Cinema trips are emotional. Here’s why:

This, my friends, is a lesson learned the hard way. This is the one about the trip to the cinema. Solo adult. Alone. With kids.


A few weeks back 1st & 2nd born were on half term. Fool herself decided to carefully orchestrate life in such a way that reward charts were filled in a timely enough fashion to merit a trip to the cinema. It is worth noting that 2nd born’s task, for completion of said chart, was to leave her bacteria ridden, ratty eared, foul smelling, sucked to death, “Rabba” in bed under her pillow each morning. This thing should come with a health warning but it was the mere mention of an overbite the size of the grand canyon by the dentist that prompted me to take matters into my own hands. Let’s just say if this doesn’t work “Rabba” (the rabbit) will be having ear surgery pretty soon.

But back to the cinema trip. It’s been said that failing to plan is planning to fail. Having fallen at this hurdle a few too many times than I care to recall I decided that I would leave no stone unturned in my prep’ for this trip. Tickets were purchased online and printed at home. Seats were reserved in specific locations. My handbag was LADEN with the promised confectionary & a few bottles of water for good measure. No flies on me. And most importantly I was IN THE ZONE.


All’s I had to do was get to the shopping centre, park the car, get 2 ice-creams & 1 coffee and sit down to enjoy the movie. Simples.

Let me recount briefly how things unfolded.

Emotion 1: Stress (increased Heartbeat)

“All under control – we have 10 minutes before the movie starts. Long enough to get in & sit but not too long that I end up tormented. Now, parking. Red lights, red lights, red lights….c’mon lady drive on! Made it through. Rightio, I’ll just park up & we’re off”

*7 minutes & 3 laps of the entire shopping centre later “Oh FFS, why are all these people who arrived AFTER me getting spaces. I am Jonah…..I need to just stay here and not move rather than driving around. Oh but I can’t. My nerves are making me keep on doing laps. YES, yes, yes there is a teeny, tiny spot over there. I’ll squeeeeeeeeze it in and shur can’t the kids climb out the passenger window at the front cos it’ll be so tight *silently commends myself on innovation.

Emotion 2: Fear (Heart rate still high, accompanied by heavy breathing)

Run, my children, run!! Cue me, half-walking, half running, dragging my bag full of contraband behind me, half choking me and half cutting off the oxygen to anywhere below my left shoulder. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t here folks. Keep running and there will be a melt-down regarding tired legs but stop and run the risk of melt down in the dark whilst negotiating the stairs of the cinema once the under 7’s have discovered we have missed the opening scene.

However their resilience on this occasion surprises me and I briefly allow myself to contemplate for them a hugely successful career in athletics in the future.


Emotion 3: Shame (The urge to start crying & shaking whilst curled up in a ball)

I begin my fartlek training session now. You see the next 15 minutes consisted of high paced shuttle runs to and from the shop with 30 seconds rest between each rep to ensure the childers were still in their seats, not stolen or not wandering aimlessly around the theatre.

I feel shame on several occasions:

  • When I purchase the ice-creams and on my opening bag to retrieve my wallet, about a tonne of chocolate buttons fall out on the counter – so obviously purchased elsewhere – and I get a knowing look from the young scooper.
  • When I blatantly order a large popcorn & 2 plastic ikea bowls fall out of my bag onto the counter in front of popcorn server, followed swiftly by 2 tesco own brand kiddie bottle of water. Yes, I take that disapproving stare on board, young man.
  • When I disrupted the family seated behind us for the 3rd time in 12 minutes.

Caoilinn ice cream

Primark is coming up trumps in the clothing department here with 1st born!!!!

And so I enlisted help – in the form of what appeared to be a 12 year old university student. I beckoned the ‘lucky’ young fella over to me to open doors (repeatedly) whilst I completed my sprint session purchases. And do you know what I saw? Emotion 4: Despair (Sweat patches under arm – thoughts of him getting himself new part time job to pay for his beer).

Yes it was etched across his pubescent face. And I don’t blame him. At this point I would despair if I saw me coming too. Kinda like how I feel looking when I catch sight of my travelling circus in a shop window somedays.

This however sped things up somewhat & so I soon found myself sitting in dark alongside 2nd born.

