Review: Sensatori Crete Resort

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Daddy and little tyke at the splash pool

We have just returned from our first holiday abroad as a family of three at the Sensatori Resort in Crete. For those who are looking for ideas for future holidays with young children I thought it might be helpful to put together a review on our hotel. Here goes…..

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One of the resorts six swimming pools

Overview – We spent a long time umming and ahhing about where to go for our first holiday abroad. We wanted sun. We wanted pools. We wanted a beach. We wanted good food. Holidays were never going to be the same as what they were pre-kids, but we also hoped for somewhere with a laid back vibe. I had heard about Sensatori previously but had never really looked into it as I had dismissed it as exclusive to families. Now with a little two year old boy in tow, these family orientated resorts had a new appeal. Sensatori Crete is the very first Sensatori hotel and is located right next to a beach, which made it the ideal spot for us as we love our seaside walks.

Rooms – We had a family room with seaview, sliding doors and a balcony. The room was extremely clean and spacious, with a travel cot for the little tyke. After previous experience with an uncomfortable travel cot, we brought along a travel cot mattress and we feel that this really made the difference to the little mans sleep. The bathroom wasn’t the most modern decor, but it was nice and big for us all to share. Our bed was extremely comfortable and we all slept really well!

Nursery – We couldn’t bring many toys for the little man and we worried that he might get bored. So for a couple of hours in the afternoons, we booked him into the Sensatori nursery. Here he got to make new friends, play with toys and lots of craft activities. The nursery staff were all British trained and did an absolutely wonderful job of entertaining the children. Another bonus is that it also kept him safe out of the sun at the hottest time of the day (it was 33 degrees on the hottest day!). We even took away a little folder of his paintings as a holiday keepsake.

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Hotel lobby and view of buffet restaurant

Food – We used the main buffet restaurant quite a lot of the time as we felt that it had lots of choice and the food was excellent quality. Plus buffets are always so much easier for children! They even had a little kids station for the little ones. You also had the option of booking other speciality restaurants and we tried the Tex-Mex and Asian restaurant whilst we were there. They were ok, but the buffet worked out better for us. For in between meal time options, there was also a snack bar (great for if you don’t want to leave the sun lounger!).

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The beach near the hotel resort

Location – We like being by the sea and have always enjoyed walks by the coast. It became our new routine to have dinner and then take a stroll by the beach side before drinks. The landscape with the mountains in the distance did look stunning. The beach didn’t have the best quality sand, but it was nice enough. The area was pretty laid back with a few shops, mini supermarkets and bars dotted around.

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Mummy and tyke cool down in the pool

Pools – Our favourite part of the holiday! On the first day our little boy was a bit nervous of the childrens splash pool, but by day two he loved it! The splash pool featured a sprayground, tipping bucket and water jets. We enjoyed it just as much as he did!

Entertainment – We liked sitting in the lobby bar in the evening to wind down, but we were a bit too tired for anything else. The Sensatori resorts also put on shows for the kids called Playtime live. We tried it, we hated it and the little tyke ran out the room. Guess he wasn’t a fan either!

 

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Mummy and tyke in the lobby bar

Conclusion – We would love to return to this resort, or possibly another Sensatori resort in the future. With a young family we felt that we were well catered for and it was nice to be surrounded by families similar to ourselves. All in all, we had a wonderful time at Sensatori Crete!

Hope you are all well, ta ta for now xxx

 

 

 

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Packing for a holiday

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Are you one of those super organised people who start to pack their suitcases weeks before they are due to fly away? Really? Because I am so not that type of person! I don’t really like packing, in fact, I hate packing! What if I forget something? What if I bring too much? For me, packing makes me incredibly anxious.

Despite the hang up about packing, I still like holidays. Today was a packing day for our family of three for a weeks holiday by the beach. Woo hoo! I am excited about the holiday but the preparation is a bit stressful. I don’t claim to be an expert by any means, but here are some tips that might be helpful….

Tip 1: Write Lists

I write a tick list for each bag on my phone using Microsoft Onenote. You can then either tick things off the list on your phone or you can create a pdf to print off. I just simply cannot remember everything, it needs to be written down.

Tip 2: Buy Clear Plastic Zip Bags

I bought a pack of three from Primark and they are a godsend. First Aid bag – tick. Toiletries bag – tick. Teeny bag for holding jigsaw puzzle – tick.

Tip 3: Buy Toiletry Travel Packs

As in clear zip bags with empty bottles to fill with small portions of your shampoo etc. Previously, we just bunged them all in the bag. Now with a child in tow, any extra baggage weight is a no no. I will not go over the weight restriction!

Tip 3: Buy Packing Cubes

Game changer! This is the first time I have used these and I can honestly say I have never felt so organised. I bought a pack each for my son (green with white spots), my husband (navy with diamonds) and myself (pink with spots). Each pack consisted of three cube shape bags and three zip up laundry bags. As we were spreading luggage for three people over two bags, we felt this would be the most organised way of going about this.  It also saves loads of space too! Check them out on Amazon here.

