Tag Archives: travel

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Graco Nimble Nook Travel Cot Review

Two weeks ago we went away for the week to Wales. We stayed in a lovely lodge and I took our new Nimble Nook travel cot for Archie to sleep in. I always use my own travel cot whenever we go away even if there is one available to use, I always prefer to use my own. I saw the Nimble Nook in the flesh when we were at the Generation Graco event last month at London Zoo and couldn’t believe how many features it had.

The Nimble Nook is a compact travel cot that grows with your baby. When you travel with your newborn you can use the cot in bassinet mode which is higher up so is easy for you not to have to bend right into the travel cot to get your little baby out to feed during the night and also if your in bed you can keep the cot right next to you and lean over and get your baby out. The bassinet also has a two speed vibration unit to help your baby relax and drift off to sleep. You simply plug the unit in and pick the speed. There is also a mobile bar that goes across the bassinet with two detachable grey stars on it. I also love the pattern on the outside of the cot, it makes it look very smart.

Obviously as you can see we used the travel cot in ‘cot’ mode as Archie is 21 months old. The cot was really easy to pop up and literally took about 30 seconds to put up and put the padded cot base in. I then added some sheets and Archie’s bed looked comfy and warm. When bedtime came I put him into the cot and went off to sleep quite quickly. The cot dimensions are slightly smaller than a normal travel cot (69cm x 68cm) which was great as it fits through door frames which we needed to do in the middle of the night as Archie kept waking Oscar up. Archie is an awful sleeper! I also noticed the height of the cot is really good. The sides weren’t to high that it was hard for me to bend into and high enough that Archie couldn’t climb out.

After five days we were off home and I folded up the Nimble Nook easily using the Signature Graco® push-button fold that makes closing the travel cot quick and hassle-free. Also the instructions are so easy to follow. The cot slips easily into the carry bag and when folded takes up minimal space in the car boot, (69cm x 20cm). Obviously being so compact and light weight it would make it easy to take on holiday abroad too.

I absolutely love the Nimble Nook it ticks all the boxes.

  • You can use it from newborn.
  • It is easy to use and light weight.
  • The dimensions make it easy to move through doorways.
  • Converts into a bassinet for newborn and smaller babies.
  • The quality like all Graco products is fantastic.
  • The price is great too!

It gets 10 out of 10 from us!

The Nimble Nook travel cot has an RRP of £109.99 but I have found it online at Mothercare for £89.99 and £83.59 on Amazon.

Technical Specifications:

Weight Length Width Height Folded Length Folded Height
7.5 kg 69 cm 68 cm 98 cm 20 cm 69 cm
From To
Age 0 years 3 years
Weight 0 kg 6.5 kg

 

Disclaimer: We were sent the Graco Nimble Nook Travel Cot for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own and I really love the Nimble Nook.

Generation Graco Badge FINAL

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Bluestone National Park Resort, Wales Review

Last month the most exciting email landed in my inbox, inviting us to come to the 5*Bluestone National Park Resort for a Monday to Friday mid week break. As Oscar broke up for half term last Friday it was perfect timing. The boys were so excited and it is their first ‘outdoors’ holiday that involved being outdoors, activities and getting muddy! Normally we go abroad and I am ashamed to see that I have only even been to Wales once before which was only last month for the opening of our trampoline park in Newport. So needless to say I was really looking forward to a different type of holiday for us in a totally new place!

Day 1

So on Monday we arrived at the Bluestone National Park Resort in Wales. We left at about 11am from home as Greg had some work to do first and it took us around 5 hours to get here which included a stop off for lunch and a quick coffee break further on. We arrived at about 3.30pm and we drove up to the check in kiosk and the whole process only took a few minutes. With our key cards and welcome pack in hand we headed to the car park as we couldn’t go to our lodge until 4.30pm. We walked over to the adventure centre and Oscar and Archie played on the soft play and bouncy castle. At half 4 we went back to the car and drove around to our lodge to unload and unpack. When we arrived at our ‘Ramsey’ lodge Oscar was so excited and as soon as we opened the door he was running around to explore his new home for the week. Our lodge consisted of two bedrooms, one with a doubled bed and one with two singles and a travel cot, two en suite bathrooms and upstairs an open planned kitchen, living room and diner. I actually brought my own travel cot but a travel cot is included. All bedding and towels are included too (not bedding for the travel cot) but I would use my own anyway. On first impressions the lodge was lovely and clean and we had everything we needed.

I unpacked quickly and then we had to return the car to the car park as it is a car free zone. We walked to the buggy and bike hire station where I had pre booked buggy hire for the week and two bikes and a trailer. We picked up the buggy first which Greg and Oscar were very excited about and drove around the park to get our bearings. We drove to the village and grabbed some bits for breakfast from Newton’s Store and as we were shattered from the long drive went straight into the Farmhouse Grill for an early dinner. The food came really quickly and was very nice. I had liver and bacon, one of my childhood favourites. The only grumble was for Archie’s age (1, or 21 months to be precise) there wasn’t a great deal for him to choose from. Afterwards we headed back to the lodge and bathed and we were all in bed by 9pm.


Day 2 – Tuesday

Today was our first full day at Bluestone. Archie and Oscar were awake at 6.30am so we watched Cbebbies upstairs in the lounge and waited for Daddy to get up. Archie slept in with Oscar last night and woke up 9 times, he has a bit of a cold but it was a huge milestone as up until now Archie had never not slept in a room with us. I then cooked us all breakfast and Oscar had been begging since we arrived to go to the blue lagoon swimming pool so we got ready and drove the buggy up to the pool.

