Posted in Explore the world, family fun, Travel Guest Post, Travel tips with children, Uncategorized

Travelling with kids guest post by Zoe who blogs at Chummy Mummy!

So the day has finally arrived.  Packing day.  We booked this holiday over 12 months ago, I’ve had that long to prepare and yet I feel totally un-prepared for the task before me.

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My stomach is turning at the thought of a 7 hour car journey with 3 children aged 10 and under, not to mention the packing for 5 people, an over night stay on a ferry (which requires separate packing), a picnic and two rucksacks.  The list goes on and my mind feels terrifyingly numb to it all.  More tea and cake, lots and lots of cake.

I find myself scurrying from room to room as my glowing and pregnant sister lies draped across my bed, chuckling.  The extremes of my control issues are presenting themselves in new and previously un-seen ways.  I begin by rolling every item to achieve maximum surface area to volume capacity and at the same time mindlessly count, count and count again (and yet still manage to be short 3 pairs of socks!)  At least someones getting entertained in the process.

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The day ends without me crying over something ridiculous and I even managed to cope well with the realisation that the car needs 2 new rear tyres before we can even set off tomorrow but for now I’m happy with the score:

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Lets see what tomorrow brings.

DAY TWO

Today the journey to Northern Ireland begins.  The picnic’s packed and so are the bags.  The need to be compulsive about where specific items are packed has got up and left, along with my calm, happy, holiday face.  I’m frantically packing last minute “just in case” items, in the hold all that’s supposed to be for the ferry sleep over.  I hope they don’t search it there’s all sorts of crap in there!

It’s 9.30am.  The calm before the storm.  Everything’s packed – I think (apart from those bastard socks!)

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Two hours in and all’s going well.  Nieve’s had a massive sleep and I’m feeling like super woman, I’m chilled.  The crazy Zoe has re-treated and super-mum has arrived with uber amounts of patience and a zen like feel to her persona.  There’s a good possibility that the next 2 hours will be hell, now that Nieve has slept so well, but I’m cool with it.  I can totally rock this car journey.  I CAN DO THIS!

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One hour later – We’ve stopped at Blaise Castle, which has an amazing play area and free parking!  The boys are loving the play area.  We’ve not even reached the north of England, let along northern Ireland and I’m already freezing.  I’m sat writing in my note book with a blanket wrapped round my shoulders.  Clearly I’ve lived in the South too long and I’m turning nesh.  We’re still at a holiday score of 1-0 to me and I’m taking full advantage of the kids being occupied and chilling out before we get back into the confines of the car.  Hopefully Nieve and the boys will relax now they’ve had a run around and burnt off some steam.  The boys are playing ninja warrior on the adventure playground.  I’m purposely looking the other way, other wise I’ll have to shout and I’m still being zen.  The car journey competition is working a treat too.  Hats off to Brad for sorting that bad boy out.

30 minutes later – We’re back in the car.  We’ve read 5 stories, Nieves nicked Darrell’s sweets and I’ve finally given in and given her the dodo (Nieve code for Dummy).  Dylan and Darrell are still working their way through the car game and all we’re getting at the moment is the odd gasp from the back seats a they spot something the other hasn’t.

Only two hours and forty eight minutes to go until we arrive at the ferry according to the sat nav.  The tablets are amazing.  I’ve decided electronic parenting is my new ethos in Northern Ireland.  Brad strikes again.  He downloaded a couple of films each to keep them happy.  I love that man.

We’re an hour ahead of schedule with a brewers fayre in our sites for dinner (with a play area!) hello wine o’clock!

OK so far everything’s been going just a little too well.  I’m re-reading my notes as I’m typing this up and thinking to myself.  You fool.  How could you have written this down and thought that in doing so you were safe.  Surely, as a parent you must realise by now, that in writing such things down you are in fact mocking the parenting gods and angering them into action.

