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!
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.
Ty Garth, Porthmadog Snowdonia: Trying Out Airbnb
Do Holidays Really Change When You become Parents?
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:
How Do You Choose A Holiday For Your Family?
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.
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!).
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 :)
Where To Start When Planning a Wedding AbroadI 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!
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.
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.
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;
How To Master A Flight With Young ChildrenSo 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.