We got ready in one of the family changing cubicles which was really clean and as we walked in a member of staff was cleaning the floors. The lockers are £1 but when you open them you get your money back which was great as you know with children your always going back again to grab goggles or nappies/wipes. Inside the blue lagoon is a main pool with a wave machine, baby pool, pirate pool, jacuzzi, lazy river and water slides. I took Archie into the baby pool whilst Greg and Oscar went on the water slides, we then switched so I could go on the slides too. The lazy river is amazing, it takes you outside which was a bit cold to start with but is so refreshing. I got out with Archie after an hour as he was a bit cold and with the £1 from the locker we went in the drying machine. You get 3 minutes for a £1 and its amazing, my hair was dried and Archie was lovely and warm. Greg and Oscar stayed in the pool for another half hour and then we met in the cafe for lunch upstairs whilst Archie had a nap. They serve jacket potatoes, sandwiches and chips.

We then drove the buggy back to our lodge and then went back to the buggy and bike hire to pick up the bikes. The boys thought being in the trailer was very funny and we headed on to one of the bike paths and ended up deep in the woods by the high ropes and the Camp Smokey restaurant. The scenery is absolutely stunning, trickling streams and some of the tallest trees I have ever seen. It is simply breathtaking.

We rode back to the village and had a cup of tea whilst Oscar and Archie played in the play area then headed back to the lodge for showers before going out for dinner. We booked the Oak Tree restaurant and the food was absolutely amazing. I had the lamb, Oscar and Greg had the cod pasta and Archie had pizza. All the food was freshly cooked to order and tasted fantastic. Topped off with a chocolate brownie we headed home full and tired from an action packed day. Again we were in bed by 9.30pm!

Day 3 – Wednesday

I was up at 6am with Archie who coughed pretty much all night. We had a cooked breakfast at the lodge again and Oscar really wanted to go swimming so Greg and Oscar went off to the blue lagoon pool for a couple of hours on their own as Archie wasn’t 100% we stayed at the lodge so he could have a two hour nap instead. When the boys got back we put on our coats and wellies and drove to the village for a quick coffee then to Camp Smokey’s as we had a lunch reservation at 2pm. As we were a bit early we walked through the woods and the boys walked in the stream and jumped in puddles.


At 2pm we walked back to Camp Smokey’s for lunch. Camp Smokey’s is outside in the woods and served barbecued food. The setting is fantastic. I had chicken fajitas and the boys had pulled pork baps. The food was great. Pudding was what Oscar was super excited for, we had smores and marshmallows and roasted them on the fire. Afterwards we walked back to the buggy and drove to the village where one of the nature trails started and walked the 2.5km trail. Oscar took his creepy crawly I spy book that he brought in the village shop and ticked them off as we walked round. After the walk we were shattered, Archie with his little legs impressively walked most of the way. We wanted to go and Pan for Gold but it was fully booked from now until we go home so we have put ourselves on a waiting list at the booking office.

We went to the Knights Tafern at 6.45pm for dinner, you can’t book this restaurant but we turned up and got a table straight away. The menu is pub food. Oscar had sausage and chips which he loved, Archie had fish fingers and Greg had BBQ chicken and I had fish and chips. To be honest the food wasn’t great and I left most of it, compared to the other three restaurants we went to where the food has been of such a high standard I wouldn’t eat here again. I tried to book the Oak Tree for the Thursday night but it was fully booked so booked the Farmhouse Grill instead. Looking back now I would recommend booking all your restaurants on the first day as they all get booked up really quickly! We drove the buggy back to the lodge and watched some TV then went to bed.

Day 4 – Thursday

We got up at 7.30am and we had breakfast at home again and then drove our buggy up to the car park and drove the short 5 mile drive to Folly Farm. We had read loads of great reviews about Folly Farm and decided it was a must do day out. Folly Farm has a farm, zoo, fairground and play area and we couldn’t believe how cheap it was to get in. Only £13.95 for adults and £11.95 for children aged 3-15 and senior citizens. So for the four of us to get in as Archie was free it was only £39.85 which is great value for the amount on offer inside. The only optional extras are the the Vintage Fairground, The Pembrokeshire Wheel, Follystone racetrack and The Big Dig which you can buy 50p tokens for. I looked at the daily timetable online the night before so we knew what was on and at what time so we didn’t miss anything we wanted to see.

We arrived at 11am and went around the farm and the zoo and stopped for some lunch. There is so much to do at Folly Farm and it is well worth a trip if you are staying at Bluestone. The boys had a great day and the amount of different animals they have there is amazing! The lions were my favourite and we got so close to them.

We left Folly Farm at 2.45pm and drove pack to Bluestone. We rode our bikes back to the buggy and bike hire so we didn’t have to worry about doing it in the morning. Oscar was desperate to go swimming again so we went back to the Blue Lagoon for an hour for our final swim of the holiday.

We had booked dinner for 7.15pm at the Farmhouse Grill so headed back to the lodge at about 5.30pm to shower before dinner. Dinner at the Farmhouse Grill was great again. I had the steak this time, Oscar and Greg had the beef burger again and Archie shared mine. In the Farmhouse Grill is a small children’s play area where the boys played why we waited for our meals. After dinner Oscar had the build your own ice cream which is great fun for the kids with four different sweet toppings to build his own sundae. I was a piggy and had the biggest ice cream sundae which came in a huge bath dish. It was delicious. We headed back to the lodge on the buggy and I packed our bags before we went to bed. We are sad that we are going home in the morning.

