Things I’ve Learnt During Lockdown

  1. Lockdown is the absolute pits.
  2. Lockdown with kids is even worse than the pits. I mean, I’m seriously beginning to question the path I took in life and am fairly certain I should be in lockdown with Jamie Dornan right now. Fate dealt me a very cruel hand.
  3. I started off homeschooling like Miss Honey from Matilda but within two weeks had morphed into Miss Trunchbull. Flinging them out the back, minus the pigtails of course!
  4. I am a hairdresser, albeit the worse one that ever existed. The kids are walking around with haircuts that only Joe Exotic would be proud of. Thank god only the neighbours can see them! It’s Carole Baskin’s fault anyways.
  5. I tried to Tik Tok, I failed to Tik Tok, yet I’m now addicted and can’t help myself. I have officially fallen into the ‘over 30’s who are tik toking’ category and I’m not even ashamed. Eldest disowned me after I proudly showed him my Blinding Lights challenge that took me a week to master. Aw well, one less one to talk to.
  6. I miss my mum and I miss her helping me. But, the second this is over, the boys will be flung into her house and left for at least a week. She “misses them so much” after all. Let’s see if she is still saying that afterward.
  7. I’ve started to dance and sing along to the BBC news bulletin every time it comes on. This is uncool on many fronts but mainly because I’m trusting the BBC to disseminate information that isn’t biased. I can’t help it, it’s easier to get to as just after CBeebies on the guide.
  8. Routine is becoming harder and harder to maintain. I mean, I don’t even know what day it is! The BBC should add the day to their ticker that has the time on it. Maybe I should email and ask them?
  9. Mrs Hinch can f right off now because there is zero chance of me keeping my house in any kind of order at the minute. I’ve no sooner tidied one room, turn around and they’ve wrecked the next room. I’m too busy tidying, I haven’t even looked at my Zoflora or bleach. RIP the loves of my life. We shall meet again when this is over! Thank god for the robotic hoover.
  10. Boredom seems to cause children to eat your entire Tesco shop in two days. I feel like all I do is shout “but you only had a drink and snack five minutes ago!”. It’s driving me bat shit crazy (excuse that unintentional pun).
  11. Toddlers during lockdown are the absolute worse. I thought Baby was bad before all this but, tantrums galore! All whilst I try to homeschool. If he continues his shenanigans, I will post him to Boris who can deal with him personally. What’s one more to him after all?
  12. The kids moan all day to go out on their daily walk then when we do, it descends into chaos and at least two of them in tears. Baby also insists on bringing the electric quad every time, going at a pace of 1 mph. Arrgghhh!!!
  13. For all the moaning I did, thank God I bought that trampoline last year.
  14. I’ve learned that although difficult, I have survived and will keep on surviving. Did I just quote Destiny’s Child there? I’m such a philosopher! I really believe that one day we will look back however and will these days back- despite the stress and chaos. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway!

Lockdown Log continued….

Day whatever (have lost count of days)

Have five kids six and under to look after whilst my midwife sister goes to work. Wake up already dreading the day ahead. It’s hard enough to keep three boys entertained daily let alone one more plus a girl. How will I even homeschool? Decide that homeschooling can royally f#ck itself today as keeping them all alive is surely more important. Start the day with Joe Wicks to expel their energy. All receptive to begin with. From yesterday however, Eldest has suddenly started ‘working out’ after watching something on YouTube. He therefore performs Joe’s workout whilst weight lifting Baby’s trike. All of us struggle for space to perform said workout and, at one point, I realise that my two-year-old niece can do push up’s better than me. Send them outside afterward so I can puff and pant like the unfit person I am. Call them back in to watch Maddie Moate’s science show. She has found some poo in her garden apparently and we should all be riveted by this. Kids all watch it for ten minutes. Kids all f#ck off. I am still watching however as seemingly I have gone mad and can’t stop watching until I am certain which animal said poo belongs to. Oh, it belonged to a deer! Close YouTube whilst realising it’s obvious Maddie has no kids as she is very relaxed and happy 24/7. I hate her.

