Advent

For advent, we try to take the focus away from it being so much about “ooooo people are going to give me stuff” and add messages of family, charity and special time. So to combat that, alongside a chocolate calendar, the children get a challenge and activity calendar.

Each day they get a little envelope with a cue card, of sorts, inside; the card contains a short description which tells them a little about what the day’s activity or challenge is.

This year the schedule was as follows:

1 – Letters to Santa – We always do the Royal Mail Santa Letter because they offer a reply if you do it early.
2 – Webbs of Wychbold Winter Wonderland and Santa’s Grotto – it’s a bit of a trek from where we live, but we had heard that it was amazing, it sure didn’t disappoint the children, but I have reviewed it here.
3 – Decorate the house – as it says on the tin: tree up, decs up. Done!
4 – Pet Shoe boxes – the kids use their own money to buy what they want to give to a local pet charity. As our cat died last advent and we adopted her from a cat rescue in Worcester that is currently closed, we travelled into Worcester to give CATS Protection Worcester their goodies
5 – Family Board Game Day – the children get a new board game for us to learn and play as a family
6 – Family puzzle time – the children get a new puzzle for us to complete as a family
7 – Christmas shopping with Mumma – buying the bits they’d be unlikely to get with Daddy around.
8 – Christmas Movie Night – Family time, snuggled up on the sofa with blankets watching a Christmas film.
9 – Christmas Advent Fair – A trek to Hereford is always worth it for the Steiner Academy Advent Fair. They have a cute little cove where the children can go see the Snow Queen who tells them a little story and gives them a hand made gift, plus story telling, puppet shows, kids crafts, face painting, crafts stalls. The children love it.
10 – Christmas cinema trip – all set to go to watch Jumanji and BAM… snow! We couldn’t go, so we had a snow day instead.
11 – Christmas play – the children opted to sing carols and play in the snow instead of making a proper play this year – we don’t have snow often so I couldn’t deny them this.
12 – Family Board Games day – the children get a new board game for us to learn and play as a family
13 – Family puzzle time –the children get a new puzzle for us to complete as a family
14 – Christmas Shopping with Daddy – not just to encourage the purchase of some gifts for Mumma (even though I thoroughly deserve to be treated of course), to spend some time doing the stuff they normally do with Mumma, with Daddy instead.
15 – Movie night with Daddy – Mumma was off to have some “me” time (otherwise watching a gig and staying in a hotel for the night). So movie night was just with Daddy.
16 – Christmas Crafts with Daddy – Not knowing what time I would get back in the morning, the children had crafts to do whilst waiting for me to arrive home. And again do something with Daddy they normally wouldn’t get to do.
17 – Christmas Delivery Day – the last day we had as a complete family to deliver gifts
18 – Food bank shopping – again using their own money to get things for a local food bank, based on what ever is most needed at the time
19 – Family Board Game Day – the children get a new board game for us to learn and play as a family
20 – Family Puzzle Day – the children get a new puzzle for us to complete as a family
21 – Xmas Movie Night – Family time, snuggled up on the sofa with blankets watching a Christmas film.
22 – Going to Bluestone – This year we chose to go to Bluestone Wales, to spend Christmas on holiday somewhere we knew the kids feel comfortable. Review here.
23 – 4X4 Safari – Bluestone offer 4×4 Safari driving experiences for children in mini 4x4s. The children thought it was amazing and loved s
24 – Christmas Eve Box and tickets to Elftopia – Each year the children get a Christmas Eve box with new PJs and some hot chocolate (and a new book is wrapped and hidden under their pillows for bed time). And at Bluestone they do Kingdom of the Elves, which this year was Elftopia (the review is here)

 

 

Review: Christmas at Bluestone

We needed to find something to do for Christmas that would be easy to dip in and out of depending on the mental state and capacity of the children. Having been to Bluestone National Park Resort several times before, and knowing the setup, and the children having visited and enjoyed it… we figured it was a good choice. And as it was UK based, even if it meant having to drive several hours, we could head home if our plan didn’t work in the slightest.

Bluestone is a “village” based independent resort in Pembrokeshire, with lodges and cottages available for short term rental. All of the accommodation is resort owned and so each type of accommodation maintains a certain standard.

