My little Sleep Thieves 


I know this is supposed to be a review site, of which let’s be honest I don’t even do that at the moment! I always have the intention of writing something when I get home from work but I can never be arsed. I suffer from a severe case of lazyitus. It’s bad; I should probably see a doctor about it.

Anyway, I have been meaning to write about this for a very long time. Along with my birth story should anyone be interested. I also thought it would be good to document this so I can look back in ten years’ time and laugh about it. Or use it to let the twins know what a pair of little buggers they actually were. (I use past tense as I am sure they will turn into lovely young men haha)



They are 2 and a bit now and we are only just getting what I could call a vaguely decent night’s sleep. They wake up ridiculously early, and there are still a lot of whinges and moaning and often we have to get up and pat a little bottom until they nod back off but we are getting long stretches and I have to be completely honest, I never thought this day would come!

I was totally unprepared for their arrival, yes, they were born early, but I mean it in the sense that I didn’t read any books or prepare myself mentally for what was about to happen. I just thought it would be few months of sleepless nights then it would inevitably sort itself out. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

We were told by the midwives to feed them as and when they wanted… which was often but they would never drink very much. I didn’t breastfeed, despite trying when the boys were in NICU it just never happened. My milk didn’t come in, and what little droplets did they just didn’t latch on, so I made the decision to use formula.  When the health visitor came round we would always mention that they never drank very much in one go but she said that it was fine, they were putting on weight and seemed happy blah blah blah so we just thought it was ok.

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In hindsight, it makes sense the more they drink the less times they would wake up for it but we wanted the easy life. Two little people waking up screaming hour after hour, it was so much easier to just thrust a bottle at them and let them fall back asleep. Wouldn’t last forever right?!!!

I remember, one night having to take the boys to A&E as they were vomiting and weak. They were about 5 months old at the time and the nurse said ‘They must be sleeping though now?’ I felt like a complete failure. No nurse, they aren’t even bloody close.

I would get so jealous of my friend’s babies who were sleeping through, or at least allowing their mum and dads the luxury of a few hours uninterrupted sleep. Not us. We had made a rod for our own backs.

Every night we would get some bottles ready, go to bed and pray for a few hours of sleep. It rarely happened; as a result I would get grumpy and angry. Some of the things that came out of my mouth were just horrendous. One night I slammed our bedroom door so hard the door got stuck, Steven and I were in our room and the twins were crying from the nursery over the hall. I seriously thought we were going to have to call the fire brigade?! I mean who even does that. Luckily we managed to get the door open. How Steven has stayed with me through all this is beyond me. What kind of Mum does things like that?! Sleep deprivation is horrendous as I am sure most of you out there know. My problem was that rather than feel sorry for the twins, I would get angry. I mean I obviously wouldn’t hurt them or anything I just couldn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel and add to that a job I despised at the time it was all just getting too much. Funny that people were always saying how well I was doing, and what a fab mum I was managing it with twins. Little did they know I wasn’t managing at all. I dreaded going to bed as who knew what the night was going to bring.


We tried letting them cry, but I just couldn’t do it, again I was getting angry and annoyed. Mainly, I think with myself as I felt that this was all my doing. We just wanted a quick fix which was to give them milk whenever they screamed for it.  18 months on we thought enough was enough so last September we got the help of a sleep expert. I know everyone has different problems when it comes to their little ones and getting them to sleep. Some are clingy and want to be rocked, some don’t like their cots etc etc. Ours was simply that they were waking up throughout the night wanting milk. The sleep expert’s first piece of advice was to just go cold turkey. Dirty the bottles with mud and say that the bottles are yucky and to put them in the bin. I thought no way is this going to work; usually they see a bottle and start crying for it. But low and behold they turned up their noses at the mucky bottles and even helped us put them in the bin!!

She also said not to give them any milk at all, not even some before bed. They get enough calcium in the day through yoghurt, cheese etc. She also advised for us not to pick them up during the night and distract them when they woke up with a toy. Hahaha, a toy, yeah Thomas wakes up in the night crying for milk and me wafting a teddy bear in his face is supposed to calm him down. Not a fucking chance. Instead, being the good parents we are, we showed them a video on you tube. Baby Bum/ Bob the Train type nonsense. This is the only thing that would calm them down. The first few nights we were showing them the video for an hour a time it was awful, however after a week we saw some improvement.


