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Posts Tagged ‘Liverpool’

This time last year, when Isla was only a few weeks old, we discovered the brilliant urban beach at Liverpool One shopping centre.

Today the girls and I went back to the beach, which has returned for the summer holidays, and once again met up with my mum there.

The weather wasn’t as good as last year, when it was really quite warm and sunny – today it was humid but overcast and with the occasional fine shower.

That did not put us off though – lucky I had been organised enough to pack towels, buckets, spades and an entire change of outfit for both girls as they got drenched to the skin!!!

Lilly had a great time paddling in the “sea” and playing with the other children, while Isla made sandcastles and sat on the edge of the water splashing her feet. After a while that wasn’t enough for her and she wanted to get in the sea too, wading around in the water and giggling her head off!

And we had a moment of fame as the local news crew were filming when we arrived – tonight’s news featured Me, Isla and mum building a sandcastle and Lilly running and splashing in the water. Mother in law didn’t know we were going to be on but rang up very excited when she spotted us!

Anybody with young children in the Liverpool area this summer do not miss the urban beach – but don’t forget your towels!

 

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I’ve been really disappointed with this summer, because when I visualised life with a new baby and Lilly too I thought of spending days in the park and in the garden, playing in the paddling pool and getting loads of fresh air.

It hasn’t really worked out like that, has it?

Ok, it’s not been the worst summer but it hasn’t really been the best. And, as a family we can be pretty indecisive about where we’re going to go and what we’re going to do with our days, so when you add uncertainty about what the weather is going to do, we often end up not doing much at all!

The weather did not put us off trying out our new double buggy!

 

But last weekend we decided to laugh in the face of the rainy weather forecast and go for a walk around the Albert Dock in Liverpool with the girls – one of our favourite places to go. Often if it is raining we take shelter in the Maritime Museum, but this time we decided we wanted some fresh air, rain or shine.

When we first arrived, the weather looked ok. But the wind was blowing quite ferociously, especially as we were down by the river. We had decided to try out our new double buggy (purchased with our future holiday to Center Parcs in mind). It started off really well, with Lilly keen to get in the buggy to sit next to Isla… and to sit under the “tent” (raincover) which we decided to use to keep the wind off Isla’s face.
Soon though, Lilly was bored of being captive in her buggy, and wanted to walk. As we started to walk along the waterfront, the rain began. It was coming down in short showers, but when it rained, it rained, and we got drenched!! But we had the whole stretch to ourselves, even on a Saturday in August and it was great fun just running along in the wind and rain with Lilly absolutely loving the experience!

The lifeboat was out as the Mersey was so choppy

 

The wind was also making the Mersey really choppy and at certain points along the way the water was even splashing up over the path – cue loads of squeals of delight from Lilly as we jumped to avoid them!

We walked all the way to the ferry terminal where Lilly spent some time kissing and hugging the Beatles penguins (!) and managed to use the big toilet (twice).
The double buggy had to be called into action again when Lilly got a little tired and threw an impressive tantrum – poor Isla’s face as a screaming toddler was strapped into the seat next to her against her will was a picture!
All in all we had such a lovely family day and I hope it has taught us that we really aren’t made of cardboard. Next time we fancy a day out, perhaps we should ignore the weatherman, take our waterproofs and just see what happens!

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This week we spent a day at the beach – with a difference!

Because the beach in question has sprung up in the middle of the shopping streets of Liverpool, as a special attraction for the summer holidays.

It was my mum who spotted this phenomena and suggested we take Lilly one day – but I have to confess, with the weather we’ve been having lately, I was more than a little cynical when she told me to bring “swimming things”.

But it turns out, she was right. Despite the rain lashing down on our journey into Liverpool, once we arrived at the mystical beach, the clouds parted and the sun came out, just like that.

It is quite an impressive sight. Golden sands, complete with deckchairs, and the “sea” is a generous sized paddling pool, great for little ones like Lilly because it’s not too deep. At the top of the sands is a beach bar, where you can buy ice creams, drinks and snacks.

Debenhams on Sea, Liverpool, August 2010

Best of all, it wasn’t even that busy, despite being the summer holidays, and despite the surprising appearance of the sun!
Well, Lilly loved it! We got straight down to the important business of sandcastle making and picnics on the deckchairs, before Lilly wanted to strip off and get into the “sea”. She played very happily for a long time, despite a few boys-trying-to-steal-Lilly’s-bucket-and-spade incidents (she had an iron grip, they had no chance), and despite Lilly-knocking-down-someone-else’s-sandcastle gate (Lilly was more upset than he was, she didn’t know it “belonged” to anyone and when the little boy shouted at her she was devastated!).

Lilly and I go paddling in the "sea"

Isla pretty much slept through the whole experience in her pram on the sand, but watching Lilly playing and interacting with the other children makes me so glad she isn’t an only child, and will soon have a little sister to join in her games.
So, if you’re in the area of Liverpool, or any of these other cities which have these urban beaches this summer, I’d definitely recommend you go along and spend a day at Debenham’s on sea!

