Our Autumn Bucket List

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Happy Solstice!

What a lovely day this is. Summer has gone! At last. I know this is will be a wildly unpopular opinion but I hated this summer so much. It was quite literally like living through the Nicolas Cage film – The Knowing. I was wondering if we were all done for, if this beautiful earth of ours was about to ignite into a massive ball of fire. To be fair, the way we are treating the planet we probably deserve such a horrific end.

Autumn is the most beautiful of all the seasons. The colour changes in the trees have to be one of my favourite things of the entire year. There is a journey that we often take, a motorway surrounded by countryside. As you come down into the valley you are greeted by swathes of oranges, reds and yellows. If you’re lucky, there will be mist deep in the valley. It is quite magical. Even as a child I would try to take mental pictures every year. I’ll have to see if I can get a proper picture one day.

“Listen…
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.”

Autumn by Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914)

The air changes. It becomes crisp and fresh with an earthy dampness to it. Temperatures drop but the sun still shines. Sun rises and sun sets glow like the sky is on fire. Red berries burst from bushes and creatures scurry about in preparation for winter. Pumpkins grow fat, hay is baled and harvest is celebrated. I couldn’t imagine a better season. Sure, I know by the time it comes around again, spring will give autumn a run for it’s money but after a long, dry summer, autumn is a refreshing reprieve.

Personally, I long for a woolly jumper, a wonderful cup of hot chocolate, lazy afternoons in front of our new log burner with blankets and Netflix. I want to make stew again, and bake apple pie. I want to scuff my feet around in the piles of leaves and snuggle down deep into my coat against the chill air. I long to climb into bed with a thick duvet and cold sheets, to stretch my chilly feet out across the bed and warm them up on my husband. I’m looking forward to creating autumn inspired pieces in my bullet journal. October is our wedding anniversary too, so we will also be celebrating that somehow.

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A & M. Copyright of Chloe Lee Photography

As a family, we have many things planned for Zosia to experience. I am looking forward to picking our own pumpkins and taking cute pictures of her wandering around the pumpkin patch. I want her to experience walking through puddles and kicking up the leaves. I can’t wait to buy her some wellies. I want to see her amazement at all the wonderful things that autumn will bring us, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes. I want to take her to her first fire works show and to create autumnal works of art with her. Being a winter baby, I hope she likes the colder seasons as much as we do. Having a child makes the seasons come alive. I cannot wait to explore autumn with Zosia, to teach her about conkers and learn about the creatures and animals.

Our top 10 Things to do this Autumn:

  • Visit a local farm
  • Make our own autumnal wreath
  • Go to a ‘Pick Your Own’ Pumpkin patch
  • Craft with fallen leaves
  • Collect Conkers
  • Make a pine cone bird feeder
  • Make apple or pumpkin pie
  • Explore a local woods or forest
  • Use the new wood burner
  • Splash in puddles and run through crunchy leaves

The best thing of all, is that autumn leads to Christmas and winter and I cannot wait for that this year! I’ve created an autumn bucket list and I hope to get as much of it done as possible. What do you like most about this time of year? How many things do you think you’ll get ticked off? Drop me a comment below.

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Thanks for reading.

Peace and Love,

Monsterful Mama

JakiJellz

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Travel – Colchester Zoo

No matter what we do, or when we go, we always seem to attract the bad weather. However, we’re not the kind of people that let the weather dampen our fun. Many moons ago when we were a lot younger, we ached less, were less grouchy, had fewer grey hairs and before I had even farted in front of him, the hubby and I went to London Zoo for our anniversary. I bet you can guess what happened. To say we were a tad soggy by the time we were on the train home would be an understatement yet we loved it.

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Daddy and Daughter. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

So our recent trip was, of course, no exception. To celebrate Zosia turning eleven months and to make the most of their online January discount, we had decided to make the trip up to Colchester Zoo. We had been before when our relationship was barely a few months old, so again like Greenwich, it seemed only right that we would take Zosia there too. We were hoping that she would be amazed, full of smiles, laughs and coos. Unfortunately I am not sure she was ready for it all. She seemed a little overwhelmed at times. So there are plans to take her in the summer when she is a bit older. Although, having said that, there were plenty of smiles for the giraffes.

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Exploring the map. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Colchester Zoo is a great place for a family outing.  It’s a nice day out, with some fresh air and is a great way to clock up some steps and get the heart rate going but there is an easier route mapped out to avoid steep pathways if you think you’ll struggle with the pushchair. Unfortunately for us many of the animals were inside due to the rain and cold weather but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t see all the animals. They have viewing rooms so that you can still see the animals indoors and so that you don’t miss out if they are sleeping or hiding. There are a lot of opportunities to watch the animals being fed or to even feed them yourself. I fed an elephant when I went for the first time and it was amazing (and somewhat snotty). You can also hold some of the insects including a Hissing Cockroach called Colin and a stick insect (great for kids that love Hey Duggee!). There are others but I can’t remember what else it was. We watched an encounter with the sea lions and learnt some fun facts about the differences between them and seals. There are plenty of shops and cafes for when you need a pitstop but personally, I would recommend taking a packed lunch as the food is a little expensive. For those of you with young children, you can find a few play areas dotted around the food areas to help those restless, energetic kids burn off some extra energy. You can walk through open enclosures allowing you a closer look at some of the animals. There is a wallaby and goat walkthrough which is great for little ones but we were advised that children under twelve months and pregnant women should not walk through due to certain germs and deceases that can be spread by some of the animals.

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Zosia and Colin. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

One thing I love about the zoo is their work in conservation. Much like the ZSL zoo’s, Colchester Zoo is working hard to help protect the animals home lands, their wild relatives and is helping to educate people who work with them. To help out, you can adopt a species through the zoo, which also makes a lovely gift, as do the Zoo experiences that you can buy either online or during your visit. The zoo has several breeding programs too which includes many of the animals at the park. The herbivore enclosures are some of my favourites as they include many species in one place, similar to their natural habitats.  You can also purchase a zoo pass, which gives you many benefits including discounts at the shops and on birthday parties.

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All Smiles. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Overall, we had a great time. Zosia may not have been as enthusiastic as we were hoping but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have fun. As I said, we will be returning in the summer with the hope that the weather is better and she will understand more of what she is seeing. Colchester Zoo comes highly recommended from us.

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Making Friends. Copyright of Monsterful Mama.

Have you been anywhere nice during the winter months? Any recommendations in the local area?

Thanks for reading.

Love and Peace,

Monsterful Mama

Want to find out more? Why not check out Colchester Zoo’s website and social media links.

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DISCLAIMER: This is not a sponsored post and all opinions are my own.

JakiJellz