In life we experience a lot of firsts. First date, first kiss, first love ......and when you have your first child the list becomes even...

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In life we experience a lot of firsts.

First date, first kiss, first love ......and when you have your first child the list becomes even bigger, and seemingly never ending.

From birth your child is experiencing something new every day, and then you have the milestone firsts. The ones that you record so that you can treasure them forever.
First tooth, first word, first step ..........

All of these firsts are important. Special. And they are always happening.

CJ is almost 11 now, and we are still experiencing firsts as a family.


Recently we got to experience a first that we will never forget.

Our first holiday!

Being a large family with very young children, going on holiday has always been something that we had wanted to do but we could never find the right place to go.
Somewhere that would cater for all of us, and was affordable.
Somewhere that would be considerate of Boo's additional needs, without making him feel singled out or different.

Well ...... We have found that 'somewhere'!

In August last year I was invited to take part in the Butlins Ambassadors programme.
I was thrilled to be an ambassador for Butlins and couldn't wait to tell the children that they would finally be able to go on holiday.
They had always seen the adverts for Butlins and asked if we could go, but being a mum of a large family with so many needs I was hesitant.
Not anymore!

We decided to take our holiday in Bognor Regis, during Halloween, and it was fantastic.

Butlins provided us with all of the information we would need in respect of what would be available on the resort and what the most important things are to pack, etc.
Having never been on holiday before this was vital to me and really helped to keep me calm while trying to organise everything.

The bags were finally packed and on the 29th October we set off on our holiday. I don't think I have ever seen my children as excited as they were that morning. They couldn't wait to get going and we hurriedly packed the bags into the car and started on our journey.

We decided to stay at the Wave Hotel for our break, and I was thoroughly impressed.
The room was spotlessly clean and spacious and the kids loved having their own bedrooms with cabin beds and built in TVs.
They also loved the games room in the hotel that was included in our stay, and ideal for the times when Boo needed something to capture his attention and calm him down.
We were even greeted by a different towel creature every day, which the kids absolutely loved.

The Wave Hotel

We booked the premium dining package for our holiday which meant that I didn't have to worry about cooking and could enjoy the holiday with everyone else.
The designated restaurant for our hotel was The Deck Restaurant.
The restaurant was clean and there is plenty of space to ensure that you aren't kept waiting for a table.
Best of all there was a large variety of food to suit everyone. In The Deck you are seated by a member of staff and then you are free to go and choose your own meals from the large food counter area.
There were several different areas in the food court including a children's area with lower counters so that they are able to dish up their own meals, making them feel grown up and giving them some independence.
We ate at The Deck for breakfast and dinner and the food was continuously being re-stocked with staff always on hand to help.
There was also a room to one side stocked with high chairs, jars of baby food, bowls, plastic cutlery and a microwave. This meant that I could feed Squidge without having to wait which was very important as babies aren't the most patient of people when they are hungry.
The room was always clean and well stocked and if there was something that you wanted but it wasn't in the room then a member of staff would happily get it for you.

Baby food supplies at The Deck Restaurant

Boo suffers with a Food Phobia so meal times are often very difficult for him. I was particularly worried about how he would cope in an environment where he would be faced with so many food types that he can not eat, and how we would manage if there was nothing available to him.
I needn't have worried.
Breakfast times were perfect for Boo as this is the one meal that he will eat a variety of foods for, and there was always something available that he was happy to eat. Dinner time however was a different matter. There was nothing available in the food court that Boo would eat. I was worried that I would have to purchase something for him elsewhere, but the staff were amazing. I explained the situation to them and every evening they would ask Boo what he would like to eat and would prepare it especially for him.
I was very touched by the fact that they would go to this much trouble, and it meant that Boo could sit and eat with us without feeling different or excluded.
I am so grateful to the staff for doing that for us.

For me it was the resort staff that made our holiday so amazing.
They were always available to help, friendly, and constantly engaged the children in conversation making the experience as special as possible for them.

Roo and Boo with one of the brilliant Red Coats

Entertainment wise we were completely spoilt for choice. The fun started from the moment we stepped onto the resort and the kids were in awe of how much there was for them to do. The entertainment guide that we were given on arrival was a great help and enabled us to plan out our day while trying to ensure that we included suitable activities for everyone.
I must admit we did struggle with this a little.
As a larger family with many different age ranges it was difficult for us to split up and allow the children to take part in as many activities as they could have.
I must point out though that this was not a fault of Butlins but more to do with us never having been on holiday before and not really knowing what to expect.
In hindsight, we would have taken grandparents with us if we had been more aware, just so that we could split up to take the children to all of the different activities.

But, putting that aside, the kids were completely unaware of the issue and had a fabulous time wherever we were. They loved the indoor soft play areas and the steady stream of shows that took place in the Skyline Pavillion throughout the day.
Roo fell in love with the Skyline Gang, especially 'Candy'.

'Candy' love.

The variety of shows was very good.
While on our holiday we saw Mike the Knight, Thomas the Tank Engine, Angelina Ballerina, The Skyline Gang, Lazy Town, Beauty and the Beast ....... and many more.

A few of the shows we saw.

Choosing to take our holiday over Halloween also meant that the children were treated to a special evening of Halloween entertainment which they really enjoyed.
I will be writing a separate review for the Halloween entertainment as there is so much I want to say about it.

All dressed up for Halloween (separate post to follow)
 

I would definitely recommend Butlins to others, and already have on many occasions.

We had such an amazing time and Butlins will always have a special place in my heart for enabling us to have our first holiday as a family.

Thank you Butlins!
We will definitely be seeing you again soon.

Missy x


For the purpose of this review we were provided with a 4 night break to a Butlins Resort of our choice, including a meal plan.  
All views and opinions are my own and my review, pictures and videos have not been edited by Butlins.