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Places to visit

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset, UK

Porlock Wier is an idyllic spot located on the South West coast path of Somerset. It is a peaceful picturesque place with a pebble beach, pretty harbour and a couple of restaurants, small shops and a lovely pub.

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If you live in Somerset and are looking for a nice day trip or if you are on holiday visiting the county then Porlock Weir should be on your list of places to visit.

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Porlock Wier is located 1.5 miles from the village of Porlock and is at the foot of the rolling lush green hills which adds to its charm. The port has existed for more than a 1000 years with some of the cottages dating back to the 17th century.

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This is a lovely place to take children to my girls all loved our day out there and would happily go back. The car park is located right next to the beach so it does not involve a lot of walking for little legs, there are also benches and picnic benches located at the edge of the beach so adults can sit and relax whilst still being able to see the children playing on the beach.

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When it comes to food you can either bring your own picnic and with the parking being so close you don’t have to carry it far or you can grab a bite to eat there. We went to the lovely little pub ‘The Ship Inn’ that has lots of outside seating and offered a great menu section. There is also a little café and a pizza restaurant.

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You can take a stroll around the harbour admiring the small and colourful yachts and fishing boats that are moored up and on the edge of the harbour is the 17 th Century cottages which are full of character.

The reason I loved Porlock Weir is being able to take in the fresh air surrounded by lovely views of the sea and the rolling hills behind as well as the history and the character while the children are able to roam free exploring and running around the beach.

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Even without children this is still a lovely place to visit and to relax and take in the surroundings. If you like walking there are a few walking routes you can find details of these on http://www.walkinginsomerset.co.uk/porlock.php

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If you are on holiday visiting the area then why not visit the village of Porlock just down the road as well or to really pack your day out visit the medieval village of Dunster and the awe inspiring Dunster castle.

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Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Our road trip to France

The Un-spoilt natural wonder of Kilve

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Places to visit

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

We went to Wookey Hole for my daughter 6th birthday in September and all enjoyed a great day out. Wookey Hole has lots of things to do and see there and they are not just for children.

Wookey Hole is located in the Somerset countryside so don’t be alarmed when your Sat Nav starts taking you down country lanes to get there, you are on the right track.

The caves at Wookey Hole are the main attraction but there are also lots of other great activities, I had planned to do some of the other attractions first then when the kids are happy, go exploring the caves. What I didn’t know was to get into the attraction you have to go through the cave first. I actually think this works better as the children have no choice but to explore the caves if they want to get to the rest of the attractions.

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We have explored very small tunnels before in Exeter so my children were all fine with the big Wookey Hole caves. We were all amazed by how large and beautiful they were and the guides are so knowledgeable, they overloaded us with so much information and pointed out so many interesting things in the cave. The colourful lighting inside also helps set the mood and add wonder to the experience.

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During the tour you are taken past the cheese room where behind a metal gate is rows and rows of Wookey Hole cheese that are stored in the cave to help the maturing process. The children were very quick to point out the strong cheese smell as you passed past the gates. I have to say that the cheese is very nice you can buy it in the shop outside the caves.

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The last tunnel in the cave has not long been open so  you do have to wear a hard hat to walk through it but as the guide assured us it is just a precaution due to the tunnel being so new.

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The caves are pretty nippy inside so make sure you bring some layers and wear something warm whilst inside.

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After visiting the caves you are taken out another exit which leads out into the grounds of the park. There is a decked area surrounded by lush green gardens with streams and waterfalls to look at  with the rocky cliff backdrop that the caves are carved into. It is a beautiful spot to stand and enjoy your surroundings for a bit, that is if the kids will let you. The shop selling the cheese and wine is also located at the bottom of the decked path.

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Next stop we visited was the 4D cinema which was amazing. The effects and movements of the chairs make you feel as if you are immersed in the film. We were shown a clip from Monster Family which had spiders come at you and the air and streamers would tap your head and legs at the same to give the feeling of the spiders on you. It can be quite scary for children of a nervous disposition so be aware before taking them in, they do change the film clips so it may have just been the one we watched that was a bit scary. 2 out of 3 of my children enjoyed it and only one was scared so that’s not bad going.

