Tag: holidays

A Bluestone Adventure!

January is such a bleak month. What with the new year, Christmas decorations now gone, suddenly your house feels vacant devoid of any kind of cheer, not to mention the dreary cold weather. What’s there to like about this month? Nothing.

When we were kindly offered to stay in Bluestone Wales sometime in October of last year but had to cancel since my husband couldn’t get time off work, we thought of rescheduling it to the dreaded month of January and I’m so glad we did!

We left North Cornwall midday on Monday after dropping Doc off at the kennels. After stopping only once, we arrived in our destination before 6pm.

The Lodge:

This was our lovely home for four days.

We stayed at Ramsey lodge, which had an “upside-down-living space” which worked really well so you could view the surroundings early in the morning while sipping your first cup of coffee.

The lounge had an open plan with the kitchen fully equipped with everything you’ll ever need for your stay. It had a small fridge, a microwave, cooker/oven, and was pleasantly surprised that it had a dishwasher!

We came prepared and brought washing-up liquid with us which wasn’t even necessary since everything was provided from washing-up liquid, sponges to even 2 dishwasher tablets, which we quickly used up of course, but since we weren’t expecting the dishwasher, we just washed-up after our meals rather than get more.

There was also a big wardrobe complete with iron, ironing board, vacuum cleaner, clothes drier, and even a broom.

The Bedrooms:

We were really impressed with the bedrooms, both came with an en-suite (handy for bigger families). Again everything was provided, even a hair-dryer!

After settling in and having a quick dinner, we decided to go down the village and explore a bit in the dark. We ended up in the pub (as you do) and found ourselves in conversation with a lovely Welsh couple who gave us tips on what to do and where to visit in Wales.

First Day:

While we don’t don’t do new year’s resolutions, we however aim to try and do more outdoor activities like biking as a family, especially since T received a new bike from Father Christmas this year. With that in mind, we took her bike along with us, knowing that we could rent bikes for my husband and I for the duration of our stay.

And there’s little T standing proudly with her very own bike as we rented bikes for the whole of our stay.

If you’re an active family, I strongly recommend hiring bikes instead of a buggy to get around Bluestone. It’s cheaper and your kids will love it (T did!). Don’t worry about being not fit enough, I’m certainly not. And I wasn’t embarrassed to get off my bike when I had trouble cycling uphill. To see my daughter and husband have so much fun, was so worth it!

The first day was just spent cycling around the village, not really exploring yet but just getting our bearings.

In the afternoon, we excitedly cycled to the Blue Lagoon for some fun in the water.

Slides and flumes at Blue Lagoon seen from outside.

After cycling all day, we found what they called the “lazy river” really relaxing. It took you all the way out into the cold air (but it didn’t matter because the water was really nice and warm) and back into the indoor pool of the blue lagoon.

The pool also had the usual artificial waves and showers which came and went, all the kids loved it. T surprisingly opted to keep doing the lazy river than the slides. I guess after so much biking, she just wanted to relax.

Second Day:

Beautiful and colourful houses in Tenby.

We spent the next day in Tenby as recommended by the lovely Welsh couple we met in the village pub at Bluestone. And since we really enjoyed our visit at this lovely seaside Welsh town, I think it deserves a post of its own.

Third Day:

Since this was our last day, we planned to explore and bike as much as we could around the park. First stop was Camp Smokey.

We had to leave our bikes behind since they weren’t allowed inside the camp and besides, it is a bit of trek to the campsite.

Understandably Camp Smokey is closed during the winter months and will open after the half-term break in February. I can imagine though in the summer, this will be a really good place to just hang out and enjoy a barbecue.

For those who are not afraid of heights, you can book try out their tree-climbing and zip wire through the lovely forest.

We biked through their Archery and Clay shooting yard, where one can book if you’re into this kind of activities.

If you’re a really keen cyclist, they have different bike trails, depends on what kind you’re after. We of course, chose the easiest trail. And at this point, we were headed for the ruins of Castle Coch.

As usual, I feel behind again and T was way ahead of me.

