First stop the National Portrait Gallery. No 3 has always adored looking at people's faces. Even as a tiny baby she would stare. Quite embarrassing sometimes when friendly souls would do the exaggerated baby talk to make her smile, and she would simply stare them out, unsmiling to the end. She didn't want to win the staring game, she was just fascinated by faces. Hence the choice of museum. And it was perfect. Old paintings with royalty wearing ruffs, modern photographs depicting poignant and sometimes painful moments. Some colourful costumes, some bare to the skin nudes ("Mum, look at that!"). No 3 stared at pictures and at people looking at pictures. She was (these days smilingly) happy.
We lunched like ladies and sampled some light shopping. Then we decided to indulge No 3's passion for people and their fashions even further with a trip south of the river to the London Fashion and Textile Museum. It is a vibrant and colourful place, currently showcasing the work of the equally vibrant and colourful Zandra Rhodes (who opened the museum in 2003). No 3 walked around the relatively compact museum in awe and made up her mind for sure. She wants to design clothes for a living, but does that mean she has to dye her hair pink like Zandra Rhodes?
We wandered up eclectic Bermondsey Street towards the Thames and then across to London Bridge, an intriguing area of old and new. Some appealing modern design, with playful water features dotted around, against the backdrop of the Tower of London and its famous bridge both steeped in history. Southwark Cathedral surprised us sitting almost hidden near London Bridge. No 3 liked the look of the rattan sofas in the adjacent restaurant, relishing the idea of a relaxed sit down, but gave in to my calls to go inside the cathedral. After that we watched weary traders clearing up at nearby Borough Market after a hard day's graft, and reckoned it was also time for us to head home.
It was a good day, one of the best. I rarely get the chance to spend time one to one with any of my children and I realised why I should try to do so more often. We talked, we walked, I didn't tell off, I didn't rush. She stared, smiled and did what she wanted in her own time, and was a delight to be with. We went back home to our lovely boys, who surprised us by being washed, clean and fragrant and ready for bed! Might have to do this girly day trip thing more often!