Tag Archives: Approved Family Friendly

Lavender Cottage, a family friendly holiday in Appledore

19 May
Lavender Cottage is the middle housse

Lavender Cottage is the middle housse

As an assessor with Approved Family Friendly, I was recently asked to visit Lavender Cottage in Appledore.  We were quite excited to visit a part of Devon that we had not previously visited.

The cottage is situated in a quiet residential street, it takes less than 5 minutes to walk down to the village and the quay. We loved wandering through the small streets (thankfully, pretty lacking in cars), exploring all the little nooks and crannies and discovering wonderful little cafes, galleries and other treats.

Although it obviously caters for tourists, Appledore has a real community feel about it. Everyone is very friendly and welcoming and it’s a very unspoilt little place.

appledore collage

Lavender Cottage is the most wonderful family home from which to explore the area. The owners have renovated the property with children in mind. They have lowered all of the door handles in the property, the original ones were far too high for children to reach. They have provided a cot and high chair and have left a list of other items which are available from the owners should anyone need them. children’s plates, cups and cutlery are also provided which makes life much easier if you have toddlers. Books, toys and DVDs are all available for children to enjoy. Both Lily and Thomas loved the whole ‘seaside’ theme throughout the house. The highlight for them had to be the little porthole window between the sitting room and kitchen!

porthole

The beds are SO comfortable. The single beds all have double duvets which makes them lovely and cosy. The double bedroom has a king size bed which I think is always a nice little luxury. The mattresses are very comfortable. when Thomas was tucked up in bed on the first evening he said “Mummy this bed is glorious” which did make me giggle. All of the beds are made up for your arrival and there are plenty of soft white towels too.

bedroom collage

 

View from the two back bedrooms

View from the two back bedrooms

 

The garden has also been designed with children in mind. As well as a lawned area, there is an ‘imagination area’ where children can make up their own games using stepping-stones and painted logs that can all be moved around to set the stage for any adventure. Lily and Thomas spent many hours playing out here and we enjoyed soaking up the sun with a glass of wine on the benches that are provided.

There is also a barbecue area and a picnic table which is separate from the play area. This will give peace of mind to anxious parents (like me) who get totally stressed when there’s a lit barbecue within 10 feet of children! Charcoal, fire lighters and matches are all provided for guests to use.

garden Collage

The owners have left lots of useful information in the cottage, including recommendations for days out, restaurants and local attractions. We discovered the wonderful Coffee Cabin in Appledore which serves freshly cooked, locally sourced food for breakfast and lunch. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop for lunch but the smoothies and cake were scrumptious!

menu

Tempting treats from the specials board

There is a passenger ferry from Appledore over to Instow which makes for a nice day out. Pack a picnic or visit one of the eating spots in Instow, you could also pick up some food from Johns Deli which has been awarded The Best Food and Drink retailer in Devon.

view collage

Appledore and Instow

We travelled a little further afield for our last day and visited the beautiful, historical fishing village of Clovelly. I remember visiting here as a child and loving it, Thomas and Lily felt exactly the same.

Lovely Clovelly

Lovely Clovelly

Lavender Cottage is a stunning, spacious property from which to explore North Devon and I would highly recommend it if you have children of any age. We can’t wait to go back for a longer visit. Check out their website for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review of the Waymarker Restaurant in Cornwall

9 Sep

building

This weekend, we had the pleasure of visiting The Waymarker near Constantine in Cornwall, in order to assess them for their listing with Approved Family Friendly. This restaurant had already been recommended by other families and I can certainly see why.

The restaurant is located on farmland in a lovely quiet, rural setting. The area around Constantine is very beautiful and a great base for a holiday. The restaurant makes the most of its location by offering a sunny terrace alongside a large wildlife pond (fully fenced off so no need to worry about any little ones falling in.)

It is just lovely to sit by the pond and watch the numerous dragonflies dipping in and out of the water. Children can safely enjoy the outside play area whilst you are waiting for your meal. Lily and Thomas made some new friends whilst playing in the little wooden house and we got to enjoy a glass of wine in peace!

play-area

 

kids-outised

tom-outside

On rainy days children can be just as easily entertained with the colouring, toys and games that have been provided for them inside. It is obvious that Kevin and Rhiannon genuinely welcome children and they really go that extra mile to include them. We met one family who had returned for their second visit that week. They told me that they found it quite hard to eat out somewhere that appealed to the whole family and that when they found The Waymarker they knew they were on to a winner.

