Happy Faces Childrens Salon – a Review

It needed doing, J’s hair is an unruly mess of ginger curls.  It knots and matts and no matter how much de-tangle spray and how gentle I am with the tangle teaser, J ends up in tears.  I decided that at aged 3 and half, she needed to get a cut.  Unfortunately because of the curls her hair springs up so I knew it was only going to be more of a trim.

I researched the internet, trying to find somewhere local-ish to where I live, not too expensive and who knew what they were doing with a small child who may or may not sit there.  I came across Happy Faces Children’s Hair Salon.  There are two branches, Webbs Road in Clapham SW11 and Muster Road, Fulham SW6.    I checked out the website www.yourhappyfaces.com and found that the Fulham branch is closed on a Monday & Tuesday, Mondays are my day off work and “get things done” day so I chose the Clapham branch.  I read the blurb, and more importantly the reviews. Everyone seemed to be very happy.

I decided to give them a call and for a start have a chat about J, what her hair is like and what I want.  After telling them about J’s hair and that she screams and runs from the brush and hates having her hair washed or brushed, the lady at the other end of the phone advised that in their experience; often children will sit for a stranger rather than their parents.  I crossed my fingers and booked an appointment for just a cut. The salon do a first haircut package but I decided against it

We arrived slightly early but luckily as we had a 10am appointment on a Monday morning, there was only one other child.  When you walk in, you are taken straight into the Jungle.  The walls & ceiling are adorned with pictures from The Jungle Book and jungle animals.  In the centre of the room are four large back to back mirrors with four different chairs for the children. You can choose from Thomas The Tank Engine, Noddy’s car, a pink Princess Plane and Noddy’s aeroplane.  J chose Noddy’s car.  Between the two mirrors are flat screen tv’s which this time were showing Peppa Pig cartoons. Perfect for J to keep her occupied.


We were seen by Nicola and we set about discussing J’s hair care routine (almost non-existent!) the best way to look after it and what our aims for the visit were.  Nicola sprayed J’s hair with an abundance of de-tangler, got the brush out and started very gently.  Unfortunately, speaking from experience; it really hurts having curly hair brushed so J started crying a bit.  It’s okay I was there to hold her hand.  She was very brave and tried very hard to concentrate on Peppa.  Nicola constantly talked to us and let me know what she was doing whilst I picked her brains about what I can do to make things easier on J.  Before we knew it, J’s hair had been all trimmed and tidied and she looked beautiful and very proud of herself.  She was allowed to choose a balloon and given a lollipop to take home.


The salon sell’s organic children’s hair care products by Mini-U for kids.  They had a 2 for 1 promotion on so whilst there was no pushing by Nicola, I decided to get two bottles of leave in conditioner for £9.50.  The hair cut was £16.95 and you get a loyalty card.  The 10th cut is free… it may take some time for us to get to ten!

The salon also runs parties, pampering for girls and pirates for the boys.  There’s a nail bar for older girls too.   Nicola said these are extremely popular.

Overall, I was really pleased with the service we received. It’s hard to tell if it was a “good” cut as with curly hair you can hide a multitude of things but it definitely wasn’t bad, J’s hair didn’t spring up to Annie proportions which it would if it was cut too short.  I’ll definitely be going back and trying to get my 10th free cut.



‘Big Fun with Little Trains’ at the National Railway Museum, York

Last Saturday my husband, five year old son and I visited the new half term event ‘Big Fun with Little Trains’. Alongside old favourites like the train themed storytelling, outdoor play area, and steam train rides, there were plenty of additional activities to enjoy. Appealing to a wide age range (adults included!) we excitedly raced other museum-goers on the Scalextric track, before building our own track in a Chuggington themed play area. On the other side of the museum our five year old then rode on a pedal train before building another out of Lego. Although we didn’t participate in any Meccano building (something that slightly older children seemed to be engaging with), there were plenty of seats and tables in this area, allowing a large number of children to participate.

big fun with little trains

Outside, and three train rides later (full and miniature sized steam trains, and a miniature diesel train) we ventured back inside for some food. Although hot food areas are normally situated in each of the two main halls, additional areas had been set up where cold food and snacks could be purchased, making queuing (thankfully) limited. A number of picnic benches both inside and out meant that it was possible to flexibly deal with the unpredictable eating demands of a small child.

Overall, the wide range of activities was impressive – appealing to younger and older children. The positioning of these activities all over the museum also provided the opportunity to browse at the permanent displays which should not be missed (our favourite was the Chinese steam train). Queuing on a busy Saturday was not an issue – either for food or these additional activities, suggesting a very well planned half term event. Clearly enhancing the existing exhibits, we are now really looking forward to the forthcoming Robot Wars event at the end of March.