She also gave us some advice for bedtime and getting them to self settle which has really paid off and they actually look forward to bed time..most of the time.  We give them a little snack an hour before bedtime so they won’t wake up hungry during the night, then we head up for a bath and PJ’s. While I bath them, Steven sets up their nursery we have fairy lights on and put cushions and their duvets on the floor so that once they have had their bath we get all snuggly and read them a few stories then put them to bed. We have a slumber buddy and a plug in light that projects moons and stars onto the ceiling. This works now but it took a while. One bad piece of advice the sleep expert gave was to tell me to take them downstairs if they weren’t settling to sleep after half an hour as they obviously weren’t tired. This caused massive problems, with Tom in particular (shock!) he just wanted to go downstairs during story time. He would scream the place down crying to go downstairs or into our bed for his story, it was a nightmare but it has paid off and now our bedtime routine works well for us all.  For now anyway.

It all seems a bit of a blur, things were definitely going well until we made the dreadful decision to go away for a couple of nights to Steven’s parent’s caravan. After two awful awful nights we were back to square one. We persevered, I swear without Steven I would not have been able to do it but we have. Kind of.

4 months along, they are sleeping better, they still wake up during the night most nights but it is generally just a whimper or some moaning and we can leave them to sort themselves out. Often, we have to go in and do some bottom patting for a few minutes until they nod back off and sometimes we don’t have to get up at all. Our main problem now is they wake up at around 5am for the day…and that makes it a bloody long day but I will take a 5am start over multiple wake ups, the anger, the grumpiness all round and the thought that I would still be giving my children bottles of milk until they are well into their teens.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. Thanks for taking the time to read this, apologies for the many grammatical errors I get carried away and tend to waffle on but I am glad I have written this down. No-one tells you how fucking horrific it can be…the early days in particular were so so hard. The twins were both colicky babies which didn’t help with my sanity but we are getting there, and they are such funny, happy wee boys and I know I am very lucky to be their mummy.. I just cannot flipping wait for a lie in again. I mean 7am would do.

The Garden House, Marple

The Garden House, Lakes Road, Marple, SK6 7DH

A few Sundays ago me and the twins went with Becky and their cousins to The Garden House.

Steven had been on my brother’s stag do in Vegas for the past few days, so I had been trying to keep myself very busy. This place had been on my list for a while so seemed like the perfect time to give it a go. Not quite Vegas but much cheaper  with fewer gamblers and slightly less lunatics.

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It’s free, but run on donations and there are lots of boxes dotted about for you to make a donation, they also have a café which sells tea, cakes and snacks.

My first tip would be to wear wellies, and puddlesuits and that’s just the adults! Also take your pushchair, we walked from the car park down to the farm which meant walking down a very muddy sloped pathway. Walking down was fine, but trying to get two toddlers to walk up hill and not jump in every single muddy puddle proved a little more difficult! When will I learn..

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The farm itself is great, they have a large play area with a slide and swings and a load of free standing plastic stuff, and some bikes. There are a fair few picnic tables dotted about which is good if you bring your own food.

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We spent most of the time in the playarea, licking muddy rain water and jumping in puddles! Of course there are farm animals too, which I are very smelly. I know farms are smelly but this one particularly so, maybe because the pigs are right next to the play stuff.

They have a small enclosed area near the café which has bunny rabbits and you can have a pony ride for a few pounds.

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One ‘highlight’ was a guy dressed up as Peppa pig who came out to say hello and walk around the farm with a helper, sounds ideal, but unfortunately for us this was where it all went wrong. My almost three year old niece and Luke were both petrified, Luke just got hysterical whenever he/she walked by. Martha was devastated and kept shouting that it wasn’t Peppa, why is Peppa so long!! I mean it was hilarious but the worry was they would be put off Peppa for life, which is not good! Luckily this is not the case, but the scary man dressed as Peppa was definitely an imposter we named Ben. Obvs.

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Unfortunately, we had to leave shortly after as the prospect of long imposter Peppa walking passed us again was too much to deal with..this meant we didn’t manage to look at all of the animals and take the woodland walk which is supposed to be worth a butchers.

