Uni Days and Student Loans

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I had a giddy moment yesterday, quickly followed by a bit of slump as I realised I’d reached the end of an era. All wrapped up in a five minute phone call and after 11 years I had finally paid off my student loan of £4500. The last lingering monthly reminder of the three years I spent at Leeds Met (now renamed Leeds Beckett University). Back in the days when fees were £1175 a year and not the average £9000 they can be today. I was lucky to have the courses fees paid for by my parents, I lived at home and I had a weekend job but I still took out a loan for the first 2 years of my degree determined not to cost my parents anymore and explaining to my mum that books and travel was expensive…who was I kidding. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t go mad with the spending but I didn’t go without things I wanted and that’s probably why I struggle to budget or save now and why I’ve not been able to clear my credit card in 8 years.

I’ve spoken to uni friends since, some of which went on to further studies and we were all of the mind set that having a student loan to pay back was no big deal no matter how big the final amount had gotten. It was a way of life if you wanted to go to university. I never once thought about how long it would take me to pay back. Being an income contingent loan, repayments were taken out of my wage before it reached me so I’ve never had to factor it in to my lifestyle and I don’t feel like I’ve missed the £34 one month, followed by £72 the next and so on because I never had the money in the first place. It was a line on my pay slip I rarely noticed and paled into insignificance when compared to the tax and national insurance I pay.

It got me thinking about the current situation and whether I would have given it so little thought had the costs of university been what they are today. Would I have been so blasé if the debt had stood at nearer £30000 or even more if I’d have taken the plunge and moved away. Don’t get me wrong had I moved away, taken the full amounts available to borrow, paid my own course fees and had to find money for rent and living I could have been looking at debts of £15000+ and this had been the contributing factor when I decided at the 11th hour to not follow my then best friend and boyfriend to Preston but stay at home. I hadn’t wanted to put that pressure on my family who had said they would pay as much as possible towards my studies. I remember meeting a friend when they returned to Yorkshire to do their Masters the year after we graduated and joking about how much debt he would end up being in when he had finished. Running close to £25000 he also admitted he wasn’t sure he would ever pay it all back based on his ideal job abroad in aid work not being so well paid. I asked if that worried him and whether it had put him off returning to uni and he didn’t hesitate when he said no. It was what he wanted to do and what he needed for work. That same friend is doing the job he always wanted now and I don’t think he has ever looked back. I’ve no idea how much of the debt he still has.

I spent last night reminiscing about the 8 hours a week in lectures and countless hours in the library. About how proud my family were when I graduated with a 2:1 in Sociology and saw me in my cap and gown. But although I would love to go back, do more studying and be a student again I feel I’ve had my time and now have other commitments. Plus with only 16 years before Miss G may want to go, I better start saving the £73 extra I’ll now get in my wage each month!

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

7 Things I’ve Learnt This Week – 16 Mar/22 Mar

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After an underwhelming Mothers Day, I started the week in a bit of a mood and was rather fed up if I’m honest so this week I wanted to learn things that would cheer me up or lighten my mood. Here’s how I got on…

1. Mothers get a day, daughters get a week! it made me chuckle on Monday to read it was Daughter’s Week. I wasn’t and still aren’t convinced that this is an actual ‘week’ but it made me smile that as a daughter I would have a week to celebrate how great I was and as a mother only a day. Ironic in light of the Sunday I had had.

2. Justin Fletcher is everywhere! Most days it feels like we have Gigglebiz and Something Special on a loop in our house. It seems he’s taken over our tv, tablet and both phones morning, noon and night. He was even on Britmums this week too! The guy is great for kids television and its lovely to see Georgia learning, dancing and signing along but when you’ve watched every episode on the iPlayer for what seems like a million times and little miss constantly asks for them on…argh! Can’t wait for her to discover Justin’s House or realise he does the voice of Shaun the Sheep.

