I was recently sent several products from a company called Inateck. I must admit that I have never come across the company before, but I was intrigued to see what their products were like and… More
Today on the blog I have the pleasure of welcoming Tadej, a camping enthusiast who blogs at Camping Tent Lovers. Tadej is sharing with us some useful camping tips for families. BattleDad and I have enjoyed camping but have yet to experience it with BattleKid, so these tips will come in helpful one day.
Useful Camping Tips for Families
Camping is one of the best ways of spending time outdoors. The beautiful flora as well as the majestic landscape makes for a totally refreshing experience that will leave you calm and relaxed. This is the feeling if you are camping alone as an adult or with a group of other adults, but it gets a lot more challenging when the kids are involved.
Their playful and forgetful nature is what makes camping with kids a challenge, but this doesn’t mean that you should leave them out when you are heading to camp. There is a lot that kids can learn from spending time outdoors such as survival tricks and how to take care of the environment, and this makes taking them with you camping very important.
To make sure that your family camping experience is enjoyable and fulfilling, we have compiled this article that highlights a few camping tips for families. Let’s now take a look at the things that you should do and those that you shouldn’t when you are out there with your children.
Important camping tips for families
As mentioned earlier, kids can be quite challenging to deal with when they are outdoors and without proper planning, your camping trip could become a nightmare. Kids are easily excited by nature and as such, they may wander deep into the woods without you noticing it.
Kids also tire easily and this is another thing that you have to consider when heading out to camp with your young ones. What I am saying is that you need to do some serious planning if you are going to spend some time outdoors with your kids and this article on useful camping tips for families will help you with just that.
We have divided this guide into the things that you need to do and those that you shouldn’t do so as to make it easy for you to plan your trip and make your stay outdoors enjoyable. Let’s begin with the things that you need to do when camping with kids.
The DOs of camping with kids
1. Set some ground rules
It is important that you lay down the law if you are planning on going to camp with your kids. Kids can get adventurous when they are out there and you need to let them know that the campsite is not the place to get mischievous.
They can get lost in the woods if they take their games too far and this is something that they should be aware of from the get-go. Let the kids know that they cannot go far into the woods without the guidance of an adult. Let them know that they cannot eat anything that they come across in the woods as this can cause stomach upsets and other complications.
Such ground rules will make sure that your kids are safe at all times and this will make your stay enjoyable.
2. Pack your kids clothes separately
You need to pack the clothes that your kids will use when they are camping separately for added convenience. Get several grocery bags and in each bag, put a full set of clothes that the kids will wear on a particular day.
Once the kids are done with a particular set of clothes, they can return them back to the grocery bag and this will ensure that they don’t mix up clean and dirty clothes.
3. Bring some toys along
Since you won’t want your kids to wander into the woods in search of entertainment, then you should bring along some toys for this purpose. Don’t bring their whole set of toys as you still want them to enjoy nature and the great outdoors but a board game and some sports gear will not hurt.
The DON’Ts of camping with kids
Here are a few things that you should NOT do if you are planning on going camping with your kids.
1. DO NOT forget your survival kit
The playful nature of young children may result in injuries or the kids getting lost and this is why you should always bring a survival kit with you if you plan on spending some time outdoors with your children. Getting a survival kit is one thing and training the children how to use them is another.
Some of the items that should never lack in your survival kit include a whistle, a first aid kit, a GPS system and a flashlight. The whistle is for creating some attention should one get lost and you should teach your kids how to use a whistle to ask for help.
The first aid kit is for injuries and emergencies while the kids can use the flashlight to find their way in the dark or when heading to the restroom late at night.
2. DO NOT over-pack
You may be tempted to carry lots of clothes for kids when camping but this is something that you should avoid if you want to enjoy your stay outdoors. Since the kids will be carrying their luggage when heading to camp, over-packing will increase the weight that they will have to carry around and this will see them tire quickly.
Kids get grumpy when they are tired and this is an occurrence that you should avoid if you want to have some peace and tranquility out there in the woods.
3. DO NOT buy new camping supplies
Buying new camping supplies will mean that you have to transport them to your campsite and this will make you and the kids too tired to enjoy your stay. You can instead rent the best family camping tents at your campsite and this will ensure that you don’t have a lot of weight to carry around.