Just when I thought I had lost both T and my husband because I was cycling really slow. I saw this…

There’s nothing much written about the story behind the ruins of Castle Coch. All I could find online was that it’s a manorial hall house built in the 14th century. That’s about it. But what really struck me was the stunning beds of snowdops infront and on the sides of the ruins.

The snowdrops made the ruins look magical and fairy-tale like.

T had so much fun taking her own photos!
T’s dad showing her where the second floor would’ve been.

It definitely was worth getting lost to see this forgotten ruin. Next stop was the lake!

T went round and round the lake…

One can book a canoe if you’re into canoeing or strolling around the lake is actually enjoyable too.

The Light Experience is definitely something to watch out for especially if you have young kids in tow. The attention to detail is just amazing, especially the Fairy Village where one can peek through the windows of each fairy house or shop and see miniature furniture fit for fairies! We came to see this at night after dinner and it was so worth it!

After cycling, we came down to the village to have a quick lunch.

We wanted something light so chose the lovely coffee shop which served amazing milkshakes!

Bubblegum flavoured milkshakes anyone?
Then T had a little play at the playground as you do when you’re a child.

After a quick rest back in the lodge, we went back to the Blue Lagoon to relax in the calming lazy river.

Did we like Bluestone?

I asked T and the husband whether they enjoyed Bluestone. T of course shouted YES! I NEVER WANT TO LEAVE BLUESTONE!

The husband who isn’t easily impressed also agreed with T. He said what really impressed him were how helpful and nice all the staff were.

As for me, I also gave a resounding YES just like T. Let me count how much…

1. I loved the lodge where we stayed and how well-quipped it was.

2. I loved cycling around even though at times it felt like I was going to have a heart attack.

3. I loved how there’s something for everyone whether you’re an active person or not.

4. I loved the little village with it’s shops and restaurants. I loved everything! Would we come back? Definitely!

My husband and I found this on the wall in the village and it sums up what Bluestone is all about:

We especially loved:

Bluestone believes that when you look at life through the eyes of a child it’s amazing just how much you can learn.

With a manifesto like that? How can one go wrong?

Have you been to Bluestone? If yes, did you love it as much as we did? If it’s a no, is this the kind of place you’d love to visit as a family?

Disclaimer: We were kindly offered accommodation to stay in Bluestone for 4 days for the purpose of this review. However, all views and photographs on this post is by yours truly and my little family.

Let the Countdown Begin

I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for the summer holidays to begin.  While admittedly we don’t really have plans for the summer apart from doing day trips to Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park, I just can’t wait to be able to spend some family time together and do things, without having to worry about school the next day.  I also think little T and her friends are just about ready for the summer holidays to begin as well.

Starting Monday next week, we have only about 18 days to go before the last day of school.  Woohoo!  I feel giddy at the thought of having little T with me all the time.  Oh of course, I’ll moan about it especially when she starts whinging about being bored, I’ll probably wish for the next school term to begin again, but at the moment, I’m feeling really excited!

Just think, no more having to wake up early, rush out the door in haste and we can all spend as much time as we want in our pjs.  I’ve never gardened in my pjs though, have you?

Excited to spend more time in the garden (maybe not in our pjs), get that trampoline up, some swings, and lots of gardening.

This week has just been that, little T asking “When will school end, mum?”  Just a few more weeks, sweetie, is what I tell her.

Our word of the week is : Countdown.

What about you?

Are you also excited for the summer holiday to begin?

Do share.

Summer Lovin …

happened so fast … As that song from Grease goes.  Maybe I should change the lyrics to “Summer lovin, please come as fast as you can?”  And that folks, is the reason why I would make a really crap lyricist.

As I type this I look out the window and it is greyest of grey outside.  Our little village is covered in mist.  Thinking of summer at the moment feels a bit ludicrous, or perhaps, this is the perfect time to dream of summer and going on holiday? Some of you have probably even booked your summer trips already.  We did that too last year and the year before that, booked as early as February. This year though, things are a bit on hold for now. But I will save that for another post.   For now, I want to take you and myself back to the summer of 2014.

It was the summer we took a road-trip from Cornwall to the French countryside and stayed at Eurocamp at the La Croix du Viuex Pont at Berny-Riviera, which was near enough for us to have a day trip to Paris and Disneyland and back.

