A big thing happened at the start of October. At 3 years and 9 months of age, BattleKid finally became a forward-facing car passenger. We had kept him rear-facing as long as possible, but his legs were starting to get cramped, and so we made the decision to change him around. Continue reading “The Portugal Diaries #16”
It’s safe to say that we are huge fans of Bluestone National Park Resort. We have gone no less than 5 times since being first introduced to Bluestone by friends of ours and the fact we’ve returned every year since our first visit is testament to how good it really is. Many of our visits have been weekend breaks with toddlers in tow and we very recently had the pleasure of experiencing a mid-week stay there too. Since we’ve had quite a few Bluestone holidays with toddlers now, I thought I would put together a list of 5 free things to do in Bluestone with a toddler in tow, just to show there is plenty to do without having to break the bank.
Better late than never. That should be the new name of this series on the blog. However, I’ve finally gotten around to stealing the pictures BattleDad has taken of me during October for this months post. If you missed September’s Be in the Picture post go check it out.
October started manic and then went quiet. We started off with a trip to Bluestone in Wales and I’ve written about our mid-stay and about our fab Grassholm Lodge already. Leaving Faro sporting my new CabinZero bag we headed for Bristol and onto West Wales.
And yes, we were met by the rain. Although it didn’t rain all week, it was wet most of the time, hence the running theme of my blue rain jacket and BattleKid’s yellow raincoat!
When we arrived back, we had a lovely few days with my sister, brother-in-law and niece who were visiting and staying with my folks. We headed to O Castelo in Tavira with them for a lovely meal.
We’ve enjoyed some time at the playground this month and still find it crazy that at the end of October we’re still enjoying sunshine, blue skies and temperatures of low 20’s!
And another highlight of the month was our trip North for BattleKid’s first motorbike lesson to see if Father Christmas might bring him one. He had a ball being taught by Portugal’s #1 trials riders, Filipe Paiva. He loved it, listened to the instructions and thought we were bringing one of the bikes home with us. Eh no, not this time!
Other than that, we’ve had a quite October and November will most likely end up the same. I had thought there weren’t many pictures taken on October but I was pleased to see there were.
Have you managed to Be in the Picture recently?
The idea behind Be in the Picture is to encourage us to get in front of the camera instead of always being behind it. I’m guilty of this and by joining in with Be in the Picture, it ensures BattleKid will have pictures of me as well of himself when he grows up.
I recently read a great blog post by Lucy of Real Mum Reviews in which she discusses the fact that some photos will never be and that we are becoming increasingly lazy about being in the pictures ourselves and not creating photo albums for our kids by printing out pictures anymore. It has resonated with me as it tells me I’m doing something at least to ensure there are pictures of me for BattleKid to treasure in years to come, but that I should be printing them out and creating albums. Well, I am going to do something about that!
As you’ll know, we were kindly invited to have a mid-week stay at Bluestone and we stayed in a Grassholm Lodge. This lodge sleeps eight and is very comfortable. All lodges at Bluestone have the look of a log cabin and never fail to impress me. We’ve stayed in a variety of lodges but this was our first time staying in a Grassholm lodge at Bluestone.
What’s in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone?
The Grassholm Lodge has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an open-plan living room, diner and kitchen. It has everything a large family or group of friends might need for a home-away-from-home stay at Bluestone.
As you enter the lodge, you enter into a large entrance hall which leads into a small hallway. Off this is a double or twin bedroom (whichever you need) and a large family wet room which has both a bath and shower in it. This short hallway then leads you to the open plan living room, dining room and kitchen. There were two two-seaters and one large three-seater leather sofas, a coffee table and TV unit with TV in the living room area. The dining area had a large wooden table with eight chairs, and a baby’s highchair as we had an infant with us.
The open plan kitchen aside the dining area is large, with plenty of space in it. There is everything you need for a comfortable stay in the kitchen from a kettle and toaster, to microwave, dishwasher and full cooking facilities. Included is cutlery and crockery for eight and enough pots, pans and serving dishes to feed a large family or group of friends. There is also a fridge and freezer for those planning on bringing their own food to eat/cook.
