What Happens When Teething Tigers Nest in Towers?

“They’re hiking to the Tiger’s Nest today,” I pant as I catch up with NW, who has skipped (as much as a man in his late thirties can) ahead with NG & NC to the bottom of the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth. “It’s an ancient monastery in Bhutan. It’s going to take them six hours to get there.”

NW NG under tower

Shopping in the sails.

He doesn’t have to ask who and he’s polite enough not to mention how long we queued for the car park.

“Why do tigers have nests?” asks NG, who has finished scrutinising the clouds on the promotional material for faces (she’s going through a phase) and is impatient to get in.

“They don’t. It’s the name of a really high up place that’s very quiet. Some people think it’s called ‘Tiger’s Nest’ because the wife of an emperor turned herself into a tiger and went there with an important holy man.”

NG is a bit quiet. In the silence, NC growls. In the last day or so, he has developed a noise that sounds as though he smokes 80 Woodbines a day. He’s teething but that’s no excuse, in my book. “Why did the man have holes?”

NW looks at me. “He didn’t,” he sighs, with monk-like patience, and we go in.

NW & NG binoculars

“I spy with my little eye …”

After posing in front of a green screen for a photograph where a nice lady admires NC’s rabid dribbling, we get into the lift with a man who delivers a speech about getting to the third floor of the Spinnaker Tower in exactly the same amount of time as it takes to get to the third floor of the Spinnaker Tower. I am wondering how many trips it took him to perfect this when NG shoots ahead of me through the open doors and we find ourselves looking across a semi-crowded room with glass walls, overlooking Portsmouth Harbour.

“Wow,” I say predictably. There is a glass floor and we all take our shoes off. Luckily, unlike the Duchess of Cambridge, there are no paps to notice my toenails are curly and unpainted, though NW does give me his ‘retching face’ when he sees my feet, so that helps.

The views are astonishing: we can see all the way to the Isle of Wight and, on the left, towards Chichester. On the right, the Warrior lies like a regal slug alongside the rail track.

“That boat used to carry kings and queens,” I say to NG, who is pressing her nose against the glass.

“And tigers?”

NG thought this was a train. She was having an off day.

NG thought this was a train. She was having an off day.


NC gives a low roar and headbutts my husband, who has slinged him tightly. “Shall we go higher?” he asks.

We brave the windy staircase up to the next floor, where there’s a nice cafe, and then the very top. There, NG insists on squashing a 1p in a machine with a massive wheel, so it has a picture of the Spinnaker Tower on it. It’s a bit of a rip off for what effectively is manual labour followed by devalued coinage, but she loves it so much she tries to press it into her eye socket for safe keeping, so it’s worth every penny of the 101 it costs.

Teething: a right royal pain.

Teething: a right royal pain.

NC is really howling. “Come here,” NG says protectively, hugging her father’s legs. He crouches down like a sheltering priest and she hugs her brother in a way that stops me trying to work out where the massive Tesco is below and watch my cubs protectively. “We can build a nest, little tiger,” she says to NC. He looks up at her and stops meowling. “And you can hold my penny for a little bit, if you like.”

NC’s eyes are as bloodshot as it is possible to be when you’re seven months old but he accepts the choking hazard gladly.

With a roar, NW and I pounce at the same time: “Noooooo …”

We were guests of the Emirates Spinnaker Tower, which kindly provided us with a free pass in return for an honest review.



Characters are abbreviated as follows:

NW – not William (husband and father)

NG – not George (daughter, sister and two and three quarter year old)

NC – not Charlotte (son, brother and seven month old)

NL – not Lupo (a Labrador)


Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
Prose for Thought
Life Love and Dirty Dishes


  1. April 14, 2016 / 8:33 am

    I used to live on the Isle of Wight. Ive gone past the tower hundreds of times on the boat but not brave enough to go up it!!

    • April 14, 2016 / 9:41 am

      Haha! It’s not really that scary … I wasn’t too keen on the glass floor but the rest of it was really fun. You should do it – you could spot your house!

