Living Arrows 37/52

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

Kahlil Gibran

As some of you will know, we are just back from our two week USA road trip, and what a trip it turned out to be. I’ll be writing about it in much more detail shortly on the blog but suffice to say it was amazing. From stunningly beautiful Yellowstone, to smoky Idaho and Montana, to hip and trendy Portland, it was a brilliant two weeks.

BattleKid really surprised us by taking the 3000 miles and 60+ hours in the car in his stride with not a tablet or electronic in sight. I think he was just taking everything in, much like Mum and Dad. When we finally hit Portland, we did many things just for him after being on the road for 12 days. Like visit Oregon Zoo. Aside from this post, I am putting together my review of Oregon Zoo. It was such a great zoo, a contender for the best we have ever visited.

Here are a few pictures from that day. Their Great North West Section was amazing, carved into the forest and wood that make up Washington Park in Portland.

BattleKid’s favourite animal of the day were the playful seals which swam by him at the glass of the aquarium. You could just tell they were playing, swimming directly at him and turning at the last section, one way or the other.

We finished off in the gift shop, as you do, and were very tempted by the explorer’s hat. In the end we didn’t buy it, simply as we were running out of suitcase space. Maybe next time.

living arrows - BattleKid looking through binoculars at Oegon Zoo living arrows - Playful seals swim by BattleKid at the glass of the aquarium at Oregon Zoo living arrows - BattleKid in an explorers hat in Oregon Zoo shopI hope you’ve had a good end to the summer and the kids are settled back in school. Did you go on any nice holidays, at home or abroad? I’d love to hear all about them.

Linking up with Donna of What The Redhead Said. If you’d like to take part or see some other Living Arrows posts, please click the badge below.

Living Arrows

Worst Holiday with Kids – Bloggers Tell Us Where and Why

Does going on holidays with your children fill you with excitement or dread? Excitement for the possibilities that lie ahead, or dread of it turning out to be the worst holiday with kids. Yes, sometimes disaster can strike, and there is nothing you can do about it, but often it’s not something we can foresee. For instance, our worst holiday with BattleKid to date is a tossup between our first holiday to Lanzarote with him, and our second.

Lanzarote had been a favourite destination of ours for years. So, when booking a holiday with a one-year old, we thought why not return to the Canary Island of choice. We chose a resort and town we hadn’t been to and it looked great. When we arrived, we knew we had chosen right. A lovely one-bedroom apartment awaited us. Unlike our first holiday abroad with an 8-month old, we could put BattleKid to bed and relax in the living room with Netflix. The resort was very family friendly, and the town was a lovely 20-minute walk from our resort. It really couldn’t have been better. Until disaster struck on Day 5 of our 7-day holiday. Chicken pox was confirmed the next morning and we were grounded for an extra 3 days. Not what I wanted.

We decided that it was just unlucky of us, so didn’t let it stop us booking a return trip to the same resort the next year. However, the very first day we arrived, disaster struck again. This time, we had only just arrived at our apartment, and were leaving to go for a walk, when BattleKid fell. It resulted in a trip to the hospital for four stitches in his knee. It meant no pool time whatsoever for the entire holiday. We’ve now decided we are jinxed with that resort and may not return to it again, despite it being a brilliant resort.

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Knee injury on Day 1

In my previous post fellow bloggers and I shared with you our best holidays with our kids to date. This time I’ve asked them to share their worst holiday with kids to date. Let’s see where and why!

Bloggers Worst Holiday with Kids

Samantha from North East Family Fun says she generally enjoys Haven holidays, but wasn’t a fan of Golden Sands. Their caravan was dirty and had to be re-cleaned on arrival, the entertainment wasn’t great and it rained the whole time! 

Jenna from Then There Were Three says her worst holiday with kids would have to be their trip to Barbados. The hotel was a shambles, and despite saying they were child friendly, the kids club was never open. They were also only informed of a child’s menu on their last night!

Sarah from Mumzilla says their worst holiday was to a holiday apartment in Spain with a then 18-month-old. It poured down all week with rainy. On the only sunny day, their son managed to tip his buggy and smashed his teeth in. They are now growing through stained as a result.

Oh, and the car seat provided for was for a baby, so it was fun cramming him in that one!