Day 5 – Friday

We are going home today 🙁 You have to check out of your lodge by 10am (but you can use the facilities until 3pm( so we had breakfast and then Greg went and got the car so we could load all of the bags into the boot.

We then went to the village for a coffee then returned our buggy to the buggy and bike hire station. Hiring the buggy has been well worth it, we have used it to go everywhere and it is big enough to fit Archie’s pushchair folded on to it as well so if he fell asleep after dinner it wasn’t a problem. To hire the buggy for the week it is £85 and I would completely recommend hiring one, especially if you have young children. To hire the bikes and the trailer for the week was £65. On reflection I should of just hired them for the day as we only went on one long bike ride and didn’t use them to get around the park as we had the buggy. I used the Bluestone website to add on all our extras and the booking system is so easy to use to book in your activities, restaurant reservations and bikes/buggys.

We left for home at 11.00am as we had a five hour drive home. We have had the most amazing week at Bluestone and as you can see we have had an action packed week of fun. I asked Oscar what his favourite bits where and he said the Blue Lagoon pool, lunch at Camp Smokey, the golf buggy and walking in the outdoors. We will defiantly be coming back again soon and have loved every minute of our holiday.

Here our some top tips for your Bluestone holiday:

  • Hire a buggy, the park is quite hilly and with small children having the buggy has made getting around so much quicker and easier.
  • In the lodge towels and bedding are included. Bring some extra towels to take to the pool with you. I hung ours in the inside of the airing cupboard along with our trunks/bikini so they dried over night.
  • A small paper bag with a few kitchen cleaning essentials are included but bring a few black sacks, dishwasher tablets and surface cleanser. Also bring kitchen roll and toilet rolls.
  • I brought with us tea bags and sugar and a few other snacks.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped for you to cook a breakfast/meal. We had breakfast in the lodge everyday and picked up fresh bread and eggs for the store in the village.
  • Book your activities and restaurants in advance. Some activities like the panning for gold that Oscar really wanted to do was only on one day during the week and when I went to book it on the Tuesday it was already fully booked.
  • Go for lunch at Camp Smokey. The lunch is lovely and roasting marshmallows over the fire in the middle of the forest is great fun!
  • If your not serious bike riders like us then hire your bikes for the day as we hired them for the week and didn’t use them as much as we thought.
  • Have loads of fun!

Disclaimer: We stayed at Bluestone free of charge for the purpose of this review. However we paid for all activities, food, buggy and bikes. All opinions are completely honest and my own! We love Bluestone!

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Our Summer Holiday Round Up 2016

With Oscar returning to school on Thursday 🙁 I thought it would be nice to put together a Summer 2016 round up post of all that we have been up to. We have had a very long Summer as Oscar had nine weeks off as he broke up on the 8th of July. I absolutely love him being at home and we have had so much fun.

Week 1

We started off the holidays going straight from school at 12 o’clock to a hotel near us with Oscar’s school friends and went in the walled garden where they swam all day had hot dogs for tea and had a fantastic time! As the weather was nice we spent the rest of the week in the garden and got ready to go on holiday. We also went into London to a Finding Nemo event with Epson which was great fun! Archie had his first hair cut at Sharkey’s and he was so good sitting in the Lightning Mcqueen car.


Week 2 and 3

We flew to sunny Mallorca on the Saturday. We had an amazing time and the flight being only 2 hours was perfect for Archie who was a right fidget. We met up with one of Oscar’s school friends who was also in Mallorca which was lovely and went to see some close friends of ours that moved out there a few years ago. Our hotel was on the east of the island, the Protur Biomar Gran Hotel and Spa and it was really lovely. We went on an excursion to see the Pirates show which if you have kids is a must. The show is absolutely amazing, I have never seen anything like it. It was fantastic!


Oscar made lots of friends around the pool and both the boys loved the kids disco in the evening. We also hired a quad bike for Oscar which was so funny as Greg had to run behind him to make sure he didn’t bang in to anyone and we took a horse and carriage ride where the boys waved to everybody we went past.

Week 4

When we got home Oscar’s friend from outside his school had finished for the Summer so we went swimming with them and for a picnic. We went for our weekly fish and chips on a Tuesday with Great-Nanny which was lovely for Oscar as he is usually at school. It was great to go and check on our house build to see the progress. It was amazing to see what they had done in just 2 weeks! We had some lovely weather so I put the pool up in the garden and we also went to the local park a few times. Oscar also went to the cinema with Daddy.

Week 5

Daddy went on a stag do for a few days so I booked a few days in Norfolk with my best friend and her two children which was so amazing! Norfolk is home from home for me as as a child we went there 3 or 4 times a year staying in Brancaster. This time we stayed a few miles from there at a hotel called Briarfields and the kids loved being on the beach, building sand castles, eating ice cream and running around. We had such a fantastic time and we will try and do it every year now! We missed Daddy loads though!


Week 6

We met up with Oscar’s school friends at the walled garden for the day and the weather was amazing! I looked after my friends son for a couple of days and we went to the opening event of Gravity Force in St Albans that the boys loved. We went to visit Great-Nanny, went to the local aquadrome and went to see Scooby Doo Live at the London Palladium which was great. Even Archie sat in his own seat the whole time as he was transfixed on the singing and dancing.