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All in all, the place is a winner complete with animals, large play area and a café. Peppa wasn’t a hit with us but I am sure there were lots of kids that weren’t so scared. It’s muddy and dirty and very, very smelly but if that dosen’t put you off make the trip. It wasn’t too busy and kept us all entertained.

Parentfolk Weekender, Chester

Parentfolk Weekender, Whitehorse Chester, June 24th-25th 2017

First of all, apologies for my radio silence. I have just started a new job plus the twins have decided that self settling is for losers and it takes a squillion years to get them to fall asleep, by which time we may watch one tv show, wolf down some dinner and then it’s time for my bed too. I really lead a crazy life.

Anyhoo, yep this is massively delayed in writing. I had the good intentions of reviewing this on the evening of the event, but as per usual life got in the way. Damn life.

I was lucky enough to win family tickets to the Parentfolk weekend via the wonderful world of Instagram. If you haven’t checked them out have a butchers at their website, it’s brilliant with loads of info and ideas for mums and dads in the North West, (Parentfolk that is, not Instagram, doubt they need plugging by me..other way round please thankyou!!)

Steven was working so I took along my Mum. The event took place in the grounds of a pub called The White Horse, slap bang in the middle of Chester race course. Parking was free which is a thumbs up, and although we won our tickets the entrance fee was minimal so well worth it.

We went on the Saturday and luckily for us it wasn’t raining as the event was pretty much all outdoors, not that we mind a bit of dancing in the rain.

There was lots to do for kids of all ages, there was a playground, mini soft play area, drawing tables courtousy of Toddler Fun Learning a silent disco and DJ,  circus skills, Baby Brahms, t-shirt printing, make up, football, gorgeous stalls including my good friends Amie and Carlie with their lovely baby wear shop Albie & Sebastian. (not so subtle plug there ;)).

There was stuff for adults too, well booze. Gin you know that kind of thing.

The twins are running around now like maniacs, so my initial idea to bring them along by myself was bad! Thank goodness for my Mum. We basically kept our eye on a twin each and hoped for the best. Luckily I dressed them in bright yellow raincoats so I could always see where they were.

The boys particularly enjoyed playing with the inflatables and the giant sunglasses and dancing to the DJ. Though, think I preferred the dancing more than they did. Their dancing pretty much involves spinning round in circles or swaying slowly from side to side. Not too different from how their dad dances to be fair.

The only down side was the food situation, I am guessing because it was held in the grounds of the pub food could only be purchased from there. They had opened a BBQ kiosk and a pizza stall. We opted for BBQ, which was yummy but REALLY expensive for what it was. My lamb burger, which was more like a posh donner kebab in pitta cost over £13.00. You had access to the pub, obviously, so drinks could be purchased and you could book a table and have a proper sit down meal should you want to.

All in all, we had a great time. The places that get massive ticks from me at the moment are places where the boys can run around safely, ideally with activities to keep them entertained and I can sit for at least 5 minutes and have a drink of some description. The Parentfolk weekender ticked all the boxes.

Thanks for picking us as your winner Nicky and we can’t wait for the next one, which is on the 25th November at Camp and Furnace Liverpool. Tickets available via Eventbrite.




Eureka, Discovery Road, Halifax, HX1 2NE

Eureka has been on our list of places to visit for while now, i’d like to say for the twins and their learning, but really have been dying to go for myself really! We were lucky enough to have another day off as a family, midweek and not in the holidays so decided this was probably the time to go.

It didn’t take all that long to get there, and it is really well signposted. The car park is pay and display so make sure you take some pennies. Worth noting it is right next to Halifax train station so that’s definitely worth looking at too, and good to know if you aren’t a driver.

We took the buggy in with us, but this was our first outing with the reins. There were plenty of areas to dump your buggy in the museum, probably worth a mention though, some parts of the museum we would have struggled with the double buggy, though don’t let that put you off as the majority of the museum would have accomodated it.

Admission prices aren’t cheap, however, once you have paid you get an annual pass which allows you to visit as many times as you like during the year, which actually makes it a bargain. We will definitely be heading back.

