Girl, Where Do You Think You’re Going?

Now that is something I’m never going to try and figure out again. The other day I was re-reading the post I wrote at the beginning of this year with my goals for 2017 Here and realised quite a few had been reached against all odds! And the odds are the 2 D words (so you know not just any odd hurdle…), no need to spell them out.

I might not know where I’m going (seriously after this year, I have no idea!) but I’ve been to some amazing places this year and as the sun slowly starts to set on 2017, I can confirm the following (this is probably going to sound like an empty list of platitudes and cliches but here goes…) :

  • Resilience is a force to be reckoned with
  • The worst of times can be linked to the best of times in mysterious ways. For example the weather on the day of my dad’s funeral was absolutely amazing, perfect, unseasonably warm and sunny. 2017 was destined to be the worse year ever but I have survived and actually had some amazing moments, there is always light and hope.
  • Music is more powerful than I ever thought, listening to Lemonade by Beyoncé has got me through some dark times and seeing Adele live was pretty special
  • Even though sunsets represent the end of the day, I have a bit of “a thing” for them and see them in a very positive light, not just because they are beautiful (3 of my favourite ones from this year are below, I am very grateful I got to see such amazing ones this year…) but also because, as with 2017, I have learnt that sometimes the end is actually the beginning

This is a bit of a random post, I will definitely write one at the end of the year to go over how many of those goals I reached!

As for 2018, come to mama…

PS: yes there are a few Lady Gaga “Joanne” references in this post…

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A Mummy’s Guide To Ibiza – Part 1

A few years ago a colleague of mine told me that his original opinion of me that I was ” not fun, stuck up and a bit of a princess” but he had realised he was wrong. He probably didn’t know about Gav The Chav at the time or what the Armstrongs can be like. I am full of surprises (she writes as she listens to Kanye West) however I agreed to go to Ibiza anxiously as I have been feeling like a boring mum, how my colleague originally saw me recently, couldn’t even remember the last time I had been clubbing let alone seen the sun rise…

About 2 months ago, on my way to work, during a particularly tough week I started day dreaming about getting on the train to Gatwick and on a flight to Ibiza so it was fate when shortly after my colleague asked me if I wanted to go on a girls’ trip to Ibiza, it was meant to be! If anybody ever asks you if you want to go to Ibiza, SAY YES! You owe it to yourself , you owe to the world!

Vegas rules apply in Ibiza but there is plenty to blog about…

BEACHES

I had no idea how beautiful Ibiza was, on the first day we actually took a boat to Formentera,

which was a great way to start the holiday, it was pretty empty and super chilled, we were switched off from real life in hours. We could have hired bikes but ended up using taxis and one bus, most expensive bus ride of my life actually, 4 bloody euros for a 10 mins ride and with the exchange rate crashing whilst I was there it seemed ridiculous. The first beach we went to was Playa Migjorn, a bit windy but lovely.

We had lunch by the beach at http://www.arenals.com/, food was nice and the view was just great, obviously we had sangria, I think we had sangria with every meal!

We then went over to Playa Illetes, now this is a seriously beautiful beach, one of the nicest I have ever seen in the world. I’m not great taking pictures, the colour of the water and the clarity was 10 times better than it seems on these. I’ve added some filters to try to give you a better idea.

I could have sat there all day, unfortunately we had a boat to catch, actually we didn’t! We got the boat times wrong and ended up waiting around, such is life….

We went to Las Salinas on Ibiza the next day, this was my favourite beach, because it was SO MUCH FUN! I’ve rarely been as relaxed as whilst having lunch and drinking sangria (of course) at Sa Trinxa. We laughed and laughed and were aghast at the show the 2 nudists were putting on next to us on the beach, I can’t go into details but this must have been rehearsed, they had a whole routine going…

The whole vibe of the beach is just heavenly: everyone is happy, relaxed, friendly and living life to the full. I definitely don’t do enough of this. The beach bar plays great music and I will definitely be going back, cheers to Las Salinas!

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The other really notable beach we went to was Cala Conta, again super relaxed, beautiful water and the perfect place for a sundowner at Sunset Ashram. No entertainment this time except some particularly beautiful bodies to admire…

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Here are a few more pictures to give you an idea:

And this video basically sums the Ibiza vibe up:

That’s it for now, in the next post I will tell you about my new favourite place in the world Destino and why a trip to Ibiza is not complete without going to DC10

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Why The Four Seasons Hampshire is Perfect For a Weekend Away With a Toddler

Last weekend, A and I escaped London for 24 hours at the Four Seasons in Hampshire and it was glorious!

