Thursday, 31 July 2014

In search of the next milestone- Dry Nights! #Review

There are milestones which are ticked off.
Milestones which are open to the public to observe (and judge!).
And those which we monitor as parents, comfortable of achieving in good time.

In this category I keep, using cutlery, moving from plastic to china, the goodbye to soothers, and dry nights.
Dry nights is the one thing I have no desire to influence.
History dictates children will do this in their own time, that diet and circumstance can influence, and create forward and backward steps.

And yet, there is no doubt, in our family, with Seren as big sister, that growing up to become big boys is well and truly on the priority list.
With Seren, I was convinced of waterproof sheets.
They didn't work.
They were noisy, and it just encouraged Seren to bed swap.

With Tom & Seb we have been introduced to Huggies Dry Nites Bed Mats. The perfect solution to any accidents.
The reality that they are unnoticeable means we have added one to Seren's bed. She may never need it, but she doesn't know it's there either.
And, as motivation, we discovered 'big boy pants'.
The perfect incentive for Tom & Seb, following this being this term being the original incentive for them starting 'big boys school'.
And of course, the dinosaur design has been the perfect motivation.
Between big boys pants and bed mats, we're now set for the boys having Dry Nites.
And like becoming dry in the day, I know they'll do it perfectly, in their own sweet time.

If you need any support on your little ones potty training journey- check out the potty training bus- anything to support the graduation is worth any advice- and with two- the financial savings have made a world of difference!

Disclosure: We received a goody box from Huggies for the purpose of this review. All opinions and views are our own.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Creating our perfect lounge

We've lived for the last three years without curtains in our lounge. Accepting the two neutral roller blinds.
This was predominately due to the colour of our carpet (a light green) and a feature wall- which the previous owner had matched the wallpaper with their curtains and roller blind- and then took the curtains and roller bind with them.
We have lived in fear of where to start.

Over the Easter weekend we put down a wooden floor.
And now there's a feeling that we have a blank canvas again.

So, our lounge.
Whilst Mr J was attracted to our garden when we bought our home.
I loved the dual aspect windows in the lounge.
I love that we look out over a nature reserve and beyond to the sea.

I would love to first welcome our garden in with curtains and blinds reflecting bringing the outside in.
And complementing with cushions,  reflecting our further reach and our first home:
I love the idea of lifting our lounge and its wooden floor with the colours of the sea, and I love this very obvious Anthropologie link- which the children will love, and brings the curtains and cushions together.
I love the idea of keeping a feature wall, but making it about me and him with this wallpaper:
Our walls have pictures we have collected from our travels, which I would rehome, in favour of updated personal touches.
From our The Day That capture of our wedding day:
To creating family art.
Like this idea on Etsy:
In terms of furniture, I do love our sofa and units, but if I could...
I have always wanted my Carrie Bradshaw chair, for snuggling up with a good book (or to blog!).
And I love an armchair plus, Sex and the City meets my family, perfect for me, and perfect for a cwtch and a story with the little people.
And then, add a bookcase (with toy storage) next to it
And have a corner sofa for family nights
With a tv unit for movies
And if I completely had my way, I would love to begin our fireplace from scratch (not least because our temporary kitten lived behind our fireplace and destroyed the back piece.
And one thing I do miss from our home in Yorkshire was our stove, so if I could... we'd have it back:
And yes, this, this would be my ideal lounge.
A perfect place for the family, a perfect place for us, a perfect place for me.

Disclosure: This post is inspired by Little Stuff's Dream Room Competition.
Good to be Home Dream Room Competition

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dem boys - twins at 3 and a half

I've realised I haven't written about Tom & Seb for a while.
As babies and toddlers you monitor development so closely.
Aware of milestones, aware of development stages.
For me, as they've grown as content individuals I've just enjoyed the journey.

Tom and Seb are the best boys a mum could want- in a completely biased way.
I think there is something about bringing up twins which means good behaviour becomes a norm, there is not enough time to spend pushing boundaries, as it's usually a competitive game, far better to compete for compliments.
Far from perfect behaviour of course, Seb still has the best bottom lip sulk (although he now knows to bite it in too!), and Tom can be the naughtiest in a more stealth like way.

