Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Our Croatia Holiday

We have been on some amazing holidays as a family but this one was definitely one of our favourites. I had heard wonderful things about Croatia but I wasn't prepared for the beauty, the heat, the atmosphere and how much we were going to fall in love.  We probably (definitely) could have planned things a bit more but we winged it all the way and it worked out well so I have no regrets.  

We flew into Zadar airport and grabbed a taxi to take us to Zaton parc where we were staying courtesy of Eurocamp. We found our mobile home after a 10 minute walk up hill and headed down to get some food for dinner. We arrived late afternoon and as we approached the beach and the centre of the parc the sun was setting over the sea, the colours were breathtaking and we couldn't wait to get in. We paddled in the warm water whilst we waited for our dinner to arrive and we tried to keep our feet in the water for the rest of the week!

Zaton has 3 kids splash pools and four swimming pools as well as a large private beach.  There were plenty of restaraunts and we quickly realised that the buffet one was the best choice for us as we could help ourselves to food and drink and there was so much choice. Children 6 and under were free so it helped that we only had to pay for the two adults and then half price for Dylan! There were drink and ice cream cafes all over the place and so much to do.

Zaton has three different minature golfs, archery, table tennis, playgrounds, a climbing net area, an outdoor gym and so much more.  There was a kids club that ran sessions in the morning and afternoon as well as organising activities throughout the day and evening, a disco each night and it ran a creche from 10 - 8 if you wanted some child free time  - all this was included in the price of booking with Eurocamp.

The children loved the kids club, the pools, the playgrounds and the golf and I spent all week looking forward to doing the inflatable obstacle course in the sea. I never wanted to get out of the clear waters and one of my favourite memories of our time in Zaton was swimming in the sea with the children as the sun set and the sky turned the most magnificent shades of pink, orange and purple around us.  
We loved the freedom of having a mobile home so we could cook at home when we wanted to and have space to play away from all the excitement.  We would definitely go back to Zaton with Eurocamp as they made every step easy and were there to greet us as we arrived.

We hadn't really planned how to get between the two halves of our holiday, but we ended up booking a hire car to collect at Zadar and drop off in Dubrovnik and we packed up after an amazing week and headed down the coast.  The drive was all along the coast and we had views over the sea of the islands and coastline the whole way. It would be amazing to take it slowly and stop off at more of the little villages and towns along the way in the future.  We arrived in Dubrovnik late at night and had booked a 3 bedroom apartment through Booking.com right in the old town.  It was great for us, with plenty of space for our large family and a great location (as long as you don't mind steps). We were a 10 minute walk from the centre of the old town and our apartment was next door to a playground!

We loved exploring the old town of Dubrovnik with the white stone and smooth floor, the water fountains, the history and the architecture and at every turn you saw the sea and the islands, the rocky coastline and everything under the crystal clear waters.  It was hot and busy but not too busy and we took it slowly with plenty of stops in cafes for a cold drink and a few rounds of Uno.  Kontiki ice cream was the favourite for all the children as it was rainbow coloured.

We booked onto a three island tour where we caught a boat to three beautiful remote islands where cars are banned and there is very little built up areas but there are sandy beaches and the water is still shallow enough for Cora to stand in 50 metres out to sea.  

We took the cable car up to the top of the mountain and looked down over the city and we walked down the cobbled zig zag path back to the town, taking in the views the whole way.  It was long, the kids whinged and I wondered whether sandals were really the best footwear but it was also brilliant fun and the kids consider it one of the highlights of their week.  

We came home after a long time in a very small airport thanks to more delays and we were glad to be home in a way, to have our beds, toys and comforts but I think we are all missing Croatia already as it was such an amazing holiday - probably the best one we have been on.  I will be writing more about both our stay in Zaton with Eurocamp and our time in Dubrovnik, but for now here are some of my favourite pictures from our trip.

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Saturday, 3 August 2019

5 Ways to keep Kids Healthy and Fit this Summer


The summer is here and keeping the children healthy and fit is one of my priorities.  Thankfully this time of year is the easiest, here are five easy ways.

  • Be active together, because children copy modelled behaviour (other than sleep it seems!).  Play sports with them, join in on games of tag, have races in the park and get them involved with you. It not only keeps them fit but helps us as parents get fitter too! There are so many sports you can learn together and the summer is a great opportunity!

  • Challenges are always motivating and the big two took part in a Lidl Mudder recently - the kids version of Tough Mudder, a 1 mile obstacle course designed for children aged 5-12, sponsored by Lidl.  It was so far out of Dylan’s comfort zone as he is a naturally cautious child but he really tried his best and I was so proud to see that. The children cheered each other on and supported one another and it would be a great activity to do as a team. We watched them complete the hurdles, climb the walls and get super muddy and they were so excited to tell us all about it afterwards!  The boys raised money for the NSPCC during their run and you can buy tickets for the four upcoming Lidl Mudder events around the country here! 

  • Even the children that aren’t that keen on fruit can’t seem to resist a fresh fruit smoothie and we had fun making them at the Lidl station in the Mudder Village when we went to the Lidl Mudder event. When we make them at home I can even sneak a few vegetables in too!

  • Drinking plenty of water is really important during the warmer weather and my children find it so much more appealing with a piece of fruit in it to give flavour. Lemon and orange are definite favourites here. Making it more exciting encourages them to drink more which helps keep their body healthy!

  • Next time you pop to Lidl for your food shop, take the children with you and get them to help pick the fruit and vegetables for the week. It is a great time to talk about how they are grown and get them curious to try something new. If they help choose things they are more likely to try it too

Keeping children fit and healthy and entertained this summer is definitely a priority here but I am ready for the challenges!

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Thursday, 1 August 2019

Nun Night Seven Year Old

It has been an unusually late night for you tonight as we were travelling across Croatia and it is very hard to wear a seven year old out in the car, especially when you had a little late snooze too and I think the excitement of arriving somewhere new and choosing which bed to sleep in means you have forgotten for a little while that it is your birthday in the morning, although that seems unlikely considering we have been on a countdown for weeks with the number of sleeps until you are eight.

I can't quite believe that I will have an eight year old in the morning, it seems so much older than seven, but then when I look back at you a year ago, you really are so much older.  Seven was the year you completed year 3 and you are heading into year 4 when you return to school.  It was the year you really gained more confidence swimming and you continued to challenge stereotypes and be who you are.

You recently changed your career aspirations and now you want to be a fashion designer.  You have been drawing me beautiful dresses and I am definitely on board with this one if you can make me some nice clothes! You are still as in love with Pokemon cards and playing Pokemon Go and you still love all things computer games and the struggle to balance that which I spoke about in last year's post hasn't changed.  

You are so tall, taller than all your friends yet you are still so sensitive and incredibly clumsy at the moment which makes me worry another growth spurt is coming! Your feet haven't grown all year and your trainers are looking so worn now but I keep waiting for your feet to grow - it will probably happen as soon as buy you new shoes of course!

You love spending time with your friends, you have a fascination with learning more about the world but you have lost the enthusiasm for learning at school which you need to rekindle.  We sat and talked about geography and the equator this week for ages but when it comes to reading you aren't interested despite the fact you are more than capable and should be working at a much higher level according to your teachers.  I am hoping that eight is the year you work out that reading is fun and we are trying to find the right book to start that journey.  

Seven was a year of cementing friendships, growing up and of still staying young too. You are a wonderful human being and I am so proud to be your Mummy.
Sleep tight my gorgeous seven year old, for tomorrow is a big day 

Love Mummy xxxxxx
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