Category Archives: Lifestyle

My life, The Comedy Sketch Show -Two Weddings, A Missing Diamond, And What’s That Clicking Noise!

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show.

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends”, in that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

These past couple of weeks have been hectic, crazy, fabulous, stressful madness. We have attended two wedding weekenders, got some amazing shots in the New Forest, a week in the Isle of Wight, One airshow, visited several family members,and the rest of life in between.

Our trip began to Southampton to watch one of hubs maternal cousins get married. It was a beautiful day and anyone that knows me, knows how much I love weddings. I have recently written about my own wedding here .

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We managed to sneak away in between the wedding breakfast and evening ceremony to get George to nap. Hubs took us on one of our favourite and awe-inspiring drives, The New Forest. We first discovered The New Forest last year on a staycation at Sandy Balls (yes that really is the resort name). This time around and with me looking a bit better than my standard mum life get up, we captured some beautiful shots with the horses. This is one of my faves.

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As we headed back for the evening reception hubs programmed his satnav and off we went. It felt like we had been driving forever when I knew we had only gone 20 minutes down the road getting there. Suddenly hubs stopped.

Hubs: “Oh shit, Mum asked me during breakfast how far away the ferry terminal was for tomorrow. I programmed it into the nav to show her”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Hubs “It means we are just coming into the ferry terminal! We’re half an hour away from the wedding venue now”

Well you can imagine my face. We were using my valuable vodka drinking time after all.

The first of our beautiful wedding weekenders over, we headed on with the in-laws, straight to catch the ferry for a week in the Isle of Wight. This shall be known as the holiday were many “fucks” were uttered.

After our first day at our holiday home, I called my Mum. I was speaking to her when I looked down and realised my engagement ring, which belonged to my Nan and is over 75 years old had lost the diamond! The only diamond! Gone! “Fuck” My Mum told me not to panic and whilst everything in me told me I should be distraught and crying…I wasn’t. I’m so precious of my ring. It’s not worth much monetary wise, but sentimentally it means the absolute world to me.

Cue me and hubs crawling round on our hands and knees in a 4 storey townhouse with thick beige carpets! It was a dead-end before we started. It was never found. I suspect it’s now floating through the sewers of the Isle of wight. My Mum has since paid for it to be replaced and reset. It’s such a good feeling to have it back on my finger, looking its beautiful self. I hope my Nan loves it as much as I do.

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Our lovely little holiday home may have had 4 floors but they packed in enough furniture that tripping over things was easy. On the first day, pre diamond disaster, I walked into a chair leg and spent the night sleeping with my little toe throbbing. Our room was in the loft and it was so hot and stuffy even with the windows wide open.

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That night I woke up to a weird noise. It was a loud horn. I wondered if it was some sort of thing only Islanders knew about. Did we have to evacuate. Hubs was still awake so I asked him. It was a fog horn. No need to evacuate. Where the fuck we would evacuate to I don’t know. I hadn’t thought that bit through. The fog horn continued most nights on and off for the duration of our stay and I soon realised why the houses are so cheap there!

But my beautiful town house woes did not end there. We were on a budget due to the wedding hotel blocking some of our money accidentally. Hubs was eager to try the nachos when we went out for lunch but decided it would be cheaper if I made some that evening. Mine is better anyways. I picked up a nacho kit (which I never use!) and set about making us an evening snack. I found a cheese grater and the cheese grater found me.

It turns out this was the mo-fo of cheese graters. I’m used to a flat grater and this was round…. it wasn’t long before I lost something else….one of my knuckles! Fuck!

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This pic is the day after. It really fucking hurt! My Nan in law was threatening to try and flap the skin back over whilst hubs was asking if I needed stitches. It was comedic stupidity at its finest. Vom!

Just to top it all off, hubs and I have been trying for another baby but to no avail. No violin needed. My body is in such a state at the moment. So we kind of had the choice to stop made for us as I’m under a consultant for severe hip pain. I’ve had it the last 2 years or more but the last few weeks it’s got really life limiting and it’s not improving. So adding baby weight to my body wouldn’t have been sensible.

The doctor gave me some strong anti-inflammatories to help me deal with the pain. I read the stupid leaflet, which you should never do, because someone has always reported something horrific. And there it was;

…may affect your chances of falling pregnant as ovulation can be affected. Should you fall pregnant whilst taking these tablets, please tell your doctor immediately as they can cause mutations to the unborn child…

All sounding fabulous so far! So I decided I’ll take them to get me through the next month of events and hope everything goes back to normal, I’d already ovulated that month as I was due on my period the day of the wedding (what joy!).

Cue mid holiday madness in the house of horrors as I realise my period is 7 days late! For Fudge sake! Not now! Off to the shop I go, standard pregnancy test I always get (I’ve done a lot of these things ya know). Nothing! No literally I mean nothing! It’s a bloody void test! What are the actual chances? I’ve never had a void test. Back to the shop, I pick up 2 this time just in case…negative. Thank God. Although its weird feeling when only a month ago I was using all my eyelash wishes for the opposite. Do people still wish on their eyelashes?

One trip home from the Isle of Why Me! And another beautifully glorious wedding, whereby hubs tested the theory of whether you can sing church hymns whilst impersonating Johnny Cash…you can. And we are back home.

Whilst I love a staycation, I feel I’m ready to venture further into the big wide world for our future holidays. I feel I owe it to George. I’ve found some fab tips on How To Plan The Perfect Family Holiday .

summer loving

But wait… listen closely…yep that’s me. Everytime I stop my engine there is a weird clicking noise. Now it’s not the typical engine cooling down clicking noise, and we have actually discovered the clicking noise happens even if you just turn the key to ignite the battery and not the engine so who the hell knows.

What I do know is, I took it to the garage and approached them with the query;

“At the risk of sounding like a complete woman…there is a strange clicking noise coming from my engine”

I absolutely hate it when garages treat me like a “silly” woman. Like we can be fobbed of and spoken to like an idiot because it’s a car and cars are for men or some such shit like that. Ooh I wonder if I’ve just noticed a gap in the market for all female mechanics? You can get women only gyms and taxis so why not.

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Image courtesy of www.pexels.com

So the guy is none the wiser. Guesses at the throttle flap and says they will call me with a quote. They don’t. I also inform him that I’ve recently made a discovery via the wonders of Youtube that if your electronic car window is stuck you can close it with this snazzy trick.

Slam the door hard, whilst holding your finger on the window up button. It works! Something about jolting the connection.

So one week and no phone call later, hubs and I, ok hubs gets the credit for this. He discovers that the clicking happens without actually starting the engine. He takes it back to the garage and tells me they’ve booked it in for next Tuesday and will charge me £35 to “take a look”!

