Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

My Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

If you’re planning on visiting Bournemouth over the school holidays, or live in Bournemouth and the surrounding area and wondering what to do with the kids, then check out my top 5 days out suitable for toddlers.

Top 5 Family Days Out for Toddlers in Bournemouth

I love planning days out. Which is very lucky for my husband who hates it. The main reason being because I like to have something to look forward to. I would love to be one of those spontaneous mums that comes up with the most awesome ideas on the spot, but alas that is not me. I spend hours on trip advisor, researching and looking for endorsement on the best places to go. This does mean I am  a great person to tap up for recommendations – whether it be restaurants, family-friendly travel destinations, pushchairs, baby books and more. 

And that is why I wanted to share with you my top 5 days out if you’re visiting or live locally in Bournemouth. My little boy is 20 months old and these have all been an absolute hit and don’t cost the earth either.

Wimborne Model Town Railway
Wimborne Model Town Railway

1. Wimborne Model Town & Gardens
If you are looking for somewhere to go for a few hours one morning or afternoon, then I highly recommend Wimborne Model Town & Gardens. It is a little person’s dream. The scale model village features over 100 shop fronts from the 1950s, along with beautifully manicured gardens. My boy Jack, loved peering in the little shop front windows – from bakeries and banks to cafes, car show rooms and even a church.  The biggest hit was the model railway. So much so I couldn’t get my son to leave and had to bribe him with cake from the Tea Room (I highly recommend the Dorset Apple Cake). The railway features lots of trains chugging along, including Thomas the Tank Engine and even has a cliff railway and cable car. Tickets are £6 per adult and under 3’s are free. What’s more if you pay £10 you can buy a Season Ticket offering unlimited admission until the 1st November 2020. 

2. Farmer Palmer’s Farm Park
Farmer Palmer’s is a fantastic place to visit and just over a 15 minute drive from Wimborne Model Village. So if you’re feeling adventurous you could visit one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Farmer Palmer’s features traditional farm animals (goats, horses, alpacas, pigs, chicken and ducks) together with popular pet animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs. It was so cute walking round the farm with Jack and hearing him make all the animal noises. His favourites currently being ‘neigh’ and ‘baaaa’. They also run pig racing (who doesn’t want to see that) and goat feeding, which my son loved. There is also a great play park, sand and splash zone, pedal tractors and pedal go-karts. If you fancy a sit-down the cafe serves reasonably priced food and delicious cakes. I was extremely impressed with all the measures Farmer Palmer’s have in place due to Covid-19, with hand sanitiser stations throughout the farm and lots of outdoor sinks for hand washing. They are also currently restricting numbers so you have to pre-book a morning or afternoon slot via their website


3. Moors Valley Country Park
Moors Valley Country Park & Forest is top of my list for a family day out, so much so that we recently purchased a season ticket (£62 for one car), which I will definitely be making the most of.  I absolutely love it there, as does my son and miniature dachshund. Being a dog owner, it’s great finding somewhere that is dog-friendly so we can enjoy a day out with all the family. It’s free to visit the park, you just have to pay for parking. Moors Valley has miles and miles of paths and tracks to explore, but the trail toddlers and kids will enjoy the most is the Play Trail – featuring amazing, large wooden carved play equipment, from ‘Bewildernest’ and ‘Giant Wood Ants Nest’, to ‘Hawk House’ and the ‘The Snake Pit’. Unfortunately due to Covid-19 only three play areas are currently open: ‘Spider’, ‘Crocodile Crossing’ and ‘Enchanted Woods’, but these still provide hours of fun for little ones. Half away along the Play Trail you will find the Tree Top Trail (try saying these three words quickly in succession… it’s hard isn’t it)! The 200 metre wooden walkway gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of the forest. It’s worth noting it’s not suitable for pushchairs so your little one needs to be walking, or carried in a sling/baby carrier. The highlight for my little boy is The Moors Valley Railway. Starting from Kingsmere Station you can travel along the banks of the Moors Lake and follow a double loop around the play area incorporating three tunnels, and a bridge. When we are exploring other areas of the park, as soon as my son hears the train, he cries “Choo Choo” and frantically tries to find his way back to the station. There are also two play areas, one designed for older children featuring a zip line and giant space net and the other for younger children built on sand (so don’t forget your bucket and spade), with gentle slides, swings, wooden Wendy Houses and train. There is a lovely picnic area by the lake and train station with socially distanced benches. For the more adventurous you can also hire bikes, try your hand at Go Ape and explore the forest on Segways.


4. Poole Park
Poole Park surrounds Poole Harbour and is a lovely place to visit on a sunny day. There are three free car parks, which makes this day out completely free (unless you want to treat yourself to an ice cream or snack in the café). The park features perfectly manicured gardens and there are plenty of scenic spots to enjoy a picnic. My little boy loves feeding the ducks and playing in the park – especially because it features a large wooden play train! You can also enjoy a variety of watersports, from windsurfing to kayaking and rowing. It’s dog-friendly too.

5. Bournemouth Beach
A trip to Bournemouth is not complete without a visit to its award-winning beaches. As a local I tend to keep my distance during the summer months as it can get very busy, but there is no denying that Bournemouth’s seven mile stretch of golden sands offer a fab day out for all the family. There are five different areas of beach to choose from (Bournemouth Central, Durley Chine, Alum Chine, Boscombe and Southbourne). If you want to be near the main restaurants and attractions then head to Bournemouth Central, but there are a number of cafés and kiosks along all of the different sections. Bournemouth Council have just released a BCP Beach Check App for Apple and Android devices so you can monitor which sections of the beach are busiest throughout the day. Perfect for planners like me who enjoy quieter beach days.

I hope you enjoy my recommendations.  I’d love to hear what you think if you do visit.