Karina from Mum’s the Nerd says their worst holiday was camping in North Wales as it rained heavily the entire time.

Cass from Frugal Family says their recent holiday to Milan has been their worst holiday with kids yet. Even though they had a great time overall it was too much hard work keeping everyone happy.

We booked a family room which meant no-one had space to go for some time on their own, so we were together 24/7 which was not ideal! I ended up refereeing arguments about everything from one child accusing the other of using up all the WiFi, to whose turn it was to go in the shower.

Collette from Truly Madly Cuckoo told us their worst holiday was when their son got airlifted to Bangor Hospital following an allergic reaction to a peanut he only touched at a BBQ.

It was so scary, I dread to think what would have happened if he had actually eaten the peanut rather than just touched it.

He has now been prescribed an Epipen which they carry everywhere. 

Frances who blogs at Whinge Whinge Wine says their worst holiday with kids was last year in Majorca. Everyone got food poisoning and said it’s

No fun being puked on by two small children when you’re puking yourself.

It then struck her husband on the flight home, which ended up being delayed hours because they wouldn’t let him travel. You can read all about it in her blog post, aptly entitled Holidays from Hell. What an awful holiday, I think you’ll agree.

Lynne from A Day in the Life of a Mum of 6’s worst holiday with kids is my worst nightmare. On a trip to France, her car engine blew up and it had to be transported back to the UK. Her husband had to fly to London and buy a new car to get them home.

We laugh about it now but it was uber stressful at the time.

Hannah from Travelling with Leo says their worst would have to be their weekend camping at the Curious Arts Festival….

In torrential rain!

Lisa from Bare Mother told us their worst holiday was a return trip to a 5-star resort in Thailand.

The first time we were pregnant, and the whole trip was bliss – adults only pool, bar/room service to our balcony overlooking the water, afternoon naps, massages and dinner out every night. We tried to recreate with a 6-month-old, and failed miserably. Stuck in our room every night, in the dark, from around 6pm. Rookies!

I know that feeling!  

Deborah from Country Heart and Home says their worst holiday was Scotland, where it did nothing but rain torrentially, all week. And when they did venture to the clubhouse, their then 3-year-old jumped into the deep end of the pool and couldn’t swim! The kids did nothing but argue and we were all stir crazy!

The whole week was a nightmare!

Emma from Wanderlust and Wet Wipes had a disastrous weekend in Muscat, Oman during which they all whinged and moaned for various reasons. You can read all about their weekend in the blog post she has written. Not quite the weekend away they had hoped for!

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies is sad to say their worst holiday with kids was Disneyland Paris earlier this year. Their children enjoyed it, and she is glad they got to experience it but

It was such a stressful week that mainly consisted of queuing and we spent 5x what we usually spend on a holiday to do it.

Nikki from Yorkshire Wonders says their worst holiday was their own fault.

We booked a cheapie to Greece. It was 40 degrees, the room had no air-conditioning and there was a motorbike rental business outside our bedroom window.

The bikes revved all night, and if they closed the window to stop some of the noise, they cooked in their room. They even had to shower all through the night just to keep cool. She says it was completely awful and she’d never do it again.

Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says told us their worst holiday was a week in her in-laws caravan in Borth. Although they’ve had some brilliant holidays there, for the week in question, it took them 5 hours instead of 2.5 hours to get there due to lots of road works and accidents. I know the road to Borth and can only imagine.

She says

It rained the entire time, the kids fought constantly and the weather meant the TV signal stopped working. We came home early!

Nyomi from Nomi Palony said they saved up for their first all-inclusive holiday at the Costa Del Sol but it turned out that they had booked in the worst weather the region had seen in over a decade! It was torrential rain for the entire week.

To make it worse, Britain was having a heatwave so my feed was full of sunbathing happy brits while we were miserable.

On the way to the airport the baby vomited all over the car that would be left in the long stay airport parking in a heatwave. Once there we went into the city just to buy warmer clothes and waterproofs and somehow lost a 50 euro note getting out of the taxi. The all-inclusive food they saved for was terrible. Then poor Nyomi got a bad case of mastitis that meant she needed to go to a very busy A&E in Marbella. So bad was it, they were so happy to come home! 

