Friday, 20 January 2017

Disneyland Paris Accommodation

As you may already know, we are huge Disney fans. Before we had children we visited Disneyland Paris quite a few times and we've also been a couple of times with our girls. Here i'm sharing the places we have stayed and placing them in order of preference.


1) Marriott's Village d'lle-de-France

We'd never really considered the idea of self catering when visiting Disneyland Paris. In our naivety, we only thought there were hotels there. We were very fortunate to be invited to stay at the Marriott Village d'lle-de-France and we absolutely loved it. In fact we now can't imagine staying anywhere else.



It is situated in breathtaking surroundings. It's slightly further away than everywhere else mentioned in this post but you can use the resorts shuttle to get to and from the park. 



We stayed in a 2 bedroomed townhouse which was amazing. It was a home away from home. It was luxurious but cosy and welcoming. It had everything we needed from a washing machine, TV, huge bathtub to a coffee machine. It was such a lovely place to come back to after a busy day at the park. 



The resort itself has plenty of facilities such as a gym, swimming pool, parks, tennis, movie theatre, children's play centre and many more. There are activities for adults and children. There is also a bar, restaurant and a supermarket type shop.

We cannot recommend this place enough. We didn't want to leave. It's perfect for families. We will definitely be returning. You can read my full review blog post here, Marriott.




2) Vienna House Dream Castle Hotel

We've stayed at the Dream Castle 3 times now. Once just the 2 of us and then as a family of 3 and then a family of 4. It's situated within beautiful French gardens and is in the style of a historic palace.




The reception area is big with a small children's play area and a couple of rides/machines. There is also a small Disney souvenir shop.

The bedrooms are always lovely and spacious. We've stayed in a double and a family room. The family room has a bunk bed which Eva thought was great. There is a lot of wardrobe space and the room comes with tea and coffee making facilities. You also get free wifi.



The buffet breakfast is good and the palace mascot often comes around to visit the children.  The staff are always friendly and helpful.

There is also a swimming pool and wellness centre and I am very ashamed to say that in all the times we've stayed here, we've never had a chance to use it.

The hotel also has a children's activity and entertainment programme which again we haven't seen as we have always stayed for short periods of time and we have always been too busy visiting the parks.

The hotel is fairly close to the parks and is just a short free shuttle ride away. The downside of the free shuttle is that it is always busy. It reminds me of visiting the Next sale. People become crazy when trying to get on these buses. It sometimes frightened me a bit especially when we had both girls with us. A few times we paid for a taxi.

We've loved our stays here and we'd recommend it to couples and families. 


Hubby and I stayed here when it was just the two of us. We really liked it here. It is set in beautiful, green surroundings so the views are fantastic. 

 Picture taken from the hotel website

The reception area was large and spacious. Our room was lovely. It included tea and coffee provisions and free wifi. The bed was comfortable and I remember the bathroom having very nice smelling toiletries. We were also impressed with the breakfast buffet.


Picture taken from the hotel website

The hotel has a swimming pool and wellness centre which we didn't get to use. There is also a golf course.

The hotel did seem further out from the Disneyland parks than other hotels we've stayed in but they are easily accessible via their shuttle. I think the fact that it's slightly further away makes it more peaceful and less busy. Their shuttle wasn't as crowded as the others we've used. 

We would stay here again.

4) Kyriad

It's been a couple of years since we stayed at the Kyriad. The price attracted us to stay here as it was fairly cheap. It was myself, hubby and Eva who stayed here when she was quite young. We arrived late at night (never fun with children in tow) and our first impressions weren't great. 


Picture taken from the hotel website 

We checked into our room which felt more like a prison cell. It was tiny. I don't know whether all the rooms are like that or we were just put in one of the worst ones in the hotel. It was very dark with hardly any natural light during the daytime. They also hadn't put the cot we requested in the room which again didn't help when arriving late at night. 

We both hated the room. The bed was very uncomfortable. It really wasn't the type of place you could put your feet up and relax after a busy day at the park. We spent as little time in the room as possible. 

Breakfast reminded me of queueing for school dinners. I appreciate you have to queue for these things but the queue was actually outside of the building. This isn't ideal for parents, let alone kids. Our only saving grace was that it wasn't raining. To top it all off the breakfast really wasn't worth queuing for :(

The hotel is close to the park and you can use the free shuttle provided. However, as i've already mentioned prepare for an almost hunger games style battle to get yourself onto one of those.

I don't know whether this hotel has improved at all since we've been but our experience there has put me off for life and I wouldn't recommend it when there are plenty of other better accommodations available.

Have you stayed in any of these places? Have you got any recommendations? 



SaveSave
SHARE:

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The Siblings Project - January 2017

Its been a few months since I joined in with The Siblings Project. The last update I wrote was in October which you can read here, Siblings. If you have read my siblings posts then you will know that Eva and Ophelia's relationship wasn't always nice. It took Eva a long time to adjust to having a sister but thankfully they now have a great relationship. They now play together all the time which is great. 



In my last update I mentioned that Ophelia was trying to say Eva. She still can't say it properly but over the last few weeks she has learnt the word sister. She regularly calls for Eva by shouting sister or when Eva comes into the room she excitedly starts saying sister. It is super cute.



Ophelia is very loving towards Eva. On Christmas Day Eva was crying and Ophelia pretty much moved mountains to get to her to comfort her. I wish i'd videoed it. She literally pushed cushions out of the way, scrambled over peoples legs and pushed toys aside. She crawled from one end of the living room to the other in about 10 seconds flat. When she reached her she threw her arms around her and gave her a kiss. Hopefully this is the sign of a protective bond that will last a lifetime. 



This month has been an exciting one for them as their family have been over from Australia. Its been lovely having my mum, stepdad and sisters around and the girls have been over the moon with the extra attention. They think it's great having such young and cool aunties. 



Eva is now trying to teach Ophelia things. She tries to get her to say new words and often points things out for her to see. She recently taught her 'where's your nose?'. She also has taught her Twinkle, Twinkle which is adorable.



This month we visited the Festival of Light at Longleat which was amazing. Both the girls absolutely loved looking at all the lanterns. Eva took pride in pushing her sister around in the buggy. They really enjoyed themselves on the carousel together.



It was Eva's 4th birthday a couple of days ago and we had a party for her yesterday. Even though all of her school friends were that she still took the time to play with her sister which was lovely to watch.



We haven't got much planned for the rest of the month and we haven't got anything exciting set in stone for February. Ophelia is not far off walking so i'm sure that will bring a new dimension and level of excitement to their relationship when it happens. 



The Me and Mine Project
SHARE:

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Drop 2 dress sizes in 6 weeks

Towards the end of 2016 I went on a huge health kick and dropped 2 dress sizes in 6 weeks. I started at a size 12/14 and I am now a 8/10. I can assure you it can be achieved and i'm not talking about fad diets or juicing. All it took was exercise and healthy eating. 



I've struggled with my weight since having children. I've always been up and down. I guess it's a combination of eating more and a lack of energy and enthusiasm to exercise. Whilst weaning my second baby I would sit and finish any leftovers. I'm sure if you're a parent you've probably done that to. I also found it a bit of a drag to try and prepare lots of different meals. With a baby, a toddler and working, the last thing I wanted to do was prepare myself and hubby one meal and the kids something else. Time is precious and I certainly felt too busy to be doing things like that.

I've also suffered with PND. This combined with the tiredness of being a parent, really hadn't helped in providing any motivation to exercise or eat healthily. There were days when I couldn't even leave the house due to my PND so the the thought of leaving to do some exercise was completely alien. However, my attitude to life was completely wrong (more on that in a later blog post).

It was whilst I was looking back on photos from our holiday to Turkey during the summer that I realised I didn't even recognise myself. I had gained a lot of weight and I was very unhealthy. I was ashamed and gutted. This is not the example I wanted to set my girls. I wanted them to look at their mum and see a strong, confident, happy, healthy woman. It was time for a change.



I can't believe I've put this picture up for you all to see! I hate it.
I decided to get myself a personal trainer. This was the boost I needed to:
A - Get myself to the gym
B - Be able to do the right exercise for me
C - Provide me with nutritional advice
and D - Get me results.

I met with my trainer once to twice a week in a 6 week period. This combined with exercising 3 times a week and a healthy balanced diet enabled me to drop 2 dress sizes in 6 weeks. I lost a massive 5 inches from my waist, 0.5 from my hip, 1 from my thigh, 1 from my arm and gained 0.5 on my chest. I also lost 12 pounds in weight.





So what were we doing?
Exercise consisted mainly of weights, resistance and hiit (high intensity interval training). This worked perfectly for me as I am not a fan of cardio especially running. Think everything from burpees, jumps, squats, sandbags, kettle-bells, planking and much more. We would focus on one muscle group per training session but when we did hiit it would be an all over killer session.

What was I eating?
I reduced my portion sizes for a start. This didn't bother me as I was eating a more balanced diet which kept me fuller for longer. I was eating breakfast, a mid morning snack, lunch, mid afternoon snack, dinner and then a final snack before bed. This was more than what I would normally eat but as I said the portions were smaller and more targeted for weight loss and toning. The diet consisted of lots of protein, superfoods and no alcohol. 
I'll be going into more detail about my diet in a separate blog post but here's what a typical day looked like:
Breakfast - Banana, Porridge Oats, Skimmed Milk
Snack - Fat Free Yogurt
Lunch - Chicken Salad
Snack - Carrot Sticks and Humous
Dinner - Prawn Stir Fry
Snack - Rice Cake
I also drank a lot more water during the day. 

I'll be sharing my journey with you in a lot more detail from now on but I feel like it is only the beginning. I want to tone a lot more and I now know it is achievable after how quickly I have managed to change my body and mind set already.  I've certainly eaten and drunk way too much over Christmas so as soon as my family head back to Australia in a few days it's back to my normal routine.

I have fallen in love with clean eating and exercising again as I have seen all the benefits it has given me such as more energy and motivation in every aspect of my life, not just with exercise. Keep your eyes peeled for my meal planning posts, exercise posts and recipes. 





Buggies and Barbells
SHARE:

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Funny Posts from 2016

I've had a tough couple of days and a bad start to the new year. My PND and anxiety have creeped back on me again and i've got myself a troll. To cheer myself up i've been finding posts that have made me laugh so I thought i'd share with you my pick of the bunch from 2016 which includes some of my own.



1) My Parenting/Friendship CV for the mums at the school gate


This was written by myself around the time that Eva started preschool. It was all very new to me and I was worried I wasn't going to make any friends. I wrote this honest CV about myself for people to get to know me. The part where I describe my house as a shit tip is both hilarious and so very true.

2) Parent Blogging: Stock Photos vs. Reality - Someones Mum


This post gave me quite a giggle. As bloggers we quite often show a perfect life on camera but what's hiding behind the camera is vastly different. The workspace picture is my favourite. 


Every parent will surely be able to relate to this post. We all have strange conversations and talk utter nonsense. I laughed a lot at 'it's a tiny cut, there's no way i'm phoning you an ambulance,'. This is something I've heard my own mum say on numerous occasions.



This was another of my favourite posts that I wrote last year. If you are around the same age as me (31) this post should take you back to your childhood and have you reminiscing and giggling.




I could really relate to this post. 'Do you know what it's like to feel like a self service buffet?'. Yes I sure do. This makes for a very funny but very true and relatable post.



If you're a blogger you should enjoy reading this one. I can honestly say i've had pretty much all of those thoughts whenever I think about stats.


If you only have young children at the moment then make sure you read this post. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I think about what is to come. The food and drink section  is very true. I've spent the last year debating how to feed Ophelia and yet i'm watching my younger sister (16) asking our mum for some wine.


This was another post of mine. Eva developed quite a swag about her in the last year and we had many epic battles. Some I won, some she was triumphant. Pop over and have a read about our day trip to Bristol Zoo.



Before you become a parent you make a lot of statements and judgements about what kind of parent you're going to be. In my head I wanted to be like Mary Poppins. I've heard friend's of mine saying they'll never give their children and iPad or let them watch TV etc and yet now they watch Peppa Pig 24/7. 
This post I can completely relate to. In fact both my kids had a mcdonald's today! What sort of parent does that make me? Defo not Mary Poppins.


I can't tell you how many times my days have been like this since i've become a parent. It's days like this when all you can do is laugh or you'll cry.



Last up is this hilarious post about potty training. I never knew how much toilet roll a tiny person can use so I laughed out loud reading 'prepare yourself to become bankrupt".

I hope these posts have given you a chuckle. What have you read in the last year that has made you laugh? Had you previously read any of these posts?




SHARE:

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Top 9 Instagram Pics 2016

You've probably seen everybody finding out their top 9 pictures on Instagram for 2016. I decided to see what my most popular one's were and I have to say I was quite surprised which one's came out on top. I've written this post to give a bit of a background to each pic.