Little T eating ice-cream at the plaza in Vic-Sur-Aisne

If you asked little T, of course what made the trip memorable was seeing Elsa and Anna live in Disneyland, Paris.  If you asked me and my husband, we’d say we loved the long and lazy days spent doing absolutely nothing but ambling down quiet and empty roads in the French countryside.

Walking around Vic-Sur-Aisne, love, love, love the French shutters and flower boxes.

Even the nearby town, Compiègne felt like a ghost town when we visited.  There was hardly anyone in the streets.  Although to be fair, later in the day, the French came out and of course to us, seemed impeccably stylish even in their every day wear.

The town hall and empty streets of Compiègne.

We live in a small village too here in Cornwall, but walking around in our little village, chances are, you’ll meet someone, especially a dog-walker, strolling around the village.  But not in the French countryside, we wondered, where everyone was!  But that was part of the charm I guess, the emptiness and solitude of the French countryside, what more can one ask?  Of course, this isn’t what everyone wants in a holiday.  Some may prefer the maddening chaos of Paris which I also enjoyed actually. I loved walking around the streets of Paris and gazing at old rambling buildings.  Although the crowd was a little bit too much for me, I think a day in Paris is enough, although my husband said, perhaps visit in a quiet month, like in autumn.

A lovely cobbled street in Paris.

To me a perfect vacation is just that … meandering through streets, walking around like a local, making wrong turns and discovering things on your own, especially places that are not mentioned in tour guides.  Having no itinerary, If you feel like lazing around on the beach and reading a good book, then so be it.  Don’t have lists of things to do while on vacation.  Remember, it’s all about taking a break from the madness of your everyday life.

What is your idea of a perfect holiday?

*This is an entry for James Villa Holiday’s competition.

A Little Note from Us

Dear Friends,

We are currently on a six week holiday to visit family and friends here in the Phil.  And also to experience real warmth and sunshine without wondering how long it will last.  Will try our best to keep you guys posted, but if we’re unable to do so, do forgive us, we’re probably in some island lying on white sand, thinking of you guys.

Hope everyone has some lovely plans for the summer too!

Much love,

T, D & S

ps

Doc has also gone on his own doggie holiday at a “spa”.  That’s what he thinks it is, so  please don’t burst his bubble and call it a you-know-what 😉

All About Christmas

It certainly is beginning to look a lot like ..

 

in our little home.

Our Christmas decor are out from the dusty, cold attic and I managed to deck our house with baubles and other Christmas paraphernalia, one can’t do without, especially when you have little ones at your home like the following:

Exhibit A:  The Advent Calendar.

Little T actually springs out of bed every morning, excited to open her Advent calendars.  She has a picture one in her room, so she opens that one up first.  From upstairs, you’ll hear her announce what it was behind the window.  Today she squealed “It’s a Christmas fairy mummy”.  Then off she’ll run downstairs to open the little drawers of her Snowman advent calendar.

Exhibit B:  The Christmas Countdown blackboard.

And then she’ll excitedly tick off her Christmas countdown-blackboard.  When I saw that in a shop, I knew that this was the kind of thing little T will love.  The fact that it only cost 99p was an additional bonus.

Exhibit C:  Christmas Crockery

Yep, gotta have ’em, because, why not?  Christmas only happens once a year, and it’s also our chance to be lame within some sort of reason.

Exhibit D:  Glass Baubles

I love my glass baubles.  I like dressing up our mirror in our living room and it’s also the perfect place to hang them up high, safe from the grasps of little hands.  Yep, you can say we’ve certainly embraced the Christmas spirit in our home and as I type this, my husband has put a Christmas CD on.

But alas, no tree yet!  I’ve convinced the husband to get it earlier this year though, so we can enjoy the tree longer.  Hopefully, we’ll manage to go to the Christmas tree farm next week.  You see, we are driving up to Buckinghamshire to spend Christmas with my in-laws who normally drive down to stay with us during the holidays.  They are getting old and we’ve decided it would be best for us to just drive up to stay with them, rather than the other way around.

What about you?

Is it Christmas in your home yet?

