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This, my loves, is what afternoon tea looks like when you incorporate small children. Slightly bruised where it once may have been pristine, and one macaron short of of a top tier.

I had my first ever Groupon experience on Saturday, as my friend had found a good deal on afternoon tea at our local garden centre. The lure of this particular flora fauna palace is the integrated soft play area and floor to ceiling “viewing window” so in theory, parents can dispatch their offspring into the technicolor PVC arena while eating a bakewell slice in peace.

In theory.

Theories are nothing short of bollocks.

What actually ensued was three mummies trying to limit the zoo-like behaviour exhibited by the collective six children. Well, mainly my children. The problem with such a tantalisingly close soft play area is that the youngsters get sticky fingers all over the food, which they dissect and discard most of, then proceed to leg it back to the ball pit. Not five minutes later, they see us mummies sipping hot tea and decide they fancy coming back to the table, to get sticky hands over yet more food. And so the process repeats for an hour or so. As the sugar starts to hit the ol’ blood stream, things start to get quite lively, and trips to the toilet for an emergency poo (two of those, thanks) are enriched further still with screeching and splashing of tap water.

I sat amidst the chaos, trying to share one anecdote with my friends, while catching a regurgitated cheese sandwich from Moo’s grasp and holding Mouse’s hand away from her third cream slice. My eardrums felt hyperstimulated and undersoothed, and I chastised myself for my own naivety in thinking it would be a calm afternoon.

But…there was tea. There was cake. There were friends. There was someone else to clear up our detritus. There was a nap in the car on the way home. Who can say fairer than that, really? #mumlife

Plate of afternoon tea showing a bruised strawberry and a cake missing from the display

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