Gorgeous Minnie Mouse Backpacks From Samsonite

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Some trips lend themselves so well to accessorising.  When we found out we were going to Disneyland Paris, I really felt the need to have some fun with the clothes and the bags we were taking with us.  If you’ve read about our trip to the 25th Anniversary already, you’ll know that my daughters didn’t know they were going to be visiting Disneyland Paris until the morning that they went.  That was one hell of a secret to keep I can tell you!

For every trip, the girls have their own backpack, filled with pens, notepads, a toy, snacks and some more practical things like wipes and a spare change of clothes.  Having their own bag is great for giving them some independence while travelling and helps make the most of that baggage allowance.

Gorgeous-Minnie-Mouse-Backpacks-From-Samsonite Gorgeous Minnie Mouse Backpacks From Samsonite

When their gorgeous new Minnie Mouse backpacks from Samsonite arrived I decided to stick with the Disney theme and pack the bags with Princess themed goodies for the trip.  I have to admit I really enjoyed that shopping trip!

We received two Minnie Mouse rucksacks from Samsonite, and they are both brilliant.  My 5 year old really took to her Disney Ultimate Minnie Mouse Iconic backpack from the moment she saw it.  As soon as it came back from Disneyland Paris is was graduated to new school bag status as well because she loves wearing it so much.

Gorgeous-Minnie-Mouse-Backpacks-From-Samsonite Gorgeous Minnie Mouse Backpacks From Samsonite

The style is a little more grown up with the Minnie Mouse patent design pattern on the face of it.  She has started to talk about things being ‘babyish’, so this design worked well for her.  The other thing I noticed was it was clearly very comfortable for her to wear.  She was happy to wear it throughout the trip and the design of the padded shoulder straps and the sternum clip that helped keep them fixed securely on her shoulders made a big difference to her.

The details on the bag are super cute too.  The zips are finished with a pair of Minnie Mouse’s iconic yellow shoes, and red and polka dots also feature but in a more grown up design.

My 3 year old daughter got to travel with a very different Minnie Mouse rucksack, which she loved just as much.  The Disney Ultimate Minnie Classic is a fun and cute design which lends itself really well to the younger travelling child.  This backpack features Minnie Mouse’s face with great details using the ears and red polka dot bow.  We also loved the frill detail which really helped to personify the bag for our younger daughter.

Gorgeous-Minnie-Mouse-Backpacks-From-Samsonite Gorgeous Minnie Mouse Backpacks From Samsonite

The Minnie Mouse Classic rucksack also features side pockets, ideal for drinks and other items, and an internal ID tag.  The shoulder straps are fully adjustable, padded and clip together making it so much easier and comfortable for a child to wear.  The bag also features reflective strips which is helpful when travelling with a child in busy areas and crossing roads.

Overall we love our Minnie Mouse Backpacks from Samsonite.  They are incredibly well made, have lots of child friendly travel features and are really fun too.  If you are visiting any Disney themed park this summer I think these backpacks will be a welcome addition to your trip.  For more Disney Minnie Mouse luggage ideas click here.

We were provided with the Minnie Mouse Backpacks From Samsonite for the purposes of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

5 AMAZING Reasons To Make Your Next Holiday Self Catering

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Self catering accommodation is a great option for families looking to book a relaxing holiday together.  Hundredrooms is an excellent resource for finding self catering holidays around the world to suit your needs.  Not only does it compare prices so that you get the best deals but you can also specify your family’s specific requirements.  So if you can’t live without wifi or want use of a pool it’s a great place to start your holiday search.

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As you already know from my recent holiday to France, I love the flexibility that a self catering holiday offers to families.  I decided to ask some of my family travel blogger friends to talk to me about their experiences of self catering holidays and I found there experiences really inspiring.  I’ve literally found 5 amazing holidays I could book tomorrow and all for very different reasons.

You Can Stay In Gorgeous Houses

If I was going on holiday to Florida I would totally want to live the dream, and it looks like Cathy from Mummy Travels did just that on her trip to Anna Maria Island on Florida’s Gulf Coast.  The decor alone in this gorgeous five bedroomed villa located about an hour away from Tampa Airport took my breath away.

The villa is far superior to anything I’ve seen before and there is so much attention to detail.  I love the whole look and feel of the house, and I agree with Cathy when she talks about it being a major part of the holiday experience.  I think I would struggle to leave here!

Enjoy Eating At Home On Your Own Terms

Self catering accommodation often provides excellent facilities to enjoy some great home cooking.  When Gretta from Mums Do Travel took her family on holiday to Portugal they found they ate at home far more than at the local restaurants.

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Being able to enjoy a family meal together inspired my local produce and accompanied by the wines you have discovered from the region is a wonderful way to spend an evening.  You can dine when you want to, take your time over your food and move out onto the balcony to enjoy the rest of your evening at your leisure.  If you have young children who need to be in bed early, this is a perfect option for you.

Add Unique Experiences To Your Self Catering Holiday

When I read about Maria’s from One Tiny Leaps’s experience at Wildflower Flower Farm in Massachusetts it took me right back to my childhood and one of my favourite TV shows, Little House On The Prairie.  I know, I’m completely showing my age aren’t I.

I would love to go to America and experience life on a traditional farm, where the children can run free and meet the animals.  Being able to stay with local people and gleam their knowledge of the area to plan your holiday too is just invaluable.

Celebrate Special Occasions

Self catering holidays are the perfect setting for the multi-generational holiday and the perfect place to celebrate a special birthday or anniversary.  Laura from Side Street Style talks about sharing her 30th birthday with her family, as well as her mother and brother, on the French Riveria in this wonderfully traditional French villa. 

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Self catering accommodation is perfect for bring families together for holidays as you can enjoy each other’s company but still retreat to your own room if you need a little space.  You can enjoy time together at home or on day trips, or you have the flexibility to plan different activities also.

Take Your Travels Off The Beaten Track

Self catering holidays give you real flexibility when it comes to choosing your location.  You don’t have to feel tidied to a holiday resort and you can find locations that really inspire you and let you immerse yourself in the local culture and beauty of an area.

Charly from Pod Travels shares her tourist free experience in the stunning location of Trillayo in the Bedoya Valley.  Their holiday cottage was brimming with rustic charm and was the perfect location to explore this remarkable location.

What do you love about self catering accommodation?

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This is a collaborative post 

Our Family Holiday With Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins – Review

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What do you look for in a family holiday? Is quality accommodation at the top of your list? Do you like to be surrounded by natural beauty? Does the family insist on visiting a resort with an excellent swimming pool? Perhaps your holiday isn’t perfect without a beautiful beach to build sandcastles on? If all of these things are important to you then I think you are going to love this post about our family holiday with Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins.

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During May half term we flew to Bordeaux in France before making the journey to Lacanau Ocean where you can find Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins. If you were following us on Instagram you might have noticed that we took a little detour. This was entirely my fault for not putting the correct details into Google Maps when setting off in our hire car from the airport. Just for your information, it’s really important to tell Google Maps you want to go to Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins, as you might end up at another camp site. Fortunately we were only an hour out of our way, so it wasn’t a complete disaster, but we were definitely relieved when we reached Yelloh! Village.