Camping with kids is a delightful yet challenging experience and without proper preparation, your stay could get quite messy. Read this article to understand the important camping tips for families so as to make your stay outdoors fun and enjoyable.
Thanks to Tadej for this informative and helpful post. I’m sure as a family we will experience camping one day and these tips will become invaluable then.
Tadej is passionate about camping tents and camping. He believes that getting the right tent for you and your family is a vital investment, no matter where will you pitch your tent – in mountains, in your backyard or in the nearest forest. Tadej will help you to find the right one. If you are a camper or willing to become one, or if you are interested in camping, you could find Tadej’s website Camping Tent Lovers useful. You can also find Tadej on Facebook.
In today’s Best and Worst Holidays guest post, we hear from Kelsey who blogs at Life and the Great Outdoors, who is sharing with us her best holiday as a couple.
Best Holiday as a Couple
Are you looking for somewhere awesome to take your family this year? Let me tell you why you should be heading to Rome this year.
My best holiday so far to date has to be when my husband and I went to Rome. He wasn’t my husband back then but little did I know this would be the holiday where he would propose to me.
So, a bit of backstory. We had been going out for about 9 years at this point but had never had a holiday just the two of us somewhere abroad. It was our first holiday booking and planning everything ourselves. So, this is another reason why it was so special. I booked everything separately as I wanted to save as much money as well. Instead of heading to a travel agent, I learned everything I could about Rome and booked it all online. I’m going to let you into the secrets of how to find places cheaper and what we did while we were there.
How did you plan?
To start off with I used Google, I Googled about Rome, what the best places to see were. The best places to stay, best places to eat and how long to stay for. I found TripAdvisor, I know late to the show, and discovered that you could book activities through this website. We picked a company called City Wonders, we used them for a Colosseum and The Forum walking tour and to skip the line at the Vatican.
I then used booking.com to find the hotel. I love booking.com, you can book a hotel anywhere in the world and they will generally come with breakfast included. And you can get free cancellations until the day before, this is great if you find the price cheaper as you can cancel and re-book without an issue. I have saved over £100 doing it this way.
To find flights I used Skyscanner. If you have never used it before it is a good website because it shows you which flights from your chosen airport are cheaper and what times they fly in and out. It’s a great money saver, another website you can use is Kayak but I haven’t found it as good as Skyscanner yet.
Rome is great for transport; the train takes you from the airport to the inner city. I recommend flying in and out of Fiumicino airport. The train station is right at the airport and it costs about $12 per person. When you’re in the centre of Rome you can walk everywhere. Nothing is too far awhile and the hotels stock nice sightseeing maps that you can have for free.
What did you do when you were there?
We stayed a total of 3 days. We arrived early on the 1st day and left late on the 3rd.
The first day, my husband proposed to me at the Trevi Fountain, read my blog post on how he proposed to me, it was beautiful, may I add. We then visited the Pantheon, which was free, ate pizza, had ice cream and walked around exploring the whole city, the Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona.
The second day we went to the Colosseum and The Forum. We took a walking tour with City Wonders, as mentioned early. You basically meet up with a guide, who gives you headphones and she tells you the amazing things about the place you’re visiting while walking you around. This is suitable for children too, as you can wander around the area they are in and still be able to listen to her speaking. The Forum was beautiful and at the end of the tour, we could go back to the Forum on our own if we wanted. It was the middle of August so this day we had a tropical storm. It only lasted about an hour, but it was the most amazing experience. To experience hot rain is very surreal.
We then ate more pizza, had pasta, Italian wine, went shopping and bathed in the beautiful afternoon sun.
On day 3 we went to the Vatican, we ended up getting the underground to this, as it’s just outside of the centre but the tickets are very cheap and we ended up walking back anyway. The City Wonders ticket was great because you met a guide outside of the Vatican with a group of other tourists, they take you in through the skip the line entrance, and then you are left to explore by yourself. You can book guides but we wanted to explore by ourselves for this one. The Vatican is beautiful, so many works of art!