Week 7

Daddy took a day off and we went bowling and for lunch with my Mum and Dad. The weather was amazing so we spent quite a lot of the time in the pool in the garden with Oscar’s friends over to play. We went to the Crayola Bus Tour event and Oscar got to do lots of art and crafts. On the weekend we went to Oxford for my Auntie’s 60th birthday and I got to see all my cousins and we even retook a photo that was taken 27 years ago!


Week 8

One of Oscar’s best friends had been away the whole Summer so we got to catch up with him and go for lunches and to the park and they played in the river. Oscar was so pleased to see him.

Week 9

This week has been a really special week! On Saturday Oscar and Archie were page boys at Greg’s best friends wedding. Greg was best man and I was asked to do a reading in the church. I won’t bore you to much but Steve has become one of my closest friends, hes more like a brother to me than a friend and we were so happy for him and Cheryl and it was an extremely emotional but amazing day. I almost crumbled in the church when I had to do my reading, I had never been so nervous! So congratulations Steve and Cheryl and thank you for a truly amazing day!


On the Sunday Greg was a little worse for ware and I was totally exhausted. We went to bed at 2am and Archie woke up at 6.30! Oscar stayed awake until 1am and partied all night long so he was a bit of a grump on the Sunday. So we decided to get some fresh air and went to the hills in Northolt, had a picnic and walked to the top of the hills and looked at the view of London.


We also went bowling with friends, went to see Great-Nanny and now we are ready for Oscar’s first day back tomorrow! Year 2 he we come….

Dreaming Of Dubai………….

Dubai is somewhere that I have always wanted to go to. A few of my friends live there and I always see their amazing photos on my Facebook and Instagram feed and as I sit here writing this post and its pouring with rain outside in May I am extremely jealous! Blazing hot, super glamorous and loads to explore and do, what more could you want?

The internet is full of amazing things to do when holidaying in Dubai and when I saw on Twitter that Tots 100 had an amazing competition for bloggers to win a holiday to Dubai with Dubai Tourism I had to enter! Dubai is the perfect location for a family holiday with amazing hotels and beaches and loads to see and do. I have looked at lots of the fantastic things you can do in Dubai for here are my top 5 if we were lucky enough to ever go!

  1. I would soak up some rays on the gorgeous beaches and swim in the crystal clear sea. Oscar loves playing on the beach and building sand castles and I have always preferred swimming in the sea to a swimming pool. Photos on Instagram of the beaches in Dubai look amazing and hot hot hot!

2. Something I have always wanted to do is swim with Dolphins, wherever we have been on holiday in Europe before we have been to watch Dolphin shows but have never been able to swim with them. Oscar always asks to see if he can swim with them so I know it would be an amazing surprise for him if he could swim with them.  Dolphin Bay In-Water Experiences & Aquaventure Waterpark is based at the back of the Atlantis on the Palm which is a hotel I would love to visit in itself. For £159 each you can visit the waterpark and then have a  personal and truly unforgettable shallow-water dolphin interaction. You get your own little show as the Dolphin’s swim and show off some of their favourite skills, then come truly close to them and touch, hug, kiss or even play ball with your new dolphin friend. You get to have an up-close experience which is appropriate for all ages which is great as Archie is only 17 months old but can still join in too instead of either Greg or myself missing out we get to do it as a family. This would be an unforgettable experience and would tick swimming with Dolphin’s off my bucket list.

four people in large pool with dolphin in Dubai

3. Obviously outside the hustle and bustle of the city you are in the middle of the desert. You can go on a excursion and one that really caught my eye is where you go for the day and not only get to ride a camel but also get to drive a quad bike and try sandboarding which all sound great fun! For around £75 each I think that’s a bargain for the amount of activities you get to try out. It sounds like a great day out, having tons of fun and we would get to try lots of new things and after all that’s what holidays are all about, making memories and trying something new!

two camels on sand dune in Dubai

4. So the Dubai Mall is the World’s largest shopping mall and is probably somewhere Greg will try and keep me away from with its array of gorgeous shops and boutiques! Obviously I would love to have a day of shopping here as I have been told that most things are quite a bit cheaper in the shops in Dubai. I will most probably need an extra suitcase to bring my new purchases home! 🙂 The Mall even has its own aquarium which is just mind blowing!

Dubai Mall (6)Dubai Mall (2)

5. Last but no means least, I would love to take Greg and the boys to Ferrari World. It is £ 49 per adult to get in and £40 for a child. Greg loves cars and Oscar has his own electric ferrari at home that Archie now uses. We recently went to something similar for Mercedes in the UK which is much smaller and we had a great time. It is the World’s largest indoor park (and only Ferrari-branded theme park) offering more than 20 Ferrari-inspired rides and attractions for visitors of all ages. Being indoors is good and in the midday sun would be a cool break for a few hours inside. For kids they can play in the waterless car wash, pilot remote-control cars, peddle their own Ferraris, and play with a Formula 1 car made entirely from kid-friendly foam and for adults you can go behind the scenes at the Grand Prix. Get up close and personal with the ultimate display of Ferrari cars, take a tour the historic Ferrari factory as you experience what was previously a privilege for only Ferrari owners plus so much more! This would be an amazing day out and one my boys would really enjoy!

So there you have it, my top 5 things I would love to do in Dubai. Obviously there are a few more I could add as there is so much to do there! If you are taking a trip to Dubai check out the Dubai Tourism website for more great ideas on how to make your holiday extra special!

