Eliza turned 7 at the end of January, but having a birthday so close to Christmas mean’t that she didn’t really want any toys.
We bought her a few nicknacks so she had some presents to open, but her main birthday surprise was a day full of fun.
The day started with a swimming lesson, but not any old swimming lesson……….. a mermaid swimming lesson!!
We spotted Mayim Mermaid Academy on BBC Breakfast news and upon further investigation discovered that they were local and did birthday parties. Unfortunately for Eliza, not many of her friends can swim well enough yet, so we booked her birthday party at Rockreef, and surprised her with a special mermaid lesson instead.
Although the mermaid lessons provide mermaid tails for kids to wear, before Christmas Eliza got a mermaid tail from Planet Mermaid to review, so this was her perfect opportunity to try it out.
Isaac and Eliza had a fun photoshoot in their tails by the side of the pool, before they got in the water.
And then it was time to swim!!
They both had an absolute blast and took to swimming with just a monofin straight away. Look out for my full review of the experience next week!
After the lesson, we headed into Bournemouth for the next part of the surprise. A visit to Odeon at Bh2 Leisure to watch the film Coco. This is the first time I have been to the new state-of-the-art cinema and we were certainly impressed by the comfy reclining sofa’s – they even have a small soft play area in one of the screens.
The story of Coco follows Miguel, a Mexican boy who aspires to be a musician – yet in his family, all forms of music are banned. The reason for this extreme mandate can be traced back to his great-great-grandmother, who was abandoned by her singer-songwriter husband so he could follow his dreams and then instilled a hatred of music in following generations as a result. When the annual Day of the Dead comes about, Miguel rebels from those around him and inadvertently finds himself trapped on the other side, an exciting yet dangerous world inhabited by those who have crossed over. He must try to find his way back to the living while also proving his musical talents.
The Incredibles has always been my favourite of the Disney Pixar films but Coco certainly edged it and even Sebastian sat transfixed from beginning to end, which is not like him at all. It has a beautiful story and makes death seem less scary for kids, with Isaac and Eliza taking a real interest in their great-grandparents after watching it.
Bh2 Leisure is also home to thirteen restaurants including some of our favourites: Five Guys, Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, Handmade Burger Company, Pizza Express and TGI Friday. I gave Eliza the choice of where she wanted to eat and much to my surprise she opted for one that we have not tried before: Las Iguanas, which serves Latin American food.
Las Iguanas is the perfect destination for families as it has fun activities to keep the kids occupied, plus a great menu for younger guests where they can choose to tuck into Cod Bites, Crispy Chicken or brave Whacky Tacos or even Crazy Quesadillas.
With every meal ordered, they can also choose a character to take home with them and the kids (and Hubby) had great fun playing with the characters, which have been created for Las Iguanas by Aardman and feature characters: Iggy the Iguana, Santiago the Sloth, Banana the Llama, Mick the Jaguar, Tumble the Tapir and Mischief the Monkey.
For us adults, there were two for one cocktails and coolers and a fantastic menu packed full of wonderful flavours. The only problem we had was choosing what to have.
Both Eliza and Isaac opted for the Whacky Taco’s, with fajita chicken and peppers, whilst Sebby went for Crispy Chicken.
I chose the Bahain Chicken; chicken breast strips pan-fried in cumin, coriander & cayenne & cooked in a creamy coconut sauce with ginger, garlic, tomatoes & coriander and served with spring onion rice & shredded greens, whilst Hubby chose the Gaucho Steak; a 10oz sirloin steak with fresh herb chimichurri, Argentine-style roasted sweetcorn purée & a choice of roasted sweet potato mash, fries or salad.
The food was absolutely delicious and everyone cleared their plates, leaving just enough room for dessert. When visiting restaurants, I sometimes feel that desserts are too large, but Las Iguanas got it just right and we left feeling full, but not uncomfortable.
The restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived but is obviously very popular as filled up very quickly. Our waiter was attentive throughout our meal and made sure we had everything we needed, even swapping one of the toys as the kids wanted one of each character!!
At the end of the meal Sebastian proudly declared that Las Iguanas is his favourite restaurant and we all agreed we would be back again.
Eliza thoroughly enjoyed her birthday treat and Bh2 Leisure is the perfect destination for a family day out. Keep an eye on their facebook page for special events and offers – before Christmas we attended a Star Wars Jedi Training Session with Force Academy which they loved.
Have you been to BH2 Leisure yet?
Disclaimer: We were provided with complimentary cinema tickets and a meal for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.