After thoroughly scaring the kids we went on into the building where we were just in time to catch the next circus show so we took are seats and waited for it to begin. My girls really enjoyed the show the performers ranged from about 6 – 30 years old and were all amazing. For weeks after my children talked about the show and how they wanted to be an acrobat my youngest kept asking to be picked up so she could pretend to be doing the moves.

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There is an indoor play area where the children can run around and let off some steam while the adults can get a cuppa and sit and chill for a while.

When the children had finished with the play area we headed through the wall of mirrors which was great fun, trying to find our way through and not walk face first into a mirror is tricky but a good laugh. When we successfully negotiated our way round we went to the funny mirrors where the children spend a long time looking at how funny they looked  and laughing at themselves.

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Inside the building there is also the paper mill where you can have a go at pressing paper this is an additional cost. There is a vintage arcade with the old fortune telling machines and lots of other interesting forgotten archard games.

Outside there is a miniature golf, another great activity for the children and Adults to enjoy. We all had fun playing, there were a couple of holes in one but a lot more balls going a drift.

When you are all thoroughly tired out you can make your way to the lovely café selling the most delicious ice cream in loads of different flavours, what a great way to end a lovely day.

Wookey hole is a great family day out I would recommend visiting. There were 12 of us that went and all the children and adults enjoyed the day.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset

The Un-spoilt natural wonder of Kilve

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Places to visit

Lyme Regis, Dorset

There is so much to see and do at Lyme Regis in Dorset and fun to be had for the whole family. You can easily spend the whole day exploring.

As with any popular UK beach as soon as the weather gets warm everyone flocks in the masses to the beach so if you are planning a trip to Lyme Regis in the summer months then getting there early is essential to get a parking space easily.

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The beach itself is mainly stones but does have a small part near the marina that has sand and it is also sheltered by the man made rock wall so it is a good swimming spot especially with young children.

There is also a lifeguard there during the summer months and safety flags to mark out where it is safe to swim. This little part of the beach can get quite packed so it may be worth building your sandcastles and doing your swimming first (if the water is not cold) then moving onto the quitter stony part of the beach, when the sandy part starts to fill up to do your sunbathing.

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On the beach they do kayak hire, where you can get 1 or 2 man kayaks and take them out to explore the sea. You can hire them for 1 hour or half a day, unfortunately there being 5 of us we couldn’t really do it as one for the children would have had to go on their own and they would need a lot more practice on calmer waters before taking on the sea on their own.

At the end of the beach is the busy marina stocked full of boats, which you can walk all the way round admiring the boats on the water. This is also a good place for crabbing from what I have seen from other peoples catches, we have yet to try out crabbing here but this is on the list for the next time we return.

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When it comes to lunch time, there are loads of lovely food huts and restaurants right there on the beachfront. All the food places sell fresh fish and crabs that have been caught locally, which enhances the taste and experience. 

Last time we went we decided on fish and chips from the hut, we all ordered a portion each but on hindsight 3 meals between the 5 of us would have sufficed as they were packed to the brim with food and not one of us managed to finish our meal. We took our food up above the beach and sat on the grassy hills to sit down and eat whilst looking out over the sea and watching the world below us.

This is a lovely area to sit and enjoy as the children can run around freely and roll down the hills and the grownups can sit and chill and enjoy the view and the sounds of the sea. You need to watch out for the seagulls if you are sitting there with food because even if you turn your back for a minute they will be all over your chips in a blink of an eye.

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From there we went further up the hill where there is miniature golf and a woodland walk. We decided to go on the woodland walk climbing up the steep hills to the top then walking through the trees where we caught glimmers of the beach below through the trees. We kept walking until we came back out near the shops.

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As Lyme Regis is part of the Jurassic coast there is a lot of fossil shops throughout the town, selling anything from ammonite fossils to fossilised shark teeth and one shop even had parts of a meteorite that had fallen and had pictures on display showing it falling down to earth.

As well as the fossil shops there are lots of shops selling crystals and trinkets and also art shops with everything from sculptures, paintings, photos and pottery. If you are ever looking for some art pieces for the home Lyme Regis is a great place to go to look for that special piece.

