Tuesday, October 13, 2015

charles dickens museum

July 28, 2015

Jess had to make a quick site visit out to Wales yesterday, so it's been just me and the girls. Last night, I decided it called for dinner at Pizza Express. (Side note - we need a Pizza Express here so bad. The best gourmet pizza. With gluten free options!) Of course, the service there is so flippin slow (it's slow no matter where you go here), so while the girls were coloring and waiting (and waiting) for our food to come, I did a quick search for something fun to do with the kids (that Jess wouldn't feel too bad about missing). I stumbled on the Charles Dickens Museum and upon clicking around, found that they'd be doing a family workshop! Perfect! And even more perfect - they were making marbleized Victorian book covers and tying their own books! What? 

Let's pause here and recall that I'm a book nerd to my core. Paper, books, crackling spines. I could smell a new book for days. And then there's my education - English. And I happened to take just about every British Literature class offered. If I hadn't minored in Editing, I'd have emphasized in Brit Lit. So with a craft for the girls and a bit of literary history for me, this seemed like a win win. And boy howdy was it ever.

If you happen to be going to London any time soon and have any sort of literary love in you, I can't recommend this place enough. It's a little off the beaten path, but totally worth it. The museum is housed in Charles Dickens' home, the very home many of our most beloved books were penned (his very writing desk is there!). The rooms are so lovely, and many are hands on. The girls got to play in the kitchen and then in the nursery and they were so excited that no one was yelling at them to NOT TOUCH. There are many original pieces - furniture and writing - and it really is a quaint little walk back in time. They also provide really fun paper tour guides for the kids, which helps them search for things, fill in the blanks, and just generally move from room to room. There are also helpful volunteers at every corner, and my goodness they're so nice. (There is also a cafe that serves very British food - biscuits, tea, etc.)

Our craft was so much fun. I made my own, even though it was clearly geared for the kids. No matter. This was too good to pass up. We started by marbleizing our paper. While it dried, we tied our books up. Then we cut out our marbleized book covers and adhered. And aren't they pretty?

The book nerd in me was so happy here. And I think what's even more wonderful is the kids legitimately loved it. They both said it was one of their favorite things they've done here. Well done, Charles Dickens Museum, well done.

Post Script: We went to Dickens the next week as well. We loved it just as much the second time. Can't recommend this place enough. Photos here are from both visits.

Oh just the actual desk that many of our favorite books were penned on.
No big deal.

These blocks weren't wooden - more like a ceramic.

Oh my tiny belly. That is truly comical to me right now.

They encourage kids to play in both the nursery and the kitchen.
They chose some dress ups in the kitchen.
Did not tell them they are the help. :)

I'm including this sort of fuzzy photo because the girls were obsessed
with grinding coffee. There were actual coffee beans too...
they felt so fancy grinding up coffee they wouldn't drink.
Just geeking out in Charles Dickens' bathroom.

One of the best bits of Dickens.
(said by Scrooge's nephew Fred in A Christmas Carol)

I have no idea if this is the original door color.
But guys. My color. On Dickens' very door.

1 comment:

eclaires said...

I love everything about this post. The marbleized books, the turquoise/teal front door with the checkered ground in front, the Christmas Carol quote, and the cute pictures of "the help." VERY fun! I'm going to add this to my list of stops on my next trip to the UK.


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