There is so much to explore here, and all of it is very hands on. Downstairs, there is a child sized town, I got really excited is I thought there  was a M&S food hall where we could get some yummy lunch time treats, but alas, it was part of the exhibit. There were a few school parties who were really enjoying it. Not only was there a pretend M&S, there was a bank and a post office too .I swear if they had been there when I was little it would have been my dream day out! They also had a garage which was fab, you can climb in the cars and trucks and pretend to fill them with petrol. Pretty sure Steven and I liked this bit more than the twins. There is information as well about pollution and the importance of recyling which is great, and it is all done in such a fun way I would hope that kids will take it in and remember.

We then made our way into the sound and vision section, the twins loved listening to the big speakers and chasing the lights. In this part they have a little area specifically for babies and toddlers which was great. It had lots of areas for them to explore, we even tried on a little fancy dress, again, funny for us, not so funny for the boys who looked non plussed while running round half dressed as bees.

Upstairs was great too, it was all about the human body, you can step inside giant body parts, see how you will look when you are old (not my personal fave bit ;)) Luke’s favourite part of the day was pressing the button that emulated a massive burp, over and over again much to his amusement. And mine to be fair.

We then decided to have our lunch, which was reasonably priced and pretty good. Steven and I had burgers and the twins had baked potatoes. There was a decent selection and meal deals for the kids. There are plenty of areas inside and outside to have picnics if you prefer.

Outside, there is a static train where you can have your lunch and explore if you like, it was full of school children when we went for a nosy so we quickly scarpered. They also have a lovely little garden and a sandpit. The sandpit was a big hit, they probably ate more sand than they did baked potato.

Euerka is a top day out,  I cannot rate it enough. There is something for people of all ages and the fact we have an annual pass is great and we can’t wait to go again. I should have written this review straight away after we visited, as I am sure I have missed off loads of great stuff but my brain is frazzled!! (Does baby brain ever go?! I swear I am getting worse)

Don’t be put off by the distance , or the price. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Type Price
Children ages 1-2 £5.25
Adults & children ages 3+ £12.95
Babies under 1 £0.00

The Ice Cream Farm – Tattenall

Newton Lane, Tattenall, Chester, CH3 9NW


This place is the bollocks, we first visited The Ice Cream Farm when the boys were around 9 months and loved it, we went on a weekend and it was pretty busy so we decided to go again a couple of weeks ago, on a Tuesday, as Steven and I had a rare day off together. 


This a place really does have it all, it is free entry but you have to pay for most of the activities, of which there are plenty for children of all ages. You first enter and see a massive outdoor play area which looks like something straight out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We headed past this and went to the farm for a quick whizz round. Nothing major, a few sheep, some cockerels , rabbits etc but the twins love animals at the moment and have some animal noises down to a T, no doubt from the copious amount of times they have listened to Little Baby Bum’s rendition of Old MacDonald.

Next we headed to the soft play area, which is reasonably priced, under 12’s go free, under 3’s £3 and 3’s and over £3.75. It’s a decent soft play too, with a baby and toddler area and a bit for the bigger ones too. There is plenty of seating for grown ups to enjoy a coffee as their children run riot. Worth noting, during busier times it’s limited to an hour, but when we went mid week it was unlimited and we could re enter as many times as we wanted. Not that we did, but good to know. 

After soft play we headed to the Pantry which is next door for some lunch, Steven and I had a burger, which was fine, and the twins had jacket potato I think, or maybe sausages. Either way the majority ended up on the floor. Sorry to the cleaner who was watching over us like a hoping this faze of not eating much, throwing anything they don’t want on the floor and dribbling water down their chins and finding it hilarious won’t last much longer.

Next, we headed to the outdoor play area. This was the twins first walking expedition outside, there were a few trips and falls but they loved it, and I even got a bit emotional which is unlike me, heart of stone that I have, but was lovely watching Steven and Thomas having a stroll round the play area, though I secretly think they were scoping out ice creams. They loved the tunnels, obviously. Not sure what the obsession is but it was brilliant to watch.


Finally, we went into Honeycomb Canyon, we bypassed this last time but decided to give it a go. Not sure we were prepared enough. It is basically a huge room with sand and water and cogs and wheels. Had I known that the boys would automatically run for the deepest bit of water and trudge through it, then sit down I might have thought ahead and bought a towel, spare socks and shoes. Or even their swimsuits! Despite this they really enjoyed themselves. It’s great in there. Unfortunately, getting them dry afterwards was not so enjoyable. I had a set of spare clothing in the changing back, and one extra vest which we used as a make shift towel, no spare socks, so after the changing fiasco, we put them back in the buggy and covered their toes with my coat.

