With our first holiday abroad with our son coming up in 2014, I decided to do a search to see if there were any nice record books in which to document his flights. I knew he’d be making a fair few from early on in his life, so thought it would be a nice thing to do for him until he was old enough to take over. My long search finally lead me to the Simply for Flying website and their amazing book. Here is my Simply For Flying Flight Logbook Review.
In the next of my guest posts from fellow bloggers, I am handing the reins over to Lyndsey of Me, Him, The Dog and a Baby. As her daughter is still quite young, they haven’t been on a best or worst holiday with her yet. So, Lyndsey instead offered to share with us their best and worst holiday as a couple. So, I’ll let Lyndsey do the introductions this time, while we continue our road trip.
I’m Lyndsey and I blog at Me, him, the dog and a baby! I live in Middle of Nowhere, Norfolk with my husband John and nearly 2 year old daughter Erin.
Worst Holiday as a Couple
I met my now husband in 2011 and in 2012 we went on our first holiday together. I had just finished my second year at university and was getting ready to live with John for the summer. A holiday to Rome was supposed to be the perfect way to end the uni year and to celebrate our summer together. Unfortunately, I HATED it.
When we got to Rome I was less than impressed. We got off the bus from the airport at a small sort of strip mall that stank of wee. It was a dump. First impressions definitely count and mine was not good! We visited at the end of June so it was ridiculously hot and by the time we walked to our accommodation, we were both a bit of a mess.
Rome was not what I was expecting. I was so disappointed with the amount of chain restaurants, cafes and coffee shops right across from places like the Colosseum. The modern buildings being right on top of the magnificent, historic buildings was just horrible for me.
I also got REALLY sick of being with John so much. This was the first time that we had been together 24 hours a day for this length of time and I missed my peace and quiet and privacy. I actually sent John out one evening so I could have a couple of hours in the B&B on my own. Luckily, I got over that quickly which is a good job really.
Best Holiday as a couple
In 2013 John and I headed off on our second holiday together, to Orlando, Florida. This was to celebrate me finishing university and John’s 30th birthday. Oh yeah, we were also getting married!
Our wedding was the most perfect day. We didn’t actually invite anyone as we wanted our day to be about us. We got married at the most beautiful estate house and everything really was perfect for us. Afterwards, John locked us out of our hotel room so I was stood in the scorching heat in a massive wedding dress until security let us back in! We went for a meal afterwards at a local restaurant which was lovely!
John and I both fell in love with Orlando as soon as we landed pretty much. We loved our hotel, the amazing food and Disney was pretty good as well! We had made sure that we didn’t need to be careful with money while we were on our honeymoon so we ate where we wanted, bought what we wanted and did what we wanted for a whole two weeks. It was absolute bliss.
We’re now hoping to go back for our 10th wedding anniversary in 2023!
Thanks so much to Lyndsey for sharing their best and worst holiday as a couple. It is a shame Rome was such a disappointment, but to get married in Orlando must have been like a fairy tale. I really hope you manage to make it back for your 10th anniversary.
If anyone would like to contribute a guest post about their best and/or worst holidays with or without their kids to date, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello everyone and welcome to another guest post here on the blog while we drive miles and miles of the Pacific North West. This time I am bringing you a post from Ruth of It’s Just a Phase. Ruth is a former journalist turned parenting blogger based in Kildare. She is mum to Aidan and Sarah, and started blogging to feed her love for writing after leaving her journalism role to find a happier work/life balance. She writes about all things parenting including family travel, recipes and just the sheer madness of it all. Over to you, Ruth.
Summer 2017: A family holiday to The Netherlands
Did you miss us? We were off swanning around The Netherlands for the last while and now I have a serious case of the post holiday blues.
So when you hear about someone heading off to Holland on their holliers, a lot of people automatically think Amsterdam, tulips, Anne Frank’s gaff, canals, sex shows and stuff you smoke that you’re not allowed smoke here! Well, we saw none of that. I’m here to tell you that The Netherlands is one seriously great destination for a family holiday.
We had an amazing week that was packed with activity for the kids and chilled out evenings for myself and himself. So, let me fill you in.
We flew from Dublin to Eindhoven with Ryanair, which is in the North Brabant province. We booked well in advance and flew from a Tuesday to Tuesday to keep costs down. In fact the flight came in just over €300, which is pretty good for two adults and two children.
We hired a car for the week and stayed in an Airbnb property we rented. The house was actually in Belgium, just two kilometres over the border and it was huge. It had four big bedrooms, a massive living room, kitchen, utility and had things like a tree house, table tennis and a hammock to entertain the kids. Having been holed up in a tiny wooden house for a week in Spain last year, the house was a breath of fresh air. Both kids had their own bedroom, the garden was great and with electric gates, it was totally safe for Aidan (four) and Sarah (two).
The Netherlands, though densely populated, is a small country so you’re not too far away from any of the big cities really. We were less than an hour from Rotterdam and even closer to Antwerp and Brugge. However we stayed ‘local’ and never really ventured anywhere more than 45 minutes from our rental property.