This post is an entry in to the Tots100/Dubai Dreams blogger challenge, and be sure to share your own Dubai Dreams for a chance to win a holiday to Dubai yourself!

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My Perfect Holiday With My Family #MarkWarnerMum

My perfect holiday has changed only slightly over the last ten years. Before we had children when Greg and I booked a holiday I would always pick somewhere that was hot where I could return with a glowing sun tan. It also had to be somewhere where we could relax and grab a few spa treatments but also somewhere we could explore too as Greg gets bored laying around a pool for two weeks where as I love it, laying on a sun lounger reading a book.

Paris 2008

Before we had children we would take short breaks to explore amazing cities like Paris, have beach holidays but one of my most memorable was when Greg took me to San Francisco. It was my first trip to America and exploring such an amazing city was unforgettable.

  

San Francisco 2007 , Excuse the awful yellow cargos

When we had children I thought that my idea of the perfect holiday would be somewhat different but it hasn’t changed at all. The boys have travelled abroad since they were babies and are used to it now and we have been blessed with dream little travellers. Last year when we flew to Toronto other people around us commented on how well behaved Oscar and Archie were, which made me feel every proud.

  

My perfect holiday now is still somewhere warm that Oscar and Archie can have fun in the pool, somewhere that has attractions to visit and sights to see as I love Oscar to see and learn about different cultures. My favourite thing about being on holiday is being together and watching the boys in their element as they have Daddy with them 24/7 and making memories as a family is just amazing. It is somewhere that has amazing local food and a gorgeous veranda that looks over the sea and we can sit and eat dinner together and watch the sun go down. It is somewhere where we feel at home and that the staff are friendly and welcoming.

I love watching Oscar make friends around the pool and us then making friends with their parents and having lunches together. Seeing his excitement when we leave the pool after a long day of splashing to shower and get ready for the children’s entertainment before dinner is always so special, then watching him growing in confidence and playing with his friends is unforgettable as this is something we don’t get to see when he makes his friends in school.

  

Taking walks down the beach, walking along the shore, searching for pretty stones and shells. Feeling the sand between your toes and writing the year and where we are in the sand for our yearly photo.

  

Looking back through our holiday photos, we as a family have made so many amazing memories so far and I cannot wait to keep making even more. Roll on Summer!

Disclosure: This is my entry into the Mark Warner Holidays’ Family Ambassador search for 2016 in the Fab Photographer category. Find out more here. #MarkWarnerMum

 

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Travelling With Kids

We have travelled a lot with Oscar and Archie over the last few year and it has always been a relatively stress free experience thanks to forward planning and being super organised. With the Christmas holidays only a couple of weeks away here our some top tips to make travelling with kids a breeze.

Planning a big trip takes a lot of time and energy. In addition to making sure everyone’s schedules are free, there’s picking the right time of year, packing all the suitcases, and settling on a destination. For families like us with kids, this process becomes even more complicated, so I have assembled a few top tips for travelling with your children, including what to bring and what to do to minimize stress and maximize fun!

What to Bring

Keeping them entertained

Make the time spent travelling more bearable by bringing things that will keep your kids occupied. For babies, this could simply mean planning their sleep schedule in advance so they sleep through most of the actual travel. For toddlers or older kids, this means ensuring they have things to do during downtime. Bring enough snacks, portable games, music and books to keep everyone happy and guarantee a smoother trip.

Medicine

This one is easy to forget while we as parents scramble to pack the essential clothes, changing equipment, etc. However, it’s also one that will be quickly regretted if forgotten. Make sure to bring motion sickness medicine along – whether flying, driving, sailing or travelling by train if your kids haven’t done it before. There’s always a possibility they react poorly to it. Also remember any prescription medications the kids take and consider bringing cold medicine if your family holidays take you to a chilly location, while in hot locales, sunscreen is a must.

Travel Documents

If you are travelling within your local area, travel documents probably aren’t necessary, but for international travel, your kids will require identification that they may not have. This is a tip to be used at least a month before the trip to ensure you don’t run into issues crossing borders or flying to new countries.

What to Do

Education

Educational trips while travelling are brilliant for kids. Pick a few fun experiences at your destination before leaving and ask kids to choose the ones they like most. Interactive art, museums and historic locations are just a few ideas for places to take your kids and keep them learning throughout the holiday!


  

Nature
Nature is another great way to keep your kids engaged on a trip. Whether you’re in a hot climate or cold, the natural beauty of your destination can be a huge draw. This not only gets them outside, but by comparing and contrasting differences between home and the new location it helps them get more out of the trip. Walking, bike-riding, and hiking (depending on the age of your kids), are typically good budget options, as well.

Active

This tip depends on your location, but a lot of destinations will have built-in active options for kids and adults alike. For instance, a trip to the beach involves a lot of walking and swimming, while a trip to the mountains can include skiing or snowboarding for older children and adults. While getting kids to exercise at home can sometimes be a struggle, capitalize on the exotic location to get them bursting to explore.

Remember, if you’re well prepared travelling with your kids can be one of the most rewarding experiences for them and for you. So what are you waiting for?

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Parenting.com

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Make Travelling With Kids Easier With Boswells & Co, Oxford

Travelling with children on the school holidays can go one of two ways; it goes absolutely swimmingly or is a complete nightmare. The key to it going swimmingly is usually keeping your little cherubs entertained. We have travelled quite a bit with the boys this year and on both occasions that we flew abroad over the Summer they were amazing! (Phew!)

