I am now writing this post almost a week and a half after we returned from our holiday to Lanzarote and almost a week after I wrote our first post. Our tans have definitely started to fade already, but our memories haven't and I have loved going back over these photos and having another look. I wish we still back in our little villa, enjoying the sunshine with my little family.
Here is Part Two of our holiday to Lanzarote in photos and another little video... (I just love making these videos so much!)
Sister cuddles. On the third night of our holiday we went to a beautiful marina called Puerto Calero- if you are visiting Lanzarote I highly recommend a visit as it was so lovely to walk around and look at the boats.
Everywhere we went the girls got given these sticky, horrible lollies, usually AFTER they had already consumed an ice cream for pudding as well. We couldn't say no as they would look forward to them every meal but they definitely weren't as exciting for myself and Mr E who were worried about their teeth!
Look at my happy girly, she was all smiles all holiday.
Little freckle nose playing the 'minion game' on Daddy's phone- she was obsessed with playing it with him all holiday.
Puerto Calero harbour.
I love this photo of my girls- after all what is there not to love about golden light sunshine and sisters holding hands?
I'm a lucky lady to have these three to call my family.
Oh golden light sunshine you will always be my favourite. My Grandpa was looking at my blog the other day and he said 'why do you always take these hazy photos?' I think it might only be me whose a fan of these beauties! ;)
Love, love, love, love this photo of myself and this beauty. Mr E is getting better at the photo taking, as long as I set up the settings beforehand for him!
I think I might like this one even more. Does anyone else talk about owning a yacht when they walk round a marina or is it just us?! Puerto Calero was beautiful and definitely worth having a walk around, it was only about fifteen minutes drive from where we were staying.
Villa Ventura had a private pool and it was amazing to see how happy the girls were swimming around each day- Mads is a complete and utter water baby.
Two little crocs in the water- they look so similar in this photo I think.
I love the little bit of tummy poking out on this photo- this girl has got class! They lived in their Konfidence jackets as they do every holiday, they give us such peace of mind when being near water.
Both of the girls have got so much more confident going in the pool over the course of this holiday, I guess that's one of the benefits of having a private pool in your villa.
Cool dudes. Evening light. Yippee.
It was lovely to go for a walk in the evening, it stayed so hot even up until when the sun went down 8ish- the main promenade was wide enough that meant they could walk along without me worrying they were going to run into the road.
I am so proud of these two- love their Little Bird outfits too, Mads loves that blue playsuit, she is on an anti pink stage and so loves anything blue.
I am not quite sure why she was jumping in this photo!
I'm a big succulent fan (is there such a thing as a succulent fan?!) so I loved all these cacti on someone's front steps.
The girls loved the fact that the tide came in overnight and made big water pools, it meant they could splash and play to their hearts content. I love the beach but who else finds with children that the sand just gets absolutely everywhere?
Serious sandcastle building.
Sitting on Daddy's lap to eat her ice cream. You never know what to expect from restaurants on holiday but we can definitely recommend the areas of the Puerto del Carmen old town harbour and Puerto Calero, where we found a fabulous selection of tapas, fish and meat dishes. Plus they all had plain pasta and pizza for the girls which means it's always a winner in my eyes. ;)
Our last evening out and the last lolly of the holiday!
I love their happy smiles in this one.
Here is the second little film I made of our time in Lanzarote...
Overall it was a fantastic holiday, full of memories, happy times and laughter. Indeed if I had to sum it up in one word I would say smiles, of course you don't go on holiday to have a bad time, but I don't know what it was but it was just relaxed and laid back from start to finish. Sometimes going on holiday can mean the occasional grumpy day as routines change and the inevitable later bedtimes make for over tired children, but the girls were so well behaved from start to finish. We got into a routine of them both having a long afternoon siesta which meant that we could keep them up until around 8.30/9pm, therefore we actually managed to get out and have dinners out rather than just staying in our villa.
We went on lots of villa holidays before the girls were born, but this is the first time we have done one with them. It's hard to say which is my favourite- I love the luxury of a hotel stay, the fact that your room gets cleaned and you have your pick of nice food, but there is definitely something more relaxed about being in a villa. We could come and go as we pleased, weren't held to timings and the best bit for us was having the private pool area, which meant the girls could sit inside for a bit of shade and have a little watch of the television, but we didn't have to go in with them as we could sit less than a metre away in the sunshine.
