Showing posts with label family travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family travel. Show all posts

Monday, 27 March 2017

A Spring Weekend

There is something so beautiful about each season and I made the decision when I had children to stop having a favourite, and to appreciate the little things each time the weather changes.  The excitement of snow and frost has gone, Christmas feels like a distant memory and it has all been replaced by blooming flowers popping up everywhere we look, the grass turning a healthier shade of green and that familiar warmth that promises summer is on the way.

I am an outdoor person whatever the weather, but with four small ones some things are just a bit much in the winter.  In the spring it all seems a bit easier, there are so many options, so much to explore and it becomes easier to go out earlier and stay out that little bit later.  

Last weekend in the absense of any plans, we revisited a beautiful local gardens with a museum attached.  We are lucky enough to have lots of local parks, but this one is so clean, dog free and full of things to explore.  I took my camera along to capture some pictures of the bigger boys in their new shoes as Bobux kindly sent us some of their new Kid+ range (they now go up to 7 years!) and I love the images I took.  They capture spring in all it's beautiful glory and the adventures we will be having for the next few months.

quex gardens, quex house

spring photography, daffodil photos, quex gardens


Bobux kid+, Bobux



Bobux kid+, Bobux shoes






The boys love their Bobux shoes because the barefoot soles mean they can really flex their feet as they run and climb.  There are some low hanging branches and trees that are perfect for little adventurers and they kept them entertained for ages.

Inside there is a museum full of animals and artifacts that they love looking at.  The highlight is the interactive room though full of instruments to play and stations to draw at complete with mircrosopes and fancy lights. (If you live locally this is Quex gardens and Museum).  It was a great place to calm down before heading home and there was something for everyone. 




The weather still seems to vary so much daily and there is still plenty of rain but this is what our Spring weekends will look like I hope - full of colour, sunshine and fresh air.  
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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Treehouse Hotels

As the school holidays are approaching we are looking for somewhere new for a break.  I have such a passion for travel and I want to show my children the wonders of this world.  We don't always have to go far - there is so much of the UK I still want to explore, but I want to see new things, have wonderful experiences together and explore.

I have always wanted to stay in a tree house hotel and I think it would be such a unique experience.  This map of the best tree house hotels has some absolutely stunning properties and every single one of them has made it onto my bucket list now.



It is easy to see how Chateaux Dans Les Abres in France makes it onto the list, these castles in the trees are beautifully set in natural meadows and woods and each one has a private hot tub.  The activities on site include a heated infinity pool and panoramic views from the treetop terrace.  There are 5 castles, one of which can sleep up to 6 people so it suitable for families such as mine.


We have always wanted to travel to Thailand as a family and I loved it when I went pre-children.  I hadn't heard of the Bangkok tree house until recently but the eco-friendly property which can only be located on foot or by boat is a haven away from the bustle of the city and the perfect getaway for an environmentally conscious couple or family.


I know that there are a few tree house hotels in the UK now and we are definitely going to be looking into whether we can visit one, as they look like such a fantastic and unique experience.

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Travelling with the Pacapod

We recently went skiing and during our hunt for the perfect travelling baby bag, we discovered Pacapod.  I needed a bag big enough to cope with two under two and our hand luggage as well as being comfortable to carry with a baby in a sling.  The Hastings bag fitted every criteria, being spacious, easy to access and able to be worn as a shoulder bag or back pack as well as attached to a buggy.

Pacapod hastings changing bag, backpack changing bag

Pacapod kindly sent us one to take away with us and we have been using it a lot over the last couple of months.  Pacapod's most unique feature is the pods that each of their bags contains.  Inside the main zipped pocket, there are two waterproof zipped pods, labelled 'change pod' and 'feeder pod'.  Each one has a handle so it can be attached to a pram or carried easily if you don't want to take out your whole changing bags and they are easy to grab on the go.

pacapod, hastings rucsack, changing bag backpack

As Cora is breastfed and we tend to have a seperate snack bag for all the children together, we have ended up with a pod for each child.  When  we went away, we managed to fit in 5 disposable nappies, a pack of wipes, a few nappy sacks and a spare change of clothes in each pod, meaning I could grab Cora's pod when I needed to change her.  We have kept up this system as it means if I pop out with just Cora, I can leave Finn's pod at home for whoever has him.


