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**This was not a review/press trip -  we paid to go to Atlantica Oasis ourselves, but I thought I'd tell you a bit about the hotel that we stayed at for anyone who might be interested. :)


A few weeks ago we took a family holiday to Cyprus - somewhere that we'd never been before and we ended up having a bit of a bittersweet holiday. Bitter because we'd gone with my Adam's parents and his Grandad and his partner and on the very first day Adam's Grandad partner fell at the resort and ended up breaking her hip. It's bad enough for that to happen at all, let alone on your first day of a holiday that you've been looking forward to and in a foreign country. We all felt so sorry and awful for her and Adam's Grandad. 

Fortunately, their insurance was absolutely brilliant and looked after them really well. Her operation went successfully and the insurance covered everything, even things like taxi's and another (nearly) two weeks stay in another hotel when she wasn't able to fly home with us. And whilst of course, it wasn't the holiday that we'd all planned on having, we tried to make the most of it safe in the knowledge that Maureen was being taken care of.  


ATLANTICA OASIS / THE KIDS POOL AREA
We stayed at a hotel in Cyprus called Atlantica Oasis in Limassol and the hotel itself was really nice. We especially really liked the children's pool area because the water was so shallow that we didn't really need to worry about the boys as much as we would have hasd to next to the deeper swimming pool. 

We all spent hours around and in the children's pool where there was a big pirate ship with two fun slides coming off it. There were also fun sprinklers in the pool and a pole with several colourful buckets hanging off it which took turns to fill up and tip over down onto whoever was below and into the pool. The boys loved it and it was great because it meant there was somewhere that they could make friends and play with the other children on holiday too. 




We bought a few floats for the pool there as there was a convenient reasonably priced shop in the hotel itself. 



In between being in the pool, the boys enjoyed relaxing in the shade on the sunbeds. We took lots of activities for them to do whilst on the plane there and back and also at the hotel itself and these came in so handy! The boys were kept so well entertained and the flights went so smoothly. You can have a look at what we took in terms of travel entertainment for the kids here.

OUR ROOM / THE HOTEL 
To be honest, our room at the hotel wasn't quite what we were expecting as we'd paid for a family room to fit the four of us, but the room, in my opinion, wasn't really fit for four people, as it would have meant the boys sharing a sofa bed that could only fit one single and one half of a pillow. I didn't take any photos of it I'm afraid, but we were also given interconnecting rooms with my in-laws which we also hadn't requested. I did think about speaking to a member of the TUI staff but in the end, we made it work by having one of the boys sleep in with their Grandparents on their sofa bed in their room. In a way that worked out better as Logan usually wakes up quite early and so it meant that he wasn't then waking Ethan up. But it's definitely reminded me to double check what we're paying for room-wise next time that we book somewhere to stay. 

The hotel itself was really clean, very modern and I really liked it. The staff on reception could have been a bit friendly at times, but the restaurant staff were always super friendly and welcoming. There were quite a few cats around and the guests seemed to be leaving out water and food (including ourselves) for them. I liked that there was a kids pool area for the children and families to go to if they wished to, a main pool area that everyone could go to and then also an adults only area with a adults-only pool and a very trendy, super modern bar (where they would serve drinks in glasses during the day as well as at night and where they offered a special cocktail daily on top of the others that you could ask for. There was also live music in the adults only bar in the evenings apparently. 


THE FOOD / RESTAURANTS 
Food-wise there was lots to choose from and we had plenty of choice as vegetarians. Breakfast was a buffet and there was a huge variety, from cereal to cooked breakfast, to fruit, cheeses, different loaves of bread and more. At lunchtime, we could eat in the restaurant if we wanted to and choose from a huge buffet of different food. Alternatively, we could eat at the cafe and have sandwiches, cake, tea, coffee, fruit and more. We could also have as much ice cream and drinks (including alcoholic) as we liked all day long. At dinner, we would change into some smarter clothes after a shower and head to the main restaurant where there would be different food from earlier that day. The food wasn't as nice as other places I've eaten at when on holiday, but it was still lovely and enjoyable and we were always spoilt for choice. The chefs were also super accommodating and one night they happily cooked up a pizza for the boys as the pizza that was out contained meat. They were always very friendly and happy to answer any questions. 


Another thing I liked about the restaurant at Atlantica Oasis was that they had lots of alternatives out, so, for example, there was a variety of dairy milk alternatives to choose from for those that didn't drink cows milk. There was also a kids corner section at the right height for children to help themselves which I liked and there was also a section clearly labelled as the vegetarian section where there were different choices of meat-free dishes available daily. 

You could also book special meals (which were included in your stay) so for example, we booked an a la carte meal where we got to eat outside (which was lovely) and order from a dedicated menu. Another time we booked an Italian and for that, we went over to the sister hotel to have it which again was really lovely as otherwise we probably wouldn't have gone over there and found out that they had a really great playground for the kids. 










