Sometimes it just takes over me. An urge to do things, get out there, make some memories. I get scared that it might be my last chance to have some fun with the kids. They are growing so quickly and I’m not getting any younger myself. This half term was time for making memories.
It was half term and I made a plan of all the things I wanted to do. Was it too ambitious? Maybe, especially as we had to go out three days in a week, normally I have to rest after a day out. But, there was a birthday in there and you can’t postpone a birthday. The celebrations maybe, but not the buying of gifts and cards.
So, Monday was buying day. The card shop is practically next door to the toy shop, which would have been great had the birthday boy been under 40! But, no point in wasting a trip to the toy shop with the kids in tow, it was definitely time to spend that pocket money that was building up. Thankfully, the gifts had already been bought, but Graham still treated himself to a new game for his PS4 (yes, I did say he was over 40!) And Boo bought him a new DAD mug. He needs a coffee mug twice as big as the regular mugs to help him stay awake to play his PS4 all night.
Tuesday was Graham’s birthday and we went out for lunch. We could have gone out for dinner and included the whole family, but we’d only done that a couple of weeks ago for No1 Son. So, lunch it was at the local Brewer’s Fayre. The girls discovered that they were too big now to play in the play area so The little Man went off on his own. I wasn’t worried about him, he’s not shy and makes friends so easily, he talks to everyone. Plus we had a screen we could watch from the table. Boo, however, worried incessantly, ‘what if he gets hurt?’ ‘What if he goes somewhere else and we don’t see him?’ ‘What if someone bullies him?’ She’s just like a mini mum. I think I was probably like that when I was younger, but you kind of become more relaxed when you’ve had five children.
Thursday we had decided to go out. ‘Let’s go to the Think Tank’ I said. We haven’t been there for years and it was somewhere I wanted to go. The kids agreed but were not too excited. Had I worn them out already, surely they didn’t prefer to be stuck indoors?
The morning started as usual, breakfast then laptops. But, not without protest, I’d managed to persuade them to get dressed too. I got ready for our day out but no-one seemed really keen. Boo complained that she’d been to the Think Tank with her school just last year. Star complained that she didn’t want to go to the Think Tank but wouldn’t offer a reason. The Little Man just wanted to play Roblox, he didn’t even want to put his socks on.
Then Star said she didn’t want to go out unless we went to Mc Donalds first. I knew what would happen, it’s happened many a time before. We’d go to Mc Donald’s and then she’d insist we came home again. Eventually, she agreed to go to the Sea Life Centre instead of the Think Tank. Arrrgh! At least it was getting out, although I didn’t want to go to the Sea Life Centre, it’s way too familiar. Why was it so difficult, I just wanted to make some fun memories for my kids? Health wise I am probably better off staying home and doing nothing at all, but I don’t want my kids to have that as their childhood memory.
Anyway, cut a long story short, we went to Mc Donalds, then to the Sea Life Centre which was fully booked and we couldn’t go in. So, guess where we ended up? Yes, The Think Tank! On arrival at the Think Tank, Star brightened up as she recognised the place. Then we realised that we hadn’t actually explained anything to her about it and she’d become anxious because she didn’t know where she was going. That’s the problem when you have an autistic child, sometimes it’s easy to forget ‘the rules’ to forget how her mind works. Even though we know she’s autistic we still get it wrong and think she’s just being awkward. The tears and tantrums and effort just to get out of the house could possibly have been avoided had we just spent five minutes explaining that we’d been to the Think Tank before and tried to remind her of what it was like. Or maybe not, you never can tell.
So, fun was had (eventually) and memories made and hopefully, somewhere in the back of their minds they will retain only good thoughts and images of our ‘fun’ packed half term.
We were really excited to receive an invitation to visit InflataNation inflatable theme park. My Children have always loved bouncy castles and InflataNation is the perfect place for children of all ages to bounce and play.
We visited the Birmingham InflataNation but you can also find parks in Manchester, Cheshire and Beverley.
What is InflataNation?
InflataNation is a theme park full of inflatables. Exactly what you would imagine it to be. There are inflatable slides and bouncing areas along with ball pits and activity zones. The park is open to all ages and abilities, so yes, the adults can bounce along with the kids. There is also an area especially for the under fours so that they don’t miss out on the fun.
If you don’t want to bounce, or can’t like me, then there is a fabulous cafe area where they sell food, snacks and drinks.
The Theme Park
From the moment you enter you are floating on inflatables. But there is so much more to do than bounce. The slides are great fun for all and you get a choice of height just in case you are not brave enough for the bigger slides. We liked how you could slide down together in two aisles, it’s a race to the bottom.
My kid’s loved the wrecking ball area where you each stand on an inflated pillar while swinging the wrecking ball at each other. The last man standing is the winner.
There is also a gladiator style duel where you hit each other off the podium with inflatable batons. And an inflatable assault course which two people can race to complete.
Or if you just want to bounce or play in ball pits you can do that too.
You get an hour in the park to enjoy all the activities and there is so much to do the time just flies by.
The cafe area was clean and spacious and in the perfect place to watch all the action.
We decided to have lunch there and were happy with the food served. Two of my children had meals from the kid’s menu, Star and her Dad had pizza and I had a panini. The kids had slushies with their meals while me and their Dad had some nice coffee.
I thought the prices were reasonable, we spent £36 for five of us, but we could have saved money by not choosing the more expensive drinks. Also available were family servings, so you could have pizza or hot dogs for the whole family at a cheaper price than buying individual meals.
The food was served within 15 minutes which was good and it was brought to our table.
