A trip up North

So as you know last week C and I went to stay in the family caravan in Bamburgh. It is a place that I have fond memories of from my childhood and although the area has gone through a few changes since my youth many of it’s best attractions still remain. We weren’t alone for the whole trip as we had my dad and his wife visiting for the first two nights and then my mum visiting for the next two nights. This trip I was plagued by torrential rain at the start so on our first day we went swimming in the morning at a newly built spa complex in a local village called Lucker. It is part of a bigger building project and there are a number of cottages to rent, a pub/restaurant which we ate at one night and a pizzeria. I can’t remember what the place looked like beforehand, the pub had certainly been there for some while, but the new renovation is exceptional. The pub serves high quality locally sourced food at reasonable prices. The spa complex has been built with ultimate luxury in mind. The pool is heated to a good temperature and there is a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and waterfall showers into the pool. There are also loungers on the side and a gym upstairs (although we didn’t try this out). There is also an extensive range of treatments on offer as well as spa days. I highly recommend anyone staying in the area to check it out for a bit of relaxation and a break from the busyness that can plague seaside resorts during peak season. 

During our trip we also went for fish and chips in Seahouses where C and I shared a portion of the north east’s finest. 

We visited our favourite bookshop in Alnwick, Barter Books and got a good selection of books which will last us a while. We also treated ourselves to lunch at their cafe where they have delicious hot and cold treats and meals with generous portions and reasonable prices. 

It does look like we spent all of our time eating food. But we also did a lot of pottering around encountering a lovely toy shop in Alnwick where I managed to get a couple of games for C for her birthday. If the weather had been nicer we would have probably spent all of our time on the beach but actually it was nice to have an excuse to go shopping and eat cake. The diet starts Monday!

Recreation area · Reviews

The climbing frame

So C’s climbing frame has been fully assembled for a couple of weeks now and I thought it might be a good time to post a review. I’ve mentioned before some of the reasons behind choosing this particular climbing frame; the durability, the age range, the quality, the brand. We bought C the Kingswood 2 tower frame with climbing bridge and swing arm accessories which is made by TP Toys. It was an absolute beast to put together. It wasn’t helped by having to supervise C whilst doing it, nor was it helped by my lack of knowledge or skills with any kind of tools. But even with J being fairly knowledgeable and if we hadn’t had a toddler running about I still think it would have taken two skilled men the best part of a day to put together. The instructions were clear and the parts and screws are well labelled with the instructions clearly showing what tools are required. The whole thing came in about eleven boxes, many of which were such a weight or size that they would require two to move them. Each accessory had its own set of instructions showing how to build it, and then how to attach it to the main frame. Whilst C is still too young to use the climbing bridge it seemed silly to wait until she was old enough to buy it, I’d rather just have the finished product ready and waiting for her to grow into.

Wooden PlayFrame (Kingswood Tower) with Platform, Sandpit & Climbing Wall

Now one thing that isn’t made clear on the website or the introductory pages of the instructions is that it needs concreting to the ground. I can imagine suddenly discovering that you need to concrete it could prove a problem if the area you have sorted for the frame wouldn’t take to concrete, or if you have started building on a time pressure situation. It certainly wasn’t something we had in stock when we started (I don’t imagine many people keep concrete to hand just in case). We did use the frame for a few days without the concrete as it was just too hard to keep C off it and it was very secure. However, she is only two and a half so I imagine if it was to have more weight on it or if children were hanging off it, it would need anchoring to the ground for peace of mind.

The climbing frame has a section underneath which is designed to be a sandpit. However, we felt that that section was too small and so instead, with some spare wood, fashioned a much larger area instead. The sandpit has proved to be one of C’s favourite parts of the climbing frame. An added bonus as we hadn’t really realised it had a sandpit. The sandpit comes with a liner and a cover, both of which can be cut to size. Although the frame comes already pretreated we’ve decided to give it some extra protection in the form of Osmo UV protection oil. We’ve used this before on the oak beams of the porch and really like the protection it offers. It has taken a while to get it totally covered, we’ve ended up having to do small sections at a time, but we’re really happy with the overall effect.

What are the negatives? Well it was a proper challenge to put up and did require a certain basic skills level. It also needed a number of tools which some may not have. Aligning and joining some of the parts together was a challenge and they had to be almost forced at times as they were a very tight fit. And the stickers to label each piece of wood were a right pain to get off, they seem to be stuck on with superglue! Only time will tell how well it will wear but so far it seems to be just what we were after.