Bluestone – Activities

You could quite happily spend your time at Bluestone exploring the outside areas, the nature walks and the lakes but there is a lot more to do experience on top of that! (Read the first part of our Bluestone experience here if you missed it!)

The Adventure Centre: soft play, mini golf, bouncy castle, Lego area, arcade games, separate kids play rooms like the Circus Room, wall climbing, rope swinging and loads more! There is also a lovely cafe that serves a buffet breakfast and snacks and drinks throughout the day. This is also where the crèche and kids activities happen.

Characters: There are several characters for the kids to spot throughout the week at Bluestone, we inadvertently managed to see three in a row, the most surprising being a gigantic snail in the pool changing rooms!

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We booked Athena (almost 2) and Jessica (who is almost 3) onto two sessions during our stay:

Toddler Sensory. This is an hour long session that you accompany your child to, and is in the Circus Room, which is full of soft play shapes, giant Lego, mini climbing frames, tents and more! The first half an hour is free play, which I thought was a bit cheeky seeing as the room can be accessed for free most of the time anyway! The last half of the session was spent singing traditional songs with props, which was great but Athena isn’t a fan of organised activity it seems so kept hurtling off around the room to play on other things. I was expecting there to be more ‘sensory’ activities that she could really get stuck into. We were sat round one of parachutes that you waft up and down and the kids run in and out, but it was never used! The hour session costs £7, and I don’t think I would do it again. I would definitely take Athena to the Circus room again during a free-for-all session though as she loved it in there!

Mini Adventurers Zoo Keeper crèche session: 3 hours unaccompanied session. Now as Athena isn’t talking properly yet and I wasn’t with her I can’t tell you exactly what went on, but when I asked if she had fun she said she did! However Jessica who is a year older told us a bit more about it, face painting, cake making and salt dough painting all happened, along with a snack and some free play too. Jessica also came home with her face painted ‘like a beautiful butterfly’ but apparently Athena didn’t want her face painted (which is no surprise to me as she won’t sit still long enough!) We got a little sheet of paper letting us know what they’d eaten and detailing the carers names and nappy changes etc. for £24 for three hours of childcare, plus a take home decoration and little cake I think this is definitely good value for money and wouldn’t hesitate to book a session like this again! Perfect for when the parents need a break, or a spa treatment!

Blue Lagoon: A pretty amazing pool, with a lazy river that takes you outside and back in again, flumes, two separate areas for younger and older kids and the addition of a wave machine every half an hour! It was a bit of a mission having Athena & Arlo, so the second time we went Arlo stayed in his car seat sat on a deckchair and we all took turns sitting with him! I don’t think he minded too much but he did enjoy the waves the time we did take him in!

I didn’t go on the flumes but the other people who were tall enough did! (sorry Athena, maybe next time!) and they were ‘wicked’ according to Sam, with little pools inside the slides as you go down them! I will definitely try them out next time we go! The smaller water cover area for toddlers was a big hit with our two toddlers, and has a gate to keep them safe from running into the main pool without you! A mini waterfall, with rocks you can clamber up and a few little jet sprays meant they would both happily have stayed there all day I think!

Steep Ravine: You’ve got Camp Smokey, a western themed restaurant with a sloping boardwalk to reach it, so buggy/wheelchair friendly as well as access from the Steep Ravine too, which has zip wires, panning for gold and all sorts! We spent a great afternoon there scoffing our faces and toasting marshmallows! I’d advise to arrive around 2.30 for food as that’s when the lunch crowds dispersed and it got a lot less busy! The food was tasty and the experience was pretty awesome! Our friends and their daughter did the Gold Panning activity and said it was great fun, with the staff staying in character throughout to make it really special for their daughter! She even came home with some ‘gold’!

 

The Village: We only ate in the village once at the Farmhouse Grill on our last night as we had run out of food at our lodge, and it meant less to clear up! The service was brilliant, and the food was tasty and on par with average high street restaurant chain prices. We booked at the Adventure Centre in advance to secure a table which I would advise as it was pretty busy! There is also a pub, a gift type shop and a convenience store and bakery too for any bits you need to pick up during your stay. We visited the bakery most morning for croissants! 
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Bluestone offered us accommodation for a 4 night stay in exchange for an unbiased review.

Read part one of my Bluestone review here

Baby Loves: Fisher Price Swing and Seat

Arlo has been chilling in style since the day he arrived home in a Fisher Price Take Along Swing & Seat chair, which is great to use as a chair for daytime naps (if I can persuade him to nap on his own rather than on me!) and perfect as a swing to keep him happy when I am playing with Athena or making dinner!

It’s cleverly designed to be as portable as possible as it folds up fairly compactly and doesn’t require any power source as it is battery operated. Sam set it up for me as I was taking it easy post C-section and managed it without the manual so it must be fairly easy to set up, and is easy to use too!

The control panel on the side has an obvious on/off switch, then three functions: vibrate, swing (with 6 different speeds from gentle to fairly fast!) and then there are 10 different sounds (nursery rhymes and nature sounds) with volume control. The batteries are still going strong 8 weeks later too, by the way! The dangling Elephant and Lion get whacked by his little flailing arms, and I can’t wait for the day when he reaches out and grabs on on purpose!

The great thing about the swing function is that it starts on its own, so I can literally stick him in it and press the button if I have to rush off somewhere! It is also designed to sense the weight of the baby so as they get heavier the swing won’t slow down! To turn the swing into a stationary seat there is a little strap with a clip that clips to the front of the frame, this is easy to use but Athena likes to undo it and do it up which is a bit irritating for Arlo! She’s also happy to go and turn the vibrate function back on when the timer runs out, which is very sweet of her but sometimes she turns the tunes on too when he’s already asleep!

As you would expect from Fisher Price safety and ease of use has been well thought out, there is a 5 point harness (with two shoulder heights, though we actually haven’t bothered with the shoulder straps yet) and the cover is soft and completely washable in the machine! Non slip feet mean that even on a tiled floor on the highest swing setting it stays put!

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Arlo at a couple of days old, being watching over by his sister!

You can use the seat until your baby is 25lbs, so should last into toddler-hood for most people! The only criticism I have is that the battery compartment cover sometimes rattles when the vibrate function is on, not all the time though and not too loudly, but it is a bit odd!

 

We were sent the Fisher Price Swing & Seat for the purpose of this unbiased review.

 

Gift Ideas: The Baby Box Company

Before I had children I never really knew what to get as a gift for a new baby, and now I have children I don’t really have the luxury of time to browse for and buy nice gifts for new babies! Step up The Baby Box Company! They are a fairly new company who do the hard work for you, sourcing lovely items for babies along a range of themes, with a few different sized boxes to suit all budgets.

They very sweetly sent Arlo a box so that we could see what they were all about! I chose the ‘Really Useful’ hamper in medium and here is what we got:

A teddybear print cotton vest in size 0-3, a pair of Sock Ons, a Lamaze fish toy and an Aden & Anais swaddle. This box costs £25, so considering the price of the items inside it is well worth the price tag, especially considering the A&A swaddles cost £18 on their own!

The swaddle is absolutely huge so will come in handy for all sorts of things (I’m thinking it will be great for putting over the car seat to block the sun out on car journeys and as a top sheet in the crib too! Lamaze toys have always been a firm favourite with me so the fish will get a lot of use, and lots of chewing if Arlo is anything like Athena was!

The box itself is a sturdy cardboard box, and along with the items inside are two cards one of which details how to turn the box into a sensory box afterwards which is a great idea! It could also be used for keepsakes, like all the new baby cards and first outfits! The second advice card inside details how to use the swaddle safely.

 

You can view the categories available here, there are pure white boxes for when you don’t know the gender, along with boxes for twins too amongst others! They also sell a small range of baby bits from some great brands like Maxomorra and Toby Tiger too!

We were sent the hamper in order to give an honest review.