Category: Holidays

Blowing the cobwebs away in Ladram Bay

We decided to take a little break prior to the October half term holidays.  When I say ‘we’ I actually mean me and the littlies.  I asked Mom if she’d like to come with me and then Dad and my brother Steve gatecrashed too (along with Abi in the end due to other issues)!  Mom and Dad have visited Ladram Bay many times before in their touring caravan.  I loved the thought of a week of no responsibilities with plenty of onsite facilities for Eliza and Freddie so we decided to book a static caravan.

Photo courtesy of www.ladrambay.co.uk/Ladram Bay Holiday Park

The Ladram Bay Holiday Park is in Otterton, near Budleigh Salterton, Devon.  A great location to get to, there’s just a 20 minutes drive after leaving the M5 at Exeter.  We arrived on Monday afternoon around 2pm and although our caravan wasn’t due to be ready till 3 we were allowed to enter.  First impressions of the caravan were good although we did find some things during our stay that were less than impressive.  We opted for a Budleigh Premier 3 (ours was B41) which was allegedly suitable for 6 – 8 occupants.  Sorry, Ladram Bay, I beg to differ.  Although the caravan had the correct number of sleeping facilities for this number, the overall space in the caravan told a different story.  The lounge area was tiny and the dining table only seated 4 with a couple of wooden folding chairs left in the corner.

Accommodation = Disappointing

After hearing such fab things about Ladram I was a little disappointed to find soapy marks left on our bathroom sink unit along with an overflow that looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in a loooooong time.  The children’s socks and in Freddie’s case, knees were filthy after travelling around the floor.  The main bathroom blind was completely covered in mould and the dining chairs were replacements from the club onsite.  They didn’t fit under the table correctly which meant it was impossible to seat 4 people at the table at once.  Not great when we were actually a party of 7!

Holiday Park = Fabulous!

However………..taking all this into account I must now move onto the park itself which was, I have to say, wonderful!  Reception staff were extremely friendly upon our arrival and this turned out to be an indication of our experience on the site throughout the week.  We visited Pebbles Restaurant just after arriving and had a lovely meal.  I felt the overall meal prices were rather expensive for a holiday park but there was no denying that the food tasted delicious.  We strolled down to the shingle beach around 6pm and caught some lovely large waves that had arrived with Storm Ophelia.  Eliza wasn’t too keen on the sound on this as the sound of the waves crashing over the shingle was rather deafening.

Waves Bar

We headed to Waves Bar to catch the kids entertainment.  Eliza was a little wary at first.  The little kids were all up dancing and then Pickles the Parrot arrived to entertain the kids along with Ryan and Abi from the entertainments team.  In the end she was up on the dance floor jumping around like a kangaroo and even managed to win a prize (a light up toy) in the ‘Musical Opposites’ game.  During our holiday we visited Waves Bar every night and each night she enjoyed it even more, making lots of friends and winning more prizes.  We won a bottle of fizz for both coming top in the quiz on Tuesday night and also Guess the Year.  Wednesday night we won again for Guess the Board Game.  We thought we’d best give up at this point as we might be banned :).

Entertainment

The entertainments team were superb.  Their rapport with the kids (and adults) was fantastic and the talent during their cabaret shows was exceptional and extremely high energy.  Bar and restaurant staff were also extremely friendly and helpful in particular Sam, who served us in Pebbles on a couple of occasions.

Good weather isn’t everything

Weather during the week was dire to say the least.  The sun shone upon our arrival and once again upon our departure but in between we had a murky mix of rain, strong winds, mist and general bleurgghh.  We had Storm Ophelia at the beginning of our week and Storm Brian at the end!  None of it bothered us though.  We either wrapped up warm and headed to the onsite facilities or we grabbed the crossword and a hot cuppa.  Freddie spent his time using his newly acquired crawling skills to investigate the caravan.

