Travel

Croatia 

It’s taken me a while (understatement of the year) to get this blog post up as I ummed and ahhed about whether to do it or not. This is probably more of quick recap of our time in Croatia rather than a ‘review’ so to speak. I do feel like holidays are so person specific that you can’t possibly please everyone (reason 101 why I should not spend hours on Trip Advisor) for example; something that I find really important in a holiday may have no relevance to someone else. However I have had a lot of questions about where we stayed in Croatia since I obviously instagramed the hell out of our first family holiday so I thought I would share a few details for those who have asked.

We stayed at the TUI Family Life Bellevue Resort in Rabac, Croatia. We chose Croatia because I’ve heard amazing things (the scenery did not disappoint!) and because the flight is just under 2 hours from Manchester! We booked through Thompson, something we had never done before. I am obsessed with booking holidays, it genuinely becomes a full time job and I research for hours, days, weeks and months. In the past I’ve always booked our hotel, flights and transfers separately so to book a package holiday was a new experience for me. Danny and I have only visited one all inclusive hotel before which we both hated . . (Okay it was just me who hated it). In all honesty I’ve never seen the appeal of eating in the same place every night as I love getting dressed up and going out on holiday (as it’s such a rarity at home). However with a 9 month in tow we figured AI would be our best bet as it meant no cooking or cleaning (if we did self catered) and as Evie does mostly BLW we thought it would be easy to eat from the buffet and also the added benefit of it being a family life hotel meant we weren’t worried about making a mess or being nosey at meal times! 

As it got closer to our holiday we became slightly sceptical as this was a brand new hotel and the opening had been delayed by a few weeks so when we arrived it had only been open for 10 days. I stupidly joined a Facebook group as I wanted to keep up to date with what was going on however it was just a page for everyone to vent their anger and issues which in turn worried me even more so I quickly unfollowed that group! Thankfully when we arrived apart from a few expected teething problems everything was pretty much perfect! The hotel was stylish and modern, the location was stunning and the staff were lovely especially with Evie! 

I’m not sure whether I’m a knitpicker (Danny would say yes) or that these issues we faced would annoy everyone but there was a shortage of highchairs so every mealtime became a bit stressful! We had to hover near someone who looked like they were about to leave in hope we could swipe their highchair which became extremely tedious by the 4th day. I know it was only the second week of them being open but you would think with it being a family life hotel they would have expected a lot of kids!? Also we stayed in the main reception block which was brand new (beautiful stylish and very modern) but their was only ONE lift in a block of 6 floors. Again, a family life hotel where the majority of people are bound to have prams and strollers and there was ONE lift!? Seems absolutely crazy to me! On a few occasions we ended up lugging a 22lb baby, a changing bag, a stroller and inflatables up 5 flights of stairs as the queue for the lift was ridiculous. Hopefully they will be able to address these issues as you do have to give them the benefit of doubt with it being such a new hotel. 


At the hotel there were so many day beds as well as regular sun beds which I think made our holiday so much easier with Evie. Her and Danny spent a lot of time napping (winning at life when Daddy day care takes place in the shade and I can sunbathe) which meant we didn’t have to try to get her to nap in the pram very much.

We honestly had such a wonderful first family holiday and I really want to return to Croatia as it was so so beautiful! I hope this answers any questions I’ve had but please do feel free to drop me a comment or message on Instagram and I will get back to you. 

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Mama & Baby · Travel

Evie’s holiday wardrobe

Long gone are the days where I am obsessing over my holiday outfits months in advance. It’s now all about Evie! I was panic buying clothes for myself 2 days before we flew as I really didn’t give it a second thought until I began to pack. Whereas Evie’s holiday wardrobe had been building since March! I thought I would do a little blog post on her holiday essentials and outfits.

