My Favourite UK Beach Holidays

My Favourite UK Beach Holidays

Although I do love going abroad for a holiday, nothing quite beats a good old holiday in the UK. I’ve been taking UK breaks for as long as I can remember and we try to go once or twice a year even now so that Jack has a similar experience to what me and Steve had when we were little.

With Summer approaching, we’ve been thinking about where we want to visit this year on a short break. We are already visiting Greater Yarmouth in October but it would be nice to go somewhere else before then. Here are a few of my favourite UK beach holidays to go on – do any of these places hold a place in your heart?

beach

Isle Of Wight

I had never been to the Isle of Wight before last year but I know my parents went plenty of times before I was born and loved it. They are actually going again in a couple of months and I am so jealous. It is such a beautiful island and I especially love spending the day down at Shanklin beach – we get to enjoy the sand and the sea before visiting the amusement arcade…tons of fun! Of course, you’ve got to fit a visit to Blackgang Chine in there too!

My aunt lives on the island and has made me aware of some other beautiful spots that I need to check out so I certainly plan on taking a break there sometime soon.

Tenby

When we visited Wales back in 2014, we were advised to stop off at Tenby beach as it was meant to be beautiful. We had an amazing day here and I am keen to get back to Wales sometime in the future. I’ve only been to one small area of the country so I am keen to get around and explore.

Woolacoombe

Devon is one of my most favourite places in the UK and Woolacombe is a favourite place to visit. With a gorgeous award winning beach and tons of things to do (including a number of walks around the coast), there is something for all the family here. In terms of where to stay in Woolacombe, whether it’s a lodge, caravan or camping you’re after, Woolacoombe Bay Holiday Parks has something for every family with fantastic facilities right next to Woolacombe Beach. Visit their website at www.woolacombe.co.uk and youll see why they are so popular with family holidays in Devon.

beach

Camber Sands

This place will probably always have a place in my heart. Steve’s parents originally owned a caravan down there and then we did – then we both sold up due to rising costs. However we used to go down once or twice a month to spend the weekend when Jack was smaller and we loved nothing more than taking a walk on the beach in the morning and enjoying the sunshine. Camber is only a small little village but their long, stretching beach is something to be marvelled at.

With Steve’s parents potentially moving down to that area, we will probably be spending a lot of time down there in the future.

Greater Yarmouth

Finally my usual haunt. I haven’t actually been back to Greater Yarmouth since I was pregnant with Jack so October will be Jack’s first experience of the place. I don’t know how much has changed in five years but I am looking forward to taking Jack to the Pleasure Beach and then looking down on the sand from the rides above before heading onto the beach and enjoying ourselves! I can’t wait.

These are just a few of the places I love in the UK that I have visited and enjoyed over the years. I remember how much I loved visiting the beaches with my Dad and doing all the different things you can do – building a sand castle, visiting the rock pools, skimming stones. Now that Jack is getting to an age where he can understand more, I am keen to get him enjoying UK holidays just as much as his parents did when we were little and I am hoping he has similar great experiences like we did. We’ve also got to visit my uncle who lives on the seafront near Clacton. So many beaches, so little time!

Where are your favourite places to holiday in the UK? Have you got a favourite beach that you like to head to when Summer rolls around? Why is it your favourite? I’d love to know!

This is a sponsored post

Get Yourself To Willows Activity Farm This Half Term!

Get Yourself To Willows Activity Farm This Half Term!

Willows Activity Farm is one of our favourite places to visit in the school holidays. It is just down the road from us and offers such fun things to do! We visited just before Christmas (read more about that here) and we were recently asked if we would like to see what they had going on this half term. Of course, we couldn’t say no!

You may have seen some of my Instagram shots from when we were but this week is actually lambing week so as well as some other fun half term activities, we also got the chance to see some baby lambs up close and personal and if we were really lucky, some being born!

willows activity farm

Some of these lambs were just a few days old and we even saw some that had been born very early that morning! We stood in the lambing marquees for quite some time as when we got there, a ewe was in the full throes of labour. We did end up standing there for quite some time because she seemed to be sabotaging herself – she’d push really hard and she’d get somewhere then plonk herself back down to get comfy and the lambs feet would disappear again. In the end the farmer had to help her deliver but it was a truly beautiful moment and I am glad we waited for it.

IMG-20160217-WA00011

If you look carefully, you can see the baby lamb next to the ewe on the left. As you can imagine, Jack had plenty of questions and once we left the sheep marquee we set about answering all of them whilst also going to visit the other animals that he desperately wanted to see.

P_20160215_135450

We even saw a baby calf who was just three days old – so incredibly beautiful! There is so much to do this week at Willows Activity Farm – they have tons of things on for the February Frolics lambing event with funfair rides, fleecy arts and crafts, the magical Ice Rink, lamb bottle feeding, storytime, sing-a-longs, puppet shows, learning about lambing and so much more! Plus there are still a multitude of things to do at the farm all day including visiting the lambing marquee, the agility play trail, visiting the farmyard, the under 5’s play area and a whole host of other things!