The swimming complex

We made a visit to Budleigh Salterton for a stroll up and down the high street but other than this we filled our days with swimming, the adventure playground and the amusement arcade.  The swimming complex was outstanding!  The toddler pool was a great size with water just 30cm in depth and an array of sprays and slides for the little ones.  There was also one larger slide that ran alongside.  The big pool was just perfect.  It had a non-slip rubberised floor and the whole pool was just one depth which was great for nervous swimmers like me.  We took Eliza in with her armbands on and Freddie in his sit in ring and they loved every minute (well after a slight early meltdown from the terrible two year old).  Abi and I popped into the sauna and steam room which I have to say were two of the best I’ve been in, the steam room in particular.  Changing rooms were unisex with plenty of space for everyone.  Lots of cubicles and a couple with baby changing tables.  Lockers were available to hire for £1.  There was a modern cafe area alongside the pool where spectators can watch through a window.  Mom and Steve came to visit and take photo’s of the littlies.

Other site facilities

Other facilities onsite include a soft play area, jurassic golf, children’s play area, launderette, shop and takeaway.  The shop had a great supply of goods with pretty much everything you might need whilst away.  Abi even managed to get a swimming costume as she’d forgotten hers.  The children’s playgrounds were in good condition with a zip wire for the older kids and big wooden pirate ship.  There was a smaller area for little children although the absence of baby swings was slightly disappointing so Freddie and I had a swing together on the big people swings :).  The amusement arcade was not terribly overpriced like some.  Lots of coin tip games, 30p per play for the grabbers and plenty of others around the 30-50p mark.

There are lovely scenic walks that can be taken from the site but due to our rather unfortunate weather we gave these a miss.  If you’re feeling energetic you could even do the 30 minute walk down to The Mill in Otterton which I’m told is well worth a visit.

All in all I would definitely visit Ladram again but would definitely opt for different accommodation!

 

Thanks for stopping by! x

Relaxing Cornwall crochet

Last week we were down in beautiful Cornwall. We stayed in the peaceful little hamlet of Rosecare, just a few miles from Bude. As we’ve stayed in this area many times we decided that this year, we’d have a relaxing holiday taking it easy and not rush around from one town to another.

As the weather was fairly mixed we had a lot of days where we just lazed the morning away in our lovely cottage and just headed out as soon as the sun showed itself. This free time was a great opportunity to throw a few crochet projects together. I started with a lovely cupcake keyring, moved on to mini christmas trees (piccies coming soon) and then spent many a free moment making mug cosies.
I managed to find some fantastic wooden buttons from a little shop in Bude and these were just perfect to finish off the design.  The pattern itself is from bubblegirlknitandcrochet.wordpress.com and she very kindly have me permission to sell the items I make. Off to the yarn shop soon to get some more cotton yarn in various colours so I can have a range in my Etsy shop. 
Mug cosy’s are priced at £4.50 and available to order from etsy.com/shop/twinkletwitcrafts or by messaging me through my Facebook page at Facebook.com/twinkletwit .
Thanks for stopping by!

A blissful break in the Balearics

A couple of weeks ago we headed off on our Summer hols to sunny Majorca.  This was our 5th year in beautiful Puerto Pollensa and as ever it didn’t disappoint. You’d think we’d be bored with the Balearics by now but there’s just something about the laid back lifestyle, the beautiful weather and glorious sandy beaches and scenery that keeps us returning year after year.  This year we took Mom-in-law and among her first comments were ‘I can see why you come back every year’.

Puerto Pollensa, Majorca

Peaceful times on the Pine Walk

Having five on the Pine Walk

As ever, our holiday journey was anything but ordinary.  We set off from Birmingham at 6.20am and by 8am were making an emergency landing at Limoges Airport in France after a pressurisation problem with the plane.  We were informed later in the day that the Captains sudden and rather terrifying announcement of “May day, may day, emergency descent” to the entire cabin was actually intended for the surrounding air traffic rather than our panic stricken souls.  Not much of a consolation after having your pants scared off!  By the by, we landed safely but then had a rather long delay whilst awaiting another plane to safely transfer us onward to Palma.  I did vow never to fly again after our little incident but funnily enough, 12 sunny days later the whole experience didn’t seem quite so bad :). However, I think it may be my last booking with Monarch!

