queus

Anyone else an undercover Mum having fun?

If you love days out, trawling round ‘attractions’ with kids, then you may want to skip to a blog that champions it.  This is not one of them!

Let’s be honest: Days out with kids can be stressful.  Believe me, my blood pressure can go from normal to dangerous in a nanosecond.  Early starts are fraught and rows herald the start of the journey ahead.

The older they get the harder it becomes to even get mine out, let alone agree on where to go.  They either look at me as if I’m stark raving mad sporting two heads when all suggestions are considered such a ‘baby’ thing to do!

Worse than that, why would I think they would even want to venture out in public with us, the tension would be too much to bear knowing they might be spotted in transit with the parents.

HISTORY

Over the years I’ve endured some really shit days out, really bloody boring.  Not because I didn’t like being out with my kids, no sir-reeeeee I love being with my kids, the shit days were mainly down to attractions being a total let down.

Let me share with you an extract from my upcoming book 100 Shit Days out with Kids, okay so I lie, there is no book, but there are shit days out with kids.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

I never enjoyed it the boredom of walking round local attractions.  I used to get home completely exhausted from upholding a smile steadfast and unwavering while wandering round ‘attractions’ as an undercover mum having fun, a great time!

Most, but not all, days were spent convincing the kids we were having ‘fun’.  Visiting museums and the like could be stressful, especially keeping my eyelids from drooping whilst nudging the kids to keep quiet about ‘being bored’ while the guide finished his talk on ancient history.

TRIP ADVISOR

I was always keen to try something new and always open to suggestions of places to visit.

One such place, local to us, was a home to birds.  It was highly recommended and came with the taglines ‘fun, interesting, birds, good day out’ and how kids just LOVE it.

There were plenty of reviews online supporting this:

They lied read:

  • Daisy from Deluded:  ‘Had the best day EVER, and such good value’
  • Freddie from Not Fussy:  ‘Fabulous day out can’t wait to go back.
  • Mrs. Einstein from Bighead:  Little Johnny loved it, he spent ages admiring the rare birds end taking notes.

Like most parents, I love having fun, even with my kids!  Nothing warms my heart quicker than seeing joy written all over their faces.

Post-visit, my review would read more like this:

  • Thank god that’s over.
  • Never going back.
  • Little Johnny couldn’t have given a shit if they were rare or not, they all looked the same to him.
  • We were robbed some people may call it ‘entrance fee’.

And before anybody yells miserable cow, I know we can’t ALL like the same thing, and these places try their best blah blah.

Question is, are all these people really enjoying themselves?

More importantly are their kids? the whole reason to be there in the first place.

BACK TO THE BIRDS

To be fair one person did enjoy it, sort off, his nibs.  But then he’s always been keen on birds, he even likes the feathery type as well.

His ‘fountain of bird knowledge’ is extensive.  He liked nothing more than bombarding us with bird info.  Which to be honest, could have been any old made-up-shit we wouldn’t have known or even cared, but it sounded convincing.

However, I don’t want to only single out this one attraction, most attractions we’ve visited over the years have been pretty much all the same, minus the birds.

LET’S GO QUEUE TODAY.

Theme Parks are all about queuing and, sometimes if you’re lucky it’s about the rides.

It’s about queuing for at least an hour to experience a 2-minute ride.  It’s about speed, how quickly can you get your stiff arse in the seat before you’re being asked to get your stiff arse back out. There’s nothing graceful about these manoeuvres!

It’s about joining queues and moaning continuously, even joining in with fellow queue moaners, while eyeballing the smug bastard with sheer hatred as he breezes by clutching a fast pass.

Finally, when the park closes (yep we endure it right until the end I’m getting my money’s worth) it’s off to sit in the car to join another queue.

It’s about concentrating hard on keeping bumper to bumper with the car in front and avoiding eye contact with the smug bastard seen earlier waving a fast pass, edging his way out.

7 THINGS GUARANTEED TO HAPPEN WHILE OUT WITH KIDS.

TOILET TRIPS

Guaranteed to raise my blood pressure in a nanosecond.  No matter how many toilets you pass, or how many times you ask if they need it, they never will, not until you are at least 5 miles clear of any or the closest one being by the entrance 4 miles away.

Or when you are just about to lose the will to live from queuing for the last hour, you see hope as you move into second place – and they need the toilet, and they want to go now!!!

Souvenir Shop

This is a love/hate relationship for me.  I love: The sight of the Souvenir shop fills me with relief, it spells END for me.  The urge to start whooping and sing hallelujah fill me as I cross the finish line.

I hate the hassle of trying to make it through and past all the shelves of tat without having to whip out the credit card to indulge the kids in some bookmarks for books they don’t read or a pencil case they will later decide they don’t really like.

“Mummy can I have this, please…..please mummmmmmy” translation “Mummy can you just throw £10 in the bin on your way out”.

And don’t you find there’s always a long queue in here, why?

Useful/Fun Facts

This is the bit I struggle with.  Not because I can’t read but how long is long enough to wait and LOOK as if I’m reading it without moving on to quickly.

To all other interested parties, I might look like I’m enjoying it and reading the facts, when in fact what I’m actually doing is wondering if I’ve waited long enough staring before moving on?

His nibs is often doubtful of undercover fun mum, regularly trying to blow my cover with questions such as:

did you actually read that’? –

‘since when have you been interested in that’?

Photos

Confirmation of ‘fun’ days out in colour or black and white if feeling arty.

Concrete proof showing everyone “had a great time”.  No one needs to know what bribing or lengths were gone to just to capture the “we are having fun” shot – take 100.

Not forgetting one million and one photos of birds, lumps or rock, windows any random shit to prove you were paying attention and an amazing day by all was had.

