all inclusive holidays

Quite often people look at me like I’m mad when we say we’re taking the kids abroad for our holiday. We’ve done so ever since our eldest was three years old and yes, it’s not always a barrel of laughs when you’ve got a tired toddler but we always take the hassle out of it by opting to go all-inclusive when booking our holiday package.

We’re off to the Canary Islands in a few weeks time over the Easter break and I can’t wait. Booking was pretty simple and with all-inclusive we’re safe in the knowledge that their aren’t any hidden extras; luggage allowance, flights and transfers are all included. We like the Canary Islands as the weathers pretty reliable throughout the year and the flight time isn’t too gruelling when you have multiple kids in tow.

holiday

We’re staying at a hotel we’ve stayed at previously which makes me even more excited as I know how fantastic the food, drink and snack options are throughout the day. I don’t know about your kids but mine graze constantly. They could be hungry 10 mins after we’ve left the breakfast table and will be crying out for a drink after just 5 minutes of swimming. Knowing we can help ourselves to food and drink throughout the day means we’re not dipping into our pockets or needing to carry cash around the hotel which is a big weight off our minds. It can soon add up if you’re paying out for each and every drink and snack or equally, you feel bad having to say no when you’re supposed to be having fun. It’s also this pregnant woman’s idea of paradise!

IMG_6209

Although we do like to get out of the hotel and see other parts of the town or island we’re staying on there really isn’t any need. The older two kids are usually wrapped up in kids clubs or day time activities on the complex and Elsie has been known to spend time in nursery so Matt and I can truly relax – even if it is just for an hour or two. A holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a little down time!

holiday

When you look at the value for money you’re getting by going all-inclusive it really is a no-brainer. We barely take any cash with us when we go – just a little bit of spending money for the kids and perhaps a few souvenirs. We’re already planning our 2018 break and the first must have on our list is that it must be all-inclusive. After all the bigger the kids the bigger the appetites!

Follow:

It’s already been well over a month since we returned from Crete.  I had the best of intentions to get a post up as soon as we returned so I wouldn’t forget a single detail but, as it tends to do, life got well and truly in the way! Florence started school a few days after we returned, some of our best friends got married and Elsie decided 4am was a good time to start the day!

The holiday came out of nowhere really, we found ourselves with a little extra free time before Florence started school and we thought we should really make the most of the cheaper deals once the schools had gone back after the summer break. We’ve stayed at the Sensatori resort in Egypt previously and it was stunning and I’d seen a few photos of Sensatori Crete online and read some good reviews so we booked it up. Sensatori resorts are renowned for being family friendly as well as a little luxurious and this holiday certainly didn’t disappoint.

We flew out to Crete with Thomson on a Dreamliner.  Matt and I both love flying so we were chuffed to be on one of these snazzy aeroplanes – not least because Matt is well over 6ft and tends to struggle with leg room on a standard aeroplane. Dreamliner’s are a little speedier and so the the flight time was only about 3.5hrs. I can’t lie; we were both nervous about flying with a 3 month old baby but we needn’t have been as she was as good as gold. Elsie fell asleep during take off as she’d just guzzled a bottle and woke up about an hour later and was quite happy wondering around the aeroplane or just standing and having a nose on our laps.  The young couple sat across the aisle from us complimented both girls on their behaviour during the flight and also loved Florence’s window stickers and had never seen anything like them before.

We landed in Crete early afternoon and waited on the transfer bus for what seemed like forever. It was my first time in Crete and it seemed like such a barren place; buildings half finished, not much going on and homes fairly run down. I’d only ever really seen the popular tourist resorts on TV so it was a contrast to what I’d imagined. However, the sea was stunning en route to our hotel and shimmered in the sun. It was the most beautiful bright blue-green colour.

We arrived at the hotel around 2:30pm, just in time for lunch and, whilst waiting to be taken to the restaurant, I noticed Jacqueline Jossa (Lauren Branning, Eastenders), Dan Osboune and their family also waiting around. I thought that if this hotel is good enough for a soap star then it’s gotta be ok!

After lunch we were shown to our room.  It was in the closest block to the main restaurant and lobby which was handy with the kids and we’d also paid to upgrade our room to a swim up room.  Now, in our heads a swim up room has a channel of water, a bit like a lazy river, passing by so you can float around the resort.  However, what we actually got was a semi-private pool between us and three other rooms.  It was stunning but, you know when somethings just not quite as you’d pictured it to be?  The water in the pool was pretty cold so you really did need to wait until the sun had been shining for a few hours before braving it but that didn’t stop Florence and she was in there pre 9am most days! The room itself was huge and the kids beds were behind a set of sliding doors which was ideal as it meant Matt and I could stay up a little later without disturbing them too much. Having said that whenever we did stay up later in our room we usually sat on the balcony as we could hear the entertainment and people watch those stumbling back from the bar.

