time flies when you're being a mum

24 Nov, 2014

Three weeks ago we were properly welcoming in both Autumn in true country-side, cosy-ass style in the beautiful Peak District in a little cottage called Pickle Cottage! It’s one of loads of lovely British country cottages on offer at Sykes Cottages, and if you are able to be more flexible about dates (i.e. steer clear of half-term – we didn’t have a choice, unfortunately!), there are some amazing deals to be had.

Pickle cottage - Mums' Days on holiday with Sykes Cottages. Fabulous British Cottages for hire: http://www.mumsdays.com/sykes-cottages-pickle-cottage/

Peak District, our second home

Between the age of about 11 or 12 and 18 I spent almost every weekend in the Peak District. You see, when I was 10 my family moved from the Market Town of Abingdon to inner-city Birmingham and my mum hated it. Having grown up in rural Lincolnshire, she was now living and working in the huge metropolis. For the sanity of the whole family, my parents bought a tiny 2 up, 2 down cottage in a village near Hartington and so, the Peak District became our second home.

Fast forward a few years (OK more than 10) and I rarely go there now. It’s a good ol’ drive from the Northumberland Coast and holidays tend to be taken up (somehow) with other trips. When my mum suggested we all get a cottage together in Derbyshire for the half term I thought that was such a lovely idea. Family time back in our old haunt…BUT, with 4 adults, 3 kids and 2 big dogs, we’ve outgrown 1 club cottages (my parents’ pad) so as I had already been working with Sykes Cottages (did you see my competition-winning, ‘hidden veg’ ice lollies back in the summer?!), I spoke to them about the cottages they have available.

Well, there are loads! So, the first thing I would advise doing is narrowing down your search to an area or a couple of areas so you don’t become overwhelmed. We were slightly limited given the size of our group. Oh and two massive dogs! But I was suprised by how many places actually allow dogs. I guess it makes sense though as much of the holidaying-in-Britain audience are likely to own dogs! (more…)

22 comments.

30 Oct, 2014

What can you not bare to leave behind when holidaying in the UK? I think everyone’s holiday essentials are fairly similar – pants, socks, a few outfits and an iPad (if you’re travelling with kids! and a million more things if you’re travelling with a baby or toddler) – but when you add the beautiful words “in the UK” all of a sudden the must-haves can include everything from your favourite plant to the kitchen sink. Literally. It is hugely subjective!

As we’re on a UK holiday to the Peak District as we speak (at a little place called Pickle Cottage!!) it seemed the perfect time to analyse when we’ve packed and share a few of my personal UK holiday essentials!

UK Holiday Essentials – What I can’t bare to leave behind

1. The Organic Veg Bag

And any other perishables for that matter – nothing needs to go to waste while you’re away. But I do really love our veg bag!

10 UK holiday essential - 1. The organic vegetable bag! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

2. Ingredients for pancakes

We’re big fans of pancakes. No weekend would be complete without a few of my 4 ingredient easy pancakes. Plus, Reuben is notorious for getting even fussier on holiday, so this is my go to for making sure he at least gets a bit of protein even if it is hidden in something sweet!

10 UK holiday essential - 2. Ingredients for pancakes! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

3. A Juicer (or at the very least a stick blender!)

I love a green juice, especially after a few days of over indulging on holiday! Unfortunately I think Mike would have kicked me out the car if I insisted on bringing the juicer, so I compromised with a stick blender (which will also come in handy for pancakes!).

10 UK holiday essential - 3. Juicer (or at very least a stick blender)! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

4. Wellies and walking boots

For wholesome family fun outdoors and to take in some of the beautiful British landscape!

10 UK holiday essential - 4. Wet weather clothes and boots! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

5. Loads of toys and books!

With all that extra space in the car, we were able to stock up on more toys and books to make the cottage a home from home!

10 UK holiday essential - 5. More toys and books! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

6. Decent coats

This is a ‘wish I had’…I have a lovely coat but it’s a bit big for enjoying a good walk, so I had to borrow Mike’s coat!

10 UK holiday essential - 6. Decent coats! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

7. A Camera

To capture precious moments like this…racing with daddy!

10 UK holiday essential - 6. Camera! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

8. Sunday Best

I’m all for packing light but you’ve got to have your sunday best for a wee walk down to the pub for Sunday lunch when you’re in the countryside!

