The girls have got a week off this week. And so, as a working mum, I have had a few days off work to spend some quality time with them. But therein lies the challenge. In my head "quality time" involves travelling to purpose built adventure parks where we laugh together, skipping along eating ice creams, the sun shining, everyone relaxed and happy.
Alright, I know, I'll try and grasp reality again. Day trips with two under 5s is a little bit more like strapping a shield to your arm and trying to slay a dragon with 2 heads. You need skill, strength, plentiful snacks, eyes in the back of your head, plasters and antiseptic, and a spare kidney to cover the costs.
So, today we left the house with a small changing kit (3 nappies, wipes and sacks), 4 juice boxes, a bottle of water, a packed lunch, buckets and spades and a total of £5.40 ($8.89) in change. Safe to say that we were on a budget. So it was to a nearby park, recently refurbished with swings, slides, and a sand pit (obviously), that we headed. Turns out that the land train was in residence and my youngest absolutely loves trains, so it was an interesting education for the children as I tried to explain that the money I'd bought with me was just for ice creams, and if we wanted a ride on the train we probably couldn't also afford the ice creams.
They were surprising receptive. And lucky. As I discovered that the cheapest ice creams were in fact affordable, so they got to do both. The lesson for my eldest was that she couldn't have the fancier ice cream she'd had her eye on.
But the sun shone. We made sandcastles. Ate our packed lunch in the rose garden. Rode the train. Ate the ice creams. And had a thoroughly lovely day. Interestingly I came home with 90p and I expect that if I'd have taken £10, or even £20, I would probably still have come home with 90p. So we did indeed manage a lovely day on a budget. Never underestimate the lure of a simply swing set and sandpit.
I left the dragon at the scene.