Before we left the UK we pre-booked (payable) afternoon sessions for Elsie in the nursery so we had a couple of hours a day to unwind.  Florence was really keen to see what the kids club was all about and so we took her along to a session and she loved it and ended up spending large parts of the day with them.  It was really good; they ran morning and afternoon sessions and then there was either a party or movie from 7:30pm-9:30pm and best of all it was all included in the price.  During our stay both girls had a sleepover in the nursery until about 11:30pm which meant Matt and I had a proper evening to ourselves to enjoy dinner and drinks in the adult only areas.

Speaking of which, the adults only area was always really busy but was well separated from the family zones.  The family zones were great – especially the spray ground. The water was shallow enough for kids to play in without too much worry and the equipment was all non slip and very clean.  My only little moan about the spray ground area is that the sun loungers were of a lower quality to those in the rest of the resort. Oh and one other thing….the floors are so slippery in some areas of the resort; especially around the main pool.  The staff tried their best to lay mats down wherever they could but we did see a few people take a tumble.

The bar service during the day was good. We were staying at Sensatori Crete on an all inclusive basis and so drinks were flowing all day long; the prosecco was good (and I should know) but the wine wasn’t up to much and could have been mistaken for Sarsons! There were loads of other drinks on offer for the kids too including milkshakes and slushies.

The resort itself was pristine and this was no more evident then in the buffet restaurant. We’ve had some bad experiences of buffet restaurants whilst on holiday but this one was lovely. Absolutely sparkling clean, well managed, plenty of staff and lots of useful signage. The food variety was good local dishes as well as the usual fare. Thankfully we managed to avoid the dessert table most nights but they looked incredible.  Had I let myself my 4lb weight gain over the week would have been more like 14lb!

I’ve done enough waffling now so I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking.  I also made a mini video of our stay to capture some of those moments I’d like to remember such as Florence and Elsie swimming.

IMG_2546

IMG_2550

IMG_2562

IMG_2564

IMG_2577

IMG_2578

IMG_2588

IMG_2589

IMG_2595

IMG_2611

IMG_2613

IMG_2631

IMG_2634

IMG_2638

IMG_2645

IMG_2665

IMG_2666

IMG_2689

IMG_2694

IMG_2712

IMG_2716

IMG_2719

IMG_2722

IMG_2723

 

 

Follow:

We were recently asked if we’d like to try out the travel cot liner from The Fine Bedding Company and with a couple of holidays planned it was perfect timing. I’ve never really seen or used a travel cot liner but I liked the sound of it. If you’ve used a travel cot before you’ll know just how uncomfortable they look and feel.  I usually place ten million blankets in there to try and make it a little cosier.

The liner arrived quickly and in a zip up case which was perfect for travelling and keeping the liner all clean and compact in our luggage. When I opened the case the liner immediately popped out and my jaw almost hit the floor.  It sounds like an exaggeration but it is the softest thing I have ever felt and I was completely jealous that Elsie now got to sleep on, what I can only describe as, a cloud!

cot liner

The cover is made from 100% polyester fleece and the filling is polyester microfibre.  The back of the liner is non-slip and has a waterproof seal. It’s so much safer then placing lots of blankets down which can easily be lifted over baby head inadvertently during the night.

We took the liner to Cornwall and Crete with us and, before we used it, I was dubious about allocating the space in our cases to it given the strict weight restrictions on airlines but since returning I would place this item on a must have list for any globe trotting baby! It’s just so beautifully soft, I really can’t say enough good stuff about this product.

Elsie slept like a dream on the cot liner during both holidays.  In Cornwall she was also in a sleeping bag but in Crete she slept in just a vest, directly on top of the liner. I’m so glad we took it with us as she looked snug despite wearing very little. There wasn’t any need to worry about the sheets you were placing her on to either, sometimes hotel sheets can seem a little questionable! I think the fact it probably smelt like home helped her settle too as it had been hanging outing her nursery until it was time to pack the suitcases.

cot liner, fine bedding company

 

 

Follow:

Finally I’m getting around to blogging about our week in Cornwall – Elsie’s very first holiday!  With everything thats happened since it feels like a lifetime ago! I won’t go in to detail about what we did everyday as it’s all a bit of a blur now but we did spend a large amount of time at the beach or exploring all the cute cornish towns nearby. The weather, after the first day, was glorious and we certainly made the most of it.

We stayed just outside the village of Goonhavern near Perranporth in a rented apartment which we found on Google through a lettings agency. The apartment was set in a converted farmhouse on a small holding surrounding by fields. The main reason for choosing the accommodation was the location; we knew we wanted to base our holiday around Perranporth as we just love the beach and the town – it’s so typically British seaside! The other factor when choosing the accommodation was the proximity to the local village pub, which we have visited before and loved. However, the details online failed to mention that although it’s less than a mile walk to the pub it’s not a walk you could do safely as about half of it requires walking along a pretty busy road.

