Sunday 30 August 2015

#HiddenGems - Bournemouth and Beyond

I have written about Dorset lots on this blog recently - I might be biased but I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the UK! There is so much to do here - festivals, clean sandy beaches, amazing play areas, stunning scenery. There are hundreds of hotels to choose from - Bournemouth has 4 Travelodge's alone! What could be better than waking up with a sea view?!

You may have heard of the more famous attractions in Dorset, but here's my pick of the #hiddengems of Bournemouth and beyond...

Boscombe Chine Gardens

Located just a few minutes walk from Boscombe Pier, Boscombe Chine Gardens provides a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of the beachfront. There is a great play area for kids which includes an interactive water feature and mini golf for the budding Tiger Woods. The best part of the gardens though is The Clock Cafe - homemade cakes, fresh coffee, amazing roasts on a Sunday and best of all they are child friendly!

Bournemouth Coast Path

You may have visited the beautiful beaches in Bournemouth but I bet you didn't know that you can walk from Sandbanks in Poole right along the coast to Milford-on-Sea. At 20 miles long its more than a little stroll but there are a few pubs along the way to keep you watered!

Bournemouth Flying Club Cafe

We discovered this hidden gem a few months ago and couldn't believe it had taken us so long! The Bournemouth Flying Club is located right next to Bournemouth Airport (funny that!) and they have a lovely little cafe which overlooks the runways. The best part is there is plenty of outside seating so you can grab a slice of cake and coffee and watch the planes take off/land! Brilliant for kids as you are SO close to the runways - and even better when you see the Red Arrows take off like we did! 

Canford Cliffs Village

Located a stones throw from Sandbanks, this is one of the more affluent areas of town. There's some great places to eat and my favourite bakery Oxfords. This is the third time I've mentioned cakes in this list but they do THE BEST belgian buns!! We love to park up on the clifftop (with our belgian buns..!) and admire the stunning views. You can see all the way up to Hengisbury Head and over to the Isle of Wight and in the other direction are the rolling hills of the Purbecks. 

Alum Chine Beach

Bournemouth Beach can get really overcrowded during the Summer so it's well worth travelling a few minutes down the road to Alum Chine instead. There is plenty to do for all ages including a Treasure Island themed playground, cafes, tropical gardens, paddling pool and bowls. 


Head east from Bournemouth and you will find the busy town of Christchurch, a popular tourist destination which attracts 1.5 million visitors every year. Walk along the Quay, feed the swans (although be careful if you're the only people there - you'll get swarmed by hungry swans which isn't fun with a screaming toddler!!), take the ferry to Mudeford, get wet in Quomps Splashpark and visit the beautiful Priory. And if you like chocolate brownies then a visit to Cheese & Alfie's cafe is a must! 

Checking out the Priory....just before the swans scared him!

Moors Valley Country Park 

We love this place and I'd highly recommend a visit if you have children. Various paths stretch out across the forest and kids will love the wooden climbing frames along the play trail...look out for the snakes! You can hire bikes and segways, play a round of golf, take the Treetop trail, ride on the steam train, swing through the trees at Go-Ape and wear the kids out in the adventure playground. You might even spot the Gruffalo!

Hamworthy Park

I have been visiting this park for as long as I can remember and its now one of Elliot's favourite places to visit. Located just outside of Poole town centre, the park has a large paddling pool which is very very popular with the kids in the Summer months. The water is always freezing but they don't seem to care do they! There is a big play area including slides, swings and climbing frames for the little ones. What's great is that the play area and the paddling pool is all enclosed so it's very safe, plus no dogs are allowed. If all this wasn't enough to keep the kids occupied then there is also the beach - not a massive beach but still perfect for sandcastle building and paddling. Lots of people bring picnics and use one of the many picnic tables and benches but there is also a great little cafe which serves hot and cold food, and most importantly sells ice creams! 

Have you visited Dorset? Have you managed to visit any of these hidden gems?

