Brick City At New Lanark

new-narrow-brick-city-slider(1).jpg

Last weekend we took the Little Squirrels to New Lanark to visit the Brick City Exhibition, on from June 28 2017 to September 10 2017.

Brick City is a celebration of iconic buildings from cities around the world, carefully recreated in LEGO® bricks by artist Warren Elsmore and his team. Discover highlights of cities across five continents, including lively celebrations in Rio and New York, tall towers from Copenhagen to Venice, and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas. The smallest models are crafted from less than a hundred pieces, but the awe-inspiring centrepiece is London St Pancras station, measuring two by four metres, and built from 180,000 pieces of LEGO – www.warrenelsmore.com

When we arrived at the car park for New Lanark we hopped on to a shuttle bus (operates on weekends only for the duration of the exhibition) which took us down the hill to the village itself. The Brick City Exhibition is situated in the School For Children Building, a short walk from the bus drop off point.

FullSizeRender-36.jpg

We went straight to the Brick City Exhibition itself on the top floor of the building. The girls had great fun exploring the impressive Lego creations, and loved the challenge of finding individual figures on the Quiz sheet we were given on entry to the exhibition.

BrickCityExhibitionCollage.jpg

Exploring the Brick City Exhibition at New Lanark

There was also a film of stop-motion animation to hold the kids attention with lots of fun Lego recreations of famous movies…

Next we headed down to the basement of the building to the self-led play area. This was a great space with tables set with boxes of Lego and laminated instructions to build different models of varying levels of difficulty. There was also a Lego wall where you could leave your mark with your Lego signature, and a Duplo room with plenty of Duplo bricks for the younger visitors to explore and play with.

LegoRoomCollage

Self-led play area at Brick City, New Lanark

We had a great morning at the Brick City exhibition, and spent just over an hour here. The girls particularly loved the self-led play area where they could get hands on with the bricks!

Set within New Lanark, there is plenty more to explore once you have finished enjoying the Lego exhibition. We headed to the Mill Cafe for lunch, followed by some award-winning New Lanark Ice Cream, and a beautiful walk along the Falls Of Clyde.

FallsOfClydeCollage.jpg

Ice Cream and the view of New Lanark from the Falls Of Clyde

There was also a lovely little play area where you could enjoy a picnic not far from the School For Children Building.

NewLanarkPlayCollage.jpg

Fairytale chair at the Falls Of Clyde Play Area

We had a fab day out visiting Brick City at New Lanark and hope to return over the next few weeks to explore more of New Lanark itself and to visit New Lanark’s Visitor Attraction.

BrickCitySelfieCollage.jpg

Brick City Selfies

Tickets for Brick City are £6 for adults, £4 for children 4 and over, and free for under 3s. A family pass for 2 adults with 2 or 3 children is £16. With each ticket bought for Brick City you get a voucher for 25% off New Lanark’s Visitor Attraction.

 

Advertisements

Hungry Squirrels Guide To Bluestone National Park Resort, Wales

BluestoneWales

Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook will have noticed that in June we spent a week’s holiday at Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire. Excluding travel time, we had 6 full days to fill at Bluestone. There is so much on offer at Bluestone that we could have easily filled another week.

Accommodation at Bluestone Wales

The resort is set in 500 acres of rambling woodland, with luxury lodges, cottages, and studio accommodation to suit a wide range of accommodation requirements.
We stayed in a 3 bedroom Gateholm Lodge, with a double room with en suite bathroom, and two twin rooms. Our lodge was furnished to a high standard and was extremely comfortable and homely for our week’s stay.

GateholmCollage.jpg

Gateholm Lodge at Bluestone Wales

The only thing I felt missing from the accommodation was the lack of accessible laundry facilities. There is a laundry service available at guest services, but at a cost of £15 for 1 bag of washing, and we were advised we may not get our washing back for 48 hours, we felt this was overpriced and would take too long!

The Village at Bluestone Wales

At the heart of Bluestone is the Village Centre, home to an array of places to eat, a fantastic children’s playground and Treetops adventure playground, the Village Hall, Newton Stores supermarket, the Booking Office and for those of you with the luxury of time to yourself, there is The Well Spa for some pampering and self-care!

IMG_8289.JPG

Village Vista at Bluestone Wales

From the Village Centre, you can access some of the woodland nature trails around the resort or visit the lake to say hello to some of the resident wildlife. The Little Squirrels loved finding some of the fabulous wicker sculptures situated on the borders of the village, including the giant foxes and the Bluestone Dragon.

