Recharging Your Batteries With A Weekend In The Lake District

The Lake District is one of the most tranquil and relaxing settings in the UK - it’s home to rolling hills, glimmering waters, and some of the most beautiful towns you could ever wish to come across. This is an advertorial.

This makes the area one of the most popular locations when it comes to weekend breaks and self-improvement trips, which are incredibly popular at this time of year. We all want to get away from the stress of work, don't we? Giving ourselves a hard-earned break can be the boost that we need to get back on track, so here’s my guide to revitalising Lake District trips.

Walking 


One of the best things you can do for the health of your mind, body, and soul is to get active and venture out into nature, something that you’ll love doing in the lakes. The district is rife with walking opportunities for people of all experience and fitness levels, so whether you’re a novice who’s just looking to escape into the fresh air for a while or a fitness fanatic who’s looking to be extra adventurous on your trip, there’s something to suit everyone.

My advice is that you take a stroll around the waters for the best Lake District walking experiences - you get so see the district from one of the most aesthetically-pleasing viewpoints and it’s one of the easiest walking trails you can find as you simply follow the boundary of the water until you return to where you started.

Attractions 


For those who are a lover of the finer things in life, the Lakes Distillery is a great spot - you’ll find some of the most exquisite spirits in the country straight from their source! During your tour there will be ample opportunity to try out some of these spirits, so you can get a real taste for the quality that small-batch brewing can offer. If you’re a fan of what you try, pick up a bottle from the on-site shop before heading home.

Boat tours are another popular activity to take part in when in the Lake District and are one of the best ways to really get to know the ins and outs of the area and its history. Whilst on these boat cruises across the lakes, you’ll have a guide who’ll be able to give you lots of information about the waters, the surrounding areas, and the history of the district.  

If you are a fan of the author Beatrix Potter, you can visit the World Of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-On-Windermere, the Beatrix Potter Gallery and see the 'Miss Potter' filming locations.

Accommodation 


Next up is perhaps the most important part of any trip to any location: the accommodation. Lake District Hotels offer a selection of gorgeous locations throughout the lakes to offer an option to suit every type of traveller, from budget B&Bs to luxury hotels with spas for people looking for something more lavish and extravagant. I stayed in a hotel with a view a couple of years ago in the Lake District with a pool and spa and it was lovely.

Finding the right accommodation can be a tricky task, but one that’s definitely worth it in the end; you need to find the right location, the right amenities, the right surroundings, and the right price. Once you’ve found that perfect place, however, you are sorted.

With these tips in mind, I hope you’ve now got all the tools you need to plan a revitalising trip to the Lake District that helps you to recharge your batteries. The Lake District is a beautiful area of the UK, If you have never been, it's worth visiting for sure.

*Collaborative post

Preparing Your Home For Overnight Guests

Having guests stay the night is fun but can also be quite stressful. There’s a lot to do before they arrive, and you want to make sure your home is in prime condition. Let's read on to find out how to prepare your home for overnight guests. This is an advertorial.


There are a few preparation tips you should take into consideration once you extend an invitation to friends to stay. Not only get your space ready but also think about how you’re going to entertain everybody and how you’ll spend your days. Once that is organised you can relax and enjoy having your company over once your guests arrive.

Perform a deep clean

Firstly make sure everything is spick and span for overnight guests by performing a deep clean of your space. It’s your opportunity to clean out and declutter closets and wash down your appliances and floors. Focus on the hard to reach areas you usually skip over during your weekly cleaning routine. Take a good look over the entire house so that there are no spots left unturned. You should also look around and fix and repair anything that’s damaged to make your home look more beautiful and so you can prevent any accidents from occurring. You don't want your guests spotting a cobweb or peeling wallpaper or falling over a broken step.


Get their bathroom ready

Sort out the bathroom before your guests arrive. Take time to clean it up and put out fresh towels and flowers. If they have an ensuite room that may not be in use all the time, test the sink and bathtub drains to make sure they’re in proper working order. If you see the water flowing slowly or hear strange noises, then visit this drain unblocking company and consider hiring the experts to come over to take a look and fix the problem. 


Organise the guest bedroom

Another task you’ll need to do to prepare for your company is to organise the guest bedroom. You want it to be inviting and comfortable so that they feel welcome in your home. Be sure to clean it thoroughly and put new bed linens and warm blankets on the bed. Clear the shelves and drawers in the room so they have a place to store their belongings, especially if they’ll be staying for some time. You can buy a kettle cheaply so why not make up a tea making tray so they can have tea in bed when they wake up. It's a little touch that can be very welcome.


