We have been National Trust Members for about 6 years now (yes some may say old before our time, I would like to say cultured!). We love visiting places of natural beauty, or full of history. Our passes get us out and about, allowing us to see parts of the UK we haven’t been to before.
One of our favourite National Trust places to take a trip, is the beautiful Stourhead, in Wiltshire. It is not too far from us and it is a great family day out!
My favourite time if the year to visit is spring and autumn, because of the ever changing colours. The colours of the trees around the stunning lake bounce off of one another. I can’t really explain it but Stourhead has a special feel to it. As soon as I reach the lake a sense of calm comes over me.
My little lady particularly enjoyed spotting the wildlife on our way around the lake. Such as ducks, dragonflies, bees, squirrels etc. The walk is mostly flat, and the paths are suitable for pushchairs. This is a bonus as our little ladies legs do get very tired half way around!
This time we decided to take a picnic. It was a warm sunny day, so we sat on the grass facing the lake. It was perfect! I am so pleased we did this. Not only does it save money, but it is lovely to be able to eat outside.
Stourhead do have a good restaurant on site if you are looking to purchase a meal. There is also a pub just before you enter the lake. We did get some ice-creams just before we left, which were very welcomed as it was pretty hot.
The changing facilities are good for little ones, although the toilets are right at the entrance and a bit of a hike back so make sure you use them on arrival.
We didn’t go into the house this time, but we have been in it before. I would highly recommend doing so. It is full of history, and very stunning.
Every time we visit Stourhead we have a great family day, getting back to nature. I would definitely recommend a day trip there if you are in the area!
Addrees: Stourhead, near mere, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD
It had been a long time since I had been on an all-inclusive European holiday. When I was little I used to go on them, and I loved them! The discos, and kids entertainment was always a highlight for me!
In January the hubby and I started to have a nosy at family summer holidays. At the time TUI were offering free children’s places, and £50 off per adult. That’s when we spotted Leonardo Laura Beach & Splash Resort in Cyprus!
It seemed to tick all of the boxes! A family fun hotel, guaranteed warm weather, all inclusive, flights from a local airport, and close to Pathos town. So we booked it for June this year!
We arrived at the hotel at about 10pm, all pretty exhausted. We were welcomed with a fresh drink, and sandwiches.
From first impressions I was very impressed with the hotel. It had recently been refurbished, looked clean, and bright.
Our room was the perfect size and bubs bed was all ready for her, making it nice and easy for us (much to my relief). After a good night’s sleep we spent our first day exploring the hotel and the local area.
One thing that I noticed very quickly was how busy the hotel was. It was a large hotel so I should have expected it to be really. Sitting around the pool I did feel a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people. I did get used to it though.
What was really lovely was the family atmosphere. So many children swimming in the pool, eating ice creams, and playing on the water slides. My little lady absolutely loved the kid’s pool, I couldn’t get her out of it, nor the hubby out of the adult splash park!
The food in this hotel has to be the best all-inclusive food I have ever eaten! I genuinely looked forward to meal times! They offered so much choice, it was tasty, and of great quality. My favourite thing was their homemade Greek style walnut cake, absolutely delicious (I could so eat that now!)
I am quite shy about joining in with group activities but the TUI Entertainment staff were amazing! They were encouraging and so friendly. I therefore joined in Aqua and Zumba every day! This was so fun and great way to meet other mums. I have even continued doing an aqua class at home!
The hotel was in a great location. There was a bus stop outside the hotel, and buses were regular. One way it was 10 minutes to a beautiful sandy beach, (called Coral Bay), and 10 minutes in the opposite direction was Pathos Harbour.
We visited the beach twice. The beach was sandy, and the sea was crystal clear. It was the perfect beach for a toddler. My little lady loved splashing in the warm sea and making sand castles. There was also a café and toilet facilities right on the beach, which was ideal.
