Rome: The Sights – What We Got Up To & Why I Want To Go Back

This post was originally published in October 2012. I am republishing today to show you the beauty of the city and why I want to go back.

 

As promised, here is Part 2 of my sightseeing photos from Rome. If you’d like to see Part 1, you can find it here. Enjoy. If you’d like to visit Rome or another Italian city, I’d definitely recommend checking out the Italy tour packages available – you won’t regret it!
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza Venezia
We always knew we’d be visiting the Colosseum and Forum on our holiday but didn’t know about this – the Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier. These can be found in a number of cities across the world but I’d never heard about them until we visited this. The tomb is flanked by two armed guards. The remains in the tomb were chosen from 11 unknown remains in 1921 by a mother whose son was killed in the war but whose body was never found. The monuments, statues and sights you can see from here are just spectacular. The Forum and the Colosseum are so close and you can even see the Vatican City in the distance (Steve couldn’t resist taking a picture of it, since he had taken a picture of this when we were at the top of the Capula in the Vatican! The views were breathtaking.
The Forum
We did buy tour tickets for both the Colosseum and the Forum but unfortunately lost the tour guide before the Forum tour so all of these pictures were taken from the outside looking in. How wonderful is it to be able to see such important parts of history, though! These are all ancient government buildings and I’m sure that plaque says that it is something to do with Caesar…
The Colosseum
Perhaps the most famous landmark of all time? This was a definite must-see on our list and the place Steve was most excited to see. The Roman Colosseum is such an amazing place to visit and there is so much you can get up to whilst there. We booked on a tour of both the Forum and the Colosseum but you can book tickets for many of the activities available. It all depends on what things you are most interested in doing – perhaps you want a hop on, hop off bus tour or perhaps you want to try something unique and have a virtual reality experience whilst at the Colosseum? You could even do a tour of Ancient Rome with a wine tasting. There are so many different places to visit in the city and so many culture packages on offer where you can visit some of the best sights within one day – some even offer private access if you opt for those tickets! All this wasn’t readily available when I visited six years ago, I would definitely have taken advantage if it was!

Why would I like to go back? I don’t think I managed to see half as much of Rome as I really wanted to – I’d love to go round the Colosseum again and give the virtual reality experience a try – that wasn’t even an option when I visited. Rome is one of the most culture and history rich cities in the world, why wouldn’t I want to explore it further?

Have you ever visited any of the above?

Bluestone National Park Resort, Wales: A Review

A couple of months ago, I was one of a handful of selected bloggers chosen to review a mid-week break at Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. 

Bluestone National Park, Wales - Review of Kids Activities Available

An opportunity that really couldn’t be missed, you can imagine I was very excited when I heard about it and eagerly applied – cue even more excitement when I was selected! There would be 3-4 bloggers and their families each week throughout June, enjoying a mid-week stay. It was great to stay the same week as two of my best blogging friends but we didn’t get much time to see each other with so much to do!

I love holidaying in the UK but had never visited Wales – Steve had though and had often visited his aunt nearby so although the journey was long and tiring, we didn’t get lost! We left very early and had planned to be there around 3.30pm, however we had to stop at Steve’s parents on the way which put us behind on time.
We finally arrived at around 5.30pm and checked in with ease – the booking office is literally as you drive in, you give them your name and they give you your access card and a welcome booklet – which I obviously read as soon as I possibly could. We took our car down to the lodge and unloaded all our stuff before quickly popping to the supermarket off site to pick up a few bits. We then dropped our groceries off at the lodge before driving back to the long stay car park where it would remain until the end of our holiday apart from a few trips off site.

We dropped the car off at the long stay car park on the first night and took a little walk through The Village to see what activities and amenities they had to offer. As the time was getting quite late, we didn’t do much but popped into The Tavern for a quick bite to eat. The food in The Tavern was very reasonably priced (there are a selection of restaurants but this is the most affordable in price) and was extremely tasty – Steve even proclaimed their creamy mash to possibly be the best he had ever tasted!

 The next morning saw a bright and early start as we went to take another look around the village and get immersed in some of the activities. Jack was a little too young for some but there were some things he loved. Before we left, Kerry and her family popped round to say hi – and Jack and Amelia were very cute together! Check out my Instagram for a cute video of the two of them.
After they left, we took a leisurely stroll down to the village. We visited the bakery first of all – Jack wanted to buy absolutely everything – but we settled for some simple food. The staff were really lovely and attentive and this ensured we went back numerous times during our stay.
Knowing we would possibly go off site one day to test out the activities nearby, we took a quick detour into the offices to see if they had any leaflets…as you can see, they had loads! We had planned to use a buggy to get around the site but unfortunately they were booked up for the whole week – so I would definitely suggest booking one before your trip!
The treehouse and adjoining park were big hits with Jack – and most of the other children staying at the park, it seems. We didn’t get to spend as much time here as we would have liked but it was nice to see something that catered to children of all ages – Jack would have stayed there all week if we had let him!
On the Tuesday afternoon, we decided to pop over to the Adventure Centre as it seemed to be suitable for ages. Indeed, we saw older children scaling the rock climbing walls and teetering on the ropes high above our heads but Jack, Max and Amelia were more than happy to play in the ball pit, explore the treehouses with us parents (to great comedic effect!) and their particular favourite, play with the lego and huge Connect 4. I tell you, put any child in front of lego and they will be happy for ages!
We kept meaning to pop to the Blue Lagoon waterpark but we didn’t have time to fit everything in on our mini break – the day we wanted to go was the day it poured down with rain so we decided to visit the zoo instead rather than splash about in the wet only to dry off and venture out into the wet again. We did take advantage of the train service throughout the week though when our tired legs couldn’t carry us any further – our lodge was one of the furthest away from the car park so you can imagine that it took a while to walk there – after all, Bluestone is a big resort! The views were breathtaking though! 
Of course, sometimes we just wanted to chill out in our lodge and as you can see, we had plenty of room to do so. Our lodge was based right by the lake which meant we had a beautiful view to look out onto – but it also meant some visitors in the morning in the form of a flock of ducks. The people staying in the lodge next door often fed the ducks their leftover bread so of course, when they saw us devouring some toast in the morning with our curtains wide open – they wanted in! Jack was very amused by them and it was quite nice to know we had little visitors to wake up to every morning. 
We took a walk around the lake a few times but didn’t do it too often due to the sheer number of baby frogs hopping around – we saw plenty of squashed frogs and we had to keep watching the ground very closely for fear of stepping on one. Steve helped a few back onto the grass near the water but there were just too many of them!

