What to do with four days in Iceland…

Iceland is such an incredible country it is hard to know where to start. I spent four days exploring and can safely say that it is a good amount of time to fit in a lot of adventures. For the Northern Lights, January to March is a good time to go. Although be prepared for an arctic chill plus only a few hours of daylight. I visited in January, sunrise was at 11am and sunset around 4pm. It is strange adjusting to very dark mornings.  The opposite can be said for the summer in Iceland, the daylight hours go the complete opposite way with the midnight sun making an appearance. This means pretty much twenty-four hours of daylight and warmer weather.
If you are planning a trip to Iceland here is my four-day itinerary…

 

From the airport Flybus operate services to Reykjavík in conjunction with all arriving and departing flights. Bus services go via the BSI bus terminal, and onto Reykjavík. (Pay for Flybus Plus to be dropped right outside your accommodation.) The journey takes about 45 minutes, pre book before you go or pay at the airport. It was a really fluid service plus there is WIFI on the buses.
You might be interested to know that the restaurant at the bus terminal sells not only burgers but also sheep heads.  A traditional Icelandic dish which dates back to a time when people made use of every part of the animal. Not one I tried while I was out there, but very interesting to learn about Iceland’s culture.

 

Day 1
We stayed in the centre of Reykjavík at Loft Hostel, located on one of the main streets it was perfect and in walking distance of shops, restaurants, funky bars and the city’s main attractions.
A visit to Hallgrimskirkja church is a must; the impressive concrete structure was designed to look like volcanic basalt. Inside it houses an organ with 5727 pipes. For a small fee take the lift 74.5 metres to the top for beautiful panoramic views of Iceland.
If you are visiting in winter you will definitely need to warm up. Icelanders are into coffee in a big way so there are plenty of coffee shops dotted around to escape in from the cold. My favourite was Kaffi Brennslan, they had a delicious chocolate cake.  Most of the coffee shops turn into restaurants and bars at night too with a quirky little place on most corners to choose from.
After you’ve warmed up take a stroll to the harbour. The famous Sun Voyager statue is a worth a look at and the mountainous backdrop is stunning.
If you are hoping to see the northern lights book a trip early on in your stay, that way you can increase your chances of seeing them. Many tour companies offer a free trip if you don’t spot them the first time around. Use Icelandic Met Office to check the Aurora forecast. On our first full evening there we went on a Northern lights hunt with Iceland Travel. With clear skies and a dark night we were very lucky to see the Aurora Borealis dancing and gliding in the dark sky. A super jeep tour meant a smaller group and we could go where coaches couldn’t, boy did those Land Rovers plough through the snow! After an awesome evening we even got see the lights again from the roof terrace of the hostel shining brightly above Reykjavík.  For tips on capturing the Northern Lights on camera head here: Northern Lights Photography Tips.

 

 

Day 2
You can’t come to Iceland without seeing the Golden Circle. Matt and I decided to go on an organized tour, we had initially thought about hiring a car but were pleased we didn’t as due to a lot of snow the road conditions were pretty harsh and the Icelanders definitely have the skills to drive on their roads!
We chose a small group tour with Sterna Travel, the first stop was Þingvellir national park the sight of Iceland’s Viking parliament; here you can walk between shifting tectonic plates. Next up was the Geysir hot spring area; hot steam rises from bubbling geothermal water, and the famous geyser Strokkur is here. Pushing out hot plumes of water every few minutes it is very exciting and addictive to watch. The thundering falls of Gullfoss was one of my favourite stops of the day; this icy beauty was definitely worth getting cold for.  As well as stopping at the main sights the tour also included a visit to a geothermal pool, Gamla Lagoon. As I’m pregnant I didn’t get to go in but Matt thoroughly enjoyed the 40°c dip with a beer for company!
For dinner we chose Islenski Barinn, a cosy restaurant with a quirky interior. I had halibut which was delicious. They had some interesting specialties on the menu, the Icelandic people like some weird stuff! Fermented shark, puffin and minke whale. We didn’t try any of these, as we weren’t sure if they were just a tourist fad. For dessert we had Skyr, an Icelandic speciality and very similar to Greek yogurt.

 

Day 3
We were up early for an adventure to the south coastagain with Sterna Travel. I was so excited to see Eyjafjallajökull, the volcano that erupted in 2010 cancelling over 100,000 flights all over the world.  Next was the mighty Skógafoss one of Iceland’s biggest waterfalls, it has a 200ft drop and legend has it that there is buried treasure in the cave behind, unfortunately it was too cold that day for me to find out! We stopped for lunch at Reynisfjara beach near Vik. Black sand and basalt sea stacks make this a striking place for photos. My favourite stop on this trip was at Mýrdalsjökull, the most beautiful glacier. Having time to explore the base of this gigantic beauty was awe-inspiring. Deep blues and thickly patterned ice, topped off with snow-covered mountains high above, it was an epic spot. The last stop of the day was Seljalandsfoss waterfall, you can walk behind it, but it was so cold the staircase leading to the path was completely encased in ice. I was more than happy to just admire it from the front anyway!
We rounded up the evening back in Reykjavík with a very tasty lamb stew. Iceland is well-known for its lamb so it only seemed right to warm up with this dish after a very chilly but awesome day.

 

Day 4
Our final morning was spent relaxing over a leisurely breakfast after two busy days of sightseeing followed by souvenir shopping. A Lopapeysa or Icelandic sweater made with Icelandic sheep wool is the thing to buy here. However, at £100 – £150 they were way out of my budget. I did however stumble across some very cool vintage charity shops on Laugavuger, the main shopping street.  Inside I found a few jumpers for £30, sadly they didn’t fit! This was followed by more coffee drinking and cake munching to keep warm. You can buy all sorts of weird and wonderful souvenirs; my favourite ones were glass tea light holders with volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajökull and lava rock ornaments. I did go into a Christmas shop and buy a Christmas decoration, as if you saw my blog back in December on all things Christmassy you will know that I love collecting decorations from my travels.  A little Icelandic elf, I thought it would be a great reminder of our trip.
I loved everything about Iceland, it has such a trendy, cool vibe, the locals are super friendly and I even loved the cold.  For me it added to the whole experience. My one tip would be to pack a lot of thermals and layers if you go during the winter, you will definitely need them.

