Food, Reviews

The Old Thatch, Wimborne – Restaurant Review

A delicious meal at a 17th century pub turned Gastro Pub, to celebrate UK restaurants reopening inside at last!

The Old Thatch, Wimborne

The 20th May will be a memorable one for my husband and I. It’s the day we got to enjoy a meal out, not only without a toddler in tow, but at a restaurant – our first meal out since December 2020.

It felt so good to get dressed into my ‘fancy’ clothes, put on my makeup, and even my heels, for the first time in what felt like years, to visit The Old Thatch.

Located in Wimborne, Dorset, the 17th century pub is located right opposite Stapehill Abbey, just off the Castleman Trailway – a popular walking trail amongst locals and visitors.

Multi-award winning restauranteur Andy Lennox has joined forces with landlord Nick Pestana, transforming the pub into a Gastro Pub, Kitchen and Country Store. As we entered, I couldn’t help but drool at the sight of freshly baked breads, cakes, cheeses and local meats on offer from local suppliers, that also feature on the pub’s menu.

We received a warm welcome and were seated in a lovely corner of the pub. It felt nice and cosy, and there was a great atmosphere. Afterall, for some people, like us, it was their first night out in a long time and they had a lot to catch up on. I couldn’t help but smile as the table of girls next to us caught up on the Netflix series they’d been watching (Motherland, highly recommend, and Line of Duty, what a disappointment).

Our waitress Kat was equally lovely, making us feel special and giving us as much time as we needed to take in the menu, which featured a good balance of meat, seafood and veg.

To kick things off, I went for the Book & Bucket Cheese Soufflé, with local Wimborne cheddar cheese, twice baked with toasted bread. And my husband had the Salt & Pepper Squid. Both were absolutely delicious, especially washed down with a nice glass of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

While we waited for our mains, more diners arrived, equally just as delighted as us that they could eat out again. It was nice hearing the staff chatting to regulars, showing how popular the pub is amongst locals.

For the main event I had the Lemon & Thyme Chicken, served on the bone with skin on fries, house slaw and garlic aioli. It fell off the bone and the chips were nice and crispy, with just enough salt. And the garlic aioli, one of my new found favourites, was very tasty and just the right amount. My husband enjoyed his 10oz Rump Steak, accompanied by triple cooked chips, roasted on the vine cherry tomatoes, garlic mushrooms and a rocket and parmesan salad. He likes it cooked blue, and not all restaurants accommodate, but The Old Thatch did and my husband said it was cooked just how he liked it. Cold but not still mooing!

By this point I was feeling quite full and could have quite easily enjoyed a little power nap in the pub’s warm and cosy interior, but when the dessert menu arrived – I couldn’t resist the temptation of Sticky Toffee Pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. It arrived hot and gooey and my plate left empty. My husband’s Brownie with salted caramel ice cream was, in his own words, “heavenly”. Although, I wouldn’t know as he refused to share!

The pub has a fantastic outdoor seating area too, with a huge marquee and heaters, to protect diners from the great British weather. What’s also great is that The Old Thatch is dog friendly, so if you’re walking the Castleman Trail and want to pop in for a pint, it’s the perfect spot.

The Old Thatch Outdoor Seating
Outdoor area

If you do visit, make sure you try out their cocktail menu. I was too full by the end of our meal, but some of them looked fabulous. When we return I will definitely be ordering their New Forest Bramble and Stapehill Spritz!

Whether your local to Wimborne, or visiting Dorset for the weekend, I’d highly recommend The Old Thatch. Warm and welcoming staff, a delicious menu and a relaxed and happy atmosphere make it a great place to visit for lunch or dinner.

We’ll definitely be back. Hopefully next time without masks.

What a lovely evening!
Lifestyle, Reviews

Review – Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream, Shea Butter Moisturising Lip Balm and Speak Volumes Mascara

Vegan, cruelty-free makeup that also looks amazing! 

I was lucky enough to be sent some Arbonne makeup from a local Dorset entrepreneur Sarah Mills, who is also an Arbonne Independent Consultant, that I had the pleasure of meeting during lockdown (via a Zoom networking event). I hadn’t heard of Arbonne before, but after having used the products, I will definitely be using them again.

