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The Wandering Mother Blog | Mindful Mondays QOTD
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Preparing for a staycation with your family by Kwik Fit

Preparing for a staycation with the family?

Preparing for a staycation with your family?

This post was extracted from the Kwik Fit article published on their website: Preparing for a staycation with your family? Check out our tips.

2020 brought with it a significant number of challenges, seen across a number of sectors – with hospitality and travel being among those industries that were hit particularly hard. The restrictions on these areas have been significant, and experts warn that while the vaccine roll-out and plans for moving out of lockdowns are underway, a complete recovery of these industries could take up to four years – particularly if we’re talking about reaching pre-pandemic levels.

One thing that has come out of this, though, is the rise in people turning to the great British shores for their break from reality, instead of flocking to the nearest airport by default. Towards the end of the first lockdown, UK travel bookings experienced a significant boom. And this surge in staycations is likely to remain a more permanent fixture than many had initially imagined, particularly as overseas travel continues to remain unpredictable.

Manny from The Wandering Mother agreed, saying: “Since the first lockdown we have focused on travelling within the UK. It’s something we’ve always done, but definitely not as often. We are also a big fan of glamping and there’s so many wonderful places to visit in the UK. This year, we’ll be glamping near Wales.”

Once again, people are longing to escape the boredom of lockdowns and get out of their homes which, for many, have become multi-functional places to live, work, and learn over the past year and a bit. No wonder the walls are starting to feel like they’re closing in a little!

Check out the the staycation hotspots for 2021: www.kwik-fit.com/blog/preparing-for-a-staycation-with-your-family-check-out-our-tips

The Wandering Mother Blog | Family Lifestyle & Travel

Visiting Greenwich? Top tips on places worth visiting from a Greenwich local…

Whether your coming from Richmond or Runcorn, Greenwich is a major tourism town that sees thousands of people paving its streets every year. This year has seen a rise in tourism again and with lockdown officially behind us all, the streets of Greenwich are starting to fill up. 

I originally published this post in August 2020 but have revised it again to keep it current with this year’s events. Spending a day trip visiting Greenwich during the summer holidays can be easy, cheap and very enjoyable for the whole family. Train companies usually offer GroupSave discounts when travelling during summer holidays if you’re coming from outside of London.

Continue reading “Visiting Greenwich? Top tips on places worth visiting from a Greenwich local…”

Family Travel: our staycation getaway to Kits Coty Glamping, Kent

We’re back!

If you’d seen my post a couple weeks ago, I was so happy to announce that I was able to book us for a short two-night staycation. Last week, we stayed at the Kits Coty Glamping site in Aylesford, Kent. I booked this family trip for us during the summer holidays and it was the only set of dates that were free to book in Gretel House at the time of searching.

family travel - kits coty glamping

How to travel to the Kits Coty Glamping site

The glamping site is in Aylesford which is near to Maidstone in Kent. It’s about a 50 minute train ride from Greenwich however we decided to get a minicab to take us which was about 30-40mins journey in the car. Train tickets are about £15-20 per adult (book in advance for cheaper return tickets or two single tickets) then you’d need to either get a bus or minicab from the Maidstone station to the glamping site. On the way there we did get stuck in a bit of slow-moving traffic as it was approaching rush hour when we left. Check-in at Kits Coty is after 3pm which was perfect because it meant that the kids didn’t have to miss school on arrival day.

If you have your own car and want to drive to the site you can do, Gretel House has its own car park area and the other accommodation have a shared car park area. For driving directions, make sure you read the details in the Kits Coty guestbook which you can bookmark on your phone.

Arrival day at Kits Coty

Once we arrived, we were greeted by the super-friendly Ami who owns the site with her husband Mark. She told us that we were lucky enough to have the site all to ourselves as it was a school weekday so no-one else was booked to stay at any of the other accommodations. Yay! I was super thrilled as it’s usually rare to have a site like this all to ourselves but it did make everything a little easier for us and the kids, especially considering all things COVID. Ami showed us around and to our accommodation which we fell in love with seeing immediately. It looked even more beautiful and magical in person. Little Man said to Ami “Wow! It’s even better than in the pictures!” and boy was he right. 🙂

Gretel House is a wooden cabin (I believe it’s cedarwood) and is ideal for small families with two adults and two children. It could probably fit a cot-bed or crib in the house too but do check with the owners if this is allowed. The charming sized bed for me and Daddy P looked so romantic with the flower wall behind the bed. The whimsical wooden built-in bunk beds for the kids were as cute as ever. The beds were super comfy and so warm we never got cold at all. There’s also a radiator in the room but we hardly needed to turn it on.

Gretel benefits from having its own eco toilets (a urinal and a sit down toilet) but it’s only for those emergency wees. It did come in handy for us as the kids needed to wee (what felt like) almost every hour or two. 

We unpacked our small suitcase and bags as fast as we could before exploring the grounds. The glamping site has a magical fairytale theme – we spotted the White Rabbit’s hole (Alice in Wonderland) as well as the Cheshire Cat.

kits coty
Arriving at Kits Coty glamp site

What and where to eat during your stay…

If you’ve brought your own food or are able to drive to the nearby supermarkets, you can keep all of your perishable foods in the communal fridge and freezer. We only brought dry cupboard foods with us so we kept that in our cabin and ordered takeaway for the two nights. The first night we ordered the local Chinese takeaway which was tasty and affordable. The second and last night, we ordered Dominos which arrived fast and tasted good like usual. If you have a car you may be able to drive out to eat out but as we don’t drive we were bound to the glamping grounds.

If you plan to make all your own meals, there are gas cooking rings available by the kitchen for you to take back to your accommodation and use. If you didn’t book any meals before you can still do so on site but be aware that Ami and/or Mark require 24hrs notice to prepare your booked breakfast/evening meals.

Things to do at Kits Coty Glamping:

  • make a fire and toast marshmallows
  • have a little barbeque or picnic in your own garden
  • book a stone-oven pizza making experience
  • go on one of the nature walks around the estate to see the animals, the woods, the Kits Coty stones, and Kits Coty House
  • tie a ribbon onto the Wishing Tree and make a wish (bring your own ribbon!)

We thoroughly enjoyed our nature walks in the woods. It was so relaxing and therapeutic – like the perfect escape away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, away from the stresses of COVID and lockdown, and it was the family time we were craving for to strengthen our family bond.

Our Best Bits at Kits Coty…

My favourite part of our staycation were the nature walks and toasting marshmallows in the fire pit. Luckily, Daddy P knew exactly how to build a campfire so we didn’t have to figure it out. The wood logs are provided for by the site but you’ll need to bring your own firelights or buy them from Kits Coty which only cost 50p so it was not a massive investment. Our fire was burning for a couple hours and the crackling of the fire burning was a lovely soothing sound. The warmth of the fire kept us nice and toasty.

The kids loved the whole experience but said they really enjoyed relaxing in the hammocks and sleeping in their Gretel bunk beds. They also enjoyed the nature walks and seeing Daddy P climb up a tree in the woods! LOL

So do I recommend Kits Coty for first-time glampers?

100% I do! We had the best family experience glamping and I am so thrilled that we got to do it at Kits Coty. Years ago, I’d taken the kids camping at a family festival however after that experience, I’ve realised that I love glamping soooooooooo much more. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed being with nature and the outdoors but I also love my creature comforts just as much. I need a warm bed, hot showers and flushable toilets no matter where I go haha! I just can’t do with being fully immersed in nature just yet – especially when I can’t stand creepy crawlies so if you’re squeamish or not a fan of bugs, crawlies and anything else that has several legs or eyes, you might not be a massive fan of glamping. Our Gretel cabin wasn’t 100% bug free but that’s to be expected when you’re outdoors. We had a couple spiders in the cabin but quite a few daddy long legs flying about at night which scared the children. I reassured the kids that they don’t bite and eventually, they were able to get over it and had a good night’s sleep.

