Menorca Sunshine Fun!

We’ve been back home from our little break in the sun for a couple of weeks now, but I have been so busy I’ve not had the chance to share some of my favourite holidays photographs with you!

We had a fantastic week and we were really lucky with the weather too which was great! It was also nice to return back to gorgeous weather in the UK too, but typically that didn’t last long and we were soon back to the chilly weather our country loves to provide us with, this was no issue though, just adding a camisole under clothing meant keeping warm and still showing off my tan for a week or so!

The plane journey was eventful but also quite amusing however once we landed in Menorca I felt relaxed straight away! The sunshine was awesome to feel on my skin as I’ve not been abroad since we visited Mexico in 2012 – I’ve missed sunny holidays!

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We stayed in an absolutely beautiful villa in Cala’n Bosch. My lovely Mum located it and it was perfect. I especially liked the outdoor eating area overlooking the pool and this is where we spent a lot of time, eating tasty lunches, chatting and drinking wine!

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As soon as we arrived at the villa we decided to jump into the pool! The kids were really excited and Willow of course, ensured she was looking as stylish as possible! Throughout the week my Mum also treated the kids to various pool toys, including mini lilos and a rather cool dinghy boat!

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Gabriel and Willow are normally pretty close, most likely due to their eighteen month age gap, but during the week it was lovely to see them play together a lot more. They spent a lot of their time holding hands, cuddling and announcing they were ‘best friends’. It was so so cute! They both also absolutely loved the beach especially building sand castles, playing football, paddling in the sea and of course, eating huge ice creams that melted all over them in seconds!

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We ate out every night and I had some really nice meals, especially the vegetarian paella! It was especially great to spend time chatting with Mum, Mark and my Grandma over a bottle of wine in the sunshine! After each meal we were given shots of schnapps and Menorca’s herbal liqueur (I am still not sure about this stuff..) my Grandma seemed to enjoy these and certainly lives up to her nickname ‘knock em back Mary’! We also took a few selfies along the way, much to my Grandma’s amusement!

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We also visited the local waterpark and had so many laughs there and those memories I will treasure forever! It was a lot of fun taking it in turns to ride on the adult slides, especially when Mark almost killed me on the double dinghy slide as we flipped over and landed awkwardly- all whilst my Mum stood on the edge of the pool laughing at us!

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We had seen a few people local to the villa hiring bikes during the first few days and so when Mum and I spotted a buggy big enough for us all to ride we jumped at the chance to hire it. It was tough going with a hangover and 28 degree heat- plus who knew Cala’n Bosch was so hilly?!! But we had a lot of fun regardless. We stopped for ice cream in the afternoon which seemed to give us all enough energy to pedal home.. Until we reached a huge hill and almost crashed into the land train..

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The day before we’d had a ride on said land train, we had laughed at the cyclists, so we probably deserved our comeuppance! The train was fun, not that it went anywhere in particular, just a round trip around the resort but it was something nice to do with the kids one morning!

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So yeah, we all had a wonderful holiday which mostly involved eating tasty Spanish food, drinking Spanish wine, sampling ice cream flavours then burning it all off running about at the water park and cycling! The holiday really was just what we needed after the last year. The sunshine really helped me clear my head, forget about work and return home with a new outlook, especially about plans for the kids and myself. (Although I’m not sure how I’m going to convince Willow to lose the sunglasses?!!) But anyway, now we are all refreshed- we are ready to rock!

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*Disclaimer: This post contains a sponsored link. For more information please see my Disclosure Policy*

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A Little Holiday to Menorca

Well the day finally arrived! Today we are flying to Menorca for a little holiday in the sun! The last few months have been hectic, stressful at work and also pretty eventful all round so it’s been great to have a break coming up to focus on.

I’m a firm believer that sunshine is good for my soul. The feel of the sun’s heat on my face and back, the relaxed atmosphere of the beach and the fun of enjoying a gin and tonic aperitif are all parts of this holiday that I am looking forward to! But, I’m also looking forward to switching off, reading my books, (listening to music that I want to listen to!) and also the biggy… spending quality time with my family. My Mum, her husband Mark and my Grandma are coming with us, we have a villa with our own pool so it’s a chance to just enjoy each other’s company and relax together. The kids can run free and we can all enjoy some ‘me’ time.

Life is busy, time is short and holidays in the sun are few and far between for me since having two children, so I intend to enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity! I am also really thankful and will be eternally to my Mum and Mark for helping this holiday become possible!

I’m intending on using some of my time to catch up with this blog, I’ve missed writing a lot in the last few months and so intend to get back to where I was eventually. Thank you to my readers who have stayed and viewed standard content regardless, for checking in with me and for commenting and re commenting on posts (That’s a shout to you MDP!)