 

 

A Log Cabin Break in the Forest of Dean…

A luxurious log cabin in the woods:

I’ve just got home from a four night break with Forest Holidays in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.  We stayed in a luxurious log cabin with its own private hot tub nestled amongst woodland.  The weather was perfect for cabin living, bright crisp, chilly mornings and some snow which made a dip in the hot tub even more fun.  There was nothing but the rustling of leaves, birds tweeting and squirrels foraging in the undergrowth.  It was so peaceful.  Matt, Emily and I stayed with our friends Sam and Graham and Emily’s best baby buddy Heidi.  Set over two floors our log cabin had four rooms, two doubles, one with an en suite and two twin rooms.  We packed our own travel cots for the girls who had a room each.  The cabin also had two family sized bathrooms, this meant there was ample room for us all to spread out.  A spacious lounge with log burner and a floor to ceiling window overlooking the hot tub was a gorgeous place to relax.  Plus a kitchen kitted out with everything imaginable for self catering made our stay a very comfortable one.  Our log cabin also had an outdoor decked area with table, chairs and barbecue.  We spent our days exploring the local area, followed by a soak in the hot tub and cosy evenings playing scrabble in front of the fire.  The Forest Retreat, a café/bar area, reception and a small shop was a short stroll through the woods and across the meadow.

 

 

What I liked about Forest Holidays:

  • Someone checked the water quality and cleaned our hot tub everyday.  A rubber duck was placed on top of the cover to let us know it was ready to use.
  • The hot tub water is changed before each new arrival.
  • The Forest Retreat was perfect for buying take away drinks, fresh bread and supplies.  We also bought wood here for the log burner.
  • We loved ordering ‘room service’ to our cabin through the menu on the tv.
  • A small kitchen starter pack containing bin bags, a sponge and enough dishwasher tablets for the duration of our stay was a nice touch.
  • Ample towels were provided along with some for the hot tub.
  • We had stair gates for our little ones.
  • I loved the underfloor heating!
  • Choosing dates in between school holidays and being low season meant we got a great deal.  Check out Forest Holidays for prices and locations.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • The table in the kitchen was too large, it was a struggle to move around if more than one person was in the kitchen at same time.
  • The stair gate wasn’t great.  Although it was fixed in place for us, it ended up coming loose and unsafe so we took in down.  This is probably something we should have mentioned at check out.
  • Check-in is at 4pm, for an early check-in from 2pm we had to pay £35.  I thought this was a little on the steep side.
  • There was no ice-cube tray…sounds like a minor issue but ice is very important for a G&T!  We got creative and filled egg cups with water.  But for such a well equipped kitchen it is something I would have expected to find.

 

Things to do in the area:

This was my first visit to the Forest of Dean, I hadn’t realised there was so much see and do.  From caves to waterfalls and hundreds of hiking trails I definitely need to go back to explore more.  Beechenhurst has a café, children’s play area, a sculpture trail, climbing tower and Tree Top Junior.  The café does a delicious sausage baguette and cup of tea too.  Symonds Yat Rock is a must visit, the viewpoint is set high up above the River Wye and has gorgeous views.  Biblins Bridge is fun to cross, the rope style suspension bridge is set over the River Wye.  Only 6 people are allowed to cross over on it at once.  I must admit I wasn’t overly sure about crossing over, but it turned out to be fun!  It’s an adventure in itself getting to the bridge, start at Symonds Yat Rock viewpoint and walk down into the valley.  The walk is sign posted and is around 2.8 miles.  Jump on the little ferry by the Saracens Head, but double-check it’s running before commencing the walk as I don’t think it operates all year round.  Once the other side of the river head for Biblins campsite.  For more detail on this walk click here: Symonds Yat Rock to Biblins.  We were unable to do the walk as we hadn’t bought our rucksack carrier for Emily, but we had a lot of fun trying to find it in the car.  Unable to pinpoint an exact location on google map, I did some research and discovered we could get to the bridge through Biblins Campsite.  We drove for a few miles along some very tiny lanes and eventually picked up signs for the campsite.  We parked up and walked down a very steep track in the woods for around a mile until reaching the bottom of the valley and the bridge.  Matt and I underestimated how steep the walk back up would be, a screaming, over tired Emily and two very sweaty parents pushing a buggy for a mile uphill was not a pretty sight! I found a great blog post from Family Days Tried and Tested about their Biblins Bridge adventure, they have some great images of their day out. If you have time it is worth driving over the border into Wales.  We visited Brecon and absolutely loved the views of snowy mountainsides and driving on roads with not a soul around.  If you are looking for a good soft play by the way there’s a fab one just before Brecon called The Play Barn.

 

Road Tripping with a Baby in California….

*Thanks to JUCY campers for helping Matt, Emily and I make this road trip possible.  Find out more at www.jucyusa.com and follow them on social media @JUCYworld.

 

