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

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.

Collaborative Post

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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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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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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Our Family Ski Holiday with Snowbizz

We have just returned from a week in the beautiful resort of Puy St Vincent in the French alps with the family ski company, Snowbizz.  Neither the bloke or I had ever attempted to ski before, and with two children under 3, we hadn't seen it in our future for quite some time either, but Snowbizz have everything covered and the four of us had an easy and fantastic holiday.

sledging, snowbizz, family ski holiday

I feel like I am giving away a little known secret, as everything in our resort was so perfectly laid out, that it seemed strange that we often found ourselves with the mountain just for us, no-one else in sight.  Not only were the slopes quite literally on our doorstep, but the chances of crashing into someone else were so slim that I felt much more confident on the snow than I imagined I would.

From the very beginning, our trip was well organised which is what you need with two small children.  I used to love planning my own holidays but nowadays I just want the stress taking away and the lovely ladies in the Snowbizz office sorted everything out ready for us.  We left Gatwick incredibly early on Sunday morning knowing that everything was booked and ready for our arrival.  We were greeted by a 'pink lady', one of the team of qualified and ofsted regulated nannies that look after the children in the creche, and the coach took us directly from Turin airport along the windy mountain roads to our resort at 1600m.

Our apartment was spacious with everything we needed right on hand.  Our bed was comfy, and the boys shared a room with bunk beds in.  There was a cot already set up for Archie too and plenty of space for their toys on the floor in there.  The living area had a well stocked kitchen with hobs, a kettle, a microwave and a filter coffee machine so we could prepare pasta, risottos and breakfasts ourselves.  There was a dining table, TV, board games, a sofa that pulled out into a bed and a huge balcony where we sat every morning to enjoy our croissants.  The apartment was clean and most importantly, was almost directly on the slopes.

We collected our hire boots, skis, poles and helmets and the guys in the shop where happy to spend a bit of time making sure we had the perfect fit.  This was all booked in advance so we just had to turn up to try them on before taking them away to our locker.  After a few hours to explore and enjoy, we had a welcome drink where we could meet the other guests, the pink ladies and Michel the owner and head of the ski school as well as finding out about all the fantastic activities that the company put on, from pirate treasure hunts for the kids to quiz nights for the adults.

It took us about 30 seconds to get from our apartment to a small section of cafe's, shops and facilities and we had plenty of choices of where to eat as well as a supermarket, a bakery, a delicious sweet shop and a place to buy souveniers.  

The next morning the boys were due to start in the creche and I was nervous as they don't attend any childcare at home.  The children under 3 can book in for morning, afternoon or all day sessions in the creche and once they turn three, they can start taking ski lessons too.  The pink ladies in the creche, led by head nanny Maria were happy and confident and I was reassured that we could come and see them at any time and take them in and out as we pleased.  I left two happy boys who were heading towards some paint and stopped in the little bakery next door for some fresh croissants to eat in peace on our balcony.  I need not have worried as the boys loved the creche.

I felt more than happy leaving them there, as every one of the nannies was brilliant with the children, outgoing, friendly and competent.  Every day Dylan came home telling me that he had done painting, drawing, playing in tents, singing, going for walks in the snow to see the horse, baking and all sorts of other things and Archie was smiling and happy too.  The creche had plenty of space for the boys to have naps and we soon realised that by 1 o'clock when we finished our lesson they were far too tired for lunch, so we sent them in with a packed lunch and the lovely ladies helped them eat that before putting them down for a sleep.

As for us, on our second lesson we were taken up in a two man lift to do a short green slope and every lesson we progressed trying new things, bigger slopes, and progressing to the blue runs that were faster and steeper.  Our instructor Sam was brilliant, offering lots of advice, and happily going back a stage when my confidence failed me.  As we were there in the quiet season, it turned out to only be the bloke and I in our class so it was fantastic to have so much attention.  Snowbizz classes are known for being small so it seemed the perfect place to learn.

helly hansen, snowbizz

I am proud to say that I fell only a handful of times in the whole week and on the last afternoon I was going down quite steep and very long blue slopes quite happily alone and building up quite some speed.  There is nothing quite like the freedom, the beautiful surroundings and the sun on your face as you swish and turn on the soft snow.  I never expected to love skiing as much as I did but I am sat writing this just desperate to get back out there!

I never imagined that going on a family ski holiday with two young children would work so well, but we all had a brilliant time.  The bloke and I got to learn an exhilarating and exciting new sport whilst the children had a great time playing inside and out and we changed our afternoons, spending some skiing on our own and others with the boys - sledging, snowman building and playing in the snow.  Next year Dylan will be old enough to join the totons -  a special ski school just for 3-4 year olds with an instuctor and one of the nannies in every lesson.  Snowbizz have a fantastic reputation for teaching the youngest of skiiers and I would love to take him back to try skiing on his feet (he is certain that sliding down the hill was called skiing on his bum).

We were so impressed with every aspect of our holiday.  The customer service was second to none, from the packing advice before we went, the fantastic pink ladies and the personal service from owners Wendy and Michel.  All the stress was taken away from us and we could enjoy an energetic and exciting family holiday and the beautiful sunshine and snow in Puy St Vincent.

I would highly recommend Snowbizz as a ski travel company, as they not only looked after the big things, but all the little details too.  If you have always fancied learning to ski then now is the perfect time!

Discliaimer:  Our holiday was courtesy of the incredibly lovely people at Snowbizz but all thoughts, opinions and photos are completely my own and I cannot recommend Snowbizz highly enough.

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