Why I hate soft play…

soft play, ball pit, Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson

Soft play session: Sonny Jim and pal

I’ve been pretty good at avoiding soft play. Particularly – and especially – during school holidays.

But the other week, I capitulated. And Dante’s circles of hell have nothing on these padded-cell like death traps as far as I’m concerned.

I understand to the uninitiated, this probably seems unreasonable. What could be better for parents than indoor wonder worlds of mazes, slides and ball pits? So, consider this my attempt to enlighten you. Here’s exactly why I hate soft play centres…

1 Other people’s kids: You’d think no parent would want to be the one with feral kids. You’d think wrong on this. I don’t know what happens, but when kids get inside these centres they turn faster than a Mogwai in rain. Continue reading

Why have I not realised the boon of family pubs?

Zach Willsher, Benfleet, Essex, Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim

Living the life: Sonny Jim at the Zach Willsher

I made a bit of a discovery last Saturday night.

My brother was celebrating his 30th birthday at the Zach Willsher in Benfleet.

And, as most of my family were going to be there, including rather a lot of my cousins we don’t get too see that often, I decided we’d head along too.

Nevermind that it’d be a late night for Sonny Jim and he’d probably be rather grouchy on the back of it come Sunday.

His daddy was out at the football, so we’d give an evening at a pub a whirl.

What I hadn’t accounted for though, was the brilliant little play area at the Zach.

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Fertility myths busted

Sonny Jim, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

No test-tube used here…

Despite the fact more than 60,000 couples have IVF every year, (us being one 2015’s crop!) there’s still rather a lot of myths surrounding infertility and assisted conception.

So, when the new Bourn Hall clinic opened in Wickford earlier this year I got chatting to one of the fertility nurses and asked her to dispel some of the more common…

MYTH – If a woman is born with no uterus (womb) it is not biologically possible for her to be a mother

FACT – If a woman has no uterus but has working ovaries then she still may be producing eggs. Having some of her eggs removed and fertilised with her partner’s sperm and arranging for a surrogate to carry her child is an option which some women choose. Bourn Hall was the first clinic to provide surrogacy with IVF.

MYTH – “Test-tube babies” are “made” in test tubes

FACT – Although embryology labs do have test tubes they are mainly for storage purposes not the actual process of IVF. The process of mixing the sperm with the eggs is actually done in a petri dish!

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Nothing prepared me for this bit of mummy life… (yes Fireman Sam, I’m looking at you!)

Fireman Sam, Katy Pearson, #whatkatydidUK

“A good fireman is never off duty!” Sam has all the lines

Prior to having a toddler, clearly, I was never going to let any baby of mine watch children’s television.

But, well, real life happens doesn’t it? And sometimes the only way you’re going to be able to cook dinner / put a wash on / have a wee is to stick the television on.

And so, it has transpired that Sonny Jim has fallen under the spell of Fireman Sam.

And I have questions. Questions that our daily dose of Pontypandy life is not answering. Questions that I can’t be the only parent watching their gazillionth episode (I might be exaggerating a bit, but you get the idea) is asking themselves.

So, to get them off my chest, and in the spirit of solidarity with other Sam addicts, and hopefully, to stop me fruitlessly asking my agog toddler, here are some of the most pressing… Continue reading

Let’s talk about last night… at Southend’s Seven

Aurum Bar, Southend, Katy Pearson, Seven

Cheers! In the Aurum Bar

Sonny Jim is almost two and a half. And I’ve never spent the whole night away from him. (Obviously nights out with 2am finishes don’t count… I’m always there when he wakes up!)

But my birthday is just a few days away, so we figured it might be nice to actually have a night away.

And with the Seven hotel and it’s Aurum restaurant and bar practically on our doorstep, we couldn’t have dreamt up a better spot for our first baby-free mini break.

The exquisitely designed boutique hotel is set high upon Southend’s cliffs, within the beautiful Clifton Conservation Area. With 37 stunning bedrooms, including 5 luxury suites, a 70-seater modern British restaurant, a gin-centric cocktail bar and outdoor sun terrace, it’s London lavishness right here on Southend’s coast.

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Why cousins are so important

Katy Pearson, Sonny Jim, family, wedding, cousins

Giggles: At the last family wedding

LATER this summer, Sonny Jim will be flying to the south of France to attend a family wedding.

My second cousin once removed (or is it third cousin?!) is getting married and while I HATE flying and am dreading the 4am taxi with toddler in tow, I really wanted us to go.

This cousin was one of my best playmates when I was little. There’s just six weeks between us, and a mere couple of years between us and her older sister, and almost all of my favourite childhood memories feature them in some way or another.

We didn’t live especially close (me on Canvey, them in Goodmayes) but every school holiday we could be found at each other’s houses.

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Inglorious death of the family album is too sad

Triplets, Nineties childhood

Throwback: Me and the triplets, circa 1990

Last week my triplet (I know!) brothers and sister turned 30.

Which gave me an excuse to dig out the old family albums, tucked away on the top shelf of a wardrobe at my parents’.

For an hour or so I got lost in a little bubble of nostalgia. Laughing at our chubby cheeks and gap-toothed grins.

And then I found myself thinking about the rather inglorious death of the family photo album.

Most of us new parents have probably got more photos on our phones of our little ones in the first month of their lives, than there are in existence from our entire childhoods.

Pretty much every single day of Sonny Jim’s life has been snapped on my phone. A fair number of them end up being posted on Instagram, and being WhatsApped to his daddy.

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