Category Archives: Travel

Our Review Of The TUI Sensatori Atlantica Rhodes Resort

Back In July we stayed at the TUI Sensatori Atlantica Rhodes Resort for two weeks. We booked it back in February and at the time the hotel itself was still being developed. It was due to open in May but ended up opening in June. To be honest I was worried as a new hotel can come with teething problems, but on the upside everything would be brand new! The photos I had seen posted online looked amazing and we couldn’t wait to get there.

Before I get into everything about our holiday on our return my iCloud had a glitch and lost over 2000 photos which about 400 of them were of our holiday. I have a few so will share those but am gutted that I can’t share with you the videos I made.

This was our fourth Sensatori resort, we had been to Crete, Tenerife and Ibiza previously and know when booking a Sensatori hotel you are getting a 5* hotel with ultimate luxury with lots for the children to do as well.

We flew out to Rhodes from Luton which was fairly easy. I booked the priority lane as always which is £3 a person if you pre book and slightly more expensive if you purchase on the day. It allowed us to fly through security and into the shops! We were lucky to be the first on the plane and the pilot invited the boys into the cockpit. Archie refused but Oscar couldn’t believe it! We arrived in Rhodes quite late and the transfer to the hotel was about 45 minutes. Once we arrived, we had welcome drinks and were offered to go to the restaurant but as the boys were tired we were taken to our room by golf buggy where our luggage was waiting for us, along with a fruit platter and dessert tray.

We booked a family suite with a swim up pool and when we got to our room it looked amazing! A large main bedroom for us with a TV, mini bar which is stocked up everyday and is included in your all-inclusive, a second bedroom for the boys with another TV, desk and wardrobe inside. Hidden between the wardrobes in our room was the entrance to the bathroom which had a large bath/shower, two sinks and a separate toilet cubicle. The sliding doors then opened out on to out terrace and swim up pool. The boys loved having this and we used it everyday. There is tons of storage in the room, two wardrobes in the main and one in the kids room which was great to keep everything organised and room nice and tidy.

Within the resort there is the main buffet restaurant ‘Mesogios’ where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have different themed nights and the food was really good. I especially loved the fresh honeycomb at breakfast, that was so yummy! The other five restaurants you need to book for either using the screens in the hotel lobby or using the TUI Sensatori app. Caprice is a lovely Italian restaurant, Gaia is a healthy option restaurant, Kuzina is a greek restaurant and Liberty is an American restaurant. The last restaurant, Citrus is an adults only restaurant. Other than Citrus we ate at all of the other restaurants and the food was lovely. You can also eat lunch at Liberty or Kokumi cafe without booking. We were on an all inclusive package so you can eat and drink as much as you like. This is great with kids as they can eat and drink as much as they like and throughout the day waiters/waitresses came around to our sunbeds and took our drink orders and brought it to us.

In the evening there is a entertainment programme which you can view on the app two weeks in advance. For children they have Playhouse Live, movie nights and fun sleepovers. On the boardwalk each night there are different shows either from the Sensatori show team or acts that have been flown in to perform for you. During our stay we also had the World Cup and they showed the England games on the huge screen in the boardwalk, had a BBQ and brought beers around to everyone. The atmosphere was amazing and the Sensatori team made it really special and great fun!

During the day there are so many pools to choose from; the adult only pool (obviously not for us), the splash park and spray ground which was absolutely amazing for the boys with so many great flumes, the indoor pool, the ‘quiet pool’ which wasn’t that at all it was more like another family pool and this is where we spent most of our time, the main pool by the family rooms and the activity pool where they had lots of activities in that ran throughout the day. There was also the beach which is shingle but the sea was lovely and warm and there is also water sports you can do. Oscar and Greg went on the jet skis and Greg learnt to Water Ski, which was rather funny.

There is also a full activity programme for adults and children that run throughout the day as well. There is a kids club and stay and play sessions over in the nursery. I didn’t use this myself as the boys have never been in a club on holiday but other parent’s we spoke to said it was really good. Oscar did go with Greg to the sports hub to take part in a Nintendo DS racing competition which they loved.

An activity which Oscar wanted to do was learn to Scuba Dive. You can do this in the dive school which is located in the indoor pool. He had a lesson in the indoor pool for about 70 euros and then a few days later he got to do it in the sea which was amazing, this was about 100 euros for the hour. He absolutely loved it and can’t wait to do it again, he was a real natural and the instructors were lovely.

When they were building the hotel they came across ancient ruins from 5AD. They excavated it and have built a glass bridge above it so you can walk above and look at the archeological site. The main part was the village that had a church, two live presses and around 80 houses. You can even look down one of the wells. It is an amazing thing to see and we walked across it each night, its beautiful.

