of places to eat at Spitalfields, the usual chains, Wagamamas, Leon, The Real Greek, and some quite tempting pop ups and food trucks, we opted for The Grocer. We sat outside, big squishy sofas and large tables mean its comfortable, and roomy enough so your fellow diners are safe from possible toddler food missiles that maybe launched. We opted for burgers which were good, thumbs down for the chips though they 100% came from the freezer. They don’t have a kids menu, so all they could offer was kids sized portions of two dishes on the menu not great but we could live with it, the portions are huge. NJ had fish and chips, it was good. The chips didn’t come from a bag and were more like little roast potatoes. We had a long slow lunch, NJ was pretty occupied people watching, and loudly recounting the animals that he had just seen at the farm over and over again, whilst politely reminding us that there was no horse, the donkey thing clearly didn’t wash. #ParentFail.

After lunch we had a little wonder around the market, there is a bit of everything there, clothes, vintage and not so, crafters, nick nacs, hats bags, etc etc..

We stopped at Crosstown doughnuts truck, and OMG it is EVERYTHING. Sourdough doughnuts… just so good! I got the Sea salt Caramel Banana, SJ got the Glazed Cinnamon Scroll (he chose badly in my opinion) We didn’t eat them there and then (absolutely not my choice, i would have smashed it right there on the street but husband insisted we saved them for later.)

We left Spitalfields behind and made our way down Hanbury street en route to Brick Lane. I always feel a fondness for this road and the surrounding streets, my Grandmother lived on Hanbury Street, and my Grandfather in Davis Mansions which is now New Goulston Street, i also went to Art School just down the road. For some reason it feels like home.  I enjoy the feeling of watching NJ treading the same but very different streets that his Great Grandfather and Grandmother did.

You will need to fight your way through tourists and young hipsters with very skinny jeans and over waxed moustaches.  If you or your minis don’t like crowds or busy places then Brick Lane at the weekend on a sunny day isn’t the place for you. If you aren’t confident navigating a buggy through crowds don’t come..  Brick Lane Market is chaotic, its busy, and its loud..we like that and feel quite at home in this environment but i can see where others wouldn’t. NJ shouting “Hulk Smash” at passing pedestrians is drowned out by the music and crowds…. small mercies!

To me Brick lane is a treasure trove, second-hand / vintage clothes shops, lots of Bric a brac to rifle through, kitsch collectables, art Deco furniture, old books and magazines, loads of street art to take in. I love that every time we go, the walls have changed and there is something new to see. So if you are that way inclined, keep your eyes peeled, have a look in the surrounding streets too, Hanbury Street, Grimsby street, and Bacon street have their fair share of street art. There are food much food! Vegan gluten-free cake and baked stuff without sugar if you are into that stuff and a juice stall which is always rammed, plus everything else you could ever possibly want to eat in a 200m stretch.

We had a wander round the Sunday Upmarket in the Old Truman Brewery, with more than 140 creative traders, selling everything from Art to food, furniture to fashion, keep your minis on a leash its busy, we tried on some vintage snap backs and pondered over some art for our new home but NJ had asked for a cake for the 3000th time so we cut our losses and made our way to Beigel bake at the bottom of Brick Lane.

Now Beigel bake is an institution, if you know you know, I’ve stood outside Beigel Bake at 4am many a time queuing for a Salt Beef beigel. I’m sure many nights out East ended that way for lots of people. Its open 24hrs, it sells bread 24hrs a day… what is not to love! Its £3.70 for a Salt Beef Beigel, super cheap London eats! Don’t go expecting to eat in, your beigels will get thrown at you in brown paper bags, and you need to make a quick exit to not hold up the queue, or you WILL get shouted at. It is an eat it on the street, or take it home kind of place. As a side note, the mustard is hella HOT, like clear out your sinuses type stuff… i did warn you!

Any trip to Brick Lane means salt beef beigels for dinner, so i queue and buy dinner, and half a dozen beigels for my freezer, (because any self-respecting Jewish mum has beigels in the freezer) and exit to SJ negotiating with an exhausted looking NJ who is purple through tears insisting he needs a cake or a chocolate and its the only thing that will stop the world from ending.

We decide to make our way back to the car, and made our way down Bethnal Green Road, no crowds so NJ ran down most of the road pretending to be a Goat, turn onto Squirries street ( we made a tactical Kinder egg stop) and at the end of that road we find ourselves back at Hackney City Farm where we started.

My mother’s day, was exactly what i wanted it to be, a day wandering aimlessly around one of my favourite bits of London with no real plan just seeing where we end up. It did mean a late car nap for NJ and the clocks going forward, resulting in a  hyperactive toddler running around at 745pm in nothing but a superman cape…..

If you are more the planning type and don’t like to wing it like us, I have included info on where we visited, there are also a few other things in the area that we didn’t quite make but will definitely go back and explore.

If you are on Instagram you can follow us in pictures @mrssarajardine #jardinelife or #jardinesontour




I forgot to say these are all my own opinions, i am in no way being paid to endorse the places i have mentioned in this blog post, if it is an ad or an endorsement i will always make sure you are aware

Brick Lane Sunday Market Opening Times:   Sundays  10am-5pm

How To Get There

Address:  Brick Lane, Shoreditch,  E1 6QL

Nearest tube:  

Aldgate East  (8 mins)

Liverpool Street (10 mins)

Nearest overground:  

Shoreditch High Street  (5 mins)


West End 8, 55 & 242

East London 8, 26, 48, 55, 57,242, 388

South London 35, 47, 48, 78, 149

The City 26, 55, 242, 243, 388

The Sunday Upmarket

The Old Truman Brewery 91 Brick Lane London E1 6QL

Every Sunday 10am -5pm

Hackney City Farm

Hackney City Farm
1a Goldsmiths Row
London E2 8QA

Telephone 020 7729 6381
Email: Twitter: @hackneycityfarm

Getting there

Lots of bicycle loops outside the front entrance, in the farmyard and near the school office, which is accessed via the park entrance. Please lock appropriately.

There is also Santander bike parking directly outside the farm on Goldsmiths Row and you could cycle from many locations and park outside the farm.

By Tube: Bethnal Green Station on the Central Line is the nearest tube station. Walk north along Cambridge Heath road for about 500 metres then turn left onto Hackney Road and walk for 500 metres.

Hoxton Station on the East London Line is the nearest station. Walk south along Cremer Street until it meets Hackney Road. Turn left and walk for about 500 metres.

By Train: Cambridge Heath Station on the National Express East Anglia line from Liverpool Street to Enfield Town. Walk along Hackney Road for about 500 metres.

By Bus:

55 route from Oxford Circus to Leyton – get off at Warner Place

48 route from London Bridge to Walthamstow Station – get off at Warner Place

26 route from Hackney Wick to Waterloo – get off at Warner Place

394 route from Homerton to Angel Islington – get off at Haggerston Park and walk through the park.

Bills, Bills, Bills…

Everyone knows Bills right? It’s like that familiar face in a room of people you don’t know, or the old jumper that you put on at home to chill in comfy and reliable.

Bills is my go to place to eat where I know I can take NJ and 9 times out of ten he will eat what is put in front of him, and I feel like he’s getting something a bit more nutrient dense than a cheese and Ham toastie from Pret. Plus I can have a half decent latte, or cocktail depending on the time of day!

I’m lucky that Horsham is full of places to eat and have coffee, it’s actually bursting with them. Pizza Express, Nando’s, Strada, Prezzo, Wagamama.. and that’s not all of them there are lots of other lovely little independents that we drop into we are spoilt for choice!

Bills however, like I said is like old faithful. I know what’s on offer. I know NJ will eat and I know there won’t be anyone tutting at an unruly toddler using his cutlery as drumsticks. To be honest I’d always choose wags but if I go without the husband he gets very jealous and upset so we don’t go unless he’s with us. Bills stands out because I feel at home there like I’m eating in my own kitchen, maybe it’s the odd chairs and the decor, or maybe it’s just that the food is really quite simple and not fussy.

Their kids menu isn’t any better than others I’ve seen, a starter main and desert and drink for £6.95. Pretty standard in terms of pricing, and what’s on the menu isn’t groundbreaking by any means, cod fish fingers with chips & peas, grilled chicken burger, Cumberland sausages & mash etc you get the picture.. but is wholesome and tastes good, not like it came from the back of a freezer.

They are super patient with kids and god knows they need to be in the Horsham branch! It’s full of mums with buggies and newborns, toddlers and families.

Everyone always greets us with a smile, even when NJ is yelling “hulk smash” at the top of his lungs…and is bouncing off the walls ravenous for lunch or dinner.

They have free wifi so when I’m on the brink of a toddler induced meltdown because NJ is trying to impale himself with a fork, I can give him my phone (yes i know #parentingfail) and he can scroll through kids YouTube happily watching videos of other kids open giant eggs filled with superhero toys (whhhhy though really?!)

We go there when we are stuck, no milk at home in the morning and nothing in for brekki Bills…quiet Friday on my own with NJ not cooked any meals Bills, or out and about on a Saturday need to feed NJ.. Bills.

We went today for lunch, the cupboards at Casa del Jardine were bare. I work 3 days a week, so dinners during the week tend to be whatever I can rustle up, there is no plan, it’s a lottery!
NJ has also given me a vile nursery cold (those that know, well you know) i feel like and look like death warmed up, there was no way i was cooking anything today, Bills for lunch it was.

Surprisingly lunch was uneventful, there were a few rogue chips that got launched across to the room, and a few loud verses of “Daddy Finger Daddy Finger where are you…” but everyone in our direct vicinity was able to eat their lunch on the whole in peace and got out unscathed, me and my clothes emerged ketchup stain free as did NJ, so on the whole i would say LUNCH SUCCESS!!!

So… Bills, easy, child friendly, good food for kids and adults alike, free wifi, seasonal menus, breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you are stuck for somewhere and need to feed your minis Jardines give Bills a big yaaaaaaaaaaaaaassss.

Where is your go to place to eat when you are out and about?

Remember you can follow me in pictures @mrssarajardine on instagram and follow the hashtags #jardinelife #jardinesontour

In a bit


SJ x



Potty Training

Potty training was on my mind for a while, I read all there was to read, asked other mums for opinions, everyone said different things, pull ups, no pull ups, cold turkey, nappies at night, it was mind bending!


So we just decided to do it how we felt it should be done, and when we felt like NJ could grasp what was going on, and when we could dedicate ourselves to the inevitable onslaught of poo and wee and the washing machine being on A LOT.


I delegated potty purchasing to the husband, the “Pourty” apparently designed so you can get rid of potty contents easily down the loo, looked good, we got it from Amazon and was £9.95 it had great reviews. We gave it to NJ as a present, we thought it would be exciting, it wasn’t, mostly he kicked it around the room and used it to store dinosaurs….


Fast forward a few months down the line, NJ is two and a half and hes telling me hes done wees and poos although hes quite forthcoming in letting me know hes done one, hes quite happy to sit in his own shit all day, and changing his nappy is like changing a 18 stone wrestler. So more often than not, one of us gets covered in poo, hes kicked me in the face and we both come out of a simple nappy change a bit smelly and upset.


Now NJ isnt a little 2 year old but hes not the biggest ive seen either, it soon became apparent that the pourty was great at pouring poos and wees away, but NJ doing a wee just meant it sprayed across the floor, im talking sprinkler like action like everywhere..see pic below. The front just isnt high enough for toddlers on the larger side, or for boys that are potty training slightly later than others! Now, try explaining to a toddler he needs to point his willy down so the wee doesn’t cover your lounge… it meant that NJ was upset because he felt like he wasn’t doing a good enough job and I was trying to console him and that was ok that he had peed all over the place! if it didn’t spray across the floor it would drip down the sides or get his socks wet.


This is where we are now, cant get rid of the potty as he loves pouring his business down the loo and waving it off down the U-bend, its familiar to him its his potty.. in short we are stuck with the Pourty.. we do have a seat that sits on the big loo but I think its all a bit scary, and he cant eat crackers and watch Paw Patrol whilst sat on it so that’s something that’s going to need to wait.


In short…Pourty would be great for girls or children on the smaller side but for us its big no no from the Jardines, yes you can pour stuff away easily, but who cares, id rather not have a floor covered in wee!


Are other pottys the same? Have you had this experience? Do you have a pourty?


Not another boring mum blog

There are so many mum blogs out there, like loads.. loads of crap fucking moany self-righteous mumblogs, i’m a young mum blog, my journey through motherhood blog, i’m a fitness mum blog, i’m a vegan gluten-free mum blog, i love matcha and only drink almond milk blog…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Yes i am a mum, not so new NJ is almost 3, I’m youngish, definitely not a fitness mum, or vegan or gluten-free i don’t like Macha, i work part-time, i am married i’m just like all the other mums out there.

I’m always looking for things to do with my family, always looking for inspiration, where to go that will entertain all of us not just NJ, where can we eat that isn’t Pizza Express and kids options aren’t just pasta, and chicken Goujon and beans.

So here you will find, where we go that’s good, that’s a bit shit too, where kids can eat good food not just stuff in breadcrumbs, Breakfast, lunch dinner and all the inbetweeny bits,  stuff we have seen, the good the bad and the ugly, days out, weekends away, holidays, what we bought that we love, liked and not so much. The crap we wasted money on and is currently residing in the cupboard of doom under the stairs, and the stuff we just could not live without.

I can’t promise i wont moan, you might love pizza express, and you might feed your children everything rolled in breadcrumbs, there is nothing wrong with that, NJ has eaten his fair share of breaded delights. You might love a place that i say is a complete shit hole, but you know what, it’s just our experience our opinion. If you think there is somewhere we should go, that we need to see, eat, use tell me no one likes FOMO.

So here we go, welcome to Jardinelife.

You can follow me on instagram @mrssarajardine