Wanderlust Kids #6

Well, July is gone. How did that happen? And with the start of a new month comes another #Wanderlustkids linky. Thank you to everyone who linked up their great posts to Wanderlust Kids last month. Last month was the best yet with a total of 14 great posts added to this linky. I never thought I’d get one person, let alone 13 (plus myself) linking up to Wanderlust Kids. There have been family holidays, days out, birthday celebration Here is a synopsis of everyone’s post that linked up, in case you missed them last month.

I have decided that if more than 10 people link up I’m going to do things a little different. I am going to still share a synopsis of everyone’s posts but I will also have a featured post, which will be the post I most enjoyed reading. I enjoy reading everyone’s posts but feel this time around there is one that deserves a little more recognition. 

July’s featured Wanderlust Kids post

Melissa of The Family Voyage. In her post, which is very comprehensive, she shared her exciting new that they are taking a “family gap-year”. They are leaving their LA home to travel the world with their 2 children. They plan to take in places like Thailand, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and lots of European destinations. I am in awe of them and wish we could do the same. If we didn’t have our BattleDog I think we’d seriously consider it. Why not go check out her amazing post about Choosing Wings and all the things they have had to consider.

July’s Other Great Posts

Laura from Side Street Style share her post about going glamping in the Wye Valley. She stayed in the Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans and it looks like a great place for a getaway.

Jade from Mummies Waiting shared her exciting new free printable guide to what your child can ride at Disneyland Paris. Ideal for any of you who, like us, might be visiting there soon.

Lisa from Baby Loves Travel shared her 5 top tips for doing road trips with a toddler. We have used some of them in our recent drive from Santander to Portugal and will do so again on our forthcoming USA road trip.

Deb of My Boys Club shared part 3 of their family holiday to Loch Ness. In this post of their Scottish holiday series they did a Harry Potter road trip. They followed the train route taken by the Hogwarts Express and passed some stunning scenery!

Carol of Family Makes shared a post in which other family bloggers shared their hints and tips for doing road trips with kids. Again, this is another post I’ll be referring to in preparation for our USA road trip at the end of the month.

James of Scantily Dad shared his great post with 19 hacks for flying with a baby. I also learned something new in his post. Did you know that if you are flying with twins on a place with 3 seats to a row, you cannot sit together due to the limited number of oxygen masks per row? I didn’t but now I know.

Wandermust Mummy of Wandermust Family shared s post in which fellow bloggers gave us ideas for destinations for baby’s first summer holiday between June and August. There are some destinations in there I’d love to visit.

Rupreet of Rupeat shared her post about going to Majorca to celebrate her birthday. The resort they stayed at looks amazing , as does the food.

Jenny of TraveLynn Family shared her India Diaries post in which she shares with us their recent family move to India. They have moved for a year with her hubby’s work along with their 1 and 3 year old sons. Amazing. It almost felt like I was reading about our recent move too.

Laura of Musings of a Tired Mummy shared her post about their recent day out at Donnington Castle. The castle looks amazing and they also saw the White Horse at Uffington before enjoying a Mexican-themed BBQ. Yum.

Ami from Through Ami’s Eyes shared her hints and tips post about making flying with a toddler easier. Her hints and tips are ones we’ve used before and will use again in our forthcoming travels!

Niamh from Treasure Tales shared her top 10 travel essentials for toddlers. We always travel with a first aid kit, swim nappies and a hooded towel for BattleKid, all of which made her list.

I really enjoyed reading the different posts everyone linked up and cannot wait to see what will be linked up this month.

This month I am linking up a post which follows on from the one I linked up last month. Having booked our trip to Disneyland Paris for December, I turned to the blogging community to help me find out what rides are suitable for under 5’s at Disneyland Paris. 

My ‘Wanderlust Kids’ linky will open from the 1st of each month for you to link up a post, old or new, which involves travelling with kids. It can be a day out, a family holiday, somewhere new your children have discovered or a post with hints and tips about travelling with kids. As long as it features kids and is travel based it can be linked up. The following month I will write a synopsis of the posts linked up (and/or featuring a favourite one, depending on the numbers), linking back to the owner’s blog.

So, if you’d like to join in, just grab the badge below, add it to your post and link up your post via the link up button below. Please make sure you visit a few other posts that have linked up and leave a comment.

Don’t forget that throughout the month you can use the #WanderlustKids on your Instagram photos which involve travelling with kids. These photos can be abroad, home or days out, so long as they feature your children and have a travel theme attached to it. Each fortnight I will pick my favourites to showcase. I cannot believe how well this little community is growing and appreciate everyone who has adopted the #wanderlustkids on Instagram.

I look forward to reading your posts, maybe gaining some inspiration.

