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Staycation Plans

Plans for my Staycation:

We’re going to have 5 daytrips over this summer rather than going away with Robin being so little and it’s easier on hubby’s job to spread the time off, and I want to include a trip to the Isle of Wight (to take Elvis on a boat), a farm to see the animals, a zoo and then a theme park type place.

Out of the three farms on the list, Longdown farm sounds the best on their website, Staunton next and then Manor. Longdown recommended by friends, but the most expensive. Seems far more tailored, by website anyway, for visitors. Hubby and I also have tickets for afternoon tea at Staunton which I was hoping to use over the Summer with either Nanny babysitting or accompanying us and taking the children off around the farm/park part. It’s also really quite close to home so perhaps more tailored, for us, for weekend regular visits when we just want to get out of the house. Especaily as their season ticket price is pretty decent. So I reckon Longdown is the one we’ll end up going to.

As for Theme Parks, well, there’s no Disney or Alton Towers in there, is there? We did Paulton’s last year and Elvis preferred the play park areas to the rides. I’m sure that will have changed by now, but it’s not as if us adults can do much there so does it matter about us at all? I like the fact that Jennifer has been to Legoland with toddlers, as had some commenters on her blog. I reckon it could be a nice different place to go rather than Paultons. Especially as the Junior part of Paultons is all about Peppa Pig and I’m not too keen on her. Elvis has never watched her either. Daddy might prefer Legoland, too.

I have no idea what I really want to do on the Isle of Wight, but I found a link to Blackgang Chine and I just might have to do it. The website may make it look a bit tacky. May make it look a bit old and rundown, but Elvis is not going to notice. I quite like the idea of wondering through Fairy Land and the Giant Bug Walk, or singing along in Nursery World. Just me? Okay then.

The oceanarium at Bournemouth is really a test run for potentially heading that way for a convention in August and visiting a bigger aquarium than our local one has to offer. Elvis loves the Blue Reef Center when we go, so he will love it, along with the animals at Marwell and whichever farm we end up deciding on.

I don’t even know when we’re doing this, maybe in June or we might start in May and we might be adding a weekend stay in Milton Keynes for me to attend a convention with both kiddies.

Any recommendations or other suggestions?

~ P

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Wacky Warehouse: Netley Grange

We have a Wacky Warehouse very local to our house and I’ve used it multiple times with foster children and on under 1 mornings but haven’t gone since Elvis became fully mobile (I was heavily pregnant) but we got invited to a birthday party at the Wacky Warehouse at Netley.

Current prices are £50 for a party of ten kids with access to the play area. This is not private access so it can still be busy with strangers. And, as with other Wackies, they have offers for daytime play, membership cards and you can collect points on the Fayre and Square pubcards inside the Wacky.

Drinks bought at the main bar need to be in plastic cups but can then be brought into WW, food can be ordered an eaten inside too.

My two biggest problems with any WW are:
1. Hot drinks in proper cups. So your beer has to be in a plastic cup in case of breakage but your scalding hot drink can be in a breakable cup filled to the brim. Doesn’t make sense to me.
2. Older children. There’s a height limit but I’ve never seen it be policed. Even the taller children allowed in are drastically different in age to 1 year olds.

This particular WW seems kind of in the middle of nowhere but is very separate from the pub. I consider this distance, and completely separate entrance as a very good positive. It helps to distinguish for a child if you’re only going to eat. This WW had only the one entrance/exit (which is monitored so children cannot open it) which did cause some queue issues at times. I also couldn’t figure out where pushchairs could be kept to one side despite information on the website stating there is a buggy park and an under 3s section. The photos also didn’t all look like the WW I saw earlier today!

My local WW has an in and out gate (both monitored) and a pushchair area.

In the seating area there were about 4 comfy chairs and maybe 6 tables seating maybe 4 chairs. At the party table end there was more space for tables. Both ends had in/outs for the soft play so both have children running madly everywhere. Hence my hot drink issue. It seemed a bit oddly organised. As you enter there’s seating, then the soft play. Past the soft play is the party/seating area. Children can run in and out at either end and then between them. There are three main veins of play heading up – one at one end, 2 at the other. As a parent of young ones, which end do you sit at? How do you keep an eye on your child? I fully appreciate that as Elvis ages, I might become far more lax in constantly following/watching him. But he’s not yet 2 and I have the baby to monitor.

I couldn’t watch both and my possessions very easily here.

The play area was massive, covers at least three levels, has tunnels, slides, ball pit, hangy “punch bags”, spongy cushions, mesh netted walk ways and more. It was so tall. I think I got a bit of vertigo. I also got a bit claustrophobic, but it really isn’t designed for me!

The toilets designated for WW have a boys, girls and disabled/changing room. The cubicles in the girls were tiny which is a problem with a toddler in tow. There was very little room to get us both in and close the door. Meanwhile there was room in the disabled/changing but why would I use that when it was me who needed the loo. I used the changing room twice. For Baby, it was ok but I found the table quite high. Pethaps I’m a shortie. For Elvis, it really wasn’t long enough for him. His legs were dangling off the edge as I changed his nappy. There could definitely be improvements.