Check in was really quick and we received a super friendly welcome from guest services who even escorted us to our holiday cottage by golf buggy so that we didn’t get lost. I think they might have been trying to tell me something! We were actually staying in a ‘no car zone’ but we were allowed to unpack our car, and if we went shopping, we could also take it up to our accommodation. It’s nice that they have rules to restrict cars, but are also sensible with it. Lots of holiday providers have rules that are meant to be helpful, but enforce them to the point that they actually become annoying, which can be quite frustrating especially for families.

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Once we had unloaded the car, we were finally able to appreciate our new surroundings. It was lovely to have the privacy of our own four walls for the week, in a detached holiday cottage with it’s own decking and outdoor space. We had neighbours close by, but we were able to enjoy our own self contained space to relax in. We were surrounded my the biggest pine trees I have ever seen, so the resort most definitely lives up to it’s name. The cottage was made of wood so it blended in with the natural environment but inside it was modern and well presented. It was also well insulated and very well sound proofed, which was great as we can be quite a noisy family.

Swimming Pool

The part of the holiday that made the biggest impact on us was the swimming pool, and it was clear to us that all the families really enjoyed this facility. Now, I can’t swim as you may have heard me confess on the blog before, but I enjoyed the pool and all it’s features as much as anyone else who was there. First of all, it’s heated and the average temperature was 30C, which was perfect. There was a ‘water tree’ and paddling pool for younger children to enjoy, and they could even play here independently as long as you were sat nearby keeping an eye on them.

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The main pool had so many features. There was a lagoon, or lazy river if you like, that you could swim around. The kids loved going piggy back with us and chasing each other round until we reached the undercover pool. This area of the pool was, to all intents and purposes, indoors and even had a separate jacuzzi which we all loved.

If that wasn’t enough there were also several water slides which were an endless source of entertainment for us all. They were very family friendly and our five year old was quite happy to fly down each one of them without an adult. Our 3 year old preferred to sit on someone’s knee, but she loved them just as much. I lost count of how many times we went up and down those slides, but one things for sure it was brilliant family fun and we all enjoyed every minute of it.

Beach

Another favourite feature of ours for the duration of our holiday at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins
was the beach. The resort is perfectly situated for direct access to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. You walk through a forest of beautiful pine trees before it opens out onto protected sand dunes. Walk a little further and you are looking at miles of glorious sand covered beach and lapping waves.

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I would take the girls down to the beach everyday to build sand castles and jump the waves. If it was a morning visit we would watch the students at surf school take on the waves that day. Sadly, all we could do was watch as children have to be 8 years old to join, but that didn’t stop my daughter asking over and over again if she could have a surf board. I would definitely consider taking her back here when she was old enough to have a go at surfing as the kids in the school were making great progress.

While we were playing on the beach, Daddy would take the opportunity to pop down to the Zen pool, which was a more tranquil setting for over 18’s who wanted to swim and relax without children. He’s not a fan of sand, so this worked well for him.

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Eating at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins

A holiday at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins is the perfect place to enjoy several types of catering arrangements that work well for families. We did self catering for some meals, we enjoyed eating out both at the “Les Fils à Maman” restaurant and in the nearby town and we also had take away during our stay.

The great thing about this resort is the number of family friendly eating options it provides. There is a supermarket onsite where you can pick up all of your essential daily items. There is also a boulangerie that opens every morning selling fresh bread, croissants and other gorgeous French pastries. A holiday in France just isn’t French until you’ve had a fresh baguette or two!

There is a snack bar where you can get sandwiches and ice-cream throughout the day, but in the evening you can also get freshly made pizzas to order and cooked chicken from the Rotisserie to take away. We became huge fans of the pizzas very quickly as they were reasonably priced and also made with good quality ingredients. We would pick them up after an afternoon trip to the pool and sit on our decking enjoying the rest of the sunshine the day had to offer. It was a great way to end the day together before the kids bedtime.

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We also popped to “Les Fils à Maman” restaurant for lunch are were totally impressed with their burgers, again at a very reasonable price. There was a choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian burgers which you were able to customise too. We were all very impressed with not only the burgers but also the french fries! The restaurant over looks one of the children’s play areas which is great for families. The lighthouse was a great pitstop for the kids when they had finished eating and gave us a moment to relax whilst still keeping a watchful eye on them.

Other Facilities at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins

The focus of our holiday was to relax and enjoy some downtime with the children in what was a stunningly beautiful setting, but the truth is you can have any kind of holiday you want at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins. They provide lots of facilities that allow you to make the most of your family break and here’s a few things you might like to choose from

Bike Hire
Surf equipment hire
Surf lessons
Kids clubs
Laundrettes
Indoor play area
Outdoor play areas
Games room
Wellness and spa centre
Outdoor gymnasium
Sports pitches
Skateboard park
Evening entertainment program

During the course of the week we enjoyed using the majority of the family friendly facilities at Yelloh! Villages and were very impressed with what was included in our holiday for us to enjoy.

We had a fun and active holiday during our stay at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins. The kids had such a great holiday and we were genuinely impressed with all the facilities especially the pool and the wonderful beach that was right on our doorstep. We would have no problem recommending a family holiday to Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins and would happily return ourselves one day either to this site or one of the other Yelloh! Village resorts across Europe.

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We were provided with a complimentary stay at Yelloh! Village Les Grands Pins in exchange for this post but all thoughts and opinions are our own. We were also compensated for our time.

6 Travel Books Whose Stories & Adventures You Can Follow (in Real Life)

Where do we find our travel inspiration? Often it’s through stories that other people tell us, or travel features that we browse online. But many times, it can be through a physical book.

Whether you are already in foreign lands or at home looking for inspiration on where to go, here are six of the best travel books whose stories and adventures you can follow in real life. Be inspired by the respective author and undertake the same (or similar) trip. Bon voyage!

Best Travel Books That You Can Follow in Real Life

#1: The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux’s tale, The Old Patagonian Express, dates back to the 1970s, when he train-traveled all the way from Boston down to Argentina. (Ok, technically for parts of it that was impossible, but the goal was to take a train all the way, which he did the majority of the time). Given that Theroux’s journey was a while back, it may be impossible to re-create the exact adventure. In fact, it certainly is impossible, since many of the trains in Argentina, for example, have stopped running. A car or the local buses (extremely comfortable options available, by the way) will have to suffice.

As you travel south, you can still identify with some of the statements that Theroux makes, or at least note the difference in how time has changed the landscape, be it political, natural, social or economic. Theroux’s tale is a great read no matter where you are in the world, and his astute observations about the differences between travelers and tourists, for example, make it one of my very own favorite travel books.

#2: The Tramp by Mark Twain

Theroux will have you smiling at times, but Twain will really get you roaring. His sarcasm and irony make for an entertaining read just about wherever you are. If you are lonely and alone on the road, this might be the literary pick to cheer you up.

Specifically, The Tramp tells of Twain’s adventures in Switzerland. My favorite chapter tells of his hike up the Rigi mountain, a journey that in fact inspired me to follow not so long ago.

travel-book-rio-2285253737 6 Travel Books Whose Stories & Adventures You Can Follow (in Real Life)Encadré (Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro) © Frédéric della Faille

#3: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ever since the movie with Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem, Eat, Pray, Love was ringing in everybody’s ears. Note, however, that the book isn’t exactly the same as the film (which book ever is?) and that the former is worth a read in itself.