We have previously stayed in a Dinas, Skomer or Ramsay lodge, or in one of the cottages. This time, given the Christmas “premium” we went for the ‘basic’ Caldey lodge. For a basic lodge, it is well equipped. 1 double and 1 twin bedroom with quality furniture, table lamps and decent bedding , with beds made up on arrival and the added travel cot and mattress for those who need to use. Open plan living-dining-kitchen area with comfy sofas, TV and DVD player, coffee table, dining table and chairs. The kitchen has integrated diswasher and fridge (with freezer tray) and electric oven and induction hob. All of the kitchen utensils and accessories you are likely to need to make a decent meal and a welcome pack to get you started in the kitchen containing dishwasher tablets and cleaning supplies. And a wet room with underfloor heating.

 

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Check in time for the accommodation was at 4:30pm, but we were welcome to use the facilities from 11am onwards. After running some errands in the morning we left in good time and got there for around 1:30. We headed down to the Knights Tafarn (the “village pub”). Before heading back up to get our noble steed for the week – the trusty golf buggy named Haf (meaning summer in Welsh, I believe).

Whilst we were there, we spent time in the Blue Lagoon Waterpark, which I have reviewed previously just here and in the Adventure Centre, which is a big unit with 3 three story towers of wooden play equipment connected by rope bridges, tunnels and the like, a bouncy castle, a soft play for under 5’s and adventure golf which are all free to use. It also houses some paid activities such as the sky trail, the wall and a rock climbing wall. And the Wildwood Cafe (a forest themed cafe with dens and coves).

For Christmas they had a light show every night (basically a Christmas light switch on) in the village, the Elftopia (see below) a Christmas Parade (Christmas Eve, to wave Santa off for deliveries and lead down to the Christmas Festival in the village). As well as a host of other paid activities like pantomine, breakfast with Rudolph, chocolate house workshop etc.

They had their tickets to Elftopia on Christmas Eve, they got an elf flight suit onesie each and a passport, adults had to purchase their flight suits for £20 each if they wanted one.  At each zone they had an activity of some sort and then they could get a stamp in their passport. The children loved it, but it was so busy and hyper they were over-stimulated and unable to regulate, by the end Caitlin was clung to my leg and crying. It wasn’t that the activities weren’t thought out well, or unsuitable, something perfectly normal and reasonable can become too much very, very quickly.

We spent far more time in the lodge than we normally would, due to the children needing quiet and calm time; that’s ok, it’s perfectly comfortable and very feasible to do so. But they did take part in the 4×4 Safari, Sky Trail and The Wall, though Caitlin’s legs were playing up by the time she got to the wall and she was incapable of actually doing it.

For Christmas day we had ordered one of their luxury hampers which was more than ample and cost £95. But we didn’t order a tree or decorations (tree was £65 and if we wanted the DIY Decoration pack with it it took the price to £125) which we felt was a bit excessive for just 5 nights, when we already have it all at home anyhow.

We had a good time, and it showed us we could go away for Christmas to help the children with their anxiety but we probably wouldn’t come back to Bluestone for Christmas; there’s so much we can’t do there at Christmas time due to the issues the children have. Would highly recommend to anyone whose children can cope with stimulating and busy cirmcumstances.

Bluestone National Resort Wales

 

 

Review: Webbs Winter Wonderland (and Grotto)

Webbs of Wychbold, near Droitwich is just off J5 of the M5. It’s a a bit of a complex containing things like a garden centre, pet supplies, a hobby craft, homewares, a cafe and a food hall amongst other things.

We had heard several good things about the Winter Wonderland there and decided that we’d try it for ourselves this year. It certainly didn’t disappoint. We decided rather than do several Christmas fairs and see Santa a load of times this year, that seeing him once at a quality grotto would be the best option.

The store gets kitted out with different Christmas bits you can buy and they definitely go the whole hog in decorating (but manage to keep it tasteful not tacky).

The grotto itself was out towards the garden centre, there was a little hut with winding picket fencing through the queue, with 15 minute time slots for entry. At our time slot we were invited into the Elf Workshop to make reindeer food (mixed seed… no glitter! Yes! Thank you! Someone who gets the nature implications!) to take home in a little organza bag. Once the children were finished, we were invited to the table opposite for them to colour in a wooden tree decoration.

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Then it was through to the “wonderland” which was a series of scenes with moving actions and sparkly lights – a queue to santa with an entertaining distraction basically. Magical to the children, and happy for adults as the children aren’t moaning. The children were soon enough called in to see the big man himself, who said today they were on his nice list and so they had earned a visit and on that day he invited them to go to his toy warehouse to chose something (which was some racking filled with toys in the next room). The children chose their toys and on the way out got to see some deer. Job done. Nothing to cheesy or tacky and actually quite magical for the children.