“Huh! They looked at it for nothing when I took it!” I say “what the heck did you do!”

The next morning I called the garage, and explained. The receptionist repeatedly asked me if I realised where they were and if had the right place. I was getting rather exasperated because I knew exactly who and where they were. They didn’t have any record of my husband booking the car in.

It’s now we find out the REAL reason my car was looked at for free! Whilst relaying the story to hubs when he got home from work, he pipes up that he had actually taken the car to a different garage. The garage that I shouted out “…and don’t take it to xxx garage because we had a bad experience!” That explains the fee! My garage doesn’t charge! Doh! The next morning I returned to MY garage with my tail between my legs to offer an apology for my idiot husband.

My car is now fixed, thankfully, and the clicking noise has stopped. Halejuah!

It’s all fun and games eh! I’d totally love to read about some of your recent crazy life tales in the comments below.

How to ensure your wedding is talked about for years to come.

** Disclosure – This post is a collaborative post  however, aside from recommending you checkout this company’s fab website, this post is all my own and comes from the heart, no integrity lost”

This post is totally my opinion, we could go as far as to say my advice, on how to make sure your wedding is THE wedding. The wedding your friends and family talk about for years to come. How to make it special for you and your partner, whilst making it feel special for your guests.

To quote the fabulous and renowned children’s author Julia Donaldson  from The Scarecrows Wedding   “Let’s have a wedding, the best wedding yet, the wedding that no one will ever forget” Said Harry O Hay to Betty O Barley – The Scarecrows’ wedding By Julia Donaldson.

My own wedding was a blissful 9 years ago. I’d love to relieve it every day, although minus the expense of course. It was everything we hoped and dreamed it would be. Hubs and I spent 18 months planning our wedding together. We hoped we had set the scene for the ultimate day of happiness. Was it perfect? No. Did it matter? Not at all. It gave us stories to tell, and hurdles to overcome. Much like everyday married life.

I think there are many choices for the types of wedding you have in the 21st century. We were one of the first of our family and friends to break from tradition and to have a civil ceremony. Our day was held in one location which house a small chapel style building for the ceremony with some picturesque grounds for photos. Followed by the rest of the day in a converted barn. There was also a house on site for us and our immediate family to stay overnight in. Checkout The Reid Rooms who hosted our wedding.

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On the whole, the majority of weddings I have been very fortunate to have attended have all followed a similar suit. On the most part they are civil ceremonies conducted in a converted barn or large house. The days events continue on location. Sometimes they are a church service with the rest of the days proceedings continued in a similar location experienced in hosting wedding receptions.

For most, this is THE DREAM, especially for the bride who. She has meticulously chosen the most expensive dress she will ever buy. All hopes are pinned on seeing the grooms face whilst she wants to feel like Beyoncé for one day. All eyes on them, the happy couple.

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If you hadn’t guessed by now, I LOVE weddings! I jokingly call myself a wedding connoisseur. I’m yet to start gate crashing, but it has been known for me to offer to pay to attend as a guest. I genuinely love the fairytale. Every time I see a bride turn that corner the tears well in my eyes. I can literally feel everything she is going through. The nerves, the excitement, the love.

When planning your wedding it is important to consider what will make you as a couple happy. But ultimately I believe you need to focus on what will make your guests have a day to remember. I personally wouldn’t have enjoyed my day if my guests were not content. For us, we gave the comfort and requirements of our friends and family a LOT of consideration.

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Research, research, research. I used to spend every lunch hour browsing the internet and bridal forums. Having masses of wedding info collated on a website such as Confetti, is a great starting point if you don’t know where to begin. I can totally recommend you attend wedding showers in the area you intend to marry. I believe this is why many still say it was one of the more ‘memorable’ and ‘brilliant’ weddings they have attended.

Little things like ensuring there was a quiet place in the evening for older and very young guests to sit and talk away from the dancing and loud music. Making sure the venue were able to provide cups of tea throughout the day, not just in the evening and after the meal. We had grandparents with no interest in drinking alcohol. Having a simple cup of tea was all they needed to feel relaxed and comfortable.

Often when you attend weddings you can find yourself presented with food that you wouldn’t usually eat. Wedding days can be a long day for all involved. Nobody wants to feel hungry because they didn’t like the pea soup or lamb cutlets. Plus you yourself are spending an awful lot of money, you want it to be money well spent. We chose to have classic bangers (sausage) and mash with gravy with a chocolate fudge cake for after. We had a second option but it was all received well.

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Whilst we had waitress service for the starter and desert and table clearing, the main course was a served buffet. Guests were encouraged to go up for seconds to avoid waste. And we used our nectar points to buy our own wine for the tables.

We tried to save money by doing a lot of things ourselves. I made the invites, buttonholes, gift card box and table plan myself, along with a photo montage of myself and hubs through the years for our guests to have a giggle at.

We found a company who allowed us to custom design our own wedding rings, and it was cheaper than many of the rings we had seen in the shops. I had also found a lot of the modern wedding rings quite bulky and they looked out-of-place against my Nan’s vintage wedding ring.

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During the wedding breakfast we made a CD to be played to fill any awkward silences. The CD consisted of songs that were “the song” for our parents, siblings and other people close to us or songs that meant something to us. Each person or couple received a copy of this CD with our image on as a wedding favour. With the idea when they listened back to the CD they would always think of our day.

As my parents are divorced I didn’t want to tread on any toes so I decided to have my nephew who I’m very close to, walk me down the aisle. One of my younger nephews at the time was the adorable ring bearer. My nephew who walked me down the aisle to “give me away” was only 12 at the time but he stood up at the wedding breakfast and did a speech. He was such a cutie and we will always have a close bond.

Hubs has 2 brothers and asked them both to share the role of best man. A job they did rather comically when it came to the speech and entertaining the evening guests with their lack of dancing skills.

Breaking tradition I also gave a speech along with my mum. Hubs got so emotional I ended up reading most of his speech, until I got to the part about how wonderful I was and he was able to compose himself to continue. He’s always been teetotal pretty much. But that day he was knocking back the champers in order to get through his speech. I joked that he’d only been married 5 minutes and already I had turned him to drink.

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A few other ways we tried to break with tradition… Instead of a wedding cake we had a 9 tier stand covered with 150 individual cupcakes. Hubs drove himself and I arrived in a minibus driven by my mum containing other family members. As we were staying on site there wasn’t going to be anyone to witness our arrival and it was an added expense we didn’t need. I did my own makeup and I had planned to do my own hair with my Mums help. After a failed trial run resulting in me burning my arm, we managed to persuade our usual hairdressers to do a simple up do with only 3 days notice. Everyone in the salon thought it was hilarious I had intended to do my own wedding hair. I’m so glad I didn’t.

