Months ago we made a date in our diary to visit Leeds Castle and take part in their Chocolate Trail. Rain or shine, it was chocolate, we were going.
The Chocolate trail was pretty simple, you look for giant chocolate bars and note down the colour of their wrapper, you also search for Golden Tickets, hidden randomly throughout the grounds. We picked up our checklist sheets from the start and gave none to the kids, they’d either eat it or rip it to shreds. Then how would we know what colour things were or how many we’ve seen? We’ve no time for this.
We tried hard to get our little babes involved with the trail, Miss M wasn’t bothered, she wanted to see birds sitting in trees, not Golden Tickets. Mr M loved it. He had no idea what he was looking for, or what we were doing, but he was excited.
We were there with my parents and the 4 of us adults were scouring the trees, as if our lives depended on finding this tickets. We took it way too seriously, but it was so much fun.
During our trail Miss M played her usual game of ‘pick me up put me down’. If you’re not familiar with this game it’s where the baby whinges wanting to be carried, then beats you silly until you put them down. I play this game all week with her, it was her grandfathers turn. She also played ‘your turn, no your turn’, that’s where she’s passed around from person to person of her choosing.
The first chocolate bar we found was yellow. Very clearly yellow. So I don’t know why Granny Firstooth and Mr Firstooth thought it was green. I just can’t with it…
”But it looks a bit green”
”If you put green on the sheet, I’m not playing anymore”
The final chocolate bar to find was outside the maze. Guess what colour it was. Green, yes. Even my son, who’s obsessed with narrating the surrounding colours agreed with my findings. First chocolate bar yellow. Last chocolate bar green. He gets his brains from me, you see.
Although we had found the final chocolate bar, we still had golden tickets to find. There were a couple in the play parks and the one place I prayed that there weren’t any, was the maze. I will fully embrace the fun you can have in a maze when my two toddler beasts won’t behave like Jack Russels let of their lead. Until then, no bueno. A light-bulb popped above Granny Firstooths head, suggesting we look in the maze. I had tried to avoid this, but this would be without the kids. I looked at a miserable Miss M writhing in her dads arms and my bouncing boy. Then I looked at my mum and the freedom of the maze and I walked that way.
When I was younger a maze to me would seem amazing, now they seem a little like hard work. But we were in. The aim was to find golden tickets. And not get lost. We got lost.
We took directions to get to the middle and found no golden tickets. We just needed to figure our way out. We found the same man as before to ask directions.
”You mean you’ve gone into the centre and come back into the maze?”
”Yes… To find our way out…”
”The way out is in the centre, there’s a sign that directs you to a cave, you come out that way”
FFS. So we found the centre, where the exit was. Walked away from the exit, to run through the hedges and find another exit. The exit that didn’t exist. So we were really looking for the entrance. The man directs us again and we instantly go the wrong way.
He pointed to a hedge gap to go through and said ‘keep right’. We did keep right, but we didn’t go through that exact hedge gap. Because we like a challenge.
Another dead end.
Another dead end.
Another dead end.
That hedge looks familiar.
WE’VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.
Then we tagged on to two young boys who seemed to know where they were going. Not too close, because that’d look creepy. But they were running so we had to do a cross between a casual walk and a run to keep up with them. To watch from above you’d see to grown women chasing two children. It was our only hope and thank God we opted for the strange, stalker look, because we were in the middle again.
Stood right next to an arrow saying ‘Exit’.
My prayer from earlier was not answered, there weren’t any golden tickets in the maze. We had just spent a good half hour immersing ourselves into a ticket search with no gain. I felt a little disappointed. I felt a little silly.
There was a group of children behind us, who also seemed to be looking for Golden Tickets.
”Oh look, there’s a Golden Ticket”
Fooled them! Granny Firstooth and myself got all giggly, listening to:
”Guys, Golden Ticket”
”Did you hear that?”
”Can you see it?”
”She definitely said here”
So they were definitely on the chocolate trail then!
We walked out of the maze laughing, faced with the rest of the family. Half were having meltdowns and the other half were not impressed.
We all headed for lunch to cheer everyone up, unlike last time, we were all very decisive on our menu selections. The baby did have a little vomiting session, nothing personal to the chef, she forgot to chew her pasta. Other than that lunch was civilised and lovely.
The prize for our two little chocolate trail hunters (obviously us adults deserved the prize, but, whatever) was chocolate! Who’d have thought it. They both wanted to hold their bars and were OK with not eating them until after dinner. Our eldest lied about that. He managed to eat the chocolate, through the wrapper. It was one of those moments all parents wait for. A child whose face is smothered in chocolate but completely denies all knowledge.
”Did you just eat that?”
I only wish I had taken a picture!
It was such a fun chocolate trail, we weren’t too sure what to expect, since these kinds of events don’t happen very often. But we’ll definitely be joining in next year.
For more parenting posts and entertaining stories like our Facebook page, you’ll be glad you did