Tuesday, 30 April 2019

A travel system that works for us

As Caleb has grown up there are many things he’s outgrown or we’ve had to change along the way. One thing I didn’t really take into consideration was our travel system. 

Obviously we started out with a pram which then became a buggy. But I chose it based on what looked great. Terrible parenting I know!! It was bulky and not made for being outdoors. I loved it but it just wasn’t practical! 

When Mountain Buggy reached out to collaborate I instantly said yes because we’d heard loads about them and had already been looking into a more robust and sturdy pram for being out and about. We like to go on walks and wanted something that would be suitable for that as well as walking into town. 

The travel system we were gifted was the MB mini which is ultra light and tailored for the city. I really wanted to test it out before reviewing it so we’ve had a few days out in various places to see what it’s like. 

It’s a three wheel stroller but the weight distribution is perfect - we can go up and down curbs with ease, over bumps and it even did well on sand! The front wheel is lockable too, so it gives you the option to change it if you prefer stability or alternatively if you would rather have the manoeuvrability. 

The stroller fully reclines which is ideal for naps and sits upright. Caleb tends to lean forward in other strollers but he’s been really comfortable in this one. 

There are also various options for the stroller which make it an option from birth. It’s possible to attach a car seat, cocoon, lie-flat or carry cot. This is really worth thinking about if you want it to last into through each transition and into toddlerhood. 

One thing that I’ve found really handy with this stroller is the 5 point harness. How many times do you strap your child in and then think, actually they need their coat off/coat on. With this you don’t have to take them out but just unclip the parts you need access too with them still being securely strapped in. Small wins for mummy and daddy! 

I love how much space Caleb has inside the buggy and it feels really sheltered from the elements because it’s quite deep on the inside with a good sized protector. You can also shelter them further with the sun and storm cover. 

The MB mini folds up compactly and is easy to do so using the one hand fold. It has an automatic frame lock which means the fabric will stay off the ground (something I’ve found to be a flaw with strollers in the past). The handle bar is also adjustable and I’ve really found that as one of my positives with the stroller. Sometimes it’s the simple things but I find it hard when the handle bar is static and I have to stay in that position the whole time, this just allows for more comfort. 

I’ll keep using and reviewing the product and let you guys know how I’m getting on. So far I’m just really impressed with the ease and convenience for both me and Caleb. I even managed to put the buggy together all by myself. Even Tom was impressed by that!  

I’ve not been asked to blog about the buggy but I just thought this might be helpful if your researching travel systems. 

Jen x

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Our room2 stay and Peppa Pig World

I had quite a few dms about our trip to Peppa Pig World so I thought I would combine it in a blog post along with our stay at room 2 hometels. 

For transparency; our stay at room2 was gifted for one night. Breakfast was included but we paid for drinks, parking etc. Our trip to PP World was completely funded by the bank of Wilko (us).

Caleb is obsessed with PP so we knew we had to take him before he no longer loves it! So when room2 reached out to stay at one of their hometels, they have one in Southampton and one in Hammersmith (and expanding), we knew this was the perfect time to go as Southampton hometel is 20 minutes from PPW. Cue a Wilko family road trip...

Southampton is about 3 and a bit hours from our home and after all that time in the car we were desperate to get there and checked in. Check in is at 2pm but as our room was ready they kindly let us check in earlier. I was honestly so excited when we went in because the vibe of the place was quite different to that of a hotel. It was so chilled yet accommodating. The concept behind room2 is that it’s your home to live in whilst you’re away from home. Home with the best bits of a hotel. The message “home is a feeling” is embedded in the tiniest of details. They have a WhatsApp number that you can text if you need anything; taxi, restaurant recommendations, forgotten something etc. The staff are so helpful and friendly and that’s just something you really need when you have an impatient and very wilful toddler! 

Part of the hometel is the cutest coffee shop/bar. It’s a bit of an instagrammers paradise, I won’t lie! It has a a really cosy, homely feel so first stop was coffee! 

We stayed in a grand master loft room which was incredible. They pride themselves on having rooms which are 30% bigger than the average hotel room and I just couldn’t get over how much space we had. Even for one night I/we don’t travel lightly so we could spread out and still have so much room to move about more than comfortably. You know when you go anywhere with kids you have to bring everything! 