Personally, I don’t think it’s designed for under 2s. Maybe even 3s. Elvis couldn’t get into anything but the ball pit as he’s too short to climb up the steps. He’s about 80cm and not short for his almost 2 years of age.

There was also an outside play area which we didn’t look at due to it being grey outside and we were there for a party.

It was generally clean and well maintained; I didn’t notice any dirt. However there was a section of exposed wood which could be a hazard if a child fell the wrong way. I really liked the height and variety of things to do, however I would prefer a separate toddler area and easier adult vantage points. It isn’t somewhere I’d go out of my way for and I possibly wouldn’t rush back in the next year or two until my children are a bit more independent at playing.

~ P

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Sunday Best: Southsea

To try and combat Elvis’s shift in daytime naps, I tried to fill up the first weekend of a new routine with fun activities. On the Friday, we skipped swimming due to a severe nappy rash that I thought chlorine might irritate, we went to the local playpark with a friend and her son with a picnic lunch. On the Saturday, we spent an hour in the local library reading books and on the Sunday we headed to Southsea for loads of fun!

Now, the naps! Oh, my. So, on a weekday (Monday to Thursday), Elvis finishes nursery at 1 and naps from near 2 until about 4. This sees him well until bedtime. On the three days of the weekend, well, he has started fighting an 11am nap and then getting too tired by bedtime, but there’s no time for a second nap. So I decided that I would shift his 11am until 1pm and with hubby at the football on the Saturday, I decided to try it.

The first weekend worked.

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Grandparent Visit — Trips Out

During a recent visit from Hubby’s parents we tried to pack in loads of fun things with Elvis. Sadly, Elvis is trying to drop to one nap a day so it was kind of tricky. After 5 and a half hours at nursery (without a nap), Elvis wasn’t really up for fun places in the afternoon. It’s probably why he spent that week having problems sleeping at night.

It wasn’t all bad though, we still had fun at the fair, pretty good times at Paulton’s Park and were amazed at the aquarium!

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Changing The Routine: An Update

I thought it had been ages since I last posted, but it’s only really been 8 days. But that was a standard post that had been sitting in my drafts for ages.

I think it’s fair to say that I’ve become quite complacent about blogging. I did write a few poems the other weekend and set up scheduled posts on my original blog to see it through to Christmas! I also have an idea about a photography series on here.

What I really need to do is find the motivation to post!

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Inconsiderate Individuals

I am beginning to be completely at the end of my tether when it comes to peoples’ expectations of my son. Strangely enough it’s from people who have already had children which makes it all the more laughable. And annoying.

I’m sorry that my almost 1 year old does not want to just sit around in a pub, bar or restaurant.

I am sorry that after finishing his meal, Elvis does not want to sit there drinking his water whilst you finish your wine or continue chatting.

I’m sorry that all he wants to do is walk around and I’m also sorry that I have yet to train my son to wear shoes so whilst we’re out he can’t walk around.

I’m sorry that Elvis is perfectly happy playing with toys that are age appropriate and not your coasters or chairs.

I’m sorry that I am so inconvenient that I have a child that intereferes with your plans.

I’m sorry that people claim they want to see my son but are either liars or have no idea about children, or my child is so vastly different to any other children they know, that they actually spend no time at all with my son.

Do you know what I’m most sorry about? I’m sorry that I care. I’m sorry that I try and be flexible.  I’m sorry that I give two flying pigs about these people.

Mostly though, I’m sorry that I never say anything and stand up for myself and my son. How can Elvis learn from me when I keep making the same mistake?

~ P
Untagged and potentially hormone-ridden post.

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First Trip to the Zoo

I’ve shied away from taking Elvis places, especially with a cost, because I honestly did not think that he would take those things in. We have some local playparks with animals in, we have plenty of local free historic sites but I haven’t really opted to take Elvis there.

That was until hubby surprised us with a daytrip to the zoo.

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Family Day Trip: Royal Armouries

Hubby is seemingly obsessed with his new car so the other day, when he got bored, he suggested a road trip and we ended up at some nearby Royal Armouries. We took our sling, which we have had since birth, but never used and then found out that entry was free!

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Baby’s Second Picnic – A Much Better Day

I was so apprehensive about our second picnic invite, this time with two older babies, that I didn’t take any food as I was adamant I was going to feed him at home.

I just really hadn’t wanted another day of sitting there cold as Elvis slept and my friends sat with their babies on the swings. Nor did I want to have a complaining baby because he wanted to move and be free. That was the joy of having the second picnic with older babies (only about 4 months, but they’re toddlers now), they understood Elvis and my frustrations.

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Preparing for Nursery

A fellow Mummy advised me to start doing lots with Elvis, to get him used to not always being alone at home with me before I pack him off to nursery. I’m not sure how much I agree, but it has made me question if there is anything I should do to prepare him.

There’s fewer than 12 weeks now until it all happens, until I graduate this first year and our new family life begins – the one where we work and study, the one that lasts for the next 15 years.

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