On site there is also a car hire office where we hired a car for the day, I think it was 140 euros and we drove to Rhodes Old Town. It was free to park and then you walk inside the medieval walls and there are so many lovely shops and restaurants. We spent the whole day here and also dove to see the Acropolis. I brought lots of bits in the town for the unique shops and we also had a man in the main square draw a picture of Oscar and Archie which he delivered to our hotel the next day. It’s absolutely amazing!

We also ventured to Lindos on one of the days. We got a taxi from the hotel as it’s not to far away. It’s a beautiful town full of little quaint streets, hidden away churches and at the top of the hill an ancient castle. Oscar and Archie had a donkey ride to the castle and back down again.

The rest of the time we spent at the hotel which was lovely and with so much to do you can you won’t get bored.

One thing the TUI reps sold to us was the VIP Lounge at Rhodes airport as it is a nightmare. It was around £150 for the four of us and yes it did get us through check-in much quicker but after that it’s a waste of money. The VIP lounge was small and cramped, the food was terrible and then it was so disorganised getting from the lounge to your boarding gate, at one point the stewardess just pushed us into the queue and everyone behind started moaning and it was a bit embarrassing to be honest. One man even missed his flight. I wouldn’t bother purchasing this if it’s offered to you, it’s a waste of money.

Overall apart from the journey home (Rhodes is famous for being a terrible airport) we had an amazing holiday and would go back and stay again. With all the Sensatori resorts you know you are getting luxury. It’s a beautiful hotel and obviously as it was brand new everything was sparkling clean. We had a fantastic holiday!

*This is a honest review of our holiday and I was not compensated in anyway for this post.

Peppa Pig World And Paulton’s Park Review

Yesterday we spent the bank holiday at Paultons Park. We have visited the park before four years ago when Oscar was four and now that Archie who is three loves everything Peppa Pig we knew it would be a fantastic day out for all of us to enjoy! Plus Paultons Park and Peppa Pig had new rides and experiences which weren’t there when we last visited.

Our Trip To Peppa Pig World In 2014. On our last trip we stayed at The Pig Hotel.

Paultons Park really has the best of both World’s for a family like ours with a five-year age gap between the boys. Obviously Peppa Pig World was amazing for Archie but there are also other areas in the park with bigger rides for Oscar to enjoy as well.

We made a weekend of it and travelled down to the New Forest on Sunday and went to Lyndhurst as Oscar wanted to look at the Ferrari garage. We then drove to our hotel in Southampton, ‘The Grand Harbour Hotel’ which is 20 minutes from Paultons. You can book a Paultons break and stay in this hotel and book your tickets and get a second day in the park free. You can book this on the Paultons Breaks website. Our hotel was lovely, we had a huge family suite and took a swim in the indoor pool. Our stay included breakfast which was lovely and we also ate at the hotel for dinner as well. We would definitely stay there again.

We arrived at Paultons Park at 9.45am to get our tickets and then went inside. The park itself doesn’t open until 10am so we waited for a bit until it was open. Whilst I was waiting I logged onto the free wifi and downloaded the Paulton’s Park app which makes it easier to navigate your way around the park. We headed straight to Peppa Pig World and went on The Windy Castle Ride which is where you sit in a cloud and go around and around. You get a great view of Peppa Pig World from up here!

We then went into Madame Gazelle’s school house and had a photo taken. Before we arrived we purchased a photo pass online which allows you to pick four photos around the park for £25 rather than £10 a single photo. You can also purchase a nice Peppa Pig World frame which Archie loves and now has pride of place in the playroom. When you purchase any photo/photo gift you get a code so you can download the photo as well.

We then played in Mr Potato’s playground and then queued up to meet Peppa and George. You can meet them at certain times during the day, by checking the app you can see easily what time you need to go to the ‘Meet and Greet’ area. Archie was so excited and couldn’t believe he was meeting the ‘real’ Peppa and George.

We then went on Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip which was fun and then grabbed a drink from Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Cafe. Inside the same building is the George’s Spaceship Play Zone which is a giant soft play area. There are several play areas within Peppa Pig World as well as the soft play, Mr Potato’s playground and muddy puddles which is a mini splash park where you can jump up and down in muddy puddles. As the weather wasn’t great we didn’t go in muddy puddles but when we visited last it was a lovely day and Oscar jumped around the playground in the sun.

We then went on George’s Dinosaur adventure. Oscar was big enough now (over 1.1m) to go on on his own so I watched and Archie went on with Daddy as he is less than 1.1m. Archie liked riding through all of Peppa’s friends. I was impressed at how quickly the queues go down as the staff are quick and efficient at getting everyone on and off the rides.

