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Articles tagged with: Weekends

A Child Friendly Weekend In Amsterdam- Part One.

on Tuesday, 04 November 2014.

When you think of Amsterdam what do you think of?  Stag and Hen parties stumbling out of 'coffee shops'?  Men dressed as Borat roaming widely along the red light district?  Or perhaps slightly prettier things such as tulips or clogs?  I thought all of these things about Amsterdam until this past weekend, although I knew it was beautiful I didn't exactly imagine it to be a particularly family friendly city.  Having been briefly before, staying one night in my early 20's, and a couple of times because my old head office was there for work where I literally saw a desk and my hotel room, I didn't really know exactly what the city had to offer.  Therefore when we were invited to stay for the weekend on behalf of KLM and their #KLMFlyLocal campaign we jumped at the chance to get to know the real Amsterdam.

I hadn't flown KLM before but we were so impressed.  Flying from Norwich airport to Schiphol airport (KLM's original home!), our check in was smooth, easy and without the hassle often attached to larger airports.  Once on the plane our flight only took 35 minutes, which is pretty amazing and even within that time we got a biscuit and a drink included.  Whenever I fly I always think of the larger airports, but we will definitely fly from our regional airports again, in fact KLM fly from 16 local cities including Aberdeen, Manchester, London City and Newcastle.  It was just so easy and much less stressful with two young children.

All I can say is Wow.  Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful, vibrant, colourful and quite frankly amazing cities I have ever been to.  It is relaxed, the Dutch are so incredibly friendly and it is so family friendly, with my girls having the time of our lives over the course of our long weekend.  Both myself and Mr E were blown away with the city and wished we could have stayed longer.  Obviously travelling with small people can sometimes be stressful, but our girls were impeccably behaved all weekend, with us not having to have one cross word with them.  They loved it and so did we, we made so many memories as a family and we will remember it for a long time.  I have taken so, so, so many photos that I am going to have to split this into a few posts, but here is our wonderful weekend in photos...

Day One...

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We arrived into Amsterdam really early and by 9.30am were in our hotel room which is quite frankly so quick and amazing.  We were thrilled with our Junior Suite at the Movenpick Amsterdam City, especially because they allowed us to check in when we arrived and not wait until the usual time.  This meant we could have a freshen up and a relax in our room after a 4am start.

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Our first morning was spent walking around the canal area and getting our bearings.  The canals are just so beautiful, with street after street of waterside shops, restaurants and quaint coffee shops.  We spent hours looking at the old Dutch buildings and the girls waved at all the boats going past. 

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We took our single buggy and a buggy board but Mads decided to have a really long sleep in the buggy on the first day so this little one walked a lot.  She was in her element, waving at people, smiling and loving the attention from passers by.

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As a family we have a *little* obsession for pancakes, so were excited to try out some Dutch ones as they are a speciality over there.  I had heard the best place to go was Pancakes! Amsterdam so after much map orientation we managed to find it.  

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We had to queue outside for almost an hour as it is so small inside.  LL wasn't sure whether it was worth the wait!

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But it most definitely was!  We shared a traditional savoury ham and cheese Dutch Pancake, plus two sweet chocolate, whipped cream and ice cream ones, with a little sneaky American style maple syrup and bacon stack as well.  They were honestly the most delicious things I have ever eaten, definitely worth a trip if you are ever in the area. 

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 We were so lucky with the weather, the sun shined the whole time and it was so beautiful in the afternoons when it began to set.  I love this photo of Mr E and LL.

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I absolutely love this photo of us- she really is a ray of sunshine.

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We got on a tram and went to the area behind the Rijksmuseum so the girls could run around in the park area and we could see the 'I amsterdam' sign.

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 They loved running around and playing on the sign.

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I love the light in this photo.

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Peeking.

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M is for Mads.  And random Man.

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 Throwing stones in the water.  As you do.

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I love this photo of us- I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to take them on adventures.

 

The rest of the day passed in a blur of sightseeing in the beautiful streets, before we headed back to our hotel bar for dinner as the girls were so tired after their early start.  A couple of other families were also there at the same time as us, so it was lovely to meet Fritha and Laura's family for a drink in the Executive Lounge at the Movenpick, where snacks and complimentary drinks are served for Executive Room guests.  We all went to bed really early, with Mr E falling asleep at 8.30pm!  

Here is a little video of our adventures in Amsterdam and Day 2 and 3 of our photos coming up soon!

