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
My Random Musings
3 Little Buttons

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!!

Life Love and Dirty Dishes
3 Little Buttons
Rhyming with Wine
Pink Pear Bear
My Petit Canard

Mummascribbles

From Tum To Mum

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!

Mummascribbles</div

Rhyming with Wine
Writing Bubble
Cuddle Fairy
Mummuddlingthrough

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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.

img_3102

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!

img_2585-1
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