Family Weekend Away in Hampshire Part 2

Welcome back to our little mini-adventure away in Hampshire! You may have read Part 1 (if not, read that first!) we arrived at our little B&B – The Red Lion in Odiham, had a lovely dinner and spent our first night, so this post is all about the next day….

It was a grey and drizzly day so we decided after breakfast head to Little Play Town which is a couple of doors down. I thought this would be like soft-play but it wasn’t, it was actually such a lovely idea – it is a complete mini town for children. It had different sections like a market, shops, construction site, beauty salon, vets and more. In each section children can role play and dress up. Violet was a bit little for it all really as it was aimed at walking babies and onwards but we still went along. She did enjoy exploring all the sections and watching older children playing, she learns so much from older children so I’m sure she was taking it all in. I wish we had something like this in Brighton, it was SO sweet and perfect for helping little ones learn too. Violet would love to go again when she’s a bit older!

After that we had a little explore around the quaint village of Odiham. It was a bit rainy, so we didn’t go far but we got a good feel for the place, I loved the cute shops and tearooms! We went for a spot of lunch at the French Creperie, which had an awesome undercover garden area, so we got to sit outside whilst keeping warm!

I think the theme of this little break away was relaxing and eating as we headed back to our room for a rest before dinner time. Violet chilled out and played with the toys that were provided so we could have a bit of a doze – perfect!

For our dinner on the second night, we headed out to the Duke of Cambridge in Tilford, this took us around 15-20 minutes in the car and is a sister pub to the Red Lion.

The Duke of Cambridge is a gorgeous country pub, the perfect place for sitting in the sunshine in the summer or a cosy evening by the fireplace in the winter. We were shown to our table which had lots of space for the pushchair (which we brought along this time, after Violet’s meltdown the night before!).

For starters, we both went for the Halloumi fries – and no, I don’t mean we shared this dish, we ordered ONE EACH. Whoops, that was a lot of cheese for a starter, but worth it as they were delicious. 

Next up the main courses, I went for a special of the day – the Fishcake, which was presented impeccably and tasted amazing, the green beans were so fresh and cooked to perfection. V went for the Vegetarian Wellington  (are you noticing a pattern here, she loves a Wellington!) – this was a good variation on the one from the previous night, with the lightest, fluffiest pastry that gave me proper food envy.

Onto the best part of the meal…. thank goodness this time Violet kept her cool and let us have pudding as we wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on these….

We went for the warm Chocolate Brownie with Salted Caramel and the Earl Grey Eaton Mess – which we just popped in the middle to share – yum!

After our giant dinner – honestly, I was STUFFED, we headed back (rolled) to our B&B room to snuggle up for the night. Thankfully, we had a much more restful night. Violet was a bit more sure of her surroundings and didn’t seem so unsettled, so we slept SO much better. The bed was so comfy too!

As this trip is all about eating, it wouldn’t be right to leave it without one more food snap. Needless to say the breakfast on our last morning was also amazing.

All in all, going away to Hampshire was a real treat. It wasn’t the relaxing mini-break we had before Violet came along, but we made the most of it – to be honest, just having all our food made for us with no washing up is a mini-break in itself! We had a lovely time with memories I’ll never forget.

** If you fancy a stay at The Red Lion Odiham (I recommend it!) then you can get a complimentary bottle of wine to your room with this code: Fizzypeacheswine (see T&C’s below) **

The Great British Outdoors with #TheDiscoveryAdventures

Whenever we go out in the car for a long drive we always make sure we’ve got plenty of entertainment, our favourite being a good podcast! The only trouble is that we can never agree on a topic – I always want to listen to something about blogging, motherhood or social media but V would listen to endless Greek Mythology podcasts if she had her way. This summer we drove right across France so we learned the hard way about going out with no entertainment, Violet was so bored in the back the only thing that would keep her quiet was Humpty Dumpty on repeat. Never again!

So, when I recently discovered a new mystery crime series – The Discovery Adventures podcast by Land Rover, finally our in-car podcast bickering was over and we decided to give it a listen (although Violet it was more forced upon). Since then, we have been hooked!

