Saturday 30 June 2018

Eurocamp Review La Croix du Vieux Pont

A few weeks ago we went on a family holiday that changed my opinion of a camping/caravanning holiday forever. We were invited to stay with Eurocamp at La Croix du Vieux Pont which is in close proximity to Paris. 

We've been on a few camping/caravanning holiday's in the UK and usually I can only handle a weekend as I find them quite stressful. However, 5 nights in France was completely the opposite. 

Eurocamp has over 170 locations across Europe, with parks based near mountains, lakes and beaches there is something that will suit every family. We chose La Croix du Vieux Pont as it was close to Disneyland Paris. We have annual passes for Disneyland so it was the perfect base for us.

Booking with Eurocamp was easy and stress-free. The website is easy to navigate and once you have confirmed booking they take the hassle out of making sure everything is ready for you. They booked our ferry crossing, sent us emails to remind us about what we needed to do to comply with driving laws in France and much more. They also organised a welcome pack and a linen pack which was saved us vital space in the car (these are available for a small charge).

The drive and ferry crossing went smoothly. If you're ever put off driving in France, don't be. Their roads and motorways are much nicer than ours. The drive and ferry crossing went smoothly. If you're ever put off driving in France, don't be. Their roads and motorways are much nicer than ours. Although of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to be careful; accidents can still happen. Remember to have insurance and the contact details of a helpful car accident lawyer with you when you go away on any holiday, just in case. It could be extremely useful.

We arrived at the campsite and were instantly impressed.The drive in was particularly pretty. We did have a slight problem when checking in as we went to the reception which we then realised was a reception for the entire campsite (there are different companies on the site not just Eurocamp). The lady wasn't helpful in telling us the correct way to go to find the Eurocamp reception and the signage wasn't very clear on where it was. However, once we found it, the Eurocamp staff couldn't have been more helpful. They told me everything I needed to know about the site and gave me a map to show me where our accommodation was. the reception area had a selection of board games, outdoor games and books which you could borrow during your stay which I thought was a nice touch.

We were staying in a 2 bedroom Avant holiday home which was alongside the lake. We were very impressed about the fact that the holiday home seemed private and quiet. There were high bushes separating each one so you didn't feel like you were looked upon. Parking was next to the holiday home which was ideal for unloading the car.

The Avant had an outside veranda which was large. It had a few chairs and a dining table and chairs. Most of it was also undercover which would mean you could still sit outside on rainy days. There was also a couple of sun loungers and a BBQ outside. 

My first impression when entering was that the living space (the living room/kitchen) was quite small but actually it was more than big enough. There was a small dining table which folded out to become larger. We never ate on this table as we always ate outside. We used it for playing games and colouring etc. There was ample sofa seating around the table which was comfortable. There were 2 large storage cupboards, one with cleaning facilities inside. 

The kitchen had everything we could need including a fridge freezer, microwave, hob, oven, kettle, coffee machine, toaster and all tableware and utensils. We cooked a few times in the kitchen and we also used the BBQ.

Both bedrooms were a good size. The main bedroom had access to the bathroom. It had a double bed and we were amazed at the amount of storage that was available. The girls' bedroom had 2 single beds and again had plenty of storage. We took quite a lot of stuff with us as there were 4 of us and we didn't even fill up half of the storage space. It certainly didn't feel cramped, contrary to my initial thoughts upon arrival.

The bathroom was a good size. It had a toilet, sink and a shower. There were shelves and units to store your toiletries.

The camp itself is beautiful. There are plenty of things to do such as archery, climbing, zip-wires, cycling, pedalo's, soft play, bowling and paddle boarding to name a few. There are also a few different park areas. Eurocamp run kids clubs of their own which Eva loved. She only went once but kept asking if she could go again.

There is a man-made beach area which was great. It wasn't very deep so the girls had a great time splashing around. 

The swimming pool facilities were fantastic. They were undercover, heated and open so it was wonderful in there with the sun shining through. There were 4 different pools with sun-loungers, jacuzzis, splash pad and slides. We all enjoyed our time at the pool and never wanted to leave. There is a spa onsite but sadly I didn't have time to try it out. 

There is an onsite shop and bakery which is very handy. We also drove to a Carrefour express which was about a 10-15 minute drive away to stock up on food and drink.

La Croix du Vieux Pont had a few different restaurants/bars to eat in. We ate in the main restaurant twice and both times we were very impressed. The staff were friendly, attentive and wonderful with the children. The food was delicious. On the first night we dined there I had a huge bowl of mussels which were so good that the thought of them is making me salivate. 

The main bar had entertainment every night such as children's disco's, bingo, talent shows and more. We spent most of our evenings either at the beach or at the parks which the girls were more than happy with. Once they were asleep, we would enjoy a bottle of wine on our veranda. 

We drove to Disneyland Paris twice which takes about 1 hour 20 minutes each way. There is a coach that leaves from the camp that you can book onto if you don't fancy driving.

The only negative we have to say about La Croix du Vieux Pont is the Wifi. I know the idea is to spend time together but both hubby and I did have work that we had to complete. There isn't free wifi but even after paying for it, it still wouldn't work properly. It's something to keep in mind if you needed fast, unlimited internet etc.

