Secrets of a Reception Veteran.

I’ve done the time..

Darcie and I began ‘big school’ last year. We were rookie novices back then; eyes wide, shoes polished (her) make up always on (me) all ready and uncreased for every drop-off. Well my friends, times have changed, let me tell you. We are now old hands, reception veterans, if you will. And, as we are coming to the dying days of the summer term I am getting ready to pass the Newbie baton on to those unsuspecting preschoolers.

As part of this reception graduation I’ve compiled a list of my 10 essentials every Muma needs when entering the murky world of BIG SCHOOL…


The first 5

1) Sharpie Marker pen

Yes, I did it too: ordered meters and meters of fabric and Iron on name tape. Of course when I was getting ebay-happy with my order I never once stopped to consider that I have never sewn anything in my life (the frog in yr 4 doesn’t count). I was trying to be The Perfect Muma. How I intended to sew on a name tape to every pinafore, polo shirt, jumper, PE kit, and apparently pants and socks too, I’ll never know! But I didn’t sweat the small stuff. Surely these Muma skills arrive with the name tapes. They didn’t and the result  wasn’t pretty. Don’t fall for the ‘easy’ iron-on variety either. They peel, burn a bit and don’t survive the spin cycle. You heard it here first!

So step away from the bastard name tapes. This is all you need:

It’s Sharpie to the rescue.

2) Costume design degree

As you can tell from the above point, I am not a dab hand with a needle and thread. However you are about to enter a 10 month stretch of your life when you will be regularly challenged, often at short notice (that’s their favourite) to make some sort of costume. And of course ‘the children’ get a prize for the best one. What the actual F?! I sat up and safety pin a costume together while dream boat sleeps on and SHE gets the prize. Ok then…

I made an entire angel costume using just safety pins for the oh-so-sweet Nativity: thank you very much.

Please Note: World Book Day is the biggie, this is the Met Ball of the Primary school world. Big prizes are at stake here. Do not be fooled by any facebook chit chat which might suggest Jimmy’s Muma is just ‘throwing something together last minute’. NO SHE AIN’T. You know the story about the shoe maker’s elves… uh huh.

Find out the date your school is showcasing it’s World Book Catwalk and get over to ebay or Amazon pronto. (Unless of course you are blessed with talents like my amazing friend Holly at Oh Sew Dinky check her page out!)

3) Sunglasses

I’m not sure how to break this to you, but you’re going to cry. Possibly within the first few minutes of meeting the parents you are about to share 7 years’ worth of school runs with. Actually it took me a couple of weeks to shed a tear. I may have been in a euphoric state at first, as a result of relinquishing control of our little girl who was by all accounts a teensy bit of a handful: something along the lines of GOOD LUCK MISS SCOTT. After a couple of weeks it dawned on Darcie that this school gig was pretty repetitive and showed no signs of fading away. It made her bottom lip tremble, her face screw up and big tears fell from both of our eyes as we realised we would be saying goodbye at the same time everyday for a very very long time.

Anyway as luck would have it I was caught completely off guard no sunglasses- or my toddler to hide behind. I had to walk through the playground, thankfully flanked by my Muma Squad, sobbing. Save yourselves the ugly cry face, take sunglasses, ALL TERM!

4) Patience

This is a bit of a tricky one as you can’t just ‘add to basket’. Particularly for someone like me who lacks patience with ya know – most things. So this is an important one to practice over the summer hols: your patient face.


Here is mine. What do you think? You’d never know that inside I’m screaming any of the following,

“It says RAT EFFING NAPS not MOUSE SLEEPS. Please, for the love of god attempt to sound out the words before I loose the will to live”

Or

“I have marker penned several 4 letter words across your forehead with my eyes and If I have to listen to you harp on about how little Zachariah is far too clever for the class or that little flossychops is just plain bored due to her natural level of intellect I will reach for the Sharpie. And I will not be accountable for my actions.

5) Flexibility

I’m not talking leg above your head stuff, it’s trickier than that. I’m talking diaries.  All of a sudden one of 20 Parentmail emails will hit the inbox inviting us to attend a once in a lifetime rendition of Jack and the Beanstalk, or a ‘recital’ (in the loosest sense of the word) of various shaky hitty noisy instruments. Of course you don’t want to miss such delights. It’s a drop everything situation. An understanding boss / Toddler / friends and family is what’s required here.