We set off from Gloucestershire around 2pm on Saturday 20th August and, after a stop for dinner in Taunton, arrived at our destination around 8pm. It was a long journey but we completely expected it and the kids were as good as gold! As you can imagine that night was really about unpacking and getting the kids in bed so we could enjoy the next day. The owners of the apartment had very kindly left out some homemade scones with cream and jam, a bottle of cider and a bottle of cloudy apple juice.

As I mentioned above we visited some of the beautiful towns local to Perranporth including; St. Ives, Padstow, Rock and Mevagissey. We had the most amazing curry takeaway from a restaurant called Jaipur in Perranporth and also had fish and chips from a chippy called ‘Assalt and Battery’! Now you can’t visit Cornwall without trying a cornish pasty or two and we had an amazing one from the award winning Chough Bakery in Padstow. No wonder I gained a pound or two!

The day before we left we had a drink at The Bowgie Inn which, I’m pretty sure, has the best views of any pub I’ve ever been to – just have a look at this….

bowgie inn, crantock, cornwall

I took about a million photos so I won’t bore you with any more chatter and will share some of my favourites with you.

As much as Matt and I have loved all our visits to Cornwall over the past few years, I think we’ve been about 5 times, we are ready to try somewhere else. Perhaps Devon or further along the south coast.  If anyone has any great suggestions pop it in the comments below as this dreary weather is making me want to book a holiday!

oak ridge farm, cornwall, goonhavern

IMG_2405

mevagissey

mevagissey

perranporth beach

LapBaby, goonhavern, the new inn, cornwall, perranporth

 

Follow:

We’ve all been there, you’ve had fun in the pool and the kids are finally shattered but then you have to face getting everyone out the pool and dry; juggling the shampoo and underwear all whilst trying to keep your kids warm and happy. It’s difficult to say the least.  Last year we took the kids away to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands which is renowned as ‘the windy island’.  Getting out of the pool was always a bit of a challenge as the wind made it feel about 10 degrees cooler then it actually was and so we had shivering, whingey kids to contend with and faces like this….

cuddle dry swim

Trying to ask a 2 year old to hold up their towel, not trip over, dry themselves and remain happy is basically impossible!  And if your kids are anything like mine then they probably come out of the pool starving and thirsty and before you know it your sangria has a dash of chlorine and snot too!

I was recently asked if I wanted to try out the Cuddledry Poncho Towel* and with the face above in mind I jumped at the chance.  I already own the original Cuddledry towel and absolutely love how easy it makes bath time with a baby so I was really excited to receive the poncho. I didn’t realise until the towel arrived that it actually has UV protection  to a sun protection factor of 50! I’m already in love as sun cream is another bug bear of mine but that’s a story for another day.

cuddledry poncho

The poncho is a lovely bright colour and once I had taken it from the box I could already feel how absorbent and warm it was going to be.  It’s made from a mixture of bamboo and cotton which keeps it feeling soft and cosy yet soaks up water like a sponge.

Florence wanted to put it on immediately and I showed her how it buttoned up under the arms to make little sleeves.  I love this feature as not only does it help keep her warm but it stops towel draping and knocking things over.

cuddledry swim towel

Seeing as I am in my third trimester of pregnancy we aren’t planning any sun-soaked holidays just yet but we have been down the local health club a few times with the kids and so the next time we went we packed the Cuddledry poncho.

I was sort of dreading the post swim change as being pregnant and not too agile myself it’s difficult to get Florence dried and dressed as quickly as she would like.  However, I needn’t have worried. I unrolled the Cuddledry towel from our bag and Florence sat, as good as gold, on the bench whilst I sorted myself out and did not moan or complain about being cold once. She was twirling around in the mirror looking at her reflection and asking “do you like my new towel mummy?”

cuddledry swim poncho

Being a rather tall three year old I was worried the poncho might come up small on Florence but it didn’t. It came to her knees which was the perfect length as it covered and dried all the wet bits but also meant she wasn’t tripping over a large beach type towel.

We’ve also been using the towel in the garden now we are starting to see some warmer, sunnier days. The UV protection is ideal for this use and Florence is happy to pop it on and off as she gets in and out of the paddling pool instead of struggling to wrap a large towel around herself which would inevitably end up dunked.

I’ll be posting a short video wearing the poncho in during one of our impromptu paddling pool sessions so make sure you’re subscribed to my You Tube channel.

*This product was sent to me free of charge for the purposes of this review. All opinions of the product are honest and of my own making.

Follow: