Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Just For Tots Week at Butlin's Minehead | Our Thoughts

With myself and Wayne often working opposite shifts, the time we have together as a family is especially important. We decided a few weeks ago to book a last minute break. A holiday where Jack's needs could be catered for - basically a holiday for toddlers. After having a bit of a look around we decided to head to Butlin's Minehead on a Just For Tots break.



Designed for families with children under the age of five, we thought this holiday would be perfect for us and at under £300 for a gold self catering apartment, it was reasonable in price too.

We are from the West Midlands so after a slightly stressful three hour journey with a teething toddler, we arrived. From food and accommodation to play areas and activities there is so much to talk about. I hope you find this helpful in deciding whether a Butlin's holiday is for you.

Accomodation

There are many different accommodation types to choose from when booking a Butlins holiday. From self catering apartments to chalets or rooms, you will need to have a good look at all the options when deciding what is right for you. We opted for a 4 person gold apartment. The apartment itself catered for our needs really well. Whilst a little small in size, it had everything you would need to have a comfortable stay. There was a open plan lounge/kitchen area that came with all the essentials. Butlins even leave plug socket covers which I thought was a lovely additional touch on what is essentially a toddlers holiday. Both bedrooms had lovely storage units with a bathroom that comprised of a shower, sink and toilet with a toddler step available as well. 

On the whole I thought the apartment was lovely. I only had one issue with it - the placement of Jack's cot. We brought Jack's travel cot with us and upon arrival went to the second bedroom to put it up. The problem was that with two single beds already in the room there was nowhere to put it. I physically couldn't fit it in and in the end resorted to removing the bedside tables from our main room, pushing our double bed against the wall and sliding the travel cot in there. Not ideal.

We paid an extra £15 for an apartment with a balcony. This was money well spent for us as the apartments with balconies were right next to the centre of the resort. Our apartment was in the perfect location.

Play Areas

Jack loves being outdoors and specifically loves slides and tunnels. When we stayed at the Butlin's Skegness Resort we were disappointed with the outdoor play area. In Skegness there was a small play area attached to the Sun and Moon Restaurant. I felt this was aimed at older children and didn't really cater for toddlers. I was therefore pleasantly surprised when I saw the several outdoor play areas at Butlin's Minehead.

The two largest play areas were attached to the Sun and Moon Restaurant. Both catered excellently for children of Jack's age. There was slides, wendy houses and tunnels. Jack was in his element. We spent hours in there.








 There was also a smaller play area behind our apartment. I didn't see this until the day before the holiday ended. With a sandy area, it provides a different kind of play experience to the other outdoor areas. 

Jack loved an area that was aimed at slightly older children. This area boasted larger slides for older children and many opportunities for them to climb and explore. Jack loved the numerous tunnels in this area and loved clambering through them.


In the Skyline Pavillion there is also an indoor soft play. Children over 90cm tall have an extremely large play frame to use. Unfortunately Jack is currently only 86cm and was therefore restricted to the toddler area. This area was a lot smaller than it's counterpart in Skegness. The Skegness toddler area had a large play frame and several cars and ball pits. Taking into account the outdoor areas though, the Minehead resort was far superior in providing activities for Jack to enjoy.

Splash Waterworld

One of the things myself and Wayne really wanted to do on holiday was to take Jack swimming. After a failed attempt at baby swimming lessons last summer (Jack was terrified) we really wanted to help Jack overcome his fear of swimming pools. Whilst he doesn't like water going in his eyes, he For some reason though he hates swimming.

Splash Waterworld has several changing areas that you can use. Lockers are available - just remember to bring £1 with you. This is refundable. 

Jack was very upset the first time we took him swimming. The noise and sheer amount of people around was too much for him. He spent the first 15 minutes crying before he saw a slide and decided he liked swimming after all.

There was a lovely shallow area near to the changing rooms. This area had several water tables scattered around. Jack loved pouring water into the various funnels and loved playing with the Butlin's beach balls that were scattered around. Jack loved the water slide and spent ages going on this. 

Later in the week when Jack had developed more confidence we explored other areas of the pool. There was a lovely lazy river that we took Jack in several times. There were waves that started up periodically alongside sprinklers that dropped water on the swimmers below. When I take Jack swimming, I always worry about getting into the pool. There was no need to here as the pool had a beach area meaning that it just sloped down into the water.

