Even when Baby R was just a bump we promised E a trip if he was a good big brother and he really has been. Always wanting to kiss her, always telling me if she is crying and always putting her dummy back in. So another deal had been made.
We drove down to the coast on my birthday in one go, not bad going for a 3 hour drive with an 8 week old and a 3 year old. We went for lunch in the lovely Lymington at a really nice boutique hotel, Stanwell House Hotel, which offered a great lunch and children's menu. A great find considering we were about to go in to a Costa for a sandwich! After a feed for all of us we headed down to find the sea and had an ice cream at the harbour.
We then set off to continue the journey to Bournemouth to check into our room for the night, a Premier Inn Family Room. A sleep on the way revived us all (apart from our driver, Mr B!) and after a little play in our hotel room, possibly the biggest I have ever seen, we headed down to Bournemouth for dinner.
If I have ever been to Bournemouth then I can't remember it but we were pleasantly impressed. A very long beach, a pier to wander down, boats to spot and money to 'gamble'. Time was ticking on and tummy's rumbling so we went to find somewhere to eat. I had seen Aruba mentioned in a leaflet and am so glad we decided to try it, despite the many stairs to get in. It was as much a bar as it was a restaurant but the atmosphere and music with it being my birthday was perfect. Some great menu choices, especially for vegetarian Mr B and I even had a cheeky glass of wine.
The perfect birthday, even if E didn't go to sleep til about 11pm!
The next day meant Peppa Pig World and despite us trying to leave early we were too busy eating breakfast. Even though we didn't arrive until 11am it wasn't too busy, and was much better than I was expecting. Paulton's Park where it is based was very well looked after, lovely gardens but the Peppa Pig area was clearly the place to be. We probably queued for a maximum of 40 minutes for any one ride and went on Daddy Pig's cars, Peppa's house, the Dinosaur Adventure, Helicopter Flight, Grandpa Pig's little train (baby R even joined us on that one), Grandpa Pig's boat trip and the play area. The food was reasonable and there were plenty of places to sit and park the buggy. We would definitely go back but might try and wait a couple of years first!
We left around 4pm and with a sleepy E in the car headed back. After freshening up at the hotel we decided that Poole harbour was worth a visit. There was a Mini meet on the harbour so there was lots of reminiscing from me about my first car, and no interest whatsoever from E. We walked around for a bit and chose Pizza Express for dinner, a bit of a cop-out but you know it will always be good.
Soon it was Saturday and our last day. Despite being at the seaside for a couple of days we still hadn't ventured on to the sand and with a day of sun forecast we headed to Boscombe Beach. It was only a 10 minute walk according to Google and after a look on satellite view it looked like we could walk their via a park. Well I am glad I found that shortcut, it was beautiful. Called the Boscombe Chine Gardens it was a Victorian park with an adventure golf course and great kids playground. Well we were more than impressed when we reached the seafront, it was stunning. First, a quick stop at a shop to buy a towel and couple of bottles of water, we had not come prepared for the Mediterranean temperatures! A walk along the front and we picked our spot on the beach and dragged the pushchair kicking and screaming on to the sand, I am not loving having to take the pushchair everywhere again! Within 30 seconds E and Mr B were paddling and then I headed in for R's first paddle. It was obviously met with cries but that's another milestone passed. After a couple of hours on the beach, two wet boys and two hot girls we headed for lunch. We spotted Urban Reef, a great modern looking, family friendly restaurant. The food was very nice and I went all out and ordered half a lobster. Well it was my birthday weekend after all.
We headed home with the usual conversations of 'shall we move to the seaside' knowing we never will. But we were refreshed and bizarrely slightly sun kissed!
Until the next time, seaside x
I'm linking up with Country Kids again, championing the outdoors!