We get desperate. After over an hour of Paw Patrol, we realise it is still only 7am. Which is exactly 11 hours till Daddy comes home. So in my seven years of being a Mum I have developed a list of some 'alternative' places to visit. If you're really bored, or hormonal, or just 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 friggin Chase and his pals. Again.
The 'Free' Zoo
OK so Pets at Home isn't technically a free zoo. But when you are five. Anywhere that has a rabbit, a guinea pig, a very exciting chinchilla and a fancy 'Nemo' fish can be classed as a zoo. One of my favourite places to visit if it is freezing cold. We have been known to spend a good hour at the 'zoo'. But be warned. One time? I left with two guinea pigs called Anna and Elsa. My husband has still never quite forgiven me.
CAKE IN A CAFÉ...living the dream...
The Supermarket Cafe
Sometimes it is essential. We have to take our little ones to the supermarket to get essentials. Horrific. But there is one thing that makes my two behave when we hit the local Asda. The joy of the café. You would think it was the Ritz. Sometimes I let them go in fancy dress and shout random things at passersby whilst I have a hot cup of tea. Happy days! And all for the price of one hot drink and two cakes (and illegally smuggled in Fruit Shoots. Shhhhh).
Garden centres are weird places. They are huge and contain the most amount of random tat any child could desire. They also have sometimes have animals. Like the free zoo! And generally a cafe too. Just avoid any section with strange glass knick knacks. An accident waiting to happen. (Not that I have ever shoved back a snapped in half bauble or an over price Yankee Candle where the lid may have cracked a little bit. Cough cough).
Forget Paris...I LOVE IKEA!
Ikea for me is the dream destination. My local one has a free softplay for kids 3 and over. I KNOW SUCH AN AMAZING JOY! 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 just £1". However I generally ram a plate full of meatballs down my gob, buy 1000 tealights, a pack of 3 pairs of scissors and leave £30 lighter.
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. My son was so happy. Transfixed with joy. So often a good walk around your local neighbourhood will mean you may stumble upon something that to you may be sad for the environment but happy for your child. Yay!
'Enjoying' a walk around the neighbourhood
I often mention my love of Poundland. 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 for a wider range of tat. I can go in and give them one whole pound and it makes them so happy (let's not discuss the arrival of THINGS MORE THAN A POUND which nearly ruined my lazy Mum fun). Shops like this are fab for stickers, books and also weird cartoon DVDS. And sweets for Mummy. (Sadly not gin).
So now you know where to find me on rainy days, or during certain times of the month or if you see a Facebook status from me saying I've been up all night. And if you ever want a tealight or borrow some scissors? I'm your girl!