Having finished a year at playschool and a term at nursery school, it was interesting to read and listen to feedback.
"Seb loves to help and will often help without any prompting."
"Tom is sensitive to the needs of others."
"Whilst Seb is not keen on organised group play like circle and storytime he loves to play as part of a group or one or two friends."
"Tom loves to play as part of a group and loves circle, music time and storytime and has excellent concentration and listening skills."
I love how the boys differences are coming out to other people- they are twins, they are being raised by the same parents, in the same environment.
But their sharing of a birth date does not define them.
Despite their similarities, they are individuals.

Seb has his dad's attention threshold.
His dad insists he has a fear of flying. From flying with his dad, I put money on the fact his dad has a fear of being in the same space for long distances.

Tom is demonstrating that he is a little more mature than his brother, more ready for the classroom environment.

And yet, as the mum who reads them a bedtime story each night, I wouldn't have reflected the differences both playschool and nursery school have reflected.

I love this about the boys benefiting from the many people around them.

I took them for their jabs today. With the more subtly presented question of who is least likely to cry. And I got it wrong- of course.

These boys of mine.
Every day they give me a reason to love them more.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Elmer - 25 year anniversary #Review

I love introducing my little people to classic children's books.
Whilst technology and life gets hold of us and moves us to new places.
There is something about books, which enrapture and hold our imagination.
For my little people, television, tablets, are left behind in favour of snuggling up, or sitting rivetted as mummy reads a story.

Elmer, the classic children's picture book written and illustrated by one of the most celebrated children’s authors of all time, David McKee, will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary at Andersen Press this year.

And like all of my favourite children's books, Elmer is as loved today as it ever was with it being one of the most widely read children’s books in the UK. The Elmer book series has sold over 7 million copies worldwide since its publication at Andersen Press in 1989 and translated into more than 50 languages.
I loved how much the children loved Elmer.
I love how much the tales resonates as much today as I'm sure it did 25 years ago.

And I love the quality and relevance of the Elmer merchandise, which now seems to go hand-in-hand with all books and television series.
I have benefited from quite a few peaceful hours as the children enjoyed creating their own Elmer as part of the floor puzzle.
I was amazed that this was the 'toy' that Seren chose to take in on the last day of term.
So that all of her friends could contribute to make Elmer complete.

And me, well, like all reminders of my childhood.
My magpie eye fell on the snow globe.
Of course I was not alone.
But this, this remains special to all of us.
What are your memories of Elmer?
Can  you believe he's 25?!
Will you be reading his stories to your children?

Disclosure: We received an Elmer 25th Anniversary package for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views contained are our own.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lady Rizo at the Blysh Festival #Review

Photo credit: Wales Millennium Centre
"I need a night out" the conversation began.
"How do you all fancy seeing Lady Rizo as part of the Blysh Festival. Could be fun." came the response.

There is nothing quite like a night of holding hands and stepping into the unknown.

There is nothing like unequivocal enjoyment, laughing because it is funny, aghast because it is funny, caught in a tale that you have no idea of its truth, yet by the end you are sold, the conviction has you.

Lady Rizo's performance is categorised as 'Cabaret'. And I'll be honest, not usually something I'd think, "Yes, please, get me a ticket".
But J's ability to choose all the best theatre meant I was saying "Yes. Please. Get Me A Ticket."

A little deeper, Lady Rizo has been described by the Edinburgh Evening News aptly as: "a martini-lapping American songstress with a great voice, soused in a mischievously heady cocktail of charm, wit and gin..."

And I'm still not sure that touches the surface.

I fell for the voice, a cross of all your favourite American comediennes.
I fell for the voice, I was convinced at one point the gorgeous blonde resonated so much of Amy Winehouse.
Only for her final performance, to be filled with so much emotion, this I fell for, hook, line and sinker:

And of course, it had just been about the singing, it might not have been a great night out.

It was the rapport.
It was the absolute laughs.
It was laughing because it was truly the safest option.
It was being amazed at the interaction.

The amazing control of her audience.
The amazing power of her voice.
The humility of the night.

