Travel Posts

19:46:00 The little things... 1 Comments

Tempted By Eurocamp? | Le Brasilia France

It isn't the first time that we have done a holiday like this. We did something very similar back when I was pregnant with Alex, in Lake Garda. You can find that post here.

If we were to recommend a holiday we always go for the option where you have space. Space for a young family to run about, explore and well, be free. We sometimes opt for Villa holidays and other times we love this kind of camping holiday.

Tempted By Eurocamp? | La Brasilia France

This time we stayed with Eurocamp in one of their Aspect chalets. We opted for a two bedroom chalet which was plenty big enough but for sleep arrangements (with a baby who was dead set on waking up their older sister) we do wish that we had booked the 3 bedroom. Next time we will, for the small price difference it would have been worth it for us. We ended up with the travel cot plonked in the living area, which wasn't a massive problem, but it would have been better tucked away in their own bedroom.

The chalet is kitted out for everything you may need. We also were provided with not only the travel cot but also a bed guard for Daisy, a potty (not that we needed it), a high chair, a step for the toilet and also a baby bath. The bath actually was brilliant, it was big enough to sit in the shower tray and not only bath Alex but also Daisy (3 year old!). She was able to sit in it and wash away the sand from rummaging around on the beach all day.

You can see on the photo above that the decking area is also really spacious and what we loved most was that it was all enclosed. So they could roam about with us worrying they were going to fall down the steps or escape! It meant we could keep the sliding doors open any time we were back there.

Tempted By Eurocamp? | La Brasilia France

Not only was our chalet spotless (this isn't an ad by the way, I just want you to know how good it really was!) and well equipped but the park itself was beautiful. I actually think La Brasilia was the nicest campsite that I have ever stayed on. It somehow didn't look like a campsite, it seemed a bit too "fancy". You can see by the pool areas how nice it was, the spa looked beautiful (from the outside, I wasn't lucky enough to give it a go!) and the restaurants and shopped were great.

It was only when you went to the mini supermarket and the entertainment disco area that you were reminded it was a campsite. The supermarket and take away etc was not cheap but I think you expect that in this kind of establishment, like anywhere when you are holidaying really. We used to go to the hypermarket up the road and do some shopping for our lunches and a few evening meals and it actually worked out quite reasonable, we brought home a fair few euros for our next trip!

Tempted By Eurocamp? | La Brasilia France

Aspect Eurocamp

Aspect Eurocamp



We are now looking for next year, where we can go and when, we have got the bug for this kind of holiday and it suited us perfectly as a young family!

Hayley x

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination


It is no secret that I absolutely love Cyprus, we are due to go this August with family and I think this could be my 5th time possibly. I am not one to go back to the same place because there are just so many lovely places to go and explore in the world.

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination


But... For a family holiday it is just the perfect destination.

1 The Weather

We usually go late summer, September time and the weather is great. It is warm but not ridiculosly hot, so not too worrying for the babies. We are going this year in August which I think may be a little too hot but we shall see, and we know how to avoid peak sun times etc and how to protect them so we will be fine.

2 Flight Time

The flight time is between 4-5 hours depending on air speed, but it isn’t too long. Not as far as you could go for the weather. There aren’t really many other places you can fly to from the UK and get sun in that short time and feel like you are miles away (which of course you are).

3 Getting About

Quite often when we go on holiday with children we aren't too bothered about going far and travelling about. But Cyprus is super easy to navigate. For starters they drive on the same side of the road as us here in the UK. Road signs are the same or very similar too and the roads are easy to drive on, most of it is dual carriage way or at least big long A roads. Super duper easy. We have hired cars a few times and just nipped around here, there and everywhere. And it was so cheap too. I am sure we paid less than £130 for two weeks possibly.

4 Local Culture

I love a bit of a culture, experiencing new things, new foods and meeting new people. Cyprus is the most friendly country I have ever visited. They ADORE children, they love families and are so accommodating. We never feel like we are being a nuisance or being a pain or are in the way. It is so friendly. I also can be a little intimidated in some countries (I think it is the really blonde hair I have as a child, it was a big of a magnet to some people!) and very protective of myself and my children, but I never feel like that here.

5 Beauty

Cyprus is beautiful. I don't need to say anything else I don't think!

6 Accommodation

There are so many options for you to stay in when you go to Cyrpus. We have stayed in big complex style hotels that have just about everything you would ever need, apartments for self catering and my absolute favourite choice now a days, a villa. I did a post all about Villas here where I go into detail why that is the perfect option for you. We tend to book our villas through Owners Direct but there are plenty of options out there. I think you could possibly even find somewhere on Airbnb but I have never tried it outside of the UK myself.

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination

Why Cyprus is the Perfect Family Holiday Destination

Villa Holidays


Top Tips for Long Car Journeys with Children


Quiet Time in the Canaries* #Unexpectedcanaries

When I was pregnant with Daisy Ben and I took a last minute holiday to Fuerteventura to get some quiet time before our lives changed completely. We actually went out of season in January for some winter sun and although it wasn't really sunbathing weather it was comfortable enough to walk and sit around, especially for my round bellied self!

Fuerteventura was beautiful, the sand dunes went on for miles and miles and were so nice to walk through and watch the windsurfers flying by, a little windy but so untouched and natural. It is the oldest island in the Canaries and we found it to have a really rustic feel to it.





When we were there we watched the ferry leave the harbour a few times heading over to Lanzarote and on one of our last days we decided to take a trip ourselves. It was a short trip but really worth it to see another of the islands. Lanzarote felt a little more touristy but was still so beautiful as you can see in the photos below. The port especially was amazing, it looked newly built and felt a fairly wealthy area of the island. We had some delicious lunch there and just watched the world go by a little while enjoying the sunshine for the afternoon. Shame I couldn't join Ben with the seafood paella and cerveza though! Lanzarote is famous for its volcanoes and sadly we didn't see any sign of them due to our fleeting visit so maybe one day we will get to see them. 