Disneyland Paris

Knowing that it gets busy and there’s a lot of ground to cover, and that Caitlin would require lots of help in terms of mobility… we booked Monday-Thursday, term time in the autumn-winter season. It’d be quieter, we’d be in no rush and as long as we did everything we wanted to once, we’d be sorted.

We prepped the kids ahead of time – youtube videos of what to expect, realistic expectations of what they may be able to achieve in a day, what the busy and chaotic periods were likely to look like. All quite essential for going anywhere with these two.

Everything was set to be a good time, and it was.

We had a nice hotel, and room. We had our full board plus plan for food, so there was no stress about that and the kids had realistic expectations as to what they’d be able to ride. The queues weren’t too long, we had extra magic hours because we were staying in a Disney hotel. It was extra magical as it was all decorated for Christmas and also extra magical Christmas shows.

I am not going to sit and reproduce information that’s widly available and ever changing; everything you need to know about the hotels, dining plans, park hours, rides, shows etc. is avaiable from the Disneyland Paris website, or for a more thorough “user produced” guide, the DLP guide website has lots of good information.

What I will say is, despite their young ages, we have some quite “adrenalin” loving children. For nostalgia and a bit of fun they loved the Slinky ride in the Studios, but actually we came away with the realisation they like the fast rides; Crush’s Coaster and Thunder Mountain were their favourite rides (though, Caitlin’s sesnory issues with loud noises meant that certain parts of these were a little bit of an issue), they loved the feeling of wooshing about. My little speed freaks!

In terms of shows, the Illuminations and parades were definitely spectaular, and Mickey’s Magical Christmas lights, but really the experience they loved the most was the Moteurs Action Stunt Show, it really captivated them from start to finish. And has them begging for more visits to more motor-based stunt shows (I don’t mind, quite the fan of Freestyle MotoX, rally cars and stunt shows myself so, happy to roll with that).

We didn’t do any character breakfasts, or meet and greets as Caitlin says she loves it, but every inch of her shows otherwise. And I am still very on the fence about what is animal cruetly, so we didn’t attend the Buffalo Bills Wild West Dinner show. We did, however, beat the crowds and watch fireworks from our roomDSC_0713

All in all, a good experience, perhaps one we’re more likely to keep as a memory of a good time than repeat. But an experience we’d recommend and treasure none the less.

You can find our review of the hotel here, of the travel experience here and of our food plan here.

 

Review: Eating at Disneyland Paris – the Full Board Plus Experience.

When we booked our holiday, we had a free Half Board plan in place, so it was only around an extra £150 to make it full board for the rest of the time we were there. As we were staying in the New York Hotel, it meant we were on the plus plan – there’s a standard plan for the lower class hotels (like the Hotel Santa Fe) or the Premium plan for the Disneyland Hotel (which includes things like the Character Breakfasts etc.).

It says on the meal vouchers you get on arrival, where you can eat. But you should, if you can, call ahead to make meal reservations via the dining reservation line (available on the website/through your booking agent – I won’t put it here in case it changes).

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Breakfast voucher

Breakfast

As we had free half board we had a quick service breakfast (it stated that it was only available in Restaurant En Coulisse in the Studios, but actually the New York Deli in the Disney Village accepted the voucher for much the same breakfast). In En Coulisse, there was the option for sweet or savoury – they had the same skeleton setup, each person had a voucher entitling them to:

A tea, coffee or hot chocolate; a pastry – choice of pain au chocolat or croissant; a cold drink – orange juice, apple juice or water and then their sweet or savoury option.

The New York Deli could only offer the sweet option – which was bascially bread and jam, and the savoury was described as an “omlette burger” but was actually an omlette with some ham and cheese, with what I can only presume was mayonaise, in a roll.

For us, it was preferable to use the New York Deli for breakfast – we weren’t fussed on having a hot breakfast item and as we weren’t necessarily wanting to be in the Studios first thing, it made sense to not have to go there.