Our room included a fully equipped kitchen, dining area, bathroom (of goals), king size bed, sofa, toddler bed/cot and a hidden away double bed on a mezzanine floor. Not only that but oh so pretty that even my bathroom has tile envy. They have a variety of rooms depending on your budget and based on number of people staying. Our room had a staircase so there are alternative room choices if you’d rather not risk it with children. 

In the evening we had cocktails in the bar which had a warm buzz about it. Clearly this is the place to be on a Saturday evening if you’re looking for a relaxing drink. It was so child friendly though, no one blinked an eye that we had Caleb curled up in the corner and there were plenty of families there too. The 2-4-1 cocktails were amazing and they even serve food in the evening so if you’re in need of a pizza to soak up the alcohol you don’t even need to leave the hometel or you could take it back to your room. If you did however want to cook, they have a variety of snacks and meals you can buy and cook in your room. I really feel like they had thought of it all.

Breakfast was so good and knowing we didn’t have to rush around (check out is at 2pm how good is that!) we could have a slow start and enjoy our morning. Side note - The waffle’s are a firm tried and tested Wilko favourite! 

Secure car parking is on site which you do have to pay for. They also have a gym and an area that you could hire for private use. 

They currently have a 20% off deal for any stay over Easter - Valid from the 18th-28th April. Visit their website and you might recognise a couple of people ;-) 

We loved it that much we didn’t want to leave...

Peppa Pig World

Peppa Pig World was 20 mins from the hotel and it was amazing! It was very pricey but it’s because you are essentially buying access to the whole of Paulton’s Theme Park. We paid £30 per adult, children under 1 metre are free. 
We only wanted to do PPW so it felt expensive but we stayed the whole day and Caleb loved it. 

Caleb was able to go on all the rides as were we and there were so many characters and sets to look at as we went round. Naturally, we picked the rainiest of days but it meant queuing was at an absolute minimum. I don’t know how you would cope on a blistering hot day with a toddler that doesn’t understand the concept of queuing! 
They also had a soft play which we hid out in from the rain for a bit. 

I was worried Caleb wouldn’t remember the trip, he’s 2 and a half, but he still talks about it so I’m really glad we took him. He might have been more excited if he was a little bit older but his wide eyes and happy face made it all worth it! 

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions about the hometel or Peppa Pig World. 

Jen x

Thursday, 3 January 2019

The Amalfi coast - the Naples edition

I’m back blogging!! I lost a lot of motivation last year for a lot of things but it was a hard one so I’m going to start as I mean to go on. New year, new me and all that... 

So my first 2019 blog post is actually a back dated post about our trip to Italy in August. I’m going to break it up as it is long!! 

We decided to have a bit of a blow out holiday to celebrate my 30th. The Amalfi coast was always somewhere Tom and I wanted to visit so we booked it and made a plan of where we wanted to visit and we were SO excited to show Caleb somewhere new for us all. A couple of months before we were due to go away I was told we couldn’t go as I was being investigated for cervical cancer. Once I got the all clear for that I had to have cells removed and was told 2 weeks before going that again, I wouldn’t be able to go due to risk of infection and they still weren’t convinced it wasn’t cancer. 

At this point, Tom put his foot down and said we needed this more than anything and the Dr actually agreed and hesitantly let us go armed with a back up plan if I fell ill. 

It was the perfect excuse to celebrate turning 30 and LIFE and to try to get over the shock of the last couple of months. 

First stop ~ NAPLES. 

Anyway, travelling with a toddler has fraught written all over it. Only it’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be. Organisation is key. 

Thank god I’m married to Mr organised to keep me and my 2 year old in check! 

We flew into Naples and stayed in an amazing hotel near to the marina. We arrived late at night and a little bit later then planned as the taxi we had booked hadn’t turned up at the airport. You know that sinking feeling you get when you realise the whole flight has moved on and you’re the only ones left in the airport. Turns out the guy was there he was just holding up the wrong name! Drama averted. We had pre booked our taxi through bookings.com, as that was who we had booked our hotel through, so we were able to request a car seat for Caleb which meant we didn’t have to bring our own (one less thing). 

