Happy Days Retro Vacations

Last weekend we packed our bags, jumped in the car and drove up to Suffolk to a small town called Saxmundham. Just outside the town is a small campsite run by Jenni and Kevin who set up there about three years ago after transferring from Dorset. But it’s not just any campsite, it’s an airstream glamping park and as you pull on the breaks and turn to look at the field, you are greeted by a spectacular sight of 6 beautiful airstreams, carefully brought back to their original glory, standing peacefully in the park, waiting to give you a weekend break like you’ve never experienced before.

At this point, I can hear Jenni entering the conversation and reminding me that one of the trailers is actually an Avion.

These guys are super passionate about what they do and how they do it. They spend months searching the internet for airstreams for sale. They buy them, import them from the States and drive them from Southampton, where they arrive on a ship, up to the quiet Suffolk countryside.

Happy Days Airstream

But they’re not just any Airstream offered up for hire. No, they are all furnished and decorated as closely as possible to the original state, lending a marvellous vintage air to them. On top of that, each trailer is named and the names are delightful – Betsy, Dee Dee, Nettie and Gloria are some examples. You will even hear Jenni referring to her airstreams as ‘she’.

We were incredibly lucky to be invited up for a weekend break at Happy Days Retro Vacations to try out the experience for ourselves, as a family and we were allowed to bring Baxter with us as a few of the Airstreams are dog friendly.

Airstream galmping

Inside an Airstream

We were given Dee Dee for our stay who is one of the first trailers you pass in the field. Standing brightly with a wooden table outside she looks really inviting. I really liked that the area in front of the Airstream was artificial grass, what a great idea as it saved a lot of mud being dragged in but was still in keeping with the field. We also had some colourful outdoor chairs to relax in too dotted around our pitch and flamingos too.

Airstream living area

The door opens into the living area with a table to the right, the kitchen sink and hob/oven in front and the fridge to the left as you climb the steps. The shelf over the fridge has a TV (for watching DVDs as there is no television connection) and a radio. Parents will be pleased to know that the WiFi connection is very hit and miss, we really embraced this as the girls were off out exploring from the word go but more about that later.

Airstream bedroom

As you turn left into the airstream, straight after the kitchenette you enter the bedroom with a single bed on either side of the walkway which leads down to the bathroom. The bathroom has a portable toilet, a shower, a sink and a cupboard for storage.

Airstream kitchen

Each window has beautiful handmade curtains to make a cosy evening and shut out the light. The table has a PVC cloth and the benches are covered in cushions in wonderful retro prints.

It Is Gorgeous.

As you settle in to your vintage Airstream, you find all sorts of delightful surprises that make you smile and from the word go I can guarantee a happy-go-lucky feel about your weekend (or longer) stay.

Once the children were in bed, we sat and chatted a while before turning the table area into a comfortable double bed. You simply remove the table top which slots across the two benches on either side and store the leg under the bed. The cushions all go into making the mattress – and it was very comfortable indeed.

You can either take your own bed linen or hire it from Jenni.

Bathrooms

Happy Days Retro vacations

Don’t panic there are some very accommodating bathrooms onsite, not gender specific and also large enough to get the family in. Heated, spacious and beautifully decorated too. Definitely shower here rather than in the Airstream!

Entertainment at Happy Days Retro Seaside Glamping Holidays

You may be thinking, ‘What will we do in the middle of nowhere?’ and to that my first reply is, “Relax!” You are in the midst of nature at its best, surrounded by a peace that can only do you the world of good. Take the time to recharge and treasure the moment.

However, Jenni and Kevin have also put a lot of thought entertaining all members of the family.

Airstream glamping

There is a wonderful park with a ‘secret garden’ kind of entrance that leads to an old army truck which our kids loved playing on. A trampoline and a wonderful area of grass, fields and trees, all hedged in so the children can play safely until their heart’s content. We came home with a bag of apples and pears!

Reception is in a furnished shed and has games, DVDs and a jar of sticks for marshmallows too. There are books, leaflets to take away and plenty of ideas to keep you amused.

Then there is the Red Shed. The Red Shed is a place that can be used for parties, there are sofas to sit on and a dance floor. There is a DJ booth in the corner and a glitter ball. Kevin will be installing a fire this autumn so it can be used in the colder months too.

Jenni told me that the whole park can be hired out for special celebrations, birthdays, hen parties, anniversaries. I agree it would make a wicked venue for a family get together.