Zoe from The Tale of Mummyhood says her worst holiday so far was their first as a family of four. Her eldest daughter fractured her leg three days in and a week before her second birthday. She had a bright pink cast covered in hearts. Zoe is still not over the trauma, even though her daughter is brand new! 

Alice from Living with a Jude has had both her best and worst holiday rolled into one, and her response has been featured in the previous post as well. She went to see family and friends in the states following several years of trying to get her horrid, emotionally abusive ex out of her life. While her friends out there made the visit amazing, and she had such sun seeing them all, her (then) seven year-old severely autistic son was (in her words) a bit of a nightmare.

He had meltdowns every day, wouldn’t stay on the beach, wouldn’t go out, freaked out on the plane. It was horrific!

It was the worst holiday because of her son’s behaviour but the best because emotionally she was on top of the world (her own words). 

But the worst I’ve read is from Luis, who blogs at Single Daddy Daycare, when he was doing his very first holiday as a single co-parent. You need to read his post! I really felt for him after finishing it. From passport woes to projectile vomiting, his first holiday as a single co-parent certainly did not get off to a good start at all.

As you can see, the reasons for certain holidays being the worst holiday with kids are varied and unfortunately weather plays a big part in it. Searing heat is not much fun with kids (Emma and Nikki), nor is torrential rain which featured a lot.

Before BattleKid came along, BattleDad and I spent a week on the Isle of Man during the TT races. We had glorious sunshine some days. However, on our second last day the heavens opened and dampened our spirits. So much so we found a room for our last night so we wouldn’t have to sleep another night in a soggy tent. I’m not sure I could do it with BattleKid in tow.

What has been your worst holiday with kids to date? Did it involve rain? We’d love to know, so why not share it in the comments below!

Cath x

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The Portugal Diaries #11

As mentioned last time, we had a trip inland pencilled in for the Wednesday of the first week of July. A good friend of ours from Wales and his fiancée were holidaying in Lisbon and he had asked if we could meet up as we haven’t seen him for a few years. We also would be meeting his fiancée for the first time, so BattleDad found a place that was roughly half way for us and we planned our meet up.

Little did I know that the reason BattleDad chose it was because there is an amazing castle in the town. We left our place and headed past Castro Marim towards Beja, taking the mountain roads inland. We passed through a town called Mertola, which also hosts a castle on a hill. We plan to visit that as it’s only an hour from us.

After almost 2 hours on the road we arrived in Beja and found the castle. I honestly did not associate castles with Portugal but you can imagine my delight that we managed not one, but two dragon hunts within days of each other.

my sunday photo
Beja Castle
my sunday photo
Beja Castle

M and P were running a little late so we walked along the outer walls and admired how beautiful the castle looked. Once our friends had arrived we went into the castle to explore and hunt out the dragon lurking within.

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Selfie with my boy at Beja Castle

After an hour, we found a café for a sit down and catch up with toasties and a coffee. I have to say I’m a big fan of toasties since moving to Portugal. They aren’t afraid of using butter and the bread they use is really good. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend the afternoon with M and P as BattleDad had to get back for a conference call at 3pm but we thoroughly enjoyed our catch up and were so grateful they took time out from their holiday to come see us.

We decided to head back to Tavira via the main motorway and we got a nasty surprise on our way home. We came across a set of tolls not far from Beja and I mistakenly thought we could use the fast lane. I’ve set up an online account for our tolls along the A22, the main motorway that runs along the South of Portugal. But alas, these electronic tolls are different to those on the other motorways.

There are actually 3 different types of tolls and unless you have a tag, which you can only get for Portuguese plated cars, you have to get a ticket and present it at the other end. We didn’t have a ticket and as a result ended up paying a fine of over €100 for a trip that should have cost less than €10. A costly lesson to learn! I’m just glad we had enough on us to pay.

On our way home we did pass the exit for Silves which my Dad reliably informs us has another castle. I really am surprised at how many castles there are in Portugal and how amazing they look. I had been wondering whether we would be able to continue our dragon hunting adventures but thankfully we can.

Later that week we spent yet another Friday evening at the beach. Someone fell asleep on the way there and woke up to discover himself at the beach. He and BattleDad had a whale of a time jumping waves and running away from them.

living arrows
Jumping the waves on Manta Rota beach

It’s an absolute joy to be able to nip to the beach of an evening and see the joy in our son’s face as he plays in the sand and sea, which is warm by the way. It makes us happy to know our decision to leave the UK for a life in the sun is paying off. We’re starting to settle in and find out feet but we’ve a while to go before I think it’ll truly feel like home. But so far so good.