As for Lanzarote, having been a few times in my childhood and teens, plus once in my early 20's, I admit to having a few tiny worries before I went away, mainly around it being quite commercialised and British- but in actual fact we couldn't have asked for a better location. The villa was in a quiet area but with the action not too far away. We were a stones throw away from the beach and there were really fantastic playgrounds dotted all around us, which were great fun for the girls. The whole resort was spotless, the people were friendly and we wouldn't hesitate in going back there again- there really was so much for us to do.
Looking back on these photos makes me get a little teary. I am just so, so incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to experience things like this with my little family, but more than that I am just so grateful to have these three in my life. I must have said to my husband 'we are so lucky' at least three times a day. Because we are. We have those two beautiful little girls, whose faces were full of smiles all week just at being able to have their Mummy and Daddy all to themselves. Day to day life is hectic, busy and at times I am the first to admit I am not always completely present- we work hard, the girls go to nursery, or there's cleaning to be done, jobs to be doing or meals to be made. I relished the opportunity to switch off and spend a week with my girls, away from the stresses and mundanity of day to day life, and I know they did as well.
Of course when you are on holiday you end up taking more photos than you do when you are just going about your day to day life. On our recent trip to Lanzarote my big camera came out with us every evening and I loved taking photos of my girls. I took so many of them together over the course of the week but for my Siblings post this month I wanted to focus on one evening as the remainder of the photos are for another post, plus I like to have a series of shots and a sort of story behind them.
I am definitely not exaggerating when I say that my daughters make me feel so proud every day, of course they do, they are my children and I love them- all parents are proud of their offspring. Yes they also drive me mad constantly and sometimes parenting is incredibly tough, but of course they make me proud- that's a given. But the thing that is guaranteed to make me feel the proudest is the way they are with each other.
Mads and LL have such an amazing bond and it really is just such a wonderful thing to witness. My Mum, who sees them a couple of times a week said to me the other day that the bond they had was really something quite special. Of course they argue, mainly over the usual things like sharing toys or the iPad more than anything else, but to be honest they don't even really argue all that much. They are the best of friends and their bond is really quite intense. Sometimes in day to day life I don't really stop to appreciate it but then I will look back over photos or videos that I have made and it is just obvious how much they love each other.
I am so incredibly proud of that.
On holiday they seemed to get even closer, I actually think it's more the fact that every day LL is becoming more and more communicative and it's enabled them to really start to play properly with each other. They have imaginative play more than ever, making up stories and running around the house pretending to be police officers, or a head chef and a sous chef. The dynamics between them are funny, LL really is like Mads shadow, she follows her everywhere and you can tell the way she looks up to her by the look of admiration in her eyes. But then Mads is the more affectionate of the two, she always wants to cuddle her and play with her ears which is her source of comfort. And LL definitely is the boss although she is the youngest, poor Mads often gives in to her demands for an easy life. LL definitely rules the roost.
These photos were taken on the first night of our holiday, when we went to the local harbour for dinner. Again although they are really similar, their differences are obvious to me in these shots. Mads is such a tom boy, she is happiest in shorts and t-shirts, whereas at the moment LL seems to be living up to the girly stereotype of loving what she calls her 'pretties'- basically a selection of plastic jewels plus also she is obessed with shoes.
As they ran round the harbour hand in hand they got many smiles from people sitting in the outdoor areas of restaurants eating their dinner, with a few kind people commenting on how lovely they were. As a mother I don't know anything more lovely when you are out and about than someone complimenting your children on their behaviour- these kind of comments stick in my mind even from years ago but generally it doesn't happen enough and it's so nice when people take the time to do so. Again I was struck by just how proud I was of them. They have their moments, one day it could be one that has made me frustrated and the next day it could be the other, and I can definitely see glimpses into the future of how having two headstrong, feisty little ladies is going to be a handful at times, but I really hope that they remain the best of friends.
I put this quote on my instagram the other day and I think it totally sums up my two girls...
'Sister to Sister we will always be, a couple of nuts off the family tree.' - Author Unknown
I can only hope that my two little crazy nuts have this bond for the rest of their lives.
No girls, this isn't what Mummy wants for photos on her blog. ;)
It wasn't until I looked closely at this photo that I noticed they were holding hands.
This month I am sending you over to have a look at Lucy's beautiful blog- head over to see what her little twosome have been getting up to.
On our recent holiday to Lanzarote, I took a lot of photos on my iPhone. I took a lot on my DSLR as well of course, but especially when we were out and about sometimes it was easier to just take my phone with me. I love doing these sporadic snippets of life through my phone, it's still the camera I use the most and it was no exception on holiday. Of course if I make an effort and take my big camera out then I always love the photos, but I do think phone photos capture more things in the moment as they are so quick and easy.
I absolutely love buying outfits for my girls, it definitely is a big weakness of mine, plus we are exceptionally lucky in that they get bought a fair few things from my kind family, but I especially love choosing what they are going to wear on holiday. Just like our garage door pictures at home, we got into a habit while we were out in Lanzarote of taking a photo each evening before we went out. We did the same when we were in Rhodes last year and I love that we have these silly little photos of our holidays to look back on. A fair few people have asked me where I got some of their clothes from, so I will try and link to where I got them from. (Don't worry I'm not about to turn into a fashion blogger but I hope it helps if you are after any Summer outfit inspiration!)
Here is 'My Little Bits of Life- The Holiday Edition'...
1. How cool do my little dudes look in their sunglasses? LL's little flower dress is from Tesco and Mads watermelon vest (which I LOVE) is from Next. My playsuit is from Next but it's so last season.
2. Is it a bit embarrasing to wear dungarees at the same time as your daughters? Oops. Mads and LL's little dungees are from Primark and were super cheap but I love them- they are bright neon and have rose gold buttons. I still haven't decided if I can pull of the dungarees look but I am embracing them all the same!
3. I still love 'matching but not matching' the girls outfits- their whole outfits in these photos are from Next, I love the fact that you can buy matching clothes in different colours from there. My dress is from Mela Loves London.
4. I ran every day on holiday, only 3 miles a day, but it was amazing to get up and run down the promenade, there were so many people running and it really was so motivating. The scenary was beautiful, I would definitely stay motivated to run if it looked like that every day. I ate so badly on holiday, after all if you can't indulge on holiday when can you? It was good to feel like I was at least being a little healthy by exercising for a bit each day.
5. I really love this photo of my posers looking cool in their matching swimming cossies and their sunglasses- so funny. Their swimming costumes have little fruit all over them and are really adorable- my Mum very kindly bought them from Tesco for them.
6. We went out for some cocktails and ice cream at a nice little modern bar on the seafront called Blue Horizon- the girls loved the big beds that you lay on.
7. We bought these little towelling sailboat dresses from Next last year and the girls have lived in them when we have gone away- sadly they are getting a bit tatty and too small now, I will be sad to see them go!
8. We really do try and keep to the girls routines even while we are away, so they napped every afternoon on holiday. It meant that Mr E and I got some well needed sun bathing time. I took my laptop with me because I thought I had work to do, but I actually ended up only turning it on once- we both really switched off which was lovely. I even read four books!
9. We went for a walk along the beach one evening which was lovely- Mads shorts and LL's playsuit are from my absolute favourite Little Bird at Mothercare- for someone who loves retro styling I couldn't love their clothes anymore. My trousers are from Topshop and when I bought them Mr E said they looked like a pair of old curtains from the 70's!
10. Yet more wall posing- I adore these little dresses from Next, we bought them a few months ago to go away in January so I don't know if they are still in stock but I really love the bright colours- they are so cute.
11. Lovely Little Bird outfits again- I don't think I could love their things much more if I tried. My dress is ridiculously old and from good old Primark.
12. More Next outfits- it's hard to see from the photos but Mads dungarees and LL's top have a really cute neon bird print on- if you are looking for Summer stuff you should definitely check out Next this season, we have found some lovely things. My playsuit is from H and M.
13. There's nothing better than sitting in the sunshine watching your little family playing and drinking a diet coke!
14. 'Baa' is definitely well travelled but I am not sure he is impressed with some of the adventures he ends up on- he took a little dip in the pool and we had to hang him on the line to dry. When it came to bedtime he still wasn't completely dry so I had to spend twenty minutes blow drying him with a hair dryer- the things we parents do for our little people!
15. I am obsessed with frozen yoghurt so was pleased to find a little shop called Smooy- the girls were so excited to choose their own toppings and of course went for the most unhealthy sugary ones they could find.
16. All ready to go home on the last day- when we were at the airport their Pink Lining cases made a lot of people smile and I have to admit they did look rather cute dragging them around behind them. Their outfits are from Little Bird again- I adore LL's little blue pinafore dress.
17. I love this photo of them- sandcastle building is a serious business it seems.
18. When the flight is delayed there's only one thing for it- out come the electronic babysitters! Luckily it wasn't delayed for too long and we were soon on our way back home. Boo.
If you want to see more of my iPhone photos I am over on instagram- I'm @mummydaddyme. Next part of our holiday to Lanzarote coming up next week when I stop watching The Following in the evenings and get round to making another video!
There's a certain point at the beginning of the holiday that is guaranteed to make me excited and that is when you first step out of the plane doors into the heat of a new country. Of course, a lot of the time you end up walking down a gangway first, but sometimes you get straight off the plane and into the open air. The heat and warmth often just hits you after being cooped up on a long flight and I love that feeling- the feeling of wanting to take off your jacket and feel the sun beating down on your shoulders. There's that relief of being at your destination after the plane journey, that excited feeling of anticipation of seeing where you are going to be staying, and that sense of relief that comes with leaving day to day stresses far behind you, even if only for a week or so.
We go away for different reasons- whether it's a visit to see family or spend time with loved ones, a city break to visit the cultural sights, or just quite simply to get a bit of sunshine. Our recent holiday to Lanzarote was going to be about the latter- a week of sunshine, sea and relaxing with my little family. We had no plans, other than to switch off from our busy schedules and enjoy precious time together. And that's exactly what we did.
I spent ages browsing the James Villa website, trying to decide on a destination. In the end we decided on one of the Canary Islands, being that it was sun we were after and knowing that early May would mean pretty much guaranteed sunshine. Growing up, I visited Lanzarote a fair few times and knew it was a great place for a week of easy going family fun in the sun, so we decided on there and found the perfect villa for us- Villa Ventura. Ventura was situated in the main resort of Puerto Del Carmen, but in a quieter location,just a stones throw from the beach with sea views and it's own private pool. It also stated on the website that due to the location you didn't need to hire a car and being that we just wanted a week in the sun without particuarly having a thirst to explore, that sold it to us and we booked it up, counting down the days until it was time for our holiday.
Although we only really wanted sunshine and a pool or the beach, I must admit to having some slight niggles about Lanzarote before we travelled. Having been there a few times in the past, I know that especially the main resort of Puerto del Carmen has a bit of a reputation for being quite 'British'- think an 'Al's Cafe and 'The Golden Lion' pub bar kind of place and there is definitely a distinct lack of culture in that part, with quite a big cheesy nightlife vibe. However when we arrived, I couldn't have been more happy and proved wrong. Yes, of course there is still a lot of restaurants and areas catering to tourists, but we were in a quiet part of the resort about twenty minutes from the main night life strip- we had a fantastic mix with lots of restaurants and amenities for families, but also a quiet location which was actually really pretty. It honestly couldn't have been better.
Villa Ventura was in 'Playa de los Pocillos' - a quiet suburb of Puerto Del Carmen but still less than a mile from the action. It is one of the newest areas of the resort and is popular with families with young children, meaning that of course it was perfect for us. In recent years development funds from the European Union have been used to create a wide traffic free promenade connecting the resort centre to Matagorda in the north and Puerto del Carmen some 3km to the south, the girls loved strolling down this promendade every evening and I loved to run along it every morning. But more about that later.
As usual I took so many photos and two videos, so I will let them tell the story of our holiday as we go along...
Here's the first part of our holiday in photos (apologies but this blog is going to be full of holiday spam for the next week or so!)
The flight time to Lanzarote is just under four hours, we flew from Stansted with Ryanair, which was actually really good on the way out there. But of course we had to find ways to entertain ourselves, including covering ourselves in stickers. Obviously.
How gorgeous is Villa Ventura? It was such a quaint, lovely villa, but to be greeted on arrival by this private pool was definitely the most exciting of welcomes.
Having stayed on a fair few villa holidays before, this was the first time we had stayed in a villa with both our girls. I love both a hotel holiday and a villa holiday for different reasons, but the main reason for loving a villa stay is the fact that you have your own space. The girls could go in and out as they pleased and if they wanted a quiet ten minutes watching television, it meant that we could still sit outside and watch them from the comfort of the terrace.
On the first evening we took a short taxi ride from our villa to the 'Old Town', from visiting Lanzarote I knew that this area was a little quieter than the main strip but still with lots of restaurants set around a delightful harbour. I love this photo of my smiley, happy pair- both myself and Mr E commented that the whole holiday all they did was smile.
What a lovely trio to be dining with.
I absolutely love this photo of Mads having a good old swing. There were lots of great little parks dotted around the resort, including this one at the Old Town harbour which we just had to visit after we finished dinner.
The girls loved having our own outside area to chill out- they went out early most mornings (I say early but due to them going to bed much later than normal they lay in until about 8.15am most mornings!) and ate their breakfast al fresco.
On our first full day we headed down to the beach, which was literally about a minute walk from the villa. Of course we stopped off to buy the obligatory buckets and spades first.
Testing out the water- let's not lie it was pretty chilly.
When we went to Rhodes last Summer Mads tentatively put her feet in the sea, but wasn't hugely confident.
This time however there was no stopping her, she absolutely loved the sea and she splashed and played in it for absolutely ages, squealing in delight and covering herself from head to toe in sand. Both myself and Mr E said we don't think we have ever seen her have as much fun.
Being in a villa meant that we had the luxury of both worlds, so we got into a routine of eating out one evening and then in the following evening, although I must admit we did struggle to find much to cook. I don't know whether it was because we didn't have a car, but the local Spar supermarket to us didn't have any fresh meat and the fruit and veg wasn't the most desirable. We ate a LOT of carbs during the week, but if we stayed in to eat dinner we would still go out afterwards to have ice cream or go for a walk.
Oh the light. Regular readers of this blog will know that backlit photography is my favourite type of photography and the sun was the perfect height when we went out in the evenings for me to take lots of photos of my favourite kind of light. I love this photo of Mads and Mr E.
Joined by another little beauty. (I must admit to going a bit overboard on the matching outfits on holiday- oops!)
Could someone tell my baby to stop growing please? I am relishing every single moment I can with her before September when she goes to school.
This holiday was the holiday that she started to get little 'sun kisses' on her nose. I used to hate my freckles growing up but I hope she realises just how beautiful they are.
My new favourite photo.
I don't know what it was but this little person grew from a baby to a little girl over night on this holiday. She seemed to grow a foot taller and her speech has just exploded, she tries to copy everything you say and although her pronunciation isn't the clearest, it's getting better by the day. We are so proud of her.
Another new favourite photo of my cheeky girls- they loved strolling down the promenade every evening, there really was so much to do there for small children and they loved stopping off at the different playgrounds.
One morning we hired a quad bike from a company called Easy Bike and cycled down the promenade to get an ice cream- the girls absolutely loved down this and waved to everyone as we passed by.
Ice cream sharing. We ate rather a lot of ice creams on this holiday, I didn't realise just quite how many until I was looking at these photos and editing the video. No wonder my jeans are tighter!
One evening we took a stroll along the beach- the beach next to our villa was called Playa de los Pocillos and it was a lovely stretch of sandy beach, which was spotlessly clean. The sand in Lanzarote is blacker, volcanic sand- according to Mads it was perfect for sandcastle building.
Nothing cuter than a little lady in a towelling playsuit. I took lots of photos of their outfits on my iPhone and I might do a post on them in the next week or so.
I adore this photo of my big girl- four is such a delightful age. We definitely have weeks or 'stages' where she can be sometimes be difficult, but for the most part she really is just so lovely to be around- her enthusiasm for the world around her is infectious. And look at that smile!
Here is the first of two little videos I made of our time in Lanzarote, I think this might be my favourite video I have done so far...
Part Two of our holiday coming up soon...
NB: Thanks so much to James Villas for inviting us to stay in one of their lovely properties. All words and opinions are entirely my own.