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Treating the Nana Fairy – Winter Sun in Benidorm here we come!

Winter Sun in Benidorm

My mum now known as the Nana Fairy – its one incredible lady. She does a huge amount for us so every year I treat her to a  trip (sans kids!) just the two of us for some well deserved r&r. We have done New York (times two), Prague and this year it will be a winter break in Benidorm.

Sunset in Bendidorm _ Winter Sun

Sunset in Benidorm – Pic Credit Wikipedia

Why Benidorm? Well, I asked her what was her preference this year in terms of holidays and her response, sun, nice beaches and good nightlife. A family friend is just back from a ten day break there so we decided why not. Getting a personal recommendation really pushes a place higher up my list. I had been myself many (many!) years ago. I still remember the stunning beaches and the nightlife!

Where?!

Its probably safe to say most people have heard of Benidorm, equally famous for its sandy beaches as it is its nightlife. Benidorm itself is in the Spanish province of Alicante along the tourist hotspot of the Costa Blanca. Its a really popular destination and I can really see its appeal.

 

Most looking forward to…

……………..Chilling on those stunning beaches.

While most people will have heard of and seen the images of Levante Beach, golden sands framed by high rise hotels and apartments, on our previous trip we spent more time on Poniente Beach, which was certainly quieter back then. While Benidorm these days is high rise, populous and busy, the romantic image of old town Spain is still alive in Benidorms old town. It is picturesque and romantic with its little cobbled streets and blue domes. A real must. Also while you dont go to Benidorm for the food for some traditional tapas my recommendation is to head to the old town.

Will be sure to do a full trip report – cannot wait!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Fairy Travels

Visit Kinnity – Glitraps Glamping Review

Visit Kinnity Giltraps Glamping – our review

When my oldest suggested we go camping for his birthday im sure he could see the look of fear in my face! Some frantic google searches ensued and I stumbled across Giltraps Glamping in Kinnity, Offaly.  Bingo I thought, this looks like the ideal comprise. The first line in their web pages called in luxurious glamping –  no further research needed – done!  I sent them an email and 2 weeks later we were off to Offaly for the night.

We were checked in by Julie, who I had been dealing with over email, she was incredibly helpful and accommodating, allying my fears about the upcoming Storm  Gerturde weather warnings!!

The setting itself is gorgeous 6 log cabins and a Mongalian Yurt.  Also on the site were pigs and chicken whom i don’t doubt will run in fear should my pair ever arrive down again.

The Cabin

The view from the cabin at Giltraps Glamping

Glamping at Giltraps

We stayed in cabin number 2 which had a double and 2 single beds, which was ideal for us.  The cabin was absolutely spotless. Bed linen and were towels supplied.  There was a little area outside with chairs where we sat while the kids happily played   When we arrived at the cabin they had put balloons and birthday banner up for my sons birthday which I thought was a really lovely touch. We opted for the breakfast hamper delivered the next morning – one word – AMAZING.  Around 9.30 the following morning a home cooked breakfast bap arrived at the door with a flask of tea.  We sat outside and ate the breakfast, seriously yum.

The glamping site lit up at night time was magical – (im choosing to ignore the 500 toilet breaks my oldest insisted he needed just to go outside to see it lit up!!) Speaking of which there was a number of shared toilets and showers again- spotlessly clean.  There was also a small kitchen which you could access any time of day or night.

The Area

Kinnity itself is only a small town probably best knows for the famous Kinnity Castle about a kilometre from the glamping site.  We had drinks in Giltraps pub on site.  This was like stepping back in time, it reminded me of my own family holidays as a child visiting my mothers home place in the West of Ireland.  The pub oozes old world charm, we were served by a really nice girl whose name I wish I had got.  She will most likely remember the crazy kids there last Saturday!! I loved the relaxed homely vibe, complimented totally by the staff. There was a coffee shop also on site however we didn’t get to visit this time around but it looked lovely.

All in all this was a thoroughly enjoyed experience and we have vowed to come back next year as the oldest has decided this time he wants to stay in the Yurt! I wont be disagreeing. Service and attention to detail is top notch here and makes the ideal get away being only an hour and a half from Dublin.

