A family of 5 with a zest for life

Farewell Butlin's Bognor Regis

I always knew we were going to have a lovely time at Butlin's. This trip wasn't our first - we had in fact been to Butlin's Skegness when Harry and Heidi were pre-schoolers on a Just for tots break. We had a fabulous time then and after browsing the Butlin's website and ordering ourself a brochure I knew this time would be just as good.   

I really wasn't prepared for quite how amazing this break would be though. We literally never stopped having fun. Butlin's has been a great place for spending time with my 4 favourite people. 

We have laughed  together until we cried at Dick vs Dom, spent hours walking along the beach collecting shells, had lots of fun at the Butlin's fairground, challenged each other in the games zone, shared milkshakes in The Diner, danced the night away to live music and cheered for our favourite wrestlers as we watched their fantastic show.

I have spent some lovely time with my hubby too - now that the children are older they don't need to be constantly supervised. They loved playing on the wii together in the hotel lobby while we sat back with a glass of wine and it was lovely watching them play with the other kids in the park whilst we sat and read the papers in the beer garden.

We are all very sad to leave The Wave Hotel this morning and it's back to reality for myself and Steve tomorrow as we are working twelve hour shifts this weekend! It certainly makes us appreciate the times like this we have together and we are already counting the days until our next break at Butlin's next year.

We are Butlin's Ambassadors and have received 2xshort breaks in return for an honest review. 


Autumn at Seaton Delaval Hall

I have been trying to get out for an Autumnal walk for a while now and we finally had the chance last weekend. We only had a few hours spare so we decided to head to Seaton Delaval Hall which is our local National Trust property.

Built in the early 1700's, Seaton Delaval Hall is a stunning house set in beautiful grounds and landscaped gardens. In 2008, the site was bought by the National Trust after Lord Hasting's death. The trust has worked hard over the last few years to restore the hall to it's former glory and work is still on-going.

Our first stop was the hall itself which a friendly guide informed us was the location of many a good party. The high ceilings, spiral staircases and ornate statues are really quite breathtaking.

We were interested to learn about the bat's that inhabit the hall - although we didn't spot any today.

I love this photo - it reminds me of we're going on a bear hunt

This beautiful weeping willow tree is 300 years old

We explored the rose garden next which is kind of like a mini maze too. I was surprised to see so many flowers still in bloom. 

Harry looking for frogs in the pond

We were invited to have a peek inside the estate's private chapel. We loved the stained glass windows.

We had a quick forage around the woods to see what we could find - we were lucky to find one left over conker and of course Jack found a stick (he intended to use it to fight off any ghost's!)

We found a beautiful spot to take some photograph's - Heidi is the only one of my children who really co-operates when I'm taking photo's, in fact she's a pro! She loves posing for the camera - I hope this is always the case! I know I am biased but I really think she could be a model.

Steve and I then had a seat while the kids rolled down hills and generally ran about playing hide and seek in the formal gardens.

Then we ended our day via the natural play area on our way back to the car.

We spent a lovely few hours at Seaton Delaval Hall and it was lovely to see my children having such fun that didn't include youtube, minecraft or watching TV! We have decided to revisit the hall in the Winter months and see how it compares to today.

Opening times vary so do check Seaton Delaval Hall's website before setting off, entry is £6 per adult, £3 for children (non-gift aid) or free if you are National Trust members. There are usually free craft activities every Sunday, again check website for details.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Dragons and Fairy Dust

Our top 6 places to eat at Butlin's Bognor Regis

Readers of our blog will know how much we love our food. Good food plays a huge part in our lives. However great food and Butlin's aren't two phrases you would necessarily think go together. I am happy to report that while we've been staying at Butlin's this week, our standards haven't dropped and we have been really impressed.

When you add a Premium Hotel Dining plan to your holiday you can dine in any restaurant on resort with an allowance of £13 per adult and £6.50 per child. Here is a snapshot (in no particular order) featuring the top 6 places and foods we've enjoyed :-

1 - Burgers and Shakes at The Diner

50's style diner with fantastic food, atmosphere and service. You might be in for a surprise or two as well.

Celebrity chef Brian Turner has his own restaurant on resort. It feels grown up and refined with perfect, attentive service and delicious food to match.

There are 20+ flavours of ice cream to choose from in this cute ice cream parlour. They really hit the spot and we loved the pink cow decor.

Although not exactly gourmet, the kids LOVE Papa Johns pizza and it is a treat we rarely enjoy back at home. When they spied there was a Papa John's restaurant on resort we had to visit! The pizza was spot on and the kids loved dancing along to party hits in between courses.

Buffet style is perfect for breakfasts which are served until 11am in The Deck restaurant. The selection is fantastic, plentiful, hot and tasty. We filled our boots every morning and didn't need to eat again until the evening. 