Upstairs there are three additional large bedrooms, one double with an ensuite bathroom and two bedrooms which can either be twin or double bedrooms. There is also a family bathroom with bath and shower upstairs.
Outside there is a patio area with picnic benches for times you might want to enjoy the fresh, Pembrokeshire air.
My thoughts on the Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone
This lodge is quite similar in layout to the St. David’s Lodge, which we’ve stayed in once before, minus the playroom. It is large and extremely comfortable. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay. To be perfectly honest, we didn’t miss the playroom as the living room is big enough for two boys to build a train track across. In the living room, the sofas are comfortable and the TV was used once to entertain the boys while us mums visited the spa.
Entertaining and eating-wise, the dining table has eight chairs and has plenty of room for eating at. The kitchen is well equipped and has everything you need for cooking and feeding a large group.
In the bedrooms, there is ample room with chest of drawers and wardrobes for clothes, and all had plenty of room for a travel cot. The beds are comfortable. Two single beds pushed together make a large double bed. I did this in the room BattleKid and I were sharing and we had loads of room to sleep on. That didn’t stop a stray arm or leg making its way across the divide though.
The bathrooms were large too and never felt cramped. My only gripe with the bathrooms is the wet room. I used the shower in it once and despite the underfloor heating being on, it was still soaked hours after I had finished my shower. This wasn’t ideal as the floor remained slippery. With two young boys, one of whom is newly toilet trained, this bathroom, located on the ground floor, is the easiest to access with two toddlers. Needless to say, it was the only shower taken in that bathroom. I contacted Bluestone about this and they have reassured me it is something they are aware of and will be addressing in such lodges before the end of the year.
Also, on our last morning we ran out of hot water. We did stagger our showers during our stay but on the last day, all four adults wanted a shower before travelling home, particularly BattleDad and I as we were travelling by car and plane.
However, after one member of our party had a very long shower, there was no hot water left for the rest of us. BattleDad had a lukewarm shower, while myself and another member of the party had to have cold showers. I mentioned this to Bluestone and they have let me know that the immersion heater holds 200 litres of hot water and if it runs out, it shouldn’t take longer than one hour to regain a hot temperature. I didn’t realise 200 litres of water could be used in 40 minutes, but you learn something new every day. So just be aware that if there are many adults wanting showers one after the other, you need to have quick showers.
One thing we spotted that wasn’t in any of the lodges previously, was a new eco-thermostat for the heating. This clever technology keeps the lodge at your desired temperature, meaning you don’t need to adjust the setting on any of the radiators. You can turn them off if you desire, but it is recommended you don’t. It also detects when there is no one in the lodge and turns the heating off in order to conserve energy. How clever is that!
The Grassholm lodge at Bluestone is the perfect place for a large family or group of friends to enjoy a stay in this brilliant resort. While it has enough beds for up to eight people, there is room in each of the rooms to hold a travel cot. So, if a large group of friends with babies wanted to share a lodge, the Grassholm has enough room for eight adults and four babies! It is large, comfortable and has everything you need. We had plenty of towels for everyone and didn’t want for anything. Well, apart from more blue skies but you can’t do anything about the weather.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Grassholm Lodge and will definitely look into booking it for future breaks at Bluestone with friends or family. Unfortunately it was late when we arrived, so all my pictures are from that evening before our full party descended on the lodge. If you’d like to see inside in greater detail, hit play on the video below!
Have you stayed at Bluestone before? If so, what lodge style was your accommodation?
*We received a complimentary mid-week stay in a Grassholm Lodge at Bluestone in return for this review. However, as always, these are my own honest opinions and thoughts about the lodge.
Regular readers of the blog will know that we have been to Bluestone several times in the past. But last week, we were kindly invited to experience a mid-week stay at Bluestone. We have always had a weekend break at Bluestone but since giving up my job to move to Portugal, a mid-week stay at Bluestone suddenly became a very real option.