In recent weeks we've started using a reward chart with The Boy, not for behaviour but to help promote independence and getting ready for school. So far the targets we've used have focused on getting dressed, eating meals within thirty minutes and tidying up, which are key things he'll need to do in the classroom and to make his lunchtime easier. If he gets all of the stickers on his chart then he achieves his reward which is something he chooses at the beginning of the week. By and large we've managed to get away with going to somewhere that we would normally go to anyway, bless him he's not cottoned onto this yet!
Last weekend he chose to go to Puxton's Park near Weston-Super-Mare, an all-weather adventure place he and I have been to a few times with Mummy Mishaps but never as a family. It was somewhere I wanted to go to over the Summer holidays anyway, so again was an easy choice. I was quite looking forward to the trip and showing it off to Mr. TBaM, I should have known that would be a sign of it being a bit rubbish really! It was their birthday weekend which meant cheap entry = bonus as it only cost us £12 to get in; it was their birthday weekend which meant cheap entry = downer because everyone else in the locality was there! Let's just say that I'm not a fan of men going topless or women wearing bikinis in anywhere other than the beach, a pool or their garden, and as a result the plethora of excess skin on display really spoilt the trip for me. Various play equipment was broken (cargo nets and ladders on the fort, and the bouncing pillow), the few animals out were fed up and hot with no shade, and combined with the fact that Puxton's seems to have virtually no shade in any form ensured I felt pretty dejected about our family fun time! Of course, The Boy had some fun with the zip wire and the sand play, but I suspect even he was a bit disappointed with the trip.
We left early and headed to our old faithful; Barry Island.
Sunday promised to be an even hotter day than Saturday, and I'd initially planned for a quiet day at home. However, still dejected from the previous day, I decided that we'd head to Southerndown, one of my favourite beaches, via strawberry picking at a PYO fruit farm. On the National Trust list of 50 Things To Do Before You're 11 &¾ is 'eat an apple straight from a tree' and while picking strawberries is not exactly the same thing, I figure it's more about actually eating fruit straight from the plant and realising it doesn't come in plastic packaging from a shelf in the supermarket. Therefore I'm ticking that one off!
Following our adventures in the strawberry field (where The Boy really needs to learn that he shouldn't switch sides during fruit picking as daddy is rubbish!) we headed down to Southerndown, along with half of south Wales. I suspect the other half were at Barry Island! Southerndown is a stunning beach with rockpools and a huge swathe of sand that can (and did) accommodate thousands at low tide, but is completely covered at high tide. Luckily we arrived just on the right side of low tide and spent a really pleasurable few hours in a magnificent location where all that can be heard is families and friends having fun.