Archive for the ‘2-3 years’ Category

This weekend we had an afternoon trip to New Brighton, on the Wirral.

It’s somewhere Tony and I had been waaaaay back before the kids (and once, when I was a student, I got on the wrong train and ended up in New Brighton – I thought I was in actual Brighton and panicked), but for no particular reason we’ve never taken the girls there before.

We had a pretty pleasant afternoon. First of all, the girls loved going through the Mersey Tunnel as they’ve never done that before. And loads has changed in New Brighton from what we can remember, there’s a huge new retail and leisure complex and other bits and bobs. By the time we arrived, everyone was starrrrrvvving, so we called into Subway for our lunch. This was a novel experience and the girls loved their Subs (even though they were just plain ham!) and the fact that they got actual drawstring bags with their Kids Meals.

After that we walked along the prom a little way and saw an Actual Real Lighthouse, which the girls were quite pleased with.

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After that we called into an Arcade and then outside to the little fairground.

Unfortunately, for some reason, when Eve went to ride on the merry-go-round she wouldn’t sit still or sit down in the car, so after several warnings we had to take her off so that the ride could go. Not sure why she was so uncooperative because she was very good on all the rides when we went to Gullivers the other week.

Anyway, this resulted in a meltdown, which worsened when Isla and Lilly wanted to go on the swing ride, because Eve wanted to go on too, but we just couldn’t trust her to sit still, so we didn’t let her go on. This provoked the Biggest Tantrum Eve Has Ever Had… which believe me, means it was a pretty big one.

I dragged her off, kicking and screaming, to the far end of the fair, where she lay on the floor for a good ten minutes loudly demonstrating her displeasure and I did a lot of: “Oh dear Eve, don’t you look silly, everyone is wondering who is making all this noise” etc etc.

The big girls had fun, anyway…

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It’s funny because Eve has been so much better behaved lately – much less terrible twos. But I guess it’s often one step forward, two steps back…

Anyway we made our excuses and left shortly after this, Eve had totally exhausted herself with her epic tantrum and wanted to be carried all the way back to the car. And everyone enjoyed their second ever trip through the Mersey Tunnel too.

All in all, a fairly pleasant afternoon and I’m sure we won’t leave it so long before going back again next time.



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We’re not going on holiday this summer – but I have booked plenty of days off work so that we can have some lovely days out.

We started last week with three great days in the scorching weather that we’ve enjoyed for the last few weeks.

On Saturday, Tony had to work, so it was just me and the girls. After carefully considering how ambitious I could be while flying solo in charge of all three, I decided to take them to Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington.

It’s great there – they have a huge playground with equipment suitable for all ages, lovely gardens with plenty of spots for picnics, a pond full of huge fish, a free children’s zoo with rabbits, birds, donkeys, pigs, goats etc. There’s a land train, and, in the holidays, there are trampolines, bouncy slides, and a pottery painting workshop, all at an extra cost of course (though it’s free to get in, apart from parking).

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It took us forever to get out of the house – getting three children properly suncreamed takes a good 20 minutes! But once we were out we had a great time. They all loved the playground – Eve went straight for the huge Helter Skelter Slide; Lilly’s favourite thing was climbing to the top of one of those spider web net climbing frame things. A slightly hair-raising moment when Lilly was right at the top of the frame – and Eve was as far away as she could possibly be on the other side of the playground – a time when I really needed to be in two places at once! But we survived!


After that we had a nice picnic under a shady tree, followed by a wander over to see the fish, a game of hide & seek (modified after it caused war to be more of a hunt-for-an-interesting-object-game) and playing house under a weeping willow for quite a while.

Walton Hall Gdns 26.7.14 Walton Hall Gdns fish

Then the girls all went on the trampolines and had great fun bouncing together!

Walton Hall Gdns trampoline

Walton Hall Gdns ice creamsAfter all that fun, we relaxed with ice creams and a look around the farm. Eve was particularly interested in all the animals – she especially loved the pig which had its snout pressed right up against the fence oinking at her!

Last time we took the girls to the farm Isla hadn’t liked the noise of the peacocks and had cried wanting to go home. This time she was much better, telling me: “I’m being very brave, aren’t I?”

We had a great day and spent about four hours there in all. But that night I was absolutely shattered!


On Monday we met my mum in Liverpool and took the girls to The Beach at Liverpool One.