Please note that Wanderlust Kids will be late next month and will be live from 11th September as we will be travelling in America with patchy WiFi, the disadvantages of visiting Yellowstone and the National Forests.

WanderlustKids

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Organised Mess – What Does Your Star Sign Say About You?

Even though I was a scientist until March, I had a desk space with a computer, hidden away in the corner of the laboratory I worked in. Initially I used to share a desk space with my manager until our IT department hooked up the computer my main instrument was connected to, to both our internal network and the internet. Hey presto I had a desk space to myself.

I was relieved to finally have my own little space in the lab from which to write my reports or compile my data. You see, as much as he was a lovely manager, he was extremely untidy and messy. Each time he had holidays I’d spend the first morning he was away tidying the desk in preparation for manning the lab myself. When I got my own space, I kept it as tidy as I could, bearing in mind it was a small bit of bench in front of a computer.

At home, I am the same. Before leaving the UK, we had one bedroom as a dedicated office space. As BattleDad works from home, we needed one room he could close the door to if BattleKid or I were at home, especially during conference calls. In our office we had a desk each and various other furniture. However, apart from my desk, the office was a complete mess. Chaos and disorganisation overtook it and, as it was really BattleDad’s room in which I had one small space, I left him to it. I had to look past the mess which drove me insane.

And let me tell you, the amount of crap that came out of that room in our recent move was unbelievable, things he’d completely forgotten about or lost in the chaos. Our office, a large spare bedroom, was pared down to simply a few boxes of belongings and our two computers. And all except our laptops are now in storage.

In our new home, we don’t have an office space, and we both do most of our work from the dining table. The joy of living outside for most of the year is that we can leave our laptops on the dining table inside as we dine out on our decking most evenings. But we have both admitted that the one thing we miss about not living in a house is the office space. It will be one of a few requirements when we start looking for our Portuguese house.

So, when I came across an infographic by F@W in which our organised or messy desk space can be attributed to our star signs, I had to chuckle. And I can tell you it was quite accurate for both BattleDad and I.

BattleDad is a Sagittarian and has been described by the Infographic as a hoarder, and even he nodded when I read out the description to him. I saw it for my own eyes when we were clearing out the office in preparation for our move to Portugal.

Meanwhile, I am a Capricorn and have been described as having an organised filing system and a kitchen cupboard full of gadgets to minimise the effort of organising. I hold my hand up and say yes to these. I am organised, and everything has a place and a purpose. I wrote a previous post about my new desk space last year in which I reorganised my desk in our office and had various Ikea holders and organisers on my desk. These are stored away in preparation for our new office whenever we buy a house here in Portugal.

Meanwhile, we continue to work from a dining table, and yes I keep my side tidy while BattleDad’s not so much. What does the infographic say about you and would you agree with it?

Cath x

*Collaborative post

31/52 My Sunday Photo: 30/07/2017

my sunday photo
Swinging in the Underground in New York

Going through some of my pictures on my phone and I came across one from last September. This was taken during our first family trip to New York last September. What a trip that was. And we are about to go stateside once again, only this time to the West Coast. We are planning and collating all the information for our forthcoming USA road trip. The more we read and jot down, the more excited we become. Have you got any exciting holiday plans?

To see what everyone else is linking up this weekend to My Sunday Photo, please click on the badge below. Why not join in yourself!
Photalife

Cosy Holder Review – Enjoy Tablet Time in Comfort

*Contains an affiliate link

We were recently given the chance to receive a new type of tablet holder called a Cosy Holder as part of their promotion.  This innovative travelling companion is something I had never come across and I was thrilled to receive it. We have spent some time test driving it and today I’m sharing our thoughts on the Cosy Holder with you in the form of this review.cosy holder

Cosy Holder is fun, practical and easy-to-use holder which can be used with any form of tablet or eReader, and can also be used with a conventional book. Cosy Holder come in two colours, green and purple, and contains a handy zipped pouch at the back which has protective padding for those all-important electronic devices.

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We received the purple “Bailey” for review and BattleKid was immediately intrigued as to what it was. Now I should point out here that he rarely gets his tablet at home, save for occasions when Mum and Dad really need to get some work done. That said, this was a special occasion, so out came his LeapFrog Epic to road test the Cosy Holder.

The Cosy Holder has other functions alongside the main one. The padded pouch at the back can not only hold a tablet or eReader, but can hold pens, colouring pads and several toy cars, as I discovered one day! The Cosy Holder can be used with a tablet or eReader in both portrait and landscape mode. When it is not being used to hold an electronic device or book, it doubles up as a comfortable pillow or cushion.cosy holder

It comes with a handy carry strap making it ideal for at home or while travelling. And Cosy Holder is not limited to just children from the ages of 5. Cosy Holder have a Beanie brother which can be used by adults to hold eReaders or tablets. The entire range of Cosy Holders are designed to make reading or playing easier and more comfortable by freeing up your hands.

