Yesterday was a busy day of sorting things out and running errands – no interest for a blog hence no blog.
Today was another busy day but a fun one. When mum was alive she wanted to go to the Brighton Sealife Centre – it was one of the things on her bucket list. So we went last summer and enjoyed the day there but sadly Brighton were referbing their ocean exhibit so we couldn’t go in. However we were given free tickets to visit again when the exhibit was open again.
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Little bit of a story time now about our previous trip.We walk into the Sealife centre and mum shows them our booking. They explain to us that the ocean exhibit isn’t open so we will receive a free ticket for the same group to come back once the exhibit is open.
Me: ‘Ok but what if one of us dies’
Sealife employee ‘It’s only valid for the people in the booking’
Me ‘Ok but my mum’s got terminal cancer so she’s gonna be dead’
Sealife employee ‘It’s only valid for the people in the booking’
Me and my sister: ‘But what if she’s dead’
Sealife employee ‘You need to bring the people in the booking’
Mum: ‘I’ve got terminal cancer and I’ve only been given a couple of months’
Sealife employee ‘Uh…………’
Me: ‘I mean we can bring her with us but she’ll be dead’
Rachel: ‘Yeah we can bring the urn but she wont look like her picture on her ID’
Sealife employee ‘Uh …… Just put someones name on this form’
Hands us the form for free tickets and very flustered stamps our hands to go in.Rachel and I continued to joke with mum about bring her to the Sealife centre when she’s dead and freaking people out. Good times. We miss freaking people out by casually mentioning mum’s dying.
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So today was that trip. Oli managed to take the day off so he was taking mum’s place. He looks nothing like her though.
We were taking our car so they drove up to ours to meet us so we could set off from there. We all bundled into the car and set off. Just as we got to the other side of town Oli asked what are we doing for breakfast. Hehe! No one answered so he went McDonald’s sounds good. But apparently he was happy with any other options we threw up. We all decided McDonald’s breakfast sounded good to all of us but Daly said we’d have to wait until we got to Clacket Lane services but it might mean that we just miss out on their breakfast depending on the time.
The drive seemed not too bad, the usual traffic and roadworks slowing us down but no major delays. Bella was getting a little bit ratty sitting in the car for so long so we put a DVD on for her. We watched Sleeping Beauty up until we got to Clacket Lane.
Eventually we arrived at the services, parked up and all jumped out. We had made it just before 10.30 so we rushed in to McDonald’s to order a breakfast. Daly disappeared off to the toilet but not before he had told me he wanted a bacon roll. Oli and Rachel finished up their order on the machine while I was still doing mine. A bacon roll for Daly, bacon roll, cup of tea, and a hash brown for me and a hash brown, fruit shoot and fruit bag for Bella.
It was the tensest time of my life. Oli announced it was 10.30 as I was ordering Bella’s food. I was so scared that my order was going to bed wiped and we’d miss out on breakfast or I wouldn’t be able to order Bella some bits. I’ve never been so panicked ordering in a McDonald’s. When I first used the contact less payment it didn’t go through so that made me panic more that because it was half past my order was void but thankfully it worked on the second attempt. I had to sit down after that. As I told Oli and Rachel that was far to much adrenaline that early in the morning.
Daly returned and Rachel and Oli’s food turned up quickly followed by ours. We all enjoyed a nice breakfast, sitting and chatting. Daly had mentioned about getting a phone holder for in the car for the SAT NAV so I went and looked at them while Rachel and Oli eyed up the donuts. Daly took Bella back to the car in an attempt to get her situated before we actually had to go.
Once I bought the phone holder I headed back to the car and walked past Rachel and Oli still weighing up which donuts to buy. When I got to the car Bella was running around but thankfully still in a good mood. I gave Daly the phone holder so he could set it up for while he was driving.
Finally Rachel and Oli had returned and we popped Bella back in her car seat so we could set off. We continued to watch Sleeping Beauty in the back but Bella quickly fell asleep.
After another hour of driving we eventually drove into Brighton and set about finding a parking space near the Sealife centre and Pier. We found a space along the sea front but it was a bit of a walk from both, it was still probably the closest we were gonna get.
Rachel and Oli were playing around, Oli got Rachel to sit on his shoulders but he then walked off along the seafront with her sat up there. At which point she freaked. She was screaming and yelling she wanted to get down and I was laughing my head off and taking photos of it all happening. Eventually Oli let her down and they were able to walk along the seafront together.