We’ve taken them there for a few years now – it’s basically an artificial beach in the centre of a shopping centre. A bit disappointing this year as they’ve taken the ‘sea’ away from the beach for “health and safety” reasons, which basically means it’s just sand. But it’s still lovely and the girls had a fantastic time making sandcastles and playing.

Liverpool One beach 28.7.14-001 Liverpool One beach 28.7.14-003 Liverpool One beach 28.7.14 2

It was a great reminder though of what a pain sand is! And getting three kids to eat sandwiches at the beach without getting sand in them is basically impossible!

It was really interesting to see the three personalities at work. Lilly went into creative artist mode and got very serious about making a dog sand sculpture. When they had beach games for the children, she didn’t want to join in because she was too busy with her creation! She didn’t even want to stop for lunch (but she did!). Isla really enjoyed playing with Eve and making sandcastles with me, but kept herself to herself and didn’t try to make friends with the other children. Eve had the time of her life exploring a tunnel through the giant sandcastle on the beach with the other children, and was happy to go up to other groups of children and start joining in with their games! At one stage I saw her go up to a girl of about 10 who was holding the hand of a little baby (probably her baby brother). Eve walked up to the other side of her and put out her hand, telling the girl: “hold my hand too”! And when they started the beach games, Eve was first up!

And on the last day before I went back to work, I took the girls swimming with Nanna. They’ve been asking to go for ages, and they loved it. Amazingly, Eve wasn’t so sure at first and just wanted to sit on the edge splashing her feet. But by the time we left she was quite happy to be in the water playing games and pretending to swim! Lilly was happy just doing her own thing – she really believes she can swim now and insisted in trying without her arms bands – which was when she found out what arm bands are actually for! And Isla was happy ‘learning to swim’ and playing silly games with me up and down the pool.

All in all a great three days, now I’m looking forward to my next two days off work next week… just need to come up with exciting plans to keep up the momentum!






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Why is it…

…that when I attempt to brush Eve’s hair all-out war ensues, and I find myself feeling like the losing participant in a WWE wrestling match?

But, when her big sister does her hair (sometimes pretty roughly), she’s as good as gold?

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In fact, I think she finds it pretty relaxing…

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My gosh. It’s been just over a year since I posted anything on here… but hey, life with three little daughters and a full time job doesn’t leave me with much free time at the moment. But I’m off work for two weeks with the girls while the inlaws are holiday – they are our key childcare providers, so while they enjoy a well-earned break touring round Canada, I’m playing at full-time mummy for a while!

It’s a tiring job! Especially the mechanics of the school run with Terrorist Toddler Eve, whose passion for mischief and capacity to do the opposite of what she should be doing still knows no bounds. So, if you had been a bystander last week around school drop off / kick out times you would likely have seen a very frazzled woman, no doubt dressed inappropriately for the changeable weather, trying to keep pace with a sprinting toddler, while urging a dawdling 6-year-old and trying to calm a hysterical 3-year-old who gets into a terrible panic if Eve runs ahead or Lilly lags behind…

Anyway… here we are at the tail end of a bank holiday Monday. Eve and Isla have been tucked up in bed early, Lilly is lying on the sofa next to me playing games on an old iPhone.

We’ve had a really full day today. First we visited the Commercial Vehicle Museum in Leyland. Random, I know, but it was the hubby’s idea, as he’s currently learning to drive a large goods vehicle and so has trucks on his mind a lot at the moment!

It was better than I expected (and much better than the one in St Helens, which is one of the worst ‘museums’ we’ve ever had the misfortune to visit!) To start with Eve was quite well behaved, she really enjoyed pressing buttons and looking at the mini tram set. Of course, eventually she went downhill and started pegging it all over the museum, causing Isla to react hysterically, chasing her and screeching at the same time… only making Eve sprint even faster, of course. Eventually it was time to make our excuses and leave, but not before the girls enjoyed sitting on an old fashioned fire engine and ringing the bell, sitting on the top deck of an old bus, and even squeezing into a red phone box (none of them had the foggiest what it was!) and pretending to make phone calls.

Commercial Vehicle Museum bus stop 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum fire engine 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum fire engine2 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum mini tram set 26.5.14 Commercial Vehicle Museum Eve is lollypop lady 26.5.14

So all in all, a partial success!

