Why We Should All Get ‘Sky High’

Before you get excited and think that I’m about to promote the merits rolling up a fat one, I am in fact talking about ‘Sky High’. The fantastic brand-spanking-new trampoline park in Peacehaven, East Sussex.

This Kardashian inspired craze is hitting the big time with trampolines paving a new way to keep fit AND ware our kids out. In my book that makes this place an absolute win win.

With 2 girls aged 3 & 6 we have done our time at soft play, believe me. There isn’t a soft play in the county that we haven’t given marks out of 10 to. Squeezing my not-bikini-ready-bod through the car wash style foam rollers, climbing up rope nets which murder feet, and avoid contracting the plague are usually all part of rainy day ‘fun’.

Not any more.

Thanks to Sky High there is now a new type of indoor Kid-Mecca specifically designed to leave your kiddliwinks with less energy than they arrived with. We aren’t just talking a few trampolines dotted about here either. Oh No. The trampolines are all on floor level so that you can bounce between them, creating one huge bounce zone. Some are extra long, some are on a slope. They line the walls (bouncing off of those is not as easy or as elegant as I had imagined in my head). There’s a basket ball hoop area, an air pillow to run and jump onto, netted trampolines and my favourite: The Wall. A stratospheric trampoline which has walls around it that you can hurl yourself off of. That’s probably not for the faint hearted… again it was another chink in my elegance armour.

What’s more Sky High is so pristine clean, you won’t feel compelled to decontaminate your brood before they step over your threshold at home.


So what’s right about it…

  1. Well for starters all bouncers have to wear standard issue non-slip socks (high fives for hygiene). You buy these on your first visit. Beware: you will spend the next few months trying to evade your washing machine’s mysterious sock thief.
  2. You will find handy lockers right by the entrance, just like a regular swim locker – feed it £1 and wear the fetching bracelet key. You don’t have to do this but I found it easier so I can concentrate on not weeing myself bouncing.
  3. It is seriously clean. Partly because it is so new, it still looks fresh. Great news for the germ-a-phobes.
  4. Brilliant staff & plenty of them. Everywhere! In fact, the staff are so attentive that half an hour into the toddlers session I was flagging (it was 9.30am!!). This wasn’t a problem, because along came a keen, young member of staff who entertained (basically bounced) my kids about for 10 minutes whilst I regulated my heart rate. ​
  5. The sessions. So. Many. Sessions. From toddler sessions (under 5’s), After school jump club, Home Ed bounce, an Autism friendly bounce happens fortnightly, bounce fit, and something for us: Adults only bounce. There really is something for everyone. At last holistic approach to our society is so refreshing!
  6. The Cafe. A delicious cuppa awaits you… and a bit of cake, maybe a croissant? Or how about a bit of lunch? Averting the kids’ eyes from the mile-long Slush Puppy (are they still called that?!) will be your biggest challenge. The cafe is on a mezzanine level and overlooks the jump park- great for keeping an eye on daring tweens.
  7. Parties. Of course they do parties! I have a sneaking suspicion this is exactly where we shall be holding my kids birthdays for the next few years, and actually that’s fine by me!
  8. Wifi. I wouldn’t be a blogger if I didn’t mention the joy of free wifi now would I. Not that my multitasking skill are good enough to Instagram AND bounce.


What’s wrong with it…

Honestly, other than the fact that I seem to spend the entire 1 hour session attempting to ensure my cheeks (And yes I do mean ALL of them) bounce in sync with the rest of my body, not much.

However, Now my eldest has just turned 6 we won’t be able to attend the toddler bounce sessions which are under 5’s only. But my toddler, who is 3 won’t be allowed to attend the open bounce sessions either. Sadly there goes our bounce fun for now. This is the only fault I could find in this truly brilliant addition to KidLife. Please sort out an u10’s session soon Sky High…


(At least I can choose something other than the ‘black jeans safety net’ to wear on Saturday mornings now though… Every cloud.)

Please Note that this is not an advertisement and no money or ticket gifting was received in exchange for this review.

Tammymum

20 Times my Toddler Out-Diva’d Mariah

Behind my toddlers big blue eyes and cotton wool hair lives a Diva, and I don’t use this word lightly. Occasionally Lila fools me into believing she has left the Divahood behind her and is starting a newly reformed existence.

Until I cut her toast into Triangles.

“You moronic human! I only eat triangle toast on Tuesdays. I want  my wellies on! Do I look like a pleb who eats Triangle shaped toast?! Don’t look at me! Where has my TRIANGLE toast gone too?!”

What comes out of her mouth is a protest of such high decibels that our ‘rotund’ Cavapoo  has long assumed that ToddlerMonster is his leader.


Let’s face it, Lila just can’t find the staff these days. I pander to her whims based on a battle to battle evaluation; The bottom line being how prepared I am to deal with a mini-person literally melting onto the carpet, creating a no-go radius of several feet as she kicks out in her latest protest.

I’m now fairly certain that there is a market for Toddler-Tantrums. Think about it – those political rallies, and staged sit-ins are a perfect opportunity to cash in. Throw a Toddler into the mix with the wrong shaped toast and you my friend will have the protest from hell on your hands, and decisions overthrown left right and centre.

Now we all know that Mariah has got herself a little bit of a Diva rep. From dressing room climates, red carpet requests, culinary requirements so specific they make counting calories appear positively dark aged, Mariah is without doubt the world’s No.1 Diva.

Until my Toddler came along.

Here are 20 reasons why ToddlerMonster has out Diva’d Mariah- all with splendid Hollywood style tantrums.

1) The toast thing. You got that though – loud n clear.

2) When you get photo-bombed


3) The blanket I covered her up with whilst she watched a pint sized YouTube star open their Christmas presents – for the 58th time, wasn’t quite covering her left foot.

4) The bath wasn’t filling up fast enough.