Food, Reviews

A truly sweet delivery of nostalgia from ‘The Bonbon Boys’

The Bonbon Boys Pick 'n' Mix

After a dreary, rainy Monday the doorbell rang at 6pm and I was greeted with a delightful box of Pick ‘n’ Mix from the ‘The Bonbon Boys’ – turning a sour start to the day into a truly sweet evening!

Opening the box I actually let out an ‘oooooo’ as the colourful selection of sweets teased me from the blue tissue paper. And what a selection it was! I don’t even know where to begin, so I will start with a few of my favourites to get your tastebuds tingling. Fizzy Bubblegum Bottles,  Rainbow Pencils and Watermelon Slices bursting with flavour. Classics, including Fried Eggs, Giant Strawberries and Super Shrimps. And my absolute favourites, Mega Jazzies, Pink & White Mice and Black & Raspberry Jellies.

It was such a shame my husband and toddler were present when the delivery arrived as it meant I had to, dare I say it, share! My little boy let out a squeal of delight when I let him try the Bumper Bananas and my husband said the Cookies & Cream fudge was ‘amazing.’ I then had to hide the box from their sticky fingers, as it was addressed to me after all!

These delicious sweets hit me with a wave of nostalgia. I remember the walk home from school with my mum, when she would give me 50p (£1 on special occasions), to spend at the local newsagents for a bag of Pick ‘n’ Mix. I used to literally run in there and smile from ear to ear as I carefully selected my bag of goodies to take home. Although, I had normally eaten them before I made it through the front door. The same can be said for ‘The Bonbon Boys‘, as on arrival I couldn’t help but try a few, even though dinner was only an hour away. The smell of these sweets alone is enough to tease anyone into tearing open the paper. With them open in the room, I felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory – they are absolutely delicious!

The B onbon Boys Pick N Mix Sweets Snake

So who are ‘The Bonbon Boys‘? Kalem and Joe launched in June during lockdown, after the sale of traditional pick ‘n’ mix sweets were restricted, or suspended entirely by many shops due to the coronavirus pandemic. Plus, the boys have a sweet tooth and fondness for confectionary, so what better business to start, than one you love.

The sweets make a fantastic gift for special occasions, or if you fancy a truly epic feast for your weekend movie night. I will most definitely be ordering boxes for friends, family and myself, because let’s face it, everyone needs some sweetness in their life!

I received a box of ‘The Bonbon Boys Classics’ (priced at £10.95), but there is also a ‘Vegan’ and ‘Retro’ box to choose from. The boys are based locally in Bournemouth and delivery is free to most BH postcodes, but they also offer shipping all over the UK, with delivery starting from £3. Check out their website for details. 

The Bonbon Boys Pick N Mix Sweets based in Bournemouth, Dorset


Lifestyle, Motherhood, Reviews

Mental Health Awareness – Keep Being You

Charity, Dorset Mind, kindly gifted me a ‘Keep Being You’ box, to help promote the importance of Mental Health. Something very close to my heart.

Keep Being You - Dorset Mind Mental Health Awareness
I absolutely love my ‘Keep Being You’ box from Dorset Mind

Local Charity, Dorset Mind and their charity partner The Stable launched their ‘Keep Being You’ campaign back in January. They started gifting ‘Keep Being You’ boxes throughout Dorset to give locals a boost and to support better wellbeing  within ourselves and those around us too.

I was delighted to be given one of these boxes, as mental health is a subject very close to my heart. In the past I have suffered from depression and I feel it is so important to speak to the people you love and let them know how you feel. This campaign is so impactful as it also promotes how we need to take time out for ourselves and to love who we are. You don’t have to change to fit in. You are you, and you are great!

It is always lovely receiving a gift and so I couldn’t wait to see what was inside my gift box, each one hand-packed by a member of Dorset Mind and The Stable. After opening the tissue paper, I slowly took out each item in turn and I immediately felt better. The box, hand-packed with care by Rob, contained a lovely recycled candle, a motivational calendar and Dorset Tea to enjoy with a friend or loved-one – a great way to encourage people to speak up and connect with people around us. One of my favourite items were the affirmations. Little cards with motivational statements such as ‘Make Today Ridiculously Amazing’, ‘Reach For The Stars. Believe in Yourself. You Can Do It’ and ‘It’s OK Not To Be OK. But Please Reach Out and Tell Someone.’ I will put these affirmations on my desk and whenever I am feeling low I will say them out loud. It may sound silly, but when you say things out loud and hear yourself saying them, it really does ignite something within you and make you feel better. I encourage you to try it. It works.

I am a new mum to my now 15 month old and it hasn’t been plain sailing. Motherhood is absolutely amazing and the best thing I have ever done but it is also the hardest. There have been times when my husband came home and found me crying. There have been times I have questioned whether I am a good mum to my son and why things don’t come naturally to me. I am lucky that I have a good support network – great friends and family and an extremely caring husband, who have got me through the tough times. My advice to anyone feeling down is to talk. Whether you pick up the phone, send a text, or speak to a charity like Dorset Mind. A problem shared really is a problem halved and no one will think any less of you for speaking up and expressing how you’re feeling. Also don’t doubt yourself. It’s human nature to compare yourself to others, whether it’s to other mums, colleagues, friends or people on social media. But you are unique. You are special. There is no-one else like you, so please don’t change and ‘Keep Being You’, because you are awesome!

These ‘Keep Being You’ boxes are a lovely way of bringing the Dorset community together. Small acts of kindness go a long way and so does positive thinking. I hope that all receivers of a box get as much out of them as I have mine. My box has lifted my spirits and I wouldn’t be writing this now if it hadn’t made an impact. So thank you, Dorset Mind and The Stable.

#KeepBeingYou