THE OTHER POOLS
The other pools at the hotel were great too, there was the main pool (30 seconds away from the kids' pool area) which was really large and went underneath a bridge that you could walk across to get to the other side of the pool. There was also an adults-only pool which looked really nice, but obviously, we didn't use this pool and then there was an indoor pool which we really liked too. It was mostly quite quiet in the indoor pool as most people were outside, so it was nice to go and have a bit of a quiet break from everything when we wanted to. The boys loved practising their swimming in there. The indoor pool is located next to the gym and there's also a beauty/spa area too and a sauna that's available on request. 


THE EVENING ENTERTAINMENT
The evening entertainment was absolutely brilliant and I'm not usually one for evening entertainment. I would have to say it was my favourite of any holiday we've been on. There was always a kids disco on, followed by Bingo which everyone loved getting involved in. We actually won 217 euros on our first night (not bad for the fact that I'd never played Bingo before!). And then after the Bingo there were some really fun shows on, my favourites were The Greatest Showman dance tribute and also the comedian/magician, he was absolutely brilliant and I was thrilled to have got to have gone up on stage with him and be part of his act. We didn't get to see it sadly as we had very tired boys, but my in-laws said that there was a fire show on one of the nights that was amazing too! 


THE LOCAL AREA
There are a few things you can do outside the resort too and the TUI reps tell you how you can go about booking these at the meeting you can attend on the first morning. We were planning on going on quad bikes around Limassol as my Mother In Law didn't fancy it and so offered to look after the boys whilst we went, but sadly I picked up a bladder infection whilst there and so didn't fancy it after that, so my Husband and his Dad went and they said it was really good and a great way to see the area. 

Another thing that we did was to go into Limassol one of the days we were there. We took the bus which was only about 5/10 minutes walk from the hotel and only cost us just a few euros and we headed into the town. Where we got off of the bus was really lovely - it was right next to a children's park and on the promenade. It was all so scenic and a lovely place to stop for a while and take some photos.





As we headed up the promenade we decided to stop and get a drink and some snacks, we stopped just by a small marina and sat there for a for an hour or so relaxing whilst the boys coloured in and played the Switch for a while. 


After we'd finished our drinks we headed over to Limassol Castle, which was such an interesting place to explore. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside is well worth exploring. It's not huge, but it's also not expensive. My favourite part was the crypts! 




We wandered around Limassol for a bit after that and I found it so interesting. I am starting to realise that I am far more fond of exploring than I am of just pure relaxing on holiday. We came across this cathedral which we wanted to go and have a look inside of, but this was the point that I realised I had a bladder infection and we were all very hot and sweaty, so we decided to head back to the resort. 



We came across this cafe with this really nice outside seating area in Limassol and I thought it looked so pretty. I would definitely liked to have explored a little more. 

It's hard to sum up our holiday because it wasn't exactly what we had hoped for and had planned, but on the other hand there were so many lovely moments and things that went perfectly and writing this has reminded me of that. It's just such a shame that we didn't get to enjoy Cyprus with the boys Great-Grandad and his partner, but I think that we made the most of it as much as we could and we've still managed to come home with some lovely holiday memories. 


Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo
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I'm starting to realise that my views on camping holidays may be slightly outdated. In my head when I hear camping, I automatically think of a tent in the middle of a (probably muddy) field in the UK, in the middle of nowhere, with no amenities, no signal and no form of entertainment other than the board games and football that you might bring yourself. God only knows where this idea of mine has come from, because as I have learnt very recently, camping is not like that whatsoever. 



I mean, I guess it can be, if that's what you're looking for in a camping experience. But it doesn't just have to be that. A few weeks ago an email arrived in my inbox from Yelloh! Village, a company who offer campsites in France, Spain and Portugal (not just the UK like I thought then!) and after just a quick glance at their website I soon discovered that there's so much more to camping holidays than I realised.

I'm not sure if I'm alone if my outdated view of camping holidays, but if I'm not the only one, I thought I'd share some of the things that I've discovered recently about camping trips that have made me think about booking one myself for our next family holiday.. 

1. Camping holidays can be taken in some of the most lovely regions - There are so many lovely locations in the UK that you can camp at, but you can also choose to camp in countries such as France, Spain, Portugal and more. In my head, I always think of staying in the UK when I hear camping, but the world is your oyster when it comes to camping and if you're looking for a sunny holiday in a hot country you don't have to miss out if you do opt to camp!

2. Some campsites have full-blown water parks attached to them - For us, especially so with very young children, what makes a holiday is a pool area or access to a water park as the boys can spend hours having lots of fun playing in the water on holiday. Campsites like some of those offered by Yelloh ! Village have water parks attached to them which I think is absolutely amazing and something that I would never have expected before. They even offer aquatic games areas with mini water slides too for the younger children and toddlers, so nobody has to miss out on the fun!

3. Some campsites offer children's clubs - where the children can make new friends, play games and take part in activities! My boys would love this!

