A Child Friendly Escape With The Esplanade Hotel

[PRESS TRIP] For me the words ‘hotel’ and ‘child friendly’ are not something that go hand in hand and I almost always opt for self catering with the family as I find it easier to keep the children happy and I don’t have to worry about them all annoying other guests!

However when The Esplanade Hotel asked me to come and stay for a few days I was eager to see how we would all get on.

I haven’t been to Cornwall since I was a child and for a long time I have wanted to return with the children as I knew it was going to be somewhere we would love and I wasn’t wrong.

As soon as we arrived at Fistral Beach the view took my breath away and the children were itching to dip their toes into the inviting sea and as we were a little to early to check in we did just that.

The children ran on ahead with Frankie exclaiming ‘this is the best day of my life’ and it was then I knew that seven hour car journey had been worth it.

Sopping wet, caked in sand and ready to see where we would be staying we took the short walk back to the hotel and this is when my anxiety kicked in.

We were more than a little windswept and I was panicking about walking into the beautiful hotel reception in such a state of disarray, but all those worries were lifted when we were greeted by a warm smile and not a judgmental look in sight; In fact while the receptionist was getting everything sorted my gaze was drawn to a huge trunk with a sign above encouraging the children to borrow buckets and spades and enjoy the beach as well as a board full of children’s activities from pizza making to arts and crafts, doughnut decorating to bingo and a whole host of other things to keep the children entertained.

From this alone I could tell that the hotel was more than child friendly and certainly settled my nerves.

We headed up our room to clean up and I was really surprised at how spacious the room was. There was a huge double bed, a set of bunk beds and a sofa bed in a little anex off of the main room which was perfect to create an area that the older children could use to get a bit of time away from the little ones. This also lead onto a decked area that I enjoyed sitting on in peace watching the sunrise before the children got up!

The room had everything you could need for your stay and included a lovely personal touch of buckets and colouring books with the children’s names embellished on them. My preconceived ideas of a hotel stay being stressful were being quashed at every turn.

All settled in the children were eager to take part in the ‘build a bear’ session which was a really relaxed activity where they got the chance to make a bear of their own whilst making some new friends.

We were all ravenous by now and headed to the restaurant for dinner. We were seated by the window and the view alone was worth eating at The Esplanade. The friendly waitress went through the menu with us and although there was a separate menu for the children they also gave you the option to select anything from the main menu and they would make up a smaller portion which is always something I love to see.

I can honestly say that each and every dish was absolutely outstanding. From my soft and flavoursome breaded Brie to the creamy seafood linguine my meal couldn’t be faulted in any way.

The children made their way through all three courses and enjoyed every mouthful and it was lovely to see them have something that wasn’t based on the usual ‘beige’ offerings a lot of restaurants offer.

After a good nights sleep it was more food on the menu and on the proclamation of Izzy (an extremely opinionated teen) it was the best breakfast she had ever had, with top marks going to the buttery, flaky croissants.

The buffet style breakfast offered a huge range from a full English to fresh fruit and yoghurt, a great selection of pastries and all kinds of cereals.

I think it was definitely the pancake station that won Oscar over though!

The children were certainly in need of running some of the sugar off so we headed to the soft play area that was perfect to keep them entertained and let off some steam before we made our way for a dip in the pool.

The pool was perfect for the children and they were over the moon that they were allowed in the jacuzzi as this is so often of limits for little ones.

Whilst we were enjoying a bit of water play we stayed with the theme and headed to the Quicksilver Surf school that is attached to the hotel for our surf lesson.

Fistral beach is famous for its surfing and it would be a crime to not have a go whilst staying at the hotel.

We meet our instructor JJ who was young, bubbly, full of fun and hugely passionate about surfing which really helped to keep the children engaged.

After our pep talk we hit the sea and put what we had learnt into practice. Izzy was annoyingly a natural and took to it straight away whilst it took me a good few attempts to even get to my knees.

Oscar in hindsight was a little young and even though he gave it a good go it wasn’t really for him, but Frankie relished in every moment and hasn’t stopped talking about JJ since!

Fistral Beach really does have so much to offer and aside from the surfing we spent plenty of time swimming, rock pooling and strolling along in the evening watching the sunset.

We came away from our stay with a new found love of Cornwall, a new set of skills by the way of surfing and a realisation that a hotel stay with children needed been something to worry about when a hotel like The Esplanade has got it so right.

