Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Knackered Mums Guide To Entertaining Small Children

Most of the time we are on the ball with this looking after small children thing. We can book in play dates. Or go to the soft play. Or even gulp get the paints out. But sometimes. We are crap. We've run out of friends houses to trash and the thought of a hot and stinking soft play wants to make us smash our own face in. 

We get desperate. After an hour of Peppa Pig we realise it is only 7am and 11 hours till Daddy comes home. In my four years of being a Mum I've developed a list of some alternative places to visit. If you're really bored, or hormonal, or need an escape. These are my fail safes. Some are free. Some cost a tenner. But one can't put a price on the sheer relief of not seeing Daddy Pig. Again.


The Supermarket Cafe
Sometimes it is essential we have to take our little ones to the supermarket. Horrific. But there is one thing that makes my two behave when we hit the local Asda. The joy of the cafe. You would think it was the Ritz! In the picture above I also let my daughter dress as a witch. And shout as passersby whilst I had a cup of tea. Happy days! And all for the price of one hot drink and two cakes (and illegally smuggled in Fruit Shoots).


The Garden Centre
Garden centres are weird places. They are huge and contain the most amount of random tat any child could desire. See above the weird Jordan's wedding/Cinderella carriage that entertained my children for a good while. They also have animals! Like a zoo but free! And generally a cafe too. Just avoid any section with strange glass knick knacks. Accident waiting to happen (not that I have ever shoved back a snapped in half bauble cough cough).




Ikea
Ikea for me is the dream destination. My local one has a free softplay for kids 3 and over (you can leave them there! Amazing!). Just next to this is a big tele showing cartoons which is handily right by the £1 milkshake machines. And outside? AN UNDERCOVER PARK! Now a saner woman would say "right we can have a full afternoon of fun for £1". However I generally ram a plate full of meatballs down my gob, buy 1000 tealights and a pack of 3 pairs of scissors. 


Making Crap Things Seem Fun
Near my house there was a big tree cutter machine taking down all the local trees (hey who needs trees to make inner city Birmingham look nice eh?). For three days. We walked down. Every. Day. And stood there and watched. See how happy my boy is. He was transfixed and screamed with joy. So often a good walk around will mean you may stumble upon something that to you may be sad for the environment but happy for your toddler.


Poundland
I often mention my love of Poundland. And Poundworld (which has really good Frozen tat in). I seriously have spent so so many hours in local pound shops with my two. The fact we can walk there or if I am REALLY desperate drive to a bigger one and I can give them one whole pound and it makes them so happy. Shops like this are also fab for stickers, books and also weird cartoon DVDS. And sweets for Mummy.

So now you know where to find me on rainy days, or during certain times of the month or if you see a tweet from me saying I've been up all night. And if you ever want a free tealight? I'm your girl!

45 comments:

  1. Poundland works for my boy too as does garden centres!! I will try supermarket cafes! Great post xx

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    1. Poundland is the blooming dream! x

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  2. hahahaha another brilliant post. I just love your style of writing on this blog!! The garden centre thing made me giggle - we love Melbick Garden Centre and because it's a 45 minute drive away from us its like a huge giant adventure (there's even a cheapy soft play area in there that I didn't get my bum stuck in trying to squeeze into the ball pit - honest!). I remember as a child going to a giant B&Q store and we'd spend hours collecting as many paint colour charts as possible!! Maybe that's one to add to your list? haha

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    1. The paint colour charts is seriously something I am going to do next time that we are going. It really made me laugh x

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    2. Paint colour charts also make excellent free craft supplies. Cut them up to make collages. Wallpaper samples too

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    3. Paint colour charts also make excellent free craft supplies. Cut them up to make collages. Wallpaper samples too

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  3. Haven't experienced Ikea yet, but have been tempted. Our favourite thing is driving to our local and enormous Sainsbury's. Next to it is a river with a path alongside it. We (almost daily) take a trip there for shopping, but before heading in, we go for a 'Wander walk' (that's the river). No cars. Clean air. Just the hazard of a cold river for the kids to fall into! We make a big loop on foot before heading back for half a day's worth of groceries (before doing it all again in the afternoon).

    Our mega cap thing is 'the lightning tree', which is a tree that got struck by lightning and has a huge split down the middle.

    Garden centres are a mega winner. Why?! And any playground which has child-proof gates.

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    1. I am loving the Wander Walk and Lightening Tree! These are inspired!!! x

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  4. Reading this has made me giggle!! I just tweeted you re poundland but yep Garden Centres are amazing for keeping them occupied! We had a new Costa built opposite our house a few months ago and on bored days we'd go and sit on the bench outside and watch the diggers...now its built we can go and sit inside and eat cake ;)

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    1. Ha ha ha! Love it! Oh god if there was a Costa opposite me? I would be screwed x

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  5. Yep, we love the garden centre. Our local one has a massive pet dept with snakes and reptiles as well as the bunnies and fish. #Freezoo Everyone's a winner ;-) Great post x

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    1. You just cannot beat a free zoo!! x

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  6. Garden centre always a total winner! Not tried ikea yet though - off to let them run riot! Great post and glad I'm not the only one trying to make up stuff for them to do :) xx

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    1. You could always strap them in the buggy! xxx

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  7. Love it! Will try a few of those but may struggle with the tree cutter and our local garden centre is full of expensive tat which by boy always wants! x

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    1. I always make sure I stick to safe tat free areas! x

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  8. Great post, I always love your style :) i went to our local garden centre so many times over Christmas. Might have to try poundland when she's a bit older to understand spending money. X

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  9. I agree with all of the above! Building sites with large cranes and diggers are winners too - when they were pulling the old halls of residence down at Birmingham uni it was brilliant!
    We have also been known to take trips to the shopping centre....not for the shops but for the centre itself...endless fun going down in lifts and up on escalators...
    My eldests favourite place is the level crossing...we go and sit and guess which way the next train is coming from and how many carriages it will have!!