So they are my top tips for packing, what do you think? How do you usually tackle packing? Have you got any tips to share?

Well that’s me off for a little while, ta ta for now folks xxx

Review: Les Ormes Lodges

 

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Les Ormes one bedroom lodge

 

On our recent trip back to my home island of Jersey, we stayed in the very lovely Les Ormes self catering resort for the first time. This trip was the first one as a family, prior to this we would always stop in hotels. But this time I wanted a home from home and Les Ormes provided just that.

Les Ormes Resort is located five minutes away from Jersey airport and is within easy reach of many of the islands attractions. There are 62 units of self catering accomodation of varying sizes, from one to five bedrooms with all the mod cons you could hope for. We stopped in a one bedroom lodge with its very own hot tub and decking area (see above). The lodge had an open plan lounge with kitchen and dining area, large bathroom with underfloor heating and a spacious seperate bedroom. The little tyke stopped in our bedroom in a little wooden cot at the end of our bed.

 

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Lodge interior

Our lodge was located on the outside edge of the resort and was wonderfully quiet! We had lots of lovely animal and birdy visitors to our lodge including a friendly duck and a cat who befriended our little boy. So cute!

 

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Hello ducky!

Once the little chap went to bed in the evening we took the opportunity to take a dip in the outside hot tub. We were very lucky with the weather and it felt so lovely to watch the sun go down from the comfort of our bubbly hot tub.

 

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Lovely bubbly hot tub!

At the resort there are a host of activities and facilities on offer. They have an indoor pool, sports centre and golf course available all year round. From May half term until September visitors can use the outdoor pool and childrens play zone. There is also the ‘Little Squirrels Club’ providing lots of crafty activities for young children (must be accompanied by an adult).

 

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Mummy and little tyke walk to the lodge

We have already decided that we would like to return to the resort again next year and I would definitely recommend Les Ormes to anybody with young children. If I were to make any suggestions for improvements I would suggest having a small shop on site at the reception or offer welcome packs to purchase prior to arrival. Saying that, you really are never far from a shop when you are in Jersey. Our closest supermarket was the large Waitrose in Red Houses or you could travel further to the large Co-op in St. Peter. Food shopping is a little more expensive in Jersey, so I would recommend sticking to the co-op as the prices are much more reasonable.

The resort does have a restaurant, but I would recommend venturing a little further as there are much better choices on offer. If you are after breakfast, head to the Watersplash or El Tico five minutes down the road in St. Ouen. If you are after dinner head to the Crab Shack or the Treehouse in St Brelades (ten minutes away). All of the places I have mentioned are extremely family friendly and have very yummy food!

Thats it from me for one night folks, ta ta for now xxx

 

 

 

 

 

Toddler airport tips

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We have not long arrived back from our first family holiday with our little boy and I thought I would put together this post with some tips on how to make travelling by air with toddlers easier. The little tyke is 23 months old now and this week long holiday involved a short airplane journey back to the island of Jersey of where I originate from. I have to say that I felt incredibly nervous about the whole trip but am glad to say that we all had a pretty nice time. He had his moments though, believe me! My word, he can be a little rascal at times! I just think that everything was so new and strange to him, that it threw him off course a little. Now he’s back home, he is totally back on track.

Enough of my rambling, heres my tips……

Don’t bother with a Trunki

The little man does have a Trunki, of which he has used on a short weekend to the seaside but I didn’t intend to use it on this trip. Besides, with him being under two, he didn’t have luggage allowance for it. I think I would leave it another year or two before I let him take it on holiday. I just know that we would end up lugging it around and with a toddler who wants to run off in the opposite direction, it isn’t ideal!

Keep your travel documents in a wallet

Now I didn’t do this, but I intend to find a nice plastic zip up wallet for my next holiday to keep my passports/tickets/boarding cards/hire car paperwork. We were the last people on the plane there and back, due to us having to dig around our humongous back pack for our boarding cards! Save yourself some time people, get a travel wallet!

Pay for fast track at security

Have you seen the queues at security? My little tyke doesn’t have the patience and would have had a meltdown if we hadn’t pre-booked the fast track lane.

Tire the little monkeys out before you get on the plane

He fell asleep just as the plane left the ground on the way there and back! He didn’t even wake up when we landed! Amazing! I am guessing this is fluke, but it helped that we let him play and run around the airport before we boarded. Airports sometimes have soft play or activity areas that can help entertain children.

If they don’t sleep, be prepared

We brought along a cute little lunchbox with some little snacks that included mini cheddars, muesli bar, yoghurt raisins and a fruit smoothie. I bought a couple of little new toys and a comic with stickers to entertain him. I also found a sticker book from Amazon with funny faces. Failing all of that, the iPad will save you.

Get yourself a lightweight foldable stroller

Our regular pushchair is an absolute pain to fit into cars. I found a new stroller from Mountain Buggy that folds up so small, it can fit in a little bag. It’s really lightweight and fits nicely into hire cars with all your luggage included.