4. You can expect to find evening entertainment at certain campsites too - It's not just board games and kicking a football around, Yelloh ! Village say that when the day ends at some of their campsites, their village comes alive with musical shows, real living pictures, cabaret evenings, variety shows, karaoke and dance shows.

5. You don't have to opt to sleep in a tent if you don't want to - If sleeping under a tent doesn't sound like it's for you then you don't have to. You can opt to stay in the premium area of certain campsites and sleep in accommodation such as cottages, chalets, lodges, tree houses and yurts. Or if you still want the camping experience but you like your comforts then you can even opt for furnished tents! 

So there you have it, five things that have completely changed my view on camping! Have you ever been on a camping holiday? If so, what surprised you the most about it? If you haven't been before, would you like to?

**Collaborative post with Yelloh ! Village, all views and words are my own.

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo
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** Collaborative post with Carex.**

It's funny, I only noticed how many bottles of Carex handwash that we have in our home after Carex
emailed me to see if we'd be interested in collaborating with them to help them promote their new Merlin half price entry offer. Apparently, I've become quite a loyal customer of theirs as we have their hand soap next to every sink in our home - I clearly tend to naturally choose their hand soap to help protect our family and keep our hands clean!



Half price entry into Alton Towers, SEA LIFE centres and Warwick Castle
If you haven't already seen, then on all new Carex handwash bottles you will notice that they have
partnered with Merlin attractions and together they are offering quite an amazing deal - Families can visit either Alton Towers, SEA LIFE centres or Warwick Castle for half price simply by taking full or empty bottles of Carex handwash along with them. Each family member can take advantage of this offer, as long as each member has a bottle of Carex with them.

So what happens to the bottles of Carex?
Well, empty packs will be recycled and full packs will be donated to charity! (Which aside from how good the savings on attractions are with this offer, I personally really love about this whole campaign!). You can pick up bottles of Carex handwash from most supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda

We've been talking a lot recently about taking our boys to Alton Towers for the first time as it's somewhere that both Adam and I love, so this offer will be absolutely perfect for us - allowing us to have a fun, affordable day out!

You can read more about Carex's Merlin half price offer, including the T&C's


GIVEAWAY - WIN a family day pass ticket to any SEA LIFE centre!
To celebrate the amazing offer and partnership between Carex and Merlin attractions, Carex have very kindly given me 5 family day pass tickets to any SEA LIFE centre to giveaway to five of my readers so that you can go and enjoy a day out with your families! The day passes cover 2 adults and 2 children and there are 5 of these tickets to be won! So I'll be drawing 5 winners!

To enter this exciting giveaway all you need to do is to follow and use the Rafflecopter form which I've embedded below. Five winners will be chosen and notified by email shortly after the closing date which is 8th July 2019. Good luck!

(A SEA LIFE Family Day Pass allows you and your family to visit any SEA LIFE centre in the UK for free for the day! Must be redeemed by 31st December 2019. For full T&C’s please visit https://www.visitsealife.com/terms-and-conditions/).

 You can read my blog's giveaway T&C's here - http://www.bump-to-baby.com/giveaways.



Thank you for reading.
Alex xo
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In an ideal world, we'd all like the rooms in our homes to look and feel modern, fresh and clear, but sometimes a lack of time, energy and money get in the way and some rooms can end up feeling a little tired and outdated. Today I want to share a few easy and inexpensive ideas with you that can help make tired, outdated rooms feel instantly refreshed! 


1. Start with a clear out - Go through drawers, cupboards, wardrobes and assess what you actually need and want to keep. As Marie Kondo says - keep only the things that 'spark joy' in you or in the room and consider donating or recycling the things that no longer do. 

2. Upcycle tired-looking furniture - So your beside cabinets might look tired and dated, but you might be amazed what a lick of paint could do! Have a look around your home and see if there's any furniture that you could upcycle to give it a bit more life. Remember that you can change handles and door knobs too quite easily and inexpensively.

3. Whilst we're on the subject of paint - are there any rooms in your home that could benefit from a fresh coat of paint? It might sound boring, but I personally love to paint the room's in our home off-white colours as I feel that it really helps to open up the room, bring in more light and make it feel bigger than it is. 

4. Accessorise - You can accessorise rooms with colourful prints, ornaments, plants, mirrors and more to bring an instant bit of character to them. Lionshome, the online interior design experts, have many different ideas for home accessories to help bring a room to life and add some character and personality.

5. Bring the outside inside - Indoor plants always help to make a room feel fresh and modern. They are inexpensive to pick up and you can buy some lovely plant pots for them too. If you're somebody that works from home multiple hours a day like me, adding plants to your home office or to the room that you work from, will also benefit your mental well being too.  

6. Add some flowers - You can pick up fresh flowers in most supermarkets for under £5 and these can be an instant way to brighten up a room. Choosing tulips and daffodils in Spring is a lovely way to bring the season inside and these are usually really inexpensive flowers to choose. Artificial flowers work well too and can really add a nice pop of colour to a space that might be lacking that 'something'.


