20 April 2018

Our stay at The Lodge at Solent

Finding hotel accommodation as a family of five can be a bit tricky as many hotels don't cater for larger families. Staying in a hotel is something I really appreciate since having the girls the break it provides is a real treat. I was so pleased when I came across The Lodge at Solent when researching accommodation options near Peppa Pig World.

Lights outside the Solent Hotel
The girls were mesmerised by the lights outside the Solent Hotel 
The Lodge is a new addition to the Solent Hotel near Fareham and offers both family and interconnecting rooms making it a great choice. Situated right next door to the hotel it offers modern, affordable family friendly accommodation just 15 minutes from the coast and provides a great base to explore the area. The team were so helpful for every bit of our stay from booking our room, checking in, whilst we there and on departure.

The entrance to the Lodge at Solent
The entrance to The Lodge at Solent
Even though we were only away for one evening it really felt as though we had come on holiday. We loved the seaside theming of The Lodge with a giant deckchair and mural in the entrance. The rooms are bright and fresh with some really stylish design features, crisp white linens and plenty of room for us all even with a double sofa bed and ready bed made up.

we loved our room at The Lodge at Solent
Our room was wonderful
and we loved how easy the team made it for us to stay there as a family

The beds were really comfy and the girls thought it was such an adventure having a big sleepover together all in one room. Our room had such a contemporary and welcoming feel with some really thoughtful touches such as kites under the bed to maybe take to the seaside and fly and Lottie was a big fan of the yellow phone! It was a relaxing space to be in and have some down time in after our journey, there was even a little balcony which the girls thought was marvellous!

we loved our room at The Lodge at Solent
The rooms are beautifully styled with lovely detail.
After settling into our room we headed next door to the Solent Hotel to make use of the Spa and Swimming Pool. There is a small charge of £5pp to use the facilities which included a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. There is a small toddler pool which the girls loved splashing about in as well as a larger pool which they spent over an hour in practising their swimming in. Towels are provided as well as locker keys. It was a really lovely way to spend the afternoon as a family.

Swimming at the Solent Hotel
Phoebe enjoying the pool next door at the Solent Hotel
It happened to be my birthday whilst we were there so I popped through to the spa area of the hotel and enjoyed the most incredible full body aromatherapy massage. The space was so relaxing and the spa team were so friendly and welcoming. My wonderful therapist matched the essential oil for my massage to how I was feeling and spent lots of time making sure I was comfortable and tailoring the massage to suit . The treatment was superb and I left feeling so relaxed and about 6 inches taller after the tension had been worked out of my shoulders! I'd really recommend booking in some time here if you are staying at the hotel or the lodge, it was just such a lovely treat and wonderful to have the facilities there to use.

Gorgeous Floor at the Terrace Restaurant
Floor goals in the Terrace Restaurant
We ate that evening in the Solent Hotel's brand new Terrace restaurant. I was a little nervous about eating in a restaurant in the evening with the girls as it's usually something we do at lunch time. I needn't have worried as the staff made us feel very welcome and immediately put us at ease. Our table was booked for 6pm and there were a number of other families in the restaurant with young families at the same time which was lovely.

We loved the nautical styling of the Terrace Restaurant
So many details that make the Terrace Restaurant a wonderful place to dine
The restaurant has a AA rosette for fine cuisine and is nautically styled with gorgeous accent colours, beautifully flooring and lots of glass including a conservatory dining area.I adored the oars on the wall and the pink dusky chairs on our table, it was such a nice space to dine in. The Terrace offers a great menu including a Chef's table with a extensive selection of fresh seafood, salads and cured meats which you can have as either a starter or a main. The menu offers classic dishes such as steak, fish and chips, a handmade burger as well dishes such as lamb Kleftico, duck and rotisserie chicken. I chose the Spinach pancake roll which was baked in the oven with parmesan cheese and a spicy tomato sauce and totally and utterly delicious!

Spinach Pancakes at the Terrace Restaurant
My spinach pancakes
The children's menu was great offering plenty of choice and was good value for money. The girls all chose fish and chips followed by a little tub of Jude's ice cream for pudding both of which were a big hit. The food was so tasty, freshly cooked and really nicely presented too.