*This post was written in collaboration with Travelodge
Mami 2 FiveYou Baby Me Mummy

Sunday 23 August 2015

Elliot's Dream Lego House..... #OceanDreamHomes

Being a blogger's kid can mean great opportunities and this one certainly ranked high on the fun factor! We were lucky enough to take part in Ocean Finance's blogger competition and Elliot was challenged to build his dream home from Lego. Obviously being at the smaller end of the age bracket he did need a bit of assistance from Daddy but all ideas were his own and he got stuck right in!! 

We sat down and ran through a few ideas and I showed Elliot a few of the entries that had already popped up on the internet. He thought about it for a minute and said that he wanted to build a dinosaur house.......ok then, if that's your dream house Elliot! 

We were sent a box of the classic Lego and we already had lots of Duplo Lego so we combined the two. The classic Lego was a bit fiddly for Elliot so he concentrated on the Duplo construction and started to build the main house whilst Daddy got to work on the outside features. 

Obviously dinosaurs are quite large so we went with an open roof so there would plenty of room for their heads to stick out the top! Two matching stylish yellow windows sit beside the large open door. Inside Elliot kept it quite minimal with two "beds" either side for the baby dinosaurs to have their naps on. Hopefully they like hard beds because there's no option of fluffy pillows and memory foam mattresses in this house! 

Elliot kept the colour scheme to green(ish) to match all the big trees in Jurassic Park but added the blue bit on top for effect! Obviously any dinosaur is going to get hungry so he built a large
table for them to congregate around for their grub. First up was fresh goat, yum! But then we thought we'd better cater for the herbivores so it was a chocolate muffin...what every herbivore wants!

The house has prime position with the local water source running beneath it and is a stone's throw from a dormant volcano. One of a kind, this house proved a big hit in the dinosaur community and within minutes of opening it was swamped with noisy dinosaurs, one of whom couldn't resist taking a selfie! #dinoselfie


I think Elliot deserves to win because this house is a bit different from the standard entry and he's really used his imagination. He absolutely loves dinosaurs and thought it was so exciting building them a house. Elliot had loads of fun playing with this and went to bed dreaming of dinosaur houses! 

*Disclaimer - We were sent a box of Classic Lego to assist our house building

#TheChokeables - Raising Awareness with St John Ambulance & First Aid Kit Giveaway

I'm sure the fear of your baby or child choking is one that all parents share - infact, for 58% of us, it's a major fear. Would you know what to do? 

79% of parents wouldn't know the correct technique for saving a baby from choking, which is a pretty scary statistic. St John Ambulance believe that everyone should have the skills and confidence to know what to do in an emergency. Knowing basic first aid can be the difference between life and death. 

St John Ambulance have made a short memorable video, The Chokeables – featuring the voices of David Walliams, David Mitchell, Johnny Vegas and Sir John Hurt – that shows people how to help a choking baby.
In The Chokeables, a video launched earlier this year, the celebrities take on the characters of animated objects that could potentially choke babies: a small princess toy, a pen lid, a jelly baby and a peanut. They've joined together because they've had enough and want to show how easy it is to save a choking baby's life.

In just 40 seconds you can learn how to give first aid to a choking baby.

The St John Ambulance website is packed with useful information such as first aid videos, training courses and much more. 

For a chance to win a universal compact first aid kit, please see below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry via Rafflecopter - the winner will be picked randomly
UK residents only

Everything Mummy

Thursday 20 August 2015

Table Table Pub Restaurant Review - Holes Bay Poole

We like to eat out as a family a few times a month and since having Elliot our choice of destination has definitely changed. Nowadays we like to find places that are family friendly with a decent kids menu, good value for money and most importantly, tasty!

The Holes Bay Poole - Table Table Pub Restaurant 

The Holes Bay pub is one of our favourite places to visit for a quick bite to eat. It is part of the Table Table chain which you can find all over the UK. Table Table cater really well for kids and this is a big part of why we keep returning! 

We decided to go along last weekend and we had a table booked for 6pm. Elliot was given an activity pack and crayons when we arrived and this is a great little touch to keep kids amused whilst waiting for their food! Table Table have partnered up with the Horrible Histories books and the activity packs feature games, colouring, history facts, jokes and more. The packs change every so often too - our favourite was last Summer when the pack included a sheet of rat stickers!! I would say the packs are aimed at older kids purely because of the content but a pre-schooler would still enjoy looking at the pictures and colouring in. 