7. Hang some prints - If you've got a large blank wall, fill it with prints that represent you, your family and your home. I have quite a few posts here on my blog about how we use prints in our home if you'd like to take a look. 

I hope these tips have been useful. Happy updating! 

*Written in collaboration with Lionshome, all views and words are my own. 

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo
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*Collaborative post 

As any Potterhead knows, there is only one real difference between Muggles and wizards: the magical gene.
Spell-casting can be taught, of course, but only people born into magic can make it work. And that simply isn’t Muggles, no matter how much they’d like to become wizards. It’s all a little bit sad, isn’t it? It also leads to some unfortunate consequences…


Muggles can’t attend Hogwarts
Every Harry Potter fan that has patiently sat at home, waiting for an owl to deliver a Hogwarts letter knows the disappointment that being a Muggle brings. For those born without the special magical gene, there will be no feasts in the Great Hall, dances, Triwizard Tournaments or Quidditch, and the wonders of the Hogwarts Castle will never be ripe for exploration, at least not as a resident. A studio tour could bring some of the magic to life, however, especially if you go online and get more information before you book.
Can you imagine how upsetting it would be never to know the fun of lounging in your house’s common room? Not to mention never seeing all the portraits move and talk to you while you flit from your potions to defence against the dark arts classes. Maybe that’s why Dudley Dursley is always so mean to Harry: jealousy!
There are other magical schools other than Hogwarts, but the principle is the same – only magical folk can attend or teach there.
The Muggle and wizarding worlds are kept separate
The segregation between Muggles and wizards is so extreme that each has a separate world. The wizarding world is hidden, invisible to Muggles. And in the Muggle world, magic is covered up, with Muggle memories wiped of magical activity. Unless Muggles have a magical relative, they are unlikely ever to know their mystical counterparts even exist.
Watching the films, it’s fascinating to see how wizard spaces are hidden in plain sight. From Diagon Alley behind a few taps on a wall to the Black house squished between others in a terrace, Muggles and wizards are always tantalisingly close, but rarely interact. But the Ministry of Magic takes things to a whole new level.
Accessed via telephone boxes in the Muggle world, the Ministry governs the entire wizarding world with departments including education, legal and even Muggle research. The Ministry is where most wizards work when they leave Hogwarts, depending on the career they have chosen, and it’s also where all trials take place, down in the basement.
Some wizards can be snobby about Muggles
The foundation of prejudice is usually a fear of the unknown or people who don’t have shared life experiences, and in the Harry Potter stories, Muggles and wizards are frequently at odds with each other. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, such as Mr Weasley, who find Muggles fascinating, in a good way, but I’ll get to them shortly.
Some wizards believe being a Muggle is a disadvantage in life. They are actively snide and unpleasant about non-magical folk, using them as an excuse to create some kind of blood hierarchy in the magical world.
Muggles are seen as curiosities by some wizards
The more kindly wizards have a fondness for Muggles – possibly none more so than Ron Weasley’s father, Arthur, a pure-blood wizard who would love to see Muggles and magical folk as equals. Working in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office, he spends his time fascinated by everyday objects of the non-magical world, as well as the people that use them. When Ron and Hermione become friends, he is able to ask her plenty of questions to get a more rounded idea of what makes Muggles tick.
In the pure-blood wizarding community, though, Arthur is rare. Some just avoid and distrust Muggles, thinking them dirty, second-class humans; others, like Voldemort and his Death Eaters, would happily see Muggles wiped from existence. When Voldemort is finally defeated, this attitude lifts, and tolerance and harmony return.
So, while there is only one specific difference between Muggles and wizards, it creates a huge divide. There are probably times when some wizards would like to live a non-magical life, but it’s more likely that non-magical folk are a little jealous of their conjuring counterparts.

Just look at Harry’s mum and her sister, Petunia Dursley. Her envy leads to Harry being treated appallingly while in her care. If only she could have mustered a little magic!

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If you're looking for ideas to keep your little one/s entertained during car travel or a flight then I hope you will have found yourself in the right place. My boys are 6 and very nearly 4 and tomorrow we leave for a family holiday to Cyprus for a week (I can't wait!). 

The last time I took my boys on a plane, the journey didn't go particularly smoothly and my youngest who was quite young at the time (around 2) screamed during most of the flight (he hated having his seat belt on for some reason). Thankfully we had very patient and understanding passengers around us so that helped a lot. I think a lot of it was his young age, it's difficult for a toddler to sit on a plane for hours. So we expect that this time around things *hopefully* will be a lot smoother now that he is very nearly 4. We've also made sure that we've stocked up on things to keep both of our boys entertained during the journey. We've got activity books and little toys that they haven't seen before to keep them busy and we'll be taking lots of snacks and a few treats with us to for lots of distraction. 


I wanted to share what we're taking with us in he boys carry on cases just to give anyone else that might be planning a family holiday a few ideas of what sort of things you could take with you to keep your little ones entertained whilst you travel. 


