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Food Embassy
March 122017

Sometimes as an expat you just find yourself craving food from home. Situated next door to the Portuguese Embassy and just along the road from the Irish Embassy and Japanese Consulate, the Food Embassy aims to please expats with a wide range of foods from around the world as well as some homegrown Russian favourites.

It’s a tough ask to provide food that hits the spot for foreigners who have been raised on those dishes but if the British Fish and Chips were anything to go by, the chef really knows her stuff.

 

My husband was the one who ordered the fish, and he said it was the best he’s had since leaving England’s shores. It would be hard to get a better review! I opted for the smoked duck tagliatelle – the restaurant has its own smokehouse and so offers a wide range of smoked dishes. I’m no expert but it was certainly very tasty. The kids went for the cod nuggets and French fries, and they ate the cod so fast we were tempted to order them another portion, but in the end they chose to fill up their tummies with the kids desert (a rather nice chocolate ice-cream). I decided that I had space for desert too and was tempted by this very pretty Anna Pavolva from New Zealand. It was delicious but enormous and I ate far more of it than I really should, it was very moreish!

Anna Pavlova

Of course, regular readers will know that the menu alone isn’t enough to tempt us through the doors with two young kids in tow – a big draw for us was the Food Embassy art masterclass for kids on Saturdays and Sundays (after 2pm). As well as two lovely ladies to help children with some wonderful art projects (I think my 3 year old may have been given some considerable help to make hers!), the restaurant also sets aside an area at weekends with some toys to keep the little ones occupied.

The kids had a wonderful time, Little Pickle revelled in the full attention of the art lady and had a great time colouring and sticking and was extremely proud of the card she made. Beanie-boy was tempted by the toys which were more than enough to keep him entertained while waiting for his food to arrive, and were still keeping him busy some time later while his parents indulged in tea and coffee.

We will be making a return visit to Food Embassy in the near future. Next time I’ll see if the sticky toffee pudding stands up to the best of British too!

Food Embassy can be found at 26, Prospekt Mira Building 8 – but the entrance is some considerable way down Grokholsky Pereulok next door to the Portuguese Embassy. As well as having a kids menu and art classes, I also spotted a highchair for the littlest ones.

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Nebo Trampoline Centre
January 282017

I’m fairly certain that Little Pickle was born with springs in her knees. She doesn’t simply walk or run to where she wants to go, she jumps, hops and skips. On the couple of occasions when she has had the chance to play on a trampoline she has loved it, so it wasn’t hard to figure out that a great morning for our little lady would be a visit to Nebo (it translates as “sky”) trampoline centre. And she was in heaven!

Nebo is situated in a disused warehouse and has over 40 trampolines – the majority on the floor, but there are also half-a dozen that extend up the sides of the walls for practicing tricks. And should you fancy it there are also a couple of basketball hoops placed over the trampolines, plus a massive pit filled with foam blocks for jumping into – which turned out to be Beanie-boy’s favourite part of the whole thing.

We went early on a Monday morning and pretty much had the place to ourselves, there were just a couple of other families and a small group of adults who I guess were taking part in an office team-building exercise. And it is good exercise – really good fun and a great workout. If we lived nearer I would go several times a week because it definitely beats going to the gym.

The team behind Nebo have got a really good operation going, the whole thing is clean, bright and well maintained with good changing room facilities and a café. When you arrive you get given an electronic wristband which, as well as allowing you entry to the trampolines and operating your locker, keeps track of how much time you have spent there and automatically pauses your session time if you need a break for a drink or a bite to eat. The team also ensures that everyone does warm-up exercises with a dedicated fitness instructor by the entrance gate who takes you through a simple warm-up routine before you can begin. If you really get the trampolining bug, there are also regular classes that you can sign up for.

For us, we had an absolute blast. All four of us had a great time and I don’t think we have laughed so much during a morning for a long time – we spotted one woman taking selfie-videos of herself and decided to give that a go. In slo-mo the results were hilarious!

