Today we are returning to Kent Life near Maidstone. Bella wanted to go on Monday but it was raining and we were really feeling up to go out and making a full day of seeing animals. So to make it up to Bella we had said we’d take her today, especially as they have got lots of Halloween activities to participate in.
We got ourselves ready and said goodbye to the boys. We had invited Liam and Daly to join us but they didn’t want to. Daly had offered to clean Rachel’s car for her and Liam had decided he wanted to stay and help Daly. We headed off down to Maidstone and I was just praying the weather wasn’t going to turn nasty. It was pretty gloomy outside.
When we pulled up to Kent Life there were so many people. We ended up parking in their over flow field. Not even their overflow car park. Nope we were in a field with a freshly washed black car. We’ve never even made it into the over flow car park when we’ve gone in the past. We’ve come up here a few times where it’s so easy to get to, it’s not too far away, there’s loads for the kids and it’s not priced too badly. I am actually weighing up getting a yearly membership as Bella loves to go and it’s an easy day out.
We parked up in this damp field and got ourselves sorted. I pulled out the pram and Rachel and I bundled up in our winter coats. Bella, however, was having none of it with the coat. I was lucky I managed to get her in a jumper. She hates layers. Luckily it wasn’t freezing but it was still cold. I looked at how the cars were parked, they were really close together and with a massive seven seater I had no idea how I was going to get out. The rows were so close together that there was not much space to manuver. I said to Rachel we’d have to make the most of the day in the hopes that when we got back to the car the field had cleared and we were the only ones left.
I noticed when we got out of the car, quite a few children had dressed up. At which point Rachel informed me that there was a fancy dress competition and Trick or Treating. I felt bad that Bella didn’t have her costume but these things happen. We weren’t going to let it ruin our day.
We walked into the main entrance and paid our entry fee. On paying we received a Trick or Treat bag and a programme of events. There was loads on. But we decided we were going to start in the farm yard first. As soon as we walked in Rachel came across some goats. They had some new houses built since our last visit. Bella ran around waving at all the goats and shouting Hi.
Next we went into the barn to see the rabbits and guinea pigs. Bella was very excited to see the guinea pigs, remembering Rachel has some. I liked the bunnies. They are so cute and fluffy. They were all chilling out. None of them were jumping around, they were just happily snoozing. As well as rabbits and guinea pigs there were also some rats and they had different examples of sheeps wool.
We headed back outside, well I had to. Bella had run out of the barn as she was bored of the guinea pigs now. On the other side of the farm yard were some little ponies. Again Bella ran up to them and shouted ‘Hi ponies’ Rachel made friends with a little black pony. She was stood by the side of their enclosure and giving the pony some strokes. The pony was definitely enjoying the attention.
We finished up in the courtyard in the hatchery. Not that there were any chicks being hatched instead it was full of hutches with guinea pigs in. Bella had a quick look around and then she was done.
So we left the farm yard and took a walk up the hill to see the rest of the animals in the field. Bella really wanted to go to the adventure play ground but we told her she could go later. There were lots of children on the equipment and I wanted to see everything before we hit the playground.
We walked past the oast houses that housed the entrance and shop and past the birds of prey enclosure. We went to look at the old hop pickers houses. They are these tiny little sheds with a bed inside that they would live in. They have a few set up so you can see them with a bed down one side and maybe a little chair and a shelf with some items on.
In a building next to these houses some one appeared to be trying to burn a skeleton. There was a headless skeleton chilling in a buck in the fireplace. I don’t think Bella liked it much. She quickly moved on.
Now these hop pickers used to use stilts to help them with their work and normally there are a few in a little box on the outside of the houses but there was none in the box. I complained to Rachel that there were none as we’ve had fun in the past playing on them. When we brought mum the first time even she gave it a go.
Rachel found the stilts just leaning casually against the building rather than in their box and of course Rachel had to have a go. She struggled to get up on them but once she did she tried walking. Now that was an even bigger fail. She nearly took Bella out, who was running up and down the path wanting us to go visit the owls.
After we’d finished trying to kill Rachel on stilts we wandered into the Kent Owl Academy which is based at Kent Life. I think it’s a bit out of order that the Kent Owl Academy is advertised separately on websites as an animal attraction for children yet there is no way to visit the Kent Owl Academy without paying full entry for Kent Life. Anyways we walked down to look at all the different owls. There were lots of different types of owls. I saw a Tawny owl, an Eagle owl, a Barn owl and many more.
At the end of the path the owls were along, there were a group of meerkats. I don’t know if they were cold but they were all huddled in a little group by the window. Bella and Rachel hand a good look at them and Rachel told Bella all about meerkats.
We left the meerkats and owls alone to continue up the hill to the rest of the farm animals. We were distracted though by the giant bat that was sitting opposite the Kent Owl Academy. It was a hay bale wrapped up and then decorated with wings, eyes and teeth to make it look like a bat. There were a few of them located around the site. We had come across a spider as we walked up to the entrance and a kinda mummy just before the owls.
