30 April 2017

Best family friendly beaches in Marbella and Estepona

We recently took a trip to Estepona staying in the HPB property there called HPB Bena Vista. Although there was a beach near to the property, it was more of a building site really, so we looked further afield to Marbella, Estepona and Puerta Benus for nice beaches.

These are the nicest family (and parent) friendly beaches we found on our travels:

El Cristo Beach in Estepona

This was the nicest beach we found and the one we kept going back to. Just past the marina in Estepona, El Cristo Beach is a small cove which means the water is more sheltered and laps gently over the shallow shore. 

Directly on the beach there is a small, shaded play park which my son loved playing on. There's a little beach bar called Havana Beach Bar Chiringuito which sells beers (yes!), wine (yes), ice-creams and restaurant food. So once you get there, you don't even have to leave.

Plus, the beach and water is super clean. We got down there are 9am one day (yes, we are keen) and there was a tractor down there ploughing and flattening the beach. Which my son especially loved! The beach was never busy, but perhaps that's because we were down there so early everyday!

Playa de Levante in Puerto Benus

You may not think that Puerto Benus would be an ideal place for children. But, actually, Playa de Levante or Playa Puerto Benus is really family friendly.

Another sheltered cove, this water is calm and shallow (so slightly warmer than some other beaches) and the sand is fine and not too rocky.

There are lots of bars and Chiringuitos along the beach, but we struggled to find one that wasn't overpriced and over styled. In fact we had one of our worst and most expensive meals at the Levante Beach Restaurant. Much better to bring a picnic lunch down and chill out under one of the umbrellas.

El Faro Beach in Marbella

OK, so this isn't exactly the most picturesque beach in the area and, because it's just off the centre of Marbella, the clientele can be a bit, well, suspect. However, if you're looking for a beach that's perfect for Mummy and for toddler, then El Faro Beach would take some beating.

The beach has a large play park planted in the centre of it which is completely in sight of all the bars and restaurants. Meaning Mummy can have a little drinky while Daddy plays with toddler on the slides (and sometimes steps in to help). 

You're spoilt for choice for family friendly beaches in Marbella and Estepona, but these are the ones we especially enjoyed. Spain does this so well by combining adult playtime with family playtime. Wish we had a bit more of this sort of thing here in the UK!

29 April 2017

What we'll be drinking at my son's baptism

So, perhaps it's not the first thing on all parent's minds for their child's baptism. But, it will be a huge celebration of our son's life and so, for us, what we drink with our friends will be a huge part of it.

We decided to go to our local Majestic in order to try a couple of options. And, to be honest, they couldn't have been more helpful. I think people know that Majestic provides this sort of service for weddings, but perhaps people don't know how helpful they are for other events, such as Christenings.

I'd emailed them beforehand to let them know that I wanted sparkling wine and what my price point was. I also said what style of sparkling wine I prefer, so something clean, crisp and without too much biscuit/toasty notes. And, Chris came back with some options which he said he'd put on ice and we booked in an evening to pop down to have a taste!

Eventually, we chose the following:
  • Le Berceau Piquepoul-Chardonnay Brut Frisante. This was the one that Chris actually recommended and I was intrigued as I love a Picpoul (it was the first wine I ever got drunk on). It was very clean and crisp with super fine bubbles.
  • La Marca Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. We've had this one before at other parties and know it to be a crowd-pleasing all-rounder. Plus, we got married in Italy so a prosecco seemed appropriate.
  • Southcott Pewsey Hill Classic Cuvee Brut 2011. We didn't actually get to try this one, but we wanted a couple of English sparkling wines for the "important people". My first ever job was in Pewsey and this is where this vineyard is located (sorry, I couldn't find this wine on the Majestic website). 
I really hope all our guests are pleased with our selections. We've probably bought far too many bottles, but thankfully, Majestic has a use and return policy, which means we can take back any unused bottles.

Added to the sparkling wines, we are planning to have a keg of beer from our local Hopback Brewery. Perhaps some of their delicious Summer Lightening. However, this was my husband's ONLY job for the baptism and he has utterly failed to sort it. However, two weeks to go, so fingers crossed!

I'll report back on how the event goes and what all of our guests thought! Thanks again to Chris and the team at Majestic Salisbury.

23 April 2017

Perfect toddler friendly pub in the New Forest

I don't often dedicate a whole blog post to one pub. However, as a toddler mum, one of the things I constantly search for is a pub where I can go for Sunday lunch where my child will be happy (and so will my furry puppy child). And, judging by the numerous Mummy posts on Facebook groups about this topic, I'm not alone.
I stole this from their website
hope they don't mind!

And Mums, I may have found the mecca of all establishments (for the summer at least).

The Rising Sun pub in Bashley is about 40 minutes drive from Salisbury towards Milford on Sea. It is ideal because, in the garden there is the huge, wooden play park. It's just fantastic because you can sit and have a drink and meal in the sunshine while your toddler plays happily on the slides and climbing structures. You just take it in turns in your group to go and stand with the kids.

It's also lovely because, being in the middle of the New Forest, the wild ponies constantly wander past. And, if you have your doggy with you, there are plenty of places to walk before and after the meal. (although we carried onto Milford of Sea which is just great for doggies.) They even give you a little water bowl for your pooch.

The food is general sort of pub fare. But pretty reasonably priced and comes with a smile and, even though it was Easter Weekend when we went, the service was extremely prompt and efficient.

Previously, we have always gone to the Red Shoot pub in the Forest. It's closer to Salisbury and has lovely walks on the doorstep through. But the last time we went, the service was appalling and we waited nearly two hours for our meal without any apology. 

We will definitely plan a trip there in the near future. Thanks to my Mum and Dad for telling us about this place!