So that’s it- watch this space for holiday spam and updates. Let’s get this break started!

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Our Bluestone Break Days 3 & 4

After two blissful nights at Bluestone we embarked on our third day. I knew from the beginning, Bluestone will become somewhere that we will return to, because it’s so relaxing, I also knew that the few days away I had with the kids would be about just us, spending quality time together and relaxing!

On our third day, it rained and I mean rained. I love to sit indoors next to a window if it’s raining, I sometimes open it so I can smell and hear it more. So at Bluestone I was delighted that I could pull all the curtains back in the lodge, sit on the sofa snuggled up with the kids eating our breakfasts and watching the rain storm. It was wonderful and I think us laughing at people running past the lodge getting soaked (yes, I laugh at others misfortune- I blame You’ve Been Framed..) was one of my top five memories from the week. We all really belly-laughed together, it still makes me giggle now!

Anyway, once the storm has cleared and the wind had settled, we decided to get out for a walk, to search for a rainbow! The kids were excited and I needed one of the amazing hot chocolates in the village bakery, obviously. I also hoped to have another wander around the beautiful lake in the grounds and hoped to maybe bump into some other the other Bluestone Blogger crew on our travels. We had literally got to the bottom on the hill and we bumped into You Baby Me Mummy and her lovely family. Abby is very lovely and gave me a huge hug, which was great! It was nice to see a friendly face- and speak to an adult as I was on day three alone with two toddlers! We stood chatting for a while and then we carried on our adventure!

We walked down to the lake and although we didn’t locate a rainbow, we spotted a bugs house, and lots of different birds and wildlife. The kids absolutely loved walking around the lake and despite the weather being bitterly cold, it was beautiful!

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The fresh air did us all good, and also made us hungry for treats! So we headed to the Bakery to see what we could find! We found three things; homemade cakes, amazing gourmet hot chocolate, and a new friend.. We sat in the cafe and ate our treats and I received a tweet from a fellow Bluestone Blogger, Dad Creek. He was in the cafe with his family, so I introduced myself! If you don’t follow Ryan’s blog or Twitter you should! He’s fast becoming one of my favourite funniest Dad bloggers.

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After consuming a lot of calories, we decided to power walk back to the lodge up the huge hill to burn some fat! We stopped off for a play at the toddler park, which is well organised, clean and fun for toddlers! Gabriel especially liked the wooden train and the slide! After a quick bath, watching a programme about how jam rings are made and some stories it was time for bed, and some Mummy chilling time! Again, I opted for a bath, with an aperitif of gin and tonic whilst my dinner cooked. It was perfect and very relaxing!

On Thursday We had a lazy morning of doing some crafts in the lodge (I had packed all the materials, in case of poor weather!) and the kids loved it. We had a veggie fry-up and tucked into our breakfasts as we planned our afternoon. I had booked onto the Woody Wilds Cafe Dinner Show as a treat, and so this meant heading to the Adventure Centre for ten afternoon. Again, the weather wasn’t great, but at Bluestone this doesn’t matter really, there are plenty of activities to do, and lots of people milling around to interact with!

At the Adventure Centre we decided to check out the ‘Circus Room’ and I am so glad we did! We spent a good few hours playing, exploring and having fun in there. Designed specifically for toddlers, but with a circus theme it’s certainly that something different from the usual soft play set up. Gabriel and Willow walked the beams, rolled underneath the apparatus and even practised their juggling skills! They both also loved the train ride!

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Next up, was the event of the week! The dinner show at the Wild Wood Cafe. Gabriel had been very excited about this all week, but I had been a little apprehensive due to the fact that he isn’t always keen on costumes and puppets! We arrived and were seated, straight away the lovely lady ‘woodland fairy’ came in, making sure she chatted to each child, Gabriel immediately loved her! All the children were asked to sit at the front of the cafe and the fairy read them a story. Next it was time to locate her friend, a hedgehog! The kids loved it, the show was really interactive and there was lots of singing and dancing!

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As we all vegetarian we ordered a vegetarian platter, which was simple but perfect for children who may be picky! The kids really enjoyed the corn on the cob, veggie sausages, beans and chips! Not the most healthy, but it was a treat after all! My veggie burger was nice, and the desserts of chocolate brownie and ice cream were a welcomed surprise! The dinner show costs £7.95 per child and £12.95 for adults and lasts about an hour and a half. A meal is included and personally I think that’s great value! The cafe setting is really lovely, and we very much enjoyed the experience.

