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Posts Tagged ‘places to go with young children’

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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A few weeks ago we decided to have a day trip to Llandudno, to see the sea and walk along the beach. We were going to drive along the Great Orme and, unusually for us, decided we’d stop for fish and chips rather than take a picnic.

Like all great plans, it didn’t quite work out as we imagined!

First we drove through Llandudno and couldn’t find anywhere to park! So ended up deciding to drive the Great Orme first. A spectacular view as always… and we thought we’d get those fish and chips in the café up at the top.

Great Orme all of us Great Orme girls

Unfortunately the café up at the top doesn’t sell fish and chips… so we set off again in search of a chip shop with three hungry little ones in the back (“I’m hunngryyy!”, “Are we at the beach yet?”, “I’m starrrrving!” etc)

It seemed to be more difficult than it should be by the seaside to find fish and chips… but maybe it was because it was Sunday. Anyways, we eventually found what we were looking for, but by that time we were in Rhos on Sea, where we sat and are our chips on a bench overlooking the sea. The tide was completely in but we walked along the prom afterwards and found a little inlet where there was a beach. The girls had lots of fun throwing stones and shells into the sea and a teeny bit of paddling (the water didn’t look all that clean to us!)

Beach Eve Beach all

Not quite the day we planned but everyone enjoyed themselves and it was good to get some sea air. I think we’ll be taking a picnic again on our next trip though!

Makes me really want to take the girls on a proper seaside holiday…

 

 

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It is now only four weeks before I return to work, and Tony has finished the work he was doing during my maternity leave so that we can spend plenty of time together as a family before I officially hand over the childcare reigns to him once again!

Over the last few weeks we have thought a lot about how we will spend these precious four weeks, we’ve even occasionally got carried away with the thought of a holiday – foreign or at home – but we a reality check on cost has meant that we have returned to our original plan of plenty of lovely local days out.

We started on Sunday with a trip to Martin Mere Wetland Centre in Lancashire. Hubby had fond memories of a school trip to this Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust run bird haven, so he expected great things. On the other hand, my expectations were low – bird spotting doesn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm and I imagined vast wetlands with a few birds in the distance, viewable only through binoculars (and really, who cares what kind they are?)

In fact, there were a series of different areas which you walked through all with different geographical themes. There were flamingoes, very close up, and loads of unusually coloured ducks (well, they looked like ducks to me). The grounds were quite pretty really, not just the barren, vast open spaces I imagined. There were also beavers (allegedly – we didn’t spot any), but my favourites were the otters.

You could buy a bag of bird seed for £1 which kept Lilly amused – and not ALL of it got dropped on the floor, which was a miracle good.

Lilly’s favourite thing was the slightly hair-raising walk along the stepping stones with daddy…

My least favourite bit was when Lilly anounced she needed a wee when we were exactly half way around the route – and of course the only toilets were back at the entrance…

All in all, I was more impressed than I thought I would be, Tony was less impressed than he remembered. And it was a bit pricey – all in all for two adults and one child (Isla and Eve were free) it came to about £25. I don’t think we’ll be rushing back, but it was a good start to our programme of days out.

On Monday we visited an old favourite – Croxteth Hall Country Park.

The girls had a good play on the playground before we went for a little walk (we brought Lilly’s scooter), had an explore in the trees and a quick game of football on the grass before visiting the little farm.

The only disappointment was when we sat down to eat some ice creams (the weather was lovely!) and Lilly stepped in dog dirt. It very much took the shine off the lovely time we were having as I had to try and clean her shoe as best I could before putting it back on her to get to the car – and then discovering that the pram wheels had also gone through the dirt so I had to use many more baby wipes to try and clean them… I could rant for days about how much I HATE irresponsible dog owners!!!!!

Once we got home and I had managed to wash my hands about 10 times to banish the memory of the dog poo, the girls had a lovely play out in the garden with their water table.

On Tuesday the weather was still beautiful so we stayed at home and played in the garden. Then on Wednesday we took ourselves to Chester Zoo (where we are members) and had a lovely day in the blazing sunshine. We enjoyed a picnic in a (hard to find) shady spot and visited some of our favourites – Lilly’s being the dinosaurs which are currently there temporarily. Isla finds the dinosaurs too scary so while Lilly, daddy and a sleeping Eve were looking at them Isla and I had a lovely time together watching the penguins, giraffes and butterflies. We had a lovely day finishing up with some ice lollies for everyone.

We are starting to get used to all the things we need to take and the logistics of days out as a threesome – it seems to take hours of preparation and we have a full car load of stuff (we recently upgraded our car to a proper people carrier – just as well!) But hopefully Eve is getting a little more patient and there seems to be less screaming (except when milk is due!) so the days out have become a little less stressful.

Now we’re just hoping that the fabulous weather continues for a while – we have plans for another trip to the seaside tomorrow and our first barbecue in this house on Saturday!

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After Isla’s recent antics of playing up at bedtime, chatting, singing & purposely getting her legs ‘stuck’ in the cot bars or throwing her pillow out so that she can shout for help, we decided yesterday that it was time for Operation Tire out Toddler.