La Croix du Vieux Pont Campsite & Eurocamp (A sort-of-Review)

At the La Croix du View Pont Campsite where we stayed, it wasn’t just Eurocamp (whose accommodations we used), there were other lovely accommodations as well.  In fact, probably the next time we go, we might try the others, just to know what it’s like.

While the little villa we stayed in was ample enough for a small family like ours, I had a few negatives:

  • The rooms were too small.  I’m a bit claustrophobic and the other rooms (though little T and I had the “double room”) felt way too small.  I’m wondering how a family with really tall kids would manage!
  • It looked a bit out-dated.  The cushions in the lounge/diner kept falling off and wouldn’t stay put.
  • The “clean” wasn’t done really well.  We found some not very pleasant things under the cushions.
  • My main peeve was the bathroom!  It was clean enough, but the shower kept falling off and was either too hot or too cold.

Other than that, it did feel like a home-away-from home.  My husband didn’t feel much of the negatives, so it could also be just me.  The place had everything you’d need from cooking utensils and even its own barbecue grill in the lawn, complete with deck-chairs.

On a positive note, I admire Eurocamp’s service and staff.  They were the best!  They were all accommodating and friendly, as soon as you report something, a young staff would hop on their bike and see to it right away.  One even left a really friendly/note when we were out, just to say that they dropped by and reminded us that we needed anything, there weren’t far away!  I think that’s what you call really good service.  Don’t you agree?

As for the campsite itself, La Croix du View Pont, certainly catered to families!  As mentioned, they have a man-made beach, water-activities, two swimming pools, and one had a slide.  A lovely Irish lady recommended the kiddie disco, apparently great for kids and grown-ups as well, though we didn’t have the chance to see it.  You could also rent bikes and have a day-out of biking around the camp and also the nearby villages.  Sadly, we weren’t able to do that either.

Little T does a “selfie” in a canoe ride.

Little T enjoys the trampoline.

And of course, we always came back to the man-made beach for some fun in the sand.

Not so sure whether Victor, little T’s inflatable dinosaur enjoyed being buried in the sand though.

Have you stayed at La Cruix du Vieux Pont Campsite and used Eurocamp’s accommodations too?

Did you like it?

What’s your favourite holiday campsite or go-to-place?

This post is linked-up with #countrykids.

Some much needed R&R

The first few days of our holiday were a bit manic, although to be fair, apart from our Disneyland trip, we didn’t exactly begin our days early and usually did our “touristy bit”, usually after lunch.  But even that could be tiring.

We finally had the chance for some much need rest and relaxation after our day in Disney and lucky for us, the rain seemed to have stopped.   That gave us a chance to explore our campsite.

There was a lake where you could go fishing, canoeing and a few other activities.

A man-made beach where you could just laze around and read while the little ones play with sand.  Later on, little T felt the need to change into her swimsuit and have a little dip.

The first thing she said to me was “It’s cold mummy!”

But of course that didn’t stop her from dipping in and out of the pool with her inflatable dinosaur whom she named Victor.

But kids are never really cold are they?  Their boundless energy of running around like loonies keeps them warm.  Later in the week, the weather really made a big improvement and I actually felt really warm.  That little man-made beach became packed with visitors and the water suddenly became really nice and warm, just the way we like it.

This post is linked-up with #CountryKids.

 

Have you visited a campsite like this one?

Did you like it?

A Very Wet Disneyland

I’m not a big fan of theme-parks.  I think they are all over-rated and overly-priced.  But when you have a little one, it doesn’t really matter what you think, right?  After all, it’s not about you.  It’s all about them.

Eurocamp, where we stayed for ten days, arranged our trip to Disneyland in Paris.  We took a bus from the camp, along with other visitors with small children at around 8am and probably arrived at Disney past 9.

As you can see from the the window, although it wasn’t raining when we left our camp in Picardy, it certainly started to rain even on our way to Disneyland.  I don’t think I was the only one who packed mostly summer outfits, because I saw families dressed in shorts and t-shirts without raincoats on.  They came back in the bus later on, wearing Disneyland ponchos.

I can hear you almost say “Oh dear”.  Yes, it was a very, very, very, wet day in Disneyland.  But what can you do when caught in a situation like this, but to make the most of it, especially since the tickets aren’t exactly cheap!