What I love about Arbonne (who don’t only sell make-up, but also nutrition and hair, baby care and men’s health products), is the fact that their range is ethical – vegan, cruelty-free, formulated without Gluten and a “not allowed list” that includes more than 2000 banned ingredients. They also have great brand values  “Embracing the connection between a healthier mind, stronger body and more beautiful skin.” Who doesn’t want all of those things?

Arbonne Vegan Makeup Formulated without Gluten
Arbonne’s makeup is Vegan, cruelty-free and formulated without Gluten

I couldn’t wait to get my products (Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream, Shea Butter Moisturising Lip Balm and Speak Volumes Mascara) out of their recyclable packaging and on to my face! 

Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream

Let’s start with the Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream, which was my favourite of the three products I tested. What I love about the CC Cream is the fact that it’s so light. You honestly wouldn’t even realise you had it on. I wore it on its own, but you could also wear it under makeup. I had a few blemishes on my face and it concealed them really well.

Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream
Arbonne Intelligence CC Cream

I applied the cream with my fingers and it blended in perfectly with my fair complexion (I went for shade #7796, the second lightest, but there are three other shades to choose from – Fair, Medium and Dark). It also primed my skin, giving it a lovely glow. I didn’t tell my husband I was wearing it and he even commented on my complexion – and that means a lot believe me!

It’s promoted as a 10 in 1 product 1. Primer; 2. Protector; 3. Concealer; 4. Hydrator; 5. Mattifier; 6. Brightener; 7. Blemish Cover; 8. Pore Refiner; 9. Comforter; 10. Complexion Controller, so a whole host of benefits.

After having used the cream for a week I can honestly say my skin feels fantastic. It really does moisturise the skin and makes it look brighter and healthier.

For those of you who prefer your makeup to have SPF, Arbonne also sell a Pollution Defense CC Cream, which has SPF30, protecting the skin from the sun and pollution.

Price: £34

Arbonne Speak Volumes Mascara
Speak Volumes Mascara

Arbonne Speak Volumes Mascara

At last I have found a mascara that doesn’t clump together and actually stays on my lashes! Arbonne’s Speak Volumes Mascara is really easy to layer too. I like to go for the natural look, but you can also layer it for bold, dramatic volume – great for nights out. The brush is tapered, which helps to catch every lash and it really does lengthen my lashes, which other brands have struggled to do. Like the CC Cream, the vitamin infused mascara is really lightweight and it doesn’t smudge. I used the makeup on some really hot and humid days and it didn’t flake at all. It’s easy to remove at the end of the day too.

Price: £28 

Arbonne Shea Butter Moisturising Lip Balm

Arbonne Shea Butter Moisturising Lip Balm

After having used Arbonne’s Shea Butter Moisturising Lip Balm for just over a week, it is now one of my daily handbag essentials and part of my “go-to” makeup collection.

What I love about this lip balm is how smooth and soft it left my lips after only one application. It contains five botanical oils and is safe for all skin types. The shea butter combined with Vitamin E moisturises and softens your lips and the Jojoba seed oil really soothes them, especially if you suffer from dry or cracked lips like mine.

I apply the lip balm a couple of times during the day to give my lips a little boost. Love it!

Price £14

If you haven’t heard of Arbonne, I really do recommend checking them out. Better still, get in touch with Sarah via her Facebook Page, who introduced me to this lovely, sustainable brand. She will give you a personal consultation and talk you through all of the products, which you can view on their website.

The fact that they are Vegan, cruelty free and formulated without Gluten is really awesome too. I am so impressed with the makeup I tried and will definitely be ordering some more. They have recently brought out a Matte & Shine Lip Duo in seven different shades, which I can’t wait to get my hands on!

Note: The prices I have quoted are catalogue price, but you can choose to join Arbonne’s Preferred Client programme, which gets you 20% off all products.  


Travel

Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

These handy tips will make your family camping trip easier…

Top 10 Tips for Camping with a Toddler

Despite strong winds (thanks Storm Francis) and the very unpredictable British weather, we have just survived our first family camping trip. I had my doubts, but I actually really enjoyed myself, and more importantly my 21 month old loved it!

I feel I must point out that we did cheat slightly in the sense that we were “glamping” and not “camping.” We were staying in a bell tent kitted out with beds, pillows and a warm duvet and had our own portaloo next door to our tent. But you have to start somewhere and I feel having these little luxuries eased us nicely into our first family camping experience, especially since we didn’t know how things would pan out with a toddler.

