community, kid friendly, Lego Club, school holidays

Fancy Lego on the lawn this summer?

It’s “bricks o’clock” in the garden at Heene Community Centre this summer!


Come and celebrate the school summer hols at Lego Club. I have added some weekday dates to the usual Saturday morning sessions in order to get even more kids off the consoles and on the Lego.

Build or chill. It’s up to you.

I want Lego Club to work for everyone who comes. This means that Lego Club can be a “drop and go” facility for somebody with stuff to do or in need of time alone with a coffee and their iPad.
It can also be a wonderful place for kids to bond with their grown ups as they build together. Lego projects are great for enhancing communication and teamwork. This is why we use Lego-based therapy as a tool to support children at the primary school that I work at.
There are no age restrictions at Lego Club. All I ask is that adults always stay with pre-school-age children for the duration of the sessions for safety.
You can just turn up on the day or book your tickets online, what ever works for you.

Worthing’s finest “West End” venue.

Heene Commnity Centre is a wonderful venue. I have booked the downstairs dance studio with adjoining astro-turf garden for my summer holiday Lego Club sessions. This means that there is loads of space and you can spend a (hopefully sunny) time outside building Lego or just relaxing.
Café 122 at the centre is a very well kept secret. Delicious cakes, snacks and lunches are freshly made on the premises by a really friendly kitchen team. The food is great value and I cannot rate their homemade soups and sandwiches highly enough (I can’t be trusted with their cakes).
Visitors to the centre can use the car park for free and their are lockers to securely store buggies as well as disabled access throughout the building.


Free stuff, discounts and a reward card! 

The prices for my summer holiday sessions are very competitive with other school holiday activities/childminders or pastimes. As much FREE tea/coffee/squash/biscuits as you can consume is included in the £4 price. Plus, a £1 sibling discount applies so that larger families aren’t penalised.
Bargain posterI also offer a Lego Club reward card that qualifies you for a free admission once you have received 5 stamps. I am delighted that Lego Club has regular customers and I want to offer them as much value as possible to keep them coming back.
You can go wild on the mountain of Lego that I provide without having to hoover up/step on a single piece!
£5 for 1 hour or £8 for a 2 hour session.

Here’s what Lego Club customers say. 

OK, so that was the pitch. Here are some genuine reviews from happy Lego Club customers:

“Really lovely idea, well organised and fun. My son loved it!”

“We came along for the first time today and will definitely be returning. Fun relaxed atmosphere and my 7 year old really enjoyed it!”

“We really enjoyed this morning at The first Lego club at Heene. My children are 2 & 5 and both enjoyed building space rockets. Looking forward to next time. Btw the Lego cake was great!”

“My son is 5 and absolutely loves Lego Club, he especially loves showing what he’s made at the end. Thanks Al, we love it!”

“My son loves Lego Club and it gives him the space to be creative doing something he really enjoys with other children. The session is really well run, structured but informal with generous lashings of squash, tea and jaffa cakes – what’s not to love?”

“My son absolutely adores Lego Club. Alan is amazing with the kids and it’s great value for money. Free snacks too which is a great bonus! It really inspires my son to get creative at home and he likes to build and play a lot more at home now. Can’t recommend Alan and Lego Club highly enough!”

The “Lego Garden” will be open on the following dates:

Weds 26th July Afternoon session – 13.30-15.30 (Shelley room)
Tues 1st August Morning session – 10.00-12.00 (Shelley room)
Tues 8th August Morning session – 10.00-12.00 (Shelley room)
Thurs 24th August Morning session – 10.00-12.00 (Shelley room)

I hope that you can join us on the lawn over summer. You can book online or just turn up on the day.

Don’t forget your picnic basket. Al.

After School Club, community, kid friendly, Lego, Lego Club, school holidays

Five Ways To Win at Half-Term Parenting

Dear Parent,

So half term is almost here and we parents need to steel ourselves for a week of “making memories”, “feeling blessed”, managing tantrums and probably disposing of large amounts of the folding stuff!
Well it needn’t be that way, this Lego Clubber’s Guide will steer you towards five good fun, low cost activities that will leave your little ones happy and you with the feeling that you are winning at this parenting game.
My suggestions are mainly zero- to low-cost and no screen interaction (with one obvious exception!). I hope that you find these ideas useful and have a happy half term break.

Be Inspired – Go on a photography trail with a Lego twist

Photo c/o Andrew Whyte – Routemaster.