IMG-20160217-WA0000

We didn’t do much on Monday as I really wasn’t feeling well and Jack was starting to suffer the effects of a cold too. However we did manage to attend a few of the lambing events, especially a lamb being born in the lambing marquee which is the one thing we really wanted to see! Jack really enjoyed himself and is already asking when we are next going back!

I think our next trip will be to visit the brand new Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground, opening on the 2nd of April 2016. Sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun! If you live in or near Hertfordshire, be sure to visit Willows Activity Farm this half term. You won’t be disappointed.

We received free entry in order to review the half term events

My UK Travel Bucket List For 2016

I have written a travel bucket list in the past but I always tend to focus on foreign countries and historic landmarks, I often forget about exactly what this country has to offer. This is bizarre in itself as I love a stay-cation in the UK and even owned my own caravan down in Camber Sands for a while. Whilst we may not get abroad next year, I plan to visit a couple of places in the UK to holiday, catch up with friends and just generally get a better feel for my country. So where do I want to visit?

I definitely want to go back to Wales, in particular to Cardiff. When we visited Bluestone last year we briefly popped into Cardiff on the drive home as it was on our way but I wish we had been able to spend more time there. Wales itself is such a beautiful country and I would love to go back. We had fun on the beaches (see below) and also had fun visiting the little towns too!

travel bucket list

Another place I would love to go back to is Cornwall. I originally visited when my friend lived there and although she doesn’t live there anymore, I’ve always wanted to go back – it is such a scenic part of the country, the views are absolutely breathtaking and I love the community feel. It is definitely somewhere I would like to take Jack.

Steve would love to visit Scotlandin particular Loch Ness which I am not surprised about in the slightest. It is something I have heard him talk about for many years and I think next year could be the year we possibly visit Scotland itself.

Something I experienced once when I was younger and which I am desperate for Jack to experience is the illuminations in Blackpool. I love the place despite only having visited once and would love both Steve and Jack to experience what I did as a child – and come on, who can resist Blackpool Pleasure Beach?

Finally two other places I would love to visit are Birmingham and Cambridge for a few days. I have friends in and around each place and would love to spend a couple of days getting to see them all and having a catch up whilst seeing what each place has to offer.

Where in the UK would you most like to visit – what’s on your travel bucket list?

In collaboration with Travelodge

Seeing Santa at Willows Activity Farm

Willows Activity Farm in London Colney is just up the road from us yet until the other weekend, we had never been (and after Steve’s hospital stay, we almost didn’t make it this time but luckily fate worked in our favour and we managed to go). We, plus a handful of other bloggers and their families, were invited to visit and try out their Santa Spectacular experience. We took Em’s son Ben along too and here is what we got up to…

First of all, we all gathered together to find out what we were doing for the day. I caught up with Lilinha for the first time in ages and finally got to meet the beautiful Sian and her gorgeous family after many years of talking via social media! We then made our way to the beginning of the Santa Spectacular experience. We queued up to meet Santa which was fantastic – Willows Activity Farm really pulled out all of the stops. There aren’t any pictures of me and Jack with Santa as Steve didn’t think to take any but we do have a fantastic shot of Steve and Ben with Santa. The whole process that goes into meeting Santa was so magical – the children each have a red token which they hand to Santa’s Elves before visiting Santa and telling him what they want. He then gives them a magic key and they post the key in a box to be allowed into the toy shop to choose ANYTHING they want. Let me tell you, telling a child they can have anything they want leads to a lot of time spent with them choosing!

willowsfarm

After all the children had seen Santa and chosen their toys, it was time to visit the brand new elve’s Teddy Bear Workshop where the children could create a bear. This was something that they both loved although we did have to help them quite a lot as it was quite fiddly and they, especially Ben, are still so tiny! Each child received a certificate with their bear which they could take home to keep and there was even the option of buying outfits for your bears too.

The rest of the day was completely up to us – there were still plenty of Santa/Christmas themed things to do such as the ice skating but if we wanted to, we could also go off and visit the animals, ride on the tractor etc. With so much planned, we had to refuel and armed with the food voucher Willows kindly gave to us, refuel we did. Our food was super yummy and as you can see, the boys really enjoyed theirs!

willows7

willows4

After our filling lunch, it was time to visit the animals. After all, when you visit a farm you have to go and see the animals, right? We spent plenty of time in with the animals, buying some feed for them and even cuddling them when it came to the guinea pigs…

willows1willows5Willows Activity Farmwillows8

Jack loves visiting the farm and he already wants to make this a regular occurrence with Ben – he loves animals and he finds something so exciting every time about visiting a farm. After spending some time with the animals, the boys wanted to ride on the tractor wagon thing and so we ventured out to find it. We just missed it and waited patiently for the next time it came around which wasn’t too long after. The wagon was playing Christmas songs all the time, the person driving must really love his job. The boys loved sitting on it and even sat on Steve’s lap at one point so they could see more of what Willows Farm had to offer.

willows3willows2

All in all, we had a fantastic day enjoying the Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm. Hurry, its still on until the 24th – trust me, you will love it! You can find out more here.