We ordered a sharing platter to start and this included breaded mushrooms, chicken goujons, calamari, onion rings, garlic bread, coleslaw and a choice of 2 dips. This arrived promptly and we all tucked in. Everything tasted fresh and wasn't too greasy. The calamari was lovely so I would definitely think about ordering this as a starter next time! 

For our mains I went for gammon steak with peas and a jacket potato. There was the option of pineapple, or eggs or both to go on top. I went with pineapple - got to be in the right mood for an egg! My husband was feeling hungry so he decided to have the 16oz t-bone steak which arrived cooked to perfection with chips, peas, grilled tomato and mushrooms. My gammon was very nice however I felt that it was on the small size compared to other gammon meals I've had in different restaurants. 

I love the kids menu in Table Table because everything is pictured and the sides can be mixed and matched. Not everyone wants chips or beans and so this is great for fussy kids, or kids that want to decide themself! Elliot chose cod cubes, skinny fries and peas. The meal of a generous size and Elliot really enjoyed it, especially dipping his chips in the little pot of ketchup! 

Elliot's kids meal came with a free pudding and he'd already picked what he wanted from the menu. There were lots of options but he went for the Scary Face Sundae which is vanilla ice-cream with strawberry laces, gummy teeth, smarties and a cone. The idea is to make a scary face but Elliot just gobbled all the sweets first before starting on his ice cream! 

My husband and I were pretty stuffed already but it would have been rude not to try a pudding....! The dessert menu is amazing and I really struggled to narrow down my choices but I went for Eton mess which was really nice and light, didn't fancy anything too stodgy after such a big meal. Paul had the apple & cherry crumble with custard which he said was very nice. 

 Customer Service

The staff are always friendly at the Holes Bay and even when serving in really busy periods such as when we visited, they are attentive and very willing to help. We had to wait slightly longer than usual for our food but it wasn't a problem as it was a peak time on a weekend and it was to be expected. This is where the activity packs come in handy! 

Value for Money

Our entire meal, plus several rounds of drinks for the 3 of us came to just over £60. This is great value for what we had although we don't usually have a starter AND a pudding! 

Table Table have an extensive menu and lots of daily offers including daytime deals starting from £4.99, 2 evening courses for £9.99 and even a Mums eat free offer on a Sunday. The best deal in my opinion is that kids eat free Mondays - Saturdays before 5pm. And the offer includes pudding too! 


Overall, Table Table is a great place for a quick pub meal and they do have some brilliant offers to save you money. We quite often go on a weekday to meet up with friends and their children and the kids eat free offer is absolutely brilliant, especially as it includes a pudding too. 

I love that kids are so well catered for and the staff are always very welcoming when we turn up with toddlers in tow...even when they are noisy, or demanding rat stickers, or trying to run towards to toy machines!! 

*Disclaimer:  We were provided with a voucher to use towards our meal but I have been 100% honest with my review

Linking up with the following:

Brilliant blog posts on

Love Where I Live Linky #7 20th August 2015


It's that time of the week again when I invite you all to link up your posts about your local area - I want to know why you love it!

Maybe you have some stunning photography you want to share, or maybe you want to tell the world about a fun local attraction you recently visited. Maybe you've got a favourite cafe, or a favourite shop you want to blog about. Anything goes really, as long as it's about where you live!

We had some lovely link ups last week and my favourite is from Amy over at Everything Mummy. A fellow Poole resident she often blogs about all the lovely places I have visited/want to visit. Last week she linked up a post about Summer Breeze on the Quay which is a family friendly event held on Poole Quay. I've not been down this year yet as I'm not sure Elliot will stay awake for the fireworks at 10pm but it was great to read all about it and the photos of Amy and her gorgeous girls are lovely!