And so I sat – sweat rolling off me. I smelled my Americano and had the tinsyiest sip. This is going to be fine.

Mama, I need the toilet”

The time at this point was 4:39pm. And how do I know this? Because from here on in this will be remembered as the EXACT time that the last remaining shed of Emotion 6: Joy inside me shrivelled up and died. It now resides in emotional heaven right alongside sympathy, sanity & their long lost cousin empathy.

Things began to look fairly grim for happiness also.6 minutes, 4 wiped down toilet seats before we found the ‘right’ one & 1 freak out because someone used the hand dryer later,  we resettled and apologised (again) to all around us.

There in the dark, I felt something. A little hand. Rest upon my knee.

Big blue eyes staring straight ahead, transfixed and unsure whether to be happy or scared at what was unfolding on screen. This little hand just needing to know I was there, should it’s owner require.

And then I felt it: LOVE.

It gets you through when things are looking a bit hairy. With that I sank back into my seat, forgot all the drama and exhaled, safe in the knowledge that there ain’t no superhero coming on that screen that can replace me in their eyes.

C’mon Alvinn, Simone & Theodore – do your worst. I’ve got this.

Your’s, anticipating the April release of The Jungle Book with relish,

Cli xx



  1. March 16, 2016 / 11:39 am

    Any outing like this is more of an experience than a harmless trip to the cinema. We live very close to ours but don’t tend to go as a family very often. At least you got through it on a high!

  2. March 16, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    Oh dear, this is all to come for me – my little guy can’t sit through a film at home yet, let alone brave the cinema! I don’t blame you on the sneaky food tactics – we got a coke the other week at the cinema and it cost us £6! Shows how long it is since we had a cinema date!

    Best of luck for the Jungle Book!

    • March 17, 2016 / 9:23 pm

      Oh Katy that is a shocking price for a Coke. It makes me a) despair & b) smuggle crap in!!! ha ha. xx

  3. March 16, 2016 / 6:44 pm

    What an utterly fantastic post! And the funniest thing is, this is pretty much what happens to us every single time we attempt a family trip to the cinema – we are always the last ones running in when the lights have already gone down, falling over everyone else to find our seats!

    Love it! xx

    • March 17, 2016 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks Leah. And it is so good to hear that I am not alone in the madness ha ha. Here’s to many more, eh? x

  4. March 16, 2016 / 9:24 pm

    You had me giggling there, but admittedly did feel your despair too. While I haven’t exactly experienced this in the cinema, I have in other situations and yes, I’ve felt sweaty too in spite the cold. I do hope at least you and your little ones enjoyed the movie. xx

    • March 17, 2016 / 9:21 pm

      Thanks!!! We did have fun….in the end. But I’ll hold off on another trip for a while x

  5. March 16, 2016 / 11:14 pm

    This was adorable and so true too! Children pick the best moments to torture you and I know the feeling of thinking you have enough time and then suddenly everything goes wrong!

  6. March 17, 2016 / 6:30 am

    Oh my goodness me! I think I might just wait for the film to be released on DVD, lol! This all sounds so rather stressful!

  7. March 17, 2016 / 9:40 am

    Oh gosh it sounds like a manic morning, how sweet it ended so well. I am sure children have a knack of knowing just when us parents need a little bit of love xx

    • March 17, 2016 / 9:19 pm

      It was manic alright – but you are sooooo right. They do know just how to bring us right back in when we are hovering at the edge ha ha!

  8. March 17, 2016 / 1:16 pm

    Sounds like a bit of a chaotic trip to the cinema! We’ve never been as a family because I’m not sure I could handle it so calmly!

    • March 17, 2016 / 9:18 pm

      It was chaos!! Eeeekkkk. Calm…hhhmmm not sure I could give myself that credit but you know it works out fine in the end x

  9. March 17, 2016 / 10:52 pm

    I’ve not yet taken N to the cinema yet. He’s so fickle about films I daren’t risk it and he’s 5!

  10. March 18, 2016 / 11:35 pm

    Aww I haven’t taken my son to the cinema yet, he’s 3 so we are planning on going pretty soon. I definitely eat most of the popcorn because the movie starts lol

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