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So that was our last day! We went back to the lodge, and I drank a glass of wine once the kids were in bed and began the sad process of packing! We had a truly wonderful break at Bluestone, and I would wholeheartedly challenge anyone NOT to love it! It’s a great place, with plenty to do, whatever the weather. It’s also suitable for all ages, and parents travelling alone with kids like I did will feel comfortable and not at all alone! The staff went out of their way to be friendly and attentive whilst giving us the space we needed to relax and enjoy ourselves! I was also really impressed by the cleanliness of the Bluestone site and also the accommodation.

All in all, I give Bluestone 10/10 and I know we will most definitely be returning! Huge thank you to Bluestone for asking us to become one of their #BluestoneBloggers we loved our break and we really appreciated their hospitality! Any questions please pop them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to visit the swimming pool, which looked fantastic! Simply due to the pool’s supervision policy as I was alone with two children under four I wasn’t able to enter the pool alone, and actually quite rightly so, especially in unfamiliar surroundings. Bluestone however were brilliant about this and offered at reception to arrange a lifeguard to accompany us! Next time, we will most definitely do this. I also am desperate to visit the Bluestone onsite spa, and treat myself to some of the amazing looking treatments!

We will forever be flying the Bluestone Wales flag now, and of course dreaming of those very tasty lollipops!

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Our Break at Bluestone Days 1 & 2

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Last Monday we set off driving to Bluestone in Pembrokeshire, Wales for a midweek break at their picturesque surroundings. I had read all about Bluestone previously especially from my lovely blogging friend TheBoyandMe her photographs and blogs about her stays at Bluestone had made me very envious of their visits!

A few months ago I was offered a midweek break at Bluestone in a Grassholm lodge in exchange for a review. I was excited straight away, I already by chance had that week off from work and so it seemed perfect timing and a great opportunity for a break away with the kids after the mayhem of Christmas. So off we drove for six hours (seven including breaks) to Pembrokeshire. The journey wasn’t half as bad as I had imagined on my own with two toddlers, and actually felt quite liberating, but that’s another blog and you can read about my ‘Oh shit’ zone here.

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We arrived at about 415pm, which was perfect timing for the 430pm check in. En route I had been worried about all that time in the car, and not being able to deal with the check in, but when I joined the queue (not too big) for the check in process, I was relieved and very impressed to see that this is all done in the car, by way of driving to the check in booths. For me, that is worth its weight in gold, drive in, and basically you’re free to do as you please! Of course, if you need to, or arrive earlier you can park up and enjoy Bluestone’s facilities prior to checking in too. You can also for a fee book an early check in via the Bluestone online booking system, which I didn’t have just a long journey I would have probably done! For the record the whole booking system for extras, activities and groceries etc is really easy to use and prior to our visit I was really impressed with the ease of use of their site!

We checked in at 425pm and the barrier to access the lodges has just opened so we drove straight in. At check in they had given directions to Presili View, and so we drove around the one way system to the ‘street’ where our Grassholm lodge was housed and were able park right outside to unload. Being the only adult, it was this aspect that I found difficult; the unloading was easy enough (albeit a little physical!) but it was the fact that I had to then take the car back to the top car park and walk back to the lodge. This meant of course that I had to take the kids, and in the pitch black, when they were cold and fed up of being in the car, was tough. But- we managed. One thing I would say is that the surroundings and set up at first glance at this point seemed wonderful. The site is clean and well signposted, and extremely well organised. Although it felt dark, I felt safe and walking back to the lodge was not too much an effort, I think the kids sensed it needed to be done, and so just got on with it!

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Once back at the lodge we unpacked and I made dinner. We ate and bathed and then it was bedtime. The I realised, we needed milk. PANIC! I looked at the welcome pack- the grocery shop closed at 7pm, so we hurried down to the village. I was relieved to see there are 24 hour vending machines selling milk though! What an amazing idea, Bluestone really have thought of everything!

We were all exhausted after the journey and after choosing their own bedrooms (Elsa and Anna’s, apparently!) the kids went to sleep. I enjoyed a dip in the downstairs bath (AMAZING!) and soothed my aching back with a glass of red before bed. We all slept really well, the beds are super-comfy, and it really is a home from home. I will be writing a separate post about the accommodation, so keep an eye out for this!

On Tuesday morning we were awoken to the sound of birds singing. The surroundings of the site are so peaceful, I felt so relaxed. We got up and made breakfast, then decided to head out and explore the area. First we walked down the hill to the village, w spotted the fabulous outdoor play area and treehouse and the cutest array of pastel coloured cottages. I loved it immediately, it’s not huge, or small! It’s just perfectly sized and clearly very well thought out. After a play on the swings and wooden train we walked around the perimeter of the park. Bluestone is quite hilly, but I really like that. Pushing the pram up and down the hills felt healthy and it was good to get some exercise after eating cake and drinking the fabulous hot chocolate that the Bakery has to offer! (Very much recommend, high-five to DadCreek for the recommendation!)

