Family holiday with Boutique retreats – Day 3

It’s Day 3 of our 5 day break here in Dorset.

The day started well, even though the sun stopped shining we made a nice breakfast using the fresh bread which was waiting for us on arrival at the cottage. Used up some of the leftover fruit salad and sat as a family around the large dining table in the kitchen here at the strawberry thief.

After sorting the lunches we packed up the car and headed out for a day trip to Longleat safari park. I pre booked the tickets the night before saving us some pennies for sweets and treats!

Longleat is only 40 minute drive away from the cottage and max loves trains (there’s a model railway there).

We started the day with the safari and then had lunch and visited the attraction’s, there were lots of things to do and see and well worth the price £31 each!

Max managed to get onto the Choo Choos and we took a boat trip on the lake with the sealions and hippos.

Unfortunately for us our lovely day was abruptly ended when on our way back to the cottage our car was hit by a taxi on a bend on a country lane. My car now feeling very sorry for itself needs a full repair and will likely need to be taken home via recovery truck!

The only downside to staying rural is the mad local drivers it seems.

Day 4 and 5 of our holiday therefore will be quiet and there won’t be any more updates from us in afraid 😪

Advertisements

Day 2 – Family holiday with Boutique retreats Dorset

Second day here in Dorset, so far we’ve been really fortunate to have impeccable weather!

In the garden again at the cottage we had fruit for breakfast and drank tea in the morning sun.

After consulting the map we decided to head off towards Weymouth to the beach today.

On our way to find it we stumbled across Osmington – the chalk horse it’s known for. We found a really really dusty and chalky driveway and headed down – unbeknownst to us it was a private camping site which we managed to secure day passes for! I’m glad we did.

They had an on site bakery, shop and we purchased a huge loaf of bread, some cheese and drinks for a beach picnic.

On our way down to the beach we found chickens, pigs and cows all free grazing and max had fun running around the open fields!

The beach itself was pebbly and steep steps took you down to it, not the best beach we’ve been on but max really enjoyed himself eating yoghurt naked and paddling in the waves. We also tried to bury daddy in stones.

We headed to the local butchers on our way home called “Parsons” as recommended in the Boutique retreats accommodation guide. We bought two steaks and cooked them up on the BBQ for tea.

The garden at the strawberry thief makes for perfect al fresco dining and whilst Max was safety tucked up in bed asleep we drank wine and ate good food.

The kitchen is so well stocked too, we’ve hardly had to worry about the usual spices and things like cling film and napkins are all to hand!

Just going to finish this bottle of wine and plan tomorrow’s activities – we think Longleat may be on the cards! As I’ve always wanted to go.

Anyone else been to Dorset or planning a trip soon? Definitely worth checking out Boutique retreats as they have cottages all over the UK mainly Devon, Cornwall and Dorset!

Love Becks & Nandy xx

Disclaimer:- As always the opinions of this post are my own but we were given a small discount to write about our stay.

Family Holiday with Boutique retreats – Dorset

It’s been so long since I’ve updated the blog! Now the yearly tradition rolls around and I find myself editing photos and updating it once more.

So much has happened in the past twelve months since we last went away with Boutique retreats! I’ve started back at work, going from working 4 day weeks ban to 5 days as I’ve recently been promoted to a director!

Stressful days and long hours meant I really needed a break. So back in January we booked another trip with our favourites at Boutique retreats.

As mentioned in previous blog posts we went away with Boutique retreats for our babymoon in Cornwall and then again in May last year when Max wasn’t even walking!

We have a completely different child on our hands these days, as he is now 2. I phoned Boutique retreats and asked them to recommend somewhere child friendly – they recommended a number of cottages but “The Strawberry Thief” really stood out with me!

Immediately is quaint location by a farm and the lure of the rolling hills got me hooked, perfect for a 2 year old to run around in!

Hubby is obsessed with BBQ so the Weber and the outdoor patio were also perfect choices for us – so we can kick back and unwind when Max goes to bed.

Max helping daddy with the BBQ

We’ve been so lucky with the weather being hot so we took the chance to eat outside tonight

Max was showered and safely tucked up in bed for the night, we haven’t heard a peep as the sound of the tractor acted as white noise and sent him straight off into a snooze!!!

Words cannot express how pretty this cottage is and we feel totally spoilt to be staying here!

Tomorrow we intend to hit the beach whilst the sun is still with us.

Watch this space for updates….

Becks & Nandy x

Christmas Gifts with Sports Direct – #SDfiverchallenge 

Can you believe it’s only 10 weeks until Christmas! Where did the year go? 

It’s Nandys’ 2nd Christmas this year and he is more aware of the festive season than ever. Which adds to the pressure of finding the right gifts for him to tear open on Christmas Day.

Now, if you’re like me and hate tacky presents (I like useful things!!!) it can be a struggle to find affordable, useful gifts for the family – especially with the cost of childcare and living it’s nice to be able to spread the cost of Christmas out!
I’ve started earlier than ever this year – sportsdirect.com has a great range of gifts (not just sports related!) for affordable prices! 