We truly had the most fantastic time. So much so we are looking to book and return over the summer holidays. Normally when I stay in a holiday home or a caravan, I never feel like i've had a break but I can honestly say, I felt relaxed and chilled. Watching Eva and Ophelia enjoying nature and each other's company was just perfect. We made memories that will last a lifetime. 

You can watch the highlights of our stay below:

*Thank you so much to Eurocamp for arranging our stay for us in exchange for an honest review. All words and opinions are my own*


Thursday 28 June 2018

A Summer of Adventure with The Disney Store

I can't believe that the summer holidays are just under 4 weeks away. It seems like only yesterday that I was walking Eva to school on her very first day in reception and soon she'll be progressing to year 1. I can't believe how fast the time is ticking away.

Since returning to work, I already feel like i'm missing out on all the fun. I want to spend as much fun, quality time with both the girls this summer (especially Eva whilst she's not in school) as I can. Eva always says she misses mummy and Eva's special days so i'm hoping to spend some alone time with her these holidays. 

The Disney Store very kindly sent us a huge box of products from their Summer of Adventure shop to help us make the most of our summer holidays and return to school. The shop is full of lots of fab things to help make days out, holidays and wet days even more fun. As you probably know we are a Disney obsessed family so we wouldn't wait to open the box to see what was inside. 

We received bags, towels, tee's, water bottles, sunglasses, cool bag, colouring set and a water/bubble machine. They were all themed with The Little Mermaid and Disney Princesses. The girls were delighted. I was also very impressed too see Mulan and Jasmine included on the Princess print.

The water/bubble machine has been a lifesaver this week during our heatwave. Eva and Ophelia have loved playing with it in the garden which has also helped them keep cool. Ophelia literally finds it hilarious.

I asked Eva what adventures she would like to do over the summer holiday and this was her list:

  • Swim like a Mermaid
  • Have a picnic with just Mummy and Eva
  • Go to the cinema to watch The Incredibles 2
  • Build a Den
  • Go camping
  • Go on holiday
  • Play in the paddling pool
  • Collect shells at the beach
  • Paint rocks and stones and hide them at the beach
  • Play with bubbles

Luckily for her we should be able to achieve everything on the list, well except maybe swimming like a mermaid but she can certainly take her Little Mermaid towel and bag on holiday for some mermaid vibes.

I've been so impressed with the quality of the products that i've made a list of other things I am going to buy for our summer holiday and for going back to school. These include notebooks, swim bags, pyjamas, swim cover ups and really cool adhesive patches for keeping her school items easily identifiable.

Notebooks are always handy for taking on holiday. I like Eva to keep a travel journal and both of the girls like to do some colouring when they are on the aeroplane or at a restaurant.
The Summer of Adventure shop has different sets of notebooks available but i'll be getting these 2.  

This week Eva is spending a day in her new classroom with her new teacher etc that she'll be having in reception. She's already decided that she's taking her princess bag and bottle with her to show her new friends. 

What adventures have you got planned for the summer holiday? Do you buy all new items for returning to school? 

*Thank you to The Disney Store UK for sending us our box of goodies in return for a blog post. As always all words and opinions are my own.


Monday 18 June 2018

Annabel Karmel Frozen Toddler Meals - Review

Life in our household has been some what chaotic over the last few months. I returned to work (granted it's only 2 days a week but it's 20 hours so long days), we've been away quite a few times and we've also had a few illnesses. Quite frankly I don't know if i've been coming or going.

I'm struggling to get back into a household routine since returning to work. I used to be quite organised with meal planning, batch cooking etc and we'd all have meal times together. Sadly with me often finishing work at 8pm, I occasionally miss mealtimes. My husband works in Bristol so he also comes home quite late. Between cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing, school runs, homework and working, life is busy.

Annabel Karmel recently asked us to review her new range of tasty Frozen Toddler Meals which are available in Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Ocado and Iceland. There are 6 different meals to choose from and they are suitable for ages 1-4. The RRP is £1.75.

I'll be the first to admit that i've never given my girls Frozen ready meals, i'm not sure why but I didn't like the idea of it. When I thought about it I realised I was being silly as I have batch cooked meals, then frozen them and then given them to the girls. Buying Frozen meals from someone I trust is no different. I've used Annabel Karmel's recipes for nearly 5 years. Both Eva and Ophelia loved her weaning recipes which made the weaning process much less stressful. 

Annabel's new meals go through the natural freezing process and are inspired by the recipes in her books. They are high quality and nutritionally balanced. Each meal is low in salt and contains 1 of your 5 a day.  They are free from artificial additives and preservatives.
The range includes:

  • Mummy's Fish Pie
  • Hidden Veggie Bolognese 
  • Yummy Beef Lasagne 
  • Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Chicken, Tomato and Mascarpone Pasta
  • Tasty Cottage Pie
  • Scrummy Macaroni Cheese with Broccoli
All of these meals are literally my girls favourite home cooked meals. Lasagne and Spaghetti Bolognese are always a winner in our house and both of my girls adore Curry. I thought they would notice that they didn't taste the same and that they weren't cooked by me but they were fooled. The only one they realised didn't taste as good as mine was the Lasagne. They thought the Fish Pie was much nicer than when my husband or I have cooked it. 