5) I offered her a custard cream with the corner missing.


6) She tried to call for extra staff from the house phone and the police turned up.

7) She wanted pink juice in the Lego cup. NOT the spider-man cup. *Tips it out and gives her  juice in updated preference of Lego cup* “I said I want the Spider-man cup”.

8) She washed her hands. And they got wet.

9) Madam wanted to use my Santaku knife during our play-doh Bake-off session.

10) I said ‘Good Morning’ before she was ready.


11) She can no longer fit into the oven part of the toy kitchen.


 12) Baby Annabel wouldn’t sing to her. No amount of explaining Baby Anabelle’s limitations made this OK.
13) Ketchup is Red not Blue. This is not acceptable – I know this from my walls.

 14) It was her sister’s birthday and not her own.


 15) Climbing the stairs is not on her agenda: ever.

 16) Finishing the packet of Percy Pigs – OK, she had a point with this one.

17) The pain au chocolat was delivered to her too hot. “I said warm Mum, WARM. Not hot and not cold” Yes, she who cannot usually string a sentence managed to make that perfectly clear.

18) The sun was in her eyes. She didn’t open them for the duration of that car journey. Her mouth however…

19) I gave her dinner.

20) Murray refused to learn her dance routine: Murray is the dog.

 

Over to you – can your Toddler out-diva mine? Hit me up with your tantrum tales…

 

 

 

There’s a new Witching Hour in town: it’s called Mornings.

I once saw a comedy sketch based in a nursing home. (I know, I know, this is a bit dark, but stick with me)

The old folk sat in front of the telly whilst yelling demands at the over worked wreck of a carer.

Buzz words were being shouted from the chairs, you know – the ones with those ridiculously high backs:

“Tea”

“Too Hot!”

“Corrie”

“Whiskey”

***

By some cruel twist fate I am now living out this comedy sketch in the real. Except it doesn’t give me all the lols. I am that haggard nurse running from task to task which is spat out by a ToddlerMonster and her 5 year old partner in Crime.

To be quite honest with you I am one tantrum away from fleeing this asylum and opting for a quieter life with the gypsy circus.  Not a day goes by where I don’t loose my sh*t trying to get a toddler ready for nursery and an unwilling 5 year old to school.

This is now how our mornings shape up these days: (And if anyone dare comment with “it will all be over in the blink of an eye”, I will not be responsible for my actions!)

There’s a new Witching Hour in town, and I loathe it more than the original…

“My Blankey, WAAAAAAAA MY BLANKEY NOW” More crying. More urgency.

ToddlerMonster has selected her desired seating arrangement to view ‘A Little Princess’. She is very cross that her blankey has fallen to the floor. But, Oh no! I am currently pouring out hot chocolates for their royal highnesses as instructed by the older of the leaders. I dutifully halt stirring  the lumps in and spring to action: operation, ‘Where the eff is blankey’ is launched.

As it was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER the task was executed swiftly so that I could answer the 5 year old’s burning question:

“But WHERE is our hot chocolates?”

“Yes, yes darling they are just coming!”

By this point in the morning my patience is still running at a positive 80%. The use of the word ‘darling’ is around 10 minutes and 6 commands off being hissed through gritted teeth.

I catch a glimpse of myself as I load up the tray with toast and their drinks. It’s still dark outside so the kitchen window is currently a mirror. My god. I make a mental note to consider washing my hair and using some eye cream.

“Mum, Mum, Murray wants to go out. Mum Mum MUM MUM MUMUMUMUMUMUMUMUM. MUM. Murray wants to go out.”

Obviously remembering one does have the use of their legs is tricky to recollect at such an early hour and so I forgive the 5 year old for this oversight whilst rushing to let out our lump of a probably-not-a-cavapoo. Phew, made it.

I turn around. Oh shit the bed…

“Why is your toast on the floor? Please NO! Stop rubbing your tongue on Mummy’s new cushion!”

(Mentally I scold myself for buying a cushion; I knew it would struggle to survive it’s first week in the field).

“I SAID TCHOKLIT. WAAAAAAWAAAAAAA” ToddlerMonster has blown her top. Christ, her body is beginning to convulse as I quickly (everything requires ‘Quickly’) cast my mind back to her breakfast order.

Hang on, why is water dripping off of the sofa?? Jesus that’s not water: Nappy overfill. I neglected to remove the night time pull up and now she is punishing me for poor service with a dry cleaning bill.

“I want toast With NO CUT. I wanna big one”.

“What do you say?”

“NOW!”

Wow, so it really is possible to be this much of an arsehole when you are 3.

I decline her demands of another slice. Time is of the essence and I’m now running at 30% patience, which isn’t a good sign because I still need to prepare myself for the Battle of the Uniform. Or more specifically the Battle of the Tights.

I dig deep for my happy face.

“OK girls, time to get dressed now! Yey for the new day” I muster a fist pump in proper MUM style. Only to be met by blank faces. Their eyes are fixated on which talent Peppa will show her class now that all of them have been taken!

I try again

“Yey come on, it’s a new day – it’s going to be a cold one… let’s go get ready!”

Still no response.

Alarms have gone off in my head. Patience level is now at ZERO. I have no back up reserves – they were all consumed 3 years ago during the Battle of the Dummy.

To the backdrop of a repetitive whine, which is not unlike some sort of rare animal mating call.

I loose it. The Trunchball is now hollering out of my mouth, and I am merciless to stop it.

My own buzz words begin to get fired at the two wide eye suddenly innocent looking dictators.

“UPSTAIRS”

“DRESSED”

“TEETH”

And finally, the killer question that hangs in the air:

“Why do you hate Mummy so much?”