Insider Tips

  • The town doesn’t have a bank machine – you can get cash back in the pub though
  • We brought snacks for the kids, this was a good call, options for shops locally are limited enough
  • There is great free playground within walking distance behind the church. Kids had it all to themselves Sunday morning and really enjoyed
  • Pop in to Kinnity Castle for drink – the Dungeon bar is lovely and such a novelty.

We booked direct which was the best value I could find, for further details see website

Note: This is not paid or sponsored, we paid for this ourselves, we are just  happy campers (sorry!!!!)

 

 

ethannevelyn.com

Country Kids

Fairy Travels

Nights in Niagara Falls – Family travel review

Our Niagara Falls Family Trip

Its taken me far too long to write this post in reality because I just didn’t know where to start.  We arrived to Niagara Falls after a few wonderful few days spent in Toronto (trip report here).  There was no snow in Toronto but as we pulled up outside the Sheraton on the Falls a light dusting began to fall gently, there was mega excitement from the kids.  I don’t think they had ever seen snow before other than in films!!

Where we stayed

Sheraton on the Falls

Sheraton on the Falls

We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls which is as its name suggests quite literally on the falls.  We were allocated a gorgeous room with a Juliette balcony when we opened the door we could feel the spray of the falls.  I am not exaggerating when I say the view was breath-taking and to hear the roar of the falls – magic.  Each evening the falls are lit up and we were able to enjoy the illuminations from the comfort of our room.  The kids were fast asleep and we sat and enjoyed some lovely local wine and watched the falls change into beautiful array of colours. In recent years a huge amount of investment has gone into these illuminations and it certainly shows.

 

The room itself has 2 doubles and a sofa bed.  Starbucks coffee was provided in the room and in keeping with the hotels Green Policy you could receive a $5 gift card in return for not required complete bedding changes each day.

View from our room at the Sheraton on the Falls

View from our room at the Sheraton on the Falls

We were more than happy to avail of this. Thee room isn’t big but then you don’t come to Niagara Falls to spend your time in the room.  The hotel is huge, I mean huge.  Coming from Ireland where we don’t have hotels of this scale its quite overwhelming and you do need to be prepared to queue for everything, check-in/out, concierge and lifts.  We were fortunate enough to have club access which really is great when you are travelling with kids. We ate our breakfast here each morning and popped in each evening for some snacks and drinks.

There are a number of restaurants in the hotel complex, we tried the Rainforest Café one of the evenings and the Hard Rock Café another, mainly because they were kid friendly! The adults could have a few drinks with  dinner and the kids enjoyed the entertainment.  The kids really enjoyed the Rainforest Café however like the hotel it was huge but service was good and the kids enjoyed the display of animals and the thunder storms!

There also is a floor with amusements in the hotel too which if im honest takes away a bit from the hotel, its manic!  There is an indoor waterpark attached to the hotel also however we didn’t avail of it on this visit. Despite the hotel being full  (all 22 story’s!) the staff did their best to move things along, they were efficient but not over friendly which  was fine as they were run off their feet.  The location and view here are unrivalled.

What we did

Aside from seeing the spectacular Falls which for me was a bucket list item ticked off. There is plenty to do in the vicinity.

  • Journey behind the falls – I was really excited about this.
    Journey behind the Falls

    Journey behind the Falls

    Because of the time of year the boat trips weren’t operating therefore this was my only chance to get up close and personal to this wonder of nature. It didn’t disappoint, despite the heavy snow we made our way down which was about 15 minutes walk from the hotel. You get a lift down (150 feet) and suddenly there you are standing in a 130 year old tunnel looking out from behind the falls, yes you do get wet, yes its cold and damp but is it so incredible. The roar!! Its quite remarkable to thing one fifth of the worlds fresh water is cascading in front of your eyes.

  • Niagara Fury – I sent the oldest and his dad to do this one as I  was afraid the youngest would be a little scared with the simulated thunder.  This is 4d, 360 degrees experience which takes you on a journey to experience the creation of the falls and to experience its sheer power.  You get a souvenir poncho  when you arrive and you do need it!!!! Ill say no more! Great fund, oldest really enjoyed and was able to share with me loads of fun facts on his return.
  • Butterfly Conservatory – all these attraction  are located in very close proximity to each other so its an ideal day out with limited travelling especially important with young kids. This is a lovely attraction 180 meters of pathway through a conservatory where you can observe many different species of butterfly.  They are such beautiful gentle creatures.
  • Clifton Hill – no visit would be complete with our doing the “sights” of Clifton Hill. Its typical touristy with slot machines, crazy golf and fast foot eateries. A summary of our highlights:
    • Wizard Golf – kids loved this.  Its all neon golf balls and painted inside. It was a welcome distraction from the cold and snow outside.
    • Guinness World Records Museum – Great fun, small but well worth the visit. Lots of cool facts and fun interactive parts
    • Captain Jacks Amusement – no more words needed, lots of amusements, games and slot machine, why are kids drawn to these places!!!!