Roadtripping with a baby in California…in a campervan. It might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but if you plan it right it’s the best way to explore and a fantastic way for kids to enjoy the outdoors.  We’ve done a lot of road trips over the years; our last one with JUCY was back in 2013 in Australia and New Zealand. This trip was a bit different as we now have Emily who is 20 months old. Planning involved choosing shorter drives with more stops and campgrounds with good facilities.  We chose to hire a campervan with JUCY as we had used them before and loved the compact size of their vans.
One thing that I love about JUCY is that they provide everything you could possibly need to camp very comfortably. Pillows, duvets, bed linen and towels are all included as is kitchen utensils, crockery, cutlery and the kitchen sink. Not all camper companies provide all of this. For an extra charge you can hire camping chairs, sat nav, car seats and add-on mileage packages.
The trip didn’t get off to a great start, after landing in San Francisco I received a text from our airline to say our car seat hadn’t made it on our flight. Not good for a road trip! After the initial stress we hatched a plan, rather than wait for it to arrive which would ruin the beginning of our adventure we chose to hire one with JUCY. We found a taxi company who provided car seats to get us to the Jucy branch in Oakland and on arrival explained our problem. The lovely JUCY crew were so accommodating and had so many seats to choose from. At $40 for our whole 19-day trip it was a bargain.
The JUCY Trailblazer Van:
So let me tell you more about our van. We hired the JUCY Trailblazer, its compact size is perfect for winding national park roads and means you can park up anywhere and fit into pretty much any campground you fancy. This seems to be quite a unique concept for America as it’s all about the huge RVs that are the size of buses! We loved the size of this van, it was comfortable to drive and didn’t feel too big. The Trailblazer sleeps four, two in the roof and two in the main part of the camper. Inside the two bench seats convert into a bed and in the floor there is tons of storage space plus a table for use inside the van. The roof pops up with the turn of a handle or with the push of a button and reveals the comfiest double bed with canvas sides. The kitchen is at the back in the boot and comes complete with cupboard space, a chiller, sink and two gas stoves. There is everything you need from cutlery, to pots and pans, crockery and most importantly a kettle for a cuppa and a bottle opener for beer! I should mention the campers also come with DVD players.  Emily and I slept in the main part of the van while Matt had the roof ‘penthouse’ all to himself. This set up worked well and it meant that there was plenty of space for Emily to move around in her sleep!
Useful tips and tricks:
Pick up your van and head straight to a supermarket to stock up on essentials, food, water, baby food, alcohol, (definitely an essential when camping with a toddler!) etc. We found this really useful to do before we set off, that way we knew we had all our supplies with us.
Hire a car seat or take your own, if we hadn’t needed ours for the car journey to and from the airport in the UK I would definitely have just hired it through Jucy.
Be sure to have a good supply of water with you as a lot of campgrounds, especially national park ones don’t have water on site. There are no on site stores either so it’s a good idea to take everything you’ll need with you. If you camp at a private campground that’s not owned by the National Park Service they will often have a camp shop with a few basic supplies.
We booked our campsites in advance but you can often turn up and enquire about availability. Some campgrounds only offer walk up sites while others have to be booked months in advance as they are so popular.
Be flexible, if you don’t have fixed dates, book campgrounds as you go along.  Although now we have Emily we prefer to pre-book, but it’s sometimes fun to change plans and head somewhere different. Our plans altered slightly due to the wildfires in California
I would definitely recommend getting to campgrounds early in the afternoon to get set up and organised.  On a few nights we were racing against the light and nearing Emily’s dinner time so it was sometimes a bit stressful. I struggled to get used to living with Emily in such a small space for the first few days but once we got organised and into a little routine it all worked out perfectly. She had so much fun checking out her new little home and loved exploring the penthouse.
Cooking was really easy, Emily enjoys a lot of finger food so we could whip up a little buffet style meal for her straight from the chiller or use the camping stove to heat up something warm. The kettle came in handy to boil water to heat through her bottles and she loved eating at the bench by the campfire.
We factored in our drives along our route to fit around Emily’s daily nap, which worked out really well.
Packing:
We tried to pack as minimally as we could due to space restrictions in the van, it was made a little bit harder by having to pack for colder conditions in northern California as well as for the sunnier part of our trip further down the coast.  Plenty of private campgrounds do have washing machines so if you pack lightly you should be able to find laundry facilities at some point on your trip.
Some things I couldn’t live without when camping are:
Anti-bac wipes, tea bags, washing up liquid, sponge; snacks for Emily and nappies are all on my essential packing list. I love to have a few things with me before I arrive. Knowing I’ve got tea bags for a decent cuppa is always high on my packing list!
A torch or led lights are perfect for campfire cooking and going to and from the toilet block in the middle of the night.
Zip lock bags are great for storing perishables on the road.
A portable charger for your phone is always a good thing to have. There were USB ports in our Jucy van so we were able to charge phones on the road.
Our favourite campgrounds:
Morro Strand State Beach Bay:  Right on the beach, the facilities are basic and there are no showers but it’s worth it for the views and beach access.  Pitches have a fire pit and bench. We had a pitch overlooking the beach, I loved lying in bed listening to the ocean.
Carpinteria State Beach:  A really nice, clean campsite by the beach, walking distance to a few local shops and a lovely spot for building sand castles.
Lake Jennings Campground:  Around 30 minutes east of San Diego this is a gorgeous campground overlooking the lake. Popular with fishermen it’s a quiet spot. Sites have a bench and fire pit, we chose a really lovely one with fantastic views of the water.  Don’t expect much from the toilet and shower block as it was pretty basic but they were clean and tidy.  The campground also has a play park.
A campervan is perfect for a road trip, choose your route, stop for a cuppa along the way and park up for the night at beach campground.  It’s really easy to do with a baby too, it just involves a little bit more planning and organisation.  We soon got the hang of it and enjoyed exploring at a slower pace than before we had Emily.  There’s nothing quite like having the freedom to explore in a very cool van with everything you could possibly need to have an awesome adventure!
Do you camp or go on road trips with your kids?  Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about your adventures…

 

Bali, Cornwall & California, my 2017 travel roundup…

I’m writing this from a campervan in California overlooking the Pacific Ocean, I’m working with the lovely folks at Jucy campers and spending some time with Matt and Emily exploring a small part of the west coast of America.  2017 has been an exciting year for me in terms of blogging and travel.  I’ve collaborated with some awesome travel brands and taken on some new freelance clients.  I have also returned to my day job as a flight attendant after being on maternity leave.  Emily was born in 2016 and has become our mini travel buddy, she’s been away with Matt and I on a few trips and has already racked up quite a lot of airmiles in her 20 months of being on this planet.  From Cornwall to Bali she is lucky to have experienced some beautiful parts of the world so far.  Read on for my round-up of 2017 and travel plans for 2018….

 

January:  Cheddar, Somerset
Matt surprised me on Christmas day with a trip to Cheddar in Somerset for New Years Eve.  We stayed in a tiny chocolate box cottage with an open fire and lots of old worldy character.  Three days of exploring Cheddar including a trip to the famous gorge and caves, long scenic walks and a cosy evening in by fire the with a bottle of Champagne on New Years Eve made it the perfect way to see in 2017.  Read more on my Cheddar adventure here: A lovely long weekend in Cheddar, Somerset.

 

March: France
In March, Matt, Emily and I went to France with our lovely friends Sam and Graham and Emily’s bestest baby buddy Heidi.  We travelled by ferry from Portsmouth to Caen, I loved the ferry it made a nice change to flying.  Once in France we made our way to the gorgeous harbour town of Port en Bessin and stayed in a three-storey cottage right on the harbour front.  The 5 days saw us going on sunny strolls around the harbour and cliff tops and learning about the D-Day landings the beaches in this area are so famous for.  Eating fresh seafood from the local fish market, enjoying typical French breakfasts in traditional cafes and of course enjoying plenty of bread, wine and cheese; a must do when in this part of the world!  This trip was quite different as working around Emily and Heidi’s nap times often saw us spending time apart from Sam and Graham as the girls’ snoozing patterns didn’t always happen at the same time…but we would always come together in the evenings for a gin and tonic just outside on the harbour wall with the baby monitor by our side and dinner and wine while watching the tide come in from the lounge window.  I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the sea, you could view it from pretty much all the rooms in the house.

 

May: London and Menorca
A trip to London for two nights for the Traverse travel blogging conference was awesome.  I was a little nervous about attending by myself, although I needn’t have worried as I met some lovely people and had an amazing two days at the event.  I learnt so much and even got some work from it.  After pitching an idea to the Spanish tourist board I also got invited on a week-long press trip to Menorca, pretty exciting stuff!
A couple of weeks after Traverse, I attended a seven-day press trip in Menorca with a group of bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers.  It was organised by Traverse Events, the Spanish tourist board and Jet2 Holidays, I had the best week.  There was a one day conference with some really interesting sessions and workshops focussing on a whole range of skills from SEO to using a drone.  There were activities and evening events running all week with the opportunity to explore the island.  One of my favourites was a kayaking trip, we paddled along picture perfect coastline and explored caves, which was pretty cool.  The evening events were wonderful too, from tapas at a vineyard to drinks in a cave at sunset overlooking the ocean.  I had such a blast and met so many interesting people, some of which I’m still in contact with, it’s so nice to have friends in the blogging world!