We then headed back to pick up the bike we’d ordered for Lilly yesterday at Halfords. We rang ahead and it wasn’t quite ready, so we braved an hour in a local beer garden, seeing as the sun was shining. There were a couple of incidents when the girls decided it was fun to do a lap of the little path around the bowling green – first Isla falling and scuffing her knees, then Eve deciding to go off course and try to run off to the back of the bowling green, causing me to sprint after her, not sure where she was headed! In between all that, the girls played nicely (Naughty Pirates is their current favourite made up game) and didn’t wander off too far.

Unscathed, we headed off to pick up The Bike. We decided to buy one for Lilly after she took it upon herself to teach herself to ride without stabilisers a few weeks ago. We tried to teach her last year, but she was having none of it. Then this year, typical Lilly, she decided to do it, and she just did it. Same as with all her major milestones – walking, reading, everything.

Anyway the bike she had was old and too small for her. So today we collected her new bike and took them all to a local park for a ride.

Isla had her ‘cupcake’ bike, we took the Scuttlebug for Eve. They absolutely loved it, riding round and round, up and down the bandstand, all over the place. Lilly was fantastic on her bike especially considering it is much bigger than the one she’s been practicing on. Eve was a little bit big for the Scuttlebug, but she gave it her best shot (before she decided to resume her favourite hobby of randomly sprinting off towards a road or other danger, causing mummy and daddy to have to chase and tackle her to the ground!)

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By the time we got home, me and hubs were shattered – as usual!

But luckily so were they and we got away with putting Eve and Isla to bed pretty early (sneaky mummy and daddy!)

Anyway, that’s bit of what we’ve been up to, hopefully I’ll be back with more before another year goes by!


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Me to Lilly: “It’s daddy’s birthday soon, what shall we get him?”

L: “We could get him a… Errr… Err….
I can’t really think of anything, all I can think of is girlie things, because I’m a girl…

(suddenly the verbal diahorrea kicks in)
“…All I can think of is a duck with a necklace!
And a pretty dress on!
And it’s cuddly!

… Or, an Easter Kangaroo!
That’s pink!
With an Easter egg!

But that’s not very man-y, is it?”


Hail stones were battering our widows one afternoon. Isla comes running to me:
“Muuuum! No like it! Worry, worry!”


Isla fell off her scooter in the garden and was crying. I ran over saying: “What happened Isla, what have you hurt??”. She struggled to reply through the tears but eventually wailed: “My hurt my scooter!!”

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Last weekend, we made a happy return to see our friends the Tombliboos, Makka Pakka, Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle.And we rode on the Ninky Nonk for one more time…

Yep, you guessed it, we went to see In the Night Garden Live, when it returned to our neck of the woods (Manchester, to be precise). And no, this is not a sponsored post – I paid £15 per head out of my very own hard earned money…

Lilly and I first went to the show when she was two and a half, in Liverpool. I thought even then that she was getting a little bit big for the TV programme, but she absolutely adored watching it live and genuinely still remembers it and talks about it quite often even now. Isla missed out that first time because she was only about six weeks old (although I had actually bought her a ticket – a touch ambitious, I realised as soon as she was born!)

Anyway after a slightly stressful journey whereby we went the wrong direction on the motorway and then couldn’t find our way around the Trafford Centre’s network of different car parks to find the illusive one that we needed we arrived just as the show was starting and dashed to our seats as the opening music began.

I was a little bit nervous about how Isla would react to the whole thing – having never been to a show of this kind before, and the fact that she can sometimes get so sensitive about things, it could have been an unmitigated disaster.

But thankfully, she loved it!

We went right to the back so it didn’t matter if the girls wanted to stand up and dance along as they weren’t blocking anyone’s view. And Isla loved listening to all the familiar songs and waving to the characters on stage. Her absolute favourite was Upsy Daisy, and she got really quite excited whenever she came on stage.

The highlight was the part where the characters all dance under the magical gazebo – always Isla’s favourite part in the programme. And we were showered with paper flowers at that point too.

All in all it was another lovely experience – and Lilly – who by now is DEFINITELY too big for the Night Garden, loved every second of it yet again.

So, another thumbs up to the Night Garden Live – and I wonder if I will be blogging about it for a third time in two years from now when Eve is big enough to go along?!


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1 Jan, 2010

As part of the many celebrations for Lilly’s third birthday, we took her on a special outing to Thomas Land.

