Wednesday 30 December 2015

Eliot's First Ice Skate at Frosts Willington

We were recently invited to try out ice skating at one of the Frosts garden centres. Back in my teenage days I used to ice skate nearly every weekend with my friends so I was really keen to get back on the ice over the festive period!
We were originally booked in to ice skate on the 12th December. We arrived around our skate time, went to get our skates and I purchased a ticket for a skating aid  (the orange seal) which cost £4 for Eliot to sit on/hold on to out on the rink. I was surprised there were tickets left for the skating aids as the website forewarns you to arrive early to ensure you can get one for your skate session.
Once I had my ice skates on and Eliot had his toddler skates on over his trainers we headed for the ice. I could see as we approached the entrance to the rink that someone was getting on to the ice with the last skating aid. I asked a member of staff if there were any more as we had bought a ticket for one. I was told there wasn't which I knew would be the case and questioned why we were able to buy a ticket. The member of staff called a colleague over and they counted the amount of tickets that had been handed over which identified somebody had managed to sneak on the ice with a skating aid without buying a ticket. The staff were apologetic and called the manager over who was already talking to another family who appeared to have the same issue as us. By this point Eliot was quite restless and kept repeating 'I want to go on the seal'. When the manager got to us he apologised and took us in to the outdoor café, got us some drinks and cake while he went to see if we could be booked on to the next skate session. Unfortunately this wasn't possible as there was a birthday party and the next session we could get booked on to was two hours later. We didn't think hanging around for two hours with Eliot would be a good idea so the manager booked us in for a skating session the following weekend and refunded the £4 I'd paid for the skating aid. Even though I was disappointed that we didn't get to skate that day, I felt the manager did the upmost to keep us as customers satisfied and I was impressed with how the situation was dealt with.
Fast forward to the following weekend, I made sure we were there early, to ensure we did get a skating aid. This coincided with the previous skate session finishing, so it was a little busy with people handing their skates back to get their shoes on whilst we were doing the opposite. I'd purchased another ticket (£4) for a skating aid and sent my other half off to get it whilst I sorted out Eliot's toddler skates to go over his trainers. They were really easy to adjust the length and the adjustable straps just had to be tightened once Eliot's feet were in. Eliot wasn't too keen on having them on his feet but was still excited to be 'going on a seal'. We had to wait a few minutes before the session started (sessions last for 45 minutes) but once the rink was open for our session, Eliot and I were keen to get on the ice. We were one of the first people on, the session kicked off with Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas' playing through the speakers which made me feel really festive and set a lovely 'christmassy' atmosphere.
Even though I skated most weekends as a teen it was mostly for the social side, I was never a 'good skater' and my fear of falling over and hurting myself stopped me from letting go on the ice. Now I'm older and wiser that fear is certainly still there and worse than what it was back then, so I was quite relieved that I did have a skating aid boost my confidence! It took a few minutes for me to find my feet on the ice but I got there. It was wonderful hearing Eliot giggle with enjoyment as I pushed him around.
As we were one of the first people on the ice we got to skate around for a bit before it got quite busy. I'm glad we had some time with the rink being quite quiet as I felt my confidence decreasing the busier it got. It was quite comical watching people drag themselves round holding on to the sides, which is exactly what I would have been doing if I didn't have the skating aid to hold on to!

Eliot was adamant he wanted to push the seal himself at one point, being two he didn't really understand he would slip over easily on the ice, which is exactly what happened. He was fine and still attempted to push the aid himself but quickly decided he'd rather ride the seal, so I helped him clamber back on.
After around 20 minutes Eliot decided he wanted to get off the seal so I was left on the ice by myself, thankfully still with the skating aid. I did attempt to skate solo but was too worried I'd fall and not be able to get back up! So I skated with the aid weaving in and out of the other skaters.
To miss the rush of returning skates and collecting shoes I decided to leave the ice five minutes early which meant the process was very quick and easy.
We then headed to the heated ice café for a hot drink and treat which was a perfect way to end our skating session.
I really enjoyed skating at Frosts Willington and definitely recommend trying it out if you're not too far from a Frosts that offers ice skating before the ice rinks disappear at the beginning of January. I loved skating outdoors and think it makes a great family activity. It would ne a fab way to end the holidays before the kids go back to school!
Ice skating at frost is £14.99 for an adult & toddler ticket. £8.99 each for adults and £7.99 for Children.
* I received an adult & toddler skating ticket in exchange for a blog post. All views and opinions are my own.

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