when day trips go bad

For those of you who don’t know, I used to work for a fashion brand, but switched to working from home when I had Daisy and Ben started school; my Mum is our main source of childcare, and leaving her to do the school run with a small baby was completely out of the question – she doesn’t drive, and the school is a good twenty minute walk from her house. So now, I work at home twice a week, at my parents house twice a week, and most evenings; although the money is a significant drop, and I actually work way more hours than I used to, I love being able to pick Ben up and drop him off at school, spend so much time with my Mum and vary my workload depending on what’s going on at home. With the school holidays now in full swing, I decided to cut one day a week to spend some time alone with Ben; I think when there are siblings with significant age gaps (three-and-a-half years in our case) every child needs one-on-one time with their parents, time to interact and focus on their favourite activities without an elder complaining they’re bored, or a younger peppering the day with tantrums. So yesterday, Ben and I jumped on the bus and made our way into Southsea for a day full of museums, coffee shops, comic books and beach combing. Or so we thought.

We started off with usual great coffee (me), hot chocolate (him) and biscuits at Southsea Coffee; I love Daisy more than anything, but it was so, so nice to be able to sit and have a peaceful drink and chat without anyone screaming, shouting or throwing food on the floor (can’t take the Husband anywhere, guffaw). We had a natter, I took way too many pictures of him, then he had a read and I caught up with my favourite blogs. We wandered down to the comic book store in the sunshine, where Ben picked some new reading material, and then headed off to the museum – which is when things started to go a bit less smoothly.

Whether they’ve changed their opening hours, or whether they’ve always been closed on Mondays I don’t know (I’m sure we’ve been on a Monday before, but oddly, they’re open on bank holidays, so it could have been one of those, I suppose), but when we got there, we were met with locked gates and a big notice informing us of the opening hours. We decided that instead, we’d sit on the common and have an early lunch, then head over to the beach for a spot of treasure hunting – but the weather had other ideas. That morning I’d made the rookie error of believing the weather forecast, which meant we had a) no coats and b) no umbrella – so when the first few drops of rain started to fall, I wasn’t sure whether to be more cross with the BBC for being crap, or myself for being so unprepared. We ended up huddling under a low tree, getting wetter and wetter, while I said creative combinations of swear-words under my breath and Ben scuffed the ground with his toe, sadly.

By the time we got home on the bus, we’d dried off a bit and the weather couldn’t have been better, so we spent the afternoon in the garden, talking, playing and bug-hunting (and I might have snuck in a nap…). Dinner was pizza, eaten while lounging on a blanket outside, bathed in the glow of the early evening sun, and Ben finished the day off beautifully by declaring, ‘I really love you, Mummy’. Suddenly, the rain and the closed museum and the disappointment just stopped mattering – the small boy with a big heart made me feel like I’d just climbed Everest.


  1. Claire Evans
    August 5, 2014 / 12:35 pm

    Oh, such a lovely post. I love having one on one time with each of my children. I get on with them so much better when I only have the one! 😉 I love your ending, we need to treasure those lovely moments to counteract the other ones! x

  2. LandGirl1980
    August 5, 2014 / 1:45 pm

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah – I LOVE this post 🙂

  3. Jess @ Along Came Cherry
    August 5, 2014 / 5:25 pm

    Ahhh that's so lovely! x

  4. Polly Davies
    August 5, 2014 / 7:22 pm

    great post 🙂 one on one time is so good isn't it? I try and grab a day with each kiddo once a month at least!

  5. Lori Taylor Arnold
    August 5, 2014 / 9:14 pm

    So so sweet, even tough you didn't get to do all the activities you planned it sounds that Ben didn't need any of that just some mama time. glad that the day ended on a good note. x

  6. Adele @ Circus Queen
    August 5, 2014 / 10:32 pm

    So, so gorgeous. Have you heard of love bombing? That's basically what you were doing, giving your kid one-to-one time and bombing him with love and attention. This is making me think I must get some time with my older daughter soon.

  7. KatGotTheCream
    August 6, 2014 / 9:01 am

    I totally know what you mean about each child needing one on one time. The gap between Charlie and Flo is the same (before you even throw Bea into the mix) so we've been trying to do the same and it makes such a difference to be able to just focus on one child's needs at a time plus they really appreciate it. Gorgeous photos xxx

  8. laura redburn
    August 6, 2014 / 5:22 pm

    this is such a lovely post! sometimes you really do have those days where loads of (albeit little, really) things go wrong and it's sooo lovely when a sweet comment or something lovely happens to make it all better!

  9. Laura Side Street
    August 8, 2014 / 9:07 am

    Oh no how annoying about the museum being closed and then the rain but it still sounds like you had a lovely day together and that coffee shop looks lovely and it's still nice to just have a break away and spend some quality time with BenLaura x

  10. fritha strickland
    August 8, 2014 / 10:09 am

    oh gosh I must be really emotional still because this post made me cry! You have such a beautiful boy. I honestly don't think they really care about doing 'things' as much as just spending time with you (although I get that it must have been a disappointment) we had a similar day yesterday when I promised Wilf a trip to the cheap cafe (the church community run one) and it was closed for the summer. At two he doesn't really understand that so he sat and cried on the street, ah! We're hoping for a vaguely similar gap with having a second child so it's interesting to hear how these dynamics work! x

  11. Lisa-Marie
    August 8, 2014 / 3:25 pm

    This post could not be any more lovely and positive!

  12. Hannah Taylor
    August 18, 2014 / 8:17 am

    Beautiful post. A tale with a lovely moral – it dosn't really matter what we do with our children but it's the fact that they get to spend quality time with you that makes a day so special.

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