Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Butlins Minehead Review - Accommodation


As I explained in my previous post Butlins Minehead Review Introduction I am doing a series of post to review our recent stay at Butlins Minehead and this post is our thoughts on the accommodation!

We stayed in a 2 bedroom Gold apartment if you follow the link you can see the layout. The two bedrooms lead of from the corridor in the middle of the apartment the corridor also lead to a shower and toilet room. Then at the end of the corridor was the lounge and our kitchen diner.

We had two bedrooms (obviously ha ha) a double and a twin, a lovely bathroom and a living area. On top of this we also had an area of decking outside with an additional table and chairs. The specifications on the Butlins website show that you get the following with a gold apartment:


What's included

  • Early Check in
  • Balconies and patio options available for a small extra charge
  • Daily housekeeping
  • 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, a bathroom with shower and a lounge and kitchen
  • Bed linen and towels provided
  • Kitchen complete with dishwasher and microwave
  • Widescreen  TV in the lounge and small TV in master bedroom
  • Access to 15 Minutes free Wifi a day.
Firstly I will start with the living area. It had a kitchen at one end with a dishwasher, small fridge, microwave, sink, oven, hob etc and cupboard space. There was also a table and four chairs in the kitchen space. The other side of the room had two sofa's, a TV unit with TV and DVD player and a coffee table. The room was functional and well decorated so it didn't feel clinical and it was relaxing. We had issues with our dishwasher whilst staying there and it was replaced the same day which was great.



The bathroom had a shower, toilet, sink and a heated towel rail and was in no way cramped which some holiday apartment bathrooms are. I was very relieved about that as having small children you often have kids under feet when trying to wash up in the bathroom. It also had a great mirror above the sink/toilet which my wife said was great for doing her make up.

We really liked having the decked area outside especially because it was totally enclosed so no matter how hard the kids tried they couldn't escape. This was ideal for when we were trying to gather bits up you could get the kids out of the way outside (Whilst keeping an eye on them obviously) but you knew they wouldn't be able to run off. 



In the double bedroom there was a double bed, two bedside tables, a wardrobe and a dressing table and stool. Again there was another mirror in here above the dressing table and also a small TV on one end of the dressing table. We found there was more than enough storage for our clothes and belongings and because the underneath of the bed was clear we could store our cases out of the way underneath.

The twin room was smaller, with two single beds and one bedside table in between them and one wardrobe. We did find this room a little small as we also had the travel cot in here and when set up you could only just squeeze past. We obviously could have put the travel cot somewhere else like the living area but we wanted to be able to relax in those areas without worrying about waking our youngest up.



Another great thing about this accommodation is that you could connect to the on-site Wi-fi in our apartment you didn't have to go to the main complex to get connectivity. The only thing we found was that it was a little bit pricey and because it was run by an external company they were unable to negotiate a better price. However when connected to the Wi-fi I found the service to be amazing, it was actually better than we receive at home so I didn't mind paying. It was essential to be able to connect to the internet so that we could upload our daily vlog The Gibblets.The fact we were able to do this in our apartment was a massive bonus.

All of the rooms were very well decorated and tasteful and there was also a full length mirror in the hallway which my wife tells me is a necessity! All in all we were very pleased with the accommodation as a whole and found it a very comfortable and stylish place we were able to spend time and relax in.

Do not forget to check out the hashtag #Butlinsambassador on Twitter and Instagram for great Butlins holiday snaps.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Butlins Minehead Review - Dining


As I explained in my post on Friday, Butlins Minehead Review Introduction, I will be writing a series of post covering the major aspects we as families look for in on our Holidays. Today will be looking at the Dining during our stay at Butlins Minehead. The majority of Dining was at the Dining Package Restaurants but we also did try out one of the other on-site restaurant which were pay over the counter, we had Burger King like the big kids we are. We found that the staff were friendly whilst serving us and we were able to get seated easily even during the lunchtime rush. The kids spent most of the time playing in the soft play area whilst we ate our meals. We only brought them some chips so they didn't get full up for dinner time.


Dining Package Restaurants

We had the Premium Dining package which allowed us to dine in either of the two premium onsite buffet style restaurants, there were others for different packages. They served breakfast and dinner but not lunch, in the morning they were open from 7.30am-10.30am and in the evening 4.30pm-7.30pm. The two restaurants were called The Deck and The Yacht Club and were both considerably large and very well staffed. We were greeted at the door by some very friendly staff who were very helpful in explaining that you could dine in either restaurant and take food between them. This was a great for us because we preferred to dine in The Deck restaurant because of the booth seating so we knew if we wanted something from The Yacht Club we wouldn't have to sacrifice our favourite restaurant.


