(Edited to include the photos I took that I forgot I had so never inserted, durrh!)
(random cat photo)
Honestly, this is the life of a blogger, weeks of having feck all to say so drivelling on about trainers and lipstick and err some other vain, vacuous nonsense and then BAM all of a sudden I have an outdoor activity to review for you guys, an opinion on our Hello Fresh! food box and Toddler spends the afternoon at nursery!!!
First things first, on Tuesday Boy and I enjoyed our very first Skip Day. Stealing the idea entirely from Shay, I decided that I was pulling Boy out of Kindergarten for the day and spending it doing whatever his heart desired. Now, the thing is, that sounds delightful but since a) my kid is only 4.5yrs old and not gifted at making decisions on the spot and b) I really didn't want to spend my day doing something we could do any old day (such as McDonald's for lunch and a trip to the park, say) I may have lead his decision-making process a little bit ;-)
I had gone along with the charade and dropped him off at school at 8.25am as normal, came home to hand Toddler to Nana, grab a few supplies and then gone back to pick him up again. I collected him from school (they knew I was coming, he didn't) and just told him we were being naughty rascals and could spend the whole day together doing something special. His little face lit up like a torch and he skipped all the way to car! I'd got his change of clothes in the bag and we headed to the Crocky Trail just off the A41
If you've never been, the Crocky Trail is advertised as a 'mile-long adventure trail for kids, with slides, rope swings, climbs and a chain bridge'. I wasn't aware that there was also a small theme park at the entrance with various mechanical rides and attractions. One of the slides is THIS big...
and looks completely terrifying for a Mama who is scared of heights!
Now, I'll be totally honest. I had heard many, many good reviews of this place and, when we first pulled up, I was a bit disappointed. The theme park section is the bit you see first and the entire site was so quiet that I was worried it was closed (but that's to be expected on a mid-week visit during term time, granted) Also, on closer inspection, it turned out that most of the rides and attractions at the start of the trail were quite simply too big for Boy to enjoy. Boo!
BUT! Once we found the entrance to the trail itself, we were immediately won over. The Crocky Trail had won our hearts right back! Little rope bridges, metal ramps, wooden boards to tip-toe over the creek, slides and swings, mazes and loads more. Boy really enjoyed himself and not once over the entire mile did he moan or ask when we'd get back to the start.
Just look at his happy little face!! As you can see, we had the place almost to ourselves, I can imagine at weekends and in the holidays this place is rammed (but in a good way?!)
POINTS TO CONSIDER: The trail isn't really suited for prams. Children over 5 are £13 entry because it is assumed they will want to go on the rides. I'm not convinced some of the younger 5 year olds I know would want to (some of them are pretty impressive in size!) in which case it's a fairly expensive walk in the woods which you could do on Cannock Chase for free? Adults have to pay either £9 (for some rides) or £14 (for all rides). Again, unless you've got an older child, this seems costly, especially for a Mama who would have no intention of going on ANY rides whatever the age of her child!!
PROS: Super friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere, beautiful woodland adventure trail, huge playing field for ball games and picnics, you could easily spend all day here which makes the cost better value.
CONCLUSION: We will recommend it to friends with older children and will definitely be back, but probably not for a few years.
After we left the trail, we headed to the Combermere Arms in Burleydam for a late lunch.
Part of the Brunning and Price chain, we knew exactly what we were in for, a yummy, varied menu with great kids options and delicious puddings. Perfect! Boy did some reading and dictation while we sipped our drinks and then we enjoyed a grown-up lunch with hot waffles to finish. Such a naughty treat, and much nicer than McDonald's! He had the tractor in the garden all to himself and this Mama got to soak up some rays in the peace, I almost fell asleep.
We zoomed home to Toddler and Nana via Argos (needed curtain poles!) and were back in time for supper and bathtime. It was, all in all, a pretty magical day. I think we both enjoyed the time together, just us two, and he said multiple times how much fun it was being naughty and missing school. I have reminded him that it only happens once a year!! Don't want him picking up any bad habits ;-)
So yes, Skip Day is a winner. A total indulgence, but so worth it. I loved every second...and we look forward to exploring the Crocky Trail again...when we're a smidge bigger!
Back soon with food updates and nursery news...