Travelling With Kids

With our holiday to Turkey just a week away, I thought that for the first time ever – I would get prepared in advance. Usually our holiday prep consists of making an emergency Amazon order with next day delivery and leaving the washing and packing until the night before; fine when it was just the 2 of us, slightly more stressful with a family of 5… But as I am feeling nicely organised this year, I thought I would share with you some of the products I have picked up to make travelling with kids that little bit easier! No longer is my greatest dilemma matching heels with bags, it is being prepared for almost every eventuality holidaying with children brings. So from airport boredom to pool safety – here are my must-have items…

BabyBjörn Baby Carrier One, £119.95

For the majority of the holiday, you’ll likely have your buggy to hand, but I have found the carrier to be hugely useful at the airport. Especially when you get off the plane with the endless carrier bags you’ve accumulated along the journey (who knows what is in them), all of your hand luggage, and no buggy…

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Trunki Paddlepak, Amazon, £14.99

Scarlett has loved filling this little bag with all of her essentials. It’s very light weight and splash proof so perfect as a travel bag and whilst on holiday by the pool.
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EVY Sun Mousse SPF50, £18.95

I really recommend this sun mousse for kids, perfect if your little one has sensitive skin and it is so easy to apply which is essential for impatient 2 year olds desperate to jump in the pool!
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Babymoov Anti UV Tent, Amazon, £29.95

This pop up tent is so handy for a trip to the beach. Light weight, easy to assemble and put down, it has a convenient carry handle to store on the back of the buggy plus it offers instant UV protection for total peace of mind.

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My Carry Potty, Natural Baby Shower £24.95

We are about to enter the Potty Training sagas with Savannah. She has already told us point blank that she is not interested in using a potty, or a toilet and couldn’t care less about wearing knickers no matter which Princess is on them. However, she hasn’t met this carry potty that looks like a lady bird yet so I am hopeful for success on our holiday! 233742615alt2

BabyZen YOYO, £445

This buggy folds down small enough to pass as hand luggage when travelling. I know. Genius right?? Light weight and can even be carried with a strap over your shoulder like a hand bag. The perfect travelling buggy. poussette-yoyo-babyzenTrunki Ride-on Suitcase, Amazon £32

I swore I would never be a mum with a Trunki. Now I have 2. The girls absolutely love them and packing them up with their little goodies really gets them in the holiday spirit. It also means whilst Paul is dragging them around the airport I can peruse duty free at my leisure!
81ud8iFpqqL._SL1500_Zoggs Inflatable Noodle, £7

Hours of pool time fun to be had with these noodles and a great learning tool for early swimmers. Plus, being inflatable as opposed to foam makes them really easy to travel with.300840_miss_zoggy_inflatable_noodle_24

 

LifeProof iPad Case, From £63

An iPad is quite literally worth its weight in gold when travelling with children. Paul fills ours with new movies and games that both can play when chilling out by the pool (keeping them out of trouble) and on the plane before total boredom sets in. But if you are going to trust an iPad in the hands of a child, make sure it is protected with a Lifeproof case. It is waterproof, shock proof, dirt proof, even snow proof – it is about the only thing that will protect a valuable iPad from a toddler…

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Review: Bluestone National Park Resort, Wales

Bluestone National Park is a family resort set in the picturesque county of Pembrokeshire, West Wales. We were invited to spend 4 nights here so that we could review and share our experience with our lovely subscribers. This resort is 100% focused on the kids and because of that, I thought I’d hand this review over to the girls! Afterall, it’s them Bluestone had to impress… So in Scarlett’s and Savannah’s own words (mostly!), here’s their week at Bluestone…

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We stayed in an upside down house called a Ramsay lodge and our address was 1 Knights Rest, it was soooo cool! Because well, it was upside down! It had two spacious bedrooms downstairs (Me and Savannah even had our own bathroom which was really cool), and upstairs was a large open plan kitchen, dining area and lounge. We invited some friends on holiday with us too and they were in the next lodge down which meant we could easily pop to each other’s holiday houses in the evenings to play!

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I think mummy and daddy might be quite lazy because most families were on bikes, but we had a golf buggy. Still I wasn’t complaining, this was one of my highlights of the week! If you visit Bluestone, you should definitely hire one too, it’s so much fun!

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Mummy pre-booked the kids show in the Wild Wood Cafe and it was brilliant. It had a massive dancing hedgehog and Peter Pan was the story teller (mummy kept saying it wasn’t Peter Pan but he had green tights on so who else could it have been??) and the food was included in the price of the tickets. Daddy wasn’t very impressed and kept saying it was a bit expensive for what we got, but me and Savannah loved it. In my opinion the platter of sausages, chicken nuggets, chips and beans was of 5* restaurant quality and I loved every mouthful. 

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There was a water park too but due to the storm the day before, there was some technical difficulties and the water was a bit cold but it didn’t stop me from jumping the waves and floating around the outdoor rapids! Savannah mostly stayed in the shallow pool pulling herself along the floor telling anyone that would listen that she was a mermaid. And mummy and Anastasia chilled out on the deck chairs. 

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On Wednesday the sun finally came out so we ventured out on our buggy to Camp Smokey which is a traditional log cabin set deep in the forest. 

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We stopped for hot chocolate and hot dogs cooked on the smokey grill.

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And then sat around the outside fire toasting marshmallows to stay warm in the very shady woods! 

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We went on a quick walk before we all accepted that the buggy was a more enjoyable option… 

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It seemed like any ordinary woods until you looked up… This place packs some serious adventures for the older kids and adults including a sky wire which seemed very popular! 

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And when the grown ups wanted to sit down for a drink at the Tavern in the village, us kids played in the coolest park called The Tree House, it was great for all of us aged between 1 and 6! 

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And most evenings, after we had our tea, there was a Free Kids Hour taking place in a  small marquee on the village green where we played games and had a dance – Taylor Swift seemed to be the DJ’s favourite and fortunately mummy had taught me a really good dance routine to ‘Shake It Off’ so I felt well prepared for the disco. 

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And if all this wasn’t enough, mummy and daddy took us to the indoor Adventure Centre which was AWESOME!!! It even had a bouncy castle which is Savannah’s favourite. We were in bed fast asleep by 7 every night, mummy and daddy simply couldn’t believe it.

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We took our scooters (we don’t go anywhere without them) but it was a bit hilly and Savannah and I aren’t quite experts on them yet, so we mostly walked with our helmets on and the grown ups had to carry the scoots. (Standard.)

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Mummy said her favourite part of the week was her morning spent in The Well Spa with her friend. Looked kinda boring to me though… 

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And on our last day, we went to the beach in Tenby which was only a short drive away. It was so much fun! We played football on the sand, made sand pies, rock pooling and had races with the waves (which were freezing btw)!

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Tenby is such a beautiful little town, we stopped for dinner in a local restaurant by the sea before heading back to our holiday house at Bluestone. 

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In all, we had such a lovely time, made some great memories with our friends and Anastasia seemed to enjoy her first little holiday! To all of my pre-school friends, definitely get your mummy’s to book this place up – it was brilliant! 

Lots of love, 

Scarlett xxx

 

Review: Gloria Golf and Spa Resort, Turkey

As promised in my previous post of my favourite Family Resorts, here is my review of our time spent at the wonderful Gloria Resort in Turkey. It is a holiday destination that I would highly recommend!

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There was so much to do here, more than I have ever encountered at a family resort and the days were packed with kids activities from the moment we woke until we all crashed at the end of the day.

Starting with the rooms, we had a family suite which annoyingly I didn’t get a single photo of! But, it consisted of a master bedroom with lounge area opening to the balcony and a second room with twin beds for the girls. It was heaven having the separate room and Scarlett was most excited to have her own en suite!

The buffets in the main restaurants weren’t huge but what was offered was very good and aside from breakfast, were different everyday. There was a small kids selection and even purees for babies.

This brilliant little splash pool actually had sand on the ground which took some getting used to but the kids loved digging it and making soggy castles!

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Not the most successful sand castles!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

Another shallow pool perfect for toddlers!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

There were plenty of deep pools for real swimming!

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We are ice cream connoisseurs in this family and can feedback the chocolate ice cream was goooooood….

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They also did great pizzas and pasta at the ‘Gloria Pub’ nearest the pools. (One to check out!)

After lunch, it was straight off to the water park!

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At only 20 months Savannah loved going down the big slides on our laps – but these little toddler slides were great for when we needed a break!

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Despite us being at the resort during the school holidays and it clearly being very busy, there wasn’t a single queue for the slides, you could always get a group of beds together and it never felt over crowded.

The evenings were either spent at the main restaurant where they would open up an outside bbq for you to order your food and have it bought to the table (as well as being able to use the buffet), or trying out one of the many a la carte restaurants on the resort.

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Dining Al Fresco!