I would love to explore more of the islands and actually I would love to return to both of the islands mentioned above with the children, they appear to be really family friendly. The islands are all so varied and offer different surroundings and experiences, the map below goes into a little more detail. I was surprised to see islands on there that I hadn't even heard of so I am going to look further into them. 

We always look all over for our holidays including some of the popular companies such as Thomson but also more niche agents such as Inntravel, they specialise in holidays with the lesser known paths which help to make your holiday a bit more unique and a little off the beaten track which is what we love, even if we have lost that a little bit since having children. 

Which canary island?

Travel plans 2017

It will come as no surprise to you that as a family we love to travel and get out there. It doesn't have to be abroad to anywhere fancy, to me travel could be to a local beach for the weekend for camping. To me it's getting away from the norm, the daily grinds of routine and home life. I love my home life don't get me wrong but I just think you get to spend quality time together when you're away and sharing those experiences and making memories is something I want to do more and more of. 

Both my husband and I both have the same outlook, lets go more, let's get away as often as we can. Responsibilities and finance permitting, it's always money huh! 

So for this year we are aiming to get away at least every 3 months, Ben thinks monthly is realistic but I'm not so sure. Obviously in the summer we will be doing our camping trips again so we should be going more often then but in these chilly months I'm not so sure. 

We have started the year well and have some plans already. So this month we are off to Snowdonia in a cottage with friends for Ben's birthday pressie and then next month Ben and I are off to London to do something we've not done in a really long time, go to a see show and we'll go away for the night just the two of us. 

In the summer we have a big family holiday booked in to go to Cyprus, staying in villas again, which I HIGHLY RECOMMEND! Villa life is the best way to do a summer holiday in my opinion with children. I did a post on it here

We have lots of exciting ideas and plans we want to look into so watch this space! I am actually really intrigued by ski holidays, having never been on a snowy holiday before I'm really excited to look into it, possibly for the end of the year or next year. 

For now some of my favourite travel memories from last year...

 

 

 

 

 



Ty Garth, Porthmadog Snowdonia: Trying Out Airbnb

For Ben's birthday I arranged a getaway with our friends to a cottage in Snowdonia, North Wales. The idea was that we could have some time at the coast but also we would be in the perfect location for either walking or mountain biking for Ben and his friends. We visit North Wales fairly often for these reasons but also camping in the summer, it's not too far from us and we can be in the area in just over an hour and a half. Even though it's so close it is still nice to stay over once in a while.



I've looked on Airbnb quite a few times but never booked anything, not sure why really but this time I found what looked like a perfect house for us to stay in. We are quite a large group of 8 adults and the babies so to find somewhere that didn't resemble a bunk barn and that was in such a beautiful spot meant it got booked pretty sharpish! 

The house looked out over the Porthmadog estuary and the rugged mountains of Snowdonia, the view was out of this world. You could see the view from most rooms as the house was built of a lot of glass. We will be visiting again purely for this reason! I could have sat in one of the lounges and stared out all day, but obviously we got out and about to the beach and caves to make the most of our short trip! 

It was really easy to book through Airbnb, I'll be doing it again without hesitating. This post isn't sponsored in any way but I though I would share our experience with you in case you had contemplated it at all. 

We try to get away as often as we can, away from the daily grinds of housework, work, chores and well routine I guess so I'll be scouring the site I'm sure trying to get some more trips booked in for the rest of the year. 


 

 

 

 
Hayley xx

Do Holidays Really Change When You become Parents?
10:27:00 The little things... 0 Comments

Of course the answer to that is yes.

For starters you have extra bodies to accommodate and well that changes a lot of things; how much it costs, where you want to go, the needs you have when you are there, how you tolerate the weather, the flight time etc.

Pre Daisy and Alex we would simply scroll through the internet and find a holiday, book it and go. Now we have to think a little more about it. And when we are there we have to think about them, are they cool enough, eaten enough, drinking enough water, are they bored? Where as before I guess we were a little more care free and just went with the flow a little.

But I am not saying holidays have changed for the worst. They are just different now. We have different memories from our family holidays so far, things we may not have done pre-babies.

Some of my new favourite past times:

  • Building Sandcastles and burying toys and feet endless times on the beach
  • Chasing Daisy around the beach and in the sea (or the other way around!)
  • Watching Daisy mix with other children around the pool and beach
  • Ice creams on the beach become a lengthy past time, not a simple snack! And they are messy activities too!
  • Finding caves and rock pools (Cornwall is great for this!) and seeing what we can find in them, or in Daisy's case swimming! 
  • Writing in the sand and drawing pictures
  • Photography - Before I had children I didn't have much of an interest in this but since I love seeing what I can capture. The same goes for videography





Hayley x

How Do You Choose A Holiday For Your Family?

16:00:00 The little things... 0 Comments



There used to a time when you could just stick a pin in a world map, chuck some belongings in a case and head to anywhere your heart desired. Once you have a young family your choice of holiday destination will depend on various factors such as how far you can travel without having a meltdown (you or the kids!), how hot or cold it will be, entertainment options, food choices etc. The list goes on. You are in no way stopped going to anywhere you wish but you do have to think about it a little more and I guess you need to think that it may not quite be the same as it may have been pre-children.





The below points to think about will lead you to decide on what type of holiday may be best for you; self-catering, all inclusive, villa etc. For me it would completely depend on where you were going and the amenities available. They all have their pros and cons; will you want to do any cooking? Will you need the extra space that usually comes with self-catering?

The Weather
Before you make your destination choose look up the weather for that time of year. Will it be too hot for young children? Too cold? You want to be able to enjoy your holiday without panicking 24/7 if your baby is going to overheat. If you have your heart on a country then look up the best time of year to go that will suit your family’s needs. 