We had the best all-inclusive family holiday in Cyprus! We were so sad to leave. The hubby has asked if we can go back, which speaks volumes! If you are looking for a family fun holiday I would highly recommend a holiday to Leonardo Laura Beach & Splash Resort in Cyprus! Kxx
Yes autumn is nearly upon us (again). I must admit I do love autumn, the beautiful colours and the cosy nights! One thing we love to do as a family is Pumpkin Picking! My 2 year old loved going last year! We all got to choose our own pumpkins fresh from the ground, and decorate them at home. It costs hardly anything, and gets you out into the fresh air! Here are some of our favourite Pumpkin Patches to visit across Dorset and Hampshire!
Sopley Farm is on the edge of The New Forest! They will have plenty of pumpkins for you to choose from again this year, and wheelbarrows will be available to transport your pickings! They will be open the whole of October! We had a great time picking our pumpkins here last year! The staff was so friendly, and they had a cute café on site.
Address: Sopley Farm, Sopley, Christchurch, Dorset, BH23 7AZ
Tel: 01425 672451
Opening times for Pumpkin Picking: (October) 10-4pm
We headed here a couple of weeks ago to pick some strawberries. It is a bit smaller than Sopley Farm, but just as fun! Squash and pumpkins are usually in Season from mid September to end of October!
Address: Lenctenbury Farm, Soldiers Road, Norden, Corfe Castle, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5DU
Tel: 07798 743877
Pumpkin Picking Patch Fordingbridge
As well as pumpkin picking they offer Halloween crafts, witches and more! Perfect fun to keep your children busy !They have over 15 varieties of pumpkins across 30 acres!. They will all be ready to be picked by you in October.
Address: Pumpkin Picking Patch, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1AN
Opening times: 13-14 & 19-28 October (9.30 to 4)
Rogate Pumpkin Patch
Rogate Pumpkin Patch is perfect fun for all of the family! It is half way between Midhurst and Petersfield on the A272. They offer a very rustic Halloween experience .There offer lots of fun activities, such as smash a pumpkin, pumpkin skittles, decorate a pumpkin, sling a pumpkin, corn blaster and spooky slime making.
Address: 1/4 east of Rogate Village, Slade Lane Rogate, Rogate, Hampshire, GU31 5EG
Tel: 07830 412806
I hope my Pumpkin Patch suggestions are helpful! If you do go pumpkin picking this year I hope you have the best time! Kxx
I am back from my first ever Camp Bestival experience. My eye lids are heavy, my legs are on fire, but I am still smiling from ear to ear! When I found out I was part of the official Blogger and Influencer programme for Camp Bestival 2019 I literally had to pinch myself! What an absolute honour!
I was provided with a gifted Family Weekend Camping Ticket. I’m not going to lie I was excited, but apprehensive as I had never been to a festival before. I had also only ever camped twice in my 33 years! (yes I know alarm bells rang in my head too). I did everything I could to prepare! I read blogs, researched camping essentials with a toddler, and I purchased everything I thought we would need. This was all well and good, but nothing can prepare you for it! So I thought I would pop together 6 honest must haves to survive Camp Bestival for the first time, so here goes:
We arrived at Camp Bestival just after 9am on the Thursday morning, (car parks opened at 9am, entry was 10am). The roads to the festival were clear so we thought we must be the only ones arriving! When we pulled into the field it became apparent how wrong we were! There must have been nearly 1000 people queuing to get in! We waited in the queue for about an hour and a half, it was SUCH a hot day. I would recommend making sure you have sun cream on (or a water proof clothing if raining), water bottles to hand, hats, snacks for little ones, and a picnic mat to sit on whilst you wait. I would also only take your tent essentials at this point as you can go back to the car. We didn’t have a trolley, but many people did. If you have a lot of things I would highly recommend taking one as it is quite hilly and a bit of a trek. We lugged our stuff in one of those large ikea bags, which worked for us.