Just outside of The Vatican is St. Peters Basilica, this is free to enter but there is always a massive queue. The queue goes down quickly but we didn’t really want to queue just in case we missed our flight. So, we took pictures, got some lunch and strolled back to the hotel.
It was then time to head back home. I was very upset to go home as it was such an amazing holiday. It was the middle of August so was very hot, but after the first day, you get used to the temperature. Some people say to not go in August as it can get very busy with tourists, but we didn’t find that it was busy, it was less crowded than London. We have a reason to go again as we didn’t get to go inside St. Peters Basilica.
I really hope that you consider Rome for going on your next holiday. Do some research before you go to get the most out of your trip and you will never forget it.
Kelsey: Let me know if you’ve ever been to Rome or are considering going, I would love to hear your experiences.
Thanks so much to Kelsey for sharing her best holiday as a couple. BattleDad and I visited Rome one February and it was amazing. We can’t wait to bring BattleKid there one day.
Kelsey is from the UK and blogs at Life and the Great Outdoors as mentioned. It is a blog focusing on lifestyle, travel and home. Kelsey also adds her dog Ava in when she can. She is quite a newbie blogger but is loving having a little space on the internet where she can write her experiences. You can subscribe to her blog and also find her on Twitter and Pinterest.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at email@example.com.
Found in a secluded spot on the Gower Peninsula is a castle known locally, so I am told, as Wobbly Castle. Weobley Castle, pronounced web-lee, was the scene of our second to last dragon hunt in Wales. In my effort to squeeze in as many South Wales castles as we could before we left the UK, BattleKid and I went on a dragon hunting adventure at Weobley Castle after visiting a friend one April Saturday afternoon.
Weobley Castle is a 14th century fortified manor house on the Gower Peninsula, which overlooks Llanrhidian saltmarshes and the Loughor estuary. Built by the de la Bere family, stewards to William De Braose, Lord of Gower, it’s final owner, Emily Talbot gave it to the state in 1911 and it is now in the care of Cadw.
Having seen pictures of Weobley Castle online, I thought it might be a good spot for a dragon hunt. So, after visiting a friend in Swansea one Saturday morning, BattleKid and I drove out to the Gower. Now, Weobley Castle was quite a drive from my friend’s house in Swansea. Add another 45 minutes onto that journey to get home and I was hoping it would be worth it.
When we arrived, we found the very small car park, and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure we were allowed to park there. But we were, it’s just big enough for 5 cars. We had some trouble finding where to show our Cadw membership cards as there was no ticket office like the other castles we’ve visited. Turns out, it was a small room off the side of the farmhouse beside the castle, which doubles as the gift shop. But no-one was there.
After a few minutes of waiting, I gave up. As I had a membership card I thought if anyone wanted to check we had paid, I could simply show my card. So off we went to explore the castle.
We rounded the farm yard and were met with a lovely sight. The castle sits beside a working farm but is mostly hidden from view until after the farm. Weobley Castle is quite small too. It’s nowhere near as big as the other castles we’ve visited on our dragon hunting adventures. The only one smaller is Abergavenny Castle. That said it wasn’t going to stop us seeing if a dragon lurked inside.
One of the first things that struck me as we approached the castle was the views across the Loughor estuary. Although it wasn’t the brightest of days, the views were wonderful. No wonder the de la Bere family chose this spot for their manor house.
We entered the castle through what seems to be the main gate and turned left. We came across a room with an exhibition, which I later discovered is entitled: Weobley: A Gower Castle and the Peninsula through the Ages”. BattleKid was not interested, he was here to hunt a dragon. So we began.
Holes in walls, under stairs, in nooks and crannies, we searched every bit of that room and the adjacent one. Having no luck, we left this room and went outside to continue our hunt for the Weobley Castle dragon.
At this stage the sun was trying to peek through the clouds and BattleKid took a breather to enjoy it in the grassy courtyard, while picking daisies for me. After picking a billion daisies from the grass, we continued our dragon hunt around the courtyard, checking the many nooks and crannies he could have been hiding in. And we found him, in a rather big recess in a wall. BattleKid was thrilled and gave him a big hug.
