Last year while we were on our road trip in America, I had some fellow bloggers as guests on the blog telling us about their best holidays with their kids and also as a couple. In an extension to this, over the coming weeks, I will be featuring more stories from my fellow bloggers. They will be telling us about their best and worst holidays with their kids, pre-kids and everything in between.
This week I have the pleasure of featuring the lovely Jenna, from South Wales, who blogs at Then There Were Three.
When our eldest was around eighteen months old, we decided that it would be a great idea to take her on her first long haul flight to Barbados. The last time I had travelled long haul was when I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy and we flew to Las Vegas for my husband’s birthday. I also work for an international airline, so seeing all of my colleagues jetting off to exotic locations fuelled my desire for a long-haul break even more.
I had never been to Barbados before, let alone with a toddler. I did some research and found a “child friendly” hotel with a play park and kids club. Looking back, I truly just wish we had gone to Butlins for the week. Barbados itself is a beautiful place, but the hotel was certainly not as child friendly as they made out.
Aoife was actually the only child at the resort, which of course meant that all attention was on her, which she loved. However, the facilities for her weren’t great.
The play park consisted of an old, rusted metal swing, with a creaky see saw and rather dangerous looking climbing frame; not much use to a toddler. The play park also didn’t have any form of shade, so the play sets became boiling hot with the heat and were unusable anyway.
Around the poolside was a nightmare as there were no anti slip mats, which are essential at a “child friendly” hotel. Our over excitable toddler slipped a good few times which resulted in bangs to the head and bruises.
The kids club turned out to be just a room with a darts board and air hockey table which again was of no use to us.
The food was very authentic to the Caribbean, which whilst lovely, is not something that a toddler would find appetising. Aoife pretty much lived off chips and rice for the whole week, aside from the last night when we were told that they had a children’s menu. I have never seen a child wolf down mash, beans and sausages so quickly before.
Despite all of this, it hasn’t deterred us from travelling long haul again – we are planning on heading to Orlando next year. In regards to visiting Barbados again, I would love to but I will definitely be researching the hotels a bit better.
When it comes to our best holiday with kids, surprisingly it was less than an hour away from my home. Last May we were incredibly lucky to be invited to stay at Bluestone for the week (think Center Parks but smaller); my husband wasn’t able to get the time off work, so my cousin joined us instead.
We were so lucky to have such amazing weather whilst we were there – I definitely don’t think we would have enjoyed it as much in the rain.
Now if you know me, you’ll know that I am not very good with nature or the great outdoors. However, that week changed me; despite it not being full on countryside, the peaceful nature walks and tranquil lake were enough to change my views and think “I could live somewhere like this”.
Bluestone was definitely well equipped for children of all ages. There was soft play and outside parks for the younger children, along with zip lining through the forest and rock wall climbing for the older ones. Their waterpark Blue Lagoon was an instant hit with Aoife who is a true water baby – she was obsessed with the lazy river and wave machines.
As we knew the area quite well, we were able to confidently leave the site and spend the day in Tenby with my parents too.
I loved the fact that despite how close we were to home it really felt like we were on holiday and thousands of miles away.
I would love to go back with my husband and the girls, or even arrange for a huge group of families to go as there really is so much to see and do.
Jenna is a parenting and lifestyle blogger based in South Wales – she has two daughters and blogs about everything parenting related to surrogacy. She is hoping to train as a midwife next year and loves nothing more than a Primark visit!
Thanks to Jenna for sharing her best and worst holidays to date. We are big fans of Bluestone too. Jenna has written about her visit to Bluestone in a three-part series on her blog. Why not start with her Day One report.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.