We decided due to lack of footwear and dark clouds looming,  that maybe it was time to head home, but not before Steven got some ice cream, I was good and passed. Though I had some last time and it was amazing. Every flavour you can think of.

To sum it up, this place is amazing, there is even more stuff to do should you want to, they have a race track, you can go on a JCB and dig up sand etc, they have crazy golf, gem sifting, birds of prey displays. You can purchase a play pass which softens the blow if your kids want to have a go on everything. If you haven’t been, make the trip. Just make sure you take a towel, and fresh socks so your children don’t end up looking like urchins like these two ratbags. 



Play Factore

Trafford Way, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester, M41 7JA


Yep, a soft play review. I think there may be a fair few of these up my sleeve to write about. My best friend, I seriously wouldn’t have survived the past 15 months or so without the help of soft play centres. Play Factore is one we have always meant to visit, but for whatever reason never got around to. We took the plunge last week, Steven joined us which makes life so much easier!!

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Nestled underneath the Chill Factore, (are we supposed to pronounce it ‘Factory’ or ‘Factorr’?!) this place is bloody huge. And expensive. Especially with two 1 year olds and 2 adults, anyway, it really is impressive when you first walk in. Funnily enough it is based on a factory, who would’ve thought it? So it’s all grey and mechanical themed. Reminded me of that zone in Sonic The Hedgehog. You know, the grey, mechanical themed one. Oh and it was really cold in there, I know it is underneath a ski slope, but it’s not a real Alp, though have just been told it is real snow. Not that it matterered really, with all the running after two toddlers we soon warmed up.

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The baby bit was pretty empty and the area was a decent size. It boasted slides and spinny things, and lots of bricks. There was also an area with tricycles which would be good when they are a little older. It had a sensory tent, which wasn’t working when we visited, however, the twins seemed to enjoy running around inside the tent. Some little girls joined in and it was quite the party!! I sat down while Steven ran about with them 🙂

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The older kids bit did look amazing to be fair, it has a huge red slide, there was a zip wire and go carts. We went up to the football pitch which the twins loved. I was a tad nervous as it was so high up but no, they can’t fall down.

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The cafe had a large selection, again, not cheap. Steven had a pizza which he said was really good and I opted for the soup (am trying to lose weight, the soup was nice but the pizza look way better, obviously!) we ordered the boys a baby pizza but it didn’t arrive, which is fine as they shared our meals which saved money.

There are plenty of tables and chairs, and there was a dance floor next to the cafe which I think is a good idea and makes for something a bit different.

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All in all, we had a lovely time, but if i’m honest wouldn’t rush back in a hurry. The cost puts me off and with so many soft play centres around now, there are many who I feel are better value for money. Saying that, it does look fab for older kids. If you can afford it.


Weekends, Bank Holidays and all School Holidays.

Facilities available: State of The Art Giant Play Frame, Interactive Toddler Play Area, Laser Tag Arena and Electric Go Karts. Zip Wire £3.95 per go (subject to availability)


* Under 6 months  FREE
* 6 – 11 months  £1.95
* 1 – 4 years old  £7.95
5 – 16 years old  £11.95
Adults  £3.95
OAPS  £1.95


Term time Monday to Friday.
Facilities available: State of The Art Giant Play Frame, Interactive Toddler Play Area, Electric Go Karts.


* Under 6 months  FREE
* 6 – 11 months  £1.95
* 1– 4 years old  £5.95
5 – 16 years old  £8.95
Adults  £2.95
OAPS  £1.95



Monkey Forest

Trentham Estate, Stone Road, ST4 8AY

After a recommendation over on the Facebook site, we decided to head to Monkey Forest last Sunday. Slightly further afield, but we timed it with a nap and the twins are still ok in their car seats, most of the time.

The park had reopened for the season as it was half term on the Monday, we arrived as it opened at 10am, which is something I like to do, mainly because I flap at the idea of places being too busy and no seats for lunch or long queues with screaming babies (mine, might I add). I was right of course, was a good time to arrive as it was still fairly quiet.

