For me, if the choice was between a week away in the UK, or a week in a hot country – the hot country wins. That said, I do like a UK short break in between holidays, and Tattershall Lakes was perfect for that.

I always said I would never stay in a caravan again, I hated them when I was little, but we gave it a go and for a weekend we loved it. We went to Tattershall Lakes in Lincolnshire with another family we are friends with. You couldn’t beat the price for what you got, the Caravan was clean and pretty big!

What we loved…

The Italian restaurant was yummy, there is a large bar/restaurant area that is noisy and very busy, but there is also a smaller restaurant upstairs that is quieter and much better quality. The prices aren’t too bad either! The chocolate brownie is yum!

They had some good activities, the main one being the high ropes, which my partner and kids loved. The instructor was great and can only take a few people at a time, so not much standing around. It is worth mentioning that you have to pay extra for the activities – even if you have an entertainment pass.

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What wasn’t really our bag…

The pool left a lot to be desired. The booking of the pool is strange, you have to call at 08:00 or 13:00 to book a slot. This is mainly because the park has gotten so big, but the pool has remained the same size. This wasn’t made any better by the grim changing rooms. The pools itself is nice enough and has a good lifeguard there.

The kids evening entertainment was OK, the kids didn’t mind it, but they weren’t the best ideas – songs about different kinds of beans springs to mind. The kids much preferred the singers later on, and Gary Barlow was great, maybe they should have these on earlier than 9.30pm as the kids were ready for bed.

And the rest…

We were only there for a couple of nights, but had we been there longer we would have explored the castle nearby as it looked interesting. We spent a lot of time at the play park & mini golf was a lot of fun (and very quiet).
The onsite shop had a lot of stuff in it, and seemed to be fairly well priced, Hallie picked the biggest ball in the world and it was very cheap.

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We agreed that should we go back again, we want to be one of the people who had a hot tub!

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Summer holiday booked: Why we LOVE the Princess Andriana

We have beaten the January blues by booking our SUMMER HOLIDAY! We have kept it simple and booked somewhere we know we love, the Princess Andriana in Rhodes. We took Hallie there when she was just 4 months old, (yes we know it is not going to be quite as easy this time round), but we are way too excited to be going back to this dreamy place.

Why Rhodes?
I have such a love for Rhodes, ever since I spent a summer there many years ago. Matt and I had our first holiday there, so we have spent time there as a couple and as a family – it is perfect for both.
When you are out and about in Rhodes, people cannot do enough for you. We went to a family owned restaurant in Lindos and Hallie needed changing, urgently (no need for me to elaborate further on that), the waiter picked up on this and found a table, pulled it into the back and placed cushions on it for me to change her, he also helped make sure she was safe whilst I did so – I mean how amazing is that? The owner then popped out to get Hallie a toy to play with, and this wasn’t a one off, she got gifts in nearly all the restaurants we went to! To say its family friendly is an understatement.

Q. What do we want when we go on holiday with our kids?
A. Great kids club so we can get boozy!ย Well yes it might be nice to have a glass of wine whilst chillaxing, but thats what I am taking my sister for. So my main list is…

  1. Clean & spacious rooms
  2. Somewhere that is nicer or equal to my house
  3. Reasonable flight time
  4. Not too pricey & worth the money
  5. Good food with plenty of variety
  6. A beach within close proximity
  7. A sheltered kids pool
  8. ย A shop for when I forget to pack the nappies

Oh and lots of sun loungers…

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So you can imagine our delight when we found Princess Andriana, as it is all those things and more! We have been twice, around the end of May/beginning of June, when is hot but not too hot for Hallie. We stayed at a different hotel last year, and it was nice, but the Princess Andriana really is another level. It has…

  • All inclusive food & drink (and some minibar items!)
  • A Spa (lush)
  • A pool bar AND a beach bar AND an all day food bar with unlimited ice cream (yum)
  • Evening entertainment in the hotel bar AND family friendly entertainment on the other side of the hotel in the amphitheatre (no need to hear it or go there unless you want to)
  • Large pool and sheltered kids pool
  • A shop
  • Table tennis, tennis, mini golf, water polo, aerobics, archery etc…
  • A lovely main restaurant and a moonlight top floor restaurant that you can eat at for free once a week
  • Friendly staff
  • Clean, clean, clean! (spotless)
  • Nice places to eat near by but also a quiet atmosphere
  • A fountain show every evening
  • A kids club and a play park

This list could go on, it is family friendly whilst still feeling like a relaxing holiday environment, as there is plenty of space and the kids stuff is away from the pool area.

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Bookingย works out cheaper if you book the hotel direct, they give you a discount and some extras thrown in usually. We booked flights directly with the airline also, with flight times to suit us. I find the price very reasonable for the five star environment you get. You won’t want to leave so go for at least 10 days (like we are this time)!

Take a look at the website, it is a true representation.

Oh and we have had the ‘shared pool’ option before with the swim up pool, it was fantastic! However the main pool area is also amazing and has the kids pool so the ‘pool view’ rooms are also just as good and cheaper.