Here is a selection of things we managed to purchased for just £5 – £6 an item! 


I was really impressed with the fact that all items we managed to purchase were branded and a cut at the price you’d pay in other high street stores! Playdoh and crayola are big names and I trust my baby with them! 


As Max started with childcare this year we realised he really enjoys his arts and crafts, what better way to kit him out with all the supplies needed.

This little bundle cost me only £26! With next day delivery options available it was perfect for any last minute panics too! 

I even managed to get a little something for my golf loving family for £5 – a Nike golf glove! 


I will definitely be using sports direct again for future gifts as the range of stuff available and affordability is second to none!
Go check out sportsdirect.com now for their range of gifts and inspiration! 

Rebecca 

Disclaimer:- All views in this blog post are my own and honest representations. This post is an entry for BritMums #sdfiverchallenge Christmas Challenge, sponsored by Sportdirect.com

Beach Birthday Party … (indoors in the rain) 

Anyone that’s been following the blog for some time will realise that I have been planning Nandys 1st birthday party, a beach themed birthday party, for some time now. 

The plan was to host the party in our back garden so the past few weeks has been spent prepping said garden – clearing rubbish away, sorting out the rotten decking, digging out an old tree stump and making sure the grass looked lush and green (following a dry spell) all in preparation for it guests.

I’d purchase bunting and tassels in bright colours to adorn the garden furniture and the plan was to lie beach towels down on the grass area for guests to sit on..

Until the rain came

And boy did it rain…. it rained and it rained. I checked the forecast daily with the hope that surely no more rain could possibly fall out of the sky…. surely it was all rained out by now. But no, in typical law of sod fashion – the forecast for his party day was the worst of all days. 

I should have known after last years attempt at a garden based baby shower (equally a dreary June day!) that I didn’t have luck with weather. 
T minus 3 days to the party and I decided enough was enough and it was necessary to book a village hall and relocate the party indoors. 
The plan was to have the sandpit and paddling pools in use – those plans now redundant made way for a bouncy castle (so beach party right!?).


I hired a last minute castle for £60 and the hall set me back £55 – £115 I hadn’t intended on spending! 

Day of the party came and we set about the hall and tried to cheer it up as much as we could using the bunting the flags – sure enough as my luck would have it – the sun shone in all its glory just to piddle on my parade!!!!! 


Guests arrived for 1pm and soon started making light work of the huge buffet on offer and the soft play and toys which adorned the hall. 


I’d blown up beach balls and other various inflatable fish / whales for them to smack each other around the heads with (or play nicely with) also a suspiciously fallis shaped lilo! 


The time capsule cards went down a treat and I have spent a few hours reading through the messages left by the guests and weeping into my cuppa. 

One thing is for sure – we didn’t need the sunshine or the theme – friends are what make the party and they did not disappoint. We had a great turnout and everyone left smiling which is the most important thing! 


I think we did Nandy proud on his day and he behaved like a little star being passed around between people for hours. 

So that’s it for his first birthday – over in a flash. Sobs 

Now I just need something else to plan ….. 

Rebecca 

First Birthday Ideas

I Can’t believe it. I’m actually planning his first birthday and it’s actually only 4 days away now. 

The party buckets are done and the presents have been purchased. All that’s left to do is make his cake and wrap the presents. 

It’s safe to say I have my hands full of party prep! But, first things first – the photo garland. 

I wanted to capture the past 12 months and I’d seen a few others do similar things on Instagram along these lines. 

I decided to stick with the square theme and ordered Polaroid style snaps from Photobox and using twine and pegs strung the photos up along the length of the wire! Perfect display!! (Sobs into a massive bar of chocolate and glass of vino – especially at the baby photos). 


Next up has been the party food! (Ok so I can’t prepare most of the food yet as it’s still a week until his actual party), but, I can start to arrange all the non perishables out! We were fortunate to be sent a box full of Bensons Juices for the kids to drink at his party. I can’t wait to see how well they take to testing out these Orange and Apple drinks! 

We also had the buffet for labels perfectly crafted by Lottie and Lyla for the food. The labels match the beach party theme perfectly! 


Last but not least is the time capsule, I was flicking through Instagram the other week (standard right) and I came accross this fab idea for a time capsule. The guests can leave Nandy messages for when he turns 18 on 27/07/2034.

To top it off we have created a little box for the cards to go inside and it can be “buried” and opened in the future for him to read! 


I think it’s safe to say I’ve been a busy bee with all his preparations! There’s so much more to come – so watch this space for more inspiration / ideas / general updates! 

If you like any of these ideas then don’t forget to pin the post to Pinterest and give us a follow @lifeofnandy

Rebecca 

Beach party theme Party Buckets

Planning a beach themed party for your child? Stuck for ideas on party bags? Look no further…!!!

I planned the beach theme as Nandy turns 1 in July and hoped the weather would be hot enough to justify a beach theme!

