Beach-Cottage-Lookout-at-Night1

Beach Cottage is possibly in one of the best locations you could ask for in Norfolk.

Beach Cottage is a child-friendly holiday cottage located in the small seaside village of Mundesley in Norfolk. Its location is very special, directly overlooking the beautiful sandy beach and we were lucky enough to be invited to stay…

FullSizeRenderWe visited Beach Cottage in March 2015. Our party consisted of four adults and three children (aged 6, 5 and 4). We headed off from Hertfordshire, straight from school at 3.15, and arrived before 6 O’clock. The kids were very well behaved on the journey and devoured fish and chips when we arrived- the timing was perfect. Bath then bed for them while the four adults sat down to a fish and chip supper with wine. How civilised! Point to note: the fish and chip shop in the village offers the largest portions imaginable!

906664_855986001080828_729451883514784927_o

 

 

The cottage enjoys an idyllic spot with magnificent sea views from the fully-enclosed toddler friendly garden and fun look out.

unnamed (22)

 

There is a fab play shed with lots of different toys and games for children of all ages.

Outside on our first night it was really chilly but the cottage was very cosy and warm. The front room was large enough to accommodate us four adults and the settee was really comfortable.

There is a small table in the kitchen and the main dining table is at the bottom of the stairs which then feeds through to the lounge that has French doors opening onto the garden.

Upstairs the main bedroom has brilliant views over the garden, beach and sea. This was my favourite view from the window…

IMG_5866

There is another double bedroom on this floor and a small bunk room. If you have a cot or blow up bed you could fit it in this room by moving the chest of drawers. The main bedroom has ample space for a cot, blow up bed or both. The family bathroom with WC, bath and over bath shower is at the end of the hall. All of the beds had lovely linen and were really comfy. Just remember your bath towels!

Outside the front door there is space for two cars behind a private gated area and across this area is a fourth bedroom (in an annex) which has a double bed and shower en-suite – we didn’t sleep here but found it handy as a spare bathroom.

8The following day we visited BeWILDerwood (review to come) and had a smashing day and it was all topped off with a fab last night at the cottage.

We enjoyed nuts and a little champagne before heading off to the Ship Inn, Mundesley for dinner. Literally a 2 minute walk! http://www.mundesley-ship.co.uk/

 

 

 

Once the kids were tucked up in bed we headed out to the lookout at the end of the garden. This is such a cool space overlooking the sea, the log burner kept us warm while we enjoyed some red wine and chocolate! (make sure you remember a baby monitor or mention to Angela that you would like one and she might be able to source)

9

The next morning we woke early to lovely sunshine and headed off to the beach which is literally on the doorstep. You can see Beach Cottage in the pic here, white cottage on to the right of the pic and the lookout is the nearer building to the left of the cottage.

Mundesley is as if time has stood still, it reminded me of being a child in the 70s even with a small post office at the back of the corner shop. It is full of character and is an ideal spot for visiting the rest of Norfolk and its lovely countryside and coast.

All in all, Beach Cottage in Mundelsey offers a fab holiday home for families with babies, toddlers and children of all ages. The location is perfect and the lookout extremely cool! Mundesley beach has soft white sand, ideal for sand castle building the gentle sloping sand is perfect for toddlers to paddle.  Owner, Angela, is so helpful she is willing to take on recommendations and action them and the guest book is full of glowing feedback for the cottage and Angela herself.

Take a look at our video and visit Holiday Tots for more information on this fab child-friendly holiday cottage in Norfolk by the sea!

 

DVLA Image

Hiring a car abroad this year for your family holiday? After 8th June you might need a special code…

Drivers are being warned that if they want to hire a car after 8th June abroad they may need to have a special code.

From 8th June the paper counterpart of the British driving license will be abolished. Convictions for offences like speeding that are usually shown on the paper part of the license will now be computerised. People wanting to hire a car abroad may now need to show a special code to the hire company so that they can see any convictions.

The code that will be issued will only be active for 72 hours and so needs to be used within that time frame. Fine for most family holidays but if you are hiring a car in more than one place you might need to reapply between cars.