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This morning I took Lilly to see In The Night Garden Live, at Sefton Park in Liverpool.

I booked the tickets a few months ago, when I was still working before Isla was born. The ticket prices were dependent on the time and date you wanted to see the show – and in my wisdom I decided that the 9.30am showing, when tickets were just £5 each, would be the perfect one to take our toddler and four week old baby to!

Fast forward a few months and it became obvious that the four of us were never going to get anywhere by 9.30am – in fact the earliest we have managed to leave the house all together since Isla was born is 11.15am!

So, we decided it would be much more realistic if I went with Lilly, leaving Tony at home minding Isla.

The show was set in its own giant tent / inflatable arena in the middle of Sefton Park – think giant white igloo. You had a choice of two different shows – Pinky Ponk or Ninky Nonk… we chose Pinky Ponk, cos that’s the way we roll!

We actually managed to arrive 15 minutes before the doors opened – but it was raining so we stayed in the car until 9am so that we wouldn’t get too wet (I told Lilly I’d forgotten to bring an umbrella – she replied: “I’ll squiggle you one mummy” – probably symptomatic of too much CBeebies over the past 4 weeks!)

We queued for about 5 minutes. Once inside, there are two main areas – the foyer with refreshment sales and merchandise stall, and the “theatre” itself. Although we didn’t need to partake ourselves I was quite impressed with the refreshments that were on offer – very toddler friendly things including Dairylea Dunkers, Mini Milks and fruit shoots as well as healthy sounding sandwiches and wraps. And all pretty cheap too – Mini Milks were 50p and I think sandwiches started about £1.65, not bad.

Before going into the theatre, I tried to persuade Lilly to go on the toilet – as we are slap bang in the middle of toilet training. Unfortunately, the toilets were the trailer ones – a step up from portaloos but only just! To be fair they had provided toddler seats and steps to help them reach the sinks in every one, but Lilly needs a lot of persuasion to sit on a ‘big toilet’ at the best of times, and these facilities just didn’t cut the mustard! The cubicles were also very very small – difficult for me and Lilly to both fit in – impossible if you had two children with you! After a while, and when even the offer of chocolate failed, I gave up trying to get Lilly to go and we went to find a seat.

We sat on the very top row as it was quite full when we got in, but we had a great view. The  stage was set with a huge ITNG storybook, the top of the magic gazebo and some trees, with the Pontipines house stage right.

As the lights dimmed and the theme tune started up, the stage and all the walls of the arena turned into stars, then those all familiar blossoms blooming, before a very impressive live version of Iggle Piggle sailing on his boat on the sea, which got a lot of gasps. Sad, I know, but it actually made me feel a bit emotional – I just love the music from Night Garden, and, in my defence, I did recently have a baby – my hormones are still a bit wibbly!

The storyline unfolded just like an episode of In The Night Garden – so, as is traditional, nothing much really happened! Makka Pakka wanted to clean some faces – accidentally sent his sponge flying – it lands in Upsy Daisy’s megaphone – she returns the sponge to Makka Pakka and all is well. (Sorry if I’ve ruined the ending for you there!) But, what were you expecting – the Matrix?!

Makka Pakka was the first character to appear to cheers, shouts and claps from both the toddlers and parents (it was hard to tell who was more excited, in some cases!). I have to say that Lilly was pretty spellbound, which just made my heart melt… And when the narrator announced that Makka Pakka was looking for some faces to wash, I said to her: “Would you like him to wash your face?” thinking she’d say “no”, but in fact she thought that sounded really fun and was shouting to Makka Pakka “Come up the stairs, Makka Pakka!”

Us Night Garden fans know that the sense of scale is all over the place in Night Garden, and that Makka Pakka is much smaller than Upsy Daisy and Iggle Piggle and so are the Tombliboos. They got around this by having different size Makka Pakkas – a big one for when it was only him on stage, and a small one worked by puppeteers when he was with the other characters. It was very cleverly done.

All in all it reminded me of impressionist mime meets a Take That concert, but for toddlers. They were unbelievable excited to see their “heroes” in the flesh, and all the old favourite songs got rapturous applause. Whenever a new character was introduced, they got claps and cheers – reminded me of Happy Days when the Fonz used to walk in the room!

And Lilly’s highlight was probably the bit where bubbles came down from above and covered the audience!

We did have one slightly hairy potty training moment when Lilly announced three quarters of the way through “I want my potty”, but could not be persuaded to leave to use those “scary toilets”. She also wouldn’t go on them at the end of the show, nor would she use the actual potty when we got back to the car. Cue me driving like a maniac back home in case of hearing the phrase “I need a wee wee” while driving down the motorway! (Luckily, it never came – I now know that, when it comes down to it, she can actually hold her weeing urges for an impressive amount of time!)

But, for £5 a head it was SO worth it… for the look on Lilly’s face alone and as a nice introduction to live performance. Thinking of taking her to see Peppa Pig later this year now…

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