The lodge itself was very spacious and I have no real complaints – only that the lodges aren’t very child friendly in some respects. Bluestone have plenty of activities for children but all the kitchen drawers were easily accessible and the oven was a simple tap on which Jack could reach – potentially very dangerous. Luckily, we kept our eyes on him at all times but I do believe that is something that could possibly be addressed. 
All in all, I was very impressed with the site and plan to go back very soon, as soon as finances will allow. We were very impressed with the activities available, the amenities on offer (the bakery and The Tavern pub in particular!), the scenery was amazing and the staff were extremely friendly. Although we plan to go back soon with Jack, I also plan to go when he is a lot older so he can really take part in some of the other activities they have to offer – there is such an extensive list such as rock climbing, archery and much, much more!

If I had to find anything negative to say about Bluestone, it would be the lack of toddler proofing in some of the lodges plus the lack of buggies available – we will definitely be booking in advance next time! Overall, we had a very positive experience and plan to visit again very soon.

(A mid-week break stay in a Caldey Lodge from Mon-Fri in July 2014 is roughly £899 although this price will vary at different times of year)

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We were given free accommodation and access to some activities for the purpose of this review

A Weekend Away

If you noticed that I was little quiet on Twitter over the last couple of days (but not here – all thanks to scheduled posts!), it was because I was on an impromptu weekend away with my parents, Jack and Steve at our caravan in Camber Sands. We were originally going down to sort a few problems out but thought why not make a weekend of it and just take some time to chill out. Jack tried lots of new things – he went in the sea for the first time and loved it – until a wave splashed him in the face! 
It was so nice to get away and just spend some time without any distractions. Of course, the lack of internet connection did get to me after a while when I finally got some wifi and a flood of emails and notifications appeared! We spent our weekend letting Jack do different things – not only did he go in the sea, he also went on a miniature train in Hastings and I think he walked more in one day than he had ever attempted before – no wonder he fell straight to sleep that night!
Whilst at the campsite, Steve and I encountered some ‘celebrities’ in the fish and chip shop – good old Twist and Pulse from Britain’s Got Talent! It was utterly bizarre, especially watching middle aged ladies throwing themselves at them! 

I’m looking forward to going down again soon and have even invited my buddy Sarah to come down next year sometime – I can’t wait!

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Rome: Everything Else

Here are the rest of the pictures from Rome…enjoy!
The hotel
The hotel gardens
Unimpressed after his first experience of flying
But is that a camera?
The courtyard where the restaurant was – and where the proposal took place
The restaurant itself
Posing for the camera
I love this picture.
Yummy dessert – mine
Yummy dessert – Steve’s
Another picture

Crawling all over Mummy & Daddy’s bed – then stopping to pose! 
What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
Biscuits are yummy!
Ferrari store…we never found it though 🙁
How weird?
But how cool?
Biting beakers is fun!
Trying a tiny bit of some real Italian pizza.  
Love this picture!
More yummy desserts!
And again!
Ready for a day of exploring
Cuddles with Daddy in the Vatican City

300 steps, Mummy? PAH, they were easy! (As you can tell, I didn’t find them so easy…)
Love this
Steve was thoroughly amused by the water fountains
Vodka and coke in a rooftop cafe
Time to sleep
Not the greatest picture of us, but I still like it 
Posing by the Forum
Street entertainer
and again…
Birdie!
Silly grin!
Even managed to get Steve to pose!
Malibu Beach cocktail
Pina Colada in a funny glass
<3 
Dinner by candlelight

The two men in my life.
You’ve seen these before…
…haven’t you?
Jack’s new best friend, Nicola
He became a firm friend – he’s so good with Jack too!
Ooh, hello light in my face!
Better picture
These two got on like a house on fire
This is the final Rome post – I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I did experiencing it.

OOTD: Holidaying in Rome

I very barely post OOTD’s but I decided whilst away that I wanted to include them a little more on the blog. As they say, when in Rome….
Top: Primark
Shorts: Primark
Cardigan: Prodigy Red
Sandals: Ethel Austin


Excuse the silly poses and how lacklustre my hair is! I really need to get it seen to but unfortunately haven’t got the money right now! This was the one outfit I truly felt comfortable in on holiday and the only one I got proper pictures of!

Would you like to see more OOTD’s on the blog?