Tag Archives: Ocean Hotel

A Christmas party- Mummy blogger style

17 Dec

8

DAYS TILL CHRISTMAS

Well, it’s a whole week since the Tots100 Christmas party at Butlin’s (where does the time go)? So… I thought it was about time I shared with you all the positives of our family trip, my overall thoughts on the Butlin’s resort located in West Sussex’s Bognor Regis, plus fill you in on all the gossip from the Tots100 Christmas meal & afternoons festive activities.

 Some of you may have read my last post which mainly focused on my sons difficulties in his inability to adapt to the new surroundings, he was therefore unable to settle during the break and as a result he became quite challenging. It didn’t seem right, nor fair to write about my overall experience at Butlin’s or my thoughts and documentation on the Tots100 Christmas party! Basically that was a real negative post and to mix the two just wouldn’t have worked, nonetheless I had to write it, clear my head, move on and hopefully  learn from it! 

 On a lighter note, we were incredibly lucky to be given the chance to go to Butlin’s especially during such a festive period! It was the Christmas fantasy weekend and as a result there was a great deal going on. As the Tots100 party was being held at the Butlin’s resort, attendees were given an awesome deal on a weekend stay in one of its two lovely hotels, and what’s more the family could come along too (something I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to afford to do at this expensive time of year). 

 We got booked to stay at the Ocean hotel which has beautiful views over looking the sea front. Now I have been to the Bognor resort before but this was some years back and the first hotel was just in the process of being built. It had changed somewhat and seemed that bit classier (if you know what I mean). 

 I don’t know what I expected in terms of the hotel, what with it being part of the resort as I’ve only every stayed in the apartments on pervious visits. We didn’t arrive on the resort till gone 11pm Friday night, as we approached the entrance to the hotel, my somewhat whining tired children suddenly become wide eyed and excited. Harley absolutely loved the Snowmen that line the walkway into the hotel and spent most of the weekend saying, “Look Snowman” every time we passed them. 

 The Ocean was fabulous what with its Disco lifts and magical lighting… Yes, you may think it sounds a little tacky but it really wasn’t, it was far from it in fact! The Ocean really did have all the makings of a top hotel that catered for both Children and adults, what with it’s beautiful spa and restaurant, you could even hire games and DVDs from reception. Little man did love the lighting in the room, it was really calming and would actually be great in any sensory room. As you lay in the bath the lights above the bath would slowly change from one colour to the next, one minute you were bathing in a heavenly red tub, then the next you were soaking in a blue lagoon. Little man was so drawn by this feature that for once he was the first person in the tub (seriously I normally have to carry him and force him in the bath kicking and screaming, so this was a welcomed change). We also had the same mood lighting above the bed which looked extremely impressive. 

 There was loads to do, so much I only wished we had more time (well if the Little man wasn’t so challenging that is)! Sadly we didn’t get to go swimming and this did result in a few tears. Little man had in fact forgotten his trunks but a trip into town via a little train that ran along the sea front fixed that problem (the town is just a 10 minute walk from resort if you don’t fancy the little train) sadly by the time we arrived at the swimming baths known as ‘Splash Waterworld’ It was closing, I must admit I did expect it stay open a little later then it did. 

 There was still lots more to do and discover, Harley even enjoyed his second birthday on site with friends such as Barney and Baby Bop, Fireman Sam, Pingu and his all time favourite ‘Bob the builder’ Yes, it was a little tots idea of paradise. 

 The fact it was Christmas fantasy weekend made it all the more special! Children could meet Santa in his magical wonderland, get up close to real reindeers, have their pictures taken in an oversized snow globe and meet Bojorn the huge white mechanical Polar Bear. 

 There were shows throughout the day right through till the end of the evening. By day tiny tots could enjoy the puppet shows in the skyline and families could watch Panto together at centre stage. In the evening we enjoyed tribute acts such as Lady Gaga who was so good Little man couldn’t get over the fact it wasn’t actually her and all the children seemed to enjoy the Abba sing along and once it that was all over Little man and his sister had fun making the odd request to the DJ and getting her to wish their baby brother a very happy 2nd Birthday, which I thought was really sweet. If that was enough Centre Stage also has a pretty funky show shop where you can buy everything from bubble blasting guns, flashing necklaces, funky coloured wigs, fairy wings and glow bracelets (just checkout the photos below, as you can see my daughter was really feeling the dressing up vibe). 

