There are still a few days to go so Dilemma Emma helps ease the chaos and panic of half term…

Dear Readers,

Thank you for the chubbiest inbox to date! Tim Haynes certainly had sound advice, I shall pass on your gratitude. Over the past few weeks a number of emails have touched on schools and schooling advice, so we will return to this dry subject another day but for now, some fun! Whoop, whoop it’s half term! And it’s not over yet so enjoy! Wallow! It may be days of chaos and panic but chaos and panic is what children bring and always know that calm will return, at which point you will miss the chaos and the panic.  A lot of you requested holiday inspiration but Paloma sounded in dire need; besides I was flattered that she had read my previous column. Shallow I know, but there you go…

Dilemma Emma, Half term and I have two nieces and a nephew over from America. Help. I followed Christmas Ideas stocking presents and my sister loved them. Don’t have children, no idea what to do. Hope they thank me. Ha ha. Best, Paloma. London.

So Paloma, herewith half term sorted; some free, some not so free… If they don’t thank you, send them this link

Here goes…


  • Bake cookies, may seem obvious but sometimes obvious is just perfect. These have to be made. My lovely reader’s here is the best, of all the best cookie recipes; now is not the time to be gluten nor sugar free.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies


  • 150 g soft butter
  • 100 g soft light brown sugar
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 grams plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 350g milk chocolate chunks


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F. Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  • Melt the butter. Put the sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.
  • Beat in the vanilla and the egg, until your mixture is light and creamy.
  • Slowly mix in the flour and bicarb until just blended, then fold in the chocolate chips, without eating too many……
  • Drop the dough in large balls onto the prepared baking sheet, plopping the cookies down about 8cm apart. You will need to make these in 2 batches, keeping the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge between batches.
  • Bake for 15–17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.
  • Imagine Children’s Festival. At the Southbank Centre in London, you can enter Moomin world (I ask you, why would you not?), pedal your way through Little Mermaid, join in interactive stories and generally have an amazing time! Visit the South Bank Centre.
  • Learn to juggle, a challenge but you can.

Niels will have you hurtling oranges around your kitchen in a few minutes.

  • Star Wars! Visit The 02’s Star Wars Identities exhibition. This may be one for Star Wars lovers only and I have to admit to not visiting it myself, but by all accounts it is perfect for those of are lovers of the wars of stars. Visit  Star Wars Identities.
  • Go to the library… what am I thinking you are thinking, old fashioned you are thinking, but go and you’ll be amazed. It’s free and there and warm and full of books.
  • The Cartoon Museum If drawing or just looking at cartoons holds an interest, then this is a must. Workshops and events are on all week, alongside the museum exhibitions itself.
  • London Zoo’s Vets in Action! London Zoo are inviting kids to experience the role of a vet with their ‘Vets in Action’ week. How cool is that? Visit the London Zoo website for more info.
  • Changing The Guard at Buckingham Palace. It’s free! Walk from Victoria Station, whilst learning AA Milne’s poem. Marvel at the sight, run across Birdcage walk as they march. Do check first, as it’s not only the guard that changes frequently, the timings do too.

They’re changing guard at Buckingham Palace –

Christopher Robin went down with Alice.

We saw a guard in a sentry-box.

“One of the sergeants looks after their socks,”

Says Alice.

  • Drive to the seaside and have hot chips. March along the beach come rain, wind, even been know to do mild snowy flakes and you will discover this the business of cheap satisfying lunches, after a blustery walk.  Take them all to the cafe on the beach that is shaped like a rack of toast, still brings a smile to my face…Littlehampton toast rack.
  • Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House. ‘Explore the Silk Road’ is the theme of this year’s Magical Lantern Festival. Magnificent life sized lantern scenes make for a magical evening. Really worth a visit, for all ages.

Enjoy, as much as your sanity, your purse and your little legs will allow…

Happy days.

Dilemma Emma