Of course this is a rhetorical.  They’ve already pegged it upstairs to wake darling Daddy. Daddy who can do no wrong. Daddy who will cuddle them and tell them in a non-shouty voice that everything is OK and Mummy is just loosing the will to live tired. Daddy who will take them by the hand and calmly persuade Darcie that tights are not the enemy. That her preferred choice of black leggings are not school uniform and she just needs to accept this.

How the blazes…

I take my shiny fu*ked off face and dark root combo to the shower, silently repeating:

“I hate my life, I hate my kids. Why do my kids hate me? Why did I do this?”

I know how that sounds.  I know that makes me a bad person for even thinking those thoughts. But at that moment – for that fraction of about…2 hours (!): it’s how I feel. I can’t even douse my spirits with a mug of Sav Blanc. Apparently it’s not socially acceptable at 7.42am…

We make it to school on time. Somehow we make it to school everyday on time.

As I wave them both off to no doubt be angels for other people, little fireworks explode in my head. I know that for the next few hours I will be exactly the mother I always thought I would be…!

 

ASBO Toddler does Christmas

Welcome to The Lila Show. Starring Lila: Diva extraordinaire, ASBO deserved. 

I’ll be honest here, when people have allured to the wrath of a threenager in the past I may have raised my need-to-be-did eyebrows and wallowed in self pity for the gruesome twos I was being forced to endure. Thinking that surely Toddlerhood couldn’t possibly exceed the floor licking tantrums of age 2 (which peaked at Lego land incidentally- I’m sure it was a very clean floor).

We are staring Lila’s 3rd birthday in the face and I do not feel the end is neigh with this ASBO behaviour. In fact, I fear it could just be the beginning…

It is no secret that sub-4 kids don’t do sharing. (To be honest I’m not a massive fan of sharing even now, but that’s another story.)

Lila is very blunt about this hate of sharing. It’s more than a little off putting to her friends who look blankly at me as Lila snatches whatever plastic tat they might have dared to touch, upon a rare play date.

Lila has fast worked out that she cannot snatch n grab every toy at once, evolution is still one step behind with that 3rd hand that she requires. One of her favourite solutions when facing this predicament is to select one of the 456,000 buggys we have and simply pile it all in.

She will happily wheel about shopping tills, random candles, a naked sylvanian, the odd shoe, her beloved inflatable mic, the cat… you name it. Lila will stack it high to ensure that no one else can touch this sacred stash. I like to call it her tramp trolley, I mean no disrespect, but it is bares an uncanny resemblance.

Theft is becoming a real problem in our house. Crucial items tend to go missing, often for days on end. I have now found a Grinch like cupboard in her toy kitchen which has basically got trophies from her bin raids. I discovered old milk bottles, yogurt tops, coffee pods, the crucial sellotape wheel thing, a fitbit, even the garage keys. I offered to clean this revolting collection up, and retrieve our stuff.  That didn’t go down well. Who knew it was possible to have such an attachment to junk? One girl’s trash is another girl’s stash…

The latest victim of Lila’s venomous tongue is ELFred. This has at least given Darcie the week off from hearing her sister shouting,

“Darcie is a poo and a worm, I hate you Daadaa”

It’s fair to say that ASBO-toddler has not taken kindly to this invasion of her privacy. This morning when ELFred was found straddling Lila’s train, she could take no more.

“ELFred need to go home now Mummy.”

“Bye bye ELFred, don’t forget your Hat”

– Oh yes, don’t let him forget that, it cost more than mine!

My annoyance has reached boiling point. There are a whole bunch of parents out there that hate the elf, who don’t have the time or inclination to deal with elf-shit. But their little treasures love Chippy, dingbat and Zaton so much that they begrudgingly move him between Christmas tree branches for 24 nights.

The thing is, try as I might to loath this additional ball ache at the busiest time of the year, I don’t. I was loving this damned tradition. I love moving him about – albeit not very imaginatively, but I’m just warming up! I was just getting started! I loved those first 4 days of them discovering what Elfred had been up too. But I’ve been halted by my child, the only child that seems to hate him.

Oh the irony is not lost.

I had imagined that ELFred would have been a pretty useful bribery tool,

“Don’t spit on the carpet, Elf is always watching”…

“But he’s in the Woooooooooownge Muma!” Followed by deafening cries.

Well that went down like a shit sandwich. I did not see those screams of protest coming: Rookie, rookie, Mistake.

“No, no he’s not watching you all of the time, he just watches you in a nice way… ”

I don’t think I was helping. And to be fair it did all sound a bit pervy.

So Elfred is in the fireplace, with a farewell card – at least she remembered her manners.

Here is the conundrum: If I send ELFred away, Darcie shall be devastated. If he stays, Lila will be terrified.

You know what, sod you elf. You have just succeeded in turning your No.1 (and quite possible ONLY) adult fan against you.

***

Lila has just given me the perfect ending for this post. She has just returned from  bossing the nursery room. Actually she looked quite sweet as she snuggled up to her bunny on the sofa just now. I began to feel bad that I was mid sentence on a post that brands her a total A-hole. Then she took something from her pocket…

She looked at me with her devilish eyes but at least had the good grace to add a nervous giggle. She’s only gone and stolen baby Jesus from the nursery nativity scene.

I rest my case.

Is anyone else living under the duress of a crazed ASBO-deserving nearly threenager?!

 

Mummuddlingthrough

 

 

Top 5 places to visit Santa near Brighton & Win tickets!

I don’t know about you, but since having our girls I have this crazed obsession with making each Christmas better than the last. I put huge pressure on myself to ensure that we have squeezed the most out of every memory maker going. I am painfully conscious of the fact that there are only a handful years when our children will truly believe in The Big Man. The thought of wasting one of those precious years visiting a tin-pot Santa makes me shudder- in all the wrong ways.

This year there are only 6 weekend days in December to cram in as much tinseltastic memories as possible; ergo- planning is everything. Knowledge is power.