BluestoneSculpturesCollage.jpg

Wicker statues at Bluestone Wales

Activities at Bluestone Wales

One of the highlights of the resort for the Little Squirrels was the Blue Lagoon Waterpark. The pool itself is temperature-controlled, which is perfect for families with little ones. We loved jumping over the waves from the wave machine, and travelling along the lazy river which travels outside from one side of the pool to the other.

IMG_8274.JPG

Blue Lagoon Waterpark at Bluestone Wales

There is also a pirate’s shipwreck with lots of fountains for big and little kids to splash in, and a little water cove, specifically for babies and toddlers, with a shallow pool and little rock pools to paddle in. For the more adventurous there are two water flumes and a rapids river ride.
The Blue Lagoon is open to the public, but is free to guests staying in the resort, and is exclusively for guest use in the mornings.

Blue Lagoon Collage.jpg

Left – Littlest Squirrel all packed and ready for a morning at the Blue Lagoon
Right – Finn the Dolphin on his way to greet the little ones at the Blue Lagoon

For rainy days there is an indoor Adventure Centre, packed full of indoor play opportunities. There is a soft play area, bouncy castle, climbing frames, climbing walls, an indoor sky trail, diggers, amusements, and a Lego wall.

AdventureCentreCollage.jpg

The Adventure Centre at Bluestone Wales

For older kids there is an array of exhilarating adventures to be had in the Steep Ravine Forest, from zip wires to high ropes and tree climbing. On the lake you can learn to kayak or take part in a Family Raft War. On the Tournament Field you can perfect your aim in archery and laser clay shooting.

To be honest there is so much to do that if you are thinking of going you should check out this handy guide to activities at Bluestone.

Eating Out At Bluestone Wales

There is an excellent selecion of locations to dine out at in Bluestone Wales. We had two fantastic meals at The Knights Tafarn, Bluestone’s local pub. The food is fresh and tasty, and there is a lively family-friendly atmosphere.

Ty Coffi is a beautiful venue to fulfil your coffee and sweet tooth requirements. Aside from being an Instagrammer’s dream with its pastel coloured interiors and feature walls, Ty Coffi has a great selection of ice cream and milkshakes to excite your little one’s tastebuds, and a great selection of cakes, soups, baguettes and sandwiches to choose from after a busy morning exploring Bluestone’s facilities.

TyCoffiCollage.jpg

Little Squirrel enjoying an ice cream from Ty Coffi

Our favourite dining experience at Bluestone Wales was a visit to Camp Smokey. At the end of one of the nature trails in Bluestone, nestled amongst the pines, you can find Camp Smokey, a rustic woodland diner where you can enjoy outdoor dining.

FullSizeRender-17.jpg

Camp Smokey at Bluestone Wales

The menu here is basic; burgers and hot dogs…, but the atmosphere is magical. Dining in such beautiful surroundings, amongst nature, there is something special about this little corner of Bluestone. We really loved the fire pit where you can toast marshmallows on skewers – definitely a hit with the Little Squirrels!

CampSmokeyCollage.jpg

Enjoying the atmosphere at Camp Smokey

There is also the Farmhouse Grill and the Oak tree Restaurant, and cafes in the Blue Lagoon and the Adventure Centre to sample, and The Chippy is situated just above the Village Centre if you fancy enjoying a takeaway in the comfort of your lodge.

Getting Around

The resort itself is set on 500 acres of Pembrokeshire landscape, and the resort is car-free, so getting round the resort requires a significant amount of walking. This proved to be a little challenging at times with the Little Squirrels, aged 4 and 2. For us the Guest Transport Bus, which leaves the Village Centre every half hour, was a life saver, and meant we could travel round the resort with a minimal amount of tears and whinging from the Little Squirrels!

There is bike hire available if you fancy boosting your cardio levels on the hills of Bluestone, getting from A to B. There are also golf buggies available to hire, which look like a fantastically fun way of getting around, however at a “special daily rate” of £30 per day, we felt this was just too expensive!

BluestoneTransportCollage.jpg

Getting around Bluestone Wales

Bluestone Wales is a beautiful resort, and caters to a wide range of holiday requirements. For us, Bluestone was packed full of things to do, places to explore, and places to eat, providing the perfect setting for a holiday with our little ones. We will have many happy memories of our holiday in beautiful Pembrokeshire to treasure, and will hopefully return again to relive memories of our 2017 holiday! 