The podcast is voiced by an all-star cast including some famous outdoors experts. Together they have created the perfect podcast for in-car listening (well, you can listen anywhere, but in the car is best!) whilst enjoying our beautiful British countryside – plus, it’s something everyone in the family can enjoy. Each episode tells the tale of an authentic and fascinating stories about locations around the UK, in a bid to encourage and reignite our love for the beautiful British countryside, plus each tale is woven into a thrilling and captivating storyline that will keep you hooked from the word go.Buzzoole

Recorded in binaural sound (which is a method of recording sound that uses two microphones, arranged with the intent to create a 3-D stereo sound sensation for the listener of actually being in the room with the performers or instruments – I know, I had to google it too!) you can drift away (if you aren’t driving!) and believe you are right there in each scene. The miles will pass by without you even realising.

I was captivated not only by the story line but finding out which place in the UK they would be featuring next – hoping it would be somewhere local to me and I’d have first hand knowledge of the places being described. I’ve currently finished episode 7 and eagerly await the next instalment….

So, if you are going out on a long family journey or just fancy a few moments to yourself – give The Discovery Adventures podcast by Land Rover a listen! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

 

Top tips for travelling with baby

Before we thought about having babies, travel was ‘our thing’ we liked to do. We were always plotting our next adventure, usually something including a trek off the beaten track or somewhere you wouldn’t normally think of going. We’ve been to some amazing places. So, with the arrival of baby Violet our travel plans have screeched to a sudden holt. We knew this would happen and it’s fine, she is worth it! But now it’s now time to come out of our comfort zone and take her on her first trip. This time we’ve planned something super easy for first-timers and will be visiting family in France, making some stops along the way to break up the long drive.

As this is our first trip away with a baby I’m suddenly finding it incredibly daunting! I mean, a couple of the many questions in my mind have been – How do we survive the hot weather? How do we sterilise bottles on the go (and make formula!)  and how do we keep Violet busy in her car seat for the long drives? There is SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT. Luckily our travel plans will be super easy though, so that’s all taken care of (Thanks Clickstay!) – Now all I need to do is organise the challenging task of packing for our journey.

So, following the success of my previous post about babyproofing, I turned to my same expert team of Mummy bloggers to share their top tips for travelling with little ones, as they’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt when it comes to travelling with little ones. They have shared amazingly helpful tips, not just on travelling by car but by air too, so if you are planning a trip with a baby this summer, I hope you’ll find this helpful. Here is what they had to say:

Use your hand-luggage wisely, leave any unnecessary bits for adults in the suitcases and prioritise things for your little one in hand-luggage. Make sure you have a ‘just in case’ bag of medicines and teething essentials, in the case of any unexpected illnesses on the flight. Distractions are key! Books, colouring books and crayons, magazine, small toys and even downloading your little ones favourite TV show to play on aeroplane mode will all help make the flight shorter for them. Tattooed Tealady

Snacks!! Lots of snacks. Both for the plane and the hotel. Also, spare change of clothes in the hand luggage for baby if you are going somewhere hot as you can change them straight away then so they aren’t irritable with the heat. If they’re weaned the pre-book meals for them, as a lot of airlines don’t assume you want them and wait for you to book them. Usually they need a few days notice too Then There Were Three

Pack extra nappies/spare clothes as the pressure in the cabin is likely to lead to explosions! Scandi Mummy

Pack plenty of nappies in your hand luggage just in case of delays, plus a spare outfit or two incase of accidents! My sister in laws baby had a poo explosion at the airport and had no spare clothes! Lylia Rose

Calpol an hour or so before you fly to pre-empt any discomfort from take off. I also made sure I gave them a bottle/dummy etc to suck on too.  Suburban Mum

Definitely spare clothing…. sitting in the car for long times can cause ‘leakage’. My son always timed accidents to the “perfect” moment, normally in public, miles away from a toilet..!  Planes, Trains and Meltdowns

Our little girl gets travel sick and GP recommended taking Piriton to relieve travel sickness. If you are hiring a car take a car seat with you, they are stupidly expensive to hire and you can check them in. For baby essentials I find it easier to find a local super market and stock up when we get there. I take enough stuff for a day or two. Part of the fun of exploring a new place is finding out what pampers are called in their country. 😜 The Tantrum Times

Pack a spare change of clothes (sleep suit etc) to get baby changed into for a comfortable sleep. Katy Kicker

If using bottles, a plastic tub and cold water steriliser tablets are really handy! The ready made cartons are also SO handy for travelling, as there’s no fear of powdery mess everywhere! Emily and Indiana

