Rollercoaster Mum: August 2011


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bats in the Bedroom - updated for Flashback Friday

I can't believe it's over a year since I started my blog and I have totally missed by Blogoversary so I'm linking this which was one of my first proper posts up to the lovely Mummy Mishaps Flashback Friday.

This actually happened a few weeks ago at the beginning of the school holidays but I thought it might be a good story to share and it is European Bat Week this week.

It was a Sunday night and I had gone up to bed after husband as usual (inveterate night owl and insomniac that I am). I turned out the lights and it was then that I heard it - a loud rustling in the room (we do have an inordinate amount of crap in the bedroom - must tidy it one day). This was not just mice in the cupboards or under the floorboards (we've had them before), this was IN the room - definitely. I turned the light back on and watched the corner of the room (where the piles of crap reside) and where the noise was coming from. The noise got louder and I could see paper moving - I continued to watch with fascinated horror - don't know what I thought was going to appear but it was the middle of the night. Eventually a small fluffy thing popped out but within seconds I realised it was a bat not a mouse. I think I probably squeaked and then nudged husband rudely awake with 'there's a bat in our bedroom'.

Now, I should say at this point that I quite like bats normally, we sometimes see them flying about in the garden and I like the idea they are there and eating nasty biting insects but a bat in my bedroom was something else. I don't like things flying in enclosed spaces - put a bird in my bedroom and I would freak, so even though this wasn't flying but sort of crawling the idea of it in my bedroom and the thought it might start flying round it gave me the heebie jeebies. Husband got big and brave(ish) and trying to be nonchalant told me to open the windows and curtains wide (I notice he didn't do this!) and turn the light out which I duly did, hiding my head under the duvet. My heart was going nineteen to the dozen and there was no way I was going to manage to sleep but I thought once husband went back to sleep I could take my pillow and creep downstairs to the sofabed leaving him with the bat! We lasted about 5 minutes - husband leapt into me with a rather undignified 'it moved' sort of squeak at which point I suggested we both go and sleep downstairs on the sofabed and leave the bat to itself with the hope that it might leave through the open windows.

Next evening arrives and no sign of Batty so we went to bed as normal hoping it had gone. Then at 3am - loud noises and scuffling - we tried to ignore it for about 10 minutes then gave up and went down to the sofabed again - pathetic really! As it was obviously still there I called the Bat Conservation Trust after googling bat in bedroom. They were really helpful and explained that it was probably a baby and would be unlikely to be able to fly (made me feel better if slightly ridiculous). They explained how to catch it with a shoebox and a bit of cardboard and how to keep it alive until a bat handler rescue person could come and get it.

This was all very well but Batty had disappeared. That evening husband and I set to tidying the crap in the bedroom, searching every nook and cranny we could find and hoovering but could we find the blessed thing - nope! We finally gave up and went to bed - and woke up the next morning - in our bedroom - there had been no noises in the middle of the night but now we knew Batty was unlikely to fly it had to be there somewhere (thoughts of rotting dead bat in the bedroom occurred to me - eugh).

Finally at 10am it appeared - from under the fitted wardrobes (they can fit in very small spaces). I grabbed my shoebox and piece of cardboard and gingerly caught it. I then put the shoebox in the summer house (didn't want to chance it escaping in the house!) Batty was quite sweet really and very small. I rang the bat rescue man (Batman as we called him) and he said to make a hot water bottle for it, which I duly did. Not every day you get to say you are making a hot water bottle for a bat!

Batman arrived a couple of hours later and put Batty in his special bat box which was great as the girls could see it - he checked it over and said it was a baby Pipistrelle Bat and a girl. He also checked out the hanging tiles above our dormer bedroom window, as on closer inspection there was fresh bat poo on the roof indicating we had a bat roost up there, which would explain why we had had a baby bat drop through our bedroom window. So turns out we have a bat roost above our bedroom - Batman explained it was probably just a summer maternity roost and they would be gone in a few weeks when the babies had grown but they might be back next year.

Now feel slightly silly about it all and rather proud that we have our very own bat roost - hope they come back next year now and if I ever get a bat in the bedroom again I know what to do (although I may be keeping the windows shut in the breeding season!)

Thanks go to the Bat Conservation Trust and all their workers, especially the people on the helpline (Chris and Crystal) and to our very own Batman for rescuing Batty - who by the way was deemed healthy enough to be returned directly to our roost.

our bat

Legoland - we love you!

We have been to Legoland several times before but the last time we went it was when Little Miss Sunshine was only 1 so we took it in turns to go on the bigger ride with the little Star. This was a couple of years ago now so when we announced that we would be going to Legoland the next day it was met with screams of delight and more bouncing than a Tigger does.