Andrew Whyte (no relation) is a Hampshire based photographer with a penchant for Lego mini-figures. Andrew’s work collection of photos using just a mini-figure and smart phone and a wild imagination is breath taking. He calls it his Legography, I call it pure genius!
Why not take your little builder plus a mini figure and smartphone out on a photography shoot? The results could be truly inspiring.
Cost: £0.00.


Be a Weekend Budget Cinema Superhero

lego-batmanWeather not playing ball? Not a problem. A family trip to the local cinema needn’t break the bank. There are numerous morning kids clubs at many local cinemas including Cineworld at Brighton Marina, The Brighton Odeon on West Street and Brighton’s famous Duke of York Cinema at Preston Circus.
In Worthing both the Dome (beautiful art deco cinema) and the Connaught offer pocket money prices to kids on weekend mornings.
For the real skin-flint, homemade pop-corn (about 99p a packet in the supermarket) will see you through the most intense cinematic CGI extravaganza.

Cost: About a tenner + snacks

Climb the Acorn in Peacehaven


My son, Dougal exploring Centenary Park

Tucked away in the South Downs Centenary Park in Peacehaven is an extremely well kept secret. It has a toddlers playground for your little ones and an adventure playgrounds for the older and not so faint hearted. The adventure playground has a huge surreal acorn climbing platform, the biggest swing you have ever seen plus an epic zip wire. The Gateway Café sells hot drinks and snacks with gluten-free options included.
If you are driving back in a westerly direction make a stop in Rottingdean. You can get  great lunch c/o the superb Smugglers Chippie and a spot of rock pooling on Rottingdean beach. Simple wholesome pleasure guaranteed!
Cost: Negligible, petrol or bus fare.

Ringwood Toll Play Trail

Photo: c/o National Trust


Part adventure playground  and part forest school this is a unique and FREE place to bring the kids for an adventure. There are dozens of den building sites with all the staves, logs and beams that you could possibly need to build a sound bivouac. There are various wooden climbing challenges and the tallest rope swing that I’ve ever seen. This place is great in the summer or for a muddy excursion. Don’t forget to bring your own food and drink as the National Trust café is only open to members.
The site is located opposite Sheffield Park and Garden National Trust site and is a ten minute walk over a couple of fields from the car park. If you are a National Trust member you can park in the car park for free, if not there is plenty of parking down the lane.
Cost: £00.00

Holy mackerel! It’s Lego Club in Worthing and Portslade. 

We Love Lego Club

Lego Club happens every other Saturday at Heene Community Centre (10am – 12pm) andalternate Wednesday afternoons (4.00pm – 5.15pm) at The Railway, Portslade. Screen free, cheap and wholesome, at Lego Club you are WINNING!
While the kids build you could be having a well earned rest in the café/bar or shops whilst the little ones have a great creative time making models from my Lego mountain. You really are nailing this school holiday!
Check out the Worthing and Portslade Lego Club Facebook page for dates and discounts.
Cost: £4/£3 for siblings. All kids welcome, adults get in free.

You Made It!!!

finish-lineWell done that’s half term done, I hope that it was good for you and the kids. If anybody asks, you can smugly say that you spent most of the half term holiday screen-free and sticking to a budget, and, you never set foot in soft play!
Now it’s time to get reacquainted with a large glass of something, you’ve absolutely earned it!

Thanks for reading this post. Hope to see you at Lego Club one day soon.

Al. x

After School Club, community, kid friendly, Lego, Lego Club, parklife, school holidays

Autumnal Saturday mornings sorted!

Dear All,

I hope that you’re having an enjoyable and relaxing summer break. It was great to see so many of you at the summer Lego Club sessions at Heene Community Centre and The Railway Inn, Portslade. The weather hasn’t always smiled upon us but times have been good at Lego Club, so thanks for your loyalty and enthusiasm.

Watch out school here I come! 

As of September, I will be realising my long held ambition to become a teacher by starting my teacher training which means that I will have less time to commit to Lego Club. I have decided to continue running Lego Club at Heene Community Centre every other Saturday morning, in-order to focus on my studies. The dates for the autumn Lego Club schedule are at the bottom of this article.

Lego Club will follow the same format and your Lego Club loyalty cards remain valid and will continue to reward you for coming to Lego Club.
I will also be running a fortnightly after-school Lego Club at the Railway Inn, Portslade. Dates will be communicated once my co-driver is on board.



A range of automatic discounts available to early birds. 