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We started off with a coffee, which at 2.80 for a machine coffee wasn’t great, but who cares really. It did the trick. We then headed over to the forest entrance, passing a play area and facepainting stall. Again, the boys are probably a wee bit little for both but not long to go i’m sure.

There is only one type of Monkey at Monkey Forest, the Barbary Macaque, this is mainly due to the climate, they must thrive off the sunny climes of Stoke, I mean who wouldn’t?

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We thought it might be a bit of Jurassic park moment, whereby we wouldn’t see any monkeys. (Not that we were about to get eaten by a Tyrannasaurus Rex) But after a quick stroll we came face to face with loads of the buggers. Thomas and Luke love pointing, and there was a hell of a lot of pointing going on. They seemed to be pretty interested in the monkeys, and the trees, and the magpies and most of the surroundings not so bothered about the Monkey’s bottoms yet, think that was just me. We had to cover their eyes at one point when we saw what looked like a couple of monkeys entertaining one another in an ‘adult’ way. Maybe they were just licking one another’s tummys. Who knows, but Steven and I found it pretty funny.

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The walk round the forest is fine with the pram. There are a few steep bits, but I cleverly thought ahead and made sure it was Steven’s turn during these points. There are sign posts along the way with various facts and questions about the Monkeys, which would be great for older ones. Apologies to the bloke with the camera who saw Steven’s impression of a Monkey mating when we played “guess which action off the sign I am doing”.

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We hung around for the talk given by the staff, who all seemed very knowledgeable but after a while the twins got a bit squiggly and we meandered back to the café for lunch.

Lunch was fine, the twins had sandwich boxes and Steven and I had average meals. I had a mediocre Jacket Potato and Steven had sausage and chips. Again, fine but nothing to write home about, but then I don’t suppose you come to Monkey Forest for the food.

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All in all we had a good time, but I think the boys would really love it in a few years time. Personally, if you are heading this way I would head to Peak Wildlife Park but again, just my opinion.

We also should have purchased a joint ticket with Trentham Gardens (sorry Katy, you did say but we didn’t see any sign of it when we arrived!)  which looked really pretty but at £8.50 each per adult to enter we decided to head to a Soft Play Centre as the boys needed a crawl about. We found one, it did the trick but I am pretty sure we all caught something there..I jest, but, well, I am sure you can imagine.

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All in all, I would say go and have a visit. If monkeys are your thing you will love it as you can get up really close to them and maybe if your kids are old enough to enjoy play areas and facepainting it might be an even better experience.

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Have a look on their calendar as they have various events on throughout the year which may tickle your fancy.


Adults: £8.50

Concessions: £8.00

Children 3-14 years: £6.50

Disabled & Carers: £5.50

Under 3: Free





Our Kids Social 1st Birthday bash

Having read about social media, I have been tempted to go to a few of their events, and when this one came up on my facebook feed, I bit the bullet and got us some tickets. Their events are held at various different venues, this particular one was at Sale Masonic Hall.

The twins are at that slightly annoying inbetweeny stage, not quite toddling but definitely not babies anymore. We used to take them for walks of a weekend, but they get bored in the buggy and WHINGE!!! Soft play is a nightmare on Saturdays and Sundays and swimming, well, id need to shave my legs etc for that and I can’t be arsed. They aren’t walking just yet, though Luke has taken a few steps, so until then I feel a little stuck. Also, it’s winter and freezing cold so we cant roll about on the grass quite yet.

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This was a life saver, and just what we all needed. It kicked off at 2pm and there was a disco in the main room, complete with blow up instruments, bubbles and DJ’s playing pretty decent music to be fair. There were lots of disco lights and the boys were mesmerised and quickly crawled about full pelt. Trying to keep up with them is proving tricky, so apologies if you tripped over two little boys in puffin leggings!

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There was also a bar, yep a licensed one. I only had one beer, but the idea of getting a little tipsy and dancing like a loony with your little ones actually sounds quite fun. In the bar area was facepainting, dress up and cupcakes for sale. (am guessing for the kids, but putting it in the bar area might be more for the grown ups!)

Upstairs was probably best for the boys, there was a sensory room and Jo Jingles sessions all afternoon. If you haven’t been to a Jo Jingles before, expect over the top singing, instruments and clapping. Thomas got a bit scared of the parachute bit so I had to take him for some quiet time, daft bugger, but Luke was in his element.

