lodge at bluestone

If you read my post last year, about our holiday to Bluestone, you will know how much the whole family loved it there. You can imagine how excited I was when we booked to go again this year, and I was then contacted by the Bluestone Bloggers programme, to see if I wanted to stay for a week as part of the programme-the week they offered, happened to be the week after we had already booked. So with a massive ‘yes,’ we decided that we’d stay for two weeks. We have never been away for two weeks with the children yet. We were worried. We thought it might be too much. We thought that two weeks worth of entertaining the children may have pushed us over the edge. None of that happened, because even after two weeks, we didn’t want to come home…

So what is Bluestone A selection of gorgeous lodges, in beautiful Pembrokeshire forest land. A tranquil, back to nature holiday camp, appealing heavily to the outdoorsy. It has everything you need on it’s car free site-a shop, restaurants, and a shed load of activities. For me personally, it’s a pretty unbeatable holiday destination…

Check in: This is easy-drive up to a check in booth, and do it all from the car. You can get early check in, meaning you can enter your lodge at 3pm, otherwise it’s 4.30pm. However, you can be on site from 11am, so we arrived around lunchtime, and I had a bag with me, full of stuff we might need, to last us until we could get in, and we had all the keys/info with us already.

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Golf buggies/bikes: Get a golf buggy! Ok, if you’re into fitness, and enjoy cycling, you can hire bikes and cycle around, but our children just loved being driven around in the golf buggy-it’s a fun and handy way to get around, and it became an evening post dinner ritual that we’d go ‘out for a drive’ and find somewhere to stop/play for a while, before bedtime.

The lodges: We had a 3 bedroom lodge last year, which was HUGE, and the third bedroom (which is downstairs,) was a waste of time and money, when the children decided they were going to share a room! So this time we had a 2 bedroom Skomer lodge, which has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms downstairs, and a large open plan living area upstairs. I won’t lie, it took a while to get used to the upside down living, and I prefer to sleep upstairs, but that is completely personal preference! The lodge was really spacious, decorated in lovely muted greens/taupes/beiges, which matched the lovely forest surroundings. My only criticism is that the fridge and freezer were tiny-we took a weeks worth of shopping with us, and couldn’t fit it all in, we had to decide what we were going to leave out/use quickly, and even throw away. Again, that’s personal preference, because I presume most people would only use it for essentials, and eat out a lot. But as I was trying to be a killjoy stick to my PCOS diet, I wanted to make my own food most nights.

The food on site: There’s several places to choose from to eat, on site. There’s the Wildwood Cafe in the Adventure Centre, which we didn’t try, but heard really good things about! There is also the Knight’s Tafarn-made to look like a traditional pub, serving traditional pub food. I expected it to be just ok here (I had a salad,) but the food was amazing, and everyone with us, said that they were also equally impressed.

Oak Tree restaurant was our favourite place-I allowed myself one evening of carbing it up, and I have to say, it was probably the best pizza I’ve ever eaten-and I don’t say that lightly!! My brother, who is a very snobby foodie (he’d hate me for that, but it’s true,) said that his pasta dish was the best one he’s ever eaten too. This place is awesome!

There’s also The Farmhouse Grill, which we didn’t try, and Ty Coffi, which sold brilliant coffee, cakes, and my children would definitely vouch for the quality of the ice cream!

The best place to eat, for me, by far, was Camp Smokey. Right in the depths of the forest, this beautiful rustic area serves pretty basic BBQ food, while playing country music, and has the bonus of an outdoor fire pit for toasting your smores! It was an every afternoon occurrence for us, where we’d arrive back from wherever we’d been, and head straight to Camp Smokey for beer and wine for me and Mr W, and smores for the littles. A brilliant atmosphere, and something that makes Bluestone really special! There’s also a nightly shindig held there-sing for your dinner, and dance away!!

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The activities: There’s a very handy play area/parks in the middle of the pub/restaurants, where you can quite easily see the children playing from the outdoor eating areas, or are welcome to take drinks in a plastic cup, in with you (bonus.)

The activitiy centre has a massive indoor climbing area, slides, ball pits, bouncy castle, soft play-everything you need for entertaining on a rainy day. There are loads of structured group activities, both indoor and out (some payable,) if that’s something of interest to you!

The Blue Lagoon swimming pool is loads of fun, with 3 different pools, to span all age/ability levels! The waves in the main pool are loads of fun! The slides look awesome, but we didn’t get to try them because we couldn’t leave our little non swimmers with just one adult.