NB: Thanks to KLM for flying us to Amsterdam as part of their #KLMFlyLocal campaign, as always opinions and content are completely my own.

 

 

Our Weekend Camping Adventure- Part Two.

on Tuesday, 19 August 2014.

A couple of weekends ago we had our first camping experience as a family when (I say camping but we cheated and went for a more 'luxury' option!) to Pembrokeshire in South West Wales.  I posted some photos last week, but I took so many as usual that I decided to split my posts in to two parts.  

 

Here is a little more of what we got up too...

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I *may* have prettied up our tent with these super cute lanterns from The Little Things.  

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We decided to go to South Wales because Mr E used to holiday in Wales a lot as a child, and we heard the beaches were beautiful.  We googled 'Britain's best beach' and it came up with Barafundle Bay, and then when Lucy and her little family then posted about their adventure there, our minds were made up.  It didn't disappoint, it was absolutely beautiful and because we went late in the afternoon, it was practically deserted.  For those thinking of going there, you have to walk over the cliff to get there, it's probably a good 3/4 of a mile walk up some steps and hills, but once you are there it's 100% worth it.

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So worth the climb- how beautiful.

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'You better give me that spade soon Daddy.'

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This girl is an actual liability when it comes to sand- she gets it EVERYWHERE.  Whereas Mads was never fussed when she was a baby, LL just wants to eat it and put it places she isn't supposed too!

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No trip to the seaside would be complete without some competitive sandcastle building.  Obviously.

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We sat and had dinner on the practically deserted beach.  Which was lovely bar the sandy sandwiches, which were a little crunchy.

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She is still at that stage where she is 'waddling' - she's getting faster on her feet every day but still holds out her hands to steady herself most of the time which is pretty cute.

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Sisterly sandcastle building.

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The next few photos are basically all of LL prompting Mr E to say 'You are aware that we have more than one child?!  It's just the light was so nice and she was sitting still!

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Ahhh pretty light and a baby in romper shorts.  Perfect.

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I love this photo of Mr E and LL.  He really is the best father I could ask for for my little ladies.

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'I have sand up my nose.'

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'If I am quick he won't catch me and I can put some more up there.'

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'Damn he caught me- let's have a sulk.'

 

All in all it was a fantastic weekend, and I am glad we had such a memorable first camping experience.  I am still definitely not sold on the idea of full camping just yet, but glamping suits us just fine!

A Weekend At Wedfest.

on Tuesday, 29 July 2014.

A few weeks ago I was bridesmaid for one of my closest friends.  While I had a lovely time and her big day was absolutely beautiful, lets just say that a formal setting, hours of speeches and solo parenting for Mr E while I was doing bridesmaid duties, did not make for the happiest of small children by the end of the weekend.  The girl's behaved (reasonably) well considering how long and not terribly exciting the day was for them, but by the end of it they were tired, we were tired and we vowed that next wedding they would be left in the capable hands of Grandpa while we went and relaxed.

Fast forward to this past weekend and our promise to ourselves seemed to be forgotten as we all packed in the car and headed off up North for our friend's wedding party.  They got married in Colorado and were having 'Wedfest'- a festival after party in a field.  I must admit to feeling slightly apprehensive after the last wedding being such hard work.  I need not have worried, 'Wedfest' was a perfect afternoon.

The sun was shining, it was informal but such a perfect idea- with hay bales to sit on, people camping, dj's playing old Ibiza tunes, and a band later on in the evening.  There was a delicious BBQ and an ice cream van, lots of bubbly and a bouncy castle for the girl's.  They were an absolute credit to us, being very well behaved and chatting to everyone.  

We all danced until late into the evening, and Mads and LL loved dancing with us.  It made me smile from ear to ear watching them dancing together, they didn't stop even for a minute.  All in all it was a great party, made even nicer by the fact it was so hot.

Here are a few photos from my DSLR and phone...

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Our 'Wedfest' attire.

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Hats and Hay bales.

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What every successful wedding needs.

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I love this photo of my cheeky girl.

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Ice cream messy faces.

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She was in her element having everyone chat to her.

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Their little retro style ice cream dresses are my favourite thing of theirs at the moment.

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Yummiest cake ever.

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Looking very grown up.

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The sun setting on a lovely day. 

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And lastly we went to Leeds (where I lived for 5 years) for a spot of lunch and shopping on Sunday, and of course another little trip down memory lane like we did last year.  I walked through these doors almost ten years ago for a pizza and decided to apply for a part time job.  Little did I know the man who handed me the application form would become my husband and we would have our two little ladies. 

 

All in all it was a great weekend. We are loving the sunshine so far- long may it last!

A Magical Adventure...

on Wednesday, 11 June 2014.

The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning after opening my eyes is check my phone, more specifically my social media.  I have a quick glance at instagram, or twitter, or facebook, and then I may say good morning to my husband.  How bad is that?  I am slightly over dramatising the scenario (only just!) but the reality is I do spend a fair portion of my time absentmindedly flicking through social media for no particular reason.

I adore having my blog, I love that facebook helps me keep in touch with old friends or that I can gain inspiration through sites like instagram, and I love that my online life has brought me so many opportunities and friendships, but I can't remember my life before my blog.  Now any moment that I am not looking after the girls, seeing friends or working is taken up with the online world.  Nap times are spent writing blog posts or doing my usual pointless flicking through various apps.  What did I use to do with my time?  My house would be a lot cleaner that's for sure.  

But sometimes you just need to switch off and that's exactly what we did this weekend.  We had a family weekend away to the MOST MAGICAL PLACE ever.  It deserves capital letters as it really was that amazing.  A remote treehouse in the middle of nowhere in Wales.  No electricity, no phone signal, not even an indoor shower or toilet.  Just my little family and going back to basics.  It was absolutely perfect.

My photos or video will not do this treehouse justice but just imagine living high up in the trees and that is exactly what it was.  There was no one around for miles, just us and A LOT of sheep.  It was beautiful, peaceful yet oh so stylish.  Although the weather wasn't great (The sun did come out periodically!) we went on lots of walks, ate lots of sweet treats, snuggled, read books by candlelight and played games.  It was just what we all needed.  

The girls were so good considering we were all sleeping in the same room, although Mads didn't go to bed until near enough 10pm on the first night. (when it is windy the trees REALLY creak!)  We had a simple, lovely few days, topped off by visiting my grandparents on the way home.  I am so thankful for my little family and the opportunities that we get to experience and I will treasure the memories of the past weekend.  

I also proved that I am not necessarily a country girl at heart, firstly by putting my lovely PJ bottoms on a candle and setting them on fire and secondly by freaking out about needing a wee at 2 am (the toilet was outside) and waking Mr E up to come with me to hold my hand!

 I didn't charge my camera and it went on to low battery while we were there, so because I wanted to save it for seeing my grandparents on the way home, I thought I hadn't taken that many photos.  Turns out you can take the blogger away from social media but you can't taken the blogger away from her camera!  I couldn't go completely cold turkey- I may have self combust or something. Oops... Here is our weekend in photos and a little video...

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The most beautiful place ever.

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Girls in bed.  Candles. Wine. Sat on a treehouse balcony with an amazing view. Check.

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Posing on the spiral staircase.  Not an easy feat while holding two wriggly children.

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You had to access the treehouse by a number of bridges which Mads thought was the best thing ever.

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The 'wibbly wobbly' bridge.

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We took a trip to the local seaside.

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Writing your name's in a heart on the sand.  Standard practice.

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We stopped off at a gorgeous little sweetie shop for an ice cream.  Doing the normal tourist thing and getting the lady to take a photo of us all.

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Lots of snuggles were had.

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The treehouse had no electricity and the hot water was powered by the fire, so we spent a lot of time lighting candles.  And then a lot of time stopping LL crawling and picking them up.

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Mads kept cheating at Jenga but as we love her we let her do it.

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 We did lots and lots of walking.  Well as much as you could do when had forgotten to pack the baby carrier.  Oops.

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 And did lots of swinging.

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 Plus lots of Gruffalo hunting.

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Log walking was also a must.

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Late afternoon sunshine is the best kind of sunshine.

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This girl loved running about.

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We stopped off at my Grandparents on the way home as they live on the border of Wales.  I will treasure this photo of Mads and my Nana.

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The obligatory family photo we take each time. :) 

 

And here is a little video of our adventures...

 

 

 

 

Just a little note at the end to say thank you so much to Loved by Parents.  We won this trip through them and I couldn't finish this post off without thanking them for giving us the opportunity for such a wonderful weekend together.  They haven't asked us to write about it or mention them in any way, but I just wanted to say thanks.   We have already said the treehouse may be our special family place and we will definitely be returning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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