We then walked through ‘Little Africa’. This is a relatively new exhibit and certainly wasn’t here when we visited before. We walked through and saw Meerkats, Giant Pouched Rats, snakes, Fennec Foxes, Millipedes, Hedgehogs, exotic birds and bugs. Its a really lovely animal exhibit to walk around and is set out really nicely. We really enjoyed this and spent quite a bit of time in here looking at the animals and birds.

We grabbed some lunch at the Queen’s Kitchen which was hot dogs and pizza and then decided to head out of Peppa Pig World as it was really busy and return a bit later on. We went on the Victorian Carousel and the Viking boat ride then took a walk through the woods on the nature trail and saw the birds of prey, hornbills and the tropical birds.

We came out buy the little explorer playground in the Lost Kingdom. We went on the Dino Chase roller coaster which Archie could go on too and both the boys loved it. It was pretty fast!

Just outside the Lost Kingdom is the Water Kingdom which is a huge splash park and play area and we stopped here for a coffee and a play. It’s a shame it wasn’t a brighter day as the splash park is fantastic. Next time I am packing swim shorts and towels for the boys.

We then headed back to Peppa Pig World but on the way stopped off at the Wave Runner water slide. Oscar went on with Daddy and I think the photo says it all…….

We grabbed an ice cream from Miss Rabbit’s Ice Cream Parlour to eat in the queue of the next ride. We went on the Queen’s Flying Coach ride. This is one of two new rides that have opened this Summer in Peppa Pig World. It was very popular and we had to queue for about 30 minutes. You sit in individual coaches as a family and take a tour up above the park and it starts in the Queen’s castle.

By this point it was quarter to five and our feet were killing us, so we decided to pick one more ride which was the other new ride, Grampy Rabbit’s sailing club. You go in a little boat underneath the Queen’s flying coach ride circuit passing Peppa and her friends. It is a lovely ride and a perfect way to end our day out at Paultons Park!

We had such a lovely couple of days and Peppa Pig World was really magical for Archie, just like it was for Oscar when we came when he was younger. You could see when walking around the park how excited all the children were. Oscar really enjoyed it too and loved the Lost Kingdom and Little Africa. It’s a fantastic day out for the whole family and we can’t wait to go back again. It’s a really special day out with so much to see and do!

*This post is in collaboration with Peppa Pig World. We were gifted entry to the park but all opinions are honest and my own. Its a fantastic day out and we loved it!

What We Did, Where We Ate & Where We Stayed In Jersey

Last Summer at the end of the holidays we took Greg’s parents to Jersey for five days. I had never been to Jersey before and couldn’t wait to go as so many people had told me what a beautiful island it is. I went online and researched hotels and restaurants so I thought I would put together a post so if you go to Jersey you can see all of the  wonderful places we went too and I might give yous some ideas.

Firstly I booked our flights with EasyJet from Luton which were around £150 each return and the flight itself is only an hour long so perfect when travelling with kids.

I then booked our hotel which was called The Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa which is right on the seafront looking over St Aubin’s Bay in St Helier and has a view of Elizabeth Castle which is beautiful. We booked the St Brelade suite which was huge. It had our main room, the boys room, two bathrooms and a living area with a sea view. On our first night we ate in the restaurant in the hotel and the food was really good. We had breakfast each morning at the hotel, with some much to choose from there was something for everyone. The staff throughout our stay were lovely and friendly and couldn’t do enough for you. The boys especially loved the pool which was indoors and the changing facilities, gym and spa downstairs were all lovely and clean and we used them everyday.

I booked all our restaurants prior to our arrival after looking on the internet at other people’s reviews and some our friend’s recommendations. Our friend’s told us to go to the Crab Shack which is in St Brelade which is the most amazing fresh seafood restaurant right on the beach. I had the Oysters here which were the best I have ever tasted and the restaurant was quite reasonably priced too.

We also went to Doran’s Courtyard Bistro which was in the street next to our hotel in St Helier. It is the most beautiful, quaint restaurant with the most amazing food. The restaurant was just so unexpected when you walk past and then you go inside and the courtyard and decor of the inside of the restaurant made you feel like you were in a french farmhouse.

I booked Mark Jordan At The Beach a few weeks before we went as its such a popular restaurant. It is in St Peter and again has stunning views. We sat outside meters from the beach. It has a  Michelin Bib Gourmand for good food as well as two AA Rosettes and an entry in the Tatler Restaurant Guide 2014. I was really excited to go here as all the reviews I read were so positive. The menu was great and had great food for children too. This restaurant was by far the most expensive of the other four we ate at but was a lovely treat.

St Helier itself is a beautiful town full of lovely shops, coffee bars and restaurants. There is also a lovely park which is directly behind the hotel where we took the boys a couple of times. In the middle of the town is a beautiful clock that plays different songs and I am so please we stumbled across it.