 

Top tips:

This is Niagara Falls one of the words top  tourist attractions so be prepared to pay top dollar for everything. It is expensive however some tips from our experience:

  • Niagara Parks Activity Packages: If you are looking to do a number of the key attractions this is your cheapest option especially travelling with children.  There are a range of option depending on how many activities you wish to include. You can save up to 48% when compared to  booking individually.  A no brainer in my book – for FYI a lot of the attractions are free for kids under 5 which was ideal for us! For more information see here
  • Clifton Hill Pass – its going to be hard to avoid Clifton Hill when in Niagara Falls so my  advice is to buy the Fun Pass. It cover  5 attractions including the Sky Wheel (which was closed during our visit for maintenance much to the kids disappointment) which saves you about $25 per person. What I like about these passes are, we know what attractions we are going on, the price is paid in advance and it saves the inevitable arguments about what to go on. See here for more.
  • WeGo – wego is the transport system around Niagara Falls and its really efficient and easy to use. Our hotel provided us with 48 hour passes, so do ask your hotel most hotel do give them out I think. Its saves worrying about taxis and from my experience it arrives on time and no issues. Its state of the art and connects all major attractions.

Similarly accommodation can be very expensive particularly for a Fallsview room, however when you are going all that way I think it’s a must.  We got a great rate via booking.com

However there are a number of free attractions obviously the Falls itself, the fireworks, the illuminations, Niagara Parkway and Botanic Gardens. The above is only a tiny snap shot of what is available there were many other wonderful attractions which we didn’t get to but you never know we may return some day.  I don’t think I will ever get tired of looking at that incredible view.

Note: Massive thanks to Niagara Falls Tourism for all the advice and help with our trip and for providing us with the attraction passes. The help and guidance shown helped ensure we had a wonderful trip particular thanks to Jennifer whose is an absolute credit to Niagara Falls Tourism who truly knows and loves what she does.
Suitcases and Sandcastles
Fairy Travels

Planning a holiday? Here are some money saving tips and tricks I use

Tips and tricks when booking holdiays 

Since I published this post I have been asked lots of times for any money saving tips and tricks I have for taking the family long haul.  I thought I’d set out some of those which helped us  anyway!

  • Source: Pixabay

    The money jar

I know this is old fashioned but what we tend to do when we book a holiday like Toronto is keep a jar of our loose change and convert it the week before we head away.  We had 8 months of saving for Toronto and had a nice sum of coins saved which converted into CAD$225. Along the same vein and I know this sounds a bit crazy myself and my husband put aside €20 each month and covert it that month to the currency of our destination this meant another CAD$470  to add to the pot.

  • Deals, Deals Deals

I am the queen of the deal! I just love a good deal. I scour the internet for good deals in our chosen destination.  Groupon is your friend. For example we had pancakes for lunch one of the days at Krepesz, that was pancakes for 4 and drinks for CAD$50.  While in Niagara Falls I booked the Captain Jacks Fun Zone  tickets which the kids thoroughly enjoyed and I saved 70% off the normal price.  There are so many options in these places so by buying in advance (the kids and the adults) know what included and we have a set amount of tokens each. There are also lots of hotel options on Groupon too with great saving or added extras.  A couple we spoke to at breakfast had got a great deal at the Sheraton on the Falls via Groupon with a Falls view room.

  • Shop around especially for Hotels

There are a myriad of hotel booking options with varying rates of discounts.

Source: Pixabay

One of my personal favourites is booking.com.  Also check out Expedia or hotels.com or as mentioned above Groupon hotel deal. Sign up for alerts for these site to keep up to dates on the latest deals and offerings.  Do shop around as rates can vary considerably.  It can also be a good option to check call the hotel direct as I have found that some will match the rates found elsewhere.