Most of our holiday was spent lazing on the beautiful golden beach at Puerto Pollensa and swimming in the clear blue Mediterranean sea.  With the baking temperatures the beach was most definitely the best place to be as there was a constant cooling breeze.  We did do a couple of sight seeing trips during our stay, more than anything to show Mom-in-law the lovely Majorcan way of life.  We visited Arta and climbed the steps to the church of Sant Salvador and then took a stroll around the town visiting the convent on the way.  After Arta we headed on to Portocristo a little further down the coast.  Portocristo is such a scenic little resort with many yachts and boats lining the harbour and a charming beach and town.  We stopped for a ice-cream break on a bench over looking the beach and MiL commented on how it looked like a picture postcard.

Church of Sant Salvador, Arta

View of Arta

Steps from the Church of Sant Salvador, Arta

Harbour at Portocristo

‘S’ at Portocristo

Sunday was market day in Alcudia and Pollensa Old Town so we headed out early morning to miss the worst of the heat.  As normal the markets were bustling and alive with the Mallorcan vibe.  At Pollensa we scaled the 365 Calvari Steps to the little church although the heat was a little overpowering at times.  The view from the top over Pollensa Old Town and out towards Puerto Pollensa is glorious and well worth the climb.  Right near the top a local was playing lovely Spanish music on his guitar as we walked by.

‘P’ and ‘S’ at the market in Pollensa

Market in Pollensa Old Town

Guitarist at the top of the Calvari Steps

Calvari Steps, Pollensa

During our stay we spent many an evening at our favourite local venue, Palms Bar.  They remembered us from previous years and gave us a lovely warm welcome each evening when we visited.  We saw some fabulous entertainment while we were there including a Rod Stewart tribute, Michael Buble tribute and Abba Angels.  Rod Stewart (also known as Vinnie Scott) has a fantastic act and we were keen to see him again this year after being so entertained in 2010.  This year they had a new act, Michael Buble, who although was a little lacking in confidence and looked absolutely nothing liked the man himself, was an amazing sound alike and sang his songs with great flair.

‘P’, ‘S’ and ‘A’ at Palms Bar

Rod Stewart Tribute at Palms Bar

We had our regular visit in the town square to Jose at Bony’s bar.  Again, it was lovely to see he remembered us and that he’s still as colourful as ever.  We had a lovely take-away this year too from the Dragon Oriente.  Customer service was brill and the food was lovely.  In fact MiL liked the duck so much that it became a holiday phrase :).  In fact we ended up with many silly holiday phrases as we do on most holidays.  Such as “Hola, mi llamo A…”, “Do you want to play Uno?”, “That duck was just lovely” and probably most used of all “the RELAY!!” which was a send up of a rather enthusiastic British swimmer we’d seen being interviewed during the Olympics.  Absolutely riveting stuff I’m sure you’ll agree ;-), but they all meant something to us lol.  Does everyone have ‘holiday phrases’ or is it just us?

‘P’, ‘A’ and me at Bony’s

‘S’ and Mom-in-law at Bony’s

For the first time ever after visiting Majorca I was actually happy to return home.  I’m never one to be homesick but I think a mixture of the hotter than normal weather and the fact I missed our lovely pooch was all the incentive I needed to get me on the plane home.  Not to say I didn’t have a wonderful holiday as I really did and now feel thoroughly refreshed  .  ‘P’, ‘S’ and ‘A’ would have been quite happy to stay even longer I’m sure, and ‘P’ has already said that our next trip definitely needs to be longer.  Arnold didn’t seem too disgruntled at being deposited in kennels and judging by the fact he looks a little slimmer I think he perhaps had more exercise than he does at home!

May Day in Cowdale

Although it’s been a while now, we spent May Day Bank Holiday weekend in a lovely little cottage in Cowdale, in the Peak District.  We found the cottage through Sykes Cottages but it really was a super ‘find’.  ‘The Loft’ was the top floor of a converted farm building in the grounds of Cowdale Hall which is home to the Morten family.  We were made to feel very welcome when we arrived and the cottage had been prepared with tea, coffee, milk and biscuits and all the lights and fire switched on to make us immediately feel comfortable and at home.