This beach-themed pub serves the most amazing steaks and pies and the kids are entertained with activity sheets and Cbeebies. 

I ordered rare steak and that's what I got - perfection!

You can click on any of the links (in title's) above to view sample menu's and prices.

Mums' Days

The Hasting's Arms, Seaton Delaval

We were looking for somewhere to visit for lunch this weekend after our walk around Seaton Delaval Hall. A quick look at tripadvisor reignited my interest in The Hastings Arms in Seaton Delaval. I have wanted to visit for a while now and the glowing reviews sealed the deal.

We arrived at about 1:30pm and the pub wasn't too busy. It is traditional in style but feels homely and inviting. We found ourselves a table and had a look at the menu. I never understand why pub's have HUGE menu's as it takes so long to decipher them all and decide what to order - today we had the choice of a main menu, a light bites menu and a specials menu. I always think it works much easier if there is just a lunch menu then an evening menu plus a specials board, anyway I digress.....

We were extremely impressed with the prices and the deals on offer. Especially as food is homemade and locally sourced. We made our choices and our order was taken by a lovely barmaid who explained as everything was cooked to order there may be a little wait - that was fine by us.

There are no children's options on the menu and none of the usual colouring in sheets ect....you might normally receive in a pub however this made a welcome change and we all actually had a conversation.

Steve ordered from the extensive pie menu. The gourmet pies are locally sourced using fresh ingredients. Steve chose to go for the steak and cheese pie which won a Gold Award in the British Pie Awards. You choose a pie, a spud, a side and a sauce for only £5.95 which is amazing value! Steve opted for homemade hand cut chips, mushy peas and rich beef gravy which is generously served in it's own gravy boat. The food was fantastic and is what proper pub food should be like instead of all this microwaved crap you seem to get these days.

I went for 'The Northumberland Whirl' which has been handmade by The Northumbrian sausage company using over 85% Northumberland pork shoulder. I chose homemade chips and mushy peas too and was delighted when I was also provided with my own gravy boat. My dish was £5.95 and again fantastic value. The homemade chips were to die for and you could tell the sausage was of good quality. There was so much food though and I had to leave some. Gutting when you have to do that when the food is so nice!

Our 8 year old ordered the cod goujons - made with crisp homemade ale batter. This was also £5.95. His portion was huge and there were loads of chips which he kindly shared with his younger brother and sister. Harry asked if we could try and make homemade chips at home as he loved them - I do agree, they are a million times better than the Mccain oven chips we usually have. I am not sure about making them myself though and think we will just have to return to The Hastings Arms to get our fix.

Heidi and Jack both ordered a Northumbrian sausage butty which at £2.95 each was an absolute bargain.

There are some fab deals to be had Monday-Saturday 12noon-8pm including:-
  • Any Sandwich, hand cut chips and a soft drink for £4.50
  • Any Sandwich, hand cut chips and an alcoholic drink for £5.95
  • Homemade soup of the day and any sandwich £4.95
We were assured that the fish finger sandwich (included in these deals) is amazing by a fellow customer - they recommended it to us as we were ordering and said it was all homemade and the best they'd ever had.

The Hastings Arms hold regular quiz night's on a Wednesday at 9pm and Sunday lunch is served between 12-4pm (also a bargain at £5.95).

Next time we are looking for a hearty, homemade pub lunch, The Hasting's Arms is going to be on the top of our list! Our lunch for 5 including drinks was less than £30. You can't get better value than that on a Saturday lunchtime.


We are Forestry Commission bloggers

A- ha! O-ho!

A trail in the snow.
Whose is this trail?
And where does it go?

At the beginning of the month I received a very exciting email asking if I would like to work with the forestry commission as an ambassador for Hamsterley Forest in Durham. We love any sort of outdoor fun so of course I accepted.

Our role is to encourage families to get out and explore our wonderful forests in all seasons and we will be showcasing all that Hamsterley forest has to offer.

Photograph courtesy of The Forestry Commission

As part of the Gruffalo's 15th anniversary celebrations, Hamsterley forest is now offering families the chance to take part in a special Gruffalo's child trail.  This 0.5 mile trail runs every day from now until 28th February. The challenge is free of charge (car parking charges apply) and children are invited to venture into the deep dark woods to find the giant Gruffalo sculpture.

The trail starts at the visitor centre where you can buy a special Gruffalo's child activity set for only £2. The set includes a foraging bag, activity sheets, activity leaflet, pencil and sticker.

You can also download Gruffalo's child activity sheet to take with you here:-

The Gruffalo's Child trail is available at 24 forests across the UK - you can check out their locations here.

We can't wait to visit Hamsterley forest in the near future. Stay tuned for a blog post soon.

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