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 Adventure, holidays, parent blogger, Travel tips with children

Safari Zoo – Sa Coma

The Safari Zoo In Sa Coma has been there since 1969. We picked up the free transfer  Safari bus from just outside our hotel and it took us to the Zoo.

We had to pay before we bored and at 19 euros per adult and 10 euros per child is was’t too badly priced. When we got there we had to hop of the safari bus and get into a little train which was very open. We started of going round a dessert looking field and there were lots of Animals roaming around with very little shade for them. They all looked a bit skinny, but happy and healthy, if that makes sense?

Anyway we carried on and we stopped with the Zebras, one of the Zebras came right up to the trailers and the guide said he was very friendly and he liked being stroked. Seeing as I dout I would ever get to feel a Zebras skin again it was a great opportunity. The Zebras skin/fur actually felt silky but rough at the same time, if that’s even possible? Bell and Bear didn’t want to touch the Zebra.

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Next we drove along to the area where most of the Monkeys where hanging out and the monkeys were all wondering around expect for one who ran as fast as he could, then slowed down and climbed up onto the trailer and sat for a minute or two on the side enjoying the ride. Bell wasn’t keen on the monkey catching a ride with us she moved from me to another bench, Bear however couldn’t stopped looking at him.

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We then went to the Graffias and some people even feed them, there tongues  are very strange, but they are beautiful creatures. We didn’t feed them as I do’t think the correct diet for them is bread!

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We then carried on and we got dropped of at the top to where the lions and tigers, Llamas where along with a few birds and my favorite the Meerkats, I could watch them for hours.

There was a huge play area for the children, some of the rope bridges where frayed or had holes in them which was a shame. The cafe was nice and friendly, but the floor was a bit grubby with crumbs where we were sitting.

But overall it was a lovely few hours out of the hotel complex. All these views are my own and I haven’t been paid for this.

 

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 Adventure, Beach, Best things in life are free, Explore the culture, Explore the world, Family, Kent Family, New Blogger, parent, parent blogger, pbloggeruk, summer, summer holidays, Travel tips with children

Routines have gone out the ….

Routines have gone out the window at the moment!

You Know when its school holidays everything becomes a bit more relaxed, calmer and the routine seems to go out of the window.

The children seem to want feeding every 10 minutes, they want to do something different every 20 minutes, toys are usually scattered all over the place and your walking on Lego, like its hot coal. They usually end up arguing with each other right when your preparing a snack or drink for them and then they moan that they are having to wait for what they asked for, with you replaying calmly to wait one minute as your are busy with their sibling.

The routine of the School term is usually a mad rush to get out the door so your on time for the lining up in the playground… (we live 5 minutes walk from the school). The homework they have has to be completed by a certain day and handed in, reading is done every night. Toddler groups are on and its finding the best one for your child as some get too packed, or their isn’t enough places to park so you frantically need to find another option or hope when you drive round again there is a space. Then its getting back for lunch and maybe a nap before heading of to the school pick up.

School  holidays are usually lazying around in our PJ’S until around 9/10 am then actually starting to figure out what to actually do during the day with the children which wont cost the earth, but also checking which places don’t charge for under 3’s whilst we are at it!

The bedtime routine is also a bit hit and miss, We are usually aiming for bed by 8pm and dinner around 6 half 6.

Then there is the adding job of Blogging, writing and ensuring there is a post almost everyday, along with updating Instagram, Twitter, Path and Flickr.

Then there is work to also add, two days 7am-5pm, and preparing packed lunch and taking enough snacks/activities to do to kill the boredom they may start to get around 2/3pm…

And hopefully the rest of the summer will end up staying away from accident and emergency…

Also to add to my list is packing for a week away… this packing light seems not to be working, Maybe I am being a bit OCD with clothes after all Bell is still having the odd number 2 accidents and Bear usually drops some ice cream down his top.

So today’s plan is PJ’s, DVD and popcorn day…..

Posted in Aeroplane, Airport, Beach, Family, holidays, Kent Family, summer, Travel tips with children, Uncategorized

Tip’s for Travelling with Children

YAY! School’s are almost finishing, some already have!

