mummy-daddy-me-header

Articles tagged with: Weekends Away

{The Ordinary Moments 14} #45 'It's Ordinary...'

on Sunday, 30 November 2014.

It's ordinary to want to escape every now and again.  Escape might not be quite the right word but if I am honest sometimes I find motherhood utterly overwhelming at times.  It's all consuming, it's exhausting and of course it is wonderful.  There is nowhere else I would rather be and there is nothing I would rather be doing than being with my girls.  But before my girls came along and became my world, there was someone who held that title all on his own.

My husband.

I find it a little surreal now to think of life before them.  I often wonder what we did with our time, what we used to talk about and how we ever thought we were busy. I'm sure we were- we had work, full time jobs, busy social lives.  But somehow all that pales into comparison now we are raising a three and a one year old.  The truth is though, we had a life, a very nice life before our girls were in it.  Of course, life is a million times better now, but before Mads arrived in December 2010 we had almost six years of just being me and him. 

Nowadays we don't get much chance to just be us two.  We have the evenings when they are in bed, but inevitably we are busy with work or so tired from our days that we just want to slob on the sofa and watch television and not talk much.  I can probably count on two hands the number of date nights we have had since our girls were born- we actually have very willing babysitters but we are quite happy to just be together and do things as a family rather than spend time away from them.

However every once in a while you just need to have a break.  Spend some time away and reconnect as a couple.  So on Friday night we headed off into London for our second ever night away just the two of us in almost four years.  We kindly were invited to stay at the Hampton by Hilton Waterloo, a stylish and modern hotel and so we arranged for Mads and LL to go to Grandmas for the evening so we could have some time just the two of us.

We had an amazing evening.  We drank copious amounts of cocktails, were shocked by the prices considering we rarely go out anymore, (£19 for a round- good grief!) and held hands the whole time. We talked about the past, we laughed our heads off at old memories, and we talked about the future and our hopes and dreams.  We of course talked about the girls, of how proud we are of them and how lucky we were.  We went for dinner at Hawksmoor, somewhere I have been wanting to try for a long time, and it was pricey but delicious- the steak was incredible and the service was amazing.  

It was lovely just to be together and we both woke up the next day with sore heads but happy smiles.  It was so nice to just be together for a bit and of course as we pulled into the drive at my Mum's house we were both excited to see our terrible twosome, who greeted us with the happiest of welcomes and tales of their adventures with Grandma. 

It's ordinary to sometimes want to get away just for a little while...but it's always our ordinary life that we always can't wait to get back to. 

 

(A few photos of our night... they are only with my phone and the light was awful but you get the idea...)

1night

Mr E surprised me on the train with this- he's always been so thoughtful.

a night in london 3

Before we went out- I love this pleather effect metallic skirt from Next.

a night in london 4

If you like steak you should definitely give one of the Hawksmoor resturants a try- we have been wanting to try it for ages and it didn't disappoint.  It was more than we would normally spend on a meal, definitely a special occasion place but it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time.  We went to the Guildhall venue in the city.

a night in london 2

 We both went for the fillet- then we shared triple cooked chips, skinny fries, creamed spinach and mac and cheese, followed by salted caramel ice cream and salted caramel rolos- it was utterly delicious.

1 cocktail

We drank lots of these. 

a night in london 5

We had a beautiful view of London from our hotel window- here's the sun rising. (Why do we have an inability to lie in even when there are no children around?)

a night in london 6

We headed down the next day for breakfast- hotel breakfasts are definitely the best kind!  I loved these tiles and the breakfast set up in the Hilton, it was really relaxed with benches and no set seating.

a night in london 8

Loved spending quality time with my best friend.

 

 

 

 

A Wet and Windy Trip To Scarborough...

on Tuesday, 18 November 2014.

When LL was just a few months old, we went on our first family holiday to Scarborough in North Yorkshire.  I randomly found via google a gorgeous cottage just outside of the little seaside town at a place called Humble Bee Farm.  We booked and paid for it before LL was born and when we eventually did visit we had a great time-  I have such fond memories of our first little break away as a family of four.  Humble Bee Farm is a working farm with lots of animals to see, it's perfect for little ones- you can even collect an egg for breakfast each morning from the hens which we did the first time we were there.  It's home to three amazing cottages, some pretty cool wigwams which our friend's have stayed in before, and also camping pitches too.  We really loved our adventure there back in May 2013.