Happy Days polytunnel

There is also a polytunnel which the previous owners had used as a greenhouse. If we were looking for the twins they were in the polytunnel playing table football! There was also a super-sized Connect 4 game and a table with lots of chairs. Oh and another glitter ball, why not?

fire pit

Lastly, I must mention the firepit and marshmallows. As sun falls and dinner has been served, Kevin did a round of the Airstreams taking huge buckets of wood and firelighters to his guests. Using an old washing machine drum which works perfectly as a firepit, we lit a fire, pulled some wonderful hand crocheted blankets around us and whilst we toasted our marshmallows (on the sticks found in reception) we looked up and saw a sky full of stars. I managed to point out the plough but I soon realised it was the only formation I knew!

Places to visit close to Happy Days Retro Park

There is plenty to see in this part of the world and both Kevin and Jenni are full of top tips to pass on. We went to visit Southwold which was lovely. We walked along the pier and beach. We stopped off at a pub on our way back to Happy Days called The White Heart, also home to the  Famer and Fisherman restaurant which had a delicious menu. We weren’t there for food but we tried a couple of the local Adnams beers – I spotted that Adnams also do gin but failed to find some to buy. We sat in the pub garden where the girls fed the ducks and walked alongside the lake picking wild blackberries.

On the Sunday we visited Thorpness and walked to The House in the Clouds and spotted the windmill from Grandpa In My Pocket tv programme. We also visited Aldeburgh where apparently there are two marvellous fish and chip shops which we are going to have to go back and try as we got hungry in Thorpeness and went into the Kitchen where Paul and the girls had a homemade pizza and I had a fresh crab salad.

Airstream Dee Dee

Local shops

Each Airstream has tea, coffee and sugar but if you do want to shop for food and other bits there is a Tesco and a Waitrose in Saxmundham. A five minute drive away.

I’m not sure if you understand just how much I enjoyed our weekend at Happy Days  Retro Vacations? I am hoping my enthusiasm is coming over through my post because it was one of the nicest experiences I have had this year. I would thoroughly recommend it and the girls arrived home asking if we could go back again.

Thank you, Jenni and Kevin, for a very special experience.

Disclosure: We were weekend guests of Happy Days Retro Vacations for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

lunchbox jelly pots

Two weeks under the belt of the Back to School routine and we seem to be doing fairly well…so far so good I’d say. We lost a cardigan but quickly retrieved it, we even found last term’s water bottle in the lost property whilst hunting it down! #winwin

As far as lunch is concerned, this term we have decided on 5 days a week lunchbox meals; the girls seem to think they get a longer lunch and they are constantly asking me to put less in as they don’t want to ‘waste all their time‘ eating.

Lunchboxes are a saviour but also a bit of a headache trying to keep them nutritious with food you know will be eaten.

Hartley’s have come up with an excellent idea – a wibbly, wobbly jelly in a cute little pot, perfectly sized for lunchboxes!

As previously mentioned, the girls are in that awkward stage between being little girls and big girls. A kind of no man’s land where they are trying their best to be grown up but there is a huge secret part of them that actually likes still being young. Like when we walk past a Build A Bear store for example.

Jelly, however, has no age limitations – ask Dad!

That means I can easily add a jelly pot to the lunchbox knowing they won’t be ridiculed at school, actually they may even get some street cred, I mean jelly is associated with the best parties, right?

hartleys jelly pot

The jelly pots come in six flavours, strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, orange, apple and tropical.

They have no added sugar in them, all of the sugar is naturally occurring and no artificial colours or flavours have been added. They are also perfect for vegetarians too.

 

Hartley’s are giving away the bright yellow lunchboxes, all you need to do is collect 12 Jelly pot lids and fill in the online form. A Hartley’s lunchbox will be on its way to you and let’s face it, it won’t take too much time to collect 12 lids, will it?

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post with Hartley’s who are promoting their no added sugar jelly pots for lunchboxes. All opinions are my own.

Project Mc2 doll

The twins love the Project Mc2 girls and I am happy to let them watch as they are inspiring. The Project Mc2 characters are proud to be nerds, proud to be geeks and show that intelligence is something cool. A way of thinking that is close to my heart and I am keen to encourage too.

As Year 5 has kicked off, we are looking forward to a successful year with their new teacher, where they slipped last year I am encouraging them to catch up and do extra at home. I am bribing them with pocket money to sit down and do an exercise or two of Mathletics each day, call me harsh but they are liable to burst into tears over maths as they totally lost their confidence last year. I am of the idea that if I can beat that fear over the next few months, I will have won the battle and they will be more confident in maths as they go through the remainder of their school life. It’s worth it for me and I am determined to get them to the best of their ability again.

The Project Mc2 doll series help me on that journey and as I encourage the twins to do extra, they are reminded that these girls do too and yet they look great, they are funny and intelligent too.

Project Mc2

The new set of dolls added to the fun existing list are the Project McExperiments with Dolls. Each doll comes with her own experiment using ingredients found at home and can be performed over and over again.