The Travel
Children are actually pretty resilient when it comes to flying, they don’t tend to have the annoyance and fear that some of us grown-ups can be instilled with. More often than not they will cope with the journey and surprise you with their patience. However you have to think if you struggle on say a 4 hour flight then think about how a child may feel being contained in a small space with a short attention span. If you feel you can entertain them then be brave and go for it.

We have flown a few times with our young children from as young as 3 months old and never had any issues, we just go armed with lots of snacks and new things to look at – books, toys etc. 

Food Choices
Sadly all the exciting stuff that drew us to a country like exotic foods, challenging the local lingo etc. has to be considered. Will you be able to offer your toddler foods that they will be happy with? Babies are obviously fairly easy if they are either being breastfed or bottle fed as long as there is equipment such as kettles available. You can get some simple sterilising bags now of any gear you need to take, so easy and cheap.

Personally we have stuck to Europe with our little ones just because we know what to expect when it comes to all of the above. We always travel either early or late summer mainly due to cost but also the temperatures are low enough to make the most out of the days and not worry about the children too much when it comes to sun protection. 

There will be a time in the future when we can become more adventurous and spontaneous with our destinations but we have just accepted that for now we need to plan a little more! 







Hayley x

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch (Viva Hotels) Review


(Before I start we paid for this holiday with our own pennies, this is not a collaboration)

If I am completely honest then I have to say we tend to shy away from big hotels, all inclusive with big block upon block of rooms. Nothing snobbish just that we prefer small hotels that are a little more set within the local area and by lots of local places to dine at and wander around.

Now you'll know if you have children how sometimes you have to compromise and change your expectations at times for an easy life. Going out of season we were unsure what Menorca would be like both in terms of restaurants etc being open or the weather being warm and so we edged to the convenience of a bigger hotel where there would be plenty to do for Daisy if the weather wasn't wonderful, if the town was quiet or if we needed somewhere easy to eat at.

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch


We came across the Viva Menorca when we were scrolling through the usual Thomas Cook, Thomson etc sites and decided to go for it last minute. We flew out there within a few days, it was a last minute break before I returned to work after maternity leave. We decided to book it through Hotels.com in the end as self catering as the big package deals were all AI.

When we arrived we noticed it was pretty quiet, going in October meant that most children were in school so the island in general was fairly quiet. There were quite a few families there though, enough to entertain a toddler anyway and enough for the hotel to still be providing entertainment etc. What really drew us to this hotel over others were the pool facilities. There was a large pool (and I mean large), a little paddling pool (which we didn't use as Daisy prefers to actually swim) and a splash pool with slides etc which is where we spent most of the time when at the hotel.

We actually spent most of our time down the road at the Marina eating where there were lots of lovely restaurants and bars and in the day we pretty much camped out at the beach. The beach was beautiful, like in a little bay so the water was calm and shallow and the sand really powdery and white. It was perfect for a toddler to race around on, dig sandcastles and swim in the sea (with supervision of course!).

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch


We ate at the hotel only the once in the evening so it would be unfair to rate them on that really. Although the one meal we did have was fine, it was just a buffet offering and there was plenty there and it all seemed fresh. I struggle with a buffet style meal though as I just seem to wander around aimlessly and can't seem to string a meal together somehow! The food in the children's area looked really good, lots of variety and was good to see something other than just chips and fish fingers! The restaurant was nice and big and looked clean. It was expensive though to eat there if you aren't all inclusive but I think they are set up for the majority of guests to be AI so we expected it.

We did eat at the snack bar twice though and were really impressed with the food, all nice and fresh and tasty. The toddler approved too. It was nice to see other things other than just burgers being offered.

The hotel was in a great location in Cala'n Bosch for the town and marina with it being just a ten minute walk away (nice and flat) and there was a supermarket over the road too.

Overall the hotel was good, just what we expected and gave us plenty to do for the week. It was a good base to have. I am not sure I would have enjoyed it quite so much as an all inclusive guest simply because I would have liked an Al' a Carte restaurant too. But we may be back one day :)

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch

Viva Menorca & Cala' n Bosch


Hayley x

Where To Start When Planning a Wedding Abroad
16:30:00 The little things... 0 Comments

I am asked quite often about our wedding and what it was like to get married abroad so thought I would write all about it in case any of you were hoping to do the same. Also because I just love re-living it time and time again!

Married abroad, lindos weddings

Married abroad, lindos weddings


We always knew we would would get married abroad but it was just a case of when and where. The Caribbean had always been a thought but to get our family and close friends over there on long haul flights was just a little too much to ask but also we wanted something that didn't just feel like we were just at the beach for the day either. I felt like we wanted a little more authenticity or culture.

We looked at different countries and places but Greece really stood out for us after we had been a few times and loved it. When we came across Lindos we knew it would be perfect for us!

We were really lucky and stumbled across Lindos Weddings, a wedding planning company run by a British couple but who lived out in Lindos. We booked our wedding date, chapel and venue without actually seeing them for real! It was always our plan to see these places for the first time on the wedding day with our family and friends, it was risky but with Lindos Weddings putting us at ease and seeing the photos etc it just made it more exciting! However, about six months before the wedding we were looking for a last minute holiday and a last minute cheap deal to Lindos popped up - so off we went!

Before confirming numbers I recommend you send out Save the Date invites to get an idea of how many people would actually be coming. When we sent out invites we really didn't expect anything more than our direct family mums, dads and sisters and brothers to be able to come, we appreciated that it was expensive to go on a holiday and that asking people to attend was a big ask, but we just had the thought that it was what we wanted and we didn't want a huge wedding so we would be thankful for those that could come and join us. We were really surprised with the RSVPS that we got! We had pretty much 40 people attend, almost everyone that we had invited! It was really touching to know that so many people would be joining us in Greece for our special day. It was probably double the amount of guests that we had anticipated.