You are advised to wear long sleeves and long trousers in the theme park because it is possible to rub your skin after excessive play. It is well ventilated to keep you cool, but it’s constant physical work while in there and you are bound to get a bit hot. I’d suggest covering up in something light. You will need to wear socks.
Before you go in you can read the safety rules which are shown on a big poster on the wall in the cafe. There is also a short safety video to watch and you are guided to view this five minutes before your session starts.
There is a viewing area which looks out over the park and you can watch your children play. There are also extra tables and chairs up there to take your food and drinks. This area was accessible by stairs only so I didn’t get to see. Graham took some photos for me.
There is also a kid’s party venue, a special place set aside for the party goers before they go into the park to bounce.
The theme park also offers several classes including fitness classes, inflata tots and disability friendly sessions. The disability sessions are for those on the autistic spectrum where a calm environment is created and parents or carers can enter for free.
The general cost is £9.95 per person for one hour play for over 4s. £5.95 for under 4s. However, there are many offers available such as family passes for two adults and two children for £32.50. You can also pay for extra time, £7 for over 4s and £4 for under 4s. There are also passports for those that wish to attend regularly and different prices.
Parties vary depending on what package you want but the cheapest price is £12.50 per child.
You can also book adult only parties if you don’t want the kids getting in the way!
The kids gave the park a big thumbs up and would love to go again sometime. They had tons of fun and it totally wore them out. Graham had fun too, but I think maybe he should have been a bit easier on himself.
I thought the place was clean and spacious. The cafe area was a really lovely place to sit and watch while waiting. Access was easy for my wheelchair and there was a disabled toilet.
The food was nice and the portions a good size. There was a nice variety of fast food to enjoy and service was good. The coffee was especially nice.
I think the cost was reasonable, especially if you take advantage of the special offers. It makes for a great family outing.
Please visit https://www.inflatanation.com/
for more information. It is recommended that you book your session before arriving.
Disclosure: we were given free entrance to InflataNation for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Halloween Days out coming soon!
After a fairly chilled out week last week we decided we’d had enough of sitting around and went out for the day on Saturday. Well, I say the day, we actually didn’t leave until after lunch. Two reasons for this, I didn’t want to spend any more money than necessary and the kids didn’t really want to go out. I mean, how cruel of me to drag me away from their electronic devices!
So, we ventured out to a National Trust Property, Baddesley Clinton, which turned out to be only half an hours drive away. It was a gloriously sunny day and it was just so nice to actually get out side in it. It was also really nice to get inside the cool house after five minutes of leaving the air conditioning of the car.
We did spend some time in the garden in the shade though, soaking up enough vitamin D to last us another week.
On Sunday we rested. As you do.
(Well, if you don’t count the washing pile that put Everest to shame, or the Sunday roast I decided to cook, or the bathroom that was definitely in need of a scrub before the round of showering kids scummed it up again.)
Then it’s been non-stop. Shopping, baking, doctor visits, dentist appointment, more shopping, even more shopping and barely a moment to snap open a laptop.
If you are wondering why all the shopping wasn’t done in one go then I need to explain. First up there is food shopping which is quite necessary. Then there was birthday card shopping, a total of 10 cards were purchased. Oh, and we decided that it would be a nice idea to visit the toy store so the Little Man could spend his birthday money, and the girls could spend theirs. The joys of having three kids’ birthdays in the space of four weeks! One is ‘the birthday yet to come,’ but as we will be on holiday we let her have some money early, and the other is the ‘birthday past,’ but we kept back some money especially for this spending spree. The Little Man has his birthday this week, ‘the birthday present,’ but we went shopping a couple of days earlier so he didn’t feel so bad about his sisters having presents on his special day.
Oh well, it made sense when I thought it all up.
Then more shopping because I had to go to Hobbycraft for supplies. I have a Christening to go to on Sunday, it’s quite a special one as we are going to be the Godparents. I’ve never been chosen as Godparent before and I wanted to get something special. Only I couldn’t find anything that didn’t break the bank, so I’m making something myself. I’m a bit worried about it now, but I’ve been assured that it looks good. I’ll show it to you later, if you want me too. A good idea before doing any kind of shopping is to look for online Money Saving Discount Codes.
So, I guess the word of the week this week has to be Shopping!
After a chilled out week I was getting a little cabin crazy so I managed to persuade my kids that we needed to go out. Oh no! But what would they do without their screens, their Ds’, laptops, PS4. Maybe they could take the Ds’ for use in the car on the journey, it was a compromise I was willing to make for a little freedom from these four walls.
Just a few miles away was a place I’d been longing to visit, Baddesley Clinton.
This is the forecourt, isn’t it just delightful. Built in the 16th Century the house has a lot of history. Mostly to do with the hiding of catholic priests in underground tunnels, which are still there. But also it was home to some extraordinary women with some amazing talents and interesting views. I will write more about our visit later, even the kids were glad we left the house and screens behind in the end.
Of course they were thrilled when we first got there as the house is surrounded by a moat!
Of course there were plenty of ducks around too, as well as sheep roaming free in the grounds.
The house was really interesting to visit, there was so much to see. The kids did a little trail around the house where they had to find a number of hidden things which they really enjoyed. I couldn’t go upstairs but I was given a virtual tour by iPad (don’t tell the kids!) It looked really interesting and the kids loved it, which is quite surprising because, if I’m honest, they don’t really like being dragged around old buildings.
Telling the Time
Just one more photo for this post. In the middle of the walled garden, instead of swings, which Boo was disappointed about, there was a Sundial. It was almost right, we just need to move the sun a little. This was taken at 3pm. I’d say it was telling us it was 2.30pm