Thursday, 9 October 2014

Sightseeing in Rome with Toddlers

Not many people take toddlers to Rome, this was evident in the lack of children, pushchairs and babies we saw on our visit.  I can see why, with a city full of culture and history, there is so much to stop and look at and to take in and we all know staying still isn't a toddler's strong point!  We saw the city in a different way, but I felt that we still appreciated it's beauty and rich culture.

Here are our top 5 tips for taking toddlers to Rome:

  • Relax, if you can't take the tour then just appreciate the architecture.  We had to prioritise and plan.  We saw the Colloseum whilst the littlest was snoozing, but mostly admired the historic buildings from the piazas outside, whilst the boys explored the surroundings.

  • Visit the Explora Children's Museum, it is toddler paradise with role play, sensory and science and everything is completely hands on.  You may have tears when it is time to leave, but it is a great way to balance out the day.

  • Eat more ice cream - it makes everyone happier.  On the same note, always pack plenty of baby wipes!

  • Bring a lightweight buggy if you can,  the metro isn't pushchair friendly and you will be carrying it up and down stairs.  We had to take a double, and it was pretty heavy!

  • Staying outside the city gave us a bit of balance.  The boys enjoyed playful mornings at the pool before exploring in the afternoon, and we had a quiet but perfect day at a local beach.  Travelling with toddlers is about compromise and actually this made us all happier.

Good luck if you give it a go!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

When Christmas got its Magic Back

Christmas has always been a family event.  My first memories of it are at my Aunty and Uncle's house, thirty of us crowded around a table that reached out from the dining room, down the hall way and into the living room.  My brother, sister and I were always the youngest and therefore got utterly spoilt, and there was always so much food - turkey with all the trimmings and a Christmas pudding stuffed full of silver.

Christmas dinner was followed by tins of Roses and Quality street around the Christmas tree, being tickled by cousins and playing beetle drive - we were always given extra points for being younger.  Presents were exchanged and the afternoon and evening seemed to go on for days, spending time with those that mattered most, my Grandma sat proudly on the sofa, watching her children and grand children and the family that she had raised.

As my cousins and I got older, there were too many of us.  We expanded at such a rate that Christmas became smaller with visits throughout the day.  I had moved away from home, so it still seemed perfect going back to my parent's house and spending the night in my old bedroom, the familiar smells and sounds.

2011 was the Christmas that changed everything all over again for me - for a lot of us.  The bloke and I welcomed a beautiful little boy into the world, and our adult day of board games, after dinner naps and late nights was punctuated by nappy changes, cooing at the smiliest four month old, and a new appreciation of what family means.  After all, Christmas is all about the children.  We knew this growing up, and we never really forgot, but after 5 years of a smaller Christmas, with every member of the house able to legally drink, we were reminded of the wonders anew.

We spoke of Father Christmas again and the magic.  We crowded round as we exchanged presents, watching my son grab the paper in delight, not having a clue what was really going on, but at the same time making it real for everyone there.

Christmas has never been the same, and will never be the same.  I now have two children, who every year become more aware of the magic, who believe in the man in red, and who wake up wide eyed and excited about being surrounded by family.  Christmas dinners involve bibs and beakers, two extra paper hats and at least twice as many smiles and laughs, and we know our Christmases will only get bigger as more babies join the family. 

Christmas has always been about family, but having my own made it what it is today

This is my entry for Transun's 'Win a family trip to Lapland' competition. You can read about the competition here:

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Skiing with Toddlers

Earlier this year, we went on our very first ski holiday - something we didn't imagine would be possible with toddlers.  It was exciting, exhilarating and actually a great place with young children, from snowball fights to sledging to cosy afternoon in the creche, our boys had a fantastic holiday whilst the bloke and I hit the slopes for the first time and came home with some great stories.

Mark Warner have teamed up with P.O.P and challenged us to create a ski holiday wardrobe for children - it was easy.  I love bright colours, and with the white snow as background it is easy to spot the little ones whilst they play.  I would get the boys matching thermals, and I love this grey set, and then matching but not matching outers.  Dylan would need sallopettes and a jacket and this blue is the perfect colouring for him, whilst Archie is still best in an all-in-one.  These look durable and bright, and I know that in two years time, Archie will fit in Dylan's set, and bump will have grown into Archie's.  PoP is known for longevity and with ski wear I think it is worth investing in something that can last more than one child.

Pop Ski

I love the matching gloves and complimentary hat, and both of these can be used all winter long.  The hat is perfect for a British winter as well, and the gloves mean snowman building with warm, dry hands too.

Obviously the boys would need a nice off-piste outfit for meals out and snuggly evenings, and I love this cloudy top and comfy jeans - definitely something they would both suit (and I can't get enough of matching at the moment!)

off piste

  All these items are currently available from the PoP website

A week in Rome

I have plenty to share, but for now, here are some of my favourite photos from our week away in Rome.