Friday, 8 September 2017

Stonehurst Family Farm, Leicestershire

We visited Stonehurst Family Farm a couple of months ago as part of a 'Stay, Play, Explore Leicestershire' deal (where you get entry into your choice of three of list of attractions, and a hotel stay, for a set price), and I'll admit that I'd previously been leaning ever so slightly on the kids to pick one of the more expensive attractions to make the most of the deal (I'm all about the value for money!)

But they were determined this was the place, and it didn't take long for me to be won over once we'd arrived. The whole entrance to the place was utterly charming.

The lovely old gentleman in the shop what took the tickets and introduced us to the farm was a real gem too.

I've never come across such a warm welcome to a family attraction - the kind that will put you in a good mood all day, and the good vibes continued around the farm.

A couple of bags of animal feed were included in the entrance, and the kids loved the excuse to let the animals slobber and snuffle all over them.

(ok, so did I)

In addition to the general feeding, there were timed opportunities for further animal encounters, like bottle-feeding the baby lambs and calves, and handling the little ducklings.

Though they didn't seem to be any discernibly systematic approach to how these were handled, everyone who wanted a go seemed to get a go!

The only thing that wasn't included in the entrance fee were the short pony rides, but at 50p (if I remember rightly) they weren't too much of an indulgence and little miss loved her first experience on a horse - even if she looked a little nervous at first!

One very popular area with my two was the 'cuddle corner', where you got so snuggle up with the cute fluffy little guinea pigs and bunny rabbits. I think we ended up back in there about 7 or 8 times, or until the kiddos had the chance to hold every individual little furry thing.

(This was all carefully supervised by farm staff who did most of the animal handling, and knew when the critters needed a rest etc, so not the grabby chaos you might be envisioning!)

As well as all the lovely animals to see there was a free tractor ride, and a small play area including hay bales to climb on, in, and under - but you'll just have to take my work for it as by that point in the day that batteries in both cameras we had with us had died - poor planning on our part!

I'm glad I managed to get a (admittedly pretty poor) picture of the teeny piglets before the camera gave up totally though. These little sweeties were only a couple of days old when we visited and were so precious and funny!

Now, the kids love animals, and play areas and all over farm-y things but I make no secret of the real reason I love to visit places like this - it is, inevitably, the cute farmhouse tearoom. We'd tried to pop into 'The Farmer's Den' around lunch time and found it a bit too busy, but putting it off 'til later in the afternoon actually worked out really well as we got to call in when it was much quieter and escape an unexpected rain shower at the same time!

The cakes are all home made and (guessing by how quickly they disappeared) delicious, and my tea/scone combo didn't disappoint!

We all had a lovely day at Stonehurst Farm, so looks like my kids can be trusted to make a decision afterall! (Though, should point out that to balance out all the good points, I was bitten by a donkey. Go have fun at the farm but do pay attention to where you are putting your arms! I don't imagine that's a common issue though, I'm just unlucky and useless - please feel free to laugh at my misfortune!)

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Reasons to Choose All-Inclusive

Over the last few years I've been luck enough to enjoy European city breaks, UK Staycations and long-haul American adventures, and loved them all. For total family holiday relaxation though, all inclusive holidays are hard to beat!

Here's a few reasons why they work for us:

Budgeting - With an all-inclusive package, you know the total price from the outset for the flights, transfers, accommodation, food and drink for the duration of your holiday - essentially everything you need to enjoy some quality family time away together. Once you chose a deal that suits your budget, you can pay in instalments without having to worry about surprise costs of unexpected shifts in exchange rates.

Laziness - I've never had to cook on an all inclusive holiday. I've never had to wash up. I barely remember making my on cup of tea. The kids love an all-inclusive but I might be the one of us that benefits most from it!

Food - Our family of four consists of one vegan, two fusspots, and one kid with a bottomless stomach - and we've always managed to feed all of us with no problems at all-inclusive hotels. My son in particular always gets great value for money in any all-you-can-eat scenario!

Drink  - I'm not a big drinker really, especially when in charge of minors (as tends to be the case), but its not like soft drinks come in that much cheaper than booze, and in hotter climates where its important to stay hydrated it's nice to know you can drink away with no constraints.

Enforced relaxation - When I'm somewhere new, my instinct is to explore - discover the history of the place, hunt out fun places to eat,.. basically run around like crazy trying to fit as much into the time I have there as possible. The kids, however, barely like to leave the vicinity of the pool. The fully included food and drink makes it easier to justify staying in one place when my feet get itchy, and the enforced stillness actually does me the world of good!

With our most recent holiday behind us, I'm already thinking all inclusive deals at Holiday Gems  for our next year's trip - and the idea of somewhere sunny, with never-ending food, a pool to keep the kids happy, and the chance at true relaxation? Sounds pretty good to me!

*Sponsored, but I really do love holidays!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

August Happenings, September Plans

Well I'll tell you what didn't happen in August - any blogging! 

I can't believe I've not got a single post up here since my last monthly round up. Definitely need to work on that in the coming weeks...! 

A nice big chunk of our August was taken up by our holiday - we had a cottage stay booked in Scotland for a week and we padded it out a little with stopovers on the way there and back (to break up the driving a bit and make the most of the time off!)

We had a lovely time in Scotland, where we visited Loch Ness, watched the Nairn Highland Games, and drunk tonnes of Irn Bru inbetween plenty of 'chilling on the beach' time. I will definitely be blogging about it eventually I promise! 

Earlier in the month we had a day out to the RHS Harlow Carr gardens. It's a nice place to wander round at the worst of times, but over the summer they've had a Famous Five promotion going on and my lil lady has been loving those books so seemed like the perfect timing for a visit. We even managed to grab an ice cream just before it started raining... 

I think 'doing something before it rains' has been the the theme of our summer actually! 

I actually don't have much planned for September at all either! What am I doing? I really need to get back on track. Today will be spend double checking the kiddos are all set to go back to school next week, so once I know that's all taken care of hopefully we can have a nice last-day-before-going-back trip out! 

It's little madam's birthday at the end of the month too, so will have to get something organised for that - I did have a couple of ideas but putting them into practice is proving more difficult than I'd hoped so will have to see how that pans out! 

Any suggestions of fun things I can fill my September with? What have you got planned? 
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