Ziplock bags – for packing changes of clothes for baby ( easy to grab one and know everything is all in there), also for ice cubes to keep milk/food cold ( refill after security and on plane) Spare change of clothes for YOU too ( or at least a top) Small Calpol sachets 5ml, Plenty of snacks and food if weaning/ post weaning ( most major airlines have baby purée in jars which you can pre request as a BBML. Something with a familiar smell or scent, CoziGo bassinet cover ( also great for prams too plus UV 50 and breathable) if your flight has a bassinet. A GALT ring is handy if you have a non mover- easy to pack, lightweight and very useful for a villa, or hotel room to keep baby in a safe spot or even by the pool. UV play tent – again very handy for the pool or beach. Flying with a baby

A baby carrier – far easier for dealing with airports and security (especially if it’s metal free as then you can wear your child THROUGH the scanners).
A handful of new toys to get out along the route when you need to provide some new entertainment. Just small things; a toy car, a small maraca (that type of thing. Devon Mama

We found our Snoozeshade invaluable – whether it’s sunny or not, it’s so helpful for even trying to get them to grab a quick nap in the pram. Life with Boys

Super helpful tips! Thank you so much to everyone that contributed – so basically I need a lot of spare changes of clothes, nappies and distractions! Luckily Violet isn’t weaning yet, so at least we only have one form of ‘food’ to worry about for her too.  These tips have really given me a good place to start with our packing so hopefully you’ll find them helpful too. We’ll be blogging about our trip as we go, so watch out for those updates too!

 

Post written in collaboration with Clickstay 

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A Springtime adventure in London #ad

I love nothing more than a spontaneous day out. Before Violet was born, we’d always be hopping on and off the train to London, going for days out to explore the museums, catching a West End show or the odd cheeky shopping spree. However, since Violet arrived, life is a little different and it’s not quite that easy – I mean it took me 5 weeks to pluck up the courage to get out of the door on my own, so the thought of a family day out further than our sweet safe zone of Brighton seemed like a big step… but a tempting one.

So, this weekend we decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. I’ve always said that when I had a family, I wanted to be the kind of person who gets on with life as it was before, doing all the things we would have done, just this time taking the baby along for the ride too. This seemed the perfect opportunity to start our days of fun days out for all the family.

Looking at the weather forecast, it wasn’t looking great but we were determined to keep going regardless – Good old British springtime weather! We decided the best plan was to opt for a sightseeing trip to The Tower of London – I haven’t been since I went on a school trip so I couldn’t wait to see it again and view everything through adult eyes (I think as a child you just remember the grizzly bits, like where they cut people’s heads off – right?). That way we could enjoy the things outside, but there would be somewhere to run for cover – should the weather turn on us.

So we got up nice and early and headed down to Brighton train station to board our train.

Now, after all my apprehension around travelling with the baby, honestly – this has been the easiest journey to London I’ve ever done. We hopped on the Thameslink service from Brighton – this goes straight into London Bridge which is right in the heart of London and the perfect place for getting to so many of the sights, without having to use the underground. As I went to buy our tickets I was also surprised as it’s such great value for money too – with the Super Off-Peak tickets at the weekend, we only paid £10.80 return too and little one went free (although they also do a Kids travel for £2 offer for bigger children too). Plus, can you believe it, our carriage was totally empty! A few more people joined us on the way to London, but everyone had a seat and there was plenty of room for the pushchair and I saw lots of people with luggage as the train stops at Gatwick airport too.

As we whizzed through the beautiful Sussex countryside, Violet was absolutely mesmerised looking out of the windows, all the flashes of sunlight, the colours and the scenery left her wide-eyed as she took it all in. She actually stayed awake most of the journey (I thought the movement would send her to sleep) as I think it was all pretty new and exciting for her, she wanted to just take everything in.

We arrived into London Bridge around mid-morning – this was the perfect base for us as there are so many sights you can visit from London Bridge without having to catch the tube and worrying about whether there would be lift access for the pushchair. From London Bridge some fab places to visit within walking distance are: HMS Belfast, River Cruises, Borough Market, Tower Bridge, The Shard, Tate Modern, the Jack the Ripper Tour – and of course The Tower of London, that just to name a few, there are plenty of shops, bars and restaurants to enjoy as well.