Bluestone is an amazing base to explore the local area from-it really has some of the best beaches I’ve ever seen (I defy anyone not to be blown away by Barafundle Bay!) Here is a list of the things and days out that we (all!!) genuinely loved, while we were there:

Barafundle Bay: Not buggy accessible-you park in the nearby car park, then walk a steep flight of steps, across a cliff edge, and down more steps to the beach-be prepared to carry your things/children. Also no toilets/life guards, but it’s… just… stunning!!

Tenby/Castle beach: Tenby is a gorgeous town, one of the prettiest I know! And the beach is also gorgeous.

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Folly Farm: A brilliant animal/vintage fun fair/park adventure, and currently the number one attraction in Pembrokeshire according to trip advisor!

Pembroke Castle: I thought mine (3and 4) were going to be too young for this, but they marched around every room, and loved it! Great grounds for a rest/picnic too!

Pembrokeshire Falconry: We booked an owl experience here, where the children got to fly the owls by themselves-they were completely entranced/in awe!! It was just us, and the handler, who was really knowledgable and great with the children.

Picton Castle and gardens: This is where the falconry experience was held, but another lovely castle and garden to look at.

The Dinosaur Park: This was my children’s FAVOURITE! A brilliant dinosaur ‘safari,’ and dinosaur trails through the woods, and there’s also loads of rides-which are all free once you’ve paid to get in. The children asked to go every day, once we’d been!

Bluestone, you were epic. We were sad to leave, but will absolutely be back.

 

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We are big readers in our house! I was always a book loving child, and at the moment, the smallest child is obsessed with books (or ‘bops,’ as he calls them.) Both children have had bedtime stories every night from just a few months old.

I was so pleased to be asked to review a new book from authors and illustrators Morty Sey, and Scott Chegg. There’s only so many times you can get through the boxset of ‘That’s Not My …Biscuit/Grape/Toenail/Sanity (delete as appropriate,) before the need to mix it up a bit arises! The book, entitled ‘Mum,’ covers something I have coming my way very soon-the horror of the school run…!

It was a lovely touch that the authors had signed the book, and written a sweet little message for the boys, just inside the cover.

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The first thing I noticed about the book was that the pictures are quite abstract, and a lot different to the usual type of pictures in the books we normally have at home. However, the pictures were a huge source of amusement and discussion for the children, and they especially loved this one, and enjoyed likening my hair to this mum in the book (clearly they are misktaken…!) There is also a lot of block, bright colouring, which I think appeals to children.

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There are also funny, tongue in cheek pictures that appeal to the sense of humour of the parents reading the story!

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The story is also written in rhyme-which I think must be a favourite of all children, it seems to help them pick up the words easily, and the sing-song way you end up reading the story seems to keep them really engaged (or amused, which ever way, rhyming stories are always a hit in our house!)

The story isn’t your average children’s story either-there are no fairytales and happy endings here! This is a comedic look at the frazzled mum, trying to do her best on the school run-I liked this mum because I could really relate to the struggles! (Although I really do hope my hair looks better than hers…!) and any story about a mum keeping it real, is a winner for me!

As for the boys, the abstract pictures and chance to ask questions about ‘glaring,’ ‘stress,’ and ‘filling a nappy,’ and other matters that I have to contend with on a daily basis, have proved a hit-they ask for the book every time they see it…!

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You can currently buy ‘Mum’ on Amazon priced at £6.99.

You can also follow the authors on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

I was sent this book for free, in return for an honest review. All opinions remain my own, (and those of my children!)

 

 

 

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Director: Jeremy Saulnier

Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Genre: Crime/thriller

Showing: Nationwide, right now!

Cast: Patrick Stewart, Imogen Poots, Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, Mark Webber.

Me and my husband absolutely love going to the cinema. Before we had children, we went at least four or five times a month, if not more. It’s a massive treat now, to go out and do something we used to skip out and do at the drop of a hat, and I was really excited to go out and review Green Room-a fairly small budget thriller, from indie director Jeremy Saulnier. This falls directly into the category of film that we would usually be drawn to-another bonus!

The film follows a down on their luck punk band, The Ain’t Rights, as they move around, fuelled by siphoned petrol, small amounts of money from gigs, long conversations about their ‘desert island’ music, and not much else. Where the film finds them, they have just finished a gig, and have no more lined up. The owner of the venue they’ve just played at, arranges one for them, at a club in the middle of nowhere, which happens to be in a nest pod full of neo-nazis.

As soon as the band arrive, the tension is palpable, and you kind of just want them to turn around and leave… You think they’re going to be able to do just that, when they finish their not particularly well received gig, but do set about heading back to their van. But in quickly returning to pick up a phone left behind in the green room, one of the band members stumbles on a murder scene. The entire band are then holed up in the green room, with the body, the murdered girls best friend, and the club bouncer, Big Justin. They barricade themselves in, when Darcy, (Patrick Stewart,) the leader of the supremacist pack is hurriedly called in, and it becomes clear that they are going to be part of the mess that needs ‘clearing up.’

I’d heard that this film was violent, really violent. Now, I know violence is subjective, but I was kind of expecting from hearing this, that it was going to be the unjustified, vomit inducing violence, found in films like Hostel. But this was an incorrect assumption-it was violent, but apart from a scene involving an arm and a door (where I could see Mr W visibly screwing up his face and wincing out of the corner of my eye,) the violence befit the characters, and the situation, and was in no way gratuitous. There were some scenes involving dogs, but apart from the odd spatter of blood, a lot of it was implied.

With the band being trapped in the green room, there is a clear shift from panic, when they realise they are surrounded, to sheer desperate acts of fight or flight. You can easily feel how desperate they are to escape, and the pure claustrophobia of the situation. The acting is fantastic, but as the leader of the gang, I felt like I needed Patrick Stewart to be more menacing. Yes, he calmly handed out kill orders to his neo-Nazi minions, but I didn’t find him particularly terrifying, and I think he needed to be!

This was, in my opinion, a really, really good film, and if this genre of film is up your street, embrace a bit of suspense, violence, and a very cast against type Patrick Stewart, and catch it while it’s on!      

What I give it out of 10: 8

I was given cinema tickets in exchange for a review, but I have given a totally honest review of my thoughts on the film!

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I had seen Nutty Putty being talked about on Twitter, and had instantly thought that it looked like a great product. My children are notoriously hard to entertain, I’ve now lost count of the number of toys we have bought them, feeling 100% sure this would be the toy that they would love, this was going to be the activity to keep them entertained. However, most of all of the toys are left discarded, and all activities abandoned after five minutes. Nutty Putty, however, caught my attention because it looked so fun, and being a wannabe crafty-type mum, I really wanted to give it a go too, and was pretty sure the children would love the novelty factor! So I was pretty made up when I was asked to review it!

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The box was bright and colourful, with all the information on contents and safety highlighted on the back. There was even a handy handle for little hands to carry it if you were taking it somewhere!

So what is it? Here is the technical stuff… Nutty Putty is a silicone based product (you know, the really safe stuff they use for dummies and bottle teats, and other baby items which have to be 110% safe.) It also satisfies any other safety concerns by being antibacterial, and gluten free. All of the technical details are outlined on the Nutty Putty website here! It’s what you can do with it that is so exciting! You can basically mould it into anything you like! There was a booklet inside (also doubling as a mat for making your creations on,) outlining ideas for what you could make, from the very basic, to really quite technical! With DT being at the very lowest end of age appropriateness for the activity (3,) I let him choose what he wanted to make, from the basic ideas.

np10Everything that comes with your pack, the handy booklet, 8 colours (including glow in the dark,) cutters, rolling pin, and knives (plastic!)

DT opted to make a lollipop, (outlined in the book,) and a tractor (I had to adlib, as this wasn’t in the book!) Although there are further ideas on the website!

collageDT proudly making his first creations!

I think the best bit is that you can then bake what you’ve made (200 degrees, 15 minutes,) and get to keep what you have made for ever.

np3DT, with MA who had now finished napping and joined us, waiting patiently by the oven!

collage2Some of our finished products! I had DT make 2 of everything, to avoid any screaming meltdowns, so they both had one each of the lollipop and tractor!

So with a little bit of help from me, DT stuck with this activity for the whole 2.5 hours MA was napping! And because he made the toys himself, he is absolutely delighted with them, and they have been added to other items in his Special Bounty (things he cannot be without, and asks to take everywhere with us/to bed etc…!) and they have played with what they have made every day. I think for older children, this is a dream activity. If you have a television programme you are really enthralled by (Raa Raa,) or have a certain theme you are interested in (Mr Men/Little Miss,) a child with a bit more dexterity could model the cast of Raa Raa, or their favourite Mr Man character! The possibilities really are endless!  If you don’t want to bake your creation, you can just take it apart (colours separated quite easily,) and put it back in its pouch, which is re-sealable. We had some left over, which DT has asked to play with during most of MA’s naptimes. The only issue we found was that DT found it quite hard to roll, I had to do all of the rolling out, and I did wonder whether older children might have the same problem. But parents can quite easily help with this bit!  It was very easy to cut, and the edges peeled away from shapes easily, leaving them intact and ready to be made into a part of the creation.

I loved this product, and will be buying it for the children as they get older-it is a fun activity for any child from 3 upwards!

np4The Special Bounty. With only a hint of disappointment that they couldn’t actually eat them…!

Again, for more information on Nutty Putty, you can visit here. It is also on sale on Amazon here.

Disclaimer: I was given Nutty Putty for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

Bakerdays Letterbox Gift Cake Review

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I was delighted to receive my first request to review a product on the blog! Cue a flurry of excitement which included me shouting ‘I’ve had my first PR request!!!!’ My husband looking proud, and the children looking blank. Cue further excitement when I shouted: ‘And it involves cake!!!!’ With my husband then salivating at the thought of his favourite food of all time (I got this question wrong during a pre wedding game of Mr and Mrs, and Mr W never quite got over the fact we were about to get married and I didn’t know his favourite food was cake, and hence I’ve never since forgotten this fact.) Clearly also at the mention at the word ‘cake,’ the children promptly dropped their blank expressions, and started running around like nutters, chanting ‘cake! cake! cake!’ There was plenty of excitement.

I emailed Emma, the lady who had contacted me, and asked for further details. Emma responded very promptly, and all communication with her was nothing less than very professional! I was to review a 5″ cake, designed to fit through your letterbox (hence the name!) and I could choose a design from the many listed on the website, including having it personalised with names/photos etc. Baker Days also offer a huge size range of cakes, and can add a hug range of personalised features, such as photos, and cater for every occasion you can think of! For the full range, click here.

The Bakerdays website describes the cakes as follows:
“BakerDays is a Personalised Celebration Cake Specialist, providing quality personalised cakes for all occasions. The delicious range of recipes and sizes are available for delivery 6 days a week, and if you order before 2pm, BakerDays can deliver the very next day!”
“The Letterbox cake is the baby of the BakerDays family. Being just 5” in diameter, it fits perfectly through the Letterbox allowing you to surprise anyone with the most delicious personalised gift.”

When the cake arrived, it did exactly as advertised, and fit perfectly through our letterbox!

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The cake was packaged in this beautiful, sturdy tin, (which I will keep and re-use!) and also handily contained a packet with 2 candles, 2 balloons, and a party horn. There was also a cute card, and an Bakerdays information leaflet.

It was a tough choice choosing the design for the cake, because there were so many! But, with my husband being a huge Star Wars fan (he is watching it as we speak, and in true super fan/borderline obsessive fashion, is seeing it again tomorrow!) And the children going the same way (Deep Thinker insisted on a Star Wars advent calendar,) there was certainly no other style I could choose, other than this…

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May the cake force be with you.

The style of the storm trooper wearing a Santa hat definitely fit my sense of humour! And I had it personalised with the children’s blog code names, which also gave me a little chuckle, as well as looking really good! There was certainly a style for everybody on the website, from traditional, to modern and humorous. The website was also fabulous as it was really easy to navigate! Nothing puts me off buying something when, slight technophobe as I am anyway, you have to jump through a million hoops to get to what you want.

As promised, the cake was fresh, and in one piece (there was a freshness seal around it, not pictured, which you just easily lifted off with a handle, before removing the cake,) and all the ingredients were listed clearly on the underside of the packaging. It is designed to serve 6 people, and we divided it between 4 adults and 2 children. I would say that for a bigger appetite, this would more comfortably serve 4. The sponge was light, and the icing was soft, (even though I initially had my reservations that there was too much icing, but everyone, including myself, loved it,) and within seconds, this was all that was left…

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Oh crumbs, it’s all gone…

The world is definitely your oyster with this style of cake. There are so many styles/pictures to choose from, and being able to personalise it makes it suitable for so many different occasions! It could be an ‘I’m thinking of you,’ ‘congratulations,’ ‘new baby,’ the list is endless, type of cake. I would definitely use Bakerdays again, and have to say that my experience with them was all positive!

You can find Bakerdays at their main website here
You can follow them on twitter here
You can follow them on Instagram here

Discalimer:
I was given the cake for free in return for this review, but all opinions are genuine, and my own.