It tells the story of young Gilbert, who absconds from “conventional life” to travel to three different countries: Italy, India, and Bali. While in the first, she savors all kinds of Italian culinary delights, she practices intensive yoga and meditation in the second. In Bali, in turn, she ends up finding true love.

While some men will enjoy the book, it is really a read for women. Recreating the tale will involve not only quite a budget (since the story involves three countries) but also a partner of the opposite sex, to be found in Bali.

However, finding enough delicious gelato, pizza and pasta in Italy really shouldn’t be a problem. So there you go, just eat, pray, love and you have a three-country adventure all set out in front of you.

#4: Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding is less of a single travel tale, but rather a guide on how to keep traveling forever. Rolf Potts did exactly that, and now has become notorious in the travel writing world for this very book.

In it, you will find detailed advice on how to launch a perpetual career as a nomad, including practical tips on selling your unnecessary belongings and budgeting for your initial time on the road. After that, you will eventually need to find a way to maintain yourself, unless you have a trust fund. Potts again provides useful advice for the former; he himself got started by teaching abroad.


Reading in Flores, Guatemala © stephen

#5: The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit by Shirley McLaine

Shirley McLaine aptly calls the Camino “a journey of the spirit”. The “Camino” in this case refers to the “Camino de Santiago,” the Way of St. James – a pilgrimage that ends in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. In the olden days, it was always a religious pilgrimage. Now, people undertake the journey for all kinds of reasons, whether it be a simple interest in hiking; a way to see the landscape; or even as an alternative honeymoon activity (yes, I met a couple who did that).

Shirley McLaine is one of the many authors who was inspired by the Camino and her tale has inspired numerous others to tread in her footsteps. Of note is that McLaine traveled solo, as many travelers do on the Camino. However, it is also a place where you are never alone; you will meet people and fellow pilgrims all along the way. Thus there is time for personal reflection, as well as being among people. I truly recommend the Camino to anyone who has the chance to go.

#6: Istanbul by Orhan Pamuk

It was impossible not to include a Nobel Prize winner among the most inspiring travel books. Orhan Pamuk is one of them. He writes about Istanbul with poise and elegance, inspiring anyone to travel to the Turkish capital.

The subtitle of the book is “Memories and the City,” a phrase that effectively captures what Pamuk paints in the book. It details an urban portrait and the past: darkness and decline, murder and mayhem. As Publisher’s Weekly puts it:

Central to many Istanbul residents’ character is the concept of hüzün (melancholy). Istanbul’s hüzün, Pamuk writes, “is a way of looking at life that … is ultimately as life-affirming as it is negating.”

As you read, you vicariously experience this melancholy. It inspires you to travel to an Istanbul that is now flourishing economically, but where the traces of a past still remain.

What travel books have you read and followed in real life? Share them with us in the comments below!

Royal Son Bou Family Club Holiday Review

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We were lucky enough to visit Royal Son Bou Family Club in Menorca for a holiday in May.  If you follow my Instagram account you might have caught a glimpse of what we got up to.  I’ve got a few posts to share with you about our holiday in Menorca, and I’ll be talking about where we ate, where we visited and what we loved about the island.  First of all I’m going to kick of with a post devoted to where we stayed in Menorca.

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Royal Son Bou Family Club

Royal Son Bou Family Club is a family friendly resort situated on Son Bou beach.  It’s about a 20 minute drive from Menorca airport so makes for a really short transfer time or an easy drive if you are hiring a car.  We had a hire car for the whole of our stay, and found driving in Menorca really easy so we would definitely recommend that option.

The hotel had just opened for the holiday season when we arrived and most of the guests were families with young children.  This worked well for us because of the age of our girls.  As the season progresses older children can be found at the resort which caters equally as well for teenagers as it does for younger kids.

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We stayed at Royal Son Bou Family Club on a half board basis which worked really well for us.  We were able to switch dinner for lunch if it fitted with our schedule, but found that we didn’t need to do that.  We arrived at the resort at lunchtime and decided to go to the restaurant for lunch.  The manager very kindly charged us for the adult meals only when we explained we had just arrived and were staying on a half board basis.

Great Service and Friendly Staff

This very much set the tone for our Royal Son Bou Family Club experience.  The staff at this resort are focused on providing you with the best experience possible and are constantly trying to anticipate what will make life easier for you and your family.  The level of customer service was excellent from housekeeping, reception, guest services, the restaurants and the animation team.  We spoke to several families during our stay and they were all giving the same feedback about the resort and were enjoying their holiday as much as we were.

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Royal Son Bou Family Club is a lovely sized resort and I can’t imagine it would feel overwhelming even when fully booked.  The apartments are in blocks of 3 stories surrounded the pool and are accessed by ramps and stairs.  We were staying on the 3rd floor over looking the main pool and we had a lovely view from our balcony.  We had a 1 bed apartment which was really comfortable with a good-sized bathroom and living space.  It included a small kitchenette with fridge, hob, microwave, toaster and kettle.  To be honest we barely used it apart from keeping drinks cold and storing snacks but it was nice to have the option if we wanted it.

What’s The Food Like at Royal Son Bou

We ate at Los Olivos restaurant most of the week, and outside there was a small creche for children aged up to 4 years old to play in while you were eating.  Our youngest daughter asked to go and play in there a few times during our holiday and we were quite happy to let her go.  I think she liked the dolls and pushchairs, as well as the staff, and she liked to pop in for half an hour after her dinner to play without being bothered by her sister.  We just gave the staff our table number and when she decided that she had had enough they bought her back to us.  It was a lovely set up to be honest and a win for everyone.

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The food at Royal Son Bou Family Club was excellent.  Breakfast was really nice and you could get freshly cooked omelettes and pancakes.  I was partial to an omelette most days and the kids liked tucking into the pancakes.  There was cereal, fruit and cooked options too so plenty of choice for everyone.

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The evening meal was also lovely with plenty of selection and freshly cooked options from the griddle.  The best food came out on the speciality nights and my personal favourite was the Menorcan night.  Fresh salad was available, and there was also a kids station with child friendly food for them to choose.  The selection of desserts was quite incredible, with ice cream, cakes and puddings to choose from.  It was very difficult to just pick one, I can tell you.  There was usually a selection of cheeses to finish also.  Over all the food at Royal Son Bou gets a thumbs up from us.

Great Family Friendly Facilities at Royal Son Bou

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There were a few features that really stood out about Royal Son Bou and helped to make our holiday a wonderful experience.  The children’s pool was a big hit and is separate from the main pool which we really appreciated.  There was no flitting from one pool to the next and I can imagine that later in the season it’s helpful as the older kids don’t take over the space either.

The pool is no deeper than 45 cm so as long as your child is confident standing and playing in water they can play safely and independently if you want to relax on the loungers.  There is a pirate ship with slides at one end which the kids loved and a shoreline entrance at the opposite end for very young children and babies to enjoy splashing in.  We invested in an inflatable boat for the girls from a nearby shop and they had a lot of fun together splashing around in it.

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The pool is surrounded by sun loungers and we were able to get a space whenever we visited this pool.  We could relax in the sun while the girls played because of the child friendly arrangements.  I really appreciated this as a non swimmer and another family I spoke to described the pool as ‘unique’ and made sure to visit it everyday.

Kids Club at Royal Son Bou

Kikoland is another feature of Royal Son Bou Family Club which we really loved.  This is where the kids club and play areas are and I cannot speak highly enough of this facility.  We took the kids for a look around and to pick up their gift when we arrived.  They enjoyed the bouncy castle and climbing frames from the outset.