So without further ado, I would like to present to you the top 5 places to visit with your families in the greater Brighton area this December:

1) Drusillas Park

*Win a family ticket to Drusillas!*

Location: Drusillas Park, Alfriston, East Sussex, BN26 5QS

Drusillas Park: family ticket givaway


This is one of my families favourite places to visit. We have annual passes and so you could say we know Drusillas inside out! Widely regarded as one of the countries best small zoos, not only can you enjoy seeing a wide variety of animals but the adventure park is something to behold! There is a large indoor play area, cafes, and my girls favourite: Hello Kitty world which has 3 brilliant rides – all included in your ticket price.

Festive Sparkle: A huge winter wonderland display comes to life after dark with an impressive animal themed Christmas light show all synchronised to music. There will also be an opportunity to meet 2 of Santa’s reindeer and husky dogs on selected dates.

Meeting Santa: The star attraction is Santa’s cosy cottage. It does look beautiful and has the winter wonderland laid out in front of it, making it all very magical. – With elves, and a big sleigh to ride too! The early Christmas gifts are really good quality – our girls still love their cuddly polar bears a year on.

Dates: Join the festive fun from Saturday 19th November until Monday 2nd Jan.

Meet Santa from Saturday 19th November (weekends only) and from Thursday 15th December – Friday 23rd December (daily).

Price: Normal entry price, plus £11 to meet Santa.

More information on the Christmas festivities

Book your tickets in advance to bag a better deal

2) Bluebell Railway

Location: The Bluebell Railway, Sheffield Park Station, East Sussex TN22 3QL


Think, Thomas the Tank Engine – with class!! My toddler is train mad, and I think this is where we are going to go this year.

Festive Sparkle: The ‘Santa Special’ trains depart from the Sheffield Park station (East Grinstead on the 23rd) for a ten mile round trip to the beautifully restored Horsted Keynes station with special Dickensian themed activities for you to enjoy.

Santa will be on the train to meet you and give a gift and treat to each child. Once at the station you can have your photo taken with Santa in his special cabin, and enjoy a range of Christmas activities, from Victorian street entertainers, to fairground stalls (20p a go – not bad). A right olde ye Christmas shindig then; lovely!

Dates: Departures from Sheffield Park ONLY at: 11.00am, 11.55am, 1.45pm and 2.40pm
on 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 23rd and 24th December

Departures from Sheffield Park ONLY at: 11.00am, 11.45am, 12.30pm, 1.15pm, 2.00pm and 2.45pm on 17th and 18th December

Departure from East Grinstead at: 12.45pm and 3.30pm on 23rd December

Price: First Class:  Adult £26.00  Child £14.00  Toddler £9.00 (no seat allocated for toddlers) Third Class:  Adult £21.00  Child £14.00  Toddler £9.00 (no seat allocated for toddlers) -Not sure what happened to 2nd class?!

More information on meeting Santa on the Bluebell Railway

Book tickets 

Please call 01825720806 for 1st class ticket bookings – these are very popular, so don’t be disappointed if you have to travel coach, it’s all fabulous.

3) Tulley’s Farm 

Location: Tulley’s Farm, Turners Hill Road, Turners Hill, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 4PE


This farm has an outstanding reputation for its Spookfest, and puts the same incredible effort and detail into it’s Christmas experience. This is a whole day of specially crafted Christmas activities and delights for the whole family to enjoy.

Festive Sparkle: Christmas really did land at Tulley’s. You will journey on Santa’s sleigh, through a forest to reach Santa’s log cabin where you will be read a story by the man himself and the children will receive a gift star.

These activities are included in the main child ticket 1-13 years, and slight variations occur for Tiddler tickets and adults which are classed from age 14:

  • Gingerbread Decorating
  • Elves Magical Forest
  • Story time with Father Christmas
  • Build a Bear  or Toy shop
  • Real live Reindeer
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Post House
  • Elf Hunt
  • Puppet shows
  • Christmas Shop

Dates: Daytime dates: 10am-5pm. Every weekend from Saturday 26th November – Saturday 24th December as well as these additional dates: Friday 9th December, Thursday 15th, Friday 16th, and then everyday Monday 19th – Saturday 24th.

Twilight dates: 4.30pm – 7.30pm 10th &11th December and then everyday from Saturday 17th – Friday 23rd.

Price: It’s complicated…

Daytime 10am-5pm: 26th & 27th November: Adult (14+) £8, Child £14, Tiddler (1-) £4

3rd & 4th December, 9th, 15th &16th: Adult £10, Child £16, Tiddler £5

10th & 11th, 17th – 24th: Adult £10, Child £18, Tiddler £6

Twilight 4.30pm-7.30pm: Friday 16th December, Adult £10, Child £16, Tiddler £5

10th &11th and 17th – 23rd December, Adult £10, Child £18, Tiddler £6

More information on Christmas at Tulleys Farm 

Book your tickets and celebrate Christmas, Tulleys style!

4) Preston Manor, Brighton.

Location: Preston Manor, Preston Drove, Hove, Brighton BN1 6SD


Preston Manor is an impressive Edwardian house, which is the perfect setting for hosting a Victorian themed Christmas. There are very few dates available, but this really is a gem of a place and a slightly calmer way to celebrate than my other suggestions. I would say it would be of more interest to children who are school age and above, and ideal for anyone who doesn’t deal well in crowded places.

Festive Sparkle: A beautifully decorated manor house will transport you back in time, with special festive activities like dressing up and listening to stories which will all be going on throughout the house for the children. Father Christmas greets every child with a gift, at allotted time slots which are all pre-booked.

After you’ve met the man himself take a look around the rest of this delightful Edwardian Manor House. The Dining Room table is set as if a grand family of the period are about to take tea and Lady Ellen’s little Morning Room is covered in Victorian and Edwardian Christmas cards, holly and ivy and traditional decorations.

Dates: Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th Dec, and,  20th-23rd December.