It was the perfect combination of somewhere for the children to explore and enjoy freely with a touch of something special for the adults too.

We have been missing those sea views in the morning and will certainly be back to visit very soon.

Top Five European Destinations Everyone Should Visit

[AD] Whether you want a city break, a beach location, or even a skiing resort, Europe has it all. Since there are so many places to see and destinations to enjoy, it can be challenging to decide where to go. There are many European destinations that people often forget about in our beautiful world! After a lot of research and dreaming of the perfect holiday, below is a list of the top destinations that I think everyone should visit. 

Madrid, Spain

Tourists often overlook the capital and largest municipality of Spain, Madrid for its counterpart, Barcelona. The city lies on the River Manzanares and has a rich culture that is evident from when you arrive. Madrid is known for its entertainment, fashion and education, and as well as this, it holds an art status for one of the world’s major leading artistic cities. In 2017, it was named the 10th most liveable city in the world, and its popularity is only increasing over time. 

Bari, Italy

A reinvigorated old town, Bari was once filled with boarded up stores and empty tourist locations. However, after multiple cosmetic changes and a lot of hard work, tourists can’t get enough of this beautiful city. The nightlife is great, but the cocktails on offer here are better, the streets are now safer, and the surrounding beaches will for sure make you want to take Instagram pictures for your following to see. Bari is finally bouncing back into the European spotlight. 

Manchester, United Kingdom

Another regenerated city that is worth a visit is Manchester in the UK. Property investment companies like RW Invest have taken advantage of the market with many burgeoning residential and student developments. The city has never seen so much energy and passion. Located in the North West of England, Manchester is full of history, architecture and media links. It’s a popular destination for tourists due to vast shopping complexes, as who doesn’t love to shop till they drop! The regeneration and new developments in Manchester have allowed hundreds of young professionals and students to move to the city, and there are new restaurants and bars are being opened daily. 

Istria, Croatia

For all of those food lovers out there, Istria may be your new ideal location. The history of Istria is vast and vibrant, which makes it popular with local Italian tourists and those coming from international countries too. If you visit, you won’t be short of things to do while you’re exploring the city. From gourmet cycle tours during the spring months, to music festivals in the summer, and hunting excursions come autumn. It may not be a tropical Hawaiian island, but the weather during the summer months can get hot, meaning the beaches fill up with visitors quickly!

Poznan, Poland

Once named Poland’s most colourful city, Poznan is nestled towards the North of Poland. Visit places like the old market square, or try a boat tour on Lake Malta. There is an endless opportunity for adventure in Poznan. The gothic architecture and beautifully painted houses are a sight to see. It’s more than worth a visit if you’re around the area, as people often forget about Poznan because there is such an array of things to do elsewhere in Poland.

 

Pumpkin Picking At Secretts Of Milford

I had a mini meltdown the other day as I had missed our annual day out pumpkin picking at Priory Farm. It is one of our favourite things to do at this time of year and so I went on the hunt for somewhere else we could visit.

I stumbled across Secretts Of Milford and thought that it would make the perfect place to explore this half term.

After a short drive we arrived at the garden centre to a pretty packed carpark which I was a little apprehensive about but I needn’t have worried as after a short while queuing we made our way into the event field that was full of things to do from face painting to fairground rides, tractor rides and a favourite for mine – corn blasting!

We headed straight to the tractor ride that lead us into the jam packed pumpkin fields, full of pumpkins of all different shapes, sizes and colours. The children didn’t know where to look first and spent ages racing through the fields and selecting their perfect pumpkin.

We hopped back on the tractor and grabbed a bite to eat which was very fitting with the theme with hot dogs, pumpkin soup, pumpkin curry and pumpkin cake. There was plenty on indoor and outdoor space to sit and relax while the children enjoy the freedom of the open space and even a hay fight or two!

Secretts made for an amazing day out and we will certainly be back to visit next year!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty Eight

Well I nearly catching my tail and I have made it to the end of the school term with my ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ series. I have to say that I’m dreading Oscar starting school but I will give me a chance to really get my working day in order and hopefully get more organised…well we will see!

This week I am taking about school awards, park trips and kids fashion.

Dot To Dot London – My blog covers such a variety of topics which I often think I should kerb to be a little more niche but then realise being a bit of everything opens up some great opportunities. One of which being kids fashion that I have a real passion for.

I have always loved kitting the kids out and to be honest their wardrobes are always way better than mine.

The other week I got the chance to go along to Dot London which is a press show for all kinds of fabulous children’s wear brands. There were some of my favourites there that I have worked with before such as Tootsa McGinty and some brand new companies that I can’t wait to see the Autumn/Winter.

Hours And Hours In The Park – One little thing I am certainly celebrating is the amazing weather we have been blessed with this year. We are huge fans of the great outdoors and it has been made so much more accessible with the sunshine on tap that we have had. I honestly don’t think we have had as many picnics and park trips as we have this year.

Feeling Proud – Izzy has just finished her first year at high school and I have to say I couldn’t be prouder of all she has achieved in her time there. She has never been naturally gifted when it comes to the academic side of life but she always gives her all and works to be best of her ability. This was recognised at the end of term when she received an award for all her efforts and I actually think I was happier than her about it!

Camp Bestival-The Best Christmas Present EVER

When it comes to Christmas presents I always have a bit of a dilemma with myself. The children compile lists of plastic toys that I know will be discarded before Boxing Day, and every part of me wants to fulfil their wishes…however the sensible side of me thinks all that money would be better spent on experiences that will last a lifetime rather than faddy toys that will last for minutes.

If we look back over our year then one of the experiences that sticks in all our minds the most is certainly Camp Bestival – the family festival that has to be seen to be believed.

This year sees fantastic musical acts taking to the stage such as Rick Astley, Clean Bandit an Simple Minds. Regulars to the festival are Mr Tumble and Dick and Dom will be returning to amuse the children…well and the adults too!

One of the shows that my little ones are most excited to see though is Dinosaur World Live that looks absolutely outstanding.

This really is the kind of gift that I would love to find nestled under the tree on Christmas Day and if it sounds like something your family would love to receive to then there is a great promotion running until 11th December.

If you book your tickets before this time you will receive a whole host of fantastic stocking fillers such as nautical tattoos to go with this years ‘Sets Sail’ theme, character stickers, a hand illustrated Christmas card and a limited edition sew on patch.

If you would like to spread the cost then you can still sign up to the 30 week payment plan and still receive all your goodies!

Take a little look at just a few of the reasons we love Camp Bestival so much:

Scree Free, Quality Time: This for me has to come top of my list as it is something that is so lacking when we are at home. Its a chance to put away those phones, leave the iPads alone and just enjoy spending time together talking, laughing, playing and having fun.
My lot spend a huge time arguing and fighting when we are at home, and don’t get me wrong it is never an argument free trip but we are certainly more drawn together as a family and that bond gets a little tighter.

Good Food: As a family we are often drawn to places with our bellies and I can assure you if you are a foodie like me then Camp Bestival won’t fail to stimulate your taste buds.
From ice cream covered waffles to juicy burgers, scucculent corn on the cob to crispy chips every palate will be catered for and every belly filled.
Th little ones can also get more hands on and prepare their own food which was a big hit for mine last year.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors: The whole trip involves being outside which can seem a little daunting but there is actually nothing better.
From enjoying the hustle and bustle of the main festival to simply chilling out round the tent or hiding away in our favourite place – The Dingly Dell there is a whole host of ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Late Nights: As a Mum of five bedtimes are pretty strict in this house for the sake of everyones sanity to be honest. Camp Bestival allows us to kick these rules aside and just let them all stay up until they drop. They love being up until way after dark, huddled up in their trailer listening to music and watching Mum and Dad’s silly dancing.
The last night has to be the favourite though with is spectacular firework display that is simply not to be missed.

Learning New Skills And Using Their Imaginations: Camp Bestival isn’t just about the music and acts on stage, it holds so much more and really allows the children how to build skills by trying things they may not have come across before such a circus skills, woodwork and cooking and bundles of activities that allow them to use their imagination and just LET KIDS BE KIDS!

I hope this has given you a little snippet of just some of the fun Camp Bestival can bring and has you wanting to experience it for yourselves next year!

Just A Week To Go:Camp Bestival

My excitement is building by the minute as we get closer and closer to our trip to this years Camp Bestival.
Memories from last year keep flooding back and we are all looking forward to visiting old favourites and trying out lots of new experiences that will create a whole host of new memories for us all.