Lunch/Dinner

On the half board plus voucher, lunch and dinner had the same menu. For the plus whilst we stayed we were allowed to eat at:

Captain Jacks Restaurant – Adventureland, Disneyland Park
Silver Spur Steakhouse – Frontierland, Disneyland Park
Bistrot Chez Remy – Walt Disney Studios
Annette’s Diner – Disney Village
The Steakhouse – Disney Village
Cafe Mickey – Disney Village
Parkside Diner – Hotel New York
Cape Cod – Hotel Newport Bay

The voucher entitled us to a 3 course set menu at al la carte restaurants, or all you can eat at buffet restaurants, plus a drink such as fizzy pop, bottle of water or a minute maid juice. The children had a decent variety of choice available too, and often the starter would be brought out with the main for them to eat as desired.

For people who don’t eat meat, but can’t eat dairy – this is gonna be a tough thing to comply with – I have heard they have “free from” menus, but we hadn’t done much prep, it was all quite last minute, so I didn’t get to know about these in time.

We ate at The Steakhouse, the Silver Spur Steakhouse, Bistrot Chez Remy, Cafe Mickey, Annette’s Diner and the Parkside Diner. So, as to make this not too long – I will write a few words about each and gallery the food below.

The Steakhouse – Disney Village

We ate here on our first night, it was the only place available at the time we wanted to eat, else it probably wouldn’t have happened, but by a happy turn of events it did. All of the food was lovely. There was a bit of a delay from the kitchen, but in all honesty we were in no rush, so it didn’t matter. Fantastic waiter.

Silver Spur Steakhouse – Frontierland, Disneyland Park

Having eaten at the Steakhouse in the village and having a similar steak available (which was thoroughly enjoyable), we were looking forward to this one. And instead felt let down, it wasn’t as nice. Also, at some point a Caitlin’s toddler carrier had been knocked off my chair, and instead of approaching us nicely a waiter came over and started shouting at me about tripping people up. Wouldn’t go back here if you paid me.

Bistrot Chez Remy – Walt Disney Studios

Fantastic experience. From the decoration, right through to the food. It’s not a meal, it’s an experience and was magical for the children. We had a window seat next to everyone coming off the ratatouille ride too. So really felt like the rats on show eating our food. It was an fantastic meal that will remain an amazing family memory.

 

Annette’s Diner – Disney Village

The children were in awe that our waiter was on skates. They loved it. We went at lunch time. You cannot pre-book at Annettes, and it gets busy in the evening so if you can spare the time to have lunch there, do so. The food was promptly served, the staff were fantastic. It was average, american grill type food, but the portions were huge, we were stuffed, and struggled to finish.

Cafe Mickey – Disney Village

A med/italian feel menu, with a 90’s feel restaurant interior. Quite the combination. Our waiter was attentive – awkward moment when our wonderful daughter told the waiter it was my birthday – candle in my tiramisu and he sang “happy birthday” to me, by himself, whilst everyone around watched me cringe. Couldn’t fault the service or the food though.

Parkside Diner – Hotel New York

A buffet resaturant in the hotel itself. Food wasn’t top notch, but can it wasn’t pitful either. But thene again you can’t expect mass produced buffet food to be “all that” really. Plenty of variety, attentive and friendly staff… can’t really say much else. Don’t have photos of the buffet, but Caitlin made this for desert so…

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Review: Disney’s New York Hotel, Paris

We had booked the Dinsey’s New York Hotel for our stay in Disneyland, having been a few times I know that it’s located immediately at the end of the village meaning that you can walk everywhere and not have to rely on the (albeit free) shuttle buses.

When we arrived at the hotel, we were a little ahead of our defined check in time, but we wanted to dump our luggage so we went ahead to check in anyhow. They informed us our room wasn’t ready (we were expecting that…) but gave us our park tickets, meal vouchers and info ready for our stay, they took our luggage and off we went.

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Partial view from our room

When we had finished in the park, we came back for our keys and got informed (for whatever reason) they had upgraded us – we didn’t have a plaza room, we had a queen suite! :O

We were on the 5th floor, with a lovely suite (documented in photos), with a superb view of the lake. And in fact, we could see the Tower of Terror from our window in the room.

The room was comfortable, spacious, clean, had everything we needed, or would want. Including a chargeable mini bar (which we would soon learn was actually cheaper than having a round in the hotel bar). If we went back, we would definitely be inclined to stay here again, and potentially even book the upgraded room.