The boys' carry cases are both Trunki's - if you haven't seen these before then they are quite cool little cases that come in many different themes. (We have a blue one and also a police trunki for our boys). They are the perfect size for hand luggage and children can sit on them and be pulled along, to save tired legs in the airport and for lots of fun, or they can scoot themselves along on them with their legs whilst sitting on the top. 

Inside of each of their Trunki's we've packed the following..
  • A spare change of clothes
  • 1 x hoody for if they get chilly
  • Spare socks and spare pants in case of accidents
  • Their sunglasses for when we get off of the plane
  • Their headphones for use with the iPad
  • Snacks - things like BEAR snacks, raisins, crisps, breakfast biscuits, brioches, breakfast bars, a pack of love hearts. They'll also have a sandwich and fresh fruit cut up in a tub (I'll do this the evening before and just take them out of the fridge in the morning). 
  • A plastic bottle/cup (we take a small Squash'd Robinsons that's the perfect size for getting through airport security and then we'll buy water on the other side of security, so that we can make the kids drinks up.  


Entertainment wise we have packed the following in each Trunki..

  • The iPad pre-loaded with games, films and TV shows. I recently discovered that iPlayer Kids lets you download any Cbeebies programme and you can then watch the shows offline. We also download movies/shows onto the Sky Q app at home and then we can watch them offline too. 
  • A Pokemon ultimate colouring book - bought from Amazon
  • Orchard Toys Things To Do Sticker Activity Book (we love Orchard Toys and this looks really good especially for the boys' ages) - bought from Amazon
  • A magic Wiggly Worm (I saw this in Primark for £1 and thought it would be something the boys would love),
  • Mighty Beanz suprise (from John Lewis for a few pounds)
  • Plasticine (£1 from John Lewis)
  • Galt Velvet Pictures - bought from Amazon
  • Toy Story stationery pack - £7 from Primark 
  • Crayola Ultra Clean washable colouring pens - bought from Amazon
On top of this the boys will probably choose some other things that they enjoy playing with to take with them and we will put their favourite cuddly teddies in there too. 



I'm also packing these little drawstring bags (below) inside of their Trunkis - these are smaller than regular drawstring bags but they are a great size for carrying little bits in, so they'll be perfect for the boys to take some of their entertainment bits to dinner in when we are on holiday and I'll also be able to hand them the drawstring bag full of some of the bits we've got for them for the plane when they sit down in their seats. 


I'll also have things like the squash I mentioned above, calpol satchets, wipes and antibacterial hand gel in my own carry on case for the boys. 


I hope that this post has been helpful if you're wondering what to take with you in your little one/s hand luggage/carry on case when you travel. :)

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo
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Disclosure: We were invited to Bluestone in exchange for an honest blog post & supporting social posts but all opinions shared are, as always, entirely my own.

We've been fortunate to have been kindly invited to Bluestone Wales twice now. Our first time at Bluestone was when I was heavily pregnant with my second Son Logan, so just over 4 years ago now and the second time was a couple of weeks ago when we returned this time with both of the boys. 

If I was going to sum up how I feel about Bluestone, I'd have to tell you first of how both times I have returned home a more chilled version of myself. Despite all of the many activities and exploring that you can do at Bluestone and at the places surrounding Bluestone itself, I find that there's such a relaxed vibe at Bluestone and the accommodation (the lodges) help to massively encourage that vibe.


What I love most about the lodges, is that they really feel like a home away from home. I'm a Mummy to two young children and as lovely as staying in hotels is, I generally find myself feeling on edge a lot as I worry that my boys might be making too much noise and disturbing others. This, however, isn't something I worry about at Bluestone, the lodge we've stayed in both times has been detached and we've even had our own grass and bench area outside so that if the weather is nice we can't sit out there with a drink or dinner whilst the boys scoot up and down the path that leads up to our lodge door. There's an open plan kitchen, a dining table, a living room area with sofas and a TV. The bedrooms have enough space for us to sleep and for the suitcases to be kept out of the way. It all feels very homely and on both occasions we've been fortunate enough to have had the most amazing views from our lodge - sitting there in the evening watching the sun go down is just amazing. 

There's so much to do at Bluestone itself, they're known for their free-range fun and it's honestly so true. There's a whole list of daily activities and entertainment you can get involved with and they have the most amazing swimming pool and water park called The Blue Lagoon where there are some seriously fun slides, a lazy river, jets, a fun section for babies and toddlers, a section where there's a pirate ship for the kids to play on and our favourite part - the wave pool which is SO much fun! The only reason we ever leave The Blue Lagoon is when our skin starts to shrivel up from being in the water for too long! 


Bluestone also has such fantastic indoor and outdoor play areas. The play park located outside is right in the centre of Bluestone in the village area which is just by the shops and their own restaurants. This is amazing, especially so during the warmer weather, as it means that you can sit outside having dinner or a drink and see your children playing in the play area right in front of you. 

