I was so excited when I saw that Little Street were opening a new centre in West Byfleet.  If you’ve never heard of Little Street before, it’s a role play centre, which is basically a miniature version of your average street.  I was really eager to go and try it out.  Oliver is now at the age when he is much more observant of what’s around him and loves to explore new things.

Little Street isn’t like your average play centre.  It’s all centred around role play, helping your child to stretch their imagination!  They run four play sessions a day, 7 days a week. It’s encouraged that you to book onto the sessions.  If you don’t want to book, they say you should always check online whether the session you want is available.  This means the centre never becomes overcrowded, as they like to keep their number little.  They have time between each session so they can tidy it all up, so it’s all perfect for the next group of little people to enjoy!

There are a series of rooms based around the central ‘road’.  They feature a supermarket, doctors surgery, school, construction site and theatre.  The rooms are all very open, so you can keep an eye on your little ones from a distance, letting them play a bit more independently.  There’s also a police station, petrol station, a big wooden train, a post box and stables in the main play area.  So much to keep your child entertained for the hour and a half session.


The theatre was brilliant.  There was little stage area, a room full of dressing up clothes and a bundle of instruments.  Your child could act or sing to their hearts content!  I also loved the supermarket.  They have miniature trolleys and baskets for you to take around the shop.  All the products are empty containers of the big brands you see in your supermarket!  There’s even a mini checkout with a scanner and chip and pin device!  Such fun, and just the kind of thing I loved to do as a child.

Oliver’s favourite area by far was the road/track which is based in the centre of the area.  There are various ride on cars, and boy does my little boy love a car!  He also loved climbing aboard the wooden train and playing with the ‘coal’.  There were so many little touches that made it that bit more fun.  For example, the train had mini suitcases, a conductor t-shirt for your little one to dress up in.  You could even pick up a ticket for your journey too!

The centre is very well laid out, it’s very light and airy and you can see your child playing from pretty much every angle.  There’s a cafe area in the reception, you can buy yourself a cup of tea and sit down whilst your child runs about in the secure play room, having the time of their life!  What I liked most about the reception area is they have a little soft play pit, so if you have a smaller baby with you they can have a bit of fun too!  They also have toilets and a changing room in the reception area.  So if your little one needed changing or to go to the loo they won’t have to spend too long off the play floor.

Role play is such an important skill for your little one to have, and the design of Little Street has taken into account so many skill aspects.  Social, language, leadership and problem solving are just a few skills that can be developed here.   Simply put, they have made learning fun!

I was so impressed with what I saw there today, and I know for certain we will be going back there again.  The staff were all so friendly too, making the experience much more fun.  I could tell Oliver will certainly enjoy a bit of role play as the years go on!  It’s a 40 minute journey from my home but I wouldn’t think twice about doing it again.

Thank you so much Little Street for inviting us along to your pre-launch day, we had a blast.  I have no doubts that the West Byfleet centre will be just as successful as your other branches at Frimley and Maidstone!

If you want to see more, have a look at our vlog from the trip too!

Disclosure: We were invited to Little Street for free as part of their press pre opening.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

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Today I’m feeling a bit controversial. I don’t usually rant or voice my opinion on here.  But this is something that has bugged me for a long time!  When I was growing up, 75% of my time was spent playing outside. Whether it be riding a bike, learning to skate or building a den.  I only played inside when it was raining or too cold.  I remember my sister had a trike, she loved her trike, she couldn’t (ahem, refused to) use the pedals so she pushed herself along with her feet. We learnt to ride our bikes at a young age too, stabilisers were screwed on and off we went.  And with a bit of parental mentoring we learnt quickly how to pedal ourselves.

Nowadays all I see are children being pushed about.  I keep seeing people strapping their babies into ‘smart’ trikes.  Their babies can’t hold onto the handlebars, let alone reach the pedals.  It’s just a glorified, slightly ridiculous looking pushchair!  And even when they can reach the pedals, they’re still pushed about.  Bikes also have these massive sticks sticking out of them. WHY?! If your child wants to learn to ride a bike, they don’t need you pushing them around all of the time. If they don’t want to learn to pedal, tell them you won’t help. I’m sure that will motivate them!