Many families will be heading of to the airport with excited children and excited husbands in tow. Or if they are like my Hubby he will be grumpy all the time and moan until we land at the otherside!

We have been travelling with Bear since he was 18 months old and Bell was 8 months. So my tip’s are a mix of ages from 8 months to 5 years.

Here are my top tip’s for travelling with children.

  1.  When Booking your holiday, select a night time flight. Why are you mad I hear you say? Yes I thought that too when somebody suggested flying at night BUT oh my goodness it was great Bear and Bell slept most of the flight! Which meant I managed to get some shut eye to, by that a eye half open to make sure Bear didn’t jump up and down and cause havoc.
  2. On the plane try and pre-book your seat’s you will be able to book your seats to be near the toilets (I know but if you have a child who is just toilet trained it will help) or near a exit if you have a baby so you can be first off the plane.
  3. Book valet parking if you are driving, you can drive straight up to the airport door unload and walk in and not worry about parking your car . And it is also brought back when you land. So easy with children!
  4. Pack Plenty of snacks! You can not take drink’s through the security area unless its baby milk or a prescription. Be prepared to be ask to try it too! Baby milk tastes awful! Packing plenty of snack’s will keep little ones distracted whilst you queue up and go through the check points
  5. Wrap up small toys with very few bits, We love the 99p shop for this. It is great idea for children as they won’t know what they have got and it will keep them busy for about 10 minutes.
  6. Pack books, coloring books and stickers so so handy!
  7. Change of clothes, make sure they are easy to get off and on. Also wear layers as aeroplanes and the airport can go from hot to cold due to the air conditioning
  8. Changing baby in the toilet of a plane is very tight. So just take a Clean nappy and wipes, If baby needs a change of clothes (we have all been there!) strip them down to the nappy and get them dressed in the seat instead its a bit more spacious. Also change baby just before you board especially if its a short flight, baby should be fine. Also have more nappies than what you may need as you could be delayed.
  9. Ensure Ipads/ tablets are well charged, short flights seem not to put on any movies.
  10. If you do, do a night flight change your Little one’s in to their pajamas just before you board the plane, as you will be landing at night time, if a short flight, and when you get to the hotel you can just put them to bed without having to change them. Also if they need a change of clothes you can just put them in the clothes they were wearing.
  11. If your child is old enough I would say 4 plus. Encourage them to do small jobs at home to get some holiday spending money for the airport or whilst on holiday. It will make them appreciate it more.

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Packing with children. I personally found it a nightmare as I didn’t know what to take.

here is my run down for a 2 and 5 year old. Obviously each child is different.

Bears Holiday Clothes list

4x causal t-shirts and 3 x causal for shorts

4x evening t-shirts/shirts and 3 x smart shorts

3 x swim wear (one is a total Uv protection suit)

7 x pants

3 x socks

1x flip flops

1x sandles

a drinks bottle

1x beach towel

spare comforter

1x suncream

2x sunhats just encase one fulls in the pool and gets wet!

 

Bell’s holiday check list

4x swim suits

spare comforter

4x Evening dresses

2x causal dresses

3 x t-shirts

3 x shorts (including a smart pair)

1 x smart top

10 x knickers (we still have the occasional number 2 accidents)

3x socks

1x sandels

1x croc’s

2x sunhats

1x towel

suncream

a drinks bottle

hair bobbles and hair brush

In their hand luggage. They both have the same so will just do one list.

  • Coloring book
  • dot to dot for Bear and Sticker book for Bell
  • Sticker book
  • A pencil case full of pencils
  • a water color book
  • Pajamas
  • cardigan
  • little drawing board
  • spare comforter (don’t forget to pack one at the top of the suitcase just incase you forget it!)
  • Usborne  100 things to do on a plane (for Bear)

I have had people come up to me after flying (three countries) and all of them asked if we were actually on the flight as my children didn’t make a noise. ie screaming, kicking seats and shouting. I felt very proud.

Happy Travels!!!

Do you have anything thing planned for your summer?