3. I’m was £35 richer and £75 poorer! I was reminded by my little sister this week that she owed me £35, get in! Quickly followed by can you lend me another £75 until pay day. Despite her having a better job than me, no children and having just come back from a week in Dubai as the big sister I feel duty bound to act as her own personal ‘pay day loan’ provider on a 0% interest basis. True to her word 4 days later £110 was back in my account, only to be swallowed by bills the same day!

4. My daughter is a commando in training! Having turned Miss G’s cot into a bed 2 weeks ago we have had mixed success at keeping her in it each night. Throw in a new Gro Clock and 2 good nights and I thought we had finally mastered her staying in her own room. That was until she appeared one night at the side of our bed, Like something out of a horror movie she was suddenly there, barely visible in the pitch black and we only realised because she said “daddy” before reaching out to touch him. No warning from the intercom, she had managed to open 2 doors (neither were properly closed) and negotiate 2 steps, in the dark without making a noise. Exactly the same happened the next night and I almost now daren’t go to sleep in case she appears at my side one night.

5. I need to start doing pelvic floors again! No detail needed but I’ve had (still got) a rather nasty cough…enough said!

6. Mr L is only selectively blind! Having gone on strike over his washing, I had to relent and put his clean washing away after tripping over the basket for 4 days. I did stick fast and refrained from doing any more washing because his work things were still in the dryer after 5 days. But he must of noticed my fed up mood because on Wednesday he took me out for tea and bought me flowers from the local Tesco on the way to the restaurant because they had my favourites.

7. That the BiBs exist! Suddenly last week a blue and yellow logo was popping up all over people’s blogs and fellow bloggers were asking for BiB nominations. A fellow blogger was kind enough to suggest I put myself forward for the Fresh Voice category but I think I’ll concentrate on helping other great blogs this year and get my act together for 2016.

When the Claws Come Out!

There was a whole number of titles I could have given this post, I toyed with it being something that included the name Damien or 666 but having been forced to trim Miss G’s fingers nails to nothing but stubs I thought using claws was apt. You see my gorgeous, funny, clever, cheeky and a lot of the time loving 23 month old daughter has started grabbing and scratching people. For minor offences that displease little miss she’s likely to grab at your face or hair but when you do something she really doesn’t like the claws come out as it were. Young and old she isn’t fussy.

I was mortified to be met with an incident form when I went to collect MIss G was nursery last week. The detail explained she had been involved in a dispute with another child, had gone to scratch their face and then been rather shocked when they managed to scratch hers. I was reassured that the other child was ok and told only Georgia was sporting a marked face! Watching her give hugs to her friends before we left I saw my usual caring little girl and was then reminded about her momentary dark side by the nasty looking scratch on her cheek.

Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

The dark side reappeared on Mothers Day when Miss G wasn’t happy about me calling her naughty after she had throw chips all over the floor. Whilst bending down to pick them up, I felt a small chubby hand grab my hair from the back and pull. I again told little miss that was naughty and to not grab people’s hair. I was met by this near demonic smile and the sweetest but equally as sinister sorry. Next victim was Grandma B, who managed to upset Miss G by using the word no and found herself with a very red scratch to her neck. More telling Miss G to be nice, not to scratch and to say sorry to Grandma.

We managed 2 days without any outbursts then I got a call Wednesday. Miss G hadn’t taken kindly to her 8 months older cousin taking something from her that Grandma L had already said she couldn’t have. I’m told her cousin is now the owner of a nasty scratch to her cheek after Miss G felt the need to lash out with her nails. If one flair up wasn’t enough  she later decided to lash out at her 5 year old cousin for no real reason. Trips to timeout and being ignored seemed to have an effect as she then felt pretty sorry for herself for the rest of the afternoon and whinged away until it was time to leave.