Nebo is at 80/11 Leningradsky Prospekt and the entrance is off Baltiyskaya Ulitsa through the archway between buildings 7 and 9. Nebo’s website can be found at http://nebojump.ru/

 

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I’m not sure that I should really call it ice-skating. For our family a better description would be ice-slipping, ice-sliding, and quite frequently ice-falling. But for a first attempt, Gorky Park was a great place to go.

We headed for the small childrens’ rink, which is equipped with these fabulous penguins for tiny wobbly children to hold on to.

Penguin in Gorky Park

I have a friend who took her 3 year old daughter for the first time a few weeks ago and, holding on to the penguin, her little girl whizzed round the ice for about two hours. My offspring are clearly not as co-ordinated as that little girl because penguin or no penguin they still spent rather a lot of time slipping over and falling.

Little Pickle fared considerably better than her elder brother. We bought her these wonderful double-bladed skates which are ideal for little ones who are just starting out on the ice.

 

They are adjustable so will last her for a few years yet and simply strap onto her normal boots.

Beanie-boy had proper ice-skates which he loved so much we even found him wearing them in bed the day we bought them (before they were sharpened I hasten to add!!) and he was absolutely convinced that he was going to be whizzing round the ice in them. We did try to warn him, and we read him the Charlie and Lola book where Lola goes skating and falls over more than she stays upright, but he was still convinced…until he actually got on the ice and he ended up spending most of his time like this:

It probably didn’t help that neither Mummy nor Daddy really know how to ice-skate and so weren’t able to be of much assistance. I spent most of my time clinging on to the side with one hand and wishing they made adult-sized penguins for clumsy grown-ups to hold onto. We should probably make some sort of  New Years resolution to take ice-skating lessons while we are living here…it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunity.

For those who are already comfortable on the ice, the main rink in Gorky Park is incredible. It isn’t an oval/rectangular shaped rink at all, instead they flood the paths around the central fountains so you can skate round them for several kilometres. At night it is all beautifully lit-up, and for those who have really mastered the art of skating, Thursday night has a DJ so you can try ice-dancing. When you need a break you can drop into the cafes (still wearing your skates) for a bite to eat and a hot drink to warm you up before continuing on your way.

Gorky Park offers skate-hire, lockers and skate-sharpening services. You can also book lessons. Prices for skating vary according to the day of the week and time of day.

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Oddly, the 2015 edition of Lonely Planet’s guide to Moscow tells you that if you are short on time at the Kremlin that you should “skip the Armoury”. Ignore their advice. The Armoury is by far and away the best bit – particularly because there is considerably more to it than weaponry. Despite the name, the Armoury is also the section of the Kremlin where you’ll find royal carriages, thrones, state robes, jewellery and ancient crowns.

Beanie-boy is now five years old and has been asking to visit “the castle” for ages, so when we found ourselves with a morning to spare (and Little Pickle was happily occupied elsewhere) we decided to have a look around.

Tsar Cannon

Beanie-boy appreciated more of the exhibits than I would have given him credit for – he liked looking at the Coronation robes and crowns which I wouldn’t have thought was his thing. And he really liked the thrones. He particularly liked hearing about the Double Throne of the boy-Tsars Ivan Alexseyevich and Peter Alexseyevich who jointly ruled Russia from 1682-1696. Apart from the obvious fact of having two seats, what also makes it special is the rectangular hole cut behind part of the throne (in those days covered with a velvet cloth) through which instructions were given to the young boys by their mother.

Clearly the highlight of any five-year old boy’s trip to the Armoury is the weaponry. Beanie-boy particularly liked the suits of armour – especially the armour for the horses, and was thrilled when we discovered an electronic screen at the side of the room which gave considerably more detail about each item in English. He insisted that I read out all the information about a couple of very fine ceremonial sabres, an ornamental axe and a Turkish helmet before I finally persuaded him to move on. I was somewhat relieved to find the information screen in the adjoining room was temporarily out of order!

