Ever since we first went to Bluestone Wales the girls have asked to return. The other week we were invited back which I was so excited about. The most exciting part was that we were getting invited to the Kingdom Of The Elves and getting our very last break of 2016. I’ve decided to break this post up into sections by the day and I apologise for the many photos.
Bluestone is 263 miles away from our home, that’s roughly nearly five hours of journey time in the car and I was pretty worried this time. Our last journey was done in the extreme early hours of the morning and we arrived at around 4am. However, this one was being done in the middle of the day so I packed lots of snacks and we played the Disney Frozen playlist many, many times. We stopped once for some food and a second time for a typical side of the road toilet break with P2.
It was dark by the time we arrived at Bluestone. We were greeted by pretty Christmas lights leading the way to the check in desk. The man in the check out booth explained everything we would need to know, gave us our lodge cards and an envelope that contained the list of activities, times and a resort map. There definitely seemed to be more included inside this than there was last time.
This time we were booked to stay in the Gateholm Lodge in Wisemans Way. Our lodge was literally round the corner from the Village, we could see The Chippy from our kitchen window. The Gateholm Lodge’s are detached and have upside down living style. On the ground floor there was one double bedroom with en-suite bathroom, two twin rooms, a shower room and a storage cupboard. Upstairs is completely open plan. The ceilings are so incredibly tall which gives this feeling of spaciousness yet the lodge had a really cosy feeling to it.
After unpacking the car, we grabbed our swim stuff and dropped the car off in the car park. We then headed up to Blue Lagoon which is the water park on resort at Bluestone. The girls absolutely adored it last time and although we had initially had some problems the first time we were there, we also enjoyed it. They had a special Frost Lagoon going on through the festive period on specific days and we were luckily in time for the evening entertainment. There was a Jack Frost walking about, the music was loud and it felt a little bit like being in a club on a Friday night.
I was actually a little bit disappointed, and I’m annoyed with myself for not finding out why, but last time the little toddler cove area was absolutely filled with so many different water toys. From sponge Peppa Pigs, to buckets and floats. This time there was just a few inflatable beach balls, some hoops and some ice floats. The girls seemed to be initially underwhelmed by it too and I hoped that they’d been removed for the Frost Lagoon entertainment and they’d be back during the day time.
We had a late night as the girls had napped. We spent nearly two hours in the swimming pool, walked back to our lodge in the dark which was great fun and then I cooked some chicken fajitas using the extremely sparkling clean oven. I was really pleased to find a full list of instructions on how to use the provided appliances as our previous lodge did not have these and we ended up burning or under cooking our food several times. Here’s our first day video:
Having arrived in the dark, it was lovely to open up all the curtains and blinds to see frosty grass and miles of beautiful Welsh countryside. Having the upside down living made me feel much higher and less overlooked. I was really excited to take my time cooking my girls some pancakes. I’d come prepared to make some nice meals for our weekend as the pace of life is much different when you go away and sort of start a fresh for a little while. Unfortunately, I’d packed everything except oil. I partly wish they’d offer a complimentary selection of things like tea (not that I drink that), oil and maybe some butter and milk for people like me that always forget the important bits. Instead, we settled for hot chocolate and some dry cereal on our first day. Not quite what I had visioned for us.
We had a really chilled out first morning at Bluestone. We all took our time getting ready and then took a slow wander up to the Adventure Centre. The Bluestone resort is situated on a hillside. Although it’s not a huge complex, there is a lot of walking to do when you want to get to various main areas. Last time we were lucky enough to hire a Buggy for half of our stay, but this time our booking was so last minute that they had all been hired out. That is one thing I recommend when booking with Bluestone, get all your activities and buggy hire booked pretty much the day you do your booking because things get sold out pretty quick.
On our last visit to Bluestone we had eaten at The Chippy which was lovely, but hadn’t really experienced any of the other food outlets. I’d hoped to persuade Hubby for an evening meal at one of the Village restaurants but that never happened. We did however enjoy a delicious lunch in the WildWood Cafe. It’s themed as the name would suggest and is quite wonderful. The staff were all very friendly and the service was quick despite it being relatively busy. After our lunch we headed downstairs in the indoor play area section.
I’m not going to lie, if you have smaller children they do need to be supervised especially in the wooded playing area as it’s very slippy (even with shoes on) and there are some pretty nerve racking areas. In the photos above you can see both P1 and P3 climbing across netting…. There’s no safety net under that and my heart was jumping around as I nervously helped them get across. Especially P3 who potentially probably could have fell through. But that’s the parent in me talking because Hubby and the girls had so much fun as they did earlier in the year. There’s also a fun bouncy castle, mini golf, lego and arcades in the Adventure Centre.
Last time we failed to find the Circus Zone. So this time I was determined to locate it. I ended up asking a staff member and I was completely blown away as we opened the door. All the bold colours were so bright and cheery. It was just magical. I would love to have a room just like this in our house. It was peaceful in there as it was just us for the majority of the time we spent in there. It’s a safe soft play zone and the girls loved it. I am so glad we found it. For those planning to go, when you walk into the main entrance of the Adventure Centre it is through the door on the far right and then first left.
There didn’t seem many free activities on this year for kids. Last time there was a show that the girls really loved. However, as part of the festive theme there was a light show followed by a Christmas Kids Hour. I haven’t mentioned it yet but it had pretty much rained the entire time since we arrived in Wales and so I made sure the girls wore their full body waterproof suits when we headed out to watch the lights. There was a great turn out and it was the only time I’ve ever felt like Bluestone was a busy place. The girls were in awe of the lights. In the end we only spent about five minutes in the Christmas Kids Hour tent as although the entertainment and music was brilliant, it was absolutely rammed and the adults seemed to be right in the middle too which prevented us seeing the girls.
We headed home and I cooked us all some fish and chips which is P1s favourite. After dinner they raced around the open plan lounge with Hubby. There was so many giggles and screeching going on, I felt bad to break up the party for bedtime and it got later and later. In the end P1 and P2 went to bed but P3 refused until around 10pm when she eventually crashed out. I was so incredibly pleased to sink into the really comfy bed. There’s always something really great about holiday beds.
P3 woke up at about 7am on our second morning. She didn’t actually have her eyes open so I gave her a fresh bottle of milk and climbed into the single bed that we’d pushed up to form a double so that she didn’t roll out. The next thing I knew it was 9:30am and I was being poked in the face by P3. I needed that extra few hours and the other two were upstairs playing really nicely. We’d popped to the Newton Stores in the Village to grab some essentials, oil mainly, bread and milk. Everything is slightly more expensive in the shop but I was so desperate to make the pancakes I had promised the morning before.
We drank more hot chocolate as my little helpers assisted the pancake making process. Everything felt very homely and warm. Having the dining table and space to just be actually made me feel much calmer. I enjoyed eating our breakfasts as a family which is something we don’t usually do at home because we don’t have a dining table we can all huddle around. It was really lovely. I had wanted to head to Tenby beach which is a short drive away from Bluestone but the late start sort of put us back a bit and so instead we decided to go swimming again.
We found a little country lane walk to the Blue Lagoon. We were able to see many Robins fly down near us, squirrels and even a few rabbits. The girls adored it. The weather had finally stopped raining but was quite chilly. It felt fresh and I just love being in the country surrounded by natural noises instead of the hustle and bustle of normal life. Being on Bluestone is a little bit like being in a private habitat or town for exclusive members.
Between 9am and 12pm the Blue Lagoon is open to Bluestone guests only. It was about 11am when we entered the pool and it was pretty busy. We had to wait for a changing room to be available. Despite it being like this, everywhere was still super clean and the floors were dry. I do love that about Bluestone, everything is exceptionally tidy and clean. The music was much quieter during the day. Jack Frost and his lady friend were roaming about. At one point they joined the toddler cove and sang nursery rhymes and played a few games with the little toddlers. It ended up being just P1 who took part but it was so sweet. It made the whole swimming experience really lovely.
Today was the first (and only) time that the girls got to experience the free range fun. The weather was sunny and so they played outside for a while. I didn’t feel so much at ease as we did when we were staying in the Dinas Lodge that was all on one floor. I needed to stay supervising the girls instead of getting on with cooking or whatever as the kitchen was upstairs and not really overlooking the lovely garden area. The girls once again seem attracted by the stones going around the outside of the house. On a warmer and less wet day there is a lovely picnic table that is secluded along the side of the house.
When you book to stay with Bluestone over the festive period (looking ahead it’s 6th November 2017 – 7th January 2018) you get free tickets to The Kingdom Of The Elves. There’s still time to book for this year’s one so don’t hesitate! I was excited to see what the Kingdom Of The Elves was all about. You have to prebook your time slot, despite it being free so make sure you do, and then you head to the Adventure Centre which is where all the magic happens. It’s basically a mission to find Rudolph and cheeky elves guide you through five different rooms, all the information can be found here.
The girls absolutely loved it. I love how the elves were very witty, especially when other children were asking questions or generally being smarty pants. If you get what I mean. The rooms were each kitted out with so much details. It was really mind blowing and considering it is free with your stay, it is definitely worth it. It was a lovely festive experience! The walk round takes exactly an hour and after finding Rudolph the girls were able to enjoy some time in the Adventure Centre play area. It was much less busy at this time (about 5pm) and they actually spent quite a bit of time near the Lego wall.
We ended up staying in the Adventure Centre until closing time and then we took the rather spooky walk home in the dark. Hubby decided it would be fun to walk through the little country lane instead of following the main road paths. I literally felt like a kid, petrified as the darkness seemed to get darker and darker as we wandered on. All I can say is thank goodness for iPhone light torches! We had another lovely family meal around the table watching a movie on the telly. Somehow P3 managed to stay awake the entire day and they all went to bed really well and much closer to their normal bed time.
I really hate the part of a holiday when you have to pack up and leave. I always feel physically sick at the thought of returning to normality. Everybody is more chilled when we are away. P2 had actually said a few times she missed home which was really sweet. We struggled to decided when we wanted to leave the resort. You have to check out of your lodge at 10am but are allowed to stay on resort until 3pm. We eventually made the decision to head straight for swimming after we checked out in a bid to wear the girls out for our long journey home.
Everyone was generally exhausted but we had a lovely time in the Blue Lagoon. I felt like I was taking mental photos of everything. I even went down all of the water slides just so I could say that I had done it. The girls water confidence had definitely improved over this weekend with even P3 balancing herself on her hands as she semi-crawled across the water in Nippers Cove. After swimming we got straight in the car and headed for home.
We left Bluestone at just gone 12:20pm. The girls fell asleep pretty quickly and slept for about two hours I think in the end. Until typically we had to stop for petrol. We decided this would be a good time to stretch our legs and have some food before doing the second half of the journey. We took our time and just enjoyed each other’s company over some McNuggets. The girls were happier and slightly more content on the way back until we hit pretty rough traffic which caused us to stop again so the girls could run about. Our entire journey was immensely long and we walked through our front door at just gone 8pm! Which you’ll see in my final Bluestone Vlogmas video below:
Sorry for such a long post but I wanted to remember everything about our last break of 2016!
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post