Tag Archives: travel

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“A portrait of my child once a week, every week, in 2016”

We spent last week in Lanzarote.

It was a bit of an unexpected trip. We never normally go away in the autumn, and apart from places where people we love live we never normally go back to the same place twice. But after an amazing visit in the Spring we could not resist a return when the chance arose – and the way this year is panning out I was supremely glad to have the opportunity for a bit of an escape.

I’m still digesting the photos and the memories, but these two moments stood out for me: admiring the expansively beautiful view at Mirador del Rio and studying the otherworldly forms at the Jardin de Cactus.

Arthur was simply in awe of so much that he saw. It really is a very special place.

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“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

On the road again…

We got back from a wonderful weekend in Barcelona last night (more on that to follow), and are now en route to London for another whistlestop visit.

My routine is completely shot, and I’m trying desperately to reel in my to do list before it spirals completely out of control.

This one, of course, is taking it all in his stride.

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

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“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Such an perfect week away with this little man: almost every second spent outdoors, exploring and playing and learning and socialising.

And in between it all quiet moments like this where I savoured him looking so self-assured, so content.

Love summer, love our campervan, and cannot wait for our next adventure.

 

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

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“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

This boy.

We have just come back from four days in Florida to celebrate the wedding of one of my bestest friends. I was a little apprehensive in the run up: the journey either end was going to take twenty-four hours all in, and I wasn’t sure quite how Arthur would cope with that – or the hecticness whilst we were there.

But he really did take it all in his stride.

I am so glad we are raising such an awesome travelling companion. It makes me very excited about the many adventures still to come…

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

Sunday photo: 20th December 2015

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It’s been a long day.

A long weekend, really.

Yesterday we left Devon at 8am, and drove for four hours before an extended family lunch and then a mindblowing theatre experience.

Today we headed to Heathrow, then had the unbridled excitement of a flight to Iceland.

It really was lots of fun. We’ve been travelling with Arthur since he was 3 months old, ish. It’s been hard work at times, but ultimately we have achieved our goal: a little person who relishes new experiences, who tolerates the boredom involved in getting to somewhere new and cherishes the wonder of the arrival.

And, even more importantly, will very happily snuggle up on a nest of coats when it’s time for bed.

Lushness.

Linking up today’s post with Darren at One Dad 3 Girls for My Sunday Photo and Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

A toddler-inspired trip to Barcelona

Seven years ago or so, one of my bestest friends moved to Barcelona. I was gutted that she would no longer be around the corner, but there began a love affair with the Catalonian capital, a city that whilst I was living in London became my second home.

It’s been harder to visit as frequently now that I’m living in Devon, though it’s a short flight from Bristol, or a seriously cool adventure by ferry and road from Plymouth. Last summer we managed to make it out with Arthur for the first time, and discovered just what an awesome city it is with a toddler in tow.

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I’d already been used to traversing the streets with my friend’s own children, but I’d panicked a little at the prospect of visiting with an eighteen month old, especially in the height of summer. I needn’t have worried though.

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He loved toddling down tree-lined streets, eye-catching graffiti, a handy play park or an intriguing piece of public art on almost every corner. The whole culture is just perfectly set up for kids: no-one looked twice when we took him out in the evening for dinner, and with the help of the sling we could get everywhere we needed to on public transport.

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On top of the general infrastructure though there are lots of things to do that are just perfect for keeping little people entertained. Having just booked our flights for this summer’s trip, I thought it was about time I revisited them!

1) The beach

It’s sometimes easy to forget that Barcelona is right on the sea. In fact, when I first visited as part of an InterRail trip nearly twenty years ago, I’m not sure we actually made it to the beach at all. The coastline has been developed loads in the intervening years and there are now a range of beaches to choose from, becoming quieter and cleaner the further you venture from the centre.

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It was a real bonus in the August heat to be able to go and chill out and cool off – though actually the sea is lovely and warm in summer, especially for a little boy used to swimming in the bracing seas of Brixham!