Before we took our 7 hour flight to Canada in August we were kindly asked by Boswells & Co if we would like to review some of their wonderful travel toys to help keep Oscar entertained. I am only publishing my review now as half term is now upon us and for travelling success I recommend these toys greatly!

We were kindly sent the Dinosaur version of the Top Trumps game which Oscar loved. A. because he is obsessed by dinosaurs and b. because it  helps him to learn to read higher numbers when working out his Top Trump scores. He is really into playing games and the Top Trumps are ideal to play anywhere as the pack fits in any bag easily and we played it on the plane and in our hotel room too. They are also great fun and will last for quite a few years as the game is great for children and adults alike.

We were also sent a packet of 16 colouring pens and a Magic Animal picture book both by Galt which again are both small enough to slide into my travel bag and the pens are washable too so it didn’t matter if Oscar accidentally got any pen on his clothes when he was colouring on the plane. Oscar loves colouring and I always buy a big colouring book when we go away and by the end of the fortnight he has completely finished it. It is great for keeping children entertained when travelling or when they need some quiet time under the umbrella by the pool. The Magic Animals book is really clever and has 24 hidden pictures of animals that you scratch off with a coin and then can colour in. Oscar found this great fun and as the pages are initially blank found it absolutely mind boggling and magical. The other kids in the hotel loved it too. These books would also make great gifts or stocking fillers.


Last but not least we were sent a wonderful CD called ‘On the move‘ by my first CD. Obviously we didn’t get to take it to Canada with us but it has been a permanent fixture in our car on the school run ever since. It has 23 fun sing along songs on it like chitty chitty bang bang and going to the zoo and for only £5 is a real bargain. Both Oscar and Archie enjoy it and Oscar loves having a sing along on the way to school. The CD is suitable from birth and your little ones will love it!

You can order online or pick up in store and get yourselves sorted for the next time you travel with your children. Boswells & Co have a great website full of amazing things. As you can see you don’t have to spend a fortune to make travelling so much easier and a lot more fun for children. It made our lives a lot easier too! Thank you Boswells!

Happy Travelling!

Disclaimer: We were sent the above mentioned travel toys for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are completely honest and my own.

 

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Our Trip To Toronto, thing’s to do & places to go

Last week we got back from 11 days in Toronto. We had an absolutely amazing time in a fantastic city. We flew with Air Canada from Heathrow and the flight was 7 hours 40 minutes but the in flight food and entertainment was great, Oscar watched a few Disney films and enjoyed the food too. The boys both behaved so well for the whole flight and Archie slept comfortably in his SkyBaby mattress which made a long flight much more comfortable for both of us. When we arrived we got a cab to our hotel which did work oujt quite expensive as there were traffic jams into the city. We checked in to our hotel which was The Trump which I got an amazing deal on booking.com a few months ago and they also kindly upgraded us when we arrived. Our friends moved over to Toronto in January so we had come to see them but I really wasn’t expecting the city to be as amazing as it was. I thought I would write a round up of the places we went so if you ever travel there with or without children you might find this helpful.

Sleep

When Greg surprised me on my birthday in March that we were go to see our friends in Toronto I looked online to see what hotels there were in the city. On booking.com I got an amazing deal to stay at The Trump Hotel Toronto for the 10 nights and we then paid on arrival. The price was room only and we were upgraded when we arrived. When we were taken up to our suite I was blown away. It was the nicest  hotel room I have ever stayed in. Oscar had his double bed in the lounge area which had a huge TV, desk and fireplace in it and there is also a kitchen area which was perfect for me when making and sterilizing Archie’s bottles. Off the lounge there was also a separate toilet that is was great if Oscar needed the toilet during the night. In our main bedroom there was a huge bed and cot for Archie and the bathroom was enormous.  For the boys there was Johnsons wash, shampoo and talc and a rubber duck for the bath, a Trump kids robe and slippers for Oscar and we were welcomed with a lovely hand made chocolate board. Oscar was in his element! Every night our rooms were turned down and a chocolate and bottle of water was left next to our beds, Oscar has brought loads home, they are delicious. Our bed was so comfy, I would love a bed that size at home. All four of us fitted in it with room to spare. Every morning when we went out and then returned the doormen and receptionists were so friendly and always said hello to Oscar and played with him. The staff were all so helpful and when Archie’s night time glowing seahorse ran out of batteries and I asked for a screwdriver to open up the battery compartment they said to leave it with them. We came back that evening to it fixed with brand new batteries and in Archie’s cot ready for him to go to sleep, as I said before the staff were absolutely amazing and so helpful! On the 31st floor was a gym, salon and pool as well as the restaurant. Oscar loved the pool and looking out of the windows over the city. On the last day as our flight was not until 8pm we were also allowed to use the showers to get the boys ready and changed before the long flight home. When we go back to see our friends again we wouldn’t stay anywhere other than here! Two nights we got room service, once as we had returned late from Niagara Falls and Oscar was hungry and the other when Daddy, Steve and Michael went on a boys trip to Detroit and we decided to eat in. The food was lovely and Oscar loved eating in the room.