The indoor play centre is incredible - my boys played for hours in there as there's so much to go on asides from just the giant activity centre, including a bouncy castle and little trikes that they can hop on and off of. There's also free crazy golf which is something the whole family can get involved with! 



At Bluestone you can do things like hire bikes and follow bike trails, there's the option to do some kayaking, paddleboarding, raft-building and coracle racing. There's a tournament field when you can have a go on the shooting and throwing range. There are some amazing woodland walks not to be missed and also the opportunity to have a go on High Ropes, Zip Wires or Tree Climbing. Inside the activity centre, the children can have a go at indoor rock climbing and sky trails. Children can also get involved with being a Bluestone Ranger where they get to further explore the magic of nature, discover exciting wildlife, making new friends and learning new skills. Some of these activities incur extra cost, but the many options are there.


On both occasions that we've visited Bluestone, we've explored the surrounding area too. I can totally recommend a few nearby places like Folly Farm (which we visited last time we were there), Tenby Beach (which is SUCH a pretty beach town to visit) and Pembroke Castle (for anyone who also loves their history and castles). 

Tenby Beach
Pembroke Castle

Bluestone is the sort of place that is hard to sum up in one blog post, I've always thought that it's the sort of place that you need to visit yourself to really understand how amazing it is there. We've visited both times with the boys' Grandparents (my in-laws) and I have to say that it is the perfect place to go with family or close friends. The lodges are all different sizes so can accommodate different size families/parties and because of how much there is to do there, there honestly is something for everyone. And because of this, I honestly don't think there's a perfect age to take your children, you could go with them at any age and have the most incredible time and then go back a few years later and again have an incredible time doing different experiences. 

Bluestone Wales is somewhere that I hear a lot of people sing high praises about and I can safely say that we are those people too. I know that we'll be back again in the future, it's a place that captures your heart and makes you sad when you leave! 

Some top tips for a trip to Bluestone


  • My top tips for visiting Bluestone are to go with family/friends if you want to or can as it's the perfect place for a get together/family holiday.
  • I'd also advise hiring a buggy to get around Bluestone in as Bluestone is HUGE and it saves for having tired legs. The buggies, in my opinion, could perhaps be a little cheaper (we paid £95 for the 4 days we were there), but even so, it was worth having. 



  • I'd also advise doing a click and collect grocery order before you arrive (if you want to be super organised). There is a village shop at Bluestone, but I personally found it so easy to order what I wanted before we arrived and have it picked, packed and ready to collect from the nearby Tesco there. There's a fridge and a small freezer so you can order a few chilled and frozen items and have them in your lodge for any nights that you might like to eat in. 

  • A trip to Tenby beach is definitely another recommendation of mine, especially so if the weather is nice, it's not to be missed. 

  • I'd also advise maybe upgrading the WiFI in your lodge. We found that it was quite slow and so instead, we used our 4G. There is an upgrade option for a small cost, so if you don't have a great amount of mobile data then it might be worth doing that.

  • We found personally that because of how much there is to do and see at Bluestone and in the surrounding area, we easily could have stayed for longer than four nights. Of course, ideal holiday lengths are different for everyone and it's just our personal opinion, but we'd easily have filled our time during a 7-night trip and that really is a testament to Bluestone themselves. 

If you'd like to find out more about Bluestone Wales and the cost of their holidays then please visit: bluestonewales.com. There's a video embedded at the bottom of this post showing a tour of our lodge and some of our favourite trip highlights if you'd like to have a look at that too. But finally, I'll leave you with a few more of our favourite photos from our time away in Wales. 

* A huge thank you to Bluestone Wales for inviting us on this trip in return for an honest blog post and social posts. We can't wait to return in the future! 





Take a look at our video to see what else we got up to during our trip to Bluestone:

BLUESTONE WALES - LODGE TOUR & SOME TRIP MEMORIES | GIFTED STAY | Alex Gladwin - YouTube

Thank you for reading. 
  Alex xo

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Summer is almost here and while for many that can mean surfing and soaking up the sun on sandy beaches, for others it can mean sunburns and relentless sweating. Not everyone was built to withstand the summer heat. And the good news is, we don’t all have to. 
If you are not a fan of hot weather, there are plenty of spring destinations across Europe where you can enjoy an amazing travel experience. Below are just a few that I currently have in my travel list. 