Next time I tell you of more blogger mail that has winged its way to us here in Portugal!

To be continued…

Cath x

Read more about our Portugal Adventures at Portugal Diaries.

Best Holiday with Kids – Bloggers Tell Us Where and Why

Holidaying with kids can be a daunting affair for some, and something to relish with others. I’ve heard some parents say they dread holidays with their kids. I know others who wouldn’t dream of not going on holiday with their kids. The best holiday with kids can be surprising ones and the worst can come out of something beyond your control. For us, holidays and BattleKid go hand in hand these days and although we’ve had both good and bad, we wouldn’t change them for the world.

best holiday with kids
Picture Source

As you read this, the Battle Family will be somewhere in North West America on our USA road trip holiday. It’s a holiday we’ve been looking forward to for a while and we’re really hoping it’ll be our best one yet. We’ve done a good bit of travelling with BattleKid, from staycations in the UK, to Europe and beyond. Our best holiday to date has to be our trip to New York last year.

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BattleKid at the World Trade Centre Memorial.

Despite rain on our first full day, it turned out to be our best holiday so far. I wrote all about it in our New York Holiday Diaries and I also showed that New York can be done, even with a toddler in tow. I thought I’d ask some fellow bloggers what have been their best holiday with kids and here’s what they had to say.

Best Holiday with Kids

Lianne from Ankle Biters Adventures says their best holiday with their kids have been a good old British Haven holidays. Her kids loved the caravan and there is so much to do at Haven for little ones.

Emma from Emma Reed said her best holiday was in Zante last year for her sister’s wedding. It was great

Because so many people travelled out for it and that of course gave me a huge help with my two-year-old.

Her son had so many family members to play with and keep him entertained. It was so memorable for her and not stressful at all.

Beth from Twinderelmo says their best holiday was when they took their kids to Disneyland last Christmas.

To see the magic and joy in their eyes was the most amazing feeling ever.

She will never forget their faces during the parades and believes Disneyland really is the best place on earth.

Angela from The Life of Spicers says their best holiday with kids was to Walt Disney World. The reactions and look on her daughters face when she got to see the castle, and meet the princesses, was amazing. It was worth all the saving and going without to get there.

Samantha from North East Family Fun says their best holiday with kids was to Calella de Palafrugell last year. A traditional Spanish resort, which is not very touristy, but hoem to stunning beaches and gorgeous restaurants, she and her husband would

dine in style as the kids played on the sand in front of us.

Jenna from Then There Were Three says her best holiday with her daughter was definitely Bluestone.

It was last minute and we only found out we were going that day, but she absolutely loved it there as there was so much to do.

Debbie from My Boys Club says their best holiday with kids would be their trip to Loch Ness, which I’ve been reading. Debbie said they had a luxury lodge, fab day trips, the weather wasn’t not bad at all and it was really relaxing.

Adventurous and a good time was had by all – you don’t have to go abroad for the best times.

Richard from 2 Bottles of Milk found it hard to pick one best holiday. So, he chose two. The first one was when they took their two boys to Bluestone two Christmases ago. It was just amazing he says. The second was from this year when they went to Disneyland Paris

Although exhausting, the boys faces during our character meal made the cost of that worth it.

Karina from Mum’s the Nerd says their best holiday was booking a villa in Lanzarote with family.

Having your own pool and the relaxed atmosphere was perfect for us.

Maria from Happy Mummy says theirs was to Puerto Pollensa in Majorca. Their daughter Lily had an absolute ball swimming all day and dancing all night at the mini disco.

We still play the songs all the time at home.

Tracey from Pack the PJ’s said her best holiday was only very recently. They spent just under a week in the beautiful Maldives doing things like snorkelling on the reef, kayaking, night fishing, dolphin boat rides. They even had a professional cooking experience. But more than this, it was

An absolutely amazing few days spent as a family

Not only that but they also spent 3 days in Abu Dhadi, with the highlight being a desert safari where they rode camels, experienced falconry, were driven at speed over sand dunes, saw the sun setting over the landscape and the 45 degree heat.