When we were finally through we were “early birds” apparently so we had a great choice of where to pitch up. We were in general camping, which was across two large fields. We chose to stay in the first field in the centre. This was so we had good access to the toilets and our car. It did mean we had a bit of a walk to the festival every day, but that was fine. As people started to set their tents up around us it quickly dawned on me how unprepared I was. Everyone appeared to be season pros! They had huge tents, whereas we had a small 3 man tent which became engulfed by all of the others. I did have a little wobble at this point, but kept a positive mind. If we were to do it all again I would highly recommend getting a nice spacious tent (we resembled sardines in a tin), where you can also have an indoor seating area etc. It is a full on experience and it would have been nice to have a quiet area to chill in.
I noticed many people bought their own food, in huge coolers. We decided not to, as we didn’t have any cooking facilities. I think it is a good idea to cook your own food as, as nice as the food stalls are at Camp Bestival it was SO expensive. We spent an average of £60 a day on food. I would also recommend taking lots of snacks for your little ones. Their days will be long, and full of fun so they need some fuel! I would also recommend taking some fresh fruit as there wasn’t anywhere to buy this.
There were 18 showers, however this was no way near enough for the amount of people. There were long queues every single day, so be prepared for this. Make sure you take soap, and body wash with you. The one thing I really missed was being able to wash by hands with soap and water. The portable toilets were clean, and stocked well all weekend. They did have hand sanitizer in, however for me it is not the same as water and soap.
I didn’t realise how much walking we would do! On the first day I didn’t wear appropriate shoes, so I would highly recommend wearing comfortable footwear. We were so lucky with the weather, as the ground was dry and solid we were able to take bubs pram around saving her little legs. Lots of people used wagons for their children and jazzed them up in a super hero theme, these looked great! As you will want to sit down, take your picnic mat with you.
There is SO much to do at Camp Bestival! You will never be bored. I would definitely advise buying a brochure so you can plan what you would like to do/see. It is also worth pottering around because you will definitely come across the unexpected!
Overall we had the BEST time at Camp Bestival. We would go back tomorrow if we could. Yes it is exhausting, but it is a happy tired. The festival is full colour, music, and families, all looking to have a great time. It is a place where everyone can be themselves and let go of the everyday stress life can bring. Thank you so much for giving my little family the most incredible experience that we will never forget. KX
(This was a gifted experience however all of the above opinions and images are my own)
Mother and Daughter day is my favourite day of the week! I always try to fill the day with love and laughter. This week I decided to take a trip down memory lane and take bubs to Abbotsbury Swannery. My mum used to take me and my sister when we were little. I was SO excited to take her.
It was a lovely warm day. We got there just after it opened at 10am. It was a great time to go as it was quiet, and it wasn’t too hot. I purchased a ticket for 3 attractions in Abbotsbury. This allowed us entry into The Swannery, Abbotsbury Children’s Farm, and Abbotsbury Gardens. It cost £19, and bubs went for free as she is under 5. I think this is a little pricey, but it does cover 3 attractions, and you don't have to do them all on the same day.
Bubs loved seeing all of the swans, especially the babies! There were absolutely hundreds of them! It is an amazing sight! It is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans, spread over a site of some 25 acres! After seeing the swans, we headed to the Café for ice-cream and cake! The café is quite expensive, so if we were to go again I would definitely take a picnic.
After feeling refreshed we walked up a beautiful country lane to Abbotsbury Children's Farm. This was my first visit. so I didn't have any expectations. It was fantastic! The setting was stunning, there was SO much to do, it wasn't too busy, and the staff were friendly. Bubs loved the indoor soft play, bouncy castle, guneai pig petting, tractors, and the best bit was her first every pony ride on lovely Ben! I would highly recommend a visit here, it ticked all of the boxes!
After lunch bubs had a bounce on the outdoor mini trampoline, and watched people race boats on the pond. At which point she was exhausted from all the fun! We didn't make it to the gardens, but hope to use the ticket soon.
