This past weekend has not been my average sort of weekend, let me tell you. Oh no, this weekend involved Father Christmas, fake snow, lots of talk of pink cones and prunes amongst other things, competitive Christmas Tree decorating- and 35 bloggers and their families let loose on Butlins in Bognor Regis. It sounds like a tale of fantasties, I hear you say? Well read on to find out more…
On Friday afternoon Mr E, Mads and I set off on a family adventure. After making a brief stop to have our fringes trimmed (we girls have got to look our best after all!) we were on route to Butlins in our rather fabulous silver Kia Cee’d loaned to us for the journey. The car itself was fantastic, therefore prompting a long discussion on the journey about how we desperately needed to get a bigger car as it was very refreshing not having to take the wheels off the buggy to fit it into the boot!
We finally arrived in Butlins after a particularly long and arduous journey involving lots of traffic and lots of Haribo sweets and checked in at the Ocean Hotel where we were due to be staying. Having worked in the travel industry for many years, I have stayed in some of the best hotels in the UK, and I must admit to having a couple of small preconceptions about Butlins accomodation including that it might not have been the best standard. I can quite happily confirm that I was completely and utterly wrong. The Ocean hotel was really lovely- really modern, fresh and colourful with really looked after, clean and tastefully decorated rooms. Both myself and Mads favourite part of the room was the different coloured lights above our bed that alternated in colour- they kept her amused for hours. We had a huge corner balcony with a sea view which would have been great had it not been blimming freezing. I am ashamed of myself for being a bit of a snob as the hotel was really quite lovely and I would happily stay there again.
On arrival we met up with Lucy from Dear Beautiful Boy and her husband and Little Man and had a quick wander around the resort. Butlins had gone all out with their festive fun- there was snowmen everywhere, fake snow being pumped around and lots of Christmas trees and lights- it was great and really started to put me in the festive mood.
Here is my lovely little family by one of the many Christmas trees.
We then met up with Hannah from Mummy and the Beastie and her family and went for some dinner, before meeting Helen from The Crazy Kitchen and her brood for a couple of drinks, although poor Mr E had to go back to the room as it was way past Mads bedtime by this point. Both Hannah and Helen are two of my closest blogging friends so it was lovely to see them again and we had a lot of giggles before jumping into bed. (Not together I might add- it wasn’t that kind of weekend!)
The next morning we woke up, pleased to find that being in a strange place hadn’t disrupted Mads who slept through, and went to try some messy play with Lucy and her family. Mads enjoyed painting, although it wasn’t quite what I would describe as messy play, which in my experience is normally baked beans, shaving foam, and paint everywhere!
Here she is creating a masterpiece!
We then went to try out the soft play area which Mads thoroughly enjoyed- her and her Daddy went to the very top and she loved exploring!
In the afternoon it was time to head on over to meet some of my other fellow bloggers. I was a little nervous about meeting them but I need not have worried, although I didn’t get to chat to everyone, they all seemed very nice and friendly. Here we had an organised competitive Christmas Tree decorating competition- unfortunately our group didn’t win but I thought our tree was very pretty! It was nice to chat and get to know each other a little more before the evening.
After meeting everyone we decided to go and try out a massive snow globe that Butlins had erected in their main tent. I had never seen anything like this before and I thought it was fabulous- it was basically a huge lifesize snow globe that had fake snow in and it blew about while you were inside it. It was so festive and I loved the fact that you could purchase a photo of the experience. Although I did purchase the photo, Lucy also took some for me which I have included below- I was so glad we did it as it is lovely to have those kind of memories.
After this it was time to get our glad rags on and get ready to go out- I soon realised that I hadn’t remembered a coat or cardigan so was absolutely freezing but soon I was ready and raring to go in my biggest heels. Not before having another cuddle with my little monkey though!
We all met at one of the many bars for a cocktail before dinner which was some sort of berry concoction with vodka- it was very lovely and I wish I had remembered to tell Mr E who is a very keen cocktail enthusiast! It was great to see some of my blogging friends again, and also meet new ones, although I am disappointed that I only managed to chat to some for only a few minutes especially Mum 2 Baby Insomniac, Mummy Mishaps and Wit Wit Woo.
We then went over to Turners restaurant for our meal. The meal itself was very nice- we had parsnip soup for start and a roast dinner for our main, all of which I gobbled up as I was so hungry. Dessert was a little strange, we had ice cream with prunes and apricots- unfortunately I am not a big fruit eater although I really enjoyed the ice cream! It was great to sit with some of my lovely blogging friends including Mummy and the Beastie, The Crazy Kitchen, Mummy Mummy Mum, Multiple Mummy, and Dear Beautiful Boy who I have all met before, but also to sit with The Boy and Me who just as I expected was as lovely in real life as I thought she would be. It was great to catch up and chat all about blogging, our children and life in general- especially Helen who entertained us all with stories of Pink Cones.
Here we all are enjoying ourselves…
After dinner we went to Butlins late night venue Jacks where I believe that some of the more hardcore bloggers amongst us (you know who you all are) stayed until the early hours. I, having not drunk to much, was too sober for these kind of shennagians so sloped off for one last drink at the hotel bar before retiring at a reasonable hour to my bed. Having heard the stories though, I am disappointed I didn’t stay out!
The next day was just as lovely as the rest of the weekend- we got up bright and early and went swimming which Mads absolutely adored. It was just lovely seeing her face as she splashed around and giggled with her Daddy, although the changing room was absolutely freezing when we came out! We then went to meet Father Christmas which was probably one of my favourite parts of the weekend- although Mads probably none the wiser, it was so special for me to witness as her Mummy.
Here are a few photos that I took whilst we were inside the winter wonderland.
Finally before we went home we braced the cold and went on the carousel which was totally worth it to see the looks on their little faces!
One really nice part of the weekend for me was realising how much Lucy from Dear Beautiful Boy and I have in common, as well as our husbands too. We had a great time spending the majority of the weekend with her and her lovely little family and I think we have made some future real life friends as we don’t live all that far from each other either.
All in all I had a fabulous weekend and I would like to thank Tots 100 and Butlins, as well as Kia for the use of the car for the duration of the trip. It was lovely to spend some quality time with my family, as well as seeing all my closest blogging friends and meeting some new ones too. I am sorry for anyone I have missed off and for anyone I didn’t get a chance to chat with.
I am now feeling thoroughly festive and can’t wait for Christmas! Thanks to everyone who made it such a great weekend!