Little Tikes Town

Jack loved the Little Tikes area. He has two Little Tikes cars at home and upon seeing this area immediately wanted to go and take a look. Set on a circular track, there was every type of Little Tikes car you could wish for. From fire engines with working hoses to taxis and scooters - Jack struggled to decide what he wanted to go on first.




When we booked the holiday we had read that the Little Tikes Town also included slides and play houses. I knew Jack would love this but couldn't find it in the resort. I only heard about where it was from another blogger when I got home. I feel that this area should have been more clearly marked.

Little Stars Fairground

The large outdoor fairground is perfect for older children, teenagers and adults. As Jack is still very small we didn't really venture into this area and instead opted to have a look around the Little Stars Fairground. An area aimed at under 5s.



With bouncy castles, slides and many other traditional fairground rides, it caters perfectly for Jack's age group. It was extremely busy throughout the day so we headed there as it opened at 9am.
Jack went on both the train ride with me and the aeroplane ride unaccompanied.  He was upset on the rides - I think that him cutting a tooth that very morning didn't help. 

This is an area I am hoping to explore more on our next visit as I feel he will enjoy it a little more when he is a bit older and not teething!

Restaurants and Shops

Initially we were planning to cook most meals within our apartment but inevitably we ended up eating out a few times. Butlin's has plenty of restaurants on site. If you payed for food as part of your holiday package there are restaurants that you can head to. As we were self catering we chose from the outlets on site. There is so many to choose from, that I'm certain there will be something to suit everybody. We ate out at Finnigans and the Sun and Moon Restaurant and received fantastic service at both. The staff were fantastic with Jack and went the extra mile in providing a friendly customer focused service. We also had lovely ice creams at Scoop Ice Cream Parlour.


There is a spar on site that we regularly used, I even managed to get a Costa Hot Chocolate from one of the shops. Other shops were also open including a toy shop that Jack spotted straight away.

Shows

One of the things that attracted me to a break at Butlin's was the shows. Jack loves Bob The Builder, Fireman Sam and Thomas The Tank Engine and they all have shows on during Just For Tots Week. With these character shows lasting between 20-40 minutes they are the perfect length for toddlers. Before we arrived I was concerned that Jack would not enjoy sitting through them but as soon as the music started, his face lit up.


The shows were very professional and were repeated throughout the break ensuring that there was numerous opportunities for you to plan them into your itinerary.  You could also meet the characters and have a photo with them. 

We didn't attend any of the evening shows. The sheer amount of things to do on this break meant come 6pm Jack was very tired and went down for bed at 7pm. He was often still tired in the morning!

Outside of the Resort

If you are staying in a self catering apartment you may need to do a food shop before you arrive. There is a Morrisons and a Tesco supermarket within five minutes of the resort. 
We ventured out of the resort during the latter part of the week. Minehead has lovely beaches that stretch for miles. The beaches were across the road from the resort. We couldn't have hoped for a better location. With a small harbour and lovely cliff walks, I would definitely recommend having a walk around.

We had a fantastic holiday and cannot wait to head back there in October. I honestly believe that it is the perfect holiday for young children. There was so much to do on this holiday. Jack is a very active toddler and runs around all day, I've never seen Jack look as tired out as he did before nap times on this break.



My Petit CanardMummascribbles

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Monday, 25 April 2016

Review | Mr Big Tops - Subscription Box | Sweets By Post

In the evening when Jack is tucked up in bed, you can often find me sitting on the sofa, watching television, eating something delicious that wouldn't be included on any diet plan. I have an incredibly sweet tooth. As a child I used to spend my pocket money at the Woolworths Pick 'n Mix. I would fill up a gigantic cup of sweets right to the very top before trying to squeeze the lid on. This sweet tooth has remained with me every since.

Taking into account my love of all things sweet, you can imagine my excitement when I was offered the opportunity to review a sweet subscription box from Mr. Big Tops.

A sweet subscription box? You heard that correctly!





