Peppa Pig World Through The Eyes of a Two Year Old

For Aria’s second birthday I decided that we absolutely needed to visit Peppa Pig World in Paulton’s Park and I am so glad that we did! She absolutely loved it, seeing her so happy and confident was just amazing. Even Spencer wants to go back and that is high praise indeed!

Aria is a very quiet and shy girl, she doesn’t like crowds and she doesn’t venture far from me, always looking to me for encouragement before proceeding with anything. Peppa Pig World changed all of this, as we walked in and we heard the music her excitement peeked, and then it happened, she saw the yellow ducks swimming and heard them quacking; and she ran, she let go of her daddy’s hand and she ran. We Were amazed, emotional and surprised. We instantly knew that we were going to have an amazing day.

Yellow quacking ducks at Peppa Pig World - Blog review of Peppa Pig World with a two year old

Aria’s birthday is in February and we specifically wanted to go around her Birthday, which resulted in us going along on a wet and miserable day. At first we moaned about this, until we realised that it was complete and utter genius. We didn’t have to queue for any rides, unless you count waiting for the two families in front to get belted up as a queue, and Aria could happily run around without us worrying about losing her.

Peppa Pig World is perfect for little human’s, Aria is a very petite two year old, currently wearing size 12-18 month clothing, and she was tall enough for all rides bar George’s Dinosaur Adventure, which I was selfishly disappointed about as I had been looking forward to that ride, but I wasn’t brave/stupid enough to go on there without Aria, I’m pretty sure a melt down would have commenced if I had!

All of the rides were very tame which was perfect for Aria. They also had a little park and an indoor soft play area.

The Peppa Pig theme is continued perfectly throughout the park, with theme music playing everywhere and no detail is forgotten, even the construction work is being carried out by Mr Bull (they are in the middle of extending the park, currently due to be completed in 2018).

We had an amazing day and made some fantastic memories. Two weeks on and Aria still loves to watch the vlog from the day which gets her super excited! Take a peek at the vlog to see Peppa Pig World through the eyes of a two year old…

Find out more and book your tickets here.

*Disclosure – We received complimentary tickets to Paulton’s Park in exchange for coverage*

Bluestone on a Budget

I’ve published several posts on this blog about our holidays to Bluestone and how much we love it there. I am often met with responses along the lines of “oh it looks lovely, I wish we could afford to go”. Well my friends, the beauty is, you CAN afford to go, it is very easy to go to Bluestone on a budget.

Top Tips for Holidaying in Bluestone on a Budget

Timing is key

rainbow and blue skies over Bluestone Wales

As with all holidays timing is everything. You’re holidaying in Wales; do you really need to book it for the middle of the Summer? Chances are it will be raining then, as it will be in January, but you will pay a premium for that Summer rain. If your children aren’t in school yet you can make even more savings by going during term time. Our mid-week stay in a four bedroom lodge commencing on 31st Jan 2017 came to a grand total of £249. If you split this with another couple you are looking at less than £125 each. You may even get to see a rainbow and blue skies – who needs Summer?!

Eating in/out

coffee and cake in the coffee shop in bluestone

Bluestone lodges are self catering and they provide absolutely everything that you need to cook three decent meals a day in your lodge (and more if you want!). The nearest supermarket is quite a while away but the village store is well packed and could easily provide you with the ingredients for healthy meals for a week. Yes, the store is a little more expensive than your average supermarket, but it isn’t ridiculously so.

You will also be pleased to know that eating out isn’t as expensive as you may think. For example, you can grab an adult’s pizza for £7.95 in the Oak Tree restaurant.

I know we’re talking budget, but if your children fall asleep in the pushchair it’s rude not to treat yourself to a coffee and a cake at Tŷ Coffi, right?

Free entertainment

free entertainment at bluestone buzbee character

While there is plenty of fantastic, bookable entertainment at Bluestone for the little ones there is also plenty of free entertainment. During our stay we met and danced with several characters, watched the light show and spent many a night relaxing in the lodge with the TV and free wifi. Evening entertainment includes pub quizzes, bingo and live music.

