Family day out: London Wetland Centre, Barnes

I rarely return to places again and again. When there’s so much to discover, why revisit the ones you’ve already seen?

But I’ve discovered that travelling with a child means you can discover the same place over and over as they grow and develop. Certainly when it’s somewhere as lovely as the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, handily just down the road from me.

Girl meets bird at the London Wetland Centre in BarnesOn our first visit, Minnie was still newly walking and we had the place almost to ourselves on a chilly grey winter’s day. Second time around, she was almost two and the sun shone. Visit 3, earlier this year, Spring was just starting. And for our latest high summer trip, we’d timed it for the school holiday activities – and Minnie was also old enough to join in.

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Creating a memory jar

I love a good souvenir. But that’s where my travel mementoes normally stop (along with innumerable photos, which intermittently get stashed into albums).

I’ve never been one to make scrapbooks or memory boxes (though you might argue the whole blog is a sort of e-scrapbook). Tickets and scraps get stuffed into guidebooks, to give me a mini jolt of remembrance when I open the pages again. But organised? No.

travel-memory-jar-souvenir-handsSo I rather liked the idea of thinkmoney’s holiday memories challenge, part of their jam j-art project, to see if it inspired me. One kilner jar, one staycation or holiday – ta-dah, one neatly bottled set of memories. Continue reading

5 tips for visiting the Van Gogh museum, Amsterdam with kids

Whether you’re interested in old masters, modern art or something in between, Amsterdam has some incredible art galleries with the three big names around Museumplein.

And if you’ve ruled out visiting them because you have kids, think again. You might not get hours to gaze at the artworks, but Amsterdam has made its culture as friendly as possible for kids.

van-gogh-museum-sunflowers-tipsPIN FOR LATER

Not possible with a todder, you say? Our recent visit to Amsterdam says otherwise… So here’s my top tips for visiting the Van Gogh museum with kids. Continue reading

The beginner’s guide to travel with a baby

So many things are new when you’re a new parent, let alone the thought of jumping on a plane. And with so many people ready to say you can’t/shouldn’t/must be mad to even think about it, it’s not surprising a lot are put off travel with a baby.

But I firmly believe the first flight is the hardest – not actually because it’s particularly difficult (in hindsight, travelling with a young toddler was tougher than a three-month-old) but because it’s a leap into the unknown.

The beginner's guide to travel with a baby, with tips on packing, baby essentials and flying with a babyPIN FOR LATER

So don’t be put off – there’s a whole world to discover with your baby. And if you’re wondering just how to do it, what to pack and how to carry it all, here’s my beginner’s guide, a ‘travel with a baby checklist’. Continue reading

Family day out: Stourhead National Trust, Wiltshire

Sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the world. And Stourhead in Wiltshire certainly deserves more than being a quick stop-off between London and Devon.

But as it was perfectly placed to break up our journey, with a helpful café for lunch, gorgeous grounds to stretch our legs and more than enough to occupy us for a few hours, I’d chosen the National Trust property as our half-way point.

stourhead-wiltshire-house-viewIt’s not hard to beat a motorway service station, but we’d had quite a bit of success breaking another long car journey with a different National Trust property, Packwood House last year. So I was decided to make the most of my shiny new membership card on our last-minute weekend away to Brixham too. Continue reading