Breda, a stunning city nearby, was our first port of call. Pre-children myself and himself visited this small city for the annual ginger festival and we totally fell in love with the charm of the place. It’s cobbled streets, big squares and beautiful architecture.
First up we visited a reptile house, where himself got to hold a snake, much to Aidan’s delight! We visited the city’s big park and playground, fed the ducks, walked cobbled streets through market stalls and sat out on the big square with a coffee and ice-cream for the kids. I even managed to sneak off and find some bargains in the sales!
One of the highlights of the week was our trip to the Efteling Theme Park, which I can only describe as a Dutch Disneyland. It was amazing. It was huge. It was the stuff of dreams for the kids and the adults had a ball too. Aidan went on a rollercoaster, we watched the most amazing 3D nature short film, went to a land of fairy tales, sat on toadstools, went on boats, ghost trains and were serenaded over our evening dinner. We were there all day and only got to see half of it. It’s massive. The entrance fee is pricey but it’s genuinely worth it. Efteling alone would make me want to return again next summer. It really is that good.
Another super experience was the Beekse Bergen Safari Park. We got to drive our hire car through the park. The kids were amazed to see giraffe, zebra and rhinos just rambling past the car. After the drive though we had access to the park for the rest of the day, it’s essentially like a zoo but the animals have much more space. There were obstacle courses and playgrounds dotted everywhere and we even had our lunch over looking the baboon enclosure. Sarah couldn’t quite believe they had their pink bums on show! My one tip if you are visiting the safari park is, bring your own lunch. The fare on offer inside is poor to say the least. If you’re in to deep fried frozen food you’ll be fine but if not a picnic is your best option.
Back in Belgium and just minutes from our house, we stumbled across a local amenity called De Mosten, run by local government. It was out of this world. There was a man made beach, two huge playgrounds, a restaurant, big Connect Four games all over, slides in the water, benches galore, green space, volleyball courts, tennis courts and basketball courts. It was so relaxing. The kids had so much to do they didn’t know what way to turn, and myself and himself got to do a lot of relaxing too.
In 2013, a Unicef report rated Dutch children the happiest in the world. According to researchers, Dutch kids are ahead of their peers in childhood well-being when compared with 29 of the world’s richest industrialised countries and I can really see why. There’s so much for kids to do. Aidan and Sarah were greeted with a smile and a pat on the head everywhere they went. The locals seem to have the work/life balance down to a tee. People are so friendly and so relaxed. It made for a dream holiday. If I were to pick one negative, I’d say eating out is expensive, the same as Ireland, if not a bit more. But a few drinks are cheap. Leffe, my favourite beer, is only €1 a bottle and wine is dirt cheap too.
I can safely say that I will never again do the package holiday thing with the kids. I just want to explore more of what the Netherlands has to offer. I would highly recommend it as a family holiday destination.
If you’d like to see my full review of our holiday head on over to It’s Just a Phase or feel free to get in touch if you have any queries. I’d be happy to help if I can.
Thank you so much to Ruth for sharing with us her best holiday with her kids so far. I don’t know about you, but after that glowing review the Netherlands has just winged it’s way onto my must-visit list of destinations.
This is my first ever guest post from a fellow blogger on my blog and I am delighted to welcome Kate of Kate Lili to the blog. As we are currently travelling somewhere in the Pacific North West and hoping it’ll be a holiday to remember, Kate has kindly written a post about her best holidays with her kids, both at home and abroad. Without further do, I’ll hand you over to Kate.
When I was pregnant with my first baby I prayed over her that she would have lots of family, that she would be loved and that she would get to travel. I had visions of her taking a gap year in uni and exploring some of the world. Little did I know by age 5 she would be the most well travelled kid in her class! By her 5th birthday she had been abroad 3 times as well as having holidays and trips around the UK.
She is a great little traveller and I relish taking her on exciting adventures. In my view we’ve done 2 of the best holidays you can do with kids; Walt Disney World Florida and Butlin’s Minehead. There is quite a stark difference between the two but both great for their individual reasons. Here’s why:
Minehead Butlin’s was Beg’s first ever holiday. She was 6 months old and I booked it when I was still pregnant. I remember putting her age into the booking form and getting a reality check that she would be here being a real person in a few short months. We’ve been to Butlin’s Minehead as a family more times than I can actually recall, I’d guess around 8 times. Most recently we went when Beg was 7 and her little brother Beb was 1.
It’s suitable for children of all ages. Butlin’s Minehead is like a giant kids playground. Their tag-line is ‘Our greatest pleasure is all for your delight’ and there is just so much for kids to do they will never be bored. The typical British weather doesn’t even matter as most of the entertainment is under the Skyline which is like a giant circus tent.
