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 Market 

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

  • Vivido (Italian), great prices, nice food and very child friendly. The waitresses even walked my toddler up and down while we ate.
  • Bettys 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. 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? 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 Rooms – 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 🙂 ) and is a lovely place for a family to visit.

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We have just returned from Rhodes! Cannot believe I am back already and writing this post, hopefully you will find the following tips useful…More holiday tips to follow!

1. Try and pick a flight time to suit your toddlers ‘routine’. We were due to fly at around 6am, which worked for us last year when she was 4 months old, but pretty sure she wouldn’t have been very happy at 4am now. Fate stepped in and the flight was moved to the later time of 11:30am. This worked really well, up at the normal time and in a great mood.

2. Prepping for the flight takes place in the airport, give your pushchair in at bag drop and let them walk and run as much as possible, you will be glad of this when they are tired on the plane! Some airports have children’s play areas, let them go wild.

3. Pack plenty of snacks that are easy to eat on the plane. Organix Cheese and Herb Puffs are a particular fave of Hallie’s and we found the Organix Goodies bars great for the plane and the holiday.

4. You can take a toddler cup full of water through security, or fill it in the airport. Having plenty water for them on the plane is important as they can get dehydrated and the air con dries my mouth out so it must have the same impact on them.

5. If you have your toddler sitting on your knee, it is worth asking (once everyone has sat down) if there is a row free for you. We were lucky and the flight attendant approached us to ask if we would like a row to ourselves to spread out on, but it is worth asking as it meant Hallie slept for half of the flight undisturbed!

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6. Don’t try and keep them too quiet. I found myself getting a bit paranoid that Hallie has being too loud, then I had a word with myself as she was only laughing happily and generally being happy. There were a few wobbles, but I have had to listen to other people’s children on planes for years so now it is my turn :). As we left the plane everyone told us how good she had been, so I needn’t have worried at all.

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7. A new toy or an activity to do seems to always be a winner. Hallie all of a sudden loves Peppa Pig, so a couple of new Peppa books and a sticker book helped keep her entertained.

8. And finally, it always gets a bit chilly on the plane so don’t forget a blanket to keep you your toddler warm. It feels strange packing a blanket for a summer holiday, but it always comes in handy as everywhere has air con!

Happy Holidays!

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