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After an epic walk, we decided to head to the adventure centre. We walked there via the Steep Ravine and also has a nosey at Camp Smokey. I spotted the adrenaline-fuelled sports area. The sky wires look awesome too, it’s pretty high! I was a little sad I couldn’t get involved but next time I will definitely be having a go! The grounds of Bluestone are beautiful, and there is plenty to see, in fact we spent a high percentage of our break just walking around enjoying the fresh air, which was just what we all needed!

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Once we arrived at the adventure centre, I was amazed at how fabulous the ‘soft play’ area was! Lots of bikes, soft play for toddlers and an adventure zone for the older children. Even a full size Bluestone bouncy castle! The kids went off to play (and run about!) whilst I had fun on the bouncy castle alone (I’m such a child). Then something amazing happened, we spotted the LEGO WALL! We love Lego and so went over immediately to explore and of course build our names on the ‘Bluestone Lego wall of fame’.

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We had so much fun in the adventure centre, and it was good to let the kids run about and burn off the excess energy that they had stored up from the day before on the car journey! Gabriel especially loved the soft play and enjoyed climbing, jumping and swinging about on the adventure playground. We played in the ball pools too which Willow especially loved. We visited the adventure zone several times during our stay at Bluestone and at no point was it ‘too busy’ it’s a huge room and there are plenty of huge comfy sofas to chill out on, if the bouncy castle isn’t your Friday night!

After the adventure zone, we took a stroll upstairs to the very cute ‘Wild Wood Cafe’. The decor is perfect for young children, and we really enjoyed the chill out after the busy afternoon. I bought coffee for myself and some lunch for the kids, which they really enjoyed. My only slight gripe with the cafe was the lack of vegetarian options (especially for children) although the staff were lovely and helpful, in fact I sat chatting with two of the waitresses for quite a while as they had admired our pram, that was great and a really friendly touch seen as I was alone with two toddlers (and in desperate need of some adult conversation..)

After the coffee and chat we headed back to the lodge for some chill out time and watched Toy Story snuggled up on the comfy sofa. It started raining and it was so cool to open all the curtains and watch the rain storm from the sofa! We loved it, but were glad we had not been caught up in it! We made some food and I put the kids to bed for the night. They were exhausted from a fun-filled day, but seemed so happy and relaxed. So did I. We all slept so well at Bluestone, the beds were super comfy and the tranquility of the location just made for deep sleeps!

We had a fabulous first two days at Bluestone, blog post two coming soon which covers days 3 & 4 of our stay

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A Little Holiday to Haven Golden Sands, Mablethorpe

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Last week I decided to book a last-minute break to Mablethorpe, so off we travelled to Lincolnshire to endure some British sunshine. We stayed in a static caravan which was housed on Golden Sands, the Haven site. I have stayed on a Haven site before and so knew what to expect. However, I have to say this particular site really is pretty. The caravan was on the west of the site and had gorgeous views of the local greenery. The site is well maintained, and clean which as a parent of toddlers I was very glad to see!

Our journey to Lincolnshire went without a hitch (no travel sickness, yay!) and on arrival the kids entered the caravan in a flurry of excitement. They LOVED it! We have stayed in a caravan a few times now and for some reason the kids really really enjoy it. Although it wasn’t a small van, it’s certainly much smaller than our real home but perhaps that’s the appeal. Everything is within reach and they can run about to their heart’s content!?!

The kids played as I unpacked the car, then we decided to go for a walk to explore the site before my Tesco grocery delivery arrived (I would highly recommend doing this!) We wandered around the site, I purchased my ‘fun pass’ (a very reasonable £21) and then we spotted a rather comfy looking seat outside the bar area, with some toys on the lawn. We headed over, I purchased a rose wine and sat relaxing in the sun whilst the kids played. It was heavenly!
After a spot of ‘Connect Four’ (toddler style..) and my wine, we went back to the caravan for some food and an early night, we were all exhausted! The caravan was comfy and we all slept well which was a relief.

On Tuesday morning we woke up and had breakfast in the caravan together, then got ready to visit the local seal sanctuary. The sanctuary is about five minutes walk from the park, and it’s also where the nearest beach is, so it’s in a great spot! En route to the sanctuary Gabriel spotted the cutest land train. Of course, due to my children’s love of trains, we decided to take a ride into town (£1 each, even kids) and we had great fun! The train plays well-known train themed music (think Thomas, Driver Dan etc) all of which both Gabriel and Willow loved. The train even has a little lift at the rear enabling my iCandy Peach pram to ride too! After a twenty minute ride we decided to have a walk around Mablethorpe ‘town centre’. It’s not huge, or particularly modern (but that’s what we love about our seaside towns isn’t it!). The weather was glorious, and the beach is very pretty too, I’d definitely recommend visiting if you have not been!