I couldn’t just get away with handing out party bags after I’d been inspired by Pinterest to have buckets instead! It was just too relevant to the theme! 

Now if you’re looking for cheap options then this isn’t going to be for you, being honest the cost of the party buckets must be in excess of £7 each child perhaps even £10. Multiply that by 15 children and it becomes an expensive option. 

So what’s inside Nandys party buckets?

  • Inflatable beach balls
  • Sand mould
  • Sunglasses 
  • Beach colouring book
  • Shell or fish shaped crayon
  • Beach themed flash card 
  • Beach themed foam bath shape
  • Bubbles
  • Deck chair striped candy bags with goodies inside 
  • Plastic bath boat
  • Personalised thankyou tag 

Bucket contents

  • I sourced the sand bucket from Smyths toys for £1.69 each.
  • The flash cards were a steal at 20p a pack from the Range.
  • The foam bath shapes were £10 for a bag from Jojomaman Bebe.
  • The bubbles were from Tesco in their party aisle Approx £1 for 6.
  • The sunglasses were £1 each from Primark. 
  • The deckchair style stripe candy bags were from Homesense. Approx £5 for 20 bags.
  • The shells and fish crayons were from Craystion station at approx 50p each. 
  • The inflatable beach balls were from EBay at approx £1 each. 
  • The colouring books were from Tiger at £1 each 
  • The plastic boats were £1.50 for 4 boats from a local baby shop
  • The plastic sand moulds were £1 from Poundland for 3 moulds.
  • The thankyou tags were from Zazzle. 


Now it’s only 3 weeks until his party – the countdown is officially on! I can feel myself getting emotional already! 

Hubby says I’ve gone over the top on things but it’s not every day your first child turns one is it! I’m just trying to enjoy it as much as possible.

If you like this idea then please don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, twitter and pin to Pinterest @lifeofnandy
Rebecca 

First Birthday Gift Ideas 

Are you stuck for ideas on what to buy your little one for their first birthday? Well so was I! Therefore, I have decided to put together this handy little guide with some links as to items you can purchase for your little one (if you so wish!)


A TRIKE

We love the Smart Trike in black and white colour – this one is so adaptable that it will last him ages! Perfect as a filler gift before a balance bike is bought!

SANDPIT

Because Nandy is having a beach party themed birthday it only seemed appropriate to get him a sandpit to play in with his friends. We toyed with the idea of making one but it was just as cost effective to buy one ready made! There are plenty out there to choose from, with covers or without covers. Plastic or wood: it’s entirely your choice as to which design you go for!

IKEA PLAY KITCHEN 

Not just for girls, my mum quaffed when I asked her to buy this for Nandy. She said “really?” But this little play kitchen is proving to be so popular with both boys and girls it would be daft not to buy it!

We are fortunate enough to have some little Tea towels made from Love Roo to match!

PLAY TABLE 

Nandy seems to be happier stood on his feet than he does sitting down these days, he is still a bit wobbly so this play table is ideal to help him learn to stand and keep him occupied at the same time. The cost of these play tables range from £20-£30 so not too expensive either!!

I hope you have found these ideas useful when trying to decide what to buy for your little one. It’s so easy to get stuck and end up buying clothes and nothing memorable.
Please don’t forget to pin this brief guide on Pinterest 🙂

Rebecca

5 ways to enjoy your Shared Parental Leave 

Shared Parental Leave is a new government lead scheme whereby employees can share their Leave with their child. When I fell pregnant with Nandy I promised hubby that he could take 3 months off and I would do 9 months. When the hormones set in and I realised how much I enjoyed being a mum I changed that, I stuck with the shared Leave but we decided to take a month off together instead.

That’s right – you can take the Leave together!


So I’ve had 44 weeks off work alone and hubby has had 4 weeks at the same time as my remaining 4 weeks – making the 52 week entitlement.

So how to make the most of that time together?

Continue reading

Our First Family Holiday – Day 3 

How is it Day 3 already! We’ve been having such a super time here in Devon courtesy of the apartment booked via Boutique Retreats!


Yesterday we explored the coastal paths leading from the front of the building to the left and right and then went for a swim in the swimming pool at the apartment , so today we decided we would go further afield and check out Salcombe.

Our NCT friends are staying here and Nandys gorgeous play date Alice would be with them too, so we decided to head out and meet them for lunch in Salcombe at the South Sands hotel – which has been rated one of the top 100 hotels in the U.K and based at south sands near Salcombe. Accessible via a sea tractor and ferry crossing this hotel sits on the beach front with awesome views of the estuary.

The day started off very very foggy, misty and not very warm. I checked the forecast and could see that it was scheduled to improve as the day went on.  

We took a trip to east Portlemouth to the ferry crossing over to Salcombe. The journey there was interesting – including ford crossings and winding country lanes. I’m glad hubby was driving because I’d have had both wing mirrors off within seconds!

Continue reading