Yep, the streets of Disneyland were not paved in gold but wet, wet, wet.  Everywhere you turned (from under your umbrella), was wet.

Little T holding up her much-loved Elsa doll.

Upon entering, we decided to try to shelter inside the many, many, many gift-toys shops in Disneyland.  And there little T found an Elsa doll, which is probably cheaper when bought in any high-street toyshop, but hey, it’s part of the whole experience right –  buying a toy in Disney?  The good thing about little T is that once she gets what she wants, she won’t be interested in any other toy at all.  Phew!

It was really pouring as we stepped out of the shops and decided on doing all the-indoor rides first.  The good news was that most of the rides that were age-appropriate to little T were all indoor ones!  Like the “It’s a small World” ride. Where kids ride a small boat that goes around different displays of moving dolls depicting scenes that represents countries from all over.  She loved it of course!  And actually went on it two times!  The downside of that ride is that, the song will stay in your head for the whole day (if not for the entire holiday!)

So that’s what we did really.  Just went on indoor-rides like the Snow-White one, Pinocchio, Peter Pan among others.  A lot of those rides, T actually went on it more than once!  On hindsight, it wasn’t that bad at all.

You’ve got to hand it to Disneyland, yes, they’ll charge you loads for their merchandise, but the thing with Disney, it’s all about the details – like the control’s of their rides (see above photo), that looks like a fair tale book.  And you almost think, yes, it’s worth paying more!

We also braved the Alice in Wonderland maze and here’s little T, on top of the Queen of Heart’s castle, peering down on the very wet Disneyland.

Then we took shelter in what looked like a Mickey Mouse theatre, not really knowing what it was.  At first, we just thought that it was a place where the kids could watch Mickey Mouse cartoons, but noticed that there wasn’t any seats.  Instead people actually looked like they were queuing, only then we realised that they were standing in line to have their photos taken with the most famous mouse in the world.

So we decided to stay put, especially since by now it was really pouring.

As you can see form the photo, little T was too shy to give Mickey Mouse a cuddle.

From that photo op with Mickey, we decided to hop in the train that goes around the whole of Disneyland.  And here little T fell into a deep sleep.  So we decided to strap Elsa on our backpack to make sure she isn’t left behind and while she slept, we actually went around twice!

 By the time she woke up, it was almost time for the parade. And then the magic began ….

Can you see Elsa from afar?

There they were – Elsa and Anna, live!  I think Little T had her mouth open the whole time.  Was disappointed not to see Olaf, Sven or even Kristoff and Hans around.

And of course the usual Disney princesses and other characters were there too.

The parade was definitely magical and fun.  Met a lovely Irish woman and her family during our stay at Eurocamp and she said that when she watched the parade, she actually had tears in her eyes!  She said “That’s what dreams are made of!” While I don’t totally agree with her, I understand what she means.  All that mattered was that my little T was in heaven!

After the parade, little T went on more rides, before heading back to the car park in search of our bus.

And here’s a very tired T, but extremely happy little T (with wet feet), resting in our bus, back to our holiday camp.

She absolutely loved it.  My husband and I are really pleased that she got to visit Disneyland before starting school this September.  In spite the rain, it was definitely a worthwhile experience.  We promised we’d take her back, maybe when she’s around seven-years-old.

Have you taken your little ones to Disneyland?

How was it?

I’ve linked this post up with Danny’s #FamilyFriday.

Happy Friday guys!

T says Goodbye to Doc

This photo was taken the day before we left for our ten-day holiday in France.  Doc also had his own vacation with other dogs in a kennel just outside our village.  As you can see from the photograph, he didn’t want to go, I think he knew that we were going away.  We were sad about leaving him behind too, but at his age, he’s just too excitable to go on a road-trip with us.  Perhaps when he’s a bit older and less eager, he’ll come along.

Yes, we’re back from our holiday.  We’ve had a lovely-fun, albeit a really tiring holiday.  But it was so worth it!  Have so much to share, hopefully, I’ll be able to do it one post at a time.

Linking this photo up with PODcast’s #WhatsTheStory.

Have you gone on holiday yet?  If yes, where did you go?

And if not, do you have any plans?

Do share.