A night away

We were up in Scotland at the weekend for a wedding (congratulations Lauri & Michael!) in a beautiful – if a little misty – pretty little spot in the East Neuk of Fife.

This particular wedding took on added significance to us as it was the first time we’ve ever stayed overnight away from Marley.

Party time!

I’m sure there are some parents out there reading this, thinking “the first time?!” given that Marley is rapidly approaching his third birthday. But with both sets of his grandparents based up in Edinburgh, we’ve had to wait a little longer than most for this particular treat.

It all went absolutely fine too, with him staying over at my in-laws for the night while we partied the night away (well until 11pm anyway…..) and he was more than comfortable there. Apparently he didn’t ask for us once.

The little toad.

It’s funny though, because sometimes even when he isn’t with us, I still feel like he is.

For example, a few weeks ago I was in Sainsbury’s doing the weekly shop. I was pushing a shopping trolley along through the aisles and just started singing “You’re Welcome” (from the movie Moana) to Marley, just to keep him entertained as I looked for something.

Except he wasn’t there…

I’d been singing for a good couple of minutes before I remembered he was at home, and I was totally on my own.

Pretty embarrassing really. But obviously I had to finish the song so I didn’t look like a TOTAL weirdo.

After the wedding, we headed back down to Edinburgh to get him, and to see some of our other family. We only had part of Sunday to catch up with people before heading back to London on Monday morning, but even so I still counted no fewer than 15 different family members over the course of the afternoon (plus one more on FaceTime). And that still didn’t even include my Mum!

Maybe next time we will go away for two nights….

My first book review

Now that Marley is pretty much an adult – he’s three in June – we are getting in to some pretty excellent stories at bedtime (well, if he’s a good boy and he brushes his teeth).

Beginner books like Baby’s First Words and This Rabbit, That Rabbit (good though it was) only tended to contain about four words per page. And with his penchant for long conversations these days, they just don’t cut it anymore.

So now, with authors like Julia Donaldson and their seemingly-endless array of rhyming stories about various creatures like The Gruffalo and The Highway Rat (brilliant!) things are getting a bit more tasty.

The Rumpus

Tonight’s installment came in the form of Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus (what a name!) courtesy of Tony Mitton and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.

As I’m sure you can imagine, it all revolves around some kind of Jurassic night out. There’s a whole load of different dinosaurs all tanked up and heading to some kind of rave, when along comes a furious T-Rex…..who I reckon is basically that guy who ALWAYS has one too many and takes things that bit too far.

Everyone is having a good old time, but when they hear T-Rex roaring away they are convinced it’s all about to kick off….

Not again, Alan

Then suddenly…..

*SPOILER ALERT*

They realise that all he really wants is a good old-fashioned dino-romp!!

Everyone has a fantastic time, they party the night away…….and then all have a huge come-down and fall asleep in a giant dino-heap.

It’s actually a great story, the perfect length for a two-and-a-half year old, and you can get really into it as the reader (plus on every page there’s a repeated little rhyme so the little ones can easily join in).

The only down-side to this particular dino romp are the words “Deinonychuses” and “Styracosaurus” that need to be said quickly during the rhymes – which is nigh on impossible.

But I’ll let that slide, since it also contains the words “wallop” and, of course, “dinsoaurumpus”.

Marley enjoyed it a lot, and I absolutely loved it…..which is, obviously, the main thing.

Night night!

Balls!

I have some amazing memories of birthday parties as a kid, whether it was mine or someone else’s.

I can remember one football party in particular at a place near Hearts’ Tynecastle Stadium (I think the place is now long gone) where we played 5-a-side for hours before an array of sausage rolls, party rings and ice cream that culminated in a huge food fight.

I can also recall visits to the beach (yes, in Scotland and yes, it was freezing) and a number of different country parks but, thanks in part to the weather, the majority of the parties took place indoors at places like trampoline centres and soft-plays where huge ball pits often played a major role.

Almost thirty years on (ouch) you would think the only time I’d be found in a ball pit would be with Marley and his little friends…..but how wrong you would be!

Last night, I rolled back the clock and spent the evening messing around in a ball pit at Ballie Ballerson, London’s famous ball pit cocktail bar.

Ballie Ballerson

I wasn’t initially sure about it. I mean, ball pits are awesome. And there are of course infinite, infantile jokes to be made about playing with balls. I just wasn’t convinced it could keep us entertained for any serious amount of time on a night out.

But as soon as you step into the ball pit (no jumping allowed, sadly) an involuntary smile crosses your face and it just takes you back to that pure, childish enjoyment you can’t replicate in many other ways.

Getting in amongst the balls (sorry) was surprisingly relaxing too, and just laying there and enjoying watching people throwing the balls at each other and filming endless Instagram videos with smiles permanently etched on their faces was actually pretty good fun.

And every so often, an impromptu ball fight would break out with the other people in the pit (yes, you’re in there with total strangers).

I reckon the place could do with having one or two actual games to play when in the ball pit, or perhaps little competitions to play with other groups, just to make you feel like you get a little more for your money. At £16 a head and with drinks at £6.50 each, it’s not exactly a cheap option and places like Flight Club or Bounce Ping Pong definitely offer a bit more longevity in terms of activity.

But as ever, I fully enjoyed embracing my inner child – which is just as well, since the average age in the place was probably around 18.

It was a great night. I’m just grateful that I had Superman on hand to help me out with the inevitable hangover.

Supermarl