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For the older kids, were getting messy and making hats. It looked a lot of fun. Nice to see my old next door neighbour Zoe manning the stall. It’s her company and having had a mooch on the website will definitely be checking out their other events.

The whole event was brill for kids, and we had fun too. The venue was reminiscent of those days in dirty nightclubs, waiting to climb stairs to other rooms. Though with children in tow, and maybe not quite so much booze.

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We had a fab time (especially Luke!!) and will 100% be back.

Soft Play @ The Trafford Centre

First of all, apologies I haven’t posted for a while. I am back in work and the twins are as boisterous as ever and attempting to walk. I am not prepared for walking twins. As a result I have been absolutely knackered and have had no time to do anything. I am a mess.

Anyway, this is a guest review done by my much better, and much more patient half Steven, of The Ste Review (have a look he’s very good). I have been a bit apprehensive about posting this because he is a better writer than me!

I hope you enjoy it. x


So, forgive me if I’m being presumptuous, but my guess is that if you’re reading a blog about places to take your children in Manchester you’ve probably heard of, and visited, the Trafford Centre. Now, I grew up in Urmston. If you don’t know it, it’s the place you get to if you turn the other way when you come off the M60 at junction 10. I can’t claim to speak for all Urmstonians, if that’s the right word for us, but I know a lot of us had our Saturday jobs, or even full time jobs at the Trafford Centre. We’ve seen behind the faux marble, the oddly naked statues (especially in the newer bit with the home shops and the sea life centre – full of statue boobs), and the glitzy blue dome. We’ve been behind the scenes. A lot of us from Urmston – and this will shock some of you I’m sure – don’t like the Trafford Centre.

Personally, I’ve always preferred town, or should I say Manchester City Centre. It’s more vibrant, it’s got more character, there’s more going on. But nothing changes your perspective quite like parenthood, eh? The part of me that still thinks I’m eighteen sighs at the thought, but when it comes down to it, the Trafford Centre is a good place to go with your children.

For starters, there’s free parking. Bloody loads of it. Considering the sheer amount of parking spaces, parent/child spaces are a bit lacking, and I swear one day I’m going to see some people come to blows over them, but it would be a stretch to argue that parking’s a problem.

Then, of course, it’s all weatherproof because it’s indoors (except for the booby statue sea life centre bit). I mean we’ve all gone to bed planning an idyllic walk around Dunham Massey with our young cherubs, feeding grass to the young deer, getting back to nature; and then woken up the next day to pissing rain and said, “F*ck it, we’re going the Trafford Centre.”

And then, I don’t know about your kids, but our boys just seem to like it in there. I don’t know if the lights, the general hustle and bustle, or that frigging water fountain that shoots up to the ceiling (and grown human beings go “Ooooh!”), but as long as it’s not too busy something about the place just puts them in a good mood.

So, when one day I was looking after the boys on my own and my plans for the afternoon were to visit Grandma and Granddad in Urmston, since I was heading that way anyway, where else was I going to spend the morning?

Now, on this particular day, the boys were about 7 or 8 months old and were loving a bit of not-quite-crawling about the place, you know when it’s mainly dragging themselves using the arms and looking like commandos. They were a bit less happy to just be pushed around in a pram than they used to be so I decided to give the play area a try to let them have a play. If you don’t know, it’s in the Orient on the ground floor, next to Nandos. As if you don’t know where Nandos is.


When you look at the price list, it’s not encouraging. When your first two choices are half an hour and 45 minutes, you have to wonder if it’s really worth it, but as the boys were under 1 they got in free, and because it was quiet the staff were happy for us to stay as long as we wanted. In the end I spent about an hour in there and I’ll explain why I didn’t hang on any longer.

One major drawback, at least as a parent with twins, is that you can’t take your pram inside. They have an area where you have to chain it up before you go in the door, and because our double pram is such a big ‘un they made me fold it up. So, I had a member of staff holding Luke, and an unsuspecting but helpful mum holding Thomas while I sorted the pram out.

