Posts Tagged ‘Southport’

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…



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Yesterday we enjoyed a sunny trip to see my mum at Southport, which included a stroll up the pier and a play on the old penny arcade at the end.

The arcade has lots of old ‘penny in the slot’ machines, which take old pennies, and Lilly’s absolute favourite is the Sooty and Sweep Band – you put your penny in and Sooty, Sweep and Sue play their instruments and sing a different nursery rhyme each time.

A year ago it was her favourite and she listened to about five songs, fascinated at first and then eventually dancing along. It was exactly the same story yesterday, even with 12 extra months maturity under her belt!

It got me thinking about Sooty and Sweep – as far as I know they don’t show it on TV anymore, and I had a thought about getting a DVD to show Lilly what the characters were all about. When my sister was little (she is 8 years younger than me) Sooty and Sweep was her favourite and I remember us going to see the Sooty and Sweep show live a few times (it was great!)

But then again, would Sooty and Sweep seem outdated to Lilly alongside Rastamouse and Peppa Pig?

Some of Lilly’s favourite TV programmes and characters are ones that were around when I was little – Thomas the Tank Engine, Fireman Sam – but she doesn’t like watching the “old” versions – you know, the ones with the actual models whose mouths dont move – she refuses to watch these old episodes and only likes the computer generated super flashy versions – and who can really blame her?

So then I got thinking about the children’s programmes Lilly and Isla’s children will watch. Will they still be enjoying Thomas the Tank Engine and Fireman Sam? And which of today’s CBeebies programmes will become classics that Lilly and Isla will watch with their children? And how will they be modernised to attract a new generation?

Tony thinks Peppa Pig will be an enduring classic. But how will it change? Peppa in 3D? Smellyvision? Peppa flies a spaceship?

How about the others? Waybuloo – that would work well in 3D! But I think, like Teletubbies, it will have its day and then fade.

Maybe by the time my grandchildren are grown up, they will have brought back Sooty and Sweep…

What do you reckon?

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This time last year, Lilly’s obsession with Thomas the Tank engine and trains in general was at its peak.

Everywhere we went, Thomas had to come too. We were planning a Thomas filled birthday and Christmas – she got train sets, Thomas figurines, Thomas puzzle, Thomas scooter. Her birthday cake was Thomas. She has a Thomas duvet cover. When we dropped her off at nursery, she’d leave a Thomas in the car for when she was picked up – as soon as she went into nursery, she’d make a beeline for the two Thomas toys in there, and keep hold of them ALL DAY!

So, as you can see, she liked Thomas.

In the last year, we have been (numerous times) on the miniature railway at Southport. We’ve been to the model village in Southport, with the model railway. We’ve ridden on fairground trains. But we had never taken her on an actual, real life train. Until recently, when I decided to ask my mum to help me take the girls on a little train trip to Manchester.

It didn’t start too well – my mum was rather late arriving at our house, bearing in mind the train was only every hour and we had two children to organise when we got to the station. As soon as she parked her car, I bundled her into mine before she even had time to say “hello” to the grandchildren!

We had to park a few streets away from the station as parking is a nightmare on weekdays. Cue frantic scramble to assemble double buggy, decamp both children, gather the many required bags of baby and toddler paraphernalia and take up a light jog to the station. Which, I may say, is up a rather steep, cobbled hill.

Puffing and panting, we arrived at the station with a good five minutes to spare. Result, we made it! Oh, wait, there are no stairs to the platform. Get both girls out, take bags off the buggy, lug bags, babies and pram up two flights of stairs. More puffing and panting. Worry about making sure Lilly doesn’t break free and fall onto the tracks. Desperately start coordinating a plan with my mum about who will do precisely what when the train arrives – i.e who will carry what bags, who will supervise which child, and in what order we will do this. Train approaches platform… mad scramble to carry out aforementioned plan… and finally… we are on!!!

Luckily, once on board, Lilly was suitably impressed, watching the trees and fields wizz by and looking all around her at the carriage. As we drew into Manchester we pointed out all the tall buildings and other trains which could be seen on railway bridges etc.

I’d planned to take my mum and the girls to lunch at the Printworks, but unfortunately got mixed up between Manchester Victoria and Manchester Piccadily. (We wanted Victoria, we got off at Piccadily). Never mind, we went for a wander and discovered a Bella Italia, which wasn’t too busy and they found us a table where we could spread out our millions of bags and park up our double buggy without causing too much of a health and safety risk to other diners.

After a little bit of a grizzle while we finished our meal, Isla went off to sleep which meant we could even stretch to coffees and an ice cream for Lilly, who was being very well behaved.

Afterwards we went for a bit of an explore, saw a lovely fountain

Chased some pigeons…

And admired the water features…

(You know what she’s thinking, there, don’t you…)

Yep, that’s right…

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Yesterday Lilly and I went to meet up with Grannie at Farmer Ted’s, which is somethere between Ormskirk and Formby.

Farmer Ted’s is basically a working farm which has diversified into the business of keeping young children entertained while mums, dads and Grannies have a cup of tea and a cake (one of my favourite types of businesses!).

They have an indoor play barn, with two soft play sections – one for under 4s, and one for the bigger and more adventurous children which is over two or three levels. Outside, they have a barn with animals including sheep (and baby lambs), pigs and pigletts, horses, a cow, goats, ferrets and hens, and they do demonstrations throughout the day such as ferrett racing and cow milking.

Outside there are tractor rides, swings, adventure playground, a sandpit, toy tractors to play on (no extra cost), llamas, a plastic lifesize cow to climb on and learn to milk !, and next door there is a nice farm shop where we picked up some nice stewing steak and two things called Lamb Pinwheels – minced lamb with veg rolled with puff pastry – still waiting to try them but they sound delicious.

Mummy pig with quite a few hungry mouths to feed at Farmer Ted's Mummy pig with quite a few hungry mouths to feed at Farmer Ted’s


We got there about 12 so Grannie, Lilly and I had lunch first (very nice mushroom soup for £2.95 each for us grown ups) and Farmer Ted managed to get forever in my good books by being one of those thoughtful establishments which provides microwaves so you can heat up your own baby food – Lilly was therefore able to enjoy a homemade mummy fish pie which she loves. After that we took Lilly over to the soft play for under 4s – it was a bit of a frightening experience for me, if i may say, because it was very busy and there were lots of older children all throwing themselves all over the place with no regard for my little flower, who can’t walk yet and has no concept of the fact that at any second a large child is about to land on her head. Lilly was having a lovely time, but mummy was having a bit of a nervous breakdown and had to keep going in to rescue her from certain death (i’m not usually this neurotic, it was very busy in there!).

We had a little breather looking at the aminals in the barn while we waited for the soft play area to quieten down a bit – i stroked a gorgeous shire horse before my mum reminded me i’m violently allergic to horses… luckily a quick handwach prevented my eyes from becoming three times bigger than usual, as has previously happened. Would have been a bit difficult to drive home otherwise!

Afterwards we had a quick cup of coffee and Lilly devoured a whole orange (her current favourite fruit) before we braved the soft play again. Luckily, it was a bit quieter this time, although Lilly still came dangerously near to a foot in the face, but she wasn’t worried in the slightest.

Then it was a long swing on the baby swings and a look round the farm shop before our trip home.

All in all, quite a good place. The only downsides being it was a bit busy and i think they could do with a soft play area for the very youngest kids only – say 0-2 because 4 year olds are pretty rowdy! I also thought the admission was a bit pricey – we had to pay £9 for two adults, which i think is a bit of a cheek because, lets face it, you’re only going for the children – and the grown ups are the ones likely to spend their money in the cafe.

But, it is in a very convenient half way location between me and my mum’s house, and is good in both summer and winter, so definitely somewhere to put on the list of places to explore if you’ve got young children.

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