It’s the eleventh hour!  We broke down 2 hours ago.  After mild smoke inhalation we’re off the hard shoulder and safely in a McDonald/Toys R’ Us car park in Birmingham.  There’s a flock of travellers on the car park being escorted by the police and the chavs are looking about disgusted like they’re the model citizens.  My little country bumpkins are taking it all in their stride and certainly blend in.  Nieve’s rocking her bright pink Doc McStuffins tracksuit complete with glitter writing and crazy car hair.  The mucky tomato sauce face finishes the ensemble ensuring she fits right in.  I don’t even reach for a wet wipe.  I’ve lost all motivation.  The zen super mum, of 11.30 am, has well and truly deserted me.  In her place is a strung out mess.  I’ve seen druggies, on a come down looking more zen but then with only an hour to get us back on the road and the AA guy no where in sight, I feel this overall look is justified.  We’re never going to make this ferry.  The kids are happily playing, I’ve forced a big tasty down (oh the hardship!) and I’m currently inhaling an apple pie to keep my strength up, vitamin C and all that jazz. Nieves just done a massive poo.  The boys are being total angels.  Under the circumstances I’m still rocking this shit or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

The AA guys just arrived we’ve got exactly 54 minutes to get this show on the road or we’re getting a 2.30 am ferry instead and with 3 kids that is a no-go zone!  I’m watching as Brad nods both approving and thoughtful in equal measure.  He’s great with most things, cars do not fit this category and I know he has absolutely no idea what the guys saying.  Internally I’m screaming JUST FIX THE F**KING THING!  externally I coo at Nieve and play the choo choo chip game. God I feel like a psycho.

After what feels like a lifetime in McDonalds I decide a change of scenery’s in order. Toys R’ Us prepare yourselves we’re on our way.  The AA man is MIA having rushed off to get us a part.  35 minutes to go before we’re officially behind schedule and missing the ferry.  I hit Toys R’ Us and decide a parental update is in order and phone my mum.  Instead of the tears I expect I’m more terrified to discover that, on her answering the phone, my internal dialogue spills out and I hysterically sing “it’s the final countdown” to her down the phone.  She thinks it’s good news and shouts with happiness “are you on the road then?” (they’re supposed to be meeting us at the farmhouse in Ireland tomorrow)  “Don’t be ridiculous” I answer.  “I’ve hit hysteria and need you to talk me down.  I’m wandering round Toys R’ Us letting the kids play with all the display toys and hoping I don’t get asked to leave.”

It’s been 20 minutes, we’ve taken pictures of the kids with some of the toys like we’re visiting a local attraction and I’ve had multiple staff wander past me, supposedly on their way to do something, but giving me the eye all the same.  Time to leave.

I exit the shop to a blast of cleansing air.  The AA man’s still working on the car but I’ve accepted it.  Its the 2.30 am ferry.  It’s fine.  I CAN DO THIS!  I’m still not feeling zen but to hell with that.  I’m a strong, resourceful woman and we are going to enjoy this trip or so help me……………..The blessed AA man has done it!  They really are the 4th emergency service.  We’re back on the road and I can’t believe it.  We’re going to make it.  We’re actually going to get to sleep on the boat.  We’ve been on the road now for 9 hours but we’re actually going to do it!  The kids are quietly ecstatic and are still being amazing.  I can’t believe how lucky I am that they ‘re not being total shits.

Three Hours Later – We’ve made it!  We’re on board.  I’ve got a tea, Brads savouring a well earned cider.  Nieves slept a total of 4 hours today and is currently having a mad hour running round the play area.  The boys are also burning off some steam and are wrestling as they slide down the padded ramp of the play area.  I don’t care.  I’m sitting with my back to them so I can feign ignorance if anyone complains.  They’re happy and after being total legends in the car they totally deserve this time.  They’re so excited about sleeping on a boat especially as they both get to be on the top bunks (there’s no way me or Brad is trying to climb up there!) No ones mythering me or shouting mum.  It’s total bliss.  The cabin is basic and clean.  I’m so exhausted after 12 hours travelling it feels like a palace.

I’m not keeping score anymore the holiday can kiss my ultra zen ass.  It may have won the journey but I will win the WAR……………holiday I totally meant holiday.

 

Posted in Adventure, Explore the world, Family, Travel Guest Post, Travel tips with children, Uncategorized

Travelling with Kids Guest post by Amy who blogs at Eps and Amy!

