It often feels like everyone has been to Barcelona but me, I’ve heard my brother’s highlights of Sonar festival and Mr A’s tales from researching race tracks for MotoGP video games he worked on and visiting friends in Spain. I’ve had so many Barcelona near misses, we had to fly out without time to explore at the end of our Carnival Cruise…I had to stay home for a friend’s wedding in the mountains. The more I hear, the more I think it is my dream city, but also the dream city for families. As my kids get older I am realising Barcelona is a place where it is easy to involve the kids in things that might seem like they are just for grown ups in other cities.
Having now tried a family trip to London in an apartment and in a hotel, I thought I would share both perspectives, plus my tips on getting the most out of a trip to the capital.
How much effort do you make to search out interesting new places to hang out these days? It can be really hard to keep your finger on the pulse as a busy parent – I know when we take the kids into the city, go out as a couple, or meet friends, it’s all too easy to stick to the same tried and tested places.
Snizl launched in Nottingham recently, an app that connects local people with events, offers and discounts at local businesses in the area, the app is coming to Leicester and Manchester too. Snizl took me on a gloriously varied, fun and decadent night out – from puddings to wine merchants, to make up master classes and tequila, it reminded me just how much local businesses have to offer, and how rejuvenating going out somewhere new can be.
I like that Snizl quickly puts a bit of local knowledge in your pocket. Here are four you might like to try!
We were sent some cool Lego Batman books, jam packed with activity ideas to test out. These books would be perfect for sticking in your holiday luggage, the comic book style is perfect for encouraging some holiday reading, but the best bit is the activity books are bursting with creative inspiration. We used them as a launch pad to make an animation which you can see below. I have a little book giveaway too, see below for how to enter.
People are always asking me for tips on how to book cheap flights for families. It can be a sticky business as anyone who has ever experimented with booking a flight can tell you. Flight booking portal Opodo recently did a survey on this very thing, I’ve also asked a selection of my favourite family travel bloggers what they have tried and tested that saves them money on family flights.
If like me, any of your kids are at primary school, chances are you find yourself constantly googling things, from facts about deadly creatures to explanations of the water cycle or reasons why the English language is so blooming hard to learn to spell. (Or trying to stop them guessing your computer password so they can type ‘poo’ into You Tube). You probably also spend a lot of time googling things like ‘Is my 6yo’s behaviour normal’ or ‘Is a 10yo supposed to be able to…’ and ‘When do children normally learn to…’
As an ex teacher and general straight talking parenting wisdom junkie I thought I would begin to share some resources which may (or not) be useful to others. Mr A and I like to share parenting articles and resources that resonate with each other by facebook messenger, it’s been a really helpful dialogue to have as parents. I also thought, now that I don’t blog about my kids quite so much – apart from when we travel – I would like to blog more in general terms about parenting.
I will never forget running straight up to the window, thrusting it open and inhaling this view. Holbeck Ghyll is one of the most romantic places we’ve ever stayed. We had already fallen in love with the Lake District earlier in the year, visiting with the kids, but we decided to return together, to treat ourselves in celebration of our 10th wedding anniversary. Holbeck Ghyll is an old hunting lodge, now a beautiful hotel, overlooking Lake Windermere. It’s a stunning building, a cosy arts and crafts retreat with roaring fireplaces, places to snuggle and fabulous little details, like the hearts carved into the chairs. Our first home together was Edwardian, so it felt like familiar – albeit a jump in scale and grandeur from our flat in Streatham.
For years I’ve had this fear of water deep water, especially jumping into deep water. It’s silly, it’s irrational, it stops me enjoying activities. I’m sure lots of people have the same fear, it is very common. Bizarrely the thing that helped me through it was having kids, I guess once you’ve been through childbirth you can do anything, but it’s more than that.
When you have children you have to be that bit braver, you realise your silly fears will be transferred to them if you’re not careful. But it’s even more than that, children aren’t born afraid and watching them gives me the confidence to overcome irrational fears.
Did you know they discovered space dust on the rooftops in Paris and Berlin, that dates back to the birth of the solar system? I read it in First News this week. We’ve been testing out this newspaper for 7-14 year olds, and have a fab subscription offer to share so you can hook your reluctant readers or challenge more confident readers, without having to remember to go to the newsagent every week and the best bit is pages of enticing reading material the whole family will enjoy, for a bargain price – it’s a no brainer in our house. You can even try 5 issues for £1!
Twenty years ago I met two awesome Icelandic girls. Once we made beds at the Grand Hotel by day and explored Brighton’s bars by night, now we are all grown up with kids. Iceland has called me over to see them three times now, once when Mr A won tickets to the Air Waves festival in Reykjavik, once with an old teaching friend in the Summer and last year in March on a press trip.
Now I really want to take my kids to meet my Icelandic friends’ kids. I’ve seen enough to know my family would absolutely love Iceland’s incredible natural phenomenon and history. Iceland is firmly on our family bucket list.
All of my travels in Iceland were South, the Golden Circle is an area packed with incredible natural phenomenon, but there is so much more to see. I have my eye on Route 1 road trip taking in the whole fantastic island. So here are some of my favourite adventures from my 3 visits that I know kids will love, plus some I need to go back for…