I will also be introducing a series of Early Bird offers on all online purchases of tickets to Lego Club. These will be great-value for you, my valued guests, and will enable me to cater for a predictable level of demand. These offers will be time limited and advertised on Facebook periodically, so do keep an eye on the Lego Club Facebook page  and tell your friends.

I’ve noticed that children build at different speeds and work at varying levels of complexity at Lego Club. It is really satisfying to see kids who have really given their all presenting some of the outstanding creations that we’ve seen at Lego Club I show and tell. So…
From September, anyone who comes to the 10-11 session at Heene Community Centre automatically qualifies to stay on until the end of the 11-12 session for the bargain price of £2.00 (per child, precludes further sibling discount).



Saturday 26th August
Saturday 2nd September, Saturday 16th September and Saturday 30th September
Saturday 14th October and Saturday 28th October
Saturday 11th November and Saturday 25th November
Saturday 16th December

Master Builders Wanted!

IMPORTANT: The above links will take you to the Facebook events page for each session where you will see which early bird discounts have been applied to online tickets. These offers are restricted to online sales and preclude the sibling discount.

I hope that all is clear and that you can join us at Lego Club one day soon. The new “Lego Tent” , ever popular Lego Frame and Mega Blocks will be regular features at Lego Club.   If you have any questions please PM me through the Lego Club Facebook page, email me at or call me on 07763199883.


After School Club, community, kid friendly, Lego Club, school holidays

Worthing is Rocking The Blocks!


Stonehenge, beautifully recreated at Lego Club.

It seems to me that Worthing is a town of creators and builders, akin to renaissance Florence or the innovators of the Industrial Revolution. Everywhere I turn I see buildings going up, space ships constructed, racing cars tweaked and tuned, national landmarks imitated, famous warships launching. I am talking about LEGO. The ubiquitous, multi-coloured toy that we never quite grow out of! If you will stay with me, I’m going to highlight some amazing Lego-based groups and naturally showcase my own unique take on an idea that is deployed in primary schools and clubs up and down the country and worldwide.

How to make a difference through Lego

Slay the dragons of austerity, support these groups.

In keeping with the buzz and click around the brick is the growth of Lego Clubs. I want to try and clear up confusion that may arise on the eve of another Lego Club joining the fray.
When I first started Worthing Lego Club at St Paul’s (as my club was named then) I was only aware of one other Lego club in Worthing. This other club is the one on Ripley Road which is called Worthing Lego Club which has been running for approximately five years. This club supports children with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and raises money for the National Autistic Society. I have huge respect for the work of this club and have directed parents to this club when they have raised concerns that my club may not meet the requirements of their ASC children. My club is totally inclusive of all children and I work hard to meet every child’s needs at my sessions. However, if a parent raises a concern I am very happy to recommend this excellent group.
I have also been in contact with The Empty Plate Café which is a social enterprise that offers tasty nutritious meals on a “pay as you like” basis. This means that those in need can enjoy great food at a price they can afford. They also offer a Lego session as part of the deal. This proposition is unique and I urge you all to support this inspired enterprise either by going there or just spreading the word.

Let Me Clear Up Any Confusion


Loyalty CardThis brings me to the latest entrant into the Worthing Lego Club arena. Worthing Friends Lego Club, previously Angmering Friends Lego Club. Unlike the two groups above this is not a philanthropic venture, but a local business, just like my club. Sadly, we can’t all change the world through Lego!
To clear up any confusion, I want to make it clear that this club is NOTHING to do with Worthing and Portslade Lego Club (as I’m currently known).
I also want to let you all know some of the standard features of Worthing and Portslade Lego Club.
1. I reward loyalty by offering all guests a Lego Club loyalty card which gives them FREE admission once they have been to five sessions.
2. I always choose venues where it is possible to leave the kids whilst remaining in the same building so that parents can enjoy a bit of downtime in the café while the kids build. I register all guests and take mobile numbers in case of any issues. Additionally, I am DBS cleared and have public liability insurance.
3. I offer Mega-Blocks for younger visitors to enjoy and show and tell (if they want to).
4. Both of my venues offer excellent food and drink.
Heene Community Centre provide fresh home cooked lunches, homemade cakes and bacon rolls of the highest quality. I also offer FREE tea, coffee, squash and biscuits at Heene sessions.
The Railway Inn provides a top quality selection of food, wines, beers and spirits, as you would expect from a forward-thinking pub. Additionally they have a tuck-shop, vast selection of teas and high-end coffees.
5. You can stay at my Saturday morning sessions for up to two hours at nominal price increase, sometimes FREE.
6. I offer the unique Lego Picture Frame Portrait as a FREE souvenir to all guests, plus browsing in the library of Lego ideas books is positively encouraged.