Married abroad, lindos weddings

Married abroad, lindos weddings

Planning the wedding was easier than I ever imagined, I had a few stressful moments but they were all small issues in the grand scheme of things. But the big things like the venue - we chose a quaint, tiny little chapel over looking the bay (Agios Demtrios) rather than one of the more busy places on the island, the reception and dancing venue were really easy decisions. We saw them and knew it was just what we wanted. Small, pretty and well just what we wanted.

Having the wedding planners made it stress free. However I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea and some people would want far more control. If that is the case then perhaps a wedding abroad wouldn't be for you. I chose all the little touches that I wanted, music, speeches, food choices etc but a lot was unseen until the day. This is still far more decisions that you would make with perhaps a travel company such as Thomas Cook.

The wedding planners did most things for us, they sent us lots of photos and literature to look through and we were also able to do our own research and send over any ideas we had. It was so easy because they did all the hard work for us.

At the time of looking at photographers we came across some gorgeous photos on facebook, when we asked Lindos Weddings if he was on their list of suppliers he actually wasn't at the time but they were completely happy for us to use him as they knew him and his photos are out of this world! He now is their recommended photographer and I can see why. This was the best decision we made other than to get married there in the first place.

Hayley x


Is Beautiful Verona Suitable for Toddlers?

As part of our trip in Italy late last year we travelled from Lake Garda on the train to the cosmoplitan city of Verona. If you haven't caught my previous posts you can find them here and here.

We absolutly loved Italy and Verona was no exception.

We visited on a bit of a gloomy day but that didn't take anything away from the beauty of the city.



We were lucky that Daisy was happy to be in her carrier for most of the day and actually napped for a good part of it so we were able to explore freely and well in peace kind of! Without the carrier it wouldn't have been quite so easy as the main shopping streets are busy and you can do a fair bit of walking to see some of the outskirts of the city down by the river.

One place you have to visit is Casa di Giulietta, which you will no doubt know as the House Of Juliet. You will have read or at least watched Romeo and Juliet and well this is the balcony that features in the film. If I am completely honest it wasn't all that exciting but somewhere I would have been disappointed to not have seen if we had missed it!

The other top tourist spot was The Arena. We paid to enter and well again it wasn't all that exciting, I expect it to be far more enjoyable in an evening watching some spectacular show though! It was an amazing piece or architecture from the outside though, did you know it is older than the Coliseum?

Other than that we wandered along the River Adige and took in the beautiful sights and architecture. We also sat in one of the famous squares had a nice coffee, gelato and people watched.

Here are a few of our photos from our trip;






Hayley xx

How To Master A Flight With Young Children

So about 18 months ago I published a post all about flying with a baby and some top tips. Recently my blog has gone through a bit of a make over and I have been focusing quite heavily on all things travel and photography, although I will always continue to discuss and vent about all things "mum" too.


In light of the recent re-jiggle I thought I would do another post about flying with toddlers and babies, an updated version if you like. Since the last post I wrote we have taken Daisy a few more times on flights and so I may be able to offer a few more tips too.

  • Make sure you take a change of clothes for them (or as many as you can in your hand luggage)- One time when Daisy was around 6 months old we had only just left home and she vomited everywhere. I would have had to root around in our suitcases if I hadn't packed a spare sleepsuit with us for travel. Or I dread to think what I would have done had it have happened on the flight! Especially having to share a seat with her all the way, delightful.  

  • Take plenty of snacks and food. You can take as many snacks and pouches etc with you as you see fit when travelling with a baby/ toddler. Be prepared to try some random bits at security if asked though, although I have never had to do this myself I have heard about people being made to. You are allowed to take baby milk, water and food on board if it is for your babies use for the duration of the flight, and it CAN be over 100ml. Baby food and milk is exempt from the 100 ml liquid rules. This includes; sterilised water, breast/powdered/ cartoned milk of all kinds, and baby food of all consistencies and packaging. 

  • Take Calpol with you. Again you CAN travel with baby's medicine no problem. Luckily I didn't need this but always good to have with you. 

  • Take lots of interesting things to play with and look at. I usually go to the pound shop before we are due to go and pick up some random little things as mini presents for the flight bag. I do this because if they are things she hasn't seen before they tend to keep her attention longer! Books are always a winner with us!

  • When booking a flight try to look at times if possible. In the past we would have just hopped on the cheapest flight going but now we do try to make them as appropriate as possible.
  • You will in most cases be able to take your pram/ stroller right up to the gate so you don't have to lug baby around the airport and your hand luggage etc. If your stroller is in the aircraft hold, then you will generally collect it at the baggage belt, where you collect your suitcases.


Daisy (so far) is a brilliant traveller and we hardly hear a peep from her, although now she is well into toddlerhood she is a little more unpredictable!

We have had a incident on the way back from Cyprus on the descent where she started to scream and scream. I had never heard her cry like that before, it was actually really disturbing and made me feel quite upset! It had to be her ears. She was drinking her bottle as we started going down - which is what had been recommended to me before we had flown. The sucking makes their ears pop as it does ours! But her little ears were having none of it this time, a dummy wouldn't work, eating wouldn't work. She was just inconsolable. I guess what I am trying to say is just because you had a good flight once doesn't mean it will always be easy, so be prepared for all eventualities! The only thing I found to soothe her slightly was to cover her ears with my hands and hold her as tightly as I could into my chest, lots of cuddles. 

Apparently crying does actually help relieve the pain, but it's not exactly soothing for you and your fellow passengers.

