a winter wonderland weekend

Last weekend we took the little guy on a real adventure.
Our first family holiday.
We were excited about the chance to get away as a three
and to make some nice family memories.

But we were a bit unsure about the location.
because we were going to Butlins.
Okay, I'll admit to being a little bit of a holiday snob
and initially I wasn't too thrilled about the idea.
My husband was even more concerned.
Butlins is trashy, isn't it?
Full of chavs?
And annoying red coats with perma smiles and perma tans?
And who, even more annoyingly, would make us 'join in' with activities?

I've always thought that if you are holidaying in this country
then Centre Parcs is really the way to go.
Or renting pretty holiday cottages.
I really didn't think that something with a giant tent at it's heart
would ever really be for us.

But I was wrong.
I have to say that it surpassed both our expectation in every way.
And we had a really lovely time.

We most definitely made some lovely memories.
We've got some beautiful photos to show for it.
Holidays are definitely what you make of them,
and we made the most of ours.
And I think a large part of the lovely time that we had
is due to the people we were with.
We spent the majority of our weekend with Katie from Mummy Daddy and Me Makes Three
and her lovely husband and daughter Mads.
We went to Butlins so that I could attend the Tots100 Christmas Party
but Katie and I also used it as an excuse to get to know each other better.
Turns out that we get on like a house on fire.
And as luck would have it, the husbands and children did too.

When we arrived on Friday night
we were pleasantly surprised to find that our hotel was very swanky and trendy.
Not at all like a Travelodge which was what we were expecting.
It had funky colour change lights,
modern décor
and a separate area for all things baby.
The bed was comfy,
there were complimentary smellies (always good when you have a hubby who always forgets to pack his)
and we had a huge balcony which looked out over the grounds
which has been Christmassed up with fake snow and giant snowmen.

That night we kept the little man up way past his bedtime
as we went out for pizza with Katie's family and with Hannah from Mummy and the Beastie and hers.
LittleMan quite happily sat in his high chair next to Mads
eating pizza crusts, playing with a balloon and fighting her for the children's menu.
Bearing in mind he ended up being more than two hours late for bed
he was good as gold.

In the morning we met up again to go and test out some messy play.
It wasn't really what I would call messy play,
more like some finger painting.
But the little guy enjoyed making a mess and seeing what paint tastes like.

We then decided to hit the soft play area.
The daddies took the babies on a big adventure,
climbing up equipment and helping them to explore.
I think this was particularly nice for my hubby
because he doesn't get to spend time with the little guy and other children.
I know that he really enjoyed getting to really 'play' with him.

In the early afternoon, all us bloggers got together to meet one another and dress up some Christmas trees.
Meanwhile the daddies and babies went and hung around the arcades for a bit.
My husband is a big kid and loves nothing better than a play on the grab machines.
He did at least manage to win a meerkat toy,
but I thought it best not to ask how much money he had to put into the machine for this to happen.

When we met back up with the husbands later on,
we decided to go into the snow globe.
We'd seen this the night before
and decided that there was no way we were going home without having had a go.
Basically it was giant balloon that you climbed inside
and it was full of fake snow that you could throw around
and then have a picture taken.
It was a really nice thing to do
and it felt really festive and wintery.

When us bloggers got together in the evening for our party.
The daddies and babies got together again.
They had dinner together.
I like to think they 'went for a meal' because it sounds nice and romantic.
But I'm pretty sure they just went to Burger King.
It was definitely nice to know that they weren't trapped in hotel rooms babysitting sleeping babies,
while we were busy, out and about having a nice time.

In the morning we took them for a swim.
My little man is a total water baby
and is completely in his element in the water.
But he hated the 'coming out of the water' bit even more than normal
because that the changing rooms were freezing.
Enough to make a grown woman cry,
let alone a tired baby.

We took the babies into an Enchanted Forest
which was completely magical.
We were met by a fairy and a gingerbread man
and then got the chance to have a one-on-one with Father Christmas.
I'll admit that seeing my little baby sat on Father Christmas' knee made me feel quite emotional.
Christmas is such an magical time of year
and with The Enchanted Forest was decorated so beautiful,
that it felt really exciting.
We took some fabulous pictures
which will be great to look back on when we're remembering his first Christmas.

We could see the big carousel from our hotel room
so it would have been wrong to go home with out having a ride on it.
So Mads and LittleMan got their first ever rides on a carousel
with their mummies,
while their daddies were ordered to take LOTS of pictures.

Then we finished off our weekend with a pub lunch
before going our separate ways and heading home.

So, my opinions of Butlins?
They were wrong.
It is a great place to take children.
In fact, I'm sure in a few years time they would love it even more.
The staff are friendly and helpful
and there is so much to do to give kids a really magical time.

But I think what made our trip
was getting to make some new friends.
We had a lovely time getting to know all three
of Mummy, Daddy and Me Makes Three.
And I'm sure we'll find some excuses to get together again.

1 comment

  1. Aw what a lovely post and such lovely photos- I love them all! We had such a great time with you and your little family, and it was so nice to meet people that we had so much in common with! Plus we live quite near each other too! Yay! We should definitely meet up in the New Year in Cambridge or something so the lovers can see each other again. By that I mean our babies not the husbands! ;) We came back saying the exact same thing- that spending time with you helped make the weekend so lovely! x


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