Entertaining Elliot


There's just a few rules to abide by: 
  • You can link up however many posts you like (old or new) but please make sure it is relevant and about your area
  • Please display my badge on your post
  • Make sure you comment on at least 2 other blogs, more if you have time! 
  • Don't forget to comment using the hashtag #lovewhereIlive so people know where you found them
The linky will run from Thursday 12.01am until Sunday 11.59pm.

Feel free to tweet me @eelliotblog using the hashtag #LoveWhereILive and I will retweet your posts. I will also comment on each one.

Each week I will pick my favourite post .

I look forward to reading your posts!

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Things To Do in Dorset before Summer is over...

It feels like the Summer holidays have whizzed past and parents all over the country are getting ready for their kids to go back to school. Here in Dorset,  festivals and special events have been happening all over the summer but there is lots to look forward to still!

If you're local to Dorset or you plan on visiting, here's some things to keep you busy...

The Great Dorset Steam Fair 2nd Sept - 6th Sept 2015

The Great Dorset Steam Fair is now in it's 47th year and is one of Europe's largest outdoor events. Covering 5 days, the event attracts over 200,000 visitors and there really is something for everyone of all ages! There are countless displays of traction engines and steam rollers, heavy haulage road locomotives, farm machinery, classic cars, shire horses, stunt displays, food stalls, crafts, markets, a Countryside area which includes sheepdog and other rural displays, fairground organs, a funfair (old time steam and modern) , food halls and much much more! There is even a music festival featuring 6 stages of live music. 

Here's Fiona from having lots of fun at the Steam Fair! 

Day or evening tickets are available and you can pre-book or pay on the gate. You can also camp if you wish but bear in mind tickets are sold on a per person, per day basis so if you're camping over the whole duration then you need to have tickets for each day. For ticket prices see here

Tip: Wear your wellies!! If it rains (and going by previous years, that is very likely!), the ground will become very very muddy underfoot so you really want to be dressed suitably...and flip flops won't cut it ;)

Dorset County Show 5th & 6th September 2015

We discovered this last Summer and it was one of our favourite events of last year. The Dorset County Show features everything and anything to do with farming and the countryside. There are competitions judging the best farm animal, animal shows, farming machinery (Elliot loved all the tractors last year!), showjumping, food tents (my favourite bit!), sheep shearing, cooking demos, goat milking, a fun fair and over 500 trade stands to tempt you into reaching for your wallet! 

This is a great event for children, not only are they free to get in (up to the age of 16!)but there is so much to see. Kids will love all the animal displays - our highlight last time was the Dog and Duck show, watching a sheepdog round up ducks! 

Tickets are £16 on the gate but they are offering early bird tickets online if you're quick :) 

Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival 12th & 13th September 2015

One for cheese lovers! The Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival is a celebration of cheese, food and crafts and has been running for over 15 years. With over 70 food and cheese stalls (all locally produced in the South West), there is bound to be something to tickle your tastebuds. 

Photo Credit - Fotolia

Aside from the cheese there is a real ale tent, local cider, live music, children's entertainment and cookery demos. 

Tickets are £5 per adult with under 14's going free 

Waterfest Weymouth 5th & 6th September 2015

This free festival celebrates Weymouth's maritime history with sailing, diving, crafts, seafood and shanty music. There will be lots of amazing ships to see in the old harbour plus displays including Aquatic Jetpacks and the RNLI.

Photo Credit:

Various activities for children including Dress Like a Pirate, face painting and a crabbing competition. 

Ticket prices - FREE! 

For more reasons to visit Dorset, see here....

(This isn't a sponsored post, I just love Dorset!)

Entertaining Elliot
The Little Life of Ickle Pickle
The Freerange Family

Monday 17 August 2015

A Family Day Out in the New Forest

The New Forest is less than an hours drive from our home in Dorset but sadly it's somewhere we haven't visited very much. I've driven through countless times on the motorway up to Southampton and London but we've literally only visited a handful times in the last few years.

Today we planned to meet up with my sister in a place called Bolderwood which is one of the most popular spots in the New Forest and famous for it's deer sanctuary.

It was a lovely drive through the forest to get to Bolderwood and we saw lots of ponies roaming around by the side of the roads. You have to be so careful when driving in the Forest because the ponies have no fear of the cars and will just walk out in front of you!