If you want to know more feel free to ask ๐Ÿ™‚

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This week, for work, I have been staying in the Holiday Inn in Peterborough. I have stayed in a few Holiday Inns now, but not with my family – probably because I stay in them for work! During my stay this week, I have seen more and more reasons families should be using them. My top reasons being…

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  • Kid’s eat free!
  • There is a pool suitable for kids
  • Plenty of space in the room, even if you have to have a cot in there
  • Huge bed, if you have to have the in kids in there
  • Option for room service if you don’t fancy the restaurant
  • Friendly staff
  • Great room prices

Based on the price, I almost didn’t book it, as it seemed too reasonable. I was very surprised when I walked in, the atmosphere and the decor were lovely and the staff couldn’t do enough to help.

The only downside of the hotel would be the lack of staff at breakfast, there was one poor woman rushed of her feet, so there was a bit of a wait. There is a buffet breakfast with everything you could want, so plenty for fussy kids (and adults). It did have a slight corporate vibe with it being a weekday, but I am sure that changes at weekends!

There are a lot of Holiday Inns across the country, so gives you plenty of choice of places to visit. Travelling with kids can be stressful, and there is always the dread of the hotel not being up to scratch or clean enough, so if you can find a chain (within your price range) that does this, it can take some of that stress away! Also how good is this message…

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Sorry about the photo, there was a lot of mood lighting near the lifts

Give them a go.

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Why I’m excited Summer is over: autumn/winter activity ideas

It’s September! Autumn is almost upon us…Halloween, Bonfire Night and of course, my birthday.

I have really enjoyed this summer, we have managed two trips abroad and lots of days out, but I am now ready for autumn and all the fun that will bring. Hallie is almost 19 months old and it is so much fun taking her to parks and adventure lands!

Bank holiday weekend was one of the best weekends and gave me some great ideas for activities in the colder months. We went to Harrogate for a night and on the way back stopped at Stockeld Park. The following day we ventured to Sundown Adventureland, all of which can be enjoyed at Halloween and Christmas!

Harrogate Christmas Marketย 

I know, I just wrote the C word, but it will be here sooner than you think, and also the Harrogate Christmas Market is super early on the 16th Nov – 19th Nov, so planning needs to start now. Harrogate always seems to have a warm cosy feel, so I can only imagine at Christmas time it will be truly magical. 200 stalls with carols and Santa of course! With it not being too far from York why not make it a Christmas Market weekend and hit them both. You can see what York Christmas Market is like in my vlog from last year – click here!

We had a lovely meal at the Jamie’s Italian in Harrogate last weekend, I didn’t know how kid friendly it was, so kid friendly they eat free at the moment! We worked up an appetite by visiting the Pump Rooms, Hallie enjoyed some dress up with her Auntie Lauren and a spot of colouring. I have to say I think our favourite activity was their park – Valley Gardens, I think you would be hard pushed to think up an activity they don’t have, it is so clean and endless climbing frames and slides.

Stockeld Park (near Wetherby)

I had never heard of this place until recently, but I am so glad we went. It had a fantastic maze with plenty to look at as you attempt to get out, there’s also roller skating, boats, indoor play, places to eat, lots of activities the main one being a magical enchanted forest. They have a events running at Halloween and Christmas when they will have ice skating. It had a very magical feel to it and we will definitely be taking Hallie at Christmas time! There is also a great little gift shop where I bought my first Christmas present, oh dear.

Sundown Adventureland (near Retford)

I loved this place as a kid, and I really enjoyed it as an adult last weekend. Hallie’s favourite ride was the Christmas ride, so I guess we will be going again in Nov/Dec when they have their Christmas Spectacular, with more Christmas rides and I heard Santa might turn up… you can book now on their website.

Would love to hear your suggestions, we love visiting new places – make sure you comment below.

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Harrogate for Bank Holiday Weekend?

It is nearly the Bank Holiday YAY! Hang on, where can we go with our kids?

We have decided to head to Harrogate and here is why…

Where do we stay?ย We like the Hotel Du Vin

  • It has great size rooms with baths for the little ones
  • They provide lovely travel cots
  • They have lots of different spaces you can sit and have a drink, if you want to be away from others.
  • They have great deals on Hotels.com
  • There is a SPA! Surely you can squeeze in one treatment?

Where do we eat?ย There are so many places to eat in Harrogate, and lots of them are child friendly.

  • Vividoย (Italian), great prices, nice food and very child friendly. The waitresses even walked my toddler up and down while we ate.
  • Bettysย is a must! Their afternoon tea is lovely (especially if you get the fizz), the kids menu is also delicious and has a kid friendly atmosphere with crayons and colouring books etc. The winner for me is the toilets – they have a playpen! So you can quickly pop for a wee, or sort the nappy etc out without trying to balance them on the changing table! Winner.ย Bettys_Tearoom_Harrogate_DSCN0835_WC.jpg
  • Also there are the usual quick eats such as Wagamama, Nando’s, Pizza Express, Jamie’s Italian etc.

What do we do?ย There are lots of things to do in Harrogate and the surrounding areas

  • Mother Shipton’s Cave – I haven’t been here but we are going this weekend, my partner went as a child and said it was fun! So I shall let you know.436495_133c11a6
  • Spirit of Harrogate – if you get some childfree time do some gin tasting here
  • The Royal Pump Roomsย – Might be a bit smelly but it won’t take too long and worth a look.
  • There are lots of places near by, climbing walls, swimming baths, tree climbing, castles and not too far is York Maze. Make sure you head to tourist information near the Royal Pump Rooms for more ideas!

Harrogate is such a beautiful and historical place. It never seems too busy (apart from Bettys sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ ) and is a lovely place for a family to visit.

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