Checking the time – it took us just over an hour to get from Brighton to London, not bad at all! (Watch – Ice Lo)

We then headed to our destination for the day – The Tower of London. One of England’s most historical sights, the Tower of London dates back as far 1066, when it was founded as part of the Norman Conquest of England. From then, it’s been in the hands of many different monarchs, used as an armoury, the royal mint, a prison to Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh and also a place of torture and death – as Ann Boleyn and many others were beheaded within the grounds. The White Tower is said to be haunted by Henry VI, Lady Jane Grey and Ann Boleyn has been spotted walking along the corridors with her head under her arm. Nowadays, thankfully – it’s a tourist destination and the home to the Crown Jewels. With so much to see and do, you can easily spend a full day taking in everything the Tower has to offer.

We bought our tickets, which were 2-4-1 when you travel on the train and of course I had to buy a guide book too!

Two buildings, centuries apart.

We spent a good couple of hours at least exploring everything the Tower has to offer. The weather was so changeable, one minute it would be sunny, the next raining! I’m sure we spent more time putting Violet’s rain hood over the pushchair and taking it off than doing anything anything else. We found the Tower relatively easy to get about with the pushchair, although it took a bit of planning as most areas are accessed by steps but the guide book helped to point us in the direction of the step-free access points. Highlight of our trip to the Tower has got to be seeing the Crown Jewels – we queued for so long (luckily in the sunshine!) and once it was our turn, we boarded the travelator that goes past the main exhibit and lifted Violet up to see the Crown Jewels too. The Beefeater guarding the room laughed at us as she’s so little, but I think she was interested in the jewels for sure! Maybe it was the colours or the sparkles (she is my daughter after all), but one day we’ll tell her about her adventure to see the Crown Jewels and I’m sure she’ll be pleased we included her.

After a good look around the grounds at The Ravens, the guardsmen, the beefeaters and the Bloody Tower it all became a bit much for Violet and she got a bit overtired, so we retreated to the cafe for a well earned cream tea and a bottle of milk (for Violet, not us!). Feeling refreshed after a spot of calm, we continued with our day…

As we left the Tower, the weather turned and it was so stormy overhead – kind of made the Tower even more spooky and atmospheric with those looming grey clouds. It was time to make our escape!

We decided to carry on our day with a little ‘walking tour’ of London along the River Thames. I say a little tour as we didn’t join an official one we just plodded along, taking in the sights and snapping away as we went. Shame the weather wasn’t great as we did get caught in a torrential downpour at this point, but luckily it passed pretty quickly and we carried on, Violet asleep in her pram was none the wiser, so thats all that mattered!

For us, no trip to London would be complete without a trip to Wahaca to round the day off with tacos and mojitos! I was so excited to have my first mojito since before I was pregnant (well, and before I did IVF so maybe 18 months ago now!) and it was worth every sip! They are SO GOOD. Exhausted from our day of adventure around London we finally rested up and and enjoyed a Mexican feast, we even had a few friends who live in London turn up to join us, which was a lovely surprise!

After our meal we headed back to London Bridge Station on foot again, stopping as we passed a Nespresso Cafe which has a robot that collects your order of Nespresso pods and delivers them through a little hatch for you – honestly, I kid you not, a robot! I was well impressed. We also did a final bit of sightseeing, taking the scenic path through St Paul’s Cathedral gardens and we even walked by the First Dates Restaurant which was a fun little spot, I love that TV show.

All in all, we had a fabulous first family day out with Violet – she was good as gold and loved just taking in the scenery, the sights, sounds and movements kept her interested all day. When we needed places to sit and feed or change her, it was so easy – there are places everywhere! The train journey was quick and easy and much cheaper than I expected – plus we got a discount on our tickets for the The Tower of London which made it much more affordable too. I’m glad we decided to have a spontaneous adventure out and no doubt we’ll be planning the next one too.

Lastly, just for a bit of added fun, I vlogged our day out in London so here is a little video of us all as well – enjoy!

 

Post written in collaboration with Thameslink Rail, all words opinions and photography is my own.

 

Travel reminiscing (including some seriously old/embarrassing holiday snaps!)