Pushchairs.  Why do we seem to keep our children in them for so long? A month after I turned two, my sister arrived in the world, my mum had a single pushchair, so I walked the 2 mile round trip back and forth to the village most days.  There were no such things as buggy boards, so if I was really tired I would stand on the bar at the back but it was rare.  Nowadays, I frequently see children who are 3 or even 4, still being pushed around.  I can’t wait until I have children who are old enough for us to stop lugging a buggy around.  Having to always make sure I have parked the car so I can get it easily in and out of the boot.

When I have my second child a double buggy won’t be on my list of things to buy.  Unless the age gap is 2 years or less I personally don’t see why you would need one.  Being able to walk a fair distance is a skill I want my child to have.  To be able to walk a decent distance (I’m not talking about a marathon here, just a mile or two!) without complaining they’re tired or can’t do it.

Of course, I’m not going around judging people.  I don’t look at every child in a pushchair and ‘judge’ them.  There are many reasons why you may use it for an extended time, whether it be a visible or invisible disability.  This is just my experience, with people I know directly or indirectly.

I personally just feel like all these products just encourage our children to not do things for themselves. We make it too easy for our children to become lazy.  I know there are lots of children who are very active and maybe these things have made no effect on their fitness.  But there are lots of children who aren’t active, and walking anywhere is a real struggle.  We may be busy, but are we really any busier than our parents were?  Do we do it for an easier life?  I don’t know.

Can’t we just go back to the days when trikes and bikes didn’t have sticks hanging off the back of them?  When children were encouraged to be active and to do things for themselves.  Maybe we can’t, but I’m sure going to try for mine!

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Last weekend my sister and I took a walk down to the woods at the end of our road (I say ‘our’ because my mum lives at the other end of my road and my sister lives there when she isn’t at university).  We are very fortunate that we are surrounded by woodland.  And at this time of year it is carpeted with bluebells.  I love driving along and seeing the carpet of blue on either side of the road.  There’s just something truly magical about bluebells for me.

We went for this walk with the aim of getting Oliver off to sleep.  He had been resisting a nap, it was about 3.30pm and he was not a happy little bean.  But when we walked into the woods and I saw the sea of blue, I just had to get him out of the pushchair and get a few snaps!

He seemed to really enjoy the mini photo shoot.  At the moment he loves pulling flowers off of plants, so he was cheekily pulling the bluebells up!  He did really well to give us his biggest grin, all with the help of his Auntie Alice playing peekaboo behind me.

We detoured off the path that runs through the woods and went cross country over the bumpy track instead.  Apparently Oliver found that very soothing and he was fast asleep in minutes.

I’m so glad we took those few moments to capture him in the bluebells.  I might even have to get one of these framed.

On Easter Saturday (thats a thing, right?) Oliver decided to give us a treat, his first steps.  At 14 months old he’s finally found his feet!  And I mean his proper first steps, not just a shuffle, it was a full on walk across the room.  I have been waiting for this moment for what feels like such a long time.  Oliver started crawling at 6 months old, and cruising furniture at 7 months.  We thought that he would be walking by a year, and when he didn’t we were pretty surprised.

Oliver was clearly just waiting to gain that real steadiness on his feet, he hasn’t really fallen at all since he started walking, which is good for him.  I know it’s early days, but he is pretty steady on his feet.  It’ll be so nice as all his little baby buddies are walking (they are all 2 months older) and he was the only crawler, so he can run along with them now!

Stuart was working, so I had gone to my mums for the day.  When we got there we were sat in my mums room.  Oliver was on the floor with my sister and kept standing up.  My sister put her arms out, and lo and behold, he walked towards her.  He did it again and again.  Each time going a few steps further and within minutes he was almost walking the width of the room!  Luckily I caught it all on camera and sent it over to Stu, he rang me straight away, proud as punch!