Children's fish and chips at the Terrace Restaurant
Children's fish and chips
The waiting staff were very attentive and professional, we were really impressed, particularly as it was the first week of opening. If you're local to the area, or staying at either The Lodge or the Hotel I'd really recommend booking a table. I'd love to revisit in the summer and enjoy the gorgeous alfresco dining terrace on offer with a glass of wine in the sunshine.

The Terrace Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy your favourite tipple
The Terrace Restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy your favourite tipple
If you're staying a few nights you can also eat at The Parsons Collar Pub and Kitchen which is right next door to The Lodge. This is where breakfast is served for guests staying at the Lodge with warm pastries, fruit and cereal all of offer.  Continental breakfast was included in our room rate which I thought was excellent value for money. They also have a pizza oven and an ice cream parlour which we didn't sample this time but it looked amazing! It's great to have two brilliant dining options on site without having to go anywhere.

Breakfast in the Parson's Collar
The girls in the Parson's Collar after breakfast
I'd really recommend the Lodge at Solent and the Solent Hotel if you're looking for family friendly accommodation in Hampshire. It was such a great place for a family break and somewhere we felt really relaxed and able to enjoy quality time together. It ticked all the boxes for us for a family break and we will most definitely be back.

 Me x

*Our room cost £126 for a one night midweek stay in a family room in April 2018. 
We were kindly offered complementary dinner in the Terrace restaurant
and a treatment in the Spa in exchange for an honest review. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own.*


16 April 2018

Jumping in Muddy Puddles with Save the Children

Raising my girls to think of and help others is extremely important to me. We have a motto in our house of be 'kind and gentle' because kindness really matters. When Save the Children invited us to join them at Peppa Pig World to hear more about their Muddy Puddle Walk fundraising campaign I knew it was a wonderful opportunity to teach the girls about the difference they can make.

Ellie and Peppa Pig holding hands at our Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Childre

If you have a preschooler Peppa Pig is likely to be a very familiar figure in your household. Save the Children have teamed up with Peppa Pig to create a brilliant event that is super easy to organise and really fun to be a part of all whilst raising money to help children around the world. The idea is to get a group of children together and hold a sponsored walk, muddy puddles are optional but certainly add lots of fun, my girls love nothing more than a good puddle!

Lottie splashing in puddles at our Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children
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We took part in a special Muddle Puddle Walk around Paultons Park which included jumping in some puddles in the splash park in Peppa Pig World and an eye spy challenge. Lottie loves all things Peppa at the moment so I knew she would enjoy a Peppa Pig themed walk and it also really engaged Ellie and Phoebe who enjoyed ticking everything off the list and completing the challenge. We had so much fun together all while supporting a wonderful cause. 


Ellie ticking things off our eye spy list on our Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children

Last year 160,000 children took part in a Muddle Puddle Walk raising £243,000. You can join in this year and sign up to organise a walk between 23- 28 April 2018 and help raise even more money to change children's lives by clicking HERE.

Phoebe having fun on our Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children

Save the Children will send you a brilliant fundraising pack with everything you need for your walk including ideas for your walk, a poster, totaliser and stickers for all your walkers. The fundraising pack will also explain what life is like for children in different countries, helping children see how they are making a difference through supporting Save the Children.

Ellie embracing the puddles on our Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children

It's ideal for nurseries and toddler groups to do together as well as a perfect family fundraising activity. You can be as creative as you want with your walk from puddle jumping to a scavenger hunt and it can take place indoors or outdoors, you could even hold a cake sale at the end to raise some extra funds.

Organise a Muddy Puddle Walk for Save the Children with Peppa and George

Peppa Pig and Save the Children have even created a special Muddy Puddles song for the event, it's very catchy!



So what are you waiting for? Pop on your boots and find some puddles, you can make a huge difference and change children's lives just by doing that.

Me x

*We are really proud to support Save the Children and were kindly given complementary entry to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park to hear more about their fabulous Muddy Puddle Walk. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

3 April 2018

Our Bedtime Routine

A bedtime routine is something we have always had with our children and is really important to me. With three under four at one stage and very little sleep during the night, a bedtime routine was essential and it's something that we have continued as the girls have got older. Five out of seven nights of the week I have to tackle bedtime solo, with three children to put to bed if we didn't have a good routine there is no way I'd manage it. The girls are usually all tucked up in bed by 7pm, they are ready for bed by then and I am definitely ready by then!