The meals can either be cooked in the microwave or in the oven. The portion sizes are ideal for a toddler. Ophelia has pretty much eaten all of hers when we've given them to her. Eva has also been eating them but she is 5.5 and often asks for garlic bread or vegetables with hers. 

I've had a sneaky taste of all of the meals and I am very impressed with the flavours. The Curry is really tasty and the Chicken, Tomato and Mascarpone Pasta tastes just like how my husband makes his sauce. I was also impressed with the fact that none of the meals were watery. Quite often with ready meals I find they have a watery consistency but these didn't.

Overall, Ophelia has been really enjoying these meals. They've been so helpful when life has just gotten in the way. Also when we've had family babysitters over we've gotten them to give these to the girls for food and they have found that easier than cooking meals.

We have now bought a stash of these for our freezer. I won't be giving these to the girls everyday but I will definitely be using them when life is crazy. I'll also be pulling them out and using them when they don't like my cooking (which does happen a few times). 

Have you tried these or any of the Annabel Karmel range?

*This is a sponsored post with Annabel Karmel. All words and opinions are however my own and are truthful.


Sunday 17 June 2018

Camping With Ready Camp in Minehead

The first time we went camping with both of our girls it was the stuff of nightmares. It almost brought hubby and I to tears. The whole trip was great in the end but setting the tent up and trying to get organised almost had us throwing it back in the car and driving home. It took the best part of 4 hours, including several trips back and forth to the car which wasn't anywhere near the tent. Not ideal with 2 little ones. Arwyn ended up doing it all himself whilst I attempted to keep the girls entertained. However, we recently went glamping with Ready Camp which has restored our faith in The Great British holiday.

Ready Camp are pre-erected safari style tents with 2 bedrooms, real beds, a sofa, dining table and chairs, plug sockets, a small radiator and a small kitchen area making them perfect for families. We chose to go to the Minehead site for a weekend break away. 

Usually packing for camping trips is stressful for us. Not having to pack things such as beds, tables etc made it much easier and also made the car journey more comfortable. Usually we are squashed in amongst everything but the kitchen sink. All we had to pack was bedding, clothes, toiletries, food and some toys for the kids. 

We arrived at the camping site which is on top of a hill with breathtaking views of Minehead below. It had a reception area with a small shop and onsite shower facilities. It's a small but spacious site. There wasn't a park or recreation area.

We were able to park directly next to the tent which was very handy. We unzipped the tent and unpacked and got settled in about 10-15 minutes which was amazing. All we had to do was pop the bedding on, place the food in the fridge and leave our bags in the rooms. We were able to relax and get on with our break away in record time. 

The tent is spacious and housed the 4 of us comfortably. There is actually space to sleep 6 people as there are double bunkbeds in the one room and also a mattress underneath the bed. The first thing we were impressed with was the fact that the furniture was of good quality. The beds were real beds (not fold up or camp beds). There was a lovely wooden table and chairs for eating. 

The kitchen area is small but more than adequate as there is a fridge with a freezer section, a 2 hob stove, kettle, microwave, cutlery and various tableware. There isn't running water in the tent so you need to collect water from the camp facilities. 

Underneath the double bed were fold up chairs which we placed on our decking area. We spent most of the weekend out on the decking as the weather was so lovely.

The shower/toilet/washing block was literally a 5 second walk from our tent. It was clean and warm with everything you could need and cleaned daily.

Despite the weather being beautifully warm in the day, the nights were chilly. Luckily we'd brought some blankets to use. We left the heater in the children's room which really helped keep the chill off. On our first night we got a Chinese to eat from the town centre. We all slept well and in fact ended up having a lie in on both mornings. All the fresh air must've warn us out! 

On the Saturday we went to Minehead beach which was a short drive away from the site. The kids loved running around. We then went for a pub lunch in a fab place which had an outdoor play area to keep the girls entertained. 

We returned to the campsite and soaked up the sun whilst playing outdoor games. We played with bubbles, balls and even rolled down the hills. We then had a BBQ for dinner which Arwyn cooked in the tent.

On Sunday we had an afternoon tea in Minehead which was amazing. We then drove to a Lavender farm (sadly there were no purple fields as it was the wrong time of year) but we had a drink and an ice cream in the sun.

We had a fantastic time glamping with Ready Camp. It was lovely to spend some quality time together as a family and just enjoy getting back to nature and the basics. There is something about camping that makes you feel like a child again. We spent the 2 days laughing and smiling and wishing we could stay longer.

The only thing we'd like to see differently at the Minehead campsite is perhaps a small outdoor park for the children to play in. I also think the tents could be placed in a different area as they are right opposite the toilet block rather than on the large field overlooking the stunning scenery. However, that wouldn't put us off returning as we had such a fantastic time. 

You can watch our weekend away here:

*Thank you to Ready Camp for inviting us to stay at the Minehead camp site in exchange for a blog review. As always all my opinions are honest and my own*

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