So Reception sounds super fun right? Bet you can’t wait…!!

Ideas welcome for the final 5 items…post in the comments below pretty please x

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Mummuddlingthrough

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10 jobs I could nail thanks to my 5 years Muma experience

1) Waitress – think Wimpy, not La Gavroche.

2) Uber cab driver, USP: Providing a 3 course meal whilst in transit. Will that be the crusts off marmite on white or the mini chedder’s sir?
3) Hostage negotiator: If I can talk a Toddler in arsehole mode down from throwing a cold cup of coffee over cream carpet…
4) Cleaner: speciality tool, wet wipes. Kitchens, bathrooms, walls, arses. I got this…
5) Community police officer: you really don’t want to be leaving your dog’s shit on the pavement or park in the Toddler / Muma spaces on my watch.
6) Laundrette skive, is that Dot Cotton or me? Blurred lines.
7) Teaching assistant, I haven’t suffered at the hands of an enthusiastic 4 year old armed with a Biff n Chip book for nothing, and don’t even get me started on the ‘Pen Licence.’
8) Risk assessor: Stairs, streams, fire pits, ovens, big dogs, small yappy dogs, busy roads, quiet roads, bees, spicy food… you name it, I’ve risk assessed it.
9) Red Coat: entertainment covered 12 hrs a day, special skill: leading a dance off whilst folding washing, singing just like Adele. No lies.
10) Chef, speciality diets: no beans for one, only carrots for the other, no courgettes peppers or spice on another. No carbs, low carbs, only ‘good’ carbs. Gluten free, meat free, extra meat. Only meat. No sauce meat balls, naked pasta… with ham sprinkled on top of everything.



Have I left any out girls? Let me know…

Life Love and Dirty Dishes

Have you decided?

Have you ever taken part in a game of Tug-of-war? You know, the really rough kind, heels dug deep, desperately trying to pull the other team over to your side, at any cost… No? Me neither, rope burn isn’t my thing. However I do feel like I have complimentary front row tickets to the virtual Tug of war game to end all games: The EU Referendum.

Trying to get to grips and keep up to date with the latest scaremongering is a full time job. D-Cam’s latest has been to liken a Brexit outcome to putting a bomb under the British economy; that’s bloody scary, let’s be honest. We’ve been there done that just a few years back. I really don’t fancy seeing another P45 in our family. Turn the page and we see our floppy haired plummy friend claiming that actually a Brexit outcome would contribute an extra £2.4 billion a year to our economy… Maybe D-Cam was talking about a sparkly glitter bomb full of £50 notes going off under the economy then.

Untangling the web of words between the two camps has been harder than untangling my daughter’s hair on swimming night: Frustrating and time consuming, requiring a saint like amount of patience.

How does the girl next door make an educated decision on this? How do I, as a parent, make a decision that I can stand by; If, when my girls reach their 20’s and can’t get a job, unable to get onto the housing ladder and England has its begging bowl out, Greek style, I want to at least say I did try and foresee this shit storm. I voted for what I felt was the best option. I didn’t abstain, I didn’t glaze over when the conversation turned to the EU Referendum (chances of that in the playground are pretty slim yes I know…) I got amongst it and had my say!

I have simply decided to focus on which of the many issues raised by the big wigs would have the biggest impact on our family: and for us, that’s money. We don’t have much of it, and can’t really afford to risk shit hitting a sodding great British Isles sized fan.

So my vote will be to remain. * holds breath, hands over ears*

Risking my little girls childhoods being blighted by another recession is not an option for me– that’s the reason our first is here! We love to travel throughout Europe – well, go on a week’s holiday once a year, so not exactly throughout…but the ease of no visas, the reciprocal free healthcare and the promise of  tariff free mobile phone calls being rolled out later this year is good news for those who love a bit of Eurocamp.

Let’s be honest, do we really know enough about how those campaigning for OUT really plan to plug the drain of international businesses sodding off to one of the more attractive Single Market countries (jargon I picked up… you like?!). The pound has been at its most turbulent as the OUT campaign gathers pace, evidence this circus is already pissing on our parade.  I don’t believe that they would actually shore up the NHS with funds is desperately needs if the cool weekly sum of £350 mill was suddenly available, there would be some other need, some other trade agreement to fork out for. It’s like being a parent: at last your Toddlermonster qualifies for their 15 hours free nursery sessions after you have been paying for it for a year. Oh lovely, I think, that £120 I was paying out per month can now go towards Christmas. Christmas comes, money’s been spent on new tyres, replacing broken school shoes and a vet bill. Shit happens. Totally comparable scenarios right?!

 

Get involved, have you say, and VOTE. At least you will have earned the right to moan about the outcome if you do.

For the official IN campaign click HERE

For information from the Government’s official EU Referendum site click HERE

I couldn’t find an official BREXIT website so I have copied a few for you HERE and HERE

Zoo should take full responsibility for tragic Harambe’s death, NOT the child’s Muma.

I have been following the story of the 17 year old Gorilla, Harambe’s tragic death with horror. Harambe was shot to save the life of a 4 year old boy who fell into the Gorilla enclosure at Cincinneti Zoo this weekend.

‘What if that was MY child’ – a line which seems to run through my head whenever tragic stories involving children hit the headlines.

I have also been paying attention to the barrage of abuse that the Muma of that 4 year old child has been facing, almost with more horror than the tale itself.

The daily Mail led with the story today claiming that the parents could face prosecution for their negligence, and ‘letting’ their child slip through the railings.

Excuse me? Prosecute a mother whose child was almost killed by an animal that has been described as “very dangerous” by Sharon Redrobe who is CEO of Twycross Zoo in the Midlands.

Surely the buck stops with the Owners and management of the Cincinetti Zoo for not having effective enough barriers between visitors and their dangerous animals. Surely the safety of their visitors is paramount, surely it should be the parents of this 4 year old adventurer that are prosecuting the zoo and not the other way around.

Children are naturally inquisitive, they are quick, and they love to play hide and seek: these basic instincts are not the fault of that mother.

When you visit a zoo or theme park you expect the correct safety measures to be in place. Tweets slagging off this Muma are totally uncalled for. Yes, it’s tragic, of course it is, not least because this Gorilla is so rare and endangered. But it is the job of the Zoo to keep its visitors safe, which is why their decision to shoot the Gorilla was 100% the only choice they could have made. Many have claimed that using tranquilisers would have been a better choice, but this could have taken up to 10 minutes to become effective and in that time the Gorilla would have almost certainly become very agitated, probably ending with lights out for the little boy.

So let’s not hate on this Muma. She probably has blamed herself and relived what she could have done differently, if anything, a hundred times and more already. That’s what I do when one of my girls has an accident.

The Zoo should have prevented this truly tragic event from ever happening.

The buck stops with them.

Is it ever really possible to feel like your ‘old self’ again?

I used to be obsessed with my old self.

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By Old self, I am of course talking about my pre-baby days. My twenties. Those care free days when weekends were one long party, social after social. My legs were cellulite free, my stomach wasn’t bearing the scar of 2 caesareans and I could squint in the sunlight without fear that my face had just concertinaed up. My Old self didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I thought this was great.

And it was great. But I got caught up in this gig called ‘Adulting’. I was cheated out of my twenties, by the thirties bug.

I was earwigging to a conversation a group of girls were having recently, one of them was saying that she couldn’t wait to have a bit of time off from parenting so she could ‘feel like her old self again’. Is that even possible? Is it that easy for us Mumas to revert back to those days? Is it possible to shake total responsibility and that dull ache of worry for our children, and, in its place, have a truly carefree head-in-the-clouds break?

I would love to find the ‘off’ switch sometimes. Pop the kids in the cupboard with my very adult ironing board and skip off to an all-day session.

I love a break, mini break, evening break, hell I’d take a coffee break. But it no longer makes me feel like my pre baby self, my old self. I can’t really remember who that person was anymore. Obviously the silly giggly gormless girl still lives inside of me but she grew some wrinkles, I think she found some morals and her head definitely won’t let her get away with buying the cheapest wine on the shelf anymore. Sigh.

The thing is I don’t mind. I’ve stopped looking for my old self. I’m growing really quite fond of this old bag instead. Life in the Thirties lane gets my vote. Over the past 5 years I have grown to love my Muma responsibilities, no I won’t get slushy, but it is pretty cool being someone’s ‘go-to’. However my wardrobe has taken a bit of a nose dive in the fashion stakes: I own a coat with a hood and wear it. Heels feel barbaric (how did I ever run up and down escalators in these) I now look like I need a wee when I walk in them. I love an elasticated waist – and still can’t part with my gigantic caesarean pants!

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But I wonder if hankering after your twenties self is universal to all, kids or no kids? I don’t think my girls should shoulder all of the blame for the loss of my ‘old self’. Cellulite is not exclusive to us Mumas, likewise those long forgotten bikini pogo stick figures. Wrinkles don’t just target those who procreate – although I do claim the baggage under my eyes as being a direct result of 5 years of baby induced sleep deprivation.

Is it really entirely the fault of my children that I own a sewing kit, a ‘general cards’ basket, gift wrapping caddy, a steam mop and a sodding great hose?! Probably not…

That’ll be my old self playing at Adulting then.

 Adulting with my new hose! Twenties self would be puking in the corner.

 

Run Jump Scrap!
Cuddle Fairy

The guilty (professional) Muma

guilty muma

As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.

It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.

So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.

But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.

Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!

If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.

It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.

The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.

I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.

I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.

 

Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?

The way of the world: according to my ToddlerMonster

  1. The louder you scream the more you shall achieve.
  2. The word Me should be included at the beginning and end of each sentence reinforcing ones importance.
  3. Eat with your hands: it’s quicker and you can lick them later for a little dinner reminder.
  4. Only Paw Patrol should be on the television. Anything else is simply an oversight by management.
  5. Pasta & grated cheese IS the ultimate dinner. Don’t be cute and mix it up: you cannot improve on perfection. I will only feed it to the dog. And smear it up the wall.
  6. Washing hair is an unnessesery torture occurring right in the middle of the most fun part of the day. Scream & then scream some more: Chase is surely on the case.
  7. The Park is the single most important destination goal of each day. Do not rest until you have been on the Weeeeeeeeengs.
  8. Closely followed by soft play: Nothing beats seeing management spat out by the foam rollers.
  9. Run, don’t ride. Why would you want to sit in a buggy when you could be running everywhere so much faster. Efficiency is key.
  10. Teeth are the most successful persuasion tool we have. especially on siblings.

Thank me later- I’m off to update the memo board on the back of my bedroom door – with management’s eyeliner.
DomesticatedMomster

DomesticatedMomster

10 hacks to nail your CenterParcs Longleat break…

*Not a sponsored post*

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We have just come back from our debut family weekend trip to CentreParcs. Here are my top hacks I’ll be referring back to for next time – and yes, there will be a next time: Toddlers are not aliens here.

    1. Arrive for 10am & head to the pool – Although you won’t have access to your lodge until 3pm (2pm if you pay the supplement) you can use the facilities on site from 10am. We were told at the CenterParcs check in point that we couldn’t use the pool until 2pm, we obeyed and instead dragged 2 kids around in the rain until it was time for us to check in. However, others in our party did use the pool from 10am with no problem at all, and this is what we would do next time for sure! (There wasn’t a Rottweiler guarding the entrance!)longleat pool map
    2. Hire Bikes: from 11am on day of arrival. It’s by far the quickest and easiest way to get around CenterParcs. There are brilliant cycle routes, and the fact that cars have to be in the main car park by 10pm on the day of your arrival means you are safe from traffic, apart from the odd service vehicle. Our girls are 2 & 5 so we hired a carriage for the back of Dan’s bike (lucky him!) The girls LOVED it. Even better is the serious amount of storage behind the seats for carting around all of the usual ‘under the buggy’ crap. You can hire balance bikes, bikes with stabilisers, traditional chick cycles and mountain bikes. They were all really good condition and came with locks.
    3. Pay to be central. Yes, it is extra – again. But the site is huge, and if like us you have 2 small children in tow the last thing we wanted was long hikes between the pool and our lodge. We figured this is where our girls would be most keen to hang out and so choose a lodge as close as possible. It minimised tantrums and cycling effort (I had no idea how unfit I am, CenterParcs is massive!) so worth the extra £ at the point of booking.
    4. Afternoons at the pool. The difference between the mornings and afternoons in the pool was unbelievable. The famous CenterParcs pool opens at 10am – Think Black Friday, with the amount of people waiting to get into the changing rooms on the dot of 10. The queues for the 4 big slides were seriously long, 20 minutes was the longest we waited for. The outside pool was so packed it was like watching pasta come to the boil! The afternoon was the opposite, especially on the day we arrived. We pretty much had the place to ourselves.Longleat_subtropical_swimming_paradise_header_1920x500
    5. Bring inflatables & Bucket n spades with you- and don’t get ripped off! We bought a beach ball in Morrisons for 99p. The exact same beach ball was being sold at CenterParcs for £5.99! We also took a bucket and spade each to the pool. There are sandpits in the toddler area. Yes, I was crouched over in my bikini making a Dinosaur nest: Because of course,  we were at Jurrassic Park, not Center Parcs. Mild confusion for entire trip as Toddler Monster roared her way around the place in search of a T Rex. There is also a sandy beach around the lake for keen diggers… beach6. BOOK BOOK BOOK! If you want to do it, Book it. The activities at CenterParcs get really booked up, especially things like the horse riding, children’s jet skis and the tree tops high wires. Although with the massive pool, the adventure playgrounds, & lake-beach you could get away without doing extras if you have under 5’s. Click here for the list of included activities. The Pancake house was seriously popular, we couldn’t get in without a booking on our first attempt to stuff ourselves stupid. We had more success when we arrived for when it opened at 11am. It has a lovely sunny terrace out the back, the pancakes were delicious – and almost guilt free thanks to the cycling! Next time I’d love to book into the Spa…pancake pic

 

  • 7. Take a BBQ & kitchen essentials. They do sell pretty much everything you need in the little shop at CenterParcs, but you’ll pay a premium for it, and you won’t have your car boot handy to pop it all in to take home… So it’s a good idea to plan out if you will be eating in or out and take your supplies with you. (Even down to the nitty gritty of washing up liquid, loo roll and bin bags! Oh the glamour!) The lodges all have outdoor tables and chairs with a BBQ area, we made use of it one evening and it was lovely amongst the trees!
  • 8. Restaurants at Center Parcs: The sports bar is on the lake, in the big sports complex. It serves Weatherspoons style grub. Not particularly special BUT it serves wine, AND has a soft play area which our girls loved. Tick, tick. Café Rouge is in the Plaza and is one of only 2 places that serve breakfast. Again, it has a little soft play area. The only thing about Café Rouge is that it has a stream with no fences running in between the tables with fish in. If you have a wobbly toddler then you’ll be on your guard… But it is pretty! Hucks is the American restaurant and serves your burger / steak / chip classics. It does a children’s buffet which was basic kids food, but good value. It has a soft play for toddlers, an adventure play Castle for the older ones and an i-station for older kids. VERY child friendly and serve a mean Daiquiri. There are a couple of Starbucks (plaza & Sports complex) No soft play… but essential caffeine fix to get around all of the activities and pander to whinging kids.Cafe rouge9. Take your joggers, some decent swimwear & get a Tan! There is absolutely no point taking anything nice to wear. Embrace the opportunity to leave your skinnys at home, cycling in them would be impossible and so uncomfortable! Pack wellies, trainers and hair bands: no heels needed! Same for the kids. I did however have a spray tan. Knowing I’d be spending more time standing out of the pool than submerged I decided it would be a good investment. Well, tanned cellulite always looks better doesn’t it… Same applies for the bikini. Get a tight one – those slides are fast. You know what I’m saying. 
  • 10. LONGLEAT SAFARI PARK is literally 3 minutes up the road from the main CenterParcs entrance. We did this on the Monday, our check out day. You can stay in the park and use all of the facilities as long as you are out of your lodge by 10am. But if you haven’t been to Longleat zoo then you just have to do it! There always seem to be a few deals online for booking tickets in advance. We arrived before 10am and had the safari in our car almost to ourselves. Lions, roamed around our car, we fed Deers out of the passenger window, saw Tigers a few meters away… It was incredible. RECOMMEND RECOMMEND RECOMMEND!
  • longleat

 

 

Toddler’s eye review of Las Iguanas Brighton

 

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Bravely going where we have never gone before: A restaurant…on a Saturday evening…with the kids! Ok, it was 4pm. But in my little girl’s world they were OUT OUT.

 

I LOVE eating out. It’s probably my favourite extracurricular activity actually. Date nights, girls nights… But never really managing to combine the offspring element successfully. To be honest we have had our fair share of car crash restaurant attempts in the past. All of which ending with hubster and I stressing out over the mayhem we are causing, and eating in shifts while the other ‘entertains’, sorry, CHASES the girls as they flee like ants in opposite directions. On the whole it’s been a waste of money: and not just on the amount of wine I have to buy on the way home to compensate.

ToddlerMonster is now the grand old age of 2, and Darcie is school age so we are going to give dining out another go… We are embarking on a bit of an Odyssey I think I’ll call it, this Spring, in an attempt to find the most toddler friendly food haunts near to where we live in East Sussex and hopefully start over on the family dining front.

The key to this will be finding REAL family friendly restaurants. Not just the ones that claim they are but actually once you are over the threshold discover that they have an aeroplane sized loo with change facilities that wouldn’t look out of place in the Trainspotting film, have zero space for your buggy (they cost more than some cars, I will NOT be leaving it outside), together with a limited and overpriced kids menu.

So, first up is Las Iguanas in Brighton. On this occasion we were given something towards our bill BUT I will be assessing with completely independent toddler eyes!

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The Review

We were off to a good start, the restaurant was funky, bright, spacious and yes there was plenty of room for the buggy, a double would have coped. Actually they stored it in another room which was really helpful. We were shown to a huge round table with banquet seating – ideal for the kids to sprawl themselves over apparently. (It may be an insignificant point to make to some, but size matters: and the size of the table was perfect; Plenty of room to have the sippy cups, wet wipes, toy car, books and Frozen mobile phone alongside the other more standard paraphernalia. No constant juggling for space- it’s all in the detail!)

We were offered a highchair and told for every adult main ordered, a child can eat the Niño’s (child’s) set menu for free! Result: no need to stress about them ordering something they weren’t going to eat as it was the bargain price of FREE. My favourite. This was shortly followed by the bloody brilliant news that it was 241 cocktails on a selected 25 drinks to celebrate Las Iguanas 25th anniversary. This is going to be offered ALL YEAR! I’ll drink to that. And I did: 241 Caipirinhas. Despite this offer they hadn’t scrimped on units, I wouldn’t even let Darcie dip her finger in!

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The girl’s menus had colouring and activities on it as well as a big selection of crayons to draw all over the table with. Darcie was occupied with that, while Lila perfected the art of putting ice in and out of her mouth. This meant her source of volume was quiet so who were we to stop her…

We were spoilt for choice over what to order: the menu was as funky looking as the room we were sat in, literally bursting with that Latino feel. It was great to see a kids menu which didn’t just have the standard pizza & chips type combo featured too. Although that’s exactly what Lila wanted to have. The kids deal is £5.90 which includes a main course (7 options to choose from) a dessert, and a drink. Darcie played it safe and doubled up on carbs with Macaroni pasta and chips. Each of their mains came with a little side salad all cut up very small, perfect for little fingers.

The really friendly waitress suggested the girls has their main courses at the same time as our big bowl of nachos starter. This turned out to be a great strategy and once we were ready for our main event the girls we shovelling away chocolate brownie and ice cream. Result.

The Nachos portion was generous and came fully loaded with the sour cream, salsa, guacamole and jalapenos, just as you would expect. Delicious.

We decided to give the new additions to the menu a go. I had the Havana Club & Jerk glazed pork ribs with sweet potato fires. I love ribs, and these were delicious. Plenty of meat on them, really addictive dipping sauce and just the right amount of fries.las igs food

Dan tucked into the revived Chili Con Carne, which was served in a rustic bowl, complete with a lid. It looked lovely, and very homely. (Not that I have ever served anything with such style at home!) I managed to taste a bit before Hubster polished it off: I need the recipe. There were succulent pieces of beef which totally appealed to the carnivore in me. Thumbs up.

