A year ago my mum took the day off work and we visited a little family farm in Maidstone called Kent Life. We’d never heard of this place before and came across it purely by chance, it looked like an interesting place to take two small children, so we did. A year ago my youngest was a tiny baby, mostly buggy-bound and my eldest was a one year old, with a thirst for exploring. A year ago I was also an extremely overwhelmed mum who found it hard to live in the moment and was nowhere near as relaxed as I am now. So a day out was welcomed especially with my mum who could assist with my two littles, that was one child per person – I like that ratio!
Fast forward to a year later and we visited again. This time with two toddlers, both with a hunger for activities and exploring. And me, who feels a little wiser about life in general and of course my mum, who is pretty much the same.
Over this last year we’ve probably mentioned Kent Life every month, saying we must visit there again, we must take Mr Firstooth and Grandad Firstooth with us. But it’s taken a year for us to return, and it’s still not with the other halves of the family. One day though, maybe next year?
In a way I’m quite grateful that it’s taken a whole year for us to visit again, it’s really put into perspective how much life can change in the space of twelve months. How much we’ve changed as a family and how much my kiddies have grown. It makes me quite sad that my baby is no longer a baby, but a toddler that unfortunately is never confined to a stroller and instead runs at full speed everywhere. My boy is no longer his 18 month-or-so old self, he’s grown into a proper little boy, that also loves to run, but also chats every second of the day. I’m just sad that those months of them being so tiny are gone, I’ll never get them back, but I also love the stage in life that we’re in now.
Watching both of my kiddies running around the farm, deciding what they want to see and do is a lot easier for us. They decide what’s fun for them, instead of us guessing that they’d like to see the cows, play in the park or have an ice-cream. They’re in control of their own fun and it really is the best thing to not only watch, but be a part of.
Although neither of my two sit in a stroller anymore, I bought one anyway because Granny Firstooth and I went a little overboard on our picnic. We literally bought food that would feed ten. So it was handy to ditch it all in the pushchair. I can only imagine the thoughts of the other picnic goers, with their one sandwich each and a carton of juice for their little ones, next to us with quiches, sausage, sandwiches, pasta dishes, crisps, cakes and salad, just for fun. We looked like such greedy guts but that’s how my family do picnics. If it’s a carb, it’s coming with us!
So first we ate our picnic, just to lighten the load slightly. Then next to our table a man brought over a big basket of toys for all the children to play with. A really nice touch I though, since it gives the kids a little entertainment while the adults chat and eat. My mum and I didn’t chat and eat because my littlest decided to pick these large heavy balls and throw them at surrounding families. In her defense, they didn’t hit anyone and it was her way of inviting others to play. She was playing a questionable game of catch with unsuspecting strangers.
After our picnic we headed up the hill, alongside beautiful flower gardens and visited homes which were recreated to give you a sense of what it was like to live in the fifties. Everything was original, even the homes themselves, although they’d been rebuilt here to keep their memory alive. This is something that the kids weren’t too fussed with but fascinated my mum and I. It’s so interesting to see how houses were set up many years ago and how it contrasts to the way we live now. Could we live like it? I think so, the houses were still grand and very sweet, but cosy and certainly built with family in mind. Even if they may not be very practical for the needs of the modern family.
We then had a wander around the houses to see the pigs, donkeys, goats, horses and llamas. I’m assuming they were llamas I really can’t tell the difference between those and alpacas. My little ones chatted to all the animals, had a little whinge because they wanted to feed them and we laughed at them being so sweet. My youngest kept trying to feed the goats, you know what goats are like, they eat anything, so we steered her away from their direction. My eldest likes to narrate everything so we heard a lot of:
“Look there’s a goat, oh another goat, shall we feed the goat, oh I want to feed them, oh a horse, that’s a big horse, are there trains here, I don’t like it, he’s got long hair, look there’s a plane, my likes planes, that goat made a noise, oh, what’s that, what’s a llama, shall we see the pigs, where are the pigs, can I ride the donkey, I want to feed the animals”
If you say that incredibly fast in your head without pausing for breath, that’s an insight into the endless chat of a two year old. My youngest isn’t as chatty but she did let my mum know that the horse wasn’t allowed to touch her. Oh to be inside their crazy little minds.
Our next stop was a tea break in the sweetest of tea rooms. It was very quaint inside and had a lovely atmosphere, but because the sun was shining, we chose to sit in the gorgeous area outdoors. There were two areas to sit in, one is directly outside the tearoom on gravel, surrounded by flowers of every colour from the rainbow. The area we sat in (purely because nobody else was there) was a grassy area with a few picnic tables in a lovely setting of trees.
We must have sat in the picnic area for about an hour. The kiddies chased each other around the grass, ate ice-creams which covered themselves and Granny Firstooth got a soaking from one too. We looked quite disgusting when we left and had a flock of wasps following behind. We did manage to make a bit more of a dent in our picnic though! There was an emergency toilet dash for my boy, well two toilet dashes because the first time he was “just joking”, in the middle of our tea break.
We spent a lot more time letting the kids take the lead, going where they wanted to go and playing the games they wanted to play. Their imaginations at this age are so brilliant. My eldest can own a milkshake shop on a bench, with leaves as the currency with his creative mind. We played that game for quite some time.
Then my son had his very first donkey ride. He loved every second, but for some reason didn’t smile once. I think he was concentrating very hard on staying upright bless him. My girl would have had a turn but she wasn’t interested at all, she just wanted to wear the hat. After the donkey ride we visited more animals on the other half of the farm, including lots of cuddly bunnies and made our way to another oldie house. My mum and I got lost slightly in the history of this house and it’s layout, it was such a simpler life back then and I’m fascinated by the setup of the houses.
Hated every second
Our next visit was the park which is filled with climbing structures and every kind of fun equipment you could imagine. There is an indoor soft play, which we didn’t let my little ones loose in because we’d probably never find them again. Before we knew it, it was 5pm and I’d said we’d be home by 4pm to get dinner on. So we pulled a kicking and screaming child out of the swing, which is the exact same way we finished our visit here last year, then raced back to the car. As fast as you can race with two toddlers and a pushchair overloaded with a picnic.
It was another brilliant day there and we really must take Grandad Firstooth and Mr F there as they’d really enjoy it. If you want to read our post from last year then you can here. I can’t remember a lot of what’s included, but I do remember there were a lot of school kids hogging the tractor rides.
Once we arrived home I cooked us all a lovely sausage casserole in our new pressure cooker, which you can also read about here! It was a fabulous way to end a fun day with my mum and the kids. My dad came round after he’d finished work and they didn’t leave until gone 8pm, I don’t think my parents have ever visited us during the week for dinner. I think they’ve only had dinner at ours a couple of times because we’re more of a day time family. I really enjoyed the day from start to finish, I’m a bit of a queen for dragging things on, so to make the day last as long as it did was a huge success in my eyes.