Free activities

circus zone free soft play at bluestone

Activities is one thing that Bluestone is not short of, both paid and free activities are aplenty. Swimming in the Blue Lagoon is quite possibly the most popular and is free throughout your whole stay. There is also a fab soft play area for the little ones, an outdoor park, the adventure centre which has crazy golf, slides, a bouncy castle and so much more! If you are fancying something a little more chilled out you could join one of the free guided walks and take in the beautiful surroundings.

Yes, Bluestone can be expensive, but Bluestone on a budget is definitely possible too!

happy toddler with big smile bluestone on a budget blog post

Aria loved Bluestone on a budget and I’m sure that you will too!

*Disclosure – we received a complimentary midweek stay at Bluestone in exchange for blog coverage* 

Travel : Family Fun in Brean

Back in May we spent a week as a family of three in the John Fowler Sandy Meadows Park, Brean. Aria found caravan life quite boring which meant that we had to pack the days full of as much fun for a one year old as possible.

Family fun in Brean - family photo at Brean Down

Stripeys at John Fowler resort in Brean

First up is the on site entertainment. We went along to the John Fowler clubhouse most evenings. Aria’s favourite night was when the stripeys bought out a load of baby toys and sat playing with her. Most evenings they have a kids disco but on quieter evenings they were able to do things like this instead.

rabbit petting at Animal Farm Adventure Park in Brean
Animal Farm Adventure Park. We managed to spend a whole day at the farm as there was lots to do. We petted rabbits, rode on the small fairground rides, ate lunch, swang on the swings and slid down the slides. Aria enjoyed feeding the lambs and quacking at the turkeys (everything with a beak is a quack quack in Aria’s world!).

swing ride at brean theme park
Brean Theme Park. There wasn’t a lot for Aria to do at Brean Theme Park but she still enjoyed it, she loved the hustle and bustle and the noises of the fair. We spent the day here when my sister and her partner came down for the day with my niece and nephew who are four and seven. They both loved it there and came away very satisfied, tired and excited.

Brean Play
Brean Play. Brean Play is a large soft play place conveniently located next to Brean Theme Park. Under ones are £1 and you get one adult admission for free, the second adult is £1.95. Children over one start at £4.80 dependant on the child’s height. I didn’t take many photos of Aria playing as I am always a little paranoid about whipping my DSLR out in a child’s play area! The soft play is fab, they have three areas, a baby zone, toddler zone and another huge play area for children aged up to 11. There are tunnel slides, trampolines, baby swings, ball pits and more – everything that you need to tire your child out! They serve Starbucks in the cafe which is always a winner for me.

Berrow Beach
Berrow Beach. Berrow Beach is just a short walk from the John Fowler holiday site. It is quite a difficult walk and not suitable for pushchairs as you do have to climb over sand dunes to get to it (or at least you did on the route that we took!). The sea isn’t the clearest of seas but it is a lovely, quiet beach and older kids will love exploring the sand dunes.

wild horses at brean down
Brean Down. Brean Down is great if you want to take in some spectacular views and have a lot of energy. It is a difficult walk involving a lot of steps and hills but the views are spectacular, there is an Historic Fort and wild horses running around. This is most definitely not pushchair friendly and is hard work, but there is a cafe at the bottom serving coffee and cake, the thought of which helped me power through!

steps at Brean Down
So there you have it, that is how we spent our family week in Brean. Have you been to Brean before? Do you recommend any attractions that I haven’t mentioned?

Pin me so you don’t forget me! 

Family fun in Brean

Review : John Fowler Platinum Lodge with Hot Tub – Sandy Meadows Lodge Park, Brean

We have recently come back from a week’s holiday in Brean, we stayed in a lodge with a hot tub at the John Fowler Sandy Meadows park, the sister park of Sandy Glade. We booked this holiday last year after visiting my sister and her family when they were staying there, we liked the park and the price so much that we booked it there and then, taking advantage of the offer to book for 2016 and pay 2015 prices.