 

  • Flights

Source: Pixabay

This one is bit more tricky and sometime can just be down to the fact that the stars align and sales and timing of your trip work out. But failing that some things you can do include:

  • Settting up Sky Scanner alerts – im a big fan of this. You get emails relating to prices changes for the flight you are considering.
  • Timing – some times of the year are simply cheaper than others so do your research and look for the off peak times in the destinations you plan on visiting
  • Avios, this is currency of a number of airlines and you can collect point by purchasing flights or with the airline or any of its partners. For example you can convert you SuperValu real rewards to Avios points.  I had a quick look and its around 8,000 points for a return European flight. Not too bad!

Has anybody any other good holiday saving tips they have feel free to add them in the comments.

 

Note: Contains #affliate links
Cuddle Fairy
Fairy Travels

Tales from Toronto – Family travel review

Our recent family trip to Toronto

We have finally settled back to normality after what I can only describe as the trip of a life time. I’ll admit I was pretty nervous about flying long haul with two young kids but it turned out to be totally fine (some tips here and here). ‘We landed into a cold (-8!!) Toronto on a Thursday afternoon in March. We had pre booked our taxi via Aeroport as I wanted to prebook car seats plus paying in advance saves any surprises!

The driver was prompt and efficient and provided some lovely commentary as we made our way to the Grand Hotel & Suites.  He left us with the comment that “The only thing that will hurt you in Toronto is the cold” and he wasnt wrong  there!

Where we stayed – The Hotel

Grand Hotel Toronto

View from balcony

First impressions of the hotel was wow, the beautiful entrance and reception is very welcoming. I booked a double room via booking.com and was delighted upon check in to be upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite.  The suite was just beautiful, full kitchen, 2 big bedrooms and a sitting room with a sofa bed. There was a huge balcony with outdoor seating that would have been amazing in the summer time (see view opposite).  Breakfast was included in the room rate and it was fantastic, kept us going for the day.

Grand Hotel Toronto

Rooftop pool at the Grand Hotel Toronto

The location of this hotel is very central, we walked everywhere something which was a key requirement for me when booking a hotel when travelling with kids.  In terms of facilities this hotel has everything we needed for a really enjoyable trip. There are hot tubs on the roof of this hotel – see picture  opposite of the view from them. I wasnt brave enough in -10 weather to try them but hopefully we visit again in summer time and ill have to give them ago. We popped up one evening to see the view and there was music on the big TV and a few brave souls in the hot tubs!!!

Without question the highlight of our stay here was customer service. My youngest son takes goats milk and I emailed in advance to see if there was somewhere local I could get it when we arrived late. Nicole who was a pleasure to deal with all along sent me the details of local places however when I got the room there was a note on the table saying check the fridge and in it was a litre of goats milk.  For me this gesture epitomises what the hotel is about the attention to detail was just fantastic.

We ate in the onsite resturant one of the days and it was very tasty.  Service was attentive but not instrusive and very child friendly.  We had a fire alarm one of nights which ended up in us making our way to reception at 2am which seems to be the kids highlight of the holiday, not sure I agree!! While a little chaotic at the start, the night porter did his best to reassure everybody it was a false alarm and we made our way back to bed. Thankfully the kids went back to sleep!

 

What we did – the activities

We were very fourtunate to be provided with media passes to Torontos top attractions.  We had decided before going which attractions we really wanted to see, the kids had spent weeks pouring over YouTube clips and the short list was drawn up.  Short summary below of our favourites:

  • Ripleys Acquarium for me this is top of the list,  an absolute must do in Toronto,
    Ripley Aquarium

    Ripleys Aquarium

    huge place with fun interative exhibits and so much to keep the kids entertained we surprised ourselves and spent almost 3 hours here. Do go early it is popular and gets very busy. We arrived at opening time but by the time we left the queues were forming.  What I liked about this place was it really is fun for all ages.  Next door is to the Aquarium is….

 

  • CN Tower this is an iconic Toronto landmark and no trip to Toronto would be complete without a
    CN Tower

    CN Tower

    visit. We took the high speed lift to the top.  There is a small glass floor area, an outdoor viewing area and an indoor area with lots of vantage points. You can also eat and drink at the revolving restaurant  here but we didnt get the chance this visit.  Its a fun way to pass an hour the adults really enjoyed the kids were a bit meh however they had just left the aquarium so expectations were high.