Breastfeeding is very welcome in the restaurant, there are baby changing facilities and a good selection of reasonably priced children’s meals. The owner tells me that they are currently extending the children’s menu further to offer additional healthy side options. Lily and Thomas were very happy with their meal and their pudding was a real treat. They chose ice cream and it arrived so beautifully decorated. A nice change from the boring dollop of ice cream and a wafer that you usually get!

kids-pud

 

The Waymarker also offers a nature trail for families. This takes you through the farmland and is a great walk for wildlife spotting. We saw lots of butterflies, more dragonflies and some farm animals too. Just make sure you are wearing sensible walking shoes. (Unfortunately we were not!) It’s a great little route for Blackberry picking too!

blackberry

Although I was there with my ‘Family Friendly Assessor’ hat on… I couldn’t resist reviewing the food too.  Green Daddy and I are quite picky when it comes to eating out. We both consider ourselves fairly good cooks so we have high standards when eating out. In this case, we were not disappointed. The food was very, very good. We talked to the chef, who is extremely passionate about using fresh, local ingredients and this certainly pays off.

Baked Goats Cheese and Crispy Bacon Salad

Baked Goats Cheese and Crispy Bacon Salad

My starter was amazing! It was so tasty and I loved the addition of pomegranate to the salad which took it to a whole new dimension. The added bonus with my starter was that I was able to have it served on a gluten free baguette. It looked so good that I had to double-check it was gluten free!

Brie and Watercress Omelette

Brie and Watercress Omelette

My main course was a scrummy omelette, it was huge! Green Daddy chose a lovely linguine dish which he said was very tasty. It certainly looked amazing.

Crab and Scallop Linguine

Crab and Scallop Linguine

Unfortunately I scoffed my lovely pudding before taking a photo. Such a shame as it was a work of art. It was the most gooey, sticky, yummy Pavlova I have EVER tasted. I may have to make the two-hour journey to The Waymarker again just to have some more.

 

 

Hoburne Devon Bay Review

6 May

As a Blogger/Assessor with Approved Family Friendly, we recently visited Hoburne Devon Bay near Paignton. Hoburne already have the Approved Family Friendly Certification but this needs to be renewed every year. This is good practice as it means that providers are constantly having to maintain and improve their facilities to ensure that they can meet the requirements of this certification.

Devon Bay is perfectly located for exploring the Torbay area. There are loads of family attractions nearby, our favorite being Paignton Zoo. This is the best zoo we have ever visited although it is pretty expensive. Get there as early as you can and spend the whole day. There is loads to see and do and you will get the full benefit of your days entry. Paignton Zoo is a leading conservation and education charity so at least you know that your money is going to be well spent. Other excellent places to visit are Cockington Court,  Occombe Farm and Splashdown Water Park. Paignton Seafront is also worth a visit, it is a traditional seaside resort with colourful beach huts and a Victorian pier.  There are many walks from the Hoburne site including a 15 minute walk to Goodrington (note this one is not pram friendly).

We had a lovely day out at Cockington, including stopping for a gorgeous cream tea at Rose Cottage. This is a lovely restaurant with vast gardens and huge pond. Children are welcome to run around and have fun, ours spent ages rolling down the hill!

P1030333

Rose Cottage Tearoom and Gardens

P1030322

Be sure to try the scones!

 

I wonder how many tearooms have a nesting Moorhen?

I wonder how many tearooms have a nesting Moorhen?

There are two swimming pools on site, one indoors and one outside. Both pools were of a good size and the indoor pool also has a flume which our children loved! There is a good seating area where you can watch the rest of the family if you don’t fancy a dip yourself.

 

Outdoor pool, in the rain!

Outdoor pool, in the rain!

We stayed in a 3 bedroom caravan which was immaculate. It had gated decking which went around two sides of the caravan. This meant the children could safely play on the decking without us worrying about them. There is an excellent shop on site which is well stocked with everything you could possibly need.