When we reached Bolderwood we couldn't believe how busy it was - people having picnic and bbqs, families playing rounders and football, cars parked all along the side of the roads and ponies grazing everywhere! We managed to get parked and soon spotted my parents, followed soon after by my sister and her boyfriend who had cycled from Southampton.

We had a lovely picnic and the sun was shining, it was nice to sit and relax just watching the world go by. Elliot was fascinated by the various piles of animal poo (is this a boy thing?!) and there were plenty of sticks to keep him amused - he likes to pretend sticks are magic wands!

There are around 3000 New Forest ponies roaming freely in the forest and we did have a bit of a scare when a small herd came galloping towards our picnic spot, I've never seen my Mum move so fast!! They might look tame but it's actually against the law to feed them - you could end up with a £200 fine and a criminal record if you do so it's best to just admire from a distance.

After a trip to the ice-cream van we walked across to the Deer Sanctuary which is a short walk from the grassy picnic area. There is a purpose built viewing platform and the deer herd often remain in the meadow after being fed. It was amazing to see so many deer up close!

There are lots of walks to do in the area, including a fun looking Superworm trail. We didn't time to do any of these today but we are definitely going to return soon to explore the area more.

The New Forest is such a beautiful area and somewhere I'd highly recommend visiting if you are in the South of England! 

Linking up with...

ANIMALTALES Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall Mummascribbles

Thursday 13 August 2015

CBeebies Alex Winters Interview

When I was younger I was an avid Smash Hits reader and it was my dream to one day become a journalist who interviewed celebrities :-) Sadly I never got to work at Smash Hits but who'd have thought all these years later I would have my own little corner of the internet where I write stuff and get to interview actual famous people!!

I recently spoke to the lovely Alex Winters from CBeebies who was happy to answer my questions and take part in Entertaining Elliot's very first celeb interview. We love CBeebies in our house and it was pretty exciting being able to pick his brain! 

Did you always want to work in television?

I always wanted to perform! I either wanted to be a footballer - I used to play when I was younger and I wasn't bad either and at the same time I was in all the school plays and musicals. I had really awful knees though so I had to stop playing football which gave me more time to focus on drama. My sister and I used to often play Blue Peter and take it in turns to be the cameraman and presenter! One of us would a pair of toilet rolls which would be the cameraman and the other would be the presenter making something! I did always fancy childrens television, it made a big impression on me

What do your kids think about you being on TV?

It's sort of different for the 3 of them because I had my eldest before I was on CBeebies and so her and I would sit and watch the bedtime hour. It's taken a funny old progression with her because at first it was "well what's Dad doing on the telly?" which was strange for her! For the other two they don't know any different. George is 6 and for a long while he just thought it was normal, it's only been in the last 2 years maybe that he's realised "oh, not everyones Dad is on telly!". The youngest one doesn't know any different, so its completely normal for her as she's only two.

Whats the most embarrassing thing you've done on CBeebies?!

Do you know what, to do this sort of job you do kinda have to have a low embarrassment threshold! And this probably says a lot about my character but I just find it all hilarious! Floella Benjamin said to Cerrie and I (Cerrie and I started on CBeebies together), that the secret to presenting is when you look down that camera, you're just speaking to one child. So when I'm looking down the camera I'm often thinking of my own children. So when I am dressed in a blond wig and singing to Madonna's Holiday with a brush it's not embarrassing! I just find it hilarious because I think the kids are either going to die with embarrassment or George will wee himself laughing!

Does everyone get along at CBeebies?

You know what, that's a question everyone asks - I think they want us to say "Nooo we can't stand Mister Maker!" . When we all get together,  which is very very rare because everyone's all over the place filming, so the CBeebies panto at Christmas, we all get together and it's great!  We're all such really good friends and they feel like best friends.  I can imagine if someone came along who was a bit prickly then that might be tricky but that's never happened, everyone I've met is genuinely lovely which makes things easier.

How is the new boy Ben settling in?

