Living Arrows 08/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

~ Kahlil Gibran

This weekend I took BattleKid on another dragon hunting expedition, this time to Raglan Castle near Abergavenny. It’s less than 25 minutes away from our house and is a splendid castle. He has visited once before with me when he was around 7 months old, and again last summer with BattleDad. But he and I hadn’t been dragon hunting here together so it was about time we did.

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We had a lovely hour strolling around the castle and almost making it to the top of one of the towers before he spotted BattleDad’s car in the car park and that was it. We didn’t go any further. I took lots of pictures, as you do, and my personal favourite from our time there was this one below.

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Have you gotten up to any exciting adventures recently?

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Living Arrows

08/52 My Sunday Photo: 18/02/2017

my sunday photo 2017On Friday I had a day off so after running a few errands in the morning I collected the boy from nursery after lunch and headed to Raglan Castle for some more dragon hunting adventures. I managed to capture this picture through a windowless hole in the wall and was quite pleased with it. It’s like a glimpse of a different world and time.
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Photalife

Bluestone Day 4: 28/11/2016

The last day of a Bluestone weekend is always home day and a bit of a mad scramble to get everything packed, tidied and sorted by 10am. We were up by 7am and as I had packed most of our stuff the night before we only had a few things to sort out as well as the kitchen, the last place to get tidied.

I made a last breakfast of tea/coffee and toast for everyone after which we got dressed and the boys went to get the cars. It’s handy that they let you bring your cars back down as it means you can kill two birds with one stone and drop your buggy, if you have one, while you are up there. Very handy for that crisp, cold winters morning!

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View from our Augustus Way Lodge

We were packed just gone 10am and set off in convoy, 3 cars in total as BattleDad and I both had our cars. We agreed to meet at the Cwm Cerrig Farm shop that we frequent whenever we are visiting Bluestone to get some supplies and have a full breakfast. Traffic wasn’t too heavy and before we knew it we were tucking into a full English. We grabbed the makings of dinner before we said goodbye to W&S and headed for home, after a wonderful weekend at Bluestone.

This weekend, although short lived for BattleDad, had been a rather special one as they certainly know how to do Christmas at Bluestone. I’ll be writing a separate post about it but suffice to say it’s an amazing time of year to visit Bluestone.

When will we next be visiting Bluestone? I’m not too sure to be honest. We’d love to be booking another break with them soon but with things about to drastically change in terms of our home life I’m unsure when we will get the opportunity to book a break there but I do hope it’s not too long. It’s definitely our home-away-from-home in the UK.

Have you visited Bluestone yet?

Cath x

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Beautiful Bluestone

Bluestone Day 3: 27/11/2016

BattleKid did his usual and came into bed with me at 4.20am. It was becoming a habit. Why do kids do that? I didn’t mind too much as I had two single beds pushed together so there was plenty of room but broken sleep man! We woke after 8am, got dressed and had some toast and tea before heading to the Blue Lagoon which had been turned into the Frosty Lagoon for a swim.

There were icebergs in the water and ice decorations in the Blue Lagoon, all tying in with the Winter and Christmas theme for the time of year that was in it. BattleKid and L really enjoyed the iceberg floats and both had a whale of a time jumping into the waves when they were set off. Their Waterbabies classes have stood them in good stead and neither are afraid of the water and have a lot of confidence around it. I can see them being really good swimmers in a few years’ time.

At 10.35am S, who had decided not to join us in the pool, let us know that BattleDad, who had landed at Heathrow airport that morning from Singapore, wasn’t too far away. We got the boys out under protest and I decided to shower BattleKid and I at the pool rather than wait to do it back in the lodge so that we could have that time with BattleDad once he arrived. Once we were done we joined the others outside and got the buggy and, as BattleDad was only 5 mintues away, W kindly drove us up to the car park so we could be a welcoming party, haha.

