Bribery & Corruption

I need to stop bribing my children.

There I said it.

Yes I admit it. I bribe them.

I bribe them to do stuff so it doesn’t take an hour to get out of the house. I bribe them so it doesn’t take fifty attempts to get in the car & I sometimes bribe to go to sleep so I can get some work done.

Yes, you can judge me.

I judge me! I’m not perfect. Far from it in fact.

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Five!

Last weekend Lil Man turned five. Yes, five. Already.

And I’m still referring to my kids as toddlers. Oops!

I’m mostly in shock at how fast these last few years have gone, pleased that he’s grown into such a gorgeous kid (in loads of different ways) and sad that he is growing up so quick.

In fact, due to OK’s babyweightlossgate I was looking at some pictures of us when he was newborn last week. I hadn’t realised that I’d had so many pictures taken with him as a baby. But really pleased when I found them, wobbly tummy n all! I’m chuffed I look so happy in them as it’s exactly how I remember feeling. Plus, I didn’t have half as many wrinkles!

Newborn

His first year in school is done and dusted and he’s adjusted to it really well. In fact, he’s loved school and I’m excited for him to get back there with his friends and experience and learn more stuff. I’m so proud of the little person he has become. He’s kind, patient, sweet with his little sister, and very funny. Although when we have conversations like this….

‘Smelly!’
‘That’s not very nice, you know we don’t call people names. What do you have to say to Mummy?’
‘Well….you are a BIT stinky!’

….I do have to try desperately not to snigger!

He had a fab birthday, we decorated his bedroom at his request (superheroes for a super boy). He’s had a new big boy bed, which kinda drowns him. But at least it’ll last a good few years (til he’s a grown up!) Lil miss loves it just as much, hence the two very excited children rolling around!

LilMansBedroom

He had a visit to softplay (yep, that’s what he chose to do out of all the options we gave him!) we had a lovely family meal and I spent forever making him a superhero cake. This one to be exact….

SuperheroCake

His little face when he saw his bedroom and his cake were absolutely worth getting covered in paint, flour and icing for!

I still can’t believe how fast it’s gone and how quick he’s grown up. Almost makes me want to do it all again. Almost!

The Chill Factore

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A few weeks ago Lil Man, Lil Miss & I all got the opportunity to visit the Chill Factore in Manchester. Yes, I know. It’s taken me ages to write the post, I have terrible blogger’s guilt, but unfortunately on some occasions I have to be a grown up & do what I should do instead of what I want to do.

Not the day we went to Chill Factore though!!

I’ve wanted to go for ages, so when we were invited to go along & check out the new Snow Park, well, how could I say no? We got to go and visit at the same time as a great group of Northern Bloggers & Alex from cBeebies also tagged along for the trip, which pleased the kids no end, especially as his little ones came to play too.

ChillFactoreCollage
Most of the activities at the Chill Factore are for children who are 4+ but the Snow Play area is perfect for littler ones, & even older ones too. Even us adults were racing down the mini sledging track. There’s a new snow carousel which is ideal for smaller tots, but even the older ones were happily kicking back in it & enjoying the ride too!

There are soft building blocks, footballs & of course snow!! We had snow fights, lots of them. We sledged, we built stuff & best of all, we got to go on the proper sledging track, which was the best fun ever. I’d happily have spent all day there and I’m pretty sure the kids would have too.

Children playing at the Chill Factore

Next time, I’m doing the Tubing & the Luge, think sledging in big rubber rings and Cool Runnings & you’re about there, definitely leaving my lucky egg at home though! Snow on my face is enough, I don’t need egg too!! 😉

I was expecting it to be a little colder than it was, we had plenty of gear courtesy of the Chill Factore to keep us warm. However, I made the mistake of taking our own gloves, which were all soaking wet after about 20 minutes of playing in the snow. Next time we go, we’re definitely hiring gear, including gloves from the Chill Factore. The Chill Factore gloves were well insulated ensuring that those wearing them had toasty warm hands throughout, unlike us!

We had great fun in the Snow Play area, although I do have to say that the kids decided they wanted out after about half an hour, which is about the same time as they stand the proper snow (on the rare occasions we have a decent amount!) We managed to stay in a good while longer after hitting the bigger sledging track & then going back to do some building in the Snow Play area.

