Thursday, 30 September 2010

sep, 30th - T3L: columbia road....

day 230:

T3London - Columbia Road Flower Market (East London)
(*for a description of what T3London means, click on day 160)

Another East London I said, this is the creative heart of London at the moment, so it's not surprising  that it's where we find a lot of our inspiration. Although, today's Things To Do in London is not a recent creation but rather, an institution. A market was originally established in the area in 1869 (so no flash in the pan then)...but the fresh cut flower and plant market as we know it today, was only formally created in the 60's.

part of the history that I find fascinating is that, prior to World War II, the market started to focus it's attention more on cut flowers, plants and caged song birds as a result of demand by Hugenot immigrants who had moved into the area. The pub at the start of the market is still called The Birdcage.

It took us awhile to find this gem of a market but once we did, it became my favourite place in the East, West, North and South of London. While A. was playing cricket on a Sunday, I would make my way here and buy as many bunches of flowers as my arms could carry. and the best would cost less than £25.00 and they would last and last and last. in fact the really best part would be that the stalks would often still have a bit of freshly picked dirt on them and the blooms would smell like real flowers....i love flowers that actually smell like flowers.

since our first visit the area around the market has changed dramatically...highly individual little shops and cafes have opened up in the narrow cobbled backstreets. we now go not just for the flowers but also for a rummage through the antique shops, a bacon and avocado breakfast bun, a wander through the interior shops and a spritz at the real perfumery. even if you never make it to columbia road, it's worth checking out the fantastic journey down the street on their website - here (i've never seen it done better).

the market also attracts lots of creative types which makes it a Fantastic! place for people watching.

Basic Info:

Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Rd
London E2 7RG
Neighbourhood: Shoreditch

Nearest Tube Stations: Liverpool Street and Old Street

Open Sundays only: 8am - 3pm

Open every Sunday unless it falls on Christmas Day (25 December).


- the scent of flowers  that perfumes the air
- the chant of the barrow boys “Everthin' a fiver”

- arriving at 2:30pm when the flower deals are to be done
- the amazing vintage furniture found in a couple of shops
- watching lots of people walk away with huge bunches of flowers and big smiles


- cobbles....don't wear high heels or take a buggy that can't handle them
- squishy crowds through the flower market (stick to the back streets)

- forgetting the buggy rain cover in the car

Tot Tips:

- parking is available (either on the street or in a parking space opposite columbia road) so take the car
- change facilities are available in some of the restaurants
- didn't see any high chairs around
- cobbled streets
- lots of people so either try and walk the street early or later

See you there!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

sep, 29th - bubbles....

day 229:

with dampness and cold's time to think of some indoor activities....

we've been doing the old school (and still the best) version of bubbles...actually blowing them ourselves rather than letting a machine do the work....

and lissom's starting to get the hang of popping them with her fingers and even with her toes (i'm amazed at how she'll track even the smallest bubble through the air)....

although these pics look fairly was actually mayhem. i was blowing bubbles then throwing down the wand, grabbing my camera and trying to catch the action.....soap everywhere and a very perplexed limi....definitely the trickiest action shots to date....

hmmm, maybe that flick-a-switch-bubble-machine doesn't seem like such a bad idea after all.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

sep, 28th - bounce....

day 228:

from the timid first bounces (day 168) giant leaps (that make me think that she's going to catapult herself out of the harness), the door bouncer is still a firm favourite. 

although i was keen to buy the Graco Bumper Jumper, they are not available in the UK, so we ended up going with the simpler, Lindam which has been brilliant. sturdy. easy to put up (not so easy to take down). definitely better than having no door bouncer. (but why oh why has no-one brought out a plain black or grey bouncer? limi doesn't even see the bouncer but we do as it flaps in the doorway between kangaroo sessions)

but i wouldn't change having this flapping blue and yellow piece of plastic kit for anything.....
she loves it!

here's some bouncing action from today:

Background music by: The Brand New Heavies [featuring Jamalski]

Monday, 27 September 2010

sep, 27th - and finally....

day 227:

although it was different trying to juggle a baby and a wedding......after limi was safely in bed on Saturday night with the babysitter.....we still remembered how to play....