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    1. Trains seem to be a popular one on my Facebook page! I must invest in going there! x

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  10. Absolutely brilliant as always. I'll keep these in mind for future desperation.

    Rebecca x x
    www.percyandgrace.co.uk

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    1. Desperation is just the right word! xxx

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  11. Ikea is amazing isn't it? We also have an ikea family card so can get a free cup of coffee while the little darlings play. We are lucky to live 5 mins away- pound land is a bit more of a trek sadly!

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    1. I would be there every blooming week if it was so close! x

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  12. We love the pound shop. Can hang around in there for ages..but Ikea is the best! It keeps Sylvia entertained!
    Angela xx

    Have you read my post "Guatemalan worry dolls -A great parenting tool"? http://wp.me/p5XRN6-7v

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    1. It really is the best place ever! x

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  13. Love this lol. IKEA is fab (have already shared my love of 60p hotdogs with you on Twitter) and we also love garden centers. Nowhere else do you find such an eclectic mix of random stuff under one roof. Tropical fish, vintage homewear, plants, chocolate pizzas and dream catchers are just a handful of the things you'd find at our local one - a kid's paradise! x

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    1. The mention of dream catchers just really really made me giggle! x

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  14. Genius! If only older kids were this cheap to entertain. Oh no, they need dance lessons and Xboxes. And they still repeatedly watch the same programmes over and over again (sorry to break that to you!).

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    1. Oh god - NOOOO!!! You are supposed to be my voice of hope! x

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  15. Fabulous post!!!! We love Ikea too!!! My two will happily spend hours looking at the tat. We also LOVE going to visit our pet fish who lives at the pet shop, he is called Pac, and we can't bring him home in case he gets lonely....... Some big fibs there lol!

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    1. Ha ha ha! I LOVE PARENTING FIBS!!! They rock x

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  16. Love this, you look gorge girl and your little ones are too cute. I am now off to Poundland, not now it's midnight but tomorrow. Saw you on the front page of HuffPost yday, girl you are famous innits xxx

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    1. Ah thanks beaut!!! Not exactly famous! Ha ha ha! x

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  17. A fabulously funny post! Love it :-)

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  18. Ooh, I wish I lived closer to an Ikea - I would definitely take my two there more often! The library is always a good bet too - I used to grab a huge pile of nice cookery books to look at while they bashed at the children's computers and sat in the boat shaped book shelf. The garden centre bit made me laugh - they are so bizarrely random sometimes, especially at Christmas.

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    1. They are full of the most odd stuff in the whole wide world!!! x

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  19. We used to go to Gatwick Airport and ride back and fore on the free shuttle between the North and South Terminals. If we were quick we could bag the seats at the front and pretend to drive. Excellent toilet facilities, escalators galore and a Costa too. Bonus points for spotting a sniffer dog. Good rainy day out for the price of a costa coffee and 1 adult train ticket - probably more expensive to schlep there from Birmingham though...

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    1. I remember my mum taking me to Birmingham airport when I was little, to look out from the observation deck, think it must have been free back then cos I can't imagine my mum paying for that, lol. Don't know about nowadays though

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  20. I freaking love pound land ! It's my go to shop now for almost anything most of the food is a con but the crafts and crap it's fantastic! Good ideas here been a mum 7 years now and still struggling with these need to get out but where to moments!

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  21. I second the "go for a walk, you never know what you'l see" theory. I spent a good half an hour with my 3 year old watching a car transporter unload 6 cars at a car showroom on our way back from dropping his sister at the swimming pool. It was actually quite interesting even as an adult, my son thought it was the best thing he had EVER seen.

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  22. We found a tree chopper so I thought great, changed route to go have a good look but....... my 4 year old went mental! Unconsolable sobs and the dead tree being eaten up and spat out (made worse by mommy flitting between trying not to cry with laughter or embarrassment)

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  23. Brilliant :-)
    Though on the worst days... Seriously! I definitely couldn't take mine into a shop on one of those bad bad days...
    'mama! Mama! MAMA! ...Can I have this... This... But what about this... MAMA!'
    - Drives me absolutely bonkers.

    But I need to use IKEA WAY more than I do!

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  24. Yes to Ikea and Garden Centres. Our local garden centre has a fish dept, loads of books and toys (to play with & never buy), a mini softplay (free) AND a cafe that does HALF PRICE cakes between 4-5pm.
    Pets at Home kills many hours. And you can see so many cute puppies usually.
    B&Q. I honestly dont get it. But she bloody loves the place. Cafe. Catalogues to pick up. And this time of year LOADS & LOADS of christmas lights.

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