Clean up the yard

Remember to also attend to the exterior of your home when preparing for guests. It’s a wise idea to clean up the yard and garden and make the outside look presentable. Cut the grass and weed the plants so your porch and garden look more inviting. Head to the backyard and make sure you’re ready for guests to sit out on your patio and enjoy a glass of wine or if weather permits a barbeque together.


Stock up on food & drinks

Make your guests feel more comfortable by stocking up on food and drink, especially some of their favourites. Make sure they know where the tea, coffee and biscuits are and tell them to help themselves especially when you are not around. 

Entertainment

If they are thinking of exploring the area, get some local tourist brochures in for some of the attractions. It's worth thinking of what you will do with them in the evening, are you going out for a meal or staying in? Are you going to watch a film or play a game together? Think in advance of age-appropriate things to so and the day and evening will go with a swing. 

*Collaborative post

Time To Give Some Love To Your Home's Neglected Spaces

There are few things in life more satisfying than being able to take a house and really turn it into a homeAfter all, being able to improve and design your home not only gives you the chance to make your living space the most pleasant and comfortable place possible but it also allows you to express yourself. Let's fine out more. This is an advertorial.


People who really take the time to improve their homes and make them personal often end up feeling far more closely connected to them and enjoy living there for far longer than those who don't really make the effort. Of course, even for those who really love being able to make the most of their home, there are still a few places where they might not be paying the same level of attention. With that in mind, here are some potentially neglected parts of your home that you might want to give a little more love.

The basement

For a lot of people, their basement is, at best, a place to store random junk and, at worst, a place they don't use for anything. This is a real shame because a basement can have a great deal of potential. Far from being the dark, cold, damp place that a lot of us think of, it's surprisingly simple to turn your basement into a room that you actually want to use. Whether you make it into a game room or an office for working from home, it's one of the best parts of your home if you're looking for space where you can get some private and quiet time.

The attic

Similar to the basement, a lot of people treat their attic as little more than a glorified dumping ground. However, things like loft conversions are a lot easier than you might think and they can easily turn your attic into a usable space. Attic rooms make fantastic spare bedrooms which is perfect if you have people to stay a lot or you're thinking of growing your family. Not only that but it's a great way to significantly increase the value of your home if the time ever comes that you do want to sell it.

The staircase

Your staircase is likely to be the most used part of your home that you never think about. After all, stairs are generally just thought of as purely functional things. But the truth is that they can often make a big difference in how a home feels. Bespoke staircases can bring a huge amount of life, charm, and class to any home. It might not be the kind of thing you notice consciously but it's a great way to help your home make a fantastic immediate impression the moment you step through the front door.

The exteriors

Far too often the care and love we give to our homes begins and ends with the interiors. This means that a lot of people end up ignoring the outside of their home and their garden.  There are plenty of reasons for this but one of the most common is that people simply don't want to deal with the hard work involved. However, if you dedicate some time to your garden every month and keep on top of the gardening, pulling up weeds, cutting back bushes and the like then your garden will look great in no time.

The bathroom


Most people think about their bathroom in purely functional terms. As long as it does the jobs that it's meant for, that's good enough for them. However, if you're not paying attention to the way that your bathroom looks, it could end up becoming quite an unpleasant space. The most obvious example of this is lighting. A dark bathroom is never going to feel as clean and fresh as a brightly lit one. So pay attention to the lighting, for example, add some spotlights, and paint the bathroom a light colour, light blue or white can make it look fresh. These are simple changes but they can make a huge difference.


Your environment often impacts you on a subconscious level. Spending time, decorating or sprucing up those neglected areas of your home can really make a difference in how you feel about it as a whole, making your home a more pleasant place to be.

*Collaborative post

The Best Valentine’s Day Underwear Styles


Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to plan a date night with your other half, whether it’s getting dressed up and going out or perhaps even staying in. The month of February is often dominated by Valentine’s Day, putting romance on everyone’s mind. This is an advertorial.

Whether it’s the 14th of February or not, feeling good is probably at the top of your priority list for date night. This can start with something as simple as your underwear, as it creates the very foundation of your outfit and even the whole mood for the night!

Feeling confident and sexy in front of your date can be a huge deal, and wearing underwear that you love and that fits properly can enhance your figure. What’s more, the chance to buy yourself some new underwear feels like a great bit of self-indulgence that everyone deserves. With that in mind, how do you choose the best Valentine’s Day or date night underwear?