Of course, as we walked away there was awe.
"One day".
Yes, I'd love to be Lady Rizo when I grow up.
Unfortunately I doubt three children in tow will have the same vibe.
And that's what it was all about.
For one night.
I was Lady Rizo's confidante.
Maybe one of quite a few.
But in my life, that's good enough.

PS Lady Rizo is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August and in London in September. Definitely Get A Ticket, if you can.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Fun Food Friday

As the need for packed lunches is put on hold until September I thought I’d to a summary post of where we got to ahead of the summer break.
Seren’s lunches are very ‘pink’, the only thing keeping me going is her blue Sistema lunch case!
I’ve been amazed by how much Seren has taken to having Brechdannau (packed lunch) rather than Cinio (school dinners) given her resistance.
Although I have been a bad mummy, and on bad days at work I don’t necessarily have the motivation at 9pm to get her lunch ready, when it got to the point of tantrums at 8am because she found out she had do have cinio- cue a mad lunch to prepare brechdannau, I knew we had made the change.

Seren’s lunches at the moment are mainly around the cookie cutters we have for baking, picks and silicone cases we’ve acquired from ebay, supermarkets and Eats Amazing, and my all time favourite- the heart pots (which we are desperately in need of a more generic version!).

And already Tom and Seb see it as their special treat to have a packed lunch so we’re definitely making progress.

And, now we’ve made the conversion to brechdannau, we’re now incorporating lots of new foods. Tom and Seb are definitely a lot more open to this, however I’ve discovered with Seren the trick is to give them names other than what they are, so whilst Seren doesn’t like raisins, put yoghurt covered raisins in a heart shaped pot, with a heart pick, and call them ‘happiness’- well, we’re onto a winner!

And so we’re looking forward to a summer of brechdannau being a treat, and picking up some more lunch boxes in addition to the fantastic strawberry one from Eats Amazing (bad mummy for only purchasing one it would seem!!).







Eats Amazing Fun Food Friday

Word of the Week #WOTW

I took part in The Reading Residence's Word of the Week linky a fortnight ago.
Writing my post on the Thursday evening, to publish on the Friday morning.

By the time I finished work that evening my world had turned full circle.
Issues were no longer issues. Concerns seemingly irrelevant.

Over the past fortnight, my life has been turned upside down.
I have realised just how much I didn't know.
I'm not sure why information wasn't shared.
And I can't get my around what would have been different if the information had been shared.

So, I have concluded.
We are where we are.
I cannot undo what has been done.
The next stages are known.
They are beyond unpleasant.
They will tear at people's sanity more than my own.
But they are known.
And I cannot do anything to change what happens next.

I can influence what I do.
I can find my positives.
And I can become happier.
I can ensure those around me have limited impact.

And I can leave work at work.

And enjoy my family.
And the happiness they bring me.
Word of the Week

The Reading Residence

Thursday, 24 July 2014

What I'm Doing Now #WIDN

I've loved reading everyone's 'What I'm Doing Now' posts and finding inspiration for the summer holidays, so what I got tagged by Boo, Roo and Tigger Too I suddenly felt a little pressure to figure out what I am actually doing.

So, following the questions posed:

Currently I am:
Dreading going back to work. I've only had two days off. And it's nearly the weekend. But working from home with the little people on their holidays is not a great feeling.
So, I'm taking my mind off it, with to-do lists for activities, baking plans, and thinking about a night out with the girls tomorrow.

Reading:
Thanks to a holiday in Butlin's where I finally managed to catch up on some reading, I currently have two books still on the go. One is Harlan Corben's 'Six Years', the other Dan Brown's 'Inferno'. And based on a recommendation, I also managed to pick up the novel which inspired Wicked... so I have to get back reading. Generally my day to day reading involved Biff and Chip, Fireman Sam, Meg and Mog, The Gruffalo or the Enormous Crocodile. Obviously, I started with the books with a few more pages to feel good about myself!

Listening to:
For some reason I've been revisiting bands of the past, so I'm currently flicking between The All American Rejects, My Chemical Romance, Ash and Counting Crows.

Laughing at:
Orange is the New Black. Having finished watching Breaking Bad, I've found another way to stream my humour.

