Wednesday, 8 August 2012

WIAW - Butlins

We took so many photos in Butlins that I am finding it a bit overwhelming sorting through them and deciding which ones to post. So I've decided to write about our first full day at Butlins - the Saturday - as a WIAW style post, and then I will tackle the other photos another time!

Thanks as always to Jenn for giving me a template with which to organise my thoughts!
We had breakfast and dinner included in our stay at Butlins, and I'd made the most of an email I received the week before to upgrade to premium dining for half price. The main differences this made were carvery roasts and freshly cooked stir fries at dinner - neither of which I took advantage of, but the others did - and freshly cooked pancakes and omelettes at you're talking! The pancakes had actually been made earlier in the morning and then re-heated to order, so I decided to go with an omelette, which were freshly cooked in front of you. A tasty cheese and mushroom omelette, plus some sauteed potatoes and ketchup...
followed by melon and 2 mini pastries (the cinnamon apple was my favourite, but the apricot custard one was good too!)...
followed by muesli with milk and tinned pineapple...
I love buffet breakfasts!! :-D I also had several glasses of orange juice - Izzy's favourite part of our meal experiences was that she could serve herself at the juice machines, so she kept offering to get us drinks too! - and two unsuccessful attempts at coffee...what is it about machine coffee that can sometimes be so disgusting?! I had the same problem at our hotel in London too, yuck! Luckily on the second day one of the waitresses told us that she loved the machine hot chocolate, so I switched to that for the rest of our stay!
On Saturday morning, Izzy and Liam went to do an arts & craft thing, and I took Toby to Bob the Builder Land...
Unfortunately I wasn't allowed on any of the rides with Toby, and he found it a bit scary on his own! So we ended up going outside and splashing in puddles instead (!!)
After a change of clothes, Toby went to a taster session at the nursery from 11am-12pm, and we took Izzy to the fun fair. She wasn't allowed on a lot of the rides because of her (lack of) height, but I went on one ride with her...
and she & Liam went on the dodgems...
Then it was time to pick up Toby. He'd had such a good time at the taster session that we decided to put him in again 2-4pm that afternoon. £6 for a 2 hours session at an Ofsted registered nursery seemed like good value, plus he was being a pain it meant that we could take Izzy to the water park which Toby would have hated - he doesn't like swimming at the best of times, let alone big, busy, splash world!!
First though, we all had lunch together. I had a falafel wrap and an iced latte...
And then the children went in the soft play area together. Toby was old enough to go in the main area rather than the baby area, which meant we weren't allowed to go in with him. Luckily his big sister kept him happy!
We then took Toby to the nursery and headed to Splash Waterworld. No photos of the inside, but this is one of the outer walls...
This place was huge! There was an outside pool, which we didn't use, and also an inside normal swimming pool and a couple of jacuzzis. The parts we did use were a huge lazy river (which actually had quite a strong current so you could just lie there and it would push you round), a wave pool, and 3 out of the 4 slides (Izzy was too short for the "space bowl" slide which I was quite pleased about!!). At first we went on a slide that used an inflatable raft, and meant Izzy could ride in the same raft as me, but after that she got brave and went on the slides you can see above on her own. The time flew by and soon it was time to get out and go pick up Toby from nursery.
He'd had a fantastic time, and had made chocolate crispy cakes!
The children had one each as an afternoon snack, and then Toby fell asleep on Liam for half an hour. Not ideal as it was much later than his normal nap (which he'd missed because there had been too many things taking his attention at nursery!) so he was not happy when we woke him up, but more food at dinner gave him another burst of energy!
The restaurant where we had dinner had a little "toy room" in the middle of it, so we always made sure to sit at a table near the only entrance to it, so that Izzy and Toby could play when they'd finished eating without being able to run off without us noticing!!!
Not sure which meal this was - a rare time when no other children were in the play room so I could take a photo!
There wasn't a huge amount of choice when it came to vegetarian options at dinner - usually two things plus salady bits. On Saturday I combined both vegetarian options by having mushroom stroganoff, but on top of vegetable risotto instead of plain rice...
This was a bit stodgy but still tasty. There seemed to be a lack of green vegetable sides - or if they did have any they were overcooked - so I tended to stick to lettuce and cucumber for my greenery. Still not bad for buffet food though!

For dessert I had rhubarb crumble and cream...
This was lovely - with huge chunks of rhubarb - but not quite sweet enough for me, so I stole a bit of Toby's ice cream to add some more sugar!
There was a self-serve ice cream machine which both children loved - pudding for them every day!
After dinner, we went back to the main pavilion to watch a Mike the Knight show...
and then back to the apartment for the children to go to bed. I don't know how other parents managed to stay out later - by 7.30-7.45pm each night Izzy was begging to go back as she was tired!!
Izzy and Toby were sharing a room and the first night was pretty rough (Toby found it too exciting to be so close to his sister, plus there was a screaming baby in the room behind us, and noisy drunk people walking past at all hours!) but by Saturday night we were all so tired that we slept right through!
We had such a great weekend at Butlins! I'd never been before and, to be honest, didn't have great expectations of how the weekend was going to go...but it was fantastic! It was all so child friendly and there were constantly things to see and do, plus the food was pretty good too! I felt a bit bad putting Toby into the nursery, but a lot of the things were just too old for him, so if we hadn't put him in nursery either Izzy would have missed out on a lot of things, or Toby would have spent most of his time stuck in a pushchair! This way he got to have a great time at nursery while we did older things with Izzy, and then we could focus on the younger things when he was with us - win win!
Do you like buffet meals or do you prefer to go to a restaurant where you just order one meal? As I said at the start, I love buffet breakfasts! They have always been one of my favourite parts of a holiday - I'm actually kind of disappointed if the hotel we stay in doesn't include breakfast! I love the variety of things you can have and, for breakfast, they all tend to be "my" kind of foods.
Dinner however, I would prefer to order off a menu. I'm not a fan of hot food that has been sitting around for a while (I don't tend to eat any of the "fry up" parts of buffet breakfasts for the same reason) and the food is often stodgy. The dinners at Butlins were ok, but breakfasts were definitely my favourite meal...although I did love the desserts at dinner! :)


  1. Looks like you had a lovely time- it does look like a great place for little kids to go to- one of my friends (with 2 little ones) just went and she loved it too.
    I don't really like buffets much, partly because I don't always trust what the things are, and also I always feel inclined to eat my money's worth, and end up feeling too full. I would be the same though- much prefer breakfast foods to hot dinners being left warm for ages.

  2. I love buffet breakfasts a bit too much :)

    Looks like you had a great time - I haven't been to Butlins in years!

  3. cheese and mushroom omelettes are one of my favorite breakfast :) And how could you go wrong with falafel?!

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