 

June: Beach time and returning to work
June involved lots of sunny beach time and my maternity leave coming to an end.  I really loved being on maternity leave, getting to spend so much time with Emily and Matt and being able to go on some fantastic trips.  I was petrified of returning to my day job as a flight attendant but knowing I was going back on a part-time basis made it feel a little bit easier to handle and by the end of the 8 day training course I was ready to return to the skies!

 

July: Jersey, New York and Cornwall
My first flying roster consisted of a New York and a Jersey nightstop along with some other shorthaul flights.  In New York I explored the West side of Manhattan, took a stroll along the High Line and visited Chelsea Market.  In Jersey there was just enough time for a walk along the seafront and dinner with the crew.
Matt, Emily and I also went on a mini road trip down to Cornwall for a few nights as Matt had some work in Newquay.  We enjoyed a couple of pub lunches, breakfast at Fistral Beach, a walk at Watergate Bay, a bit of shopping in the town and I got to surf at Fistral too.

 

August: New York and Midhurst, West Sussex
I went back to New York twice again in August, which was definitely not a hardship!  On one of the trips I went to see the views from Top of the Rock, the viewing platforms on top of the Rockefeller Center.  I went up years ago but couldn’t resist another visit.  I love the views of the Manhattan skyline and from the Rockefeller Center you can see Central Park, the Empire State Building and pretty much all of Manhattan including the One World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty.  It’s such a breathtaking view.  I also explored Central Park with a lovely crew and visited Times Square.  It’s been hard getting used to leaving Emily when I go away, some days I feel really emotional about it.  It’s so nice to be able to see her on FaceTime, it makes me feel not so far away.  Its been great working with other parents too, to know I’m not the only one who struggles with my emotions sometimes!
It was my birthday in August and to celebrate Matt surprised me with a night away while Emily spent the night with hr grandparents.  We stayed at the Spread Eagle Hotel in Midhurst, it has the most gorgeous spa and pool area which we loved relaxing in.  We also enjoyed a G & T or two in the cosy bar area and dinner was just divine.  We finished off our very relaxing 24 hours with a crab salad and a glass of rose at Seven Fish, just so tasty.

 

August & September: Bali
At the end of September we flew out to Bali, via Kuala Lumpur, Matt and I were pretty apprehensive about flying with Emily.  Although we had already done a fair few flights with her, this was the first one with her as a toddler who loves nothing more than running around and exploring!  The flights were full of ups and downs but in general she was such a good girl, after a traumatic beginning to our flight home we did decide we wouldn’t be flying again with her until she was about ten!  Having reflected on it we made a pact that we would only do night flights in the hope that she would sleep for some of it!  Anyway, Bali was just beautiful, we stayed in a private villa with Matt’s parents In Sanur where we enjoyed leisurely mornings by the pool, afternoon strolls along the beach and cocktails while Emily snoozed or played in the sand.  We had a night glamping in Ubud at Sandat Glamping Resort and then a few nights in Canggu.  Seeing the rice terraces and temples was a great experience but I was surprised at just how touristy some of these sights were.  Bali is such a family friendly place so if you are thinking about an adventurous family trip away, I would definitely recommend Indonesia.  For more check out my blog post: Bali with a Baby.

 

October: MSC Cruises and Mallorca
I got an invite to attend #BlogCampOnBoard in October, a blogging event onboard a cruise ship, I of course accepted the invite and found myself climbing aboard the very impressive MSC Preziosa.  The day consisted of a tour of the ship, some interesting blogging sessions, lunch and a Q and A with the MD of MSC UK and Ireland and the marketing team.  I throughly enjoyed exploring the ship and made some lovely new blogging friends, everyone was so friendly and it was great to meet others from different blogging niches from cruising to food and parent bloggers onboard.

 

November: Mallorca and London
I jetted of to Mallorca for some winter sun in November as part of the Spanish and Balearic tourist boards #betterinwinter campaign.  The Balearic Islands are well-known to the British as summer holiday destinations but they are just as lovely in the winter.  There was sunshine everyday in Mallorca while I was there, it was definitely warm enough to sit on the beach.  I spent four days exploring this gorgeous island with four lovely Instagrammers.  We enjoyed tapas in some delightful locations, visited some stunning hotels, strolled around Mallorca’s capital Palma and took in glorious views of the city from the top of Palma Cathedral.  One of my favourite things was a trip to Flor de Sal where salt is produced.  It was such a different thing to do and standing next to 10ft salt mountains was a unique experience.  I loved strolling around the market in Santanyi, it was hard to believe it was November with all the sunshine we had.
I landed from Mallorca and headed straight to London for a few days of sightseeing and shopping with my Mum.  We checked in to the Premier Inn Hub Hotel on Brick Lane in East London.  Our cosy and compact room was perfect for our two night stay and I loved exploring this very cool part of London.  We had breakfast at Spitalfields market, shopped on Oxford Street and took in the views of the city from the Shard.  Earlier on in the year I won tickets at Traverse to visit the Shard, so Mum and I made the most of it by going up at sunset and enjoying the views with a few glasses of champagne.  We also had the best curry back on Brick Lane, if you find yourself in that part of London head to The Monsoon for Thali, so, so good.

 

December: California
As I mentioned in the first few lines, Matt, Emily and I are currently in America.  We are here to spend Christmas with family, it’s so strange to celebrate Christmas in the sunshine compared to the cold, frosty December days in the UK.  I’m not complaining though it’s a very nice change and I also love seeing how Americans embrace Christmas, people definitely decorate the outside of their houses in a much more exciting way than in the UK!  We have also spent ten days roadtripping along the west coast of California within a very cool Jucy campervan.  Its been slightly different to normal as it’s the first road trip we’ve done with Emily.  Picking up our van in San Francisco we travelled up to Point Reyes National Sea Shore, followed by a few nights in Monterey, Morro Bay, Carpinteria and now Carlsbad near San Diego.  More blog posts to come on our adventures soon…It’s safe to say 2017 has been an awesome year and finishing up with Christmas in California is a wonderful way to round it all up.
Travel plans for 2018 so far include a break away with friends to The forest of Dean in February and a family holiday with my parents in Menorca in June.  Matt and I are hoping to explore somewhere far-flung at some point in the year while Emily holidays with her Grandparents…thanks in advance Nana, Grandad, Nanny and Pops!