Swooning over:
Where to start. It's my birthday next month, so I'm creating a list of everything I can't have.
I've managed to take it down to a list of three.
  • The Cricut Explore
  • A waterproof camera/ recorder
  • Garden furniture.
I'm not optimistic.

Planning:
Everything.
I'm already planning for the time off I have at the end of August.
I suspect it's going to involve camping, so I am checking out our new surroundings to see what exploring we might be able to get up to.

Eating lots of:
Everything.
I'm just out of a tooth infection which saw all food rejected.
So, I've been baking some favourite things to cheer me up.
Today's blueberry and lemon cake was a success.

Feeling:
Anxious. Nothing new there at the moment. Work still has a cloud hanging over it, which has been joined by the cloud of not wanting to be there when I could be enjoying the time the little people are off.
But, I'm kicking myself into touch, shaking it all off and finding my optimism. I have a job, I have a wonderfully happy family. What more could a girl need?

Discovering:
My children again. The summer holidays mean I get to watch them play, interact with them, have the best conversations, and having the best of times... between breaking up the fights, dealing with tantrums, and wiping away tears.

Looking at:
Places to go over the summer. Camping supplies. Baking ideas- oh yes, the new series of The Great British Bake Off will soon be back and I'm so excited that Jenny will be running The Great Bloggers Bake Off again!

Wearing:
Maxi dresses and Birkenstocks. The only way to survive this weather. I dread work days, but I have the tan lines my Birkenstocks to look at as a reminder of happiness.

Cooking:
I leave Mr J to the majority of the savoury stuff and concentrate on desserts. Mr J's favourite is the Peanut Butter and Oreo no-bake cheesecake, and I've converted my favourite Starbucks muffin into a cake. And this, this was for Seren's end of year party- simply delicious!
Wondering:
Fortunately life at home is pretty trouble free as far as pondering is concerned, of course with more money, with more whatever we could do whatever, but we are completely grateful for our lot.
So, I spend most of my time wondering about work, whether to stay or go, and with the reality of staying, how I can make sure I'm happy at work. I'm pretty resigned to the fact, that I would be happy if the existing cloud would rain somewhere else.

Trying out:
Making videos. I've really enjoyed putting our recent holidays into a video with some favourite tracks. And really hope I can do a few more over the summer break.

And so, in tagging a few more to play the meme forward, I tag The Boy and Me, Keep Up With The Jones Family and the Diary of the Evans Crittens.

Monday, 21 July 2014

School smart with Matalan #Review

Boys Matalan School Uniform
We have been very fortunate to have three children who love school. 
Ok, two of them are three and the other is five. 
So, when Matalan sent them a set of uniforms, the excitement was palpable.

Uniforms to be have become to me, like most parents, the holy grail.
I have already given up on a uniform which will last the year, my children are growing far too fast.
Instead I want something which washes well, that continues to look as new as possible, despite the intense wear my children subject their clothes.
Would a uniform from Matalan tick boxes for us?
Matalan Summer Girls School Uniform
 Seren's school uniform definitely did.
Washing school summer dresses in the past has seen the fabric tighten and become taut. Washing the Matalan dress, I was pleased that it kept its size, shape, and soft feel.
Whilst the children do wear the logo emblazoned cardigans and jumpers, in a sweatshirt material, in the good weather we've been enjoying, the Matalan cardigan gave Seren a bit of cover for the walk to and from school, and looked really smart on her, so I do like having this in her wardrobe.
Seren loved the socks. Admittedly I had no idea what a difference these socks would make to Seren's life. I feel like a bad mum. They are The Socks. At £3 for 3 pairs we will definitely be stocking up on these for next term- I guess Seren feels about socks the way I feel about stationery!
School uniform for girls at Matalan
In Seren's first year at school she has worn out three pairs of shoes and two pairs of trainers. And her feet haven't really grown. I loved the shoes we received, they were a good fit, comparable to her most recent pair of Clarks shoes in style and materials, and Seren loved them. Job done.