He has suddenly decided that walking is the best thing in the world, and he will demonstrate his new moves pretty much all the time and only resorts to crawling when he’s trying to get somewhere really quickly.  His favourite thing in the morning now is me getting him out his sleeping bag, putting him down and walking out of his room!

I’m just so proud of him, however I’m tinged with a little sadness too.  He’s no longer a baby, but a toddler.  He’s only going to get more grown up as the months go by.  I’m going to miss him being little.  And I’m going to miss not having to chase him across the room as well!!  I miss those baby days when you put them down and they stayed there!!

 

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How am I already writing this?!  I know I was late on the 13 month update (bad mummy) but how are you already 14 months old?!  Time is passing us far too quickly.  Slowly but surely you are becoming your own little person in many different ways.

Food

You still have a brilliant appetite, barely a meal goes by when you don’t clear your plate.  Your favourite meals stay the same and you still love a good snack.  As strawberries have started to come back in season, you’ve really enjoyed adding them into your top foods.  Lunch is still a struggle, you just aren’t keen on it.  You seem to prefer having a plate of snacks, cocktail sausages, strawberries, blueberries and a bit of cheese, sometimes I will add in a blueberry wafer, or a couple of pom bears (if I feel like sharing!).

Movement

Well, you have taken a couple of steps independently.  But you don’t seem too keen to walk!  You are very happy to walk holding somebodies hand, but as soon as we let go you stop still.  Sometimes I can see you thinking about taking a step, but you usually freeze up and drop onto your hands and knees instead!  Climbing is certainly a skill you’ve mastered, you’re like a little mountain goat!

Speech

Dada, baba, ‘ar (car), bun, bub but NO MAMA!  The other day we were sat in the garden, I said where’s dada, you pointed at daddy, where’s mama, nothing, you just looked at me like I had spoken a foreign language!  I then asked where’s baba and you pointed at me…I am starting to thing you hear m’s as b’s!

Personality

You are really feisty.  If you want something you will do all you can to have it, and if you can’t, well we all know about it!  It is really nice to see how determined you are.  I think this month you have become much more of a daddy’s boy, although you do still love your mummy snuggles, when daddy is around you get so excited!

What have we been up to?

Well this month we haven’t done much that was noteworthy!  You have had a few play dates at soft play with your little buddies.  You love soft play, last time we went you even started to enjoy going down the big slide alone!  We have also visited the park with your little buddies as well.  You are all so cute together, and it’s so sweet now you all really recognise one another.

It was also Mother’s Day, we celebrated by going out for breakfast at one of the local pubs with Granny.  We then spent the rest of the day playing in the garden in the beautiful sunshine!   It has been lovely and sunny the past month, so I finally went out and invested in a new bike.  You have a little seat on the front and you seem to really enjoy whizzing about!

This month you had your first sleepover at granny’s.  Mummy and daddy went out with some of our friends for dinner and a game at TopGolf.  Granny was going to just babysit you, but we decided as you had fallen asleep then we may as well leave you with her!  Mummy and daddy enjoyed a lovely long lie in, if only we got that every Sunday!

Feeling poorly

This month saw you have your first ear infection.  I got home from work and picked you up from granny’s.  She said you had been off your food all day and very grouchy and hot.  Your temperature was 38.2c after calpol, so I called 111 and they asked us to go and see the out of hours GP.  When we got there he wasn’t sure what was wrong but said you were definitely not well at all so sent us to the children’s ward.

It was quite an experience, you chirped right up in the new environment.  The nurses wanted a urine sample from you so we ended up chasing you around the room with a little cup, attempting to catch any wee, whilst you were butt naked!  Nevertheless you never produced that sample, and when the doctor got there he declared it was an ear infection and sent us home with antibiotics.

So there we have it, your 14 month update!  I know this next month will go so quickly again, before I know it you will be a walking talking toddler!

Hot Pink Wellingtons

 

 

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