The staff would come and say hello even if you weren’t leaving the children in the kids club.  We used the childcare a couple of times while we were at Royal Son Bou Family Club and the girls were quite comfortable staying there.  It gave me and my husband the chance to do something together like watch the paella demonstration or explore some local sightseeing.  There’s a full timetable of activities in the morning and afternoon.  They offer mini excursions which parents attend with the kids.  We did the pony riding, at no extra cost, and this was a big hit.

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During the week there was also a Disney themed show which the girls loved.  There is an evening program of activities but sometimes younger children miss out as they have already gone to bed.  This show was at 4pm so no one missed out and it was very well done.  There were lots of games and activities throughout the week and also Kiko and his friends popped along to play with the kids and sing songs.  We came home with a toy Kiko and the girls adore him.  I suspect he will be a feature at school in the show and tell very soon.

Son Bou Beach

I cannot review Royal Son Bou Family Club without making a special mention about Son Bou beach.  You can access the beach via a connecting tunnel  during the day and it’s literally a few minutes walk from the hotel.  You can also visit the Basilica Paleocristiana de Son Bou and get your first experience of one of the many historical sites that are plenty across the island.

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Son Bou beach is 2 miles of unspoilt coast line with protected dunes and natural habitat.  The sand is white and the water is clear and there isn’t a party boat in sight.  Menorca is a family holiday destination and the beaches are a real testament to this.  There are a few bars where you can enjoy a drink and the sunset in the evening, but they are quiet and subdued so as not to spoil the family feel.  We visited Son Bou beach most days and loved it for it’s cleanliness and natural beauty.

We had a wonderful week staying at Royal Son Bou Family Club and can see why it’s scores so highly on TripAdvisor as it ticked so many boxes for us.

We were guests of Royal Son Bou Family Club on a half board basis for the purposes of this review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own and we would have no problem recommending a stay here to anyone looking for a family holiday in Menorca.  

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Have you seen our travel diary from Menorca yet?

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UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

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If you are planning a holiday with your kids or travelling as a family then a great place for you to get ideas and inspiration is from UK family travel bloggers.  These lovely bloggers share real experiences that they have on holiday with their children to help you get the best from your own travels.  They are real families with real kids that talk about where they have been on some of the best family travel blogs, and they inspire me constantly with new destinations to take my children.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss
I’m both delighted and honoured to be apart of this wonderfully supportive and creative community and I wanted to introduce you to the people that make being a family travel blogger so much fun.  Please do drop by their blogs, and let them know that I sent you! You might even find your next holiday destination so it could be well worth the trip ?

Emma Raphael – A Bavarian Sojourn

Emma and her family have just returned to the UK after five years of life abroad in Munich and two years in Copenhagen.  Always up for a new travel experience, their adventures have included sleeping in an iglu at the top of Germany’s tallest mountain, volcano conquering in Japan, and glamping in the Black Forest in a snow storm (with a small baby!)… They are not yet sure how long they will be back in the UK for, or indeed whether they will live abroad again, but whilst they are settled, they would like to explore as much of their own country as is humanely possible, plus beyond of course!…
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Elizabeth Callaghan – Wander Mum 

TV journalist and blogger Elizabeth fell in love with travel after a solo backpacking expedition around the world in her 20s. Now she has two daughters and is on a mission to prove you can still see the world with children in tow – albeit a little differently.
She has since swapped her backpack for more luxurious accommodation and her travels have taken her family to Asia, the US, Europe and beyond. She firmly believes in living for the moment after her husband survived two life-threatening illness. Her motto is: Life is too short, make the most of it. Elizabeth chronicles the ups and downs of travel with her family and shares her experiences with honesty and humour.
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Alison Perry – Not Another Mummy Blog 

Magazine editor turned family lifestyle and travel blogger Alison spent her 20s discovering the joys of the mini break, and found herself becoming the go-to person for hotel and holiday advice amongst her friends. Fast forward to today, and Alison is now a family travel expert, blogging about days out, weekends away and big holidays with her husband and daughter at http://notanothermummyblog.com
She admits to loving a bit of luxury, when it comes to family travel, but Alison also loves a bargain and loves seeking out budget breaks that allow families to pack in as many brilliant experiences as they can.
Alison co-edits family travel site http://www.spaceinyourcase.com/ and has written travel features for magazines like Mother & Baby, OK!, Look, Junior and Good Living.
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Susanna Scott – A Modern Mother 

Susanna founded the BritMums influencer network in 2008 after a career in marketing. She is often quoted as a pioneer in the Mum Blogging space and speaks frequently about blogging, social networking and the BritMums community at industry events. She also loves to travel with the family – to faraway places and round the corner to the play park – anywhere her teens are willing to be seen with her!
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Sarah Christie –  Extraordinary Chaos

Extraordinary Chaos is an award winning and multi award nominated blog about family life with teens and the challenges that are presented with a growing family. Sarah shares life and travels with her crazy family. But is also embracing the life changes as her family grows giving her more time for solo and couple travel.  She’s also enjoying exploring some of her other passions in life such as luxury travel, interiors and food, yet still likes to explore ways to keep her growing family still wanting to travel together.
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Jo Addison – Kiddieholidays

Advice and inspiration about holidays and days out for babies and toddlers.  Jo loves helping families with babies and toddlers have great holidays! From finding special places to stay which welcome babies and toddlers with open arms, to giving advice about fab places to visit with babies and toddlers, as well as the practical aspects like how to apply for a baby’s first passport – Jo is here to help! Jo has featured in Mother and Baby Magazine twice providing advice about how to take the stress out of baby travel, as well as contributing on an article about the best holidays for babies in 2016.
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Karen Beddow – Mini Travellers

Vuelio says: Having three young children doesn’t have to stifle your love of travel. It means you have to be more prepared and requires a whole new checklist of essential items. Founded in 2014, Mini Travellers supplies parents with ideas for holidays and day trips. Not content with Mini Travellers, Karen has recently launched a new blog ‘Fuelled by Latte’, an extension of her original blog, focused on family, travel, food, lifestyle and fashion.
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Kate Sutton – WitWitWoo + We Blog Travel 

After completing a degree in Creative Writing, Kate created WitWitWoo in 2010, a lifestyle and travel blog, to provide her with a space to continue her passion for writing. Seven years later, it has gone from strength to strength, with a large, engaged and loyal following. The blog predominantly focuses on finding a balance of living a healthy lifestyle, whilst enjoying travelling the world.
Kate also wanted to create a blog that focused solely on travel, so she co-created We Blog Travel in May 2016, which concentrates on luxurious travel, solo travel and family holidays that cater for older children.
Kate is a freelance writer, blogger and Digital Manager. She is also a lone parent to two boys – aged 13 and 22. She has written for Cruise Magazine, Princess Cruises’ ‘Journey’ magazine and various other travel publications, and currently ranks in the Top Ten of the UK’s top lifestyle blogs.
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Lisa Jane – www.travellovingfamily.com

Our family travel blog shares travel tips, holiday reviews and destination guides from our travels around the UK and abroad.
Lisa, Editor of Travel Loving Family and Editor of Trips100 (the UK’s largest travel blog directory) has travelled to 80+ countries and worked in the travel industry for 20 years. Previous roles include Shore Excursions Manager onboard P&O Cruises and USA, Caribbean Travel Specialist for Abercrombie & Kent, a luxury tour operator.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Carrie Bradley – Flying With A Baby