The boys are a bit more straightforward. 
Not having so much of a summer uniform we are very reliant on the quality of their polo shirts, which have fast become the bane of my life. 
I am a little bit grateful that I looked very co-operative when I offered to dress Tom in blue shirts to help with the initial identification of my twins. Truth be told, I have so many problems with my whites, and more so with the amount of stains we manage to attract. And then, add frustrations about shrinking shirts, how quickly they look like we've dragged them back out of the laundry basket.
This was to be the real test.


Matalan School Uniform for young boys
And whilst they've only had a fortnight's test, I am really pleased with the results. 
I can spot the difference between the Matalan shirts and those from two supermarkets when they are all hung together in the wardrobe (they may only have started school at Easter but I was already so disappointed with one supermarket's polo shirts I stocked up with another's!).
Tom & Seb are liking their uniforms. A great start.
They are a little big (I opted for the age above as they are nearer to 4 than 3!).
And like Seren's cardigan, they've had a lot of wear from their jumpers with the weather being so favourable.

And so, yes. We're liking Matalan's uniforms.
We especially like the price point.
We've been impressed with how they wear and they wash.
Matalan School Uniforms for boys
Disclosure: We received three sets of uniform for our children in return for an honest review. Opinions and views contained are our own.
Matalan School Uniform


Thursday, 17 July 2014

I am not a Completer Finisher

Years ago, too many to name, I did a course which involved looking at Belbin's Team Role Theory.
Representative of the general population, it transpired that our group lacked completer finishers.

It's followed me through life.
A lack of commitment.
An inability to wait for results.
And once the results are known, my instinct is to cut and run.

Lately though I have become aware of another habit.
Burying my head.

Life is difficult.
Of course, this is by my measure.
I know comparably.
I reiterate comparisons whilst I am sinking.
With insomnia. Migraines. And silly dreams.

And I know how many people I am letting down whilst I am sinking.

Because. When I have the choice. I can't look people in the eye and smile.
Without feeling like I'm deceiving.
Because I don't feel like smiling.

I feel like surrounding myself in my family.
Relishing in the laughter.
Embracing their love.

It's the only thing I can do.
I get home and I let myself by enveloped.
I am off the radar.
Uncertain of return for wanting to wallow in this love forever.

I have to return.
I have to pick myself up.

Each week reveals more.
And with more, the extended timeline.
That this thing will neither complete nor finish.
And if it does, it will not return.
It is damaged beyond recognition.
Lives are damaged inextricably.

And here I am.
Offering eye contact.
Smiling.
But only when I have no choice.

I will start afresh.
I will find me again.
I will be the commensurate professional.

From this point.
I will always trust my gut instincts.
I will only surround my family with those I trust immeasurably.
I will never again feel like my trust has been breached to such an extent that I struggle with forgiveness.
I will keep my family as my sanctuary.
I will keep them away from hurt, and those who inflict it.

I'm not sure how.
But this.
This we will move on from.
Maybe not stronger.
But hopefully, with the benefit of experience.

I will wake up in the morning.
I will spend it laughing, learning, and loving my boys.
I will take them to school.
And I will spend the afternoon making gifts for teachers.
And then, all three will return.
And we will write together.
On cards they created with the prints of their hands and finger tips.

And this is what matters.
Love. Generosity. Happiness. Friendship.

And that is what I will allow me to move on.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Ordinary Moments- Play time

I can reflect honestly, three children under 22months wasn't easy.
We sail our own ships.
We each find our own path to family.
And we are thankful that ours has been as straightforward as we could have hoped.

And with that, comes these children.
Whom we have brought up, to be strong, committed, loving, and true.
Which isn't always easy when you're one of three.
The eldest, the middle child, the youngest,
The girl, or the boy.
The tiredest, or the most energetic.
This is their everyday.

And so, this weekend, I sat back.
And breathed something I have not appreciated before.

A moment's peace.
It happened.
It happened whilst all three engaged in playing Tom's Fireman Sam favourite on Saturday.
It happened whilst they played Seren's Ben & Holly (and everyone's) favourite on Sunday.

I have lived, I have breathed and I have not noticed.
This is how my children have grown.
To interact, to laugh, to play.
What we were all born to do.
I am here. With them. But now looking in on friends.