Review of the John Fowler Platinum Lodge with Hot Tub - Sandy Meadows Lodge Park, Brean

white and pink floral bushes

Although we had been there the year before we weren’t quite sure what to expect on our return as the park is in it’s very early stages, last year there weren’t many lodges there at all and we knew that there would be a lot more this year, we hoped that the development hadn’t ruined the look and feel of the park. We needn’t have worried, despite there being quite a few more lodges the park is still quiet and peaceful, without being too overcrowded. The new lodges meant that there wasn’t as much clear grass space for the kids to round around on, but there was still plenty of space in between each lodge. The lodge that we stayed in this year wasn’t there last year, I’m not sure exactly how old it is but it is definitely less than one year old.

new John Fowler platinum lodge with hot tub open plan living dining and kitchen area

When walking into the lodge you are greeted with a modern open plan living, dining and kitchen area. The area is light, bright and modern. I did have a slight panic when I saw the cream furniture and cream carpet that we had to attempt to keep clean and stain free while staying there for a week with a one year old. The kitchen contains everything that you need for a self catering holiday, and more, it even has a dishwasher and a washer/dryer.

Bedrooms and bathrooms in john fowler platinum lodge

Our three bed lodge had a master bedroom with walk in wardrobe and ensuite, two twin bedrooms and a separate bathroom. All of the bedrooms had a wardrobe, under bed storage and drawers. The bedrooms were small but big enough for what we needed, it was a very tight squeeze to fit the travel cot into the twin room but we managed, it just meant keeping the wardrobe door open all week as the handle was in the way. There was plenty of room in the master bedroom for the cot so if it came to it Aria would have gone in there and Spence & me would have had one of the twin rooms instead.

travel cot fitting into bedroom in platinum lodge at john fowler caravan site brean

The patio doors in the dining area opened up to reveal a decked area with a six seater outdoor dining set and a private area which was home to our hot tub. The hot tub is secured away behind a child proof gate and hidden away from prying eyes.

decked dining area and private hot tub at john fowler sandy glade sister site sandy meadow

The hot tub is spacious and kept at a consistent temperature of 38.4 meaning that you can turn the bubbles on and dive straight in whenever it takes your fancy. It is cleaned and maintained twice daily and oh so relaxing. The perfect nap time retreat.

hot tub in john fowler sandy meadow park brean somerset burnham on sea

As mentioned above Sandy Meadows is a sister site to Sandy Glade, Sandy Meadows is a private community containing only lodges, you need a code to open the gates and drive in, though the pedestrian gate is left unlocked. Sandy Glade is where the entertainment happens. Sandy Glade is just across the road from Sandy Meadow, during the day there is an open gate so you literally just cross over the road, the gate is locked at 5pm meaning you have to walk along the road for a little while longer, there is no pavement and a sharp bend which isn’t ideal, but it is a quiet road. There is plenty to do in the Sandy Glade park, there is a swimming pool, park, kids club to name but a few. We didn’t go to the swimming pool, opting to use our hot tub instead, but we went to the clubhouse most evenings and Aria loved it. They have a mini disco, a character meet & greet and bingo for both the adults and children. There is usually entertainment later on but we would always leave by then to put Aria to bed.

children's entertainment at John Fowler holiday parks

Aria loved it at the clubhouse. Going in May meant that is was quiet enough that we could leave her shuffle off on the dance floor, and that the stripeys could get the baby toys out for her (the stripeys are basically John Fowler’s version of the Butlin’s red coats). Aria surprised us by shuffling up to the characters herself, we expected her to be scared of them. The stripeys were friendly and took a great interest in the children. Every time we went in they same people were working which was great as Aria knew them and they knew her. I’m not sure when the poor sods get a break though!