Bella walked with Daly and I along the seafront, but there were an awful lot of puddles. We had chosen a wet day to go to the beach again. Bella walked along the path splashing in every puddle she could find. As we past another family the mum told her kids not to get any ideas as Bella jumped from one puddle to another.
We made it to the Sealife centre. ‘Fishies!’ Bella was very excited. We walked though the tunnel to get down to the entrance. At which point Bella became even more excited.
As always when you first go in to the centre, they do a group photo for you to buy at the end of your visit. Bella happily sat on my lap with her Sealife centre passport and followed the instructions from the photographer.
We dropped the pram off in the buggie park and set off around the aquarium. We entered the main room and Bella was so excited. All she kept shouting was ‘Fishies’ and running from display to display. It was so lovely to see her enjoying it and telling us all about what she was seeing.
We went and looked at the jelly fish. Bella liked watching them go round and round and the way they swam. Next up we went over to the rock pools where she could see anemones but instead she thought they were jelly fish. We told her they were anemones and then we showed her the star fish. One of the employees came up and asked if Bella would like to touch the star fish. Me being a wimp was not going to my hand anywhere near the water let alone a star fish. I had to encourage Daly to show her what to do. I mean I fed goats to encourage her so he can at least stroke a star fish.
I’m so proud of Bella, she actually stroked the starfish. Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to capture it on camera but I’m so happy she did it. She’s braver than me.
We continued to walk round the exhibits, this time climbing up on to the deck over the ray’s tank. Bella looked out over the tank but we were soon over run by school kids so we went back down off the deck and looked at the fish through the glass walls of the tank. Bella even had some cuddles with Oli and looked at the rays together.
We moved towards the back of the main room and entered the rainforest exhibit. Bella made Daly go through the little tunnel through the forest. He wasn’t happy as he had to bend over almost by half and walk through like a folded up person. That’s a rubbish description but it’s the best my brain can do at the moment.
in the rainforest exhibit we were first met by an anocoda. Bella wouldn’t crawl into one of those globe window that let you see inside the enclosure close up. But we found the anaconda chilling in the water but due to the lighting I struggled to see much more than just the section of it in the water.
Next up the terrapins. I love these. When I went to the Great Yarmouth Sealife centre I remember just sitting on the floor next to their tank and watching them for ages. This time Daly managed to get Bella to go in and look through one of the globe windows. She loved them and kept telling us they were turtles. I didn’t tell her otherwise as at the moment she gets extremely confused by tortoises and turtles, no need to add another T into the mix.
We didn’t spend too long in the rainforest area. Bella zoomed through it. We met back up with Rachel and Oli who had stopped to grab a slushy. I mentioned to Rachel how being round all this water was making me really thirsty, turns out Rachel felt the same.
We made our way round to the brand new day and night exhibit that they had changed the ocean display into. On our way upstairs to the auditorium there were several buttons on the walls on torches that told various facts about the ocean. Bella and Daly followed the trail of torches pressing all the buttons to see what facts there were.
We found a massive globe at the top of the stairs that had a video projected on it. We tried to encourage Bella to sit down and watch the video but she freaked out with the fact she’d be stepping into a glowing globe. I was quite happy to sit with her but she was having none of it.
We entered the auditorium and instantly it felt so relaxing. There’s something about the ocean display that always relaxes me. I found a spot on the front row and sat down to watch the turtles and sharks.
Half of the display is suppose to be daylight and then the other side is night time. It’s split by the tunnel you can walk through. It’s lovely but it’s a little hard to see the fish in the nighttime area as it’s so dark.
We sat and watched the turtles swim back and forth. One of them had the giant ray following it. It looked like it was trying to eat the turtle, no idea what the ray was actually doing. It was just swimming around hanging off the back of the turtle.
Sadly after a while we had to leave the auditorium. We headed back downstairs to go through the tunnel. Before we got to the tunnel we looked at some of the sea creatures through the little windows they had built into the sides of the tank. Bella liked seeing all the different fish and especially when the turtles swam past.
There was a huge glass window that looked into the ocean tank. It was beautiful sitting next to it and watching the sharks swim past us. I happily sat on the floor and took in all the ocean sights. One thing I really want to do is go to the National Aquarium at Plymouth which has a massive glass window in their ocean tank. I just want to sit and stare at the fishes all day but for today this window had to do.
By the tunnel there was a massive lion fish picture which you could take you photo with.Rachel and Oli took their photos with it and then I thought Bella and I should have a go. Bella didn’t really feel like standing in front of the background but Daly found it funny that I was pretending to swim like a fish. The random things I do.