Choosing the right colour


The colour of your underwear is very much down to personal preference, but consider your skin tone and what colours may compliment it perfectly. Your skin tone or hair colour can determine the colours that will suit you the most, but if there’s a colour you really love regardless of that, go for it anyway!

If you have a warm or olive complexion with dark hair, go-to colours could include orange, red, golden yellow and deep green. Cooler skin tones will often suit colours like royal blue, emerald and deep purple.

Of course, if you’re setting a romantic mood, red and black are classic choices and can be incredibly flattering no matter what your skin tone is!

Picking the right fabric 


Touch is one of the most important senses when it comes to romance, so when picking your date night underwear, the fabric could make all the difference. Think of fabrics that are a little more luxurious or glamorous than your everyday cotton.

There are certain fabrics that are synonymous with a sense of luxury; silk or satin, in particular, can offer a smooth and gentle feel with its shimmery appearance. Similarly, lace often works well in romantic styles due to its partly sheer design, with a delicate style that works beautifully in any number of colours.

If you’re looking for something a little more contemporary, sheer or mesh inserts have become hugely popular in underwear. This maintains a sophisticated look with just a little peek of what’s underneath!

The best date night styles 

The best underwear for you often depends on what you feel most comfortable in; after all, you will naturally appear more confident if you’re comfortable in your outfit! So, whether you prefer full coverage or very little, there is the right underwear style out there for you.

High cut Brazilian briefs have become a huge trend in the underwear industry because they are the perfect balance of cheeky and modest. With a high cut leg, they naturally elongate your legs and accentuate your curves for that extra confidence boost. With the style being a Brazilian brief, it still offers good coverage on the front and back, perfect for those who don’t want to reveal everything at once.

A more playful style for Valentine’s Day is the French knicker. French knickers may appear to offer the most coverage out of all underwear styles, but this doesn’t take away from their intrigue. They are most similar to shorts, but they offer a very flattering silhouette that hints at your cheeky, playful side. French knickers are usually designed in a silky fabric and can lend themselves to a number of different prints.

The classic choice for any kind of date night is the thong. This is because the thong is perfect for wearing under form-fitting outfits and removing any visible lines; helpful at a time when you are most likely to be wearing a bodycon dress. The thong has very little coverage, making it the ultimate style to show off your assets!

*Collaborative post

How To Clean Jewellery / Jewelry At Home

Jewellery can instantly accentuate any outfit, no matter if it is your daily wear, office outfit, or party piece, however, your look can diminish if your jewellery has that dull worn look. This is an advertorial.

While your jewellery becoming dirty overtime is only expected, it does not mean you have to keep wearing it as it is or buy brand new pieces of jewellery. You can easily make your old jewellery sparkle again by using a jewelry steam cleaner or using the easily available ingredients in your kitchen.

As a matter of fact, there are many useful DIY tips that you can use for jewellery cleaning in order to get that shine back. Without further ado, here are a few ways to clean and polish your favourite jewellery pieces using everyday items available at home. 


Please note, especially valuable and antique items should be cleaned by a specialist jeweller and opals, pearls and other porous stones should not be cleaned at home with a steam cleaner. If any of the stones are loose do not attempt to clean your jewellery at home.

Soap & water mixture


The blend of soap and water is one of the simplest and successful approaches to clean gold, platinum, pearl and opal jewels. You can use a delicate toothbrush with soft bristle fibres or soft fabric to scrub off any intense stains on the gold. However, it is best not to scrub when dealing with jewellery containing pearls and opals. Rather, simply expel them from the fluid mixture and lay them to dry. Once dry, you can then keep them in a cotton sack. Keeping your jewellery in a cotton sack will help prolong its sparkle for months to come. 


Use baking soda

Baking soda is one of the most powerful agents to clean silver jewellery. To remove the developed stains from your silver and gold jewellery, all you have to do is mix 1/4th cup of baking soda with 2 tbsp. water. Then, mix these two ingredients well to make a thick gooey paste and apply it over your jewellery using a soft fabric or a cotton wipe. Let the paste rest for a bit and then tenderly rub, wash, and buff dry.

To clean gold ornaments, place your jewellery in a clean bowl, sprinkle a pinch of baking soda, followed by a touch of vinegar over it, and wash clean. Again, it is best not to use this trick with jewellery and ornaments containing pearls or gemstones as it could result in paste depositing over them, making them look even duller than before. 