Next day

Feeling bolstered by the fact I kept five kids alive yesterday, including two two-year-olds. This surely warrants me receiving the Victoria Cross? Make breakfast, get them dressed and attempt some worksheets. Middle laments the fact that he can’t do them. I tell him he can. He glares at me and tells me, quite matter of factly, that I am “an idiot”. Resist the urge to reply. I mean, what would a teacher do? Deep breaths. Eldest has navigated his sheets himself and all is in order. But, he has chosen a maths-related worksheet and that’s his strong suit. Make him do an English one. Well, what a bad idea that was! He’s now crying and so am I. We cannot ‘English’ together. Some things never change, lockdown or not. As if that’s not bad enough, I appear to be unable to bend down to pick things up. Which is not okay when every bit of Lego they own is over my whole downstairs! Have a slight panic that this could be some kind of unreported symptom of Coronavirus. Remember that it is more than likely Joe Wick’s fault. Good looking man- very bad on the body however (I imagine his wife would say otherwise). I think you might have to shove your workouts for the foreseeable Joe and I will stick to making your rather epic chicken and leek pie! #Foodoverfitness.

What day is it even?

It’s the start of a new week, hooray! NOT! Even worse, it’s raining. What the hell do I do now? Eldest has now taken to walking around brandishing the trike and the quad to “make his muscles bigger”. He is six. Yes, six! Tell him he needs to calm down then remember the Tae Bo obsession I went through at fifteen. Was so obsessed, I was tae boing from the living room to the kitchen (to eat a burger probably). This whole experience is showing me that they are so like me. Middle is correct, I am “an idiot” and should never have had kids.

What day is it still?

It’s 3pm and I have retired to the bathroom to have a sob and some tranquility. The door is being pounded by one of them. “Mum, Mum, come out! My tooth has fallen out!”. Quickly pull myself together. Open the door to be greeted by Eldest brandishing his tooth like he’s Charlie from Willy Wonka and has just won the golden ticket. Dissolve back into tears. His first tooth gone! Why am I crying over a tooth? Tell him the tooth fairy will visit tonight. He keeps asking when he can go to bed. That one loves money, especially when it isn’t his own! All to bed and hunt out £2. Pour a glass of wine.

Next day

Eldest awakes. He informs me that the tooth fairy has been. Thank god she is still classed as a key worker! He tells me he will put his newly acquired funds in his money box. Watch whilst he does this. Realise quite swiftly that there is a £10 note in it. “Where did you get that from?” I ask whilst seething. “Oh, I took it out of your purse the other day, hid it in the photo frame so you wouldn’t find it, then transferred it to my moneybox”. This kid has been here before. Not even starting with coins but stealing notes! I had been scratching my head the last few days wondering where on earth I’d spent that. Realise a good life lesson for him right now is to steal from the rich as opposed to the poor. Download Robin Hood onto his Kindle.

Lockdown Log (Day three)

Well, I didn’t see that coming- not! Here’s how we have fared during the first few days of lockdown. Disclaimer: May have lost it more than once.

Day announcement made

Get up at the usual time and dress kids. Grab a cup of tea and proceed to homeschool. Eldest is highly receptive and enthusiastic- weird. Homework never goes as easy! Middle loves doing his worksheets but needs a lot of guidance. Eldest continually tells Middle that his effort at circling words is “absolutely rubbish!”. Middle begins to cry. Too early for wine? Yes, it’s not even 11 am (sigh). Morning work done, tablets permitted whilst I get ready. Any point doing your make up if you can’t go anywhere? What if there is a worldwide shortage of concealer? Decide to just leave it. Coronavirus doesn’t care if I have makeup on I’m sure. By the time I’m ready, the boys have started knocking lamps out of each other and are getting restless. Make lunch then head out for a walk. Every elderly person in the area has decided to do the same. FMAL. I have one flying mad on a scooter, Middle is on the Paw Patrol ride on and Baby is on a toddler trike and moving at the pace of a snail. Have to shout like a madwoman for them to pull in somewhere and keep a distance from others. All of us are coughing so I’m frightened one of them will cough in the presence of others. Seemingly no one knows the correct protocol for social distancing and we are all suddenly afraid of people. Very odd. Come home and have a wee sob. Is this real life even?