We loved every second!

Jodie from Maidenhead Mum says their best holidays was a Eurocamp trip to the Adriatic Coast in Italy, staying across the lagoon from Venice. The site they stayed on had a water park, direct access to the beach and was just 15 minutes by boat from Venice.

Seeing as my happy place is taking photos there was something for everyone.

They enjoyed it so much they are going back this year! And she says she has not had a ’worst’ holiday as yet, although wonders if returning to Venice with a 5 year-old and two year-old might tip the scales!

Hannah from Travelling with Leo says their best holiday was a three-week trip to America where they travelled by train between Boston – New York (where they spent Christmas) – Philadelphia.

Lisa from Bare Mother said their best holiday to date was a recent trip to Kefalonia in Greece. They had a private villa with pool, were two minutes walk to the beach with a supermarket on the way, and there were lots of great kid-friendly tavernas nearby.

It was perfect because it was so easy to chill. Mister Two had a fab time, and so did we.

Vikki from Family Travel with Ellie said without a doubt their best holiday was their Disney Cruise around the Med.

It was everything we could possibly have hoped for… we did some excellent excursions to Monaco and Pompeii, as well as enjoying a week in Barcelona before we set sail. Whenever I think of it my heart fills with joy. We look at the photos often.

Emma from Our Fairy Tale Adventure recently did a road trip from the North West of England to Copenhagen in Denmark with their two toddlers. People thought they were a bit mad but it was such an amazing trip. They travelled through so many places and got to experience so many things together as a family.

We then ended our trip at Disneyland Paris, which was just the most perfect way to finish our adventure.

Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies said their best was their first trip to Cornwall three years ago. Despite being in April, it was a scorching week and they had the most amazing time visiting lots of different places. Their children were four and seven and handled the long car journey really well. They loved it so much they’ve been back each year since!

Cathryn from Cardiff Mummy Says said their best holiday has to be their trip to Rome this May. She and her husband honeymooned in Italy 10 years previously. They visited the Trevi Fountain and, as is custom, threw in a coin so that someday they would return to Rome.

We joked that we should come back for our 10-year wedding anniversary – with our kids – and that’s exactly what we did. It was so amazing being back there with our three children and showing them all the sights that it made us fall in love with Rome.

The weather was perfect during their trip, the campsite they stayed on was amazing and the Italian pizza, pasta and wine was delicious too.

Alice from Living with a Jude has had both her best and worst holiday rolled into one. She went to see family and friends in the states following several years of trying to get her horrid, emotionally abusive ex out of her life. Her friends out there made the visit amazing and she had such sun seeing them all. On the flip side, her (then) seven year-old severely autistic son was (in her words) a bit of a nightmare.

He had meltdowns every day, wouldn’t stay on the beach, wouldn’t go out, freaked out on the plane. It was horrific!

Thankfully her parents were with her were with her so they were able to maintain a sense of normality for her (then) four-year-old daughter. They babysat in the evenings so she was able to go out, stress-free knowing her ex wouldn’t be trying to ruin her life when she got home. It was the worst holiday because of her son’s behaviour but the best because emotionally she was on top of the world (her own words).

And finally, I wanted to highlight one comment that stood out to me. It is from Lisa who blogs at That British Betty and I have not edited her comment in anyway.

Our best holiday was a few months after my fiancé died suddenly from a virus. I was completely reckless, used the money we’d saved for our wedding to take my two girls to Italy (aged 11 and 14 at the time), stayed in beautiful hotels and spent ten days exploring the islands, travelling on boats, eating with the locals and doing things we’d never dared to before. It was incredibly therapeutic and freeing to travel ‘alone’ and gave us some amazing memories in the middle of a horrendous time in our lives.

From the Maldives and Walt Disney World, to Spain, Italy and staycations in Scotland and Cornwall, these bloggers have shown us that the best holiday with kids can be anywhere in the world. What makes great holidays with kids is the fun everyone has while making long-lasting memories. It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, so long as you are having fun as a family.

Thanks so much to all the great bloggers who shared with us their best holiday with their kids to date. There were so many different destinations and reasons behind the best holidays. What has been your best holiday to date with your kids? Why not share it with us in the comments below.

Cath x

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