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Double bedroom at The Loft


Twin bedroom at The Loft

The cottage had two bedrooms (a twin and a double) and was decorated in light neutral colours.  The lovely L-shaped sofa and footstool has to be about the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat on and was wonderful to chill out on after walking the Derbyshire dales.  The kitchen was well equipped with everything we could possibly need and although it was May the weather was particularly cold, but this we didn’t notice inside the cottage as the mini heaters and electric stove more than kept us warm.

Lovely comfy sofa at The Loft

Onsite there is also a small caravan area (5 van site) and there are also stable facilities where locals keep their horses.  At night we enjoyed the short 20 – 30 minute walk around the outskirts of the farm, talking to the horses and just being one with nature.  On a couple of occasions we stood and watched the rabbits hopping across the fields.  You only have to cross the road from Cowdale Hall to also reach one of the many local public footpaths.  We ventured a short distance on this walk but the weather wasn’t great and being a little ill, we returned to the comfort of the cottage.

Horses at Cowdale Hall

Circular walk around the farm


Midshires Way – nr Cowdale

Midshires Way, nr Cowdale

Midshires Way, nr Cowdale

On Sunday we headed of to Buxton Country Park and then later along the Monsal Trail.  Can you believe that it even began to snow while we were at Buxton, but hey, that’s British weather for you!  However, by the afternoon the sun came out and it warmed up a little.  The Monsal Trail runs from Buxton to Bakewell and is popular with walkers and cyclists.  We entered the trail at King Sterndale and walked a fair way, taking in the scenery, stopping for photographs and walking through many of the long tunnels that line the route.  We even stopped to watch some rather brave souls who were abseiling off the bridge at Millers Dale.

Me and ‘S’ at Buxton Country Park

The Monsal Trail

King Sterndale Cottages along The Monsal Trail


One of the tunnels along the Monsal Trail

Arnold having a dip in the river along the Monsal Trail

Monday we’d planned to stop off at Bakewell before heading home but as we got closer the traffic was so horrendous we decided to give it a miss.  Our next port of call was to be Dovedale.  We made a slight detour to our usual journey home but it was certainly worth it.  Despite the fact that the rain at some points was torrential, we zipped up our waterproofs and headed off to find the ‘Stepping Stones’.  Even on a day like this the area was still very busy and I’d love to return maybe on a week day to see it a little quieter.  However, it didn’t detract though from the beautiful surroundings.

Stepping Stones at Dovedale

Dovedale

We decided to make our way across the Stepping Stones which all seemed fine in theory until we realised that ‘P’ had absolutely no chance of walking Arnold across them!  The kids and myself precariously made our way across the rather wet and slippery stones and waited on the other side while ‘P’ struggled across carrying Arnold in a rather ungraceful fashion.  We later watched another potential stone walker give up on the idea after his German Shepherd refused to budge and I’m thinking the carrying idea was not exactly feasible :).


‘P’ and Arnold at Dovedale

We walked some way following the river and then eventually decided to do a u-turn and head back as we thought that the route we were on would take too long to come full circle and we needed to get home.  We decided to give the stones a miss on the way back and headed straight for the bridge.  On the last stretch we were dive bombed by swallows, obviously flying low looking for insects after the heavy rain.

All in all another very relaxing weekend that we all enjoyed.  Cowdale was just so quiet and away from it all we can’t wait to return.

A piece of heaven in the Peak District

Last weekend ‘P’ and I took a trip to Hartington in the Peak District for a little weekend break.  The kids and dog were unceremoniously dropped off at Mom-in-laws and we headed off for a weekend of walking and relaxation.  Although we only live 90 minutes away this was the first time either ‘P’ or myself had visited the Peak District, but now we’ve been we can’t wait to go back.