The first dance can feel a little nerve-wracking for many. I insisted hubs and I made up a brief routine in our kitchen a week prior to the event. Making it our own and avoiding an awkward shuffle round the middle of the dance floor. If you look very closely on the DVD you can see me saying “we are doing it, we’re doing it” and him saying “No,no,no,no”. But it was great fun and added to the romanticism of dancing away at home to OUR song, Stand by Me by Ben E King.

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Which brings me to my next piece of advice. Videographers. Technology has come a long way in the last 9 years. People are now using drones to get amazing 360 shots from the sky at weddings. My cousins’ wedding had a card on the table with a special hashtag for sharing any piccies you took on Instagram. Photo booths are now available for hire with props. Some companies upload the images to Facebook so you no longer have to wait for processing. All these advancements I think are a welcome addition to your day.

I totally think the day flies by in such a cheek aching blur, that to have it captured on film to watch over and over or share with the grandkids is invaluable. I would love to have my Nan and Grandad’s wedding on DVD. Who doesn’t want to remember their wedding day!

My final thought on how to make your day a memorable one that is talked about for years is this:-

 Don’t feel pressured to do what you think people expect. Make your wedding as big or as small as you would like and can afford. Get friends and family involved. Don’t forget to thank and appreciate your guests. I recently heard on the radio that on average guest spend just over £1000 attending a wedding. Share the love.

If you are thinking of planning your wedding, why not start by visiting Confetti.co.uk. Their website has so many useful links to help you choose a venue, dress and so, so much more.
I’d love to hear about your wedding day.

Our photographs were taken by Scott at The Edge Photography. Some of the images have been altered by myself for the sake of this post.

My Life, The Comedy Sketch Show, part 2 “I’ll be in the bedroom”

My life often feels like a comedy sketch show. It would be wholly appropriate for someone to follow me around, editing in slots of canned laughter at various points in my day. Today’s sketch is aimed at my bedroom antics.

I’m not some ditzy, brainless knob head. Ok maybe the knob head part could apply to me. I pride myself on being relatively intelligent. I aim to try and learn something new every day.

Intelligence aside, and no I’m not arrogant, I’m just not afraid to highlight my positive traits and confidence. Trust me I’m happy to point out my flaws and ugly traits too. So intelligence aside, I somehow manage to lack a certain amount of common sense.

I think a lot of problems with common sense were apparent back in school days. The teachers used to say the answer was right there in front of me. But I was alway looking past the easy answer and searching for the more complex answer. Believing problems are never solved with the easy answer.

Just in case my lack of common sense isn’t enough of a giggle for you, my knob bead tendencies also mean I regularly put my foot in it when talking to people. Usually people can see the funny side as it’s never intended in an offensive way. I always go out of my way to make people happy.

This week has been hectic, preparing for holiday and lots of birthdays to buy for and send out and visit people. The washing pile is always the Bain of my life. We had booked for my friends hubs, Mike, to come and renew our fence. He’s a fab handyman and has now hand made us a beautiful fence for the front of our house.

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The evening before, chatting to hubs about our plans for the next day, I said to him I would be putting washing away up in our bedroom whilst our friend Mike replaced the fence.

I often play through scenarios of how events and situations will go. In my head I thought about offering Mike a cuppa and then using my child free time to get the clean washing put away, maybe even packing for holiday. George would be at preschool so it would get done in no time. I would want Mike to know that I wasn’t going to stand and watch him work but that I’d be available if he wanted a drink making or if he needed to run anything past me. Then it popped into my head;

“If you want me Mike, I’ll just be in the bedroom!”

Yeah that sounds wholly inappropriate! Way to give our newly made friends the wrong impression about me. Smiling to myself at the idiocy of this, had I actually said it without pre-thinking it, hubs asked me what I was smiling at. I told him and he laughed and promptly declared me a knob head which we do, cussing and sarcasm is our thing.

I thought it was funny, so the next day I told Mike the story anyways. Then I thought I’d better text his wife in case they were both new to my humour and he went home and declared me a home wrecker. And people say I over think things! (Shrugs and winks)

On the subject of Mike, and no I’m not obsessed he’s just pretty much one of the few adults I’ve spent time with this week. I messaged him the day before the impending fence job to tell him I had cleared the bits in the garden and woke up all the big spiders. Remember Fred? He replied;

“Marvellous, no creepy little buggers to deal with, hopefully”

“No,” I responded by tapping into my messenger “I’ll keep George indoors out of the way” Gave hubs a titter.

We have this thing, me and hubs. We’ve agreed that he kind of sets the bar for whether something is funny or not. It actually takes a lot to make me laugh. Except myself. I can bring myself to hysterics, I’m talking crying with laughter. Aside from Dad jokes, I’m slow on the uptake and whilst I might smile and appreciate the hilarity of something, it’s rare I proper belly laugh. So hubs is the decider on whether something is funny.

I thought my response to Mike was pretty clever, made me smile so it must’ve been funny. I told hubs and he smiled. One more for the canned laughter crowd.

Finally for this week, on the advice of another friend, I thought I’d share with you another knob head decision. We are almost a year since George was potty trained, yet we go through phases of him wetting himself several times a day. Not fancying a million accidents on our roadtrip, I thought I’d dash out early this morning and grab some pull-up’s. So focused on price…one brand was £7 was 20 odd! I grabbed the supermarket own brand. They had a choice of pink or blue (let pull-ups be pull-ups ffs!). Grabbing the blue, I paid and headed home.

Uber efficient I shredded the receipt before tearing open the pack and asking George to take his kecks off so we could put the pull-up on ready for our trip. As a grabbed a pull-up I thought it rather large. I’ve bloody picked up a pack for 8-12 year olds! Dammit! The branding is slightly misrepresentative, as friends have pointed out. What a twat. Off hubs went to buy the right size.

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Moral of the story? Don’t shop on an empty stomach before 8am in the morning when you have a million things to do in your head and a time restraint. Just pay the £7!

Have you done or said anything silly this week? Go on, try and make me smile.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

My life, the comedy sketch show.

It occured to me that much of this blogging malarkey is focused around writing about your life. Should anyone actually be interested. But much of what us bloggers write are now well thought out, controversial, educational pieces. That’s when we are not writing reviews. But what about the mundane, everyday realities of life?

“Who wants to read about your life!” I hear you cry.

Well, you for starters otherwise how did you find yourself here eh (winks slyly whilst dodging a virtual slap). So I’ve always had a knack for making my seemingly normal and pretty average life seem a little more entertaining. I don’t know if it’s my ability to see the positive in everything that allows me to give my everyday situation a lighthearted edge. But nonetheless I often feel like if I was starring in my own episode of “Friends” that I may get a few titters if anyone was watching in.