  2. April 14, 2016 / 8:34 am

    I used to live on the Isle of Wight. Ive gone past the tower hundreds of times on the boat but not brave enough to go up it!! X

  3. April 14, 2016 / 9:41 am

    aww the teething times and multi-tasking parenting dramas – it passes my lovely and gets a little easier – great read! #coolmumclub

  4. April 14, 2016 / 10:32 am

    Wow, looks a cool day out! I was so busy gushing over NG’s adorableness that I totally overlooked the choking hazard issue…your kids are super cute, even with the bloodshot crying eyes.
    Thank you for gracing us with your royal presence m’lady over at #coolmumclub…really hoping to get a Meet the Members entry from you, my favourite Royal member of the squad!
    (NL= Not Louise, Lady Louise Windsor)

    • April 14, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      I love when you sign off! Thanks for the compliment on NC. He really wasn’t that attractive at the time though!! x

  5. April 14, 2016 / 11:28 am

    I never understand why you have to pay a pound to squash your 1p … Love what NC said to her little bro that is so cute, even if she did pass him the choking hazard! #coolmumclub

    • April 14, 2016 / 12:06 pm

      Oh, I know … such a rip off but NG was so, so happy with it. I’d probably have paid double(!)

  6. April 15, 2016 / 3:37 pm

    Oh my goodness what fabulous writing, I enjoyed this SO MUCH. Capturing so effortlessly the lovely and endearing and amusing and challenging moments of being a parent. I am signing up to follow you this minute! #prose4T

  7. April 16, 2016 / 5:33 am

    Why did the man have holes? That is a good one! Teething is a right royal pain, I agree! Royally brilliant writing!

  8. April 16, 2016 / 10:35 am

    ” no paps to notice my toenails are curly and unpainted, though NW does give me his ‘retching face’ when he sees my feet, so that helps.”

    Hee hee! Love this. And so brilliantly written! xx

    • April 16, 2016 / 10:44 am

      Ah, thank you lovely lady! That was one of my favourite lines … particularly because it was true :{ … I really, REALLY need to get a grip on my toenails some day. NW is very patient! xxx

  9. April 16, 2016 / 10:33 pm

    I’ve never been up the Spinnaker – let alone with a teething baby! I really enjoyed your take on it though 🙂 I also enjoyed learning about the Tigers Nest. Thank you for linking to Prose for Thought x

    • April 17, 2016 / 4:47 am

      Thanks Vic – it’s a lovely thing to do (even with a teething baby). As long as you have a good lunch afterwards!! Thanks for hosting. 🙂 x

  10. April 16, 2016 / 11:16 pm

    Wow what a fantastically clever way to write a review! I miss skyscrapers and towers. Don’t have that in Malta really. Loved that bit about the protective older sister . Awwww. Thanks for joining #passthesauce

    • April 17, 2016 / 4:46 am

      Ah, thank you Prabs. It keeps me amused(!) I love Malta – have been a couple of times (the last was a girly holiday where there was a lift in our hotel that sounded like something from Lord of the Rings was coming to get you all night). Pretty sure the weather makes up for skyscrapers?! #passthesauce

  11. April 17, 2016 / 9:01 am

    Ha ha, the comment about the 80 woodbine made me laugh. My daughter sounds like she’s on 20 a day at the mo too, her voice gravelly and gruff ? x

    • April 17, 2016 / 6:56 pm

      It’s so funny, isn’t it! I love it really – just takes me by surprise still, as he squeaks like a mouse as well. It’s pretty peculiar 🙂 x

  12. April 17, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    That’s not too far from me. Did you get some retail therapy in too? Although shopping with kids is more punishment than therapy! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    • April 17, 2016 / 4:23 pm

      Where are you? We live about 30 mins away from Portsmouth so it wasn’t too far. We did, actually – for the children, obviously. Retail shopping with children for yourself is absolutely impossible; it should be made clear the minute you get a positive pregnancey result! #FridayFrolics

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