Not to mention the fudge shops, there are two good ones in the town on opposite sides of the road selling amazing fudge in all different flavours. We always go a bit wild filling up a pick and mix bag full of the different type of fudge.

 On the beach front there are a couple of huts selling deliciously tempting ice cream in all different flavours and cones to choose from. Once you have your ice cream you can go for a stroll along the beach.

There are plenty of toilets located along the beach which is great when you have little ones, as when they need to go they need to go there and then.

On the beach there are also trampolines for the children and a small arcade to keep the children entertained once they have had enough of the beach.

Round the corner from the main beach you can walk up to the rocky beach under the cliffs where you can check through the pebbles to see if you can find fossils of your own. Or just take a walk around to watch and listen to the waves crashing on the rocks and admiring the cliffs.

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At the back of the shops there is a walkway through the houses that has a stream either side flowing through with the walkway in the centre. Once side is a very steep drop down and no railings so be careful with little ones. When walking through there to get back to the car we bumped into a lovely lady sitting on the bench with her 17ft pet snake called Rainbow wrapped around her. She said she had bought him out to bask in the sun and she let us pet him and answered any questions the children had about her snake.

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I would recommend a visit to Lyme Regis it is a great family day out with lots to keep you entertained. I do stress through that you do need to get there early as it is near impossible to find parking later on in the day during the warmer months.

Why not take a look at my other posts –

West Bay, Dorset

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.


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Places to visit

The un-spoilt natural wonder of Klive Beach, Somerset

Every Sunday we are going to try as a family to go out exploring more of the beautiful countryside that we now reside so close too in Somerset.

Waking up on Sunday morning I had my doubts that we would make it out to explore this weekend as it had rained the whole day before and we were all feeling exhausted from the busy week we had just had. The weather was looking cold and overcast although the rain was not forecasted until the late afternoon.

I was going to use the miserable weather as an excuse for a duvet day  so I could relax and read my book while the girls played in with there lego.

My partner however had different ideas. Sundays are his only day from work and as he works away for the week so he wanted to go out on a family outing.

After looking through Google for places to visit he stumbled across a beach not far from us that is renowned for finding fossils. Having been to the Jurassic coast in Dorset before and had no luck finding anything that even remotely resembles a fossils I was a bit sceptical but was happy to go along for a day trip.

I knocked up a quick pack lunch for the 5 of us, grabbed my camera and put the welly’s in the car and off we set on another adventure.

From us to Kilve beach the Sat Nav took us down all the country lanes, having only moved to Somerset 5 months ago from Surrey we are all still getting used to these narrow country lanes. Although the lanes did make me feel a bit queasy the views were beautiful. Field upon field of unspoilt beauty with sheep, cows and horses all dotted along and every so often you pass through a lovely little villages containing houses with thatched roofs and period stone built cottages.

As we entered in to the small picturesque village of Kilve and followed the white hand painted sign to the beach. We travelled down a beautiful country lane past a church and a lovely stone built house up to the remains of a very old church that is being held up by steel rods. The lane takes you into a small pay and display car park that is very reasonably priced even more so when we visited as the pay and display machine was out of order.

Next to the car park is an idyllic stream trickling its way down through the banks and off through the fields. There is a little bridge leading to a small hut where the toilets are located. In front are two public footpaths leading across fields of green and up onto the beach. We took the path on the left which lead us up the hill.

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Once we had made it to the top we finally set our eyes on the hidden gem that is Klive Beach. Tucked away in a cove of eroding hills is the unspoilt wonder, full of rock pools and streams and huge rocks. The tide was out when we arrived leaving us with a vast rocky area to explore. 

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As soon as we set foot on this vast boulder field of a beach we were finding huge fossils imprinted everywhere, the girls were amazed and so ecstatic every time they found one. We were all walking heads down turning over rocks and stone trying to find a bigger and better fossil than the last.

 All the fossils we did find were on huge rocks so unfortunately we couldn’t take any with us as a keepsake but I had the camera so we took photos as evidence of our finds.

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We walked up the beach and found a path leading up a small hill with a little bench at the top looking out over the sea. After all the fossil hunting we decided this would be a great spot for lunch. From Kilve you can see Minehead off to the left and make out the big white tent of Butlins even on a dull grey day and also Wales off in the distance.