The bag come with three easy ways to carry it, there is a long strap to make it a shoulder bag, which can feed through without any playing around to make it into a backpack.  There are also two pieces that mean it can hang off of any buggy making it really flexible.  This is my go-to back for babywearing as I find it easy to use with a sling on my front.


pacapod hastings rucksack

I love the style of this bag - it was perfect for our ski trip but the nautical colours will be ideal for summer holidays too, and of course it is a great changing bag to have for everyday use with all the inner pockets, easy access and a zip and clip fastening.

pacapod, changin bag backpack

The Hastings bag comes in two colours and is available on the Pacapod website for £72.

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Monday, 27 February 2017

Cora's Holiday Must-Haves

When asked to list 10 travel must haves, it seems that all six of us have different ideas - The biggest members of the family want wifi, cocktails and a good book, the middle two want kids clubs and swimming goggles and the smallest two are led with their stomachs - it is all about the ice cream.  Mark Warner are looking for ambassador families and we would love to share what an MW holiday is really like and see how they would cope with our crazy tribe.

So to make it a bit simpler, I have collated Cora's travel must have's into our own special mood board below, and a little video explaining more.


Here is what Cora can't travel without:

1) Muslins - This is one baby essential we never forget to pack - lightweight blanket, makeshift bib, dribble catcher or even a funny little hat with knots in the corners.

2) Pretty summer dresses - I imagine this will be the summer she starts toddling and after three boys I am a little bit excited about all the sweet little outfits she can wear

3) Wet suit - Because this baby was born to splash

4) A beach bag to carry all her essentials - I don't know how long the only little girl in the family will take up the least amount of space in the suitcase,  I doubt it will be long!

5) Suncream - Cora's hair is coming through so blonde so I imagine she will need a high factor sun protection.

6) A beaker - Everyone needs a poolside drink

7) Mummy - Because she is going through a VERY clingy phase at the moment

8) Sunhat - To protect her gorgeous little head.

9) The sun - Cora was just a tiny newborn last summer so she hasn't had much experience of the sun.  (This is definitely not something we will be bringing from home)

10) Don't forget the baby!!!



This is our entry to become a Mark Warner Ambassador
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Saturday, 4 February 2017

A Video of our Ski Holiday with Snowbizz

Photos and words can tell you so much, but there is something special about video, so I decided to try and make one whilst we were away on our family ski holiday with Snowbizz.  Unfortunately my video camera decided to pack up on the first day so I had to make do with some clips I took on my rather knackered old phone.

Many of the special moments were not captured and my skiing skills do not extend to filming whilst I am moving, but here is a little look inside our holiday, a peek at Puy St Vincent, the stunning views, the snow, the sledging, the siblings, the special week we had.





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Thursday, 26 January 2017

My Top Tips for Taking Kids Skiing with Snowbizz

We have just returned from our third family ski trip to Puy St Vincent with Snowbizz and we are already planning to go back next year.  It is such a wonderful little resort and the perfect place for children to learn to ski.  I wrote about our first time skiing, how the boys got on skiing at 2 and 4 years old and how to enjoy a ski holiday even if you can't ski, but I wanted to share our top tips for taking kids, because even this year we are still learning how to make things as easy and relaxing for us all.

So here are my five top tips if you are planning on taking children on a Snowbizz ski holiday.

1)  Pack light

The bigger two boys got dressed into their thermals each morning in preperation for their ski lessons, and they very rarely got out of them.  In the afternoons we either went back out in the snow so they needed them on, or they ran around the creche or the apartment still in them because it was the easiest thing to do.  One or two pairs is fine for the week if you go for something like merino wool as they are self cleaning and they wick the moisture away.  For Dylan and Archie I packed thermals, a fleece and their ski wear and then just a couple of pairs of trousers and a couple of tops for the indoor kids clubs.  (I made a little video with what we packed for the youngest two here)

snowbizz, skiing with babies, family ski holiday

2) Enjoy the childcare

The nannies are fantastic and there is so much for the little ones to play with, so just enjoy it, make the most of a little time to sit and read, or enjoy a croissant, some extra time on the slopes or even a sneaky afternoon nap.  All four of mine loved the creche and the staff and even Cora who at 6 months had never been away from me for more than 30 minutes, who had only ever been left with her Daddy, settled straight in, smiling and laughing for the ladies and not crying once all week.  

family ski holiday, ski holiday with creche, snowbizz

3) Feed them often

Skiing is exhausting, learning a new skill is hungry work so fill your apartment with easy snacks.  There are two supermarkets and we took a few familiar snacks from home for the younger two as well like rice cakes and breadsticks.  If you have a child in junior ski school (aged 5 or over) then put something sweet in their coat pocket before their lesson as two hours is a long time and they have a little break where they can have something to eat in the middle to keep them going.  The food in the restaurants is all rich and filling and the kids portions are huge, but you really work up an appetite!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, Snowbizz

4) Borrow books / DVDs

In between the excitement of skiing, sledging, fresh snow and new friends, our boys needed some downtime where they could just switch off a bit and rest.  The creche has bundles of books as well as DVD players and films you can borrow.  We bought a few small toys with us in our luggage and then borrowed books and films whilst we were out there.  You can also rent sledges, buckets and spades free of charge too which we made the most of.

Snowbizz, family ski holiday, muddy puddles ski jackets


5) Take them to the top

Well not quite the top, but at half past the hour you can go up on the chair lift to 2100 metres on foot.  We took all four of them (with Cora in a sling) and there is a lovely little restaurant up there as well as lots of fresh snow to play in and stunning views.  The lovely staff will stop the lift completely for you to get on and off and help children down too.  If you have a family with mixed ages then the bigger children can ski down with one parent whilst the younger ones go in the chair lift with another parent.

bundle bean, family ski holiday, snowbizz, baby skiing

Snowbizz is a fantastic place to visit with small children and everything is set up to make life more relaxing for you and to give them the best possible experiences whilst they are out there.



We were guests of Snowbizz for the week but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.




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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Budget Holiday Tips for Families

We are a family that loves to travel, but as we have grown, we have had to think more about how to make our holiday's as cost effective as possible.  With four children we don't often fit the standard family requirements and we have had to change the way we travel to reflect this.  Here are some of my top tips for travelling on a budget.

1) Flexibility makes it easier to get a better price so search for flights for the week you want to go away and check if one day is significantly cheaper than the others.  Fridays are usually the most expensive so being able to go midweek can pay off.  Flexibility on location helps too, you may want to go to Spain for example but browsing a site like Spain-Holiday.com and checking out different regions means you can find something to fit every budget.

2) Book each part of the holiday separately to ensure you are getting the best deals.  Check out sites like skyscanner to compare flight prices and book everything direct with the company to avoid paying any additional fees. 


3) It can pay to stay a little further away from where you want to be to save some pennies and also give you more living space for your money.  Choosing to rent a holiday house can be much easier with a larger family too as you have space to settle the children to bed and still have some adult time rather than playing cards by the light of your phones in a dark hotel room (which we have done more than once). Check out the local transport to see how this could work for you.

4) Choose what is important to you.  We often fly with the cheapest budget airline and don't pay for any frills like choosing seats or quick boarding.  We are happy to stay in cheaper accommodation if it means more money for eating out and going on trips.  If you are planning on cooking more then spend a little more choosing the right holiday home with a decent sized kitchen.

5) Travel with friends - if there are a group of you looking for the same kind of holiday then check out some bigger rental properties.  On Spain-Holiday.com you can filter by the number of guests and there are stunning villas that sleep up to 16  - you get to split the cost and have a private pool!

6) Booking early is the best way to guarantee low prices and ideally 11 months before you want to travel is the cheapest.  Alternatively, wait until 3 days before you want to go away to make the most of the last minute deals.  Both have advantages of course but planning early gives you more chance to save and pay things off slowly.


7) Before you go away look for discounted entry tickets for local attractions, whether there are any festivals on, free days to visit things or cards that offer entry to multiple places.      

We love to travel and try and cut down costs so that we can go away more often.  Do you have any great budget tips to share?

Collaborative Post
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Monday, 23 January 2017

Our Week away with Snowbizz

Have you ever been somewhere and realised that you left a little piece of yourself there when you left?  That is how we feel about Puy St Vincent.  This year was the third time we have taken a family ski holiday, the third time we have headed to the snowy French Alps with Snowbizz - The Family Ski Specialists, and we know that it won't be the last.

From the helpful staff in the office to the friendly greeting at Gatwick airport to the Pink ladies welcoming us to Turin, we felt looked after at every stage of our journey and in resort I felt confident leaving my children with the qualified nannies and knew that the boys' ski lessons were all overseen by Michel, who makes it his business to ensure every child (and adult) is getting the most from their time in Puy.  