As most of the really fun stuff is for 4+ I’d definitely recommend it for that age range. The Snow Play area was fab but it would’ve been difficult to keep them entertained in there for much longer than that first half hour if we’d not had the opportunity to do something else. However, that may have been different had they been younger.

There’s also plenty of cafes & restaurants to grab something to eat afterwards & plenty of outdoor clothing shops for a bit of retail therapy too.

We were really lucky to be treated to pizza afterwards & after all that Snow Play it was much needed!

Chill Factore logo

We received free entry to the Chill Factore in order to provide this review. Big thanks again to Chill Factore for having us, letting us play & providing us with pizza!

Sealife

Sealife Centre Manchester

Ever since we visited the Legoland Discovery Centre, the kids have been begging to visit the Sealife Centre, which has recently opened in Barton Square at the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

We were very lucky to be invited along with Blogs Up North and lots of other lovely bloggers to have a sneaky peek of Sealife Centre Manchester before it even opened. The kids were extremely excited. They couldn’t wait to get in there. And to be honest, neither could I! Hubby (being a proper grown up) was slightly more reserved.

The tour began with an interactive turtle show which told us all about turtle babies. The children were encouraged to cheer them on to get into the sea, which they really enjoyed and were happy to join in!

The next room we went into was like a fish vortex. It’s actually called the shoal room. It was pretty cool watching them swim round and round, quite mesmerising in fact!

There were little tunnels in between all the tanks and areas where the kids could pop up in little bubbles as if they were inside the tank which quite amused them. I also had a go, and almost got stuck. That’s one thing I wouldn’t recommend!

Sealife Centre Collage

We didn’t get to spend as much time in the tunnel and the Shark Shipwreck as I would have liked, it got a little cramped as one group were trying to leave as we were in there so we thought it best to get out & come back later, unfortunately we didn’t get chance. I’d have happily stood watching the sharks swim overhead for much longer.

Lil Man spent a lot of his time here searching for pirates. He was convinced that there’d be some as they live on the sea and even more so when he spotted the skull in the shipwreck!

Sealife Centre Collage 2

The Manchester Sealife Centre is one of the first places in Europe where you can experience a Sea Trek! It looks like amazing fun (I’d love to experience it. If I weren’t such a wimp that is, I don’t do fish kisses!) You get to go in the tank where their resident turtle Ernie lives. We didn’t get to see much of Ernie as he was napping under a rock (not that I blame him!)

Before we went to the Sealife Centre we spent some time looking through all the Facebook page learning about all the different creatures we might see. There were quite a few that we missed, but as the Sealife Centre wasn’t quite ready to open at the time (we were just invited for a sneaky peek) we didn’t get time to see all the displays. We were most disappointed that we missed the turtles, the octopus, the seahorse nursery and the hammerhead sharks.

One of our favourite places was Stingray Bay. We did spend quite a lot of time there. You can see all around the tank and if you stand there for long enough the fish all crowd around. If stand with your hand on the glass, the stingrays swim past & touch the glass as they swim past. Kinda like fishy high fives! The kids were fascinated with this tank, Lil Man loved the peepholes & would’ve sat there watching for hours if we’d let him!!

Sealife Centre 2

One of the areas they would’ve liked to spend more time were the rock pools. These had crabs in at the time of our visit but I understand there will be more in there now. The kids had to have a second trip back to the rock pool before they were brave enough to have a stroke of a crab, but they did it. Lil Man was particularly proud of himself for picking up an empty shell!

The kids were particularly upset about not going on the soft play area, because it looked ace! Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite ready at the time of our visit, but will be open now. I think the kids would happily go back again just to try that out.

Big thanks to everyone at the Sealife Centre for having us and to Blogs Up North for organising our trip!

We received free entry to the Sealife Centre in order to provide a review.

Talking Tots (Part 1)

I’ve been writing this post for a long time. Well, making notes anyway. Notes of the things that the tiny tearaways have said that make my heart melt a little or made me roar with laughter.