We had found the dragon and our work was done. We left the castle and stopped at a fence in the car park to watch some sheep before having a snack at the car before setting home after a very successful visit to this small, but lovely castle on the Gower Peninsula.
Things to note if you go on a dragon hunting adventure at Weobley Castle
- Weobley Castle is a Cadw site, meaning you gain free entry if you are a member.
- The Castle is open as follows: November to March 9.30am to 5pm, while between April and October it is open from 9.30am to 6pm. Last admission is 30 minutes before closing.
- Note, that the castle is open every day except the 24th, 25th and 26th December, and also 1st January.
- Entry costs £4.00 per adult and £2.60 for children under 16, seniors and students. Under 5’s get free entry.
- There are visitor toilets located in the farmhouse garden. However, there are no baby changing facilities.
- The castle is difficult to access with a wheelchair or buggy, due to the different levels of the castle.
- Weobley Castle is a non-smoking site.
- There is a small gift shop but no café.
- Weobley Castle has a small car park with 5 spaces. However, there is further space for cars on the roadside.
- Weobley Castle is not located within a village. That said you drive through several before arriving at the castle and each have cafes or pubs suitable for getting refreshments if you wish.
Although a small ruined manor house, BattleKid and I thoroughly enjoyed out dragon hunting adventure at Weobley Castle and can highly recommend you visit it if you are in the Gower. You won’t spend more than an hour or two at it, so you could combine it with lunch in one of the nearby villages for a nice family day out. I’m really happy we made an effort to visit this South Wales castle. Despite it being nearly an hour and a half’s drive from where we were living, it was worth it.
*Prices and visiting times correct at the time of writing this post.
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kirsty from Winnettes to tell us all about her family’s best and worst holidays. Welcome Kirsty.
Our Best & Worst Family Holidays
Over the years we have been pretty lucky with our holidays. Generally we haven’t had any disasters and certainly even our worst wouldn’t feature on “Holidays from Hell”. I think for us the worst is simply the worst because the best was beyond comparison. I’ll start with the worst and then you can tell me if I am simply being an unreasonable, unrealistic, posh tart.
Worst Holiday – Family Village Spain
We booked this Worst holiday last minute, well with 6 weeks to go. We couldn’t really afford to go away, we had moved earlier in the year, Ellie was only 18 months old and I was pregnant, so our money was being spent on baby stuff. But Hubby got in a commission payment and we decided we would treat ourselves…. On the cheap. We went in October so the weather was touch and go, and in fact it rained more than it was sunny. This is, of course, not the resorts fault and it wasn’t exactly unexpected. On a side note why do people mention the poor weather in Trip Advisor reviews? As if anyone could have done something about it?
The room was actually not too bad. It had a little clean kitchenette and a huge bathroom. We could access the balcony from our bedroom which was great as we could put Ellie to sleep in the travel cot and then spend the evening sat on the balcony over looking the sea. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? Can you feel a but coming?
This holiday really wasn’t for us. You could tell it was a budget resort. The buffet restaurant was clean but the food was disgusting. Honestly I can eat nicer food at the local kebab shop that has a hygiene rating of 1. The Al a Carte restaurants were marginally better but also extortionately priced. We ventured out to the local town on a couple of evenings where we enjoyed much better food and atmosphere.
However this was a couple of miles down the road which meant we needed a taxi. Trust me I would have walked if I could. I have always found the European taxi drivers to drive in a manor I describe as lunacy. But add my precious toddler and baby bump into the mix and those taxi rides are etched into my brain for life!
The pools were big but freezing… FREEZING! And there was always a class or group using it.
This resort has actually been on TV since, on a program about all inclusive holidays, which was filmed during peak season and it looked even more horrendous.
Not all of it was bad and we made the best of it but it has put us off ever going to a Family Village again, which is a shame because they are brilliantly kitted out for kids.
Best Holiday – Sani
Ok so this is going to be disproportionate as this is a luxury holiday. And I mean Luxury! We went to Sani for our 30th Birthdays and we saved up hard for this trip. It was meant to be a once in a lifetime holiday and it really was.
We managed to get a large 2 bedroom suite that over looked the resort and sea (in fact it is the room they use in their brochures, or at least it used to be). There was a huge living area and both big bedrooms were ensuite.