We Love Books – Justin’s Annual 2013

Justin's Annual 2012It is probably no great surprise that our three-year old is a big fan of Justin Fletcher (MBE) given that I have yet to come across an under 5 who isn’t. Given that, the arrival of the annual was met with some (read much) joy in our house.

Justin's Annual 2012It’s a good annual as well. Combining decent stories (for younger children) with activities that can be both with parents and without and the ubiquitous stickers that seem to be the gold standard of any pre-schooler these days, the annual has been in play for a few weeks and is far from exhausted as yet. That, to me, tells you all you need to know about the content and quality.

Justin's Annual 2012If your children are fans of any of Justin’s many guises they will find something familiar in here. More than that they will find dot to dots that encourage counting and number recognition, tableau for stickers that encourage spatial awareness and compositional skills and a host of colouring in options.

Justin’s Annual 2013 is available now from Amazon and all good booksellers!

We Love Books at Mum Friendly

The Hub @ Tooting & Mitcham Football Club

This is a soft play area which is well worth a visit. It’s £4 for a single child and I pay £6 for my two (age 6years & 20months June 2011) This is for a two hour session and it closes at 6pm.
The “playzone” for children is in the style of a ship. There is a dedicated area for the under fours however the sides are very low and my 20month old climbs out to get into the big kids bit.
It’s on two levels, with slides, playballs and various knock about bits you expect to find in soft play.
The area is generally quite clean although the only baby changing area is in the disabled toilet, and sometimes that’s not working or a bit smelly. The adult toilets are in good condition and have always had a supply of toilet paper & soap.
They serve hot and cold food. We’ve had the hot food a few times and I’ve always been more than happy with the service and quality of food. Kids portions are huge! Tea & coffee is very reasonable and I might note; drinkable. They have a range of snacks and drinks available for the kids and do ask that you don’t bring your own food. They have about 5 ikea high chairs for the smaller ones.
It’s hard to determine how busy it gets. I’ve been on days where it’s rammed out and you can’t get a seat and I’ve been on days when we’ve been the only family in there.
For older children, across the hall from the “playzone” is the “challenge zone” this is a high up soft area for climbing. My 6 year old is tall and finds some of it a bit difficult.
All in all, a good place to go on a rainy day to burn up some energy or to meet your Mummy friends and have a coffee.

Debenhams, Sutton

Let’s be honest. Debenhams in Sutton is showing its age. From the grubby changing rooms to the consistently broken down escalators and smelly lift, signs of wear and tear abound. So it’s safe to say I didn’t hold much hope for the child-friendliness of the ‘restaurant’ (we’ll call it a cafe for this review).

Don’t be fooled! The cafe is a perfectly acceptable place to feed your baby / toddler and had a few surprising touches. First of all, there is SPACE! And plenty of it. No need to squeeze my postnatal belly and buggy here (yes, Starbucks Sutton, I am referring to you). Enough space for your pushchair or double buggy even. Then there are the highchairs – bassinette style for newbies and good old standard wooden seats for the toddlers. And the safety straps are intact – mostly.

So, once you have unloaded your luggage and baby and strapped them in, you can make use of the ‘At Your Own Risk’ microwave. It’s super powerful, nuking baby food (I sneak my own in but there is a limited selection of children’s food available to buy, including innocent smoothies and annabel karmel ready meals) in minutes. The food area is clean, the microwave doesn’t pong and they even provide small food cartons (with lids) for you to heat and serve food. Handy if, like me, you forget/drop/melt your Boots baby food bowl and lid.

Helpfully, there are disposable bibs, individual wet wipes in sachets and plenty of napkins.

The food might not be all that, and the cafe staff aren’t that friendly, but just have a coffee and a sandwich and be thankful that baby is fed and might just drop off in the buggy afterwards while you browse the clothes. Be warned that the shopfloor is not as accommodating as the cafe in terms of space, so mummies, drive buggies carefully to avoid the tutting staff.

Epsom Ashley Centre.

So, not quite as good as it should be.  No parent child parking spaces in the Ashley shopping centre at all.   4 lifts, one usually out of order and as the stairs only go to level one, all the shoppers are trying to get in the lifts with trolleys from Waitrose, buggys and shopping.  If you are parked on the 1st level it’s an idea to use the customer lift in Waterstones but if you have some older children you run the gauntlet of getting past McDonalds!

The toilet & baby changing facilities are generally good and available to both gender parents.  If it’s just the loo for you but you have a buggy, the disabled toilet is big enough to fit you both in easily.


I though it might be helpful to post some info for mums meeting/shopping in central Croydon. An obvious destination for baby changing facilities is Mothercare (Whitgift Centre) but be warned, its facilities are often ‘out of order’! Alternatives are, top floor of Whitgift centre (nr Auberge) which has a baby change with toilet cubicles & feeding area or, Marks & Spencer (1st flr back of Homeware dept.). There are also baby changing facilities in the Centrale shopping area.