We had the best mummy and daughter day, I came away feeling so proud of my little lady, and so lucky to have such amazing attractions on my doorstep! If you are visiting Dorset, or live in the area I would pop it on your list of things to do! KX
New Barn Rd, Abbotsbury DT3 4JG
(all images belong to me, and all of the above opinions are my own)
Last weekend (bank holiday) I worked most of it, and missed my family. So we decided to go on a mini adventure on my day off. We took a trip to Longleat. The hubby and I had been there together before, but never as a family of 3.
Since I took my little lady to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea (see my review) she has become obsessed with Tigers. We knew Longleat had a couple, so when we told her we going to see real life tigers she was beyond excited.
We did the Safari Park first. It was great because you get to drive through, seeing all of the animal up close in the comfort of your own car. My little lady loved the Monkeys jumping on the cars, Rhinos that looked like Dinosaurs (in her own words), Lions, and of course the stripy Tigers!
IMPRESSIVE HOUSE, PLAY AREAS to die for, AND KOALA'S
After the Safari our eyes were drawn to the impressive house, and lush grounds. This is where we decided to enjoy the picnic I had packed. The grounds had many tables scattered around, perfect for us to enjoy our family picnic. Longleat also have several restaurants, and eating places to choose from if you don’t want to take your own food.
The next stop was the Main Square, which offered buckets of fun! From the new Koala Creek, to Animal Adventure. My little lady was even brave enough to hold a rather large insect (much to my horror). It was a great experience for her. We then discovered Adventure Castle. This is the best play area I have seen. She had so much to choose from, including an amazing soft play area. It was the perfect size for her. She loved every minute of it!
BUCKETS OF history, manicured gardens, and art
I was desperate to go into the house, and I am so glad we did. It was truly impressive. It holds so much history. I wish we had more time to explore. Before we knew it is was 5pm, and we had to head home.
We had the best family day out. It obviously left a lasting impression on bubs because at Nursery the following day she told everyone about the Lions and Tigers. We can't wait to visit again soon. KXX
(All images and opinions are my own)
Date night? What’s that again? They have been rather rare since our little lady came along! The other week bubs stayed away at her grandparent’s for the first time. She’s two and a half. I know we held off for a while, but to me it was such a big deal! Staying there did give us the opportunity to have a date night!
We wanted to go somewhere special to celebrate this momentous occasion! So we chose Guildhall Tavern just a short walk away from Poole Quay. It is a French Seafood Restaurant, offering locally landed fish, crab & lobster prepared in French style. They also offer meat and vegetarian dishes.
The entire atmosphere in the Guildhall Tavern was warm, happy and in no way pretentious. The decor was sea themed, but in a sophisticated way. The restaurant was spacious and clean.
The staff couldn't do enough for us! They were knowledgeable, and attentive. They explained the food clearly to us on the menu, and made good suggestions.
The food, well what can I say! It was SO yummy! Visually it looked beautiful. The colours on the plate set off all of my senses. It also smelt amazing! The portion sizes were great too. I had the Plaice and it tasted out of this world! It was fresh and felt healthy. The hubby had the sea bass, and they Flambéed it at our table, making the visual experience something else. For desert I was recommend the Creme Brulee Tia Maria, so I went for it! It was so rich, I had to share.
We had the best night, and I would highly recommend a meal at The Guildhall Tavern. Hopefully we won’t have to wait two and half years for our next date night!
All of the opinions and photos are my own.
You may have guessed I like colour…maybe a little too much! Colour makes me feel so happy. Having an artist background I really enjoy playing with colour and being creative with it.
I find myself looking for colour everywhere I go, it has become a bit of a habit. I thought it would be fun to share with you some places across Dorset that are full of colour:
I love taking a trip to Lyme Regis, it is one of my favourite sea side towns. It is very pretty and has lots going on for families. There is lots of lovely colourful places. Such as the stunning rainbow pastel beach huts along the sea front, pastel colour houses lining the streets, and you definitely should check out Swim Café, its décor is fab!
From colourful beach huts, cafes, and fab art murals. There is so much colour in Swanage. Swanage is a great seaside town for all of the family. It has a lovely feel to it.