Review: Travelling to Disneyland Paris

We travelled to Disneyland Paris from Ebbsfleet International Train Station in Kent, via Eurostar. And even though we were going on an indirect service I will always say this is the best way to get there (regardless of your starting station); driving is stressful and relies on ferries, or getting the shuttle – why sit in a car, on a train, and then have to drive again afterwards? Air travel means having to deal with airport security and they are just mental and packed and ugh! Not to mention baggage reclaim etc. But Eurostar, the security seems a lot less stressful, I am not sure what it is exactly, but the atmosphere is just so much less tense and pressured – like it actually has an air of customer service about it (if that makes any sense).

Well anyhow, we arrived to Ebbsfleet super early, knowing that we wanted breakfast in departures. We had booked Premier Parking – it’s literally next to the station and for the sake of £10-20 extra, the ease of being able to just get out of the car and into the station and vice versa is more than worth it. We went to the ticket office to collect the tickets (we didn’t have e-tickets, or delivered tickets as we had booked directly through Walt Disney Holidays). Tickets printed very quickly and within minutes we found ourselves, not only through the check in gates, but at security, which although less stressed was still done efficiently.

So there we were, in departures, which is actually in part of the building suspended over the tracks with floor to ceiling windows meaning, for keen train enthusiasts, a view of the standard domestic and high speed services passing through, and by. The lounge itself was clean and airy, and has a good range of seating (although, I know from personal experience that at peak times it can get mighty cramped in there). And there’s a small newsagent stand and cafe to get the little bits you may need whilst waiting, or on the train.

The toilets were ok, but felt there could be more, even whilst we were there (at an off peak time) there was queuing and they could do with updating, though clean they just felt a bit grubby (but I couldn’t explain why).

There was a little section of toys in some boxes, a few books and a bead table which had been rather cutely named “Petite Place” and so that gave the children something to be interested in.

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The arrivals and deartures are clearly signed and there are station announcements, ahead of time, to get you on to the platform ready for your swift embarking (you only have a couple of minutes). There are staff about helping and directing at all times during this transition to make it as smooth as poosible.

Then we were on the Eurostar – dedicated seats – so there’s no rush when getting on board to get a good spot… you are where you are allocated and that’s that. The train itself was clean and comfortable, and the buffet cart postion was announced over the tannoy. Announcements were clear and in advance, and in both English and French.

As previously mentioned, the train we had taken was indirect – our change was at Lille Europe. The station is quite small so the transfer is easy. You literally go up to the main concourse, check which platform your train departs from… then down on your platform is a train map, so you can see which letter you should stand at in order to be at the correct carriage, for your allocated seating. Again this all ran smoothly for us.

Once you get into Marne La Vallee, you are at Disney. So if you have booked the Disney Express Service – drop off your bags, pick up your stuff and away you go. If not, head to your hotel, leave your luggage, check in (which may only be picking up your tickets until the room is ready) and away you go.

The only issue we had was a massive delay on the TGV side coming back from Disney to Lille. This meant we would not only miss our check in time, but actually be late for the departure – it was a busy departure, and the last train back to Ebbsfleet from Lille. Knowing that it was a busy connection, Eurostar did the “correct” thing and delayed our train in order to ensure we could all connect – much to the bemusement of the passengers on board – but hey, having been in their situation I know I am only too happy to sit for a little while longer knowing people aren’t being left stranded.

All in all, thumbs up, definitely the way to travel for me.

A weekend in Kent

So…. the weekend came. We were heading to Kent. Why add Kent to our trip to Disneyland?

Well the children had been asking loads about Mumma and Daddy and our pasts: where we went to school, college, university; what we liked as children; what we wanted to be when we grew up; which houses we had lived in; what games we liked to play and so forth. They have been to Cardiff loads and seen where Daddy lived at whilst he was at uni, but they haven’t seen anything of Mumma’s uni past. Mumma studied at the University of Kent, Canterbury, but had worked for a train company in Ashford, so I had spent a lot of time in Ashford too.