Chemistry of baking soda and aluminium foil

For silver, take a bowl and cover it with a layer of aluminium foil. Add a tablespoon of baking powder along with 2 tablespoons of water to form a mixture. Dipping your silver jewellery and/or ornaments in this mixture will do an incredible job to dispose of the stains.

You do not need to scrub the jewellery when using this method; simply let your jewellery soak in the mixture for a few minutes to see the magic. Then use a soft fabric or cotton wipe to clean the paste off the jewellery and then wash with clean water.

In case you feel confused about which side of aluminium foil to use for best results, read this insightful article here, you may be surprised.

Try toothpaste

Do you know how toothpaste removes stains from your teeth? It can likewise remove stains and dirt build-up from your silver jewellery. Simply apply a touch of any white toothpaste (gel-based toothpaste does not do the trick) to your tarnished jewellery and rub the paste gently using a cotton wipe or your finger. Once you have covered the entire surface, wash it well with warm water and buff to sparkle with a delicate material like cotton wipes. 

Clean it with beer

If you thought beer is only good to get your weekend party happening, you ought to try it to sparkle up your old jewellery as well. Beer is especially a decent alternative for cleaning gold jewellery. However, it probably won't work excessively well on your silver adornments. All you need to do is dip your jewellery in your beer glass and let it sit for a while. 

Use ketchup

Just like beer, ketchup is another common kitchen ingredient that you can use to clean your jewellery. It can be used to clean silver jewellery as well as copper and brass. To clean your jewellery with ketchup, simply dab and rub ketchup on your ornaments’ surface, let it sit for a while, clean with water and watch it shine. 

Get your own jewellery steam cleaner



Contrary to popular belief, it is very economical to buy your own jewellery steam cleaner to use at home. Steam cleaners utilize high weight steam to evacuate dirt, grime, oil, soil and other dust particles from your jewellery’s smallest corners and remove tarnishes. The best thing about steam cleaning is that it takes only water and less than 10 seconds to precisely clean your jewellery. You do not need to buy anything else or use any other ingredient. Just keep in mind to not use very high pressure as that can damage your jewellery.

Important things to keep in mind

While cleaning your jewellery makes it look almost brand new,  it is advisable to not clean your jewellery every day. Using a jewellery steam cleaner every day can damage the gems and stones due to repeated pressure and cause unnecessary wear and tear.

You can also take some precautionary methods to prolong the life of your jewellery. For instance, remove your jewellery when taking a bath, cleaning the house or applying beauty products. And secondly, don’t let your jewellery (especially silver) sit in the jewellery box for long; wearing it regularly actually slows down the process of tarnishing.

*AD

Becoming A Master Of Cutting Your Household Bills

When it comes to how we manage our money, finding the opportunity for savings here and there is always important. However, most of the time, we focus on savings on the things we buy in stores or online. What about the expenses that we have to deal with on a more recurring basis? The truth is that by looking at our bills and by learning how to cut them as best as possible, we are making longer-term savings that are much more likely to affect our financial health. Here are a few tips on just how to do that. * This is an advertorial.

Always be open to switching


When it comes to your household bills, one of the most effective ways to save money is to shop around, compare the deals with price comparison websites, and to choose whoever offers the best deal. The truth is that you are rarely going to get the best offer by simply sticking with your current provider. Loyalty often does not pay, as many of the best offers are specifically aimed at new customers, since they’re trying to attract them and are willing to take a small loss of profits to make sure that they win them over. Pay attention to when your contract with a current provider is over, and don’t feel any shame about immediately looking for whoever offers a better deal.

Get a better deal on your credit

Have you been using the same credit card for the past five years or more? If you’ve been responsible, paying off all your bills and managing your credit balance well, then your credit rating should have improved over time. You could be getting a better deal on your credit card and not even know it. As with many bills, you should always look to switch providers when a contract ends. For instance, you can look at switching to smart payment cards like Curve that can offer better terms on your credit, as well as the ability to manage more cards at once with one service provider. Better interest rates, more flexible repayments, and more could all be waiting for you if you haven’t looked at switching credit cards lately.

Look for referral programs with a friend

When it comes to your usual bills, you might find that there isn’t too much difference between the providers of big utilities such as oil, electricity and the like. There might be a price difference here and there, but often they’re not too willing to offer significant deals. However, when it comes to mobile and sim card providers, that’s not the case at all. For instance, Smarty has a one month free sim campaign for those who refer a friend. Referral programs are often the most reliable ways to make big savings, so if your contract is up, consider comparing them from provider to provider.