Hayley x



Sunny Days in St. Ives Cornwall

As a child my sister and I would often holiday in Cornwall with our parents and more often than not our cousins too. I remember those times being full of beach days, body boarding, sticky ice creams and scrounging seagulls. One actually stole my cousins ice cream out of her hand once when in St Ives!

Anyway, with fond memories and knowing how beautiful it is down there I always knew I wanted us to have some fun down there too.



When Daisy was just a few months old we went down to stay in Cornwall for a week in the Padstow area (kind of) and we did a few visits around there including The Eden Project and loved it. With Alex only being tiny we decided now would be another good time to do the long drive down for a British summer holiday! 

This time we stayed in the St Ives area in the St Ives Bay Holiday Park. We almost booked a private apartment but chose the park in the end due to the facilities available to wear Daisy out and its location, right on the beach. I would highly recommend it and maybe one day we will return. The park is fab purely because it has private access to a beautiful sandy beach, the only issue being clambering back up the sand dunes to get out with children and all their gear is not fun!

It was a really central park with some great places around it, St Ives town is 5 miles away, with Falmouth 21 miles, Newquay 25, and lands End 19.

 I did a post here all about some little top tips for caravan holidays! 

We didn't do much when we were down there except pretty much camp out on the beach. The weather was so good that there really was very little need to do much else. Carbis bay and Godrevy were some of our favourites. 









If we could guarantee the warmer weather then I have no doubt sunny Cornwall would see us more often, sitting on those beautiful beaches could quite easily outdo many of the beaches we've seen abroad.

The only thing I would suggest with St Ives is that if you can go out of peak season then I would. I would love to go back around autumn time when the streets of St Ives town is quieter, it was tricky to manoeuvre with the children and really enjoy it in the summer. 

Hayley x

Visiting Venice as a young family

Venice is pretty spectacular. That's not the kind of word I tend to use very often but it just seems to fit in this instance. 



Venice with kids is perhaps not the same kind of romantic trip as it might be as a couple, but it can still be enjoyed with little ones and it's still just as amazing.  

If we are honest it is fairly unlikely Daisy will ever remember her trip to Venice, she was just under 2 years old after all. But she had a great time while we were there and we captured some memories for her to look back on. 





We found ourselves just walking about taking it all in but did end up on the main square a few times. We aren't made of money and so the idea of a coffee in Piazza San Marco wasn't too appealing, as much as I would have loved to have sat and watched everyone scurrying past while having an Aperol. It just wouldn't have been worth it with a toddler to have to chase about. But we did spend quite a lot of time say in the square and wandering about. Daisy had a little boogy to the orchestra outside one of the cafes, chased the pigeons around the square and sat on the step to enjoy a gelato in the square. She may not remember those moments but as parents we will. 




We didn't visit the museums and do much of the "adult" type visits because Daisy just wouldn't have been interested. But if I'm honest I was happy to just roam about and explore the city. We hopped on water taxis from one side to the other and just enjoyed the time rambling about stopping for a coffee, gelato or pizza en route! 

We had Daisy in her carrier most of the time as I really would not recommend a pushchair in Venice. The grounds uneven, it's busy and there are lots of obstacles to tackle and I can't imagine it would be pleasant trying to do that with a buggy! I did a review here all about how we used it on our travels. 

Venice is a bit of a maze, albeit a very pretty one that makes you feel like you're in a story rather than real life. It’s fairly small, and even if you do get lost, you will soon find signs on the walls pointing to the Rialto Bridge, Piazza San Marco, or Ferrovia (train station) which helps you to guide yourself.  
We did just two days in Venice before heading to the lakes and we stayed outside of the main city in a hotel, mainly because hotels within the canals are crazy money and secondly we wanted to be by the train station for our transport links.






One day I would love to return for the weekend and just take it much slower, eat more food, drink more coffee and Aperol (I was pregnant with Alex when we were there last!)  and ideally stay in the city to see how different it is when you experience it that way.

Hayley X

Is Lake Garda suitable for a young family?

Italy is somewhere that was always on my wish list of places I would love to go one day, it didn't really matter where as it all looks so beautiful. 

Ben and I decided to go last year and visit a few places while we were there to make the most of it. We would fly to Venice, move on to Lake Garda and see a few towns there and then do a trip to Verona before heading back to Venice. 

As excited as I was for the trip I did feel a little apprehensive of what it would be like with a toddler in tow. Daisy would have been around 20 months old so not always the easiest time for her to travel. I wondered how she would be in Venice where she couldn't just run free when ever she fancied, how would she take the train journeys between places and how would we entertain her? Never mind feed her when she was just turning into the worlds fussiest eater! We really didn't need to worry Lake Garda is a lovely destination for children of all ages. There is plenty to do with a little planning and most things are accessible. We didn't get to sit and enjoy the cafe patios with an Aperol Spritz quite as much as we would if we were there as just a couple but we still had a fantastic holiday and had plenty of gelatos! 

I will go into detail about Venice on a separate post, this one will be all about Lake Garda. 

Is Lake Garda suitable for a young family?

We got one of the high speed trains to the Lake from Venice and although I am not a big fan of train journeys back home these are a different experience altogether. They run to the minute, aren't late, are clean and comfortable. As well as being speedy of course! The train journey was around 2 hours long and with a bit of help from Peppa pig it went smoothly. 

We stayed in Peschiera del Garda which is a town in the Verona province and stayed at a campsite called Camping Bella Italia. The town is set within the walls of an island fortress surrounded by quaint canals. Hidden behind the town walls you'll find the pedestrianised centre with cobbled streets and plenty of pavement caf├ęs and restaurants. It's a quiet, pretty town that won't take you long to wander around but with give you a nice sense of being in Italy. 

We stayed in a Canvas Holidays lodge but there are lots of options on this site. It is based right on the front of the lake and had all the amenities you would need like restaurants, supermarkets, pool etc. We first started considering the camping option because it was something completely different from our few nights in Venice and also is so much more affordable than a hotel. You also get that degree of independence too, which is always good when you have a small child that needs space to tear around in!