You will be able to get the code by logging onto the DVLA website, if you do not have access to the internet a telephone number will be in place from 8th June.

There is a little confusion on whether you should destroy your paper counterpart after the 8th of June. I think I will be keeping mine for now as it is short notice it looks like some hire companies will still be accepting them. If in doubt its best to be safe than sorry. When we go on our family holiday to France this year with the children we will take our paper counterpart, photographic card and a code from the DVLA – just to be sure! It is also worth checking with your car hire company what information they require.

If you are looking for more information pop over the .gov website

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driving-licence-changes

 

Lanterns and Larks family friendly glamping

Glamping with Lantern and Larks at Sweffling Hall Farm in Suffolk

I love camping.

Our six year old loves it

My husband now tolerates it

Our older kids have no interest unless it is at a festival…

A typical front room

A typical front room

When we were invited to visit Lantern and Larks in Suffolk I jumped at the chance, (older kids dipped out but hubby was happy to come). It was our first glamping experience and so with two excited six year olds in tow we took off to the country…

The drive was pretty straight forward, less than two hours from East Hertfordshire so easily accessible. When we arrived the sun was shining but it was a little windy. Laura, lady of the farm, mum to one, keeper of land and lots and lots of chickens, welcomed us.

Before I continue, it’s worth mentioning  Laura because she really made us feel welcome. She is very helpful and knowledgeable of the local area and nothing was too much trouble, she is a gem and made our stay more memorable, thank you Laura :)

IMG_6236And so to the luxury glamping ‘tents’

The tents are not accessible by car, they are situated around the edge of a field with lovely views and the best way to transport stuff is by wheelbarrow.

Laura gave us ice packs for our fridges: in fact these are a tale in their own right-  hot water bottles filled with water and frozen, pure genius and ours lasted all weekend (not sure if that is because it was ccccooooolllllddd or that they actually work really well).

 

IMG_6173The tents are beautifully kitted out, with a corner sofa (which was very comfortable), double bedroom with double bed and white linen, duvet and throw, two further bedrooms with twin beds and bunk beds, all with the same quality linen and fluffy white towels.

It’s all a little confusing as the furnishings are so lovely and in-keeping with staying in a house that you expect to be warm but we had to keep reminding ourselves that we were in a tent and it actually wasn’t warm, it was more like camping, so we needed a few more layers in bed, even with the duvet! Something that probably won’t be a problem during the warmer months but in April be prepared!

The main area of each tent has an AGA, and this was an absolute god send! Our first night was really cold but by the second night we had worked out what we needed to do to keep the whole tent a little warmer.

Don’t let the talk of ‘cold’ put you off as we would definitely go back. The field that the tents are located in is very safe for children to play, there is plenty of space for ball games and running free and the woods are ideal for foraging for kindle.

DSC_0099The log store has an unlimited supply of logs that you can use for the AGA or fire pit or both! The kids enjoyed fetching our fire wood in the wheelbarrows, and each other!

FullSizeRender1The honesty shop has basic items for your stay like kindling, matches etc. plus fabulous tasting eggs. Just remember to bring perishable items like milk, etc. or order a breakfast box. Our box had everything needed for our first morning. It was packed with local produce; eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, juice and marmalade plus cereal, milk, butter, tea bags and sugar.

 

 

 

On our first night we lit the AGA and then headed off to visit the local pub, about 15 minutes’ walk, this pub has to be one of the best pubs we have ever had the pleasure of drinking in, full description here, but it is a must for anyone visiting the area even if you are not staying at Lantern and Larks, Sweffling Hall.

We headed back to the tent at dusk, re-lit the AGA and lit the fire-pit. The kids played in the tent with their Hex Bugs until we were ready to sit round the fire cooking sausages – I think if it had been warmer they would have played in the field for a lot longer.

We all slept like babies even though we had more layers of clothing on than usual. As dawn approached I was woken by bird song, it was actually so relaxing and beautiful, the bedroom was filled with song, a little like playing a bird song CD, not that I have ever had one, but I imagine. My husband missed all that as he slept with ear plugs and eye mask!

