Thank goodness the clocks went back at the START of half term! Wow – talk about throwing things off?! I was shattered. One hour – and it can do THAT to a body? Still don’t fully see the point of it and I won’t pretend to like the darker evenings because I don’t. But we’ve had an amazing week.
We started off with a Halloween press trip to Chessington World of Adventures – always a huge hit in this house and with the kids now 8 and 5, there’s equal enjoyment for everyone!
We were lucky enough to stay a night in 2014’s addition to the hotel experience “Azteca”. Our Temple Treasure room had really cool “jungle/aztec” styling and the kids were very excited with their bunk beds, private TV and den. There was even a safe containing gifts for them once they cracked the code. The Temple Restaurant was a big hit with its piranha tank and Aztec styling – where else can you dine with an “ant run” next to your table? The kids could have spent hours watching the ants carrying leaves around the restaurant and huge plasma screens of exotic animals made it feel like you were sharing your dining experience with nature.
Waking up in the morning and residents of the hotel can get on the park early, before the crowds arrive. Ignoring our theme-park-instinct to run to the park gates we realised the kids were most excited to swim! So we spent an hour after breakfast enjoying the Savannah Swimming Pool and it’s splash zone, complete with slides and giraffe!
Then to the park which they’d really decked out for Halloween and I was fearing nightmares after a spooky walk through Hocus Pocus Hall and Zombies about the place – and not just the parents! What I love about Chessington is that, at 1.4 metres, Kaya is now tall enough for every ride there. Riding Vampire for the first time was a huge hit for all and at 1.2 metres Akira can ride most things, meaning maximum family entertainment and minimum drama getting turned away from rides.
I’ve also come round to the thought of theme parks “out of season” since I loved that we didn’t have to que for more than 20 minutes for any of the rides – including my favourites – Dragon’s Fury and Cobra. We had such a busy day and I love how the different sections have a different feel to them, making the day feel varied. And you can switch up the exhilarating rides with a more chilled 20 minutes watching the Madagascar show. We actually watched it 3 times Akira loved it so much! Having the animals and Sealife Centre at Chessington are an added bonus and make the day more of a family experience than just a theme park.
We finished off with a ride on Zufari. Most people sped through the “intro” bit, but the interactive Lemur “Gozi” was a massive hit! Akira nearly jumped out of his skin when she started chatting to him about his (new) pink lemur but, excitement aside, even HE couldn’t make it through the ride for exhaustion! Love him.
I always try and balance school holidays so that hectic days are followed by home days and more chilled days. So our next day out was to the wonderful Wendover Woods and the brilliant Gruffalo’s Child Trail that the Forestry Commission is currently ruining until the end of February, to celebrate 15 years of the popular book. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we all relished the chance to be out in nature for the whole day, following the trail of clues till we finally found The Gruffalo! They’re happening in woods all over the country and I totally recommend. They’d run out of activity packs when we went, but I didn’t feel like the experience was lacking as a result and, if anything, it made the kids enjoy the nature a bit more. I’m always a big fan of looking up, not down!
A mid-week trip to London Zoo is always a massive hit and I’m a big fan of the place. There’s so much for the children to do, and as I mentioned after our last visit, the cafe is spectacular. Not that that’s the highlight of my day or anything? What would give you THAT idea?!! We always seem to find something new at the zoo each time we visit, and this time we loved the viewing options of the penguins, above and beneath the water. Kaya & Akira sat mesmerised for almost an hour, while I enjoyed a well earned cappuccino! We’ve visited so often the kids are beginning to find their way around now and I love how it’s easy to navigate but also pretty contained to save tired legs. And an added bonus – you’re allowed to take scooters in! Might take mine too next time!
Finally – Halloween arrived. The kids were in their costumes for Trick or Treating (or Chicken Cheating as it’s affectionately known) at 8 in the morning and I knew it was going to be a long day! Akira wanted to be “Ghost Princess” from Adventure Time and Kaya went for “Vampire Queen” so I had my work cut out for me with the face paints! I ran out of time for myself, so went for a skeleton, but together with my “bat” in my hair I looked a bit more like a random puppy. Did manage to get ONE scary looking shot though, for my Facebook fans! Trust me, I didn’t look scary at any other point, other than in the picture below!
Counting the days till CHRISTMAS!