USA Road Trip Holiday Diaries – Day 14

We woke around 7am and after showers and getting dressed, I packed some of our things up in preparation for our return to Europe. We called an Uber at 9am and got him to drop us off at a bistro that had also been recommended to us, Mother’s Bistro and Bar in Downtown Portland.

We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table as it was very busy, even though it was after 9am. And the wait was worth it. I had the Wild Salmon Hash and poached egg, while BattleDad had the same hash but with scrambled eggs. Oh my word, the food was amazing. Even BattleKid ate well. It wasn’t a cheap breakfast, but I could understand why it was so busy. Once again, thank you to those on Facebook who recommended it. Definitely a great breakfast!

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Starting our day in Mother’s Bistro and Bar with an amazing breakfast

After we were suitably fed, we walked from there to a shopping area in Downtown Portland, visiting yet another Sephora for me and a Nike shop for BattleDad. Neither of us got away with cheap purchases. I bought some more makeup and another Tom Ford perfume, while BattleDad bagged himself some very nice Nike trainers and an Oregon football jersey, which was not cheap.

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Wandering Downtown Portland with our Adventure Belt on

From there we walked to Finnegans Toy Store, where we got BattleKid a Brio Police Motorbike toy. It was a quaint toy store selling more traditional type toys and not an electronic gadget or toy in sight. BattleKid could have stayed for hours playing with the Brio Train set on display. I can highly recommend this shop as a stop in Portland if you’re with kids.

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Playing in Finnegan’s Toy Store

We had also been urged to visit Powell’s City of Books store, so from the toy shop that’s where we headed. It was amazing. Occupying a whole city block with over 1 million books, it is easily the biggest book shop I’ve ever come across. The children’s section was huge and there were areas to sit and read to kids too. We didn’t make any purchases there, but it was lovely to say we’d visited it.

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Powell’s City of Books, Portland
usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Powell’s City of Books, Portland

Next on the cards was Voodoo Doughnuts but the queue was incredibly long just to get into the shop, so we called an Uber to take us to Salt’N’Straw in the Alphabet District of Portland, another Facebook recommendation. And we weren’t disappointed. We got a tasting tray of ice cream, and apart from the coffee flavour, they were amazing. The salted caramel was out of this world.

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Arriving at Salt’N’Straw
usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Amazing ice cream in Salt’N’Straw

After our ice cream treat, we had a wander along the main street of the Alphabet District of Portland, and it was here we got a taste of the Portland we had been hoping for. Cool little cafes beside hip and trendy shops, and buildings that were right out of Grimm, this was the Portland we’d come to see. If we get the chance to return to Portland, this is the area we’ll probably spend more time at.

usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Lovely streets in the Alphabet District of Portland
usa road trip day 14 holiday diaries
Buildings right out of Grimm!

We got another Uber back to our hotel at 2pm, and spent the afternoon chilling and packing. BattleDad and I also got a proper chance to read our Kindles. At 5pm we went across to Red Robin for our last dinner before getting BattleKid into bed for 7pm. By 9pm I couldn’t keep my eyes open so followed him in after a great day discovering Portland city itself. I could easily see us returning to Portland for another visit in the future.

Cath x

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters and Travellers

So, the blogging world is a frenzied place with Christmas gift guides for one and all floating about. However, something that I haven’t seen so far is a Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters like BattleKid. Gifts that will inspire travel among them or get them excited about forthcoming trips and holidays. Gifts that can be easily popped into their luggage to take with them on their travels.

christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters

Photo by DiEtte Henderson on Unsplash

Luggage space can be at a premium for some wanderlust families, particularly if you are a family that travels with hand luggage only. That said, some of the gifts that I’ve chosen to feature can be enjoyed at home in the run up to a holiday to get the excitement juices following.

I, myself, have been on the hunt for little gifts for BattleKid that we can take with us when we travel. Things that won’t take up too much room and that might either brighten up our luggage, so it is easily identified on a luggage belt, or things that are educational and fun for BattleKid. And I think I’ve found a few gifts that tick those boxes, and which might be ideal for your budding wanderluster. I’ve included one or two things which we’ve already bought or received which I thought I should share with you.

Without further ado, here are my tops picks.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

A Personalised Luggage Tag from Bags Of Love.*

Bags of Love is a new website I have recently stumbled across which has a range of gifts that can be personalised with your own pictures. This online London store has everything from Blankets and Mugs for cosy winter nights in, to Suitcases and Luggage Tags for those that love to travel.Luggage tag from Bags of Love

I designed a luggage tag for BattleKid with his name and photo on it and my telephone number on it, in case his luggage ever gets lost. Both BattleDad and I are really impressed by this luggage and tag and both agree it will make identifying his luggage pretty easy. The personalised luggage tag costs just £14.00.

A Letter From Santa Direct.**

Why not get your little one a personalised letter from Santa, especially if they will be away on the big day. With Letter From Santa Direct, your little one can receive a letter from the big man that is fully personalised to them, including their age, an achievement they did during the year and what they most want for Christmas.

Order it before your journey and you can ensure they have a letter from Santa with them while they travel. They will also receive a text message from Santa on Christmas Day. You can also get an activity set to accompany the letter. A Letter from Santa costs just £4.99, and a Letter and Activity Set costs just £8.99. Order yours here.

A Personalised Jigsaw Puzzle from TinyMe.*

There are so many beautiful gifts available from TinyMe for little ones, but my favourite is the personalised jigsaws. Double-sided, there is a huge range of options to choose from and even better, it arrives flat, in its own felt pouch which will lie flat in a suitcase, or in a carry-on bag and doesn’t take up much space or weight at all.personalised jigsaw puzzles from tinyme

We received one for review recently and it is just perfect. We chose the alphabet jigsaw to help BattleKid to learn and recognise his letters and it will definitely be coming on our holidays with us next year.

Subscription to Little Passports.

I have been eyeing this up since I first noticed it on Facebook early last year. However, BattleKid was too young for it and I’ve had to bide my time until now. That said, if I want to subscribe for him, I need to do one year’s worth of the World Edition at a time in order to get them shipped to Portugal. But you lucky people in the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Singapore and South Korea can subscribe monthly.little passports

Their Early Explorers subscriptions are ideal for those aged between 3 and 5, while the World or USA Editions are geared towards those between the ages of 6-10 and 7-12 respectively. There is also a Science Expeditions subscription available. Subscriptions start at £12 per month for the World Edition or £15 per month for the Little Explorers. However, if you opt for an annual subscription you can save some money. Ideal for learning about the destinations you might be going to or filling in the time between trips.

A Simply For Flying Flight Logbook

We have had a Simply For Flying Flight Logbook for BattleKid since just after his first ever flight and we’ve been documenting his fights ever since, and getting the captain’s signatures and message as well. On our last flight with British Airways back to Faro, the captain very kindly filled in his book. He also totalled up the air miles BattleKid has completed and it now stands at over 36,000 miles. I had no idea he’s done nearly 10,000 air miles for each of his years. He will have more next month when we visit Paris and so far, we have at least one set of flights booked for next year with another two more return trips possible. If only we could convert his completed air miles into miles we could offset against flights!simply for flying flight logbook

Either way I cannot recommend this gorgeous little book more as a lovely way to document your little wanderlusters flights and travels. It is the same size as a passport, so you can store it with them and easily hand it to the flight crew as you board the aircraft. I’ve reviewed it on the blog before and it costs just €14.95 which is about £13.20.

A Subscription to the Hopster App*

The Hopster App is an app that helps children learn through the shows they love. It is a safe and educational learning environment that also has games and even HarperCollins books too. There are over 800 episodes of children’s TV shows to choose from including Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, over 100 songs and nursery rhymes, curriculum-based games for learning and there are no ads EVER.hopster app for kids

You can use it on your pc, tablet or phone and the fact you can download your children’s favourite tv shows to your mobile device means they can still watch them while on the move. Great for little wanderlusters. There is a free 7-day trial so you can test it out, and then it costs just £3.99/month with the option of cancelling at any time. BattleKid has been enjoying this in the afternoons after kindergarten and has very quickly learned to navigate his way around the app.

LeapFrog Epic Tablet**

We bought a LeapFrog Epic for BattleKid as his leaving-the-UK present when we emigrated to Portugal earlier this year. We had been after something that was more suited to his age group than a normal tablet (although he has one for movies and TV shows).my sunday photo

The LeapFrog Epic is an Android tablet and is one which grows along with your child. What BattleDad and I love about the Epic is, not only is it Android -based (our preferred mobile platform), there are no in-game purchases or harmful adds, and we can put a timer on it too, therefore limiting BattleKid’s time on it. We’ve even downloaded some movies and TV shows onto it from our Amazon Prime account. There are lots of age-related games you can install, including educational ones and BattleKid loves having it for travelling, which just so happens to be the ONLY time he gets a tablet. The LeapFrog Epic is available from all good retailers including Amazon. It’s RRP is £119.99.

Price: £88.99
Was: £119.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you have found this Christmas gift guide for little wanderlusters useful.

Cath x

*We were kindly sent these items as part of this gift guide or for a separate review, although all thoughts and opinions of the products are my own.

**The links to these products contains affiliate links. That means that I receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking the link at no extra cost to you. This helps support my blog. Thank you.

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

Christmas Gift Guide for Little Wanderlusters

 

 

USA Road Trip Holiday Diaries – Day 13

I had set my alarm for 7am, so I could try and catch the school in Portugal before it got too late. However, there was no answer. I left a message hoping someone might call me back. I was worried about securing a place for BattleKid. Both he and we needed routine back in our lives.

The boys woke a short time later. After showers, we had breakfast in the hotel before heading to Washington Park for a day dedicated to the boy. It took us just 30 minutes to drive to Oregon Zoo in Washington Park.

usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Tickets to Oregon Zoo

We had been kindly invited to review the zoo and were given complimentary entry. I collected our tickets from reception and we went inside, starting at the Great Northwest section. The zoo was amazing. You can read about our visit in more detail in my blog post, but suffice to say we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. From bears and elephants, to mountain lions and cheetahs, there is a large variety of animals to see in the largest zoo in North America west of the Mississippi. 

usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
The Great Northwest area of Oregon Zoo was just incredible
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Having fun in the meerkat enclosure
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Playful seals

We left at 1.30pm and went into The Portland Children’s Museum next door to the zoo. Founded in 1946, this is the sixth oldest children’s museum in the world and receives over a quarter of a million visits each year.

usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Portland Children’s Museum

This museum had lots of different play areas and we had a great time exploring them. There was a water section, which BattleKid loved, a creativity room with crafts and nails and hammers (I was supervising very closely here), and of course a room with cars in it. It was great to let BattleKid enjoy something all for him after the many hours and miles we’d done in the car. I’ll be reviewing this in great detail on the blog at a later stage, so please stay tuned.

usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Water fun, again!
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Making stuff with hammers and nails

Both the zoo and museum had been recommended to us on Facebook and I’m so glad we added them to our itinerary. My mum had been worried we wouldn’t get any down time during our holiday, but this was the perfect things to do for just that.

We headed back towards our hotel at 3.30 and stopped at the retail park. I wanted to visit a Michael’s I had spotted for BattleDad’s aunt in Portugal. It was an amazing store, completely dedicated to arts, crafts and decorations. If I lived in America, I’d be in it all the time! We went across to Red Robin for dinner and had another great meal. I cannot fault this restaurant at all.

usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Getting ready for Halloween with Michael’s
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Getting ready for Autumn with Michael’s
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Enjoying onion rings in Red Robin
usa road trip day 13 holiday diaries
Amazing burgers at Red Robin

We got back to our room by 6pm, so BattleKid enjoyed a bubble bath which is a treat for him. We don’t have a bath in our home in Portugal, so it was a nice way for him to relax after a busy day. We got into our pj’s and watched a Tom and Jerry film, which BattleKid broke his heart laughing at. At 8pm he got into bed, leaving us adults to carry on with Ozark Have you seen it?

Cath x

USA Road Trip Holiday Diaries – Day 12

BattleKid and I woke at 7 but snoozed for another hour. The beds in the TownePlace Suites were very comfortable. We got up at 8am and I discovered I had missed a call from Portugal about our application for a school place for BattleKid. I called back to no avail.

We got dressed and drove to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, also known as OMSI. Established in 1944, this science and industry museum had been recommended to us during our planning stage for our visit to Portland. It contains three auditoriums, a planetarium and exhibition halls with hands-on permanent exhibits. Located on the east bank of the Willamette River, it was once housed in Washington Park, in the now-home of the Children’s Museum. But as visitor number outgrew the building, it was moved to the now impressive building.

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
Visiting the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

OMSI has five different specialised exhibition halls, a planetarium as mentioned, and also a submarine exhibit, which I totally missed and am gutted about. The submarine was featured in the film The Hunt for Red October!

We paid entry to the museum, the Pompeii Exhibition and for the Starry Night Planetarium show. We visited the coffee shop before starting our exploring of the museum and enjoyed some hot drinks, a coffee and our first ever peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It wasn’t bad at all.

After 10am we headed upstairs and found a great area for BattleKid to explore, the Science Playground. Aimed at children between the ages of newborn and six years of age, we knew he’d enjoy this area the most. Fully enclosed and designed to keep children visible and secure, it has a variety of experimental areas for children to freely explore, with specially trained staff on hand to help or give information to interested parents.

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
Fun on blocks

 

BattleKid had fun with balls in the physical science exhibit, in the water area and, my personal favourite, the luminescent rocks. BattleKid had loads of fun in the science playground until we headed back downstairs at 11.50am, in time to catch the planetarium show.

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
My favourite exhibit
usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
Having fun with water, I’ll make a scientist out of him yet!

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
Even Mum had some fun

This was BattleDad’s first time in a planetarium. BattleKid had been in one at Techniquest in Cardiff. The show was very good. Us adults thoroughly enjoyed it, particularly as we see the Milky Way on clear nights above our house in Portugal. BattleKid got a little bored towards the end.

Next we visited the Pompeii Exhibition. It was fascinating seeing the exhibits and learning more about that fateful night in 69AD. Pompeii is now on our bucket-list. We did have to forgo one video as it was advised it wasn’t suitable for young children, so we managed to skip it with the boy.

usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
A really great exhibition: Pompeii

Once we had finished seeing all we wanted at the OMSI, we headed to the Clackamas Town Centre for a late lunch and some shopping. We visited the Disney shop and picked up some bits for BattleKid for our forthcoming trip to Disneyland Paris. And I finally got to visit a Sephora. I’d passed one in New York last year but didn’t venture in and I came out with a few goodies for myself.

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Shopping time!
usa road trip day 12 holiday diaries
Family shopping at its best.

Back in the car by 4pm, we hit rush-hour traffic on our way back to the hotel. As we’d had a late lunch, we made some popcorn and watched Mulan with BattleKid when we got back. We ordered a pizza to share later in the evening while watching Finding Dory with the boy. After food, we got BattleKid ready to bed and into it by 9, in time for BattleDad and I to watch another episode of Ozark, which we were really enjoying. So far, we’d had a great start to our few days in Portland.

Cath x

Living Arrows 46/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Kahlil Gibran

This weekend past we made a return visit to Castro Marim, this time bringing my parents. It is a town near Vila Real de Santo Antonio and one they haven’t visited before. It also boasts two castles, or forts, on opposite hills, one of which is open to the public. Our aim was to show them the castle while doing a dragon hunt for BattleKid, and afterwards enjoy a drink and toastie in the square beside the church.

As it was there was a huge market on in town, and we had a wander through, enjoying churros as an after-dragon-hunt treat. But I really noticed how grown up BattleKid is looking these days from some of the pictures I captured of him!

living arrows - BattleKid at Castro Marim Castle living arrows - BattleKid at Castro Marim Castle living arrows - BattleKid at Castro Marim Castle

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Living Arrows