Official day one of lockdown

Decide to jump on the bandwagon and start the day with Joe Wick’s PE lesson as opposed to worksheets. Eldest attempts five minutes of said workout and begins to cry as he “can’t do it!”. Middle ignores all Joe’s instructions and has stripped off his jeans and pants and is raving in the corner. Baby is wailing due to my lack of yoghurt getting. It’s 9:10am. Yes, 9:10am! This bodes well. Get myself ready (finally) and prepare to do battle with something called SeeSaw Class for Eldest all whilst Middle’s teacher is sending work through for him to do on an entirely different platform. Resist the urge to scream and cry simultaneously. Having navigated both and, ready to lose the will to live, all are forced outside. Make a cup of tea and enjoy five minutes of peace and tranquility. Forget that the boys cannot spend five minutes on a trampoline without battering each other. Bring them back in. Tea goes cold as I run around getting them what feels like a million different snacks and drinks. In an effort to expel boredom, I try and get all of them to draw a rainbow to put in the window. Eldest adamant that instead of a rainbow, we should draw Mario from Super Mario. Try and explain the whole concept behind the rainbow drawing. No, still insistent on drawing Mario. Middle gives it a good go (see picture above). Possibly the worst rainbow in a window in the whole of Northern Ireland but, God loves a trier.

Day Two

Struggling to even get out of bed as my anxiety levels are through the roof from the second I wake up. Take a call from my mum who is in tears as two confirmed Coronavirus cases in my nan’s care home. I haven’t seen her bar leaving things to her door on Mother’s Day. Feel utterly helpless. I can’t hug her nor make her a cup of coffee. Even have a face to face chat to soothe her worries. She laments the fact she is missing the kids. They are missing her also. I am missing her more. Reality is setting in for everyone. Try and maintain the routine with boys but find it difficult as my head is all over the place. Get them to bed and pour a glass of wine. Read on Facebook that the NI Executive has declared that all off licenses should close with immediate effect. WTAF?! You can take away my freedom but you cannot take my wine. Arlene, have you been in lockdown with my kids? Just plain selfish! Discuss with a friend on WhatsApp about how we could do a weekly booze cruise to Dublin with her sitting in the back to socially distance ourselves. Feel placated and no longer worried about the lack of toilet roll.

Day Three

F#’k homeschooling. I will never ever again say anything negative about a teacher. The novelty has worn off. Meanwhile, I still attempt it as I am so worried about Eldest falling behind when he has a referral to Occupational Therapy in place. We may not survive this. Oh, stand-alone off licenses can now stay open! Maybe we shall survive after all! Middle appears to be taking the lockdown very seriously and has self isolated in his bed for most of the morning. That one loves his comfort! Up you get! Jesus Christ, Baby has started asking “why?” about everything going. Also, anything I try and do for him results in him screeching “I do!” whilst having a complete fit. If there is a God, is he there? If so, can you send a cleaner my way? Just realised my house has fallen to absolute pieces. Thanks!

To be continued. If I survive the next few days…..

Coronavirus Chaos

I couldn’t even have dreamt this happening. That’s coming from someone who once had a highly questionable dream about David Cameron and Nick Clegg. If I could have divorced my own brain after that, I would have. I will never ever be able to look at either the same way again, especially Nick Clegg. (shudders).