Price: £8.50 to visit Santa, plus admission charges – Adult £6.60 Child £3.50

*Brighton & Hove residents will benefit from half price adult admission. Each half price adult can take up to 4 children for free. Please note that ‘visiting Santa’ charges still apply. ID and proof of address needed at time of booking to qualify.

More information on Preston Manor

To book call 03000 290902 or visit the Brighton Pavilion, or Preston Manor.

5) Spring Barn Farm

Location: Spring Barn Farm, Kingston Road, Lewes BN7 3ND


I adore this farm, it has a real family feel to it. It is small enough that it keeps a local vibe but big enough to warrant a full on day out.  There is a large indoor play area housed in a barn along with an undercover small animal petting area, so rain needn’t spoil your day out. The shop is worth a mention here – it’s to die for with fresh local produce and gorgeous gifts.

Festive Sparkle: A large area of the huge barn turns into a winter wonderland for the season. The head elf will meet you at the entrance and take you through to make reindeer food, before writing to Santa. A special Santa-Mail letter box is waiting for your children’s letters amongst the twinkle lights and festive displays. Santa awaits you in his log cabin where children meet with him in family groups. You are then whisked off to the Elves workshop to choose a gift.

Dates: Nov: Booking slots available from 9.45am – 3.45pm on 26th & 27th

Dec: Booking slots available at 9.45am – 3.45pm on 3rd & 4th, 10th &11th, Friday  16th- Saturday 24th (last booking 3.15pm)

Cost: Child £13.50, Tiddlers 2 & under £7.50, Adult £7.50, Senior £6.50 plus admission price.

More information on Christmas at Spring Barn Farm

Book Tickets

Have a brilliant time visiting Santa and getting all festived-up.
Don’t forget to enter my giveaway to win tickets for a family of 4 to the fabulous Drusillas Park:

Drusillas Park: family ticket givaway

Bedtime Gate: advice needed (send wine*)

Help!

Lovely Mumas and Papas out there, I need your help please.

You know how parents tend to preach that we should not under any circumstance tell other parents what to do, and offering advice is almost pukeish? Remember those dramatic blog posts stating loud and proud that nosy Mable should keep her ‘How to get your kid to eat veg’ ideas to herself? Well, my friends; forget it. Forget all of that, because I am asking, no actually, I am pleading for some advice today.

The situation is thus…

I have a 2 year old (who will be a threenager in Jan), who has just said goodbye to her cot this week (sniff, I loved the cage). She was beginning to climb out of it and so it just had to go.  We have replaced it with a toddler bed.  It’s oh so cute, we spent ages talking it up and choosing bedding lining up teddies on it, yarda yarda . ToddlerMonster thinks this is a right hoot, for all things other than sleeping on.

Over on the other side of the hallway we have Darcie. Our clingy-at-bedtime 5 year old. Darcie has only ever fallen to sleep with me in her bed, listening to story tapes after we have read together. This usually takes about half an hr!

Our bedtime routine is crucial to my state of mind as my husband works until 9pm every evening. Meaning Bedtime is my sole responsibility.

The past

I used to settle Darcie in her bed with the ipad or in our bed in front of the TV for the 10 minutes it took me to feed a sleepy toddler her milk. I’d feed Lila in her own room  before placing her in her cot. She was either asleep by now, or she would cry for a bit but as she couldn’t get out she would give up after a few minutes and choose sleep. This would give me the chance to then go into Darcie and do our reading / tapes / sleep routine.

It was like clockwork, a total dream, but ToddlerMonster is growing up and the dream is fading into a distant memory.

The dilemma.

ToddlerMonster no longer falls asleep with a bottle of milk. She can now just get out of bed willy nilly choosing instead to make evenings a total shi*tstorm. Darcie, who is now in year 1 needs to go to bed at a reasonable time, she is grumpy and over tired at the moment. The problem is that I can no longer settle her because we have a ToddlerMonster on the loose.

For the past week I have been waiting until ToddlerMonster literally falls asleep on the sofa and then placing her into bed, this is has peaked at 10pm! Meanwhile Darcie has fallen asleep slightly earlier on the other sofa… This cannot continue- it not good for any of us.

You know the game where you whack a popping up head with a hammer and then another appears, and then up again comes the original head. I just cant get them both down at the same time! Of course the association between hammer and heads are just purely for your understanding, and will remain a mere figment of my imagination…

The question

HOW DO YOU DO IT?

How do you put a wilful jack in the box toddler to bed? How do I ensure my 5 year old also gets to sleep, in her bed?

I am in desperate need of a new routine. I am appealing to you all for any tips that could help me out here. Remember I only have one pair of hands, this is a single handed situation, Daddy isn’t home until very late. Please don’t make me have to call Super Nanny.

Lot of love,

An exhausted tethers-end of a Muma.

Cuddle Fairy
Tammymum

 

 

Toddler- led potty training: it’s totally a thing.

I wanted to share something with you, possibly it’s a little bit controversial- I know: Me, controversial, surely not..?! 

This is the story of why we are not potty training our  nearly 3 year old. 

Lila is potty training herself; you’ve heard of baby led weaning? Well this is the toilet version. I’m not sure if this is an actual thing or if I am just breaking out of the Muma- society mould here, I’m sure you’ll let me know…

                                    ***

She stood in a puddle of wee, in the middle of the park, sobbing; Wet knickers, wet leggings and wet shoes

It had been 1 week since we declared ‘potty training’ had began. this is back in 2013, and I am talking about our eldest daughter Darcie. She was exactly 2.5 years old, and numerous ‘experts’ (Butty-in elders and judgemental Gina-ford types ) had been surprised that Darcie wasn’t potty trained-

“What with the baby on the way…”

I was panicing that the world would stop spinning as I knew it with ‘the coming of baby No.2’, and decided that we should of course get cracking with this potty training lark.

