Snapshot #1

I used to do monthly updates for BattleKid but stopped last year. I thought I’d do quarterly ones but never got around to it. I read Kellie of My Little Babog’s recent Snapshot post and loved it and when I found out it was a linky I thought I’d join in. It was created by Awfully Chipper blog and is an opportunity to share a snapshot of your life at this very moment.
Listening to:
Right now, as I write this post, I am listening to the whine and whirring of the pumps on our instruments in the lab in work. I am on my own today so taking this opportunity to write this post. In life I’ve been listening to BattleKid screaming NO all the time and those of you who follow me on Instagram know all about it. Music wise I listen to the Capital Breakfast show in the mornings on my way to work and on the way home it’s my Spotify listen which has anything from Boney M (yes you read that correctly) to Armin van Buuren. Eclectic taste, hey!
Watching:
Before BattleKid goes to bed it’s usually Thomas the Tank Engine, the Lion Guard or a new one we’ve discovered, Digby the Dragon. That’s if he doesn’t insist on Disney Cars, The Good Dinosaur or How to Train your Dragon. After bedtime is when BattleDad and I finally get to sit down and watch some of our own programmes. We’re watching 24: Legacy as we were huge Jack Bauer fans and we’ve not been disappointed with this yet. We’re also coming to the end of Grimm and watching The Walking Dead, which we are very interested to see how it ends this season. We’ve also started the new series of Broadchurch and love it. We’ve not long finished The Last Ship and a series called Six and are awaiting their return.
Playing:
We only really play with BattleKid so it’s usually something car or bike related. Only yesterday he and I were playing with his Vtech Toot-Toot cars and roads. They have the most annoying sounds and voices though so it’s never for very long before they drive me insane.
Reading:
I’ve recently gotten back to reading my Kindle in bed before I fall asleep and I have to say it’s rather nice. I’ve just finished the most recently Harry Bosch book (another TV series we are eagerly awaiting) by Michael Connelly and started one called Daughter of the Dragon by William Andrews. It’s a hard read at the moment but I’ll stick it out I think.
Eating:
Bread. Bread, bread and more bread. BattleDad has gotten into making bread lately and is on an eternal quest to create the perfect French-inspired bread with tasty crust and big holes inside. However, he keeps changing the recipe and alongside that flour and crumbs are going EVERYWHERE in my kitchen. A pet-hate of mine is bread crumbs on my kitchen counters. It drives me insane so you can imagine the patience I have to have when he’s in baking mode. I seriously despise flour at the moment!
Wearing:
At the moment it’s just the usual of t-shirt, jeans and a jumper. I’m sorting through a lot of my clothes at the moment and doing a good clear out so I’m sticking to my tried and tested favourites. That said I have been making a few purchases of summer wear which will be needed in the very near future. More about that coming soon on the blog!
Enjoying:
BattleKid and I enjoyed a weekend at home seeing family recently and although it was hectic we enjoyed it. We’ve also been enjoying cramming in as many Welsh castles as we can at the weekends and also a visit to Bristol Zoo before our annual passes run out. I’m also enjoying the fact that this week is my last week in work before I finish up for the foreseeable future.living arrowsliving arrows
Not enjoying:
Oh there’s plenty at the moment for various reasons. The flour and breadcrumbs as already mentioned. I’m really not enjoying the battles with BattleKid at the moment. I just can’t hack them anymore. The constant NO’s, the swiping and trying to hit and kick, and the downright stubbornness has our patience wearing wafer thin at the moment. I’m grateful to everyone on Instagram who has lent me their support in saying we are not alone and that they are going through it too. It’s hard, really hard and you do think you’re the only parents having to deal with this on a daily basis but I sincerely thank you all for your support. I am also not enjoying sorting through and packing up our large house for an imminent move (to be included in the forthcoming blog post about life changes coming our way). While it’s good to do a clear-out this is something on a whole new level. You’ll hear more about it soon, I promise.
Looking forward to:
I’m specifically looking forward to three things. First and foremost, our holiday in Portugal over Easter to visit my folks. I cannot wait for some sun. The rain and grey, miserable Welsh weather has eventually gotten me down. It seems like it’s been an eternal winter and I’m done with it. I am also really, really looking forward to our USA holiday in September. I’ve written out it in our Holiday Diaries 2017 post and it’s going to be awesome. The first three days are going to be travelling hell but once we hit Yellowstone and slowly make our way back to Portland I think it will be great. Fingers crossed! And finally our move. Once it happens and we are settled I think it’ll be good.

As already mentioned I am looking forward to finishing work. I’m hoping it will give me more time to spend on the blog, time I currently don’t have. I have plenty of ideas for blog posts but never motivation at the end of the day to sit and write them down. Having time in the day may change that if I can fit it in between packing up. I’ve quite enjoyed this little Snapshot post and might just make it a regular feature on the blog, hence the #1 after the title. I could do with getting back to regular updates as I’ve felt a bit lost where the blog is concerned lately. Someone please come and give me a kick up the bum from next Monday!
Cath x

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

Bluestone Day 1: 25/11/2016

BattleDad was away with work so for the start of this visit to Bluestone I was flying solo with BattleKid. I had work on the Friday but finished at 12pm which was great. I had managed to get BattleDog off to kennels the previous night, as well as hit Asda for supplies and I also packed the car the night before. Go me! I popped by the post office on the way home before collecting our fresh and fridge food, and BattleKid’s blow-up bed. I packed the final bits into the car, collected BattleKid from nursery and set off for West Wales around 2pm.

We weren’t long left nursery before a certain little person fell asleep in the back. I had great plans to stop along the way for a cup of tea and some cake with my boy at the farm shop we always visit on our Bluestone trips but those plans went well out of the window. I was quite hungry as I hadn’t had lunch so I did what most people do when they’re caught short food-wise, I visited a McDonalds drive-thru and stuffed my face with a quarter pounder and chips before setting off again. And the boy stayed asleep until we were almost at Bluestone.

When we arrived around 3.20pm there was quite a lengthy queue. We checked in and BattleKid and I went to collect our buggy, which we very nearly didn’t have. I had left it until the last minute, as I always have, to book the buggy and found they had none left. Now our friends who always come with us were eight and a half months pregnant and there was no way she was going to manage to get around without transport. She rang the office and they made a compromise with us which would work. However, shortly after I had left the house Bluestone rang to say they had one for us. Thank the Lord for that!

So BattleKid and I picked it up and brought it back to the car park. We joined the queue to head for our lodge shortly before opening time and made our way to our Skomer Lodge on Augustus Way. BattleKid and I went in to investigate and I got a little video of the lodge to show you all (video below). We started unpacking the car after this and once we were all unpacked we settled in and waited for W & S to arrive with L. They were delayed and arrived after 6pm. They unpacked and we quickly had a dinner of pizza before getting the boys to bed at a very late 8.30pm.bluestone holiday diaries day 1

We adults just chilled and caught up over tea and coffee before heading to bed around 10.30, pooped after a long day. We were also very excited about the day ahead of us so the quicker we got to bed, the quicker the morning would come!

Pop by tomorrow for Day 2 of this visit to Bluestone.

Cath x