First job yesterday morning was to cut all her finger nails to within a millimetre of their lives and again explain that she needed to be nice and not scratch people. Within the hour she tried to grab my face. I bent down to her level and calmly told her it was naughty to grab and she had hurt mummy so I was putting her in timeout. Again with the demonic smile she tried to wriggle out of her punishment by saying sorry. No such luck lady! The problems started again while we were out shopping. She’d had a long nap, we’d had a lovely lunch out and she actually ate and after asking if she could now walk the buggy had gone back in the car and she was holding my hand like an angel. The shopping trip was going really well…they have been quite stressful lately, but as soon as I said “No” as she reached to pull a pot jar off the shelf the grabbing hand made for mine that was holding her other and I was left with red finger marks. Again I bent down told her that wasn’t nice and she had hurt mummy and again came the smile! Not ten minutes later after asking to be carried I had to say “No” to sweets and my cheek then bore the brunt. All I could think was at least I cut her nails and would anyone notice if I created a timeout zone in the middle of the frozen foods!

So as I dress the little cherub for nursery this morning, after lots of hugs and kisses, I’m praying the other kids don’t face the wrath of Miss G today and hope this phase is a very short lived one.Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Liebster Award

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My very first message on Facebook came from the lovely Mammy Red Head across in Ireland asking if I was up for getting a Liebster award nomination and after finding out what the award was I knew I should grab at the chance for networking and telling you more about me. Then like buses, who in my experience usually come in twos, the week my questions came through I received another nomination, this time from the other side of the world and fellow blogger Steps with Sarah in Australia!! I always love seeing where in the world people are reading my blog from and it always surprises me that people across the globe would read things that little old me writes. Thanks to both ladies – I love your blogs and hope my answers do the nominations justice.

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With me having 2 sets of questions I thought it best if I took out some if they were the same/similar and merge those I felt would go well together so here are my answers:

Why I started blogging/Where did my blog name come from? I’ve mentioned before that I fractured my heel on Boxing Day and while I had to rest my foot I noticed an old friend from junior school had a blog, started to read that and found other blogs and so on until I wanted to start writing. I based my name on the situation I was in at the time and why I started a blog.
What is the worst/most frustrating thing about blogging? Wanting to write but not having the time and second guessing myself whether what I’m writing is interesting and worrying people won’t read it.
Have I got any tattoos or would I like to get any? I have 2 tattoos! Some butterflies on the lower right side of my back and my mum/dad/sisters first name initials on the left side of my stomach. My mum and dad have similar tattoos on their backs and all were designed by a friend. As for any more I’ve always wanted the butterflies to go right up my back but am waiting until I’m done having babies so I can have something personal to them too.
Which Spice Girl are you? Scary but only because both from Leeds.
Best blogging tip to share? Get talking to other bloggers and write as much as you can.
3 things in my handbag now? Purse, old receipts, Chinese takeaway menu.
3 things I can’t live without? My phone, my daughter, my independence
First thing I do on a morning and last thing I do on a night? Check my phone.
Item of clothing I can’t live without? A scarf – I wear one with every outfit, every day.
Book I’ve read in the last 6 months? Shame by Jasvinder Sanghera. I’ve met Jasvinder and heard her speak and found her to be an inspiration.
How many pairs of shoes do I owe? Way too many when I live in Converse or Dr Martens.
Share a favourite quote – from the singer Pink “once you figure out what respect tastes like, it takes better than attention. But you have to get there”.
Me in 3 words – mummy, over-thinker, emotional
What would you tell 15 year old you? To not make bad love choices in your twenties and enjoy life in other ways. To keep up being sporty and not get lazy.
What are your interests? Music, films, spending time with my family, shopping, bargain hunting and now blogging!
What one food could you eat everyday for the rest of your life? Crisps and I intend to.

Answering the questions was great fun but I’ve really enjoyed reading other blogs to come up with my nominations…

1. Peonie & Me…x
2. harmonyandchoas
3. raising3andme
4. Baba B makes Three
5. mummy muddler
6. threelittledevilsandme
7. Our Next Few Steps
8. Welcome to my world (mumtumdiaries)
9. Mama Bee Simple
10. Life with Baby Kicks
11. The DBurgess Family

 

My questions for you all:

1. Where would you like your blog to take you?
2. What album are you listening to in your car/home at the minute?
3. What is your favourite type of takeaway?
4. How would somebody close to you describe you?
5. What can’t you miss on tv?
6. How often do you check twitter?
7. If you could be on holiday anywhere in the world right now where would you be?
8. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
9. What was the last concert/gig you went to and when?
10. How long have you been blogging for?
11. What 3 things can’t you live without?

The Rules!

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Answer the questions above and post on your blog.
Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 400 followers
Ask 11 questions of your own
Let all nominees know you’ve nominated them.

7 Things I’ve Learnt This Week – 9 Mar/15 Mar

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This week has been full on busy compared to the last, mainly because I am now back at work! And because I’ve learnt all of the below…

1. 11 weeks might as well have been 11 months! After a day in the office I felt like I’d missed so much and had way too many questions that nobody had time to answer. A week later and in some ways it feels like nothing has changed while I’ve been away but I still best get my head down and catch up quick. (I’ve written a post about going back here).

2. Now I’m back at work I need to balance being a working mum/wife again and now a blogger too! I’m really enjoying writing and I want to build up an audience but I recognise the time I have has now reduced and will reduce even more when back working fully. To try and make life easier I downloaded Hootsuite this week and will be trying to schedule more tweets, and hopefully write blog posts to publish at a later date.

3. My bruv-in-law’s birthday is on steak and blowjob day! I was aware this day existed but couldn’t have told you the actual date. I now know it is the 14 March which also happens to be Mr L’s little brothers birthday. I wonder whether he knows?!?

4. Little miss got into a fight! When I arrived at nursery last week I was asked to read and sign an incident form explaining little miss had been in a dispute with another kid and was now sporting a nasty scratch on her face. I was horrified to learn G had started it but relieved that the other kid was alright and unmarked. We’ve since had a few outbursts over this weekend that have even resulted in Mr L feeling the need to give her a telling off and I’m seriously hoping we can nip any issues in the bud before I have to start keeping her away from everyone.

5. I’m pretty sure Mr L doesn’t realise how much I actually do! I was hoping my being incapacitated from doing most things around the house, doing the food shopping and running around after Miss G would make Mr L realise how much I actually do but instead this week he complained to relatives about not having any clothes to wear because I never do any washing. I wanted to punch him. Needless to say he put his own washing in yesterday and was left to dry it too!! I’m on strike.

6. Shopping with a toddler is now no fun! Shopping with a husband and toddler is even less fun! Little Miss now insists on walking everywhere we go, and despite having ‘reins’ walking translates to running off at every opportunity and touching everything in sight. Although you are saved from having to take chase as Miss G tries to give you the slip, the end result when shopping with both is a screaming child and a very very cheesed off husband (he was already cheesed off about shopping in the first place). It is also always the case that Mr L and little miss walk away with bags of purchases while you give up , admit defeat and order everyone back to the car. Instead of enjoying some retail therapy you feel like you need therapy just to get over the trip. Needless to say I made a hasty purchase in desperation and will now have to endure another visit to the shops to take it back.

7. Next Mothers Day I am going away! With the mother in laws birthday Friday, brother in laws Saturday, and Mothers Day Sunday, presents to think of and buy from little miss as well as from me/Mr L by Sunday I was exhausted. I realise Mothers Day is earlier next year so everything won’t be happening all at once but still. I was lucky to get a lie in until 9.30am but then spent all morning and lunchtime being in a rush and running late for each visit we needed to make. In fairness Mothers Day this year was no different to any day really. No breakfast in bed (in fact no breakfast full stop) and a little girl who only wanted to know daddy. So next year I plan on planning it myself like last year and being somewhere with a hot tub.

