Summer In London

01/08/2014 13:22 | Updated 20 May 2015

Father Aims a Water Gun at Children Throwing Water in a Paddling PoolGetty

Having grown up in humidity-heavy New York, I'm used to hot, muggy summers where you feel like you shouldn't bother showering or putting make-up on because as soon as you leave your air-conditioned apartment building, you're a melting puddle of sweat.

Once you enter any building however, you're in the Arctic Circle. So there is a respite from the heat, albeit one which requires another layer of clothing to survive.

In London, even though the past few summers have been beautiful - and scorching! - most places you enter don't have a fan, let alone air-con.

So my children and I have been happily sweating through the past few weeks. (Of course, July is also the month I decided to try Bikram yoga for the first time, just in case I wasn't feeling hot enough. For the record, I'm hooked and dripping in sweat at all times.)

But because this is London and not NYC, despite our not-at-all-large two bedroom flat, we have some outdoor space to call our own. Which, in the summer months, means two words: paddling pool (with shallow water, under supervision, of course).

Well, at least it does for some people. We experienced it for one brief, blissful afternoon last summer. Soaking my feet in the plastic pool as the sun blazed down on us felt luxurious, D had a great time jumping and splashing around and baby Liv (six months at that point) spent the whole time giggling as she tentatively tested the water with her fingers. My husband even snapped photos of the idyllic family moment.

Which lasted about 20 minutes, until Bolshy the bulldog decided he'd quite like to try it too, flung his corpulent body in and punctured the whole thing.

This year I have discovered a bigger paddling pool of sorts: the fountain pool in the V&A garden.

It's my new favourite place: It's beautiful, filled with playing children (but not hordes, amazingly), and has ankle-to-knee deep water that babes can splash around in.

Liv - the child who would really enjoy swimming lessons but who won't experience them until she's old enough for me not to have to get into the pool since I now know that undertaking swimming lessons with a small child is akin to mild torture - loves running around, playing in the fountains and getting soaked.

So does D, but she's also there for the social scene: last time she made a friend and they sat there playing in the water for about 40 minutes. It was fantastic.

Most amazingly? I was able to sit on the grass (you can see everything happening from pretty much anywhere you sit), calmly supervising the girls but not having to run around like I normally do on playgrounds, when they split off into different directions and try to hurl themselves off of various bits of apparatus, which is not my favourite thing to do. This was actually relaxing.

And the benefit of going to a museum is that it's adult-friendly, too. Liv fell asleep in her Ergo carrier and D and I went to look at the Wedding Dress exhibition, taking in the sculptures and religious iconography along the way.

In the exhibition, D fawned over Dita Von Teese's purple Vivienne Westwood wedding dress. Yes, even though we talk about empowering female things and read strong female character books, D is still a princess-aholic with an eye for a pretty dress. Which is great - it's who she is.

And who I am - when it comes to bridal-wear, at least. I spent most of the visit trying to visualise myself in Gwen Stefani's ombré pink Galliano creation.

Sure, there's no air-con. But London is amazing in the summer - for kids and adults alike.

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