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During our days in Jersey we went to St Brelade and played on the beach and strolled along the beachfront. We visited the famous ‘Jersey Zoo’ which was amazing. You can absolutely not go to Jersey without visiting the Zoo. We spent the whole day here and the boys loved it!

We also got the sea bus over to Elizabeth Castle. We spent a couple of hours here and when we walked around the top of the castle the views were amazing. We then headed back for some lunch. It was lovely to explore and be a ‘tourist’ after being in Ibiza a few weeks before where we just relaxed.

When we visited the zoo and other beaches we took the bus which was so easy to do as the bus station in St Helier is huge with frequently running buses going everywhere on the island. It’s so easy to get around.

We also went to St Martin which is beautiful as my Mother In Law wanted to go to the Jersey Pearl shop. I ended up coming out with a beautiful necklace and a ring. When in Rome and all that!

We absolutely loved Jersey and can’t wait to go back. It’s so quick and easy to get too even for a short break it’s the perfect place. Everything is so beautiful, people are so relaxed and everywhere we ate the service was amazing.

Admittedly it’s not the cheapest of places to go too but it’s definitely worth it! We love Jersey!

Elephant Parade London 2018

When I first saw on Facebook that the Elephant Parade London 2018 was coming to London this Summer I couldn’t wait for the holidays to take the boys into London to look for them.

I have loved the Elephant Parade statues for a while now and a few years ago brought our very own herd. One for me, one for Daddy and one for each of the boys. They have so many hand painted gorgeous designs to choose from but I chose ‘A love story’ and the biggest one is one of only 88 made. We have the the 10cm (£39.95) the 15cm (69.95) the 20cm (£99.95) and the large 30cm one (£259.00). We absolutely love them and love that 20% of Elephant Parade net profits are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.

‘Elephant Parade® is a social enterprise and runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-size, baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities and raise awareness for the need of elephant conservation.’

Now for this Summer you can take a walk around London and spot the hand painted gorgeous Elephant’s for yourself. There is also a pop up store selling replica elephants at 20 South Molton Street City of Westminster London W1K 5QE.

The Elephant Parade London 2018 runs from the 21st June until the 18th July 2018!

‘The Elephants around London will then be auctioned off at a high-profile dinner and auction conducted by Sotheby’s Harry Dalmeny, on 28th of June at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, attended by members of the Royal Family, key conservationists and society figures. Money raised will help protect Asia’s endangered elephants and support projects that protect not only wild elephants and their habitats but the people who share their landscapes.’ I would so love to own a giant version of one to have in the garden!

Enjoy the parade and I can’t wait to see your photos!

The Diono Traverze Stroller Review

With our Summer holidays coming up I had been on the look out for a light weight travel friendly stroller with a good recline for when Archie needs to have a nap on holiday and also a stroller with a large basket. He always naps after lunch when we are away and having a good recline on a small stroller was harder to find than I imagined. When we received the Diono Traverze to review about a month ago I was excited to try it out as I had done my research and it ticked all of the boxes I was looking for.

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When it arrived I got it out of the box and ours is in the Summery ‘Yellow Sulphar Linear’ colour which I love! There are 6 lovely colours to choose from. There was no putting together involved and once out of the box I followed the easy instructions and had the stroller unfolded and was up in seconds. The instant fold is so easy and quick to use, one-handed and the stroller itself folds so small. (Height 60cm, Width 41.5cm and Depth 23.5cm.) It is also so light to carry too at only 12.3lbs.

Our first trip using the Traverze was to Cardiff. We took the boys to the Principality stadium to watch Monster Jam. It was easy to steer through the busy streets of the city and once inside I folded the stroller which was small enough for me to carry through security and to our seats and fitted neatly under my seat not blocking the walk way at all. I found this so easy and much less stressful than travelling with a larger fold stroller as I would have then had to drop it into a designated area and then would have had to queue to go and retrieve it afterwards. Also carrying it up the steep stairs to our seats was easy too as its so light! We also had to park quite far away from the stadium and Archie was tired afterwards and jumped straight in, instead of us having to carry him on the 20 minute walk back to our car at 7pm. On our first trip using the Traverze I was totally sold and could really appreciate having a smaller, light weight stroller. The basket is also huge underneath, which fitted Archie’s carry potty, spare clothes and a few other bits easily.