Bella refused to have her photo taken with the bat. Rachel however, was completely game. She happily posed with the bat while I had Bella running round me shouting ‘I’m a bat!’ and pretending to fly.
We finished with the bat and attempted to go up the hill again. However, Bella had different ideas. Again she wanted to head off to the adventure playground. So to distract her I showed her the sheep that were roaming around the orchard.
The orchard had also been decorated with various Halloween decorations. There were witches flying in the trees and ghosts hanging from the branches. A few of the decorations had fallen down but the sheep didn’t seem to mind.
Next to the orchard was this funky chair. It has two seats under a canopy and the sets are sitting side by side but facing out different sides of the canopy. Rachel had seen a skeleton man and dog and we tried to persuade Bella to have a photo taken with them. Bella didn’t want to though. I don’t know if the skeleton scared her or what.
Rachel was up for posing with the skeleton though. She sat beside him and I took a few photos. Then she decided she was going to snuggle into the skeleton and get cosy. I told her Oli was going to get jealous. Rachel had a few issues trying to get the skeleton to put his arm around he but we tried our best.
Although Bella didn’t want to pose or sit with the skeleton, she was happy to try and give the skeleton dog a walk. Obviously holding his lead wasn’t as scary or too close to a skeleton for Bella and she was happy to do it.
We finished with the skeletons and up the hill we went. Near the top of the hill was the old forge and the paint a pot place. As well as painting pots they also had carve a pumpkin going on. There was a lovely large display of pumpkins outside. Bella liked looking at all the different shapes, sizes and coloured pumpkins they had. I love the really cute little munchkin pumpkins. They are just adorable.
Just outside the old forge we found a wooden ghost on the fence. One of the activities they had for children to participate in was to find the wooden ghosts that were dotted around the farm. We had already found a few on our wanders and this was another to add to our collection. They had 13 hidden around the site but you needed to find 10 to win a prize.
We continued up the hill and came across the red phone box outside the cottages. Me being me saw a perfect photography opportunity so Rachel took a couple of photos of me with the phone box and trying to open the door. Luckily the door was locked. There was a skeleton inside and I had visions of me opening the door and the skeleton falling out. I would not have enjoyed that.
Bella saw me playing with the phone box and wanted to join in. It was covered in these fake spider webs, most of the site had been covered in these spider webs so it wasn’t a surprise. I decided to attack Bella with the webs during out photos but she didn’t seem to fussed, she found it funny.
Just behind the phone box and next to the cottages we found these blown up pumpkins. We used to have these sort of things at Bella’s toddler sense classes. I think their great and again insisted on having a photo with them. Surprisingly Bella actually played ball and we were able to get a nice photo of us with them.
Next to the cottages were the paddocks for the pigs, sheep and goats. Bella and Rachel took a wander into the feeding enclosure so they could get a closer look at the goats. While they were there they managed to find another ghost to add to our collection.
They came and rejoined me and we continued to walk along the paddocks looking at all the animals. There were lots of children feeding the animals but for some reason, one of the goats that Rachel had been stroking and making friends with decided they were going to continue to follow Rachel and Bella along the paddock.
We had a look at the rest of the animals then Bella and Rachel had a look in the church they have on site. You can actually get married at Kent Life which is a lovely idea. When Daly and I were looking at venues we looked at one with a mini farm but sadly the farm had been removed when we started looking. I thought it was a great idea. We had lots of kids at our wedding and I thought it was a lovely idea to keep the kids occupied.
After the church Rachel wanted to go see the horses. Not that she stuck around long. She found a wooden ghost on the door frame for the old farm house and disappeared off to see what the ghosts name was. She soon returned and went back to giving the horse some love. Bella was excited to see the horse. She was jumping up and down, shouting ‘horsey’
We sad goodbye to the horse and headed back down the hill. We were all hungry and I figured we should probably take our chance now to get something to eat as Bella was starting to get grumpy. I had said about going to get lunch at about 1.30/2ish. The fancy dress competition started at 1.30 and trick or treating was starting at 2. I figured most of the kids would be disappearing off to do that. It was only 1pm but we thought we’d chance it.
On our way down to the little tea room we past one of those giant deckchairs. I love these for photos, I think they’re so fun. Rachel had a go first. Bella was acting like she wanted a go so I popped her in the chair with Rachel. Bad idea. Bella cried. I don’t know why but she cried. I luckily managed to snap a semi decent photo before Bella went into full melt down.
Then it was my turn in the chair. We thought Bella might be willing to sit with me. Nope. Instead she happily stood in front of the chair to pose with me.
We walked to the tea shop and parked the pram outside so we could go in and order. The tea shop was crammed. The queue was going out the door. Rachel, Bella and I queued up and I kept looking around to see if any tables became free inside. They didn’t sadly. We grabbed a menu and decided what we were going to order and then I headed outside with Bella to find a table.