The resort was set over 4 areas, Sani Beach, Asterias Suites, Porto Village and Marina, and the Sani Club. They have since added a fifth area called Sani Dunes…. I really want to see this! There were over 20 restaurants over the whole resort and you could eat in all of them. Some were included in our half board package and some weren’t but we could pay. We were well aware of this though so it wasn’t an issue.
The food was to die for! I don’t remember us having a bad meal once and there was even a patisserie for all my sweet tooth needs. And along with the food was the service! Honestly the Greeks know how to do 5* service. We didn’t lift a finger. There was bar and food service around the pool and on the beach. If we wanted something all we had to do was ask. Beach towels are provided and if we got ours too sandy then new ones would appear! Drinks empty… New ones are on their way.
The Kids Club
One of the appeals was the kids club and we weren’t disappointed. We booked the girls in for a couple of sessions as Ellie (aged 3 at the time) was quite timid and generally didn’t like to go to clubs. Well, she came out after the first session and asked to go back for more…. We quickly obliged and got her and Trixie booked in for a few more sessions.
The Only Downside…
As with everything there is a downside and it can be a big one…. Money. Because there is no option for all inclusive there is always going to be something to pay. Whilst this does mean you don’t have to walk around wearing different coloured bands, you do need to be careful. Our system to over come this was to go to reception every morning and pay off our bill. And thank goodness we did.
We really didn’t want to be too mindful of what we were ordering, it was supposed to be a luxury holiday after all, but as we were there for 2 weeks and we did have a limit to our funds, we thought this was our best option. It was. Everyday we would go down to pay and everyday there was at least one mistake on the bill. This is not an issue when you only have 24 hours to remember, but as everyone around us was paying their checkout bill you could see the blood rush from their face as they were met with their final amounts. And of course no one could remember if they really had had everything listed.
Thanks so much to Kirsty for sharing her tales of their best and worst holidays to date. It’s a shame the Holiday Village wasn’t great. But Sani sounds absoutely amazing. No wonder you’ve chosen to share that as yous best holiday to date. I want to go now after reading your glowing report!
Kirsty, who blogs at Winnettes as mentioned, is a mum of two daughters, Ellie and Trixie. They are based in Surrey and she enjoys baking and crafts. Kirsty blogs for motherhood therapy and write about various things that take her fancy. She often includes recipes on her blog as it would be rude not to share some of their delicious creations. Kirsty can also be found on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you find yourself with some time in London, perhaps like us between flights, and you’ve got a little traveller with you, if you’re anything like me you’ll be researching things to do in London with toddlers. Some of you might think London with toddlers is your idea of hell, but I’m going to share with you 5 awesome things to do in London with a toddler in tow to show that London CAN be enjoyed with little ones tagging along. These things can also be used to form an itinerary for a day out in London with young kids.
5 Awesome Things to Do in London with a Toddler in Tow
Breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien.
Start your day at this fabulous boutique café in London’s Southbank. I discovered Le Pain Quotidien when in London with my sisters last June and we had the most delicious brunch I’ve had in a long time. Baked eggs with chorizo was my dish of choice that day and it was really tasty. Fast forward two months and we were going to be enjoying a family day out in London, so I knew exactly where we were going to start our day.
BattleDad enjoyed baked eggs with salmon, I had a lovely chorizo and potato frittata and BattleKid tucked into scrambled eggs with crispy prosciutto. We also ordered a mixture of breads, which we unfortunately didn’t finish, there was just too much in it. To say BattleDad was impressed would be an understatement and the boy ate everything on his plate. It was the great way to start our day out in London and I can highly recommend it for your little ones as well.
Take a Ride on the London Eye
After fuelling up at Le Pain Quotidien, why not pop around the corner and take a ride on the London Eye. Again, I had done this with my sisters and thought the boys would enjoy it, so I booked us tickets online. As our tickets were Fast Track Anytime, we were able to arrive in our town time, and with our tickets printed before we arrived, we joined the Fast track queue, avoiding the other long queue. Despite it being the August Bank Holiday weekend, our queue moved relatively quickly and before long we were stepping into our pod to enjoy the views.
