Once again we are taking an adventure without myself and the toddler, this week it is the turn of the lovely Jim from One Dad One Blog who is taking us away to South Wales with his two adorable monkey’s H and little D,Mrs F and the kitchen sink…
And if you want to know a random story about Jim, he was in fact the very first person I met (in the bar) when we both started the same graduate scheme down in London all those years ago, we managed to lose touch but have reconnected via blogging, isn’t that a story that just warms your heart?! Even though I don’t think he will ever forgive me for the hangover on our first day, which, to this day he claims was my fault…..I did not pour drink down his throat!
Either way a long (long) time has passed since we were impressionable 20-somethings and as I said, Jim blogs about life as a Dad over at the incredible One Dad One Blog, I personally love all the gadget reviews especially when I normally wouldn’t have the faintest clue what each gadget would be for, his top ten lists, the lovely photos of H and the new weaning adventures of D….I could go on and on but I won’t and I will hand you over to the man himself…..take it away Jimbo.
Where are you taking us to today?
We’re off to Bluestone National Park in South Wales (not the one on Australia unfortunately) but if there are any PR companies or holiday firms wanting me to review the one in Australia get in touch 😉
What sort of trip was it, adventure, beach, relax, sightseeing?
Bluestone is an adventure / activities / relaxing holiday so I guess you could say it’s a good all rounder… with the exception of not being able to guarantee that the British weather will play ball.
Tell me all about it; where you stayed, food you ate, how the little person took it all!
We stayed in on of their ‘Grassholme lodges’ which typically sleeps 8 people. Our friends that were due to join us unfortunately couldn’t make it so it did mean that we got to have the whole lodge to ourselves meaning that H had his own room (two single beds pushed together) and Mrs F and I were finally able to experience what it will be like when D gets her own room (we’re moving house soon) as she took up residency in the 3rd bedroom with the 4th bedroom being used as a walk in wardrobe room (much to Mrs F’s delight).
The lodge itself is open plan with two large bathrooms, an ensuite and a bootroom to take off your muddy clothes/shoes following adventures in the national park. All linen and towels are included as are things such as travel cots, stair gates and high chairs so it really saves you having to pack too much. That said, Mrs F put in the kitchen sink so we had spares “just in case”. The fact that the car travelled to Wales on two back wheels due to the sheer weight was irrelevant.
We purposely didn’t tell H (3yrs old) that we were going on Holiday until the last minute as we had previously made that mistake and had to endure the same question for several weeks if it was holiday time yet, that and the insane Peppa Pig song about “We’re going on holiday far far away” .. Joys!
The journey was an epic 4hrs 20 mins drive, excluding any stops, which were necessary due to D (6mths) being in a stage 0 car seat so anything over 2hrs sitting in this is frowned upon by those in the know. The first 30 minutes were passed by H asking if “we were there yet?”
Just as we got onto the motorway, H then declared he needed a poo, as to which we thankfully wasn’t far from our first service station however he didn’t have a number 2 but did manage to squeeze a wee out so that wasn’t too bad (TIP1: Always ask (no actually make) your children go to the toilet just before you leave).
Thankfully both children soon dropped off and we had 2 hours of peace from the children, allowing Mrs F and I to debate that driving 50-60mph in the middle lane will also add time onto the journey and she wouldn’t be breaking the law if she just sped up to 75mph… 😉 Needless to say, Mrs F won that conversation as she was driving…
We switched over half way down as we stopped and bought shares in a service station, well it felt like that given how much premium they charge (TIP2: Take sandwiches to eat rather than pay for overpriced stale bread). We eventually made it to our destination nearly 6 hours later but nevertheless it wasn’t painful as both children flittered in and out of dreamland and H also had an iPad packed with his favourite cBeebies shows.
Why did you choose to tell us about this holiday?
Truth be told we were given the chance to review it for free and wanted a family break too so it made sense, the fact that there were also a great selection of free things to do such as a swimming pool, play centre, soft play, crazy golf and various paid acitivites also helped too.
What is your favourite memory from this trip?
One of the days we drove to nearby Tenby which has a beach and the weather was really nice that day (as far a British early Spring weather goes) and we were able to go onto the beach which we pretty much had to ourselves, it was a lovely moment as it was our first holiday as a family of four and watching H play in the shallow waves and along the sand with D in the baby carrier close by and Mrs F holding my hand was a real “I love my life” kinda moment. Corny but true.
A funnier memory was the fact it is a very much “walking” type holiday so by day 3 H was clearly getting fed up with the amount of steps he was having to walk and decided to have a full on, I’m not walking anymore strop as his “feet wouldn’t work” and hurt…. Thankfully we had the carrier with us so D went in there and H was able to have a free ride in the buggy, he thought he was royalty as he hasn’t been in a buggy for some time so was waving at everyone who he went past and randomly saying “you’re welcome”. When we got back to the lodge later that day, it turns out H wasn’t lying and he had developed 2 blisters on his feet… he still checks his feet daily now to see if they are fully healed and Mrs F and I have had to admit defeat and donate that said pair of shoes to charity.
What did you learn about travelling with babies/toddlers/children from this experience?
Despite us dreading the long car journey there and back, both children were extremely adaptable and almost knew that they needed to make it stress free for all involved. The journey home was equally the same as the journey down and it really did make a big difference. Being stuck in a car is pretty restrictive so a plane should* be a doddle for when we go abroad later in the year…. I use “should” lightly but fingers crossed.
What is your top tip for travelling with little people?
I have tried to include a couple of tips along the way but I would say when you pack, make sure those things which will help children (and parents) stay sane (snacks/drinks/baby wipes) are close by and not packed under the
Also if you have a tablet of some sort, load it up with programmes / games for them. You can download cbeebies programmes through the iPlayer app and they stay on your tablet for 30 days before deleting themselves which is quite handy for when you have no wifi.
And finally, it seems that it’s the parents who worry more about the kids than the actually kids themselves so try and keep calm yourself and this will hopefully rub off on your children.
Thanks Jim, this looks like an amazing family holiday to go on with kids of all ages, and I for one, am especially jealous of Mrs F having her own walk in wardrobe for the week.
As always if you want to take part in my “Travel with me…” series please get in touch with me by email on firstname.lastname@example.org don’t be shy I’d love to hear from you.