It was perfect for families as lots to do including things like bike hire and a kids club. We actually did hire bikes on one of our last days here which was great fun! Something we hadn't done before so it was memory I will keep forever. 
I should note that we travelled in October and so it was out of season and the park was half empty, I am unsure if I would love it quite so much if it was really busy and hot. Although both Ben and I both said how nice it would have been to swim in the lakes if it had been warm enough, maybe something for the future. 
From Peschiera we were able to get the boat or bus from the centre of town to a few places such as Sirmione and Lazise. It was a great location for travelling about. The transport there is punctual and easy so there is no excuse not to see more of the Lake. They were completely child friendly too so you don't need to worry about that. We did find though due to the nature of cobbled streets and tight little alleys and hills to walk up that the child carrier was much easier to use than a pushchair! 
We also had a day trip out to Verona which was just beautiful. I will share those photos separately too. 
So I will let the photos do the talking now...


















We would certainly travel to Italy again with our children and travel about to see as much as possible. We found October to be a great time to go as it was warm and dry most days but not uncomfortable to walk around in, it was just right for Daisy.

If you have any further questions please feel free to ask,

Hayley xx

Please do not copy photographs without our permission

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Travel: Camping Pods with a toddler & baby in Ta-ly-Bont Wales


As a family we love camping and trying out new places, although we do tend to frequently visit the Barmouth area of Wales as it isn't too far away and there are some beautiful, vast beaches there to run on and where the dog can burn off some steam too.



We usually camp in a tent but with Alex being just two weeks old at the time I was a little anxious about having him in a tent. I had a scout around online and managed to find these pods for just £35 a night and on one of our favourite stretches of coastline,Tal-y-bont. On Tyddyn Goronwy Camping Park.



They are set on a field just back from the busier parks, around 10 pods and a few pitches the other end of the field for tents etc. The facilities are limited, just a simple shower and toilet block which I should say were immaculate and clean. It probably helped that you have to have a pin code to get into them, they were just what you need with a young family. There was no shop but we weren't far from the huge Sunny Sands resort which is on the beach front so we just used the fish & chips shop and mini market there if we needed anything.

Set between sea and mountain views and not far from Snowdonia, the roomy, clean and affordable pods at Tyddyn Goronwy are big enough for a family, insulated and secure (you are given keys), with electricity.



Inside the pods there was just a heater, lighting, carpet and electrical sockets. Oh and a TV up on the wall with a DVD player, which we didn't use. So you still need to take your sleeping things, airbed etc with you. I know you can find pods with all of those things in but for the price of these we had more than we needed, they were really good value. No hassle of putting up a tent, nice and warm, quiet and also super sturdy! 








The beach is around a 10 minute walk down the lane past the other caravan sites, although we drove down with all our beach things and children! We could have managed the walk easily though if we really wanted to.

The beach down there is really clean, open and goes as far as your eyes can see. It really is big so even in the peaks of summer you never feel that you are on top of other families.

It is just a short drive down to Barmouth if you fancied finding a few more amenities or if it was a rainy day and you fancied something else to do!

You can find the pods here.

Find video of our stay here too:



Hayley xxx
Thursday, 4 August 2016

St. Ives 2016 Holiday VLOG


If you have seen our latest post all about some top tips for having a caravan holiday with a toddler then you will already know we have not long holidayed in St Ives.

This is our latest video blog, a little montage of our trip.

I will be sharing lots of photos soon over on the travel page of the blog.

Hayley xxx
Saturday, 30 July 2016

Caravan holidays with a toddler hacks


As a family (especially before babies) we have always loved to travel and any disposable income naturally leant itself to holidays and weekends away. Obviously when children come along travel needs and desires change, you want things to be as easy and stress free as possible, if that even exists of course. But we give it a good go! 

Travelling with toddlers and tots is all about give and take. So with a little organisation, preparation and patience you can all enjoy the break. Daisy has been abroad a few times already and actually she didn't make things too tricky but we know with another baby thrown in the mix that it could well be more difficult and so we decided to have our summer week away in the UK, that and we haven't got him a passport! 

We've often holidayed here so it's nothing new to us, you can find posts on Bluestone and Center Parcs here as well as many other places in the travel tab at the top of the page. This time we stayed in a static caravan on St Ives Bay Holiday Park







I thought I would share a few little tips that we picked up from our stay;

Tub baths - The one big thing that made me unsure about this type of holiday was that caravans don't tend to come with baths and my babies are used to having a good wash in one. Although Daisy likes a shower it depends on how it is to if she will actually wash in one!!

We take a large storage box with all of our groceries, handy items like in bin bags and loo rolls in for easy packing, this doubles as a bath!! I could bath Alex in it properly but Daisy is just able to sit in it and be washed, perfect for getting the sand out of areas that we would have struggled in the shower with!

Own bedding - This applies where ever we go. If we can then we take Daisy's pillow and quilt with us. That way she has her familiar things with her and you know she's comfortable. 

Choosing the right venue- when booking a holiday we now have to make sure it's toddler friendly, gone are the days of ensuring a location is central to lots of swanky restaurants as a priority but instead hunting for swings and slides, swimming pools, grass to run on, child friendly cafe and take away and somewhere you can get places with them walking.

Toddler entertainment - Get yourself to Poundland or the supermarkets before you leave for beach toys, buckets etc as you will really pay a premium when at the coast!

Cleanings Bits & Bobs - I have holidayed like this plenty of times as a child myself but never had the responsibility of going with my own family until now. My mum made sure we took bin bags, tea towels, dish clothes, washing up liquid etc as none of this is supplied. I took a few packets of anti- bacterial wipes too as they're so quick and easy for wiping things down. 

