Tuesday, 3 February 2015

The Bluestone Series: Getting Here

We set off on Monday the 6th of Feb to head towards our little 5 day staycation at Bluestone National Park Resort in Wales. Isla and I drove up to Jess from Lilypod & Sweetpea's house as she had offered to drive us all there. We left a little later than planned but got to Jess' for about 12pm. As we couldn't check in to the actual lodge till 4.30pm, we thought it would be better (coming on our own with 2 babies) to wait until the lodge was ready before arriving!

(Our car before we drove to Jess'!)

It felt like we had packed everything and the kitchen sink but we managed to fit everything into Jess' car and set off.

As the lodges are self catering, we stopped off at a big supermarket to pick up some essentials. We planned 3 meals (stir fry, pasta bake and spaghetti bolognese), got the ingredients we needed for them, popped in some fruit and veg and also picked up some basics such as bread, milk, butter, PROSECCO etc. Of course we also threw in some snacks to make life a little bit more exciting. Hello crisps, malteasers and milky bar buttons!

I needed to get some bits and bobs for Isla as well, so got her milk formula, some organic snack puffs and a few Ella's Kitchen meals. She usually has what I am having for dinner but the pouches are fab to have when out and about.

We were then back on the road again and making good time. It was supposed to take us just under 4 hours.

There was a £6.50 toll on the bridge we crossed over into Wales but it was clearly signposted and looked like it took cash and card, which is always handy.

(Terrible, terrible photo but I wanted to catch the 'Welcome to Wales' sign!)

We had a pretty smooth journey but we also stopped off at a Starbucks once we were in Wales to give the babies and, mainly us, a little break.

There was some crazy snow at one point that was a bit mesmerising and hard for Jess to drive in but it didn't last long.

So, in total, it took just under 6 hours in total to get there with the shopping and stopping in between. Not too bad!

The babies were pretty good (minus a couple meltdowns) so I thought I'd quickly share some travel tips for car journeys...

Be the most organised you've ever been. Trust me, you'll be thankful for it during the journey!
- pack any milk bottles needed close to hand and have them at the right temperature if possible
- make sure any food and utensils etc are easy to get to in time for any stops
- have enough nappies/nappy sacs/wipes on hand for changing
- have a little mat to put down for changing in any public places
- have a spare pair of clothes for any sickness incidents 
- have blankets to keep your baby cosy and snuggly (it might encourage napping!)

If you can, and depending on how long the journey is, plan it around your child's nap time. If they usually have a big sleep in the morning try and leave then, if it's a long one in the afternoon, try and use that to your advantage. You know your child's sleeping patterns best, try and let them help you. Of course, sometimes the sheer excitement/terror of being in the car is enough to keep them awake the whole time.

Babies get bored, on long car journeys, just like we do. Make sure you have a stop planned every couple hours. Unless they are sleeping through, in which case, go go go! Nobody likes a numb bum or to be cooped up so it does us all good to stop every once in a while. Only difference between us and our babies is that we have to go use the toilets on stops, they have the luxury of their nappies haha.

Does anyone want to get lost with a baby/small child in the back of the car loaded with the constant threat of them kicking off at any moment? Nope, didn't think so! Make sure you know where you are going. Any extra time in the car means you are playing a risky game of baby meltdown roulette!

This is the key one! In terms of the under 1s, Isla usually has her Mamas and Papas car seat toy entertainer that attaches on the seat in front of her, a few other exciting toys she hasn't seen in a while and perhaps a few things she wouldn't usually play with in order to keep her attention, such as my purse. If all else fails sing some songs like Jess did. Babies love a sing song!

At the end of the day if you know they are fed, watered and changed and just not liking the journey because they are bored, wait out the crying...they will usually fall asleep!

We were super happy to arrive at Bluestone National Park Resort and the arrivals process was very quick and efficient. We literally drove up to a window, waiting for someone to come, they gave us our pack and keys and off we went to find our lodge. A note, you are supposed to move your car to the long stay car park after you have unpacked as the resort is a car free zone.

We're looking forward to the week ahead!

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