When your life is going to change in a big way, I guess it’s only natural to start thinking about past experiences and how things are going to change for the future. Obviously, I’m over the moon that baby peaches is on the way, but sometimes I can’t help but think about how one of my biggest passions is going to change in a big way. That passion is, adventure travel! Travel has always been something deeply etched into my being, I travelled as a baby, a child and a teenager and continued to travel into my adult life. I then turned my passion into a career as I worked as cabin crew for 2 years, then as a travel agent for 8 years. So, my passion for travelling the world really has been with me a long time.  I’m sure we will travel with baby peaches, however, I know from experience of booking family holidays that things will change as a party of 3! My love for travelling doesn’t have to stop, it’s just going to be different that’s all. Instead of trekking in South America, I’ll be going on a luxury Iglu Cruise or booking an all-inclusive beach holiday – however, I know it’ll still be amazing and I can’t wait to show our little girl the world. So, while I’m reminiscing, I thought I’d share some of my favourite travel destinations, some funny stories and a few dodgy old holiday snaps. Here are my best bits:

INDIA

I was lucky enough to visit Delhi in India in 2007 for a work trip. Yes, that’s me with the brown hair (not sure what I was thinking there!) I remember it was an amazingly overwhelming culture shock, the sights, the smells, the endless heat, but I loved every moment of it. India will always be one of my favourite places in the world, it is absolutely crazy, busy and smelly at times but it’s so beautiful. We were lucky enough to visit places like the Taj Mahal, although I remember being torn by the fact there was a 5 star hotel (in the bottom right picture) that was right next to a slum. As well as visiting the posh hotel we also played with the children of the slums, and as I was so young, this gave me so much to think about to see such poverty. This was one of my big life lessons that totally put my life into perspective and made me realise how lucky I am. The heat was also incredible, it reached 46 degrees during our trip, crazy! I think if I went back, I’d be a little older and wiser now and I’d be a little more prepared!

RIO DE JANEIRO

In 2008, I was lucky enough to travel for work to Rio De Janeiro. The trip feels like an utter blur, I remember being so tired from the flight I can barely remember half of it! We were lucky enough to see some of the top sights, like Copacabana Beach and the Corcovado. After seeing Rio in so many pictures I had to pinch myself I was actually there! We then went into the Amazon where we got to meet a tribe that still live within the rainforest, I remember being horrified when a man just wearing nothing but a very skimpy leaf pulled me up to dance with him. I flew all over the dance floor to the sound of their panpipes and drums as he spun me round!

AUSTRALIA

My next adventure was to Australia. Look how young I look in these pictures! It was a whirlwind tour, visiting 3 different places, Melbourne, Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Sydney, all within the space of 10 days. I’m not sure I’d have coped with that sort of itinerary these days, but back then I was in my element! (Remember those days when we didn’t need sleep!?). I remember worrying about all the creepy crawlies and checking my shoes/bedding/toilet seat for spiders at every opportunity. We slept one night under the stars by Ayers Rock and I was such I was going to be eaten by something! My favourite memory was watching the sunrise come up over Ayers Rock, as the light changed, so did the colour of the rock, it was magical!

BORNEO

A couple of years later, I travelled to Borneo and got the once in a lifetime change to meet the orangutans of Sepilok Rescue Centre, which was an absolute dream! We also stayed in a really lovely hotel and somehow I managed to get upgraded into a room with a huge jacuzzi on the balcony, which I had all to myself, I couldn’t believe it! My favourite moment from Borneo was getting up in the middle of the night to watch a turtle laying her eggs on the beach, I can still remember our guide running through the ‘hotel’ (which was just basic beach huts to be honest) shouting ‘it’s turtle time!!‘ to wake everyone up for the moment.

PERU

My most recent adventure and if you’ve been reading my blog for a few years, you’ll have read all about this already! Both V and I travelled to Peru a couple of years ago and it was one of the most amazing but hardest trips I’ve ever done. I was really affected by the altitude, but we managed to do the Inca Trail, even though my lips went blue and I was out of breath with every step. It really was a spiritual, life changing experience, with a lot of funny moments along the way, such as when V drunk a frog milkshake (that literally had a frog blended into it) and don’t even get me started on the quest for a clean toilet on the Inca Trail (spoiler: it doesn’t exist). Peru was just so amazing, I’d go back again in a second!

 

Ahh, so many amazing memories. I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane with me! I’d love to hear some of your travel stories, either before or after babies, please do tweet me, or share them in the comments below! 

 

Post contains some collaborative links, however all words, opinions and travel stories are my own