And, maybe next week, I'll get all confident on me, and make myself a coffee and be able to drink it whilst it's hot.
But for now, I will celebrate a new ordinary moment.
Playing together.
Appreciating each other.
For as little or as long as the moment lasts.
Linking up with Mummy, Daddy, Me's Ordinary Moments.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Peanut Butter and Oreo No-Bake Cheesecake

I associate peanut butter with the USA.
And still not having the courage to put peanut butter and jelly (jam) together, I decided to go with my other American love- Oreo's.

And so, as a complete easy peasy desert- served in shot glasses to ensure small portions mean no guilt, this is our latest love (to make about 15 shot glasses).

Ingredients:

For the base
1 packet Oreos
50g unsalted butter

For the topping
100g mascarpone
100g cream cheese
100g peanut butter (we used Duerr's)
175mls double cream
50g icing sugar, sifted

For the ganache
225g dark chocolate
125g double cream

Method
1. Open the Oreos, and scrape the filling out. Crush the biscuits, either with a rolling pin, blender or pestle & mortar. (Siften off some of the crushed mix to use as topping).
2. Melt the butter and combine into the Oreo mixture.
3. Create a layer, either in shot glasses, or a flan base, as the base.
4. Flatten and chill in the fridge.

5. Break the chocolate into small pieces, and place in a bowl.
6. Add the double cream into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
7. Remove from heat and pour the cream onto the chocolate and combine until the chocolate is completely melted.
8. Allow to cool and fill a piping bag.

9. Add the mascarpone and cream cheese to a bowl. Combine with a wooden spoon.
10. Add the peanut butter and combine.

11. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream to soft peaks.
12. Slowly add and combine the icing sugar.

13. Fold the cream mix into the peanut butter mix.
14. Fill a piping bag with the mixture.

15. Take the shot glasses or flan base from the fridge.
16. Pipe the ganache into each glass/ fill the base.
17. Pipe the cheese filling.
18. Sprinkle Oreo crumbs.

19. You can eat the immediately, or leave to cool in the fridge for a few hours. (I suspect a few hours may have helped. No-one in our home had the patience).
Disclosure: We received some Duerr's Peanut Butter- which inspired the creation of this recipe!
Link up your recipe of the week

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Butlins Minehead- holidays in our reach

Since we have returned home we remain positive that if we walk a minute up the road, and gaze across the Channel, we can see the familiar scape of the Butlin's Skyline Pavillion.
It does nothing to reduce the ten or so times a day the little people ask when we're going back.

Because, despite all of my fear and trepidation about holidaying in the half term- our first school holiday break in a family focused resort- was more enjoyable than we could have imagined, and nearly two months on, I'd still summarize it as stress free.
We visited Butlin's Minehead. As the crow flies it is probably 30 mins, in a car, it is just over 2 hours. With recently toilet-trained boys, and with us ignoring traffic warnings, we'll call it three hours.
Which, for us as parents, makes it a perfect holiday destination.
For the children, well there was a little patience involved in the arrival queue. No more than any other holiday park, and no more than an airport, but with a fairground in sight, it just heightened the excitement.
On arrival, we were surprised by the efficiency. Because of the queue on the way in, I jumped out of the car to check in to save time. Apart from there were no queues, I picked up our keys and given our directions, and found Mr J pulling into a car parking space.
We were back out and to the parking for our accommodation quickly, and got to explore the resort before the 3pm timing to unload the car into our bungalow.
Our accommodation for the break was a silver bungalow. We had three bedrooms which made it a perfect home from home, and with a lounge and kitchen there was the space Mr J and I needed at the end of the day to relax.

Accommodation-wise I'd definitely recommend the silver bungalows, with a double buggy it was hassle free storage, and we felt completely sound proofed (although it would be interesting to know if our neighbours felt the same!). As we were staying half board, the kitchen was a grateful addition, and as we weren't reliant on it, the lack of a dishwasher was fine (we don't actually have one at home, but who wants to be washing stacks of dishes on holiday?!).
Everyone slept like babies and we had all the home-from-home amenities to make it a perfect landing.