Next along in the room was an ocean scene. It was like a holographic sea that reacted when you touched it. Bella was a little weary to start with but with a bit of encouragement she played. Bella and I were jumping and stamping along the shore line. ‘Splash, Splash, Splash!’
It took a lot of encouragement to get Bella to leave it alone. She was having so much fun splashing. And it didn’t result in a soaked child, bonus!
We made it to the tunnel. Bella doesn’t like the tunnel. I think it scares her to think she’s under the water. She tried to hurry us through the tunnel but I tried to get her to stop and show her the various sea animals. I loved watching the sharks swim overhead but Bella still was nervous about being in the tunnel. We didn’t stay there for long so we quickly made our way through to the Seahorse area.
Bella seemed to have lost interest by now. We tried to show her the seahorses but she ran off to find Oli and Rachel who were a little way in front of us.
They had found the Nemo area. Bella enjoyed running through the mini tunnel that went through the tank of Dorys and Nemos. She even pointed out the Nemos to me so at least I knew she was taking things in.
The last area we visited were the tanks with all the starfish. Bella was very fed up now. She bumped her head on one of the tanks so that spoilt it for her. So we went through to the shop.
Before we faced the trauma of taking a toddler into a shop and telling her no to everything we stopped and looked at the photos that had been taken when we first got to the Sealife centre. We decided we’d get a few photos to remember the day by. We had when we came with mum before so it was nice to get another one this time.
We left the centre and decided to head into town we wanted to go to Primark as there is a nice big one in Brighton.Annoyingly it was now raining but luckily I’d brought my coat and we had the rain cover for the pram. I’d also made Daly bring a coat just in case. On our way to Primark we popped into Ann Summers too – for some underwear and PJs.
Bella fell asleep on our way into town thankfully. For some reason she had thrown her blanket over her head. I don’t know what she was hiding from but she looked so funny.
We did our shopping in town and headed back to the sea front. We were off to hit the pier. While Rachel, Oli, Bella and I walked along the pier to pick up our wrist bands to go on the rides Daly took our shopping back to the car so we didn’t have to carry it around with us.
We recieved our wrist bands and hit the rides. First we watched Rachel and Oli go on a ride I could only compare to the octopus ride, with arms that went up and down and it went round and round. Bella was a little concerned but she liked waving as they went round. She kept asking me to go on the tea cups but I told her we needed to wait until Rachel and Oli had finished. I still had the pram and wasn’t willing to just abandon it next to a ride.
When Oli and Rachel had finished we went over to the tea cups for Bella but the operator was going across to operate the carousel. We decided we’d do the carousel first and then the tea cups. Annoyingly Bella is right on the cusp of being 90cm tall so when she quickly stands next to the poles they have next to each ride because they’re not measuring exactly they say she’s too small. I was so hoping she could sit on a horse with me but instead she was declared too short and had to sit in a sleigh with me instead. Will have to wait until she’s grown another cm or two before we go back. I understand the safety of it all but it’s frustrating when she’s the right height but not obviously at a glance.
After the carousel I took Bella on the teacups. She really enjoyed it to begin with but as the ride kept spinning she got a bit dizzy and started to snuggle into me, She liked waving to daddy as we span though.
Oli wanted to go on the Haunted House. Him and Rachel ran off and I shouted after them for leaving me alone. Just coz I’m a mum doesn’t mean I can’t have fun. Haha. I think Oli was just a bit excited. Bless Bella was being a proper mummy’s girl so didn’t want to leave me. I had to reassure her it was ok and to stay with daddy while I went on the ride.
Oli and Rachel got into the first cart infront of me and I got in the next. Off Oli and Rachel went. I could hear their cart going though the house while I waited to go.
Eventually my cart set off going up and up and up. It seemed a bit spars inside the house but it was your proper old school haunted house. Bella was very worried when my cart dropped down the hill but was happy once I waved at her. The worst bit was there was this very bumpy down hill section. As I was going down the bumps I was making silly noises but as I got to the bottom I got hit in the face by some fabric. It was gross.
We got off the ride and took a walk further up the pier. The weather had put a bit of a dampener on things and meant that some rides had a minimum on the amount of people that it needed to run. We wanted to go on their little rollercoaster but we needed 8 people to ride. So we continued to walk down the pier to the very end to see what they had.