Today has been a fine example. After conquering this mornings toddler meltdown before 6am, I dropped the Georgeous off at preschool. There are some great mums at the preschool and we often have a little chat. We got to talking about my mornings childfree plans.

I’ve got a bit of a crazy week trying to organise the house in prep for going away. We also have a friend coming to fit us a new fence and gate tomorrow. Checkout Bored Monkey UK for your Essex craft and handyman needs.

So I was explaining to my fellow mamas the need to move bits away from the fence in prep. My reluctance being, that I knew a huge spider was living in that vicinity with who knows how many of his mates. One of the mama’s amusingly named him Fred and then off I went home to tackle Fred and his temporary eviction.

Fred was the least of my worries. On the way home I stopped in town to collect hubs meds from the chemist. As I was walking along I noticed a bank note on the floor. With no one close by and it being right in the middle of the path, I picked it up, wondering who could have dropped it. The owner nowhere obvious in sight. On closer inspection it was a Nigerian bank note for 500 Naira. I popped it in my bag and decided to Google its value whilst I was walking along. I wanted to know how much I was dealing with here before deciding how best to find its owner. As much as you can with an abandoned note.

Shit! It came up it’s worth £1,030 great british pounds! I suddenly felt like I was in too deep! Who carries a grand’s worth of note on them. It was fresh, not damp so it’s obviously been dropped recently. Shall I hang around and see if anyone comes wandering back looking for it?

I check for CCTV camera’s thinking the person could maybe find it that way using local shops. I couldn’t see any. I called hubs and he told me if it’s unclaimed after 30 days it’s effectively finders keepers. We have a local Facebook page I could post it to, but how best to word it so I don’t just get a chancer claiming it. After all it’s a currency note. It’s not easy to prove the owner.

Then my little devil kicked in. Of course I would feel absolutely terrible keeping it secret and spending it but we are all guilty of thinking a little naughty sometimes. But that poor person. What did they draw it out for? What was they going to spend it on? But George would love a trampoline and a fancy wooden playset in the garden. Hmmm.

I called hubby back. He’d now pulled over on his way to work as his cogs were turning. The GBP is usually worth more than foreign notes. It doesn’t quite add up. With him on speaker I opened my Google and there it was. In my tired state and not fully concentrating as I was trying not to trip over loose slabs in flip flops I had entered 500,000. My discovery was actually worth just over £1. Not even enough to buy George an ice cream. Laughing at my stupidity, hubs hung up whilst I went home to tackle Fred.

Back home in the garden and Fred is happy to run off once he sees me with the broom. He’s also clearly been taking part in the Healthy Mummy UK eating plan I’ve been following (not an ad, it’s just fab) as he’s now half the size I thought he first was. CHECK IT OUT! Healthy Mummy UK

Fred and his mates had no worries. Whilst I’m not a fan of spiders, I don’t like the idea of killing them if it can be helped. I once missed my train because I was moving a worm out of harm’s way off the pavement. I accidentally squashed a woodlouse and could almost hear the echoes of his (or her) screaming family. I instantly feel dreadful that I’ve killed someones Mum, Dad, brother, sister uncle. The world of woodlouse under my paving slab is mourning his loss this evening.

Jobs done it’s time to bring the child free period to an end. My three hours are up! I’ve achieved what I had hoped, minus making myself look foolish about the note. But before I dash off to pick the Georgeous up I see a large bumble bee scrambling around in the  dirt with a thick cobweb caught on his back leg. I try to help him get it off but he keeps buzzing it me.

“Calm it mate, I’m trying to help you, you stupid fuck” Lord knows what the neighbours are thinking.

After a good few minutes I decide that turning up late to the preschool pick up because I was trying to free a pissed off Bee isn’t going to cut it. My time is well and truly over. Not before I notice a pair of ladybirds shagging on a pallet. Literally never witnessed it in my 34 years. Can cross that off the bucket list now can’t I! And just in case you were wondering…

I’ve since learnt a lot about Ladybirds! The Truth about Ladybirds . Enjoy!

What do you reckon? Did I give you chuckle? Never mind…there’s always tomorrow…

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

How I got my name – and other inspiring stories

I’ve always considered my name to be a little unique and I wanted to share with you how it came about. I also asked some fellow bloggers the happy stories of where their names or their children’s names derived from. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.

My proper name is Cassandra but I have many abbreviations and nicknames. The most common being Cassie. I’ve met a few other Cassie’s in my 34 years on this Earth and I always get embarrassingly excited. I’ve always wondered how people with quite commonly heard of names feel. To me it feels like you are a instantly connected to the person who has the same name as you. It totally amazes me, as weird as I am for admitting that.
So how did my name come about? Being an 80’s child, most people assume I was named after Cassandra from the classic show “Only Fools and Horses”. In fact for the first 3 days of my life I was nameless. Deliberating over calling me Daisy (I’m soooo not a Daisy), my maternal Nan suggested to my parents they call me Cassandra. She had been watching a lesser heard television programme at the time Bouquet of Barbed Wire. Cassie was one of the featured characters.

I love my name and the meanings and stories behind other people’s names.

Cassandra was actually a Greek Goddess who was given the gift of prophecy but also the curse that nobody would ever believe her.

I often joke this is a pretty accurate story of my life. I’ve always come out with silly things and lacked a certain degree of common sense, despite being quite intelligent. Usually any knowledge I tend to share with people they don’t believe me and I have to go to great lengths to prove I know what I’m talking about.

  • Sally from The Happy Home With 3 Boys named her son Beau, meaning beautiful boy. Inspired by the John Lennon song, and after a 7 year infertility and IVF struggle it seemed beautifully apt. She also has a son named Rudy, owing to his Grandad (whom he resembled at birth) being a ska fan. Her third son Sonny whose theme song for life is the classic Sunny by Bobby Hebb.
  • Lianne from Ankles Biters Adventures owes the spelling of her name to dad Ian. See what they did there.
  • Jade from Raising The Rings is grateful to her Auntie for her name. Her Dad is still regretful that he didn’t get his way in calling her Mercedes.
  • Clare from Freddies Mummy UK has her partners love of cricket to thanks for their son Freddie’s name. Ironic considering Freddie Flintoff is actually called Andrew in real life.
  • Suzanne from And Another Ten Things also has a son called Fred but rather amusingly due to her daughters love of Scooby Doo. She quickly abandoned her preferred name of James after the realisation hit that her daughter would forever call him Freddie regardless. Her daughter was named after a local pub covered in Ivy.
  • Victoria from Lylia Rose incorporated her husbands name Ben into their son Reuben’s name.