After a quick coffee and a return ride on the land train we headed back to the seal sanctuary. After a £6 entrance fee I wasn’t expecting great things, but actually it was great! On arrival we were greeting by some gorgeous and rather cute seals splashing about and having great fun, the kids adored them, shouting ‘Hello seals!’ and ‘Look Mummy it’s a Mummy and a Daddy seal!’ It was very sweet. After watching the seals, we walked around the sanctuary looking at all the other animals and fun dinosaur artefacts they house. Willow especially loved the guinea pigs, meerkats and the birds. Gabriel liked the huge seal pool and the rabbits. We had a good couple of hours looking at all the animals so it was certainly £6 well spent!

After a morning we walked back to the caravan, grabbed our swimming gear and made our way to the swimming pool at Haven. Golden Sands pool is great, it has an indoor and an outdoor pool with a few slides too. We had fun at the pool (once Willow had warmed up) the pool isn’t the warmest, but you do get used to it! Gabriel and Willow loved the pool and enjoyed swimming with their arm bands on, splashing each other and jumping in. It was a fun hour of the holiday, but rather hard work!

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On Wednesday the weather was still hot, so we decided to go to the beach. After a struggle with the pram (if you have a pram go to the beach IN TOWN) we finally got settled and prepared for a few hours in the sun. We paddled in the sea, made sand castles and had a picnic. It was a lovely day. Gabriel and Willow loved the sand, Willow as usual decided to try eat it, but luckily I finally convinced her the crisps we had were much more tasty! The kids looked very cute on the beach and played nicely together. Willow received lots of attention due to her very cute Itsy Bits Boutique frilly pants too!

We went out for dinner to the onsite pub after our beach day, I had a mushroom and spinach burger, which was really nice. I was quite surprised at the quality of the food in the bar and it was reasonably priced. Their vegetarian selection wasn’t amazing, but for children they did have veggie fingers, something I’ve rarely seen on a pub menu, and whilst not massively ideal, the kids loved them along with their chips and baked beans! The portions were big, but they just have worked up an appetite at the beach because they both scoffed the meal down quickly!

After dinner we went to the tots disco and had a boogie to some ‘dance hits’. Gabriel loved it. Willow became tired quickly, and after briefly gaining a second wind after the purchase of her very own flashing microphone (£3) it was time for bed. The entertainment was of a decent standard. It did a job, and the staff certainly had lots of energy! Gabriel impressed me with his ability to immediately ‘play’ with the other kids and he seemed confident in talking to others too. I was very proud of him. He is definitely growing up too fast!

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Thursday was a chilled out day enjoying the Haven site, we went to the big adventure playground, the fair and the shops and amusements (2p slots rule!). The kids loved the park area and had a lot of fun on the huge yellow slide, the see saws and the swings. We decided to grab some lunch, and went to the local Spar shop. The kids wanted cake for lunch. I pondered. But, we were on holiday so I thought why not! We took the slices of chocolate fudge cake and sat in the sun eating it. The kids got very messy, but they enjoyed themselves. One thing I’ve learned from my own parents is, treats on special occasions, make fantastic memories. I really hope they remember the fudge cake in the sun moment, as it was magical.

After a spot more playing, and I’d eaten my veggie club sandwich from the bar (this was really nice!) we went back to the caravan to play in the paddling pool in an attempt to cool off.

I dug out the paddling pool that I’d purchased from the pound shop, and laughed. It was so tiny! I blew it up anyway, and the kids loved it! They played with their Octonauts toys and had a fabulous time! Predictably the splashing turned into a huge water fight, and we all ended up soaking. The kids were in great spirits though and Willow especially loved throwing very cold water over my head!

We dryed off, are then decided to attend the tots disco and talent show. After watching a few little girls sing ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen (one girl whilst spinning a hula hoop on her arm, which was equally bizarre and indeed impressive!) and Gabriel ‘shooting’ every person in the bar with his Nemo bubble gun (£5.99) we went on our merry way.

We had a fantastic midweek break at Haven Golden Sands and I’d definitely recommend it (during term time, perhaps if your children are young enough). The entertainment are facilities may not be as good and as large as Butlins, but you get what you pay for, and actually I felt that Golden Sands was good value for money. Haven have certainly upped their game with their sites and entertainment since my last visit and I was impressed.

