Muddy Puddles, in connection with TPToys, have very generously let me review some of their lovely out and about clothing and accessories. I reckon if their clothes can survive my kids and Lancashire weather, they have to be something special. This blog post and the reviews are featured as a guest blog on TPToys & Muddy Puddle’s blog which can be found here: http://www.activefunkids.com/
So here goes…
My two kids were kindly sent Muddy Puddles PuddlePac macs, and a pair of very trendy sunglasses each too – so whatever the weather they’d be prepared for it! I decided the best way to test these, would be to take the kids out for an adventure. www.muddypuddles.com/Sun/Sunglasses/New-Adventurer-Banz
It’s the summer holidays at the moment, and I’ve been desperate to get us all out of the house. My little lad is 2 years old, and my daughter is 5 going on 15. They seem to spend almost every waking hour arguing at the moment, and I have been going quietly crazy listening to ‘Gerroffit!’ ‘Me-me-me-me!’ and loud ear splitting screams from one or the other of them. The worst bit is when they start with the ‘MUUUUuuuuuUUUmmmm’ (whiney tone) which makes me feel like my head is going to explode. This is all whilst they ricochet around the house, leaving a trail of toy devastation and usually a distraught cat. S has taken to pulling his tail and poking him with his plastic light sabre, poor love.
Out of the house, things seem to calm down for all concerned. The kids are occupied with wherever they’re going and the new surroundings, and I always feel happier without the four walls closing in on me. With this in mind, I was more than happy to arrange a daring escape to Cliff Castle in Keighley via bus and little legs – theirs not mine.
The morning of the planned expedition arrived, and so did the bad weather. It was tipping it down, or ‘jumping monkeys’ as my dad calls heavy rain. The kids were fairly unphased by the soggy weather and were looking forward to the day ahead, so happily ambled around the house helping while I got things together. ‘Helping’ as in trying to nick the cheese from the butties when I wasn’t looking, and putting their muddy wellies on and trekking around on my pale blue carpet. Well…. I say pale blue, it used to be pale blue, but after five years of having kids, it’s more a mottled grey colour, with occasional ribena purple patches and ingrained play-doh bits. I like to call my house ‘shabby chic’ dotcha know!
The rucksack ended up the size of a small bungalow, like it always does and we set off for the bus. I don’t drive, so am very used to packing a huge rucksack, with everything for every eventuality – including potential nucleur attack. Both kids were dressed in their PuddlePac macs and their sunglasses were stashed in a side pocket – I sincerely hoped they’d come in useful later. Togged up and excited, they dashed down the hill in front of me, jumping in puddles and urging me to ‘run faster mummy!’ Considering the ridiculously sized rucksack I was carrying, I politely declined and staggered after them.
S stropped half way down the hill because he knew I was carrying a drink, and because I wouldn’t give it to him until we’d got to the bus stop. Walking and drinking tends to slow him down, so I thought it more than reasonable to ask him to wait. S did not agree…. not at all, and tried to climb up my legs to raid the rucksack. Eventually he resorted to just yelling and sitting down on the soaked pavement. I thought we were going to miss the bus so gave up trying to cajole him into moving, and just picked him up, and carried him for a while.
Usually I’m rubbish at carrying stuff. If we have a furniture shift round at ours I’m the first to drop my end on my toe and give up. But when it comes to lugging toddlers about I have to say I’m rock hard these days. S won’t get in his pushchair now and I am used to slinging him under one arm, carrying heavy shopping in the other, and lumbering up and down Lancashire hills. I think I’m actually getting biceps!
We were in time for the bus, which was a minor miracle! Daisy played on her DS, and Sol knelt on his seat shouting ‘Car!’ or ‘Ban!’ at passing vehicles, whether they were cars or vans or completely unrelated forms of transport. S tends to put B’s at the beginning of lots of words – e.g., he says ‘Daddy’s Beeping and Boring, which translates as ‘Daddy’s Sleeping and Snoring.’ Hence the ‘Ban’ which translates as ‘Van’ if you hadn’t already guessed. ‘Banana car!’ helped pass the time nicely too. It’s a very simple game that consists of spotting a yellow car before anyone else, and shouting ‘Banana Car!’ then tickling whoever is sat next to you – if you play this on a bus, the person next to you has to be a friend or family member, they throw you off if you try this with someone you don’t know.
The bus meandered through the town and on through the countryside, thankfully the clouds lifted and the rain gradually stopped. By the time we arrived in Keighley, we had blazing sunshine, white fluffy clouds and blue skies. D looked a little over dressed for the weather in her waterproof pants, flowery wellies and waterproof mac. We added the sunglasses to the ensemble and she looked like she was prepared for anything the British weather could throw at her!
We ate our sandwiches by the war memorial in the town centre. Actually, that’s a lie. I ate my sandwiches, but S and D carefully picked out the cheese and left the majority of the bread and were far keener to chase pigeons than to eat lunch.
Following lunch / pigeon harassing, we headed off to the castle. I’ve only been by car before and it didn’t seem that far, but at toddler speed it took forever. D and S didn’t seem to mind though, and found different things to look as we pottered up the hill. They were particularly enamoured with a dead bee, D was convinced it was still alive and insisted on rescuing it. It was a bit beyond saving to be honest, but we dutifully found a leaf to put it on and left it on a patch of grass. I have to admit, it seemed a nicer ending than on a hard stone pavement. So we said our goodbyes to the dead bee and trogged onwards, feeling that we’d done our good deed for the day.