 

  • Hockey Hall of Fame this ended up being a surprise hit.  We didnt know anything much about ice hockey before we visited.  However the kids thoroughly enjoyed the interactive exhibits here. There are 2 main ones, one where you take shots on a goal the second where you are the goal keeper.  So much fun and so unexpected.  Locationwise these three attractions are located within a short walking distance from each other.

 

  • Medieval Times This was a really fun evenings entertainment.  It’s set up as a banquet where you eat as they did in medieval times i.e with their hands!! Kids loved this! A three course meal is served while you watch knights dual on horse back. Each area has a colour and you cheer on your knight.  Depsite the fact our knight didnt win we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Food was plentiful, staff were friendly and so efficient. There was a falcon display which really has to be seen to be believed. Its was incredible, there wasnt a sound when it was going on.  This is the type of event all ages will enjoy and the food was suprisingly good too. We did the afternoon show so it was busy but not packed.

Hints and Tips

  • Like any city rush hour traffic can be unpredictable so give yourself plenty time especially if like us you have an evening flight home
  • Plan ahead for the weather!
  • Toronto CityPass works out great value for family visits when doing the main attractions like we did above
  • Attractions can be busy so plan ahead – keep an eye on their websites for updates etc
  • Its a very safe city
  • The locals are really friendly and helpful
  • Its really child friendly, kids were welcomes in resturants no issues at all

For more information on Grand Hotels & Suites see here.

Note: Special thanks to Nicole at the Grand Hotel and Suites for her assistance and to Michele at Tourism Toronto for organising the passes for us. 

 

 

WANDERLUST KIDS

Fairy Travels

Kids Afraid Of Flying? Try These Tips!

When it comes to holiday time, and you want to travel abroad, the chances are that you will need to take a plane. The trouble is, many children – perhaps including your own – have an entirely rational fear of boarding a plane, flying thousands of feet up in the air, and landing on a hard surface at tremendous speeds.

Let’s be honest – can you blame them? Flying is an entirely unnatural thing for a human being to do, and even though most of us have flown dozens – maybe hundreds – of times, it can be easy to forget what a scary experience it might be. If your child suffers from anxiety about getting on a plane, read on. These tips might help – and maybe even help you calm your flying nerves, too.

 

Talk about it

Most children are afraid of the great unknown – it’s only natural. So the more you can introduce them to the concept of planes and flying, the better. Discuss planes, and point them out on the TV whenever you see them. Pick up a custom model aircraft or two and build them with your kids, helping them learn what all the different parts are called. And have a look around for any science museums in your local area that might have planes in them – perhaps one that you could go into the cockpit, for example.

Sounds and feelings

Part of the big issue with flying is that the noise and roar of the engines can be incredibly scary for young ears. It’s a good idea to get them familiar with the sort of sounds a plane makes, so try to get them making the whooshing and roaring while playing. Car washes are another good option – the noises the brushes and engines make are quite similar to a plane, and although scary a first for your child can often be a good starting point.

Tell the airline

Airlines tend to be pretty good with fearful children. They might offer your kids a chance to go and look at the cockpit and meet the captain or copilot, which can be incredibly reassuring. The stewarding team will also help your kids by giving them sweets – perfect for when the air pressure starts to affect their ears.

Bring entertainment

The more you can distract your kids, the less fearful they will be – it’s as simple as that. In-flight entertainment helps for longer flights, but for short hops bring along plenty of games and colouring in books to keep them busy, too. And snacks actually – all the snacks!!! 

Note: This is a collaborative post with Pic credit  – Pexels

 

 

Fairy Travels

4 items I wouldnt fly long haul with kids without!

We are not long back from the trip of a lifetime to Canada.  We spent time in both Toronto and Niagara Falls and it was incredible.  Niagara Falls had been on my bucket list and it did not disappoint.  The kids absolutely loved it.  To be honest I wasn’t sure how the long haul flight would be with kids ages 4 and 1 (almost 2). I shouldn’t have spent so many sleepless nights over it.  It was totally fine.  However there are a number of things that without a doubt made the trip a lot (an awful lot!!) more manageable with my busy boys.