We were very lucky with the weather during our stay, perhaps if we’d have had rain it may have dampened (sorry) the break slightly. But, there’s still loads to do on site in the rain. We really loved the beach, the seal sanctuary and the swimming pool, I just hope we return one day!

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Blog Card From Butlins Minehead: Day Four

Our final day in Minehead! The four days have gone so fast, and although we are all sad the holiday has come to an end, it will be nice to be at home in our own beds!

Today we had an early breakfast so we could get ourselves to the Skyline Pavillion to watch the Thomas and Friends show. We have seen it before a few years ago, so know that this is a popular show so it’s best to arrive early to ensure we (Mummy) get a seat! As last time, the show was fantastic, full of songs, dancing and fun. I very much recommend this show to any Thomas (or trains) fan! The moment when Thomas appears from the station is wonderful, and the Children’s faces are a picture!

Both Willow and Gabriel loved the show so much. Before the show they made Thomas flags with the Redcoats, and they spent much of the morning waving them about shouting Thomas! The show is repeated after the ‘Fat Controller photo opportunity’ and because the kids had loved the show so much, we stayed and watched it again!

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After a show-filled morning, we headed again, for the last time to the funfair and had some more rides and bouncing on the trampolines. we were all pretty tired so we called at the bakery for some lunch and went back to the room for a rest. Gabriel had a huge nap and I dozed, so Dave took Willow out for a walk in an attempt to try settle her!

For dinner we had vegetable stew, Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes, followed by lemon cheesecake, again it was very nice! After eating we went back to the Skyline Pavillion to watch the ‘Skyline Gang’ show. The quality of this show again was great and Willow especially loved it! Gabriel mainly sat and played games on the iPad, but at least they were educational!

After the show we went and had a few well-earned drinks in the bar, I had some vodka and Dave had Worthingtons. The creamy top caused some controversy and confusion however as Gabriel thought it was a milkshake and became very upset that he could not drink it! This then meant a trip over to Burger King and the purchase of a strawberry milkshake! After another drink and a few rounds of nursery rhymes and dancing to keep them entertained we headed over to the amusements for a few last games on the slots. Gabriel and Willow loved it and I even won two more teddies in the grabber machines (I’m getting good..)

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Two toddlers in bed and a bottle of wine later we got some sleep ready for the 10am check out and breakfast. We’ve had a great midweek tots break, and when asked Gabriel and Willow to raise their hands if you’ve had a good holiday I think the proof is in the pudding!

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Blog Card From Butlins Minehead: Day Three

Day three already! This holiday is going far too fast! Today we ate our breakfast leisurely and then went for a play in the outdoor play area. Gabriel loves the pirate themed playground so much, especially the huge slide which, when wet makes a very fast ride!

We then had a walk into the Pavillion to watch the puppet show, at Puppet Castle. It was really good fun, Willow loved the dancing bears and all the singing!

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Gabriel said he wanted to go to the ‘trains’ next, so we headed to the indoor tots funfair again. Willow rode all the rides again with him and they laughed so much on them, especially the cars ride!

After the funfair we decided to have a wander into Minehead, in the hope Willow would sleep in the pram because she was exhausted! As we’ve been here before, we knew the route, straight along the front, which is a really pleasant walk, even though the weather was cold and misty, the beach was still pretty! There were lots of diggers on the beach shifting the sand, Gabriel was very excited!

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We walked through the town and had a mooch in a few of the shops. There was one shop we wanted to go to in particular. It’s a toy shop called Exmoor Teddy Bears, it’s such a lovely little shop and we’d planned to buy something for Gabriel and Willow. Last time we were here, we bought Gabriel an Iggle Piggle toy, he was only about six weeks old at the time, but we still have it and play with it a lot! So today, after much deliberation from Gabriel (Willow was asleep, so he chose for them both) we purchased a large Thomas the Tank Engine, and two small Peppa Pig toys, a George the Pirate and the elephant. They’re very cute, and it’s nice to have a ‘souvenir’ from the holiday I think!

20140403-103128.jpgWe walked in a loop around the centre, then headed to my favourite place in Minehead. The Creamery. It’s a 1930/40’s themed tea room. The decor, the music and the feel of the place is inviting, and they even have retro highchairs! It’s so lovely, and more importantly they serve the most fantastic cake! I ordered a cream tea, and the kids had, of course ‘chocolate cake Mummy!’. 20140402-220512.jpg

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On the walk back to the resort we went to visit the steam trains at the Somerset railway station. Sadly the steam trains weren’t running, so we had a walk onto the platform to view the train instead. Gabriel clutched his Thomas toy as he ran up and down pointing out all the trains and the track. It was very sweet, he loves trains so much!

