Maternity leave: a dedicated period of time to bond with your baby and embrace their early months. Or, a time to occasionally sack all of the baby throw-up, dirty nappies and whining off to leave the baby with his Dad for a bit of ‘me time’. On this instance ‘me time’ meant grabbing a mate to plod through a muddy field in search of pumpkins for my Instagram feed.
I hate photos of my body and find the entire experience very uncomfortable. My body has changed through the years due to the dramatic weight gain and loss at the end of my studies at university bought on by intense periods of stress and, more recently, the fluctuation that comes with pregnancy. However I bit the bullet and hopped it to Cattows Farm in Leicester to pick my own pumpkins for Halloween and snap some pics.
Speaking of maternity leave and all this additional time I assumed I would have on my hands when the baby did things like napping (ha, not mine!) I made a vague promise to myself that I would put up decorations for Halloween and Christmas in our front garden this year. The good news is that I’ve managed to keep up that promise, however our pumpkins have been sitting outside the front door since the first week of October just chilling until they’re ready to be carved like we’re some Halloween-obsessed family who waited for the clock to tick past midnight on September 30th so we could stick our ‘decs up. No, we haven’t got The Nightmare Before Christmas permanently in our DVD player, I’ve just learnt that with a four-month-old baby at home it’s more successful to be opportunist with my time and do things I want to do whenever I can even if it’s a tad eager.
Needless to say I didn’t really need more jack o’ lanterns for our minimal display but the temptation to ‘do it for the gram’ was too much when at a loose end on a midweek morning. It was exceedingly muddy and a little cold stomping through a field for photo opportunities, but on the same page utter bliss to do something different than grabbing a coffee together. I also can’t thank my friend enough for encouraging me to be my usual awkward self in front of the camera and not to give a crap because – hey – it’s all for a laugh anyway.
I hadn’t visited this farm before but I was determined to go pumpkin picking for Halloween this year as it seems that everyone is at it thanks to social media. I had an itch to go and see what all of the fuss was about but I wasn’t prepared to take the kids including a pushchair through the fields when we had experienced some awful rainfall the few days beforehand. In retrospect I wish I had taken them with me because there was plenty for them to see apart from just getting arse-deep in mud. However saying that, it looked like the experience would be a lot easier when Oliver is sitting up unaided because I could sit him a wheelchair, then push him around and let him poke at the pumpkins we’d picked.
The farm shop is well organised with a tea room attached and for the Halloween-themed activities there was a marquee set up outside with a portable cafe and tables for the kids to do activities on and the parents to grab a hot drink. I almost-immediately grabbed my friend and explained that I would have to nag a family member to bring us back because it seems like a nice place to hang out with the family for a few hours – there’s even a giant hay-bale tower for them to climb and burn off their energy. I had a bit of guilt for going on my own but I’m writing that off as ‘scoping the place out’ this time. I just didn’t have the confidence to go it alone this year and without my own vehicle for the kids to cover in muck.
The fields where the pumpkins were dumped (because I don’t believe for one second that it was an ‘actual’ pumpkin patch but merely an easier to access field) was about a five minute walk way from the farm’s shop and I’m lucky I wore some waterproof boots because it was, as previously mentioned, incredibly muddy. That pumpkin patch could’ve given the Download Festival fields are run for their money with the slop on my boots. When I got home I left them in the back garden for a few days and then washed them off in the bath they were absolutely filthy. It was very satisfying watching that mud go down the plug hole but annoying to clean up afterwards.
The field was quite busy when we visited with plenty of grown-ups going ‘for the gram’ and picking their produce as well as kids being pushed around or falling over (much fun!). Once our pumpkins were chosen and whilst exiting through the farm shop I noticed that Cattows puts on a horror-themed scare maze event for the adults which is something I’d love to experience. I think once I’ve passed my driving test with my own my own set of wheels I’ll be visiting again next October for an adult night as well as with the kids. There’s absolutely more to do than I had chance to take in this time.
Have you visited a pumpkin patch and purchased your own pumpkins? Did you get as muddy as I did? Let me know in the comments.