Plenty for kids to #Injoy in Southampton!

As parents to a 3 year-old and a 9 year-old with additional needs, we’re always searching for that elusive family option which suits everyone. As our weekends are precious, we don’t want the day to be wasted or to degenerate into a fight as one daughter decides she’s bored with the options the other one has found interesting, and this is especially challenging given the age difference and our eldest’s ASD.

We have a few regular places we spend time in but we were delighted to pay a first visit to Southampton’s Injoy as part of a special bloggers complimentary event – and we were so surprised by just how much was on offer under one roof. Handily and centrally located in Ocean Village, the building used to be a cinema so my husband spent a little while reminiscing about nights out he’d spent there with his friends as a teenager!

There are tons of things to take part in, all of which can be booked separately or as part of party options including soft play, laser tag, climbing, trampolines and art / cooking class.

Both girls started in the fab soft play which is also full of interactive features and extra bits including brilliant little cars to drive. They loved the lights and features built into the floor, especially the screens displaying fish and so on – occasionally a (non-frightening shark) would appear!

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Then it was off to the excellent trampoline park and ninja course for our oldest and she had an absolute ball burning off some energy and getting some ‘me’ time. The youngest wanted to spend more time in the soft play and it was so easy to accommodate both girls before we came back together for lunch.

We were particularly impressed by the food, especially the pizza which is cooked in a pizza oven downstairs which has its own little section for the cooking classes. You can order it any time as part of the extensive food offering and we tucked into a really top plain pizza (the youngest’s favourite, and she wolfed 5 slices), big chunky burgers and skinny chips. There was also a great range of cakes and sweet treats and the quality of everything was outstanding.

injoy pizza

After lunch and a little rest for tummies to digest their contents a bit, youngest daughter demanded to return to the soft play so the oldest and I headed off to the climbing wall section which also has a drop slide (where you get in a red boiler suit and are pulley-ed up a very very steep ramp before being released!), a giant soft step staircase and leap of faith where you launch yourself towards out of mid-air into a suspended cylindrical punch bag.

With some encouragement, our anxious child grew slowly in confidence over her session and I was so chuffed to see her make her way up and down the walls, regardless of how high she could go. She felt very safe in the harness which meant that any time she had had enough, she could just push back from the wall and float down to the floor again. The excellent staff were on hand at all times to assist.

injoy climbing wall And just when we thought we couldn’t be any more impressed, we paid a visit to the Interactive Room. We had hoped that this would be a real treat for our daughter with Aspergers and it turned out to be the case – it was just so fun on so many levels.

For starters, there was some sand to muck around with (she loves tactile stuff) and a giant central playboard on which you could chase aliens and jump on them with your feet to score points.

Then every full wall of the space offered something else enticing to do. Why not grab a giant pencil to ‘draw’ and change the colours of the picture, or throw a soft ball and try and hit invading aliens?!

injoy interactive wall A particular hit was the cityscape which offered you the opportunity to colour and design your own building or plane, and then quickly scan it and add it to the wall where it would appear before your very eyes!

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As we left – after hours of genuine fun and family time – our eldest remarked: “I had a really fun day”. She rarely expresses positive sentiments in this way so this was most certainly a glowing five-review for Injoy. We shall be back!

injoycentres.com  

Online library makes me very app-y!

I’m finally back on the blog after all this time – looking after two children and working four days a week has taken me away from most of my passions, especially while one of those children is a crazy 2 year-old – because I really felt the need to spread the word about a certain wonderful app for we bookworms.

I try and use my local library account as much as possible as I want the library service to be around forever, and we’re lucky enough to have a beautiful discovery centre in our city. It’s not hard to make the most of it as its catalogue is outstanding and packed with enticing new releases. And I have turned to it when economy has forced me to think about indulging my passion for books in a more cost effective way – in this case, a free of charge loan.

And so, thinking of a certain book I wanted, I checked online and discovered that our county’s Hampshire Library Service offers Borrow Box. All you need to do is download the BorrowBox app, log in to your library account and bingo, you’re off. There are full details on the library website. You’re allowed 5 ebooks and 5 audiobooks and if the one you want is there, a simple tap gives you instant access to the content. Even when the item you want is not available, you can reserve it with another tap and the service will send you an email to let you know when it’s there and ready for you.

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I have already been able to cross a few books I’ve really wanted to read off my list and it all felt so very easy to make the most of every unforgiving minute, to borrow from Kipling, and get some reading done because the app was right there on my phone.

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As a Luddite, I love my proper physical books – and I won’t ever stop buying and keeping as many as my husband will let me (he tolerates TBR piles like the one below all over our house) – but I feel that this is another way for me to indulge one of my greatest passions. In those moments where I might have a little window of opportunity for me time, but I am without a physical book, I can swiftly open the app and get a few chapters under my belt, thus turning a moment when I would quite possibly have mindlessly browsed or checked social media into a quality little encounter with my latest borrow.

If you haven’t already joined your local library, I would urge you to do so (the importance of libraries is for another post) and get going with this app. This tech is pretty life-enhancing and wants absolutely nothing from you in return. How often can you say that.

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