The royal carriages were another highlight – covered in gold and velvet, the craftsmanship is stunning. We looked at the Empress’s sleigh pulled by 23 horses and I told Beanie-boy the story that royal sleighs were sometimes pulled by dwarves. He looked at me incredulously and said “that’s not true, Mummy – I think it was pulled by a dragon!”

Tsar Bell

Back outside, the main attractions for Beanie were the cannons including the Tsar Cannon – the biggest ever made. He was curious to know why it had never been fired, but when I pointed out the enormous size of the cannon balls he soon realised why it had turned out to be so impractical! I also took him to see the Tsar Bell – also the largest ever made. He was less impressed by that, partly due to the fact that it wasn’t a gun but also because it’s broken (it shattered while being made). He took one look at it and told me that if it was broken and didn’t work anymore that it should be “recycled”!!

There is more to see at the Kremlin including several cathedrals and the Palace of the Patriarchs but for small children the Armoury and the outdoor areas are probably more than enough.

Kremlin Cathedral

Tickets for the Armoury are sold separately to tickets for the grounds. You can also buy tickets to climb up the Bell Tower of Ivan the Great and for the Diamond Fund (which has it’s own special kiosk in the ticket office). Although entrance for children is free you will need to obtain child tickets from the ticket office – you can’t get them online. As a result if you are coming with kids you need to get to the ticket office early because only a limited number of tickets for the Armoury (including free children’s tickets) are available at the ticket office on any given day.

When you get into the Armoury itself, the sign-posts suggest that you should start your tour by going straight up the large set of stairs in front of you. But it is a good plan to turn left up the shorter set of stairs and look at those rooms first (where the state robes and carriages are) while the larger crowds who have followed instructions (!) are upstairs.

There are toilets on site but no cafe facilities. An English-language audio guide to the Armoury is available. The Kremlin is closed on Thursdays. The visitors entrance and ticket office are located off Mokhovaya Street.

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Aviapark Mall
October 72016

Apparently Aviapark is Europe’s largest shopping mall. But that wasn’t our main reason for visiting. Aviapark may have lots of shops but it is also filled to the brim with entertainment options for kids both big and small. You can read the full post here.

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Sculptures at Park Muzeon
September 162016

Sometimes as a parent I can spend one morning too many at a playground. There is only so much patience I have for pushing Little Pickle on the swings and roundabout before I feel the need to go somewhere a bit different. And when that happens, Park Muzeon is the ideal place to go. I can soak up a bit of art and culture, and Little Pickle can still have fun running around picking up leaves and flowers (and there is a playground too!). You can read the full post by clicking here.

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I have a question for you. Can you identify the dinosaur in the picture above? I’m guessing you said Stegosaurus, right? But if you know a bit about your dinosaurs you might conclude that it’s a touch thin to be a Stegosaurus, and the bony plates on its back don’t look quite right. At which point you’ll probably conclude that this is a cheaply produced toy whose manufacturer cared little for anatomical correctness (that was my guess). But Beanie-boy knew better. He took one look and said “It’s a Kentrosaurus, mummy”. I Googled. He’s right.

Which is all a bit of important context for me telling you that Beanie-boy thought the Orlov museum was absolutely amazing. If you want to find out why you can read the full post here.

 

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This is the second part of our Bulgakov walk which looks at buildings associated with the author’s life and his Moscow-based novel The Master and Margarita. This second walk is about 3.5 miles long and covers the Prechistenka and Arbat areas of Moscow. You can find all the details by clicking here.

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If we take Little Pickle to any playground, she will make a beeline for the swings, but at Cafe Odessa Mama it was Beanie-boy who spotted the aeroplane-shaped swing first. To read more about our visit to this lovely cafe and it’s fabulous garden, click here.

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2016 marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Mikhail Bulgakov which makes it a great time to read his seminal Moscow novel: The Master and Margarita. This (almost circular) walk takes you around some of the places associated with both the novel and Bulgakov’s life. You can find the full details here.