It’s only 40 mins on the train from Waterloo, the best part of this was that a couple and their slightly older toddler for on next to us and basically the 2 toddlers entertained each other and then the dad started singing nursery rhymes! Travelling alone with a toddler isn’t easy, with 2 bags and a buggy, I felt like a mule!

Yep A is wearing pearls a la Theresa May…

This was the easiest train ride with A ever. We then took a 10 mins taxi ride from the station, of course A fell asleep en route and woke the min we got there!
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I booked the stay via my American Express Platinum card that has a great program for certain hotels, this is one of them and so we got early check-in, late checkout (4pm), a room upgrade and £85 towards food and drink. These extras really made the stay very enjoyable, you don’t want to be hanging around with a toddler for ever!

The room had everything we needed (including Childs Farm products that we adore!)


After dropping our bags in the really spacious room that looked out onto the massive grounds, the first thing we did was have a great lunch outside, it was so nice to eat outside, doesn’t happen often in late September!


Then it was time for a nap, I thought she was asleep in her cot (this is a real cot, not a travel cot, which makes a big difference comfort wise) but she woke after 2 mins! I will be sad the day naps end!

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Took her another 30 mins to finally fall asleep on “mummy’s bed”, I actually fell asleep next to her, that bed was so comfortable!!!


We went to the playground, to see the chickens and finally we went swimming in the very warm pool. We tried to go cycling but the only helmet left didn’t fit 😦


I had a lovely margarita whilst she had dinner then it was time for milk in the very big bed whilst watching telly. One of the best parts about the hotel is you can go to the bar and give your toddler dinner and nobody bats an eye lid, there were other families around so I felt totally comfortable with A. The staff were very sweet to both of us and are clearly experienced with dealing with children! I have to say it feels very indulgent to order warm milk for your toddler and have it arrive on a silver tray! The milk came really quickly so credit to room service!

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I then came up with the genius plan to put the cot in the bathroom for the night (clearly this only works with a big bathroom!) so I could order room service and watch X Factor without disturbing her. I highly recommend doing this!


The next day, we went down for breakfast after more room service milk in bed! Now this is where travelling with a toddler is a real pain in my opinion, you can’t (well I never can) have a long leisurely breakfast with a toddler. It’s always rushed and a bit of a pain really! Such a waste, I need to work on this! The continental breakfast was included in our room rate but I was dying to eat some sausages and bacon!

We finally managed to go cycling after breakfast and it was one of my favourite things I have ever done with A, it was the perfect morning but man cycling up a hill with a 12 kg toddler behind you is not easy! I stopped for a min to take it all in, we were in such beautiful peaceful surroundings and I felt very grateful for being there.


Before leaving, A made a friend in the free kids club, where she had a great time and they both ran to a helicopter that had been hired by guests and were keen to climb in!

It was then time for some last delicious food before falling asleep in the taxi again!

Thank you to all the staff, who looked after us, I hope to come back soon!
In the meantime, here’s a summary of why it’s a great place to go with children:
-Child’s Farm products in the bathroom
-free nappies, swimming nappies and a pack of wipes (less to carry!)
-free food and drink for under 5s
-free kids club (you have to stay with under 3s)
-a massive estate to run around on
-a proper cot not an uncomfortable travel one
-a toy box at reception where they can pick a gift
-very friendly staff who never make you feel like you’re child isn’t welcome
-children’s cutlery and plastic bowls, plates etc
-small bikes or seats for them on the back that are free to hire

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A Quick Note From The Four Seasons in Hampshire

Hello everyone!

A and I are staying at the Four Seasons in Hampshire this weekend and I just wanted to write a quick blog post about how life can change.

I came here the first time in May 2014 to celebrate mine and 2 of my best girlfriend’s birthdays. I announced I was pregnant that weekend. Next week my best friend is giving birth to her second child and this weekend I’m having a mother/daughter weekend away back here in this amazing hotel.

Neither of us had any idea what becoming a mum would be like that’s for sure. There is so much to write about on the topic but this evening as A ate spaghetti bolognese (risky business in a posh hotel I know), I sat next to her having a margarita because a day travelling and then discovering a hotel with a toddler is tiring and can be stressful. I simply had no idea when I was pregnant what it means to be “tired”, I also didn’t know how much I pleasure the following could bring:

– falling asleep next to your toddler on a great big bed

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-eating a massive lunch outside at the end of September with your toddler, who is on her best behaviour and saying “hello” to everyone

-coming up with the amazing plan to put the cot in the (big!) bathroom so you can eat room service and drink camomile tea in front of X Factor without worrying about waking her up!

A genius end to a lovely but long day!