So, what do we think of it? Well, I really like it. It has made the limited time BattleKid has with his tablet more comfortable, freeing up both hands to enjoy the games more.cosy holder

He has been able to watch his Curious George episodes on his tablet in more comfortable positions too. The adjustable strap means he can transport it wherever he wants. And as already mentioned, when not being used for his tablet, the pouch has been used to transport those all-important Hot Wheels cars!cosy holder

It is sturdy and soft at the same time. The pouch is more than big enough for his tablet and other things, and even at three and a half he carries it around with no problems.

What we love about the Cosy Holder:

  • Great idea.
  • Makes using a tablet more comfortable.
  • Two great colours to choose from.
  • Padded pouch at the rear to both carry tablets/eReaders and protect them.
  • Portable with a strong adjustable strap.
  • Doubles up as a pillow/cushion for resting.
  • Great product for travelling with.
  • Pouch carries tablets, eReaders, pens, colouring pads and also toys.
  • Good value-for-money.
  • Adult version available too!

What we don’t love about the Cosy Holder:

  • Not a dislike but I’d like to see more colours available.

The Cosy Holder really is a great idea for making tablet or eReader use more comfortable. Since it is portable it is ideal for travelling either by plane, train or automobile (car to you and I). On a plane it would easily sit on the tray table and in a car could sit on a child’s lap. On a train you could sit it on either the tray table or the table if you have a seat at one. It would make days out during the summer with the kids easier and more enjoyable, with no giving out that their tablet keeps falling down.

I do have one reservation about the Cosy Holder and that is the size of it. While it is a great product and has already come in handy at home, it is quite bulky and could take up a lot of room in hand luggage of a child. This would be one of the main reasons I’d have bought it, to take on planes with us. We always struggle to get BattleKid comfortable on a plane with his tablet, even with a cover and stand but this would be better. However, if your hand luggage has limited space or size this might take up a lot of space.

That said I think the Cosy Holder may well be accompanying us to America at the end of next month for our mammoth USA road trip.

Would I recommend the Cosy Holder? Yes, I would. Despite my one reservation it is a great product, ideal for travelling with the kids or for relaxing at home. Cosy Holder has a special introductory offer of £5 off any Frankie or Bailey, costing just £19.99, with free UK Mainland shipping for a limited time only. The Beanie Cosy Holder retails for £16.99 but is on offer at £12.99 for a limited time. Visit the Cosy Holder website for more information.

So why not grab your kids (or yourself) something unique, comfortable and portable for tablet or eReader moments this summer!

Cath x

*This post contains an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and decide to make a purchase.

**We were sent the Cosy Holder as part of their promotion. Although we were not asked to write a review, these are my own honest thoughts and opinions of the product.

Cosy Holder Cosy Holder

The Portugal Diaries #5

Well we’ve been in Portugal for eight weeks and it finally feels like we are starting to settle into our new life. But the last few weeks haven’t been without their dramas either! For the first couple of days, we relaxed in my parents’ house, pottering into Tavira once or twice for shopping. It was all about getting over the mammoth drive for mum and dad and wondering if our Land Rover was still sick or not.

We got into a routine with BattleDog of walking him regularly to toilet him as my folks don’t have an enclosed garden for him to be free in. Theirs is open so regular walks were necessary, not that he was complaining. BattleKid often joined me on his bike, and found a great run-off for himself near my parents’ house. I’d stop him at the top of this short hill, checking no cars were about. After a thumbs up from me, he would get a run off and free wheel down with feet up. The neighbours were all very impressed with his skills, I can tell you!portugal diaries

On cooler days, we also visited the playground in my parent’s park and let him burn off some steam. However, we soon found out that evenings were off limits. The playground is located beside a very small lake, and in the evenings the mosquitoes come out in their droves so unfortunately it was off limits after 5pm.

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Playground time

The Sunday after we arrived in Portugal we ventured a bit further and discovered a small town called Cachopo. My Dad had spotted an ad in The Portugal Newspaper, an English paper, which mentioned the start of a festival in Cachopo, which is located in the hills above Tavira. The road up is quite windy and remined me of the roads in Tenerife. We made our way through some stunning scenery and found ourselves in a lovely quaint little village. There were plenty of cars and coaches about so we knew we were in the right place.

The festival was on its first day and we strolled through the stalls where the locals were selling all manner of handmade things. From cheese and bread, to stools, candle holders and even knives, the craftwork was amazing. At the top of the town was a square where they were setting out for music and there was also an open-aired restaurant. We didn’t stop for something to eat and instead strolled back down the town past the stalls where I got a candle holder for me parents as a present and a little stool for BattleKid. And they weren’t expensive either.