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Kuskovo Estate
May 312016

We had only taken about six steps through the gates of Kuskovo Estate when I made one of those minor parenting decisions that you shortly  come to realise was a Big Mistake. “Can I throw sticks in that pond?” asked Beanie-boy. “No, sweetie, let’s go on a bit further and find somewhere else.” He pouted and replied: “But I like this pond”. I looked at the algae-covered water and the steep edge, and (picturing him falling in) said firmly: “No, let’s find somewhere else”. A small decision. But it resulted in approximately 90 minutes with Beanie-boy grumping, whining and generally sulking, which wasn’t exactly what I had in mind for our visit to the beautiful Kuskovo Estate. To find out more about our visit to the former home of the wealthiest family in Russia click here.

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This 2.5 mile walk takes you through the district of Krasnaya Presnya which is heavily associated with the 1905 revolution. The area is also associated with the history of some much more recent uprisings. The walk begins just outside the 1905 Goda Metro Station, for the full details, click here.

 

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I’m not sure I’ve eaten enough burgers in Moscow to have a definitive opinion on where to find the best, but at Black Market they are certainly very good. And there are plenty to choose from – as well as their classic Black Market burger, there’s also a Mozzarella burger, truffle burger, chicken, tuna, and lamb. But the menu doesn’t just stop there. It has a very nice selection of Asian dishes, and, although I’ve never tried it, I’m told that the weekend brunch is fabulous (I’ve seen the waffles, and they look like they’d be worth breaking a diet for!)

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This is one of our favourite restaurants to come to during the summer months. Not only does it have a lovely terraced area (which has table-football to keep Beanie-boy amused while he waits for his food) it is directly opposite Trubetskoy Estate Park so you can burn off those calories chasing the kids around afterwards.

DSC_0705It’s a very family-friendly place (although the children’s menu only operates at weekends). We’ve come before with several friends who have toddlers, and the restaurant easily found high-chairs for all of them. There is also a lady who comes and plays with the children during Saturday brunch/lunch-time. During the winter you’ll find her at the far end of the restaurant, but during the summer she’s often on the terrace near the table-football.

Just one word of advice: the level of hot spice in some of the dishes is not as strong as you might expect (this seems to particularly apply to the Mexican items). But thankfully the menu draws pictures of chilli peppers next to those items that do have some chilli heat in them so you can see if they are likely to match your expectations before you order.

And if you want to sit on the terrace in summer then you definitely need to book in advance.

Black Market is at 2 Ulitsa Usacheva and their website is at http://blackmarketcafe.ru/en/

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The composer Prokofiev was born 125 years ago this April, and this walk takes you around some of the buildings in Moscow associated with his life and work. This circular walk will take about an hour, and you might like to download some of the works referred to so you can listen to them as you walk.

 

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“Sunflowers, music, and apples”. That was Beanie-boy’s assessment of artist Zurab Tsereteli’s favourite things, and I can see why he came to that conclusion as there were indeed a lot of paintings and sculptures featuring those things in the Tsereteli Art Gallery. You can read the full post about our visit here.

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If you have an interest in history – or visitors who do – then Novodevichy Cemetery is a must-see place. Little Pickle enjoys it too, she’s had great fun finding leaves, stones, seed pods and bugs while I’ve wandered about taking pictures and showing round various house-guests. The cemetery is the final resting place for a number of prominent Russians, but finding the relevant graves can be a bit of a challenge, so to save you some time here is a guide to the ones I’ve found so far.

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Like standing in Red Square or visiting the Kremlin, seeing a performance at the Bolshoi is one of those iconic things to do in Moscow, and I finally got tickets! The Bolshoi is a stunning venue, all glitter, gold and chandeliers, and of course the ballet itself was spectacular. For the full guide to buying tickets, where to sit and what to wear, you can read the full post here.

 

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Tinatin
February 202016

This weekend found us eating at a rather classy restaurant complete with wood-panelled ceiling, grand piano and chandeliers, but we weren’t at Tinatin for a date night (although it would be a great choice for that!), we were there for Saturday lunch with the children. You can read the full post about Tinatin’s fabulous play area (and the food!) here.

