Gatwick airport hotel

Starting a Holiday off right at Bloc Hotel London Gatwick

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of airport hotels especially before an early morning flight. I’ve stayed at (and written about) a few over my travels because they really do make the start of a journey so much easier.

My first ever airport hotel experience was at Bloc Hotel at Gatwick Airport a few years ago, and because of the convenience, the friendly staff and the seriously amazing rooms, this is a hotel I go back to time and time again. So when I planned mine and Evie’s trip to Germany and Bloc offered us a stay the night before our flight, it seemed like the perfect way to start off our girly getaway and to make travelling with a toddler a whole lot less stressful. And as I was travelling alone with a toddler I needed it to be as stress-free as possible!

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Day trips from Munich

4 Fairytale Day Trips from Munich

Apart from being a wonderful city in itself, one of the things I liked most about Munich is that there are so many other incredible locations close by that make easy day trips if you want to get out of the city and explore the region a bit more.

Bavaria is a beautiful part of Germany – so beautiful it makes me wonder why it took me so long to visit! The south eastern part of the country is full of traditional pretty little towns, picturesque mountain landscapes, lush green countryside and magical castles. Every place we visited just made me fall in love with this part of the country more and more so here are some of the best day trips from Munich that will have you feeling like you stepped straight into the pages of a fairytale.

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Where to eat in Zurich

The Chocolate, Cheese and Coffee Lover’s Guide to Zurich

You don’t have to be crazy about all three things in the title to read this post. There’s something for everyone here but I’m not going to lie, the majority of this list does feature them all pretty highly. Because when you’re in Switzerland it’s only fair and right that you eat a tonne of Swiss chocolate. And cheese. Because chocolate and cheese are two of the best things in life, and coffee is just a given, so of course there were going to be a fabulous range of places to sample them.

The fact that so many chocolate treats are called “Schoggi” which is a ‘cute Swiss word for chocolate’ (I googled it and that is literally the meaning!) just made it all so much more tempting and had me wanting to eat it all.

Most of these places are ideal for children too as Zurich seems to be an extremely child friendly city, but whether you have kids with you or not they are all still some of the best places to eat and drink in Zurich.

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Where to stay in Lucerne

A Room with a Mountain View at Hotel Continental Park Lucerne

I was a little bit apprehensive about our journey to Switzerland. We’d been up since 3am and even though the flight from London to Zurich was a short one, we still had an hour’s train ride at the other end to get to Lucerne, the beautiful mountain and lakeside city that would be mine, my sister’s and Evie’s first stop on this trip. It turns out I didn’t need to worry at all as, even with a baby, the journey couldn’t have been any easier, and we were walking through the doors of our accommodation in Lucerne before it was even midday.

Just a few minutes walk from the train station and a few minutes more to Lucerne’s Old Town, Hotel Continental Park couldn’t be in a better location and our arrival couldn’t have been any friendlier as we were greeted with refreshing fruit tea while we checked in, which was much needed after our travels, and our room was ready nice and early for us.

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Cruise with a baby

Cruising With a Baby

I’ve always been a bit unsure about cruises. Having been on a few over the years, from luxury Caribbean cruises to mini cruises around the Mediterranean, I absolutely love that you get to explore so many different places in the space of just a few days. Sitting on a different glorious white sandy beach every day? Yes please!

But on the other hand having only a day, or half a day really by the time you’ve got on and off the boat, isn’t really long enough to properly explore somewhere in depth. When I travel I like to do things off the beaten track, meet the locals and get lost trying to find the best eatery, but you just can’t do that on a cruise.

For a taster of a few different cities or beaches it is perfect though so we decided to give it a go with Evie. Our week’s cruise visited several places in Southern Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal and Morocco and I never would have guessed how seriously brilliant a cruise is with a baby. So here are just a few reasons why we loved cruising with Evie so much and, if you’re a bit unsure yourself, why I think a cruise with a baby is the most perfect holiday.

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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.

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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!

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Guide to Las Vegas

The Non-Gambler’s Guide to Las Vegas

If you read my previous post on 5 reasons to love fabulous Las Vegas you can probably tell just how much I loved the city.  There is so much to keep anyone entertained and I don’t just mean whiling away the hours gambling.  We did spend a bit of time in the casinos where I will admit that I had absolutely no clue what I was doing.  Playing a game of Snap is about as far as my card skills go!  After a while of watching others in a state of utter confusion, Mr Ayla eventually taught me how to play Blackjack and I actually found myself having some fun!  I was very happy with my $5 winnings thank you very much.

But I was surprised at how much there is to do in Las Vegas for the non-gamblers who, like me, want to spend more time seeing the city rather than being stuck inside a bright, smoky casino with no idea what time of day or night it is, and these were the things that made me and the city such fabulous but unexpected friends.

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London Gatwick airport parking

Airport Parking Made Easy with Purple Parking

Airport parking is never something that is high on my radar when booking a trip.  I’m much more interested in researching our new destination, scoping out sights off the beaten track and the best viewpoints in the city, or finding a cosy airport hotel to stay in before an early morning flight.  So usually we simply opt for one of the cheaper parking options.  Yes, the car parks always seem to be down the most difficult to find country lanes and there is the annoyance of a 15/20 minute bus ride to the airport, but I would rather save that extra bit of money for eating as much of the local food as I can once we’ve left London (and our car) behind.

But on our recent trip to Turkey, we tried out the meet and greet service at Gatwick airport courtesy of Purple Parking and I think it may have just swayed me into paying that little bit extra in the future.

There was no bickering as we tried to figure out where the car park was, no checking the car in, no waiting around for the next shuttle bus and no extra journey to the airport.  We simply drove straight to the drop off point right outside Gatwick’s south terminal and, with a quick phone call to Purple Parking to let them know we were there, a few minutes later a friendly chauffeur came to meet us, checked our details and then whisked our car away.

London Gatwick airport parking

I was left thinking that surely there was something else we needed to do.  But nope – it really was as easy as that and we wandered the few steps into the airport without any stress or worry and, least of all, not a single bit of rushing about.

London Gatwick airport parking

After a sunny and relaxing break in Turkey, returning to the airport would have been nice and easy if it hadn’t been for someone (not mentioning any names – but it wasn’t me) leaving our tablet in security on the way out.  This meant that when we arrived back at Gatwick airport just after midnight, we had the hassle of changing terminals and making our way to lost property (and paying a ridiculous £20 lost property admin fee in the process).

With a quick phone call, Purple Parking were extremely helpful in meeting us with the car at whichever terminal was easiest for us and, just a few minutes later, we could see the Purple Parking chauffeur in his snazzy purple jacket along with our car already sitting and waiting for us as soon as we stepped out of the airport doors.

London Gatwick airport parking

At this time of the morning when I had to be up for work in six hours, we were so grateful that there was no waiting around for a shuttle bus and hauling our bags about, no bus ride full of crying children and tired adults, and no having to wait in line to collect the keys to our car.  This was by far the easiest and most convenient airport parking we have ever had and, as the Purple Parking representative handed our keys over to us, it couldn’t have been any more welcome.

Have you tried a handy meet and greet airport parking? Let me know what you thought in the comments below or at:

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Big thanks to Purple Parking for taking care of our car while we were off relaxing on holiday!

Need an airport hotel?  Take a look at my favourites at Gatwick airport:

The Perfect Way to Start a Holiday: Bloc Hotel Gatwick

Smart Luxury at Yotel London Gatwick

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!

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