Our routine is really simple and follows the BookTrust's very simple method of 'Bath, Book, Bed'. BookTrust are the UK's largest children's reading charity and work to inspire a love of reading in children which is something I'm really passionate about. We are proud to support BookTrust by sharing our bedtime routine with you.  'Bath, Book, Bed' breaks what can sometimes be the most challenging part of the day into manageable chunks and really works!


We head straight to the bath after tea around 6pm every day. The girls don't even need to be asked now as it's such an integrated part of the day. At the moment I bath them all together and it's a part of the day that usually brings some calm and an extra chance to play together as they pour each other pretend cups of tea and make ice creams from the bubbles. The warm water is really relaxing and I love tucking them into bed smelling all clean and fresh and ready for the next day. My biggest challenge is actually getting them out the bath as they just love it!



Once they are out the bath I help them get dressed in their bedrooms into their pyjamas and dry their hair before brushing their teeth. Teeth brushing can be a bit of a battle with the little two but some Peppa Pig toothbrushes and toothpaste along with a timer have definitely helped make it a little more appealing to them. I try to get them to have a go first before having a brush round for them. It's at this point that they tend to have a bit of a mad moment, expending that last little bit of energy! It can quickly descend into chaos particularly if we have had a busy day and the girls are overtired. This is where a book comes in to regroup everyone and continue winding down.




I love nothing more than sharing books with my children, particularly at bedtime and it's something they adore too. Most nights everyone chooses a story and we snuggle up altogether on my bed while I read to them. There are other nights if all is going well and the girls are willing to be patient that I'm able to use this part of the day to spend some time with each of them and read a book individually on their beds. Reading a book together has so many benefits and I like to think that one of these fuelling their little imaginations as they drift off to sleep to have wonderful dreams. BookTrust kindly sent us three books for us to enjoy at bedtime which have been a big hit - 'Fairy Magic', 'I love you Mummy Pig' and 'Who's Sleeping?' - they are lovely additions to our collection. They have a 'Best Bedtime Books' list on their website if you're looking for some bedtime story inspiration.



After stories I tuck each of the girls up in bed with a kiss and a cuddle and ask them what their favourite part of the day was as I stroke their hair. I love hearing the things they have remembered about the day and on the trickier parenting days it's really nice to reflect on the successes of the day and put everyone to bed happy.



I hope sharing our routine has been useful.  I really love the 'Bath, Book, Bed' campaign because it's so simple and really works. A great benefit is that once established it works wherever we are. If we are away for the night, implementing the bedtime routine the girls know makes them feel really secure and they settle really well. You can download a handy booklet with tips and advice and a summary of the benefits of the Bath, Book, Bed routine by visiting the BookTrust website HERE.

Me x


27 March 2018

Why I love the Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

I’m a little bit in love with my new Skip Hop backpack. A decent 'mum bag' is an absolute must have and so worth the investment. Skip Hop pride themselves on a range of 'Must-Haves, Made Better' and I have to say their Greenwich backpack definitely ticks that box for me. It’s stylish, practical and roomy enough for all three of my children’s things when we head out for the day. 

The backpack is really cleverly designed as a changing bag which will see you through the baby days and beyond. Babies come with so much stuff and I remember as a new mum trying to cram everything in to a bag in order to leave the house confidently  - nappies, wipes, vests, sleep suits, muslin cloths, comforters, toys and a spare blanket to name just a few things.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack - Dusky Rose

The girls are now 6,4 and 2 so even though the baby days are behind us the amount of stuff we still need to take out and about with us is bonkers. There are changes of clothes, for muddy puddle or dripped ice cream incidents, water bottles and snacks, sunhats or bobble hats, suncream, tissues and an emergency pack of wipes. I also like to pack things like little colouring or sticker books and a box of pencils for when we're eating out or sitting in a cafe to keep the girls entertained. Then there are my things - my keys, purse, phone and I’m not often without my camera on a day out.  