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Shinok
January 312016

When my husband came back from a business dinner and told me he’d been to a restaurant with a goat inside the building, I have to confess that I briefly feared for his sanity. But not only does Shinok have a real live goat, it also has a small cow, pheasants, chickens and a couple of peacocks too. You can read the full post about our visit to Shinok here.

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Ice-sculptures
January 122016

What do you do on one of the coldest days of the winter? Go and see some ice-sculptures of course! At the weekend, we visited the Ice-Moscow festival at Park Pobedy which has a number of ice-sculptures of major tourist attractions including ones of the Kremlin and the Bolshoi theatre. You can read the full posting about the ice-sculpture festival here.

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Expedicia Restaurant
December 82015

“Would you like to try some of the reindeer meat?” my husband asked. “It’s served frozen” he added as I reached for a slice. Frozen it was, and served with lots of onion and horseradish. Having never had anything frozen that wasn’t dessert, I was about to reach for a second piece when my husband chose to mention it was raw reindeer meat. “There’s something for you to blog about it.” he said. Indeed! You can read the full story about our visit to the Siberian restaurant Expedicia here.

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Tverskoy Boulevard
November 252015

As winter begins, finding somewhere central to stretch your legs (and more importantly the kids’) might seem like a challenge, but thankfully Moscow has the lovely tree-lined Boulevard ring where you can do just that. You can of course walk the entire ring, but at a toddler’s pace a small section is good enough for us, and one of our favourites takes us along Tverskoy Boulevard. To find out more you can read the full post here.

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A Walk with Pushkin
November 162015

As Shakespeare is to England, so Pushkin is to Russia. He was born in Moscow in 1799 into an impoverished noble family and is most famous for his poems – many of which are considered masterpieces. He was also the author of the first major Russian works in several other genres including one of the first important Russian plays, Boris Godunov. Our walk begins at Kuznetsky Most 9 which is on the corner of Neglinnaya Ulitsa. For all the details you can read the full post here.

 

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I don’t often like to admit that I’m wrong, but it turns out my assumption that art galleries and young children don’t mix was completely incorrect. Today I went with Beanie-boy to the Pushkin Fine Arts museum, and was able to enjoy an exhibition about Caravaggio and his followers…and my son enjoyed it too! To read more about our trip click here.

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It’s been a bit wet here in Moscow lately so we decided to keep the kids entertained by trying out this new hands-on-science museum about our bodies. There was a lot to learn about. It was great fun watching Daddy testing his touch senses by lying on a bed of nails; we found out which member of the family has the fastest heartrate; and we used a heat-sensitive camera to see which parts of our bodies gave out most heat. You can read the full post here.

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Baba Marta
October 82015

I have a special place in my heart for Baba Marta. It was the first family-friendly restaurant we discovered when we moved here, and the first place where we experienced the thrill of tasting different food to home. To find out more, you can read the full post here.

 

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Elarji
October 22015

We were blessed with some unseasonably hot and sunny weather last week and so there was one clear winner when it came to choosing somewhere with both great food and a fabulous outdoor play area for the kids – Elarji. I find it hard to fault this restaurant. We’ve brought several sets of visitors to Elarji over the summer and it has been a huge hit with all of them. If you want to find out more you can read the full post here.

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Park Pobedy
October 12015

There was one place that we absolutely had to take grandad when he came to visit. For a former soldier, nothing could make a better day out with the kids than Park Pobedy. The park commemorates the victory in the second world war and, as well as being full of miltary statues, there is an outdoor museum displaying military machines galore. To read the full post click here.

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A Walk with Lermontov
September 182015

My book club is currently reading A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov – widely considered the first great Russian novel – and so a couple of us (with our three toddlers in tow) thought it would be rather fun to do a walk around central Moscow taking in some of the places associated with him.

Lermontov was born in Moscow in 1814 and, as the house where he was born no longer stands, we started our walk near the Metro station Biblioteka Imeni Lenin. To follow our walk you can read the full post with all the details here.