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Cachopo

We walked around the town and my mum went into the church in the village which looked lovely from the outside. BattleKid initially wanted to follow my parents in but in the darkness of the entrance he changed his mind so I just admired it from outside. Cachopo is a lovely little village with cobbled streets, typically bright doors and all the quaintness you’d imagine of a small Portuguese town. All of us commented on how lovely it was as we made our way back down to Tavira.

On the drive back, we had our first road kill. A snake! And not a small one either as we all felt it in the Land Rover, so you can imagine it wasn’t small by any stretch of the imagination. Right there I said there is no way I can live that far up if there are large snakes about.

BattleDad had warned me of some wildlife I should be prepared for but I had hoped to avoid things like snakes for a while yet. BattleDad’s aunt, who has been living in Portugal full-time for over five years, has so far managed to not see one so I was kind of hoping I’d have her luck. Yeah right! But again, the scenery on the way back from the hills was stunning and BattleDad was already scouting some dirt trails to take his bike up!

While BattleDad was working during the week after we arrived, I went into Tavira with my parents a few times, enjoying the sunshine and familiarising myself with the place once again. Tavira is such a lovely town. It hasn’t been commercialised like the Western Algarve so it still very traditional and Portuguese.

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The Roman Bridge in Tavira

At the end of our first full week in Portugal, once the Saturday arrived, we decided to head East and visit Vila Real de Santo Antonio, which borders Spain across the river inlet. It is a beautiful town, with white-washed buildings interspersed with colourful ones. When we arrived, and finally sorted out paying for parking, we headed towards a square and there was a market in place. Market stalls seem to be quite popular, especially at the weekend, and again the stalls were full of homemade goods, a lot of cork produce (did you know over half the world’s cork is produced in Portugal), fresh fruit and vegetables, and homemade foods.

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Vila Real de Santo Antonio

We strolled through one of the main shopping streets before finding a café beside the marina for a drink and cake. We then admired the various boats and yachts moored in the marina before heading back to the car.

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Checking out the fish in Vila Real marina

We decided to head towards a town called Alcoutim, where BattleDad had read there might be a castle to explore. However, 20 minutes outside of Vila Real, the red engine warning light came back on the car and we headed back to my parents’ place where we called Land Rover Assistance.

Our car troubles were not over and she was recovered to Faro for inspection. BattleDad and I then had to make our way to Faro Airport to collect a hire car and I finally admitted to him I was worried about driving on the left-hand side. I naively thought that since you were on the left of the car, everything would be in reverse, including the accelerator, clutch and brakes. I told him this while we were waiting at Hertz and he couldn’t help but laugh at me. The peddles, it turns out, are in the same place as a right-hand drive car so your feet do exactly the same things, in the same place. I had been worrying for nothing! It still took me a while to remember that the gear stick was on my right instead of my left.

I’m gonna stick my neck out and admit something quite dumb. The Land Rover was recovered on Saturday with yet another red engine warning light and as a result we had to go to Faro Airport to pick up a hire car (thank god for Land Rover Extended Warranty and Assistance). We get there and I start panicking about having to drive a manual because I believed everything was opposite to the UK, gear stick, clutch, accelerator, the lot. I mention this to Battledad who peed himself laughing at me! Lo and behold I was panicking for nothing as the clutch and accelerator use the same feet as the UK, only the gear stick is on your opposite side. Cue more laughing from Battledad as I breath a sigh of relief. Turns out my mum had been wondering the same when we regaled the story to my folks…….

A post shared by BattleMum (Cath Jordan) (@battlemum) on

We raced back to Tavira once we had the hire car as we had dinner booked for 7pm at a lovely restaurant called O Castelo. It had been recommended to us by BattleDad’s aunt and I have to say it was such a nice meal after the day we had just had. The food was excellent, the portions were huge and sitting outside to have a meal in the evening was just what we had hoped for and part of the reason we had taken the decision to move to Portugal. Outdoor living was a huge factor for us, and here we were, finally starting to enjoy it. We will definitely be returning to O Castelo for a meal and I’ll be reviewing it at a later stage on the blog.

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O Castelo restaurant in Tavira. Great setting and amazing food
portugal diaries
Saying goodnight to the statue

On the way back to the car after dinner we came across a live statue and at first BattleKid wasn’t too sure about him but soon put the money in his tin for him and shook his hand. This was the first time he’s seen a statue.

All in all, it was a hectic first week and a bit in Portugal and we were left in limbo and with some amount of uncertainty with regards to the car. It left us wondering if we had made the right decision bringing it to Portugal and considering whether or not we should ship it back to the UK and sell it rather than matriculating it and being left with it for 5 years (the rule of bringing a car in tax free).

To be continued….

Cath x

If you missed any of my previous instalments, you can find them all in The Portugal Diaries.