Iggle the pig was hungry. He bared his big crooked teeth and gulped down some frothy week old milk as it dribbled down his hairy chin. The gaggle of toddlers pointed and laughed, eagerly clutching their plastic forks skewered with apples and cucumber for his breakfast.
Feeding the animals became a daily ritual on our week long holiday at Clydey Cottages in Pembrokeshire, Wales. It kicked off days spent playing outside, swimming and digging on the beach and evenings curled up next to the woodburner sipping wine.
Britmums blog competition
Earlier this year I won a Visit Wales and Britmums blog competition with my post about what children could learn on holiday. The prize was an amazing £1000 to spend on a luxury self catering break with Rare Hideaways.
I chose Clydey Cottages for its great toddler-friendly facilities, gorgeous location and amazing reviews. To be honest, I thought the £800 price tag for a one bedroom cottage in September was extortionate. But it was worth every penny- even if I had been paying for it myself.
J was overwhelmed with choice from the second he arrived! The well-equipped soft play area was an immediate hit and he has never seen so many outdoor tractor toys and ride-on cars in one place. When we could tear him away from that, the immaculate swimming pool was a lovely feature and the beautiful beaches with their crystal clear sea were only half an hour away.
The highlight had to be the animal feeding though. Farmer Malcolm was like the Pied Piper leading the little ones from the goats to the rabbits, chickens, donkeys and sheep. He made them feel instantly excited and confident, learning all their names and encouraging them to get involved. We had taken J to a farm a few weeks before and he wouldn’t go near the horses yet by the end of our stay at Clydey he was feeding them grass on his own!
I had been a bit worried about J having a reaction from the animal feed but wanted him to join in. The owner Jacqui, whose son has a nut allergy, said she was happy to prepare a separate bowl for him, but in the end it wasn’t necessary. I held the bowls of feed alongside him and he was able to do all the fruit and vegatables on his own. The only thing we stopped him doing was egg collecting as the shells are porous and we didn’t want to risk it.
Jacqui also recommended The Ffynonne Arms, a local allergy friendly pub which serves dairy and gluten free food. We went there for a sunday roast and J was able to have his first carvery and ice cream!
The cottages and facilities were hotel standard and also provided a bit of added luxury for the adults. The outdoor hot tub overlooking the lush green valley views was perfect for some romantic relaxation once J was asleep. We even treated ourselves to a spa treatment each in the onsite treatment room.
We stayed in one bedroom Lavendar cottage which was cute and cozy with a log burner and lots of barn beamed charm. Everything we needed for J was provided – even a baby monitor and wooden cot– and made our stay so easy. It is part of the reason why a stay there appeals to parents with young families and we met lots of couples with a toddler and young baby, many who had been before.
For families that live in the city it was the perfect country retreat. Although we already live on a farm, surrounded by open countryside, a stay at Clydey cottages was different. With a lack of phone reception, no laptops and no real world worries we were able to switch off and truly relax.
I am already trying to work when I can go back to feed Iggle again.