With that in mind, we headed to the coast (Southport) to visit Grannie, with the aim of a long walk along the pier and a lot of fresh air.

The Met Office app reliably informed us it was not going to rain, and they were mainly right. However, when we arrived, full of May optimism with our picnic, it was slightly too baltic to get out of the car. And it was blowing a gale. And then Eve started screaming. And it started drizzling. And the upshot of all the above was that we panicked, and ended up diving into the nearest soft play place instead.

Once Eve had stopped screaming & we all had cups of coffee inside us things were calmer. Lilly and Isla were playing so nicely together and all was well.

But then, Devil Child (aka boy toddler) entered stage left and, with a swift pull of Isla’s pigtails all out meltdown began. Because, while Isla might like to dish out the odd smack to her big sister at home, she is definitely not used to being on the receiving end.

This Devil Child was a particularly sadistic little thing. And accompanied (naturally) by the kind of parent who comes to soft play and immediately washes their hands of their kid, not caring what kind of bad behaviour they might be getting up to.

Isla was screaming and this only amused Devil Child, who then kept trying to come back for more, following Isla and trying for another grab of her pigtail. Not going to happen, Devil Child. “She doesn’t want to play with you, so go away please,” I told him. But Devil Child isn’t bothered, his mum isn’t watching, and Isla is getting more and more traumatised. I try to encourage her to keep playing, but Devil Child keeps following her, so she’s getting hysterical and we give up and go for a Fruit Shoot break.

Luckily, Devil Child & Neglectful Parent leave soon afterwards, and play continues. But Isla’s obviously traumatised because later when another little boy comes near her she crumbles into a heap of tears and throws herself down some (soft) stairs, sobbing “naughty boy!”

So, if Devil Child has done one thing, it is to put Isla off boys for a while… hmmm… wonder if it might last into her teens….

Anyway. After a few goes on the big wavy slide (me, Lilly and Isla all on one lane each – great photo opportunity missed, eh?) We decided to give the windy walk along the pier another go.

Once we got outside the weather had really brightened up, the sun was out and it was even a little bit warm. It was still windy, but it was a pleasant kind of wind, not a freezing cold drizzly kind of wind.

It was such a clear day, you could see the Blackpool Tower and The Big One

We had a lovely walk along Southport’s famously long pier. The tide was out so we didn’t see much of the sea, but it was a really clear day. And when we got to the end the girls had loads of fun looking at the old fashioned penny arcade games they have there.

Lilly’s favourite was always the Sooty and Sweep Band, who sing a nursery rhyme in exchange for an old penny. I’ve actually blogged about it before. This was the first time Isla had really been big enough to take much notice, and it was her turn to fall in love with Sooty. Quite a few of our old pennies went into this machine – it’s brilliant!

And, of course, no trip to the seaside could be complete without ice creams…

All in all, we had a really lovely afternoon. And, as for Operation Tire Out Toddler? Well, after all that excitement – soft play, pigtail pulling, long walks, meeting sooty, eating ice cream – yes, you’ve guessed it… it DIDN’T MAKE A BLIND BIT OF DIFFERENCE… she was still up for a good 40 minutes at bedtime messing about…

*sigh*

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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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We have just enjoyed a lovely long weekend with glorious weather and some really lovely days out.

Good Friday was such a sunny day we decided on a trip to a local beer garden, which includes a nice big playground, with Lilly and Isla’s Nanna and Grandad and Aunty Laura. We all sat and enjoyed the sunshine while Lilly played on the slide and swings, while bossing the much bigger children who tried to play on the one slide that was “out of order”!  The highlight had to be the huge trampoline at the bottom on the field where Lilly surprised me by wanting to get on without hesitation after seeing another little boy bouncing away. (Previously at the soft play, she’s had two tentative bounces before wanting to get off – and she wouldn’t even entertain bouncy castles, except to sit on the outside and bounce on her bottom a bit!) Soon when Grandad and Laura saw how much fun she was having they wanted to join in too – in the end we were all bent over double laughing as they bounced away together!

After that it was back to their house for a bbq – we had some delicious meat but tried to keep the amount consumed down a little bit with Weight Watchers in mind. Lilly’s wendy house was brought out of the shed and she also enjoyed cycling around the garden and playing football with daddy and grandad (“It’s MY turn to score a goal now!!!”)

Isla wouldn’t sleep in her pushchair after lunch, and after less than five minutes shut-eye in the car, wouldn’t sleep at Nanna’s house either, so she was a little grouchy towards the end of the day. But she still enjoyed sitting on her picnic blanket in the garden and picking daisies, and even had a little sit in the wendy house which she seemed to enjoy.

On Saturday we decided to go on a (slightly ambitious) day trip to York. We absolutely love it there, and actually went last Easter for a long weekend before Isla was born. We left the house at 8.30 and got there for just after 10am, so it wasn’t bad going at all. A tip for other daytrippers is the station car park, just by the railway museum – £2.50 all day on Saturdays, and you can reserve your place ahead.