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Happy to have his Daddy back

It was great timing as it meant we could pick him and up bring him straight down to the lodge without him having to walk down or wait for someone to come back up for him. BattleKid was delighted to see his Daddy, as was I.

We all had brunch together and BattleDad showered us all with gifts, giving the boys a set of cars each, macaroons for S and Tiffany earrings from Raffles Hotel no less for me! I was very surprised as I hadn’t been expecting anything at all. Afterwards he joked he should have kept them hidden for Christmas. He missed a trick there. BattleDad headed for a snooze after giving us our gifts as he had only managed 4 hours sleep on the plane.

I kept BattleKid downstairs with more Gruffalos Child and Room on the Broom on my phone to keep him quiet and occupied. L joined BattleKid on the couch and they sat together watching the phone. It was very cute. S, W and I had tea and coffee and chatted until BattleDad surfaced.

Once everyone was up and about and showered we went to the village marquee to the children’s Christmas Party which was a paid-for event. It cost £5 per child and the Elves did a show in which everyone played musical parent-and-child statues. BattleKid didn’t want to play at all and we had to leave the dancefloor early on as he wouldn’t sit on my lap. Party pooper.

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An unhappy Elf trying to escape

Those who left got sweets for their bags and there were minced pies and mulled cider for the adults to enjoy in between the games. Musical parent-and-child was followed by more games but I have to admit we left before the end as we felt the party was better suited to children aged 4 and above. Our nearly 2 and 3 year old toddlers didn’t quite get into the swing of things. We did feel that it might have been better to have a kids party for 0-4 years old and one for older children but I can see how that might cause some trouble for parents with children of various ages.

We headed to the Tavern to see if we could have food before our visit to Santa but they weren’t serving food until 5pm and our booking for Santa was for 5.15pm. We decided just to have some drinks and get food from the Chippy afterwards. After round 1 of drinks BattleDad and W took the boys to the playground and S and I enjoyed some more drinks which relaxing and chatting. It was nice to get some quiet time with her without the boys running around shouting “mama” at us.

At 5pm we headed over to Santa’s Grotto. The lights on it were amazing, especially in the dark and as we walked down to the house we walked through a tunnel decorated with fairy lights.

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Santa’s house

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We checked in and were lead into a living room that was decorated so beautifully for Christmas with a big tree, presents and lots of rugs and furs laid out in front of what clearly was Santa’s chair. An Elf brought us, invited us to get comfortable and get ready for Santa to read us a Christmas story. However, he was asleep in his bed so we had to wake him up.

Santa came out, said hello and read us a story before we were split into two groups. One group was meeting Santa, telling him our wish list for Christmas and receiving a present from him before getting some photos taken with him. The other group went into the kitchen to help Mrs Claus decorate some chocolate Christmas trees, which we got to keep. We met Santa and BattleKid certainly didn’t hold back, telling him about wanting a motorbike and telling him what noise bikes do. L, on the other hand, wasn’t fussed with Santa. We had our picture taken and then went into the kitchen to help Mrs Claus. Before we left the kitchen we checked out photos and none were very good. However, much to our surprise the Elves and Santa agreed to let us have a few more taken to try and get a good one, which we did in the end.bluestone nov 2016 Day 3 bluestone nov 2016 Day 3

Overall the Santa experience was great, BattleKid enjoyed it and we got some lovely pictures as memories. That said I must admit this Santa wasn’t the best Santa we’ve ever met, coming across as a bit grumpy if I’m honest. But it wouldn’t stop me doing it all again in the future. We spent approximately 40 minutes in Santa’s Grotto and it was worth the £15 per child and £5 per adult. Each child got a teddy present and their chocolate tree to keep. The photograph with Santa is extra at around £8.

We headed back to the lodge with two tired boys and while S and I got them settled, BattleDad and W went to the Chippy to get us some dinner. We enjoyed our fish and chips before getting the boys to bed so we could sit and catch up properly over some tea and coffee. It wasn’t a late one as we were all tired from a jam-packed day. Santa done!