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After our lunch break we headed back to the beach where the girls discovered tiny shells in abundance which they then decided to switch from fossil hunting to shell collecting. The girls soon discovered the Limpets when they tried to pick the shell of the rocks with no luck. We had to explain that there were creatures living inside the shell still. In their search for shells they discover a few limpets with no shell. It is the first time I had seen this before and when we felt them they were like jelly cubes and were a deep ruby red in colour.

We then trailed off down the beach overshadowed by the huge serrated cliffs. The girls discovered a wide flat part of the beach with no rocks or stones but lovely flat sand. They had great fun running around on what they called ‘quicksand’ as their welly boots were sticking as they ran.

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After a few hours of this amazing beach we headed off to the car already vowing to come back again one day hopefully with warmer weather. We had all Sercombe to the charm and uniqueness of Klive beach. It is so nice to see a beach that has not been spoilt by commercialism with everyone trying to cash in on a natural wonder.  

However this was nearly not the case as in 1924 it was discovered that the shale found in the cliffs was rich in oil and Dr Forbes-Leslie founded the shaline company to start extracting these precious oils. He had a red brick retort built but was unable to raise the rest of the capital to carry on the project. The retort still stands by the carpark today as a sorry reminder of what was not meant to be.

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All in all we had an amazing day out even with the cold damp day and it only cost us the fuel to get there and if the car parking meter was working a couple of pounds to park. I would highly recommend this beach to anyone looking for a day of exploring and wanting to find some fossils. 

Why not take a look at my other posts –

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

Why you should visit Porlock Weir in Somerset

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

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Parenting Advice Places to visit

The fun that can be had in open spaces

Nowadays there are so many different activity places available to take children to. You have soft plays, parks, farms (most are more play centres now than animals) and theme parks. 

Do we really need to take children to these places to have a good time?

Today my girls and I had one of the best days so far of the summer holidays and we achieved this by visiting Epsom Downs which is a wide open field in between the famous race course. 

We arrived at midday and the place was near enough empty. We started off by having a lovely picnic. 

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My girls had brought with them a frisbee and some tennis rackets to play with.  They were all so happy with the freedom to run about and hit the ball as hard as they liked without it going over a fence or landing in the road.

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We ended up staying there playing for over 3 hours. We played frisbee, tennis, I.T, stuck in the mud, handstand and cartwheel competitions, granny’s footsteps (the girl’s taught me this game it is a bit like what’s the time Mr wolf) and running races. 

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It was amazing how much fun we had from an empty field and the best thing it cost nothing! We already had the frisbee and tennis rackets and we just bought the sandwiches that we would have eaten at home anyway.

It was so great to see the kids making their own fun and I got to join in, unlike when we visit places especially designed for children where it is normally me sitting on the side watching them play. We received loads of fresh air and exercise and had a great enjoyable day. We would have stayed a lot longer but ran out of water and it was a very hot day.

Our open spaces are slowly disappearing and as we saw for ourselves not that many people use them which is such a shame as there is so much fun that can be had when using them. As a parent you can let your children run free without worrying as much as you would in a busy place.

*Edit* We still to this day enjoy visiting open spaces the only thing that has changed is instead of a frisbee and tennis racket we now have a football that is always in the back of the car and I have just bought a rounders set.

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Why not also read my other posts –

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Giant Bubble Fun

10 Cheap Activities to do with the Children this summer

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.

Categories
Places to visit

Our day out at Dover Castle

We recently took a family day out to visit the beautiful Dover Castle. It really is one of Britain’s national treasures, even Hitler had his sights set on the castle itself.

This is the reason the castle survied unscathed through World War 2 when the rest of Dover was badly hit as Hitler ordered for it to be left alone as he wanted to take it over for himself. 

Dover castle stands proud on its iconic hill overlooking the historic port and out on to the English Channel. The castle was built to impress, even the drive up to the castle is dramatic as you sweep up the step circling hill to reach the entrance. 

There is so much to do and see on this English Heritage site, it makes a great day out for children too as there are lots of activities for children and facilities for families.

We visited the two museums that are on site one that has the history of the castle and the monarchy of England and the other museum was The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Museum. Both of these were jam packet full of information and had interactive games for the children to play with allowing them to take in some of the history in bite size portions.