We recently stayed in St Ives Bay Holiday Park which had all of the facilities you would need with a toddler that doesn't stop, needs entertaining and needs wearing out! Perhaps wouldn't have been our first choice of accommodation a few years ago as a couple with no children but how times change!!! Or at least you're forced into making practical decisions anyway!! Anything that helps give you a quieter life!





Hayley xxx

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Holidaying with a baby/ toddler: Villa Life



We have been on holiday and decided to stay in a villa a few times now, last year was the first time we took Daisy and it was by far the best idea we had. The style of accommodation that best suits your plans is one of the major decisions you have to make when planning any trip abroad, this is even more important when you have a mini human to take along with you too! 

I am sure you can imagine that once the travelling nightmares are over then it is pretty much home away from home, you can make yourself comfortable, have your own space and take things at your own leisure and pace rather than putting in plans around the facilities at the hotel, feeding times etc.




It is the way we would would 100% choose to take our holiday now if it was an option. We have since stayed in hotels and things, and well that is nice too but we do find villa life so much easier with a child, and well potentially two very soon. (The baby is not potential, he is definitely en route within the next few weeks, but I am unsure if we will get a holiday this year or not!).






We went to Cyprus with Daisy when she was just about one year old. There were so many factors that made this holiday so relaxed and that were contributed to by the fact we had our own little home for the week:


  • Space - And plenty of it! There was enough room to put her down for a nap, get shade, feed her, give her a good nights sleep and spread out our baby/ toddler paraphernalia! 
  • Avoid the heat - We could avoid the peak heat times, so in an afternoon Daisy could snooze away for a few hours in the bedroom or living room where it was nice and cool and we could sit right outside her door and enjoy the sunshine! You would be very lucky to be able to do this in a hotel! 
  • Food and drink options - Well we used to go to the supermarket every couple of days, which is actually one of my favourite things to do anyway on holiday! We could lunch at the villa, have breakfast every morning so there was no rushing about and we could even have had evening meals if we chose to. We actually only ate in a few times in the evening but with two children we may do it far more! Of course not only is it convenient with a child, especially when at the weaning phase but it actually works out much cheaper to eat at home when you can! 
  • You have the pool to yourself! I don't think I need to go into too much detail here! 
  • The majority of villas we found have all the mod-cons you would need from that may not necessarily get at a hotel or that you would have to pay extra for anyway; Wi-Fi to air conditioning and like I already mentioned,your own private pool. No more quarrels over sun loungers and disturbed relaxation (except for having a child to look after of course!!) and the best position guaranteed.You simply just follow the sun around the garden! 
  • A car - of course you don't have to opt to have a car and you could always get one if you stayed in a hotel too but with a car you can also use it as a base to discover the area, site-see when you fancy it and get to know the place you have travelled to.It allows you to travel to these places without being tied to organised trips and public transport, which lets face it isn't all that pleasant with a baby in tow!!






This has made me feel all nostalgic now and craving a bit of sunshine, but we will have to see what the year has in store for us first!

Lots of love,
Hayley xx
Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Our first Center Parcs break: Whinfell Forest March 2016

Last week we decided to take a break and have a little holiday at Center Parcs, we decided on Whinfell Forest, Cumbria. There are various locations to choose from all over the UK but my husband thought he would tie in some walking up mountains so the Lake District was the right choice on this occasion! We really fancied going to Longleat to start with but mainly to visit the safari park that is close by, sadly that wasn't open until Easter so maybe next time.

I will share a few photos later in the week but for now I thought I would share a little video I have put together of our stay!

We were really impressed with the parc and the facilities they offer. Having visited Bluestone before and loving it, we wondered how it would compare or if it would be similar. They have their similarities but on the whole Center Parcs is much larger (or this site was!), but we loved both so hopefully one day will return. You can find some of our Bluestone posts here and here.

The accommodation was a similar style of modern lodges in the forest with everything you would need for a young family.

The facilities are great for all of the family, with activities such as the soft play (in most restaurants!). the tots zone, mini golf, the huge swimming pool, high ropes etc there was always something for us to do. Sadly we didn't get to do everything we wanted to do, we missed out things such as the bowling and going on the boats as we just ran out of time!

I do wonder how busy it would be in the peak of summer and how manic some of the areas such as the play parks and soft play would be, with school age children tearing around the toddlers but I am sure it would be just as good!




Enjoy!

Hayley xxx
Thursday, 22 October 2015

Taking the LittleLife Adventurer on our travels

We recently (well back in the spring) purchased the LittleLife Adventurer baby/ toddler carrier from GoOutdoors and I thought I would share our thoughts on it with you. Just to clarify that I have in no way been subsidised for this review and we bought the carrier with our own pennies!

We have used it quite a bit over the summer, taking the dog for a walk, camping, on the beach etc. And it has been perfect.

We recently went on a holiday to Italy where we started with a few days in Venice and then moved on to lake Garda where we did some more travelling about seeing beautiful parts of the lake and even went on to Verona for the day. Before we went it was recommended that we ditch the pushchair for Venice and opt for our baby carrier. First of all we were unsure of the rules on taking baby baggage on a flight, but it turns out you can take two pieces - so a pushchair and a car seat or in our case this time the carrier and buggy.

We were so glad we were given this tip because Venice with a buggy could have been a bit of a nightmare, all of those cobbles, uneven streets and steps over tiny bridges, never mind getting on and off the water taxis and all of the tourists ankles we could have chopped off! The baby carrier was so much easier.

I have put together a little video to show you around the carrier and to show you some of our travels with the adventurer:


I honestly would give this carrier a 4.5/5! The only thing that stops me giving that massive 5 is that its quite tall, I am only 5 foot 4 and when I have tried it on I have felt quite swamped by it! Luckily my husband tends to wear ours and finds it fine to use and light. Daisy is 18 months old now and so not so light in herself! His shoulders did ache when we left Venice the 2nd day but only for a few hours, and exactly as you would expect lugging a lump around all day!