We arrived in the small village of Hartington around 7.30pm on the Friday evening.  The Charles Cotton Hotel where we’d chosen to stay looked very welcoming and we thought the lanterns that had been lit and scattered on the outdoor tables was a lovely touch.  The reception staff were very friendly and we were shown to our room which was small but clean and comfortable.

We ate in the bistro, just off the bar area, on both nights and the food was to die for, both times served promptly and by friendly service staff.  We were also surprised that there was entertainment on both evenings which we didn’t expect in a small village hotel.  Friday nights entertainment far outweighed Saturday’s though, it has to be said.  After an hour of Alan ‘Shakin’ Dakin (aka Vic Reeves ‘in the style of a club singer’) we almost gave up the will to live and retired to our bedroom :).  The bar area is very ‘country’ and has a super open fire to sit by.  We found that not only were the hotel staff extremely pleasant but also the locals who would pass the time of day whilst propping up the bar.

“‘P’ and I in the Charles Cotton bar

Breakfast on both mornings was served in ‘The Cotton Room’ which had a beautiful hand painted mural around the top of the walls depicting a countryside scene.  Once again the food was delish and the lady that served us on both mornings was a treasure.

Saturday unfortunately started off foggy so we had a short stroll around the village and then back to the hotel for cappuccino’s and read of the paper.  The village itself is very small with just a couple of general stores, an antique shop, cheese shop (?) and another inn.  Luckily by lunchtime the fog cleared, the sun appeared and we headed off on a circular walk using a map purchased from the hotel.

The walk took us out of the village and onwards to Wolfcote and Beresford Dale which was very scenic and great for photographs.  Lots of little bridges over the River Dove and many unusual rock formations jutting out from the landscape.  Being fairly early in the season it wasn’t too busy either so all in all we had a lovely peaceful 5 mile walk.

Circular Walk from HartingtonBridge of the River Dove

Both ‘P’ and I returned thoroughly relaxed from our weekend in Hartington and have already enquired as to their availability for May so that we can visit again for our wedding anniversary.

The Gallery – A Happy Memory

Trying to find one happy memory for this weeks Gallery was pretty impossible.  I’ve trawled through thousands of photo’s and there were just too many happy memories to choose from (which I’m sure most people have found!).

One particular set of photo’s really did make me smile though when I started reminiscing.  The photo’s were taken during our recent holiday to Florida.  The holiday itself had so many happy memories but this specific memory was of our last visit of Magic Kingdom.  We planned our last day there to incorporate the Main Street Electrical Parade and after a long and fun packed day in the park we stood around bagged our spot and waited for the parade to began.

We had quite wait so to pass the time we started messing around and taking silly pictures and just simply having fun!  So not one photo I’m afraid but a whole comedy collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cornish magic and muck for luck!

Last week we returned from a lovely week in North Cornwall, in particular the little hamlet of Rosecare near the village of St.Genny’s.  We found the cottage online and were pleased that they accepted dogs and had availability during August.  When we arrived the cottage was actually prettier than it looked in pictures.  ‘The Granary’ was a section of converted farm buildings with a small courtyard outside and a short walk to a village green and several public footpaths.  Rosecare was an ideal base for exploring the local area.  Away from the hustle and bustle of the larger towns, Rosecare was a peaceful haven for relaxation and scenic walks.

Granary Cottage in Rosecare, North Cornwall
Local views, Rosecare
An evening stroll by the cottage

Now, being known as the family to experience an eventful happening on any holiday,  we yet again obliged with a rather smelly but amusing offering on our outward journey.  We decided to stop the car at a little lay-by at Rackenford just after exiting the M5 to let the dog do the business and the rest of us stretch our legs.  Unknown to me there was the largest pile of turd I think I’ve ever seen, undoubtedly deposited by some kind of Yeti or such like.  In the blink of an eye, Arnold had eyed it up, weighed up the odds of serious discipline, figured what the hell and delved head long straight into it!  I think the actual experience was a little traumatic for him judging by the look of shock on his face, I don’t think he was prepared to take on quite such a huge pile of excrement.  To say he was plastered in it was an understatement and we continued to spend the next half an hour, one pack of Johnson’s face wipes, half a pack of wet wipes and a squirty bottle of water trying to remove said dung from his fur and collar.  The kids then started a debate over who was to have the pleasure of his company for the remainder of the journey.  Although we all found the whole situation extremely hilarious he still felt he should try to make amends.  He continued to place his chin on ‘A’s seat periodically giving her the doleful puppy dog eyes, to which she responded by backing even further into the car upholstery.  Needless to say the rest of our journey was rather noxious but much less noteworthy!