Spotlight on George

The title isn’t a spelling mistake of little miss’s name, but because I am loving George @ Asda. This isn’t a new found love but one that really started when I found out I was pregnant (deciding on the name Georgia had nothing to do with this BTW). As I grew in nearly every direction, yes I was one of those pregnant women who didn’t worry about baby weight, I wanted good quality but more importantly good value clothes to see me through my maternity. After finding out baby was pink I needed to get all the essentials whilst also building her a wardrobe as cute as I knew she would be. I was conscious she would grow far too quickly for my liking and we were also planning a wedding so needed to watch the pennies. I especially loved and still do love being able to combine boring food shopping with picking out gorgeous outfits for Miss G, and when really lucky items for myself.

Out of the blue two weeks ago Auntie Tatey called to check what size clothes to buy Miss G and she arrived at our house with these…

Presents from Auntie Tatey

Georgia and I happened to visit our local Asda last week and realised a sale was taking place. You can’t beat an opportunity to grab a bargain so I scoured the rail for anything in age 2-3 to add to the collection I’m building up for when she moves a size. These are some of the finds I managed to buy…

Sale @Asda

This week I’ve spent some time browsing the online store picking out items to buy in the future and in particular for our holiday in June…

Hope to buy...

Finally I managed to drag Mr L into our local Asda Living store today and pi led up these little gems. A great mixture of for now, for our holidays and a super cute Doc McStuffin outfit for Miss G’s birthday next month…

Today's purchases!

Hi Ho Hi Ho…

After 11 weeks to do as I please (which was hardly anything because of the foot!) this week I got the call to say I was no longer regarded as a health and safety risk and I could go back to work! My first reaction was to yell yippee, then I had a sit down, thought about it and seriously wished it wasn’t happening.

I’d settled into a nice new routine and was enjoying the time to myself and increased time with Georgia and I didn’t like the idea of that changing. In my head I work part time because I have Thursday at home but in reality that’s a 30 hour (usually more) week, in a very busy, often pressured environment. I looked around the house and saw mess and began to panic when I was ever going to have chance to tidy or clean. Don’t get me wrong I refuse to bust a gut trying to keep our home clean and tidy each day because I get so frustrated when its dirty and messy again within hours (Mr L is a plasterer so dust follows him and he is not a tidy person!) but working again would mean I’d have to spend my day off at home armed with a duster and vacuum and not having fun with little miss. Instead of always eating after 9pm, we’ve been able to sit as a family even if little miss barely ate anything we were all together with food in front of us.

There was a list of things I’d wanted to do whilst I was at home. Books I’d not managed to read yet, a jigsaw still in the wrapper. Not to mention the spare ‘bedroom’, piled high with boxes and our old bed propped against the wall. I’d thought about selling my wedding dress but hadn’t gotten any further than thinking about it.

And what about my blog! I was just starting out and needed to be home, reading, writing, sharing. Working on getting new followers and likes on social media. How was I going to fit everything in when I was back at work.

Then I thought about seeing my friends at work and how much I had missed the conversations we had and the burden they may have faced. Although I work closely with other colleagues I am the only person doing the job I do and I take pride in that, I feel a sense of responsibility and didn’t like that my being away would add to anybody else’s already overflowing to do list.

This time last year I was returning to work after 11 months maternity leave and although it was hard leaving little miss in the very capable hands of Grandma and Grandad L, I had looked forward to being Kelly again. Within months of being back I took a promotion and added another couple of hours to the working week. The guilt of being a working mum now hits me in waves. When I had to change my days and put Georgia in nursery 1 morning a week I felt like the worst person in the world. She hated it for the first 2 months and cried throughout her time there and it was all my fault for working Fridays. When I’m late home from work, or when I have to drop her off super early I feel bad for Georgia and her grandparents.

I then look at the person little miss is and although I would love to be a SAHM I also know I’m not that type of mum and I doubt she would have the personality she has and do all the things she does if I was home each day. I don’t (can’t) bake, I’m not particularly artistic either. I took her to every baby and toddler group in our village when I was on maternity but only because Grandma L took Georgia’s cousin too. I didn’t feel comfortable with the cliques and struggled to make conversation with the other mums. She has made friends at nursery and has a fantastic relationship with all her grandparents and her cousins.