We were gifted free entry to the farm and its events for this post

My Paris #SuperCityBreak

Last month, I received the best opportunity I have had in over four years of blogging – a trip to a city I have always wanted to visit. When Travel Supermarket asked if I would like to go, along with a plus one, to Paris at the end of the month and attend the Paris Writer’s Festival, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. With it being so short notice, Steve couldn’t get the time off work so my in laws looked after Jack and I went on the trip with my blogger buddy (and long time IRL friend) Kaye. We only had two days in the city so tried our best to fit in as much as possible whilst also attending a talk at the festival on the Saturday evening.

The Hotel

P_20150925_200508 P_20150925_202710 P_20150925_210259 P_20150925_212657 P_20150927_132026 P_20150927_132911 P_20150927_135108_1

What can I say about the hotel? It was amazing. The decor was gorgeous, the customer service was superb and the food and drink excellent. We only had dinner the first night but it was lovely and just what we needed after a slightly stressful journey. The La Belle Juliette was an incredible place to stay and I would definitely consider staying there again should I go back to Paris. I’d definitely like to spend a little more time exploring the hotel – and perhaps testing out the spa too!

The Sights

P_20150926_105853 P_20150926_123156 P_20150926_123202 P_20150926_123205 P_20150926_123209 P_20150926_130238 P_20150926_133311 P_20150926_133426 P_20150926_152600 P_20150926_153356 P_20150927_111845 P_20150927_111905 P_20150927_112731 P_20150927_120006 P_20150927_120132 P_20150927_120400 P_20150927_120542 P_20150927_120558 P_20150927_120651 P_20150927_121112

Most of Saturday was spent trying to fit in as much as possible before attending the Writer’s Festival talk in the evening. We visited the Eiffel Tower and went right to the top, taking pictures along the way (there was plenty of time to take pictures as there were queues for each bit!), I even Instagrammed on the #PhotoAnHour hashtag whilst queuing. I won’t lie, it was incredible and I can’t wait to go back again some day and go back to the top again – I think next time I may try out the restaurant too!

After the Eiffel Tower, we decided to jump on a tour bus and paid for a hop on, hop off ticket – ensuring that we could visit all the different places we wanted to. The Louvre and Champs Elysees were both on our hit lists but unfortunately the queues for the Louvre were just too long and we had limited time before we needed to be back at the hotel, getting ready to go to the festival. We did manage the Champs Elysees however and yes, I did purchase some macarons from Laduree – had to be done, right?

On the Sunday before we flew out, we had plenty of time to fit some sights in that we hadn’t yet managed – our flight wasn’t until 6pm and we arrived at Notre Dame at around 11am, plenty of time to see the sights and get back to the hotel, ready to go to the airport. It is such a beautiful building and I had forgotten that it would be Sunday Mass and there were tourists milling around inside the building whilst others were attending the service. I’m not very religious myself but religious buildings, I feel, are often some of the most beautiful buildings around.

The Festival

We didn’t get to attend many events at the festival due to the small amount of time allotted and the sightseeing we also wanted to fit in but we did attend a talk with famed Irish author, Edna O’Brien – I have actually just ordered this book after hearing her speak – and I must admit that I didn’t know of her and her famed career when looking up the talks. She spoke so eloquently about her inspirations, how her family viewed her writing and about being Irish and she really interested me as a person. I can’t wait to read her book!

P_20150926_191424

Unfortunately I didn’t get a good picture of the author herself, the one I did get came out rather blurry as we were sat quite far back. I definitely enjoyed the Writers Festival though and would love to attend something similar in the future.

The Food

Finally.. the food. I’ve already mentioned the food available at our hotel was amazing but I did enjoy eating in and around Paris too – one must have crepes and macarons whilst there and I had both and they were good. I may have also had a McDonald’s whilst in France – and why are other McDonald’s in other countries so much better? So odd but it was so good!

P_20150926_092002
Macarons from the large supermarket near our hotel!
IMG_20150926_174802
Yes, I brought the bag home with me
P_20150926_124508
Lunch at the Eiffel Tower – it was good.
P_20150927_123714
Apple and cinnamon crepe – it tasted amazing

I had a fantastic experience in Paris and I can’t thank the team at Travel Supermarket enough. I got to visit a city on my travel bucket list, try some fantastic food, watch a prestigious author and catch up with one of my oldest friends – it was amazing and I can’t wait to visit Paris again in the future.

Considering visiting Paris and maybe even heading to Disneyland Paris? Check out Tina from MotherGeek’s magical budget friendly tips for visiting Disneyland Paris here.