 

Bali with a baby…

Emily and I on the beach at sunset in Canggu.
I’m not gonna lie, travelling with a baby is like travelling with a ticking time bomb…one false move and all hell can break loose!  A 13 hour flight to Kuala Lumpur followed by another 3 hour flight to Bali is never going to be one hundred percent fun or plain sailing, as a tiny person is sometimes very scary to travel with.   But don’t let that put you off, it’s most definitely (in my opinion) worth it and arriving in Bali we knew we had made the right decision.  Especially as Matt and I went with the lowest expectations of our flight with Emily to be greeted with something a lot better than we could have imagined.  Choosing a night flight is my main recommendation, along with books, new toys, an iPad for entertainment and plenty of food and snacks.  For more tips on flying with a baby take a look at my blog all about it: Flying with a baby
First off the people in Bali absolutely adore children so be prepared for your little one to be whisked off in restaurants, waved at and cuddled pretty much wherever you go.  Emily received cookies and fruit in bars and restaurants when we were out and absolutely loved all the attention, waving and saying hi to anyone that looked her way.  Bali is very child friendly with plenty for families to enjoy, beaches, villas with private pools, day trips to some very cool places and gorgeous food that kids will love.  We spent 17 days in Indonesia and Malaysia and I’m excited to share all my family travel tips and recommendations with you..

 

Staying in Bali:
Sanur
Sanur is such a gorgeous place, located on the south-east of the island about 45 minutes drive from the airport, it’s a bustling town with lovely beaches making it the perfect place for families.  The pavements along the main street in town were slightly dodgy with a pushchair but nothing we couldn’t handle!  The footpath stretching for around 2.5 miles along the beachfront dotted with bars, restaurants, markets, hotels and fishing boats was a lovely place to explore.  It was great for a stroll while Emily was napping in her buggy and meant we got to fit in a sneaky beer stop too.  The shallow, calm waters here make it a gorgeous beach for children with much of it protected by reef.
We stayed at Villa Kamboja, three bedrooms, a private pool and an outdoor living concept made it the perfect place for relaxing.  Emily had a lovely cot with mosquito net too.  We felt throughly looked after and split by Kadek our lovely housekeeper who came in daily to cook breakfast, do any laundry and clean.  The villa was a 10 minute walk to Sanur town centre and the main street Jalan Danau Tamblingan; accessed via tiny winding streets that were often filled with incense and plenty of friendly locals working in their Warungs.
Our favourite beach front bar and restaurants in Sanur:
Segara: Full of laid back beach vibes, playing reggae music and the best children’s play area right on the sand.  Emily had such a lovely time playing while Matt and I got enjoy a beer and snacks.  They also had highchairs.
La playa:  A bit of a stroll past the Hyatt Hotel but worth it for the delicious food, friendly staff and high chairs.  I had the best seared tuna starter and salad and loved the glorious views of the turquoise ocean.  Emily got spoiled by our waitress and was given complimentary melon.
Nelayan: We visited this place a lot, the staff were lovely, they had highchairs and pulled out toys for Emily.  Matt and I loved sitting on the comfy bean bags right on the sand.  They were also really good about providing smaller portions for Emily even though they didn’t have a children’s menu.

 

Ubud
Great for a day trip, kids will love the Scared Monkey Forest, although the monkeys made me feel a little bit uncomfortable it was nice to stroll around the forest area and easy if you have a pushchair as it was all paved.  The entrance fee is £4.20 for adults and £3.15 for children.  Don’t take anything valuable with you and leave bags behind as the monkeys take a keen interest in human things.  You can feed them bananas but I preferred just to watch them and take photos.  There are also some interesting temples in the forest too.
I loved visiting Tegalalang Rice Terraces, although a little more touristy than I expected the views were just stunning.  We stopped in a lovely café overlooking the terraces to escape the heat and ordered a fresh coconut water; it’s now Emily’s new favourite drink.  We hired a driver for the day trip to Ubud, Emily had a few naps in the car and although it was a long day I’m so pleased we did it as we got to tick a lot off our must see list.
If you fancy an escape head to Sandat Glamping on the outskirts of Ubud.  We stayed in Bali for a big part of the time with Matt’s parents who very kindly looked after Emily while we escaped for the night.  We had our own luxurious safari tent with our own private plunge pool, surround by jungle and rice paddies.  No TVs or phones meant total relaxation, we enjoyed a wonderful meal surrounded by candlelight in Sandat’s amazing bamboo structure and fell asleep to the sounds of the jungle.  It was the perfect jungle retreat.  For more on our dreamy stay check out my blog post all about it: The Ultimate Glamping Retreat in Bali…

 

Canggu
Whilst it’s not the most baby friendly place to visit in Bali, there were no pavements and beach access wasn’t easy with a pushchair, there are family friendly places to stay and visit.  It wasn’t that easy to find baby essentials, but we did stumble across a pharmacy selling nappies and baby wipes.  The in-house restaurant at the villa complex we stayed at provided us with milk so we actually got by just fine.
Matt, Emily and I stayed at Villa Berawa in Canggu, we had a two bedroom villa with its own pool, kitchen and open lounge/dining area which looked directly onto the pool.  Emily had a cot with mosquito net and I loved the stylish rooms.  The only downside was that our villa was right on the main road so at times it was quite noisy.  Villa Berawa do make you aware of this before you book so it wasn’t a complete surprise.  On arrival we were greeted with a welcome drink and escorted to our villa.  The staff were amazing and so attentive, we had breakfast delivered to our villa every morning, dinner was also bought directly to us and set up at our table overlooking the pool.  For us this was the perfect compromise, with Emily tucked up in bed we felt like we were dining out.  The food was so delicious and reasonably priced too, as was the wine.  I became hooked on Palga Sauvignon Blanc, produced in Bali and very quaffable!
We struggled to find somewhere we felt comfortable taking Emily to for food but did come across Cinta Cafe.  It had a nice kids menu and small play park at the front plus gorgeous open views of paddy fields at the back.  Healthy smoothies and breakfasts, plus prosecco, beer, cider and snacks for a late afternoon or early evening  stop off.  Legong Keraton Beach Hotel was another favourite for lunch, highchairs, a kids menu and gorgeous beach views.