The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Museum has tons of war paraphernalia some as far back as World War 2 and the Cold War. There was even tributes to soldiers who had lost their lives in the recent war in Afghanistan. The museum had a vast array of war medals and official hats worn by the regiment throughout the years which made it a very interesting place to visit.

The remains of the light house that still stands at Dover Castle was built by the Roman’s and is the oldest standing lighthouse in the country and one of the oldest in the world. It is built directly next to the Anglo-Saxon church.

We visited the Castle on a Sunday morning and as the church is still in use there was a church service going on. The big doors at the back of the church were left wide open so we could peak in to the see. At the time we were there the parishioners were all in full singing mood which bought the church to life with the beautiful harmony’s reflecting from the stone walls. 

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The main part of the Castle is called ‘The Great Tower’ however in my opinion the word ‘Great’ just does not do it justice. It is stupendous with its sheer size and grandeur.

As you walk through the rooms you discover bit by bit the depth of the castle as it slowly reveals itself to you. It measures 100 feet in each direction with corner turrets and passages throughout. There are vast rooms spread out over 3 floors and a roof terrace on top.

English heritage has done a spectacular job of recreating the medieval time period with authentic replicas that you can see and touch. You do get the feeling of being transported back in time. We were lucky to have attended on a day that they had costumed actors roaming round and playing instruments from the time period to really bring the castle to life.

In the castle you will find throne chairs that you are allowed to sit on and take pictures, replica swords, shields and chain mail that you can pick up and try on giving you the true sense of what it would have been like to wear them into war. The chainmail in particular had me amazed the sheer weight of it was unbelievable I am astonished how anyone managed to wear it let only be able to fight in it.  

You can access the rooftop terrace where there is a breathtaking view of Dover, you can see the white cliffs and the port from there. For the children this was the main talking part of the trip being on top of the world. The stairs to get to the top are big stone steps but are very wide so are accessible for young children. Even if you are carrying them up to the top you can go up a floor at a time and explore the rooms on each floor before reaching the top so as not to have to carry them up numerous flights of stairs in one go.

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Outside you can walk around the grounds and follow the walls around the outskirts which has replica cannons and aircraft rifles which my girls enjoyed and pretend to shoot the ‘Pirates’ out to sea.

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The Castle has some lovely cafes that serve a selection of hot meals, sandwiches and mouth watering cakes. If you didn’t want to purchase food there is plenty of space on the grounds that you could sit and eat your own picnic. They do have an ice cream stall that you can treat the kids to and a gift shop.

Once we had thought that we had seen all that Dover castle had to offer we were stunned to find that underneath was a vast tunnel system.

To see the tunnels there is two guided tours that you can take one is called Operation Dynamo which is 45 minutes long and the other is a tour of the underground hospital. The Operation Dynamo tour takes you down below where they once used these tunnels as a command centre to put into action the safe withdrawal of troops from Dunkirk. The tour does not involve too much walking so young children will be fine and I think you can take pushchairs in there. The slope on the way down is steep and a bit slippery but the rest of the tour is on the flat surfaces.

During the videos that they show on this tour there are a few images of the war that children may find upsetting and the tunnels are quite dark when the lights turn off before the videos come on so be wary if taking small children on the tour. In saying that my 8, 6 and 4 year old were all fine and found it an enjoyable experience.

Dover castle turned out to be an amazing family day out for us all. Our day was packed full of fun and adventure and best of all our girls got to learn about History first hand. I would highly recommend a visit if you are near Dover.

We are English heritage members which is well worth the subscription. The price for us alone to have gone to Dover castle for the day is £52.50 with gift aid (which is definitely worth the money if you don’t have membership), this cost is over half of what you would pay for the annual joint membership. So even if you went to the same site twice you would have made the membership worth the while. English heritage do own over 400 sites across the UK to visit so it is well worth getting the membership. 

Why not take a look at my other posts –

English Heritage Annual Passes are They Worth it

Why you should visit Dunster in Somerset

The Wonders of Wookey Hole

Disclaimer

Some of my post contain affiliated links to products where I may receive a small fee if these products are bought.