We got there just after the gates opened (essential if you want to go on any of the big rides) and we were a bit shocked by the number of cars already parked but it wasn't too busy at the gates. We measured Little Miss S and reckoned she was just over the magical 1m to be able to go on all the rides - phew! We could have got a wristband from guest services which would have meant she didn't need to be measured on every ride but we were all anxious to get on with the fun.

We managed to go on several of the bigger rides before the queues got too long in the middle of the day (we were there on a Saturday in August!). Both girls are speed freaks even at the tender ages of 3 and 6 so we all piled on at every ride leaving the pushchair loaded with lunch in the buggy parks. We succeeded in getting soaked on the very first ride of the day - the Viking River Splash (very bumpy but not that fast) but the girls didn't seem to mind. As we were already wet we thought we'd get wetter and do Pirate Falls (the log flume) which produced screams of excitement and joy as we plunged down the splash.

Husband wanted to head for the newest ride next as he had heard you got to see real live tropical fish and he's a bit of a sucker for a pretty fish. This was Legoland Atlantis Submarine Voyage - again the queue was not long and although it's not a thrillseeking ride it's very clever and, like all things at Legoland, very well done. You are shepherded on to a platform where you are loaded on to a 'submarine' (yellow of course - cue lots of renditions of Yellow Submarine!) The door is shut and off you go - you don't really dive down but the girls thought we had and there were lots of pretty fish (real ones and Lego ones) - even sharks and rays and as a bonus there is a 'captains' voice and lots of buttons to press - cool!


Yellow Submarine

From there we packed in loads more rides including the Dinosaur Safari, the whizzy water thing (can't remember the name) and the Pirate Boat - we even ate our lunch on the train! The only ride we had to queue for quite a long time for was the Laser Quest and it didn't even excite the girtls that much.

They did love the driving schools and the Dinosaur rollercoaster (I did say they were speed freaks!) although Little Miss S wasn't too sure of the large red lego dragon breathing fire at her but the actual rollercoaster she LOVED!

We even managed to take in a couple of the fab puppet shows at the Lego Duplo theatre - chance for a sit down and an ice cream.

When it came to about 6pm we started to go back to all the big rides we liked to do them agin - Log flume, Dino coaster and Submarine were all done 3 times each! Legoland is open until 8pm in August and we made the most of every second! The girls tea was half a giant hot dog each and the very last ride they chose to do was to go on the driving school again. This is different to lots of driving rides in that they have little electric cars that they really can drive wherever they like on mini roads with traffic lights, give way signs and even roundabouts!

Driving school!

After 8pm we finally started making our way to the exit via MiniLand (acres of miniature buildings made of lego with features such as Buckingham Palace and the London Eye). They do have moving trains and boats on these but we always miss them as we never seem to get there until the rides close and they switch off the moving figures.

By 8.30pm we were near the entrance, had a quick look round the shop (save your money - you can get Lego cheaper on Amazon) and we finally left, very tired and very happy, at 8.45pm - a whole 11 HOURS after we got there.

There is no doubt we had the best time at Legoland and if you arrive early enough the queues aren't so bad, even on a Saturday in August but I would take a picnic (food expensive and not great) and I do think that charging £2 to park when there is nowhere else to park is a total rip off. It would also have been nice to see the opening hours of the restaurants somewhere as we might have eaten in the one at the entrance on the way home rather than grabbing a hot dog from a stall earlier.

It isn't cheap to get in (we were lucky enough to get free tickets from a friend) but they do always have deals with Tesco vouchers etc and we have used these on previous occasions. With a couple of minor gripes I would still say that Legoland is a fantastic day out if you have kids under 10 (but be careful if you have a speed freak 3yo under 1m tall as you will have to pay for them but they won't be able to go on the big rides).

Well done Legoland we will be back!!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Luvverly Lollibop 2011 Review

Lollipops at Lollibop

Lollibop – in case you didn’t know is a festival for the under 10’s and this year it took place in the beautiful surroundings of Regents Park in London. It was on for 3 days (5th-7th August). I was probably more excited than the kids when I found out we were going and I am immensely grateful to MummyNews for giving me the opportunity to go and do their review. 

We set out on Saturday with some trepidation and lots of excitement.  This was the first time that I would be taking big one (aged 6) and little one (aged 3) on my own to London (from Hampshire) and travelling on train and tube.  (OH having decided he would rather do DIY at home – hmmph! ) Oh well we were going to have FUN!

We arrived at about 11.30 – having successfully negotiated train and tube (with kids and pushchair). Having read some of the reviews and comments on the Friday I thought we might have to queue but we had no problems getting in and despite the day being a sell out there was plenty of space at the site, which was great as there’s nothing worse than crowds with kids! 