A couple of weeks ago Oscar went out for the day with his Godfather and his sons to watch the rugby so Greg and I decided to take Archie into London for the day. To be honest I always drive into London as I always get so anxious about getting to a station and it having no lifts and having to carry Archie and a folded stroller on the very steep escalators. Now we have the Traverze we decided to take the train instead. When we got to Knightsbridge there was an escalator and stairs up to the main road, Greg carried Archie and I carried the stroller with no problems at all. The small compact fold also came in useful when we stopped for lunch as I just put the folded stroller under the table out of the way. Again pushing the Traverze through the busy streets of London was a breeze with the smooth rolling, never flat wheels, with shock absorbers and all-wheel suspension. It turns so easy with one hand with the swivel wheels making steering super easy.

The stroller also has a very secure 5-point harness with removable plush pads. The straps are easy to adjust to fit your child and when we were on the train and when getting on and off the trains having Archie comfortable and secure made me less anxiousabout travellin g on the train with him. I will defiantly travel on the trains into London more now that I know it’s so much easier using the Traverze.

During half term we ventured down to Devon for a couple of days. Packing the Traverze in the boot with our bags wasn’t an issue as it takes up only a quarter of my boot. It really is the perfect travel stroller. We went to Durdle Door on the Monday and had a really long walk from the car park to the beach. Once we got to the beach there were around 150 steps down to the beach which was easy with the folded stroller. On the way back up the hill to the car it was so far and we were so glad we took it with us for Archie’s tired little legs.

The long break bar at the back makes it really easy to use in any shoes, even bare feet. The handle is the perfect height as well, I am short at 5ft 2 and it was fine for me and equally Greg is 6ft and found the height fine as well.

The Traverze comes with a rain cover and waterproof travel bag. Once the stroller is in the travel bag it has a telescopic extendable luggage style handle to make pulling it through an airport even easier. It also fits in most overhead cabins on the plane. We go away next month and can’t wait to see how we get on travelling abroad with it! Especially as we have a late flight on the way home so Archie can sleep in the Traverze right up until we board the plane. Don’t worry I will post another review once we have been on holiday.

I absolutely love the Diono Traverze and it has made travelling and days out so much easier! It gets 10 out of 10 from us! The Diono Traverze has an RRP of £250. Mothercare have two exclusive colours, black facet and orange.

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted the Diono Traverze for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are honest and my own.

Potty Training In A Day!

When Oscar went back to school two weeks ago I had it set in my mind that I would attempt to potty train Archie again. I’ve tried twice before, once last October and once in January. When I say tried this consisted of Archie crying repeatedly for his nappy back and holding his wee for almost five hours until I eventually gave in and put his nappy back on. He obviously wasn’t ready and there was no real need for me to potty train him if it was going to upset and distress him. I even asked a health visitor and she reassured me he would do it when he was ready.

It was so different with Oscar. Oscar was 2 years and 4 months old when I potty trained him, it was easy, he got it quite quickly and that was it. I did start panicking that Archie was 3 years old and we still hadn’t cracked it. It was also easier as there was just Oscar and I stayed at home all week to focus just on potty training. This time around with Archie I had to do it between school runs, swimming lessons, football training and everything else we do during the week.

So when Oscar returned back to school on Tuesday the 24th of April after the Easter break,  I decided that we needed to crack it before the next half term at the end of May and I especially wanted to do it before we go on holiday as I didn’t want to be taking any nappies with us. On the Thursday, the 26th we dropped Oscar to school, came home and I told Archie that the shops have no more nappies and he had to use the potty. At 10am he had an accident and got upset as he didn’t like being wet. Since then he hasn’t had one accident! He just got it straight away. Being that bit older, he understood he needed to wee/poo on the potty and had better bladder control. He also was so proud of himself each time he went on the potty and giving him lots of praise and cuddles really pleased him. We even had to facetime Daddy at work after his first ever wee on the potty as he wanted to show him!

On the first day he held out on doing a number 2 but the next day he was fine and ever since then he has been so good and just lets me know he needs the toilet and sits on his Fisher Price Thomas potty and goes. When he goes to the toilet his Thomas potty plays the theme tune which he absolutely loves. It also lets me know if I’m in another room that he has gone.

For when we are out and about I brought a My Carry Potty, I had one with Oscar and they are great. You simply open it up and let them go to the toilet and then you can shut it and the seal stops it from leaking until your by a toilet to empty and clean it. I also carry a little bag around with me with wipes, spare pants, socks and trousers in it from Annie With Alex.

At night time I had noticed for quite a few months that his nappy was always dry in the morning and he would do a wee within half an hour of being awake. So not to confuse him I brought the Huggies Night Time Pull Ups which have been dry ever night and he gets up in the morning and goes straight on the potty.

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I’m so proud of Archie and how well he has done and it just goes to show waiting until he was ready made all the difference!