Hi, I’m Amy from Eps and Amy blog (www.epsandamy.co.uk), which covered bargain sales, product reviews and lifestyle/family blogging.I have 2 children aged 5 and 8 (although the photos attached are from previous car journeys too) and we do lots of family holidays and travelling.

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Last year we headed to the south of France, if you do the journey all in one go it would take about 12 hours, so we decided to split the journey and stay at various euro camp sites on the way down.  We left home at 3am and got a 5am ferry across from Dover.

I always recommend this, the kids happily sleep until you get to the port and then have breakfast on the ferry to occupy the time.  We reached Disney in time for opening and although the adults were tired we had an amazing day. We stayed a few days in Disney, check out my post on Disney hints and tips (https://epsandamy.co.uk/2016/11/30/Disney-tips-guest-blog/) then moved on to a euro camp park a 3 hour drive away, we stayed 10 days at this park, then faced a 6 hour drive down to the south of France, stayed there 6 nights then had the journey home, 5 hours one day over night in Burgundy then 6 hours the next day.

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So lots of driving, but I have some good tips to make the journey a lot less painful: * if you can journey early or late so your kids sleep in the car

* pack lots of food, snack stuff like pretzels and fruit strings.

* avoid sweets or chocolate, they are very sticky when dropped and the kids will feel sick after a handful

* take colouring or puzzle books, and drip feed to the kids only when they are seriously cranky

* invest in kids headphones; they are volume limited so won’t deafen themselves and you won’t have to listen to the iPad

* fill the iPads with TV episodes, avoid films, kids get board of films so quickly

* I highly recommend these in car sets for kids: https://usborne.com/browse-books/catalogue/product/1/2944/100-things-for-little-children-to-do-on-a-journey suitable from aged 3-10 ish

* when the kids start getting fractious stop the car for a bit, especially if you can find somewhere with a play area! But if the kids are quiet or asleep keep driving, get as many miles done as possible when you can.

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I hope some of these tips can help you, we have had some very easy journeys with the children.

Amy’s holiday in the South of France sound’s amazing and she has some lovely tips to help during a long car journey! I will certainly be using some of these tips next time we go on a long car journey adventure! Thank You Amy!

Posted in Best things in life are free, Explore the world, Family, Kent Family, Local life, parent

The Coffee Shop

I’m sitting in the coffee shop around the corner from my place, one day it’s really quiete and the next is so busy.

I am not complaining one bit, the coffee shop is a little independent shop, with fabulous staff and a lovely atmosphere.

Today it’s busy, the coffee shop is hosting a Macmillian coffee morning and there are a few groups of people, 6 ladies who are chatting loudly who keep looking around and apologising  almost every five minutes for being loud, the keep fit ladies who are sitting out the front, two gentlemen who are celebrating a birthday and three ladies who always seem to be in here having a chat but mostly listing into other people’s conversations. 

This is why I love the coffee shop there is always a mix of people, you hardly ever see the same people sitting in. 

The cakes are amazing here they are mouthwatering. They don’t bake them themselves but they have a lady who bakes and brings them in. 

There is a wide selection of hot drinks, unfortunately I do not drink hot drinks, but hubs does so he has plenty of choice.

There are plenty of choices for sandwiches, wraps and paninies. Either hot or cold. 

The milkshakes!!!! If I had the money I would have one everyday, they have fresh fruit, chocolate bars and biscuits to choose from, and if they don’t have what you fancy take it with you as they offer a discount, I only found out about this the other day when they ran out of my favourite sweets! 

Now here’s the most important things you need to know, the staff are brilliant, they go above and beyond for you, like today it was a gentleman’s birthday who seems to go in quite a bit and they had a happy birthday banner up for him.

No request is too big or too small for the staff here.

The only down side is the coffee shop is small and if there are a few buggies it does get very tight, but I’ve never had a problem with this. 

So enjoy! 

Posted in back to school, Explore the world, Family, history, Life, life skills, parent blogger

Learning, books and Ipads

When I was younger, there wasn’t Google, Yahoo or ask jeeves to search your research we used books.

Everything now a days you can find out from searching the Internet, whether that’s from your phone, tablet, laptop or computer. Everything is at the touch of a button.
Even some schools  relay on Internet for children to search for information if they are doing a project. 

This got me thinking about when Bear and Bell start to research for projects or wanting to find out more about something they have learnt at school. Will I allow them to just jump on the Ipad and search what they want to know, or will I encourage them to find a book and read from there what they need to know… 

As you may know if you follow my twitter and Instagram I love books, and I mean LOVE books,  I really wish I had a bigger place so I could start my own library, with a comfy chair and some lovely cushions… I can dream.. anyway what was I saying…

So you may of gathered by now I would 100% encourage them to read books to find out the information they need. 

Why will limit the amount of time let them use the tablets? 

Technology devises give of small amounts of radiation, which isn’t good for anybody! 

It encourages poor posture and strains the eyes.

It over excites the brain! Which then would make the children not be able to fall asleep easily.

You can get so many different books to find out information, you can get books from places you visit, books for helping learn maths, about your body, flap books, feely books the list goes on and on.

And reading a book is so much more beneficial then sitting on a tablet/Ipad, as you can’t guarantee the correct spellings or punctuation on the website! Maybe I am such a book worm that I really hope that one day Bell and Bear will love reading as much as I do.

Posted in Adventure, Explore the world, Kent Family, Life, reviews, thoughtfullness

Books I think you should read… 

Did I say I was a book worm? I love reading whether it’s on a kindle or a good old fashioned book, you will find me with a head in a book. Whether it’s a romantic, a crime or even a history book the list is endless! I will keep the reviews fairly short as I will either give away the hole story line or just write and write! 

Hear are my top 5 books for Autumn 2016

  • Me before you by Jojo Moyes (also after you is brilliant too! Classing this as two separate top picks!)

Such a brilliantly written book, I really felt the emotions that Louisa was feeling and I admit I cried at the end! It makes uou also think about if you were in Lousias situaton what would you do?.Book two gets you thinking will Louisa ever get her happily ever after … I just want to know will there be a book 3?! 

  • Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris 

This is a lovely but sad book with a happy ending. It definitely goes to show you never know what is going on behind closed doors 

  • The Lonely Hearts Travellers Club Destination India by Katy Collins

WOW a story I think everyone could relate to. It’s about finding yourself before you find love or realise it’s been right in front of you the whole time! 

  • Written in the Stars By Ali Harris 

Have you ever wondered what if? This book certainly allows you to read about Bea and is wondering if she choice the right choice. A love story, with her life going down different roads. 

Posted in Explore the world, Family, hospital, Kent Family, Life, parent blogger, vaccines

Vaccine Series Part 1 Bear and his reaction to MMR

I used to be pro vaccine, I am now sitting on the fence twiddling my thumbs doing so much thinking and research my head is going to explode.

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This Blog post isn’t to cause upset or to start a debate, I do love a debate though, but not on the blog. Every parent makes a choice which suits their family and their life style. So here is my post about Bear and his reaction to MMR, and what has spurred me to do more research into what is in vaccines and why do we really need them? Is it for profit or for actual health benefits, and more importantly are they actually 100% safe.

Bear has had all his vaccines up to 1 year with no problems, so imagine my surprise and concern when Bear had a reaction to his MMR at 18 months old. He had the injection fine and we were sent into the waiting room to make sure we didn’t have a reaction. In the space of 5 minutes, Bear was covered in a rash from head to toe and he started wheezing! The doctor came out and gave him Piriton, which luckily worked, but we were told to go to accident and emergency just to get him checked over. There we were told he would have to have any vaccines done at the hospital. So when his pre-school booster came along of we went to have it done, luckily no reaction.

Bell has so far had no reaction either.

I then met a friend via facebook, she is lovely and is a mum who is very down to earth and has also opened my eye’s to the bigger picture. I certainly wish she was around when Bear was born, I think I could of learnt a lot.

Anyway, she opened my eyes to what actually goes into vaccines, some things aren’t even given to animals, so why are we humans being given them? What are the long term effects of the newer vaccines which have come out in the last 5-6 years? Why do we really need vaccines is it for the government to gain financial gain or is it for our actual health benefits? Why aren’t new parents offered the slip which contains all the medicine in their child’s vaccine a few day’s or weeks before they have them?