(Hat from Sunshine and Shade, costume from Monsoon)(Towel hoodie from Baby Gap)(Costume from Monsoon)(Sunsuit fromHatley)

(Top from Zara, sandals from Baby Gap, shorts from Matalan)

 (Jumpsuit from Primark)

(Dress from Zara)

(Dress from Zara)


(Dress from Next)

Travel

Where memories are made | Ribby Hall Village

I love a staycation, don’t get me wrong going abroad is still probably top of my list but now with a baby in tow it’s a totally different ball game. Holidaying in England now means it’s like home from home, things are a lot easier and potentially more relaxing! Luckily for us when we visited Ribby Hall for the weekend temperatures hit highs of 19 degrees so it was like we were holidaying in the French sun anyway!


When you enter Ribby Hall it’s like driving into a cute miniature village they have their very own Spar, a Starbucks and Papa Johns! It feels really homely and family orientated from the moment you get there. 


We stayed in the Sapphire Cottage which sleeps up to 6 people and includes one master bedroom (with en suite), one twin bedroom and a bedroom with bunk beds. It is situated next to Fisherman’s Reach and the cottage has bi-fold doors which lead to your own patio where you can look out onto the fishing lake.


There are so many things to do for the kids from sensory adventure, archery, nature trails, miniature golf, rock climbing, soft play . . The list goes on!

They’ve recently had a huge renovation in their leisure pool which now includes interactive water features, children’s splash lagoon, thrill slide, hot tubs and a sauna and steam room. It was completely baby & child friendly and the new shallow pool area (pictured below) was great as we could just sit down with Evie whilst she had a little splash around. 

As our cottage was situated by the lake we were constantly visited by the ducks which Evie absolutely loved! The ducks are so friendly (is that even a thing? Friendly ducks?) but seriously they come over to you and stand right next to with no fear whatsoever. It was so cute seeing her interact with them and follow them around! 

Whilst we were there I visited The Spa Hotel which is situated within Ribby Hall’s grounds where I had the most amazing facial ever! I had the 50 minute Ishga Anti-Ageing Rejuvenating Facial and it was complete and utter relaxation! The hotel and spa facilities looked amazing and as soon as went back to meet Danny I told him we would definitely be returning without Evie (soz babes) for a spa break!


Whilst we were there we also visited the wild discovery petting zoo. It’s currently in he middle of renovations and they are adding more animals this year to their ‘Safari Walk’ which is exciting! It’s an interactive animal experience and they do daily talks and you can take part in activities. Evie absolutely loved being able to get really close to lambs!


I had heard of Ribby Hall before we visited but I didn’t even realise how close it was to where we live and we will absolutely be returning again! I think we’ll make it a family affair and invite Nana and Grandad next time too. We seriously crammed so much into 3 days and made so many memories and I would recommend it to anybody with young kids as there is just so much for them to do whilst catering for the adults too. Thanks for having us Ribby Hall!!!

Mama & Baby · Travel

The first time – Travelling abroad

It’s a tradition within our family to take an Easter break! My Mum is one of four girls and the majority of my cousins are also girls, so every year we bin the boys off and take a vaycay during the Easter hols! For the past 10 years or so we have been visiting Anglesey or Wales until last year we decided to venture to Majorca where my Auntie owns a villa. Last year I was 17 weeks pregnant and this year I was travelling with a 7 month old!


I was apprehensive to say the least about travelling with a baby. I am very much a stress head Sally but with nothing to actually stress about! 99% of the time I create these situations in my head and in reality I have nothing to stress about. I was asking so many ridiculous questions before we travelled thinking of every possible scenario that could go wrong. Well it turns out it’s only as difficult as you make it! I was super lucky to travel with my Mum and Ruby (one of my cousins) and we had an absolute ball!

We flew with Ryan Air who let you check in 2 baby items in the hold for free so that was the stroller and the travel cot. I usually refuse to pay the extortionate prices of checking in a suitcase (£50+!?) but with a baby there was no way I was cramming all our stuff into hand luggage and lugging it round the airport!

I think understandably my main worry was feeding. After reading the gov.uk website (geeeeeek) about what you can and what you can’t take through security it very much put my mind at ease! Basically in a nutshell if you need it to feed your baby you can take it through security! For ease (and not wanting to hunt down boiling water) in the airport and on the plane I used ready made formula which I just tipped into a sterilised bottle.