On arrival, we explored the Skyline Pavillion and tried our best to find our bearings- which for Mr J means establishing where we'll be eating for the week, and where his adrenaline rushes will be found in the Fairground.
For me it meant where I'd find a little respite- coffee and softplay. And of course, comparing it to the much loved Bognor Regis resort!
Oddly, it took us until Wednesday to find the little people's fairground- the highlight of our time at Bognor Regis had been flitting between the performances at the Skyline Pavillion and the little people's rides. With the children a little older we tended to try a few of the traditional fairground rides on offer.

And yet, it transpired, outside of the Skyline Pavillion there is a fantastic indoor Little Stars Fairground. And we would go on to spend plenty of time there. With so much to do it made it perfect on the days there was rain, and oddly, even though it was raining and half term, there were no ridiculous queues or frayed tempers.

We stayed half board, which meant we were able to eat breakfast and evening meals in either The Deck or The Yacht Club, although it didn't stop us from enjoying the amazing ice-cream and sorbets at Scoop!
The Yacht Club offers a more traditional British menu, whereas The Deck offers a wider variety of cuisines, and feels more buffet style.
We loved The Deck, I imagine with older children The Yacht offers the perfect evening meal. With our three, trial and error alongside variety means we fell hook, line and sinker for The Deck.
I loved the children's menu, and the availability of plastic crockery and cutlery, but more so I loved the variety of food.
The children ate well, and ate lots throughout the stay. So much so,between us and them, I wonder how Butlin's make it work, and scare myself by how much we would have wasted (and how hungry the children may have been) if we were paying for three course meals each evening.
In terms of our week- the children loved it, ergo we loved it. With the added bonus I managed to read two books and drank great coffee everyday.

It is true that you can spend as much or as little as you want on holiday- and Butlin's is no different.
We assessed that we spent little, mainly on coffee and 2p machines. So on Thursday we decided to splash the funds the grandparents had offered for ice-cream money and a bit more- to get each a Skyline Gang outfit.
Because this holiday our children discovered, and fell hook, line and sinker, for the Skyline Gang.

The one element of Butlin's I defy anyone to be unhappy with is the entertainment.
I worry about how little children experience the theatre, and yet Butlin's are amazing at offering this experience- of imagination, creativity, and escapism.
And whilst the boys still adored Fireman Sam and Thomas the Tank, it seems they have all grown up a little too much from Billy and Bonnie, and they all needed something more.
And how completely overwhelmed were they do meet their new found crushes!
What else can I say?
My pro's and con's of Butlin's Minehead? Well, admittedly this is more comparison, but here we go.

I loved the Little Stars Fairground being indoors, and having so much more 'little people's rides' than appear to be on offer at the other resorts.
I loved the Soft Play, especially being so close to the Pavillion stage and a coffee shop.
I preferred Bognor Regis for being able to convert your meal for vouchers to eat at the restaurants around the resort.
I preferred Skegness hands down, and then Bognor Regis for Splash Waterworld. We loved Minehead- because we have inherited water babies, but it didn't seem to have as much for the littlest little people (under 1m).
We loved the accommodation. Of course the hotels at Bognor Regis are better, of course gold accommodation is better, but Mr J and I loved our bungalow as it completely met our needs.
I preferred The Deck to Bognor Regis, but not as much as Skegness. It offered great variety, child focus, in a stress free (or stress as much as you want) environment.

My real assessment of Butlin's is offered from a parent perspective. Mr J wants to go back with his mum and Seren in the summer holidays. For Mr J to want to do this, speaks realms. He is from Yorkshire, ergo a bargain hunter, and he knows Butlin's offers value for money.
Additionally, he had no qualms on our recent holiday to take the children off for the day on his own. Anyone who knows me, knows how ridiculous work is, which doesn't let up when I'm on leave. Mr J being so confident that he can keep three little people happy for a day, and keep his sanity, shows how great Butlin's is for keeping little people happy.

And, what I've missed, which I think is key to any holiday choice, is that we felt safe, the resort is clean, well maintained, and Butlin's seem to have such a focus customer service, that if you're going to Butlin's looking to get the most out of it, to create memories of great family holidays for your little ones- then, why wouldn't you go to Butlin's?

Disclosure: We are Butlin's Ambassadors and received a five day break to Butlin's Minehead, staying in silver accommodation with a dining package. All views and opinions contained are our own.
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