I’m a working mum. That’s a choice we’ve made that works for our family. We want nice things, we want our kids to have nice things, we go to work. That’s how we’ve chosen to do it. It’s how I was raised, so I guess it’s only natural. I watched my parents work their arses off for everything they’ve got today, and it instilled a good work ethic in me. I’m hoping that I’m doing the same for my kids.
In the past, when the boy was a baby and I returned to work in the police, I did receive some criticism, and sadly not from a stranger in the street, but from someone that was supposedly family (not my family thank god 😂) and I know that opinion was supported by others. To this day I don’t know what they think gave them the right to criticise our life choices, they barely knew us. It’s almost like they thought I enjoyed leaving my little baby and going out wrestling with drunks and idiots all night (I did a little bit 😂) Mainly I did it because I had to. We had bills and responsibilities. I also did it because I wanted to. I want our kids to know that nothing comes for free. That you get out of life what you put into it. I like our life, my husband likes our life, and most importantly, our kids like our life, and for me, that’s all that matters. We might be exhausted at the end of the day, I might be currently working 4 jobs so we can pay for tennis lessons, piano lessons, dance lessons, violin lessons, birthday parties, holidays, and all the other extras, and my husband might be working 12 hour days plus weekends, but we appreciate every single thing we’ve got.
It’s not perfect though, we spend our lives like ships that pass in the night, taking kids here there and everywhere, and although most of my jobs are fairly flexible, school holidays become a massive juggling act for us.
We have my mum thankfully, and if I’m working she’ll normally be available to have them, but she does live 1/2 an hour away from us, and adding an hour on to every days work and commute gets pretty tiring. So as they’ve got older I’ve started looking for holiday activities closer to home for the odd day here and there, just to break it up a bit.
It’s easier for the boy, he’s 11 now. He’s done tennis camps, days at a local water sports club, and there’s always a friend standing in the wings that can take him for the day if needs be. The kraken, at nearly 5, is more difficult. She doesn’t have the same options, and taking them to 2 separate places is a logistical nightmare when both parents need to get to work.
I’d heard about Barracudas before, a friend of ours used it for her daughter, but until this year the kraken was too young and we’d be back to them both going to 2 separate places. This year she was finally old enough though (4.5) and I packed them off there for the day 😀
I should start by explaining what Barracudas is I suppose! It’s a kids holiday club, for children aged 4.5 to 14. They’re run all over the South East at 46 different locations. The one closest to us is at a local secondary school.
The normal day is between 8.30am and 5.30 (although extended hours are available from 8am-6pm) for me this meant plenty of time to drop them and get to work, and as I finish at 4, it also meant that I had time to go home
for a nap and clean before I picked them up 😂
We were gifted a day for both the demons in return for an honest review. I’ll tell you my opinion on the parental side of things, but then I figured I should ask the sods what they thought as they were the ones there that experienced it….
For me, it was fabulous. You just drop them off with a packed lunch and bugger off! Security wise it’s great, you fill in a huge form with all their details, and details of the only people that would be allowed to collect them. When you drop them off you’re given a card and that days password. You need to hand both these over when you collect them. I’m guessing if a different parent is collecting to the one that dropped off, then maybe you don’t need the card…
On drop off you can see the days timetable. They have a choice of 2 activities every hour. Then you wait for someone to come and collect then to take them to join their group. They’re split up into age appropriate groups.
When you collect, there are tonnes of photos on the wall of that days activities, although my 2 managed to avoid getting in any of them so it was like they’d never been!
All in all I thought it was fab. I’d never actually left the kraken anywhere like that before, and I left her feeling quite certain that she was safe and would be looked after. It’s so smoothly run. Super impressed.
Here’s what the beasts thought…
“I really liked it, the activities were fun. I made a friend, we chose activities together then. Some of the other kids were really naughty, I feel a bit sorry for the staff, some of them were worse than The Kraken, just completely out of control. They didn’t bother us though, we just got on with what we were doing and the leader of our group dealt with them. Can I come back in the summer when they do all their water activities?”
“A girl from my dance class was there. We did singing and dancing. I liked playing the games. I couldn’t eat my chocolate because it had nuts in it (my bad 😂) so that made me cross but other than that I liked it”
So happy kids. And anyone that is brave enough to take food off the kraken is a superstar in my eyes 😂
I’ll definitely be looking to book more days in the future. If you wanted to book it’s £164 for a full week or £40 a day. A little pricey when you’ve got 2 of them there, however you’ve got to remember what you’re paying for, and I think it’s worth every penny. Judging by what the boy said about the feral kids, in some cases they certainly earn their money!!
All the details can be found here, including details of how to book Barracudas