Baby Names

  • Kate from Five Little Stars has such a beautiful story. She has a son called Albion after her and her husband were married in Scotland which is Alba in Gaelic. A little known fact, Albion is also the oldest known name of the island of Great Britain. They have since moved to France and named their daughter Elyse. This derives from the Elysian Fields, meaning paradise. She was born in Paris and so the spelling is also a nod to the magnificent Champs Elysee (so named after the Elysian Fields as well). So perfect.
  • Nadia from Scandi Mummy didn’t understand her husbands suggestion to use the name Aidan for their sons middle name. He then explained the tribute as he arrived on her birthday and it is her own named spelled backwards.
  • Sarah at Mummy Cat Notes spent hours searching for a girls name, having only decided on a boys name. She then read about  the famous female pilot Amelia Earhart. The first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean. And thus Amelia was decided.
  •  Katy from KatyKicker.com used the middle name Blue, after reading a wonderful poem from the book “A Field Guide to Getting lost” by Rebecca Solnit.

The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue.

The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.

  • Gemma from Mummy In The Madhouse wishes her mum had the final say in her name. Her Dad believed the name Gemma to be pretty rare whilst she much prefers her Mum’s choice of Zanthia. Desired after they met a little girl in Brazil called that.
  • Hannah from Little Rainbow Dreams was herself named after the late Hannah Hauxwell who passed away at the age of 91. If you haven’t heard of  the life of Hannah Hauxwell you must google her. She was an inspiring female farmer in the Pennines who was absolutely full of determination and fire. Hannah’s parents named her after this wonderful lady hoping she would follow in her amazing footsteps.
  • Rebecca writes a lifestyle and parenting blog at I Always Believed In Futures . Her son Jack is named after Jack Reacher in the Lee Child novels. Their daughter Olivia was really adorably named by her older brother. He was given the final say from the shortlist. I love this notion to get older siblings involved.
  • If there was ever a methodical approach to naming a child then Becka from Mummy Est.2014 is the master. She and her partner found it really challenging to find a boys name to agreed on. They bought a baby name book and had a different colour highlighter each. They highlighted names they liked and any that had been highlighted by them both were written on paper and stuck on the fridge.

As the last few weeks went by they scribbled off the names they fell out of love with and it came down to 2 names. Becka was  induced early and when bubba was born her and her partner decided that their new son looked like the second name on the list…Jared.

  • Finally Laura, whose sounds like an incredibly strong lady. Her blog Five Little Doves will tell your more about her incredible journey. After 15 miscarriages and a stillbirth, she was absolutely terrified when she was pregnant with her daughter. She named her Eva, as it means “Life” and she was the first little one to make it into their arms.

Baby Names

I hope you have enjoyed reading these inspiring and often incredible tales of how myself and others got their names. If you are struggling to come up with a name for your child, these stories may offer you some guidance.
If you have an interesting story of how you or your child got their name I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Thanks for reading.

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

The ambition of an exhausting life

Life is so, so short. Plus, you never usually know when it’s going to end. For me, life is like an oozing slice of chocolate fudge cake, being dangled in front of of my inner fat girl. The idea that I HAVE to make EVERY day count. A mission for ambition. It’s fucking exhausting! Do you agree?

Believe it or not, I’m ambitious I’m just not particularly productive since I became a mum. Some may even say lazy! I also have a dubious husband that takes a lot of convincing when it comes to my plans and ideas.

You know when people say the days aren’t long enough, I’m one of those people. I’d love for days to be longer so that I could fit more into them. More productivity, more relaxing, more fun, more adventure. But to achieve that I’d need to either be a robot or a vampire as clearly the human body requires sleep.

Unfortunately for me, sleep is another thing that I can’t help but feel wastes a load of time… but I love it. I literally could marry my bed. My imagination is so overactive that my dreams often make me feel like the star in my own crazy, ridiculous film. I could NEVER give that up. Sometimes the dreams get a little intense and I dread going to sleep but on the whole I’m having a pretty exciting time whilst my human shell catches some Zzz’s.

Now here comes the notion, a rule to live by if you will.

Prior to becoming a mum I worked in the NHS for 11 years, quitting to be a stay at home, come blogger. I do harp on about it a lot to be fair but I achieved a lot and worked my way up through the ranks, achieving the some of the greater parts of what a qualified Pharmacy technician can.

So my theory became that staying in the  same career my whole life was not my ideal use of this short life. There are so many careers I’d love to try. A post person for example. You may laugh. It may not be everyone’s ambition but I’m nosey and I like to keep active so it kills two birds in my opinion. So what if I changed career every 10 years and got to experience a varied life? That way I could experience all there is to try out there and never get bored or too comfortable.

Does that now mean I have to be a stay at home Mum Come blogger for 10 years? Well I think I’ll call this 10 years my experimental phase. I’ve already dabbled in my husbands career in finance and accounts. I decided numbers aren’t my thing so I’ve fallen back into the admin/ date entry role. I’ll continue to work on my blogging and I’m also working on my childhood passion of story writing but I’m not sure which genre will be the most successful as I’m currently working on stories for preschool children and a novel aimed at adults.

When George starts school I’d absolutely love to take a course in carpentry and woodwork or soldering and welding. I’d like to eventually create custom pieces of art and furniture, up cycling scrap metal or crafting naturally felled trees. I’ve even contemplated midwifery in these past weeks. That totally took me by surprise.

Career ambitions aside there’s a whole exhausting world out there that I’d love to be exploring. But it’s so hard to “have it all”! So hubs and I have set our sights on kicking George and any fellow siblings out at 18. Ok we may let them look after the home whilst myself and hubs go travelling as we will only be early fifties. Is that a risky strategy though? Who knows what is around the corner? What if we are no longer able bodied..or heavens forbid no longer here!

There are always the people “I must catch up with soon”. I find making friends easy and like to enjoy a variety of company. But weeks turn into months and before you know it, it’s midway through the year, and you haven’t seen half the people you expected to. I’m always regretting not making enough time for EVERYONE that counts.

I’m so, so fortunate to be able to be at home looking after George. But I can’t help but think this gives me time to crave more. More ambition, more time with people, more expectations of myself. Before you know it you are left head spinning, feeling life is fucking exhausting.

But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Except to live in a universe where time is infinite or at least slower. (Insert big cheesy grin here)

Can you relate?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

“We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”, a book review

** Disclosure – I was sent an electronic copy of the fabulous compilation of parenting stories in return for my honest review. This does not detract from the fact that this book is fucking hilarious and I can’t lie about it!**

I was recently fortunate to be sent a digital copy of the wonderful, “We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment : …and other funny parenting stories”. This compilation of rib tickling parenting stories was sent to me by the fabulous Susie.