Mr. Big Tops is a sweets by post service. From sweet jars to personalised gifts, they have something for everybody. Selling a mixture of retro cool candy and old fashioned treats, you can reminisce and find those sweets that you loved as a child. I love how easy the website is to use. You can search by category ensuring you select the perfect product for you. Many products allow you to customise so you can go online and pick your favourites!


I was sent a sweet subscription box to review. Available to purchase as a twice weekly, weekly, fortnightly or monthly box, there is flexibility in how many boxes you receive every month. With over 100 sweets to choose from, you just have to pick your favourite six. Mr. Big Tops will do the rest.



Arriving by Royal Mail, the box was actually delivered whilst I was out as it fit through my letterbox! Made to fit through standard letterboxes, the box comprised of push and pull lids that could be undone one by one in the style of an advent calendar. If you just cannot wait (like me) you can open all the windows to take a look at your sweets.



When the box arrived, I felt immediately that I was receiving a product where every bit of attention had been placed on detail. The packaging is eye catching and can be recycled once used. I love how there are separate tabs allowing you to just pick out one type of sweet to eat at a time.

I received Clotted Cream Fudge, Fruit Caramel, Jelly Beans, Milk Chocolate Mice, Pear Drops and Watermelon Slices in my box. Alongside this there was a Strawberry Flavoured Fizz Wiz and a Wham Original bar. I honestly ate around three of the packets within the first 30 minutes of receiving the box. The temptation was too strong!

Prices range from £3.99 for a twice weekly box to £5.49 for a monthly box. Perfect for a treat, I really love the originality of this concept. I found so many sweets on the website that would be hard to find otherwise and have already been looking at making a purchase.

*Disclaimer - I was sent this item to review. All opinions are my own.

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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Little Bunnies Skincare Range | Review

Children's skin is delicate and it is important that as parents we are careful about what we apply to it. Jack has ezcema and whilst it currently is not at it's most severe, I always take great care when picking products to use at bathtime.

This month I was kindly sent two items to review from the  Little Bunnies new range. I was sent Daisy's Natural Baby Lotion 250ml which retails at £6.99 and Baby Bow's Natural Baby Wash and Shampoo which also retails at £6.99.





Little Bunnies goal is to create safe and natural toiletries for babies and children without using any fragrances or toxic chemicals. They aim is to create products that could be used by everyonne, including children with dry,itchy and sensitive skin. Currently their range includes a skincare range and a haircare range. 

I really liked the baby wash and shampoo. Made with natural ingredients including chamomile and calendula, I found that this really helped moisturise Jack's skin. Jack eczema makes him itch a lot, both products have helped with this. Jack loved the bubbles! Ir was really helpful to have a baby wash that could also be used as a shampoo. The less products I use the better!

The baby lotion contains jojoba seed oil, sunflower seed oil and aloe vera. This left his skin feeling really soft and really helped soothe the irritation of those dry patches. I really loved both products and wouldn't hesitate to purchase them in the future.  

*Disclaimer - I was sent these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.


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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

You are Two

I officially have a 2 year old. I cannot believe that it has been two years since I have had you. I cannot remember my life without you in it. I may have had more lie ins and free time before you arrived but I did not have half the laughter and fun that I do now. 



You are a beautiful young boy who has so much love to share. You run around from the moment you wake until the moment your head hits the pillow at night. Even then you would prefer to be awake!

You love to play and day by day are learning so many new things. Doing new things is scary for you with you often clinging to me at these times. Thing is you usually love them once you have tried them.

Blonde with striking blue eyes, you look so different to the newborn baby that I couldn't stop staring at two years ago. You looked just like your dad. Finally I can see myself in you. 




I'm so proud of you. Even on those days where nothing is good enough and you whinge and moan from morning until night, I love you. I always will.



Pink Pear Bear
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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Things I Have Loved In March


Essentially a March Favourites post, I thought I would look back on all the things I loved during the month of March.




The skincare item I have loved using.... Soap and Glory Hand Food

I really suffer with dry hands. Working in retail with copious amounts of cardboard has really had an effect on my skin. They are dry throughout the year and at their worst in Winter. I often stock up on Soap and Glory products in the run up to Christmas when Boot's tend to put a gift pack of them on special offer. I therefore have a few Soap and Glory Hand Food tubes stashed away. Containing shea butter, macademia oil and marshmallow, the cream smells lovely and is not at all greasy.