    

Our Amazing Day With Yellow Zebra Safari’s

Today we drove into London to a really special event hosted by Yellow Zebra Safari’s. If you haven’t heard of Yellow Zebra Safari’s before they are an award-winning luxury and adventure travel company specialising in African Safari’s. Taking Oscar and Archie on Safari has always been on our bucket list and as I have never been on one myself I just can’t wait to go! Taking your family on Safari is a trip of a life time with memories that are made that will last forever. Both our boys absolutely love animals and wherever we go a bag of Schleich animals comes along too. Oscar has said for a couple of years now that he would love to be a Zoo Keeper. So when we were invited to a fun-filled Safari day out I knew the boys would be so excited!

‘The opportunity to see animals in their natural habitat, to watch a herd of elephant walk past their vehicle, to spot a cheetah with its cubs, or listen to a pride of lions roaring at night. It is a magical experience that they will never forget.’

When we arrived the Safari themed room looked amazing. We had been told before hand that we would have a chance to meet some animals today. We met Safari Pete who Oscar and Greg couldn’t stop asking him questions. He knows everything you need to know about animals and safari’s and is a fountain of knowledge. Safari Pete is a wildlife adventurer and conservationist and works closely with the Yellow Zebra Safari team. His stories of his adventures are amazing and his knowledge of animals is amazing.

We were fortunate enough to meet several of Pete’s animals; Gumbo the Toad, Pinchy the Scorpion, Juliet the Barn Owl, two lizards, Boo-Boo the Monitor Lizard, Jay-Z the Crocodile, a snake, Lady Gaga the Tarantula and Steve and Baby Bear the Meerkat’s. Oscar was so lucky and got called up to hold the crocodile. We also got to see the lizards, snake and crocodile catch and eat their prey, which was really amazing. I had never seen this up close before. It’s incredible how quick the crocodile reacts to his prey and how the snake is able to swallow his meal whole.

We then sat down to our Safari themed lunch which was very yummy!

When booking a Family Safari with Yellow Zebra Safari’s you know you are getting the very best of everything. They will recommend to you based on the ages of your children where is best to travel too. Their team is made up entirely of professional safari guides, camp managers and people who were born and raised in Africa so you are getting the best knowledge and advice when designing your perfect trip. For example if you go on to thier website, we are a family of four with Oscar who is 8 and Archie who is 3. Archie being Under 6 they advise to stay somewhere that is malaria free. For us at this time a Safari in South Africa would be perfect for us. The Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands offer epic ‘Big Five’ viewing, while the malaria-free safari reserves of ‘SA’ cater well for families. The accommodation choices all look out of this World, from lodges to hotels there is the perfect stay to choose from for everyone.

When Archie is 6 we can then all go to Kenya which is home to Maasai Mara National Reserve which is the place to visit if you are looking for a safari, super size. In Kenya is a hotel in particular that has been on my bucket list for a few years now and I know the boys will love it. It is called Giraffe Manor,  most of the hotel grounds incorporates the Giraffe Centre of the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife and a group of giraffes lives in the Manor’s grounds, they even put their heads through the windows to say hello.

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 ‘EUROPE’S LEADING SAFARI TOUR OPERATOR’ IN 2015, 2016 & 2017′

After lunch we got to meet the Meerkat’s again and Oscar and I had one of them on our shoulder. They are Grandad’s favourite animal so he will be very jealous!

Oscar and Archie then got to choose a ceramic animal to paint which was great fun and now has pride of place in the playroom.

We had such a lovely day with Yellow Zebra Safari’s and can’t thank them enough for the wonderful experience the boys had meeting all of the animals and a big thank you to Safari Pete too. I am definitely booking one of his animal parties for Oscar’s next birthday! It was also lovely to catch up with Ruth and her family from Rock ‘N’ Roller Baby Blog.

*This post is in collaboration with Yellow Zebra Safari’s

Our Trip To Alton Towers & Stay At The Enchanted Village

Last Sunday after Oscar’s football match we got in the car and drove the two and a half hour drive to Alton Towers. The boys had no idea where we were going, we just told them we were going somewhere and staying away for the night. They were so constantly asking where we were going the whole way there and when we finally drove into the park and noticed the ‘Alton Towers’ sign they were so excited! We followed the signs to the Enchanted Village parking and headed to the reception to check in. Check in was really quick and then we walked to our Woodland Lodge.

The Woodland Lodges are really cute and the Enchanted Village really does look magical. Our Lodge had two bedrooms and a bathroom and everything you needed for a comfortable nights stay. We chucked our bags in to the lodge and headed to the Extraordinary mini golf course and played 9 holes. Oscar managed to get a hole in one on the first hole! It was great fun. We then walked to the monorail station and took the short ride to the theme park.