I am now reading as much information as I possibly can on this. Bear got his Flu vaccine letter a few day’s ago and I have declined it, why? Because I want to fully research everything before I give it to him, why? Because I felt awful after I had my flu vaccine, I felt awful for weeks my immune system was so low it was not good, I had no energy or motivation.

Now You can see why I am now researching? Asking questions many Doctors, Nurses, Health Visitors and GP’s don’t really know the answer to. I wonder what I will find?

Have you done any research into Vaccines? what did you find?

Posted in Explore the culture, Explore the world, Family, Life, life skills, parent blogger, School, summer holidays, Sunshine after the rain

And we are back to school…..

Seriously where have the last 5.5 years gone?! Bear is now in year 1 at school!

Bear has turned into the most caring, kind, compassionate, challenging, adventures little boy. And I grew him!

Year one is going to be a challenge, I don’t think him and his friends realise there will be less playing and more working in year 1. I don’t think they know how much homework they will be getting or how much. I have tried to prepare Bear for the fact that year one is going to be more sitting down and working than free play, whilst learning. We are going to be doing lots more things at home whether or not he has home work or not. We are going to get more involved in growing plants, doing a few science experiments, visiting some fun places and of course reading. I have promised if Bear improves and concentrates on reading he can have his own Kindle fire for Christmas or his birthday. It won’t have apps or games on it will just be for reading!

Here are a few pics from when Bear was younger!

Posted in Adventure, Beach, Explore the culture, Explore the world, holidays, parent blogger, summer holidays, Travel tips with children

Protur Vista Badia and Sa Coma

We booked the Protur Vista Badia Hotel in May 2015. We went for a week as when we went to Ibiza two weeks seemed far too long!

Vista Badia is a four star hotel and a Platinum hotel  (i didn’t realize this until we actually got there!) it was so clean and well presented. And had a very modern feel to the reception area.

We arrived at (yawn) 3.30am to the hotel and the room was just a short walk from the reception area, we wasn’t told any details though of when Breakfast was and what time it was on until, it was given to us in a leaflet along with meeting our Thomson Rep at 10am.

The room was spotless to! it had a small kitchen area with a fridge, oven hob,microwave and a sink.There was a table with four chairs and a small living room area which had two sofas, a coffee table and a tv with a few uk channels.

The bedroom was separate and was a nice size even with a cot in. The bathroom had a shower and a bath which was a bonus with two young children.

On our first day we managed to get three sunbeds at the front of the children’s splash pool and to be honest there was only one day we were in the 2nd row. There was no arguing over who sat where and what time towels were out, Most towels were put out between 7.50-8.30 when people went for breakfast.

When we saw our Rep, he explained that there were 2 other hotels we could use the facilities one was the Safari Park hotel and the other one was the Spa hotel.Also there were 5 different restaurants we could go to for our evening meal BUT booking was limited and the restaurants spaces were divided between Badia and the Safari hotel which in total was over 2,400 guests. We luckily managed to visit three of them. There was also a petting zoo and water park attached to both of the hotels too, along with a mini golf course. During our week stay we saw our rep max three times!

We didn’t visit the Spa hotel but we did visit the Safari hotel and it was very modern and clean as well. The only down side was that it was packed it had over 2,000 guests but most of the facilities were in this hotel along with some of the restaurants.

We visited the Safari Zoo and the Marineland (more on that later), but mostly we spent the time around the pool, visiting the beach and walking around the area.

Around the hotel there were a few car hire places, lots of shops selling holiday souvenirs and lots of pubs and restaurants. Sa Coma is a purpose built resort which was built back in the 1980’s. Cala Millor and Porto Cristo are just up the road where you can hop on to a little train which costs around four euros per adult and two fifty euros for children, return. Or you can hop on the local bus, or get a taxi. There are also locals offering horse and Cart rides up to Sa coma Castle.

There are a few street sellers, who do the braiding of hair and temporary tattoos but they aren’t in your face asking you to buy all the time which is lovely.

The beach is at the end of the shops and its actually dare I say very buggy and wheelchair friendly. There are wooden walking paths dotted along the beach and they do get you fairly close to the sea’s edge, you do have to drag the buggy slightly to get to a spot but I promise its very easy to get down as far as you can.