This year was our first time with four children, and I was a little worried about how it would all go.  They are all still so young and with two under two, we were flying with one on our lap each and another child next to us each.  Somehow everything seemed to come together on the day and it just fell into place.  The drive up to the resort from the airport is full of anticipation and snoring as the early start means we all struggled to stay awake.  When you open your eyes to the stunning view of endless mountains, crisp white snow and tall trees it is just so magical and we were in Puy before we knew it.

babywearing, snow babywearing, madame googoo

Our week was exhausting but relaxing and we each got so much from it.  The bloke and I progressed in our skiing thanks to our wonderful instructor Hugo.  He pushed me to try some of the red runs, he took us off piste after the fresh snow had fallen and he helped me every step of the way when I struggled with my confidence.  

Dylan was in the Junior ski school this year which meant a two hour lesson each morning.  To say he loved it would be an understatement, he was dressed and ready to go each morning an hour before the doors even opened! There were four of them in his group and he spent the week on the green and blue slopes.  On the last day after much asking, I went out skiing with him.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to help him much, that I wasn't good enough myself but he amazed me with his independence and skills.  His instructor had taught them how to get their skis on themselves, how to get up when they fall and how to ski well.  We skied down alongside him amazed at how far he had come in only a week!

snowbizz, family skiing, family ski specialist

Archie loved his lessons too with instructor Matthieu.  The 'Totons' are skiers aged 3 and 4 and each group has one of the qualified nannies out on the snow with them.  Archie had two other little boys with him which meant an amazing ratio and so much attention.  He was keen to keep trying all lesson and didn't want them to end after the hour!

3 year old skiing, family ski holiday, snowbizz,

Cora and Finn were in the creche - Finn charmed everyone as he always does and Cora surprised me in the best way.  For a baby that is attached to me almost 24/7 at home, I wasn't sure how she would cope in a new surrounding.  At 6 months she is still breastfed on demand and she is used to being worn in a sling a lot. She settled into the creche immediately and didn't cry all week.  She was content and smiley for the wonderful ladies and they were very respectful of my parenting, happy to hold her and cuddle her as much as she wanted.  I popped in just before my lesson and straight after it to feed her and she fell into an easy routine whilst we were away.

family ski holiday, taking a baby skiing

The wonderful thing about a ski holiday is that there is something for everyone.  Our week was a mix of adult time and family time and we could all go off in the day and have our lessons but we all came together again afterwards, refreshed after a little time apart and with the wonderful backdrop of a snowy mountain to relax us.  Skiing is physically quite exhausting so our evenings were snuggly and our bedtimes early.

Snowbizz offers so much but the things that really make it perfect for young families like ours are the exceptional childcare and the closeness of everything.  We would leave our apartment and have our skis on within 30 seconds walk, ready to go.  At the end of my lesson, I could pop my skis against the wall with Ed and be back with the children in less than a minute.  The resort is small but has everything we needed with a selection of restaurants, ski shops and two supermarkets.

family ski holiday, snowbizz, family ski specialist

The childcare is by far the best we have come across in any country.  The nannies all seem so genuinely happy to be there and their energy and enthusiasm is catching.  I would pop in to feed Cora at sometimes quite random times but I always found them totally engrossed in play with the children - painting faces, making up songs, pushing them around in cars or following the children's games.  I felt happy leaving Cora there each day despite the fact that until last week I had never left her with anyone other than Ed and never for more than 30 minutes.

This little resort buried 1600 metres up the slope is the place we spend all year looking forward to visiting and we are not alone.   The personal service of a family run company means there are families that come back year after year and many new families are captivated on the first visit.  For children learning to ski, this is the perfect resort with small classes and the nursery slopes on their doorstep.

toddler in snow, family ski holiday, snowbizz with a toddler

Skiing may not be the first thing you think of when looking for somewhere to take young children, but it is an amazing holiday for every age and we have definitely got the ski bug!



sledging, family ski holiday, snowbizz

muddy puddles, family ski trip, snowbizz,

snowbizz, family ski specialists, sledging with a three year old

snowbizz, family ski holiday

snowbizz, crete ski slope, family ski holiday

bundlebean, family ski resort, skiing with a baby, snowbizz


learning to ski, snowbizz, family ski holiday

learning to ski, family ski holiday, snowbizz, puy st vincent















Thank you to Snowbizz for hosting us last week - we may turn out to be your most loyal customers!


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