Susie is one of my favourite bloggers over at So Happy In Town . Mrs S.H.I.T as she is known under her blog persona, is a part of this fabulous book along with many other fantastic bloggers from across the U.K, USA and Australia.

parenting stories

With a glass of some yummy cloudy lemonade in hand (it was the middle of the day!), I set about reading some of the most truthfully hilarious 186 pages of my parenting life! When I became pregnant and as the pregnancy progressed, I became rather angry with the world.

Despite researching my heart out over what to expect, this pregnancy malarkey was total BS! Don’t get me wrong, it had its magical and wondrous moments, but my word was it tough! In ways I never thought were possible, my body punished me hourly for making it endure the supposed magic of growing a child.

Cut to once the Georgeous was born and that wondrous magicalness again returned until reality hit. As hubs returned to work after his 2 weeks paternity leave, the shit storm that was now my life hit me. And yes I loved it BUT it wasn’t as other mums had led me to believe.

It was tougher than my spinal surgery which I endured as a teen and spent a year recovering from. Tougher than climbing one of the more difficult paths of Mount Snowdon in Wales as I had done in previous years. Often relentless, overwhelming,intense and sometimes depressing.

I so wish I had a book like this brought to my attention prior to becoming a mama. Now mama to a 3 year old George, it’s easy to relate to. Whilst non parenting types reading it may think you can’t possibly live like this, trust me…you can’t make this stuff up!

This collection of hilarious parenting stories has been compiled by the amazing Michelle Tan.

“Michelle is the absurdist comic writer behind the Facebook persona, Ms. Awesome, Mother Extraordinaire, where she dispenses unsolicited funny advice about surviving parenthood.”

It’ll make you feel human, restore your confidence that you aren’t actually insane and this is in fact life for many parents across the globe even! Most of all it will leave a big, fat smile calorie free on your face. Better than any glass of wine or bar of chocolate.

Get your copy here We Need To Talk About The Conditions Of My Imprisonment…and other funny parenting stories.

Press release :- 

The book will be launched at a public event on Saturday 21st April 2018 at XSCAPE, Yorkshire. There will be activities for children and many of the writers. Families will find solidarity and humour on offer throughout the day. People will be invited to share their experiences of the absurd, surreal and downright funny things about parenting.   We want to spread the message that eating their chocolate in hiding is perfectly normal because some things in life should not be shared.

Breakfast and Champagne at The Royal Hotel, and Dr Legba’s Emporium Southend On Sea. *Review*

** I’d like to disclose that I was plied with copious amounts of delicious food and alcohol in return for this honest review. This neither affects the integrity of the post or the honest opinions held within it**

I had the pleasure of attending The Royal Hotel and the attached Dr Legba’s Emporium for the second time as a blogger. My mum and I were invited to try out The Royal Hotel’s brand new breakfast menu. The surroundings were as sumptuous as ever without feeling pretentious. The Royal Hotel isn’t actually a hotel any longer. For more information about the history of the building and how brothers Matt and Dave made it what it is now, read my previous rave review here.

Mum and I were hoping and praying telepathically to the Royal Hotels chefs that Eggs Benedict would be on the brand new breakfast menu for our visit. It’s an absolute fav of mine and when I am reviewing somewhere new, I like to see their take on my personal favourite. I also have a notion that when I eat out I try to order things that I am rubbish at making myself at home. So eggs benedict it was and a life saving cuppa, brewed from the pot with plenty of sugar cubes to liven me up. (I have a three year old don’t you know!)

Dr Legba’s

The decor there is inviting and really pleasant on the eye. I love the pictures we sat in front of for breakfast. I mean this in a totally complimentary way when I say The Royal Hotel is an extraordinarily ordinary everyday, special occasion kind of venue.

You can pop by for an impromptu breakfast or a drink at the bar and feel like it’s a completely acceptable everyday place to frequent. On the flip side you can also book an amazing lunch, dinner or afternoon tea and feel like the most special guest ever. The Royal Hotel is my everyday and save for best. I can’t recommend this place enough.

Dr Legba's

Brekkie done, Matt treated us to a tour of the ballroom. He allowed us to venture to the top of the staircase which is supposedly haunted. I had already had a tour on my previous visit where I found out a lot about the history of the famous hotel, Mum on the other hand hadn’t so I was excited for her to come and check the place out. read more here.

Dr Legba's

The Royal Hotel has a not so secret and intimate basement bar which goes by the name of Dr Legba’s Emporium . A place of Cocktails and Curiosities, led by the cocktail master of the brothers, Dave. Dr Legba’s feels like another world whereby you can disappear for hours, completely oblivious to the real world outside.

A complete heaven for a cloud dweller like me. When you re-emerge from your Dr Legba slumber onto Southend high street, you will likely be in an Absinthe induced daze. Almost like you’ve been dancing with the absinthe fairy herself. Her portrait is shortly to be adorned to the door leading you to the loo’s. Here’s a sneak peak.

Dr Legba’s

The tipple for our delectable afternoon was a rather stunning and unusual champagne by the name of Veuve Clicquot Rich, also available in Rosé.

Now I wouldn’t normally consider myself a champagne kinda gal, but Veuve Clicquot Rich totally changed my mind. At approximately £59 a bottle, it can certainly be reserved for a more special occasion on a night out. But let me tell you why you would consider this.

The Veuve Rich has been developed specifically with mixologists in mind and is intended to be used in cocktails. It’s also much, much sweeter, almost ten times that of standard champagnes. The first unusual trait to the Rich is that it is served with ice. Then by adding one or several flavours, you can create your own taste. This makes every individuals experience of the Rich different.  During our visit we were invited to taste the Rich with cucumber, orange or black pepper. I declined the black pepper, but Mum enjoyed it. The orange was divine and the cucumber almost refreshing.

Dr Legba's

A visit to Dr Legba’s isn’t complete without trying the absinthe. With a choice of varying strengths, it’s fascinating to watch it be prepared. Much of it using the equipment Dave made himself. Our treat for this visit was a take on the famous Hemingway Champagne, Death in the Afternoon. Dave artistically mixes the absinthe with water and the Veuve Clicquot to produce an amazing cocktail. At approximately 68% alcohol and topped with a star anise you may start to feel like Hemingway himself. I get a little excited to see what Dave is going to do next with the absinthe. It really is an amazing flavour, if that’s your thing.

Dr Legba’s

If you fancy trying the breakfast at The Royal Hotel or an evening getting lost Dr Legba’s I can totally recommend you give them a visit. Dr Legba’s has a capacity of 40. To ensure you don’t miss out, it’s advisable to arrive there early on a Friday or Saturday night. It is also available for private hire Wednesday to Sunday during the day or night. I’m totally considering it for my next special event or even baby shower!

With thanks to Penny from A Penny For Them for organising.

Until next time…

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Things to do when it snows.