There was the rickety old Wild Mouse ride right at the end of the pier. We decided as we couldn’t go on the rollercoaster this was the next best thing. We got on the ride and off we went. I suddenly decided this was a bad idea. Every time it went round a corner I thought I was going to fall out into the sea. All I kept saying to Rachel and Oli was it was a bad idea. I swear I forget how much rides scare me. Just as I started to get used to the idea of dying by being thrown out of the carriage as it swung round a corner the whole carriage spun, and spun and spun. Even when the ride ended it just sat their spinning waiting to come into dock. I was not going on that again. I forgot how much those rides terrify me.
Oli really wanted to go on this sling shot ride but he needed a minimum of two people for it to run. Rachel and I refused to go on with him. It went out over the sea. Not happening ever. Even if it wasn’t over the sea, I wasn’t going on it. So because neither Rachel and I would help Oli out he started asking people just walking along the pier if they’d go on the ride with him. He was desperate to ride it. Should of had Joe with us. I’m sure we could have got him on it.
While Oli was trying to make a new friend Rachel and I went back to the octopus ride so I could have a go. We had to wait a bit to ride as not all the rides are manned, they kind of rotate the staff so they aren’t sitting around asking for customers. Eventually someone turned up and we went and found our seat. We got strapped in and then sat there waiting. Another group of people got on so we were sat longer than normal waiting for the ride to start. I was sitting next to Rachel singing and dancing. I don’t think she was very impressed sadly.
The ride finally set off and I decided that every time the ride went up or down I was going to make an irritating wooo noise. Yes I’m that person. I was getting so many strange looks from people but I didn’t care, I was having fun.
As the ride finished we saw that Oli was on the rollercoaster. The traitor. He knew we wanted to go on it. We got off the ride and ran up to the rollercoaster to confront him. How dare he go on a ride without us. He came of the ride looking so proud of himself but we were not happy.
We saw it looked like some of the people who had gotten off the rollercoaster were going back on the ride so we eagerly queued up. Sadly however they were just picking up their bags from the storage. We needed 5 friends to join us. Soon a group of tourists turned up and we made our number up to 8. We all got on the ride. I was in the second row. There was no way I was going in the front row on my own. Especially as I’d just realised it looped the loop.
The ride was over within seconds. But I still regretted doing it. I wasn’t ready to do those sort of rides. I should have built up to it but nope I just let the excitement of seeing rides encourage me to do daft things.
Daly and Bella had been sitting watching us. He’d been having problems with his back all day – probably brought on by having to double over to get through the rainforest tunnel in the Sealife centre. And there weren’t many rides that Bella could go on so we decided to take her inside to the arcade to the soft play area. It was nice to sit down and have a break. Bella was enjoying herself playing in the beach themed soft play. It was so cute watching her climb up and slide down the little slide in the toddler area. She wanted me to go in with her so I joined her and we played with the large soft play shapes.
After about half an hour Oli and Rachel found us again. Rachel was soaked through and freezing where Oli had made her go on one of the rides. We decided it was a good time to leave the pier and go find some food. I think we were all getting hangry. Bella was especially.
At the end of the pier, on top of the Sealife centre is a Harvester. We decided it was the perfect place to go have dinner. They were brilliant in there. They found us a lovely large table in the warm, rearranged the table to accommodate the high chair and found us somewhere to park the pram so we didn’t have to have it at the table.
We had a lovely dinner chatting and enjoying each others company. Once again Bella was extremely well behaved and enjoyed her dinner. She seems to like chips now. I remember when she would never eat them, now she clears the plate.
Daly and I didn’t fancy having dessert so we enjoyed watching Oli, Rachel and Bella all tuck into their desserts. Oli had promised Rachel an ice cream as payment for going on the rides with him. And I felt Bella had been so well behaved considering how long the day had been and she deserved a treat before the LONG drive home. She loved her ice cream and tried so hard to eat it with her giant sundae spoons.
Daly went to go get the car and brought it down to outside the restaurant so we didn’t have to walk miles with a toddler. We settled the bill and went and found Daly at the car. We all climbed in and set of on the trip home. Bella was a bit grumpy she was in the car again so we threw on the DVD again and settled down for traffic.
After leaving the house at 9.30 this morning we made it home at 10.30. A very enjoyable family day had by all I hope. I know mum would have loved it. It’s nice that we can still do these days in her honour.
Anyways, this was one extremely long blog. Congratulations if you made it to the end. I hope I didn’t bore you. Next up will be a shopping haul of all the items I purchased while in Brighton.
Night all and lets see what adventures tomorrow holds for us.