As an ex international flight attendant, Carrie has visited over 60 countries and uses her insider knowledge to help and inspire parents to travel all over the world. Her two young daughters share the families travel bug with over 30 flights so far! Flying With A Baby shares family holiday destination guides, family friendly hotels, airline reviews, holiday tips and product reviews. Carrie has provided advice for Boots Parenting magazine, Mother & Baby and Woman & Home.
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Samantha Rickelton – North East Family Fun

North East Family Fun is an award winning UK family travel blog with a strong Facebook following featuring UK days out, family holiday reviews, travel tips and inspiration. Samantha and her family love camping and the great outdoors, good food and learning through experience. As a family of 5 with school aged children, you can expect plenty of adventure alongside honest reviews and regular ‘what’s on’ guides.
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Joanne Brady – Kids Days Out Reviews

Kids Days Out Reviews review and feature family and kids days out from around the UK, and short breaks in the UK and beyond. It won Best Family Travel Blog at the MADs in 2014, and currently features over 150 day out ideas. The girls are aged from six to twelve, and our days out have grown as we have. We love camping and Disney, and we’d love a trip to Disneyland California please.
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Clare Thomson Suitcases and Sandcastles

Suitcases and Sandcastles shows you how to make travel and culture fun for the whole family with city guides, travel tips, reviews and inspiration for family holidays in the UK and abroad. The focus is on slowing down and taking the time to enjoy new experiences, whether you’re exploring a new city, trying different food or going on an adventure. We love looking for hidden gems and fun places to stay.
Clare travelled constantly as a travel writer and editor at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and writes on family travel for angels & urchins and the Telegraph as well as the blog.
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Nisbah HussainFive Adventurers

Nisbah has a genuine passion for travel and following the arrival of her three little adventurers, the family adventure far and wide and make the world a classroom for their children. Nisbah, with her husband Doc are on a mission to showcase the best in family travel and inspire families that adventurous travel, even with young children is possible!
Five Adventurers is an award winning site which provides parents with ideas of adventures, travel inspiration, tips and helpful guides to embark on their next adventure. In addition, unlike any other family travel bloggers in the UK, the Five Adventurers are the only Muslim family who blog about travel. With this sector becoming the fastest growing and most lucrative, the Five Adventurers, offer lots of unique insight and exposure to this community.
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Snapchat: Fiveadventurers

Jane Batt – Practically Perfect Mums

Video professional, vlogger, writer and mother of three sons, Jane produces content about holidays & outings, “whatever the size of your family”. Her family travel sites share family holiday reviews, hotel tour videos and destination guides from both overseas and the UK, with a regional emphasis on what’s on in Bristol and North Somerset.
Jane co-runs the Bristol Travel Massive Chapter and along with her fellow leader successfully set up and grew the thriving group to over 250 travel professionals within its first year. She’s also actively involved in the Bristol Bloggers & Influencers group.
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Jane blogs at “Practically Perfect Mums” and Taking 5 and uploads travel videos and vlogs to her YouTube Channel PPMsTV.

Claire Hall – Tin Box Traveller

Claire is a mum to two pre-school girls with an appetite for adventures in the UK and Europe. Her blog, Tin Box Traveller, shares holidays ranging from camping trips to luxury lodges and cruises, as well as outdoor fun, family days out and travel tips. Claire lives in Devon so has plenty of insider knowledge on staycations in the beautiful south west of England. The family often travel with a furry friend – Tin Box Dog – so Tin Box Traveller is also a great source of information on kid and pet-friendly breaks.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Charly Dove – POD Travels and PODcast.

Charly is an ex-Marketing Director with 20 years experience in the marketing industry. She has a wealth of knowledge in travel having worked with global and specialist travel brands since cutting her teeth at Virgin. Based in Surrey, Charly has travelled extensively. From South East Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands to the Caribbean, South America and Australia where she lived for two years. She’s also well travelled across the UK and Europe. Now as a family of three her travels are centred on discovery, adventure and exploration. Charly is a content writer, multi-award nominated blogger and photographer. Her adventure & family travel blog POD Travels focuses on global travel with PODcast covering UK travel and days out.
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Penny Alexander – Parentshaped Travels and Space In Your Case

Penny is passionate about nature, getting kids outdoors, culture, food and travel. Previously a media and film teacher, Penny is now a full time blogger and travel writer with a side in holiday letting. She relocated to the Peak District to rent out her own holiday places after one too many country holidays she didn’t want to come home from. Her current blog parentshaped.co.uk was Best Family Travel Blog Runner Up in the the Family Traveller awards.
Her multi award winning first blog was sold to an online retailer. She co-edits family travel inspiration site spaceinyourcase.com and as one third of Team Honk HQ Penny achieved three awards for social media and fundraising campaigns with Comic Relief, highlighting their work from projects in the UK, Ghana and Tanzania.
Penny has written for Family Traveller and The Nottingham Post, and she is a regular contributor to Day Out With the Kids and Avis Inspires. She lives with her husband, son (2008) daughter (2006) and a greyhound.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Sarah Ebner – Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times is a unique travel blog as it’s written by the whole family – including Sarah (an award-winning journalist) and her children, who are now aged 15 and 12, but were 11 and 8 when the blog started! The family write about their trips and adventures at home and abroad, including days out and guides to cities, from Washington DC to Margate in Kent, and also make videos and use beautiful photos. They are particular specialists when it comes to London, but love travelling in the UK, Europe and further afield. They think and hope that it’s refreshing to read the kids’ point of view – rather than what parents think kids think!
Family Travel Times has been shortlisted three times at the UK Blog awards and Sarah and/or her children have been featured as travel experts for Trip Advisor, Family Traveller, the International Times, Lonely Planet, Take the Family, Britmums and more.
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Alice Langley Project: Wanderlust 

Established in May 2015, Project: Wanderlust is a travel and lifestyle blog focusing on inspiring, yet affordable, travel. Concentrating on family friendly adventures, Project: Wanderlust is packed full of travel guides, destination reviews and top tips for those who are looking to get the most out of their time away.
Alice is a freelance writer, blogger and family travel expert with a passion for good food and seeing the world. In addition to blogging she works as a social media consultant and is a regular guest on BBC Essex.
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Maria Belfort – One Tiny Leap

One Tiny Leap is the multi-award nominated blog of Maria Belfort and her family, documenting their travels around the world, and a love affair with good food. Now moored in Brighton, UK, the family spent 18 months living in Lisbon before embarking on a year-long road trip that took them to the USA, Japan, New Zealand and China. Currently using all her free time to explore closer to home in the UK and Europe, and rarely separated from her camera for more than a few minutes, Maria is a Marketing Manager specialising in Asia trav with a mild obsession with ramen.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Helen Wills – Actually Mummy 

Helen is the multi-award winning blogger behind family lifestyle and travel blog Actually Mummy. The blog began life as the diary of Helen’s 6 year old daughter, full of the humorous anecdotes of family life. As the kids grew up though, Helen returned to her love of travel, taking her family with her for the ride. Six years on, she now documents their travels in the UK and worldwide with a teen and a tween. Helen’s journeys have taken her all over the world, from Hong Kong and Cambodia, to Caribbean beaches and the ski resorts of Colorado. As one third of Space In Your Case, Helen is all about adventure, pushing the boundaries with her kids, believing that no holiday should be off limits for families. All it takes is a bit of planning!
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Daisy Huntington – Dais Like These Family Travel Blog