The Shower Cream I have loved using... Imperial Leather Comforting Marshmallow

In my February Favourites post, my favourite shower cream was Lush's Snow Fairy. I obviously love sweet smells as this month I have been loving the Imperial Leather Comforting Marshmallow Shower Cream. With a slightly less sweet smell than Snow Fairy,  the marshmallow scent is something I love.

The app I have loved using... Spotify

Jack loves dancing to music. I have the Spotify premium service and always put the app on in the afternoons. I give Jack some musical instruments and let him dance away. You can browse playlists, create them and even download music so you can listen to when offline (super useful in the car.)

The drink I have loved drinking... Cherry Coke

I love Cherry Coke. Out of all the fizzy drinks available, that is one I always reach for first.

The Youtuber I have loved watching... Claire Witt from The Witt Family

As always, I have really enjoyed various YouTube channels this month. For those of you that don't know, I have recently started my own channel.

This month I have really enjoyed watching vlogger and mother of two Claire Witt. She daily vlogged throughout the month of April which takes some doing. I struggle to keep up with 2/3 videos per week so really respect vloggers that publish daily videos especially when they are as good as hers. She is down to earth and makes fantastic videos. Take a look!

The Lush product I have loved using... Butterbear

I'm still working my way through my Christmas gifts from Lush. I have used a few of the butterbears this month. They may not be the most exciting Lush product to watch in the bath but their vanilla scent is lovely.


What were your favourites in March? Let me know so I can give some of them a try.

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Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review: Zoflora Concentrated Disinfectant

People who know me are aware of how difficult I find it to keep on top all of the jobs that need doing around the house. Working night-shifts part-time, being a stay at home mom Monday to Friday with Jack and keeping on top of everything else is a mammoth task. It honestly seems never ending!

I was recently asked to review some Zoflora Concentrated Disinfectant. Whilst it's difficult keeping up with all the housework, it's important that the house is kept as free of germs as possible. Happy to put it through it's paces, I was more than willing to give it a go!



What is Zoflora Disinfectant?

Zoflora disinfectant is a concentrated disinfectant with a 3 in 1 action. It kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, eliminates odours and leaves your house looking clean and smelling fantastic all day. A 120ml bottle of Zoflora disinfectant can make 4.8 litres of water when diluted which means a small bottle will last a long time.

Using it in the home

I was sent two bottles of Zoflora to review, one in the fragrance Linen Fresh and the other in the fragrance Winter Morning. I had seen Zoflora being sold in the supermarkets and had not really considered using it as a disinfectant in my home. If only I had realised the many ways that it could be used!

Zoflora can be used in a variety of ways. An easy to use disinfectant, you just add it to water in a trigger spray or bucket and then start cleaning. You can also use it neat down plug holes, drains and toilets.

There are a few ways I used Zoflora:

I used it to clean the wooden floors on the ground floor of my house. With a toddler running around and a pram being pushed in and out, it's crucial that the floors are not only clean but as hygienic as possible. I just added a capful of Zoflora to a bucket and started disinfecting. It left my floors looking the best they had ever done!

I used it to clean the bathroom. I diluted the Zoflora and wiped down the sink, taps, surfaces and the bath. I then used it neat down the toilet.

Bins harbour a lot of bacteria and germs. With all the rubbish in there, they don't emit the best of odours. I used Zoflora to clean my bin to leave it smelling far more pleasant.

I put Zoflora into a trigger spray and used it on work surfaces throughout the house. I used it on the kitchen work surfaces. Food is prepared here so it is important that this area is kept disinfected. I also used it on my television remotes. You often hear about how many germs they hold but don't always give them enough attention when cleaning.

I really liked Zoflora. I love the fragrances I was sent and after further research have found that there are a lot of other scents available.

Whilst I'll never know just what bacteria and viruses a house harbours, using a concentrated disinfectant makes me feel much more confident that I am removing germs from my house and doing everything that I can to keep it as hygienic and clean as possible. This can only be a positive thing with a toddler around.

*DISCLAIMER - I was sent this product for purposes of this review. All views and opinions are honest and my own.
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