I took Thomas back and the staff member let me in to the play area via a door with a combination lock – at least you know it’s pretty secure if the child catcher ever decides to make an appearance. They showed me around to the infant and toddler area and pointed out the toilets and changing facilities, and the problem was immediately obvious: without the pram, what was I supposed to do if one of them needed changing? I can’t leave one out in the play area to play on his own, and I can’t really take him in and leave him to drag himself around the floor of the toilets while I deal with god-knows-what’s come out of his brother. So I stuck it out for an hour, because sometimes I like to live dangerously, but then I got out of there before I had to deal with that particular riddle.  (although Jenny has just told me that she just scoops them both up and leaves one on the toilet floor!)


For that one reason, I can’t recommend it for someone on their own with two young babies. The set up just isn’t designed to accommodate that. Apart from that drawback, I have to say it wasn’t a bad play area. They’ve made the most of a relatively small space, and there was a lot more in there than I expected, especially in the bigger kid bit. The smaller kids get quite a small area but there’s plenty of toys in there (mainly with dead batteries it has to be said) and a little climbing course and slide for those that are starting to toddle. I don’t know if Jenny’s mentioned it but the boys are happy if they’ve got something to spin, and there was plenty of that to be done.

Overall, if you’re out in the Trafford Centre and your kids are of an age that they won’t tolerate a day in the pram or get bored shopping, then a quick trip to the play area might be just the ticket to get you through the day. Not suitable for one parent with twins though – and that’s what this blog’s all about.

Pssst – one last Trafford Centre tip: sack off that baby change by the Orient – that place is hellish. Our advice is try the baby change in John Lewis. It’s probably the most luxurious baby change I’ve ever dealt with. It feels like when you treat yourself and pay the extra tenner to sit in first class on the train.

Oh and one last thing while I’m here – can people just get over pooping in the pub? I’m sick of waiting outside the disabled loos to change one of the boys, only for the door to unlock and some red-faced man or woman sheepishly walk out leaving an almighty stink behind. Everyone poops. It smells, get over it. Do it in the standard bogs because the stink from the nappies is bad enough without having to work around your stink too.

The crèche and play area is open Monday – Friday 10am-7.30pm, Saturday 9am-7pm and Sunday 11am-5pm.

Up to half an hour £2.60
Up to 45 mins £3.70
Up to 1 hour £4.50
Up to 1.5 hours £5.00

Dovestone Reservoir

Dovestone Reservoir, Greenfield,Saddleworth, Oldham OL3 7NE

I’m writing this hiding in my bedroom tucked up under my duvet with the boiler man doing his thing downstairs! We have had a bit of a crazy Christmas with a broken boiler so have spent our time between both of our parents. It’s actually been quite nice being looked after and having help with the twins (who are currently with my mum and dad while the new boiler gets put in)

Coldness in mind, I have decided to write about Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth. We visited in the summer on a gorgeous warm sunny day and I have to say it was just stunning. I had never heard of it, but again, was recommended to me by a friend and makes for a brilliant walk.


We took what looked like the most straight forward route around the reservoir and it was fairly easy, there were a few little inclines but nothing we couldn’t manage with the buggy. There were also a few stones and lumps and bumps but again, the buggy was fine. I wasn’t, as I had stupidly worn flimsy flip flops..flip flops, I can’t remember a time when it didn’t feel like I had icicles on my toes! Thick socks and boots, nevermind flip flops! Anyway, yep wear sensible shoes.

I would also advise taking a picnic, there was a pretty spot with rocks and streams which would have been perfect for a spot of lunch. (or a flask of hot tea, if you were to go at this time of year!)

Worth noting, there isn’t a café and the parking was pay and display so make sure you have change.

We had a lovely time, Steven enjoyed skimming stones while I spent time shaking stones out of my stupid flip flops. The scenery was stunning, all trees and hills and shimmering water.  I really felt like I was in France, not Oldham. Oh and we lost our gorgeous Lala & Bea picnic blanket while walking around. I have a tendency to load the buggy up with stuff and most of it falls off. If you found it, enjoy it’s lovely.

(Apologies for crap pictures, this was all before i decided to start this blog. Any recent ones the pictures will be amazing, naturally 😉

We didn’t take a picnic with us, instead we went to nearby Uppermill where there are a handful of really nice pubs and a quaint little park where we had ice creams and rolled about on the grass. Definitely worth visiting too.

We are looking forward to visiting again, cannot recommend highly enough. In fact I think I might go over the weekend and see what it looks like all frosty and pretty. I will 100% wear boots.