We lasted 1 week before I couldn’t bare to see her wet herself and struggle anymore.

I had listened to other parents tell me of their potty training antics – us Mumas have great chat, right?! MONTHS some of them had spent watching their toddlers wet and poo themselves. In public, in the car, at home: you name it.

I just couldn’t do it. It just strikes me as a bit demeaning really. I would HATE to Wee myself in morrisons, so why would I think it ok to have my child do this? Why would I make my daughter wear knickers day after day standing by while she poos herself, looking helpless, telling her “she’s almost there”. Nah, that’s not my style. So we made the decision to avoid putting pants on our kids, until they ask.

I know using that word demeaning in association with potty training is probably going to get some backs up. I know that it’s all about personal choice and we all want what’s best for our children. Of course we do- that’s a Muma’s mantra. I also realise that using the loo and making that leap of faith from nappies needs to be taught, and learnt. But do we really need to force a round peg into a square hole here?

So we waited. We waited months, and months, our new baby arrived, and we celebrated Darcie’s 3rd birthday. STILL IN NAPPIES. 

And then it happened; one spring afternoon, down the stairs she came with her Peppa Pig knick-knocks on.

Darcie never put a nappy back on again. From that moment she used the toilet, not the potty. She was old enough to tell me when she wanted to go, she was old enough to sit on the toilet without having to lug a potty EVERYWHERE with us.

Darcie is now 5 years old, and we have never had to remind her to use the loo before we go out. Nor do we check if she needs it when we are out and about. I leave it up to her.

Her accident record is Zero.

I’m not saying that’s purely down to the approach we used, that, we’ll never know. But I am sure that never making a big deal out of all of this toilet related stuff has helped her.

So now it’s Lila’s turn. When she wants to wear knickers she does. When she wants to wear a pull up, guess what: she does! Sometimes she likes to use the loo, and other times she doesn’t. But you know what, more and more she is opting to use to use it. I have checked that nursery aren’t pushing her with toilet training and they have been very supportive of our choice to let Lila decide when she is ready to ditch the nappies- and start saving us a fortune.

I suppose the point of telling you all of this toilet related goodness is because I wish I had read that you don’t have to potty train like its a military operation, and you don’t need to label it:

WE ARE POTTY TRAINING”  *like a declaration of battle*

Just introducing the potty n knickers combo and offering those things,  rather than pushing them is enough. 

They will get there eventually. It’s not a race. 

I felt a huge pressure to succeed at potty training. And for what?! To gloat like a Gloatey McKnob that my daughter is wearing knickers before she’s learnt to pick her nose?

Our nearly 3 year old has enough on her plate- she is learning to speak, to form opinions, deal with frustrations, realising that book cases make great ladders, and all the while, brewing her next UberTantrum.

She doesn’t need this kind of shit in her life right now: literally.

I’ll keep you posted on how the Toddler-led toilet training is going- I know you’ll all be on the edge of your seats awaiting this update…

Until then, I’d love to know if anyone else has had a similar experience to me and has used, or is using this method?

Xx

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Viva Las Blackpool: an unguidey guide.

Blackpool: A bit like Vegas, there’s a casino, a roller coaster or 2, loads of hotels, and a tower. Totally the same place.

Viva Las Blackpool.

I’m pretty vocal when it comes to the subject of holidays and kids. Our eldest is now 5, and toddlerMonster is smack in the middle of her twos. We have never, until this week, been away just as a family of 4. I’ll be honest: To me moving your family to a temporary alien location, kissing goodbye to normality, and undertaking this alone was a step too far. We have always gone on holiday with my parents and siblings – a bit like the Khardashians, but with Easyjet not the Learjet. In my book, this is by far the best way for everyone (except probably my parents and siblings…so just me then) to have a holiday.

Anyway, without banging on too much about the dear god merits of cross generational holidaying, I’ll get back on my Blackpool bandwagon:

We did it, we took the plunge, and scarpered to Blackpool as a family of 4, for 2 whole nights, and 3 whole days, amounting to a total of 12 hours of car time. I think I may have had a little too much Isla Negra the evening we booked.

Here’s a little summery of the trip, including our top tips, in case you fancy hot footing it up to January. Blackpool.

The Big Blue Hotel

It is literally big and blue. So it was pretty easy to spot. That and the fact that it backs onto the Pleasure Beach theme park, so has 3 sodding great rollercoasters for a back yard.

I couldn’t recommend this hotel enough, the location is great and has its own entrance to The Pleasure beach which is open between 10am-11.30am everyday. The hotel offers discounted tickets, AND more importantly 50% discount on speedy boarding. I’ll get onto this point later, but suffice to say it’s an essential add on if you value your marriage.

We opted for a family room (because we are mad) which consisted of bunk beds (aka climbing frame) which were tucked away by the door and buffered by the bathroom before reaching the main bedroom. Anyway, bla bla it had a bed, it had a bath. It was comfy… and clean. Big tick. Oh and room for our travel cot (which the 5 year old slept in. Don’t ask). The 2 year old slept in our bed and so actually it was a total waste of money paying for a family room after all. We may as well have opted for a sardine can.

The girls LOVED the hotel, although there taste is a little warped – they also loved being taken to PoundLand to spend their holiday money…

The Hotel’s Restaurant was a thumbs up – and another tinkle on the high chair. I fear this may be becoming somewhat of a signature move for ToddlerMonster, perhaps tablecloths make her nervous.The Kids were really well catered for, a really impressive full menu just for them. Most guests were staying with children, so I shrugged the Peepee incident off, as did I the red wine going all over the table and carpet; they just replenished my almost gone glass with a full one. FOR FREE. They totally get The Issue of Kid.