Previously I’ve only ever visited Cliff Castle by car and it seemed a lot nearer, funnily enough. I got a bit worried we were on the wrong road and asked a passing bloke if we were going the right way. As he gave me directions, S decided he’d quite like one of the crisps he was eating and tried to nab one, which was a little embarrassing. I thanked him for his help and then S started pointing back down the hill in a very urgent manner and was obviously trying to tell the man something extremely important. I had to explain that we’d just rescued a dead bee. He looked at me like I was a mad, and I hurriedly herded the kids up the road, whilst blushing horrendously.
Eventually we arrived! First stop was the animal and bird enclosure. The guinea pigs were a huge hit, and we cooed over their squeaky noises and snuffly noses. The rabbits were huge! D noticed that one of them only had one and half ears and we spent a while wondering what had happened to the other half. We decided it was a ‘lop-sided’ rabbit as opposed to simply a ‘lop-eared rabbit.’
D took off her waterproof pants and anorak, and S did likewise. They proudly ambled around in their new sunglasses, D looking like a little snowboarder and S like a mini-dude. Cute as buttons!
As any parent knows, a day out in the summer is not a day out until everyone has had an ice cream. Not that I mind! (pats middle age spread and grins). D and S devoured their ice-creams and guzzled their drinks, as did I.
At Cliff Castle they have a conservatory stocked with all kinds of tropical plants and cactus, so we had a look at them. D commented that one of them looked like it was a plant monster and that it might grab her, ‘Little Shop of Horror’s’ stylee. I tried to get both kids to stand in front of the plant and pretend to be monsters for a photo, but they weren’t very enthusiastic. D managed a brief ‘Grrr’ and gave me one of the annoyed looks she’s been practising, so we moved swiftly on to the park.
This was the bit they really loved. D and S sat on the roundabout while I pushed it round as fast as I could, wondering at what point they’d turn green and when I’d see the ice-cream again – thankfully that didn’t happen. The difficult bit was when I had to peg it between the baby swings and the big swings. D was not going to allow me to skive pushing her swing, and S is too little to swing his own; so I ran between them like an idiot and got shouted at ‘Come here and push me NOW mum!’ and ‘Oy, don’t ignore me!’ ‘My turn!’ which was funny and then a tad annoying after a while. I was more than a little relieved when they just clambered about on the climbing frame. At least all I had to do was hover near them in case either of them nosedived.
The kids could have stayed there all day, but I thought an amble around the grounds would be a nice thing to do. One of the highlights of the day was when we found a huge grassy incline, both of them discovered the delights of ‘roly-polying’; and hurled themselves down the hill, laughing and racing each other. Me, being daft like I am, checked no-one was looking and had quick go myself, much to the kid’s amusement. I ended up covered in bits of grass with two kids tackling me, battered but elated at being in the midst of sunshine and silliness. Moments like that are what make life worth living for me!
By that time it was about half past three, and it takes approximately an hour by bus, so we called it a day. I’ve promised the kids we’ll go back and actually have a look around the castle next trip. Planning is the key, we just ran out of time. I would have taken this into consideration if I had an ounce of organisation, but never mind!
The bus seemed to take forever to arrive, but the kids occupied themselves by doing ‘keep fit’ moves. D is very into doing what she calls the splits, which is basically her stretching her legs out sideways until she falls over. S copied her and fell over and clonked his head on the bus shelter, so that was the end of that.
Before we had any major injuries or strains, the bus arrived and we climbed on. Unfortunately S needed changing and so I started doing nappy changing acrobatics much to the amusement / disgust of the other passengers. It was a really full bus, so this was no easy task! I had to drag out spare underpants and trousers from the rucksack, lie S across my knee with his feet sticking out into the aisle, clean him up and generally try to make him smell and look a bit more acceptable. All in the space you’d struggle to swing a mouse, and with fellow passengers as an audience; smiling apologetically I shrugged my shoulders and reminded myself that he wont be doing this forever. I figured they’d have to hold their noses and grin and bear it. Since having kids, I’m a lot less bothered by disapproving old ladies.
At last we arrived home, tired, happy and ready for CBeebies and tea. We’d had torrential rain and sunshine, fun and frivolity and butties and ice-cream. All the ingredients necessary for a memorable day out! D & S want to go and do it all over again next week; I’m exhausted at the thought!
(This is me, I’m so exhausted, my eyes are closed)
On my next blog I’ll be reviewing the Muddy Puddles gear, and what we thought about it. As they say on TV – ‘Stay tuned for further updates!’
If you can’t wait for that and you want to have a look at their lovely clothing and accessories range before then, please click here: Muddy Puddles >
Alternatively you can have a look at the Active Fun Kids Blog which is a great read! http://www.activefunkids.com/
Just to apologise for the dodgy photo and text settings. I’m just learning how to do this techie stuff, and it’s actually surprisingly difficult to set everything out. Please forgive my amateurish attempts! I’m getting better! Promise to try harder, lol! :O)