You might be thinking I’m mad to put this on my list of things for toddlers to do in London. But rest assured, BattleKid thoroughly enjoyed his time in our London Eye capsule, especially the interactive tablets which point out the various landmarks you can see from the Eye. And, as the rotation is only 30 minutes long, there wasn’t time for BattleKid to become bored before we were getting ready to disembark. So yes, the London Eye is something that you should include on your list of places to go with toddlers in London. My only recommendation is to book Fast Track tickets to prevent little people from getting too bored in the queues, which can be over an hour at times for the standard tickets queue.
Visit the Fish at Sea Life, the London Aquarium
Conveniently located beside the London Eye, Sea Life is another ideal place to visit in London with toddlers. Again, for our visit to the London Aquarium, we got Fast Track Anytime tickets as we hadn’t been sure when we would visit (and finish) on the London Eye. This meant we could arrive at our leisure. We only had to collect a Ranger Pack for BattleKid from one of the ticket desks and in we went.
And I must say I was really impressed by Sea Life London. With it being located on the banks of the River Thames, I did wonder what it might be like inside, but I was pleasantly surprised by it. Spread over three floors with fish of all shapes and sizes, Sea Life had a vast array of fish and animals to keep any toddler occupied for hours. BattleKid loved seeing them all, especially Nemo of course, and he also enjoyed visiting the penguins. By far his favourite part was stamping on jellyfish lights in the newer exhibition. And my personal favourite was the largest of the tanks which spreads across all three floors and which contains Easter Islands Head statues. Very impressive I must say. We can highly recommend Sea Life if you’re wondering what to do with toddlers in London. You can never go wrong with a good aquarium.
Go on a Dragon Hunting Adventure in the Tower of London
BattleDad and I had visited the Tower of London a few times in the days before BattleKid came along, and we always enjoyed our visits. When our dragon hunting adventures started with BattleKid in Wales, I knew we had to take him dragon hunting at the Tower of London if we ever got the chance. And during our family day out in London last year, we did exactly that.
After seeing the fish in Sea Life, we walked across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to Embankment and hopped on a direct tube to Tower Hill. This was BattleKid’s first ride in the Underground. And once he clapped eyes on the Tower itself, he knew we were going to visit a castle to hunt a dragon. It’s such an impressive looking building from outside.
As you may or may not know, we always carry a little red dragon teddy bear with us, and we plant this for BattleKid to find. It makes visiting castles much more fun for him, and in turn we get the chance to wander around castles without someone saying, “can we go home”. However, if you don’t have a teddy bear on you, you can still hunt a dragon in the Tower of London without one. How? Just make your way to the top floor of the White Tower where you’ll find a huge dragon guarding some treasure.
There are lots of places to explore in the Tower of London and a few places to grab a cuppa and a slice of cake if little legs are getting a bit tired. You can always continue your dragon hunting after cake. Just remember to leave your visit to the White Tower until towards the end of your visit if you aren’t planting your own dragon for your toddlers to find.
Visit Paddington Station and get your own Paddington Bear Teddy
The last stop on our family day out in London was Paddington station. We were heading back to our hotel at Heathrow airport and we took a Circle Line train from Tower Hill direct to Paddington Station. I had forgotten that there is a Paddington Bear shop there, naturally because this station is where Paddington Bear first arrived in London.
Unfortunately, a certain someone had fallen asleep in the tube on the way, so I had to venture into the shop myself. There are gifts of all sorts from bears and t-shirts, to keyrings and books, there’s something for everyone. I picked up a lovely Paddington Bear teddy for BattleKid who travelled all the way to Portland and Yellowstone with us. He now takes pride of place on BattleKid’s bedroom shelves. And coincidentally, we watched the Paddington movie during our two-week USA road trip which followed our day in London.
There are lots of places to take toddlers in London as I hope I’ve shown. You need not be worrying about visiting London with toddlers and whether you can find interesting and enjoyable things for them to see and do. London is filled with so many attractions, that you are bound to find a few to take your little ones to. Our list includes just some of the best things to do in London with toddlers. But don’t be limited by these. For more inspiration, why not check out these blog posts as well.
So, will you be visiting London with your toddlers in the future?
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