1) This picture is actually one of my favourites from the year. I adore my selfish mother tee. This pic was taken when we decided to head out for an impromptu meal at a pub and we had a fab time. I need to get this one printed and framed.


2) This was taken at Barry Island. It's hard to believe it's one of our local beaches. I loved the colours in this. 



3) This was taken on our holiday to Turkey. It just sums up motherhood for me. The baby in the carrier and Eva in the stroller. They are such life saving products for parents. You can read my reviews of them here, BabyBjorn Carrier and Cosatto Stroller.


4) This pic of Ophelia and I was from our recent trip to Disneyland Paris. I love how natural it is. We are a huge Disney loving family and this just epitomises our trip. It was full of laughter and happiness. 


5) This pic is of Ophelia in soft play. It was when she finally started to enjoy herself there. I must admit I hate soft play at the best of times but to have to go with two children, when one of them couldn't do anything was a nightmare. Now she can actually have a play it's not so bad.

6) This flatlay features the gorgeous Jord watch I was sent to review. It's fab. It matches everything and is so unique. You can read more about it here, Jord Watch.


7) This picture was taken at a blogging event at Ken Picton Salon. We were invited to have a pamper night out where we had our hair and nails done. It was great. I was taught how to give myself a bouncy/curly hair style that is shown in the picture. You can read more about the evening here, A pamper evening at Ken Picton.


8) This picture was a surprise for me. I do adore the picture but I was surprised to see it was one of my most popular this year. It's one of the doors at the stunning Dewsall Court. I'd love to have a door like this to my house. It's rustic but homely. You can read more about Dewsall Court here, Dewsall Court.


9) This was a special day. This was Ophelia's first birthday. I love this capture. Hubby and I made the cake so to see how happy she was when she saw it, is amazing. I can't believe she is 1 already. That year went very quickly.




So there you have it. I'll try and do a post with my personal favourite images but these were the most popular. Which one is your favourite?
SaveSaveSaveSave
SHARE:

Friday, 30 December 2016

The Christmas Blogger Interview - Baby Holiday

Next to feature on my Christmas Interview Series is my Welsh friend Alana from http://www.baby-holiday.co.uk/


1 - Do you have any family Christmas traditions?
As a child our family tradition was to open our presents at home in the morning, then visit famil and have Christmas dinner at my gran's house. It was always a busy day, but I loved it.
Now that we have our own family with two little boys we haven't started our own traditions yet. I like the idea of making Christmas Eve boxes for them to open while we watch a festive film when they're a bit older.

2 - What’s your ultimate Christmas movie?
There are so many good ones I don't think I can choose a favourite! I love Elf and Love Actually, and we watch them every year, but after watching The Polar Express with our two-year-old this week it's crept into my favourites. I've never been keen on it, but his little face when Father Christmas appeared was adorable.

3 - What 3 songs would be top of your festive playlist?
Fairytale of New York, Merry Christmas Everyone and I wish it could be Christmas everyday.

4 - Are you an online shopper or do you go to the actual stores?
I tend to do a mix of both. For the past few years I've said I'll do it all online but then leave it too late to order. I do love a proper Christmas shopping day out!

5 - Do you make shopping lists or buy things when you see something nice?
I list all the people I need to buy for and fill in any ideas I have, but mostly I like to browse for something I think they would like. My list always sends me into a panic!

6 - Do you send Christmas cards?
No (sorry everyone)! I try to, but yet again I leave it too late and end up with a drawer full of written cards that never get sent.

7 - Do you have an elf on the shelf? What do you do with it?
We have this year for the first time. He hasn't got up to much yet - he brought our tree, rolled down the stairs in a toilet roll and has been horse riding overnight. We're keeping it simple for the first year!

8 - Do you have chocolate advent calendars or something else?
Our toddler is a bit of a chocoholic so we avoided getting him a chocolate calendar as he would eat them all on day one! He has a Playmobil one instead, which he managed to open six days of by December 3, and a wall calendar with pockets that we're filling with little notes, toys and the odd chocolate.


9 - Do you do a Christmas eve box? If so what’s in it?
We don't yet, but this is something I'd like to do as the boys get older. I like the idea of having a Christmas book in there to read each year.

10 - Do you make any gifts?
I have done in the past, but I don't plan to this year as I don't have the time. When I was on maternity leave the first time I made lovely lavender soaps and scented bath salts for family members. They looked really pretty in glass bottles with a bunch of lavender tied around the neck.

11 - Do you do any Christmas crafts?
We've tried, but they usually end up being a big old fail! Painting is generally avoided in oir house!

12 - If you could only eat 3 things from your Christmas dinner, what would they be?
Mash potato, roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding ... I'm big on carbs!

13 - What’s your favourite festive tipple?
I really love the smell of mulled wine, but don't actually like drinking it, so would go for a glass of rosé instead. Honestly though, I'd prefer a Christmas coffee!

14 - Where are you spending Christmas this year?
Don't ask! We haven't actually decided yet, but we might be cooking for family in our house ... Despite being half way through a kitchen renovation!

15 - If you could go to any Christmas market in the world where would you go?
Oohh this is a tough one. I love European markets, but I think maybe I'd go somewhere more exotic like Marrakech. They might not be Christmassy markets but they're amazing for gifts and I could get some sun at the same time!

You can keep up to date with Alana on the following social media:
SHARE:

Dewsall Court - An Introduction

I was recently invited to spend the day at the beautiful Dewsall Court which is set in stunning Herefordshire countryside. Dewsall Court is now an exclusive venue for any of your events or family stays. 



The house is steeped in history with it being built in 1644 by Richard Pearle who stayed there with his family for over 100 years. It was then owned by Guys hospital for over 300 years. After the war the house changed hands a couple of times but was left is despair. The current owners, The Robinson family bought the house in 1989 and spent a decade restoring it to a lovely family home. In 2009 the family moved out and decided to make the house the exclusive venue that it is today.



I drove from Cardiff and it took me just over an hour. The drive was very scenic but nothing compared to the spectacular views I was treated to as soon as I drove through the gate into Dewsall Court. The house is surrounded by gardens, a barn, out buildings, a lake and a church. 




There was a gorgeous wreath on the door which I had to capture. Upon entering I immediately felt at home. Amongst the grandeur of the house there is a cosy, welcoming vibe in which you instantly feel relaxed. Perhaps it was the rustic smell of the wood fire or the sweet scent of the home made chocolate cookies (which were divine by the way). We sat down in the kitchen for a fresh cup of tea and introductions. I was pleased to see familiar faces in my blogging friends Mel from http://www.thediaryofajewellerylover.co.uk and Laura from http://www.sidestreetstyle.com.






Next up we had a tour of the house. I couldn't wait to explore it. The grand dining room is the perfect place for large parties whilst the smaller dining room provides a more intimate setting. The study was spectacular. It reminded me of how my grandad had his study decorated. The lounge area was big with plenty of seating areas. 





We then headed up the grand staircase to an open games room. You could envisage lots of fun to be had on that floor. 






We were then shown around all of the unique yet in keeping with the house, bedrooms. They were all stunning. With every room I entered I declared that as my favourite. I would want to sleep in all of them. They all had bathrooms that were equally exquisite with bathtubs that I just would not want to jump out of. The views were all breathtaking, no matter what room you were in.










We were also given a tour of the Wainhouse barn which is used for events and weddings. It was magical. It had a rustic feel to it and I can only imagine how beautiful it would look decorated. 





Picture Taken from Dewsall Court Website

After the tour of the house we sat down to enjoy their 'Fire and Ice' menu. The menu was seasonal, showcasing the best of local winter ingredients. To start we had a beetroot Borsch which was served in a teacup. 






Next was smoked trout, brown shrimps, rye crisps and pickled rainbow vegetables. I found this course very refreshing and light.



Our main meal was my favourite from the menu. It was lamb, blackened potatoes, confit onions and kale. Kale is one of my favourite things to eat so I was very pleased to see this on the menu.


Last up was the dessert which was very special and right up my street. It was a hot chocolate and sloe gin pudding. I love sloe gin this time of year but this was the first time i'd had it in a dessert and I was not disappointed. It was incredibly rich but super delicious.





I had the most wonderful day at Dewsall Court and I didn't want to leave. It is truly an enchanting place. It is perfect for a wedding. It makes me want to renew my wedding vows. Dewsall Court is the ideal place to celebrate a momentous occasion or simply for a family get together. It sleeps up to 27 people so there is plenty of space. The house has the ability to make you feel at home but is also magical, unique and extra special.

Keep your eyes peeled on their events section as they have dinner parties and other unique events.












SHARE:
BLOGGER TEMPLATE MADE BY pipdig