Cut services that you don’t need



Nowadays, our bills aren’t just our necessary utilities, such as gas, electricity, internet, and mobile. They also account for the subscription services that we pick up. This might include online TV and movie streaming services, online gaming networks, and various apps we have installed on our phone over the months. However, it can be easy to forget these subscription services over time. Have a “money day” each month where you go over your bank balance and try to identify where you’re spending your money. If you see subscription services that you haven’t used over the past month, then it’s time to cut them. No point paying for what you’re not using.

Be more efficient with your utilities

Saving money when it comes to your utilities isn’t just about finding the best deal. It’s also about being mindful of how you use those utilities. This is especially true of how we use energy in the home. There are a lot of tips on how to save energy in the home. For instance, you can replace halogen lightbulbs with more efficient LED bulbs. You can look at old appliances such as refrigerators, heaters, and washing machines and invest in energy-saving technology. You can also be better about habits such as leaving appliances plugged in when you’re not using them, which results in your bills going up for practically no reason. Become a more efficient household and you will become a more cost-effective one, too.

Make sure that you’re not getting overcharged on Council Tax

Everyone has to pay annual fees charged by the local council for local services such as picking up rubbish, taking care of local libraries, and so on. This is your Council Tax. This is usually paid for ten months a year, but there are a lot of people who have found that they have been put in the wrong Council Tax band. In fact, up to 400,000 homes are estimated to be in the wrong Council Tax band. You can get in touch with your local council through the Gov.uk website to check whether you’re being overcharged. It’s not a guarantee, but there’s no point in not checking.



Pay your bills on time

It might sound like an exceeding simple tip, but it’s an essential one to follow. If you tend to be late with your bills, then that’s going to result in you paying so much more in late fees. If you have trouble paying, then it’s time to consider budgeting and cutting what you don’t need for your usual expenses. Otherwise, use financial tracking apps that can remind you when bills are due, so that you’re late by pure accident. You can also have your regular bills come out monthly by Direct Debit so you don’t have to actively pay them, but it’s important to track what’s going out if you rely on automatic payments.

Instead of focusing just on saving money with your purchases here and there, start to think about your long-standing financial agreements and what you can do to cut them down instead. Hopefully, the tips here help with that.


*Collaborative post

The Importance Of Sustainable Energy

We all know that sustainable energy is important for the future of the planet but why exactly is it important and why should we consider sustainable energy for our home needs? Let's find out. This is an advertorial.

What is sustainable energy?

Traditional energy sources such as coal, oil and gas have been shown to emit harmful 'greenhouse gases' that contribute to global warming. These fossil fuels are also limited in quantity and are not infinite. We will run out of these fossil fuels one day.

Sustainable energy is renewable energy that does not emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is renewable as it harnesses the power of the planet, meaning we will not run out of these natural sources of energy in the future.

Types of sustainable energy

There are a number of sustainable energy sources that work in harmony with the planet. These include wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. Let's have a look at some of these.

Wind


Wind energy is a sustainable form of energy that harnesses the power of the wind. As with solar power, this natural resource is free which makes it cost-effective, wind companies, however, need to invest in the windmills and the energy centres to process the resource. 


A disadvantage of wind energy is that it is weather dependent so will not work in areas that aren't windy. There is a low-level noise associated with wind farms which may affect you if you live close.

Solar


In the simplest terms, solar power converts sunlight to energy. This is done by the use of solar panels, either on the roof of a building or as a stand-alone unit in a field, sometimes with the use of mirrors directing and focusing the light and heat. 


Solar energy is pollution and noise-free however it does not work at night and on cloudy days so it will not be reliable in certain countries without abundant sunlight.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is a form of energy that comes from beneath the earth. A Geothermal power plant taps into the steam and hot water reservoirs which in turn powers a generator to make the electricity. Geothermal energy is always available unlike wind and solar energy. A disadvantage is the smell of the gasses emitted.

Hydropower

Hydropower plants use the forces of water flowing to produce energy. It's one of the oldest sources of energy, used for years in milling and pumping. Today Hydropower systems convert this potential energy into kinetic energy in a turbine, which drives a generator to produce electricity.  

Hydropower is controversial as dams can have an environmental impact, due to interventions in damming of the water, however tidal and wave energy projects can be more sustainable and less damaging to the environment. Hydropower can also be expensive to put into place.

Conclusion

Building an energy plant for sustainable energy isn't a simple thing to do but it is essential for the future of our planet. For new sustainable energy businesses, it's incredibly important to think of the environmental impact that this business will create too, you need to consider the environment so a company like Douglas Healey that specialises in environmental law and natural resources will be your first port of call after you establish a site for the plant. 

