Lisbon with kids

Exploring Lisbon with Kids

If you read my previous post on falling for Lisbon you will know that our first experience of this city was a very brief one.  This time around we had several days to explore at a more leisurely pace as well as a local to guide us around, showing us all the best attractions and local spots, which gave us the chance to fully appreciate this beautiful city.

Many parts of Lisbon are made up of a maze of steep hills and narrow cobblestone streets – particularly the old district of Alfama with its historic colourful houses and superb viewpoints.  Pretty to look at but not so ideal to visit with a baby in a pram!  I found this out the hard way on our first visit (I’m surprised the wheels didn’t fall off), so I would recommend taking a baby carrier for these areas to save yourself the workout of pushing a pram uphill that you most definitely did not sign up for on a city break.  Other easy ways of getting around are Uber or tram.  Most of the Uber drivers we used had a baby seat in the back and the tram is always fun for little ones to take a ride on.

Continue reading

Family friendly accommodation Lisbon

Falling For Lisbon at The Explorer’s Home

My first trip to Lisbon two years ago was not a great one.  We only had a day in the city on a cruise and during our brief visit my grandad almost had his wallet stolen and I found it extremely difficult to get around all the hills and cobblestone streets with a baby in a pram.  I was so disappointed that we came away with a negative view of this city that so many people, especially family travellers, talk so highly of.

But I knew we had not been able to experience the city fully in just our one short day so I wrote it off as a bad experience that could have happened anywhere and kept it on my very long travel wish list to visit again at some point in the future.

So when we were invited back by Duarte, the host of The Explorer’s Home Airbnb, after he saw a comment about our bad experience on Instagram (ah the powers of social media), with a promise to show us a better side to Lisbon and change our views on the city, I couldn’t resist giving it another chance.

Continue reading

Hilton Munich Airport Hotel

A Peaceful Retreat at the Hilton Munich Airport

Having experienced several airport hotels in London, I already knew how easy and stress-free they make overseas travels.  Being in a different country, having to navigate public transport from the city centre for an early morning flight was even more daunting than an early wake up alarm at home, especially when you factor in a toddler plus all the baggage I had to handle alone.  So when I came across the Hilton Munich Airport Hotel I immediately knew how convenient a stay it would be, making our last night in Germany a much more relaxed one before we headed back home.

With plenty of public transport options from the city centre – or even an easy train ride from Salzburg, Austria, which is where we came from! – we had no problem finding our way through the airport terminal to the hotel in just a short walk.  In fact I wondered at first if I had got us lost as the Hilton’s lobby is so tall and expansive with glass walls in every direction and palm trees towering over a cocktail bar in the centre.

Continue reading

A Blissful Baby Friendly Holiday with Tots To Travel

Going away with a baby was always going to be more stressful and manic than when it was just the two of us and even though we’d already taken Evie to Paris when she was just nine weeks old, our trip to Mallorca would be her first flight, her first beach holiday and her first taste of the summer sun.

I’m not usually much of a worrier but it can be a bit daunting when you have to remember to pack different factor sun creams for all three of you, swimwear for every occasion (one to keep baby warm, another to keep baby protected from the sun and one to keep any leaks out), plus a pram, travel cot, car seat and the kitchen sink.

Enter Tots to Travel who seriously made our trip so much smoother and stress free, not only by sending us to a brilliant baby friendly destination (although it was still hard to pick where because they have so many dreamy ones to choose from) but also by providing anything we could possibly have needed when going away with a little one.

Continue reading

Reasons to visit Mallorca

8 Reasons to Visit the Island of Mallorca

I will fully admit that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to travel.  I hate touristy places, big resorts full of English people eating all inclusive food, and beach promenades lined with shops selling tacky souvenirs and giant pool floats.  This is what I imagined Mallorca would be like which is why it was never somewhere I had pictured myself going.
But now that Little Miss Ayla is in the world, while we’re still travelling as much as we used to pre-baby, our style of travelling has had to change a slight bit.  It’s now less about the challenging hikes and full on sightseeing itineraries and more about the I-have-a baby-to-look-after-every-day-at-home-so-on-holiday-I-just-want-to-chill-the-F-out!
So Mallorca it was!  I found us a gorgeous and secluded place to stay in one of the most rural and scenic parts of the island, far away from the touristy towns and the all inclusive resorts – which I will of course write about soon.  Magaluf aside (let’s just stay as far from that corner of the island as possible!) what surprised me the most was how stunning and traditional the majority of the island really is.  I guess I shouldn’t be so quick to judge a place so here are 8 reasons why you should visit beautiful Mallorca.