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Back at Butlins we had another wander into the ‘big funfair’ a few of the rides were having maintenance but we managed to have a few rides and I even
went on the waltzers, which was fun!
I love the traditional feel of the Butlins fairground it’s actually very calming, and they have the retro feel just right.
Gabriel decided to have a bounce on the trampolines. He was sceptical at first, then soon began jumping and bouncing as high as he could! We even did some nursery rhymes whilst he bounced, which he loved.
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We had an hour or so to chill out after our action packed morning, so we had baths and the kids played with their trains, and new toys in the apartment. For dinner we had vegetable pie then ice cream, and it was really nice. Willow managed to make the biggest mess ever though! Gabriel loves going to the buffet restaurant and choosing his dinner and breakfast. He’s growing up so fast, it amazes me!
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Wednesday’s show in the Skyline pavilion was Mike the Knight. Gabriel loves him and so we knew we would enjoy the show. It was presented by two redcoats, along with Mike and some friends, Gabriel loved dancing along and was very excited to see one of his favourite characters on stage!

We decided to have a walk around the pavilion, then have an early-ish night. There was however time for a quick selfie, and some 2p slot games before bed!
Tomorrow, is Thomas day and our last full day of the holiday. Can’t wait to see the puppet show too. We have two very excited toddlers!
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Oh, and highlight of my day? Winning this little Care Bear toy in a ‘grabber’ machine! Yay!

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Blog Card From Butlins Minehead: Day Two

We all slept well last night, possibly from all the travelling.. and in fact, we had to almost drag Gabriel out of bed at 9am so we could go for breakfast!

The dining hall was really quiet and very relaxed. We had a nice breakfast of fruit and yoghurt, then boiled eggs, beans, toast and veggie sausages. The food again was nice and the kids made a MESS! But, what’s great about Butlins is.. the staff don’t mind and are so lovely about cleaning up for you! 20140401-211133.jpg20140401-211143.jpg20140401-211150.jpg
After breakfast we had a walk around the resort, then went to the toddlers funfair. Willow hasn’t been on any rides before, and at fifteen months we were slightly worried she was too little, but with big Brother Gabriel to hold her hand, she was absolutely fine. In fact, she loved it! They both rode all the cars, trains and helicopters they could find!
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The toddler’s funfair is great and thankfully, all included in your holiday price! We had a lot of fun and with quite a few to choose from it takes the kids a while to get bored! We then decided to have a walk through the main funfair (so Mummy could have a few rides too!) Gabriel spotted a mini pirate ship and luckily as he is now almost a meter tall he could ride with me. He loved it, and was very proud of himself!

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Next we all went on the Carousel, Daddy and Willow had to ride in the carriage but Gabe and I went on a horse for a ‘race’ he giggled the while way round. It was very sweet!

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After a brief chill-out we all went swimming. The pool at Minehead is good and there’s loads to do, it’s perhaps not massively aimed at toddlers though, and Gabriel went a large proportion of his time feel frustrated he could not ride on the ‘boats’ (kayaks) and the big slides! He did however show off his excellent swimming skills and coped really well with the lazy river and water sprays!

We went for an early dinner so we’d have time to have a quick walk before Butlins new show for 2014, Scooby Doo started. We were really impressed with the sets and the show’s quality and we enjoyed it! Back at the apartment now for a few wines and planning tomorrow’s escapades!

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Blog Card From Butlins Minehead: Day One!

Well we arrived safely here at Butlins in Minehead!

We drove here from Yorkshire in about six hours, and I think that we were about twenty-five minutes into the journey before Gabriel was travel sick! We had another incident about two hours in too. So yes, the car stinks of puke. Brilliant!

We stopped for lunch at one of the Midlands service station and sat and ate our packed lunch! Yes, I’m turning into my Mother. I hate having to stop
at service stations and buy overpriced sandwiches or dried-out chips for the kids. So I’ve started making our own, and not only this, I packed them in special cardboard lunchboxes (special thanks to Asda cafe..) so they kids think they are getting something special. Sneaky Mummy! But, it works a treat!
After a quick play on a bus, it was time to get back on the road!

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After six hours we arrived at Minehead. It should have been about five, but there was a slight issue concerning my Husband and google maps regarding the destination postcode! As we had booked a deluxe apartment, we had out own dedicated reception, so our check in was easy, quick and painless.

I’m really delighted with our accommodation. It’s lovely, we’ve a lounge and two bedrooms and the fixtures and fittings look new. We even had a towel pig on the bed to greet us! I think it’s definitely worth paying that little bit extra for a gold/deluxe room, especially when you are holidaying with toddlers, and living space is a must!