We are running out of fossil fuels so we need to utilise sustainable energy resources. As a consumer, we should be considering a renewable energy supplier for our energy needs to protect our planet. 

*AD


Mistakes Not To Make When Moving Home

Moving home can be a very tiring and stressful experience and there is no room for errors. You want to make sure everything is packaged up in time and that it all makes its way safely to the new property. But there are many mistakes people make when moving home that could easily be avoided. Here are some mistakes you need to make sure you don’t make next time you move home. This is an advertorial.

Not giving yourself enough time


Time can really run away with you when you’re moving house. You may think you will only need a week to get everything ready but that week will go by so quickly and if you’re not ready by moving day, tough. You need to make sure you have enough time to pack - perhaps even start packing weeks ahead of time to ensure you have everything ready by the big day. Then you don't have to rush and can take time to stop and have a cup of tea when you need to.

Not taking the opportunity to declutter

Why take a load of stuff with you that you don’t need? It is a waste of time and packaging materials. If you declutter as you go, you’ll ensure that you won’t be taking stuff over to the new property that you are going to get rid of anyway. Go through the kids toys - donate the stuff that they don’t longer play with, take the toys that are broken to the tip. Use the time wisely to make sure you get rid of anything you need to.

Not labelling your possessions

If you’re boxing stuff up, you’ll want to label them so you know exactly which box goes in which room. Otherwise you will be doing a whole game of guess what is in this box and having to move them from room to room. With labels, you can put them straight in the room they are meant to be in so you know you can simply unpack them there and then.

Not hiring someone when you need the help

Sometimes you need actual professionals to help you move. If you don’t have much in the way of possessions then you may be able to move everything yourself but if you have large, heavy or awkward bits of furniture or appliances, you might want to hire some help. You can opt for professional movers who know exactly what they are doing, such as The Man Van, and can offer you a really reliable service.

Not setting up mail re-directs

Did you know you can get your mail re-directed? Don’t spend your packing time changing your address for various different things. Focus on changing it for the important people like tax office, driving licence, bank accounts. Get your mail re-directed so you can focus on all the other places when you’re finally all settled and moved in.

I hope this helps you not to make the same mistakes that other people have done in the past - it can be so easy to fall into these traps so make sure you’re completely focused on the move. Good luck in your new home!

#AD

Melvin Brewing and the Unique Appeal of Craft Beer

Are you looking for something a little different from your alcoholic beverage? Feel that your regular drink isn’t quite cutting it? Well, craft beers may be what you’re looking for. This is an #AD.

Ever since the ’70s, independent breweries have been gaining a steady prominence over the years and for good reason. Why is that you may ask? Well, let’s find out.

So what is craft beer? 



Craft beers are a type of beer made in comparatively small quantities by small, independent breweries. They tend to cover the gamut from canned to barrelled beers and aside from the brewing process, the standout difference between your typical beer and a craft beer is the goal: the flavour. 

Craft beers can be experimental and you are dealing with a range of beers and flavours you won't get in a big brewery, so the choice is bigger for beer lovers. Some craft beers are high in alcohol content, some are lower, some use standard ingredients but many put a twist on the flavours. You can get craft beers that use chilli in the ingredients and you can get craft beers that use chocolate for example. Some of the most popular are stouts and wheat beers as well as pale ale, though so it doesn't have to be all about unusual ingredients.

To have an interest in craft beers is to explore the range of brews out there to broaden your horizons or find your perfect, personal beer. 

What about craft breweries? 



Craft breweries are generally independent brewers that have a flair for experimentation. They strive to experiment with a range of beers and the craft brewery movement is popular across the globe, especially in the UK and Europe and also in the USA and Canada.

Craft brewers love the craft of making the perfect beer and many are members of associations like the Brewers Association for small and independent brewers, that strives to offer quality beer.

Melvin Brewing are an outstanding example of a craft brewer, winning numerous awards for their uniquely themed range and having the humour and style to match, with their mantra being ‘If your beer is not madness, it’s not beer’. The IPA's are outstanding and it's fun to try a flight of your favourite beers here.

Who are the people that drink craft beer?

Craft beer lovers are true beer lovers. They are people that love the art and craft of brewing, to get interesting flavours, and a quality and unique product. Often they don't like to go with the crowd, and instead, champion the independent breweries. Craft beer lovers are adventurous and fun-loving and many love the fact that organic ingredients, little preservatives and few additives are used in many craft beers. Some craft beers are vegan too. It may surprise you that all beer isn't vegan, as animal or fish products can be used in the clarifying process, but many craft beers are.

