I want to be the Mum that let’s them decorate the tree

The trouble is…

I love my perfectly perfect pastel themed Christmas tree.

With soft lighting- you know, the glowey yellowey kind.

Carefully chosen tree trinkets hang at equidistant intervals, the pale pink is never next to a pale gold, is never next to a pale silver.

You feel me?

Yup, I’m basically Monica Geller come December 1st.

This has become a problem since having the kiddliwinks.

Because

I want to be the Mum that lets them decorate the tree.

Honestly I do.

That Mum that endorses excessive use of Tinsel inbetween the homemade Santa hat and snowman masterpieces a la nursery school.

But I love my pastel hew.

I love clearing away the family photo frames on the top of the mantel piece and selecting which of my over-priced, over-sized wreathey long foliagey things should take pride of place that year.

I want to be the Mum who, as Sarah of Unmumsey famously put it, shouts: “The theme is Christmas!”

And it is.

-In the toy room, behind a nice big closed door.

I have learnt that Christmas is allowed to throw up its sickeningly tacky, heart wrenching sentimentality in this room.

We used to go over to ‘Granny’s’ as the girls came to call her, and Christmas-up her living room every year.

We loved it.

I think she loved it too.

Our toy room now has Granny’s tree in pride of place.

And on this tree goes all of the homemade offerings that have been painstakingly crafted, not at home, over the years.

Scraps of paper with stubby bits of cotton wool hanging on for dear life are shoved into the centre of the tree with all the precision and delicacy of a hammer-throw.

Constrictor style tinsel sucks the life blood from this psychedelic fire hazard, with baubles that spell out Harrods 2010 (how posh!) stick men Santas and too many clashing baubles for my brain to process:

Shiny Red next to sparkly red next to cracked red under red tinsel with some of that purple, foiley, whispy stuff statically-stuck to every.bloody.relic.

Lines and lines of coloured lights, some even in the shape of trees, struggle to shine through the offensive layers – wrapping Granny’s tree all up in a firefighter’s nightmare.

But.

I’ve grown to love letting the kids loose in this room.

Mostly because I can close the door on it.

But occasionally I gaze at it when the kids are in bed and think ‘this is what Christmas means to them.’

Colour, chaos, and no equidistance.

How it should be?

Probably.

But Christmas.

Unattainable ‘Magazine-shoot’ Christmas.

It doesn’t exist.

It’s happiness. It’s noise. It’s finding the green triangles have all been eaten when it’s finally your turn at the quality street.

It’s squeals of delight as hoards of Poundland tat slowly take over the lounge.

It’s cheap crackers and shoddy jokes. It’s queens speech and Slade.

It’s Merry December to us, the grow-ups: the overworked, knackered elves of Christmas.

What a beauty…

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

Child-free zones at 36,000 ft.

We are living in an age where we can run our entire lives from our phone, listen to music via headphones sans wires, and enjoy processco literally on tap in some of our favourite bars.

But until last week we were still living in a world where grown ups doing adulting, grown ups doing parenting and kids doing the kid thing were all mixed up like a badly organised wash pile every time you dare to board a plane.

Well not anymore, not if you travel in India! IndiGo has adopted a ‘quiet zone’ policy which basically means if you are 12 or under you aint getting in.

HURRAH! It’s 2016, but we got there in the end! We have been enjoying air travel for over 80 years, but finally, FINALLY an airline has engaged brain and realised that Little Tarquinn, age 3, doesn’t like to fly. It makes his ears pop and there isn’t room for him to stand on his head while he sings the theme tune to Paw Patrol at levels that only dogs should be able to hear. This makes Tarquinn cry, he dissolved into full blownn Sh*tbag mode. This makes Tarquinn stamp his feet and kick the seat in front. It makes Tarquinn throw his crisps into the lap of the tight lipped passenger next to him -not Muma… she’s swigging Gin on his other side. Tight lipped passenger begins to tut, gradually the tutting turns to the intake of breath followed by loud breathaliser sounding sighs.

Sorry Easy Jet
Mumas no longer need to mutter “I hate my life” or “I’m so sorry” and “send me the dry clean bill” on a flight anymore! Because guess what – the passengers that really minded being sat next to the little Tarquinns of this world have paid a few quid extra to escape this particular endurance test. So long, huffers and puffers. So long, Muma-guilt. IndiGo, I salute you.

It seems it’s not just me that feels this way either. The concept of the Quiet Zones has been praised by both Adulating Adults and Parenting Adults. I asked a few of my fellow bloggers their thoughts on the subject (I was concerned I might be having a very unmumsey moment rejoicing at this idea!). Surprisingly it was almost unanimously positive feedback. There were some suggestions for other zones which I thought might have legs too. Kate Tunstall of Refined Prose suggested an area reserved for inconsiderate adults, after all, it’s not only children that can be irritating! I see where she’s coming from! While Alana Perrin of Baby Holiday did make a good point, and one that will probably have the air stewardesses drawing straws to man bucket class over at IndiGo; Imagine how noisy it will be when all the babies and toddlers kick off, because of their proximity it will be like a chain reaction… Ear defenders for the long suffering parents?! Frankly, the mind boggles. But that still wouldn’t put me off casting a vote for this genius division.