Travel

If you are trying to get around the city walking or the subway is your best bet. You can get a tram which is $3 per person but with the traffic can take a while. We went on it once just for the experience and I couldn’t have done it on my own with the boys as there is 3 big steps up into the tram and with Oscar and Archie in the stroller it would of been a bit of a nightmare. We did get a few cabs but they work out expensive as you sit in so much traffic, unless you really need to get one I would walk as its such a lovely and easy city to get around and after a couple of days we knew our way around. We hired a car for two days to go to Niagara Falls and the African Lion Safari Park. We hired a SUV for 5 people through Budget (The Trump arranged it all for us) worked out £40 for the day plus £7.50 for a sat nav and £7.50 for Archie’s car seat. We took the Trunki Boostapak for Oscar to sit on which was his hand luggage bag. If you hire a car also check if there is a charge to park the car over night at your hotel, usually it is around $50 a night.

Eat

We ate at lots of different restaurants and most didn’t have children’s menus but were more than willing for us to choose anything and have a smaller portion made up for Oscar. We ate a couple of times at Joeys which is on Dundas St West and is right by the Eaton centre which is full of great shops. The menu has lot’s for children to eat too and I had the best burger there! Another thing that all the restaurants do is split the bill which makes it easier when eating out in a big group to make the bill fair. We also had breakfasts at the american diner at the Thompson Hotel where I had the most ginormous pancakes I have ever seen, they were delicious though! Other great places to go for for breakfast are Drakes One Fifty, The Fairmount Hotel, OverEasy (my favourite) and the sunset grill. Where we stayed was pretty central and we could walk to the restaurants easily as getting a cab around the city can take longer than walking! About a five minute walk away was the Hard Rock Cafe which Oscar loved and enjoyed his chicken and mash and ice cream sundae. A great Italian is Little Anthony’s where we had a mixed beef and veal Bolognese and it was delicious. We also took Oscar to Hooters 🙂 we he had a photo with two of the girls, he will love that for me when he is 18! Our hotel had a restaurant on the 31st floor called the America where we had desserts and Greg said it was the best apple crumble he had ever eaten! Eating out in the city is cheaper than eating here and worked out roughly $80-90 for the three of us, with desserts and drinks which works out about £40-50. There are also lots of supermarkets around the city if you want to grab rolls and ham like we did one of the days to make a little picnic. There are places to eat everywhere around the city so you won’t be short on places to go.


Places To Visit

We managed to fit in quite a lot over the 11 days we visited Niagara Falls which is beautiful, the town itself is full of arcades and is a bit like Blackpool and was fun to walk around. When then drove to Niagara On The Lake which is the most beautiful town I have ever seen, with lovely shops and restaurants and an amazing view of the lake. It was like going back in time.

We also went to the African Lion Safari Park which was near Cambridge and blows the Safari parks here in the UK out of the water. We saw loads of different animals and then watched the elephants swimming in the lake and them walking back to their enclosure following one another holding tails. It was like out of Jungle Book.


In the city itself Oscar and the men went to the Rogers Centre to watch some American football, we went to the Aquarium which is right next to it and then up to the top of the CN Tower which is also located there. There is also a light railway outside the Aquarium which we went on. The view from the CN Tower is amazing and we all lay across the glass floor. To go up the CN tower is $35 for adults and $25 for children aged 4-12 and adults over 65. The Ripleys Aquarium was really good and absolutely huge it took about 2 hours to go around. We got there early and there wasn’t any queues. I would recommend this as by the time we came out the queue was out of the doors. Tickets for the aquarium are $29.98 for adults and $9.98 for children aged 3-5 and $19.98 for children aged 6-13. Compared to the London Aquarium prices I thought it was really reasonable.

We got a water taxi over to Toronto Island which was $10 each and on the island is a fun fair with great rides and mini rollercoasters and a log flume, a farm, huge park areas and restaurants. The island is defiantly a must to do as it is a great day out and we were literally on the island all day long. You can get a ferry across which is cheaper but the water taxis are quicker and more convenient.

Around the city there are lot’s of quirky shops and boutiques and everything works out cheaper there against the pound at the moment. I brought the boys lots of clothes in H and M and myself some Nike trainers as they worked out nearly half price. We also took a trip to Toys R Us where Oscar got his Paw Patrol toys which a few weren’t available in the shops in the UK. Watch out though all the prices on the tags don’t include their 13% tax so always add that on before you get a shock at the till!

When walking around the city you will find all sorts of great places like graffiti alley where we took some great photos, the Distillery District which is a beautiful place to visit, Little Italy as great coffee shops, near city hall is a light up ‘Toronto’ which looks great at night and is great to take photos by. We visited the CNE (Canada National Exhibition) where there was a huge fun fair and exhibition inside where I brought some bark Christmas decorations and Greg and Oscar looked around some World War I planes. When we were there BuskFest was on too which was fun watching people perform.


Conclusion
We had an amazing holiday, stayed in a beautiful hotel and saw some amazing sites and ate LOTS of food. Would I go back again? In a heartbeat!

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Our Holiday At The Sensatori Resort In Tenerife

A couple of weeks ago we got back from two weeks in Tenerife. We stayed at the Sensatori Resort which is part of Thomson, they are a group of 5* luxury hotels and they have them all over the World. We stayed in the one in Crete two years ago so knew they were great and booked with them again as the service and hotel last time was great! 