As you can see there are many things that appeal to people who are craft beers lovers. Let me know, do you like a craft beer? What's your favourite beer?

*AD

Bluestone Wales - A Tranquil Break In The Pembrokeshire Countryside

* This is an advert for Bluestone Wales, our stay was complimentary in exchange for a review.

Bluestone Wales is a luxury holiday park set in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside. Situated a twenty-minute drive from the seaside resort of Tenby, 10 minutes drive from the little village of Narbeth and next door to Oakwood theme park, it's well situated to explore this area of west Wales. 

I've visited Bluestone Wales a few times in the past, and have always enjoyed the stay, so when I was invited to Bluestone at short notice a couple of weeks ago to cover it for my blog, I jumped in the car with the suitcases, tied Mr W to the roof rack, picked my mum up on the way and then drove the ninety minutes to the park from our home in South Wales.

Check-In


Check-in was at 4.30pm, we got there early but there was a queue. Bluestone Wales staggers check-in for people who are staying at different lodges but the park is huge and we generally have to wait. To check-in, you drive up to the check-in window, give your reservation details and they give you maps of the resorts, explain where to park and tell you the basic information. You can take your car to your lodge to unload, but that night you need to move it to the car park at the top of the resort and keep it there for your stay.

The accommodation in the park is a mix of wooden holidays lodges and a few cottages. The resort is hilly and you can hire a buggy for your stay. I would recommend this if you have little ones, people with mobility problems or the elderly infirm with you. For a Monday to Friday stay the cost of hiring aa buggy was £89. You can also hire a buggy on a daily basis if there is availability. 


There is a minibus that drives around the resort on a regular basis, with a couple of main stops, near the village and at the car park if you do not want to hire a buggy.

The Lodge


We were booked into a Dinas lodge which is very spacious accommodation, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen diner and a lounge.  







As you can see from the photos above, the kitchen was very well fitted out, with a complete oven and hob, dishwasher, and two fridges. There wasn't a freezer but there were two freezer compartments. 



Washing up liquid was provided as well as a couple of dishwasher tablets, a dishcloth and scourer, and a tea towel.





The lounge had a table and chairs big enough for 8 with placemats included. There was also a cupboard with dishes and plates and a high chair.



There are two bathrooms equipped to a good standard. One with a bath and a shower and the other just with a shower. Both had toilets.

Handwash was provided as well as towels. There was a hairdryer in the bedroom. You need to bring your own soap and shower gel, or bath products.










There are four bedrooms in the Dinas lodge, two double bedrooms and two twin bedrooms. Each room had bedside tables and a wardrobe and/or chest of drawers.

The Grounds


The luxury holiday park is set in over 500 acres of grounds. At the heart of the resort, you have the Bluestone Village, where restaurants, cafes and the Knight's Tafarn pub is set as well as the Well Spa. A few steps from there is the gorgeous lake area, the steep ravine and Camp Smokey area. At the top of the resort is the Serendome and the Blue Lagoon pool.





The Serendome is a new addition to Bluestone Wales. Open in July 2019, it's an undercover activity centre in a huge dome.




The Serendome is free to use if you are staying at the resort and it's a great resource for kids, although some activities are paid for. You can take part in the Wacky Races activity where you decorate your own go-kart, for the adventurous SkyWalk is a vertical adventure course and the mini SkyWalk is suitable for the younger ones. Complimentary activities include water and sand play and the imagination garden. 

The Serendome is also home to the Cloud Amphitheatre, a 400 seat state of the art facility. While we were there they were selling tickets to the Starchitects show in the Serendome  - 'the tale of the young Starchitects who, dream of exploring the dark skies above and join them on their mission to touch the moon.'  This sounded a great show for kids, full of dance and acrobatics. 

The Serendome also has a small food court which is open later in the day where you can choose from burritos, curries and burgers, and before shows, there is a bar available too.  If you want to read more about the Serendome I recommend you checking out Catherine's review from Passport and Adventures blog.








Next to the Serendome is the Adventure Centre, where you can play mini-golf and do a Sky Trail rope course. They also have lots of activities for younger kids including soft play, a bouncy castle, and a climbing wall for older ones. There are a handful of arcade machines too and a cafe. 



Close by is the Blue Lagoon waterpark. This is one of the big draws in the park. This all-weather attraction is suitable for all ages and all abilities with a wave pool, slides and jets. 