So after agreeing to go back on short 5 hour days for the immediate future, I am now determined to better juggle being Kelly/Mummy/Wife, making the most of my time with Georgia, looking after our home and working in 2015 and beyond. So don’t be surprised if you see Mr L armed with the duster or vacuum, or me not listening when he says I’ll have to cut back on the blog he he

Mama and More

 Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

7 Things I’ve Learnt This Week – 2 Mar/8 Mar

Me and little miss this week

This week has been a bit of a strange one and I’ve had days where I seemed to have learnt quite a few things and then a bit of a lull. Its taken a little bit of thinking to come up with 7 but here goes…

1. I had seriously bad hair pre-straighteners! I was sent some pictures by one of my best friends that he had saved from when we finished school at 16 and wow. Why I thought it was a good idea to have my hair cut into a bob when it was thick and very wavy I have no idea. (Evidence below)

16 Year Old Me

2. The same best friend has still not forgotten or forgiven me for a cheeky snog I had while we were out for New Years over 12 years ago and he also kept photos from that night too! Thankfully I had found straighteners by then, however I had dodgy blonde highlights left over from the linpinkk/purple streaks I’d experimented with at university.

3. Houses really do not clean themselves! They also don’t get cleaned by husbands or 2 year olds, no matter how much she tries to help. Like most people I hate cleaning, add a sore foot and a nearly 2 year old trying to copy everything I do and it takes even longer and no matter how clean the place is little miss can make a room untidy in seconds.

4. Plaster and black furniture don’t mix! Having blitzed the house on Wednesday by the time Thursday morning came all the furniture in our bedroom was covered in dust again. Beyond making Mr L strip before he enters the house I’m not sure how to get round this, other than by dusting and polishing every day and that is not happening.

5. Little miss now needs her dodie (dummy)! We have gone from wanting it, to her now telling me “I need it”. This is usually met with me asking her if she is going to sleep before saying for the 100th time that day “dodies are for sleepy time”. I have to hand it to her for being clever though because she now goes to lie down in her sleeping spot on the sofa before again telling me “need dodie in my mouth”. Im still working out how to respond to that.

6. Holmfirth is nothing like I thought it would be! Having never watched Last of the Summer Wine that aspect is wasted on me. OK I took a pic of Sid’s Cafe, but I have no clue who Sid is or what significance the cafe had. I was merely taken in by the big sign in the window explaining this was featured in the programme. Being honest I’m not totally certain what I expected but I was surprised by the number of card shops, which also doubled up as gift shops and other than a few nice cafes, the Picturedrome, the usual charity shops and a larger than I’m used to Co-op that was it really.

Holmfirth

7. Mr L hates middle lane hogging! I’m not sure whether the OH was a little annoyed anyway but he had full on road rage on the motorway Saturday and it seemed to all be aimed at people who ‘hog’ the middle lane. I don’t remember ever seeing this side of him but he was getting really quite irrate and typically there was a flurry of offenders on the road that day.

Wonder what next week will bring?!?

Mummascribbles
Mama and More

 

The List

Play Gym Friday 6/03/15 #Week 2

This week we decided to visit the newly refurbished play area at The Old Brickworks in Drighlington. Part of the Brewers Fayre chain I have to admit this really wasn’t somewhere we had liked to visit in the past. The whole place had looked a little tired and unlike other local pubs with play areas you had to leave the play room to eat and with little ones this wasn’t always an easy task. I’d heard a couple of weeks ago from fellow blogger Claire at What Elsa Wears it was having a facelift so thought we would give it another chance.

