A 2022 Christmas Gift Guide for the whole family

Welcome to our Christmas Gift Guide for 2022!

Inside you will find some of the best and newest toys and products on the market, perfect for your Christmas shopping this year. You will be sure to find something suitable for the whole family, with gift suggestions suitable for babies, toddlers, young children, mum, dad and even a section of ideas for a whole family gift!

We hope you will find it helpful and it will give you lots of inspiration for your Christmas shopping over the next month!

Please find all links for the items featured underneath the guide x


FOR BABIES AGED 0-2:

FOR CHILDREN AGED 3 AND 4:

FOR CHILDREN AGED 5-7:

FOR MUM:

FOR DAD:

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY:

Little tips for a Butlins holiday that will make a big difference

1. Plan your shows before you arrive and before activity booking is open. You can see in advance via the app which shows are on at what time. Write down a list of ones you want to attend and when and as soon as you get the email saying booking is open, book them up! This will save time trying to figure out what you can fit in on what days and avoid potentially missing out on fully booked activities.

2. Book your swimming sessions and shows via the “plan my day” link in the email instead of the app. The app is glitchy and unreliable and often says it can’t load activities even when they’re available for booking on the website link instead.

3. Check availability for paid for activities like football, archery and pottery painting daily in the week before your stay as new spaces are gradually released.

4. If you are a single parent and will be taking a pushchair, ring in advance to request a ground floor apartment. Otherwise you may find yourself placed on a second floor room with no lift.

5. locate your room when you arrive and check that it’s clean and ready before unpacking the car. Unfortunately after lockdown Butlins seem to still be figuring out how many cleaning staff they need and how long the rooms take to clean, resulting in families left standing outside their rooms with all their stuff in the rain as the rooms weren’t ready on time. It’s best to double check it’s ready before offloading everything from the car.

6. If the above happens to you: complain! If you give customer services a call they will want to try and resolve it for you. They will offer you a voucher as a goodwill gesture to go and get yourself some drinks etc whilst you wait for your room to be ready.

7. Grab a luggage trolley from around your accommodation. Getting one in the car park is like finding gold dust, but instead there will be plenty dotted around the accommodation areas instead as they will be abandoned after people have started unpacking.

8. Get children’s ID wrist bands from the swimming pool. The pool reception has a box of bright orange wristbands for children. On these you can write your name and phone number just in case your child gets lost during your stay.

9. If you have small children with little legs that will tire easily, take a scooter or balance bike with you. They will be allowed to use these all around the resort and will be especially helpful if your accommodation is located quite a walk from the pavilion.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask staff for extra loo roll instead of buying yourself a multi-pack or taking some with you. They only put 2 in our room on arrival, but gave us an extra 4 when requested.

11. Download the B-Serve app before you arrive and create an account. This is the app you use to order drinks, snacks or food around the resort and at shows and will save you faff and time if you are familiar with it before you go.

12. Don’t panic if you haven’t managed to book any shows or swimming before you arrive. Lots of people cancel last minute or don’t show up so it you go to the event and ask staff if there’s any space, they will let you in if so just before it starts. People also cancel whilst they’re there and things will become available for booking on the “plan my day” website page during your stay.

13. Make the most of your last day. They ask you to checkout by 10am and leave the site for 11am, but there’s nothing stopping you sticking around for the last day. The check out is express checkout so all you do is pop your form and keys in a box. The fun fair doesn’t open until 3pm on that day, but there are still the arcades, parks, shops etc to enjoy and even some shows. You won’t be able to book the shows, but if you ask to wait for a space if someone doesn’t turn up, they’ll let you in. Some shows are also on the skyline stage so you don’t need to book to watch if you don’t mind standing and watching from the fence around it or even sitting at the bar or Burger King etc and watching from there.

14. Don’t leave it until the last morning to total up your arcade tickets and select your prizes. The queues for both will be really long and that makes it quite stressful when trying to get your child(ren) to choose their prizes quickly. If you plan to leave on time in the morning, cash in your tickets the night before. Or if you plan to stick around for longer on the last day, wait until after 12:00 to cash in your tickets as there will be no queue.

15. Buy your food, snacks and drinks from a supermarket just outside the resort. There will be a supermarket just around the corner which will be cheaper than the supermarket on resort. It also means you don’t need to take up lots space in the car bringing them from home.

I’m a failure as a mum

That’s what my brain keeps telling me at the moment. No matter how many people tell me I’m not, there’s no louder voice than the one in my head. And it’s reminding me numerous times a day that I’ve failed at the one thing I wanted to be: a good mummy.

This is my end goal – motherhood. It’s exactly what I ever wanted and dreamed about. So many years of my life were spent planning what kind of mother I will be and here I am, with 2 amazing boys, feeling like I’ve failed them. One has a broken collarbone and the other one has been so poorly with a viral infection he ended up in the children’s hospital. I failed to protect them. I failed to keep them safe. I failed at the most important part of my job description and it hurts.

Yes I know sometimes these things can’t be helped.

Yes I know that’s it’s not my fault.

Yes I know that I’ve been a good mum.

BUT none of that seems to matter to the little voice in my head right now. That voice is telling me: this might have been helped, if I did X, Y and Z maybe it wouldn’t have happened, it doesn’t matter how much of a good mum I’ve been before, I still wasn’t good enough this time.

I’m spending my days bobbing up and down on waves of emotion. I can be so happy one minute: playing with the boys, all 3 of us laughing. BUT then that little voice steals the moment and just like that I’m cry I again. The voice reminds me I have no right to be happy because they’ve been hurting and I should have protected them. I should have stopped Otis from running. I should have caught him. I should have used more hand gel whilst sorting through the shopping. I should have bathed Eddison every night. I should, I should, I should…….

I’m well aware that this rollercoaster I feel I’m on is a sign of depression. In fact I’m well aware that the feelings of being an inadequate mother, knowing my boys deserve better is a typical sign of post-natal depression. But I don’t have a new baby so instead this feeling is labelled as “mum guilt” and my goodness mum guilt is the most torturous thing in the world. When I say torture I really mean torture, a mental and emotional kind.

So here it comes, the apologies I feel I need to make:

I’m sorry Otis and Eddison that I’ve failed at being a mum. I’m sorry husband that I have no energy for anything. I’m sorry everyone that I’m not myself. I’m sorry I’m making no effort with anyone. I’m sorry I’m not replying to or even reading all my messages. I’m sorry I can’t shrug this off as I usually would.

This is just how I’m feeling right now. It’s not ok, but it is understandable and I think because I can understand why I feel like this, I’m going to be ok.

A mother’s pride

It’s true that when you enter motherhood, your emotions are multiplied.

All of a sudden you find yourself with more capacity for love, compassion, empathy, trust, patience, understanding, hope, sympathy, remorse, happiness, endearment ……. the list is endless. A lot of these you have expected to grow. Whilst you were pregnant you may have imagined how much extra 6BA35F1A-14BD-4AC2-9AE3-2E25982491C4love your baby would bring to your heart or how patient you would need to be etc.

For me, the growth of pride was an unexpected one. I don’t know if it’s because Continue reading “A mother’s pride”