This post is written in partnership with Superbreak
When I first started blogging (over four years ago!) I used to post about a whole mix of things - recipes, days out, and tours of the local neighbourhood alongside my usual DIY projects. More recently I've moved towards posting almost exclusively about renovation, and while I do like writing about a focused topic, I've decided to try and post a couple of times a week from now onwards - the main post during the week covering whatever renovation project we're currently working on, and then a post over the weekend with more of a family-focus. We certainly don't spend all our time doing DIY (even though a 300+ hour staircase project might suggest otherwise!) so I think this will better reflect the balance we try to make between working on the house and entertaining our magnificent daughters.
Having said that, I've just started a new job so I now have even less spare time that I had while I was on maternity leave, so I'll just have to see how I get on... maybe I should try blogging in my lunch hour instead of perusing the fashion establishments of Spinningfields...
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago we went on a lovely family day out to Chester Zoo. I was kindly given the tickets by Superbreak (who provide tickets for a variety of different hotel/attraction/concert/travel combinations for the city, countryside, seaside or overseas) and it was a very welcome change from insulating the cellar ceiling, I can tell you.
We go to Chester Zoo a couple of times a year (any more frequently than that and I think it would stop feeling like a special treat) and have a nicely established route that starts with the elephants and then heads clockwise to the giraffes and jaguars before ending up with the monkeys by way of the red apes, lions and tigers.
Cute baby elephants:
This was Natalia's first real zoo experience (when we visited in the summer she was pretty much more interested in trying to eat the forest bark from the ground than anything else) - every time she spotted an animal there was a lot of excited squeaking and finger pointing.
The giraffes are my favourite - seriously, how did nature invent the giraffe? Amazing.
Conveniently posing next to the height chart:
I have very clear childhood memories of happy family picnics consisting of ham sandwiches and Walkers salt and vinegar crisps and warming rice and beans from a silver thermos flask and squares of Cadbury's dairy milk consumed on various moorlands or under bridges sheltering from the rain on groundsheets... but the picnic-making gene has somehow passed me by. Our family picnics consist of a quick stop at the local corner supermarket on the way - hello, delicious shop-sandwiches, cookies, mini battenburgs, hula hoops and olives:
Just a rare black jaguar lounging around on a rock:
Just a big pile of red apes:
Two monkeys admiring the monkeys:
Do you stick your tongue out at me, sir?
One of the nice things about visting the zoo in the winter months is that in addition to far fewer crowds, the outdoor animals are all far more active than in summer - possibly because they have to run around to keep warm?! I've never actually seen the lions standing up before.
The fish were a big hit with the kids:
Hello, spotty cheetah:
And then home to our very own wild animals:
Bless Miss Penelope.
Disclaimer: I was given a family ticket to Chester Zoo for free. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.