Therefore a few weeks ago I was really excited to receive an email asking if we would like to go back to stay at Humble Bee Farm for a couple of nights.  We jumped at the chance to go back there but sadly due to Mr E having to work he wasn't able to come with us.  Still we got my second favourite big person in the form of my little sister Anna, who kindly said she would come along.  We were all really looking forward to our sisterly break.

We set off on Wednesday morning and didn't arrive in Scarborough until late afternoon as we unfortunately had car trouble- my car decided to break down on the side of the A1 in the pouring rain which was quite a scary experience.  Luckily a knight in shining armour (in the form of the RAC man) came to our rescue, and although the car wasn't completely better, he said it was ok to go on our merry way as long as we took it slow.  

Our cottage 'Merry Dale' was as gorgeous as I remembered- cosy, warm and inviting with a rather fabulous hot tub in the garden.  The girls were so excited to be there with their Auntie Anna and Mummy and after a dinner out at ASK, we all settled down in front of the fire for the evening.  We didn't actually end up doing all that much during our stay, it was just so wet and windy, so we spent a lot of time snuggling in the cottage and taking advantage of the 'bubbly swimming pool.'  In actual fact it was just what I needed- just to chill out for a bit and not rush around.

As usual, I thought because we didn't do that much, I hadn't taken that many photos but it turns out I still have a fair few that I love.

Here is our trip to Scarborough in photos and a little video...

 

a trip to scarborough

As soon as they woke up on our first morning they were straight in the hot tub- they loved splashing around- such a great idea for families as a little extra bonus to your stay at the cottage.

a trip to scarborough2

There is nothing better than watching them giggle.

a trip to scarborough3

They absolutely loved the bubbles.

a trip to scarborough1

Funnily enough when we were here last time I got a photo of Mads in the hot tub that is one of my favourites of her ever, and this one is also now one of my all time favourites too- I think it's the fact she is completely happy and natural.  

a trip to scarborough4

She was telling the duck off for splashing.

a trip to scarborough5

LL is growing up so quickly all of a sudden- she still isn't talking much but is now saying about ten words.  I am willing time to slow down a little.

a trip to scarborough7

Even though it was really cold we had to go out and visit these amazing rainbow beach huts again.

a trip to scarborough8

I love this one of my girlies- I think I may get it framed for somewhere, although we are running out of space on our walls!

a trip to scarborough9

Also looking rather grown up- and very, very cheeky!

a trip to scarborough10

They had so much fun running up and down, playing games and being silly.  

a trip to scarborough12

They are really playing with each other a lot at the moment, it's very sweet to see.

a trip to scarborough13

 We went down on to the beach for a bit as quite frankly you can't go to the seaside without going and having a little paddle in the water.

a trip to scarborough14

She always has a look of mischief on her face.

a trip to scarborough15

It got so cold so quickly, our hands and fingers went so numb.  Why is the seaside in Winter always so cold?

a trip to scarborough16

Writing their names in the sand.

a trip to scarborough19

We had to go and warm up in a little tea room- and of course cake was compulsory too.

a trip to scarborough20

We went back and had a snuggly afternoon back at our cottage- we got these cute little gingerbread snowmen to decorate as a little rainy day activity to do while away.

a trip to scarborough21

Our creations.

a trip to scarborough22

It was such a treat having the hot tub in the evenings when the girls were in bed- that really is the beauty of a cottage and the fact you don't have to hide out in the bathroom or go to bed at 8.30pm like you so often have to do in hotels.  One night we shared a bottle of bubbles in the bubbles. ;) 

a trip to scarborough23

One great thing about Humble Bee Farm is how child friendly it is- they had a big box full of toys and books to keep them amused. 

a trip to scarborough24

My children are like little magpies and are attracted to anything sparkly and bright- they love going to the 2p slot machines when we go to the seaside and to be fair I love it too, it reminds me of being little.

a trip to scarborough25

Having fun even though it was pouring down outside.

 

Here is a little video of our adventures in Scarborough...

 

 

NB: We were invited back to stay at Humble Bee Farm free of charge for two nights after paying full price for a seven night stay the previous year.  Thanks so much to Humble Bee for inviting us- we loved our stay and will definitely be back again in the future.  Check out their website as they have some amazing winter rates if you fancy a little break away., especially in their wigwams.

 

Amsterdam in iPhone Photos...

on Wednesday, 12 November 2014.

I'm aware I have already posted so many photos (and a video!) of our Amsterdam adventures, but I had so many lovely, colourful photos of this beautiful city that I took on my phone camera, that it just seemed a shame not to share them.  Amsterdam is full of inspiration, colour, prettiness and exciting things around every corner, and I could have taken photos all day long.