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Kolomenskoye Estate
September 172015

The dilemma of the week was how to find a day out that combined somewhere-for-the-kids-to-run-around, with visiting-relatives-wanting-something-interesting-to-see. Kolomenskoye solved the problem. It is a former royal estate and is massive (in fact we only really explored one corner of it). But there is plenty to see including a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the form of the Church of the Ascension which was built in 1532. You can read the full post about our visit here.

 

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Ekaterininskiy Park
September 52015

There are two things that made our trip to Ekaterininsky park a little bit more special than most. Firstly, it has a number of really pretty little buildings which makes the walk among the trees and shrubs more interesting, and secondly (and the big draw for our toddler in particular!) is the pond with the ducks. If you want to find out more you can read the full post here.

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I do love it when I spot something a little bit out of the ordinary, and that is exactly what I discovered on our visit to Café Anderson on Gilyaovskogo Ulitsa. To be precise, what I found was a frog-shaped toilet in the children’s bathroom! Wouldn’t it be great to have one of these at home? I’m sure it would make toilet-training a lot easier! You can read more about our visit here.

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Moscow Zoo
August 262015

There was only one place to take my birthday boy and that was to the zoo. We hadn’t been to the Moscow one before but zoos are always a firm favourite in our family and this one didn’t disappoint. Granted we had to miss out on the big cats and the polar bear because of renovation work but there was still plenty to see.

Beanie-boy’s absolute favourite part of the zoo was the monkey house which included a lovely family of orangutans who put up a fantastic display of acrobatics. If you want to read more about our visit, you can find the full post here.

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Cafe Merkato
August 252015

I’ve been aching to try out Cafe Merkato ever since we discovered that it’s run by the same people as Pinzeria by Bontempi (near Christ the Saviour Cathedral) which my husband’s Italian colleagues describe as serving the best pizza in Moscow (and if the Italians don’t know about good pizza then who does?). Situated by the beach volleyball courts in the centre of Gorky Park, Cafe Merkato is the more relaxed, family-friendly member of the Bontempi empire. You can read the full post here.

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Hermitage Gardens
July 152015

If Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were ever to visit Moscow, I could easily imagine them spending an afternoon with their kids at the Hermitage Gardens. This place would easily qualify as a celebrity hang-out – it may not be that big, but it is very cool. If you want to find out why, you can read the full post here.

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This lovely little park is actually called Presnenskiy Detskiy Park but it is known by ex-pats as The-park-behind-the-White-House for the simple reason that it is located immediately behind the large white building that houses the offices of the Prime Minister. You can read the full post here.

 

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I’m not sure they could have fitted more into Trubetskoy park if they had tried – three playgrounds, three courts for Basketball and Football, an aviary, a horse paddock, a stage, a pond – the list goes on. All those things make it an interesting place to spend an afternoon but what I like the most is that I come away with that satisfied feeling of a parent who has watched their children do something slightly different with their time. If you want to find out why, you can find the full post about Trubetskoy Estate Park here.

 

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My son recently declared this park to be his favourite place. What sets this park above all others can be found in the playground at the centre where there is a small section of one of the climbing frames where Beanie-boy can pretend he is a construction worker. It has a bucket on a metal chain that your fellow construction worker (today it was Mummy) fills with sand from the nearby sand pit. You then haul the bucket up and carefully transfer it to your platform before pouring the sand down a chute. Hours of fun. You can read more about our visit to Skver Devichyego Polya here.

 

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I felt like I had come home when I walked into this café. Café Anderson is what I have been looking for ever since we moved to Moscow – somewhere we could eat a casual brunch while the children played. There are a number of branches in the city but we came to this one so we could combine it with a walk in nearby Troparevsky park afterwards. You can read the full post about our visit to Café Anderson here.