 

Baby essentials:
Essentials such as nappies, wipes, milk, baby food and snacks can be purchased in Bali from supermarkets such as Hardy’s and some of the small Warungs often had milk.  As I mentioned we struggled in Canggu as there were no supermarkets near us, but found a pharmacy selling wipes and nappies and got milk from the restaurant at Villa Berawa.
If you eat out and there’s not a children’s menu, ask for a kids portion.  We often asked for things like plain chicken and rice and  most restaurants were really accommodating with this.
The style of our trips away have of course changed since having Emily, we can’t go out for late night drinks or romantic meals by ourselves so having the option of takeaway deliveries from local restaurants to the villa in Sanur was a fantastic option.  We were also very lucky to be staying with Matt’s parents for part of the trip and they very kindly babysat for a few nights for us so we could go out for dinner.  If you don’t have that option and don’t want to hire a babysitter then if local restaurants deliver it’s a big bonus.
Pool fencing: If you are staying in a villa with a private pool find out about safety fences.  Villa Kamboja in Sanur had this as an optional extra, it was well worth the extra cost as it allowed us to relax knowing that Emily was safe.
We took our car seat with us as we weren’t too sure if all taxis companies would provide one and what standard they would be.  It certainly isn’t the norm in Bali after seeing families of four on a scooter and our house keeper Kadek at Villa Kamboja was completely amazed by ours!  We checked our car seat it into the hold, with British Airways strollers and car seats can be checked in for free.  For the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bali with Air Asia baby equipment is included in the luggage allowance.  This meant we decided to purchase extra kgs when booking our tickets and is definitely something to bear in mind when planning your trip.
Matt and I spent a bit of time scouting out restaurants and beach bars with highchairs, most had them but we packed a travel highchair which was perfect for using on the go. (See mini hacking list below for link.)

 

Jetleg:
Jet lag, can be a bit of killer, especially with a little one.  We broke up our journey by staying in Kuala Lumpur, which definitely helped.  I really recommend Sama Sama Hotel located in the main terminal at Kula Lumpur airport.  It is connected via a walkway from the terminal, check-in is at baggage reclaim and you can jump on a buggy for a lift with your bags to the hotel.  Emily LOVED the ride.  Sama Sama has very comfy rooms, with black-out blinds, cots, good breakfast, plus great room service and an awesome pool with views of the air traffic control tower.  After the flight from London Emily was awake for most of the night so Matt and I were up at midnight having a cuppa and a biscuit….I guess the one thing we realised is that you need to go with the flow when you are travelling with a baby.  Matt and I chatted about this a lot and we both pointed out that we were the ones changing Emily’s time zone, so we just had to go with it.  With this relaxed attitude in around 4 to 5 days she was back in a normal sleep pattern.

 

Mini packing list:
Here’s just a few things I have found really useful to have with me for Emily on trips away…
Giant muslin: Bought as a gift for us from Jo Jo Maman Bebe, this has been so useful in multiple situations.  Shading Emily from the sun and keeping her warm on an aircraft, it’s brilliant.
Foutala towels are perfect to use as beach towels. Lightweight and quick drying, plus they come in really lovely designs and are so much easier to pack than the normal types of thick beach towel. 
– High chair: A lot of cafes and restaurants we visited had highchairs but not all so if you’ve got room in your luggage it’s potentially a good idea to take your own.  This one by Mountain Buggy clamps onto tables and is compact for travelling, it was a lifesaver at lunchtimes at beach cafes.
– Push chair: We absolutely love the Mothercare XSS stroller, it folds down into a bag and is small enough to fit in an aircraft overhead locker. Although since Mothercare shut down it is not as easy to find, we bought ours from eBay for £50.
Sunglasses: I bought Emily some sunglasses from Boots, she loves wearing them!
– Car seat bag: We took our own car seat and bought a car seat bag for checking it in with our hold luggage.
– Pack plenty of snacks and food for your long haul flight. You can take baby food, milk and water in a beaker through airport security, just pop them in a small liquids bag along with your other liquids.

 

We made the decision before we had Emily that we weren’t going to stop travelling when she came along.  Trips and holidays have changed slightly, I guess we have had to slow down a bit and perhaps not see and do as much as we used to.   We also have to incorporate Emily’s nap into a day, great for an hour or two relaxing by the pool or as I mentioned above a stroll along the beach and a quick beer!  Bali is a fantastic place to take children, if you are planning a family trip to Bali I’d love to hear where you are staying or if you’ve been already what were your favourite bits?

Exploring Port en Bessin, France…

Chances are if you are planning a trip to Normandy in France then the quaint fishing town of Port en Bessin will be on your radar.  This area is well-known for the drama that unfolded on D-Day on 6th June 1945.  It is hard to imagine now in such picturesque and peaceful surroundings the horrendous scenes that unfolded that day, not just in Port en Bessin but all along this coast.  In short the town had been under German control for four years, it took 47 Royal Marines Commando two days to regain the town in what was a dramatic battle resulting in a huge loss of life. You can’t go far here without stumbling across a piece of history be it the Mulberry Harbours sitting out at sea or the bunkers along the clifftop; all are stark reminders of the past.  I am ashamed to say I had very little knowledge of what happened during D-Day so found the small snippets of information and memorials to 47 Commando dotted around the town really interesting.  I found a great article from the Telegraph all about the history of  Port en Bessin too. This little town is not only about the war it has a huge fishing industry, a daily fish market on the quayside is the best place to pick up some fresh fish and the many restaurants serving locally caught fish are a must visit.  L’Ecailler was my favourite, I loved the choice of set menus, the sashimi I had to start was to die for! There are plenty of scenic strolls around the harbour walls, up along the clifftops and to the west a lovely viewpoint looking down on the harbour from the Marines memorial.  For breakfast, coffee and afternoon drinks Cafe du Port right on the harbour front was a firm favourite, always bustling with locals it was so nice to sit outside and watch the world go by.  On Sundays the streets are lined with a farmers market and look out for the beach covered in scallop shells, I have never seen anything like it.  Leaving Port en Bessin behind there are some fantastic beaches on this coastline, when the tide is out Omaha Beach has miles of golden sand to explore and the nearby seaside town of Arromanches is another nice spot.  My favourite place for ice cream in the sunshine was Courseulles-sur-Mer.  Inland, Bayeux is a must visit, gourgoues buildings and architecture, bakeries full of artisan bread, the very impressive Notre Dame Cathedral and the Bayeux Tapestry.  A drive along the country lanes reveals old stone buildings, rolling fields and cider farms. Normandy is the perfect place for a weekend break or even longer and is so easy reach from the UK.
Getting there: Getting to Normandy from the UK is very straightforward, Matt and I went with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Caen.  Living in Chichester meant an easy 20 minute drive to the ferry terminal, it was a nice alternative from flying and very easy to simply pack up the car and not have to worry about weight limits on baggage, especially with a baby in the mix!  The crossing is six hours, we added a cabin onto our reservation which was really useful for when Emily needed a nap.
Where to stay: We stayed at La Mer est Belle, a gorgeous three storey house right on the harbour in Port en Bessin.  A stylish beachy chic interior and a sea view out of every window made it the perfect place to stay for the week.  The kitchen was so well equipped along with three bedrooms and four bathrooms meant there was plenty of room for four adults and two babies to spread out in.