I think thats about it really. It wasn’t easy but we survived to tell the tale! I will have a few more posts lined up relating to our recent holiday, hope you are all well my Worpress friends! Ta ta and good night xxx

 

Travelling with toddlers

You will have to forgive me. I am trying to write this post using the iPad, as my computer is so slow it is grinding to a halt! I think I need to give it a spring clean when I get time. I just wanted to put this post together whilst thinking of various trips and our holiday later in the year. I feel slightly anxious when I think of how the little tyke might cope with long journeys by car or airplane. Will he get bored? Will he throw a tantrum? Will he be overwhelmed by it all?

The longest journey planned will be four hours by airplane, but you also need to take into account the travelling to and from the airport, waiting in the lounge and waiting on the airplane. What can I do to occupy his time? I have looked at various tips on the internet and YouTube, here are my favourites –

Use a Trunki

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Tick! I purchased a little red Trunki for the little tyke ages ago and used it to carry some toys when we went on a trip to the seaside last year. Now he is that much older, he can enjoy pulling or riding along on it through the airport. I hope to pack a load of toys, snacks and spare clothes in here.

Take lots of snacks

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On a few YouTube videos, bloggers used medicine cases and filled the various compartments with treats. Not sure if I will try that. But it’s fair to say that my little man has a good appetite and I must come prepared. Ideas for snacks include raisins, rice cakes, fruit sachets, jelly pouches, cereal bars, little sandwiches and mini muffins. Do not rely on the airline company.

Pass time with sticker books

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The little tyke loves playing with stickers and these sticker books are perfect to occupy his time. It’s also nice little quiet activity he can do with his Mummy or Daddy. I also like to buy Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden comics because they are full of stickers of his favourite characters.

New toys

Another suggestion is to buy some little pocket money toys (and don’t show them to the little one) in the run up to your journey. The idea is the novelty of something new will occupy more of their time and interest than a more familiar toy from home. Some people even suggest wrapping them up as presents to add to the excitement.

Games and favourite tv shows on the tablet

I would like to limit the time on the tablet if at all possible, but I have to admit that it will make the journey a little bit easier and a little less fraught. I don’t mind some of the little games played every so often.

Favourite books

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The little tyke loves his reading. I mean LOVES his reading! I must bring some little lightweight paper books for him to flick through on the plane. Plus, I want some books for his bedtime story at night. The trip will throw us off somewhat, but I have to try and keep some routine if possible.

Drawing and Aquadoodle

This really will occupy a very limited time at the moment, as he is so young. But he will give it a good go, a little pack of crayons and paper takes up no space at all.

Play Doh

I recently read about an experiment conducted by Professor Robert Winston to find out what best-entertained children between the ages of two and ten on plane journeys. The conclusion was that old fashioned toys were the best, with play doh and lego near the top of the board. Would play doh be too messy? It might be a trick to pull out of the bag on our four-hour flight!

I would be really interested to learn more about other bloggers experiences with travelling. What worked best for you? Do you have any tips that you could offer?

Nighty Night folks, ta ta for now xx

Review: Lekebaby Changing Backpack

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Oh goodness, how excited can one be over a mere changing bag? Answer – very! Lets face it, theres no escaping lugging these bad boys around when we have toddlers in tow!

Up until very recently I would use my lovely navy changing bag from Pink Lining to carry all the little tykes odds and sods. With plans of travel in mind, I felt that I wanted to get something a little more practical and a little more grown up to use when going on plane journeys. My little man isn’t getting any lighter, so I felt a nappy changing rucksack would be the best way to go. After a little bit of internet browsing, I decided upon the Lekebaby Multifunctional Nappy Changing Backpack with Changing Mat from Amazon.

The bag is available in a choice of unisex grey or black, is made of a high-grade 300D oxford fabric and is water repellent. It feels like a quality purchase and looks incredibly stylish, not like a changing bag at all. In fact, my husband could quite comfortably walk around with and it would look just like a normal everyday rucksack.

What I like best about this bag is the multitude of pockets to keep your belongings organised and the fact that it is incredibly roomy. It has two main pockets, one which you could keep baby bits and the other for Mummy bits.

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Top view of Lekebaby Changing Backpack

Overall, there are 13 interior pockets and 5 exterior pockets for all your essentials. There are bottle pockets at either side of the backpack to hold bottles for parents and it has two insulated baby/child bottle pockets in the interior. A small, foldable changing mat is also provided inside the bag.

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One of the two main pockets (featuring changing mat)
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Also includes foldable changing mat

The bags straps are thick and sturdy, with padding also being added to the back and handle for extra comfort. An extra large hidden pocket can also be found on the back, perfect for hiding your wallet or phone.

I chose the black option but it would be best described as a mottled dark grey, which looked nice with the light grey interior. It is a fairly large bag, but this suited me just fine. I think it will be a brilliant bag to use as a carry on for the plane and I am actually quite happy to use it for day-to-day use. On the product reviews, somebody described it as the swiss army knife of the bag world! As much as the comment made me chortle, it is probably not far wrong! What a successful buy, love it!

Ta ta for now folks, have a lovely evening xxx