After having returned with smiles on our faces and happy memories to treasure, I wanted to share some tips that we learned during our stay through observation and through talking to fellow campmates, that will make camping with a toddler even more successful the second time round (and hopefully the first-time round, if this is your first family camping trip).

1. Check your pitch location

We didn’t know the location of our tent until the day before arrival and by this time it was too late to change as the campsite was fully booked. We were located next to the campsite’s outdoor bar, which would have been perfect had we not had our little boy with us. However, because the music from the bar didn’t finish until 11pm we had a very over excited toddler that didn’t want to go to bed because there was too much fun going on outside. And we couldn’t blame him as we wanted to be out there enjoying said music too and not inside the tent trying to get him to sleep! My advice would be to request a pitch that is in a quiet section of the campsite. Also make sure you ask about the on-site amenities (shower block, toilets, shop etc.) and how close to them you are.

2. Have a packing strategy

Organising  your camping supplies before you go makes all the difference when you arrive at the campsite. Buy some see-through plastic boxes and label them with your essential items, such as kitchen supplies, toys, food and snacks and bed and bathtime. Then when you need something you can see what’s in the box and you can locate it straight away. Very handy when you have a hungry toddler screaming at you for chocolate!

Pack waterproof clothing / puddle suits for your family camping trip.

3. Waterproof clothing is essential

My son loves to jump in puddles, play in the mud, eat mud and basically get as dirty as possible! So if you’re toddler is anything like mine, wet weather clothing is essential. Must-have items are puddle suits / rain suits, wellies, a spare pair of shoes and extra socks (at least three pairs extra). I found the key to dressing a toddler is layers, which can be easily added or removed. During our trip it was raining one minute and glorious sunshine the next, so layering was everything!

4. Buy a baby sleeping bag

Baby sleeping bags (also known as grobags), are a must-have when camping. They keep your little one cosy and snug on cold nights but are also brilliant in hot weather. They are available in a range of togs from 0.5 tog (for very warm weather) to 3.5 tog, which are warmly padded and suitable for temperatures below 18 degrees. You can also buy ones with detachable sleeves.

5. Pack plenty of snacks

If you are camping with a toddler, snacks are essential. Crackers, granola bars, pre-cut fruit (cut at home before we left) and rice cakes are all easy to transport and make a great distraction if you are trying to persuade your toddler into their pram, or from jumping in yet another puddle. I’d also highly recommend buying a pocket snack highchair. Our friends kindly lent us theirs. They are lightweight, compact and come with different seat height positions and a snack tray that can also be removed. It made lunch and dinner so much easier as he couldn’t escape!

6. Remember kitchen essentials

If you need to warm your toddler’s milk make sure you pack a travel stove and kettle. Some campsites have an on-site kitchen where you can heat food and milk, but some don’t so make sure you check before you travel. We also took with us a collapsible washing up bowl, folding picnic table and bottles of water. Also add a cool box to your packing list. They are ideal for storing your toddler’s milk, spread, fruit and snacks.

7. Clean hands regularly

Because of Covid-19 the more you can do to make your trip as safe as possible the better, so make sure you pack hand sanitiser, liquid soap and baby wipes. We filled a washing up bowl outside of our tent for hand washing and cleaning teeth. 

8. Take toys

We took some of Jack’s favourite toys with us, which were invaluable for when it rained and we had to take cover. A few toy cars and some of his favourite books kept him entertained and we also took his favourite cuddly toy to make bedtime more familiar.

9. Buy a gazebo

We saw lots of families with gazebos and will definitely be purchasing one for our next trip. They are great for storing your camping chairs, stove, water and wellies and it means you don’t have to pile all of your belongings into your tent, giving you a lot more space. They also offer protection from the rain, and sun on hot summer days. 

10. Make a list and check it twice!

I made a packing list before we left and I am so glad I did. Baby brain is definitely a thing post pregnancy too! Make sure to include all the essentials your toddler needs, such as nappies, nappy sacks, wipes, changing mat, sippy cup and comfort blanket. Also pack a first aid kid, just in case, including plasters, antiseptic, infant paracetamol and nappy rash cream. Piriton is also good to have to, for insect bites or any other irritants.   

Tips for a happy family camping holiday

BONUS TIP!

My last extra bonus tip is to HAVE FUN and embrace the outdoors. Also accept that, especially on the first night, your toddler may not stick to their usual bedtime routine. So make sure you pack extra coffee too!