Home day tomorrow,

Cath x

Bluestone Day 2: 26/11/2016

BattleKid ended up in bed with me at 4am and I certainly wasn’t in the humour to argue at that hour. He went back to sleep quite quickly which was good. We woke at 7.30 am, had some morning cuddles and then got dressed and headed downstairs to get breakfast ready for everyone. We only had tea and toast as we had to be out of the door by 9am for a very exciting surprise for the boys! The boys were dressed in matching Christmas jumpers for a very good reason and before we headed off took great pleasure in spotting rabbits outside our lodge.bluestone nov 2016 day 2

We got into the buggy at 9am to head to the Adventure Centre to visit….. The Kingdom of the Elves! This is the annual Christmas event that Bluestone do in the run up to Christmas. From what I can tell, each year there is a different story behind the Kingdom of the Elves. You check in at a reception before heading through the Adventure Centre to the starting point. You are greeted by your Elf who takes you through a series of rooms, all brilliantly decorated, to complete a Christmas-themed task. It is very much children-orientated but adults are encouraged to join in. And I did!bluestone nov 2016 day 2

Our mission was to find Ruldolph for Santa as he had gone missing. All the children became reindeer hunters with hero capes and wrist trackers to wear during the mission and to take away as a keepsake. As mentioned we went through a series of rooms, meeting various Elves and Fairies along the way who helped us find clues as to Ruldolph’s whereabouts.

Each room was decorated so well and each Elf and Fairy were enchanting and engaging. BattleKid was a little shy but L was happy to get in the middle of things, nearly ruining the illusion in one of the rooms. I won’t elaborate but we found it absolutely hilarious. The Elves not so much!

At the end of our mission we found Ruldolph and sent him back to Santa before ending with getting our picture taken, which you can buy in the gift shop on the way out. It was a brilliant experience and such a nice thing for the boys to share. I couldn’t resist getting a few snaps of my little reindeer hunter in front of one of the Christmas trees. Kingdom of the Elves is free for all children staying in the run up to Christmas, usually from the end of November to Christmas itself. I’d highly recommend you book your free tickets if you are planning a Christmas visit to Bluestone. Kids will love it! And I’ll let you in on a secret, we adults loved it too.

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My Reindeer Hunter
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Obligatory selfie with my boy on the back of the buggy

We got back to our lodge after 10am, had a cuppa before I got brunch sorted for everyone as breakfast had been light. S, who is a teacher, had kindly brought some crafts with her for us to do with the boys and W took advantage of the peace and quiet by having a much needed nap. We made Christmas paper chains, did a Christmas tree cards and made Christmas Holly cards using the boy’s feet and paint. BattleKid wasn’t sure about it at first but had fun with me tickling his feet while I tried to clean them afterwards!bluestone nov 2016 day 2

Once we had done some crafts, S took L for a nap and BattleKid and I watched The Gruffalo’s Child and Room on the Broom on my phone with some snacks. L snoozed for an hour and a half which gave S some time to snooze herself. Once everyone was up, we got wrapped up warm and it was rather chilly outside and we headed to the Oak Tree Restaurant for dinner. I had a very nice salmon special starter, a tasty chicken main and the special mousse dessert for dinner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. BattleKid had chicken and he wolfed it down.

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Enjoying a tea cup of ice cream after dinner

It was a lovely, relaxing meal, as it always is in the Oak Tree and when we finished we caught the last 10 minutes of the kids Christmas party which was run every night at 6pm in the village marquee and was free of charge. We headed back to the lodge and got into our pj’s and got the boys to bed. BattleKid went down very quickly, tired out from a very exciting day and us adults chatted again, I caught up on these diaries and we enjoyed just chilling in each other’s company before heading to bed. On the agenda the next day was a very special visit to see a certain man in a red suit. Stop by tomorrow to see how we got on.

Cath x