Darcie ate her entire plateful which isn’t the norm for her, this in itself is a reason to come back. The kid’s portion sizes were spot on it. The desserts were dented but the girls were beaten, it was a tough job, but I had to finish them off. Great brownie, and a lovely vanilla ice cream.

I must mention The Facilities, you can’t go out with small children and not pay them a visit. The cleaner the better and on some occasions they have been enough to put me off returning somewhere. So, the make or break was The Pit Stop. There was a separate baby changing room, it had plenty of space to host the toddler nappy party. And it was clean: hurrah. The main loos were also clean and would have had plenty of space to wheel the buggy in there had I needed too.

To conclude, we actually enjoyed ourselves as a family. Together. Out out!

The food was on point and is perfectly positioned to entice the family market. The staff are well versed in little people: buggys don’t scare them nor did the odd scream. There were plenty of menu options including gluten free and vegan, the food quality was great. The girls seemed occupied, happy and the prompt service meant boredom didn’t sweep in until Bill time. The meal came to £55 for the 4 of us, 2 courses each and drinks- including my boozy beverages.

Thank you Las Iguanas for showing us that we can socialise with our girls in public, and not just at the soft play café. We will be back.

Las Iguanas Brighton

7-8 Jubilee Street Brighton BN1 1GE

Tel: 01273 573 550 brighton@iguanas.co.uk

Opening Hours

Mon-Sat 12-11pm Sun 12-10.30pm

Confessions of a dyslexic Muma.

dyslexia

Trying to teach your 5 year old to read, write and spell when you are still mastering the art is quite a tall order.

I am 32, a Muma, and I am dyslexic. Very Dyslexic.

I had subconsciously buried this teeny tiny fact once I had finished the gravy train of education. I sat my last exam at University, which I took in the same separate room just like I had taken all of my exams, with my allocated extra time, far away from the rest of my peers. This was the last time I really gave my dyslexia any thought.

I applied for jobs never mentioning it. I worked in sales and soon learnt to use the gift of the gab to cover up my rather chronic lack of organisation and close to zero order approach to the current role. I blagged and I sold. My admin was atrocious, my spelling so bad that the spellchecker often gave me the ‘no suggestions’ message as my attempts bore no resemblance to anything. Impressive! But I just about got away with it. No one knew. My secret was safe.

It’s been just over 5 years since I was last employed, and I honestly haven’t given my dyslexia a second thought.

Until now.

Our eldest daughter started school in September last year, and of course within the first few days proudly brought home her first reading book and flash card words to learn. I’m not going to lie, I found it a bit like pulling off a plaster really really slowly sitting there willing her to recall the word PAM and NAPS from one page to the next. But you’ve got to start somewhere, right.

The trouble is it wasn’t long before words like Digraph and Trigraph were appearing on homework phonic sheets. What the…? Dia-who?! Things have clearly moved on from Robber red and Kicking king back in the eighties. I’m not blaming my dyslexia for my ignorance of having absolutely no clue what these words mean, I can use google. But no matter how often I try and absorb the method by which Darcie is being taught, I just can’t seem to grasp it. It is like I am learning to read all over again. I struggle to make sense of her homework instructions, I have to read it slowly several times before I will have any real understanding of what is being asked. Even then I am constantly referring back to the instructions line by line. It’s frustrating and makes me feel like MumaDunce.

I’ve also discovered another little blip: I had forgotten that I can’t spell words out loud. I have to write them down. Even the most basic I find I have to write down or it comes out totally skewed. Of course I had a gentle reminder of this blackhole in my brain now that Darcie is into her writing. She will often shout out “Mum, how do you spell…?” Action stations. DROP EVERYTHING. Focus the mind. Locate scrap paper, scribble the word down. Read it back.

It’s a long winded process, it’s like having daily spelling tests! My fear is the word requests are just going to get more complex, the assistance with essays and other English assignments will be more frequent and I’ll let her down. My fear is that Darcie, and Lila soon, will think that their Muma is an illiterate buffoon! It’s not even like I can make up for it in the Maths department…

I have hope that writing this blog is good exercise for my dyslexic mind. I’m sure I don’t always make sense, my sentence construction isn’t always logical, my grammar is probably way off – I’m massively relying on the spell check paperclip doing his bit…But I’m tackling my nemesis head on, well, why not. I might write a book next, you never know!

Run Jump Scrap!