The Yacht club, we didn't actually dine here during our stay but we did have a good look around. The Yacht Club was a very spacious airy restaurant and, only in this restaurant, there was a carvery on offer everyday this was the main difference between the two restaurants. We had a carvery from The Yacht Club on the Sunday but sat in The Deck restaurant and although we thought that the selection of vegetables was limited it was very nice and you could tell it was freshly cooked.


The Deck Restaurant was our favorite because they had booths for us to sit in which with three very excitable young children suited us as they couldn't escape easily. This is where we ate and picked all of our meals from except for the roast on Sunday. We didn't realise until after going across to the Yacht Club to get our Roast dinners on Sunday that they were serving it on both sides. This was only a Sunday thing because it was a traditional dish for that day.

Breakfasts Choices

The Breakfast choice is huge I think just about every type of breakfast has been covered which was a huge winner with our family because everyone likes different things.

The Food
The Continental options 
Selection of Cereals, Pain au Chocolat, Croissants, Danish Pastries, Pancakes, Yoghurts, Grapefruit, Prunes, Fresh Fruit, Toast and Preserves, Cheese and Cold Meat Selection.

The Famous Butlins Breakfast
Tasty Bacon, Red Tractor Sausages, Vegetarian Sausages, British Eggs, Mushrooms, Heinz Baked, Beans, Fresh Tomatoes, Golden Hash Browns, Sautéed Potatoes, Black Pudding

Freshly made Omelettes
Ham. Cheese, Onion and Mushrooms

Toasted Breakfast Sandwiches

Breakfast Buttie
Your choice of Crispy Bacon or Red Tractor Sausage cooked on the grill by our chef.

Triple Decker BLT
Crispy Bacon, Fresh Lettuce and Sliced Tomato on Toasted Bread.

Evening Meal Choices 

There was just about every classic British dish to chose from in the Deck Restaurant and also a number traditional International dishes. Both Restaurants offered three courses which was great because you didn't feel awkward going up to the counters a number of times.

The food

Starters

There were a whole host of Starters to chose from Chef’s Soup of the Day, A selection of fresh seasonal salads, Duck and Orange Pâte, Smoked Salmon and Cold Meat Platter.

Main Courses

Classic Roast
The Classic roasts were served in The Yacht club everyday you could chose from British Roast Topside of Beef, Farm Assured Roast Turkey, Roast Gammon or Hand Carved Roast Pork. Served with all the trimmings.

Curries
The Curry was served with rice, poppadoms and naan bread. Choose from Beef Madras or Chicken Tikka Masala.

The Fire Grill and british classics
The fire grill served Beef Burger, Butterflied Chicken Breast, Gammon Steak, Classic Red Tractor Bangers and Mash or Tender Braised Steak. Chips were also available with the meals.

The Wok Station
You can get freshly made wok dishes here, we really loved this station they served Sweet Chilli Chicken, Hoi Sin Chicken, Served with Prawn Crackers.

The Italian station
This was also another favorite of ours they serves a number of different pastas Porcini Mushroom Parcels, Tagliatelle, Linguine or Garganelli.  There was a lovely selection of sauces to choose from too Tomato and Basil, Pesto Cream, Bolognese or Carbonara.

Vegetarian Options
We are meat eaters so I have no idea if these are good, please let me know?
Risotto or Falafel and Spinach Burger.

Desserts

Hot puddings were on offer as well as cold ones St Clements Sponge Pudding(Hot), Apple Crumble Served with Custard(Hot), Eton Mess (Cold), Raspberry Delice (Cold), Lemon Crunch Cheesecake (Cold) or Fresh Fruit (Cold)
Cheese and Biscuits
Unlimited Ice cream was a very big hit with the kids.

You do not have to be an expert to see that the food choice is huge which I loved because on holiday you want to know you have a choice of everything you love. They had some childrens favourites on a serving counter which was lower than the rest which was brilliant because the kids felt like they were being all grown up. The childrens options when we were there Beef burgers, Hotdogs and fish fingers served with chips and peas or a pasta dish. Kids could also get plastic cutlery and plastic plates at this station this made our lives much less stressful not having to worry about china and metal dinner wear clattering together.

We loved that in both restaurants you could get unlimited drinks Tea, Coffee, Cappuccino, Latte, Hot Chocolate, Fruit Juices, Squash and Filtered Water. This was great because the kids managed to spill a few cups full in the short weekend whilst we stayed. I was dubious about having a coffee because often coffee from machines which are unlimited can be frankly poor. I was so pleasantly surprised to find that the machine made a really nice coffee and I found myself taking full advantage of the unlimited beverages.



