Half term in the Lake District // A week in pictures

Toby driving a tractor

Last week we spent four nights in the Lake District in a little cottage not far from Penrith. We only booked it about a month ago when I decided we needed a holiday having not been away since we went to Bluestone in March.

I’m sure none of you really want to read a blow by blow account of our week away but we took so many pictures that it seems a shame not to share some of them. So here it is, our week in pictures… Read more

Bluestone National Park Resort with a toddler and a preschooler // An in depth review

At the beginning of last month we were invited to stay at Bluestone National Park resort in Pembrokeshire, Wales. The last time we went on holiday was when we went to Center Parcs last May so we were well overdue a break away! So we loaded up the car, packed up the kids and set off on our mammoth drive to Wales.

This is going to be quite a long and in depth review of our stay so if you haven’t got the time to read it all now then you can watch this little video of our stay instead…

Getting there

The journey was relatively stress-free, even though it took us seven and a half hours to get there! We were coming from the north west, it takes about 15 minutes to get on the M6 at Preston from where we live and then we were off. We decided to stick to the motorways even though it would make our journey a bit longer, just because you never know when you might need to stop with two small children and we wanted the convenience of stopping at motorway services. Read more

Self-catering with a baby in the UK

Self-catering with a baby

We’re going on holiday tomorrow for five nights in a cottage in the Lake District. This will be the first time we’ve taken Toby away and not just gone to stay with one or other sets of grandparents. I am looking forward to it but I don’t think it’ll be the kind of relaxing holiday we were used to pre-baby (especially since Toby seems to be heading back into teething hell today)! Will self-catering with a baby be even more tiring than just staying at home?

Before Toby was born we went on a few cottage holidays in the Lake District. When I was searching for a property a pub within walking distance and a log fire were always top of the list of requirements. This time it was a second bedroom with enough room for a cot and a washing machine! The place we’ve found is not far from Kendal, it’s a barn conversion and it sounds perfect so I’m hoping it lives up to expectations.

We both spent a lot of time in the Lake District when we were growing up, we love it there and go back as often as we can. The reason for this trip though is that Barry’s parents have recently moved to the south Lakes, we’ve not seen their new house yet and they haven’t seen Toby since Christmas so it seemed it was time for a trip. We didn’t want to stay with them as they are still getting the house sorted out and we had some Tesco Clubcard vouchers that got us £100 off our booking so it wasn’t too expensive to stay in the cottage.

We’re looking forward to visiting a few of our favourite places while we’re in the Lakes, and also trying out a few new ones. We’ll definitely be making a visit to The Apple Pie cafe and bakery in Ambleside (which is actually owned by someone my parents know – I’ve been going there since I was tiny) for THE best apple pie ever. The original Lakeland store in Windermere is also high on my list of places we have to go (although Barry isn’t so keen on this one). We’re also hoping to go to the South Lakes Safari Zoo as long as we get some decent weather. I’ve been there once before and thought it was great and I’m hoping Toby is old enough to enjoy looking at some of the animals.

So, we’ve got plenty planned for our five nights away but I’m just hoping that I do manage to get something that at least feels like a holiday. I am a bit worried that it’s just going to be like being at home, with all the cooking, washing and general baby-looking-after that I usually have to do but just more annoying because we haven’t got all the stuff we usually have at home! Whenever we’ve been away previously Toby has slept well in the travel cot so I’m hoping that continues. We’re going to take our Gro Company Gro Anywhere blackout blind with us so we don’t have to worry about light nights and early mornings. I’m a bit worried though that if we disrupt Toby’s nap routine by going out and doing things that he’ll be super-grumpy and won’t sleep well at night. He never sleeps in the buggy any more, there’s too many interesting things to look at (even with the Snoozeshade on), but he does still sleep in the car and usually in the baby carrier so I’m hoping we can still make sure he gets some daytime sleep even if we are out and about. I’m not too worried about feeding – Toby pretty much eats what we eat so if we want to eat out I’m sure we can find something suitable.

The last thing that will make it just the same as home is that I’m planning on using our cloth nappies while we’re away. I know you might think I’m bonkers not to just give myself a break and use disposables but after eight months without a single disposable I don’t think I could do it (although I am considering eco-disposables for our summer camping holiday in France). Plus next week is Real Nappy Week which means I would feel doubly guilty if we didn’t stick with cloth! We’re only away five nights and if I get the timing right I’ll only have to do one nappy wash while we’re away so it really shouldn’t be too bad.

If nothing else it’s week when we’re both going to be around to look after Toby so I should get a bit of a break. And what is it that they say? ‘A change is as good as a rest’. Here’s hoping – and I’m sure I’ll be blogging all about it when we get back.

What do you reckon? Have you ever been on a self-catering holiday in the UK with a baby? Did it feel remotely like a holiday or just the same chores in a different place? Any top tips for making the most out of our time away?

Now I’m off to start my first challenge of the whole escapade – remember to pack everything we need and then try and fit it all in the car!