 

 

Days Out in London Maps by East Midland Trains

This is not a sponsored post.

I’ve lived in London for 16 years so I’m pretty familiar with most landmarks, museums etc. but what if you’re not and are just coming down for the day? Well East Midland Trains have put together some very handy and fun maps in conjunction with A Mummy Too that you can print off and download before you come down to London. They cover lots of different options such as the Tate Modern and also boat journeys (which reminds me I really must take A on one of those!). There are 3 different ones: Seeing London for Less, Rainy Day in the Capital and First Time Tourist. I think the rainy day one is probably a good one to print off as lets be honest there is always a chance of rain! Here is a preview of it:

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You can find them here: http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/summer

London deserves its own blog post, there are so many great places to go including ones I appreciate more now I’m a mum and also new places I have discovered since becoming a parent such as the V&A Childhood Museum in Bethnal Green. You also realise how great the parks are once you have kids and quickly figure out which tube stations are buggy friendly!

However, you still have to get to London (and travelling can be “fun” with children) so the page also includes a cute children’s activity sheet you can download and print off to keep them occupied on the train:http://www.eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/Global/Documents/EMT%20London%20Activity%20Sheet.pdf

Enjoy London!

 

 

Some End of Holiday Reflexions

I’m currently on holiday with my mum and A at the Almyra hotel in Cyprus (I will write a proper review soon, definitely recommended for a family holiday!) , we’re leaving in 2 days and boy did I need this break from “reality”. In the meantime here are some thoughts I’ve been having during our time away:

  • I had forgotten how eating outside is one of life’s great pleasures and so is reading a great book in peace by a pool
  • It is so relaxing to always be WARM, never having to worry if it’s going to rain or get cold
  • Life is full of simple pleasures that we don’t get to make the most of in London such as listening to the sound of the sea, slowing down, not rushing anywhere, not being anywhere crowded and catching your 18 month old toddler as she jumps in the pool with no fear because she saw the bigger children do it
  • Talking of toddlers, who knew you could spend half an hour emptying a pool with a bucket?! And how exciting sand and little waves can be
  • People from Essex and Russia are the friendliest we’ve met here, they both love a bit of bling and a nice chat it turns out!
  • Aperol Spritz is one of the best drinks in the world
  • I was surprised how it took me a few days to really disconnect and “slow down”, London life has a ridiculous pace, it can’t be healthy.
  • People may judge me but putting A in the kids club on a few mornings made a massive difference as we could use the quiet adult only pool and properly switch off (toddlers, pools and switching off are a match made in A&E)
  • A good trick for keeping toddlers occupied in a high chair is to give them a cup of hot chocolate and a tea spoon
  • Food poisoning on holiday really sucks but makes up for all those “treats” a little bit…
  • The majority of little girls at the hotel have names finishing in “a” : Bella, Georgia, Amelia, Ella, Jemima etc (pot calling the kettle black I know…)
  • Always do your research, we met a middle aged couple, who hasn’t realised it was half term and who hadnet realised in was such a family friendly hotel, needless to say they quickly found the adult only pool
  • The man lying on the sunbed in front of me has a seriously hot body

Back to reality soon! 

 

Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

In the summer of 2002 I did an internship at the Cabinet Office and visited Number 10, I didn’t realise where we were until we walked down a stair case with pictures of all the Prime Ministers (you may know this from Love Actually 🙂 ).

Interesting things have happened to me in New York City:

  1. Monica Lewinsky was on my flight to New York once, I recognised the “hair” at the baggage carousel. After passport control, her luggage had fallen off her trolley so I went over and asked if she needed help. She declined politely. She was then picked up by a driver who had a sign with a totally different name on it, at that moment I felt for her.
  2. That same day, once I had arrived at my hotel, I asked Jonah Hill the actor where the hotel reception was, he looked very confused.
  3. I was stuck in that same hotel during Hurricane Sandy

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This picture was obviously not taken during the hurricane!

Other celebrities I have met (by met I mean actually exchange words) include:
  1. Goldie Hawn
  2. Peter Gabriel
  3. Jamie Dornan
  4. Michel Roux Junior
  5. Fergie from the Black eyed peas

I’ve been to New Foundland (not many people have!), we had to make an emergency landing there once on our way to the US.

Travel disasters follow me, indeed once I was stuck on the Eurostar for 9 hours. I also had food positioning on a Singapore-London flight…

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I’m the eldest of 8 children (1 sister, 1 half sister, 5 half brothers).

I lived in France for 11 years.

I’m a big rugby fan and have seen England beat France twice at Twickenham.

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My grandmother is one of the world’s experts on fans.