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

Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo – Our Visit and Review

While on a recent long weekend away at Bluestone in West Wales, we visited Folly Farm for the first time. Now I’ll admit when I first heard the name Folly Farm, I automatically assumed it was a small petting farm similar to Cefn Mably or the Small Breeds Farm, and when it first opened back in 1988 I wouldn’t have been far off.

However that assumption is now way off the mark as Folly Farm Adventure Park and Zoo, to give it its full name, is a hell of a lot more than the name Folly Farm suggests. Winner of the “Best Day Out” in the National Tourism Awards Wales in 2015, and a 2015 Traveller’s Choice on TripAdvisor, Folly Farm is an amazing place situated in Begelly in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, not too far from Tenby or Bluestone.Folly Farm

It is not only a farm but also has a full indoor vintage funfair, an award-winning zoo with over 200 species of animals and extensive indoor and outdoor adventure attractions and play areas.

On our visit to Folly Farm we arrived shortly after its opening of 10am, parked our car and made our way to the entrance where our friends sorted out our tickets, courtesy of Tesco Clubcard vouchers. We passed the huge gift shop, which both of us mums commented we’d visit on the way out, and out we went into Folly Farm itself.

First stop was the Jolly Barn & Farm, an indoor barn that houses farm animals including pigs, sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens and the most magnificent Shire horse. He was amazing and very majestic looking. BattleKid had a great time running around shouting “oh piggy, oh chicken” while doing the noises they make. I even got brave and touched a rat during the “meet a rat” time although BattleKid was having none of it at first until the handler said he was going away and then he just had to touch it!Folly Farm

Folly Farm

Folly Farm

Folly Farm

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folly farm

folly farm

I then showed BattleKid how to milk a cow which he thought was hilarious as he squirmed milk (water) over himself and me.

From the Jolly Farm we decided to visit the vintage Funfair as it was getting close to lunchtime. We got change and tokens and then proceeded to get frustrated trying to win Batman teddies on the grabber machines from the boys. £5 later we were still empty-handed despite getting them in the grabbers a number of times. The arms just let go too easily. This was our only disappointment of the day. BattleDad was sure we’d get one after spending £5 but no! After this we wandered around the amusement rides and us mums took the boys on the Ghost Trains. I’ve never been one for these types of rides but I’m fast coming to the realisation that I have to start doing them for BattleKid’s sake. I was also a bit apprehensive about how BattleKid would react to it but I just made a fuss of the flashing lights and the ‘dragons’ and he was fine, shouting “peep peep” ala Thomas the Tank Engine. After the ghost train I took BattleKid on the carousel which he really enjoyed. We didn’t get to see all of the Funfair as it is huge and our bellies were rumbling.folly farm

We decided to have lunch in the Funfair Restaurant and my jacket potato was tasty, while BattleDad thoroughly enjoyed his fish and chips. BattleKid ate his garlic bread and only picked at his pasta Bolognese, too distracted by the lights and sounds around him. He is also not a huge fan of pasta shapes, preferring spaghetti instead.

Before we left the Funfair the adults tried their hands at the Side Stalls, knocking tins off shelves and Duck Bingo. BattleDad actually knocked all his tins off during one of his goes and won a large blue dragon for BattleKid. He tried his best to repeat it to win our friend’s son one but ran out of tokens.

With lighter pockets and satisfied bellies we made our way to the zoo and first up was some monkeys and the lions. BattleKid loves lions from his “How to Hide a Lion” bedtime stories and didn’t want to leave their enclosure. We then saw the Tapiers, Giant Tortoise, Meerkats (Kalahari Critters) and the camels before making our way to the Rhino enclosure.folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

folly farm

To our surprise there were not one but two Rhino enclosures and they were huge. After the rhinos we went to show BattleKid the pen-pens (penguins) and flamingos. He loves pen-pens as some of you know from our Oliver Jeffers book “Lost and Found” and I literally had to drag him away.folly farm

folly farm

After the penguins we quickly made our way to see the giraffes. I’ve always found them to be majestic looking animals, so graceful.

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From the zoo we went to the outdoor adventure area where BattleKid made a beeline for the pedal tractors, picking the largest one he could find. He is still learning what pedals are all about and usually goes backwards more than he does forwards, as you do when you’re two. folly farmFrom there we went to the sand diggers while we waited for the Big Dig attendant to return and BattleKid loved them. He actually managed to operate the two levers on his own!folly farm

Once the attendant was back the Dads handed over their tokens and spent the next few minutes living out their dreams of operating diggers. Boys never grow up. However BattleDad didn’t get much hands-on experience as BattleKid kept swiping his hands away shouting “no dada, Ada do it”. Al I could do was chuckle as I filmed it.folly farm

After the diggers and another quick visit to the sand diggers we started thinking about heading for home. We passed by the go-karts ad BattleKid had an absolute canary fit when we explained the cars were too big for him. He was both hugely disappointed and overtired, having not napped all day. We said he could do them next time but it’s unlikely as well be back before he’s old enough.

We stopped at the gift shop and got some pick’n’mix and I got one or two other little things too. BattleKid only then fell asleep in his buggy, pooped after a big day out. It was 4.30pm so hardly surprising he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer.

I couldn’t believe that it was 4.30 before we headed for the cars. I certainly hadn’t anticipated spending the while day at Folly Farm but it’s so easily done!

As I’ve mentioned Folly Farm outdid my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised by everything Folly Farm has to offer. It is no wonder it is an award-winning day out. There is plenty to do and see for all age groups and lots of places to eat too which we thought were reasonably priced. There are extra charges for certain things like the Funfair and diggers but they are reasonable.folly farm

Folly Farm is family friendly as you’d expect and also wheel chair accessible. There is free parking there, baby changing and feeding facilities and a large gift shop too. Prices, as shown below, are great value-for-money in my opinion and, as our friends did, you can use your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers towards Folly Farm tickets.

We will definitely be visiting Folly Farm in the not so distant future. So if you are based in South Wales or are visiting Pembrokeshire on holidays, such as Bluestone, then I can highly recommend a day out at Folly Farm, especially if you have children!

Cath x

*I was not asked to write this post.

General Information about Folly Farm:

  • General Opening Hours are 10-5.
  •  Winter Opening hours are 10-4.
  •  Adult £13.95, Concession £11.95 (concessions are for child age 3-15, Senior citizens or disabled patrons).
  •  Children aged 2 and under go free.
  •  Discounts are available online.
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BattleKid loved the tractors in the Jolly Barn and did not want to leave them!