So we had booked to stay at the Travelodge in the Eureka Business Park for 2 days and then a Premier Inn by the Dartford Crossing the night before we were due to travel on the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet. I haven’t review these hotels because they are Travelodge/Premier Inn hotels; basic, you know what you are and aren’t getting, once you have stayed in one…

We travelled down after Bruce had finished work on the Friday – the idea was that we could then have a full day to explore on the Saturday. We arrived late, got into our room and then slept where we dropped. And had a good, *ahem* hearty, *ahem* makeshift breakfast in our room. Safe to say, I didn’t get mych chance to eat vegan on this trip…

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Our kind of hotel breakfast

Saturday we had a good explore around Canterbury, having breakfast at one of Mumma’s regular student haunts – the good ol’ Thomas Ingoldsby  (‘Spoons in student lingo). Which was followed by a walk amonst the cobbles until we could get into the Fudge Kitchen; if you haven’t ever had their fudge, you need to, I hate fudge. I love Fudge Kitchen fudge though. And then an explore up to the University to see the campus, the student village etc. And before heading back to our hotel, a circular tour of all the houses I had lived in – I made it clear it was where I had lived, not where I had slept. In the least promiscuous way possible, I slept in a lot of houses at Uni! It answered a lot of the children’s questions and made them happy.

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Canterbury Westgate

The next day, we got up early (ish) – normal sort of time for us in all honesty and headed to Bluewater Shopping Centre for a bit of a wander before heading to our hotel at Dartford. Again, I won’t review, I’m not a fan of shopping, and a shopping centre is a shopping centre –  I will say it had ample parking, good signage and was clean and was set amonsgt some beautiful scenery, but that’s all I can muster. It was more so the children could go to the Disney Store and the Lego shop and kill some time.

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The kids then spent the afternoon in the bath – they hit up Lush at Bluewater, so cue a and incredibly damp, but wonderful smelling bathroom in the hotel room. And we just took a well earned break – lying on the bed listening to the children’s laughs and games echoing out from the bathroom.

It was nice to explore in Kent, I lived there for 3 years and became an actual adult there (not by age, but you know, maturity) so it does feel like Kent is a part of me in some ways. It was never home, but is always going to be part of my puzzle. So it’s always nice to go back.

What about my birthday? What about me?

As mentioned in a previous post (A birthday treasure hunt) my birthday is sandwiched in between Logan and Caitlin’s birthday. Last year was a “big” birthday for me, and I had been clinging on to that being a spectacular occassion where I could be selfish and let my hair down and just do “me” for a change.

I won’t hash out old information, but to summarise, 2016 was stressful. For the children, for me, for Bruce. There were some good points, but they were drowned amongst exhaustion, self harm, meltdowns, tantrums, professional services, judgement and other people’s misguided, but well meaning intentions.

This came to a head in the pre-Christmas birthday run, not just the three of us, but around 15 friends/family members – yes New Year vigour + Valentines Day has a lot to answer for. But none the less, it added further stress to an already stressful time for us. Which meant that as the bells rang to signal that I had not only become “old” but a milestone “old”, I was sat trying to mop up the blood off a self harming child and comfort them, whilst the other was in full swing meltdown destroying things and shouting.

“Happy Birthday Mumma” right?

I knew it was not personal, it was anxiety, and pressure and emotion being released, because emotional processing just isn’t a skill they have even begun to acquire – lets face it, those of us who haven’t been traumatised prior to gaining world understanding can struggle with this one.

So, what could I do differently this year. Well, even though it seems like my answer to everything – run away! Quite literally. If we go on holiday, there is no social pressure from anyone. The children understand that (to a degree – Logan has his need to please other people and show them he has a good life now, but if we don’t interact with others often, it’s fine). Staying in a hotel, having a focused set of flexible goals and some family time. No need to meet up with people, no requirements to hold it together. Just time and space and experience.

So whether crazy-mad, or not, we booked a weekend in Kent as a precursor to a few nights away at Disneyland Paris.

Review: Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum

Queenswood is located just off the A49 at Hope under Dinmore, between Hereford and Leominster. There’s a paid car park (around £3 I believe) and a building with a small gift shop, cafe (was cash only, but in the process of being able to accept card payment) and toilet area.

Just to the side of the gift shop is a well equipped play area with a challenge trail and surrounded by picnic tables. The children would literally spend hours here if I left them to it. It is one of the best play parks we have been to (I admit to being a little jealous as they play! hehe).

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Queenswood play area

There are then a few circular walks around the woodland, including a Gruffalo trail, complete with the best known and loved characters. And the walks have various information boards about the wildlife, trees and area, as well as other random additions to the woodland trails such as a wooden xylophone. There’s also a view point with stunning views across the surrounding area (though unfortunately, I get so wrapped up in the beauty each time I forget to take photos).

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Wooden Xylophone

All of the paths I have been on have been wheelchair/pram friendly, and the walks are short and easy enough that even those with low mobility may be able to enjoy at least part of the walks.

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