Confused? Here’s where your kids may have built with Worthing and Portslade Lego Club:

Save Our Schools

– Save Our Schools Campaign – I have provided Lego sessions at the recent meeting and hustings at Worthing Assembly Hall and am an ardent supporter.
– Durrington Primary School – I delivered two Lego Workshops for Year 6 as a post-SAT’s treat
– Thomas A Becket Junior School – FREE lunchtime Lego Club
– Tot Rockin’ Beats at St Paul’s Café, Worthing
– You may have read about my club in The Worthing Herald, Primary Times, Raring2Go or West Hove Directory and I’m all over Facebook!

Here’s what people say about Worthing and Portslade Lego Club on TripAdvisor:


“We’ve been to Lego Club several times now (we haven’t for a few weeks but we’re hoping to go back soon!). Our daughter isn’t quite 4 yet but she enjoys searching through all the Lego for her favourite pieces to use. The adults enjoy the Lego too and the tea and biccies are an added bonus! Would definitely recommend :-)”
“Great idea, we travel from out of town almost every week. We rarely miss and will have our loyalty card free week soon. Excellent for getting the kids out (12 and 8) using their imagination. Our kids are champing at the bit for show and tell (it is optional) at the end every week it’s great to see the kids enthusiastic about what what they have made. Add the free coffee, tea, juice and biscuits what could be better. Alan is great and I have never seen as much Lego.”
“Based in a well-run community centre with good parking & a nice cafe. Lego club is very welcoming & relaxed. Despite owning their own body weight in Lego at home, my boys (9yrs&10yrs) loved the opportunity to play with lots of different bits! It was lovely to be offered a sibling discount & have access to free tea, coffee, juice & biscuits. Good to see a fairly wide age range of club members,some with just mum,some with just dad & some came with all the family. Loved the show & tell at the end, and the loyalty card now has pride of place in my purse. Finally,with such a great location we finished our morning with a stroll along the beach. Highly recommend giving it a go!”
“My son absolutely adores Lego Club. Alan is amazing with the kids and it’s great value for money. Free snacks too which is a great bonus! It really inspires my son to get creative at home and he likes to build and play a lot more at home now. Can’t recommend Alan and Lego Club highly enough!”
These are just some of my reviews from TripAdvisor, check out the Worthing and Portslade Lego Club Facebook page too for customer reviews, dates, details and Lego based info from t’internet.
I hope that you can join me one Saturday morning at Heene Community Centre or maybe after school at The Railway Inn (Portslade). There will be some changes in September and they will ramp up the fun at Worthing and Portslade Lego Club, of that, I am certain!

Keep creating and have a brilliant summer.
Al (Owner: Worthing and Portslade Lego Club) . x


After School Club, Lego Club, school holidays

Kids’ Saturday mornings, sorted! Extra sessions and special offers at Lego Club.

Thanks for your continued support of Lego Club. I am grateful to you and your little builders for making this such a successful and enjoyable part time business. Long may this continue.
I am introducing some new discounts and initiatives to deliver more value to all who come to Lego Club and with the aim of getting more people to join in the fun and seeing more of the fabulous Lego Clubbers (and their grown ups) who regularly turn up and make the success that it is.  So, if you like Lego Club, tell your friends and get them to tell theirs!  PR plea over.

Early Bird Saturday Sessions (0900-1000 Starts Saturday 22nd April)

…Catches the worm.

Following feedback from several early birds, I am going to trial an early morning session from 0900-1000 in the Browning room at Heene Community Centre. The first early session will be held on Saurday 22nd April. The excellent café at the centre opens at 0830, so there’s time to order a bacon sandwich. You can book online or just turn up on the day. Hope you early birds can make it!


Online Ticket Discount: Buy 4 Tickets For The Price of Three 

OK, I’ve introduced online ticketing to bring predictability to Lego Club and allow you to guarantee a space well in advance. The down side is that this comes with a small booking fee, which although nominal can be annoying!
So to overcome this issue, I am trialling a discounted way of selling tickets which will reward you for buying tickets online.  When you order 4 tickets, you are charged for three. Sound good?

Lego Club Reward Card 

Loyalty Card
The coolest card to carry this summer.