Thomas Land is the home of all things Thomas the Tank Engine, and it’s part of Drayton Manor theme park in Staffordshire. At Christmas time, the main park is closed, but Thomas Land is open for a Winter Wonderland celebration, complete with plenty of Christmas trimmings and guaranteed ‘snow’ three times a day.

We had planned to take Lilly to Thomas Land last year for her birthday, when her obsession with Thomas was at its peak, but we decided against it as Lilly is naturally quite a cautious personality, and we worried that the rides might have been a bit too scary for her.

No such worries now she’s three. Not one phased her, and to say she loved Thomas Land is an understatement. In fact, I loved Thomas Land! Having enjoyed many birthday outings of my own to Thorpe Park when I was younger, this was right up my street. As i’ve got older my idea of a great ride has been toned down slightly, so I’d pretty much say the rides at Thomas Land weren’t only perfect for Lilly, they were just about perfect for me too!

All four of us went so Tony and I took turns going on the rides with Lilly while the other stayed with Isla. That was one of the really great things about Thomas Land, the fact that grown ups can accompany kids on all the rides, so you aren’t left with that awful scenario of watching helplessly as your child goes round and round on a carousel crying their eyes out because they are terrified. Imagine how cruel and bad a parent you would feel if that happened!! (NB this scenario may or may not have happened to us on a trip to Truck Fest in Haydock a year and a half ago. Ahem.)

First up was Diesel, then Classic Cars, followed by rides on Jeremy Jetplane (probably my personal favourite) and Harold the Helicopter. Tony took Lilly on a truly terrifyingly fast pirate ride, which she loved! I tried to take pictures but it was going way too fast, I just kept taking pictures of empty seats! We also enjoyed Bertie the Bus and a traditional carousel. On the day we went, December 27, there were no queues for rides. In fact, on a couple of occasions at the beginning of our visit, we had the rides to ourselves!

And then we watched as the main man, Thomas himself, chuffed into Knapford station as the (fake) snow fell and the Fat Controller and friends entertained us with dancing and singing. Lilly was delighted when Thomas puffed right up to her before turning on his turntable to puff back the other way!

Because it was Christmas themed, all the children visiting the park were able to claim a free gift from Santa’s elves. And when we walked over to collect it, we heard an unexpected “ho ho ho” and turned around to see Santa himself! He was really friendly and chatted to Lilly about Christmas, and asked her if she had been happy with her presents. He also asked her if she remembered him tickling her nose while she was asleep, which made her giggle! She even got to sit on Santa’s knee and have her picture taken (by us, for no extra cost… now you gotta love that!) Afterwards, Lilly collected her gift (a handbag with brushes and combs) from the elves, and Isla got one too – a cuddly rabbit rattle.

It was pretty cold though. Freezing! At one of the rides, the operator said it had got to minus 11 on some days! And, if I was to make a criticism there was nowhere near enough provision for people to have a cuppa and a cake in the warm – there were a couple of burger bar type joints and only one cafe type place open with a totally inadequate number of seats. As Thomas Land didn’t open til 12, and shuts at 5, I thought those people wasting some of their time eating overpriced burgers in crowded restaurants were a bit nuts. Please, Drayton Manor, if you see this, think about more cafes and indoor seating for next year. It would have made a major difference to our day!

It was also unfortunate that the zoo was shut the day we went – I’m assuming because of temperatures and snow/ice. We didn’t miss the zoo so much, but we wanted to walk through the zoo to get to the Thomas and Friends exhibition, which we could see on the map but couldn’t figure out how to get to it on foot, other than through the zoo, which was shut. We asked a member of staff but they didn’t really seem to know what we were on about…

The other problem was the M6. Outside of Drayton Manor’s control, I know. It took us the expected hour and a half to get there. But on the way back, the M6 was at a standstill and it ended up taking two and a half hours. Luckily the girls were both really good on the way home. But still, a major drawback.

All in all though I think we will think about going again in the summer, considering how much we all enjoyed it, and how much Lilly loved all the rides. She surprised us with how brave she was, even asking us if she could go on the couple of rides that we still felt were a bit too scary for her.

Tips for you if you think of going too. Book in advance! We saved £8 overall by booking the night before on the internet. Eat before you go, if the park is only opening at 12 (which I would imagine is only the case during winter). And, if you’re going to ride on Thomas, do that first. This was the only thing people queued for, and the queues got longer as the day went on.

All in all though, I’d thoroughly recommend this place, for Thomas Fans of Lilly’s age and up (and for the grown ups, too!)

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