It all seemed to happen so fast, I think I’m still in shock. I imagine you are all the same. We’ve gone from thinking “it will all be ok” to “holy sh#t the schools are closing!”. I won’t lie, I had a monumental breakdown once that was announced. Firstly because this is unprecedented and, secondly, because I have zero faith in my own ability to teach Eldest from home. He gets so frustrated even doing his homework each day. If I dare to rub something out, he throws an absolute fit. Once it’s finally done and dusted, the two of us have to socially distance ourselves until he succumbs. Usually when he needs some milk. Guess we were prepared for that part at least.

Middle I am worried about for different reasons. He will be four when he starts P1 in September. So he will already be at a disadvantage. I’m so lucky I had his parent-teacher interview last week and no issues were raised in terms of his capability bar scissor work. Which I’m rather ok with because Middle + scissors sounds like a nightmare combination! But, on the other hand, he is a sociable child and I imagine he will miss that aspect enormously. Even if everyone is an “idiot” and he “hates girls”. He doesn’t seem to act this way when I’m peeping at him through the window however and tells me continually that he has three girlfriends. Contradiction much?

Baby is terrible twoing (as per last post). I took him to the park today only to spend thirty minutes dealing with multiple meltdowns that his hood wouldn’t stay up! We were the only people in the park. Maybe that say’s more about me than anything. But, there is no way I can keep three boys couped up in the house. They will batter the daylights out of each other and I will be locked in the bathroom sobbing or rocking in a corner somewhere. Mental health is so important during all this too.

I don’t know how I will fare, as I’m sure you don’t. But I kind of figure that we’ve given birth and kept them alive up to this point. Is it ideal? No. Is it going to be highly stressful? Yes. Will we require lots of wine? Probably.

The lack of clarity around everything children related, be it with schooling and the effects of the virus itself, has been disastrously managed. They have left a nation of mothers in a state of anxiety and panic. I’m still unsure as to whether my own mother should see the boys. Mainly because of the mixed messages and statistics that are slowly being released. My sister is also a midwife which will add to any decision that has to be made.

It’s a frightening time for all of us in every aspect. I will be making a point of sharing anything I think might help us. Anything that will relieve some pressure. If you have something you think might help someone else, message and I will share. If you run a business that is having to rethink how you are operating, message and I will share too. If you are royally losing the plot, message and I will lose it with you! Disclaimer: I will definitely be losing the plot! #Mumpower

Terrible Two’s Time……

I had totally forgotten this stage. You know the one were your cute little baby suddenly morphs into some kind of irrational dictator?

Eldest let me off entirely lightly with the tantrums. I still remember the two times he had one. Mainly because one of them focused purely on me having the audacity to enter the living room when, according to him, “you stay in the kitchen!”. Sexist much? I now realise however that he has always struggled with expressing certain emotions. He has more tantrums now through frustration than he ever did when younger.

Middle had a delayed reaction to the terrible twos and decided to embrace them precisely at the moment he was turning three. He would throw utter fits anytime we left soft play, the shop or any other establishment he was enamoured with at the time. It got to the stage where I would just say “that’s fine then. I’m going home. If you want to act that way, you stay here”. I would then waltz away expecting him to get up in a panic and run after me. He never did and instead lay on the floor until I had to forcibly remove him. Never underestimate Middle, as I always extol.

Baby is my only one who gets jealous. I don’t even understand why as he actually gets the most attention out of all them (especially as I spend most of my time getting him yoghurts and cleaning him up afterwards). Even Eldest cuddles and kisses him which is primarily an honour reserved for me only. But if any of them dares to mention the word ‘cuddle’ or ‘kiss’, he is straight over to me like someone has just shouted: “Tesco just got more hand sanitiser in!”. So the dramatics were always apparent and I really should have thought I would be in for trouble. I just didn’t factor in how much. This weekend alone he has gone off on an almighty wobbler for the following reasons:

  1. I dared to make him hold my hand when crossing a road. So infuriated did he get, he threw himself down in a rage and into a massive puddle. He then proceeded to get more raging because his clothes were “wet”.
  2. I refused to let him bring three teddies out with him. Looking after three boys is stressful enough without having the extra responsibility of Peppa (f ing) Pig, Mickey Mouse and Nelly the elephant! So outraged was he, he deployed the stiff as a board act whilst I tried to put him in his car seat. I’m sure most of you ladies are familiar with this one. It’s as big a fight as trying to get a Conservative MP onto Good Morning Britain to placate the nation.
  3. I had the sheer nerve to ask him if he wanted a banana. When he said yes and I handed him said banana, he then decided he didn’t want one and went into a kicking and screaming fest on the kitchen floor. This mama left him to it.
  4. I opened his yoghurt lid halfway to make it easier for him. What a savagely cruel person I am.
  5. I put him in the bath. Pretty sure the neighbours thought some kind of murder was occurring the way he was getting on.
  6. I confiscated half my cutlery drawer off him that he somehow thought was acceptable to walk around brandishing. This caused a breakdown of Britney proportions (I can say that as I’ve been there, minus the hair shaving).
  7. He asked for “uce” (juice) and when I dutifully adhered to his request, he then decided he wanted “mulk” (milk) instead. Cue him flinging said juice on the floor, the cup then opening and my floors becoming a sea of diluted orange.

So I hope I have prepared/reminded some of you of what lies ahead or what you have finally escaped from. I mean, he’s still cute and all that but dear god he is driving me bonkers. Someone keep the hair clippers out of my reach….

Nightmares

Last night the kids were sound asleep and I had just settled down to take my make up off (after tidying up their carnage). Suddenly I heard a familiar sound. Footsteps up above. Footsteps that for someone so small, should resemble a ballerina pivoting on a cloud yet sounded like an elephant trapped in a jumper. They all have their own sounds and I can tell who it is immeadiately by footstep sound alone. Middle was up!

Upon his descent from the stairs, it became apparent that he was highly upset. “What’s wrong I asked?” whilst scooping him up into my arms. “I had bad dream” he informed me through sporadic sobs. “Oh no! Come and tell mummy” I soothed. He sat calmly on my knee and began to divuldge his dream. “A really bad guy was trying to freeze me mummy!” he advised. “He turned off all my lights because he was so bad” he added. This is quite apt as he has spent two weeks now turning on every light in the house no matter what the time and I have found myself yelling “it’s like Blackpool illuminations up here!”. Yes, I have become that kind of mum. “Dreams aren’t real Owen” I reassured. “They are just your brain playing tricks. Plus, mummy would never let anyone hurt you let alone freeze you” I added whilst cuddling him. He gave me a kiss, looked at me square in the eye and said “the only way to defeat the bad guy was to throw cake at him. So, I think we need to get cake tomorrow mummy”. Um what? “You know, incase he comes back” he stated seriously. Nice try son!

Meanwhile Baby has morphed into a complete and utter nightmare himself. His new thing is throwing every book we own down the stairs, many of which are unfortunately hardback. I’m no sooner bending down to pick them all up when he’s lobbed a Pokemon encyclopedia back down, near knocking me out in the process. No amount of telling off is working as he finds the whole thing hilarious.  His only redeeming quality is the fact that he has started asking to hold Middle’s hand and the two of them dander away together. So cute! There’s nothing better than seeing them actually be loving towards each other. Whilst Middle brings out Eldest’s less serious side, Baby brings out all of their loving/caring sides.

This week and next, we are nativitying. Going by my kid’s past record with these, I can only but hope that all of them pass without any kind of drama or embarrassment. Eldest is highly annoyed that he has been cast in the role of shephard again, Middle is point blank refusing to sing the songs he has been taught as he wants to sing exclusively about tacos and Baby will probably spy me and cry the whole time. I will of course keep you updated on how we fare.

Baby Baby Baby Oh/Mad Middle/Toy Car Gate

Yes I have used a Justin Bieber song lyric as a blog post title. The shame! But it’s totally fitting (I promise).