Daisy is mum to three kids, wife to Mr Dais Like These and owner of a lovely greyhound. As well as leading a busy day to day family life, she loves nothing more than packing up and heading off on a new adventure – husband, kids and sometimes dog in tow!
Daisy is passionate about promoting family travel and through Dais Like These Family Travel Blog she aims to inspire other families to try new destinations with their kids, by sharing the highs and lows and ins and outs of her own family adventures, both close to home and further afield.  Expect travel diaries, travel tips and honest reviews.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Cerys Parker & Monika Roozen |Inspireroo magazine

Cerys and Monika (along with some of the best family travel writers out there) pour their passion for travel and the great outdoors into a quarterly magazine and regular online features full of inspiration for families to get out more and explore further. A magazine for the independently-minded traveller and explorer. Each seasonal issue is packed with stories of epic family journeys, 3, 2, 1 …go weekend and city breaks, gear reviews, thought-provoking interviews, suggestions for outdoor and garden activities and wildlife conservation.  Read Inpsireroo online or download your quarterly copy to read offline.
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Katy Stern | Otis and Us Family Travel Blog

Katy (Mrs S) is married to Mr S, and is mom to three children. Together, having spent the last 3 years converting their beloved Campervan, they love nothing more than to take a road trip, to explore and to create wonderful memories along the way.
Otis and Us is a family travel blog; sharing travel tips, family days out, outdoor fun, holidays, and road trips in the UK and further afield.  Aiming to inspire others to travel with kids and embrace the belief that life is an adventure.
UK-Family-Travel-Bloggers-That-You-Cant-Afford-To-Miss UK Family Travel Bloggers That You Can’t Afford To Miss

Laura Hitchcock | Have Kids, Can Travel

Laura owns the multi award-winning family lifestyle blog LittleStuff, but she admits that HKCT is where her adventurous heart lies. A family of six, Laura is the writer, husband Courtenay is the photographer and they have four kids (home educated, so they’re always ready to take on a new adventure with no worries about term dates!). The three boys are 18, 15 & 14, and their daughter Bear is 10.
They love to talk about any and all the family friendly travel options – from wild camping in Wales to trekking in the desert. Laura loves finding new things to experience with the children, discovering the best places to stay, ways to travel, and bargains to be had for families finding their perfect holiday.
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and last but hopefully not least…

Zena Goldman – Zena’s Suitcase 

UK travel, lifestyle and parenting blogger Zena Goldman is passionate about growing a love of travel in her young family and following her own desire to see more of the world. The Zena’s Suitcase blog follows her family’s adventures as they explore life as a travelling family and enjoy the many different holiday and travel experiences that are available.
With over 19 years experience in parenting she is honest about the challenges parents face visiting different countries with two young children, and shares how as as family you can overcome these hurdles and enjoy the precious time you have together. As a family that is constantly juggling a happy balanced life, she also explores the possibilities of travel without kids and how to enhance your lifestyle when your at home.
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Have I missed anyone? Who is your favourite UK family travel blogger?

Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

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We made some lovely memories as a family on our recent weekend trip to London which you might have seen on the blog recently.  I thought it would be a good idea to round up our experience incase you were looking for some inspiration to plan a trip to London with your family.

We travel regularly with our 3 and 5 year old daughters, and it definitely comes with some challenges.  They clash regularly and have a tendency to become over excitable, but we feel that they are learning something valuable about their relationship as well as the places they visit.  The power of sharing experiences and making memories will help them to smooth out the bumps in their sibling rivalry and give them a childhood they will love looking back on, well that’s the plan anyway.

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

When you are planning a weekend in London with kids, my biggest tip is to be realistic about what attractions you are going to see and think carefully about where you are going to stay and what you need from your accommodation.

Where To Stay In London With Kids

London can be busy and noisy, but there are pockets of the city that can provide a quiet haven from all the hustle and bustle, especially at the weekend. We stayed at the Hilton London Canary Wharf and in my view it’s a perfect choice for families.

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

Your hotel room is going to play a big part in your weekend break, and you need space and comfort to be able to relax together as a family.  It’s worth spending a little more on your hotel room and cutting back on another aspect of your travel budget so that you can enjoy where you are staying.

The Hilton Hotel Junior Suite sleeps a family of four very comfortably and gives you plenty of space to unwind after a busy day exploring.  The rooms come with 2 TVs so that not everyone has to watch cartoons if they don’t want to.  The toiletries and super fluffy towels mean that Mum can enjoy some pampering while everyone else is putting their feet up and hopefully not fighting.

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

Access to the Executive Lounge means that everyone will be fed and watered during their stay whilst enjoying some exceptional views across the city and the River Thames.  The Hilton also offers an exceptional breakfast buffet with full English and continental options.  They are also happy to make pancakes or waffles for the children which is a lovely touch.

Things to do in London with Kids

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

London is a big city with lots of things to do with kids, but my advice to you is not to over do it especially  if you are travelling with young children.  Getting around in London with children can be both tiring and challenging and this weekend break is meant to be a rest for everyone.  We planned for one activity a day during our visit, and found that this worked really well.  If we had of tried to take on anymore, I think the children would have become tired and fragile and the parents wouldn’t have been far behind them.

Tower of London

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

We visited the Tower of London when we arrived in the city, and it was a great activity to do with the children.  They loved exploring the Royal Mint, the White Tower and the other museums and displays.  Because of it’s contained nature, the kids could also enjoy a little freedom during their visit.

Buckingham Palace and The Royal Mews

Our daughters love just about anything connected to Princesses at the moment, and they loved their visit to Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews.  The Royal Mews was just the right length of time for their age group, and it’s a fairly quiet London attraction too, which makes it good for visiting with kids.

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

Tower Bridge

We had a lot of fun visiting Tower Bridge and it’s very accessible for families, even if you have a pushchair with you.  It looks impressive from the outside, and is equally impressive on the inside with its infamous glass floor and Engine Room exhibit.

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

Covent Garden

I love to visit Covent Garden when I’m in London, and we had some time to kill before catching our train home.  It’s only a few stops away from St Pancras so it’s a great place to call in on the way home.  We arrived just as a street entertainer was beginning his act, and he was very funny to say the least.  We all enjoyed the show as it was incredibly visual and he had a little boy from the audience help him.  It was the perfect end to a lovely weekend.

What About Places to Eat?

One of my favourite family friendly restaurants to eat at is Wagamama and you will find them all over London, and in most other cities these days.  We stopped at Wagamama in Tower Hill before visiting the Tower of London, and they deliver a perfect meal every time and it’s healthy too.  The customer service is excellent too, and when I realised I had ordered the wrong meal for the children they changed it free of charge, wasn’t that lovely of them!

family-on-tube Inspiration For Planning a Weekend in London With Kids #FamilyTravel #UKFTB

If picnic’s are more your thing, I can also recommend popping to the nearest Marks and Spencer Food Hall and picking up some tasty snacks and sandwiches, find yourself a nice London Park and enjoy an al fresco treat.

We were provided with a complimentary stay at Hilton London Canary Wharf and complimentary access to Tower of London, The Royal Mews and Tower Bridge during our weekend in London with kids. 

Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

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I cannot believe that Disneyland Paris is 25 years old already.  I still remember the park first opening and desperately wanting to visit when I was a child.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen when I was little but who can forgive me for thinking about wanting to visit Disneyland Paris now that I have two little girls of my own.  Holiday Inn and Air France helped us make that dream come true when they invited us all to Disneyland Paris for the weekend to enjoy the 25th Anniversary celebrations.  I knew the girls would literally pop when they knew where they were going , and how I kept it a secret from them until the day I will never know.

family-at-Disneyland-Paris Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

Hotel Near Disneyland Paris?

It’s no secret that when you look up how much it is to visit Disneyland Paris the price tag can be pretty expensive, even for a very short stay.  Hotels near Disneyland Paris are a great option, and we had the pleasure of staying at Holiday Inn – Marne Le Vallee during our visit.  We have been lucky enough to work with Holiday Inn a few times, and we have always found them to be very family friendly hotels.  The staff are always very welcoming, whether it’s at check in or when you need some information about the local area.

I’ve made no secret that our two young daughters can be quite a handful both at home and when travelling. When they are excited, they are double trouble to say the least.  The staff at Holiday Inn did not mind in the slightest, and no one batted an eyelid when they were charging around reception in their favourite Disney dresses excited to be heading to the park for the day.

family-at-Disneyland-Paris Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

When you are booking a hotel for a family visit to Disneyland Paris, it’s worth knowing that Holiday Inn have been leading the way in family friendly accommodation since 1952 and are the first and only brand to offer the ‘kids stay & eat free’ package across their 70 worldwide destinations.  Our stay at Holiday Inn Marne Le Valle was reliably comfortable and exceptionally friendly as well as being a great base for visiting Disneyland Paris.

Day Trip To Disneyland Paris

We told the girls they were going to be visiting Disneyland Paris on the day, as we wanted them to enjoy a good nights sleep in the hotel before their big adventure.  After breakfast we finally revealed to them where they were going, and you might have seen on Facebook Live quite how excited they were.  We popped back to our room so they could put their outfits on for the day and then crossed the road from the hotel to the train station.  We waited no more than 10 minutes before we got on the train that went directly to Disneyland Paris with our very excited little princesses.

family-at-Disneyland-Paris Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

After a twenty minute trip journey, we headed towards the park, and stepping inside Disneyland Paris was everything  I had imagined it would be.  It’s like entering a magical world of dreams where literally anything is possible and the kids couldn’t wait to get started.  I had made a plan of the rides that I thought our children would enjoy as a guide, but things did change depending on the length of time we were expected to queue.  Our children aren’t queuers to be honest, but there was still a lot for them to see and do even with skipping a few rides.

The first and probably favourite ride of the day was ‘it’s a small world’, which had all of us in amazement at the singing and dancing dolls we saw from our boat.  The children’s jaws were somewhere near their knees for most of the ride, so it was a really good start to the day.

family-at-Disneyland-Paris Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

We spent a lot of time in Fantasyland which is a great for younger children visiting Disneyland.  The queues are short and the rides are all accessible.  Daddy and Princess went on the carousel, which is her very favourite ride, and the horses are particularly fitting for a Disneyland Park.  We finished up at Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, which I think was a highlight for all of us.  When you have seen something so many times in the films and on TV and then you are actually there, inside it, it’s nothing short of magical.

As we came out the crowds were gathering for the Starlit Princess Waltz.  We found a shady spot under some trees and waited for the Disney Princesses to appear.  The girls loved it, and I’m not sure which I enjoyed the most, watching the Disney princesses or watching my own little princesses put their spin on the dance routine.

family-at-Disneyland-Paris Our Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary Adventure

If you are wondering whether it is worth visiting Disneyland Paris for the day, I would definitely say yes.  We covered a lot of ground during our visit by focusing on the rides and things we wanted to see.  We managed to see a lot more than we thought we would during the day and even managed to enjoy the 25th Anniversary Parade without spending a ridiculous amount of time lining the route.  We arrived just in time to see the final floats and the one that was most important to our children, Frozen with Elsa and Ana.

We had hoped to stay at the park until well into the evening, but our kids just couldn’t handle any more excitement.  They desperately didn’t want to leave but in the next breath deliriousness was starting to set in so it was time to catch the train back to the hotel and get them ready for bed.  They definitely slept well that night.

Disneyland Paris Holiday Summary

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  • Fly with Air France to Paris CDG from several locations in the UK
  • Holiday Inn is a worldwide reliable hotel brand
  • Train station is a short walk from Holiday Inn – Marne Le Valle
  • Trains every 10 minutes to Disneyland Paris
  • Great access for Paris and main attractions
  • Family friendly hotel near Paris
  • Great value for money
  • Excellent customer service from Air France and Holiday Inn
  • Perfect location for a day trip to Disneyland Paris

We would like to say a huge thank you to Holiday Inn and Air France for inviting us to enjoy Disneyland Paris to discover just how easy it is to visit the park from Holiday Inn Marne Le Valle.  If you are looking to plan an affordable trip to Disneyland Paris I would have no hesitation in recommending Holiday Inn and Air France to become apart of your holiday plans for the Disneyland Paris 25th Anniversary celebrations.  

Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

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Tower Bridge is one of the most iconic sights on the River Thames with it’s imposing gothic towers and mighty suspension cables.  It’s a must see London attraction for anyone visiting the city and it certainly left a big impression on us during our visit.  It’s a stones throw from the Tower of London so we caught a glimpse of the bridge when we first arrived in Tower Hill.  I was really excited for our visit after seeing it from across the water.  My husband was feeling a little more nervous after I explained to him we would be walking over a glass floor.  You might already have guessed by reading this blog that he’s really not good with heights.

kids-on-glass-floor-tower-bridge- Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

Before our visit to Tower Bridge I downloaded the Family Trail app to give the girls an idea of what was in store.  The Tower Bridge app is great for kids, with lots of simple games and fun facts about the exhibition they are about to see.  It’s a great learning tool for them, and it really helped our two little girls to enjoy the Tower Bridge experience more than had we just walked around and talked to them about it.  Having fun really helps with the learning they can achieve at an experience like this.

kids-on-glass-floor-tower-bridge- Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

Our first port of call at the Tower Bridge exhibition was the introductory video and chat.  The girls were fascinated by the idea of a draw bridge and mimicked the actions the bridge was making to let large boats through it.  It was pretty cute to watch and it was lovely to see them taking it all in.

kids-on-glass-floor-tower-bridge- Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

The glass floor was of course the highlight, and our children showed no fear whatsoever when it came to walking, talking, laying or even singing on this part of the exhibition.  They decided it was the perfect place to treat the other visitors to a rendition of their favourite Frozen songs whilst several London buses passed underneath them.   I cannot tell you quite how nervous Daddy was at this point!

kids-on-glass-floor-tower-bridge- Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

The glass floor is quite a mind bend for us older folk who can’t quite grasp the concept of waking across a see-through floor with the London traffic and the River Thames beneath you.  There is nothing to worry about though as this glass floor is stronger than the floor it replaced and we found out it can support the weight of one elephant and two London cabs thanks to the Tower Bridge app.