As with most things it wasn’t all perfect. Upon arrival I excitedly opened and closed all of the cupboards to see what was behind them (is it just me that does this?) and opened the dishwasher to reveal a nasty stench and the fact that it was full of dirty crockery and cutlery. The dishwasher had been filled and not switched on. I rang reception about this and they sent someone over quite quickly. The lady who came was apologetic and explained that she had checked the lodge over when the cleaners finished and had to send the cleaner back as she had missed one of the bathrooms, but she hadn’t realised that there was a dishwasher so hadn’t checked that. The lodge is new as is she, she started the week prior to our holiday. She gave me one dishwasher tablet and apologised.

While we were waiting for the lady to come out about the dishwasher I opened the drawer in the bedroom and the front of it fell off. At this point I was not happy and felt down about the whole holiday. I didn’t ring anyone as we already had someone on the way to resolve the dishwasher issue. When the lady came to deal with the dishwasher problem I mentioned the drawer, she placed it back on and explained that it would be fine as long as we didn’t open it too hard, I explained that I had a one year old and I wasn’t happy for it to be left like that as it could fall off onto her feet if she pulled it open, maintenance were then called, who, in fairness, arrived within about ten minutes.

The maintenance guy was great, he explained that the lodge was less than a year old and that unfortunately things like this often happen during the ‘settling’ phase. He fixed the drawer straight away, checked the other drawers and couldn’t apologise enough.

I personally don’t think that the dishwasher situation was handled as well as it should have been. We were left to put the tablet in, switch the machine on and empty the dishwasher contents back into the cupboards. I would have at least expected a few complimentary dishwasher tablets as an apology.

The lodges aren’t very child friendly but they aren’t sold as child friendly, if you are staying in one of these lodges you have to be prepared to watch your child like a hawk. Aria got her thumb stuck in a door stopper, closed the bathroom door behind herself and couldn’t get out, we couldn’t open the door because she was in the way, she scratched her leg on the carpet gripper and we struggled to fit the travel cot in the room. If you want to stay somewhere that is perfectly kitted out for children this probably isn’t for you.

Other downsides were that the lodge got very hot with the heating on and cold without, there was a lack of plug sockets in the living room, there is no wifi available in the lodges but we were able to connect to 3G on EE and use the free wifi while in the clubhouse.

ducks at john fowler lodge park

The positives most definitely outweighed the negatives. Despite getting off to a rocky start we had a fantastic week away and would definitely return and recommend. The lodge was beautiful, the hot tub was a real treat, there is a lot to do in and around the local area, fantastic entertainment and an on-site cafe/takeaway. The staff are friendly, though some maybe a little inexperienced. There were rabbits hopping around the lodges and we often had ducks come up to our decking to visit us. The prices are very reasonable in comparison to most lodges with a private hot tub, we paid just under £500 for seven nights at the beginning of May, obviously this does go up a lot during peak season.

The lodges are self catering which means that there isn’t much provided – look out for a post coming soon about what you will need to pack!

Visit the John Fowler website for more information or to book.

Travel : Butlin’s Just For Tots Break

As part of our role as Butlin’s Ambassadors we went along to Minehead for a Just For Tots break* in April. The Just For Tots breaks take place Monday – Friday during term time, the idea being that the older children are in school making this the perfect time to take your tot away with entertainment tailored to them and no worrying about them being pushed around or trodden on by older children. I’ve already reviewed our accommodation in the stunning West Lakes Chalet Village, in this post I am going to be talking about the entertainment and the food.

Blog review of Butlin's Just For Tots break at Minehead - baby sat in giant green and white striped butlins deck chair

baby sat in red and white striped deck chair in butlins skyline pavilion

We opted for Minehead Butlin’s as it is only a short drive from where we live in South Wales. When we booked we really weren’t sure what to expect, both Spencer and I had only ever been to Butlin’s for hen and stag weekends, obviously we were hoping for a completely different experience to that, and thankfully that is exactly what we got!
Our booking came with the premium dining plan, this gave us breakfast and dinner in a choice of two buffet style restaurants, both of which were next door to each other and allowed you to take food from one into the other, which is fab when your family can’t decide on where to eat! There was a wide variety of food, they even had live stations preparing food such as pasta & stir fry at dinner and pancakes & omelette at breakfast.Breakfast on premium dining plan at Minehead Butlin's for Just For Tots Break- fried breakfast with omelette
The kids buffet was shorter than the other parts so that it was accessible for children and again had a good variety of food, along with plastic plates, bowls and cutlery. There are also pouches of Ella’s Kitchen food for the younger children.  The food had been catered perfectly for children, they thought of almost everything. The only thing that wasn’t available was whole milk which came as a surprise on a Just For Tots break given that it is recommended that children have whole milk up to the age of two.