Here is Amsterdam as through the eyes of my iPhone...

amsterdam1

Our flight with KLM left at 6am meaning that we were in the air for the most beautiful sunrise.

amsterdam2

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful crooked buildings and quaint little streets, we could have walked around for hours just looking in the shop windows and waving at the boats.

amsterdam7

Love this photo of myself and LL- she was in her element exploring and running about.

amsterdam3

We went to Pancakes! Amsterdam for some pancakes (obviously) and the waiter very kindly took a photo of us all.

amsterdam4

As a family we all have a little bit of a thing for pancakes so queued for an hour to get in- they were definitely worth the wait.

amsterdam5

My little lady checking out the tulips.

amsterdam6

 A cuddle with my big girl in Dam Square.

amsterdam16

Waiting for the ferry on the second day of our adventures.

amsterdam20

We went for lunch at Pllek, a cool bar/restaurant made out of old shipping containers.  The girls loved the fact that we weren't sat at a table, instead we snuggled up on cushions. 

amsterdam17

I had falafal, Mr E had a burger and Mads and LL had this weird sandwich which the waiter translated as 'brown sugar.'  We still aren't quite sure what they were eating but needless to say it went down well!

amsterdam19

After lunch we checked out some of the colourful street art, the girls loved running about in the big open space. 

amsterdam9

Posing.  We just loved the colours of all the graffitii and art.

amsterdam13

We hired bikes and had fun exploring the city.  I would love to say I had the bike with the girls in front, but in reality I did it for about two seconds before deciding it was far too scary, and letting Mr E take over.

amsterdam14

Another colourful street, honestly it was just such a family friendly place and we could have walked around for days without getting bored.

amsterdam21

We love you too Amsterdam.  We are definitely planning on coming back very soon.

amsterdam10

You can definitely tell they are not the milkman's.  How alike do they look? ;)

amsterdam18

Another cute little street.

amsterdam8

Is it acceptable to take your children down to breakfast in their pj's?  Probably not, but that's what we did.  It was delicious and Mads became obsessed with these weird chocolate sprinkle things that you put on bread and toast- nice and healthy.  We *may* have smuggled a few home in my bag.

amsterdam11

Taking a photo by the canals on our third day.  Our girls certainly aren't angels all the time, but they were so well behaved all weekend.

amsterdam22

Eating a waffle in Dam Square and watching the world go by.

amsterdam12

Bye Bye Amsterdam, thank you for all the adventures!

 

(Check out the #KLMFlyLocal campaign!) 

 

Check out my other Amsterdam posts-

A Child Friendly Weekend In Amsterdam Part One.

A Child Friendly Weekend In Amsterdam Part Two.

 

A Child Friendly Weekend In Amsterdam- Part Two.

on Thursday, 06 November 2014.

Last weekend we were lucky enough to visit the beautiful city of Amsterdam.  We had the most amazing weekend as a family and were so surprised about just how child friendly and relaxed the culture is over there.  We loved exploring and making memories together, and we are already talking about booking another stay for the Spring of next year as I would love to visit and see the tulips- it is such a colourful city even in Autumn, I can only imagine what it is like when it is in bloom.

 If you missed it here is Part One of our adventures.  We packed so much in to our stay that I have had to split my posts into separate parts.


Day Two

 

amsterdam with children 21

Our junior suite room at the Movenpick Amsterdam City was large, with a separate lounge area with a sofa bed.  The large windows meant that in the morning the room was flooded with the most beautiful light.

amsterdam with children 20

My happy girl waiting for the ferry.

amsterdam with children 22

Everywhere you look there are bikes in Amsterdam and I didn't see one person wearing a helmet the whole time we were there, it's a little crazy to cycle there yet apparently it's one of the safest places in Europe to cycle.

amsterdam with children 29

When we go to a new place we don't always want to do typical tourist things, and prefer to go off the beaten track a little.  My husband and I love colourful street art so when I read about the Amsterdam Noord area online I knew we had to visit it.  It's a bizarre area, with derelict buildings, abandoned boats and a real urban gritty scene, yet it houses some of the city's most creative and artistic communities, even MTV have a headquarters here.  It was quiet and there were lots of graffiti artists working while we were there.  It was amazing and it was definitely the highlight of our trip.  To get to Amsterdam Noord you need to hop on a ferry going to NSDM behind Centraal Station, they run 24 hours a day and are free.

amsterdam with children 30

While we were there there I got asked to have my photo taken and had a little interview with the Dutch newspaper NRC Hardelsblad because they thought what I was wearing was stylish.  Definitely the first time I have ever, ever been called that!  I had to get the girls to pose with me because I hate posing for photographs on my own, I am so unconfident in front of the camera and prefer to hide behind it.  These guys do it better than me! ;)

amsterdam with children 32

The girls loved running around the big open space in Amsterdam Noord.

amsterdam with children 31

It was so quiet and deserted bar the odd street artist. 

pllek amsterdam noord

We didn't want to eat in a touristy place so headed to Pllek, a crazy looking restaurant made out out of old shipping containers.  

amsterdam with children 26

Pllek had a really cool vibe, we sat on wooden blocks and cushions which the girls thought was really fun and meant they weren't confined to the table so much.

amsterdam with children 27

I had falafel, Mr E had a burger and the girls had a sandwich which the barman translated as 'brown sugar'- it arrived and literally was that, bread and butter with little cereal sugar biscuits on top.  Needless to say they loved it.

amsterdam with children 38

We decided to hire bikes to really explore the city- the girls went on the front and it was so long and a little scary!  But we loved exploring the city this way and they giggled non stop the whole time.

amsterdam with children 34

A quaint little open space we found while cycling- there was such a mix in Amsterdam of little parks, open green spaces, traditional old buildings and new urban zones.  And it was just so colourful and bright.

amsterdam with children 39

We hired our bikes from Mac Bike, which we found to be excellent and they were great with the girls.  We were also pleased they had helmets in stock as because as mentioned above we hadn't seen anyone else wearing them.

amsterdam with children 40

I love the way she is looking at her big sister.  She was so tired she fell asleep while we were cycling and Mads held her against her shoulder for the whole trip.  She really is the best big sister. 

amsterdam with children 41

I feel so lucky to be able to give my girl's adventures and to experience them as a family. 

amsterdam with children 42

Our hotel was about ten minutes walk from the centre which suited us perfectly as it meant we were out of the tourist hectic bit.  There was a nice walk back along the river.

 

Day Three

 

amsterdam with children 44

After seeing the big I Amsterdam sign on our first day, we spotted this mini one from the ferry when we were heading over to Amsterdam Noord.  We therefore started our final day by jumping on another boat to check this one out out.

amsterdam with children 45

We then headed over to Dam Square to do the tourist thing and people watch by eating delicious Nutella and whipped cream waffles outside.  We were so lucky with the weather, the sun shined our whole trip.

amsterdam with children 47

Soon it was time to head back to our hotel ready to catch our plane home.  If you book a junior suite at the Movenpick Hotel you get 24 access to the executive lounge with complimentary snacks, drinks and newspapers. This actually saved us a fair bit of money, the mini bar in your room is complimentary as well.

amsterdam with children 46

We headed back to Centraal station to catch our train to Schiphol airport, but not before having one last stroll by the canals.  I love this picture of this beautiful city.

 

All in all we had the most incredible weekend in Amsterdam and we have all fallen a little in love with this colourful, vibrant city.  We felt incredibly safe there which is important to us when travelling with the girls, and the Dutch were so friendly, indeed Mads and LL were in their element as whereever we went they got little gifts from locals, such as stickers, keyrings and a little toy car.  There's a really eclectic mix of traditional culture, mixed in with the bright colours and new modern structures associated with large cities.  The flight with KLM was so quick and easy, and to be in a European city within 35 minutes is just spectacular really, it's definitely opened our eyes to flying from our regional airports rather than going to the larger ones.  

My photos don't do this beautiful place justice, but if you are looking for a short weekend trip away with little ones, I can one hundred percent recommend it.  We have come away with lots of happy memories of our adventures and will definitely be going back soon.

My final post of our Amsterdam trip is coming tomorrow- photos captured by my iPhone.

(And in case you missed it here is a video of our adventures in Amsterdam)

 

NB: Thanks to KLM for flying us to Amsterdam as part of their #KLMFlyLocal campaign, we feel honoured and very lucky to be a part of it.  Be sure to check them out as they have some really brilliant deals from 16 local regional airports.  As always, all content and words are my own.  We love you Amsterdam!

 

[12 3 4 5  >>  
Wikio - Top Blogs - Parenting Wikio - Top Blogs
TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100
 PHOTO-BLOGS
Tots100 UK parent blogs