 

A lovely long weekend in Cheddar, Somerset….

Hollies Cottage, Somerset
There’s nothing better than sitting by an open fire in a cosy cottage while the weather outside is cold and grey, that was made even better with a glass of champagne on New Years Eve! Matt, Emily and I spent a long weekend in Cheddar over the New Year, Hollies Cottage; our very cosy cottage was our bolthole for a lovely mini break.  Located in the village of Draycott five minutes drive from Cheddar it was in a perfect spot for exploring the area and was well equipped with everything we needed including a travel cot and high chair. Cheddar is famous for Cheddar Cheese and also Cheddar Gorge, the UK’s largest gorge, the chocolate box town is nestled in between a steep valley. The gorge itself is very impressive to drive through, the huge imposing rocky cliffs looked even more impressive on a grey day. The village has some nice coffee shops, cafes and restaurants along with shops selling as you can probably guess, cheese and a handful of touristy type shops. There are also two caves in Cheddar which are open to the public, both are really interesting. For £19 you get entry into Gough’s Cave and Cox’s Cave, The Museum of Prehistory, The Lookout Tower, The Cliff Top Gorge Walk and an open top bus tour during the summer.  If you buy tickets online prior to the day you are going you can get a 15% discount. Gough’s Cave is the larger and my favourite of the two, learn all about the history of the cave with a personal audio guide and see cheese maturing inside. We loved the cliff top gorge walk; the three-mile loop has stunning views of the Mendips and goats grazing on the cliff edges, we bumped into friends here too! After our day in Cheddar we headed back to Draycott and stopped off at the Cider Barn. This quirky ‘pub’ is a must visit, local ciders, homemade pork pies on the bar, a simple menu and log burner made it our venue of choice most afternoons on the way back to our cottage. Not one to be landlocked we also explored the coast; Weston-super-Mare was a 25 minute drive. Huge stretches of sand you can drive on and neat beach huts all lined up in a row was a lovely surprise, it was just a shame about the weather!
I loved Cheddar, the perfect place for a cosy winter getaway and a nice way to see in 2017.

 

Iceland, America and a baby, 2016 has been a good’un!…

This year has been an incredible one, I’ve done less travelling than usual due to being on maternity leave but having Emily has made it the loveliest year for me and being able to take her on adventures around the world even better. I thought I’d look back on the travels and adventures of 2016 and reflect on the differences with a mini adventurer in tow!

 

January: Iceland
January started off with a trip to Iceland, being 6 months pregnant this was our ‘babymoon’ and the last time I planned to fly before my due date in April. Matt and I spent four days in the Arctic Circle, what an amazing place! We stayed at Loft Hostel in the centre of Reykjavík and explored a lot on foot, the views of the city from the top of the church, Hallgrimskirkja were one of my highlights here. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights on a super jeep tour, drinking hot chocolate while watching the aurora borealis dance across the night sky was an amazing experience. A trip to the south coast included a stop at Reynisfjara, the black sand beach near Vik, seeing waterfalls such as Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s largest and Eyjafjallajökull the volcano that erupted in 2010. My favourite sight on the south coast was walking along the base of a glacier, hearing it crack as it moved and taking photos of the ice blue formations was incredible. On a tour of the Golden Circle we walked between fault lines at Þingvellir National Park, watched the mighty Strokkur geyser explode every few minutes and took photos of Gullfoss waterfall in the freezing cold! The day was rounded up perfectly with a trip to the Secret Lagoon; the Blue Lagoon was closed during our trip so this was the next best thing. Unfortunately I couldn’t go into the hot pool as I was pregnant but Matt loved floating around in the steamy water.

 

What to do with four days in Iceland
Exploring Iceland’s South Coast
Adventures on the Golden Circle in Iceland
Chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland
Review: Loft Hostel Reykjavik, Iceland
Northern Lights Photography Tips

 

 

February: London
In February, Matt and I went to London for a few nights for a wedding and explored Islington, Shoreditch and the market at Spitalfields. Having lived in London for three years while I was at university it was nice to go back and visit areas I had not been to before. We tried out some really great restaurants and cafes and ate a lot of good food!
A foodie weekend in London

 

 

April: Emily
April saw the arrival of Emily Louise Dunkinson weighing 6lb 1oz and since then it’s been a whirlwind eight months! Matt and I have always said that we would carry on travelling with a baby but were a little apprehensive about how this would pan out. Once we’d got our heads around the extra packing (who knew someone so small could need so much) we were good to go!
Emily
Flying with a baby

 

August: Cornwall
We started off with a road trip to Cornwall in August; I had a surf and yoga day planned with professional surfer Corinne Evans in Newquay. It was the first time I had surfed since being pregnant, it was so nice to get back on a board and meet some like-minded ladies. Three nights in Cornwall meant there was time for lots of beach walks and relaxing too and Emily at four months old seemed to love her first trip away.
Surfing in Cornwall with Corinne Evans

 

September: Italy
In September we went to Italy for two weeks to explore the southern region of Puglia. This was Emily’s first flight and it took a while to get my head round all the palaver of what liquids we could take through airport security and how she would be on the flight. Thankfully she was such a good girl and slept a lot, leaving Mum and Dad time for a celebratory G & T! Puglia was beautiful; we stayed in a traditional trullo building and visited some gorgeous towns, swam in the turquoise Mediterranean, strolled around cobbled streets full of white washed buildings and enjoyed spending time with Emily and her grandparents. Eating and drinking was high on the agenda here too, with freshly picked figs and almonds from the trullo gardens and Aperol to be sipped by the pool it was a very indulgent two weeks!
How to spend two weeks in Puglia
Exploring the trulli town of Alberobello

 

October/November: America
During October and November we spent some time in America. Visiting family in California was so nice and Emily got to meet her cousins for the first time. Being in America for Halloween was fantastic, fancy dress and trick or treating in a neighbourhood that pulls all the stops out was an awesome experience! Matt, Emily and I also went on a road trip to Sequoia National Park. The 7 hours drive was well worth it as our rustic cabin high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 6,500 feet was very welcoming. Stargazing, taking photos of giant trees, hiking with some incredible views, driving through a tree, watching the sunset behind the mountains and climbing the 400 steps to the top of Moro Rock are just some of the adventures we had there, all with Emily strapped to our backs! Back on the coast we watch surfers at Swamis, enjoyed brunch in Encinitas and visited Temecula for wine tasting and lunch. I was blown away with how well Emily coped with jetlag, she seemed to do better than me and she was so good on the long flights.
As any parent is aware it takes time to adjust to looking after a tiny human and it has been hard to keep up with writing on my blog along with my freelance work at the same time as being a Mum. I’ll often put Emily down for a nap with grand plans of getting some work done and a blog post, then I’ll hang some washing up, make a cuppa, sit down, feel all like ‘yeah I’ve got this being a Mum and writing thing nailed’ jot down a paragraph and then Emily will wake up!  I’m not complaining as I am completely in love with her, I think it’s just something I’m still learning to get used to. So my new years resolution is to stop beating myself up about it!