  1. Fjord Norway
The Norwegian fjords are indeed a stunning sight to behold. While there are more than a thousand fjords, the most iconic are located in Fjord Norway. These include the Geirangerfjord, the Nærøyfjord, the Lysefjord, the Sognafjord, and many more others.
The fjords are amongst Norway’s most popular attractions and draw visitors from all across the world. These magnificent waterways are an extension of the sea and are often intertwined, allowing sailors to cross from one fjord to another. 
The fjords pass through massive cliffs providing boat riders with an awe-inspiring scenery. Additionally, there are great hiking trails along the fjords, and the region is easy to explore both on your own and through guided tours. In Alesund, the art nouveau town, you can indulge in different activities for Easter with kids. 
  1. Crete, Greece
Warmth, sunshine, crystal clear sea... Crete is lovely in spring. The coastal town is one of Europe’s hot places in April and offers lots of attractions and activities. You can hike along the coastline or enjoy a swim. Popular spring sea activities in Crete include surfing, parasailing, snorkelling, kayaking, and yachting. 
There is plenty of sightseeing in Crete. You can visit the Palace of Knossos and the Heraklion Archaeological Museum or go shopping in the boutique-lined boulevards of Agios Nikolaos. When in Rethymnon, don’t miss the opportunity to look in on the narrow alleys of Old Town, which has been around since the 11th century.
Heraklion Archaeological Museum has a vast collection of art and artefacts, some of which span some 3000 years of history. From visiting the water parks to hitting the mountain bike trails,
  1. Nice, France

Warm weather and the Promenade des Anglais, Nice seems made for spring. The famous seafront stretches over 7km from La Colline du Château to Nice airport. Take a stroll along the La Prom as you take in the ocean view.
Nice is also a city of culture. The Musée Matisse, Villa Masséna Musée, and Musée National Marc Chagall are all worth a visit. You can also charter a yacht for a fun filled cruise. 
The city provides a breath of fresh air and has amazing carnivals that you do not want to miss. While you are in town, you might want to visit the Vieille Ville or Old Town. The neighborhood is vibrant and has an excellent assortment of restaurants where you can enjoy delicious French dishes.
  1. Krk Island, Croatia

If you can’t visit Krk in the summer, come in spring. The “golden island,” as the island of Krk has been called since ancient times, has many different landscapes. While the north is almost bare, the southern part boasts green and gentle bays. The rocky hills of Krk provide fabulous hiking trails through the woods. You can also take morning or evening walks as you enjoy the blossoming nature by the seashore.
Krk’s weather is magnificent and provides a pleasant day out for ride boat or a yacht sail in the deep oceans. With its long indented coastline, coves, inlets, and secluded beaches, the island is ideal for sea lovers. From hiking to jet-skiing at Baška, parasailing at Njivice and windsurfing at Kornić, there are lots of things to do and see in Krk island. 
If you are a history enthusiast, Krk could be your perfect spring get away. The island’s main town is home to Croatia’s key historical remains. The Frankopan castle towers over the city square, and the town medieval fortifications and Roman ruins are quite the sight. Along with this tangible historical backdrop, Krk town also has a picturesque marina and scores of world-class restaurants.
  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Cruises and boat rides make Amsterdam the perfect spring destination. A tour along the canals is a great way to discover the city. You can visit art galleries, art museums, specialty museums, and there are also beautiful children’s museums in the city. The Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum boast significant collections and are among the top spring attractions. 
Visit the Jordaan district, which was created in the 17 century during the Great Expansion. Dam Square is also another city point that’s worth checking out. This jam-packed space used to be the scene of Amsterdam’s central market in medieval times and is home to the Royal Palace, National Monument, and the gothic “New Church.”
A five-minute walk down the Damrak from Amsterdam Centraal is all you need to reach this fun-filled square. Free walking or hiring a bike are among the many ways you can enjoy Amsterdam on a budget.
  1. Athens, Greece
Athens frequently ranks among the best destinations to visit in Europe. The city oozes history and hosts world-class cultural attractions. With a recorded history going back over three thousand years, Athens merges the past and the modern splendidly. 
Few sights compare to the Acropolis which is perched on a hill in the capital. The UNESCO World Heritage site is the most visited ancient site in Greece. Be sure to also visit Agora, the ancient gathering place as well as the temple of Olympian Zeus.
Athens also has great attractions for kids as well. Allou Fun Park in Rentis is one such destination which offers fun and entertainment for people of all ages. Isn’t it time you paid a visit to Athens?

  1. Mallorca, Spain

Mallorca is the largest of the Spanish Islands. Its white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters, attract spring tourists from Europe and beyond. You can soak in the history by visiting the Old Town’s winding alleyways and immaculate courtyards.
There is nothing quite like sitting on the Magaluf Beach at dusk and watching the sunset after day-long excursions in the sea. Magnificent promenades line the sand and offer great shopping and dining options. You will get delicious seafood meals at the beachfront restaurants, and we won’t blame you if you Instagram it. 
While many visitors to Mallorca stay in seafront hotels and flock to the island’s closest beaches, there are great secluded spots you can visit. Cala Figuera Beach, for example, is nestled between mountains in a quiet cove and boasts spectacular views and few crowds.
  1. Paris, France

Paris stands out as one of the best places to visit in the world. We all remember their first trip to City of Lights. Paris has more than enough to offer, from the neat city streets to the Haussmannian architecture. The Eiffel Tower is, without doubt, the most famous landmark in Paris, and it’s a must see when in the city. 
While in Paris, Seine River cruise is another must-do experience. It’s a fun activity conducted by multiple operators who offer cruises up and down the river. You can also hire a chauffeur driven vehicle and tour around the city. Likewise, there are many places purchase Paris souvenirs and make your trip memorable. 
Finally, Tour Montparnasse is a beautiful location with the best view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. It’s even better if you can time your visit for sunset.
Wrap up
Spring presents a great time to tour Europe. Whether it’s the Fjords of Norway or the warm beaches of the Mediterranean, there are lots of things to see and do. So, saddle up and get ready to be mind blown by these amazing spring destinations. 

