Monday, 27 January 2014

I wish I was there

We are lucky enough to have two holidays booked for later this year, and I am so thankful that we have something to look forward to as the weather drops, the frost sets in and the rain seems relentless.

The people over at Alfresco are running a competition that asks us to remember a favorite holiday memory and I couldn't resist delving through the memories to find an image that reminds how much I love getting away from it all and enjoying some time with my family.

When Dylan was 15 months, we took a trip to Barcelona.  It was October and the sun was fading back home, but in Spain it was still warm enough for shorts and sunglasses and we enjoyed exploring the parks, strolling down the high streets and  admiring the architecture.  We had ten days of uninterrupted family time - no work or distractions and we relished this time, our last vacation as a family of three as there was another little boy getting bigger by the day in my belly.

The holiday was action packed, yet peaceful.  Our days were full of adventure, but when the evening arrived, we headed back to our apartment to watch a film or play cards as the little one snoozed.  This year there will be too little people accompanying us and I can't wait to explore with my little family, discover new places, try new foods and see things that amaze us, but for now, I wish I was here, in the warmth of Barcelona.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Strada with Kids

We have been taking the boys out to restaurants since they were a couple of days old.  Food has always been a big part of our relationship as a couple and we love enjoying a family meal out.  Last weekend we visited Strada for the first time and I was really impressed with their kids menu.

They were accommodating for a pushchair and highchair and provided colouring for Dylan which is always welcome.  The first thing that struck me about the children's menu though, was the lack of fizzy drink options.  I don't know if this is a conscious health decision or whether they don't serve the drinks on tap, but I was quite impressed with this.  I don't yet give Dylan any fizzy drinks, preferring him to have water, or juice on a special occasion and I feel that with the choice being taken out of the parent's hand, the children will continue to go for a healthier option as they get bigger.

The food menu had some great healthy choices, although it did come as a 3 course meal which is very large for a boy of not yet two and a half.  For a starter  he had the choice of breadsticks with a tomato dip or vegetable sticks- both great options for any age and the breadsticks went down very well.  As both starters are served cold, it also means no waiting around, trying to keep a toddler entertained, as his starter was brought over as soon as we had ordered.

For the main course, there was a great choice, but we went for a ham pizza for the boys to share and they both seemed to love it. It was perfectly sized for the boys to share, and would be a great sized meal for any age child, especially with a starter and desert.

After his pizza, Dylan had a choice of a scoop of ice cream or an ice lolly.  Again I was happy with the limited choice as too often I find myself showing my toddler options full of sundaes, sauces and portions that would be large even for me.  After a filling meal, it is lovely to offer them a sweet, but I think one scoop is perfect.  Given the choice though, Dylan chose the lolly which was made from 100% fruit.  He loved it and I was happy knowing he was getting some nutrients at the same time.

The adult meals were also delicious, I enjoyed a (rather huge) pizza which was the nicest meal I have had in a long time (the pollo ghiotto if you visit, I am definitely going back to have it again), whilst the bloke went for a lamb shank which he thought was incredibly soft, the meat falling from the bone.  My tiramisu desert (as recommended by the waiter) was well presented and went down a treat.

Although Strada is slightly more expensive than the Italian restaurants we usually visit (£6.75 for the three course kids meal with a drink), I was really impressed with how toddler friendly their menu is and they were very accomodating of young children.  It is definitely worth keeping an eye out for offers if you have one local, and you can also change up Tesco clubcard points to exchange for vouchers.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Our Adventures

We may not be sailing the high seas or jetsetting round the world, but we are a family that like to try new things, see new places and explore.  I hope to bring you our views and review on doing this with toddlers in tow.  Restauraunts, sightseeing, flying and hotels - wherever the days may take us.

Armed with stickers and snack bars, we are ready to take on the world - The bloke, the toddler, the baby and I!