This is simple. I give all who come to Lego Club a reward card and stamp it every time they come to Lego Club. Once the card has five stamps on it the NEXT visit to Lego Club is FREE. This equates to Lego Club costing you £3.20 a time if you complete and cash in your loyalty card.



You can now pre-order your Lego Club tickets with no booking fee. 

From Thursday 20thApril you will be able to pre-order tickets from me at Lego Club with no booking fee.

Sibling Discount

diffrent strokes
Remember these two?

In order to be inclusive, I have been admitting siblings for half price since Lego Club started in January. I will continue to offer this discount at the reduced rate of 25%. This step is necessary to keep Lego Club sustainable as a business.

April Lego Club Dates: April flowersThursday 20th  April, 4pm-5pm, St Paul’s Cafe, 55b Chapel Rd, Worthing
Saturday 22nd April, 9am-10am, 10am-11am, 1130am-1230pm, Heene Community Centre, 122 Heene Rd, Worthing
Thursday 27th April, 4pm-5pm, St Paul’s Cafe, 55b Chapel Rd, Worthing
Saturday 29th April, 10am-11am, 1130am-1230pm, Heene Community Centre, 122 Heene Rd, Worthing

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this update and that you will come and join us at Lego Club one day soon. I keep the Lego Club Facebook page up to date, so please do keep an eye on it to stay in the loop. If you like what you see please do tell your friends and ask them to tell theirs!

Thanks. Al.


After School Club, Lego Club, Lego memorabilia, parklife, school holidays

Easter Holiday Hacks From Frontline Dad


He’s winning and his Face-boasting will make you wince.

The Easter school holidays are looming, talk in the playground turns to plans. Junior Jet Ski Club, Father and Son DJ’ing lessons or a week-long family Forest School break? No? Nor me. They are winning at school holidays their Facebook posts will ensure that you know that.  I want to help you become a parenting ninja, but without the expense or stress of competitive family recreation. We live in a wonderful part of the world, let’s make those magical memories that are the stuff of childhood and, ahem, social media!

Amberley Train Drive
Full steam ahead for us dads on Father’s Day!

Here we go. Amberley Open Air Museum and Heritage Centre has regular steam train rides, an Electricity Hall, vintage Sussex bus rides and fascinating technology centre (Sinclair C5 anyone?), plus, there are numerous family activity days. You can make a wheel, drive a traction engine, ride a vintage bus or take a ride on the steam train that takes people round the open air museum. It is well worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page as they frequently run special events such as industrial train days (including rides) and vintage car displays.
The people who run the centre are very knowledgeable and often in period costume, do ask lots of questions and do take up the chance to drive a steam train on Father’s Day!

Equally edifying is a visit to Devil’s Dyke by bus, car or bike. There is a glorious 3-mile walk around the dyke that offers amazing views, fresh air and the joy that is The Royal Oak at Poynings, famed for their summer barbecue and vast garden this is a smash hit with families.

Nymans 1
Nymans Gardens a Sussex idyll.

We’ve done industrial history and fresh air, now for an English country garden. I cannot express strongly enough the sense of arch “Dadness” that National Trust membership gives me. I’m a regular at Petworth House and Nymans Gardens. These are safe, beautiful places in West Sussex for little ones to run around. All of them will put on seasonal children’s activities and picnicking is encouraged at all National Trust sites. Annual membership gives a family of four a monthly visit at £2.31 per head. Go weekly and that’s 57p per person! I hope that this piece has given you some ideas to hold your head high in the playground and pimp that holiday “Faceboast” post.

Felt picture
Get crafty with Jane Hartley’s felt and sewing classes.

If the weather is not on your side there is a “crafty” alternative for the nimble fingered creative type of child. Aimed at 7-15 year olds, Jane Hartley’s sewing and felt making workshops are very hard to beat in terms of value for money and fun! Over Easter holidays classes are running on April 10th and 11th, book soon to avoid disappointment.
Jane’s vast experience of teaching craft techniques to children make her the ideal tutor to get your kids crackling with creative ideas.  These classes fill up quickly so do reserve your place by contacting Jane on 07594189987.

Alan Whyte runs two Lego Clubs in Worthing. One at St Paul’s Café on Thursdays and a Saturday morning club at Heene Community Centre. You can find out all about Lego Club, the loyalty card, FREE drinks and sibling discounts at the Lego Club Facebook page. You are very welcome to just turn up at any Lego Club session, there is plenty of space. Alternatively, tickets are available online.


A unique and stylish Mother’s Day win for £12.49!

