As a mum of three active boys we are always looking for new fun ways to keep the boys entertained and, with the weather in Scotland being so temperamental, indoor places are a huge bonus.
For us the biggest challenge as a family is finding somewhere that suits everyone as there is a big age gap between our eldest and youngest boys, so when we were asked to come along and spend the day exploring all the awesome things The Centre has to offer we jumped at the chance.
Aerial Adventures offers everything we need and more for an action-packed family day out.
The little two are huge fans of soft play and it’s an excellent way for them to burn off some energy while I enjoy a hot coffee and a scrummy cake - I can highly recommend the lemon muffin.
Unlike most soft plays Aerial Adventures is bright, airy and spacious with lots of room to navigate buggies round the tables and even boasts little extras like an area to reheat baby food.
The three-level 5-metre-high play structure offered endless amounts of fun for the boys, a wonderland of slides, tunnels and foam rollers to explore. The highlights for them though were the ball blaster and the clear plastic floor - the floor also makes for an awesome photo opportunity if you can get them to stay still long enough.
Tired out after soft play we grabbed the little two a drink and snack from the great selection on offer at the soft play café and headed along to HiClimb where we took a front row seat to watch Daddy and Logan tackle the 15-metre climbing structure.
HiClimb offers 5 different routes each with varying degrees of difficulty and lots of variety which meant Logan was raring to go. He had so much fun trying to beat his very competitive Daddy to the top he made it look very easy.
The ropes and pulley system are there to ease your descent, but they don’t pull you up, so this proved to be a proper work out for both boys. Can you guess who was the most exhausted by the end?
Before Daddy had a chance to catch his breath Logan was ready to take on HiFall where kids or grown ups can ask to be raised to a height they are comfortable with before being counted down to a ‘freefall’ drop. Logan had the biggest grin on his face when he reached the ground and he couldn’t wait to see Daddy’s reaction. The boys counted down to Daddy’s ‘freefall’ and we’re sure we heard him let out a little squeal much to the amusement of the little two!
It’s such a fantastic and different way for us to spend time as a family and although the younger boys didn’t have a go, they had the best time watching.
Last on our epic tour of Aerial Adventures was HiRide the aerial adventure course suspended over the shopping centre. You can get an Adventure Pass which means the kids get a turn on HiRide, HiClimb and HiFall for one price which saves choosing between the activities.
The boys were still harnessed up from the first two activities so after a quick change of socks (like trampoline centre ones) and a final check of Daddy’s pockets (yup he forgot to take the car keys out..) they were ready to go. The initial step off the platform zooms you over to a cargo net to start a pretty incredible assault course, all while people shop below your feet!
The boys said the harness does hold a bit of your weight, so it reduces the risk of losing your footing and means that you can pull yourself along if you get a bit stuck. Logan says the hardest part was the first climbing wall while Daddy looked very wobbly on the springs. Again, their competitive spirit kicked in and Logan was delighted that he reached the end first. It’s the first time Logan’s really done anything like this but judging by the size of his smile when he came off it won’t be the last.
Top tips for parents who are taking little ones along to watch – the observation area for HiRide also has air hockey and football tables – they’re £1 a go and well worth it.
Soft play is also only a stone’s throw away and has identical fridges on both sides of the counter meaning emergency snacks are never far away!
wagamama is one of our favourite restaurants to eat in as a family – the menu is varied and offers so many exciting options for the boys and the staff are always fantastic with them. I love the option to order the kids’ food when we are ordering drinks meaning we can help them get organised with their food and still eat ours while it’s hot!
When the boys were little I really liked that wagamama used high chairs that attached to the table meaning the little one was still very much part of the meal instead of being separated by a giant plastic tray.
The boys adore katsu chicken with curry sauce and the chicken ramen, both seriously yummy and the portion sizes are big enough to fill the eldest up too. I think it’s great that wagamama offer freshly squeezed fruit juices as well as milk on the kids’ menu – it’s so nice to have options that aren’t packed full of sugar.
The boys’ number 1 favourite thing about wagamama though, is the chopsticks – awesome for their fine motor skills and hilarious to watch, the boys love the challenge of trying to eat rice with the kid friendly chopsticks although most of it doesn’t make it to their mouths.
The warm, friendly atmosphere makes wagamama the perfect destination for a family meal and the colouring sheets and origami monsters are perfect for keeping little hands busy while mums and dads make the incredibly difficult decision on which mouth-watering dishes to choose.
P.S. The duck gyoza and chilli squid are a must!!!
Build a Bear
Like every other child the boys peer in the window of Build-A-Bear every time we pass, excited to see what additions have been added to the impressive selection in store.
My favourite thing about Build-A-Bear is the staff – they make a huge effort to engage with the boys on their level and always make them feel super special when we go in. When we visited the boys couldn’t wait to get a closer look at all the soft toys on offer - from traditional bears to dragons, there really is something for everyone.
Logan choose the cuddliest Chewbacca, Leighton a green Power Ranger and Lochlann went traditional with a bunny. Now came the fun bit, getting to help add the stuffing!! Having a hand (or a foot, it’s a pedal they press!) in the making of their bears makes them even more special and, as always, the staff were full of praise and enthusiasm. Once all the bears were filled the boys got to choose a heart each and perform a little ceremony which was adorable to watch, they then filled in birth certificates and gave their bears names - another lovely touch from Build-A-Bear.
The staff guided us through the whole experience so even if you’re new to Build-A-Bear you won’t be at a loss as to what to do. The boys walked proudly out of the store hugging their new-found friends and haven’t let them go since.
Count Your Candles at Build-A-Bear
Did you know that the Build-A-Bear Count Your Candles programme runs year round and allows children aged 14 and under who visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop store with a Build-A-Bear Bonus Club member, to pay their age for the Birthday Treat Bear in the month of their birthday?
Every birthday celebration includes a special heart ceremony, birthday sticker, birthday party hat, song and photo prop – at no additional charge.
Belgian Bubble Waffles
Situated in the Elements part of The Centre Belgian Bubble Waffles fills the air with the sweetest yummiest smell EVER… The boys have been desperate to try one for ages and it seemed like the perfect treat, plus I was also desperate to try a bit.
We got one between the three of them because they are HUGE and really good value for money. The waffle came with a choice of cream or ice cream and two toppings although you could add as many as your heart desires for an extra charge - just don’t forget the baby wipes!
You can choose fresh fruit options as well as yummy sweets - the boys chose ice cream, marshmallows and Kinder Bueno with chocolate sauce. Not only did it taste amazing it was worthy of an Instagram food pic or two - unfortunately my children demolished it before I got a chance!
When I asked Logan to describe Smiggle he said super cool, amazing and it smells good - high praise indeed from a fussy 9-year-old. It truly is the coolest place in all the land to buy your school supplies and meets all the stationery needs any 9-year-old could possibly want.
Logan’s last Smiggle pencil case survived 2 whole years of primary school and is still going strong but it was time for an update! Logan would usually spend hours browsing but he immediately spotted a triple compartment pencil case with shark design perfect for school - so much more fun than any I had as a kid!
Waterstones is the boys’ absolute favourite place in The Centre - they take after me and have a huge love of books. Waterstones gives them a huge selection of their favourites at their fingertips – there is something magical about real books and the boys have a never-ending list of books that they want, need and love.
The little reading area and child level displays mean they can look and read independently, which as a mum of three makes life so much easier, my only problem is they then take forever to choose!
Above Waterstones is a little hidden gem - a café with comfortable seating, friendly staff and affordably priced food and drinks. It’s the perfect place to take the weight off after a day’s shopping.
The café serves a great selection of teas, coffee, sandwiches, soups and even some locally made cheesecake which is amazing and not to be missed - although you may want to ask for a take away box with it as the slices are enough for two!
The café also recently added in little extras like activity and colouring sheets for the kids and have a small selection of board games - increasing the chances of you getting to drink your coffee while it’s hot.
The Entertainer contains all the treasures the boys desire and more – they love character toys like Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig but love to browse the board games and arts and craft areas too.
Having a store that allows them to be interactive and touch things is awesome – during our visit the boys got to race some super cool remote-control vehicles.
I also love the little steps that The Entertainer provides, meaning that when kids go to spend their own pennies they can independently climb up and pay just like a big boy - serious thumbs up from us for such a fantastic and thoughtful addition to the shopping experience.
I still remember as a little girl the excitement of going to Disney Store and I love that the boys have the same reaction. I am a huge fan of their epic Disney playlists in store and the staff always meet you with a smile.
The boys made a bee line for the Incredibles toys which is their favourite film at the minute. Disney Store has the biggest selection of figures, vehicles, costumes and soft toys – the boys were quite literally in Incredibles heaven!
Leighton is a massive fan of Dash and was beyond impressed when a member of staff said he looked just like him, his day was made!!
Thumbs up from us! Thank you so much to The Centre Livingston for allowing us to come and spend the day and for showing us that The Centre is not just all about great shopping - there is so much more to explore. I’m already planning our next trip leaving Daddy to supervise soft while I head off to the shops!
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