We made the most of the three courses each day which we had worried about doing because of the accumulation of plates and constantly getting up to clear our table. Thanks to the ample numbers of waiters and waitresses our table ended up being cleared very quickly after each course. They always checked with us if we had finished with something before they took plates which was nice because the kids did take their time to eat everything.

Butlins really have hit the nail on the head with the Premium Dining package I couldn't fault it at all the dining experience at the two Restaurants was exceptional and it is one of the things we really miss. The thing I loved the most about eating at The Deck and The Yacht Club was getting meals at the stations which cooked things freshly for you. Watching the Chefs cook for you was really fun and you felt like you were getting a nicer dish.


The cleanliness, the ample amount of staff on hand to help, the choice of food and the relaxing modern atmosphere made the Premium Dining Package at Butlins Minehead somewhat of a holiday highlight. Check out our daily vlog The Gibblets to see us enjoying The Deck Restaurant for the three days we were staying.


Friday, 12 September 2014

The Butlins Minehead Review Introduction


You may have noticed a few pictures from Butlins on my Instagram account were uploaded over the weekend. We had our first Butlins Ambassador break at the Minehead Resort over the weekend, however it is back to reality now but all is not lost I have many stories to tell you. I'm planning four more posts about Butlins Minehead so I can explain everything we experienced in exciting and colourful detail. I intend for the posts to cover these aspects below of our Weekend break to Butlins, but if you can not wait for me to bring you these posts you could check out my family daily vlog. The Gibblets daily vlog - Friday vlog, Saturday Vlog and Sunday Vlog.

In this post I will go in to more detail about what my role as an ambassador means, what type of break you can choose and what I was expecting from my first Butlins experience. Back in the Summer I received an email which delivered the great news that I had been selected as one of ten Butlins Ambassadors for the 2014/2015 program.

The Butlins Ambassador program is a great opportunity for bloggers to be rewarded for building well respected websites among the online parenting community. Butlins allow their selected Ambassadors to take two breaks at different resorts in exchange for our reviews of the holiday. An Ambassador role also involves being actively involved with Social media sharing pictures and interacting with Butlins social media community.

We have to choose one break in the school holidays which can be a four night mid week stay or a three night weekend stay. Then we must take the other break during term time, which is what we have done this month. We did have to leave slightly early on the Sunday evening for school the next day which was a shame. It was nice to be able to take a break during the term time as having booked many holidays in the past we know just how much more expensive it can be in the school holidays.

The resorts are really well spread across the country which is great because the first break we took was the three night weekend. We choose the closest resort to our home so we did not have an epic journey home on the Sunday evening. The closest resort to Plymouth is Minehead (North Somerset Coast) but we could have chosen either Skegness (East coast) or Bognor Regis (South Coast).

We really did not know what to expect from our first stay with Butlins and you will be able to find out more in the coming days when I bring you the rest of my review. Do not forget to check out the hashtag #Butlinsambassador on Twitter and Instagram for great butlin holiday snaps.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

August Degustabox


 This months Degustabox saw some yummy goodies headed our way. I was a little surprised to receive the delivery as we didn't get our normal texts about delivery? But this could have been a fault with the delivery company, either way the box arrived in perfect order and I was very excited to open it and see what we had been send this month. I think that the surprise is part of what makes this box soo exciting, you just have no idea what is inside until you open it! The products are always packaged carefully and packed beautifully in the box so it's great fun to unwrap! Here is what was inside :

 

Mexican Dave's RRP £1.00
These tortilla chips were so tasty! I was worried I might not like them as I can be quite fussy with crisps but the lightly salted flavour was so tasty and even better they have nothing artificial in them! Definitely a good buy and a bargain.


Berry White RRP £1.59
Berry white organic drinks come in a variety of flavours and are made from fruits with no artificial preservatives and no added sugars. I found it a very refreshing and yummy drink.

Schwartz RRP £1.39
These flavour shots are such a great idea!! We have been pretty busy since the degusta box and so haven't tried these out yet. But I am super excited to do so, there are 8 flavours available and it really is all done for you as your just add it to your meat/veg in a pan to cook!


Fever Tree RRP £1.69
This was the non alcohol option and is from an award winning range of tonic waters and mixers. We received Ginger Beer and Tonic Water. Personally I don't really like Ginger Beer at all but this one actually wasn't too bad! (High praise indeed from someone who doesn't like it to begin with ha ha).

Lindt £3.49
HELLO Just For You Heart Chocolate Tin really is a perfect gift for someone. The little heart shaped chocolates were melt in your mouth amazing, really really tasty and such a cute little gift for someone seeing as they come in the pretty little tin.