As it was already around 3pm we decided to head straight to CBeebies Land. Archie’s face was a picture when he saw the rides with all his favourite TV programmes on. We went on the Postman Pat ride, the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride and on the Get Set Go Tree Top Adventure. It started to rain so we walked back to the Monorail to head back to our lodge. As it was 5pm and the monorail is also used to get back to the car parks as well as the hotels the queue was massive. We had to wait around 45 minutes to catch the monorail. By the time we got to the other end it was tipping down, we ran the usual 5 minute walk back to the lodge and got absolutely soaked.

Back at the lodge we showered and got ready to go to dinner. I booked the Secret Garden restaurant a few days before our stay as the restaurants get booked up really quickly. We walked to the Alton Towers Main Hotel where the restaurant was. The food was really nice and the staff were really friendly. Oscar and Archie loved the ice cream factory where they got to make their own ice creams covered in sauce and sweets. Dinner for the four of us with drinks was around £50.

If you are staying on the resort there is entertainment in the evenings (check the entertainment board and your hotel reception for details). After dinner we caught ten minutes of the entertainment before getting an early night ready for a full day in the park the next day.

Day 2

We headed to the Crooked Spoon for breakfast at 8.45am, again I booked our breakfast before we arrived. The breakfast was really good and then we checked out and out the bags in the car and then walked to the monorail station as with our stay we have early access into the park. We got the monorail at 9.30am and again the queue was absolutely huge so we decided to walk to the park instead of wait. The walk took about 15 minutes. When we got to the park we headed to CBeebies land to finish off the rides. We went on the Go Jetters ride and the Octonauts rollercoaster. We found that as Archie is 0.9m he could go on a lot of rides in the park throughout the day.

We then walked to the Katanga Canyon and went on the Runaway Mine Train and the Congo River Rapids. Both of these Archie could go on too. He loved the the Runaway Mine Train it was really fast, I was so surprised as I thought he wouldn’t like it. Oscar loved the fast rides and was even tall enough to go on the Wicker Man but when he saw how big it was decided to save it until next time (phew!) We headed into the Haunted House instead which was an interactive game where you have to shoot the Zombies.

We headed to the Rollercoaster Restaurant for lunch as I left it too late to book it for dinner for the night before. It is an absolute must, the experience is great fun. You order your meal and drinks and they get delivered to your table on the rollercoaster. The boys loved it, it really is a great restaurant. For the four of us to eat it was about £60 but worth it just for the experience.

We took the Cable Car ride back to Mutiny Bay and went on the rides there and got soaked on the Battle Galleons. Then we went to Cloud Cuckoo Land. After grabbing a drink at one of the many Costa’s at about 3pm we got the monorail back to the car park and started our journey home.

We had a great stay at Alton Towers and would really recommend it. The Woodland Lodges are lovely and the restaurants were great too.

A stay at one of the Woodland Lodges which includes breakfast, 2 days in the Theme park, early access into the park on Day 2, free car parking, evening entertainment and 9 holes of the Extraordinary Golf costs around £277. You can also add a waterpark ticket at the Splash Landings hotel for a day who around £50 for four people.

Below our two videos I made of our days at Alton Towers…..

My Top Toys & Games To Take On Your Travels

With the holidays in full swing and only a couple of months until the Summer holidays I thought I wad write about the top toys and games that the boys love to take on our travels. From a long car journey in the UK for a few nights away or a flight abroad, when you have children keeping them entertained is crucial to a peaceful journey.

Archie is three so keeping him entertained is obviously a little harder at the moment then Oscar who is eight. So here are my top 10 toys and games to take on your travels……

Both the boys love arts and crafts and the Crayola Colour Wonder colouring books are great. They are completely mess free so great for in the car or on an aeroplane so they don’t accidentally get any pen anywhere. I also take them into restaurants on holiday for entertaining them at the table whilst waiting for our meals. Smyths Toys stock the books that come complete with the ‘magic’ pens and have an RRP of £6.49. I always keep a few of the books in the cupboard so I always have one when needed.

An obvious one is Lego. I always buy a couple of little boxes of Lego and Duplo before we go away. They are great for getting the boys to sit quietly in the shade for half an hour and build something.

Great-Nanny brought Archie a Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet which is fantastic. The tablet is £129.99 and comes with a 2-year worry-free guarantee, 1 year of Fire For Kids Unlimited app download and a Kid-Proof Case, available in Blue, Pink and Yellow. For the money its a great deal and we have downloaded so many different apps. On my profile on it I have also downloaded Netfilx and some movies for Archie on Amazon Video. He loves it and plays little educational games on it, watches episodes of his favourite programmes and he likes having something like that of his own when Oscar is playing on his Nintendo Switch.