We would highly recommend this carrier!

Lots of love,
Hayley & Daisy
xxxx

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Braving that first holiday abroad with a baby: Flying


Firstly I am not sure if Daisy still counts as a baby, or maybe she has moved onto being a toddler? What ever, it doesn't matter anyway, the same principles will apply I am sure.

Those of you that follow my YouTube channel or instagram will know earlier in the summer we went to Cyprus for a few weeks and this was Daisys first trip abroad on an aeroplane! I am sure you will have seen all of the holiday photo spam! I thought I would write a little about our holiday and maybe a few little tips that i will use in future but also that may be useful to someone else who is thinking about or who is taking their little one with them on holiday soon.



So for the flight:


  • Make sure you take a change of clothes for them - we had only just left home and Daisy was sick everywhere. I'd have had to root around in our suitcases if I hadn't packed a spare sleepsuit with us for travel. Or I dread to think what I would have done had it have happened on the flight! Especially having to share a seat with her all the way, yuck! 
  • Take lots of snacks and food. You can take as many snacks and pouches etc with you as you see fit when travelling with a baby/ toddler. Be prepared to try some random bits at security if asked though! I was lucky enough not to have to on this trip, although I wouldn't have minded too much to be honest. I am not sure I would have fancied trying my breast milk or even formula though had I have taken any of that!! I actually took two bottles of milk through with me, a couple of Ellas Kitchen pouches, lots of Organix snacks like Raisins and carrot sticks and her beaker of water too. You are allowed to take baby milk and food on board, if it is for your babies use for the duration of the flight, and it CAN be over 100ml. Baby food and milk is exempt from the 100 ml liquid rules. This includes; sterilised water, breast/powdered/ cartoned milk of all kinds, and baby food of all consistencies and packaging. 
  • Take Calpol with you. Again you can travel with baby's medicine no problem. Luckily I didn't need this but always good to have with you. In future I will take the little sachets though, I was panicking constantly about smashing the bottle! 
  • Take lots of interesting things to play with and look at. I went to the pound shop before we left and got some random little things for Daisy as mini presents in her flight bag. It was more so they were things she hadn't seen before and so kept her attention longer! Books are always a winner with us!
  • When booking a flight try to look at times if possible. In the past we would have just hopped on the cheapest flight going but this time we really had to look into flights. I wanted to make it as easy for her as I possibly could! 
  • You will in most cases be able to take your pram/ stroller right up to the gate so you don't have to lug baby around the airport and your hand luggage etc. If your stroller is in the aircraft hold, then you will generally collect it at the baggage belt, where you collect your suitcases.
Daisy was a brilliant traveller going and we hardly heard a peep from her. She slept a little and then just grazed her way through snacks, played with her toys and chatted to us and fellow passengers. On the way back on the descent she started to scream and scream. I had never heard her cry like that before, it was actually really disturbing and made me feel so upset! It had to be her ears. She was drinking her bottle as we started going down - which is what had been recommended to me before we had flown. The sucking makes their ears pop as it does ours! But her little ears were having none of it this time, a dummy wouldn't work, eating wouldn't work. She was just inconsolable. I guess what I am trying to say is just because you had a good flight once doesn't mean it will be plains sailing again, so be prepared for that! The only thing I found to soothe her slightly was to cover her ears with my hands and hold her as tightly as I could into my chest, lots of cuddles. 

Apparently crying does actually help relieve the pain, but it's not exactly soothing for you and your fellow passengers. 



Hope this helps :)

Hayley & Daisy xx

Monday, 13 July 2015

Travelling as part of my job: 36 hours in Paris


Those of you that know me or have been following me a while will know for my everyday job, I have to travel. A part of it that I enjoyed a few years ago and a part of it that I now find difficult, for the obvious reason I have a little Daisy at home.

Here you can see 36 hours in Paris..


Enjoy!

Lots of love,

Hayley xxx
Thursday, 25 June 2015

Sorry for going AWOL.. Holiday abroad with baby

Well I have been a bit AWOL this past week or so and that is because we were on our hols!

I should be back in action from this week and caught up hopefully.

In the mean time, here is what we have been up to...



Lots of love,

Hayley & Daisy xxx
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Our very first Vlog: All about Bluestone

Just incase you missed it I gave Vlogging a little go!

I'm not sure it's something I'll do a lot of but I did quite enjoy it and enjoyed the challenge! And where best to start other than on our little Bluestone holiday.



I would love it if you gave it a little thumbs up :) It may just persuade me to do a few more!

Lots of love,

Hayley & Daisy xxx

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Our 1st family holiday #3 Padstow & The Eden Project

Here goes... the last post of our family holiday and probably the most picture heavy!

It's making me quite sad actually writing this, our holiday was a lifetime ago now :(

First up Padstow. I have been here before with my family when I was a child, and you see it a lot on the tele. To be honest I was disappointed, it didn't live up to what I was expecting this time. I was expecting it to be bigger and probably more high end than it was. i wonder if it would be different in peak times?

It wasn't as quaint as I remembered either. Rick Stein has definitely got the monopoly here, everything has his name on!






And then the Eden Project. I wasn't sure what to expect here but I had a lovely day, and Daisy really enjoyed it too! 















Lots of love, 
Hayley xxx



Friday, 30 May 2014

Happy two year wedding anniversary (photo post)

Seeing as it's our two year wedding anniversary today I though I would share a photo post. I've already blogged about our wedding day in Lindos, if you missed it you can catch up here.

Post 1 
Post 2
Post 3

Happy two years wedding anniversary to my best friend xx









I own the copyright to all photographs 

Lots of love, 
Hayley xxx


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