BluestoneWalesCollage.jpg

Happy Squirrels at Bluestone Wales

We were kindly invited to stay at Bluestone Wales for a 4 night break, which we extended to 7 nights. As always all opinion are my own!

A Night At The Fairmont St Andrews

2016-sab-hotel-exterior-vew.jpg

If you are a regular reader of the blog you will have seen that in September I spent two days in Fife experiencing the very best of Fife’s larder. I was very kindly offered a room in the Fairmont St Andrews for my overnight stay.

Situated on a 520 acre estate, Fairmont St Andrews is a luxury resort offering peaceful surroundings and panoramic cliff top views of St Andrews and the North Sea.

My first visit to the Fairmont St Andrews was back in 2007 for a friend’s hen do, where we had a lovely lunch in the clubhouse and got to experience the spa and treatment rooms. The Fairmont St Andrews really is the perfect setting for celebrating, relaxing, and pampering.
Since my last visit, the hotel has undergone extensive refurbishment, bringing it up to date, and ensuring it maintains its place as one of Scotland’s leading luxury hotels.

2016-sab-lobby.jpg

The lobby of the Fairmont St Andrews

The designers have been really successful in reflecting the surroundings of the hotel in their interior design. The Atrium area features a spectacular lighting sculpture by renowned artist, George Singer, named Zephyr, which emulates shoals of fish in St Andrews Bay and the blowing reeds on the cliff tops.

2016-sab-atrium-night-lighting-sculpture.jpg

Zephyr by George Singer

The colour palette in the public areas (which is remarkably similar to my own living room!) is warm, inviting and relaxing. I particularly loved the library and only wish I had a longer stay so I could have really enjoyed the facilities at the hotel.

2016-sab-atrium-library.jpg

The library

I was lucky enough to spend the night in one of the hotel’s suites. The suite was spacious with a separate sitting area, dining table, a desk to work at, the comfiest of beds, and a luxurious bathroom. Here is a room tour…

Due to a busy itinerary for the Feast Of Fife Bloggers Weekend I had very little time in my room, but I had a wonderful night’s sleep in beautiful surroundings, and an excellent breakfast the next morning.

Fairmont St Andrews Collage.jpg

Left – obligatory hotel robe selfie
Middle – bed of dreams
Right – a perfect breakfast to start your day

I can only dream of a child-free break with Mr Hungry Squirrels here in order to further enjoy the luxurious setting that the Fairmont St Andrews provides. The suite would also be perfect for a stay with the Little Squirrels. However, the thought of some adult-only time is a little more appealing. There is so much to take in at the Fairmont St Andrews, from two championship golf courses, to the sumptuous Signature Spa, to an array of eating and drinking facilities, not to mention the Savoy Afternoon Tea.

With Christmas looming, I can highly recommend gift vouchers for the Fairmont St Andrews as the perfect present for your loved ones in need of some rest, relaxation, and pampering!

Many Thanks to the Fairmont St Andrews for having me for the night. I hope to see you again soon…

Feast Of Fife – The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company

13529177_1709378222649717_5470799079003419377_n.png

Day two of our Feast Of Fife Adventure started with a trip to Falside Farm. Situated just 8 miles from St Andrews, and 4 miles from Anstruther, Falside Farm is home to the St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company – Fife’s only unpasteurised cheese makers. The land here has been farmed by the Stewart family since the 1930s. In 2008 Jane & Robert Stewart began cheese production, with their original Anster cheese. Since then they have opened up a coffee shop and have expanded their range of cheese, and are winning awards for their beautifully crafted traditional cheeses.

Stepping out of the minibus I was struck by the stunning views… fields of lusciously green grass rolling down to the Firth of Forth, and of course the beautiful Friesian Holstein Cows that produce the milk that makes St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese.

StAndrewsFarmhouseCheeseCollage.jpg

We were all seated in the Coffee Shop and were welcomed by the very lovely and charismatic Jane Stewart.
Jane spoke to us about how their cheese business began in 2008 when milk prices were low. Jane & Robert recognised a gap in the market, in that no one else in Fife was making cheese. Jane spent some time in Wales with a traditional cheese maker who was retiring, learning her craft, and was then able to buy the equipment she would need to start cheese production. This wonderful video from Andy Swinscoe of The Courtyard Dairy in Settle shows how the cheese is made, and illustrates perfectly Jane’s enthusiasm and passion for what she does!