We will definitely be coming back to glamp again at Kits Coty next summer if we don’t go abroad. The site was amazing and I have no doubt that during the holiday season, this place will be fully booked. I was super chuffed that we had the site all to ourselves because if there were other families around, some things may have been very different ie. we might’ve had to queue to use the kitchen, toilet or shower, we would’ve been trying to manage bathroom timings so we don’t take too long in the communal areas and other things.

We’re looking forward to our next family travel adventures!

Our staycation snaps…

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P I N  T H I S  P O S T !

Family staycation at Kits Coty Glamping

The Wandering Mother | Guest Post

Keep Calm & Do Yoga in the French Alps: L’Essentiel yoga and wellbeing festival

The beautiful village of Megève in the French Alps is set to hold the inaugural edition of L’Essentiel later this summer, with the three-day wellness festival already creating a buzz amongst seasoned yoga enthusiasts and those new to the ancient discipline. The brainchild of respected yoga teacher Katy Mission, the programme is being organised by Megève Tourism in collaboration with Satiam™ Yoga and will comprise 17 workshops and experiences spanning the themes of yoga, nutrition, cooking, meditation, and aromatherapy.

1-minMegève

Set to take place September 11-13th 2020, the festival will showcase the discipline of Satiam Yoga, which was devised by Katy and is a practice centred on breathing and posture exercises. Katy, who is the founder of the popular Satiam Academy, works as a ski instructor in Megève during the winter months and is on a mission to bring the benefits of her discipline to the mountains this summer. Satiam, which combines the Sanskrit word for ‘sit’ and the English words ‘I am’, enables those taking part to improve their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Against the backdrop of recent global events, the festival is taking place with a view to helping attendees relax and rejuvenate after, what has been for many, a uniquely challenging time. Drawing on the peacefulness, tranquillity and serenity of the summer mountains, visitors will have the opportunity to get back to nature by taking part in a variety of enriching activities. They include a specially curated well-being breakfast prepared by the plant-based chef duo Wild Seeds, a class with Aria and Gus exploring the virtues of ‘Warrior Flow’ yoga, and an energising yoga dance session with the body movement specialist Angélique Favre.

L’Essentiel will be hosted at Megeve’s Le Palais, the largest leisure complex in the Alps. The centre, which features a vast array of superb facilities including Turkish baths, a year-round ice rink and a state-of-the-art spa, will welcome health-conscious yoga lovers from all over France and beyond, for what is set to be a fun and informative weekend for both experts and novices alike.

2-minLe Palais

At the event, where tickets are priced between €20 and €55, festival goers will also have the opportunity to shop for yoga clothing and accessories, as well as for bespoke and ethically made jewellery.  In addition, vegan food and drink will be available throughout, and for those wishing to celebrate, an array of organic wines will be on offer.

3-minKaty Misson

L’Essentiel is the latest event to cement Megeve’s position as the leading centre for wellness holidays in the region. With yoga retreats and superb spa facilities, the village is the perfect destination for anyone wanting to simply unwind and relax. Beyond the festival, visitors can also choose to get active with a huge range of hiking, biking, climbing, and fishing excursions on offer at this time of year, or opt to play tennis or a round of golf on a world-class course. Visitors can also reconnect with nature through an array of transformative experiences, think horse-back rides to the summit of Mont d’Arbois to admire the spectacular sunset, or taking to the skies over the Alps in a light-aircraft. For more details about L’Essentiel and for ticket information visit the festival website: http://www.satiamfestival.com (website is in French, use Google Translate)

The sound of jazz will return to Megève

Sadly, Megève’s renowned International Jazz Festival was cancelled this year, but organisers are excited to announce that the event will return 2-4 April 2021, when hundreds of artists will descend on the village for the fifth edition of the much-loved event. The sounds of New Orleans will come to Megève with performances set to take place in the streets and at lively venues throughout the village, with the higher profile concerts held at the impressive Le Palais night club. The festival will showcase an eclectic range of performances from domestic and international artists, with past headliners having included Gregory Porter, Marcus Miller and Norah Jones, with the 2021 line-up being much anticipated.

4-minMegève International Jazz Festival

Go There: Megève is only one hour from Geneva Airport, which benefits from direct, low-cost flight access from London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds. Return flights from London Gatwick to Geneva with EasyJet are priced from £43pp.

For more about Megève please visit: https://megeve.com
(images copyright of Commune de Megève)

Megève

Set in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif, Megève is a stunning traditional winter sports and summer village that has been popular with artists, intellectuals and holidaymakers for more than a century. The traffic-free, cobbled medieval centre features an abundance of artisan shops, galleries, and a beautiful array of four-and-five-star hotels, as well as no less than four Michelin-starred restaurants. But Megève is also becoming increasingly popular with British holidaymakers seeking a charming getaway on the slopes or in the summer mountains without the price tag, thanks to a growing number of chic and affordable accommodation and dining options.


This guest post was written by Tim, Heaven Publicity

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

Disneyland Paris in a Day: visiting on a tiny budget

We survived Disneyland Paris!

We are now back from our short trip Paris and Disneyland Paris. It was an amazing experience but looking back it, it did feel a little chaotic. We rarely stay or visit anywhere expensive because (1) we just can’t afford it and (2) we don’t want to travel anywhere too far because we want to be mindful of other passengers on the plane. The kids are very active and I don’t think the other passengers will be thrilled with us on a long-haul flight, no matter how much we could try to bribe them with on-board treats.

How to visit Disneyland Paris on a shoestring budget

Before our trip, I googled Disney Paris on a budget but it seems like the word budget is not all it seems. There’s different types of ‘budget’ – I always thought budget meant as cheap as possible but apparently not.

We are not a family with disposable income so we really do have to save for months on end and make sure our money goes far when organising the kids’ birthdays. This year we splashed out and booked two nights in Paris and a day’s visit to Disneyland Paris. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and it was a first-time experience for all of us so that made it even more special.

If you’re like us and want to visit Disneyland Paris but only have a tiny budget, this post might be a little eye-opener for you. Make sure you do your own research too so you can really make the most of your family trip. There’s a few things we had to cut out of our plans due to the awkward weather when we went and lack of time.

…Let’s get started!

Book park tickets far in advance

Booking your park tickets in advance will save you a lot of money. If you do plan to visit the park more than once in the year, an annual pass might be worth a considering. However if you can’t afford the annual pass or unsure that you’ll visit again in the year, just buy the day tickets. Admissions during the holiday periods are much more expensive than term-time visits so keep that in mind too. If you have a young child or children in nursery, you can really make the most of those off-peak tickets by going term-time. We went during summer holidays so we had to buy SUPER MAGIC (super-peak) period tickets so we didn’t get a hold of cheap tickets.

One day/one park tickets for 2 adults, 2 children = £281
Total spent: £281

Shop around for deals. We booked our tickets directly on the DLP website but there are many online websites that offer Disneyland ticket deals. For example, after booking ours I found tickets for one day park, hotel and Eurostar tickets for £99 per person.

Save ££: if you don’t have a specific date in mind, search on travel deal sites for the best deals. Usually you can get a good deal on Travelzoo for park tickets, flights and accommodation. Yay!

Top Tip: Go during term-time for the cheapest tickets. If you can’t help going during the more expensive period, look for package deals on sites like 365 Tickets which offers theme park ticket + accommodation and travel deals.

Travel by Eurostar from London for cost & convenience

I personally think the cheapest and fastest way to travel to Paris is by plane (40mins flight!) however the hassle of going to the airport, passing through the long queues at security and customs can sometimes be a bit too much especially with children in tow. The experience via Eurostar is much more convenient and can be cost effective if you book far in advance or when they have their promos (£29pp single).

Our train departed from London St. Pancras at 6.01pm and arrived in Paris at 9.35pm local time so about 2.5hrs journey ride which is not bad. The children were a little restless by the end of the train ride but did good enough to stay seated. Children under 3 do not need a ticket as they can sit on your lap however if the train is empty you can be cheeky and place them on a sit next to you if no-one takes the seat.

Eurostar staff are incredibly courteous and staff speak both French and English fluently. You can pay by card or cash (euros or pounds) at the refreshments cafe on board. There’s a toilet on every coach, air conditioning throughout the train and free WIFI access on board.

Eurostar tickets based on 2 adults and 1 child (under 3s go free) = £153
Total spent: £153

Save ££: purchase your tickets when Eurostar are having promotions, you could bag a single ticket as cheap as £29 per person and under 3s are free. It’s usually cheaper to purchase two single tickets than a return ticket when there’s promotions.

Top Tip: Download a few movies or shows for the kids onto a tablet or device beforehand and bring some books, activity packs to keep them entertained for the journey. That way you can minimise any tantrums or tears.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Eurostar journey from London to Paris

Don’t head into the first cafe/restaurant you see on arrival

We were hungry when we got off and wanted to eat before heading to the hotel so we stopped off at a restaurant opposite the station. Big mistake. I already knew in the back of my mind it would be a bad idea but I couldn’t bring myself to take us to McDonalds but in hindsight, I wish I had.

At the restaurant we ordered, one margherita pizza, one salmon dish, one lamb confit, two glasses of orange juice and a hot chocolate. The bill came to 60 EUROS – I was NOT impressed! I would suggest bringing more snacks with you on the Eurostar or eat before you get on the train at St. Pancras. Alternatively, opt for cheap eats or supermarket ready-foods.

Expensive crappy food = 60 EUR
Total Spent: £54 (approx.)

Pick a hotel close to amenities

We stayed at the Renaissace La Defense in the finance district of Paris. An urbanised area complete with its own shopping centre, restaurants, metro, train and bus station. It’s very easy to get around via public transport but man, it’s a different story via taxi. None of our taxi drivers were familiar with the area as it’s not really visited by locals and one driver even said to us “c’est compliqué” when trying to find the location. All of the hotels in the area are built up a level above street level so when you arrive by car you’ll need to head upstairs onto the upper level to get access to the hotels and shops.

On our arrival night we weren’t aware and walked through what felt like a labyrinth to find our hotel. Lucky our driver spoke English and Daddy P spoke French so communication was good. I’m sure if I was alone, I wouldn’t have been able to find my way around at night. Once we arrived at the hotel, we felt much better. The hotel was stunning; the staircase was beautiful and the reception area was clean and bright. For the price that we paid, we could’ve gotten a hotel room closer to the city ie by the Eiffel Tower. In hindsight, I would definitely compromise on a beautiful hotel for a closer proximity to the city centre.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The stunning staircase at Renaissance La Defense

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Beautiful decor at the Renaissance La Defense

Renaissance La Defense hotel was close to restaurants, supermarkets and retail stores. The metro station was within walking distance and the area looked really modernised and spacious. We didn’t have enough time to visit all the shops but had a look around the mall. There were a mix of known retail stores H&M, Zara and also a few French brands which was really nice.

Hotel stay for two nights in a family room = £189
Uber ride on arrival night = £30
Total spent: £219

Save ££: Have a look on Booking.com for hotel deals or if you prefer more privacy, check out Airbnb.com for great one or two bedroom apartments you can rent in Paris. Sometimes you’d get a better deal on these than the hotels. You can save more money by shopping at the local supermarkets to make home-cooked meals instead of eating out.

Top Tip: stay central if you want to visit the main landmarks or see more of the city. The further out into the suburbs you go, the more time you will spend travelling and you’ll also spend more on travelling costs buying train tickets.

Get the train to Disneyland but check for scheduled closures

After a good night’s sleep we woke up around 9am to leave the hotel around 11am. We went to buy snacks and food at the local Monoprix before heading to Disneyland Paris. Unfortunately for us, there was no direct RER train to DLP in Paris due to train engineering works which was going on all day from August 10-18. This was something we didn’t know about until we got there so make sure you check the train schedules online a few days before leaving so you can plan your route effectively. Using the Metro and RER trains were very easy and buying a ticket was also very easy. Ticket machines are available at metro station and offer different languages so you don’t have to work it out in French. Our RER ticket cost us €30.00 one way (2 adults, 2 children) which covered our journey for zones 1-3. I’d definitely recommend travelling to Disneyland via train – it takes around 1-1.5hr normally and is the cheapest option compared to taxi, Uber or coach. If you rented/hired or brought your own care to Paris, driving is another option but be aware it’s about 26 euros to park your car at the resort’s car park.

We started our journey at 12.00 and got to Marne-la-Vallée (Disneyland’s station) at 2pm. This is because part of our journey (from Auber to Vincennes) required us to exit the metro, walk 10mins to the next station (chateaux de vincennes) to resume our journey. During that walk we stopped off at a McDonalds for lunch. Children’s Happy Meals in Paris are great; the kids got a nugget happy meal each and it came with the toy, 4 nuggets, small chips, apple juice and a strawberry yoghurt drink. Amazing. Parisian Happy Meals are way better value than our UK ones and offer more of a balanced diet.

Train tickets for 2 adults, 2 children = 60EUR (30EUR one way)
2 kids happy meals, large drink and chips at McDonalds = 12EUR
Total spent: 72 EUR (£65 approx.)

Save ££: Catch the train for the cheapest route to travel from Paris. Alternative would be to take the car or use a taxi but this can be costly as the resort is very far from the city centre.

Top Tip: Check scheduled train closures days before your arrival so you can plan your route in advance. Leave for DLP early especially if you want to go on lots of rides because queues everywhere were long!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The beautiful gardens at the start of the park entrance

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Main park entrance

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Disneyland Paris: Sleeping Beauty’s castle looked amazing!

Be prepared for long queues and the ‘fast pass’ ticket isn’t that fast!

The main park was spectacular but man, the crowds! Soooo many people! I wasn’t prepared mentally for how busy it was going to be. I should’ve known better as we arrived in the afternoon – it was a bad move on my part but okay for our first experience.

We ended up going on about 3-4 rides in total but for us, it wasn’t a bad thing. The kids enjoyed their overall experience so much that they weren’t concerned on how many rides they went on. Originally, we wanted to arrive at the park as early as 10am but I am so glad we decided on a later afternoon time. For us, with our younger children, it worked. If you have older children, they will want to queue up for as many rides as possible so do arrive early.

With our entry ticket, we were given ‘fast pass’ access – I think Disneyland will continue to offer this for a while. Simply head over to the rides that are available with the fast pass (you can find out on the resort map which ones are) and print out your advance tickets. Unfortunately, you can’t select specific times but the tickets will allow you to skip the queue when it comes to the time for you to go on the ride. We printed out our Buzz Lightyear laser blast tickets at 2.30pm but was given fast pass for 7.30pm! We didn’t mind but that will give you an idea of the timings that’s given because of the number of people.

Save ££: Bring food, snacks, drinks and water with you to save on food costs. If you have younger children it’s not too bad but if you have big eaters or older children they will get very hungry and want to eat/snack constantly so stock up on these things by heading to a local Lidl, Auchan, Carrefour or Monoprix supermarket before entering the park. You’ll also save time queuing for food at the park’s restaurants.

Top Tip: If you’re not staying at the parks, travel to the park via train – it’s cheap and easy. The station is right outside the entrance and it’s hassle-free. Another tip, if you have young children, bring a stroller! Your feet, legs and sanity will thank you for it later.

I was extremely close to not bringing our stroller but a friend of mine who went a week before said don’t even think about not bringing one. The park is large and little legs will tire fast. Also they’re bound to fall asleep at least once during the day (Little Miss did!). You’ll also save around 30 euros by not hiring one from the resort.

We queued up for a mini boat cruise in Fantasyland which was enjoyable and relaxing once we got on the ride. The queue was about 30-40mins which was pretty long for one ride – some of the other rides had even longer wait times. The longest wait time I noticed was 90mins – my advice would be to check out the rides you want to go on online ahead of the visit. Anticipate long queues and wait times so plan to go on about 4-8 rides if you are there for a day visit. It’s impossible to complete the park in one day no matter what season you go.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Family Time: Quick selfie outside sleeping beauty’s castle

After we finished our boat cruise, we went to check out Sleeping Beauty’s castle and the sleeping dragon underneath the castle. The boys went on the Pirate tree house and Phantom Manor ride whilst Little Miss and I went over to the town square to watch the street parade at 5.30pm which was fantastic. If you’re not going to be able to see all the Disney characters or only have a day ticket like we did, I’d highly recommend watching the street parade – it is one of the best things you can do and you can easily get a good spot and you will be able to see all the Disney characters in one sitting. The parade is approx. 30 mins so perfect length for the kids. Donald and Daisy duck, Mickey and Minnie mouse, all the princesses, the Lion King characters, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends, Anna and Elsa from Frozen were all characters we spotted on the parade!

Character Meets: Mickey Mouse

This was the only character meet that we queued for. We tried to look for Toy Story’s Jessie and friends in the Western World part of the park but we were too late. At the Princess Pavilion, it was Rapunzel from Tangled that we could see in the afternoon but the queue for her was even longer so Daddy P and I made the decision to go and see Mickey as we thought both of the kids will enjoy it more. We weren’t disappointed.

Even though the wait was 1.5-2hrs long and we even missed our fast pass entry for Buzz Lightyear’s laser blast ride, it was SO WORTH IT! The kids were kept entertained in Mickey’s theatre with short movie clips that were on a loop. I loved the concept they developed for it – like it was a special backstage meet with Mickey. Just before it was out turn to see Mickey, one of the animation team saw Little Man’s tshirt and noticed it was his birthday – they made a quick call and was able to get Mickey Mouse on the phone to him before our meet! Little Man said Mickey wished him Happy Birthday and just seeing his face lit up was an unforgettable moment.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Meet Mickey Mouse backstage at his theatre in Fantasyland

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
The kids with Mickey Mouse

We took our photos with Mickey – you are free to take your own photos using your phone of your Mickey meet but Daddy P and I were too filled with awe from seeing him with the kids we couldn’t move much haha! The photographer took the photos for us and gave us a little card so at the end of the meet we can purchase the photos if we wanted to. As we didn’t take any of our own photos, I bought them but they looked amazing so it was hard not to buy them. You can purchase just the images or with a photo frame. Of course they offer a deal for multi purchases and I bought two photos with frames for 25.99EUR which is around £23 – not bad for two beautiful photos but if you do want to save money, you can just take your own photos at the meet! The staff will even help you take a photo on your phone if you want to get a full family shot, no extra charge. 🙂

Staff at Disneyland were incredibly friendly, smiley and very talented. They are able to switch seamlessly from one language to another; from what I gathered all staff speak French, English, Spanish and German. In that order. And I’m sure they can speak Italian and possibly Mandarin too as there was a lot of Asian visitors too. They cater for pretty much everyone which was amazing to see. Language barrier is really the least of your concerns at this place.

Framed Disney photos at Mickey’s meet: £23
Total spent: £23

The Fireworks: Disney Illuminations

This has to be the real highlight of my Disneyland trip and I am so so glad we didn’t leave before it. Everyone gathers in the centre around 9pm onwards for a good spot and I don’t blame them. However we decided to head back to the Western World and go for our dinner. We dined at The Lucky Nugget Saloon which was affordable and tasty. A meal deal for dinner was 21.99EUR and for that you get a main dish, side, dessert and soft drink. The service was quick and super easy – we queue to order, pay and get seated shortly after. That took around 15mins and our food arrived at our table around 5mins after being seated. We took our time to enjoy our meal which was delicious – I had the rack of ribs and Daddy P and co had the fish with chips. We didn’t opt for dessert. We left the restaurant around 10.30pm and by then the park will filled with people waiting for the fireworks display. We walked all the way to the park entrance as we wanted to be one of the first to leave and had a decent spot watching the illuminations. We didn’t stay for the whole thing which is around 30mins but we watched the majority before running off to catch the train home. If we were staying at the park’s resort we wouldn’t be in a rush and take our time to find a good spot close to the Sleeping Beauty castle which is where they project the illuminations from. All I can say is whatever you do, stay for the show. Don’t miss it because it really does highlight your whole experience.

Top Tip: If you want to make it home before the crowd, leave the park slightly before the end of the illuminations. You can do this by choosing a good viewing spot close to the park entrance so you can make a quick escape.

Dinner at the Lucky Nugget Saloon = 21.99EUR x 4 = 87.96EUR (service not included)
Total spent: £85 approx. including service charge

Have a back-up plan of activities/excursions

We decided to have another lie-in as we didn’t get home until 1am the night before from DLP so we woke up 9am and checked out by 11am. We stopped off at McDonalds for ‘brunch’ – I forgot to mention that McDs in Paris offers macarons as a dessert! They are delicious and quite cheap, around 0.95 cents per maracon but I’m sure you can get a pack of 6 or 8 for a discounted rate. It was pouring down with rain on Saturday so our plans to see the Eiffel tower and Montmartre were out of the question. We hadn’t packed any weather-proof items or warm coats with us so we didn’t want to risk getting wet and coming down with a cold on our way home. We bought Metro day travel tickets and spent a day at the Louvre Museum. After here, we made it to the station where we waited until it was our time to go home. There are no free toilet facilities at the Louvre – it cost between 1.10-2.00 euros to use the toilet here so make sure you have some change with you.

Using the toilet at the Louvre Museum = 1,10EUR
Metro day tickets for 3 of us (U3s go free) = 29,80 EUR

Total spent: 30,90 EUR (£27 approx.)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Hiding away from the rain inside the Louvre Museum

We got to Gare du Nord by catching the metro from Louvre to Gare d’lest then changing at the station for the train to Gare du Nord. After spending a few hours wandering around the station, we headed upstairs to check into our Eurostar journey. There is a small children’s corner on the platform for kids to burn off some of their energy. Little Man did some reading, some colouring in and Little Miss joined in every now and then.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review
Little Man having fun at the Eurostar’s kids corner

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris 2019 Review

The highlights of Disneyland:

  • Night illuminations
  • A chance to see all of the characters at the parades
  • No need to pay for additional rides
  • Fast-pass ticket with every admission ticket
  • Public transport nearby (train station is opposite the park)
  • Ample car parking spaces

The downside of Disneyland:

  • Very long queues and wait times
  • Expensive and limited food choices
  • Expensive car parking charges (around 26 euros)
  • Expensive buggy hire (around 30 euros)

Total spent on our trip to Disneyland Paris: £809

Would I recommend it?

YES! Especially if you’ve never been before. It really is a wonderful experience despite the negatives. Yes, it can cost a fortune but the magic is still there and you’ll see it in your children’s eyes.

Just make sure you take them at an age that they can actually enjoy it (3 years and above) otherwise it wouldn’t be worth it unless you can really afford to spend at least £800+ on a few days. Booking off-season would definitely help (avoid UK and French school holidays) and you should be able to find cheap park prices and better parking capacity.

I hope you enjoyed this blog review.
We are looking forward to going back but whether that’ll be next year or in a few year’s time we’re not sure yet. It was definitely a memorable experience and we all enjoyed it thoroughly. 🙂 You can watch a video of our day trip on YouTube:

Au Revoir for now… we will be back soon!

Keep Calm… we’re going to Disneyland Paris!

9 days until my 30th birthday & our journey to Paris…
10 days until Little Man’s birthday & our day trip to Disneyland Paris!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay

We are all SUPER EXCITED!

It’ll be our whole family’s first time to Disneyland and we are so excited for it! We’ve started preparing what we’re going to bring and wear including those insta-worthy Mickey Mouse ears which we’ve bought from Ebay for £3 each! It’s so much cheaper online than buying on the day or at the Disney store but if you prefer to splash and go all out then definitely purchase your official Disney ears prior to DL to save yourself some cash.

Disneyland Paris via Eurostar

We’ll be travelling via the Eurostar from London St. Pancras. I managed to bag tickets during a summer sale promo for £29pp per way which was a bargain! The Eurostar will take us from London to Paris in just under two hours which works well for us as we’ve booked an evening journey so will arrive in time for dinner. We’ve decided that we will play it by ear and see how the kids feel on the day before deciding where we will eat. If the kids are super tired, we’ll have an early night instead.

One thing I really love about London is how well connected everything is. Sure our transportation has its good and bad days but no-one can fault how easily accessible it is to travel around the country and abroad from London.

My 30th Birthday Plan

I can’t believe how quickly the years fly by! Being an August baby means I get to see nearly all of my friends turn 30 before I do – not a bad thing – but it makes me feel slightly pressured to do something BIG. We’ll see how that’ll pan out as I don’t have anything planned right now with friends.

However, on the morning of my birthday I’ve managed to book free tickets to SKY GARDEN which is going to be amazing! Insta-worthy photos, here I come! I’ve also just treated myself to a Fenty Beauty bronzer and highlighter kit so let’s pray that does me some justice… now to just plan an outfit fit for the occasion… plus or minus a 30th birthday tiara! Then after my morning birthday breakfast treat, we’ll probably just wander around London with the kids then get back home for a quick afternoon nap before leaving for the Eurostar journey.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Sky Garden London
A view of Sky Garden / Photo Credit: Secret London

We will board our Eurostar to Paris around 6pm and arrive at Gare du Nord Paris. We will be staying at the Renaissance in La Defense – the financial district. As it’s summer, I’m hoping it won’t be too busy around the area but pray the weather will be nice enough for us to explore Paris on the Saturday before we depart as we’ll certainly be spending all day Friday at Disneyland Paris.

Our itinerary:

Thursday:
20.00 Arrival at Paris Gare du Nord (depart from London St. Pancras)
21.00 Hotel check-in and dinner at hotel or local restaurant
22.30 Bedtime

Friday:
07.00 Breakfast at hotel, then straight out on RER to D’Land
FULL DAY
Disneyland Paris + dinner at the resort
22.00 Night illuminations and park closing parade
23.00 Back to hotel for bedtime

Saturday:
08.00 Breakfast at hotel and pack bags for hotel check-out
12.00 Visit to Jardin D’acclimatation
15.00 Late lunch at a local restaurant
16.00 Eiffel Tower visit
18.00 Depart from Paris Gare du Nord (return to London St. Pancras)

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Disneyland Paris family vacay
Disneyland Paris / Photo Credit: Sogol Salehi on Unsplash

I’m going to try and document our Disneyland family vacay as much as I can and will add to my instagram stories so if you’d like to check out our trip, follow me at @mannyngo_yogi

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

Travel: A day trip to Paris from London on a budget

PARIS, the capital of France is only a 2hr train ride via Eurostar from London St. Pancras or a short 45mins flight from London Stansted or Gatwick. However, train tickets and flights can cost you an arm and a leg if you don’t book far enough in advance. But fear ye not, because I’m going to tell you how you can visit Paris on a budget AND do it in a day (Well, sort of – I’ll explain later)… Happy days!

How to travel to Paris cheap

If you really want to travel to Paris the cheapest way possible, it would be by coach. But for that dirt cheap price comes the compromise – time. The journey is approximately 7-9hrs and depending on which coach company you go with, you can either arrive close to the centre of Paris, the airports or the suburbs of Paris.

This is why I previously wrote “sort of” for doing Paris in a day. If you want to be able to explore Paris in a day, you’ll need a night coach journey so you’ll arrive in Paris early in the morning allowing you to have all day to explore the city.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

The main coach companies taking you to Paris from London are Eurolines, Flixbus and Ouibus. Coach tickets will set you back £11-15 one way and if you’re lucky, you might even find a next day return ticket for as little as £18! Now take that into consideration to a £49+ one way Eurostar ticket. However, saying this… IT IS POSSIBLE to travel to Paris from London cheaply on the Eurostar if you book during their promotion sale. These start from just £29pp one way which is amazingly cheap plus, it’s the quickest way to get to Paris.

When my sister and I went on our impromptu day trip to Paris from London, we took a night coach and arrived early morning. We spent all morning and afternoon exploring and sightseeing then caught an evening coach back home. We spent around £100 each for our day trip which included a few Uber rides in between. I bought a lot of dry food to bring back home with me so that added to our expenditure however it is possible to eat cheap, skip the hotel and save your money for the attractions and museums.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget

How to get around the city

The easiest and cheapest way to get around the city is by metro (underground). It’s fast, frequent and pretty reliable. Just like London travel, you’ll need a ticket to get around – a day pass is the cheapest at 12EUR (about £8) but they also offer 3, 5 and 7 days passes if you’re staying longer than a day or two. The main parts of Paris are within zones 1-3 but if you need to get to the airports (CDG and Orly), Palace of Versailles or Disneyland Paris, they are outside of the zones so you’ll need a separate ticket. If I’m not wrong, you can buy an extension which can be added onto your zone 1-3 pass.

The Greenwich Mummy | A day trip to Paris from London on a budget
The Tariff map for zones 1-3 / Credit: Paris Visite RATP

What to see and do in Paris

Just like London, there are LOTS to do and see in Paris. However with only a day to spare and doing it on a budget won’t be easy so your planning skills need to be on point here. Research beforehand on Google maps all of the main attractions you’re interested in and see where they are located and how close they are to each other. Below are some great touristy places to see. I’ve included all of these locations in the Google Maps, just click on the markers to view them.

For a day trip, visiting 4-5 attractions should be enough to satisfy your wanderlust without burning you out and still leave you with time to relax and have something to eat and drink. Check admission prices online to make sure you stick to your budget. Alternatively, skip entry and make up for it with lots of photos instead.

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Sacré Coeur

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
L’Arc de Triomphe

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Louvre Museum

Greenwich Mummy Blog | How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Eiffel Tower

Main attractions:

  • Eiffel Tower
  • Louvre museum
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Champs Élysée
  • Musée d’Orsay
  • Sacré Coeur
  • Montmartre
  • River Seine
  • Montparnasse
  • The Catacombs of Paris
  • Pompidou Centre
  • Grand Palais
  • Palace of Versailles*
  • Disneyland Paris*

*ONLY if you decide to make them your only attraction to visit in Paris.

Tickets to Paris museums are free if you are a child under 18 or a student under 25.
One weekend a month, the museums do offer free entry to everyone but this varies from museum to museum so check out their admissions/tickets page for more details.

Another fantastic way of seeing many attractions in one go is to go on a walking tour.

‘Free’ Paris walking tours

You basically pay as much or as little as you like. Some are completely free and you can just tip instead. My sister and I did a free Montmartre walking tour which was a great way to see the area and learn some cool facts along the way. Ours was a tip-only tour so we tipped our guy €5-10 for his time.


Check out the sites below for free walking tours:

New Europe ToursFree Tour – Discover Walks – Free Tours By Foot

Top tip: make sure you wear comfortable trainers or walking shoes when embarking on a walking tour as they can range from 1-3 hours


Where to eat in Paris

Just like London, there’s all different cuisines for you to try from in Paris. The Independent online compiled this list of the best cheap eateries in Paris with main dishes coming in less than €10 it’s a win-win situation.

Top tip: AVOID the restaurants opposite the Eurostar Gare du Nord station because not only is it severely over-priced, the food is absolutely terrible! I made the mistake of eating there once and spent over 60EUR for our family of four and the food was terrible! We would’ve been better going to the McDonalds also on the same row of restaurants.

Not sure what to order?
Try some French classics; order an onion soup for your starter or a creme brulee for your dessert. If you’re feeling really brave, why not try their delicacy of snails… let me know how that one goes! Paris is well known for their pastries so head to a café and order something sweet, team it up with a hot drink like a latte = café au lait (“kaffay-aw-lay”), hot chocolate = chocolat chaud (“shoh-koh-lah-shaw”). If you fancy something stronger, ladies would usually order a red wine = vin rouge (“van-roozj”) or a white wine = vin blanc (“van-blohn”) and men typically a beer = bierre (“bee-air”).

If you have some cash to splash, buy a box of delicious Ladurée macarons. The macarons come in many flavours and colours and the box packaging is to die for!

bram-naus-736745-unsplash

I was craving some home cooking and headed out to a local-looking Vietnamese cafe in Choissy and ordered traditional dishes. The starter was around €4-5 and main was between €9-13. I spoke to the staff in Vietnamese (which was nice) and funnily enough it felt really comfortable like being at home. I think most Vietnamese cafes in this district are family-owned which is nice because there are so many chains and franchises nowadays it’s nice to support small and local businesses.

Where to stay in Paris

If you want to stay in Paris on a budget, the best option (if you don’t mind sharing) is a hostel. Unless you have a lot of cash to splash, most hotels in Paris are budget hotels and 1-2 star. It’s usually not much different from a decent hostel in my opinion. Some hostels like the Generator Paris offers single rooms with private bath/shower rooms at a premium so at least you have the option to choose.

isaiah-bekkers-494831-unsplash
A beautiful skyline view of Paris

There’s a super useful post by the Budget Traveller which has a list of the best budget stays in Paris so make sure to check those out as well as doing your own research on cheap stays: https://budgettraveller.org/6-of-the-best-budget-places-to-stay-in-paris/

The Generator Paris hostel is a popular choice – voted by The Independent Online and the Budget Traveller as one of the best places to stay in Paris. It offers free WIFI, sharing rooms (dorms) and private rooms, female only rooms, bar, lounge area and more.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog: How to do Paris in a day on a budget
Stylish and modern sharing dorm rooms at Generator Paris / Source: Generator Paris

I hope that this post has given you some inspiration or ideas on how to construct your day trip to Paris on a budget. There’s so much information online and Paris in a day is usually already on most travel blogger’s list so don’t be afraid to read their experiences and recommendations.

Bisou! x

P I N  T H I S  P O S T

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | A DAY TRIP TO PARIS FROM LONDON ON A BUDGET

 

The Wandering Mother Blog

Gift Ideas for Him this Father’s Day

Father’s Day is this weekend already! I can’t believe how fast this year has flown by! Now officially in mid-June, summer is approaching and the warmer days we had a couple of weeks felt fantastic. I even tried out my Bondi Sands fake tan which was lovely – I need to write a review on that soon. Below are gift ideas I’ve got in mind for Daddy P but I hope they inspire you if you haven’t found anything just yet….

Father’s Day gift ideas

Something PERSONALISED

Personalised Photo Mug

For the last few years, a Father’s Day mug has always on the list for Daddy P. I usually order a personalised 15oz photo mug from Snapfish (£12.99) which was always big hit. I’ve ordered one again this year too! I love adding our own photos to the mug, it gives a personal touch which I think is a little special (and cheesy) but the kids love it. They’ve also got a promo code for 30% off your total basket with no minimum spend so get purchasing. They also offer next day delivery.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
Source: Snapfish

**update** My personalised photo mug has arrived! I love it, it’s so sweet. The only thing I forgot to add to the mug was some text to say “Happy Father’s Day 2019!” …oops!

Stainless Steel Watch

I love simple yet stylish watches for men. With most of us constantly on our phones today I feel like sometimes we were slowly getting rid of functional accessories like watches. I found this beautiful stainless steel watch on Not On The High Street and best of all, it can be personalised and they have free standard delivery.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Father’s Day gift ideas

The silver colour stands out and is so stylish but they have a few other colours so have a look. For £69, it’s a good price too! There’s so much on websites like NOTHS and Etsy I love looking for special and unique items to buy. At the moment (for myself!) I’m obsessed with dainty necklaces and personalised bracelets. Check out NOTHS’s fathers day gifts for even more ideas.

Something ESSENTIAL

Skincare & Grooming Kits

It’s good to look after yourself; self-care is one of the things most people tend to overlook in themselves. Daddy P is lucky he has good skin (not oily, not dry) however he doesn’t do anything to look after it. Men usually like to keep their skincare simple so the basic essentials are key; to cleanse, tone, exfoliate and moisturise.

These two kits below are my favourite; the Look Fantastic Father’s Day collection which has a mix of face and body products from premium brands. And the Aromatherapy Associates The Refinery kit is a new favourite of mine which comes with a wash bag. I use this brand at my workplace and I’ve really fallen in love with it. I’ve already gotten Daddy P the face wash and shave oil which is fab and suitable for all skin types.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
The Look Fantastic Father’s Day Collection box
The Greenwich Mummy | Father's Day gift ideas for dads
Aromatherapy Associates: The Refinery Skin Kit for men

Cleansing clears the skin of dirt and debris build-up, preps the skin and leaves it fresh. Toner tones the skin and minimises large pores, and leaves the skin matte yet hydrated for the absorption of the moisturiser. Exfoliating (especially if they shave) helps to buff away dead skin cells and reduces ingrown hairs as the pores are clear, allowing the hair follicle to grow out of the skin instead of inwards (which happens when the pores are blocked with dirt or natural oils). I would also recommend a beard/shave oil for those growing a beard. The oil will help to nourish the skin but also condition the beard hair, keeping it soft. Moisturiser is the last step and works as a barrier against daily pollutants and keeps the skin hydrated and moisturised.

Something FUN

Rooftop Cinema

If your man prefers something a little more active, why not take him out for an evening of fun? I’ve picked outdoor cinema or a raving night out at Ballie Ballerson. The Rooftop Film Club hosting in Peckham is showing Schwarzenegger’s classic, The Terminator on Father’s Day. You can book tickets directly from the RFC’s website: https://rooftopfilmclub.com/london/bussey-building/film/the-terminator-1984/

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
Rooftop cinemas offer a new kind of experience

Adult Ball Pit Fun

Ballie Ballerson is an adult-only cocktail bar that has its very own giant ball-pit! So if you and your partner want to bring out your inner child and just spend a night together feeling like kids again, this is not a place to miss out! Tickets are from £7.50pp for admission only or you can go all out with a VIP package which includes food and a designated booth for £25/35pp.

Ballie Ballerson - London's Adult only ball pit cocktail bar
Who said the ball pit was only for kids to enjoy?

Something SPECIAL

Daddy P LOVES football and I’ve just found a deal TravelZoo for Behind-the-Scenes tour tickets to Wembley stadium… just £9! That’s almost 52% off the standard price. Best thing of all is tickets can be redeemed up until September so he can choose to use it now for Father’s Day or choose to wait for another day when he’s ready to use it. A behind-the-scenes tour is a guided and self-guided tour of the stadium including the footballer’s dressing rooms, the press room, the player’s tunnel, pitch side and the Royal Box. Imagine all those insta-worthy photo moments!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Fathers Day gift ideas for dads
Source: Travelzoo

Somewhere ABROAD

Daddy P’s been talking about going to Barcelona but hasn’t been able to get round to it. Between juggling parenting and job hunting it’s been a struggle. Weekend breaks work out really well because you can travel but still be back in time for parenting duties. I love looking for my holiday breaks from OnTheBeach.com so naturally I had a search for Father’s Day trips to Barcelona and found some good deals. You can either search for flights and hotel separately or let On The Beach’s deal finder search for you. I found the following deals for 2 adults; 2 nights in Barcelona (flights & hotel) flying out from London Stansted:

ON THE BEACH RECOMMENDS: The Mirror, Barcelona
£292pp for double room / B&B basis

The Greenwich Mummy blog | Father’s Day gift ideas: Barcelona

The Mirror Barcelona

It’s not called The Mirror for nothing. Photos of the hotel show that the rooms are loaded with mirrors from the bedroom to bathroom but in a very playful and tasteful way. Great for us ladies to check out our outfits and makeup throughout the day.

The price is reasonable and the Tripadvisor ratings look good too. The hotel offers free WiFi, air conditioning, pool and close to local amenities.

ON A BUDGET: Catalonia Bristol
£171pp for double room / room only

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Father’s Day in Barcelona

Catalonia Bristol

This was the best low budget option I found on the site. Pretty decent price and the hotel looks really nice and modern. With not a lot of hotel amenities apart from air-conditioning and WIFI access, it’s pretty basic. But if you’re not fussed and rather spend more on exploring the city and other things, this place could be a contender.

Their TripAdvisor rating looks good and they have free WiFi which is perfect for a short weekend break.

SPLASH THE CASH: Meliá Barcelona Sarriá
£439pp for level junior suite / B&B basis

The Greenwich Mummy blog - Father’s Day gift ideas: Barcelona

Meliá Barcelona Sarriá

If you want to pull out all the stops this Father’s Day, this is the hotel for you. Hotel Meliá has a lot to offer in terms of room quality, style, and service.

This 5 star hotel has a spa on-site so you can treat yourself (and hubby!) to a relaxing massage or spa day in the evening on your mini-break. Free WiFi, air conditioning and a gym are standard amenities and the location is a short car journey from the beach.

Have you already got other gift ideas for Father’s Day? Let me know what wonderful things you treated your loved ones to! X


NB. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Why Ibiza should be on everyone's bucket list

Travel: 5 reasons why you need to visit Ibiza at least once

Whenever I tell someone that I’ve been to Ibiza, I am always greeted with a surprised face and “Ibiza? I didn’t know you was a party girl…” The thing is they’re right, I’m not! There’s much more to Ibiza than just parties (even though they are said to be amazing). Ibiza will always be a place for the ravers but the island has more to offer.

Ibiza is a beautiful and magical island that’s great for all kinds of travellers – from solo flyers (yes, I’ve been to Ibiza alone!) to family funsters and soul searchers. Ibiza is demographically part of Spain and belongs to the cluster of Balearic Islands. The other popular Balearic islands are Tenerife, Majorca (Mallorca) and Menorca (Minorca).

Who wouldn’t want to dive into these turquoise waters?!

My case of wanderlust always brings me back to this place and I’m so glad On The Beach have a low deposit option. I find it hard to save and can’t always book in full because I don’t usually have enough money so the payment plans work for me. You pay an initial booking deposit, usually around £30pp for most holidays and then the remaining balance up to 2 weeks before departure. The further in advance you book, the lower the initial deposit. Paying off my holidays in small, manageable chunks helps me to budget better around my bills, rent and other expenses.

5 reasons why you need to visit Ibiza at least once

I’m sure once you’ve gone, you will want to return one day. There’s something quite magical about Ibiza that I can’t put my finger on yet. I think it’s just the fully relaxed atmosphere, the welcoming locals and the friendly people that also flock here – not for the parties – but for the slower pace of life. If you don’t speak a word of Spanish, you can still get by everywhere as English is the second language here. It’s so close to fly from the UK too, with flights lasting about 2.5-3 hours. That’s quicker than cooking a Christmas dinner or watching Lord of the Rings back to back!

So, what are the other attractions to the island?

1. The constant balmy weather

Reading a book whilst sunbathing is how I like to relax!

Ibiza’s climate is balmy and generally warm all year long with moderate rainfall. When I first went to Ibiza back in August 2010 the temperature was around 26-30’C degree celsius. I went back again in September 2017 and 2018 and the temperature varies from 24-28’C degree celsius. In 2018, there was one day we got caught in torrential rain that lasted about 15-20 mins but as soon as it stopped it was warm and humid again.

Monthly average high and low temperatures in Ibiza:

The Wandering Mother Blog | Why you should visit Ibiza Travel
Ibiza Average Hi/Low temperatures (credit: holiday-weather.com)

2. The various scenery

Heading up to the Castell de Eivissa which was steep but worth it
There’s no place like Dalt Vila – discovered this little place on the way down

From the beautiful views and party places in Antonio Bay to the historical old town of Dalt Vila, there’s a lot to see around the little island. Each little town has something unique to offer. Don’t forget to explore around Castell de Eivissa when you’re in the old town, it’s cobbled floor is so pretty but awkward if you have weak ankles so wear decent shoes and not flip flops like me! The steep walk up has a great scenic route down as you pass Dalt Vila. There’s not much to do up at the castle top but the views are spectacular.

On Sundays, you can head over to Benirras beach to experience one of the most beautiful sunsets accompanied by the sensational drumming. It happens every Sunday during the summer and is an event not to be missed. I tried to go there by bus but got mixed-up with the bus times (or perhaps the bus just never came) so I missed it. My advice would be to catch a cab there early or travel to San Miguel a day before as the roads leading to Benirras beach gets very busy by Sunday afternoon. If you’re driving try to get there in the morning, chill out by the beach all day then get ready for the sunset in the evening. Bliss!

3. The sister islands (Formentera and Espalmador)

People watching at Formentera was blissful!

If the Ibiza mainland is boring you a little, take a trip out to its sister islands. Whether you head out to the pristine white sand beaches of Formentera or stop off at the secluded island of Espalmador (I’ve visited both!) it’s definitely a trip not to miss.

Formentera is a fantastic escape from the mainland. Within 40mins by boat with the main service, Aquabus you’ll reach the pristine shores of Formentera. It looks like somewhere out of a postcard, I kid you not. Plenty of luxury yachts dock at its marina and its beach shores are filled with white sand and turquoise waters. You can easily find places to eat and drink, go surfing or cycling, and explore different parts of the island.

It’s a great place to explore with the whole family. The cosy coves dotted along the coastline are calming and lovely enough to enjoy before the tide comes in. There are frequent Aquabus services to Formentera from all over the Ibiza mainland for about €20 (day return). You can even stay on the island with many B&Bs, luxury apartments, charters and yachts available to rent.

Goodbye Espalmador – as you can see, hardly any boats are docked here. It’s serene bliss!

There’s also tiny secluded island on the way to Formentera called Espalmador. It lies between Ibiza and Formentera and is basically a mass of land which has become a secluded getaway for Ibizan goers looking for peace and quiet. There’s not much to do on the island apart from sunbathe – you can go nude, semi-nude, as free as you like! There is also a mud spring somewhere on the island which you can take a dip in. There’s hardly any coverage on the island so apply plenty of sunscreen, if you burn easily I’d say skip Espalmador and just visit Formentera as there’s plenty of secluded bays there plus rocky coves where you can salvage some shade.

If you’re keen on visiting Espalmador, bring a picnic, plenty of suncream as there’s not really shady areas and water bottle – there’s no food/drink places here and the Aquabus only passes here a couple trips per day. Also there’s no toilet on Espalmador so make sure you go before you arrive either on the ferry boat or mainland if you’re not hiring your own charter or have a private yacht.

4. The Hippy Market and other local markets

The sea views just a short walk from the Hippy Market at Es Canar

Even if you’ve never visited Ibiza, you would’ve heard about their famous Hippy Markets which is open every Wednesday throughout the summer. I remember my first time going to the Hippy Market; it was busy, chaotic but super fun! There’s something for everyone, there’s even a little play area for the kids. The last time I visited it was less chaotic but still just as busy.

There was so much to see and if you’re looking for special or unique gifts you will find something here. I picked up a gorgeous amethyst crystal necklace on a leather cord. I’d seen so many similar necklaces before but they were too expensive. I think mine cost me around €15-18 which wasn’t too bad as the quality was great and the amethyst stone looked genuine enough.

Here’s a short list of the markets you can visit on the island:

Check out Ibiza Spotlight for the full list of Ibiza’s markets sorted by days.

5. The fun, active lifestyle

The Ibizan atmosphere is super chilled. I always felt relaxed and the pace of life here seems very easy-going which is fantastic. But despite the relaxing lifestyle, there’s plenty of activities you can do around the island to keep you healthy, fit and active.

These include:

  • Surfing (there’s even indoor surfing!)
  • Stand-Up Paddling
  • Yoga (even yoga stand-up paddling)
  • Pilates
  • Cycling
  • Watersports
  • Sailing

and so much more!

If you regularly work out, there’s plenty of gyms around the island for you to keep up your strength.

PLUS! Lots of healthy places to eat out

Ibiza is actually quite a health-conscious destination. There’s loads of cafes that offer delicious and nutritiously healthy food so you don’t have to worry much about stuffing yourself with junk. There’s a healthy café in San Antonio Bay called The Skinny Kitchen. They make a good salad/buddha bowl for a decent price, plus it was the only place I could find that offered matcha lattes. There are loads of nice healthy cafes around the island so don’t be afraid to explore. Check out their food reviews on Tripadvisor.

For a more extensive list of things to do around the island, visit Tripadvisor’s 10 best things to do in Ibiza.

Where to stay in Ibiza

I’ve visited most parts of the island and it’s excellent wherever you go. You’re bound to find a beach near you no matter where you stay in Ibiza. Here are some of my recommendations:

Top Tip: If you want to avoid the major party season, visit the island between May – June or September – October instead. The island is well connected by bus so take advantage of this especially if you’ve got more time on your hands to explore the island. X


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The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Travelling with Kids

5 things to remember when going on a toddler’s first holiday

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Travelling with Kids

Lately I’ve been thinking about booking our little family of four a new holiday – a proper family holiday this time as the last time was more of a mini one than anything as Daddy P didn’t come with us to Fuerteventura. LO, bump and I went around late January and it was lovely. The temp was nice, not too hot, we got to do a few things and enjoyed what was pretty much a chilled out holiday.

As I was six months preggers and so sure I would be going into early labour I didn’t book any activities. I also don’t drive so couldn’t hire a car which is said to be the best way to explore any one of the Canary Islands. However I just wanted to share with you the 5 most important things I think any mum should think about when taking your toddler on their first holiday.

Continue reading “5 things to remember when going on a toddler’s first holiday”

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Travelling with Kids

Our family holiday to Fuerteventura

The Greenwich Mummy - Family holiday to Fuerteventura
Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura

We decided to go away this year at the end of January for a bit of winter sun… we headed out to the Canary Islands, Fuerteventura to be exact. It was only a short holiday (4 nights) but was the best getaway/family holiday for me. It was also LO’s first time abroad and he was really good from the plane journey there to the end of the stay.

I booked our little holiday via onthebeach.co.uk and found the Barcelo Castillo Beach Resort to be the perfect hotel for us. It’s located right on the beach, has a gym and spa in case I wanted some me-time (I never got round to using them!), three restaurants to eat from, located 15 mins away from the airport, and it’s a family-friendly resort where kids stay free! 🙂 Perfect!

barcelo-hotel
Photo Credit: Google

All in all, a 4-night stay for 2 adults and 1 child costed around £190 for the hotel and £180 for the flights so under £400 in total which is extremely cheap. The average weather for Fuerteventura in January is 19-20 degrees which was about right. The first 2 days we were there, we were blessed with slightly warmer weather (about 22-23 degrees) but this island is the most windiest of all of the Canary Islands so if you’re planning on going to Fuerteventura, don’t forget a light jumper or jacket for the evenings.

Even though the sea temperature was mild, it was too cold for us to take a dip to swim but it didn’t stop LO from having a good splash! The hotel was very clean and maintained well. Our bungalow was decorated in a traditional orange hue which was lovely but there were more modern bungalows available at the resort for those who prefer something a little more luxurious.

The Greenwich Mummy - Family holiday to Fuerteventura
Sunnier on the first 2 days we were there

The Greenwich Mummy - Family holiday to Fuerteventura
LO looking for lovely stones in the sea

I never got time to relax at the spa or used the gym although my friend who came with LO and I was able to use the gym and she loved it. For €5 per session, it’s definitely affordable but the resort is so big that you can get your daily exercise from walking around the whole place. We also ended up sticking to the main restaurant which offered a buffet-style sitting but the other two restaurants at the resort looked amazing, especially the piano bar/restaurant.

By the end of the holiday, LO didn’t even want to leave! He said he wanted to stay and it just made me think about booking another holiday for us to go on after baby is born. We’ll probably go with daddy P to Butlins next year or maybe even Disneyland instead. 🙂


JENerally Informed