We only tried the Seafood and the International restaurants which were both good, but we soon realised that having 4 children and only 3 iPads (pah) – the buffet option was least stressful!

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After dinner – the entertainment begins in an impressive outdoor arena with cinema seating. A children’s show would start every night at 8.30 (everything from the Smurfs to Madagascar) followed by an organised disco with dancers for the kids to get on stage and have a dance. There was usually an adults show on after this, but we rarely made them as all of us were ready for bed by this point!

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Spot me and Grandma!

Often before bed, we would have a quick play / cool down in the air conditioned soft-play (just to make sure the kids were reeeaaally tired!) which also had a miniature outdoors village to keep their little imaginations active before finally hitting the sack and doing it all again!

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We did go to the private beach but didn’t spend much time there as it was just too hot, but the kids (and Paul) really enjoyed the trampolines! There was a selection of watersports that weren’t included but were averagely priced compared to others we have seen and it had beautiful pontoons with luxury sun loungers for those without small children to enjoy.

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You can see why you wouldn’t attempt this with a 1 and 3 yr old!

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Crab watching!

This resort makes for a pretty full on week, jam packed with activities to keep the kids entertained 24/7, but fear not – there is a luxury spa for the parents and the Prestige Pedicure is definitely a treatment to check out, I’ve never had one like it!

We didn’t take advantage of the kids clubs but reading the activities it is definitely something we would have done had the girls been older. There is so much more to do at this resort from world class golf to children’s pony rides it’s hard to fit it all in one blog post! Basically if you have kids that need constant entertainment – this is the resort for you.

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Alex and the gang doing a treasure hunt for the kids and teaching them a dance routine!

Fireworks at the beach party!

Fireworks at the beach party!

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Even the swish beach party had a children's entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons!

Even the swish beach party had a children’s entertainer so all the kids were raving with their balloons whilst the adults sipped their cocktails!

 

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The bridge to the beach

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Savannah in her new skirt from Box Upon A Time

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We found Travel Republic and EasyJet had the best deals on when we were booking so it’s definitely worth shopping around. I’d also check directly with the Gloria Resort for any special offers they may have.

 

My Top 5 Luxury Family Resorts

Following on from a previous review of the Sensatori Holiday Resort in Crete, I wanted to put together a brief summary of some of the other places we have visited that I would recommend to families with young children. I personally find friends recommendations far more valuable than any review on Tripadvisor, so I hope that some of you find this interesting and it can help you on your search to finding the perfect summer holiday! Click on any of the hotel names to be taken straight to their site for further information.

1. Sani Resort, Beach Hotel, Halkidiki – We stayed here with Paul’s family in May 2013, there were 4 kids in total aged 5, 3, 2 and 6 months and there was something for each of them. They were totally catered for children for all ages, with clubs, soft play and outdoor parks, they even held baby swimming lessons at the indoor pool! There was a convenient buffet available at meal times along with the choice of several other restaurants on the resort, but less than a minutes walk was a fabulous marina with cocktail bars and beautiful family-friendly restaurants to pre-book. The thing that really stood out for me at this resort was the evening entertainment. The outdoors auditorium held full scale theatre performances such as Mama Mia, it was so impressive and the kids were engrossed night after night. I’ve never stayed anywhere with such fantastic entertainment and it quickly became the holiday highlight!

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2. Atlantis The Palm, Dubai – This is a holiday probably better suited to families with slightly older children so you can really take advantage of all of their fantastic facilities. The main attraction to the Atlantis is the water park. It’s amazing. One slide actually goes through a shark infested aquarium! Whilst the girls weren’t quite old enough to go on the slides they still loved going around the park in dinghis’. The real highlight of this holiday for the girls was walking around the massive underground aquarium in the hotel. If you have kids as obsessed with Finding Nemo as ours, this is the hotel for you!

We stayed here in November 2013 which was perfect as the weather wasn’t too hot.

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‘Must Do’s’ in Dubai: 

  • Get yourself some bargain diamonds at the Gold Souks
  • Check out the indoors ski slopes at the Emirates Mall
  • Visit The Dubai Mall for the ultimate shopping experience (largest shopping mall in the world)
  • Watch the water fountain show outside the Dubai Mall
  • Go up to the top of the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa

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3. Sensatori Resort, Crete – This was our most recent holiday and we were massively impressed. The first thing that made us go ‘wow’ was the room, if you can get yourself a family suite with a private pool you won’t regret it. It made holidaying with two little ones almost relaxing! The restaurants and variety of food was great, but I would recommend booking the restaurants as soon you arrive as they get booked up very quickly. The children’s splash pool was an absolute godsend and again, the entertainment which is key at a family resort, was brilliant. A CBeebies style show every night kept the kids entertained before it was the parents turn to enjoy an hours musical production performing everything from Motown to Elton John. You can check out my full review including lots more photos of the Sensatori Resort, Crete HERE.