The experiments include: Make your own Lava Lipgloss with McKeyla McAlister, |Create your own Gummies with Adrienne Attoms, Make your own Light Up Earrings with Bryden Bandweth, Design amazing Tie Dye with Camryn Coyle, or Create Glitter Tattoos with Ember Evergreen

The dolls, based on the girls in the show are fully movable and can be dressed and undressed. Their hair can be played with and they inspire hours of fun play. Do you know someone who would be happy to receive a Project Mc2 Experiments with Dolls? I have one doll up for grabs in the competition below.

Good luck!

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wheres wookiee star wars

Have you seen the latest Where’s Wookiee book by Egmont? We were sent a copy to review and feedback our thoughts and I have to wait for the girls to go to bed to get a look in, that’s how much they like it!

In fact, Bessie asked to take her copy into school last week; first she wanted to show her new teacher and secondly, she wanted to show her friends. That is the best indication of how impressed she is with the book, it is cool enough to show her friends. Star Wars is hugely popular in the tween generation, both boys and girls love it.

wheres wookiee book

Kids discuss various parts of the film or even makeup Star Wars based games on the playground at playtime. Like…er…Wookiee dabs for example

wheres wookiee dab

Talking of games, Egmont also sent us two Wookiee onesies – which I haven’t been able to get off of the girls to wash yet. They asked us to play our own version of Where’s Wookiee?

You can imagine the fun that went into that! The twins were raring to have fun in their onesies. We were down at our caravan in Thanet, where there are fields, parks and lots of open space, so we popped on the Wookiee suits and off we went… er to the zipwire. Of course, where else would Wookiee rather go?

wheres wookiee zipwire

“Mum! take a photo of me on the zip wire.”

wheres wookiee

“Mum, take a photo of us in the arcade.”

wheres wookiee

“How about playing Airgame mum?”

wheres wookiee

“Mum! Take a photo of us behind this bush.”

We had a lot of fun and it was really good to see the girls getting so excited about a blog post which is another indication of how much they loved this task – quite something for tweenhood, trust me.

wheres wookiee

My personal favourite Where’s Wookie

The book is not just for children, I’ve seen Dad pick it up too when he thinks we’re not watching, in fact, I think all Star Wars fans (and non) will love to have a look at the cleverly drawn pictures and try to work out Where Wookiee is. There are two copies of Where’s Wookiee now, the first Where’s the Wookiee and the most recent, Where’s the Wookiee 2 both available from Amazon.

Your chance to win a copy of Where’s Wookiee 2 and Where’s Wookiee (original) using the Rafflecopter widget below.

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Disclosure: This is an honest review of a review copy of the book, provided by the publisher Egmont UK Ltd

I realise how early it is to be talking about Christmas but we all know that before we know it, it will be knocking at the door. Trust me, if you are in retail or marketing you have already started speaking about Christmas and laying down plans to make your business boom in this period.

On that note, I am starting to receive ideas to share with you and of course, those that appeal to me are the ones that get a mention.

This post is all about family games because it is something my family make a big part of the day when we are spending time together. We have ping pong, a dart board, Pass the Pigs and many other fun games to play together… who didn’t have a go at Pie Face?

The Very Merry Christmas Game

very merry christmas game

Christmas crackers, Carol singers, Christmas presents and Brussel sprouts go into making the Very Merry Christmas game. The idea of the game is to scheme your way around the board to get all the best presents which you can only open at the end of the game. What lavish gifts will you find in your stocking? Or will it be full of naff tat?

Suitable for age 8+. 2 – 4 players can enjoy the game or it can be played in teams. The board game has 42 Cracker cards and 32 present cards to land on and collect, you can use the Christmas cracker cards to steal a better present from someone else’s stocking and if you land on a carol singers space you have to sing your favourite festive song to prevent losing one of your gifts.

As with all games, there is always the card you want to avoid – in the Very Merry Christmas game it’s the dreaded sprout cards which have a bad effect on you, watch out for those!

The Very Merry Christmas Game will be available from Debenhams and Amazon for £19.99

Mr & Mrs Family Edition

Mr and mrs family game

Think you know your partner, family and friends well? The Mr and Mrs Family game will put that knowledge to the test!

The game is aimed at players aged 10 and above and requires 2 or more players. It is based on the popular family TV show hosted by Phillip Schofield and has 100 question cards plus some blanks for you to write your own questions on.

Work your way through the questions and the Paddle round questions before arriving at the It’s a Match stage. There is sure to be a lot of laughter as you play, plus some blushing and some blank looks too!

Mr & Mrs Family Edition RRP £19.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, WHSmith, Amazon, Next, House of Frasier

Mr & Mrs Pocket Edition RRP £9.99 from Debenhams, John Lewis, Amazon

Disclosure: I was sent the board games to review for the purpose of this post.