Sunday, 26 January 2014

Ikidz softplay review - I wouldn't not on busy days!

So the rain is chucking it down, with the farm parks shut, and our swimming things drying from yesterday what were we to do? Soft play it is, which is a great idea, just a shame half of the population of Oxfordshire had the same idea too. We'd heard great things about the ikidz soft play near the Kassam so thought we'd give it a try, easy to find, loads of parking, it  started so well..... The queue out the door would of usually made us turn and run, but given we'd made the special trip we persevered 15 minutes and one grumpy little one later we were at the till ready to pay, having already checked out the prices on their website I was surprised to learn they were different in store  than those online, you have to join for a fee before you can use it, again this was ok.... Form filled in then we were ready to go.... We then clocked the massive crowds.... But that's ok there is bound to be enough room for us all.... WRONG!
We were packed in like sardines, with little room to maneuver round, the play equipment was covered with children, with all available seating taken we found a tiny patch of carpet to take off our shoes, I then herded Baby J forward to the toddler area which we were told was the area for us to use, which was disapointly  small, I encouraged Baby J up the equipment which is clearly sign posted for under 3's only but unfortunately with no staff around to monitor this he was pushed down by some older children who were charging around, we changed tatic and when  a trampoline came up managed to nab it, this Baby J loved, he soon got the idea of what it was about and enjoyed bouncing up and down, I sat near the edge and using my hands helped bounce it, this equipment was great, it was contained and well padded. Baby J had a fab 5 minutes of being Tiger before I felt the need to move him off as a small queue had built up, we managed to get on the swings and again had a few fab minutes before the mutters and tuts from other parents made me move on, we attempted the soft play equipment again but it was over crowded. The cafe area was rammed with no seats free, and a queue building there was no chance there would be any space for us any time soon, so after a manic 20 minutes which was mainly spent trying to find some space we left. The cold fresh air was really welcomed, inside had been hot and humid feeling more like a cheap nightclub with a sea of bodies that a fun play area for children. Bar the member of staff on the till & those in the cafe area I didn't spot any others,  no one was monitoring the children playing which led to what I felt was chaos. The lack of seating or clearly make space to put shoes & bags made for hubby acting like a cart horse lumping all our stuff around, he didn't manage to get near to see Baby J playing and was stressed out by the sheer numbers of parents all trying to get a view. 

On a quieter day I'm sure it'd be much better, and have heard from those who go during the week how much fun it is, but on a cold Sunday it really wasn't the place to be.

I will now start a new quest to find a soft play area which cares more for those using it.....

Sunday, 5 January 2014

The perfect Slummy Mummy Secret Santa

Some secret Santa gifts can be very hit and miss, in the past I've received all manner of odd items, however this year I was given a fab gift which I want to share as it's something that can be replicated for different occasions, and I'm sure will be loved by all.

The Slummy Mummies in the past have done a random secret Santa game, where you bring a gift to the agreed value, we then take turns in picking a gift and opening it, there is a slight twist where if you like a gift that someone else has opened you can 'steal' the gift. This has lead to lots of laughs where everyone has wanted a certain gift. This year we randomly hinted to everyone what the gift might be... All the gifts sounded fab but Mummy L's hint of it being home made had me intrigued, & being one of the last to pick (purely by chance of course ;-) ) I went for Mummy L's whose had yet to be claimed. Hooray! 

I'm so pleased I did I was given a Christmas recovery kit, which was filled with an array of lovely things including, a jar of granola (I'd never tried it before but now love it) a head massager which I've found is super relaxing and has helped relieve head aches, a piece of art work by her son to help me keep my New Years resolution, exfoliators, and some BB cream which is simply amazing (perfect for busy mummies who haven't the time to spend ages applying different foundations and creams in the morning)  I really loved my gift and it has made me appreciate the time, effort and thought that had gone into it. I hope next year to make up similar gifts for family & friends. I'm a big fan of homemade gifts as my friends & family know (for my birthday I was given a box of biscuits with my name and happy birthday printed on by my best friend they were so lovely!) I also try and utilise my son's first art work skills as much as possible with hand painted cards, canvas's & other items. 

Handmade items are so lovely and really give gifts that special touch! As for my secret Santa gift, as I love my Mia Tui bag that I road tested so much, I bought another one of the bags, which went down really well!