Back in the hotel you need your door card key to get back into the back door exit and entry. I think this is a great idea as it stops people getting in to the hotel who shouldn’t. The pools where lovely and clean too! There were two main places to eat during the day (lunch) they served food from 1pm until 3pm in the restaurant area and pool bar. The pool bar was quick food like hot dogs, burgers and pizza , where the main restaurant was rice and pasta dishes with a choice of meat, salad and cold meats. The food however was nice BUT it wasn’t hot, if you wanted hot food you would of had to go to one of the restaurants which you had to pre-book the choices where Asian, India, Italian, Greek and Country grill which was burgers, ribs etc.

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The staff however couldn’t do enough for you all very helpful and there English is very good. There is also a English receptionist, who works most afternoons too.

The children’s club was very good it ran everyday except on Sunday’s and they do a varied program of art,games, water games and face painting. And run from 11am until 4.30pm!

The evening entertainment was varied also, and very good they certainly got the audiences  attention. The evening entertainment kicked of with Mini disco from 8.30 until 9.15 Then family entertainment from 9.30 until around 11pm.

Would I go back? Yes I would, but I would either go half board or self catering… Why? Because the staff, the hotel  where lovely and I wouldn’t want to go all inclusive to be eating cold food.

Out of 10 I would give the hotel 9/10

 

Disclaimer: I was not paid for this review or approached by Thomson to do this. The words are all my own words and views.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Explore the world, life skills, more to life, NASA, parent blogger, pbloggeruk, Space

In the end… 

In the end life is a journey, a journey to become the best we can be. We mess up, we don’t mess up, we live life to the full, we hide way in the shadows.

But where does our journey end? Does it end when we die? Does it end when we full fill everything we need to do, by this we keep getting reincarnated to achieve this. Do we start of as small  bugs, at the bottom of the food chain and work our way up to become humans? Is their life after life on earth? Is Earth actually the place to learn from our mistakes before we go to another planet or universe.

Do we get reincarnated until we get it right before we move to another planet in another universe?

I don’t think anybody would truly know what happens when we die. Nobody as of yet has found life on other planets of our solar system. Mars has been proven that it once had water on. Were we really ment to live on Mars and our past lives destroyed the planet so much we had to move here to Earth? Are we really ment to have 25 hours a day and stay away from the sun. That is one of the theories I have read, it could be logical as Mars has a 25 hour day and is away from the sun.

I think I have lived before, I am very drawn to history especially Victoriana era and I love space.

What will happen to our planet if we keep destroying it?

There are so many questions I am asking, I will have to start researching this a bit more.

I personally think it’s fascinating that there could be so much more to our journey, the world and space that we are yet to discover the new ideas and views we could come across.

Do you believe in reincarnation, other lives?

Photos used from NASA free images section.

Posted in Adventure, Aeroplane, Airport, Beach, Explore the culture, Explore the world, holidays

Ibiza 2014

I never did the whole club 18-30 holiday, never been to Ibiza either.


So for honeymoon we were ment to be heading to the Caribbean but Bell came along and there was no way I was travelling on a 9 hour flight with a 3 year old and a 8 month old! 

We managed to rearrange our holiday to Ibiza, the quite side of the island.


the flight was great they both slept as it was a night time flight, and we were given a room on the ground floor. 

There wasn’t much to do on this island it is very much a relaxing island or clubbing island! 


We visited a few local towns which were very old fashioned and we went on a boat ride to a neighbouring little island.


We went on a glass bottom boat and saw the fishes swim passed.

We also stayed on the pool side and chilled on the beach.

One day there was a sand storm, it was crazy luckily we Popped back to the room for Bear and Bells nap, and we could hear parasols being blown away and people walking away to shelter pretty quickly! 

It started and finished within 10 minutes.

We made a few friends and it also turns out a little boy who is now in Bears class was there exactly the same time as us too! Unfortunately we didn’t meet each other that time.

Would I go back to Ibiza… Yes without the children as there wasn’t much to do there as in terms of visiting places or I would wait until they were quite happy to play in the pool all day.