 

Jane explained that at St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company they are about making the best top quality cheese that people want to buy. They have five varieties that they have mastered. We were served a cheeseboard allowing us to sample the wonderful cheeses that Jane & her team produce, alongside some beautiful cheese scones, cheese biscuits, and oatcakes and chutney.

AnsterCollage.jpg

Left – a beautiful board of the five cheeses produced by St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company
Right – homemade cheesy biscuits and cheese scones

The original Anster is a Cheshire-style cheese, matured for 2-4 months, with a crumbly texture and a tangy taste. The Mature Anster is matured for 7-9 months and as a result has a more pungent flavour and a flaky texture. Red Anster is the sister cheese to Anster, made using the same recipe but with the addition of a natural red colouring and garlic and chives. Smoked Anster is smoked in nearby St Monans, using traditional methods with real oak and beech chips. Finally St Andrews Farmhouse Cheddar is aged for 9-12 months, resulting in a bold creamy cheddar.

I am fond of my cheese, so it was a real treat to sample the beautiful cheeses that Jane and her team produce. I particularly loved the original Anster and the Farmhouse Cheddar. If you are visiting Fife, St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company is well worth a visit. The coffee shop is set in a beautiful location, and offers a lovely menu of freshly cooked food and home-baking using locally sourced ingredients. There is also a great deli section where you can buy some of the UK’s best farmhouse cheeses.

SAFCdeli.jpg

Glasgow-based cheese lovers can pick up some Anster cheese from Iain Mellis on Great Western Road or from George Mewes on Byres Road.

Hello Pumpkin… Pumpkin Picking at Arnprior Farm

IMG_5434.JPG

Autumn is most definitely upon us…. The temperature has dropped, the air is fresh, fallen multicoloured leaves are crunching underfoot. Halloween is just round the corner.

Last weekend Mr Hungry Squirrel mentioned paying a visit to a pick your own pumpkin farm just 40 minutes from home. I may have squealed with excitement at the mention of this! I had a romantic notion of family photos amongst the pumpkin patch North American style…

So on Sunday morning, we all jumped in the car, and drove over the Campsie hills to Arnprior Farm, just a few miles from Kippen, Stirlingshire. Dropping down in to Arnprior we were greeted with the view of early pumpkin pickers scattered across a field adorned with beautiful orange jewels.

IMG_5437.JPG

I loved our visit to Arnprior Pumpkins. Pumpkins, haybales, coffee truck, The Extraordinary Sausage Company, face painting, dig up your own potatoes and turnips, a kale maze, pumpkin-themed selfie and photo opportunities aplenty (compliant small children-allowing)… there is everything to float your Autumnal boat!

Pumpkin Patch.jpg

I didn’t quite mange to get the beautiful family photos amongst the pumpkins I had dreamed of. A grumpy 3 year old and a clingy 1 year old made that difficult! Nonetheless, I had a blast and came home with two beautiful pumpkins, and am looking forward to my visit next year already!

IMG_5435.JPG

If you fancy picking your own pumpkins, you have two more weekends to visit Arnprior Pumpkins. Remember to wrap up warm, wear wellies, and make sure your little ones have emptied their bladders before you take them!

ArnpriorPumpkinsInfo.jpg

 

 

Hungry Squirrels Introduction To Fife

If you follow me on social media, you will have seen an abundance of posts last weekend from the #feastoffife – an exclusive foodie weekend aimed at food bloggers and writers, hosted by Welcome To Fife.
We were promised award-winning restaurants, a chance to visit some of Fife’s best food & drink producers, and a chance to sample some of the finest produce that Fife has to offer.

Intro To Fife Collage.jpg

Welcome To Fife really did put together the most amazing weekend for us. Thankyou Karen and John, & to the whole team from Welcome To Fife, for hosting an incredible showcase of what Fife has to offer! Of course, big Thanks are due to the producers and suppliers who welcomed us with open arms, but more on them later…

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of blog posts featuring some of my favourite producers and suppliers from my weekend in Fife. Hope you enjoy reading them, and that they inspire you to visit Fife to see how fabulous the Kingdom Of Fife is for yourself!