10 UK holiday essential - 8. Sunday best! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

9. Toddler Carrier

I mentioned earlier in the week that we really needed one of these and since then the owner of our cottage actually found one for us – hurrah! And we had a lovely walk today thanks to it. This would definitely make the holiday essentials list in the future.

10 UK holiday essential - 9. Toddler Carrier! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

10. My family!

On this occasion I’m so happy that my parents, my younger brother and their 2 dopey (massive) dogs could come too!! The ultimate of the holiday essentials.

10 UK holiday essential - 10. Your family! http://mumsdays.com/uk-holiday-essentials/

That’s my top 10 UK holiday essentials!

What are your Holiday Essentials? What could you not bare to be without on a UK holiday?!

I’d love to hear your must-haves below in the comments or come and join in the conversation on the Mums’ Days Facebook Wall!

Plinking up with #PoCoLo

10 comments.

28 Oct, 2014

We are currently in a lovely little cottage in the Peak District! I’ll be doing a proper post next week about our trip with 4 adults, 3 kids and 2 big dogs to Pickle Cottage near Mattlock.

In the mean time (and thanks to very limited wifi!!) I thought I’d share a couple of photos from a (very) short walk we did around the picturesque village of Youlgreave before heading into Buxton for some lunch and a spot of internet for Mike and I while Grandma and Grandad entertained the kids in the park!

In the peak district - family holiday and walking with a toddler in Youlgreave

You may remember a post I did a few weeks ago about walking with toddlers in the dunes and I have to say, not too much has improved. He’s still very keen on being carried but his spurts of activity are getting longer – like up the trolls bridge (Isaac was the troll)! The more things of interest, the better. I think everyone sort of wishes we’d brought his buggy after all, though, as progress is rather slow going!

 

Shoulders are turning out to be the favourite mode of transporting him but I think we’re going to try and source a place to hire a toddler carrier for the rest of the week and see how we get on.

In the peak district - family holiday and walking with a toddler in Youlgreave

If you know of anywhere in the Peak District, specifically around the Matlock area that you can recommend, please do let me know!

Having said that, we walked around Carsington Lake today. The 6 mile loop turned out to be 8 and 1/2 and my leather knee-high Dune boots only really had 6 miles them. Blisters!!

Anyway date night tonight with Mike so we’re feeling very thankful to my parents to be able to have the kids so we can have a bit of quality time together. We’re off to a little place called the Boat Inn and I can’t wait to have a beer and some pub grub with my handsome fella!

What are you up to for your half term? Or if it was last week did you do anything fun/exciting/nice?! I’d love to hear all about it so do leave me a comment! Xxx

3 comments.

Portugal!

7 comments.

Aug
28th
2014

28 Aug, 2014

Well, we’re back and Portugal was amazing! So now I have the obligatory, modern-day slide show for you ( I figured a photo post would be a nice way to ease me back in after 2 weeks off…!).

We set off for our afternoon flight in high spirits. A little bit of bread, a little bit of a film and the flight to Portugal passed relatively painlessly.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Once we arrived in Faro it was about 8pm by the time we set off in the hire car and Reuben promptly fell asleep. After a few detours (and some yelling!) we found our lovely villa, which was just past the town of Lagos. But, oh horror, there wasn’t a cot!! So we had to set up a mattress on the floor and hope for the best. Thankfully Reuben was tired enough not to bother about the lack of bars and nodded off again with a little milk.

Then we found the cot in a cupboard no one had noticed. *slaps forehead*

He coped well with the bed that night and we all enjoyed Reuben appearing in the morning so we never did bother putting up the cot (although I was sorely tempted on the last night after he discovered he could open the door and I found him yelling in Gabby’s room – Gabby still fast asleep – at 3am!).

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Then it was our first day and that’s where all the days start to melt into one…we explored our villa in the light, then the little village, then the shared pool in our court yard, then the surrounding beautiful beaches.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

The view out the back of our villa as the sun rises – Gabby’s on the balcony outside the kitchen

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Exploring the village 

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Exploring the pool (that’s the baby one!)

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

The beautiful beach of Beliche (which is a right climb to get out of!) – Gabby and Mike are off for the first and only surf of the trip because there weren’t any waves!

After the first few days I don’t know what we actually did! Each day naturally followed a pattern of leisurely breakfast, trip and lunch out, return sometime in the afternoon to play in the pool, dinner at home.