 Saturday was the day of the Tots100 Christmas party, it was broken down into two sessions, which worked well for me because of the children. First you had a festive afternoon of mince pies, mulled wine and some fun festive activities and later in the evening it was drinks at a cocktail bar before heading of to Butlin’s newest restaurant Tuner’s a more finer dinning option. 

 The Christmas party was a bloggers only occasion which meant no Little one’s (Thank goodness, as I can’t imagine what my fellow bloggers would have made of the Little man’s mood). First it was planned that their father would accompany us to Butlins but he feel ill which meant I got to invite my very Lovely friend Donna to join us, who thankfully being such a close friend has experienced one or two of Little man’s worse meltdowns to date. Regardless, I was still worried that while gone they may somehow go to far maybe leave her hanging upside down from a Christmas tree or something! 

 Of course I was a tad late for the afternoon’s fun, Little man was practically hanging from my ankles begging me not to go and in no uncertain terms telling me how selfish I was for leaving, while Harley was so over tired he was throwing his own wobbler. Alice-Sara, my daughter however seemed quite relaxed in terms of she didn’t bat an eye lid as I left, just sat chilling in the kids den watching some children’s television show. Once there I was greeted by the lovely Sally Whittle writer of ‘Who’s the mummy‘ and the lovely lady behind the Mad blog awards, had planed the whole thing for us load of mummy bloggers. Sally is a woman who I owe a lot of thank you’s to, she really does some pretty special stuff and along with the Mad blog awards has now given me two great memories to grow old with. 

 Once inside I joined a team who had just started decorating a christmas tree, the challenge… to use your imagination and create a spectacularly decorated tree with the use of shop brought decorations alongside craft materials which would require us to think outside the box. Competing against four other teams we had just one hour and I’m pleased to say we won 🙂 even if the shoe blogger did pinch wrapped gifts from around another teams tree, to which Karen from all about the boys gave us all a good telling off for:)

 Before the evenings dinner it was back to the hotel for a few hours (in which I was pleased to discovered my friend was thankful still alive) before getting changed in to something a little more glam and heading back out again, while my friend took the children to see a show. 

 I first joined my fellow bloggers for one or two cocktails that I must add where scummy, then it was off to Tuners to eat. There were 36 of us in all, 35 mummy bloggers and one daddy blogger all taking up too long rows of tables, I got to sit with Lou from bloggomy who I got to meet for the first time at the Mad blog awards and it was lovely to catch up over a glass of white and a festive feast. 

 Tuners opened it’s doors in 2011 and is named after the famous chef Brain tuner who helped create the restaurant which is advertised as affordable fine dinning. The restaurant boast some top chefs such as Nigel Davis (formerly of the ivy) cooking its six course Christmas dinner. 

 I really did have an enjoyable evening though I really did feel a little sad at not being able to join some of the bloggers such as the lovely Romanian mum, who went on for drinks and dancing after the meal! Sadly with my children, I really did need to get back and save my friend from any meltdowns or sibling punch ups.

 All in all despite my stress and parenting dilemmas while at Butlin’s, I really am pleased I went and will definitely be going again…. Someday! 

Preparing my child with Aspergers for our family festive break

8 Dec

17

Days till Christmas

We’re off to Butlin’s this weekend and are all rather excited about it.

 However, it’s really not a case of “just up and leaving” for us! Well, I suppose it isn’t for anyone really, but for us such a trip means extensive preparation.

 Little man is looking forward to the trip, however he has many concerns, things that for most add to the excitement of a holiday!

English: Skyline Pavilion, Butlin's, near...

Image via Wikipedia

 Little man wants to know, how everything will plan out! Just how will we get there; how long will it take; how long does each and every activity last; what are the bedrooms like; what do they use to clean the pool; does the hotel smell of bleach, will there be a shower?