He dropped us off at the hotel and left immediately and we were pretty sure we were in the wrong place. We were stood in the dark on this street trying to get in a hotel that didn’t seem to have a door. We couldn’t help but laugh, nothing is straight forward. 

Once we were finally in it was actually very fab! 

Tom had booked a suite for us and it was so special. We overlooked the hustle and bustle of the streets below and could see fireworks lighting up the sky from our Juliette balcony.  

We came up against 2 problems here (there is always drama wherever we go).

  1. The lift broke. So we had to climb 12 flights of stairs with suitcases and a pram and Caleb. We don’t travel lightly and it wasn’t fixed the entire time we were there. So that was fun. 
  2. Caleb burnt his foot on our second night in a freak accident. I wanted to fly home there and then. So we spent a good chunk of time looking for pharmacies and treating his foot. 

We stayed in Naples for 3 nights and just wondered the streets exploring. We ate pizza from the cutest little restaurants where we serenaded and Caleb loved it. We had no real set agenda for our time here we just wanted to explore and adventure with no time restrictions (because toddlers). I always just want to walk everywhere because that’s when you find little gems of places along the way and really pick up the culture of the place you are in. 

One thing I would recommend seeing is the metro believe it or not. It is the most incredible underground and I’m not going to lie we only paid for the ticket to go and see it! 

We also visited the galleria umberto I which is incredible and so gorgeous. 

At one point it chucked it down so we hopped on the big red tour bus which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend as I felt we’d visited most places on foot but it pleased Caleb’s love of buses and kept us out of the rain. 

The pizzas in Naples are definitely the best I’ve tasted. They are famous for their pizzas because of this is the home of Margherita pizza and it’s soooo bloomin’ good! So eat lots of it if you go!  There are so many places on trip advisor but I don’t think you can go too wrong. The best place we found was behind our hotel and literally on the pavement/street where people brushed past us as they walked by. Not one person managed to walk by without touching Caleb’s hair. He got used to it by the end of the holiday! 

Naples has quite a bad reputation but we had a really lovely experience there. The locals told us that they have been working really hard on driving out the crime and want to be well known as a tourist destination instead. As always, keep your wits about you in a city and avoid some of the back streets but we felt safe there. I wouldn’t have wanted to travel on the train particularly as I’ve heard a few horror stories. I also think 2 days exploring was enough before we moved on. 

Sorrento was our next destination... stay tuned! 

Jen x

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Clothes fit for a toddler

When Caleb was a baby I was very conscious of dressing him like a baby. I put him in the odd pair of jeans but I just wanted to hold onto that baby onesie look forever. 

Now that’s he’s toddling around, I’m still keen to dress him in clothes that make him look like a toddler but then there is a massive part of me that makes me want to dress him like a mini daddy. Really though, it has to be good quality clothing. There is no point in buying clothes that are going to need chucking out after a couple of washes so I’m always searching for brands that will be money well spent. 

Minoti recently gifted me some lovely A/W bits for Caleb and they suit his little style perfectly. 

I just adore Caleb in chunky knits, grandad style tops and leggings or skinny trousers. 

We went for the 18-24 months size and I feel they reflect the size of most of the highstreet stores. Caleb is 26 months but he is just fitting nicely into 18-24! 

Caleb looks utterly scrumptious in the red, ribbed grandad top and the proof is in the pudding in that it’s been through the wash many a time already and still as good as its first wear. 

The trousers we got are a gorgeous soft velour type material and I love the colour. They are quite big around the waist so I might even be tempted to size down next time. They are skinny fit on the leg and I’ve had to roll them up but I think Caleb has quite short legs! Takes after mummy! I adore a chunky knit in general so I was happy to get my hands on this cute grey one for Caleb. 

Caleb’s little shirt is again beautiful quality and although on the larger size still a nice comfy fit. I always prefer things a bit oversized as I just think they look so darn cute! 

Saving the best for last, this duffle jacket is amazing quality. It’s beautifully thick and faux fur lined, perfect for the cold weather we are heading into. I think it’s the perfect item to have too as it’s a classic and the colour will go with all his outfits. 

I love to support small brands as well as shopping on the highstreet. I’m always searching for clothes that will last as long as possible and I’m so glad I’ve found Minoti. Let me know where you shop for your little ones.