Continue reading

Paris with a baby

Adventures in Paris With a Baby: Evie’s First Trip

Having had some serious travel withdrawals due to not being away since September, I was desperate for a break as soon as our little adventurer arrived. Plus I think it was well deserved after, ya know, pushing a tiny human out!

For our very first trip with our little adventurer we wanted somewhere that wasn’t too far away which was easy to get to, and so Paris seemed like the perfect choice. Despite it being so close to London we hadn’t been in 12 years and it’s somewhere I had been wanting to return to for such a long time. The bonus of taking the Eurostar over flying sealed the deal, so we took the plunge and booked our first trip for when Evie was just 9 weeks old.

So many people had told us this is the easiest time to travel with a baby, when they’re tiny and can’t walk around yet and don’t do much apart from eat and sleep, and they were totally right. But a lot of people had also said that Paris is not a good place to go with a baby and hopefully this post will prove that I don’t agree with these people at all! Paris is a great idea with a baby!

Continue reading

What to do in Copenhagen

A Weekend in Copenhagen

Less than two hours away from London, Copenhagen is a city that I had never really considered visiting before. But on one of my general browsing sessions on Skyscanner (don’t lie, I know you do it too), I found some ridiculously cheap return flights over our anniversary weekend so it only made sense to book them up right?

At this point I hadn’t quite taken into consideration that the flights would be the only remotely inexpensive thing about this trip. Clearly I didn’t have my traveller head fixed on properly as I failed to realise that Denmark is in fact one of the most expensive countries in the world.  But, as it was only a short break, we decided to say to hell with the cost and just enjoyed ourselves discovering this new destination (although I can’t say that our bank account enjoyed itself quite so much though!).

Continue reading

What to do in Amsterdam

A Weekend Guide to Amsterdam

A breezy one hour flight and we were in Amsterdam, somewhere that had seemed to evade our travel radar so far.  With such cheap and easy flights from the UK, it was the perfect destination for a short weekend break over the May bank holiday and I always welcome the chance for us to explore a new part of Europe.

There isn’t actually a huge amount of sightseeing to do in Amsterdam which made for a wonderfully chilled weekend break.  We spent most of it simply wandering around, taking in the enchanting canals bursting with colourful flowers, and satisfying our bellies with as much food as possible.  We decided to stay on our feet to explore rather than hop on a bike as the city is so full of cyclists – there are more bikes than there are people in Amsterdam (true story) – and the speed they flew past over the narrow cobblestone roads had me fearing for my life when I was on the pavement let alone actually being on one of the bikes myself!  Instead, we picked up our I amsterdam card which includes tram, bus and metro rides, as well as a host of free and discounted sights and tours, and worked our way around the city with a combination of public transport and the simple wearing out of our feet.

If you’re planning a weekend in Amsterdam and want to know exactly what you should see and do then look no further as I’ve highlighted all the best bits here including the tastiest foods and the quirkiest activities!

Continue reading

A weekend in Le Havre

A Weekend Discovering Le Havre: Part 2

As I promised in my post last week all about our weekend discovering Le Havre, here is our second day exploring this lovely city on the coastline of France, just a short ferry ride from Portsmouth.  Not quite as hectic as the first day, today was spent wandering around the city and, best of all, sampling lots more delicious French food.

Despite all the wine the previous night, we were up bright and early in the morning for a stroll along the harbour just outside our hotel.  And what a glorious morning it was.  Even though it was winter, the skies were bright blue and the sun shone down on us as we got ready for a new day of adventures.

Continue reading

Le Havre France

A Weekend Discovering Le Havre

Shortly before Christmas Mr Ayla and I set off for a weekend of discovery in Le Havre, along with Brittany Ferries, Le Havre Tourisme and a group of other keen adventurers.  Only a short ferry ride from Portsmouth (or a slightly longer ferry ride with a cosy little cabin to nap in), Le Havre was somewhere that I had admittedly never heard of.  I was expecting a small French town with not a massive amount to do and, extremely unusual for me, I hadn’t done a single bit of research before we left.  For once I was happy to let someone else do all the planning and Le Havre Tourisme had a fantastic weekend ahead organised for us.

Over the course of the 48 hours we spent in Le Havre, we had an itinerary packed full of sightseeing and adventures.  The quiet little French town that I was expecting to visit was nowhere in sight.  Instead, I was surprised to find a city rich in history, teeming with beautiful architecture, a mouth-watering cuisine and only a stone’s throw from the Normandy countryside.

Continue reading