WARREN HAYDEN: Oh, we do love to be beside the seaside

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You know when you have one of those days when you just want to get out of the house, the kids want to get out of the house too, but you’re all not quite sure where to go?

You’ve watched the DVDs, you’ve baked the cakes with the kids and they are starting to get bored with their toys they’ve played with non-stop.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve been wondering where our legs (or car) could take us.

But after much thought and debate, I’ve given up and ended up getting comfy on the sofa with Netflix on the television for another day inside.

It’s so easy at this time of year to open the curtains, see puddles and decide to stay in.

You know, when the clouds are looking moody and there is a risk the day could be a washout.

But being half-term and having two daughters with endless energy, it’s nice to break free from the warmth and safety of our home.

Luckily, living in Portsmouth, there are plenty of places that are just around the corner. So, if the heavens do open, we won’t be too far away from shelter.

It often amazes me how much entertainment Southsea and Eastney seafront can bring my two daughters. Beaches really do lend themselves well to a lot of free fun.

Five-year-old Alyssa will spend as much time as she can simply making sandcastles.

Even if the sand is a bit damp she’ll crouch down with her knees level with her nose and only her trainers touching the floor. It doesn’t look very comfy to me and I’m sure I wouldn’t last 60 seconds in that position without having to stand up and stretch, but she seems happy enough.

Seven-year-old Caitlin would much prefer standing at the water’s edge throwing stones into the sea.

Not any stone of course, it has to be suitable for skimming.

A flat stone is ideal so when thrown as a skimmer it bounces off the surface of the water a few times until it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

While the sandcastle-making and stone-skimming is going on, I try to make a mental photo of the scene and sometimes grab my smartphone out of my pocket to take a real photo. Then I join in.

Even at the grand old age of 33 there is still something incredibly fun and satisfying about being by the seaside and making a pie out of sand and finding the perfect flat stone to skim across the waves.

Earlier in the day we couldn’t wait to escape those living room walls but now, after a few hours of fun and some red, windswept faces, there is no place like home.


I only watch EastEnders these days if there isn’t anything else on.

But I understand Danny Dyer is popular as the pub landlord Mick Carter.

But it was the actor’s recent comments on parenting that made me become a bit of a fan. He talked about wanting a son after having two daughters because he found getting bikinis on to Barbie dolls impossible, saying in his cockney accent: ‘It’s a graft, mate.’

As a father to two daughters I can completely relate to this. Not that I’m yearning for a son, but yes, when my girls have asked me to help them dress their Barbie Doll, that bikini can be simply impossible.

He also revealed that homework leaves him confused, saying: ‘I cannot get my nut around it’.

Yes, sometimes when assisting my daughters with homework I wish I’d retained some of the knowledge I’d learnt at school.

Another example of whoever you are, parenting is not always easy.

And Barbie needs a bigger bikini...