Create an ornament they’ll never forget from the world’s favourite toy.

The annual celebration of mum is looming into view. We all want celebrate these champions, and appreciate the ones who are still slogging away at this parenting game as best we can. If your budget is more small tinkle than big bang, and time is not on your side, this is the page for you.
Luckily there is still time to act like the thoughtful son/daughter/father your mother believes that you are without breaking the bank, or too much of a sweat. You can even include your own children in the production of this unique and thoughtful Mother’s Day gift. The block rockin’ portrait frame™ is here!
As with many things, simple can mean beautiful and this Mother’s Day hack is certainly simple. No need for the apologetic presentation of an “Esso bouquet”, Billy Joel CD or special edition copy of Dirty Dancing. Together we’ll beat it!

You Will Need:

DSCN1659 DSCN1662 DSCN1665



A suitably flattering photo (6″x4″, 7″x5″) of the mum in question – £00.00
A picture frame for said photo – The Range*, East Worthing – £1.99
A hot glue gun* (includes glue sticks) – Dunelm Mill, Shoreham by Sea, £10.50
A bundle of Lego bricks (approximately 100) – beg, steal or “borrow”, this stuff is everywhere. If you’re really stuck come to Lego Club for some bricks! £00.00


*Once you own a hot glue gun you can claim to be “crafty” (as in making stuff), or become  a primary school teacher!
*The Range is an Aladdin’s Cave of materials for making stuff, a magnet for “crafty” types, parents of young children and my colleagues at school.


  1. Cover your work surface with newspaper, you really don’t want hot glue on your furniture.
  2. Plug in your hot glue gun ensuring that the metal stand is down
  3. Allow about 10 minutes for the gun to heat up
  4. Meanwhile lay the picture frame down flat and arrange the Lego bricks on your picture frame, your children can help with this operation.
  5. Tweak the colour scheme to make sure that you are happy with the order of colours and watch how the bricks meet up at corners because you may need to use smaller pieces to keep the corners looking neat. Again, a job that can include your little “helpers”.
  6. Lay the bricks on the table (still in sequence) and squirt hot glue on to the picture frame in approximately 4cm strips.
  7. Carefully attach your Lego bricks to the frame in your chosen sequence
  8. Allow to dry for 30 minutes – you’re done, Happy Mother’s Day!



I hope that this has helped you to win at Mother’s Day.  If this made your Mother’s Day a bit more special do let me know and feel free to post a pic of your creation here. So please like and share, like and share!

The Lego Club Pitch:

For real low cost high value fun, come down to Lego Club at St Paul’s (Thursdays 4-5pm) or Heene Community Centre (Saturdays 10am-11am and 11.30am-12.30pm). Details are available on my Lego Club Facebook page.




Parenting Tips To Boost Your Parklife.


Me and a friend enjoying some parklife

Ok, so the sun has sown the seed of spring time pursuits with the kids. No longer is digging in with a Star Wars box set and packet of Hob Nobs an acceptable way to spend an afternoon. Oh no, we’re off out into the daylight! It’s time to embrace the call of the wildrs and don our best parenting clobber, North Face, SuperDry, Hunter, all present and correct.
In my experience the suggestion of an afternoon at the park will be met with formidable resistance from my five-year-old son.
Once the wailing has subsided and we are out in the sun, the boy decides to hit the climbing equipment/rocks/trees with impunity. Small boy becomes the super charged Ninja Turtle of small town Sussex, agile, unstoppable and relentless. This is what I signed up for in those intrepid months of pregnancy/new fatherhood! The excitement and exuberance are palpable as he whoops and yells whilst leaping imaginary buildings, wrestling Storm troopers and dispatching baddies. I am that oft spotted 40-something dad whizzing along the zip with small boy in noisy pursuit.
For me this is all gravy, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I have become quite astute when it comes to tackling the outdoors with Dougal. I feel that there are chances to get it very right in my local area so why settle for second place?  I will use the next few paragraphs to share some favourite outdoor spots around this fine locality.