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Leisurely morning…

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

…complete with den building

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Trip out…to the zoo on one of the days

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

Trip out…to the beach on another of the days

Family holiday in the Algarve, South Portugal - sun and sand with a toddler and pre-teen: http://mumsdays.com/portugal/

And then back home to the pool…

Boring? Nope. It didn’t matter one jot. We were just there together, enjoying the perfect Portugal weather and not having to think about anything else. I loved the space and freedom and privacy of having our own place. Not a kids disco in sight! And, it was heaven.

Linking in with lovely Hannah over at Make, Do and Push…! xxx

7 comments.

13 Aug, 2014

The summer holidays are in full swing and we are off to Portugal for 2 weeks of sunshine TODAY! Sorry last mention of it. But whether you’re staying at home or spending a couple of weeks abroad, I think you’ll agree… the best swimming pools are a family favourite.

From the humble paddling pool to super-luxurious infinity styles, swimming pools are the perfect way to cool down in hot weather and even better: they keep the kids entertained for ages!

Gabby’s a bit funny about big water parks – when it comes to slides, she’s still finding her feet. But regardless of that, she still loves the idea of them so we’ve put together our bucket list of swimming pools!

A guide to the Best Swimming Pools in the World for Kids

San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

The San Alfonso del Mar is the world’s largest crystalline water pool. Despite being owned by an upmarket resort, the pool is accessible to everybody and attracts visitors from all around the world. Containing 250,000,000 litres of water, the pool is ideal for people who like their own space to stretch out (I’d settle down at one end and get Mike to take the kids to the other end!).

Although he’d have to make sure he kept the kids in the shallower ends of the pool as the deep end measures in at a depth of 115ft! What?!

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.1 San Alfonso Del Mar Resort Chile http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image Courtesy of the International Business Times

The Tank at the Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Although not traditionally associated with family holidays, Las Vegas is building on its image as a child-friendly holiday destination. The pool at the Golden Nugget is fantastic for children with an interest in sea life. Known as The Tank, this pool contains a water slide which flows through a large fish tank. It looks AMAZING!!

For those too little for the water slide, the tanks can be viewed from the main body of the pool, allowing toddlers to learn about the mysterious creatures of the sea.

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.2 The Tank, Golden Nugget, Las Vagas http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image Source: Flickr

Nickelodeon Hotel, Orlando

It’s no surprise that one of the world’s best pool complexes for kids is located in Orlando. The Nickelodeon pools pack a punch with seven slides and flumes. At 4.45pm everyday a huge tanker underneath Spongebob Squarepants tips green slime over the gathering crowds of children.

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.3 Nickelodeon Hotel, Orlando http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image courtesy of Family Adventure Project who witnessed the Slime first hand!

Hyatt Regency Maui, Hawaii

Perfect for babies and toddlers just getting to grips with the water and developing confidence in the pool; the swimming pool at the Hyatt Regency contains a number of enchanting features. Leaping fountains will keep the littlies captivated. Alongside the water is a sandy island where tots can enjoy digging, building sandcastles or simply sand sandwiches.

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.4 Hyatt Regency Maui resort http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image courtesy of Oyster

Paradise Island at the Atlantis Resort, Bahamas

Kids will adore this sprawling pool complex. With plenty of small pools for all ages to explore, this is the perfect pool to keep the whole family entertained.

The pool even includes a Mayan themed play area, complete with cargo nets, water cannons, rope bridges and slides.

Azul Sensatori, Mexico

This pool is famed for its Lazy River, which sees guests come back year after year. If your child is a little nervous in the pool, this kind of feature is perfect for building confidence. I love this float suit from Splash About for added comfort and safety.

There’s also a splash park and children’s pool, complete with waterslide. The hotel is ideal for families with young children, and as an added bonus there’s entertainment in the Azulitos Kid’s Club.

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.5 Azul Sensatori, Mexico http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image source

Aulani-A Disney Resort, Hawaii

And finally, a brilliant pool complex from Disney. This resort in Hawaii is host to the Waikolohe Valley water zone which includes an interactive water play area, a thrilling slide and four whirlpools. The zero-entry sided pool ensures that small children have somewhere to play with mum and dad.

The 7 Best Swimming Pools in the World for kids. No.6 Aulani-A Disney Resort, Hawaii http://mumsdays.com/best-swimming-pools-kids/

Image courtesy of in the Magic

What does your family think are the best swimming pools?! Share your thoughts below…

 

one comment.

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