Oh bless him, talk about thrown in at the deep end! He's had some awful comments online but everyone just needs some time. I can't watch any of the first 6 months of me on CBeebies because I just look completely over the top and over excited! He's doing well though and I hope parents can see he's improved and can see his love and passion for it.

How are ahead do you film the links for CBeebies?

It's about 2 weeks although birthdays we do more, so perhaps 2 or 3 in advance. Our programme schedules change alot - there's a lot to do with scheduling that the general public aren't aware of. Like for instance you're only allowed to show so many hours of animation a week. A schedulers job can be be a bit of a nightmare really. Technically the office need to give themselves time so they can take our links and see what they have and move them around. But then at Christmas that all goes down the pan, we start filming Christmas in October/November!

So your job, I'm guessing it's not 9-5?

We're normally in for about 7.30am and we wrap at maybe 630pm so they're long days and very different to the norm. But you get in, you're into make up and then you're in the studio and you have your pile of scripts. And they say "Right, we're going to do sequence 21!" and you get to read it over together, have a look and then do it. You get sort of 5 minutes because there's a lot of things to get through. In one day you may film a whole week of discover and do for example. It looks like lots of fun and it is, but there's a lot to get through in the day.

If you could present one programme on CBeebies what would it be and why?

Well I'd like to do a new one, a comedy, as I like character acting. For an existing programme I'd quite like to do Mister Maker Around the World! I'd probably be Little Maker, I could help him and hand him the glue!

What's your favourite memory of your time on CBeebies?

I've got so many! I remember the first link, the very first time I walked onto set for filming and we threw to Balamory. The CBeebies pantos every year are a favourite memory! And this year they let Katy and I on Blue Peter for Comic Relief Day as they were trying to break the record for as many shaving foam beards as possible. So for me being on Blue Peter, that was an absolute lifetimes ambition to do that. And my kids thought I was cool because they still love Blue Peter!

I think it's things that are off camera too, so the times that I have with Andy, and Cat and the funny things that would mean nothing to you and aren't even funny but at the time are hysterical. So I've got lots of really good memories, it's hard to pinpoint one.

What was your favourite kids show growing up?

Well it's impossible to keep it to one! I loved Mr Benn, Button Moon and Cockleshell Bay.  And of course I remember Playschool with Derek Griffiths who was my hero. I hope the children nowadays think of the programmes that are on now like I did. It's so nostalgic and I feel all goosebumply when I think of those times. It was the memories that go with it, like being with my mum at home or being looked after by my Grandparents and sat with a toastie at lunchtime watching Mr Benn!

Who were your childhood heroes? (Question from Louise T)

With regards to television it was Derek Griffiths, he was just brilliant. And then my sporting hero as a kid was Mark Hughes who played for Wales and Man Utd. I had posters of him on my wall! I also had lots of posters of Michael Jackson on my wall, I was quite obsessed!

Do you ever get star struck these days when you meet celebrities?

Yes! Either a famous actor who I respect, or a sports person. I met Paula Radcliffe a few weeks ago and I was like a giggling school boy, it was hilarious! I think shes amazing, just brilliant.

What's your favourite part of the job? (From Karen H)

When they let us get out and about to do live appearances definitely!

When is the next pantomime and can we get tickets?! (From Rachel W)

She can certainly apply for tickets!! I can't tell you anything about the next panto but it will be at Christmas and is very very exciting!

Speaking of panto, why does Andy always play the baddies?!

Because he's a very naughty boy! Although in Jack & the Beanstalk I got to play "Fair Deal Fred" which was considered the baddie, even though Andy was the giant, and playing the baddie great! But lets be honest, Andy does it so well although he's the very opposite to those kind of characters. But maybe he won't be the baddie this year!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time, still at CBeebies? 

No, I think we all understand that it's just impossible to be on something like CBeebies for that long. I genuinely don't know where I'll be in 10 years time - although I'd love to be hosting a primetime show on Saturday night television! Call me in 10 years and I'll let you know!

Thank you so much to Alex for the interview, he was just as lovely as how he comes across on telly and it was really interesting getting some behind the scenes CBeebies gossip!

Linking up with...
A Cornish Mum
The Free Range Family
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