There was so much to do we just didn’t know what to do first! As we passed the meet and greet area there was Peppa Pig and George so we had to stop for little one to have a cuddle with George and pick up one of the free Peppa Pig hats. 
George Pig

Next stop was the Science Museum tent (mainly because I wanted too but both kids really enjoyed it!) My only complaint about this was that it should have been much bigger – the kids could do quick mini experiments like making rockets (from water and alka-seltzers), making huge bubbles (with straws) and playing with a weird mix of cornflour and water – fab!
Gloop at the Science Museum

Then it was a dash over to the Lollipalladium (a big theatre tent) to watch Horrible Histories – I expected a queue but was pleasantly surprised not to find one! Horrible Histories was excellent and very funny and even little one appeared to be engrossed for most of the 45 minutes. 
Horrible Histories

The kids were hungry now – time for lunch! I hadn’t brought a picnic as I just couldn’t face carrying it across London but there were plenty of places to sit if you had. I had been warned of queues but if you picked the right stall this wasn’t a problem and there was plenty of picnic tables to sit at – all in site of the Alfresco Bandstand, which kept us entertained while we ate. The food was fine and no more expensive than at any other festival, sports or outdoor event and most of the stands seemed to do kids portions.

After lunch, we wandered around the stalls (there were some lovely things if you were looking to buy) and then headed off to the main stage. The Teatime Treats were performing (a London kid’s band) and they were excellent with lots of fun lively songs that got the kids moving and using instruments such as the accordion, banjo and ukulele. Unfortunately although undoubtedly far more talented than the ZingZillas or even dare I say it Rastamouse they did not draw such large crowds as the famed Cbeebies characters! 
The Teatime Treats

We were lucky enough to get a quick peek into the press area where we happened upon Rastamouse and da Easy Crew and the girls managed a cuddle and a photo with Scratchy! We hurried back out again to catch the ZingZillas on stage – little one’s face was a picture – happy doesn’t begin to describe it! The girls both loved the ZingZillas and Rastamouse and da Easy Crew and Cerrie from Cbeebies did a great job of keeping the people near the front sitting down – although we preferred standing at the back for a better if more distant view. 
Meeting Scratchy!
The ZingZillas are on the stage!
The ZingZillas

da Rastamouse!

Once Rastamouse returned to Mouse Land it was off to the face painting – there was a bit of queue but no more than about 10 minutes (although I had noticed it was longer earlier in the day) and it was FREE! (There were other stalls charging for face-painting, tattoos and nail painting). Little one insisted on being a rabbit – buck teeth and all! 
Painted faces

We attempted a visit back to the Lollipalladium to see Charlie & Lola but it was so busy and the view so bad from where we were that we gave up on them and flew off to Fairy School. This was great - the girls made a right mess painting wands, we made fairy headbands and you could search for fairy treasure, make fairy dust and all sorts. 

 However, my fairies decided it was time for tea. The time had just flown by and by the time we got to the big Imagination Stations tent it was too late and all was closed up for the night. If we had got there earlier, we could have made badges, masks, puppets and made things with felt amongst others. We cheered ourselves up by heading to the giant sandpit outside the Minimission disco tent to soak up the last few rays of sun before heading for home – tired and happy! 
Chips for tea!

So overall we thought Lollibop was a great day out for the under 10’s. A fairly expensive day out (£23 per person or £80 for a family of 4 in advance or £30 per person or £108 for a family of 4 at the gate) but a good one. However, if you had brought a picnic you didn’t have to spend any extra money and the queues for things like the Go Karts and the giant slide could be avoided - I just steered the kids around these to do other things – there was stacks of things that you didn’t need to queue for – we hardly scratched the surface. The atmosphere was great with lots of magical tents and plenty of space to run around. Things we wished we’d done – Imagination Stations crafty tent, Roald Dahl’s tent, meet the Gorillas, the Lollibooks storytellers tent and Itsy Bitsy Strictly – oh well we’ll have to go again next year!

 * I received tickets for Lollibop for free via MummyNews but all comments and views are my own*
One of the Weird and Wonderful Lollibop creatures

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Why blog? A bit more about me..

What am I doing?

 Well I'm not exactly sure and you'll have to bear with me while I work it out! I am about to be made redundant and I would love to be able to be a WAHM but I guess for a while I will be a SAHM. I have been thinking about blogging for a while and this seemed a good time to start, new beginnings and all that.. Oh and although this blog is nothing to do with rollercoasters it is National Rollercoaster Day today in the US so I thought today would be a good day to start!

Why rollercoaster?

because life is one! Well mine certainly has been over the last few years - but more about that later - maybe. I might even talk about real rollercoasters occasionally (well you never know!)

A little bit more about me:

Mum to two smallish girls (the star, aged 6 and little miss sunshine, aged 3), social network addict, procrastinator, general household manager, wife, chicken keeper, aspiring blogger and hope to soon be an allotment holder with ambitions to smallholding. About to be made redundant, shout too much, would like to cook, garden and read more. Night owl, passionate traveller (but don't get to do it much anymore) - oh and inveterate list maker!

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