After lots of picture taking (and photo bombing a few others) we headed down towards the Engine Room to see how the bridge originally operated.  On the Family Trail app you can also have a go at fuelling the coal fires that were originally used to operate the bridge to let boats through.  It’s a nice way of introducing children to the idea of engineering, and works well with other parts of the exhibition that shows you how steam operated the bridge at first.

kids-on-glass-floor-tower-bridge- Visiting London Tower Bridge Exhibition With Kids #insidetowerbridge

We really enjoyed our family experience at Tower Bridge during our weekend stay in London.  The exhibition  is really good for learning why the bridge was built and how it fits into the history of London.  It’s really fun too as the glass floor is an experience all in itself.  The Tower Bridge app is a great way to help kids interact with the exhibition and it can also help continue the learning after the visit.  We also loved that Tower Bridge was very accessible and we had no problems getting around with a pushchair and two small children in tow.

If you liked this post, why not find out more about our visit to Buckingham Palace and the Royal Mews too.

We were provided with complimentary tickets to visit London Tower Bridge but all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

How to Get Internet and WiFi in Cuba

(NOTE: Everything about Cuba — including the Internet and WiFi situation — is rapidly changing. This information is current as of May 2017, but we can’t promise next month will be the same!)

If you’re headed to Cuba, you already know that there is (finally!) Internet service in Havana, Santiago, and other cities. Beginning in early 2015, WiFi hotspots began popping up around the country.

But finding it can be a daunting task and the service isn’t free. Unlike most countries, Cuba has one of the lowest rates of Internet connectivity in the world. So, Wi-Fi service isn’t readily available in many hotels, apartments, cafes, etc.

However, it’s not quite as difficult as you might think. Here’s what you need to know.

Getting Started with Wi-Fi in Cuba

There are two things required to get online in Cuba:

  • A prepaid NAUTA Internet/Wi-Fi card: available in 1-hour and 5-hour denominations
  • A Wi-Fi hotspot: typically a modern hotel or a dedicated Internet park where Wi-Fi service is available

Sound easy? Not so fast …

Where to Find a Prepaid Internet/Wi-Fi Card in Cuba

Cuba’s Internet service is provided by the government-owned ETECSA which serves all of Cuba’s telecommunications needs, including WiFi and internet.

The first thing you’ll need to get online is a prepaid NAUTA Internet card from ETECSA. These are basic, credit card-sized cards with a scratch-off username (usario) and password (clave or contraseña). Like so:

nauta-prepaid-internet-wifi-card-cuba-IMG_8441-800x600 Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

Cuba’s NAUTA Prepaid Internet and WiFi Cards

Find a Prepaid Cuban Internet Card at ETECSA

ETECSA stations are located throughout Havana and most other cities in Cuba and they’re typically easy to spot. Just look for the buildings with the longest lines outside or ask any local where the nearest station is. They’ll know.

The process of buying a prepaid Internet card in Cuba can be frustrating, particularly if you’re purchasing directly from an ETECSA office. The bottom line is: be patient. Like most of life in the Caribbean, things in Cuba move very, very slowly. The lines are often frustratingly long with waits of two hours or more at peak times. But your wait will pay off because purchasing your card at an ETECSA station (versus a hotel) is much cheaper — just $1.50 US per hour.

Our recommendation is to guesstimate in advance how much time you plan to spend online while in Cuba. Then, buy your NAUTA cards in bulk to save yourself the hassle of waiting again and again.

Find a Prepaid Cuban Internet Card at a Hotel

NAUTA cards are also available at most modern and upscale hotels where the process is far quicker and easier. But you’ll pay for that convenience — often $4 USD (or more) per hour. On the upside: you won’t have to wait in line.

nauta-prepaid-internet-wifi-card-cuba-IMG_8441-800x600 Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

Coffee and Cash at a Hotel in Havana

Where to Use Your Prepaid Internet/Wi-Fi Card in Cuba

Even as of May 2017, there are few Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Cuba. Thankfully, this is changing, but, for now, here’s where you can get online:

  • A hotel: many city hotels, particularly the nicer ones in Old Havana, provide not only NAUTA cards for sale but also decent WiFi access. This is arguably the best option as the Wi-Fi tends to be reasonably reliable. We had great service at Hotel Sevilla and Hotel Santa Isabel. Again: be patient and don’t expect broadband speeds!
  • An ETECSA telecommunications center: most ETECSA centers also serve as Wi-Fi hotspots
  • A public Internet park: some major parks throughout Cuba are setup as Wi-Fi access points. In Havana, this includes: La Rampa Street, Havana Vedado; Parque Céspedes, Havana Vieja; and Boulevard de San Rafael, Havana Vieja. Other parks are available in Trinidad, Cienfuegos, Baracoa, Holguin, and Vinales. Ask any local in your destination city and they can point you in the right direction.

Click here for a thorough (though not quite complete) list of more than 200 WiFi hotspots in Cuba.

Logging on/logging off the Internet in Cuba

Even the process of logging on and off the Internet in Cuba is often complicated.

Logging on to the Internet in Cuba

Once you’ve found a place to logon, scratch the password box off your prepaid internet card to reveal your unique password like so:

nauta-prepaid-internet-wifi-card-cuba-IMG_8441-800x600 Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

NAUTA Prepaid Wi-Fi Card

nauta-prepaid-internet-wifi-card-cuba-IMG_8441-800x600 Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

NAUTA Internet Login Screen

Next:

  • Open the Wi-Fi settings on your laptop or smartphone and connect to the ETECSA network
  • Launch your web browser
  • Type 1.1.1.1 into the address bar
  • A basic login screen will appear — enter your Username and Password
  • Once logged in, a second screen will appear that shows how long you’ve been logged in for the current session and how much total time/credit remains on your prepaid Wi-Fi card.
    You can technically close this extra window, though I recommend keeping it open to keep track of your time.

Logging off the Internet in Cuba

Once you’ve completed your session, be sure to log out!

This ensures that you won’t continue to be charged for minutes you aren’t technically using. To do so:

  • Launch your web browser (if it’s not already)
  • Type 1.1.1.1 into the address bar
  • A basic screen will popup indicating the total time used/remaining on your NAUTA card. Click the “Cerrar sesion” button to logout.
  • Close your web browser

Tips & Tricks for WiFi in Cuba

And finally, just a few miscellaneous tips …

Don’t Get Duped!

Because Cuba’s Internet service is such a hot commodity, there are plenty of scammers looking to sell you fake cards. They might approach you in the street or outside ETECSA. They may offer a seemingly great deal, but don’t fall for it. Our recommendation is to only buy from hotels and/or legit ETECSA stations where you know you’re getting the real deal.

Go Offline (… in Case You Can’t Get Online)

Download or screencap your most important info/documents to your laptop or mobile device before leaving home. Things like: a copy of your passport, restaurant/POI recommendations from TripAdvisor, your flight details, etc. Just assume you won’t have easy online access to any of this information while in Cuba.

Safeguard Your Card

Tourists must present their passport when purchasing a NAUTA card. This means that everything you view online can be tracked back to you. While the Cuban government is unlikely to actually make arrests for looking at “forbidden” sites, it’s worth noting that they have the power to do so.

So: protect your card (including your WiFi username and password) at all time! Don’t give it out to anyone and don’t leave your NAUTA card in a conspicuous place (like face up on the table of a hotel lobby) where sneaky bypassers can see it.

nauta-prepaid-internet-wifi-card-cuba-IMG_8441-800x600 Everything You Need to Know About Internet and WiFi in Cuba (Updated May 2017)

Cuban Street Scene, Havana