Lil Sis is the funniest, happiest, quirkiest kid. She wakes up with a smile on her face, which (more or less) stays there all day, and she’ll pretty much do anything to make someone laugh.
But it wasn’t always this way.
There were several years when I was essentially housebound, because she was in the ‘Tantrum Zone’. I’m talking huge, all-singing all-dancing, nuclear-sized tantrums that made it practically impossible to go out in public.
Thankfully, the Tantrum Zone passed, and we’ve all moved on with our lives, and now taking the girls out is my absolute favourite thing in the world.
I’m not huge on driving on the motorways over here (you Brits are quite – how can I put this nicely – assertive on the roads), so always prefer to catch the train if I can. That way I can sit back and relax and enjoy the journey rather than panicking about whether I’m in the right lane, or where I’m going to park when (if) I get where I’m going.
This summer there are loads of places I want to take them, all of them within handy reach of the Southeastern train line.
Leeds Castle (nearest station Bearsted): Once the home of Henry the VIII, today you can tour the castle and take a glimpse back into medieval life, with faithfully restored interiors, falconry displays and punting along the moat.
Climb the O2 (nearest station Charlton): Not satisfied to tour inside the revamped Millennium Dome, now you can clip on a harness and climb OVER the iconic London landmark. From the top you can see 15 mile on a clear day; just imagine those views!
Royal Observatory, Planetarium & Astronomy Centre (nearest station Greenwich): Here you can literally stand with one foot in the eastern hemisphere, and one in the west. Visit the Planetarium for free family workshops on space and our place in the universe.
National History Museum (nearest station London Victoria): Big Sis loves dinosaurs – I can’t wait to see her jaw drop at the sight of ‘Dippy’ the 26-metre long Diplodocus, who greets visitors from his time-honoured spot in the front entrance hall.
Broadstairs (nearest station Broadstairs): you can’t get a more traditional UK seaside spot than Broadstairs. There are seven sandy beaches to choose from – pick from the white-chalk cliffs of Botany Bay, the children’s rides and tidal pools of Viking Bay, and popular surf spot, Joss Bay.
Southeastern Trains recently carried out some research amongst a group of 4-12 year olds, asking them about their top three days out. At the top of the list was a theme part visit, followed by a trip to the beach and visiting a zoo or safari park.
Nearly three quarters of the children interviewed (74 per cent) said they’d rather spend time with family than play computer games, while a massive 87 per cent chose a day out with family over watching their favourite TV programmes.
Good news for me for the next few years – I’d better start cramming in those family days out before those teenage years touch down, and they’d sooner gouge out their own eyeballs than hang out with their old mum.
*looks at calendar and starts frantically booking trips*
• featured post, photo ‘fast moving train‘ courtesy of Shutterstock