SNOWDAY!!! Are you bored of the word snow yet? I’m not. The beast from the east (as they say) has arrived and we have a full on snow day here in Essex. Let me tell you there’s more to snow than simply getting cold and building a snowman. Here are some ideas I’ve seen throughout the internet or gathered from friends.

  • You simply can’t have a snow day without building a snowman! It’s standard snow protocol! I’m yet to master a decent Snowman. True to my crazy cat lady form, I do make a pretty mean snow cat (checkout the featured image) but my snowmen always end up looking like giant smiling dildo’s!?snowday
  •  Sledding! A snow day pastime which I’ve never actually done! I’ve never committed to the purchase of a sledge as we can go some years and have no snow. Plus I’ve always been at work when it snows. Now I have a child I really need to invest in one as we have a town famous hill near us, perfect for sledding that just looks epic!

    snowday
    Image courtesy of Pixabay
  • Even the best snow day can get tiring and cold. If you don’t want to waste all that precious, rare white stuff then bring the snow indoors! Taking messy play to a whole new level, this activity can surprisingly entertain your child for a decent amount of time. Simply fill a bowl, bucket, tuff spot, whatever your container of choice with lush snow and place inside. Add a selection of toys suitable for playing in the snow eh voila. When the snow melts (which takes longer than you would imagine) just get some more. My little George chose octonauts, go jetters and dinosaurs to use in his snow bowl. I suggested digging with a spoon. snowday
  • Snow days seem to be very creative driven, (when you aren’t just lobbing snowballs at each other). So why not extend this further with some snow painting. Fill some squirty bottles with food colouring and water and let the children have great fun making coloured patterns in the snow. Or as my friend once did, get the paint and brushes out and paint the snowman. Checkout her fab page for more ideas on activities to do with toddlers and preschoolers; Entertaining Ava – Ideas for Toddler and Preschooler Play

    snow day
    Image courtesy of the facebook group Entertaining Ava – Ideas for Toddler and Preschooler Play. Permission given.
  • Snow day taffy. Now this is one of those things I just happened to see pop up on twitter in amongst the trending snow posts. I have to admit that this seemed as bizarre to me as the idea that most Americans don’t own an electric kettle. But apparently this is standard behaviour in Canada. I found this fab how to here; How to make Maple Syrup Snow Taffy .
  • Send a special message to someone. It just so happened to be hubs birthday one year when it snowed. I used the shingle we had in our garden to create a message but you could use the squirty bottle idea previously mentioned. Your message doens’t have to be for a birthday, it could be a marriage proposal, disney announcement, baby announcement or just to brighten someone’s day.snow day
  • Snowball fights don’t have to be the only thing to use snowballs for. Grab a bucket or draw a line or circle in the snow and see who can get their snowballs in the circle/bucket. That way no one ends up sad because they have snow down their back or in their eye.
  • If you have a willing cat or dog, let them out in the snow and just sit back and enjoy. Cats and Dogs can be so funny in the snow and if you film them and send them into You’ve been Framed you might get £250 for your efforts.

    snow day
    My beloved cat Missy who we lost 10 years ago.

So there are just a few ideas to keep you going for a snow day. I shall be investing in a pair of waterproof gloves in prep for the next snow.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any ideas to share? I love new ideas. I am becoming a bit of a pinterestaholic.

Until next time…..

Bluestone Wales – Winter Lights – January 2018

**Disclosure – I was invited to Bluestone Wales for a midweek break  in return for this honest review. All opinions are my own. This does not affect the integrity of this post.**


This post is about the magical, chilled, friendly, chilled, welcoming, adventurous, did I mention chilled? 5 days we spent at Bluestone National Park Resort .

BluestoneCheck-In

We arrived around 2:30pm on the Monday and checked in whilst still in our car. A traffic light style system calls you up to the check in window where the staff handed us a welcome pack with our entry key cards and premium wifi code that hubby had purchased, along with a copy of the Village Voice. We parked up and headed straight to the golf buggy hire as this was also the nearest loo’s and nature was a’calling. I’ll talk more about the golf buggies later.

Before I could finish in the loo, hubs had completed the gold buggy pickup so we thought we’d take it for a test spin on a mini tour of the site. We located our lodge which we would be able to access at 4:30pm (or 3pm for other lodge types). You are allowed to bring your car onsite to unload and load up on check in and checkout day but otherwise it must be stored in the car park.

George was loving the golf buggy but we felt after the long journey he needed to stretch his legs in the treehouse play area. The treehouses are fab for children of all ages to explore and overlook the newly refurbished adventure playground which was colourful, clean and great quality. It was lovely to see families congregate here whilst the little ones ran round dizzily deciding what to play on next.

Bluestone

Accomodation

We were staying in a Caldey Lodge in Bartholomew rise not far from the lake. Our two bedroom lodge came complete with an open plan kitchen, diner, lounge with tall ceilings to add to the feel of space. There were french doors which opened onto a patio area with picnic table and bike rack. Off of this lounge area was the twin and master double side by side with the bathroom with shower and large heated towel rail.

The lodge was comfy, cosy and the heating worked a treat.  What struck me most was the high quality of everything. Heavy, solid wood furniture in the bedroom and dining area. Strong and decent cooking and kitchen utensils which were all well kept and sparkling clean. It felt like a home from home. (It was actually better than my home!)

Bluestone

Having had spinal surgery when I was a teen, I’m pretty fussy about the beds I sleep in. Don’t get me wrong, I can sleep anytime anywhere,but if I don’t sleep in the right bed then my body can suffer for days. At home we have a half sprung/half memory foam mattress with a feather down topper. It’s my ideal bed and sadly I always miss it when we are on holiday. Bluestone’s mattresses however were absolute bliss. Due to having a toddler that likes me to be near, I spent time in both the twin bed and the double and both were equally comfortable. I literally could have stayed in their beds all day ( if I wasn’t being dragged out at 6am by George every morning)

Getting around

A unique perk of Bluestone is the ability to be able to hire a golf buggy for either a day or the duration of your stay.The golf buggy is a great novelty and it helps a lot with a toddler in tow. Our trusty steed for the week was number 77 Lili-Mai and we had great fun taking it in turns to whizz round on her.

A warmer time of year we might be tempted to walk more or hire bicycles and trailers but we are so glad that we had the golf buggy as a semi refuge from the rain. It meant we could get from A to B quicker without turning up drenched. Little tip: take extra towels/tea towels for wiping the seat dry which (thanks to Welsh weather) you may find yourself doing half a dozen times a day.

You can also take your own bikes and there’s also guest transport to help you get around the resort with designated bus stops. If I am honest though, the site was not as vast as I’d  expected. It’s easily walkable and only marginally hilly in some places. The paths are continually being maintained, with staff filling in puddles and holes with gravel on a regular basis.