The Nintendo Switch is a great gaming console. We got it for Oscar for Christmas. It can be used at home in the playroom TV using the docking/charging station or as a handheld when out and about. The controls also detach from the device and using the inbuilt stand you can play against a friend using the device as a screen. He absolutely loves it and as he has never been into using an Ipad or a tablet likes to use his ‘screen’ time playing games like Mario Kart and Super Mario. The Switch is £279.99 and the games are around £40 each.

For an Easter gift Archie got the Masha and the Bear playhouse playset. He loves the programme and watches it on Netflix and we saw a TV advert for the playhouse and Archie really wanted it. He never asks for anything so we got it for him. Why it is on this list is because its nice and small and all fits inside it self and closes so you can take it on your travels. I didn’t know this when I ordered it but its brilliant and fits in my handbag!

Last year I brought some fantastic car road tape from We Are Kidly and stuck some on the aeroplane tray so Archie could play with his cars. I also used it on the sun lounger and on our hotel room floor. It comes off easily leaving no marks behind and the air hostess on the plane couldn’t believe how long it kept Archie entertained and what a genius idea it was. It is £11 for a roll and as well as road they also do a train track tape.

We love Orchard Toys and have tons of their games but they also sell different mini travel games for toddlers which are great. Archie loves playing games and doing puzzles so have mini versions to take away with you is a great idea. Oscar will join in too even if it is a bit easy/young for him.

Orchard Toys Animal Match Mini/Travel Game Orchard Toys Llamas in Pyjamas Mini / Travel GameOrchard Toys Little Bug Bingo Mini / Travel Game

When it comes to games Oscar loves Cluedo and Monopoly and games like that. But recently he has fallen in love with Top Trumps. We have a few sets of cards now, sports cars, predators and dinosaurs. They are the perfect size to fit in your bag and we take them to Nanny and Grandad’s on the weekend so they can play too. It is the perfect family travel game.

I hope you have found this useful and it’s given you a few ideas of how to keep your children entertained whilst traveling! Happy holidays!

My Separation Anxiety

Last week Archie turned 3! I can’t quite believe it and just don’t know where the time has gone. Being the second and last child I have definitely noticed more anxiety this time around watching him growing up and I just don’t want to let him go. He is so ready to start nursery and was meant to start next week but I have delayed it a term, as the time got nearer my anxiety went through the roof. He is around children a lot during the week as we go to two toddler groups, a Playball class and his swimming lesson so I know he’s not particularly missing out on anything by staying at home with me. He also needs to be potty trained to start at the nursery as we haven’t quite mastered that yet. I’m not going to lie there is a part of me that just wants him to start next September and just do one full year in nursery before reception.

Looking back Oscar didn’t go to nursery until he was three either, he started nursery on the September after his third birthday going a few mornings a week and did a year in nursery before going into reception. Again we went to lots of classes so he had lots of child interaction. Even now as Oscar’s school holidays draw to a close and he goes back to school next week I start to dread it, as I love having him at home with us and really enjoy the school holidays. During the week he has such a long school day (8.20-4.15) and then after school clubs, reading, piano practice and homework so we don’t have a lot of time during the week to do anything fun. So we make the most of the weekends and holidays.

I think in my crazy mind I think that once Archie starts nursery and he does a couple of mornings which will then lead into days and then suddenly he will be at full time school that I just want to keep him at home for as long as possible as once he starts that’s it. He’s my sidekick and goes everywhere with me so suddenly having free time to myself will be lovely but very strange. My Mother In Law said to me years ago that your children are only lent to you and then they grow up and fly the nest, I get that but it scares my how quick the time goes, Oscar is almost 8 and I wish life would just slow down.

I 100% have an issue with leaving the boys, Oscar was only left once overnight when he was 2 weeks old as it was our best friend’s wedding (he was 3 weeks early) and since then I’ve never had a night apart from either of them. This year my brother is getting married and I was invited on the hen do to Marbella. Now instantly I wanted to go, sit in the sun and have fun with the girls and then my anxiety kicked in. Leaving the boys behind even though I know they would have a fun weekend with Greg and be totally fine, the thought of being in a different country to them made me say no. Even now there is a part of my brain that says don’t be so stupid, go and enjoy yourself! Greg’s been away with his friends loads since we had children and its great to have time just being you!

I know a lot of the problems go back to when Oscar was born and he was poorly and then when he was a few weeks old he couldn’t breathe and I had to clear his airways. It scared me how quickly things can go wrong and since then have always felt safer when they are with us. Which is crazy I know.

Even me reading this post back now and I think ‘crazy lady’ and can see how I am missing out on doing certain things/trips which would be fun. But for now I just want to enjoy our boys whilst they are still young. After all when they are all grown up I will have plenty of time to do other things.