Also involving time with friends and family, halloween inspired giggles and frights (I am, it transpires, a bit of a wimp), long walks, rainy days, singing your heart out, and snacks on demand. Obviously.
It took me a while to get my head around the fact that it was half term. I am sure we all say this every year. But it honestly felt like we had only just finished Summer and started the new term, like two weeks ago??? And yet here we were at Autumn half term, with two little boys chomping at the bit to do all things Halloween and me hauling pumpkins here there and everywhere for a week. Most frightening of all, is that half term has rushed by and now every second word I seem to hear is Christmas. Eeek. Not sure I am ready. I have only just put my sandals away.
Back to Half Term. Having come and gone so fast, but been so lovely, it felt an ideal time to pull together a bit of a blog about our adventures in all their autumnal wonder (there will be less to be said about the two days we had of wind and rain when everyone fell out with everyone else and I googled ‘sunshine destinations for one’. )
So half term in the land of Adventure Boy… Some general musings and perhaps some inspiration for those of you lucky enough to be on your break this week. Why is everyone having half term at a different time??!! So confusing!
I have to start here really because most of the week seemed to be given over to all things Pumpkin related. The 7 year old has become a bit obsessed by them, and in fairness to the boy, it does seem to be much more of a thing than ever before. I have certainly noticed far more ‘Pumpkin Fest’ and ‘Pumpkin Patches’ in our little corner of Devon this year. We also seemed to come away with them from theme parks and local attractions. My arms have actually been aching from all the carrying and carving (*note to self must work out more). Still they do look cool. One of H’s favourite adventures this week has been to plan his designs on paper first and then transfer to the pumpkin. He has been so in to it! He even turned one in to a Mayan Pyramid design for a project at school! So pumpkins are a big winner. And actually, they are nice way to keep them entertained in the evenings or when it’s raining. Plus they get to be super creative and messy. Who wouldn’t love it?!
My favourite pumpkin moment was our trip to Pips Pick Your Own near Plymouth. This is a fab place for anyone local. Loads of pumpkins and lots of freedom to explore, which our little Adventure Boys relished. So adorable to see little Ralph trying to lift a pumpkin 2 times the size of his own head.
We also had a great time with friends at the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth. They had a lovely little trail with a goodie bag of sweets at the end, and then a pumpkin carving session. This ended less well when Henry dropped our completed (and I have to say pretty awesome) pumpkin on the way back to the car, and it smashed to pieces. That was not an enjoyable drive home.
Getting our Halloween on…
We are not big ‘Halloween’ people. We will do a little bit of trick or treating for H on Thursday because he loves it with his friends. I can cope with the pumpkins and few of Henry’s home made decorations. But I am not a big halloween fan. I may or may not have been known in the past to turn off all the lights and hide upstairs. But that’s me just being a bit miserable. Kids seem to love it so we did decide to make the most of our local theme park last week and go there for their Halloween themed fun. I have to say it was lovely, and it got it done in one swoop for me! Plus we got to go with lovely friends and the kids could run and shout to their hearts content. There were rides, magical spells in the woods, scarecrow maizes, pumpkins (of course) and a spooky show. They had however stepped it up a notch this year. Entering the ‘Creaky Hotel’ with a group of under 8s, including a one year old, I began to feel nervous when the we entered the first room to find a crazed chef brandishing a knife and lobbing pans. Clearly this was all in good jest and as I kept explaining to a very nervous H, all pretend and so funny!! The kids were actually brilliant and just loved it. I will confess to jumping out of my skin when a piano started playing and a lady popped out of a picture. I am not a horror movie girl thats for sure. All in a day’s adventure.
A night off…
One adventure I do think is always good for the soul is bit of a night off, and when you’re trying to juggle work and the children and having lots of lovely adventures in the holidays, a night out and away from everything is always such a good tonic. I went to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat with my Dad and sisters. Oh my goodness was it amazing! So funny, totally bonkers, and just totally what was needed. You know it’s a good evening when the entire audience is up out of their seats dancing like loons at the end of the show. I haven’t stopped singing it since. In fact Henry told me to just stop it this morning. It is a bit serious, being 7.
Tree Top Adventures
Henry is an adventurer through and through. He has been since he was a baby. When he started walking he didn’t walk he ran, he was riding a bike like a pro at 2 and I have been trying to catch up with him ever since. His adventurous spirit and that of our little Ralph, has been the entire inspiration behind this blog and the business. I love it about him. I love the sparkle in his eye when he gets to try something new or pushes himself physically. Never is this more evident than when adventuring high up in the trees at Go Ape. This was only his second visit (we had a brilliant time there earlier in the Summer with some great friends) and he just smashed it. Helped by the fact that he got to do it with one of his favourite people. It was fab to watch them both up in the tress laughing and chatting, encouraging each other. Doing something completely different to normal. One of my favourite moments was Henry encouraging his friend to do one of the more difficult parts of the course “Think of something you really like doing, and then you’ll be able to do it.” How lovely is that? Anything is possible if you have the right attitude. Days out like that are just worth bottling up. Every time I think about it I grin, and I know he does too. Special moments. Fulled, of course, by coffee and giant pieces of cake afterwards. Henry and I have a bit of a motto now, that a day out is not a day out without a cafe. I laugh but….
A National Trust outing. It isn’t a half term without one.
I imagine I harp on about National Trust Days out quite a lot… But you know they are absolutely some of our favourite days. Lovely long walks, which are, more often than not, very accessible with small children. Lots of freedom to roam and explore. Tree climbing, hide and seek, rugby (inspired by Saturday’s awesomeness), following clues, asking questions, running (more the children, less the adults) rolling down hills, collecting leaves. It is endless and it is beautiful. And there is normally one very close by. We are so lucky to have Killerton House nearby. Our boys have practically grown up there and we love it. Plus endless photo opportunities, and time for coffee.
We didn’t get to do everything we had planned this week, especially towards the end because it rained and rained and rained. And rained some more. And there is only so much adventuring you can do with a one year old in the wind and rain. So we missed seeing some special people. Just means saved adventures yet to come though. And to be fair a break from anything pumpkin related probably isn’t a bad thing.
So take aways from Half Term?
- Soak it up. It isn’t always easy. There’s juggling to do, and sometimes everyone’s just a bit cranky. But it goes so fast and now he’s back at school and I miss his little face.
- October Half Term can seem a bit ‘whatever’. But actually I have decided it’s a really good one – Autumn is such a lovely time for outdoor adventures so make the most of crunching leaves, picking pumpkins and going on walks all wrapped up. It is also a nice calm one before the insanity of December!
- Take some time out for you – a night out, drink with friends, movie, food. Whatever it is, it kept me sane.
- See friends. With work and school, seeing friends just seems so hard. My close group of friends literally have to book things in months and months in advance. That time together is precious, always hilarious, and I love seeing our little ones having a great time in each other’s company. Those are adventures that matter.
- We have lovely adventures but they wouldn’t happen without snacks. And sometimes bribes. Cake and coffee helps enormously. I am not going to pretend we are totally virtuous, organised and all about healthy snacks all of the time. Sometimes you just have to have a treat. That, my friends, is okay.
- Sometimes some adventures are better than others. Some days are winners. Some are not. I am trying to be more okay with this. Some days you pick pumpkins and your children look like they popped straight out of a magazine. Sometimes everyone is just a little off and you just have to wear PJs and relax about it all.
Happy Half Term and Autumn Adventures everyone x