 We started at the Railway Museum, where we enjoyed cappucinos (no cakes) for us and a muffin for Lilly before looking at the Royal trains, Japanese bullet train (once again Lilly loved sitting on this and didn’t want to get off “until the train goes”), and of course enjoying the coin operated Thomas ride and shop of the same theme – where a Thomas Flag was purchased with much excitement – exactly the same as this time last year when we last stayed.

After the railway museum we went for a picnic by the river – it was such a glorious day, really warm and sunny and combined with it being Easter weekend York was absolutely packed. However where we spread out our blanket, in a very lovely park with the war memorial in it, wasn’t too busy and we all enjoyed our sandwiches and salad. Mind you, Lilly managed to get a whole sandwich stuck to her dress and was walking around oblivious… Luckily, (and unusually), I had packed another sun dress for her…

We went for a lovely stroll along the River Ouse, and tried to find a pub where we could have a little sit down – not easy due to the hoardes! Then it was back home and a slightly less peaceful journey as Lilly managed to wee in her seat after not very much advance notice of needing the loo. So there went the last change of clothes – she had to travel home in nothing but a cardy! Isla was grizzling because she was hungry. But hey, no matter, a lovely day!

Easter Sunday started a little early – not sure which of the girls woke first but by 4.50am they were both awake (usual wakeup time at the moment being about 5.50am) We had left a pair of bunny ears and a couple of tiny chocolate eggs for Lilly outside her bedroom, which she was very excited to discover. “Do you think the Easter bunny left you those, Lilly?” I asked her. “No, he didn’t”. she said. “Because Sasha at nursery has got those ears too…”

Anyway the chocolate was eaten aproximately 10 seconds later and she was happy with that!

After lunch I set up an Easter egg hunt for her, complete with ‘cryptic’ clues, and she enjoyed hunting all over the house collecting little chocolate eggs, chicks and bunnies. At the end of the hunt was a present each for the girls and a bigger Peppa Pig egg for Lilly with a rocket shaped cup.

Monday was a slightly cooler day, although still sunny and we went to see my mum where Lilly enjoyed yet another Easter Egg hunt as ‘uncle’ Jack (my sister’s boyfriend) had hidden 70 small eggs in the garden for her to find. Isla meanwhile enjoyed putting the chocolate eggs in her mouth and tearing off the foil wrapping with her teeth- oops!

Then we went to a country fair in Southport, where I may or may not have exposed my knickers to the crowd while trying to rescue Lilly from impending doom trying to climb up a ridiculously difficult ladder thing on an inflatable slide, and I also may or may not have nearly wiped out about five children in failing to rescue Lilly and instead sliding rather un-ladylike back down said difficult ladder thing. I, er, can’t quite remember now… Anyway the upshot was that Lilly plumped for the bouncy castle instead, and, after at least five minutes sitting in the corner of the castle observing… she got up and bounced!!!! Quite a breakthrough after being too frightened to do it before. And, guess what? She absolutely loved it!

If only we had more four day weekends… oh, wait – there’s another one next week (thank you, Royal Wedding)

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Last week on a day off work the girls and I spent a really lovely day at Walton Hall Gardens in Warrington.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we decided to take a picnic and go.

We parked up and walked over the bridge, watching and waving to canal boats passing below. Then we arrived at the playground, which, if you are a 3-year-old or thereabouts is VERY impressive. Lilly’s absolute favourite being the helter skelter style slide – plenty of exercise was had climbing up there time after time after time!

After that we spread out our picnic blanket under a shady tree and enjoyed our lunch – I was really pleased that Isla ate some soft cheese sandwiches and had no choking issues, and also seemed to enjoy them and feel full up without me having to heat anything up for her – hallelujah! Isla also had her first taste of strawberries:

… as you can see she wasn’t too sure at first, but she enjoyed holding it in her hand and biting into it, so I’m counting that as a success!

Then we went for a look at the pond with some HUGE fish in – one even flipped out of the water while we watched with very much entertained Lilly. And the flower gardens there were looking beautiful in the sunshine, especially this one which was planted with hundreds of lovely purple tulips:

After that, it was back to the playground for a bit then a look around the ‘children’s zoo’, which basically comprises of lots of rabbits, guinea pigs, peacocks and things, and then Lilly had a little go at pottery painting which was taking place next to the playground

She chose a little aeroplane to paint (£3.50) and I was actually really impressed by the detail she put into it. Usually painting at home is a bit of a messy business, with LOTS of paint applied and all the colours mixed together. But at the pottery painting they had a big box of fine paintbrushes, and the children were using one paintbrush per colour, then putting the used brush into a tub, so no colours were mixed up. Lilly took a good ten minutes carefully adding little dots of colour to her plane before declaring it finished. Then we left it to dry while we sat down with an ice cream on the grass.

After that we had one last play in the playground – and strangely enough, bumped into a group of children from Lilly’s nursery on a day trip! Then we collected Lilly’s aeroplane and came home.

All in all I think we were there about five hours – not bad for somewhere that’s free (car parking aside). The weather obviously helped, but if you live anywhere near Warrington I’d thoroughly recommend Walton Hall Gardens for a nice day out with the children.

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