Buckingham Park, Shoreham

Spider-Man ready to launch

A little way out of Shoreham town centre this is a local hotspot and an army of parents (mostly dads) can be found there on a Saturday morning. This could be due in part to the numerous football and rugby fixtures that occur at the park or the quality of the bacon sandwich served in Cupcakes Café in the park.
Either way Buckingham Park is a great find. It has recently been overhauled to provide a more varied play experience for kids of all ages. This includes a substantial zip wire, sensory area as well as a full complement of clambering, leaping and tumbling equipment. There is also a basketball court, numerous tennis courts and outdoor table football. For the athletic there is even one of those outdoor gyms that were introduced after 2012 to turn us all into Olympians. My son, Dougal, thinks that they are great climbing frames.
The café serves a broad selection of hot drinks, provides papers to read at the weekend and does a great line in homemade cakes and snacks. In the summer this park comes into its own there are loads of suntraps and shady spots to sit down and chill while the kids play safely within sight. There isn’t a wifi signal to be had but the 4G is great. This park and its café are a great addition to my parklife.

Perch, Lancing Beach Green

A proper brew at Perch on Lancing Beach Green

Situated on Lancing Beach Green, this place has Lancing Beach, rock clambering aplenty and a play park as neighbours. The café is high end, they serve excellent restaurant quality fayre in the dining section of Perch. The fish and chips are legendary!
Perch offers a great selection of snacks and cakes and the coffee is of the highest quality, as you would expect. Dogs are welcome and there is often a bowl of water out for our four legged friends.
Perch is situated on the cycle track that links Shoreham Beach to Worthing so if you’re a cyclist this is an ideal stop off. I can also vouch for the wifi signal for those all important “Faceboasts”.
For the more budget conscious, those who like to keep it real! there is a great little tea kiosk by Widewater Lagoon that serves old school ice creams, tea coffee and the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, deep fried fish finger sandwiches, no kidding!

Hove Park, Hove (Actually)

The rock climbing playground

Now this park is triangulated by some great middle class parenting landmarks, Waitrose, Toys R Us and Nando’s. Welcome to your Shangri La!
The park is superb, with climbing equipment and toys to suit all ages from tots to pre-teens and even a zip wire for us dads to play on. This is easily a park that you could spend the day in, due it’s size and the range of activities available. If you choose to stay in the play park a coffee van and ice cream will be on hand to provide caffeinated or high sugar refreshment.
Hove Park Café operates at “peak Hove” with a superb menu of delicious high end sandwiches, snacks and legendary cake. The coffee is also great. Seating is available indoors or outside, so this hits the spot for a bit of time out with a paper/electronic device. I can’t remember if there is Wifi though, sorry! The park also has great basketball courts, rocks to climb on, football pitches, tennis courts, a miniature railway (open seasonally) and often hosts events for kids.

So there we go. My penny’s worth on how to win at being outdoors in a parenting type way. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have do share this with your friends.

For a cheap and relaxing family outing do come and try out my Lego Club. On Saturdays I run a session from 10-11am and then another session from 11.00am-12.00pm in the Browning room at Heene Community Centre. The next session at Heene will be on Saturday 23rd August.
I am also running sessions at The Railway Inn, Portslade. The next Portslade Lego Club is on Wednesday 9th August (3-5pm). These sessions have been really popular so booking is advised, it could be the great selection of food (vintage tuck shop) and drinks available at The Railway…

Full details are available on the Lego Club Facebook page. You can pay on arrival or book tickets in advance.

Thanks for reading this. Al. x


Lego Club, school holidays, Uncategorized

Half Term. How was it for you? My three lessons learned at the frontline.

A Dalek hunt, an artists café and slices of cake the size of breezeblocks. Worthing has a lot to offer at school holiday time!

So that was half term. I hope it was good for you and your children. Some of our most enjoyable days were the no pressure, no plan days where we just let things happen. I’ve included a few lines about three such days below. These were three simple parenting wins that worked for myself and Dougal without costing too much money or causing too much stress.

Hunting down the Daleks in Worthing (aka browsing in charity shops)

An empty day lay before myself and Dougal (aged 5). We had a few errands to run and a small budget for the day. A low key day beckoned. I packed a vaguely healthy (by small boy standards) picnic and we set off for Gull Island park in Worthing. As ever, talk turned to Daleks. Then inspiration struck. On my suggestion Dougal insisted that we search Worthing for Daleks. We agreed that charity shops would be the place to start the search and set off on a treasure hunt, browsing in Worthing’s many second hand shops. I had our final destination in mind and a dozen charity shops later we struck Dalek gold!

Davros, nobody’s favourite uncle

We entered the wonderful Type 40 science fiction memorabilia shop on Rowlands Road, in Worthing’s West End.
What a fantastic array of nostalgic models, comics, DVD’s and games lay before us. Daleks you say? They had several generations in stock, every variety,  Davros would have been a proud genocidal maniac. It is all reasonably priced too.