It was 2am on Tuesday morning and Baby had awoken from his cot. As usual, I gleefully transferred him into my bed for lots of cuddles and kisses. As he lay there, greedily guzzling some milk, I stared lovingly at him. Come 3am I was still staring at him (stalker much?). He looked like a proper little boy and not a baby anymore. I found myself getting all emotional and sentimental. It seems like only yesterday that I was holding his little 6lbs frame in the same bed, glaring at him in disbelief that he was finally here. Where has the time gone? I can’t be dealing with this!

If there was a pause button I would hit it right now, at this exact stage. I love it when their personalities are starting to shine through and they still need you but are becoming more independent. He won’t let me open anything for him these days and insists on trying to dress himself (all of which have varying success rates). He is becoming highly vocal also and his dictation is clear and concise, mainly when voicing his extreme displeasure at his brothers “NO, bro bro!”. This is the worrying stage however as it’s when you start to consider another. How bad could it really be? I imagine very very bad indeed if I end up being a mum to four boys, which is exactly what would happen.

In other news Middle has me entirely exasperated this week. I picked him up on Wednesday from preschool and he was more subdued than usual. He also looked quite sheepish in hindsight. I buckled him into his car seat and off we set for home. “How was your day?” I implored. “Um it good” he replied whilst fiddling with the bottom of his trousers frantically. “What are you doing?” I asked. He threw me daggers then dissolved into giggles. “Me have a car” he replied whilst wielding a black toy car that had seemingly emerged from the bottom of his trousers. “Where did you get that from?” I replied alarmed. He looked at me like I had just uttered the most stupid question ever. “I took it from nursery because I want to play with it at home in my room”. Oh dear god! I pulled the car over and tried to explain the concept of stealing to him. Whilst doing so, he continued to retrieve a further eight cars from every crevice of his trousers! “How many do you have Owen?” I yelled. “Lots AND me have more in my jumper too” he answered proudly. “You can’t just take things from nursery Owen, that is wrong! The other children need to play with them. How did you even manage to smuggle so many up there?”. I asked this for a reason. Mainly as he hadn’t placed them in his pocket like a normal person but had blatantly shoved them all up the bottom of his trousers. “I wait until no one looking and I just put them up there one by one” he answered matter of factly. Surely this was the least inconspicuous method he could have deployed? His trousers are cuffed at the bottom and super tight! How no one managed to observe his shenanigans is beyond me.

Upon returning home, I confiscated his contraband and hid them. I then had to message his teacher and advise that she has a thief in her midst and one of whom was showing zero remorse for his actions. Whilst reprimanding him he kept repeating “but where my cars so I play with them?”. He was not receiving the message at all that what he had done was wrong.

This kid- he literally dances to the beat of his own drum all whilst I scramble to fix the situations he gets himself into. I am also having to strip search him before we leave nursery now as I don’t trust him one iota. So I reckon three kids is more than enough and Baby can stay as my baby. Imagine trying to keep on top of two Middle’s? Um, no thanks!

Pre School Peeves, Homework Hell and Hair Disasters!

Middle is STILL settling in at his preschool. We are coming up to week five and he is only in until 11:30am as opposed to the 1:30pm he should be. It doesn’t seem to be solely him either but, lots of them! I’m finding myself getting envious of other mums whose kids have settled in and all. Not only this but, I think their process is just drawing things out when there is no need. He is used to being in nursery for longer than their standard day (at his private one). In saying that I have no idea how he, as an individual, is getting on each day. The app I check daily never seems to be updated. Is anyone else having the same issues?

Upon picking him up on Monday he bounded into my arms and gave me the biggest cuddle. We then went to change his shoes (they wear pe shoes when in class). Upon getting to his peg, he was enraged that a little girl was sitting under it getting her shoes on. “That girl is at MY peg!” he bellowed. “Aw it’s ok, she is just getting her shoes on then you can sit there” I placated. “No, it’s mine and she is a girl so, she move now!”. What a way to ingratiate yourself to other parents son. The girl having vacated ‘his spot’, off we went to the car. I quickly glanced back at the snack menu to see what he had eaten that day. It informed me that he had had peppers, apple and muffins.

When we got to the car, I enquired as to what he had eaten that morning. He looked positively fuming. “We had some orange thing mum. It was disgusting (yelled). I don’t like it at all” he said whilst gesticulating wildly with his hands. “Aw, well, at least you tried something new. I guess we all like different things. Did anyone else try it and like it?” I ventured. He rolled his eyes then started mimicking his teacher. “Mr T (he is point blank refusing to call any of his teachers Mrs) said ohhhhh it’s sooooo yummy”. With this he mimicked her putting it into her mouth. “But, it so wasn’t mum. She tells lies” he added with annoyance. You can’t win them all I guess ‘Mr T’.

In other news, Eldest is finally receiving homework again. Although I dreaded it starting back up again, I have been impressed with how easy he is finding it. I can totally see a difference between his work in P1 and now. The amount has definately ramped up however and it is hard to get him to sit down and focus on it no matter what time I attempt to do it.  His behaviour the last few weeks, when at home, is also driving me to distraction. I’ve had to introduce strict new rules and be rigidly firm with him. I’ve began to notice that when he is bored, all chaos breaks out. Middle is crying and Baby too. He invades their space and begins to lash out for no discernable reason. This continues until one of them obliges him and stops what they are doing to muck around with him.  Arrgghhh!

Some of you may have saw that I decided to home bleach my hair last week (I know, I shouldn’t have done that). I lasted a grand total of a few months dark! Obviously it went very badly, very badly indeed. I drove to the local chemist and all they had was a silver hair dye so, I reluctantly purchased it. I mean it couldn’t have gotten any worse could it? Well, it actually turned out ok in the end. I am loving it and may now become a professional colourist (just kidding). I find that the level of  depression I am dealing with makes me quite impulsive and do things without thinking them through. Normally I would weigh up the pros and cons whereas now I just go for it. I guess I’ve went from being Eldest to being Middle. In some ways this is a good thing as I’m not worrying as much but, it has it’s downsides. Mainly with hair decisions……..

Clip Climbing And Sliding At High Rise NI!

Yesterday the three boys were invited to test out a new indoor activity centre in Lisburn. A venue that boasts a whole clip n climb section, a soft play area, cafe, and the piece de resistance- sensory rooms!

When we arrived, Middle and Baby set off with my mum to the soft play area whilst myself and Eldest got ready to do some climbing. I hadn’t expected to have an active role in this part but, it looked like too much fun to say no to. We were provided with a safety briefing first and foremost. Eldest was chomping at the bit by this stage but, it’s so important that they know what they are doing (as I later established). We got adorned in our harnesses and off we ventured. I cannot tell you how huge these climbing walls were! They were literally to the roof! Before they can just speed off attempting everything, they must first complete a practice run. Once this is done, they are free to roam and climb their little hearts out. There were so many options that Eldest was running manically from one to the other, completely unable to make a decision. When he finally made one, there was always an attendant on hand to strap him in and supervise him at all times. This placated me and I felt confident that he would be safe at all times.

Then, this mama decided to have a go! Not wanting to be outdone by my firstborn, I decided to climb nearly to the top of one at breakneck speed, glance down and totally panic as to how high up I actually was. I hate heights, why did I even do that? In my moment of sheer terror, I totally forgot the protocol of getting back down. So, I just kind of flung myself down and hoped for the best. I imagine it was not dissimilar to Bridget Jones when she does that piece to camera from the fire station. Entirely ungraceful and highly embarrassing to all who witnessed it. See why the safety briefing is so essential? I would say I have learned a lesson but, there’s no point at all.