BOURNEMOUTH: As you wonder around Bournemouth you will spot amazing art murals. These are so clever and all full of colour. Head over to Urban Beach, where you will find the best art mural around! You will also find the BEST rainbow beach huts, along Bournemouth beach, just past the pier.
Weymouth has the most beautiful pastel houses located around Weymouth Harbour. Perfect for a selfie, or a family picture. On another note if you are on Portland head to Billy Winters Cafe!
There are so many beautiful and colourful places to visit in Dorset, these were just my top four! I hope you have the best time if you visit KXx
Anyone else love a cheeky weekend away? It has been so long since we took one. The last trip I had planned we had to cancel as my little lady got Chicken Pox (booooo). Anyway… I was heading down to Cornwall to host a craft party with Crafts and Giggles, so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to combine work and play!
When looking to book somewhere to stay, I realised our weekend coincided with the Easter Holidays. The prices were sky high, and loads of places in Plozeath were booked up! (What a rooky error!) That’s when I found St Moritz Hotel, and they had the availability. It was a tad out of my price range, but hey why not… work hard, play harder.
We arrived early (check in was 4pm, and we arrived at 1pm) the lady on reception was lovely, and let us check in anyway! The hotel was beautiful. The staff were all beaming with smiles, and so lovely to my little lady. This makes such a difference us.
We had booked a family suite. The room was a good size, clean, beautifully decorated, and practical. It had a pull down bunk-bed but we opted for the travel cot, which was all set up ready for us. We were on the ground floor, and had a mini conservatory type thing that opened onto the hotel grounds, this was lovely extra space.
We off course started the break with some food at their Sea Side Café. It was a pretty special “café” Penny was extremely welcoming and gave our little lady a fab activity pack. We opted for some comfort food, stone baked pizzas. They were pretty good.
That evening we had booked into their Shorecrest Restaurant. It was expensive, but I had the Plaice and it has to be the softest Plaice I have ever eaten. We enjoyed a three course meal, and bubs loved her meal off of their children’s menu. The only thing I think they could include, is more vegetables on the children’s menu. This was definitely lacking. The breakfast was pretty special too!
The hotel has some great facilities for children. In particular a good sized swimming pool, and a children's play room. The toys could do with a little TLC but it is definitely as nice extra. I think the pool was a highlight for bubs!
We loved our stay at St. Moritz Hotel. I think the kindness and attentiveness of the staff made it. It was such a treat to be waited on and taken care off. I would highly recommend it for families looking for some time out.
We decided to celebrate Mother’s Day a week early for my mum this year. We chose The Lime Wood Hotel for lunch, as we went for Mother’s day there the year before, and we really enjoyed it.
A TOUCH OF GLAM, SMILES AND YUMMY FOOD
As soon a we entered the Lime Wood Hotel we were made to feel very welcome. All of the staff were smiling, and were very attentive. As with our last visit they welcomed my little lady with open arms. That is probably the best thing about it. Even though it is a prestigious venue children are made to feel welcome, and it is unpretentious.
We started off with drinks, olives, and nuts by the beautiful bar area. It was very relaxing. We then went through to our table, and enjoyed some delicious food! The Lime Wood highlight the importance of sharing food, and provenance is everything. Well... we did just that! We all shared our food, bringing us all together. My little lady and I enjoyed the bream, and she then went onto try the home cooked vegetables, and everything else in sight.
FISH PONDS, ICE CREAM, AND OVERSIZED SWINGS
Between courses we headed outside into the spring sunshine to see The Lime Wood's grounds in all their glory! My little lady loved the fish ponds, and the oversized swings (as did my hubby!) We felt like we could explore, and let my my two year be just that, a two year old!
We all enjoyed our visit. It is quite expensive...but hey for a special occasion it is fab! I would highly recommend it for families. I will definitely go back for another special occasion.
Check out my vlog below...FOR A taster of the lime wood HOTEL!
Thanks for reading K x
Hi! I am Katie... a new mum trying to balance life, work and a beautiful baby girl! I love to take photos, travel, write, make art, and spend time with my family! xx