The Pleasure Beach

If you have really young children then this theme park is ideal. There are 19 rides which are considered ‘family friendly’ and as long as the Dinky is on board with an adult then there is no height restriction. We did have to purchase a speedy boarding pass pronto after waiting an hour for a truly shite racing car ride though. This was purely a move to save our marriage from the cursing pit of horrors into which it was falling after that queue.

As I said if you stay at the big blue then the speedy boarding, beat the queue, walk into the exits (feeling a bit of a tit for doing so) and ride with no wait, is half the price. Of course we only found the half price voucher AFTER we arrived back at the hotel. Law of the sod at work once more.

With an hours wait on most rides we would have only got a few in, with the passes we managed to ride everything. Every. Signle.one.

Yeh yeh I was getting my money’s worth and refused to leave before it closed, frog marching the fam from one Kiddie coaster to the next.

It’s raining its pouring, it’s actually January.

So what I thought to have been iffy weather the previous day was in actual fact the height of the Balckpool summer. Normality reigned for the rest of our stay in KissMeQuickLand, but actually that was ok because there is a tonne of stuff to do which is on the inside.

We bought a Blackpool Tower ticket which allows you access to all of the attractions which are inside the Tower building. I had no idea all of this was there – I assumed the tower was just that.

Anyway, this ticket got us access to the Blackpool Tower Experience which is a 4D film of Blackpool which strangely is all done to a background of sunshine and blue skies. Perhaps the makers were having an ironic moment. We also got to go and stand on the glass floor hundreds of feet up which totally freaked both girls out – and Dan. I don’t mind heights , just queues. It was alright, but let’s be honest, the view was just a grey town, with a sea.

Blackpool Tower Circus was also on this ticket and was one of the highlights of the trip – it was Darcie’s No.1. Set in a really ornate area at the base of the tower, it even had a sinking floor which flooded for the final act. I was impressed. ToddlerMonster slept through most of it. Bonus.

If you venture to Blackpool I really recommend this!

Blackpool Tower Ballroom was also included on our pass. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I certainly hadn’t been expecting to step into THE BALLROOM, The Strictly final ballroom. It was stop-in-your-tracks stunning. You are allowed to just rock up and take to the floor, lots of oldies were being persuaded around the shit-you-might-slip shiny dance floor. It was a hard sight to process. I just stared on hoping there wasn’t about to be a hip op situation. Darcie did cartwheels, ToddlerMonster got YouTube out, Dan bought coffee.

Soft Play at the Tower who sanctioned this? I thought we would escape the foam rollers and contagious ball pits for a few days, but no. Some bright spark decided to put a fat soft play IN the Tower. Christ… it was included, so in we went. I cannot recommend a soft play, it’s against my beliefs. (kid’s loved it).

The Blackpool Dungeons – obviously we didn’t take our girls into the attraction which has a severed head on the poster. That would be asking for trouble. So I can’t comment – I’m  just letting you know that if you want to take your kids into a living nightmare, then you can. It’s included!

The finale

Sandcastle Waterpark

We did this on the morning before we came home – the beach plan flopped due to January invading. That’s ok, we thought. We’ll go to that waterpark, the largest indoor waterpark in the UK.

So did EVERYBODY else in Blackpool. The queue was out of the door to go in. If you venture here then arrive for when it opens at 9am, and book on line, 24 hrs ahead. You’ll also get a 10% discount. Obviously we didn’t do any of those sensible for-sights.

Again, the kids loved it. I felt like I was taking part in a capsized boat epic and we were all the extras. Hundreds of bodies, all bobbing about, water cannons going off, buckets filled with the wet stuff coming down on you, a lazy river which was actually quite the opposite, squatting whist a 5 yr old tags on for dear life (even though they can touch the bottom).

It’s worth a visit – just be prepared for The Masses.

 

Blackpool was brilliant, I honestly do mean that, equally it was great to hang out as a 4.  It’s totally geared for kids which is half of the battle when taking the fam away for a few days. I don’t want to see another chip for a while, but then, that’s not exactly a bad thing. If you are wondering about a few days away somewhere then there is plenty to keep a family occupied in Blackpool, come rain or rain.

Viva Las Blackpool!

Tammymum
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Muma’s Restaurant Nightmare

Today is the first time in a long time that I have had to bite my lip to stop myself from crying in public. This used to happen a lot in the early days, and mostly because we were making Rookie mistakes like attempting to go clothes shopping with a baby in tow. Or supermarket shopping with an 18 month old hooligan. I have since discovered shopping on line is the only way to remain clothed, and fed.
You adapt.



A while ago I began a quest to seek out the most child friendly eateries around where we live, East Sussex. I have now become a fully fledged food reviewer (dream gig for me… Nom Nom Nom!) So far we have been to Uber-kid friendly territory, easing ourselves in gently if you will.
Today we had what I thought would be a real treat of a review: one of the best restaurants in Brighton (and one I’ve been dying to try but can never justify the huge price tag) wanted us to come and review their Sunday lunch menu, with a true family slant.
Careful what you wish for: Family slant is exactly what they got.

How can I put this; we were the Ying to their Yang.

The restaurant wasn’t just classy, it was classy with a touch of Mega Chic. By contrast our 2 year old ToddlerMonster was living up to her namesake, whilst our fiveanger was exactly that. I naively assumed that the girls would be as excited as I was to try 35 day dry-aged roast sirloin of beef. They were not. Not remotely.
The food and service were top notch, seriously outstanding, unfortunately today was the day that our children decided to turn up the notch on Demon Mode.
Lila, (The ToddlerMonster) would not be consoled. A machine-like-whinge had been especially programmed in and it would not be stopped for anyone. Oh, hang on, it did stop to watch her beloved YouTube as our last ditch attempt to save the other diners ears and tempers. She likes to watch this American family who film themselves going about their daily business: Today she was watching them in a traffic Jam. I’m not kidding.
Darcie sat with her fingers in the ketchup, stuffing some chips down whilst Dan and I tried to make conversation over how to write up the ribs, We don’t know many ponsey foodie words so it went something like this:
“Mmmm it just falls off of the bone, Darcie please put your legs down, cor what a marinade, sweet, sticky DELICIOUS. Darcie please take that napkin off of your head…ohh don’t eat it all, oh shit we haven’t taken a photo of the dish…Lila don’t spit your water over the table. Darcie could you get down from the windowsill NOW”


