23 August 2013

Things to do in the school holidays - The Cinema

Today's guest post is by Sarah who blogs at Mum of Three World. You may have heard me waxing lyrical about her blog before - it really is one of my favourites and I never miss a post!  
Over to you Sarah....

I'm Sarah and I blog over at Mum of Three World. If you've never visited my blog, please pop over. I write about anything and everything to do with life with three school age children - the sulks, the arguments and the endless pride in their achievements. Suzanne and I (and our kids, of course) have so much in common it sometimes scares me! Needless to say she is one of my favourite bloggers.

We're an outdoor kind of family - I run half marathons and do a weekly dance class, my eldest does rugby and Scouts, my younger son does football, Cubs and rugby and my daughter does FOUR dance classes a week. I go stir crazy if I'm stuck inside and am forever dragging the kids out for walks (or scooter rides if they prefer) and they're always outside kicking a football round or climbing a tree.

I don't watch much telly and I can't see the appeal of sitting in your pyjamas lolling around watching a DVD, but there's one indoor activity I LOVE - the cinema.

The cinema is my number one choice of school holiday activity. I usually take the kids once a week - so that's once during half-term and five times during the summer holidays (obviously we don't go the week we are actually on holiday). It's a tradition stretching right back to when my eldest, now 12, started school and it was just the two of us.

I don't know what it is about the cinema, I just find it a really relaxing atmosphere. It helps that I genuinely enjoy kids' films - even the ones I expect to be a bit crap like Smurfs or Yogi Bear. And there are some real gems too. Like 'Up'. How much do I love 'Up'?! I can hardly describe it.

The cinema is a place you can unwind, free from other distractions. At home I can't settle to watch anything, because there's always some washing to put away or a bit of hoovering to do. At the cinema there is nothing but the big screen. For a couple of hours you are transported to a completely different world - of master criminals, dinosaurs, wizards, dragons or slightly annoying little blue dudes. It's all good.

To me, there's even something magical about walking up the corridor to the screen and seeing all the posters for the films coming up. My kids are usually so excited they sprint up that corridor. As they watch the trailers, they plan their visits for later in the holidays - and the next holiday too. And I agree with all their choices because I LOVE THE CINEMA.

Even the toilets at ours are spotlessly clean. I just cannot fault the cinema.

Yes, it's pretty expensive. But here are my top tips for how it doesn't have to be!

I convert all my Tesco Clubcard vouchers to Cineworld vouchers, so I rarely pay to go. You have to pay a bit extra on top for 3D films, which is why we mainly try to avoid them (despite the fact that I would always opt for 3D if the playing field was completely even).

We take our own drinks in. It's against the rules, but I don't care. It's not just the cost of the drinks in there, it's the fact that they are so damn big and unhealthy. Yes, the cinema is a treat. But to me the cinema is a treat in itself, it doesn't need to be made more of a treat by combining it with an over-priced bucket of Coke. But, hey, each to their own. 

To offset the fact that we take our own drinks, we do actually buy sweets. But we buy a realistic amount that you would expect to eat normally - not a cinema-induced crazy quantity that would feed a family of four for a week. We buy pick 'n' mix and my kids have around 6-8 sweets each. These are the quantities they're used to having and they never argue with me about it. They know it's just greedy and pointless to have any more.

So far this holiday we've seen Monsters University (pretty good, visually beautiful), Despicable Me 2 (AMAZING, cannot recommend it highly enough) and Smurfs 2 (about as good as you'd imagine, possibly very slightly better). Later in the holidays the kids are planning to see Planes (a Pixar film like Cars) and my daughter wants a girls' only trip to the One Direction movie.

Do you enjoy taking the kids to the cinema? Or do you find it too expensive or the kids' films too irritating?

If you'd like to stay in touch with Sarah, she blogs here and you can also find her on 


  1. I am sorry but one thing I will say is, I love a bucket of coke! Shame on me :P but I agree on the rest, when we take Pops, we will take our own food and drink for her. Although our cinema has tables and waiters (odd) Great post!

    1. Wow, I love the idea of your cinema with waiters and tables! I would pay good money for that :)

  2. I love the cinema but our nearest is an hour away and always very busy. I think my husband is the biggest fan of kids films so I usually let him have the pleasure. We have Pics-in-the-sticks here which is a mobile cinema that comes to our village hall and that's just great fun - you bring your own snacks (wine if you like) etc and extra cushions for the seats! Helen

  3. We're going to see Planes this afternoon! Yeh! I sometimes get in free cause I write for a film review site, but even if I pay for tickets, I always buy food cause I feel guilty if I don't. I used to work in a cinema and I know they don't make any profit on the box office at all, hence the food being so crazily expensive...so I always feel like I need to buy the crazily expensive food to keep the cinema open. It's a weird kind of guilt ;)


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