I intended to write just one post about the TOTS100 Christmas Party but I got carried away talking about the Butlins resort at Bognor Regis so decided to split them into two posts.
When I heard about the event, I immediately checked with a couple of others to see if they were going and signed up. I was nervous as hell about going to the event because I felt like I was surrendering my anonymity, however at the same time I was desperate to meet some other bloggers (I rarely get invited to events) and meet up with Jenny and Helen who I'd previously met. The three of us were pretty much desperate for a break away from it all and we willingly jumped in the car on Friday evening to drive the three and half hours down to the South coast.
We were quite lazy on Saturday morning but eventually got ready to leave our cocoon of a hotel room and venture over to find out what Butlins had in store for us. In the foyer I noticed a couple of other mummies and deduced that they were Mummy and The Beastie and Mummy, Daddy and Me Makes Three. We chatted briefly to them, admired the decorations and Christmas tree and played jumping while waiting for Mummy Mishaps to come and rescue my poor, neglected son (I'd forgotten to bring a coat for him, that's what comes of leaving the house with him in his pyjamas and sleeping bag!). Thanks Burton for lending him a coat for the weekend!
We headed over to the Skyline Pavillion for lunch, had a mooch around and had a good run around on the chaotic soft-play. We enjoyed a puppet show which had some fabulous puppetry and dancing courtesy of the Red Coats, those ladies earn their bobby-socks and blazers!
In the afternoon, while The Boy had his sleep and Mr. TheBoyandMe rested his eyelids, I met up with the other 34 bloggers for the afternoon reception that Sally had arranged for us. Having already seen a tweet from her a few days before about boxes from Hallmark, I suspected that something was on the cards for us and she didn't disappoint. We were split into four groups for the purpose of socialisation and given an hour to decorate an empty Christmas tree using the contents of the middle table.
A few of our team raced for a tree, while a couple of others grabbed baubles. Unfortunately, one of the other groups doubled up on the lights, sellotape and scissors leaving us without any and we managed to wrap a large selection of objects without either sellotape or scissors. What Mellow Mummy, All About The Boys and I can't do with ribbons isn't worth mentioning!
Ably assisted by one of the lovely twins from Here Come The Girls 'helping' with the baubles, and Bloggomy doing her twirly things with ribbons (and a kind Butlins staff member who found us some lights), we managed to get a very sophisticated tree done with time to spare. Just enough time to
steal borrow some additional decor from the Butlins reception to boost the silver and red theme before judging. Unfortunately we didn't win the hampers from Aldi but it was the perfect activity to get everyone chatting and mixing together.
After this, I popped back to the hotel and picked up Mr. TheBoyandMe and The Boy so that we could go and get them something to eat before our evening meal. We nipped into Papa Johns for the pizza buffet and managed to join the table already occupied by fifteen other people: Multiple Mummy, The Crazy Kitchen and MummyMummyMum and their gorgeous children. After we had our fill, we went back to prepare for our big night out. All the lovely, glamorous ladies met in the foyer of the hotel and we all froze our
arses bottoms off as we nipped over to Bar Rosso for complimentary cocktails: cranberry and vodka = fruity and strong and yummy!
Turner's is a very nice restaurant that was designed by Brian Turner and the chef there used to be the head-chef of The Ivy. That's the closest I'm going to get to posh London dining, and to be honest if that's the best they can do for a vegetarian at Christmas time, then I'll stick to Pizza Express in Cardiff Bay! Wild mushroom risotto is great for a Summer evening meal, not for a warming Winter and Christmas meal when the meat alternative was a full Christmas dinner.
I didn't take a photo of the pudding: figs and apricots do not inspire me, although the cinnamon ice-cream and poached pear was nice. No replacement for a sumptuous cheesecake or the traditional Christmas pudding though.
However, a meal like this is all about the company and the presence of Mummy, Daddy and Me, Multiple Mummy, Dear Beautiful Boy made the evening fly by! I forgot to take a photo of them but did manage one of Jenny and Helen!
We dutifully meandered over to the resort's club afterwards, but decided we just wanted a quite chat in the hotel bar instead, leaving the more hardcore MammaSaurus and TiredMummy of Two to party with NewMumOnline and the glamorous Actually Mummy.
After a tipple or two and having the lights turned out on us in the bar, we retired to bed!
To cut a long story short (too late I hear you cry!), the Sunday saw us have lunch with Mummy Mishaps and her lovely family (in Papa John's), playing with some more rides in the Skyline Pavillion, all of us falling asleep for an afternoon nap, seeing Bjorn's snowstorm and then having an evening meal with Mummy Mishaps again (this time in the Sun and Moon pub). The Boy and Burton started to have a good old natter about this and that, until Burton fell asleep following his mammoth two hours in the swimming pool! Just before we had to do, The Crazy Kitchen turned up to join us, and the littlies set about making a bus to drive us home.
Unfortunately we had to leave on the Sunday night as The Boy had developed croup and I wanted to get him to a doctor, but I shall leave you with some images of the Sunday.
I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend there and found that Multiple Mummy is just as funny and friendly as I suspected and I wish we lived closer because we got on well! It was brilliant to meet up with the others and find that they are just as lovely (and glamorous) as I'd imagined. I wish I'd had more time to speak to others including Kate from I Am Wit Woo and Jen from Mum In The Madhouse, amongst others.
Never mind, there's always next time!