1 Keep Em Quiet Packs

Such a simple concept but oh so effective.  We received two boys long haul pack to try out for the trip.  I didnt let the boys see them until were were 30+ thousand feet in the air. About 2 hours into the flight when the novelty of being on an aeroplane had worn off Mamma produced these.  There was great excitment about the cool bag which was used for the entire trip actually.  We received a pack for the relevant age groups for each of the boys.  They were really well received by the boys and contained a lovely selection of age appropriate items.  The big hits were the little tubs of play doh and for the oldest was a kit with which you could make cardboard models which he thoroughly enjoyed.  The littlest loved the Peppa stickers.  Im sure Aer Lingus are still peeling them off the seats! (sorry!!).

Check out Keep Em Quiet for more information.  Boys thoroughly enjoyed and the packs contained a selection of items which were age appropriate and also appropriate for the confined space on the aircraft.  Im always running around at the last minute so these are ideal, the work is done and you are ready to go and all for a very reaonable price.

2 Jet Kids Bed Box 

I bought this literally days before the flight praying that it would arrive on time and it did thankfully. I had seen it on Twitter and loved the concept.  Its a ride on suitcase that opens out on the flight to transform the seat into a bed. Its really easy to use and very comfortable according to the 4 year old.  We got most use out of the ride on ability of it as my 4 year old (can be lazy) isnt so keen on walking!!! Despite the fact it contains the matress it holds quite a bit of stuff or in my little mans case, his teddy, his collection of transformers and his treats.  It is a little pricey at €159 however given how much we like travel and with the pair of them I really think I will get my moneys worth on this one.  For more information see Jetkids.

(Image Credit Jet Kids)

3 Netflix

The Dada Fairy and I were frantically searching to see what films were listed on Aer Lingus for transatlantic to see if they would keep our pair suitably entertained for 7.5 hours.  It was then the revelation came!!! I recalled an email about downloadable Netflix, queue frantic searching and yes….it was not a dream you can infact download Netflix. 15 mins later and we were fully equiped with Team Umizoomi, Peppa Pig, Horrid Henry and The Smurfs.  When it comes to travel I am in the school of thought whatever works and makes the joruney easier for the kids, and me and the other 200 odd passengers. If 7 hours of Peppa Pig was going to be the thing well then I wasnt going to object! See 1 and 4 it thankfully didnt happen!

4 Food/ Snacks

Back to when boys were teeny, everywhere we went I was armed with packets of raisins, ligas etc.  The flight was no different.  I was laden down with snacks of every description from the healthy to the not so healthy.  There were no kids meals available on the flight and the boys had zero interest in a mushy looking mushroom and rice meal so the snacks were invaluable.  Also very handy when waiting around before and after the flight.  I always take lollipops for take off and landing to help the ears. They seem to work as we have had no complaints from the little men about sore ears, ears popping etc.

 

Next up we will be sharing our trip report.  Spoiler – we loved it and really hope to return some day.

 

You Baby Me Mummy
Fairy Travels

24 hours in Belfast with kids!

We ended up making a flying visit to Belfast last November and while we set off with little expectations of seeing much of this lovely city in 24 hours we ended up thoroughly enjoying our stay. The dada Fairy was on business so we were tagging along to keep him company.

Way back before kids I worked in Belfast for a time so know the city pretty well, always enjoy my visits there, this one being the first with kids in tow!

Where we stayed

We booked last minute on booking.com.  There was very little choice so last minute so we took the only suitable place we could find! The Clayton Hotel it was.

Pros:

  • Location was central
  • Child friendly
  • Good breakfast included in rate

Cons

  • Could have been how late in the day we booked but the room was tiny for the 4 of us.
  • The parking situation – appreciate you are in a city but the parking is a huge public multi story behind the hotel which I wouldn’t fancy having to go back to my car in the dark to get something its quite eerie!

Overall, stay was fine, would stay there again, kids also enjoyed and location as very convenient for us.