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We headed for dinner tonight at the Quayside restaurant. Again, we were really impressed. The quality of the food and cleanliness of the restaurant was good. Perhaps it was because it wasn’t overly busy, but the staff were lovely and we had a nice meal. The veggie options were nice, and the kids especially loved the chocolate cake!20140331-223927.jpg20140331-223933.jpg
After dinner we went to the amusements and spent some of our 2ps! (Yes, again I’m turning into my Mum. I’ve been saving all the 2p and 10p coins for ages so we could bring them for the machines. I have £19.44 in total!). The kids love the ‘penny falls’ type machines so it was good fun. They also had a ride on the mini-teacups! 20140331-224300.jpg20140331-224309.jpg20140331-224321.jpg20140331-225840.jpg

We went into Centre Stage for the welcome disco and had a good dance! Then it was time for the ‘Katy Perry’ type cabaret. This was good fun and enjoyable to watch! Gabriel and Willow were clearly over-tired so we came back to the apartment (via the Butlins iconic deckchair for a late-night photo) and attempted to put them to bed. Finally at 10:25pm Willow gave in! Oh well, we are on holiday! 20140331-230241.jpg20140331-230330.jpg
I’m just enjoying a few glasses of wine, and then it’s bed for me. I can’t wait for breakfast in the morning, and we’ve a busy day planned with messy play, swimming and a Mike the Knight show!

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Holiday Countdown to Butlins!

We’re on our holiday countdown to Butlins!

I’ll start by saying, we are not Butlins Ambassadors. Well, not official ones anyway. But anyone who knows me or reads this blog will know that I genuinely love Butlins and I’m on a mission to tell the world about how great it is.

I love all three resorts that are currently in the UK; Skegness, Minehead and Bognor Regis! We go every year and I even took thirty of my friends to Skegness resort for my hen do (that was an adults only break, it was pretty messy..)

Butlins holidays are so much fun and even more so now we have two toddlers to entertain. Each resort has it’s own ‘pro’ in my opinion. Skegness has a fabulous swimming complex, Bognor is best for toddlers with their indoor tots fair, and I think Minehead is the nicest set up, surroundings and has accommodation.

Next week we’re heading to Minehead for a mid-week preschool ‘tots’ break.
We’ve booked a deluxe suite and with a ‘half board’ type meal deal, the total cost was just £242. That includes breakfast and dinner in the evening, it’s buffet style and for the cost, convenience and quality, it’s pretty good.

Personally, I think this is excellent value, and whilst we’re there the only things we’ll need to pay for are drinks on an evening, coffees during the day and any activities we want to take part in. The swimming and all the Family entertainment is included in the break so because our toddlers won’t be abseiling or similar (although you never know with Willow) I think most of our money will be going on the 2p machines in the amusements!

We’ve been to Minehead before, and I think it’s a great area to explore who lots of opportunities for local days out from the resort too. Nearby there’s the West Somerset steam railway (Gabriel loves trains..)and of course, Exmoor National Park which looks lovely too. If we have time I’d like to visit Cheddar and Weston Super Mare too. I do love a bit of cheese..

The last time we visited Minehead, Gabriel was just eight weeks old, so it will be nice to return with toddlers, rather than a babe in arms.

Last year we visited Bognor Regis Butlins resort and had a wonderful time. Ideally we’d be returning there this year due to their fantastic toddler facilities, but it’s just a bit too far a drive for a short stay. Minehead will take us about five and a half hours, and with the two smalls in the back, that’s long enough!

This week has been tough for me, work deadlines and studying deadlines, a lack of sleep and some very tired toddlers has meant a stressful few days. So I especially am excited for a break, and the opportunity to spend some quality time with my babies.
Also, to be able to sit down with a glass of wine (and stuff my face) having NOTHING to do but relax!

I also cannot wait for the cabaret shows. I love to be entertained, so I’m looking forward to seeing what Butlins have to offer for 2014. Yes, I’m that sad person who gets excited about these things, and will be up dancing with the Redcoats. Gabriel is very excited about seeing the Thomas, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam shows too, almost as much as his Daddy is!

As much as I adore Butlins, I do appreciate why some do not. There are a lot of tips I’d offer to have a more enjoyable time, like avoiding school holidays where possible! But if you leave your 5* expectations and stressed self at home, go armed with crates of fruit shoots and pay for the early check-in you’ll have a great time!

But, before I get to enjoy the break, I have quite a few thousand words to write, a house to clean, our things to pack and some work deadlines to complete.

But Billy Butlin, I salute you and your excellent ideas. My break is in sight!! I CANNOT WAIT!

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