On first appearance it looks 100% better than it did, branded Dennis the Menace and Knasher, the walls around the entrance door have all been covered with pictures of the comic favourites and the bright colours and theme continue inside.

 image5 Play Frame Entrance

There is now a proper counter and you can buy drinks for the little ones as well as crisps, chocolate and pre-packaged cakes. On a previous visit we had noticed the usual male worker seemed pretty fed up and today he was enthusiastic and keen to point out some of the changes. He explained the area had re-opened on Tuesday and pointed out a new room with music and disco lights, the toddler section and the 2 different seating areas. At this point we were very pleased to discover a section of the seating now meant you could eat in the play area, something we all agreed was a much better set up. There is now a flat fee of £3 for all children that are walking and compared to similar places I thought this was very reasonable. A time limit of 1.5 hours is in place but we were told this only came into effect once capacity had been reached – at least that’s what I think is the case, if I’m honest we were a little confused about this and were there over 2 hours so obviously didn’t affect us. Both kids were given wrist bands to wear which I thought were a good idea, even though we had to put Georgia’s round her ankle. 

 Georgia Car Brickworks image2

Little miss is still too young to appreciate all that the new play area offers and so didn’t venture into the upper area. She did however really like the 2 new Little Tikes cars and needed rescuing from the baby walkers on numerous occasions. In the toddler area there was plenty of shapes and things for her to be interested in, including a Velcro wall so she could make a picture of a robot. There is also a short double slide, perfect for little ones and she had great fun using this. I was impressed that unlike some other places we visit the steps up to the slide were at a great height for those younger. At extra cost kids can enjoy a Magic Roundabout ride, get small toys and temporary tattoos (always a hit) or play on a video game machine

Unfortunately as with most things there are some things that could still do with a little work. You enter the play area through double doors which didn’t meet and had a gap in between. I suppose this should help stop any little fingers being trapped but it looked unfinished and I think the area is missing proper locked gates to stop anybody escaping into the main pub. This seems pretty standard in most play gyms and pubs with play areas that we’ve been to, especially when although big doors they do swing open and shut so only need pushing.

New toddler area

 Climb to the slide Double slide in toddler area

In my opinion the play area wasn’t that busy when we visited but every table in the eating section was occupied, I seem to remember there being about 8 tables. 3 of these tables are at the back of the room, between the wall and play frame so a side of the play area you don’t have sight of. In particular the toddler area is at the other side of the structure so I wasn’t able to sit at our particular table and watch Miss G. I appreciate space is limited and you can eat in the main restaurant area but I wondered whether it would be better if you could eat at all the tables, instead of having some for spectating only. 

My only other gripe was about a few cleanliness and hygiene issues which at times I felt let the great new changes down a little. There was a couple of children using the play area without socks (this is a ‘thing’ of mine) and unfortunately this didn’t seem to be addressed whilst we were there. A member of staff was working in the area to cover staff breaks and didn’t manage to properly clean the tables or seats when other customers left. They also told us staff weren’t able to wash their hands after clearing tables because there wasn’t a sink and they weren’t allowed to leave the area unattended. Not exactly a nice thought when they could also be selling refreshments and taking entrance money. However on his return soon after, the usual male employee was quick to give the floor another sweep and clean the vacant tables and seats around us. We took this as an opportunity to bring the lack of sink up with him and was reassured this was something he would be bringing up with managers, he also explained to us that he personally brought sanitizing wipes to work and always had a packet under the counter for himself and other staff to use. Throughout talking to this employee it struck me how dedicated to his job he was and that he took pride in the area he was working in, especially now it had been updated. He was explaining all the things that were planned for the launch the next day and I think it would be great if Brewers Fayre held events with activities like this regularly. 

On a brighter note the Old Brickworks does serve Costa coffee even if it’s from a machine and I was very pleasantly surprised to learn there was unlimited refills on tea and coffee after ordering one of each. Overall our visit had a thumbs up from us 2 adults and 2 children and based on the changes we are definitely more likely to visit in the future.

*I have not been asked for this review and all thoughts are my own*