The ingredients in our breakfast basket were divine, the kids wolfed down bangers, bacon, local bread, beans and eggs and then headed off to play… If you are staying in the area you should visit Sweffling Hall Farm as Laura’s eggs are sooo tasty and ridiculously cheap!

We spent the day visiting the coast, you can read about our family trip to Suffolk here. Back at camp the boys made the most of the space and didn’t stop until bed time.

IMG_6234

At first light after fueling their bellies they were up and out playing a variety of games.

Even the trip back to the car on departure was fun!

All in all these luxury tents are exactly what they are trying to be and offer a fab place to stay in the heart of the countryside in Suffolk. Should you want to go further afield they are perfectly located for beaches and attractions. IMG_6174

 

 

Thank you Emma, Lantern and Larks and Laura for a lovely family holiday and adding to our happy pool of family memories, we laughed a lot!  :) xxxx

 

 

 

 

Lantern and Larks have glamping sites in three locations in the UK. You can visit their website directly or read about them on the Holiday Tots website

Lantern and Larks Suffolk

Rutland glamping

Lancashire glamping

 

Very-Little-Cinderalla-Wooly-Hat-230x300

Very Little Cinderella book review and competition “A fab and fun twist on every princess’s favourite fairy tale.”

A few weeks ago I was given a couple of copies of a friend’s new children’s book to review on the blog and offer as signed prizes. Three weeks later and I still haven’t managed to persuade my six year old son to read it with me!

The story is about Very Little Cinderella who is, as the title suggests, very little but also very upset because her ugly sisters are off to a party and won’t let her come. The classic tale of Cinderella with a lickle twist!

Fairy-Godmother-145x300I know my friend’s two boys, aged 5 and 7, enjoyed it (they are my son Freddie’s friends too and so I tried to sell it that way, but no joy) even after trying to persuade with fairy dust…

so I read it myself (the story is enchanting and the illustration just wonderful) and then outsourced to another friend who has a feisty little four year old girly girl and here is what they thought of the Very Little Cinderella by Heapy and Neap…

 “A fab and fun twist on every princess’s favourite fairy tale.”

My 4 year old loved the story of the ‘Very little Cinderella’, (probably identifying with her stubbornness on clothing!) It is a lovely story which kept her entertained until the end, she particularly loved the dress page – such a girly girl! A fun read with great colourful illustrations, I look forward to reading the rest of the collection with her.

Maya’s Mummy.

HT logos final

Very-Little-Cinderella-cover-240We have two signed hardback copies of Very Little Cinderella up for grabs. All you need to do is visit the Holiday Tots website and answer the following question…

Very Little Cinderella is the second book in the series by Heapy and Heap what is the first book called?

Just visit the competition page here to answer.

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/competition/20/

Good luck!

 

Very little red riding hoodA little about the author… Teresa Heapy

Teresa has been writing about gorillas, Batman and green goo since 2009 when she left her office job to pursue her dream of writing. The Very Little Cinderella is the second in the Very Little series, if you enjoy it you should try the award winning Very Little Red Riding Hood…

http://www.teresaheapy.co.uk

and a little about Sue Heap (Illustrator)

Sue Heap is a children’s picture book illustrator and story writer. Another of her books is Gold Smarties Award winner, Cowboy Baby, inspired by a visit to Arizona.

You can buy Very Little Cinderella from all major book stores and on-line too at Amazon in hardback or paperback.

 

Outdoor pool

Last minute May madness with special offers on some fab child-friendly holiday properties

Many of our holiday cottage and villa owners are dropping their prices for last minute availability in May. Remember all of the holiday properties on Holiday Tots are suitable for families with babies, toddlers and young children with stairgates, swimming pools with security measures in place and lots of baby and toddler facilities, so all you need to think about is where to go!

Whether you are looking for a quiet getaway with a new baby or toddler tastic fun filled activity weekend we are sure you will find a holiday to suit your needs. If you have something in mind just contact us and we will be happy to help. For now here are some special offers for May…

UK

Cotswold – Gloucestershire – Stunning detached baby-friendly cottage

child-friendly holiday cottage cotswoldThis beautiful cottage is unexpectedly available for four nights from bank holiday Monday 4th May. Usually £695 now only £450. It is located in a small village and is perfect for exploring the Cotswold area including Cotswold Farm Park (with 50 varieties of rare breed farm animals); Gloucester,  Warwickshire Steam Railway and more…

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/474-private-cottage-in-cotswolds/

Cornwall – cottage metres from the beach

external

One of the UK’s best coastal cottages (as described by the Sunday Times) and it is toddler-friendly! Metres from the beach in the picturesque village of Kingsand with a 20% discount in May

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/194-private-cottage-in-kingsand/

 

 

 

West Sussex – delightful secluded retreat

sprinChild-friendly holiday cottages in West Sussex, beautiful gardens and fabulous artisan bake-house and tea rooms offering freshly baked cakes, bread, soups and other delicious treats.  10% off stays in May and 10% off in the tea room for guests

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/211-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-steyning/

Lancashire – family friendly glamping

9 Easter 2015

Why not escape to the countryside and try your hand at glamping in these luxury tents in Bleasdale, Lancashire May Day bank holiday special 20% off 3 night break…

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/477-glamping-tent-in-forest-of-bowland/

France

Aude, Languedoc Roussillon – four lovely cottages, heated pool, beautiful location

Lampy_outsideWonderful small cluster of four family-friendly holiday cottages with shared heated swimming pool and gardens and meadows to explore. Located just 25 minutes from the city of Carcassonne. Special offer 20% discount on all available cottages in May. prices per week from 356€ (just

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/142-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

 

Languedoc Roussillon – luxury micro resort

_MG_2886Luxury micro resort in the Languedoc, France close to beaches offer for May to include heated pool, babysitting, one evening dinner, unlimited access to baby club and more… set price €2500 for two adults and one child

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/387-luxury-micro-resort-in-herault/

 Languedoc Roussillon – Award winning family-friendly wine and olive chateau

DSCF0340Beautiful family friendly wine and Olive chateau, 15% discount, wine tastings, babysitting, dressing up clothes (for the kids) play room, swimming pool beautiful location in the Languedoc Rousillon, France

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/175-cottage-shared-facilities-in-aude/

Lot region – glamping in a safari lodge with lots of activities for the kids

100_2467Abundance of childrens toys, games and outdoor play equipment at this family-friendly complex in the Lot region France – up to 30% off weeks in May.

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/294-glamping-tent-in-lot/

Portugal

The Silver Coast

poolLovely toddler-friendly holiday apartment along the Silver Coast in Portugal sharing the enclosed swimming pool with only the owners. £75 off small family bookings and medal winning wine in welcome pack.

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/237-apartment-in-silver-coast/

Algarve – in the hills with views

Hi Cam Photos Oct 11 008Three lovely home from home toddler friendly holiday cottages with amazing views, swimming pool, play areas, near Loule and 11km from beaches 10% off in May

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/281-cottage-shared-facilities-in-nr-loule-algarve/

 

06

Algarve – Luxury family friendly resort

Luxury child-friendly holiday villas and apartments two minute drive from the Quinta do Lago beach in the Algarve Portugal (shuttle bus service) fab facilities for the family 25% discount for May

https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/view-property/289-villa-in-quinta-do-lago-algarve/

 

Offers are continuously updated on our special offer page https://www.holidaytots.co.uk/offers/

southwold

Suffolk a great family holiday destination – our weekend away

I didn’t realise that Suffolk was so beautiful, it has amazing food, pubs, countryside, villages and seaside towns that you just want to keep exploring…

We stayed for two nights in a ‘posh tent’ at Sweffling Hall Farm, owned by the team at Lanterns and Larks and we visited three seaside towns, two pubs, possibly one of the best fish and chip shops I have ever been to, and played in the beautiful countryside. Here’s a little about where we visited:

On our first night we headed off for a country walk to the local pub…

swffling pub-front-horses-traps

Here we stumbled across The Sweffling White Horse. A quirky traditional English pub that will take you back through time. The ales and lagers are absolutely lip smacking scrumptious. Hubby had a draft local ale, I am not keen on beer but I tried one of their bottled lagers and it was quite possibly the best tasting lager I have ever had.

pub in suffolk Freddie and Finley

The boys tucked into home cooked sausage rolls. This pub is full of character and so are its owners Marie and Mark. Their philosophy is to showcase local fare and treat you to flavour and quality. And they certainly achieve that.

We headed back to camp and our lovely host at Sweffling Hall, Laura, introduced us to two cool apps: Skyview and Geocaching. Skyview is a great app for star gazing- I’m not sure how accurate it is but the kids absolutely love it! I had never heard of Geocaching but am looking forward to going on some real treasure hunts and will let you know how it goes.

unnamed

For now we just enjoyed the sausages, fire and stars. BTW if you are in the area and like eggs Sweffling Hall farm https://swefflinghallfarm.wordpress.com/ specialise in them and you can just nip in and purchase as many as you want. They are very very tasty, so good, in fact, they can be found in M & S, Sainsbury or at the Happy Egg Company.

The next morning, after a little play in the fields of Sweffling Hall Farm and foraging for kindle for the evening, we headed off to the Suffolk coast.

Our first stop was Southwold: what a lovely seaside town where once again we were whisked back in time- it feels like a place where time has stood still.

pier

We headed straight for Southwold Pier, which is small in size but definitely not small in  character! The Pier has a good selection of eateries, we stopped off for coffee and cake at The Boardwalk where food is sourced locally with plenty of menu choices even for children and toddlers. The boys enjoyed water and cake – their choice! Something made them smile, maybe it was the lemon or ice…

unnamed (3)

We sat here, out of the wind, soaking the sun and taking in the view of the fabulous lighthouse.

Southwold 1

We then ventured to the weird and wacky handmade arcade also located on the Pier. The boys and I settled down into what looked like a submarine pod to watch a show. I really had no Idea what was going to happen but a lady and her two boys came out laughing a lot, so we ventured in. We were taken into a world under the sea where beach huts and for sale signs live, alongside estate agents sharks and barrels of toxic waste mate (yes mate) to make a monstrous sea creature… yes it was very weird!

unnamed (2)

Thankfully the boys didn’t understand any of it and just laughed at the puppetry! There are some really wacky games to play here and worth a visit for a little strange fun.

unnamed (1)

Southwold beach is also lined with lovely colourful beach huts, I can imagine it gets really busy here in the summer months but today it was perfect, the sun was shining and Southwold looked beautiful…

We then headed off to Walberswick. You can access this by small ferry directly from Southwold or by driving inland and coming back out again.

Walberswick is located on the South bank of the River Blyth surrounded by marshland, heath and a beautiful white sandy beach in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty- it’s no wonder that people want to own holiday homes here.

unnamed (5)

The boys spent an hour crabbing and thankfully caught one each! (if you go you need bacon, crab lines and nets all available at the small corner shop and ice cream van)

unnamed (7)

After letting them go we headed for the beach, a little too windy today to stay but beautiful none the less. We managed to find a sheltered spot while the boys played.

unnamed (10)

and made their mark…

unnamed (12)

We then grabbed the all-important ice cream and went for a walk along the river.

unnamed (16)

This is when we spotted the ferry that transports people across the water to Southwold (we drove). This ferry is actually one man in a row boat, quite surreal!

unnamed (17)

With rumbling beginning in our bellies we headed off to Aldeburgh. We actually were only visiting here for the highly regarded Fish and Chip shop (more about that in a minute) but the beautiful buildings against the pebbled beach took my breath away. Aldeburgh has been named as one of the top 50 places to live in Britain and it is easy to see why, it is full of colour from the pastel coloured sea fronted buildings to the pebbly beach and colourful fishing boats and huts.

aldeburgh

We found the famous Aldeburgh Fish and Chip Shop (reportedly one of the best fish and chip shops in the country) and devoured some of the best tasting fish and chips we have ever tasted. The boys ate every bit of theirs too!

unnamed (18)

Heading back to camp we stopped off at The Dolphin in Thorpeness near Aldeburgh. Lovely pub with child-friendly garden and apparently good food. Thorpeness is a quiet village with a man-made lake at its heart, and it was once voted as the ‘Weirdest Village in England’ by Bizarre magazine but we were not here long enough to find out why, but we did notice a house in the clouds as we approached…

House in the cloudes

Our final evening was spent playing Hex bugs

unnamed (19)

and making scrapbooks of our weekend using things we had found along the way from sand in the boys shoes to postcards purchased in each town.

unnamed (13)

Some good memories had here.

In the morning we woke to a beautiful chorus of bird song and the boys made the most of their last morning using the space to play with anything and everything from

Rocket launchers and frisbee to football and the toy planes

unnamed (14)

One got stuck on the tent. The boys went to find a stick for me to get it down, I said it had to be long, this was maybe a little too long!

unnamed (15)

And then after playing with a wheelbarrow


unnamed (20)

Finley turned Freddie into one…

unnamed (21)

We were sad to leave Suffolk and will definitely be back for more…

for child-friendly Holiday cottages and glamping in Suffolk ideal for babies, toddlers, and older children why not visit our site where we have a lovely small selection :)

shaun-about

Easter Egg trails this weekend in London and beyond… and a few sheep!

There are lots of events for all the family this Easter weekend. If you are still not sure where to go, here are a few trail ideas in the London area and slightly further afield.

Shaun in the City
Shaun the Sheep is making an appearance all over London, with no less than 50 giant Shauns dotted around the capital. You can download the Sheep Spotter app and get involved in others ways too. All proceeds go to the Wallace & Gromit’s Childrens Charity.

The Shaun in the City trail will be in London from 28th March through to 25 May so if you are busy this weekend there is plenty of time!

http://shauninthecity.org.uk/

Easter Day Easter Egg Hunt, Gibberd Garden, Old Harlow, Essex

Untitled

The Gibberd Garden is one of our favourite hidden treasures, and one I do not like to freely share. It is such a wonderful garden full of character, lots of sculptures, a moat and a traditional wooden swing hanging from an old tree with views across the fields. The Easter Day Easter Egg Hunt is a fun day where the whole family can enjoy the garden and activities including an Easter Egg hunt.

When: Sunday 5th April 2-6pm

http://www.thegibberdgarden.co.uk/events.php

Ashridge Annual Cadbury Easter Egg Trail, Ashridge Estate, Near Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, HP4


The annual Easter egg trail is sponsored by my fabourite chocolate brand, Cadbury, follow the trail through the gardens exploring along the way and enjoy a little treat at the end!
No booking necessary

Friday 3rd April to Monday 6th April 10am – 4pm

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ashridge-estate/things-to-see-and-do/

Giant Duck hunt at the WWT London Wetland Centre

duck wwt
Some of the ducks have gone astray, follow the giant Easter duck trail around the nature reserve among the real ducks, there are also craft activities too.

When: every day from 10am 28th March to Sunday 12th April 2015

https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/london/whats-on/2015/03/28/easter-duck-trail/

Bertie Bunny’s Eater Egg Hunt, Epping Ongar Railway, Essex

EASTER RABBIT
Join Bertie Bunny at the Epping Ongar Railway and bop away with him at the Bunny Hop Disco. There will be clues to help find the hidden eggs around the railway. The Bunny Hop Disco will run for 25 minutes throughout the day. Epping Ongar Railway is the longest heritage railway in Essex and the closest to London.

When: Friday 3rd April until Monday 6th April from

http://eorailway.co.uk/events/special-events/

An Enchanted Easter Adventure at Strawberry Hill House, Twickenham, Middlesex


Follow the clues and answer the riddles as you explore this fairy tale garden offering your little one an enchanted experience and chocolate rewards!
No advanced booking required

4th to 6th April 11am – 4pm

http://www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk/events.php

Horniman Easter Fair at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill London SE23

EasterFair2014 horniman
Hop your way around the gardens with the Horniman Bunny and join in the Easter egg hunt. There are also lots of other activities for all the family from arts and crafts to live music and a farmers market.

Events are at various times and days but the Easter Egg Trail runs 10.30am to 4.30pm on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April

http://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/events/horniman-easter-fair

Please let us know what you are up to this Easter weekend :)