There’s a 10 year age gap between me and my little bro. It meant that I had chance to test out my motherly skills as a youngster (sorry about that matey!) It also meant that I learnt some lessons early on that I can apply to parenthood now.

One of those lessons was that, ‘Whatever children say, no matter how sweet or hilarious, it’s very unlikely you’ll remember it in 20 years time’

My little bro gave us side splitting moments often. I recall sitting round the dining table on many an occasion, attempting to stifle that type of laughter that just won’t stay under wraps.

Unfortunately, very few of them are actual memories where I could tell you exactly what was said to make us laugh. I just can’t remember them.

Except for the time he terrified one of my first boyfriends by asking him, (the very first time I fetched him home) ‘If my mummy and daddy die, will you look after me?’ and the time I thought I was being clever when I explained to him that ‘gay’ meant happy. Of course, he pointed at the first man he saw in the street and shouted, ‘Look, he’s gay!’

When our babies were born I made a pact with myself to record the things they said so that I WILL remember them in 20 years time, and also so I can embarrass them a little bit at their weddings!!

Having said that, I also want to say what a proud mummy I am. Lil man’s speech is excellent. He expresses himself brilliantly and he’s really polite too (well, most of the time) and because he’s such a great example, his sister has come on leaps and bounds with her speech.

As amazing as it is to hear them both talking so well, expressing themselves and using their imagination, I never imagined quite……

How bossy they could be……

Arriving home from pre-school when I dare to sit down straight away.
Lil Man: ‘Mummy, get up and do some work’

Driving (at no more than 30mph I might add!)
Lil Man: ‘My feel ick Mummy, you is going too faster’

Lil Miss asking for flapjack
Me: ‘Sorry Lil Miss, we haven’t got any’
Lil Miss: ‘You is NOT sowrreee!’

How crushing their words could be……

Me: ‘I love you Lil Miss’
Lil Miss ‘And I love……..Holly’ (Holly is our dog. Still, at least I know where I come in the pecking order!!)

How cute they could be……..

Lil Man (walking to pre-school): ‘Ooof, my runned out of running, but my not walked out of walking’

How embarrassing they could be…….

Lil Miss *sings loudly* dancing round a lady changing her little boy in public toilets: ‘stinky bum, stinky bum, stinky bum!’

Lil Man *shouts loudly* in Sainsbury’s cafe: ‘Oooh, look mummy. A LADY MAN!’

Lil Man *points to man directly behind us* while we’re shopping in Asda: ‘Mummy. Look at THAT man. What IS he? Oi! Man. What ARE you? What is your name?’

While Daddy answers a work call in the middle of bathtime
Lil Man to Lil Miss: ‘Can you show me your bum? I’ll show you mine!’

How clever they could be….

Lil Man going through the Argos catalogue pre-Christmas, pointing at pretty much every single thing saying, ‘My want that’
Me: ‘Sweetie, I’m sorry but you can’t have all of those toys. Santa has lots of other boys and girls to deliver presents to, he won’t have room to fetch all of those toys for you.’
Lil Miss: ‘You as to buy it then, Mummy. Or Daddy as to buy it!’

How funny they could be…….

Lil Man: *fart*
Me: ‘Excuse you Lil Man!’
Lil Man: ‘It wasn’t me Mummy. It was my bum!’

Me: ‘I’m not standing here like a lemon all day, Lil Miss’
Lil Man: ‘You is not a lemon Mummy…….you is a orange!’

While we were talking about one of my friends having her baby….
Lil Man: ‘baby will come when it’s ready, but my will need a slide to catch it’

Lil Man and Lil Miss arguing about me
Lil Man: ‘She’s MY Mummy’
Lil Miss: ‘No, MY Mummy’
Lil Man: ‘She’s EVERYONE’S Mummy’
Lil Miss: ‘NO. MY. MUMMY.’
Lil Man: ‘No. She’s my Mummy. She’s your Mummy’ She’s Daddy’s Mummy…’ ?!?!?

This is Part 1 because I’m pretty sure there will be plenty more said that I want to record and share too. They do come out with some corkers every single day after all!

I’m tempted to start a meme but maybe that’s a little ambitious for such a newbie blogger, plus there may already be one out there. Does anyone know of any you can point me in the direction of?

Kate x