When we arrived the hotel looked amazing, it is much bigger than the Crete one. We checked in and went to our room, where our bags were already waiting for us. Our room was lovely and big with a balcony with a view of Mount Teidi. We had a single bed for Oscar and a proper wooden cot for Archie. We unpacked and then went straight down stairs for a swim. There are five pools within the hotel, a huge infinity pool, a family pool, adults only pool, children’s pirate pool and a indoor pool in the spa. The infinity is a salt water pool but we spent most of our time around the family pool. The pirate pool has slides, inflatables and a big pirate ship, the children loved it but there wasn’t many sun beds around the pool. For the first week it was really quiet around the pool as as Oscar is at private school he finishes two weeks before state schools so it was really quiet and he had the pool pretty much to himself, on the second week it got a bit busier.

There is a children’s club and nursery but I didn’t use them as I like having the children with us when we are on holiday as the whole point is to spend family time together. Both of the boy’s were so good, Oscar spent literally all day in the pool and Archie laid in the shade and enjoyed swimming in the pool. Even on the flight Archie hardly made a noise, he is such a chilled out baby.

The main restaurant is a buffet with a huge range of food, all amazing and the staff are so helpful and friendly. There are then three other restaurants you can eat it, The market grill, club ocean restaurant and the beach grill. You have to book for these on the machines around the hotel which is easy to do and we always got the bookings we wanted. There are two other restaurants which you can pay to eat in too. Our favourite was the Club Ocean which is an Italian restaurant.

Every night but Friday at 7.45pm PlayHouse Live was on in the Atlas Theatre for the children with a fun live show that Oscar absolutely loved which we went to before dinner. Also from 7pm there is a bouncy castle in one of the meeting rooms and a film playing at 9.15pm for the children too. After dinner we would sit in the main square and have a coffee outside the piano bar and watch the fountain show to music at 10pm which was lovely.


We booked three excursions with Sensatori to go to Siam Park which is a water park which was great, although Oscar was to short to go on a lot of the slides but the children’s lost city is amazing with slides and water jets. Greg enjoyed the slides and we had a great day out there. We went on a catamaran trip to view the whales and dolphins. We saw some whales but to be honest I didn’t enjoy it as I felt sea sick the whole time and couldn’t wait to get off the boat. The third trip was the best, we went to Loro Parque which was over an hours transfer but well worth it as we got to see all sorts of animals and a dolphin, sea lion and a killer whale show. The killer whales were brought over from Sea World and they are such clever animals. This park is not to be missed if you ever go to Tenerife.


We had an amazing holiday and I would recommend the Sensatori Tenerife for families and couples on their own. We had an amazing holiday, in an amazing hotel and would definitely go back again!

Review: Trunki Boostapak

When we were asked to review the Trunki Boostapak it was perfect timing as we were about to go on holiday to Tenerife and I was about to go out and buy a booster seat for Oscar to take with us, which meant carrying more luggage to the airport as well as Archie’s car seat! The Trunki Boostapak is a clever idea that combines a children’s backpack with a booster seat which is certified to regulation ECE R44.04 for group 2 and 3 which is aged between 4-11 years. As Oscar is 5 it seemed like the perfect solution as Oscar could take his hand luggage in the backpack and be able to carry it himself with the sturdy padded straps on his back. The Boostapak is can literally be taken everywhere with you! When we were asked to choose a Boostapak Oscar chose the Star Boostapak which has an RRP of £44.99.

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All packed and ready to go!

On holiday I knew there would be lot’s of occasions we would need the Boostapak as we had a transfer from the airport to the hotel, we went on a few day trips and also got cabs to go out in the evenings to find different places to eat. From previous experience, cab drivers abroad are not the best drivers and it always panicked me before that Oscar was either sitting in the normal seat with a seat belt on or on my lap with a seat belt on which would never be OK to do in the UK. Having the Boostapak gave me piece of mind that Oscar was travelling in comfort and was nice and safe.

At the airport
At the airport

Fitting the Boostapak is so easy to do and takes literally seconds. You simply open the velcro tab up so the flap is behind your child’s back, open up the side panels to be either side of your child, Oscar then hopped into his seat, I aligned the red clip to his shoulder which you then clip on to the seat belt itself, do their belt up and your good to go! You can see a video HERE to show you how to fit it correctly.

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Oscar had great fun packing his Boostapak the day before we went away and had no problems carrying it himself at the airport which made life easier for me as I had Archie in his pushchair, a changing bag and my handbag to contend with. On the plane it fitted easily into the overhead compartment and was easy to grab out of it what Oscar wanted during the flight as there is a net compartment inside the bag for his colouring books and a large space for his toys. I didn’t have to pull everything out to find one toy.

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As I mentioned above we went out on three day trips so taking the Boostapak with us was great as Oscar put his thing’s for the day in his bag and we used the seat when travelling to and from where we were going too. We also went out in the evenings a couple of times for dinner and put the seat in the cab and Oscar loved that he was higher up and could see everything out of the windows. The hotel concierge even commented on what an amazing idea it was as he was helping us into the cab.

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Oscar kept the Boostapak open next to his bed when he wasn’t taking it out with us so he could get his toys out to play with easily and also made it easy for him to pack when we were leaving. The Boostapak itself isn’t that heavy and a few times when I put it on the pushchair it didn’t tip it up or make it difficult to push which was great. The Boostapak is absolutely fantastic and we will be taking it on holiday with us again at the end of the month when we go to Canada as using the Boostapak will save us money as we are hiring a car and won’t have to pay to hire a car seat. It is the ultimate travel accessorie and I absolutely love it!

Disclaimer: We were sent the Trunki Boostapak for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are completely honest and my own.