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Some men like to go clothes shopping, others don’t. There are guys out there who will happily wear the same thing day in day out, literally. I have an uncle who has only ever worn Green Flash trainers, jeans, white t-shirts and bomber jackets.
The only time he wears something different is weddings and funerals. Then, he hires a suit. His girlfriend does not mind at all. But, I know a lot of women who are driven insane by living with someone who never buys fashionable clothes. If you fall into that category I have a few suggestions that should help.

Update his t-shirts
Most men wear t-shirts and are not too fussy about what type they wear. So, you could start by buying one or two of the latest styles of t-shirts from somewhere like Jacamo. It is generally best to stick to the colors he likes wearing and just try to get him to wear a different cut. This year, granddad style and longer cuts are the main new trends. 
Introduce new clothes gradually
If someone is not keen on trying out a new look, you need to change things gradually. For example, if he likes baggy jeans trying to get him to wear a skinny cut, is not likely to be successful. Whereas he may well give a pair of straight cut or boot cut jeans a go.
Rework what he already owns
Adapting clothes that he already owns to fit in better with more recent fashion trends can work. You can get plenty of ideas from this Pinterest menswear up-cycling board.
Adjust his clothes so that they fit better
When it comes to looking your best the fit is critical. You will be surprised by how much better an old shirt can look if it is taken in slightly. It could be as simple as adding a belt to a pair of jeans can make them fit better. 
Look at old photos for inspiration
Fashion is cyclical. For example, at the moment, a lot of fashion designers have taken inspiration from the 90s. 
The chances are if your man wore a certain style of clothing once, he will less resistant to wearing them again. So, get your old photos out and take a look at how he used to dress in the 90s. Not all of the fashions we wore in our youth will work well for us a couple of decades on. But, sometimes they do. So, using old photos to get some fashion ideas for your man can work.
Mimic what his friends are wearing
We all want to fit in, as a result, without consciously setting out to do so, most of us end up dressing a lot like our friends do. So, if most of your husband’s friends have started wearing denim jackets buying him one too could work. He is far more likely to want to wear something different if it fits in with the way his mates are dressing. It sounds childish, but it is not, it is human nature to follow the crowd a bit.

If you would like to read more fashion inspiration posts, by me just click here to read my latest one.

*This is a collaborative post
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Have you noticed that I'm not listening to you anymore? 

You've always acted like you've got my best interests at heart, like you only want to protect me, but I'm starting to see that you're only holding me back. 

On the bad days, you tell me that I'm not good enough, you flood my head with guilt, make me feel inadequate. 

When I sit down to write from the heart, you always say what's the point? There are others who write better than you.

When I try to have an opinion, you tell me that I'm probably not smart enough to express it the right way. 

When I give my all to my children, you're there reminding me of the things I didn't do or get right, rather than the things that I did. 

When I begin to even dare think about what I'm good at, what I've been successful with or what my goals for the future are, you shut me down and find some way to make out that I've just been lucky or you tell me that it's no big deal. 

When I want to organise something and I go to step out of my comfort zone, you keep me securely in it by telling me that people won't really want to meet up, that they'll not really get me or that I won't really get them. 

You've stopped me from doing everyday things like driving on the motorway, like meeting up with friends, like being kind to myself. You've desperately tried to control and contain and perhaps even stop me from getting hurt, but in doing so you've caused more hurt than anything else. 

I'll be honest, it's been so long that it's hard to shut you out, but after 30 years of listening to your loud and constant voice, I'm starting to learn how to drain you out and I know that in time your voice will drain more and more away until finally, it becomes just the faintest echo. 

Learning to ignore you is empowering, it's freeing, it's life-changing. Instead of letting you stand in my way, blocking doors that I want to walk through, I can
finally see that I'm strong enough to push straight past you. I know you don't like it, I know it's hard to let go, but I need to do this for me. To grow and to be able to live this one and only life that I have to the fullest. 

So this is a letter to you, my self-doubt, to say that I'm not listening to you anymore. I've been learning not to listen to you for a while now and it's how I intend to move forward with my life.  I know they'll be days when you'll knock at my door, you'll try to be let back in when it's raining outside. You'll try to creep in through the windows, underneath the door, anyway that you can. But I won't be letting you in, even when it's pouring outside, because I know that after the rain there's a rainbow, after the storm there is calm and after an end there is a new beginning and I've been learning how to never doubt that or myself again.


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