There is a good programme of entertainment for both adults and children. We were there over Easter and the Easter Egg hunt was very popular! The park also offers two restaurants, an indoor play area, 10 pin bowling and a small games arcade. Although we didn’t use the restaurants we could see that they were both very family friendly, offering a good selection of children’s meals. One restaurant offers outdoor seating near the playground so you can enjoy sitting outside whilst still keeping an eye on the children.

The playground is excellent and with sea views directly behind it, it is a pleasure to perch yourself on a bench and watch them play as the sun goes down.

P1030341

Hoburne gets a thumbs up from us,  for being family friendly and for being in a great location!

Would you like to recommend a holiday park that is family friendly? Do  leave a comment and we will check it out.

 

Review of Juliot’s Well Holiday Park

23 Aug

receptionYou may have seen my previous post about becoming an Approved Family Friendly Assessor. As my first assessment I visited Juliot’s Well in Cornwall. The park has lodges, caravans and a touring field and is in a great location for exploring the north Cornwall coast.

The park is very well set up for young children, with a nicely heated outdoor pool and lots of space for them to run around and be free.  Although the park is comprised of 33 acres, a lot of this is fields and woodland so the main accommodation area does not feel vast or sprawling and is great if you are worried about children wandering too far. The site is very safe for children to ride around on their scooters or bikes.

The park is a great base for a holiday and I understand from staff that most people tend to explore Cornwall during the day and head back to the park in the evening.

The Coach House restaurant serves excellent evening meals. The children’s menu is varied and has a good selection of ‘side orders’ although the portions are so huge it is unlikely that children would need to order more! During high season they do have entertainment on some evenings. Whilst we were there the children really enjoyed a children’s disco and Michelle who led this was really good at getting them all involved in the games.

coach house

The Coach House Restaurant

steak and chips

Best steak and chips I have ever had!

We stayed in one of their new caravans which was amazing. Definitely the nicest caravan we have had the pleasure to stay in.  The caravan had a decking area so that you could sit and enjoy a meal in the sunshine and a really nice touch was that the decking area had a lockable gate. Nice to be able to leave the children playing outside without having to worry about them wandering off.

We arrived to find the beds all made up (so nice not to have to take your own bedding) and a nice soft towel in the bathroom. It’s these little touches that make a difference I think.

From the park, there is a lovely walk down to the ancient ‘Juliot’s Well’. Many years ago this was a well-known resting place for pilgrims and is still believed to have magical powers!

There are some lovely places to visit near here. Boscastle and Tintagel are the closest but also, further afield is the Eden Project which is not to be missed if you are coming to Cornwall.

Here are some photos of our visit.

Posh caravan!

Posh caravan!

well-walk-collage

Walking to the magical Juliot’s Well

boscastle-collage

Picnic in Boscastle

The Eden Project

The Eden Project

The Eden Project

The Eden Project

My new role as an Approved Family Friendly Assessor!

20 Aug

Approved Family Friendly

Have you heard of Approved Family Friendly? It’s a new scheme which assesses holiday parks, restaurants, soft play areas, hotels and party providers to make sure they really are ‘family friendly’. Once they have been thoroughly checked out by one of the Family Friendly assessors – me included now! – they will be awarded the AFF mark, seen above. It means that these organisations and service providers really will have to live up to their claims, giving parents and families peace of mind.

You can search their website for specific services in your area and discover exactly what makes a provider family friendly. All members of AFF are independently assessed by parents/bloggers. so you know that you are getting an honest and impartial view of the provider you would like to use. Each provider has a full listing on the AFF website which includes a detailed review from the assessor plus a full list of family friendly facilities offered by each provider.

I am really passionate about this new scheme and am proud to be a part of it. I think it is going to be invaluable for parents. In order to receive accreditation, providers must prove that they provide facilities such as baby changing, equipment must be accessible and safe for children, accommodation must be appropriate and comfortable, they must be breastfeeding friendly (something I am a particular supporter of), they must meet certain health and safety standards and lots more….

I shall be doing my first assessment tomorrow and am really looking forward to it.

Have you any good recommendations for family friendly providers? Do please leave a comment below to let me know about them.