Top tip – if you aren’t from Wales, make your peace with the weather before you visit. We went expecting nothing but rain so that anything else would be a bonus. Plus, Rainbows!

Bluestone

Food and Drink

This is mine and hubs favourite part of holidays. We love eating out and trying different eating establishments so we wanted to ensure we tried as many of the onsite restaurants and cafes as possible.

In the end the only places we did NOT try were:-

  • The Knight’s Tavern which I popped in to use the toilets and the atmosphere was pleasant and very similar to that of a pub that serves food. It’s the lower end of the budget of the restaurants onsite.
  • The Oaktree restaurant which is a pizza / pasta restaurant but on the first night George wanted to be in the lodge so we got takeaway chip shop food from…..
  • The Chippy which was nice but I have had better and the staff there lacked a welcoming persona. The fried halloumi is worth a try.
  • Farmhouse grill – The second time we planned on visiting the Oaktree we actually changed our minds as we couldn’t resist returning to the Farmhouse Grill for the second night in a row. I’d recommend booking a table here to ensure you get seated. You can tell it’s freshly made using top notch ingredients. To quote their menu;

Using quality local ingredients to instil a sense a place

Staff are so attentive. Hubs was massively impressed on our second night when someone accidentally smashed a glass at their table and before you barely heard the smash there were already two members of staff dashing to the table with a mop and broom.

Checkout piccies of what we had below.

BluestoneBluestone

The children’s menu is fab and is a world away from the typical chicken nuggets and chips but still appealing to children. The ‘kids platter’ was such a perfect dinner for him with so many of his favourites.

Bluestone

  • We also ate twice in the Ty Coffi cafe. Once for a breakfast, (they do a mean beans on toast which went down a storm with George) and their panini’s are great too. There was so much more we could have tried. It was often very busy in there so they definitely could do with a few more staff as the ones there seemed rushed off their feet which meant they didn’t really have time for ‘service with a smile’. t didn’t prevent us from returning though. Their hot chocolates and sausage sandwich are the best way to warm up after a hike through the vast forest.
  • Bluestone also have a cafe, Caffi Môr, within the spa which I sadly didn’t try, along with a camp style rustic woodland diner which wasn’t open for the season of our stay.

Bluestone

Things to do

There’s such a vast timetable of activities to do at Bluestone, from shadow  puppet shows to baby yoga and massage, 4×4 safari driver experience round a track or a host of tree top activities at the steep ravine. 

Explore the forest

We chose to check out the Winter lights enchanted walk in daylight and continue on into the forest where we squelched through mud and then washed our boots in the stream. The forest towards the steep ravine is full of really tall, narrow trees, which when the wind blows creates a creaking noise as the trees all knock together. We enjoyed standing still for a while and listening to this noise, before pretending the trees were going to come crashing down and racing up the hill. George loved this game and natures own sound effects added to the feel.

Bluestone

 

Adventure playground

We also spent a fair amount of time playing at the playground which we nicknamed the Teletubbies playground due to the green hill feature.

Bluestone

Family shows

We tried the shadow puppet show which was great and the village hall decor is magical. It involved participation and dancing from the kiddies rather than a sit and watch puppet show.

If booking via the website you can find a brief description for each activity but I didn’t use this, preferring to book at the booking office after we got a feel for our surroundings. The show was great and top marks for the effort put in by the staff. Bluestone

Swimming

When we had enough of being outside we visited the Blue Lagoon swimming pool. They have  something for everyone. Slides, wave machine, pirate ship spray area, lazy river taking you outside and an enclosed baby and toddler splash zone where balls float on the water, they can explore walking round an artificial rock pool, squirting gadgets and basketball. This area has a lockable gate to prevent little ones wandering off towards danger.

The Blue lagoon is also open to the public but it wasn’t overly busy when we went mid morning (residents only) and there was room for everyone. There are also designated photo points where you can use your camera without capturing unknowing suspects in your shot.

Adventure centre

The adventure has something for all ages and brings the fun inside. The under 5’s circus zone is completely in another area of the building and features a bright, clean and colourful soft play area. It has a fab mini ride on car on a track. As well as giant building blocks, and baby gym and balance equipment.

The large main area of the adventure centre downstairs contains masses of wooden climbing frames in a tree house style. Some reaching up the ceiling easily 20 feet in the air. There are free ride on trikes available and a bouncy castle. You can help yourself to a game of mini golf or play some games at the amusement arcade. There’s also a mechanical digger to dig a large pit of sandy stones. For the bigger kids inner child in us all there’s bookable indoor wall climbing. A mezzanine platform allows you to grab a coffee from the Wildwood cafe whilst the madness ensues downstairs.

Bluestone

Seasonal dinner show

On our final night there we’d booked ourselves into Merlin’s Magical Dinner show. This was in the Wildwood Cafe situated in the adventure centre. Here we had a set menu of roast dinner and desert. This was brought up on a big serving plate to our table where we helped ourselves. Meanwhile the staff were extremely attentive, asking if we needed any more potatoes, gravy etc.

Bluestone

Before and after dinner the staff entertained us by putting on a show in the areas around our tables. There was magic, music, comedy and some audience participation from the children too. This really was an unforgettable dinner experience.

Winter lights parade

The dinner experience over, we all wrapped up warm ready to march in the parade through the site. The parade was led by a 12 foot Merlin wizard. A member of staff accompanied Merlin whilst banging a drum. He encouraged us through the cold, night with chanting and singing. The children ran and flashed torches and various items they had made at bookable groups that week.

We gathered in the courtyard at the Knights tavern where the staff and Merlin took to the balcony. They guided us as we watched the light show featured in my video below. They then sang into the evening whilst  the crowd sang and danced along. It felt like such a wonderful community vibe and no one was in a hurry to be anywhere.

Check Out my youtube video to see more of the light show

My verdict

People tried to warn me I would be cold in Wales but I didn’t anticipate HOW cold. I lived in 3 layers all week. I’d defo buy thermal undies if visiting in Winter again.

Having said that, our stay has totally changed my outlook on going out in bad weather. As a football supporter and follower, bad weather has never really bothered me. But Bluestone has really cemented the ideal that whatever the weather, fun can be had.

Hubs and I have already said we would love to return in the summer, maybe with friends or family. Travelling from Essex is a long way for a mid week break. In future I’d opt for a 7 day break. I’d love to checkout the local sites and beaches too as we didn’t leave the resort this stay.

This is a place where you can return again and again and never tire as every activity differs. I’d also love to try one of the upside living lodges, offering fab views of the Welsh countryside.

If you like the sound of a stay at Bluestone, checkout prices and availability on their website http://www.bluestonewales.com/

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday