5 Things To Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

Two years ago, we visited Slovenia, and more specifically Lake Bled, with friends of ours. Now when those friends suggested a holiday around a lake, I was quite dubious. BattleKid was 18 months old at the time and I really wondered if there were things to do around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow. We had never even considered Slovenia as a holiday destination but the pictures I was seeing of Lake Bled got me excited nonetheless.

We went in the August as our friend’s children are older and the holiday needed to fit in during their school holidays.  And as our friend’s children were older, they had been on the hunt for a holiday which was different from your usual package sun holiday. So, Lake Bled was the suggested and accommodation and flights were swiftly booked.

I did wonder how we would fair with BattleKid being so young but I need not have worried. It turns out there are plenty of things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler that you can enjoy even with a younger child about.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Beautiful Lake Bled

5 Things to Do Around Lake Bled with a Toddler in Tow

A walk around Lake Bled.

One of the very first things we did around Lake Bled with BattleKid was walk around Lake Bled. There is a beautiful walk around the circumference of the lake and goes from walks near one of the hotels in town, under a bridge, to the far end of the lake (just under 4 miles on total). There is a boardwalk from here before you walk around the back of the entrance to the lido. It is simply a beautiful place to take a walk and takes roughly 2-2.5 hours to complete, depending on whether you stop to teach your toddler to throw stones in the water.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Walk around the lake

BattleKid loved this and it became a regular thing for us when we visited the lake. There are jettys where the gondolas stop that make for a great platform to teach an 18 month old toddler to throw stones into the water. There are also several areas suitable for having a picnic and also several cafes and restaurants around the lake for lunch, dinners or even a snack (see below).

BattleKid and I even had a walk ourselves around the lake one day while we waited for everyone else to do their toboggan ride, which I am reliably informed was brilliant (best suited to older children).

RElax and swim at Bled Lido.

Bled Lido is an area of the lake made for pleasure, sunbathing, swimming and body boarding. It is situated on the side of the Lake opposite the town just under the castle and has a charge to enter it. We visited it twice, as written about in my Slovenia Holiday Diaries, and is a great place to bring a toddler.

There are several pools of varying depths to go in, and BattleKid and I got into the water on both occasions. He thoroughly enjoyed it, having gotten used to being in the water from his Waterbabies lessons. You can also swim freely in the lake itself outside of the pools, but it is advised to stay in certain areas to avoid being in a precarious position with kayaks, body boarders or worse still, the gondolas ferrying people across to the island.

BattleDad, our friend and their teenage son enjoyed body boarding one day and I was quite surprised at how well BattleDad was doing for his first time, and how much fun they seemed to be having, even in the rain that rolled in off the Alps one afternoon.

There are also kayaks which can be hired out, a room with table tennis (which we ladies and BattleKid used as shelter the afternoon of the rain), sand pits and swings for children, and also ample changing rooms and lockers. The Bled Lido is a great place for those living around the Lake to go to for a bit of R&R.

Just be warned. If you decide to swim outside the pools, you cannot reach the bottom of the lake with your feet so you should be able to swim, and you will be swimming among the fish of the lake at all times, whether it is in the pools or in the open water!

Bled Lido costs €7 per adult and €5 per child under 14 years of age*. This gives you all day access to the lido. Other amenities such as kayaks, deckchairs and umbrellas can be hired for additional charges.

visit Bled Castle and admire the views.

Bled Castle is situated on a hill overlooking Lake Bled itself. It is best reached by car or by bus. There are many coaches which go to the castle. There is parking at the castle grounds but at busy times it might take you a while to find a space.

Bled Castle which has both Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, has some stunning views of the Lake and surrounding areas. This is definitely a place to visit if you want to get some panoramic pictures of the lake from above.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Bled Castle

BattleKid quite enjoyed toddling around the courtyard of the castle while everyone else explored the castle. There are several rooms toddlers can visit such as Workshop/Library (others), but I would suggest that if you visit you leave the buggy in the car. The courtyard is cobbled and there are areas of the castle which are not very buggy accessible. We had BattleKid in his Toddlepak reins and they worked a treat.

We hadn’t started our dragon hunting adventures when we visited Bled Castle, but it would make a great place to do some dragon hunting!

Bled castle costs €10 per adult and €5 per child under 14. For families with at least 2 adults, 1 child is admitted free of charge. Bled Castle also has a museum and restaurant if you fancy a sit down in a beautiful setting.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Panorama views of Lake Bled from Bled Castle
Take a Pletna boat to the church on the island.

In the centre of Lake Bled lies an island with a church. It is the iconic church which forms the centrepiece of most pictures and photographs of Lake Bled. To reach it you need to take one of the many gondolas, or pletna boats, from the stations around the lake. It is said that your wish will come true if you ring the bells inside the church.

We took BattleKid over and he seemed to enjoy the boat ride. The gondola itself has a charge (currently €14 per adult return and €7 per child under 14 return) but visiting the island itself is free. There is a walk around the edge of the island which doesn’t take very long. There are information boards along this route telling you about the different species of fish that can be found in Lake Bled.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
Take a Pletna boat to visit the church on the island

You can go inside the church which carries a donation cost (€6 at the time of our visit in 2015), there is a gift shop selling all manner of items including chocolate and gifts, and there is a tea room too (check this). Visiting the island is an absolute must if you visit Lake Bled. I really enjoyed the ride across the lake and there were no complaints from BattleKid either.

savour a Bled Cake.

No trip to Lake Bled would be complete without having at least one slice of Bled Cake. It would remind me of a custard slice but boy is it so much more. We had been told to make sure we tried on at Bled itself, so one afternoon, while out as a family, the Battle Family stopped at a rather nice restaurant for a slice of Bled Cake and some tea/coffee and we were not disappointed.

It was the most heavenly take on a vanilla slice I have ever tasted and even BattleKid got in on the act. I haven’t tasted a vanilla-based dessert or cake anywhere near as good as Bled Cake. So, I highly recommend you try it if you ever get the chance to visit Bled. And you must let your toddler have at least one mouthful.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler
About to devour some Bled Cake

I am sure there are other things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, but these were our top 5. In the end, it was one of the best holidays we’ve had within Europe with BattleKid, so much so we have every intention of returning when he is older. I think BattleDad is keen to get both BattleKid and me on the toboggan ride!

A lake-side holiday wouldn’t have been my first choice of holiday that year but we were not disappointed and it has me eager to try another lake-side holiday in the near future. I was pleasantly surprised that there were actually things to do around Lake Bled with a toddler in tow, and I’d highly recommend it as a holiday destination, whether you have toddlers or not.

Have you done a lake-side holiday, and if so, where should we go next?

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.

things to do around lake bled with a toddler things to do around lake bled with a toddler

Planning Tips For Your First Family Cruise – Guest post ft Olivia W Jones

Planning a first family cruise can often be both nerve wracking and thrilling. From booking to disembarking, there are many aspects to keep in mind, since any of them could make or break the whole vacation. On a brighter note, a wide array of activities, amenities and food can potentially satisfy anyone, no matter whether it is a newborn baby or a seasoned grandpa. Those who want to stay on top of these aspects quickly find out that cruises are the ultimate family vacations. Here is how to take the stress and frustration out of the process and navigate the minefield of decisions.family cruise blog

Across the seven seas

Some basic rules of travelling always apply, although many specifics are different. For instance, packing techniques help just like with any other vacation, but when cruising, it is also highly advisable to pack a tote bag with all the essentials you need ‒ namely because it takes a few hours for your luggage to be delivered to the cabins. Also, getting off a ship is not like checking out of a hotel. There is again a process of waiting involved. Speaking of which, cruise lengths vary from a couple of days to two weeks.

family cruise - Suitcase open on the floor with holiday essentials almost packed!
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Decide how many days makes sense for you and your family, depending on your preferences and free time. Another thing to take into account is the selection of the arrival and departure ports. The basic dilemma comes down to either visiting just one destination or hitting many with one fair. Some of the most popular bucket list destinations are the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, South Africa, Northern Europe, North America, etc. In any event, pick a destination the whole family is on board with.

The bottom line

Next, it is time to look around for the best deal out there. Choosing the right cruise line is the cornerstone of a successful cruise. The lines differ in terms of quality of service, size of the ship, and offered amenities. It is not uncommon to stumble upon shabby offers that are complete duds. You want to steer away from shore excursions that are basically glorified bus rides. Also, keep your eyes open for discounts, special offers, and deal alerts from reputable agencies.

Family Cruise - ships in port

Do your homework and utilize websites like Onboard.com that allow you to research and book cruises as well as read reviews on them. For families, it is important to note that some cruise lines stand out from the rest because of what they offer to young kids. Carnival cruises, for example, have a great line-up of kid programs, activities, and features that’ll keep the little ones entertained and engaged.

Once the cruise is booked, you need to figure out the itinerary. As for the time on board, there should be a variety of possible activities, including pool, cinema, skydiving, roller skating, bumper cars, golf, etc. Ports offer excursions such as snorkeling, kayaking, city tours, shopping, and horseback riding. Some cruises are marketed and tailored to be all-inclusive. Even then, however, you cannot expect not to have extra expenditures on board, such as pay-extra eateries, gift shops, beverages, various activities, etc.

From stem to stern

Some people overlook the fact that the location and the type of the room on the ship do play an important role. Staterooms are a budget option for those who do not plan on spending much time inside. If you are willing to pay a bit more, though, you can opt for balcony rooms, suites, and deluxe packages. Cabins on the low decks are a nice solution for people who are prone to seasickness.

Family Cruise - Boy on balcony of cruise ship

The good news is that with the marvels of modern technology, you should be able to find high-quality pictures of the rooms or even go on virtual tours and watch live video feeds. Just remember to book the room well ahead of time and reserve the tickets before boarding. The most popular tours sell rather quickly and you do not want to miss the opportunity.

Finally, landlovers should not fret once on deck. Cruising is something that quickly grows on you, even if it feels scary at first. Rely on the crew to help you and provide you with all the necessary information. Make sure to let the kids rest after all the fun and games. Do not forget that you can (and should) stay in touch with your kids in case you want to do some activities separately. True, the cell phones won’t work, but Walkie Talkies will do the trick just fine.

Smooth sailing

When planned and done right, a cruise is the perfect vacation for the whole family. To make the magic happen, you have to know where and when you want to go and what you want to get from the vacation. All ships are not created equally and your choices matter a great deal. So, first-time cruisers, brace yourself. Do not skip the research if you want to have the time of your life and explore new horizons with winds in your sails.

Family Cruise - Waves made by a ship in the sea
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash
sydney oliviaOlivia is psychologist, traveller and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”. Olivia is a regular contributor to High Style Life.
You can also follow on both Twitter and Facebook.
*no remuneration has been received or given in return for hosting this guest post.
** unless stated, the pictures have been provided by the writer for use in this post.
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Rides for Under 5s at Disneyland Paris

So now that we’ve done the planning and booked our trip to Disneyland Paris for December, the next thing that sprung to mind was the fact that I have no idea what rides are suitable for BattleKid or not. As mentioned in my previous post, BattleDad and I have been to Disneyland Paris together twice before on the 15th and 20th anniversaries. But both times we went on rides I’d consider geared more for adults or older children. I have no idea which rides are rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris.rides for under 5s at disneyland paris

This year is both Disneyland and BattleDad’s 25th anniversaries so it’s a big celebration trip for us. Coupled with BattleDad celebrating 25 years since he was part of the opening crew, BattleKid will be approaching 4, me 40 (eek), so we want to enjoy it as much as possible as a family. That means seeking out rides suitable for all of us. But having been a carefree, childless couple on our last trips, we never investigated rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris. So where do you turn to for advice so you know ahead of time which ones to make a beeline for? The blogging community of course, and here are the ones that they have recommended as being ideal for us and most importantly, BattleKid!

Rides for Under 5s at Disneyland Paris

Peter Pan’s Flight

This ride in Fantasyland got an overwhelming vote from the bloggers. Emma from Our Fairy Tale Adventure recommended it and said to get our Fast Pass for this ride as soon as we get to the park. The Peter Pan ride was also recommended by Beth of Twinderelmo, Nicole from The Mum Reviews and Lauren from Mummy is a Gadget Geek. So, I think this is definitely going on our to-do list. You start at the Darling children’s nursery before flying over London by night to get to Neverland. After seeing the sights of Neverland you return to London by the power of pixie dust and happy thoughts. I think we’ll be going on this one without a doubt!

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blaster

This ride in Discoveryland was mentioned by many of the bloggers as another one not to be missed. It sounds fun too and has been recommended by Beth of Twinderelmo and Nicole from The Mum Reviews, while Laura of Mama, Eden and Me also enjoyed it. Nat from Awaybies said her son loved it so much they went on this ride no less than 6 times! It is an interactive ride in which you shoot at targets to get a final score at the end of your ride. Helping Buzz to defeat the Evil Emporer Zurg you gain a ranking in Star Command by the end. I can see this getting competitive between BattleDad and I nevermind BattleKid! And we can use our Fast Passes for this. Bonus.

It’s A Small World

…. After all. It’s stuck in your head, right? Sorry. But this ride, also in Fantasyland, got big thumbs up from Kerry of Blissful Domestication, who said it is not to be missed if visiting Disneyland Paris with younger kids. She went with her then 3 and 4-year-olds and while they loved rides catering for younger children such as cars, spaceships and boat rides, they especially loved It’s A Small World. Laura of Mama, Eden and Me also recommended this ride, as did Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. During your “It’s A Small World” tour, as you set sail the Seven Seaways, you will experience diverse cultures from around the world while accompanied by the iconic and sometimes annoying classic song. The song is already stuck in my head so I might as well go see what it’s all about.

Mad Hatters Tea Cups

This Fantasyland ride was recommended by both Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure and Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. Just from the pictures alone, it looks bright and colourful and fun. Each oversized tea cup spins and you control the speed and direction depending on the level of fun and stomach churning you might want. If the queue isn’t too bad for this I think I might try this one out. Not sure we want to do it too soon after lunch though.

Le Carrousel de Lancelot

Based in Fantasyland, this is Disney’s take on the classical carrousel where young knights ride upon hand-sculpted steeds and get ready for an enchanting ride. I’m hoping this ride as recommended by Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure will bring me back to Sunday afternoons watching Mary Poppins as a child.

Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Snow White)

Nicole from The Mum Reviews recommended doing this ride as part of our Magic Hours if we can. This ride in Fantasyland allows you to experience the world of Snow White like never before, while you visit places like the haunted forest and the dwarves’ cottage.

Les Voyages de Pinocchio

Another Fantasyland ride on which you get to join Pinocchio and his friends such as Jiminy Cricket. This ride was also recommended by Nicole, especially during Magic Hours, which are extra hours you get in the park if you stay in a Disney Hotel. Point noted! Breakfast early then!

Orbitron

An awesome looking rocket ride in Discoveryland, this ride inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing of the solar system was also recommended by Nicole as one to try and do during Magic Hours. Nicole did say that there aren’t many rides in the main Disney Park that are not suitable for little ones as opposed to those in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Ratatouille: The Adventure

Ratatouille is a 4D experience based in the Walt Disney Studios Park which was introduced in 2014 and comes recommended by Lauren of Mummy is a Gadget Geek. Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s famous Parisian restaurant and you might leave hungry. Maybe one for just before lunch perhaps?

Cars Quartre Roues Rallye

A Disney Cars ride in Walt Disney Studios, I can us queuing up for this over and over again by a certain 3-year-old. Recommended by Emma of Our Fairy Tale Adventure, you get to zoom along Radiator Springs with Lightening McQueen. That’s one day’s activities sorted for our Cars fanatic!

Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin

A Walt Disney Studios ride also recommended by Emma, you are invited to shrink down to the size of Buzz and Woody and jump onto the back of Slinky as he tries to catch his tail. All Toy Story Fans will love this ride.

Any worry I had about rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris have vanished thanks to the recommendations of all these wonderful bloggers. There are plenty to choose from and one or two even allow you to use Fast Pass which is great. There are some rides I can see us queuing hours for but as long as BattleKid comes away with a smile on his face I’ll be happy. My only concern is that the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is currently closed. This is the one BattleDad and I made sure we went on during our previous visits and I do hope it reopens before December.

I must mention an absolutely brilliant post written by Vicki of Family Travel with Ellie entitled ‘Disneyland Paris with young children’. In it she details the best rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris including:

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blaster,
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant,
  • Orbitron,
  • Ratatouille: The Adventure,
  • Autopia,
  • It’s A Small World,
  • Peter Pan’s Flight and
  • Le Carrousel de Lancelot.

It is a brilliant post for anyone planning to visit or going to Disneyland Paris with under 5s and I’ve added it to my Disney Pinterest Board for reference! I’ve also added a fabulous post by Suzy of Our Bucket List Lives in which she gives a comprehensive breakdown off all the rides and which were suitable for her 3 year old son. It is going to be my guide for our trip!

A big thank you to all the bloggers who answered my call for help in what rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris they would recommend we do. I haven’t been on any of these rides before so am looking forward to experiencing a different kind of Disney than before our son came along. While I enjoyed it I think this visit is going to be much more magical.

Would you recommend any other rides for under 5s at Disneyland Paris that might have been missed?

Cath x

rides for under 5s at disneyland paris rides for under 5s at disneyland paris

Wanderlust Kids

Also linked up to the Fearless Family Travel linky with Wandermust Family.

The Importance of 5* Protection with Boots Soltan

What is one of the first things you pack when you are planning a holiday abroad? Well if you are anything like me it’s plenty of sun cream, such as Boots Soltan. We all know how important it is to protect ourselves, and more importantly, our children from the damage caused by the sun and sun cream is a must-have when planning a holiday abroad.

Now answer me this, how many of you carry a bottle of sun cream around with you in the UK? I’ll be the first to admit that it is not always the first thing I check is in my bag when out and about in the UK. Nappies, wipes and a change of clothes are first on the list. However, it is still vitally important that we include a bottle of sun cream in our handbags or change bags, such as Boots Soltan SPF50, to protect our children and ourselves at home here in the UK and Ireland.

BattleDad and I liberally apply sun cream to both BattleKid and ourselves while on holiday abroad, such as when we went to Lanzarote in May, but we are guilty of forgetting to apply sun cream while out and about in the UK. We were recently reminded of how important it is to remember to use 5* protection at home too when we saw temperatures reaching almost 30ºC here in South Wales. We ventured to the beach that day but I DID remember to bring SPF50 for BattleKid and SPF30 for BattleDad and myself. We applied it liberally and often to ensure both we and BattleKid were 5* protected against the suns rays that day. And boy was it a hot one!IMG_9854

When I was growing up in South Africa in the 80’s I don’t remember my parents using sun cream on my sister’s and I. Even when I was in my teenage years and should have known better, I got badly sunburned one summer holiday on Salthill beach in Galway. My sister, our friend and I thought we needed to get a tan on our last day and didn’t use cream, getting very badly burned and having a rather uncomfortable 4 hour drive back to Dublin the next day! I learned my lesson the hard way but I don’t want the same for BattleKid. Pasty Irish white skin is much better (and healthier) than pink, sunburned skin.

This is one of the reasons why I am sharing with you 12 facts from Boots Soltan below to highlight the importance of 5* protection and are facts I’ll be keeping in mind now, and in the future.

The importance of 5 protection with Boots Soltan

  • Sun damage is caused by two types of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates deeper and is mainly responsible for ageing. UVB penetrates less deeply but also causes sunburn.
  • All of Boots Soltan products are 5★ rated, because they give the highest level of protection against UVA, the sun’s rays that cause deeper down damage.
  • The level of protection against burning is shown by the SPF. Higher SPFs give more protection.
  • The level of UVA protection a sun cream gives is shown by its star rating.
  • The amount of UV light present is less about temperature but more about the time of year and how close you are to the equator. The closer you are to the equator, the more UV there is. While UV light is still present on an overcast day, because it can penetrate cloud cover, it is higher the closer you are to midsummer’s day.
  • Did you know around 3 tablespoons of sun cream is enough to cover your whole body?
  • Wearing a t-shirt provides UV protection but only when it’s dry. Once it becomes wet it turns opaque so swimming in a t-shirt offers no protection from the sun.
  • Sand, concrete and even grass all reflect UV but if any of these surfaces become wet the amount of UV reflected can double. (I never knew this!)
  • The effects of the sun are cumulative so if you burn an area of skin it may be more sensitive next year.
  • Soltan can help you choose the best sun cream for you with the online SPF selector tool http://www.boots.com/en/Soltan/Find-your-SPF/
  • Boots Soltan is the No.1 5★ UVA sun protection brand.
  • With over 75 years of expertise protecting the nation’s skin, Boots Soltan has always been committed to giving you uncompromised sun protection.

So if you are planning to venture out during these school holidays, or have a lovely up-and-coming holiday abroad planned, make sure you stock up on Boots Soltan 5* protection before you go!boots soltan

*For highlighting the importance of Boots Soltan 5* Protection, I was kindly sent a family pack of Boots Soltan sun cream.

Check before you travel 1

As we went out the door a in May to head for our Bristol airport accommodation, I suddenly had a horrible feeling about our luggage. I had thought I was being clever by packing all our things into just 2 suitcases, which according to a hand-held travel scales at home were weighing around 25kgs each.

suitcases
bubbo.etsy.com / Foter / CC BY-NC

Not a problem I thought as we had a 50kgs limit between the three of us. However, as we were about to head out the door I suddenly had a nasty niggle that there was a maximum allowance per piece of luggage. I checked our boarding cards and sure enough, there it was in black and white, a maximum allowance of 23kgs per piece. Bugger!

This meant me ramming another two suitcases into the car to bring with us to repack the bags, the night before our flight, as we didn’t have time to do it at home. What a palaver!

So what have I learnt from this episode? Always check the maximum allowance per piece of luggage for your airline BEFORE you start packing. I’m so glad I discovered it at home rather than in the airport at 5am where we’d potentially have had to dump a load of stuff to get under the allowance or pay excess baggage.

So always, always check, then recheck what the regulations are for your particular airline regarding luggage weight before you pack and head to the airport as each one is different and it’ll save you time, hassle and money!