My son was ecstatic, being an avid Dr Who fan and Dalek aficionado. We left the shop with a trophy Dalek and plans for Dougal’s pocket money for the next decade. Dougal dubbed Type 40 “the Dalek Shop”, and that is how it shall be known from now on.

Clambering and cake at Goring Gap and The Sea Lane

My little boy at Goring Gap

If your kids love clambering on rocks and digging around rock pools then Goring Gap is for you. If you love great coffee, cake or a legendary Full English Breakfast, the magnificent Sea Lane Café at Goring Gap is also for you.
Goring Gap beach is a long sweeping pebbly bay where people windsurf, walk their dogs and even ride their horses. There is a large safe grassy area for playing ball games or riding bikes. On a sunny day there is no finer place to be.
The Sea Lane Café is situated right on Goring beach and is a great place to visit all year round. The café offers lots of outdoor seating as well as cosy booths inside. The food and drink are delicious, for me the Sea Lane breakfast is the silver bullet that has exorcised the most stubborn hangovers. The Sea Lane offers the best selection of cakes I have ever seen, they are of the highest quality and ENORMOUS! This place should be Mecca for the cake enthusiast.

Always bring your bricks to the table

My friend Ruth and her son Benjamin at St Paul’s

So we’re having a great time at Gull Island, the boys are playing idyllically and then it starts to rain. No, this cannot be!
Luckily we have plan B, which comes in the shape of lunch at St Paul’s Café. This place is a child friendly gem. A converted church with a great lunch menu and book exchange. Located in the centre of Worthing, St Paul’s never disappoints. It has a great atmosphere and there is always something musical or artistic happening, it’s a real local creative hub.
However, keeping two five year olds seated at a table and engaged in something other than an iPad can test the skills of even the black belts of parenting. I am no black belt, but I have Lego in a box in my ruck sack, quite a lot actually. Things immediately take a more sedate turn, boys settle, are focused and building begins. Coffees are drunk and uninterrupted conversation ensues as the boys build merrily. Back of the parenting net!


And you’ll get change from a tenner!

You made it! We salute you, every one of you.


My final recommendation for half term is the C0-op’s Fairtrade Malbec. A smooth and fruity end to a pleasantly busy week off with my little partner in crime.

For a cheap and relaxing family outing do come and try out my Lego Club. On Thursdays I run one session from 4-5pm at St Paul’s Café in Worthing. On Saturdays I run a session from 10-11am and then another session from 11.30am-12.30pm in the Browning room at Heene Community Centre. Full details are available on the Lego Club Facebook page. You can pay on arrival or book tickets in advance.

Thanks for reading this. Al. x

school holidays, Uncategorized

The Great Half Term Dalek Hunt

A school holiday challenge for those days when you’re not living the life of an Observer on Sunday supplement family.

I hope that you are all enjoying your half term without too much recourse to gin, ear defenders or Facebook!

Today was my first solo day of half term parenting with my brilliant five year old son. I would love to share a John Lewis-esque tale of baby-cino’s, an animated and edifying visit to a museum and possibly a day rounded off by cooking marshmallows on a stick. Sadly real life got in the way and we ended up picnicking in the park and hunting down pre-loved Dalek toys in charity shops. A dozen charity shops later, our mission to capture ourselves a Dalek toy seemed futile. I knew that failure was not an option!

(Below: Davros, nobody’s favourite uncle)

davros-daleks-doctor-who-h2Until… We stumbled upon the wonderful Type 40 science fiction memorabilia shop on Rowlands Road, Worthing. What a fantastic array of nostalgic science fiction lay before us. Daleks you say? They had several generations in stock, Davros would have been proud. There were DVD’s, comics, video cassettes and every conceivable science fiction/superhero piece of merchandise piled from floor to ceiling. It is all reasonably priced too.

My son was ecstatic, being an avid Dr Who fan and Dalek aficionado. We left the shop with a trophy Dalek and plans for Dougal’s pocket money for the next decade. Dougal dubbed Type 40 “the Dalek Shop”, and that is how it shall be known from now on.
That is one of many low cost ways of getting through the school holidays without hitting the iPad too soon in the day. If we remain screen-free until 3pm, I’m winning! Please don’t judge…

For real low cost high value fun, come down to Lego Club at St Paul’s (Thursdays 4-5pm) or Heene Community Centre (Saturdays 10am-11am and 11.30am-12.30pm). Details are available on my Lego Club Facebook page.