Middle and Baby loved the soft play area whilst I was nearly breaking bones. I don’t think my mum knew if she should be watching them or me by this stage as I was being so reckless. There was a baby/toddler area that Baby thoroughly enjoyed dandering around and twirling things and building foam blocks. Middle was running about like a mad man going up and down the different tiers, crawling through tubes and flinging himself down the slide. He didn’t shut up about the slide the whole way home infact.

Just before leaving, I asked to be shown the sensory room. I know that a lot of my followers have children who are autistic and this was important to me before writing any review. They led me to a sensory stimulation room. It was dark to begin with then, gradually made more colorful. This is essential to avoid kids becoming overstimulated. There were things on the floor that children could stand on or touch that looked like paint was splodging, items on the wall that they could play and interact with, a projector, a vibrating plate and lights that they could feel and touch. There is also a separate quiet room. You can pay to use the rooms for an hour or if you would prefer your child/children to be fully alone, you can hire the rooms for the hour too. I think this is such a great approach and shows the level of thought and understanding that has been put into all aspects of this place.

I walked away feeling very impressed. Even more so as it is a social enterprise. So, 100% of their profits go back into helping working families. I think this made me feel much better about buying them a load of drinks and snacks afterward. Because, whatever you spend, you are ultimately helping others. All whilst having fun and, hopefully, some peace and quiet whilst they play!

High Rise NI is based in Blaris Industrial Estate Lisburn. Prices are as follows:

Clip ‘N’ Climb– Adult £12 and Child (under 18) £10, Soft Play– Baby (under 2) £2 and child (up to 8) £5, Sensory Room– Baby (under 2) £2, Child (under 18) £4, Adult £4, Parent or carer £1. Check their website out here: https://highriseni.org/

Yes, this 34 year old scaled one of these!
Always know the price of tea and coffee before you go anywhere….

An Ode To My New Best Friend

My name is Grace and I am a hoovering addict. There, I said it! With three boys and a one-year-old who throws every item of food he is given, is it any wonder that I am? So for my birthday, I asked for one thing and one thing only- a robotic hoover. My reasoning was simple, if it even managed to keep my kitchen clean on a daily basis it would be worth it.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t expecting much and this was despite the great reviews on Amazon. I know my standards and they are high! But, for the first time ever, I will have to admit to being wrong.

I’ve been setting Deebot, or Dee as I affectionately call him, (I’m unsure as to why I have decided that he is male) to go on every morning and he works away downstairs and upstairs. I can set him to ‘corner’ mode so he tackles all the corners of a room, I can set a timer so he just works away at the same time each day and, I can set him to ‘spot’ mode when the boys have made a mess in one particular area. As if all that wasn’t amazing enough, I can instruct him to do all these things remotely via an app on my phone! I’ve gone all power crazy with that function I can tell you!

He manages to pick up so much, even gobbling up my bobble the other day! So confident have I been in his abilities, I didn’t hoover downstairs or upstairs all week, bar today. I just couldn’t settle knowing that my skirting boards hadn’t been hoovered to oblivion and obviously he can’t navigate stairs. Henry the hoover was also looking all sad and neglected.

There are only two negative things that I can say about my new best friend. The first being that he sometimes gets stuck under my sofas as they are so low but, I can control him to avoid there or maneuver him out easily via the remote. The second thing is that Baby is in one part fascinated by him and the other part utterly terrified!

I just wanted to share my experience as I think personally, it’s making my life easier. I’m aware I have a flooring obsession and therefore it’s managed to take that one stressor off me. It may seem expensive at £209 but I definitely think it’s worth it. I’ve since discovered that you can get laser ones that map out your whole house and even mop (putting one of those bad boys on the Christmas list). I’m all for taking things off the to-do list these days as opposed to adding to it! This is the one the boys got me: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07F3Q25LJ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B07F3Q25LJ&linkCode=as2&tag=gracebunting8-21&linkId=7263218c0482be02a6b0fcea4c506dce 🙂