Avon Heath Country Park

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Avon Heath in Dorset is a great place for a family walk, there are treasure trails and family activity trails. There is miles of heathland so it’s a great place to wear the children and dogs out and it is well signposted so you won’t get lost.

 

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There is wildlife and some rarer species to look out for are Sand Lizards, Smooth Snakes, Woodlarks and Nightjars.

There is a fun play area for the kids as well as a large picnic area and a cafe, all day parking is just £3.70.

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The chocolate Easter egg trail is great fun my boys loved to do this when they were younger. You go around the heathland finding clues and marking down the write species in your paper at the end you get a nice chocolate surprise. This year it starts on the 8th April to 23rd April. * A small fee applies *

Sandbanks

Being a nice day we decided to walk from our home in Poole to Sandbanks, it really is gorgeous down there and when the sun is shining it has a Miami feel to it. The beach is very clean and has fine golden sand, there is also a cafe, children’s playground and crazy golf. The harbour is perfect for windsurfing and as a child I remember collecting cockles with my family.

 

On the Sandbanks peninsula you have Rick Steins restaurant, with it being only 10am we were too early for food but we had a delicious hot chocolate and to our pleasant surprise we were given a free slice of cake which was divine.

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We only saw the drinks menu but there is so much choice, being a gin fan I was pleased to see about 10 different gins on the menu some I hadn’t even heard of. We look forward to going back and trying out the evening menu.

Our first ramble February 2017

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In February 2017 we decided to join a ramblers group, we love to walk and visit beautiful landscapes so it made sense to us to join a local group and find new scenic walks.

Our first ramble was a 6 mile hilly walk at Swanage and Studland. I was surprised at just how fit the group were, bearing in mind they are about 20 years older than ourselves ( we are in our 30’s ). We struggled to keep up and would have liked to take more time to see the sights but we didn’t want to keep the group waiting. February probably isn’t the best time of year to start this activity as it was very cold and there was alot of mud. We walked from Swanage to Studland and Old Harry Rocks, after a brief rest we carried on to Agglestone Rock.

 

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Agglestone Rock is a sandstone block of about 400 tonnes in weight perched on a conical hill. It is a beautiful sight out in the middle of nowhere, if you are ever in Poole I recommend seeing this precious sight. We were glad when the walk was over as we were exhausted but we look forward to the next one.

Britannia August 2016

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My husband was lucky enough to win us a 2 week meditteranean cruise on P & O’s newest and largest ship Britannia visiting places such as Cadiz, Cartegena, Barcelona, Rome, Livorno and Guernsey.

We had never been on a cruise before and even though we were incredibly excited we were a little anxious in case we got sea sick and after hearing horror stories about the dreaded sickness and diarrhoea bug I had pictures of us being confined to our cabin for the duration of the trip. But we needn’t have worried we loved it and it is one of our favourite holidays to take.

Embarkation

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One thing I hate about flying is the waiting around in busy airport terminals. Getting checked in to go on the ship was incredibly easy, before we even got in the Southampton terminal our luggage was taken from us and would be sent straight to our cabin. A few weeks before departure you are given an allotted time of when to check in which stops the terminal from being overcrowded, there were still alot of people but there are plenty of seats, we waited about 20 minutes before we were called to the check in desk. We were then given our key card for the room which they link up to your bank account and as well as your key you use it to pay for everything on the ship, your drinks, shop purchases and the casino which I think is a fantastic idea as you don’t need to carry cash around with you.

After a quick walk through security you are on the ship, there are plenty of lifts and stairs for everyone to use, there are plenty of signs and room numbers telling you where to go and we found our cabin quite quickly.

Our Cabin

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We were lucky enough to have a superior deluxe cabin which consisted of a balcony, a lounge area with sofa, desk, small table and tv, a double bed and tv and a bathroom with a toilet, bath and shower. The cabin was spotlessly clean and we were equipped with a safe, plenty of hangers, hairdryer, binoculars and a fridge.

We had a lovely lady assigned to our room for a daily clean, fresh towels and in the evening she would bring us an Horizon newsletter which lets you know all of the next days activities.

Our Cabin was near the top deck so early in the morning we would hear sun loungers being moved about but that is the only negative.

Entertainment

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There is so much to do on the ship that you will never get bored, its impossible to name everything here but these are a few of my highlights.

On our particular trip we had the option to have a cookery lesson with Marco Pierre White, the cost is a little pricey at £100 but i believe it is worth it, its something to tell friends how many people do you know that has cooked with Marco ?

In our lesson Alex James from Blur was also there to help us out. We were in a group of about 10 people and we had two dishes to cook, a lobster spaghetti and a parmesan risotto. Marco would talk us through the dish first then we would go off and do I ourselves under their guidance. I can honestly say Marco is nothing like his tv persona, he is an incredibly likable down to earth guy he even signed my son’s birthday card at the book signing.

There is a theatre that has something on every night it could be a musical, comedy show or magic act, there are two showings but i advise getting there in plenty of time as it will get full up. In The Live Lounge there is plenty of music acts, my favourites are the UB40 and Bon Jovi tributes acts. There is a cinema, library, casino, plenty of bars and restaurants and 4 pools which I advise getting there early if you want a sun bed. There are plenty of shops to browse in selling clothes, jewellery, books and snacks.

There is a spa on board, my husband and I had a hot stone massage, it was very nice but beware the heavy sales patter at the end trying to sell the Elemis products which are not cheap.

Dining

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Once aboard you are allocated a restaurant for your evening meal, we were given the Peninsular but all the restaurants are very nice and you do get the option to change if you are not happy. For our evening meal we had four courses that might consist of risotto, grilled chicken, sticky toffee pudding, cheese and crackers and coffee. All of fantastic quality and very good service.

For breakfast you could go up to the buffet restaurant or have room service, which we did most of the time. They do a good continental and a cooked breakfast but watch out for the toast it could break teeth. For lunch you could go to the buffet restaurant or choose a sit down lunch in one of restaurants and eat four courses.

The food is included in the price, you pay for your drinks but there are deals on offer that you can get at time of booking or even when you are on the ship. There is so much food on offer throughout the day that you will be spoilt for choice.

Excursions

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We didn’t go on many excursions as we wanted to enjoy the ship while it was quiet and grab a sun bed. You can book your trips after you have booked your cruise there are a few different ones for each port, if there is one you would really like to do book quickly as they will get full up.

We got off at Barcelona as hubby wanted to see the Nou Camp, I personally wanted to go to the watermark, it was a good day, we had an enthusiastic tour guide full of knowledge. We would definately go on more excursions next time, the coaches pick you up from the port and bring you back a few hours later. If an excursion is not for you then you are able to get off the ship and do your own thing but please get back in time they won’t wait for you.

There are so many highlights on this trip, I have to give a shout out to the staff they can’t do enough for you and the service is fantastic. They do automatically take a tip for the staff for your card which is £5.50 a day if you feel that is too much you can get a form from reception and change the amount but to me, on this trip, they earned every penny.