Archive for June 2012

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Kidsworld Bedford

As the Munchkin is getting to the age where she is very active I’ve been looking around for more and more interesting things to do with her, after all there’s only so much sitting in a pushchair one kid can take.

Todays expedition was to Kidsworld in Bedford, as is given away by the title of this blog post. Why there? The soft play I was going to take her to was closed today so I spent about an hour online this morning trying to find somewhere else and this one jumped out at me as having the facilities I was after for a 1 year old.

But before we set off I needed to find out if it was any good so I sent my cousin a message asking about the place as she lives down that way. She replied quickly with a positive message so off we went.

You may notice the complete lack of photos in this post, that is because Kidsworld have a policy of not allowing photos to be taken within their building. A fair enough policy that is a sad indication of the times we live in.

First impressions weren’t too good for me as I put their postcode into my satnav and could not find the right number so I selected the building next door. This got me to the right place but unfortunately the car park and entrance are around the back, which I had to guess as this is not mentioned on their professional looking website.

Once parked up and in the door it was a pleasant experience, the lady on the front desk was very helpful explaining everything I needed to know, including that the restaurant didn’t accept cards (whereas the front desk did) but there was a cash machine in reception. I’m not sure if Kidsworld take a cut or not (probably not) but there was a large charge to use the cash machine. It said £1.55 on the machine but then the machine actually charges £1.85. A case of updated software but not hardware I should imagine.

I took the Munchkin through to the young child area, called ‘Playtown’, where I took off my shoes and set her down to start playing. The first thing that struck me was that other than the large play frame in the corner there were not that many things for the toddlers to do. There were a few ride on toys, some soft obstacles to climb over, a large ball pool that was severely lacking in balls, and lots of playhouses that had clearly had the repo men in. Maybe it’s a common theme in play barns that there isn’t much for toddlers to do as it is the same in our local one.

Lunchtime came round quickly and I’d already noticed the big signs all around stating that only food bought on the premises could be consumed. No problem, there should be some good choices available as on the website it says about helthy kids. What I didn’t spot was the ‘affordable’ clause. This is something that always bugs me as it nearly always means lower quality and today was no exeption. The one photo I managed to snap was on my mobile phone and it was of the dish I chose for the Munchkin.

Now before I subject you to the photo I should point out that the Munchkin ate quite a bit of what was on the plate and there were other things on the menu. Granted the other things on the menu were also of the deep fried variety, except the beans. Possibly.

2012-06-18 12.30.15-2

So to say the menu was limited and not the best would be a bit of an understatement. The adult menu, on the other hand, was a little better and the coffee was cheap and quite drinkable.

After lunch it was nappy changing time so we wandered off to find the facilities, which I knew were in the toilets. Well, I thought they were. The gents toilet was bereft of baby changing facilities. I poked my head in the ladies (just slightly through the door and it was all in the name of nappy changing!) and could see there was a changing mat and one of those drop down changing tables. I ended up changing the Munchkin in the disabled toilet where there was a nice large worktop with a changing mat. I thought I’d mention this oversight to the helpful lady on the front desk and she was wonderful about it. They are refurbishing in the very near future and she assured me that she would highlight it at the next staff meeting. It also made me think more about seeing how much can be done to change business’ views when it comes to dads. No doubt I’ll blog more about this in the future.

Our last hour was spent playing in the main room that has the large play frame. This frame is in 3 distinct sections that are joined by high bridges. I know the Munchkin had fun going down the slides by the look on her face at the bottom, she also loved the ball pool which had more balls in it than in the ‘playtown’ one. I also had fun clambering around the various levels whilst helping munchkin along. This is what these play barns are all about, ideal for youngsters to run around, climb and have masses of fun whilst interacting with each other.

It seems to me that these places forget that some kids have younger siblings that need somewhere to play too. Kidsworld makes an effort with this extra place but, unfortunately for me and the Munchkin, focuses too much on the main play area.

This isn’t a sponsored post and I have gained nothing from posting about Kidsworld.

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Indifferent Customer Service

I decided that I needed a new mobile phone, mostly because I have a Blackberry and the only thing that it is useful for is BBM (Blackberry messenger) as it is free and I can message Emz. She is getting a new phone herself soon.

Off I toddled this morning to the local shopping center to have a poke around the various phone shops and see what deals I could get.

First up was Carphone Warehouse who were doing some good deals online. They lived up to my expectations and told me about a contract, an upgrade from the PAYG I have, that is only £12. With the Blackberry I am paying £15 a month for the privilege of using a free messenger, something I can get for free on an Android phone, and not much else. The deal meant a new phone – an HTC Wildfire S – lots of free minutes and texts with unlimited data.

Now, being a bit frugal (ie. skint) I decided to shop around so my next stop was the O2 store. Bear in mind I’m already on O2 PAYG I was expecting them to want to keep my custom.

Me – Hi, I’m on PAYG on your network but would like to upgrade to a contract and a different phone. What deals can you offer me?

O2 – What phone did you have in mind?

Me – Err, HTC wildfire (I wanted to see if O2 could beat what I had been offered).

O2 – *tapatappatap* ok, we can do 50 minutes, 50 texts and 100Mb of data for £15.50.

Me – As I’m a customer can you beat this deal I’ve been offered: 200 minutes, 200 texts and unlimited data?

O2 – No, sorry.

Me – Ok, I guess I’ll take my custom elsewhere then?

O2 – Ok, goodbye.

 

Needless to say I went back to Carphone Warehouse.

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PM Forgets Kid

The Prime Minister appeared to have forgotten one of his kids when they had a family meal out at the pub. I’m sure everyone knows the details and in spectacular fashion the PM blamed the other party, never seen that happen before!

Originally I thought we should give the guy a chance, after all what parent hasn’t forgotten something? I do it all the time. Not a day goes by when I leave the house then have to return as I’ve forgotten the Munchkins changing bag or my keys.

But yesterday Jeremy Vine had a phone-in on his show about this and not one person said they had never left their kids somewhere. I was listening dumbstruck. What kind of a country do we live in when everyone is leaving their kids places? It would appear you can’t move in some pubs/restaurants without tripping over kids that have been left behind.

I know I’ve had a rant before about irresponsible parenting but come on, this is ridiculous. How on earth is it possible that the majority of parents have left their own children behind? I know at all times what the Munchkin is doing and where she is, there is no way I would leave her anywhere.

So we shouldn’t give the PM a break for his indiscretion, we should be all over this and not only questioning his ability to run the country but also questioning why this country appears to be full of parents that don’t remember their own kids.

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