Then its home to upload them all on Facebook for all your friends to ignore like.

Sharon has uploaded a new Album titled Beautiful Birds (I know the excitement it must generate!) with the tagline ‘truly some of the most beautiful birds we have ever seen’.

Eating

We always bring our own food.  Simply because its bloody expensive at these attractions and I know I will just end up being that moany “jeeze we could have bought ten in Tesco’s for that price” kinda mum.

Admittedly our food has been scoffed long before lunchtime arrives mainly because we spend the first two hours walking 10 steps to stop, open, eat and close the backpack….and repeat.

With all food demolished the kids are S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G they simply can’t go on.

This means one thing, pleas for hot food and promises of how they WILL eat it, they won’t waste it this time……..promise.

As soon as a chip passes their lips, a frowns forms and moans of it tastes “funny” ring out and 4 bags of fries tossed back in my direction.

So it’s off to find a bin, and a corner for me to sit and mourn the loss of my last penny and sanity.

Play Area

They will do anything but play.  They will want to sit with you, moaning constantly how bored they are and how your 3 yo thinks it’s soooooooo babyish.

You will spend the whole time telling them ‘how lucky they are’ and dishing out idle threats.

They won’t be content with playing on the ‘free’ stuff, the pay per go airplane or car is way more appealing.

Finishing off with a high pitched whingy voice pleading for just one go on the wall mounted plastic tub housing something impersonating a bag of skittles on a diet from 1995.

Entrance Fee

Unless you have a cereal box, Clubcard vouchers or your rich friend’s merlin pass be prepared for the sight to be robbed from your eyes to get in.

Any other undercover mums out there?

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sept

I can’t believe it’s September – just think it won’t be long until Christmas or more importantly, not long till I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’.  Ooooh I wonder who will be in it this year, what A lister can we look forward to and what off the Alphabet Lister will we all be googling to find out who the hell they.

I love September the start of Autumn.  To be honest, you may know from previous posts I’m not reaaaaaaaaaallllly a summer person.  I prefer frosty mornings, nights in, fluffy pj’s and my bed warming up nicely with our electric blanket, dual control of course!

September heralds the beginning of the no-need-to-shave-legs-for-ages season.   Let’s pause here for a sec to appreciate just what a bloody relief it is.  All further use of razors and hunting shaving gel is suspended until at least Spring.

September sees TV go from what is this shit? to a whole load of decent ‘drama stuff’ and the Great British Bake Off. All annoyingly shown at the same time on different channels.  Thank God for Sky Q.

THEY’RE BACK!

Early greetings of “morning” are replaced with “OMG it’s so cold, is the heating not on?”, (naturally his nibs is still with the “morning” greeting).

It’s the only time of the year, apart from Christmas, when I enjoy popping into the supermarket.  That warm, fuzzy feeling when I walk in to see a sight to behold, the all recognisable blue & purple tubs back and underfilled with bite size chunks of chocolate.  Welcome back Roses and Miniature Heros.

To mark this annual celebration, I like to get off to a flying start and double up, after all I have kids and who knows how long the 2 for £8 offer will last?

These tubs allow us as a family to spend quality time together, indulging in a favourite game of mine, (and one I’m particularly good at) how many tubs can we get through before Christmas.

The beauty of this game is it only needs one player (mainly me). To be honest, I think its best played solo until only toffees are left.

WE DONT NEED THE HEATING ON.

While September heralds the arrival of colder nights and mornings that one thing that sets it apart from any other month is, the resurrection of the heating police aka his nibs.

What is it with men and bloody heating?  If I dare to say ‘I’m cold’, I’m promptly told the heating doesnt need to be on.

He likes nothing more than repeating the following, daily even hourly:

  1. Not until the 1st October;
  2. It’s not cold;
  3. There’s something wrong with you feeling that cold;
  4. Put a jumper on if you’re cold;
  5. Think yourselves lucky, in my day we had frost on the inside of our windows;
  6. Did you have the heating on today?
  7. The weather shows its going to be 18/19/20 degrees tomorrow

SECRET HEATING MOMENTS

His ambition, this year, is to beat last years record of making it right through to the middle of October before turning on the heating.

It’s a really big deal, and one he has many discussions about with friends over a pint.

“Just think how much money we’ve saved last year by not having it on in September” he said proud as a peacock.  Ever the dutiful wife I allow him that moment, after all ignorance is bliss.

Luckily, in the absence of radiator heat I have the chilly evenings covered – the fire in our living room – this saves any potential loss of fingers, toes or ears to frostbite.

With a nice t-shirt temperature, his nibs is usually heard gasping for air whilst whispering how, any minute he is going to pass out with the heat, dramatic I know.

All he has to do open the door to Narnia aka living room door to allow the cold air in to circulate and momentarily revive him.

Any longer than ‘momentarily’ and I am prone to spontaneous ear splitting shrieks of “shut the dooooooooooooooorrrrrr”.

WHO WEARS THE TEMPERATURE TROUSERS?

When the heating is finally switched on the next ‘battle’ is – what temperature should it be?

His nibs and I differ on temperatures, enormously.  I like to crank it up to a respectable ‘heatwave’ temperature whilst he likes to bring it now a few notches to I ‘can-just-feel-my-fingers’ degree.

Turn it up, turn it down, turn it up, turn it down.  Repeat.  It’s a real battle of the wills between us.

The one advantage I have this year is, with a new boiler and an accompanying all singing, dancing thermostat his nibs as yet to use it.

I will of course leave him to work it out in his own time, as I will be far too busy keeping warm to show him how it works.

Of course, I’m sure our house isn’t the only house limited to this.  Who else has a husband like mine?

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