A family holiday is a wonderful opportunity to make special memories, take lovely photographs and appreciate your other half and your wonderful children. On the flip side, planning a family holiday can be stressful and take a lot of time, from researching a destination and booking, to packing and sorting out documents.
You may decide on a cruise, as with so many places to visit and excursions included, the hard work is done for you, right? Not necessarily. To help you make the most of your much-anticipated family getaway, here are some top tips for cruising with toddlers and kids.
Check Age Requirements //
You may think that you can just pick your preferred cruise, book and then when the time comes, hop on board. However, this may not be the case because some cruises have minimum age restrictions. Although this should be no issue for toddlers or kids, if you plan on travelling with a baby, make sure you research minimum age before booking, as some impose a 12-week age limit.
Lots and Lots of Research //
Looking at destinations and excursions is just not enough when it comes to choosing a cruise. When you are travelling as a family, you also need to consider the availability of any kids’ clubs or organised family activities. Thinking ahead about how you will keep your little ones entertained while onboard is key, as it will both keep you sane and make your holiday more enjoyable.
Plan to Arrive Early //
If your cruise liner will be setting sail from the UK then this may not apply, but for those who need to catch a flight, it’s a good idea to arrive early. This means that if the worst should happen – a delayed flight, lost luggage, or problems caused by bad weather – you should still arrive on time to catch the start of the cruise.
Pack the Essentials //
If you have been on a family holiday before, then you will know that packing for a baby, toddler or child can be very stressful indeed. The best advice is to start early. Make a list, consider if there is anything you will need to buy and pack in advance. Remember to include a light-weight pram (this will be easier for excursions), basic medical supplies, their favourite toys and your tablet loaded with their favourite films or shows.
Adapt Your Cabin //
Your choice of accommodation is crucial to the success of your family cruise. If you have any specific needs, speak to your cruise operator before booking as they may be able to assist. Alternatively, be prepared to adapt your cabin when you arrive as you may need to change the layout slightly to accommodate your family. A Bolsover cruise can be a fantastic holiday, but to make sure your family has the best time possible, use these tips to plan ahead.
Disclosure: PR collaboration
At the beginning of every year I like to make a list of places I’d love to visit, ranging from local towns in the UK to exotic and far-flung destinations. Even though I know I won’t make it to all (or many) of the places on my list, it gives me a bucket list of places to dream about and save up for.
There are a couple of places that feature on the list every year that I’m yet to travel to, including Hawaii. From sipping cocktails on the beach, to learning how to surf there are a million ways i’d love to spend my time there so I’ve decided to to make a ‘dream holiday guide’ that we can use as an outline of fun things to do and see if we ever make it there.
We are huge fans of villa holidays and I’ve found some incredible homes for rent in Hawaii including these beauties…
Don’t they look utterly idyllic!
Millions of people visit Hawaii each year to spend time on the sandy beaches, explore the rainforests and enjoy everything the state has to offer. Formed by volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is made up of more than 100 islands but is best known for its eight main islands; Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, Kahoolawe. Not all are inhabited or possible to visit but the 4 most popular ones (Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii) have so much to offer.
When it comes to amazing things to see and do, I think Hawaii is the sort of dream trip that would require months just to scratch the surface, but here are a few of the places that are on my ‘must visit’ list:
Haleakala National Park //
Towering over the island of Maui and visible from just about any point, Haleakala Crater offers the most wonderful vantage point to see the most incredible sunrises and sunsets.
Akaka Falls //
Beautiful Akaka Falls is perhaps the island of Hawaii’s most famous waterfall. It’s perhaps the most popular waterfall thanks to its accessibility, making it perfect for families to visit. The walk will take you through forests containing wild orchids, ferns and bamboo groves before coming out at the stunning falls.
Waipi’o Valley //
One of the most spectacular valleys in all of Hawaii, Waipi’o looks utterly stunning. Lush, with dramatic sea cliffs, I’d love to join an organised tour to experience all this valley has to offer.
Pearl Harbour //
You can’t come to Hawaii without taking the time to visit the famous site of Pearl Harbour to honour those who died during an attack by the Japanese in World War II. Tours are readily available.
Paradise Cove //
At Paradise Cove, you can take part in a traditional Luau. You’ll be welcomed with tropical music, setting the scene for the evening and then take a stroll through a Hawaiian village. In the village, you can be shown how to make a traditional Hawaiian lei and you can get into the spirit with a temporary Polynesian tattoo.
Visitors of Paradise Cove have a chance to try their hand at several traditional Hawaiian games including ‘O’o ihe (Spear throwing), ‘Ulu maika (Rolling stone disks) and Moa pahe’e (Dart sliding) and in the evening you can experience a ‘shower of flowers’ as a tree climber ascends to dizzying heights and showers the crowd below with fragrant flowers, participate in the Hukilau on the beach, where you haul in the fishing nets to the rhythm of a conch shell and witness the time-honored techniques of underground oven cooking at the Imu Ceremony.
As you’d expect there are hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous beaches to visit but here are a few that have caught my eye.
Punalu’u Beach, Hawaii //
I’m not usually one for black sand but Punalu’u beach is famous for its endangered green sea turtles and it is one of the few areas the turtles choose to lay their eggs.
Kauna ‘oa Beach, Hawaii //
Kauna’oa beach is one of the prettiest white sand beaches in Hawaii. It’s a real family beach with good access to facilities and is not only great for sunbathing, but also for activities that do not require high surf such as snorkelling. There is also the opportunity to spot Manta Rays in the evening whenthe Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (that is next to the beach) turns on floodlights over the water after the sun goes down. These lights attract plankton, which in turn attract hungry (but harmless) manta rays. There is even a lookout called “Manta Ray Point” where you can get a good view.
North Shore, Oahu //
If the perfect wave exists, you’ll find it on Oahu’s North Shore. The towering, glassy winter waves of this legendary surf mecca draw the best surfers in the world, while smaller and gentler summer waves are better for beginners. Stretching for more than 7 miles, the beaches of the North Shore host the world’s premier surfing competitions during the peak winter months and if you visit between November and February you may witness waves up to 30 feet high!
Lanikai, Oahu //
Lanikai is a pure paradise with pristine sands, turquoise water, calm waves and lush tropical plants and is ranked as one of the best beaches in the world!
Have you been to Hawaii? Can you recommend anything else to see and do?
Disclosure: PR collaboration. (All images taken from Pinterest and the Luxury Retreats website)
Valentine’s Day is a lovely chance to show your special someone just how much you care. You could send flowers, gift a heart-shaped box of chocolates, or book a romantic dinner, but what if you’d like to do something that’s a bit outside the box?
Valentine’s is a perfect excuse to get a little creative, so with that in mind, here are 6 sentimental gift ideas that will make your loved one go weak at the knees.
A Trip Down Memory Lane //
As the most romantic date in the calendar, Valentine’s presents an opportunity to do something really romantic. Show your partner how much you cherish them by making a memory box or jar. Fill it with tickets, photos, keepsakes and little notes containing your favourite memories.
Plan Ahead //
Alternatively, you can use Valentine’s as a chance to look towards the future. Rather than spoiling your other half for just one day, how about gifting a whole year of date nights? This could include movie nights, ice skating, star gazing, summer picnics, a night away, or a mini road trip. I adore these 52 Date Night Cards from Thispaperbook!
Go Back to the Beginning //
Whilst a memory box is a thoughtful and meaningful gift, you could consider going back to the beginning. Plan a cute Valentine’s date at the spot where you first met, cook the first meal you ate together, or recreate the night you first said, ‘I love you.’
Serious Pampering //
Life can be hectic and stressful – even more so when you have a family to look after – so use Valentine’s Day as a chance to show your significant other how much you appreciate them. So, say thank you for everything they do with a homemade pamper kit. You could include a bottle of their favourite tipple, a sweet treat, relaxing bath products and scented candles.
Special Jewellery //
It’s a well-known fact that Valentine’s is a popular day for proposals, but what about those of who us are already married? You could give a special piece of jewellery to reaffirm your commitment, such as an eternity ring, to show them just how much they mean to you.
Food for Thought //
If the special someone in your life is a bit of a foodie, then a homemade bake could be the perfect Valentine’s gift. Make a cake and write a sweet message with icing pens, bake romantic themed cupcakes, try Valentine’s themed doughnuts, or go for heart shaped meringues.
Which one of these sentimental Valentine’s gift ideas will you choose? Have a lovely Valentine’s Day!
Disclosure: PR collaboration
If you’re not au fait with the Geronimo Festival you can read all about it here, but in a nutshell it’s the largest children’s festival in the North West that kicks off on 25th to 28th May 2018 at Arley Hall, Cheshire. You can expect a line-up jam packed with some of the biggest names in children’s entertainment, including CBeebies favourites Mr Bloom, Andy Day, Justin Fletcher and Cook & Line from Swashbuckle.
Alongside the big names, there’s also a whole host of activities for children and parents, including donkey rides, circus shows, yoga, face painting, science shows, climbing, craft workshops and much much more.
In addition, the fun doesn’t stop when the acts do, for the second year running families can now camp in the specially designed child friendly campsite. You can either bring your own tent, caravan or motorhome, or take advantage of the many glamping options on offer. Families can choose from a wide range of fully equipped, spacious and unique boutique tents, including Arabian Bedouin Tents, Cosy Cubes or bright, airy and affordable Tangerine Tents. With the option of booking all the kit needed to camp and the promise to be pitched with friends regardless of group size or when you arrive, all that grown-ups need to worry about is making sure they get to see as much of the Geronimo Festival as they can.
Also, for the grown ups this year, Geronimo really have outdone themselves by adding a spa at Arley Hall. The Swedish-style, hand crafted hot tubs are heated using traditional eco-friendly, wood-burning methods in keeping with their festival vibe. You can extend your chill-out experience even further by lounging on one of the deckchairs or taking a sauna or why not take a steaming hot shower! There is also a gorgeous Spa Bar continuing their Zen theme ensuring you leave feeling relaxed and ready to do it all again the next day and for the first time ever, they are offering a whole range of holistic treatments including acupuncture, hot stone massages and acupressure.
Whilst you’re enjoying a moments peace and relaxation in the spa, you can be safe in the knowledge that your children are safe in the secure crèche and children’s club, staffed by a team of fully qualified and experienced child-carers with a first aider present at all times.
Geronimo Festival really is a children’s festival like no other and Hello Baby has teamed up with the lovely team at Geronimo to offer one lucky family the chance to win a family pass for up to four people for either Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday admission. (Please note a £20 charity donation must be paid by the winner when claiming the ticket)
For your chance to win, comment on this blog post answering the following question AND fill in the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!
Q: At which venue will Geronimo Festival North West take place?
A: Tatton Park
B: Arley Hall
C: Chatsworth House
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Full Ts&Cs are below.
Terms and conditions:
- Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or Geronimo Festival.
- The prize is one family pass to Geronimo Festival for either Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday admission. The date must be specified at time of confirming the prize. Each pass admits 4 people, one person in the group must be aged over 18 (NB children under the age of 2 years do not require a ticket).
- The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- A £20 charity donation must be paid by the winner when claiming the ticket.
- Travel, parking and accommodation are not included.
- The prize is non transferable and ID will be required at time of collecting the ticket wristband upon arrival.
- The prize includes most events and activities at Geronimo but not food and drink from any stalls or bar or paid activities such as the fun fair and spa.
- The prize draw starts at 12am on 31st January 2018 and closes at 12am on 28th February 2018.
- Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook, following @hellobabyblog on Twitter, following @hellobabyblog on Instagram, following @hellobabyblog on Pinterest, tweeting about the giveaway, following @geronimofest_uk on Twitter, visiting GeronimoFestival on Facebook and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
- The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
- Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
- By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
- Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
- Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Geronimo Festival of the winner’s name and they will then send on the prize once the charity donation has been paid. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.
Normally when the word “road trip” comes to mind we think of exploring the west cost of America and famous routes like Route 66. Although many of us may not be aware of them, the UK is home to some road trips which can fully embrace some of the stunning scenery the country has to offer. For most people a UK road trip means motorways and congested A roads but depending on where you’re going, the route can go from boring to breathtaking.
Many of the road trips on offer take you through various terrains and conditions, so it’s important to be prepared for the journey ahead so you can fully enjoy it. With unfamiliar roads and adverse weather conditions it’s important your vehicle has the correct tyres to prevent the risk of a collision. Before you set off check that your tyres are in good condition but if you feel they need replacing then companies like TyrePlus stock a wide range of tyres, helping ensure your journey stays as safe as possible.
Atlantic Highway // England
Exploring all that Somerset, Devon and Cornwall has to offer, the Atlantic Highway is a great way to see the South West Peninsula and discover some of England’s beautiful scenery. The first part of the trip ventures through the stunning surroundings of Exmoor National Park and offers the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the local red deer. This route provides endless opportunities for refreshment breaks with many villages and shops on the way. As the route starts taking you south this is when you can really appreciate what England has to offer. Beautiful sea views and the odd surfer catching a wave is what makes this journey so special, before ending at the western most tip of Cornwall, Land’s End.
Causeway Coastal Route // Ireland
Known as one of the most stunning coastlines in the world, this coastal route allows you to explore some of Northern Ireland’s beautiful scenery. Starting in Belfast and ending in Derry~Londonderry, the route takes you past some of the countries natural beauties, such as Torr Head, the closest part between Ireland and Scotland, take a walk on the sandy beaches of Whitepark Bay or take in the outstanding beauty of the famous Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland’s only World Heritage site and the reason this breathtaking route was given its name.
North Coast 500 // Scotland
Referred to by some locals as Scotland’s answer to Route 66, the North Coast 500 takes you on a journey through miles of open country roads and allows you to take in some of Scotland’s hidden gems. Starting in Inverness, the route ventures along the Scottish coastline allowing you to explore castles, mountains and sandy beaches before the journey ends back at its starting point. For the walkers the North Coast 500 offers an array of stunning mountains and rugged terrains that are waiting to be explored. If you’re after breath taking views and natural beauty then this route is for you.
Black Mountain Pass // Wales
A firm favourite with keen bikers and motorists, the Black Mountain Pass is around 20 miles of swopping roads which touch the western corner of the Brecon beacons and peaks at a breath taking 1,600ft. Tackled by Jeremy Clarkson in an episode of Top Gear, the route has numerous bends and a well-known hairpin named locally as the “cuckoo turn”. It’s a route that needs to be driven with caution but driving at slow speeds means you can fully embrace the natural beauty that surrounds you as well as giving way for the many stray sheep you’ll find wandering the roads.
There are so many more amazing road trips in the UK that are waiting to be discovered. If you’ve explored any yourself then it would be great to hear from you in the comments section below.
Disclosure: PR collaboration