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Posts Tagged ‘holiday’

  1. AFF Review: Hoburne Naish, Hampshire

    July 7, 2014 by Amy Hansford

    I’ve always said that when you have kids, a holiday is just a case of “same stuff, different place”. In fact, holidays are abolished entirely when you have a toddler. You get a break from household chores and less toys to placate your little monster with. Could Hoburne Naish Holiday Park really give me and the family some well needed time off? As it turns out – yes!

    Becton Lodge living roomWe stayed in a Becton 3 bedroom lodge, with ample room for a family including a huge living space, very comfy sofas and very well presented kitchen. While the little one rearranged all the cushions, I was pleased to see more spacious sleeping quarters – en-suite on the master bedroom, tons of storage everywhere and OH MY WORD so many buttons. Buttons for the shower, for the lights, for the slightly higher lights, for the heating, for the windows, for everything. I also had a nosy around the showhomes to see what caravan accommodation was like. Again, spacious, bright and would be a lovely place to spend a week.

    The grounds are very well kept – no litter, looks great, lots of space. (I’m big on space – can you tell?) Indoors there’s the standard ents space, bar, restaurant, arcade gallery, soft play area and indoor pool. Pools – plural! There is a standard pool plus a separate low water level fun pool for little ones with splash area and squirting octopus installations. The on site shop is great value – an inflatable ring for only £1.15, making it less painful when it was instantly shunned by the 3 year old.

    playOutdoors, families can take advantage of being right on the beach, Adventure Golf (VERY reasonable at £1/player), tennis courts, football areas and a heated outdoor pool. Plus an extensive play area for children, with a separate area for toddlers. This appeared very well kept, bright and colourful but most importantly – safe. One thing that Hoburne Naish has really nailed is keeping kids safe. Specifically, there is ONE door leading to the outside areas (only accessible via the club house), ONE entrance to the play area and ONE entrance to the gated toddler area. Our daughter was able to run around having the time of her life without us chasing her – we just knew she was safe. Kiddie wristbands are available too if your little one is prone to wandering.

    Everywhere is clean and tidy with welcoming staff on reception and the doors. The restaurant is a bit pricy – paying £11 for a branded pizza which you can buy in the supermarket for £3.50 seems cheeky – but remember that you are on holiday and are paying for the privilege of someone else doing the prep and washing up and it’s quite acceptable. Mind you, I was hugely impressed with the children’s menu. Through practice, our toddler can expertly clear a plate designed to feed a 10 year old, such is the way with child menus. However, Hoburne Naish offers a Tommy’s Tots menu for littluns alongside a Sammy Squad menu for older children. Brilliant!

    coastAs well as all the options available on site, Hoburne Naish is a great base for exploring the local attractions and there are lots to choose from, including farms, woodlands, reptile experiences and of course THAT pink pig’s world within Paulton’s Park. As we were only staying for a two nighter, the on site facilities were plenty for our little one’s needs.

    With our daughter only being three, she would generally hit The Wall around 8pm at which point we would return to our lovely lodge for the bedtime routine. Of course, a family has both children and adults, so what about some time for us? Admittedly, we did have a hot tub in our lodge, so with the little one safely in the land of nod, we did get a bit of us time too in the evenings.

    Our favourite bits: 

    • Having so much space in the lodge meant that, even on a grey rainy day indoors, no-one would tread on anyone’s toes. Very important if you’re planning a fortnight stint!
    • The Ents team were terrific fun in the evenings, getting all the kids involved and raising lots of laughs.
    • No pressure – no packed timetables to keep to, no overwhelming experiences, just the right amount of activities available for a relaxing time away.
    • Our 3 year old would have quite happily spent two days entertaining herself between the soft play and the outside play area. Can we bring those home please?
    • The hot tub. Because HOT TUB.

    What would have made it even more fab:

    • If we had taken our little Ikea step. We’ve all got one at home, haven’t we? There were no steps available on site at the time of our stay, meaning it was tricky for our toddler to be independent in the accommodation or loos. A step would have been brilliant.
    • If our accommodation had curtains instead of blinds. We had beautiful blinds (the interior décor was absolutely superb) but I was always on edge with so many cords dangling down in our little one’s sleeping quarters.
    • If we’d known more before we’d gone – website information is limited. There was a fancy dress night on the Sunday which we knew nothing about until the evening beforehand.

    We would definitely look at returning to Hoburne Naish for a longer stay – it’s not too late to book your summer break so check them out and let us know what you think!

    Hoburne Naish was reviewed as part of an assessment for Approved Family Friendly, raising standards for families when going on holiday or on a day out. See their website for information about more family friendly businesses who are going the extra mile to make your holiday even better.

  2. Costumes: Pubs

    December 21, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    This year, one of the New Year party invites came with a theme I’d not experienced before; Pub Names. Fairly obvious when you think about it, but still one I’d not given much thought to. I’ve pretty much figured out what I’m going as now, but for those of you in my earlier predicament, here’s a handy list of ideal pub names.

    All Bar One – paint every number over your top over and over again, except the number 1
    Bat and Ball
    The Black Cap
    The Blind Beggar – host to 10,000 London cabbies, all seemingly present at the Kray shoot out.
    Bricklayer’s Arms – brickie
    The Bright Star
    The Butcher
    The Castle
    Cat and Fiddle
    Charlie Brown’s
    The Chequers – black and white dress
    Cock and Bull – oh, behave.
    The Compasses
    Cross Keys
    The Crown – Beefeater
    The Devil’s Punchbowl
    Dirty Dick’s – Dick Turpin
    Dog and Bear
    Dog and Duck
    The English Rose
    The Fisherman’s Arms
    Flame – gay pub in Luton
    The Fox
    Fox and Hounds
    George and the Dragon – think Saint George in his knight phase
    The Globe
    The Grapes
    Green Man – meant to be a spirit of the woods; with modernisation, now the Green Giant who sells sweetcorn
    The Halfway House
    The Highwayman – Dick Turpin
    Hog’s Head
    Hope and Anchor
    The Horseshoe
    Hungry Horse
    The Jolly Sailor
    King’s Arms/Head – choose a king
    Leaky Cauldron
    Lord Nelson
    Man in the Moon – think the Mighty Boosh
    Nag’s Head
    The Phoenix
    Pig and Whistle
    Pink Punters
    Prince of Wales
    The Queen Vic – Queen Victoria
    Queen’s Arms/Head – choose a queen
    The Railway Tavern
    Red Dragon
    Red Lion
    Robin Hood
    Rose and Crown
    Sherlock Holmes – the famous detective
    Slug and Lettuce
    The Smugglers
    Three Broomsticks
    Three Tuns
    White Bear
    White Hart
    White Horse
    White Lion
    The Winchester – go as Shaun of the Dead
    The Woolpack – sheep

  3. London London London

    April 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    A friend visiting London was asking for some advice on places to eat and shops to visit. It’s not the first time, but I always forget what I’ve said. Through sheer laziness of not remembering this nugget of information for every person, I thought I’d put a few notes down here for future reference.


    TREAT: Ping Pong. These do Dim Sum and are cool without being snooty. There’s a few around including one near the National Theatre on the Southbank.
    PUBBY: The Crooked Surgeon. This is just off Leicester Square (not far from The Prince Charles CInema) and does decent pub grub. It’s not a traditional pub – they’re so hard to find these days – but it’s okay value.
    CURRY: Masala Zone. This is off Covent Garden. They, like most places in London, do a pre-theatre deal. You don’t have to be going to the theatre to use the deals! About a tenner for a very tasty three course meal.
    FUN PUB: Ben Crouch’s Tavern. It’s off Oxford Street. Probably the only place I feel at home in London! Again, good menu, great value and it has a horror theme. Don’t tell your family about the screaming/chainsaw sound track playing in the toilets!
    Plus there’s plenty of Wagamamas around and all the usual chains.


    CAMDEN is all there and complete. The smaller market by the canal’s closed, but everything’s there. Sadly, they ditched the hotch potch covered stalls in all the arches for some glass monstrosity that I’ve not looked into – all glassware and t-shirts – but Punkyfish and the New Rock boot shops are all around as are the goth shops.
    OXFORD STREET is still packed with every shop imaginable.
    Check out FORBIDDEN PLANET for amazing sci-fi and film goodness.
    For your musicals, check out DRESS CIRCLE off Covent Garden. It has everything to do with every musical ever made.

  4. Snow Day

    February 2, 2009 by Amy Hansford

    It’s been lovely seeing everyone’s comments and emails on the snow. For those reading this in retrospect, it’s Monday morning and most of Britain has woken up to 5 inches of snow, a rarity.

    I’m planning on posting some of my favourite comments here for posterity and also to allow you to share too, even if you’re not getting your ‘Snow Day’.

    “Cats sleeping apart from Otter, who is calling me to look at the disaster that has happened in the back garden. I tell him it’s ok, and he cries “no it’s not ok, it’s all out the front too, loooooooooook”, and we have to go look at the front. If I dont look he howls.”
    ~ My sister on her cats ~
    “I have one unhappy cat taking a crap in the house. Ack!”
    ~ A friend on her cat’s reaction ~

    “I feel like writing on a big piece of paper, ‘how many survivors?’ and showing it to the office across the street.”
    ~ via Twitter ~

    “Watching the TfL home page is a bit like a view into some sort of civic apocalypse”
    ~ via Twitter ~

  5. Toronto round up

    November 21, 2008 by Amy Hansford

    There are many wonderful things about Toronto, not least of which is the amazing undergound shopping network, meaning no-one really needs to be outside in the sub zero temperatures for more than five minutes.

    Also, the fact they darn well just get things done. Yesterday morning, the top news story was that of a house in which four bodies were found. By this afternoon, they’d revealed it was actually three murders and a suicide, their names, that they were a lovely family caught up in the economic strain and related issues and that it was all pretty much sorted. It did not involve a three month long investigation like we normally have for such things, or a Facebook group of people saying ‘boo, isn’t this bad – having an online theoretical group of people who agree with this will make a difference and bring them all back to life’, or ministers commenting on whether or not it should have beenb allowed to happen.

    People are nice. Just because it’s natural to be nice, and say hello when you pass each other, and say thankyou.

    The cost of living is lower, so people can enjoy things more, so they are happier.

    There are no chavs. There are only the occasional gang of emos, which are of course very easy to deal with as they’re not interested in cutting you, only themselves.

    Adverts for Dr Who are hilarious.
    Deep voiced American: ‘The universe is at stake…’
    David Tennent: ‘It’s alright – I’m the Doctor!’ [in a Michael Caine-esque voice.]

    They can heat things properly, so you don’t feel like a room is being deliberately overheated – it’s just right.

    It’s clean. This is because the people aren’t idiots and know how to use a bin. As bizarre and difficult a concept as it sounds, people actually put wrappers in their pockets until they find a bin rather than dropping it on the ground. I know – unbelievable.

    Toronto is what a city should be – it works!

    Tomorrow … Vancouver, and the search for cupcakes.