 OK, OK… Most kids ask questions but for Little man it’s not just a question but a real concern!

 When it comes to days out we need to ensure good preparation has played its part, otherwise Little man will suffer and the entire family will pay dearly. The truth is, I’m unsure why god considered me the “Right” person to mother a child on the autism spectrum! Organisation has never been my strong point! Well, when it comes to actually getting somewhere on time, I’m the worst ever! Seriously no matter what I do, something always seems to happen… always!

 We went camping back in July and absolutely nothing went to plan. It was extremely hard work and at certain points of the holiday I did have to stop and ask myself why I was actually putting myself through this. Yes, that may sound selfish and maybe a thousand adults on the spectrum reading this will now jump on my back! I know it isn’t easy for the Little man either, but at the time when his having an almighty meltdown in the tent at 2am, I did ask myself why!

 I always come up with the same answer! His my son, and just because he has Aspergers doesn’t mean he should miss the experiences that all children are entitled to. As a family, we are all entitled to a holiday and as hard as this may be, I’m determined to keep on trying! It’s my belief, the more we do these things, the better Little man is able to deal with them. It’s not that he don’t want to go on holiday’s or have day’s out, if this was the case then of course I wouldn’t push him, the fact he does want to engage in such activities, no matter how hard these things become it gives me that nudge to keep trying.

Camping wasn’t ideal for a child on the spectrum, especially camping at a festival, to be honest, it was the most unstructured place to take a holiday and as much as he now declares his a big camping fan, I would need to be thinking long and hard before embanking on such an adventure again.

 Now, we have been Butlin’s before! Little man was around 5 and this was prior to his diagnosis. Nevertheless things went surprisingly OK. I know his that bit older and yes, things do tend to unfold quicker and normally in a bigger more explosive way, but considering how structured Butlin’s can be I think it may actually be a really good place for a family consisting of a child with Aspergers to take a break.

 Well, we’re leaving on Friday, after school so it really is upon us.

 Here’s what I have done in preparation so far.

 We are staying in the Butlins hotel and I’ve checked with facilities are in our room (tv, shower, single or bunk beds etc.)

English: Ocean Hotel - Bognor, near to Felpham...

Image via Wikipedia

 Packed his clothing separately from ours, making sure they have been tumble dried for maximum softness.

 Made sure I’ve packed him entertainment for the journey (Lego, books etc)

 Downloaded the Butlin’s iphone app which has the full weekends entertainment, including opening times of certain activities, shows, the weekend line-up and any additional special bookable extras. Also includes a Map which is a bonus as Little man is driven mad when we get lost.

 As we haven’t been for sometime (I last went about 6 years ago) I’ve been speaking to some mummy bloggers on twitter who have been telling me what we can expect (What to avoid and what not to miss) I’d like to personally thank @TiredmummyofTwo who very considerately contacted me to ask if there was anything I wanted to ask as she was aware of my situation (please note, this isn’t someone who works for Butlins just a fellow blogger) I really am grateful that she took the time to contact me and offer that bit of support (it really is the little things that touch a person’s heart)

OK…  I’ve planed transport

 As the children’s father is now unable to attend, I’m now taking a friend who knows little man really well and is as good as family. This is important as on the Saturday I’m at the Tots100 Christmas party and my friend will take care of the children (a great mate)

 Trying to plan Sunday as-well as I possibly can as it’s Harley’s second birthday and little man can find other people’s birthdays difficult at the best of times.

 Making sure Little man knows exactly how many days in-till we leave and the times in-which we are leaving.

 Plus a host of other things that are actually rather jumbled in my head right now!

 Oh… and you better believe it! I have spent so long worrying about the Little man, plus ensuring all three children’s belongings are packed that I haven’t even thought about what I’m taking! That means packing when his at school today!

I can’t wait till everything is sorted so myself, friend and the children can look forward to our festive break which is promised to be filled with Christmas Cheer.

So… Wish me luck people! I’ll have the Mac so let’s hope that the holiday update is just that, “An Update” and a happy one at that, avoiding a festive holiday “Rant!”

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