There weren’t any in the tea shops garden but I found a picnic bench down in the pizza garden connected to the tea shop. Bella and I settled down and waited for Rachel to turn up.
After about 10 minutes Rachel appeared and found us in the pizza garden. While we had been waiting for Rachel I cleared to picnic bench off of rubbish, the previous users had just left theirs sitting there even though there was a perfectly good bin near by. On the bin I found another ghost so when Rachel came back we tried to work out how many we’d found and where we’d found them.
Annoyingly neither of us had a pen so instead I had to take a photo of the chart on my phone and then use the draw feature to write all our answers on the list. It turns out we were doing pretty well we just had a few more to find but we still had the big top, the other farm house and the childrens soft play area.
About 30 minutes after Rachel had placed our order the waitress turned up with our food. And we were starving. Bella had a plate of cheese on toast that she ate all of. That was a definite sign she was hungry. I figured she’d eat half of two pieces but instead she ate all but one crust.
Rachel enjoyed a jacket potato with beans and cheese. I had thought about having the same but I knew we were having dinner later so didn’t want to eat two hot meals in one day. Instead I had a bacon baguette. Like I said we must have been starving as we all seemed to inhale our food. I don’t think lunch lasted longer than five minutes.
We finished our lunch and headed down to cuddle corner. We wanted to have some cuddles with some cute cuddly animals. We joined the queue. In the past we’ve been the only ones in the queue but today there were loads of us. After five minutes of waiting in the queue the door opened but due to the amount of people we didn’t make it in this time so continued to wait for the next session.
While we were queueing my stomach started to hurt badly. I wasn’t feeling good. I tried to stay in the queue with Bella and Rachel but I was in so much pain I had to leave them to go sit down to try and ease the pain. I wandered off to find somewhere to sit and take some pain killers.
Although I had left them Bella and Rachel still went in to cuddle corner and enjoyed themselves. I’m so proud of Bella. She stroked a chicken, a rabbit and even held a guinea pig on her lap. Of course she held a guinea pig. She loves Rachel’s. Luckily Rachel took lots of photos so I could she how well she had done with the animals.
Once the painkillers kicked in I went and stood in the farm yard by the exit door for cuddle corner. Funnily enough it was also next to one of the safe trick or treating spots. I love that places are doing this safe trick or treating. It makes me feel better about taking Bella trick or treating. I mean this is all new to me and being given designated areas and places to trick or treat takes the anxiety out of it.
Eventually Bella and Rachel emerged from cuddle corner and joined me in the queue for the trick or treating. I had been listening to the character behind the door every time he popped out. He was a scary skeleton with a mask and a very scary/angry personality. It was quite funny hearing the things he was saying. If children were a bit too hesitant to take the sweets he would moan at them to move before he decomposed, or he’d open the door shouting no carol singers and then shut the door.
We were behind a pair of young boys, a little bit older than Bella. I stood with Bella so she could see what was happening and who was coming out. The scary skeleton yelling and grumbling and then disappeared back inside once the kids had their sweets.
Now it was are turn. We stepped forward and I tried to encourage Bella to knock on the door. She wouldn’t so instead I knocked. Now I’m guessing the man had noticed how nervous and young Bella was when he had spoken to the boys because instead of coming out yelling he opened the door already crouched down at Bella’s height. He was so gentle with her and spoke so nicely about her wanting a sweet and how brave she was, he even called her princess. I absolutely loved it. He was so good with her and she left with a smile on her face so happy.
We headed off to another of the trick or treat houses. As we walked Bella seemed to be a bit under the weather. Apparently Rachel had noticed she was starting to burn up when they were in cuddle corner and she wasn’t acting herself. She had suddenly become very cuddly. Because of this change I decided we were going to visit this last house and then go home. Someone needed to go home, sleep and have some medicine.
Bella was a little braver at the second house but still wanted me to knock. I knocked on the door and this time a lady in a skeleton dress opened the door. The lady was once again very good with Bella and Bella was excited to get another sweetie.
We said our thank yous and then decided to call it a day. Bella sat in the pram on the way back to the car and seemed very tired. We made it back and packed the pram in the car. All of us took our coats and shoes off to try and minimalise the amount of dirt in the car.
Now you might have remembered earlier that I said how bad the parking was. Sadly people hadn’t left so I had to do some careful maneuvering to get out but we managed it. We headed out to the road but took a little detour when our normal route home was at stand still. Within minutes of hitting the road one poorly little girl was asleep.
Today was a wonderful day and I love the safe trick or treating. It puts me at ease about the safe thing. The staff were amazing and made it a wonderful experience for us. I think we will be returning next year.
Anyways, night all and let’s see what adventures tomorrow holds for us.
Love CiCi x