 

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Ever wanted to travel in space? Then this is the place to come. This first-rate museum is packed with interesting things to see from satellites and lunar vehicles to the first dogs to survive space travel (the exhibits do, quite literally, include the embalmed Belka and Strelka). You can read the full post about our visit to the Museum of Cosmonautics here.

 

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VDNKh
May 312015

VDNKh (which stands for Exhibition of Achievements of the National Economy) is a vast park originally built in the 1930s to celebrate the achievements of the Soviet Republics. Inside are numerous exhibition halls (termed pavilions) that house both permanent and temporary exhibits. It’s a nice place to wander about with some stunning fountains, lots of soviet-era architecture and statues, as well as an amusement park with rollercoasters, go-karts and other theme-park rides. VDNKh is also a great place to come in winter. Not only because there are plenty of indoor exhibitions to keep you entertained but because it also makes space for the world’s biggest ice-rink. You can read the full post about our visit to VDNKh here.

 

 

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This playground has to be one of the best-kept secrets in the area. Tucked away behind the apartment blocks, I discovered it over the winter when the lack of leaves on the trees meant that I could just catch a glimpse of the tops of the climbing frames.  Now that spring is here you could easily walk down Kaloshin Pereulok and miss it completely. Read the full post about Kaloshin Playground here.

 

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A year ago I knew absolutely nothing about Georgian food and I’d never eaten any. But after just nine months in Moscow my taste buds have spent enough time in Georgian cafes and restaurants to be able to identify the good from the bad and indifferent. Spices and Gladness is one of the good ones. One of the very good ones. To read more of this post click here.

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I didn’t need to live in Moscow for long to realise that when someone tells you they live in Chistye Prudy, the correct response is to coo in admiration. “Oh, how lovely!” other expats would sigh, “I do so adore that part of town!”. But until this weekend I had no idea why. To read the whole post on Chistye Prudy click here.

 

 

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I am just going to come right out and admit it. I love Khachapuri. I have a teenage-style crush on this Georgian restaurant chain, and if I were writing this using pen and paper I’d be doodling little hearts in the margins.

I love the loft-style décor with its mix and match furniture and picked-from-a-meadow flowers. I love the laid-back atmosphere of the place which works just as well for a Wednesday night catch-up with friends as it does for lunch at the weekend with the family. And of course, I love the food.

First, of course, there’s the Khachapuri after which the restaurant is named – a Georgian flatbread with melting cheese in the middle. My three year old refers to it as Cheesy Pizza and we have to fight him for every last slice. We always include some shashlik (kebabs) in our order – pork, lamb or chicken are all great, but whether you’re vegetarian or not, I’d recommend you get the vegetable shashlik as well. Just heavenly. I have no idea how they make vegetables taste that good. Also yummy are the lamb-stuffed vine leaves (Dolma). Quite a bit different to the Greek version but simply delicious. And I must give a mention to the Lobio which is  a traditional bean stew. It has a homely, comforting taste to it and my toddler literally tries to climb out of her high chair to get at it.

Have I missed anything? Oh yes, keep an eye out for Tolik the Sheep, the Khachapuri mascot. We spotted him once outside the branch on Ukrainian Boulevard but you can also follow him on Facebook, Instagram and the Russian version of Twitter.

P.S. All the branches provide colouring pencils and paper to keep the little ones busy while waiting for their food, but they have a regular programme of events for children at Kievskaya.

http://hacha.ru/en/

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Izmaylovo Market

Izmaylovo Market

Izmaylovo Market

April 212015

I’ll be honest, up until my first visit to Izmaylovo I never really understood why other people got so excited about going to a market. I couldn’t understand why you’d want to risk getting wet in the rain when you could go to a nice indoor shop with clearly labelled prices? But Izmaylovo had me hooked from the beginning. There is something incredibly charming about its towers, turrets and the narrow lanes of stalls – I always feel a little bit like I’ve stepped into a movie set. It is definitely the place to go for Russian souvenirs, from cold-war memorabilia to amber necklaces and lacquered boxes, you can find it all here.

If you want to know more about our visit to Izmaylovo Market just click.

 

 

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