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack - Dusky Rose


There is plenty of room for all this in the Greenwich Backpack with nine handy compartments/pockets to organise it all in so it can be easily located.  I love the front and side pockets in particular for quick access to my things like the car keys. For mums with children in nappies it comes with a cushioned changing pad for nappy changes out and about. The pad pocket also holds tablets and laptops up to 15” which is perfect if you’re travelling or perhaps just using it ‘sans baby stuff’ as it’s certainly chic enough to use as a handy day bag. It's larger than I thought it would be and i'm amazed at just how much stuff I can fit in it.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack - Dusky Rose

We love an adventure so it’s great to just be able to pop everything in the bag and go knowing I have all bases covered, all in one place. The thing I love most about the backpack is that I’m handsfree meaning I can hold little hands, carry little ladies with tired legs, push the pushchair and have everything to hand when I need it. I find it so much easier to take out and about than a conventional changing bag. It’s really comfortable to wear even when fully packed, with adjustable, padded straps and fits over my coat. It’s does also come with stroller straps so you can attach it to your pushchair handle which is really convenient.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack - Dusky Rose

The leather finish is beautiful and wipes clean which is brilliant to keep it clean and looking it’s best.  I just had to have it in Dusty Rose but it’s also available in several other gorgeous colour ways. The colour ways are all neutral meaning they go with everything. I love the little finishes like the tassel straps and gold detailing, it gives it such a luxurious feel which doesn’t feel at all ‘mumsy'. It is so well designed and super functional.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack - Dusky Rose


We were already big fans of Skip Hop with the girls all owning one of their Children's Rucksacks each and matching lunchies so it is only right that I now have one too. Mine is packed and ready for our next outing, meaning I can relax and enjoy the day with my girls knowing I have everything covered in a bag Mary Poppins would be proud of. 


Me x


*This is a collaborative post. 
We were kindly sent the Greenwich Backpack featured in this post to review.
Alll thoughts and opinions are my own*

8 March 2018

Seeking Sunshine With Mark Warner

There is something so lovely about sunshine, something so restorative, something that warms you inside and out. My favourite thing about sunshine is that it makes you appreciate all of the simple things in life like ice cream, walking barefoot and being outdoors.


Summer is my favourite time of year and when we have our best adventures as a family, but the sunshine is a unreliable in this country and there is always the distraction of daily life. I'm not sure if it's the very long, cold winter we've had, but this year more than ever I am craving a holiday abroad and I would really love to take our girls on a search for the sun.


I dream of long hazy days in the Mediterranean both adventuring and taking it slowly, swimming and building sandcastles and exploring until we're that lovely kind of tired that you only feel at the end of day out in the sunshine.


There are so many places I'd love to go and flicking through this year's Beach Resorts brochure from Mark Warner has reignited a desire to go abroad, and a passion for travel - something we haven't done an awful lot of since having the girls. Holidays with a young family can sometimes feel like simply a change of scene, but something tells me that a Mark Warner holiday would not only be a stunning change of scene, but a wonderful family adventure too. I've narrowed my shortlist down to three destinations...



Sardinia

I have always wanted to visit Sardinia, sandy beaches, crystal clear sea, Italian food and the epitome of the laid back Mediterranean I'm currently craving. Mark Warner's Perdepera Beach Resort ticks so many boxes on my family holiday wish list - it's perfectly located to explore the island, offering what looks like a serene setting to relax and unwind in and just enjoy the moment. There is a beach just a few steps away, shaded gardens for the girls to play in and a pool to cool off in. I love the look of the little villas that make up the resort which offer family rooms and interconnecting rooms - perfect for a family of five like us. There are plenty of activities to keep everyone busy and the option of children's clubs too and the flight time is under 3hrs which having never flown with all three girls before definitely appeals!

Greece

I spent many a summer in Greece as a child and have such fond memories of it. The whitewashed buildings, blue seas and olive groves of Mark Warner's Levante Beach Resort in Rhodes look absolutely incredible. If I close my eyes I can imagine warm, breezy nights eating Tzatziki and Souvlaki in a taverna, with the sound of the sea in the background - bliss! There's plenty to wear the girls out too including six swimming pools, access to a beach, and a play area and watersports for us all to try.

Turkey

Oli and I went on our first holiday together to Turkey and I'd love to go back one day with the girls. Mark Warner are adding a brand new resort to their collection in Turkey this year and it looks perfect for soaking up the sunshine. The Phokaia Beach Resort is situated in it's own little bay, nestled amongst the hills. It looks like somewhere you could really escape to, with amazing facilities and I think that's what sets Mark Warner apart for me. Their resorts are luxurious, yet relaxed and all about enjoying moments and making memories - it seems that the only difficult thing about a Mark Warner holiday is choosing where to go!

Me x

*This is our entry to the 2018 Mark Warner Ambassador Programme. 
All thoughts and opinions are my own*