There was lots to do during our time at Butlin’s, in fact we struggled to fit everything in! There is both an outdoor and indoor fair, the indoor fair is suitable for little ones, although Aria was still a bit too young for the majority of rides, though me and her really enjoyed the little train ride, even if the photo doesn’t look like she did!train ride at Butlins Minehead just for tots break mummy and baby
The Skyline Pavilion is the main activity hub, with shows taking place throughout the day and home to the slot machines, fast food joints and coffee shops you could easily and happily spend a day there. We watched several shows in the Pavilion including Mike The Knight, Bob The Builder and the Skyline Gang, all of which were fantastic.

Skyline gang at minehead butlins evening entertainment on just for tots butlin's break
Outdoors activities in Butlin’s included the cutest Little Tikes racing course which Aria loved, adventure golf and a park. There was also a swimming pool which we had a splash around in on the one day. The baby pool is fab, Aria could happily sit up in the water and splash around while playing with the water toys provided.

Little Tikes Town racing track at Butlin's just for tots break in minehead
There are also bookable activities throughout the stay, these include swimming lessons, balanceability, mini bow and Music & Movement. We went along to the Music & Movement class which Aria loved. I often take her to baby groups at home and this was very similar, with the added enthusiasm of three Red Coats. It was a nice change for Spencer to be able to come along and see how much she enjoys this type of thing as he is usually working when I take her.

music and movement class at butlins just for tots break in minehead
Other activities available are Play-Doh sessions, free films, football coaching, Tots Discos and evening performances such as Aladdin Rocks. We skipped the majority of these because of Aria’s age, though we did get to watch half of Aladdin Rocks before Aria got too tired and it was fantastic, plenty of humour for both the kids and adults.

In the unlikely event that the entertainment provided in Butlin’s isn’t enough there is also the option to book a trip on a steam train with a surprise guest, in our case the guest was Billy The Bear. You also have Minehead Beach literally just across the road from Butlin’s.

Butlin's express steam train journey with billy the bear from Minehead train stations on the just for tots holidaymother with baby in pao papoose baby carrier at Minehead beach opposite Butlin's

If you’re looking for a holiday with young children I 100% recommend a Just For Tots break at Butlin’s. There is no chance of the children getting bored, the accommodation and food were lovely and the staff were very friendly and couldn’t do enough for you, special mention goes to the man swiping us into the restaurants each morning and night, he always greeted Aria by name and commented on her amazing hair styles! We are already talking about going back next year.
If you are booking a Just For Tots break my top tips would be :

  • Download the entertainment guide app, there is so much going on you will find yourselves constantly checking what is next.
  • Check which activities need to be booked, this is clearly marked with a ‘B’ on the guide but I somehow managed to miss it, as did others.
  • A little naughty but take food out of the restaurants, we loved the American Pancakes so would wrap a few up in a serviette for a mid-morning snack. This would also work well with the Ella’s Kitchen pouches and fruit.
  • Don’t try and fit too much in, explain to your children that they probably won’t get to do everything because there is so much going on.
Carry on scrolling for a few more holiday snaps.
You can find out more about a Just For Tot’s break and make a booking here.

Mike The Knight photo shoot with crying baby at Butlins' Minehead just for tots holiday baby girl with chocolate covered face
baby and daddy playing on 2p machines in butlins
baby photo shoot with fireman sam in butlins for just for tots break
puppet show at butlins just for tots holiday