Things to do
When you arrive you are given a programme of events for your weekend. Every hour slot has been thought of. Have a look in here to plan what you don’t want to miss. The live shows are really Butlin’s forte, they source top acts and the in-house entertainment is A plus too. Live shows we saw on our last trip were:
- Teletubbies live
- Sam & Mark
- The Skyline Gang
- Bonnie bear
Padded around this are regular sports activities like archery and football to join in with. Kids will also love the giant splash pool with slides, traditional funfair, and beach, just 5 minutes walk away. There is so much to do at Butlin’s you won’t be bored for a minute. That is the main reason I love Butlin’s.
Accommodation is apartments and bungalows with or without kitchenette and diner. They go from standard, to a brand new apartment village at the Minehead Butlin’s. I would recommend booking from Gold up. Book a dining plan before you go and you won’t have to worry about sorting tea every night while you’re away and the food is really good with loads of choices for kids. Minehead is a lovely old seaside type of town and the beach is lovely.
Walt Disney World Florida
We were so lucky to get to take Beg to WDW. Rich won vouchers at work and that was how we managed to go. In short, it’s all the magic you imagine it to be. Disney really knows how to go all out to make your holiday feel special. It really was the holiday of a lifetime.
We went at Easter time, so it was Spring Break for the American schools, and it was busy but that didn’t seem to matter. The parks are so big there is always something you can go to see if one area is jam-packed for something. The Easter decorations were out and we caught the flower festival at Epcot which is well worth a look.
Things To Do
I would be writing for years if I could list all the things there are to do at WDW Florida. The parks are Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. There is also Disney Springs which is like a souped up retail area with themed restaurants. Highlights for me were:
- A visit to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and a princess make-over for Beb
- Meeting Cinderella and Rapunzel
- The parade at Magic Kingdom
- The safari ride at Animal Kingdom
- A meal at the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom
- The fireworks at Magic Kingdom
There is so much to do I think you could probably visit every year for 10 years and still find highlights. I’m following loads of Disney vloggers on YouTube and I love watching all their favourite things to do. I’m quietly planning our next trip.
Stay on a Disney resort for shuttle bus travel across the whole WDW area. The parks are quite far apart so this is a definite perk. They run really regularly and until after parks close to make sure everyone gets back to their hotels safely. Book a dining plan before you go otherwise the food bill racks up really quickly, especially if you don’t have a car to drive out of the Disney area to find a food place. Disney resorts go from your average 3* to high luxury resorts. You could choose to hire a villa or stay in a motel on International drive as other options (that’s what we did when I was a kid).
Two great family holidays at either end of the budget scale both child centred. I have wonderful memories from our holidays to both Butlin’s and WDW Florida and we talk about our holiday memories to each other most days. I’m sure there are relaxing Caribbean beaches beckoning me in the future when my kids are older and perhaps have left home, but I know these fast paced non-stop action holidays with the kids are the ones I will look back on most fondly.
Thanks to Kate for sharing with us her two best holidays to date with her kids. WDW is somewhere most parents want to take their children and we can see why.
If you’d like to read more from Kate, please head on over to her blog Kate Lili. She has just rebranded and was formerly The Hippy Christian Mum.
If anyone would like to contribute a guest post about their best and/or worst holidays with their kids to date, please send me an email to email@example.com.
We had an earlier start to the day and had a lovely light breakfast on my parents’ deck of sausage, bacon, eggs and toast. My mum went to Mass for 10am and while she was gone I got stuck into cleaning for her. I thought it only fair since she and my Dad were letting us stay, not only for Easter, but also when we were arriving in May until our own place was ready. While I did that, BattleKid was checking for hares with his Lolo’s binoculars.
Once my mum was back, we all got dressed nicely and headed to see BattleDad’s aunt, who had invited us for Easter Sunday dinner. I hadn’t met her before and she and her family couldn’t have been more welcoming. She has been lucky enough to be living near Tavira for 5 years now, having retired down there from Ireland. I met her husband, her two daughters and one of her grandsons. They were all lovely and also very welcoming to my parents who came along for lunch too.
We had a lovely Sunday roast with them and spent a lovely few hours in their company and we all looked forward to seeing each other again once we moved down.
We left their house just after 4pm, and as I thought, BattleKid fell asleep in the car on the way back. Once we got back BattleDad and I started to pack our stuff up. That said, we were leaving behind two bags of clothes to cover us for the few weeks we’d be staying with my folks when we moved down. I was grateful we had the option to do so as the car would be rammed with the dog as well.
None of us were particularly hungry so we had a snack and put BattleKid to bed at 8pm. I had an awful night’s sleep with BattleDad’s snoring which is never ideal the night before travelling.
We were up at 6.15am and had some tea and toast before loading up the car and saying Ate Breve to my parents (which means See you soon in Portuguese). We dropped the car back and were at the airport for 8.15am. Check in was easy, the same cannot be said of passport control in Faro Airport.
Faro Airport is having a makeover, which means departures is crazy at the moment. We spent over an hour queuing to get through security, and had to go straight to our gate as they had called for boarding by the time we got through. We left Portugal in high spirits, knowing that when we returned in 6 weeks time, it would be for good.