I wonder if IndiGo might be interested in a little ‘idea development’? Children’s entertainment packs? Disney channel on a big screen? Hell, how about a kids entertainer (Mark Warner are you listening?!) And while we are at it, a loo facility which actually allows the task of nappy changing to take place. One last life changer please airlines, could the Mumas have reserved seating in said Quiet Zone for the duration of the flight, along with several large bottles of Processco. Pretty please.

I am sending a plea to UK airlines to adopt this genius and absolutely nessesery Quiet Zone initiative. Please don’t let tourist space travel happen faster than this, the most basic of travel needs. Come on Branson – lead the way!

What are your thoughts? Would you be offended if an airline offered the option of a ‘Quiet Zone’ for 13+? Or would you breathe a sigh of relief?

Cuddle Fairy
Run Jump Scrap!
Two Tiny Hands

The Summer: In all of its parenting glory *ahem*

image

Some things about summer will never change whether you are a Muma or a fancy free fabulous Chica: The sun will shine, flowers will grow, we will all still have to shave our legs come April. However, that is where the similarities cease for me.  Since having our sweet little hells angels, summer is no longer quite the carnival. Here is my new take on this lush season in all of its parenting glory:

  • Sun cream: This is a pretty big deal. If the sun is shining from April onwards, for fear of owning pink children, you must not leave the house without the obligatory sun cream ritual. This is messy. We use some crazy high factor somewhere up in the 50’s. It’s water proof, it stays on all day and it costs a fortune. Actually getting it on your Redbull sponsored toddler should be an Olympic sport. Trying to get it on your Redbull sponsored toddler and NOT on yourself is impossible: they always want a reassuring hug once the deed has been done. It must be the stress of being waited on. Cue interesting patterns of white splodges on your body by the end of the day. A whole new meaning to checking out your white bits.
  • Ice Cream: I have been known to tell my eldest that the merry little ice cream van tune means that they have run out. But my conscious is beginning to catch up with me on that one so this summer we are embracing Ice Cream In Public. I now have a strategy with my toddler, and I’m happy to share: strip her down to her nappy. Ice cream comes off of skin much easier than clothes. I probably do look slightly alarming as I begin to strip her down on our approach to the ice cream stand, but I’ll be thankful for this later. Ice cream before kids meant you actually got to eat one! You need both hands free when ‘enjoying’ an ice cream moment with your children, so Ice cream is now supermarket bought and devoured after bedtimes these days.
  • What to wear: This point applies to us Mumas. I have a little check list that hot weather clothing have to pass prior to purchase nowadays (I cannot begin to explain the sadness this brings me as a girl who used to have her skirts mistaken for belts!) The length has to pass the ‘can I lean in to the car to strap the girls into their seats without flashing? This is actually not just a length issue but the flimsiness of the fabric: Big factor!  Yes, speaking from bitter experience: Apologies fellow Lidl shoppers.
  • Sand: I just hate it. I mean I used to love it when it was safely on a foreign shore, beautifully white- slightly burning my bare feet as I strolled along to order another cocktail… ah bliss. Sorry, where was I. Sand now keeps on popping up everywhere, it seems to have been added to all of the local parks where we live. Sadly cats also like this new council initiative. I know this as my children like to dig for buried treasure in these sand pits. Say no more. Once you have had the hot weather fun at the park with your bucket and spade (or cooking utensils as my children use!) you can carry on enjoying it for the next few days too. It has a habit of sticking to clothes, shoes, bags, leaving little pools of it in the kids car seats and buggy for them to chuck around at a later time of their choosing. Super.
  • Long summer nights: The days are getting longer, I remember skipping out of work in daylight at 7pm pre-children. Maybe stopping off for an alfresco vino. How civilised. However, now the long summer nights seem to be the bane of my life. Not only have I had to brush up on my science to try and answer the cries of “If the sun hasn’t gone to bed then I’m not going to bed!” to a very irritated and confused 4 year old, we have had to install the darkest most blackout of black out blinds with thick curtains in ToddlerMonsters room. It’s like walking into hibernation in there come 7pm in my desperate attempts to hide those pesky rays. I do silently fantasise over a huge black out cloth being thrown over our entire house on occasion. How sad is that.

Lastly, we are going on a holiday this summer, with the ToddlerMonster, on a plane. I’m happy to do a public service and publicise the flight details so that you can all avoid my wilful youngest. Didn’t I see something about easy jet changing their rules so you will have to pay to sit with your children… They have sooooo got that round the wrong way.

I’m appealing to fellow Mumas out there- are you just as on the edge as I am when it comes to the summer? Let me know..