During our week we visited our usual North Cornwall hangouts such as the beautiful Duckpool Beach, Atlantic Village (Devon, I know but it still counts), Bude Light, The Pepperpot, Tintagel with a couple of new additions including Padstow and Port Isaac.  Padstow had a lovely charm but unfortunately was overrun with holiday makers making it very difficult to even navigate the narrow streets, especially dog in tow.  It’s definitely somewhere I’d love to revisit but maybe mid winter when the hoards have departed.  Port Isaac lived up to all expectations and luckily the sun came out to improve its appeal even more.

Port Isaac, home to ‘Doc Martin’
Port Isaac
Beautiful Duckpool Beach, nr Bude
Kids at Duckpool Beach

As this was Arnold’s first visit to Cornwall we thought it only right to let him experience the fantastic rock pools on Summerleaze beach.  ‘P’ threw numerous stones into the little pools and Arnold delighted in splashing and eventually submerging his whole head to grab them and drag them out onto the sand.  He had a whale of a time although I think his initial fascination with the sea has now worn off as he certainly didn’t seem as keen to get wet this time around.  Considering this was his first real ‘beach’ holiday and due to the fact that he’s only 14 months old we did wonder how he’d behave, but he really was a complete star.

Fun in the rock pools!
A bit wet behind the ears!
Relaxing on Duckpool Beach

We left the cottage after a super week in Cornwall but had one more treat in store – Hartland Carnival.  After attending on many occasions as the children were growing up we decided we couldn’t head back to the Midlands without stopping by for a visit.  Hartland Carnival is the most politically incorrect source of opinion you will ever see.  This year’s floats were tame by previous years attempts but none the less entertaining.  There was a terrific ‘double-decker’ Harry Potter effort complete with revolving tree transporting wannabe wizards and witches around on broomsticks and also a fantastic ‘Inbetweeners’ float complete with yellow fiat precariously balancing on the edge of a lake.  Other great efforts included ‘Chilean Miners’, ‘Smurfs’, ‘The Lynx Effect Comes to Hartland’ (brave chap taking an outdoor shower) and ‘Hartland Senior Citizens do Fame’.  All in all what better way to end a lovely week.  Oh yes, and no poo related incidents on the return journey to report either!

Harry Potter Float
Hartland Performing Farts do ‘Fame’
The Inbetweeners Float

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Hats off!

Updated my Florida scrapbook about a month ago and completely forgot that I’d not posted the new pics.  I did a couple of new pages, one based on Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Kilimanjaro Safari’s and another based around our addiction for trying on hats at the various parks.

Wild Things

I managed to get some super animal print cardstock from Ebay and used my newly bought Craft Robo to cut out the elephant and giraffe templates and also the ‘Wild Thing’ lettering (although I have sold this now as it did get to be a bit of a faff continually setting the pc up with it).   I wrote a short section of script from the tour onto the elephant.

Hats Off!

I had a rather random selection of backing papers already, from various packs I’ve bought on Ebay so decided to use some of these to make the page colourful and fun.  I managed to download a superb ‘Willy Wonka’ font which I used for the title and once again used the Craft Robo for this.  This was then attached using sticky pads to give a 3D effect.  I’d seen an article in Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine on crinkled paper flowers so had a go at this as an embellishment, using a flower shaped brad from WHSmith to finish off.  A Martha Stewart Deep Edge ‘Flower Bed’ punch was used for the edges of the spotted paper which I purchased from Secretcrafter recently.  A fantastic buy as I’ve used it loads!

Here’s a close up of the ‘Hats Off!’ piccies: