While obviously every parent delights in snot-besmirched soft-play centres and repetitive weekly Rhyme Time sessions, sometimes it’s quite nice to do something normal and non-baby-themed – i.e. the sort of thing you might have done before you had a baby, when you didn’t know if you even wanted a baby and didn’t think you’d ever be seen dead in a soft-play centre.
Unfortunately for some of us, getting that all-important adult time – whether that involves pouring wine down your pie hole, ingesting loud noises into your ear holes, or allowing anything else into any other bodily orifices for that matter – isn’t always a goer when you spend every waking minute caring for your demanding delinquent.
Thank God then for the amazing individuals who are so convinced that grown-up fun tailored to kids is the future of sane parenting they’ve gone as far as to set up their own adult-friendly hangouts and events for fellow Londoners who also happen to be parents but are still very much people – even if they do turn up with a small, angry alien strapped to their breast.
- Founded by concert pianist Miaomiao Yu after she grew tired of being unable to attend recitals following the birth of her sons, Bach to Baby offers a packed programme of classical concerts for Beethoven buffs big and small. Held on a regular basis in venues across London, these relaxed shows have a wonderfully calming effect on kids, allowing you to sit back and let the music whisk you away.
- Fount London is a trailblazing venue for East London parents housing a top-notch Montessori-style nursery, a trendy eatery and dynamic pop-up shop in a cool and creative mini-village, nestled under the railway arches on the edge of London Fields. Set up by two mums, Fount is the sort of parental utopia you’ve always dreamed of but never believed could actually exist because life just isn’t that kind.
- Bottle Apostle‘s mums’ tasting afternoons are about as adult-friendly as mummy-and-me activities get: a whole afternoon dedicated to you and your alcohol addiction where babies aren’t just welcome, they’re compulsory. This is basically alcoholics anonymous for new mums, minus the guilt, oversharing and name badges, and with the added advantage of alcohol, light snacks and buggy parking.
- Set up by a London couple who were appalled by the capital’s relative lack of family-friendly concerts following the birth of their son, Wake Up Gigs maintain all the magic of a child-free gig whilst simultaneously managing to be parent-compatible. Expect great bands, plenty of booze and a cool Shoreditch venue, plus loads of crafty distractions, soft play and even baby-change supplies in the toilet.
- Dalston Eastern Curve Garden offers a pretty equal split between adult- and child-friendliness – something that’s surprisingly hard to come by. This verdant community garden is both the perfect setting for a chilled Sunday afternoon beer from the well-stocked on-site bar and a Sunday afternoon frolic in the flowers with a pre-loved trike obtained from the oddly charming tired-toy graveyard.
- The polar opposite of sitting in a circle, child in lap, singing Wind the Bobbin Up, Mindr is the seminar where you can expand your mind while your baby expands its nappy. So called because you don’t need one, Mindr offers talks on topic as diverse as politics, power, fashion and flower-arranging. Crying (and presumably calm) babies and toddlers are welcome, and coffee and croissants are included.
- Designed for nineties ravers who’ve since reproduced, Big Fish Little Fish events combine the techno beats and jubilant atmosphere of an old-school rave (though presumably with a slightly less relaxed attitude towards recreational drugs) with plenty to amuse pint-sized party people. Think glitter bombs, bubbles, balloons glow sticks and even a kids’ chill-out room complete with tinsel-filled ball pool.
Bab hijacks a knackered ride-on at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden (out of shot – Mummy drinking elderflower cider).