There is even the Nippers Cove, suitable for under 5s. What is great about the Blue Lagoon is that admission is free if you are staying in Bluestone Wales.

The Village


The village is at the heart of the resort. Here you can find a gift shop, a mini supermarket selling most things you would need for a break away, a pub called The Knight's Tafarn, the Oaktree restaurant serving pizza and pasta, and the Farmhouse Grill serving a range of food. There is also the Ty Coffi cafe where you can buy hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, cakes and snacks. 





We had a coffee at Ty Coffi and I felt the prices were fair and the coffee actually was very good.


The main office is here next to the minimarket, where you can book activities and ask any questions. You can also book activities via their website or on their app (more of that later).



There is a small outdoor play area too for kids.



Bluestone also has a small spa called the Well Spa, with a pool, therapy rooms, a herbal steam room, two saunas and more. You can buy entry to the spa, and also book treatments for a price. Previously I've had a pedicure here and was pleased with the outcome, the staff are very professional and well trained. I would recommend booking in advance if you want a certain treatment, especially in high season. 



Just above the Village is a fish and chip van called the Chippy, that, of course, we had to try out. The fish and chips were very good and made fresh for us. I definitely recommend trying the Chippy out!



Another night we tried out the Farmhouse Grill restaurant and the bar attached.





They have live music here on select nights and also a pub quiz twice a week. We, of course, had to enter the pub quiz as we love a good quiz, and guess what, we won! 



Nice to win a bottle of wine as a prize.





The food in the Farmhouse Grill restaurant was better than expected too.  The food was restaurant prices, between £10 and about £20 for a main course, but it was fair value for what you got. The steak and ale pie I had one night was very tasty, the steak filling rich and delicious and the puff pastry lid light and flaky. 

The brisket with fries, corn on the cob and cornbread was fine. The brisket was sliced thinly but was very tender and delicious, however, the BBQ sauce was overpowering and the cornbread wasn't cornbread, instead, normal white bread. The sweetcorn was good though. Mr W enjoyed his food though and the staff were very attentive so overall it was a thumbs from us. 

The Winter Lights

During our stay, the Winter Lights show was on and this runs until the end of March. One of the activities linked to this is the Winter Lights trail, a walk through the woods with twinkling lights. 







To see the woods lit up like this was lovely. I think even Mr W wiped the odd tear! You can really see why families love it at Bluestone Wales.

Since I visited Bluestone Wales last a few things have changed. The Serendome is new to us and looks a fun place to spend a few hours if you have kids. Another thing that has changed is that you can download the Bluestone Wales app and use this to book activities and locate your lodge on the map. Very useful late at night after a glass of wine, I can tell you.

I am also always impressed with Bluestone Wales' eco-friendly credentials. They make it easy for guests to recycle waste, and you can see they do everything they can to respect the environment. 



One day after a walk around the resort we came across beehives, that were fenced off.  Encouraging bees are great for the environment as they are pollinators of flowers, as well as being great at making honey. 



The lake is also a lovely area to walk around and feed the ducks.




What Mr W and I like about the lodges in Bluestone Wales, is that they are so warm and cosy. We just like walking around the resort, stopping for a cup of tea or coffee in the cafe and then going back to the lodge to work. In the afternoon we take a short drive to Tenby or Narbeth for lunch and then come back to the park for our evening meal. 



This time we didn't plan any activities, as we have done many of them in the past so we just relaxed in the resort. However, if you want to plan activities with the family, you could do anything from axe throwing and archery to high ropes and zip wires to canoeing and biking. That's the beauty of a stay in Bluestone Wales, You can do as much or as little as you want.

We enjoyed our stay in Bluestone Wales. This is our fourth visit now and it just gets better and better. The activities for kids are outstanding and perhaps in the future, they will look at increasing activities for adults.  Our only disappointment was that the Knight's Tafarn pub was closed during our stay for maintenance and upgrades.  The spa is lovely but it is small. A few more activities for adults wouldn't go amiss. 

Our midweek stay in a Dinas lodge for 4 nights for up to 8 people would have cost £379. With the use of the facilities, I think this is a good value if you have a large family. Thank you Bluestone Wales for inviting us to review, our stay was complimentary but our food and drink was paid for. Highly recommended. 

https://www.bluestonewales.com/
Canaston Wood
Narberth,
Pembrokeshire,
SA67 8DE
Reservations - 01834 862400

*Ad - gifted stay