Butlin’s Just For Tots Week Minehead 2017

As part of our ambassador role for Butlin’s we recently went along to their Minehead resort for a Just For Tots week*. We went last year when Aria was just one and not yet walking and I couldn’t wait to go again now that she is older, crazier and walking.

We stayed in the beautiful West Lakes Village again, you can see my review from last year or view this year’s chalet in my fancy video. The chalets and the location are stunning, as much as we love the fun hub of Butlin’s it is so nice to escape to the peaceful chalet and surrounding area for a break. These chalets come with housekeeping as standard so you can truly relax. They even load the dishwasher each day so that you don’t have to.

There is so much to do on a Just For Tots break at Butlin’s, so much that we didn’t get to do all of it. Our favourite things to do were to sit in the pavilion and take in the various shows (favourites being Teletubbies and The Skyline Gang), wander around the fair ground, play on the slot machines and join the singing and dancing sessions. You can see more of what we got up to in this short video.

Butlin’s Just For Tots truly was magical for us, Aria came away a different child. Her confidence came on leaps and bounds while we were there, she was playing independently and making new friends, saying hiya to children in the park, even chasing one little girl around and kissing her goodbye. Aria is usually very shy and keeps herself to herself, to see her come along so much in such a short space of time was incredible.

Spending money wise we spent less than £50. All we bought was a treat one day which was milkshakes for Spencer and I and a chocolate egg for Aria, rainbow the dog for Aria’s souvenir and we spent £20 on a fairy makeover. We could have easily came away without spending a penny. We had the premium dining plan which included a delicious choice of foods for breakfast and dinner. We snook out a few pastries and pieces of fruit from the breakfast for snacks and made sandwiches for our lunches. We bought a multi-pack of water and drinks for Aria and took plenty out with us each day. Be warned though, it is very commercialised so you do have to be prepared to either spend a lot of money or say no a lot.

Would I recommend a Just For Tots break at Butlin’s?Absolutely. Aria loved it, and so did we. Though parents be warned, you may want to book a relaxing break the following week to get over it. It is full on.

A blog review of Butlin's Just For Tots in Minehead West Lake Village Chalet

Aria loved it so much she didn’t want to go home.

*Disclosure – we are Butlin’s ambassadors and received a break and the dining plan in exchange for promotion* 

The Uncultured Brit

I’m going to let you in on a little secret, I’m not very cultured, though it seems that not many of us Brits are. Did you know that more than one in ten Brits have fibbed in a bid to make themselves seem more cultured?  A new study shows that popular fibs include claiming to have visited a place they have never been to, enjoyed a book they’ve never read, or eaten food they secretly can’t stand! It’s all very bizarre isn’t it?

I’m not very cultured, but I’m not ashamed of that fact either. I do what I like, or at least what I can afford of what I like! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been abroad a few times but I don’t think drinking vodka shots in places like Kavos and Magaluf really count towards culture. There I am back in 2004, being anything but cultured, in Kavos, Greece.

The uncultured Brit - drunk on an 18-30s holiday

However, I do quite enjoy avocado and quinoa and I LOVE dark chocolate so I’m not a complete loss, unlike some of our fellow Brits who even fib about enjoying those yummy foods!

Don’t get me wrong, I have, at times, uttered the words “I wish I liked that” but I’m not going to eat something that I don’t enjoy in a bid to make myself seem more cultured, neither am I going to fib about going somewhere that I haven’t for that very same reason. At the end of the day, I’m just a Valleys girl who loves to spend time with family and friends, loves taking photos, loves drinking pints and dreams of one day, going on a Caribbean Cruise so that I can do all of those things while visiting several different countries and only having the stress of packing once.

infographic regarding uncultured Brits

*Sponsored Post*

Six Family Day Out Essentials

Days out with children require a crazy amount of thought and advance planning, if you don’t plan for every possible extreme scenario (and one more just in case) you can pretty much guarantee that you will need something that you don’t have, usually when you are in the middle of no where. In a bid to ensure that both me and you never end up facing the regret of not bringing exactly what we need to deal with our tantrum-ing/messy/ill toddlers I’m sharing this handy family day out essentials guide.

Spare clothing

On days out we can pretty much guarantee that Aria is going to do something to get dirty, whether it be mud, food, or something else, a spare pair of clothing is almost always required. Going out without a spare pair of clothes is almost as silly as going out without a supply of nappies.

A picnic

As much as I love popping into cafe’s for a coffee and a cake you really can’t beat a home-made picnic, especially when you are on a budget! Make a picnic fun (and take the pressure off yourself!) and get the whole family involved in choosing the picnic items, making the sandwiches, and packing everything up. If, like Aria, your children are fussy eaters, packing a picnic that’s full of their favourite foods can make the day a lot easier and less stressful.

Waterproofs

It doesn’t matter how clear the sky is or how warm and sunny it is when you set off, there is always a chance of rain, especially living in Wales. A decent waterproof jacket is essential when out on family adventures. Top tip, buy lightweight fold up jackets like the ones from Target Dry as there is a huge chance that you are going to be lugging them around all day!

A spare toy

Whenever you go anywhere with a small child, you can guarantee you’ll have an additional guest; Peppa Pig in our case. Despite kicking off at the sheer thought of leaving Peppa at home Aria soon gets bored of her when we are out, usually distracted by muddy puddles or food, and will quite happily drop her anywhere without even realising. This often results in us losing said Peppa Pig which is why we stock up on the small (cheap) ones for when we are out and about.

A camera

Obviously being a budding photographer, blogger and Instagram-er I absolutely cannot go out without the camera. No one should, there are so many amazing memories to capture and treasure on family day trips. Keep a camera (or even your phone) at hand so that you can capture some perfect memories. You never know when the perfect photo op will arise.

Emergency supplies

Keep your handbag well-stocked with first-aid essentials such as plasters, bandages, antibacterial wipes, and Calpol just in case there’s an accident.

And whatever you do – DON’T FORGET THE WET WIPES (yes, I have done that, yes it was a disaster).

*Disclosure – Collaborative Post*

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*