Obviously with getting through the airport there isn’t much opportunity for a baby to sleep; they’re in and out the stroller to get through security and once you’re about to board the plane you also have to take them out so by the time we took off I knew Evie would be due a sleep. Usually when she naps in the day she lies down with a dummy and nods off, she doesn’t like to be cuddled, rocked or fussed over. So when she fell asleep after a feed about half way through the flight I got those kind of newborn cuddles, the ones where they lie on your chest and get all squishy.

As we were staying in my auntie’s villa it was pretty much home from home so I was able to make up her feeds as normal as I just took a box of formula in my case. Evie has Hipp Organic which I wasn’t sure if I could get it as easily in Majorca as other the brands which is why I took it with me. I packed a few Ella’s Kitchen pouches and I was meant to take porridge with me but in the midst of the madness that is packing for a baby I forgot so I just pinched Isla’s every morning instead! After our first full day in the Spanish sun I began to realise this holidaying with babies malarkey wasn’t as stressful as I built it up to be! In fact it was so much fun! Yes her ‘routine’ (I use that word loosely) was a bit thrown out and she wanted more sleep and more feeds (obviously because of the heat) but we had THE best time and seeing her interact with everyone and chat away to Isla just made me the happiest Mummy in the world!


We bought the My Babiie MB51 stroller to take on holiday and it was fabulous!! It has 3 recline positions including one which lies flat, an extendable hood which has UV 50 protection, a viewing window at the top of the hood and it’s super lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Evie was so happy to nap in it and also sit in it whilst we were out eating.


In all honesty once I had got into the swing of things I soon realised it wasn’t as stressful or difficult as I was making it out to be. Travelling with a baby is just different to what you’re use to and preparation is definitely key!

A few things which made my life easier were taking ready made formula on the plane therefore I wasn’t worrying about not being able to get boiling water (during take off etc) when I needed it, not taking my own hand luggage; so just shoving my purse, phone and keys into Evie’s changing bag as it was then one less thing to carry, taking dummy clips so I wasn’t constantly searching for spare dummies, taking a stroller carrier with handles so just before we boarded I popped the stroller into the carrier and could just leave it at the bottom of the plane steps (also I was a bit neurotic about my cream stroller getting dirty, I know what you’re thinking . . Priorities). So yeah if you’re anything like me then just chill. People do take babies abroad every single day if you get organised you shouldn’t have anything to unnecessarily stress over . .  Now bring on Croatia!!

After speaking to a lot of you on Instagram I think we all feel the same about flying with a baby for the first time so if you have any questions at all just pop me a message and even if I can’t directly help or have the answer then maybe I can put your mind at ease!

Travel

Birthday getaway

So it was my birthday yesterday. I am now 25. I’m not going to do that thing like ‘ohhhhh ma gawd I’m so old’ but seriously where are the years going!? I’m 25 and I’m married. I’m not ready to adult yet please don’t make me! Isn’t it the older you get the quicker the years pass by!?

This year we decided to stay at the Gotham Hotel in Manchester so I thought I would do a little blog post on it because it was amazing! We got the dinner B&B package for £150 which was really good value as it included a 2 course dinner off their set menu (or £20 pp credit off the a la Carte menu), full breakfast & access to the rooftop bar which has amazing views of Manchester’s skyline. We found this offer on their website which was the cheapest we found over anywhere else including trip advisor and secret escapes.

When we arrived concierge came over helped us with our bags and took them straight to our room. Obviously we had a giggle that Mr & Mrs Manchester were checking into a hotel in Manchester with them! Parking was £25 for 24 hours which is quite pricey in my opinion however it is valet parking so all you have to do is pull up outside the hotel and they take your car and park it for you which makes life really easy especially as you’re in the city centre! The hotel is attached to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant and opposite Rosso restaurant so it really is slap bang in the city centre. I lived in Manchester for 2 years so I know it pretty well but if you were wanting to explore or shop it’s the perfect location.

Here are a few photos from our stay, if you’re looking for a quirky hotel in Manchester with great service, staff & food I would totally recommend checking out this hotel!


  
  
  

     



 

Regular posts will resume in the new year! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas!

Em, xo