Taken from our balcony

Taken from our balcony

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4. Moon Palace Golf and Spa Resort, Cancun Mexico – We actually spent our honeymoon here when I was 6 months pregnant with Savannah and Scarlett was just 16 months old. It was relaxing enough for a pregnant woman with enough going on for a lively toddler. Like most Mexican resorts, its massive (10,000 rooms!) with a huge selection of restaurants, bars and pools giving plenty of variety to the week. Most resorts on this coast are all inclusive, but what sets this hotel apart is the holiday credit included in the package that you can spend on any of the hotels facilities. I obviously spent my share on massages, but Paul decided to venture out for a swim with dolphins! Most evenings (in the right season) they release hundreds of baby turtles into the sea which is a really special event for the guests to get involved with.

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Releasing our baby turtle into the sea!

 

5. Gloria Golf Resort, Turkey – This place has come very highly recommended by Paul’s parents (a very reliable source for luxury hotels!) who visited this golf resort last year so we are in the process of booking it up for August. We are already assured the food, spa and hotel facilities are out of this world, but having looked through the site it seems it’s the kids activities that steal the show! Kids clubs for all ages, sheltered trampolines on the beach, an indoor jungle, a mini village, a water park, a zoo! The list goes on, and as I have said before – if the kids are happy, everyone’s happy. I’ll let you know more after we’ve been!

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If you have any holiday resorts that you’d recommend please let me know in the comments below so I can get researching for next year 🙂

 

The Sensatori Resort, Crete…

We have just returned from a fabulous week in Crete where we stayed at the 5* Atlantica Sensatori Resort. We were so impressed with the hotel and it’s services, I thought I would blog about it as I see so many mums asking for recommendations on places to go with little ones. You can forget listening to your iPod whilst sipping cocktails when on holiday with small children. The only way to get peace on holiday is to make it entirely about the kids, but their are resorts out there that mean you don’t have to totally sacrifice the luxury!

Taken from our balcony

Taken from our balcony

First of all, the room. WOW. We had booked a family suite but from experience this can often mean a bedroom with a sofa in it… This was a real suite, with separate rooms and plenty of space but most impressively it had a huge balcony and a private swimming pool!!! This room actually meant Paul and I were able to relax on a sun lounger for the first time in about 3 years!

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The bed was MASSIVE! Which is lucky as all 4 of us slept in it every night…

Excuse the mess, these pics were taken 4 days in to the holiday 🙂

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They also have great sun beds which I am particularly fussy about!

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The buffet was pretty basic but there were 5 other restaurants to choose from that required early booking which offered plenty of variety. Our favourite was the Aroma Grill where food was served raw on a hot plate to cook whilst you eat!

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Really, you’re going for the grilled shrimps are you?

The hotel was filled with like minded parents, all with iPads on the tables just to survive meal time. It meant even in the finer dining restaurants the atmosphere was incredibly relaxed, no one bats an eye lid at a tantrum or a small child on the run!

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They had the most brilliant splash play area that the girls loved.

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There were adult only areas, but the pools in the family areas were designed to be child friendly and all had sloping entrances.

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All parents get sucked in to buying their kids inflatables. Some more than others…

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Seriously Paul, a paddling pool!?!?

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The evening entertainment was perfect. At 7.45 every night they had Play House Live (a sort of CBeebies style show) that the children loved, and then half an hour after that was finished (in theory the children would fall asleep with milk in their buggies – not ours of course) the adults entertainment would start which was always an uplifting musical show with a different theme each night, Elton John, Motown etc.

Play House Live!

Play House Live!

Both Paul and I had fantastic spa treatments and the prices were very reasonable. This is a hotel I would totally recommend!

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Scarlett and I in our bargain dresses! F+F and H&M

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My New Panama Hat from The Panama Hat Company!

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You can book this holiday with Thompson but we actually did it all separately ourselves and saved £100’s. In the past 3 years, we have been lucky enough to visit several fantastic family resorts specifically catered for small children so I will work on a post with details of each, but in the mean time if you are currently searching for child friendly holidays then get in touch and I’ll give you some hotels that I would recommend!