Browsing Category


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.  

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.