Cawston Press RRP £1.89 for a 3 pack
Charlie actually drank most of this drink but he did let me try a little bit ha ha. It was really tasty, light and refreshing. It didn't have such a strong flavour as some fruit juices can which made it really easy to drink and really thirst quenching.


Dr Oetker RRP £2.50
Edible wafer cupcakes cases!! What a genius idea! My wife was so excited to discover these in the box as she loves to bake and they are really nice. The little ones were a bit puzzled when I said they could actually eat the case but soon got into the swing of things and it was great, no mess, no fuss just yummy fun!


Brioche Pasquir RRP £1.69
The pain au lait brioche were a firm favourite from this months degusta box for the whole family. The light, delicious brioche rolls were so tasty they didn't last long! Massive thumbs up from us all!

Brioche Pasquir RRP £1.79
This product was also a firm favourite and was the pain au chocolate version made with brioche roll worked into pastry. They were individually wrapped so even though we opened the packet the other stayed fresh which I thought was great! They were so tasty, and popped in the oven for a few minutes to heat and melt the chocolate they felt like a proper treat!


Caribbean Twist RRP £2.50
Alcohol Option
This drink is a Caribbean style alcoholic cocktail. It was very nice I thought, my wife didn't really like it much but I thought it was very nice especially served cold with some ice as recommended. I also thought that the price was a bargain for the size of the bottle so always good for anyone wanting a tasty alcoholic treat for not too much money!

The fridge item the MOMA is at selected Sainsburys and Waitrose stores and we have not made it there yet. You can follow Degustabox on Facebook or Twitter for great tweets and updates.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Holiday to Butlins Minehead


We are off on holiday I'm making this post short and sweet frankly because we leave in under half an hour ! So basically, I urge you to check Butlins website out if you are not aware of what a Butlins Holiday is all about ! 

We will be tweeting pictures and also uploading pictures on Instagram and Facebook so check out the links below so you do not miss a moment of the fun.


We will see you back here next week to read our review of Butlins Minehead.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Butlins Christmas Just For Tots breaks


Some of you may know that I'm a Butlins ambassador and will be going for the first time in 7 days. I just want to share something really exciting with you, their Christmas just for tots break offer is back. The first Just for tots break saw 70% of the bookings were from guests who had never stayed at Butlins before. This shows how valuable families with tots have found this deal. We as a family have never been to Butlins before but have always wanted to go and experience one of the UK's most famous of holidays. Reading about this deal now makes me think just how tantalising it would have been for us a a family with tots. Now Charlie is School age we unfortunately can not take advantage of this fantastic holiday deal.

How does the Christmas Just For Tots break work then ? 


A Christmas Just For Tots break starts from only £53 per person based on 2 adults and 2 children. Under 2s go free. Breaks start on Monday 15th December for 4 nights at Butlins Bognor Regis and Skegness. The breaks are tailored to suit the needs of families with children aged 5 and under, so are based around the term times. Butlins found that there was a high demand for breaks outside of the school holiday for families with preschool aged children.

What does the break offer ?

The Christmas just for tots break offers families the chance to experience the very best of Butlins festive winter wonderland and experience all the magic of the festive season. The break is specifically tailored to their age group so you can expect plenty of shows, music, indoor activities and character meeting.
You'll be able to meet the bug guy Father Christmas as well as enjoying Pantomimes and festive themed shows. There will also be live character shows from Mike The Knight, Thomas & Friends, Bob The Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Barney, Fireman Sam and Butlins’ own Skyline Gang and Billy and Bonnie Bear. As if that wasn't enough there will also be live music and the indoor snowstorm to enjoy with the little ones

There is a whole host of activities for the whole family to enjoy including tots-friendly ice skating rink, the Usborne Publishing Cosy Reading Corner, the Little Tikes Town, Balanceability bike lessons, tots swimming sessions and Christmas themed arts and crafts.




Why do Butlins offer these breaks?



Head of Product Development, Nick Warren said:  


“We spoke to mums who told us that they would love a break specifically designed for their little ones where they could enjoy a few days with similar types of families. After the success of the spring and summer series of breaks, the natural progression was to introduce more of them at other times of the year. Christmas is a magical time at Butlins and these new breaks will allow young families to experience our winter wonderlands together before schools break up for the holidays.”


What do we make of these breaks ?

These breaks sound amazing and looking back I think we would have had plenty more holidays to Butlins if we had these specifically tailored break for tots and families. We like that Butlins have listened to what people want and ultimately have created a break which is very much in demand. 


If you want to know more about the butlins blogger ambassadors scheme follow the link. 

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