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

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Glamping with Ready Camp

We have been meaning to try camping for a while, but with four children aged five and under, glamping was starting to sound like a better idea.  Ready Camp invited us along to their bloggers weekend at their Tamworth site and it seemed the perfect introduction to life on a campsite.  Ready camp tents are no ordinary tents, set on decking they have beds, a mini kitchen and electricity so you can start the day with a cup of tea before you even venture outside.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping tent

Having never been glamping, I wasn't sure exactly what to expect.  I was so impressed when we arrived that I filmed a quick video tour of our tent over on my facebook page.  The tent was spacious and cosy with everything we needed and there was plenty of space for all 6 of us.   There were two bedrooms, one with a double bed and the other with bunk beds ( - a single on top, a double on the bottom and an extra pull out bunk). The living area had a sofa, a dining table with 6 chairs and then a mini kitchen equipped with hobs, a kettle and toaster and all the cooking equipment we needed.   The shower block was close by and it was modern and clean and most importantly warm.  There was a baby cubicle which had a baby bath as well as a changing station and plenty of space.


Cora and I arrived first and the boys not long after and they immediately began running.  The site has so much open space as well as a playground and the boys didn't once mention being bored, they never asked for something to do or somewhere to go, they just reveled in the freedom, soaked up the fresh air and explored to their hearts content.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping, glamping with four under five


Our first night was chilly, but we were prepared with sleeping bags and fleece blankets as well as the heater that was part of our tent. We all slept well (once we finally got a certain two year old to actually sleep) and the boys woke the next morning desperate to go back outside with their friends.  It took them all of maybe thirty seconds to secure new best friends and they were inseparable for the weekend.  They had never met before, but they bonded quickly in a way that only children can and they collected pine cones, played hide and seek and coloured-in on the veranda.  We had planned to explore a local castle that morning, but watching how happy the boys were on the campsite, we decided to just relax and enjoy our surroundings.  Each tent had six camping chairs so I sat out the front with my book and put Cora on a blanket with a few toys and we had a perfect morning.

glamping at drayton manor, tamworth glamping

Our afternoon was spent taking part in a tipi designing challenge which some of us took more seriously than others.  Dylan's side had a few drawings, Archie's had a blob of glitter glue, Finn's had some beautiful 'mark making' and Cora decorated hers with flowers (with a little help from a parent).  It was such a fun creative challenge using plain tipis bought from Hobby Craft and it would be a great activity to take on a glamping trip, boot space permitting. Be warned that you will find pompoms EVERYWHERE for the next few days though!




We had a bbq dinner (because quite frankly, what else would you possibly want to eat when you are glamping?) and as the children ran off the last of their energy, we enjoyed a cold beer straight from the fridge sat under the outdoor lanterns.  It felt cosy, calm and relaxing which isn't how you would usually describe a camping holiday with four small ones. The boys finally settled for the second night with rosy cheeks and worn out legs.

drayton manor ready camp, Tamworth glamping

The Tamworth site is right next door to the Drayton Manor theme park so is a great place to stay if you are visiting.  There are Ready Camp sites all over the country though, including Alton Towers and more local to me, Canterbury.  I love the fact that it can make visiting a theme park more affordable for larger families, as we wouldn't have been able to squeeze us all into one hotel room, and you can have the glamping experience as far away or as close to home as you like.

We had a fantastic time glamping with Ready Camp and are already looking to go back to a different site. We loved the freedoms of camping and being outdoors but the creature comforts that we rely on so much too and it was a great way to travel as a bigger family.





ready camp, drayton manor camping


glamping at night, ready camp

We were invited along for the weekend with Ready Camp but all thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Appartello Hamburg Review // Hamburg with a Larger Family

One of our biggest issues travelling as a larger family is finding accomodation that suits us.  Most hotel rooms only allow four or sometimes five guests but with four small children, we need a bigger room.  On our recent trip to Hamburg we were invited to stay at Appartello, a hotel just outside the city centre full of mini apartments.  It offers all the great qualities of a hotel, including 24 hour reception, breakfast and housekeeping, but with the freedom of an apartment.


Our room had a large open plan living room with a breakfast bar and a kitchen, and then a seperate bedroom.  The sofa pulled out into a large double bed making it perfect for the boys to sleep on, although we actually ended up putting them to sleep in the bedroom so that we could stay up in the living area, and then transferring them when we wanted to go to sleep.


The hotel staff were amazing and happy to answer any questions (in flawless English).  I asked about a bus stop, and they printed me out step by step instructions on how to get to the venue I was after and talked me through it all as well.

The kitchen was well equipped and even had a coffee machine which you could buy pods for at reception.  You could easily cook a full meal in it as there was a proper oven and plenty of equipment.  The apartments are designed for long stays, but they are perfect for short ones too.  For longer stays there are washing machines in the basement that are free to use, and there is also a fitness centre.


We found the location ideal, there was a bus stop just around the corner and it took less than 10 minutes to get onto the main rail network where we could hop on and off trains to get to different parts of the city.  Coming back out of the centre at the end of the day was really calming for the boys and the hotel was in a quiet neighbourhood.



The bathroom was lovely and even had a little step which was Finn's favourite thing, as he has developed a fascination with water and loves washing his hands at every opportunity! It was cleaned everyday by the housekeeping service too.


The beds were really comfy although the pillows were so fluffy and we weren't used to it at all! We all slept very soundly.  I was so impressed with the hotel and it was perfect for bigger families like ours as it accomodated the six of us more than comfortably.


There was a continental breakfast service in the morning on the basement floor where you could help yourself.  The children loved choosing their food and we loved the convenience of being able to pop down and fill our tummies before the day.  


Travelling with a bigger family isn't always as easy but there are some great places if you know where to look and Appartello met all of our needs.

We were invited to Hamburg by Come to Hamburg who arranged our accommodation.  
All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.


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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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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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