 

December: Somerset

I’m writing this today from Somerset, Matt, Emily and I are staying in a cosy cottage near Cheddar and will be seeing in the new year sat in front of the log burner in the lounge with a bottle of champagne. Travel plans for 2017 are already in motion with the first being a trip to France we’re going with friends by ferry from Portsmouth to Caen. We are staying in a lovely apartment in the fishing village of Port-en-Bessin-Huppain overlooking the seafront near Normandy which is famous for the D-Day Landings. I’ll be going back to work too, which right now seems like a terrifying prospect but at the same time I’m really look forward to flying again and visiting some new destinations, Peru, Costa Rica and Cape Town are just a few of the new routes I’ll be exploring when I return. As cabin crew I think I’ve never really got used to the idea of being ‘grounded’. Having said that I have got used to being in a ‘normal’ routine at home now so it will be interesting to see how I get on with weekly jetlag and 3am starts! But I’m sure surfing in Barbados, shopping in Orlando and a whole nights sleep all to myself will help me get through it! There will be at least one longhaul adventure for the three of us too, Matt and I are currently mulling over some options so watch this space.
Cheers to new adventures in 2017 and Happy New Year to you all!

 

Flying with a baby…

The time has come to take Emily our four month old on her first proper adventure. We are off to Italy tomorrow to the Puglia region for two weeks of sunshine, exploring and hopefully a little relaxation too. This will be our first time flying with her and although I’m not feeling anxious about it, it definitely isn’t as easy as just packing a suitcase for two, jumping in the car and then relaxing on the aircraft with a G&T and Lonely Planet guide! (Hopefully there might be a little of this as we are going with Emily’s grandparents so I’m sure they are looking forward to some quality Emily time on the aircraft and beyond!) Anyway I’ve been doing quite a bit of research about flying with a baby in the build up to our trip and have found all sorts of useful info and tips, which I thought I would share…
Here’s my Baby travel checklist:
  • Pre order baby formula to Boots stores airside in UK airports and pick it up after security. It is possible to take baby milk and food through airport security, although you maybe asked to open and taste it. You can of course take baby food and liquids but having not gone through airport security with a baby before I’m unsure how strict they are so this would be an easier option. When ordering on the Boots website you can pre-pay and choose the collection date.
  • For steralising bottles, dummies etc, I’ve just discovered these genius Steriliser bags, wash up your bits and bobs, fill the bag with 60ml of water and pop it in the microwave. There are also the Milton solo travel steriliser that doesn’t require a microwave. Just add water and one quarter of a Milton sterilising tablet to complete the process.
  • For a long time I’ve been looking for a small, lightweight stroller to travel with. I came across the Mothercare XSS Stroller and then discovered that it was no longer available to purchase due to Mothercare closing down. The original price was £129, which I was fully prepared to pay but after scouring the Internet for weeks in search of it I eventually found one on eBay. I was so pleased to have got it for £50. This stroller is brilliant, it only weighs 3.9kg, comes with a carry bag and folds up so small that it can be put into an overhead locker on an aircraft!
  • Many airlines will allow passengers with infants to check-in a car seat, buggy, travel cot or push chair at no extra charge, this takes the strain off wondering how you will pack all these extras. We are flying with easyJet to Italy, they allow two baby items for free, anything extra can be purchased as hold luggage. Children over the age of two are allowed the same baggage allowance as adults. With an infant under two a small changing bag is allowed. We have chosen to take a car seat and out stroller, as I mentioned the stroller has its own bag but I’ve purchased a bag to protect the car seat in the hold.
  • Families are often given the opportunity to board the aircraft first, great for getting sorted out and settled in your seats. AND relax!  We have also paid for upfront seats with easyJet, which allows you to board first and also take on a handbag or rucksack as well as a wheelie case.  Perfect when travelling with children, who knew such a small person could need so many things!! Not to mention her wardrobe, I’m sure Emily has more clothes than me!
  • Instead of taking our bulky changing bag I bought a compact changing mat and organizer that’s small enough to carry in my own bag, a great little invention if you are limited on space.
  • I’ve packed toys, bottles and dummies in my hand baggage to keep Emily entertained in the air, having something to suck is a good idea for babies during descent to help them equalize the pressure in their ears.
Useful websites:
  • Travel Mamas – This is a fantastic website with so much on family travel.
  • Taylor Hearts Travel and The Travel Hack both have fantastic blogs on travelling with a baby in tow, I’ve found them so helpful when planning this trip, check them out!
The last trip Matt and I took was a ‘babymoon’ in Iceland when I was 6 months pregnant, it was an exciting adventure, northern lights spotting, glacier walking and hunting out incredible waterfalls, it was a great last trip before I got too pregnant to fly and a really different trip, plus our final trip away as a two. This trip is going to be completely different and I’m looking forward to making new memories with our mini adventurer in tow!

Emily…

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog lately, that’s because three weeks ago I had my baby girl…Emily Louise was born on 19th April at 6.13pm weighing 6lb 1oz. The last three weeks have been a lovely whirlwind, Matt and I are now getting to grips with looking after a little person and the lack of sleep that comes with it! We are completely head over heels in love with her, all the sleepless nights are totally worth it, she is such a cutie and just melts my heart! From a travel point of view, I definitely won’t be stopping; I am looking forward to travelling with Emily and showing her new countries. I’m sure travelling with a baby will be a completely different experience, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to get her passport. We found out I was pregnant while on a road trip in California last August, so she’s well travelled already without even knowing it! The last trip we took was a ‘babymoon’ to Iceland when I was 6 months pregnant, it was an exciting adventure, northern lights spotting, glacier walking and incredible scenery that I couldn’t stop taking photos of! It was a great last trip before I got too pregnant to fly and a really different experience. Travel plans so far for this year include a trip to Cornwall in the summer, two weeks exploring the Puglian region of Italy in August and hopefully a trip to California in early 2017. We are looking forward to making lots more plans once we get this parenting lark nailed. I’m really looking forward to making new memories with our mini adventurer in tow….