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2) The Olympic pool 

The sea is not the only option for a swim. In fact my favourite place for a refreshing dip has to be the Olympic pool high above the city in Montjuic.

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The water is delightedly cool on hot skin, it never gets too crazy busy, and there is something brilliantly surreal about the setting. The views across the city are pretty much impossible to beat.

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3) The Miro foundation

Whilst you’re up in Montjuic, it’s well worth paying a visit to the Fundació Joan Miró. The art is big and bold and beautiful – just right to capture the imagination of a toddler. And as an added bonus there is a roof terrace with more wonderful views and the chance to get up close and personal with some striking sculptures.

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4) The cable car

If you’re still hankering after more views, the cable car back down the mountain is pretty special. I’d love to take Arthur back now that he’s babbling away – I’m so curious to know what was going through his mind as he stared wide-eyed at the world below.

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5) The Sagrada Familia

For something completely different, it’s well worth checking out Gaudi’s magnificent church – a masterpiece which is still under construction.

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From the outside it is unusual and impressive, and the soaring space of the interior is fantastic too. It is a welcome respite from the heat: Arthur was flaking as we waited outside, but soon perked up with the cool air and space to explore.

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Make sure you book tickets in advance to avoid the massive queues – you can do this online right up to the day of your visit and I would definitely recommend you do.

6) The Aquarium

More respite from the heat can be found at the aquarium down in the old harbour. It was crazy busy on the day we visited, but that didn’t bother Arthur: he was entranced by the different coloured marine life and would happily have stayed for hours if we’d let him.

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7) Parc de la Crueta de Coll

One other place that’s well worth a visit for some watery fun is the paddling pool in the old quarry at Parc de la Crueta de Coll. It’s a bit out of the town centre, but totally doable on the metro. You’re much more likely to be rubbing shoulders with locals than tourists, and for most toddlers it is a little slice of heaven.

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(I know he doesn’t look too happy in the second pic, but I think he was just in a deep state of relaxation: basking in the sun whilst standing chest deep in cool water.)

8) La Boqueria

After all you adventures, you are likely to be in need of some refreshment. Barcelona is awash with great tapas bars and restaurants of almost every variety you can imagine, but it is the markets I love most, and La Boqueria is my favourite of those.

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For little ones it is a feast for the senses: from fresh fish piled high to fabulous fruit to eat on the go. Definitely worth popping in, if only to soak up the atmosphere.

Even with all this, I feel like we have only scraped the tip of the iceberg of opportunities Barcelona offers for young families. It’s a good thing we’re going back in a couple of months: I cannot wait for more adventures – or for the blissfully deep sleep they inevitably induce.

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Mums' Days

V is for Vietnam

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For our honeymoon we went to Vietnam. It was a challenge fitting even a fraction of what I wanted to see there into those two weeks, but I was determined to try.

We started in Hanoi, spending two days walking around the city, soaking up the sights and smells and flavours. That was where I took this picture: just another selection of wares in a pavement stall, but one that with its seafood and herbs and vegetables sums up what I love about Vietnamese food. I love the colours and textures in this picture too, and the shapes – all those circles full of promise.

So much of our trip was about the food, really. That was what had inspired us to go in the first place – the pho and the summer rolls and the banh cuon we’d enjoyed in restaurants in Hackney. We had a Vietnamese supermarket near us there too, but it was wonderful to see all of the ingredients in their homeland.

By the time we left, we’d sampled all sorts of new dishes, successfully dodging the peanuts that would have triggered an allergic reaction to discover a huge range of exciting tastes. We’d seen noodles being made, rice paper rounds drying in the sun, prawns being crushed to create the pungent paste that was seemingly at the base of everything. We’d learnt to cook some new dishes as well: spicy seafood hotpot, and even those delicious banh cuon – delicate and slippery steamed rolls filled with prawns and pork.

I’d love to go back, and not just for the food. It is such a beautiful country – and so steeped in history. Hopefully one day, when Arthur’s a little bit older, we’ll be able to revisit for a longer trip.

V is for Vietnam.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODCast Dove.