Yey, It was dreamy. I could feel my stress levels rising as the restaurant filled up with lots of people adulating, all set for a swanky splash the cash Sunday lunch.
The waitress staff were on the level, They were lovely! In fact I wanted to ask them to join us. The 1:1 ratio needed bumping up a bit.
The main event arrived and I have to say it looked incredible. The kids were delighted to see enough gravy to sink a battleship, the largest, thickest cut of beef with the biggest roast potatoes I have ever laid eyes on. It came as one big Sunday roast sharing platter which is a really lovely idea. The girls were finally quieting down. I had a glass of Melbec.

And breathe.
Until this:
“Maaaaaaa I done a weeeeeeee. I done a weeeeeee I done a weeeeeee”
Toddlermonster had indeed ‘done a wee’. Her nappy had clearly hit capacity but as I had been so busy farting around trying to get some decent food shots, I had failed to notice.
The wee was spilling off the highchair and splashing onto the floor tiles below.

A sort of waterfall effect.
Oh dear god.
Our daughter was peeing on the floor, we had to let her finish. I would have been horrified if this had happened in McDonalds, let alone this Uber-Chic haunt.
I’m not sure who was more mortified, Lila or I. The oversized napkins came in handy as I wrapped it around her waist to make the trek through the length of the restaurant slightly less conspicuous!
The waitress deserved a gold medal (or the huge tip we left), by the time we arrived back at the table it had all been cleaned up. Good as new!
By this point the girls were past the point of being reasoned with. I bribed them with a chocolate lolly each to buy Dan and I a few minutes to throw this decadent roast lunch down our necks. I have to say, it really was the king of roast lunches.
The straw that broke the camels back, or should I say, the point where the prickly eye cry feeling crept up on me wasn’t the peepee incident. It was when Dan made a dash for the loo before we left. That was it, as soon as dear daddy was out of sight ToddlerMonster kicked off BIG TIME. She went shitcrazy bonkers. Right in the middle of the restaurant, screeching,“My Daddy, my Daddy”, at the top of her voice in between deafening sobs.
She had been working up to this very moment, and the girl let rip.
The dead weight back arch was in play. No amount of consoling or begging was going to stop her. Everyone was looking up from their fortune lunch plates. I had to carry her out to the street, leaving our bags behind, like she was a hot sheet of screeching metal.
I have no idea if we shall ever be asked to review somewhere ever again.
For now, I’m not sure I really care.

If you have a disaster dining story, please share. I really think I would take comfort in your nightmares right now!!

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It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes…

It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes… 



Or not.
Thanks Nelly but I think I’m good, I’ll just sit here at the park supervising the Toddler-Movement with my black skinnys on getting an increasingly sweaty crack, just in case little Gabriel’s Muma should notice my unshaven white luminous legs in the shorts I really wish I was wearing.
OR
I would come and splash in the waves at the beach kids, but Muma hasn’t got herself ‘bikini ready’ and an off guard super fun wade-about is not what this hairy, non-bronzed non-svelte, Muma wants to take part in.Soz.

But here’s the thing, and this is actually quite a liberating thought:

NO ONE ELSE CARES!

  • No one else cares that you have hairy knees, or the grey tinge of dry shampoo around your hair line.
  • No one else cares that you have a serious muffin-top situation going on with the vest / shorts combo that you HAD to wear for fear of actually melting into the playground.
  • No one else cares that you have a set of dodgy tan lines or cellulite craters which resemble the surface of the moon.
  • No one else cares if you have a spotty chin that day following a satisfying chocolate binge, or the deepest darkest bags under your eyes thanks to a week of 5am wake up calls.

We are our own worst critics; I can often be found scanning for the onset of a wispy beard, assessing the severity of my tash or god forbid NEW LINES. I’m pretty sure those people I come into contact with are not busy scanning my face for excess stragglers. That would be verging on obsessive. So it’s just me then: Tweezers out, scanning. Obsessively.

My kids don’t care if I show off a bit of veiny ghost-leg when the temperature gauge soars off the scale. But they sure as hell will care if I don’t take them to the local Zoo for fear of a death-by-denim situation, in the scorching heat.

And my kids sure as hell don’t care if I look suspiciously pregnant in my bikini and my arse wobbles like a big whitish-blue jelly…(ewwww). 

They just see their Muma splashing around with them in the wee-infested toddler pool. And I’m pretty sure that’s all they will remember.

Today is set to be one of the hottest days of the year so far. I shall don my DaisyDukes, which are inappropriately short and spend the day playing with my toddler in the sunshine, hopefully avoiding a sweaty crack moment. She won’t mind the ice cream gut I have been putting so much work into lately, or the dodgy tan lines that are all over my shoulders. I’m pretty sure the fellow Muma’s at the Zoo aren’t going to mind my get-up either. They will be too busy keeping eyes on their own charges to care about my hairy thigh situation.
Break out the bikinis and shorts, the flimsy dresses and the skirts. No one is actually looking at you the way you look at yourself in the mirror. (Picture the flab-grab, and the, suck it in-and-out, the, turn-around-and-strain-neck-to-check-butt-size-with-the-lock-jaw-look. These special ‘poses’ are fairly sacred. No one else need share in these moments, they are reserved just for us.)
Of course, I’ll have to remind my MumaSquad of this tomorrow before they raise their eyebrows at my tropical ensemble.

Loud n proud Mumas, loud n proud…
Because, you know what: No one else cares!

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