The idea of soft play is, in theory, a good one. Look - here's a whole room full of stuff your kids will love! Here's a table! Here's a cafe! (That JUST happens to serve cake). Sit and relax with a cup of tea and a slice of something naughty while your sproglets run free and have an amazing time and you can boast about your lovely afternoon on Facebook! That's the theory. The reality? Quite different.

So today we rock up at Go Bananas. I'm £10 down before we've even made it through the gate, (it's pretty hard to get away with saying Celia is "not quite walking" any more considering she's actually jumping up and down in her haste to get in), but that's fine - it's a huge place with loads to do and I've brought my own snacks, (most definitely not organic and/or everything free). Therein lies the problem: "Mummy I don't want those crisps - I want crisps from up there! And I want a drink!" 

"Okay, Xander - well why don't you go and play for a bit and then we'll see."

"But mummy I don't want to play!" Celia is also now clinging onto my lap as if I might disappear at any given moment. At this point - less than five minutes into the afternoon - I think I deserve an Oscar for the control I manage to exercise over my face. We eventually manage to agree that he and the cling-on will have their drinks and crisps at the table, (while I attempt to down a cup of tea), and will then go off and do what they are supposed to do at soft play. Half an hour later they are both still there. In that time Celia has managed to squirt most of the contents of her drink directly onto the crotch of my jeans so it both looks and feels like I've wet myself and up-ended someone else's plate of chips onto the floor. Five minutes later she launches a tomato at my poor, unsuspecting jeans and coughs yet more drink into the face of my, (very understanding), friend. Xander manages approximately three minutes in the play area before needing a wee, (complete with an excruitiatingly vocal conversation about willies in the toilets), and then decides he needs another drink. And so it continues.

Fast forward a couple of (painful) hours and I decide it's home time. At which point the children go into the play area and do not want to come out. Having spent most of the afternoon begging them to make at least some use of the money I spent to get in I now find myself having to physically drag them away from the trampolines. So yeah - that was soft play...