It may only be a week until the fun begins but there is still a few tickets available if you want to come along and join in the fun.

If you are a visual person like me and are still a little undecided if it’s the kind of thing for you then take a peek at this Camp Bestival video and see what a fabulous place it is to be!

 

Camping In Comfort With Pitch

Many of you may like the ‘roughing it’ side to camping and enjoy the whole process of finding the perfect spot to pitch up in and doing it all for yourselves.

I however find the whole process extremely stressful and with the lack of patience and knowledge my husband and I have pitching a tent is a recipe for disaster.

We had our first experience of this last year at Camp Bestival and let’s just say it wasn’t the best start to our trip away.

Tempers were frayed, there was sweat dripping from us all and the final product wasn’t exactly how it should have been.

It will certainly be something to look back in and laugh about but if this stressful few hours had of been taken out of the equation I think it would have made for a much happier start.

A few weeks ago we had our annual trip to Elderflower Fields and our saviour came in the name of Chris from Pitch.

Chris runs a bell tent hire company with a real difference, and was something that did in fact exceed all my expectation.

Upon arrival at the festival we were greeted with an extremely friendly welcome from Chris and the sight of the stunning tent that we were going to have the pleasure of staying in all weekend.

There was so much attention to detail in everything that had been set up, from the fluffy duvets and pillows to the pretty fairy lights and bunting adorning the tent both inside and out.

It really was a home from home and noting about it felt remotely like our previous experience of staying under canvas.

Another huge plus for me was the amount of headroom we got in this tent.

Trying to get children dressed and undressed is so much easier when you have the room to stand and walk about and the extra space also allowed for us to be more organised which is always a bonus.

For me the tent really came to life at night and certainly stood out from the crowd.

Each night we were cosy and warm and even during a huge thunderstorm not a drip of water came though.

Rolling the sides up during the day  allowed fresh air into the tent and it really felt like we were bringing the outside in.

Instead of rushing down to join in with the festival we were all super relaxed in the comfort off the tent which is always a good sign and a far cry from our previous experience.

There are an array of packages from the basic tent and beds to the whole chibang of cooking equipment and even outdoor games to keep everyone occupied.
I can’t recommend Pitch enough if you want the experience of camping with the comfort of home.

From a busy festival to a secluded beach trip, Pitch is the perfect way to camp in comfort and style and trying them out is a must!

*we were given the hire of this  tent for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Peppa Pig Is Coming Back To The Big Screen

Peppa Pig fans are in for a big treat this Easter as all of our favourite characters are set to hit the big screen again this year with ‘Peppa Pig My First Cinema Experience’.

This great new interactive cinematic experience will see Peppa and her friends take a trip to London to take in all the famous sights while the audience can join in with familiar nursery rhymes such as wheels on the bus and row, row your boat.

Next up they jet set across the world to meet up with their old friend Kylie Kangaroo.

The show compromises of nine episodes linked together to create the perfect show for preschoolers.

With all the colourful images, catchy songs and of course plenty of muddy puddles this show will make for the perfect half term treat.

Take a look at the trailer below for a taster of what’s to come!

Saying Goodbye To A Fabulous Summer 

As much as the kids can drive me absolutely up the wall at times I love having them off school for the long break over summer.

We have had countless trips to the park and spent many days eating out of the sandwich bag, a wonderful week in Chichester where we got to explore places we’ve never visited before.

 

We had our wonderful family over from America and got to spend lots of time with them catching up on everything we have missed over the years and getting the chance to join them on the Harry Potter Studio Tour.

One of our favourite annual trips is to the Mayfield Lavender Fields, infact we had more than one trip this year!

What I have to be grateful for this year more than anything though is everything that we have been able to experience though the opportunities that blogging has bought to us.

The lovely ladies Ruth and Katy organised a brilliant day of pizza eating and movie watching with Pizza Express and Fox Studios that was the perfect start to the holidays.

 

We got the chance to visit Shrek Adventure and the London Aquarium. 

We took park in an action packed spy day with the new release of the Project MC2 for Netflix.

We filled out bellies with afternoon tea at sketch and Kerb at Camden Market.

For me though the highlight of our holiday has to be getting made an official blogger for Camp Bestival and having the chance to experience the most wonderful few days ever!

Those six weeks may be over but we have made some stellar memories that will last a lifetime!

What have you all been up too?

Mummascribbles