Sunday, 26 September 2010

sep, 26th - somerset....

day 226:

the rest of our weekend in Somerset.....if you're a friend of the clay-pigeon then....



Saturday, 25 September 2010

sep, 25th - live, laugh, love....

day 225:

we drove down to Somerset (see day 148) for the beautiful wedding of our good friends Flea and Damien. Somerset is THE apple tree county in England. Green, luscious countryside and the perfect place for a lazy weekend with good friends celebrating their wedding life motto: live, laugh, love

the wedding was held at Maunsel House...a rambling and eccentric pile. we ate amongst the apple trees with guinea fowl running around our feet...perfection.

it was limi's first wedding and she was an absolute star...even with a huge rosette pinned to her head...she showed her true Purdy girl genes by not  trying to rip it off once...

with the groom's family from Ireland and the bride's from Australia it was always destined to be a brilliantly raucous celebration.....

congrats flea and damien! we wish you a lifetime of good living, deep belly laughs and endless love


d, A + limi

Friday, 24 September 2010

sep, 24th - guest post: speech therapy for babies....

day 224:

This is my gorgeous friend, Angie. She lives down in Oz. Not only is she an amazing mum but also a brilliant speech therapist. I asked her what we should be doing with Limi to encourage her speech and communication and this is what she said......

Dee asked me to jot down a few ideas about helping Limi to communicate and I thought, where do I start?  As a speech pathologist and a mum of two young boys, I could talk all day on this topic!  Early communication development is my job and my passion.  So here’s my thoughts below.  I’ve tried to keep it short, so please don’t hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment, if you have any questions or want more information.

The ability to communicate is the most important skill your child will learn, and parents are the most important teachers of this skill.  Communication begins at birth and is more than just words.  Smiling, reaching, pointing, crying, looking and making sounds are all ways we communicate.  There are lots of things you do to help your little one to develop their communication skills.  Here are a few tips and some places to go for further information or advice.

1)    Talk to your baby.  Ok, this may seem like a stupid thing to say, but talk talk talk LOTS.  Research has shown that children who grow up in ‘talkative’ homes have better communication skills than children who grow up in ‘quieter’ households.  As you go about your daily routine talk to your baby about what you are doing.  Repeat key words and show the item you are talking about.  Make comments more than you ask questions.

2)    Use waiting to encourage communication.  As your baby’s main communication partner, you can offer them more opportunities to communicate by simply waiting for them to communicate.  You make a comment or ask a question, then look expectantly and WAIT.  Count to 10 in your head if that helps you to wait!  Little ones need more time to process information and develop a response than we do, as adults and experienced communicators.  By waiting, we often see children communicate more, eg. vocalise, reach, look, point.  So, when they communicate, you reply and then you’ve got turntaking, which is the basis for a conversation!

3)    Sign with your baby.  Speech is a complex motor task and takes years to develop, but a baby’s hand movements generally develop faster.  Your baby can understand lots of language, and develop ideas, but can’t yet say words.  Teaching them a few signs gives them a way to communicate their ideas to you.  Remember to always talk when you sign.  Some first signs to practice might be- gone, more, sleep, finished, eat, animal names (eg. dog)/names of toys (eg. ball).  Use the signing system of the country you are in.  Australia uses Auslan (see and the UK uses BSL (see  There’s no need to buy expensive resources or attend courses (there are many people making a profit from baby signing) though you might find these resources more parent friendly and some of the signs have been modified so they are easier for little hands to do.  As your baby begins to say words, they tend to drop off their use of signs, though the signing was useful in the meantime, while they were developing their speech skills.  Some studies have showed an increase in language skills and intelligence testing scores for children who have had exposure to signing. 

4)    Last, but not least, my favourite tip- read to your baby from birth.  My favourite book on this topic is by children’s author Mem Fox called “Reading Magic”. See Mem’s ‘Ten Read Aloud Commandments’

If you have any concerns about your child’s communication development please speak to a child health nurse or GP.  You can also contact speech pathologists directly by finding them in the phone book or by contacting the speech pathology association in your country:
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (UK):
Speech Pathology Australia:
South African Speech-Language-Hearing Association:

Photo by: Maureen Haynes

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