Where we ate

This was absolute highlight of the trip! We ate at a restaurant called Fratellis across from the Europa hotel.  The kids are still talking about this place.  Its is quite possibly the most kid friendly place we have ever eaten.  The kids menu was set price Stg£7.99 and included a starter – Garlic bread or dough balls and mains was either pasta or make your own pizza. There was no contest! It was make your own pizza.  The little men were given aprons and chefs hat and their selection of topping to make their own pizza at the table.  Following this they were served ice cream and a babycinno! The adults had an equally enjoyable dinner, with the kids so excited and preoccupied, there might have been wine and cocktails and 3 courses for us too. No mean feat with 2 busy kids in tow! If you are ever in Belfast with the kids a visit is a must, do bear in mind it does get very very busy.  We were there on a Saturday and had a bit of a wait for a dinner not a issue for us as it gave us time to sample some of the delicious cocktails on offer!

What we did

No trip to Belfast is complete with a trip to the Titanic museum.  The boys are probably a little young to fully appreciate this fabulous attraction. The tour itself was an hour long taking you on a journey to follow in the footsteps of those who took the fateful trip.  The experience itself really draws you in from the moment you begin.

It is really interactive and engaging. You do it as your own pace which is ideal with kids, its also very buggy friendly. Price wise its pricey enough for adults at Stg£17.50 however kids under 5 are free.  They have lots of different events on like afternoon tea for Mothers Day or Valentines which I can imagine would be very enjoyable in this setting.  We didn’t get to sample the on site eateries this time, maybe next time!

 

 

 

Fairy Travels

Donegal 3 nights – 3 hotels – Our thoughts

As I have shared previously on the blog having family in Donegal means we travel up that part of the world quite a bit for family events etc. Over the last 3 months we stayed a night in three different hotels in Donegal. As the stay was quite short I though the easiest thing to do would be some short snippet reviews of our key thoughts as really one night isn’t enough to write a comprehensive review therefore below you will find our initial thoughts and observations. Two of the below trips we had the kids, the third it was the grown ups only.

 

Clanree Hotel – Letterkenny

First up is the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny, we stayed here the October bank holiday as the Dada Fairy was attending an event in Letterkenny. We arrived quite late thanks to bank holiday traffic and we were greeted so warmly by the incredibly friendly staff.

Pros:

  • Staff were excellent couldn’t do enough to help
  • Child friendly
  • Great breakfast
  • Great food in the pub on site and very welcoming for kids
  • Rooms were spotlessly clean
  • Lots of parking on site

Cons:

  • It is a little out of the town, you could walk but it’s a bit far if like me you have kids in tow!

We booked last minute via booking.com see here for hotel website.

 

Mill Park Hotel – Donegal Town

I have stayed many times in the Mill Park Hotel and it never disappoints. This time we were here for a family function. We arrived midday on a Friday and were able to avail of early check in.

Pros:

  • Location – easy walk to the town
  • Rooms were fab – the one we had was newly renovated and had the most amazing shower
  • Great breakfast
  • Lots of parking
  • Apparently a great pool and leisure centre on site however we didn’t get a chance to use it

Cons:

  • No food available at the bar when we arrived only sandwiches which was only minor inconvenience being so close to the town

 

We booked quite a bit in advance  via  booking.com see here for hotel website.

 

Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa – Ballyliffin

We wrapped up 2016 with a stay (minus the kids) in Ballyliffin Lodge & Spa, its only when we drove up did we realise the vastness of the county of Donegal, the drive up with so beautiful, the scenery along the way really must be seen.  We arrived on a cold Saturday afternoon to a really warm welcome.  The hotel was decorated beautifully for Christmas.

Pros:

  • Lovely room
  • Spotlessly clean
  • Breakfast was amazing – best pancakes I have ever tasted!
  • Lovely setting
  • Very friendly and helpful staff

Cons:

  • Our room must have been over the wedding room which meant we could hear hum of the music, the hotel do supply earplugs not that we needed them. Not a problem for us however if you were travelling with young kids who went to bed early this might  be worth considering if you are staying a night where there is a wedding on.

We booked this stay direct with the hotel on their website.

 

Note: This isn’t a sponsored post all trips were paid for by ourselves
Fairy Travels

Prainha Village, Alvor review

At the beginning of October we took our first family holiday as a family of 4! I was a bit apprehensive to begin wondering was I crazy taking two smallies on holidays abroad, however thankfully I was wrong. We had an amazing time at Prainha Village.

The Resort

Prainha Village is situated just outside the picturesque town of Alvor on the Algarve, about 1 hour drive from Faro. It comprise 35 hectares of grounds with direct access to a stunning private beach and a cliff top salt water pool. The views are incredible.alovr2

Also in the resort is another pool with kids section as well as three restaurants:

  • Canico which is accessed via a left down through the cliff  which has the most breath taking views over the sea
  • Miss Pasta, the kids absolutely loves this place. Tasty pizza, relaxed atmosphere but best of all, brilliant staff who the kids just adored.
  • There is also restaurant in the hotel itself which we didn’t get a chance to sample – there is always next time!

alvor3There is also a small supermarket on site with the essentials (milk and wine!!!) and fresh pastries in the morning. For the kids in addition to the kids pool, there is a playground and tennis courts. We didn’t use the tennis courts but did make use of the playground.

The Villa

We went with our extended family and friends so we took a 4 bed villa with pool. The villas are located close to the main resort which was really handy to pop over for a drink or snack.  There are plenty accommodation options from apartments, 2/3/4 bed villas with gardens with or without pool.  The Villa was spacious and spotlessly clean.  All appliances were high end and worked perfectly, plenty delph, cutlery etc.  Housekeeping came twice during out stay to clean and replenished towels.

There was a beautiful bbq patio out the back where we enjoyed relaxing when the kids went to bed. My only gripe about the villa was there was no option to fence or cover the pool.  My heart was in my mouth when the 18 month old was out the back.

Pros:

  • Caters for all, from young to golden years, with a variety of eating options. Our party ranged from 18 months to 60 and all enjoyed
  • Relaxed atmosphere, helpful staff
  • Clean, spacious and well equipped, what more could you want when travelling with kidsprainha
  • The view from Canico Restaurant, no words can do this justice. Its stunning
  • The staff at Miss Pasta, we enjoyed many lunches and dinners in peace while the staff made my smallies feel like VIPs
  • You actually don’t have to leave the resort during your stay, contains everything you need for a great stay.

Cons:

  • Distance from Alvor – its actually not much over 1km to the town but difficult terrain to navigate with a buggy. Not a big deal and certainly would but me off going again
  • Would love the option to fence or cover the pool – again not a deal breaker rather a nice to have

Insider tips:

  • The supermarket in Alvor is very reasonable, we did a big shop the first day as the shop in the resort is a lot more expensive particularly for drinks
  • Book your dinner in advance at Canico, totally worth it and it can get busy during peak months
  • Eating out in Alvor is also cheaper than the resort.
  • The sunbeds at the Atlantic pool need to be paid for, thrown down a towel inside they wont move you and the kids love the novelty of this.
  • Miss Pasta does take away, ideal after a long day out and about
  • When booking Prainha look at the location map before you book a villa/ apartment consider if sea view or close to hotel facilities are whats most important to your stay, at 35 hectares the resort is vast.
  • Use Yellow Fish taxis! The provided a service to us which went above and beyond

Packing essentials:

  • UV suits for the kids – a must in my view. They were in and out of the pool and it saved me constantly running after them with sun cream.  I bought them in my local Dunnes at their end of summer sale, less than €10 from memory.

 

  • aden + anais sleep suit adenanaisthe  little man loves his gro bag so rather then worry about him being too hot we took this and it was fantastic, muslin type material so its breathable, cosy and avoids the stress of blankets or being too warm. Plus it washes great. High recommend for anybody with babas who love being cosy but not warm! From https://www.adenandanais.co.uk/.

 

  • Sun creams – travelling with young kids with delicate skin, having a sun cream I could trust was a given.  As a blog ambassador for Childs Farm I was delighted to be able use their sun cream and after sun.  Its factor 50+, water resistant and suitable for sensitive skin.  Keeps skin lovely and moisturisered and smells great.

 

  • babymoovBabymoov #stresslessweaning essentials – We are part of the Babymoov #stresslessweaning team so I packed my trusty snack pots and muslin squares which were in daily use.  The Babymoov muslins come in a lovely packaged set of 3 of different sizes. They are super soft and doubled up as a light blanket for when the little man napped out and about.

 

 

Note: This is not a sponsored post, we paid for our trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. We booked via www.privatevillas.ie Brian was fantastic in accommodating my last minute changes and my millions of queries! I have already emailed him about next years trip!!

 

Oregon Girl Around the World