Bye bye baby: Ditching the nap

Minnie has never been much of a napper. When she was tiny, I remember snatching 20 minutes with joy while friends could set their watches by their babies dozing for two, three hours.

Then when we switched to a single lunchtime nap, I could suddenly rely (mostly) on her having an hour’s sleep, often more, giving me a bit of a break and keeping her cheerful. Unless, obviously, I really needed her to in which case she’d resolutely stay awake.

toddler-nap-sleep-sofaBut for the past month or so, she’s been just as likely to skip the post-lunch sleep as to doze off. From most days, we moved to every other day, to only on non-nursery days to nothing. After a few tiring days, she’ll still consent to sleep now and then, but the end of the nap years is in sight.

And I can’t decide whether to be glad, sad or both. Continue reading

Bikes, canoes and horses: Getting active in the New Forest

Every time I visit the New Forest, I wonder why I don’t holiday there more often. It’s only about 90 minutes from my home, it’s beautiful and you get animals wandering the streets.

I grew up and lived my life in cities, so I don’t think I will ever get over the excitement of seeing ponies/donkeys/cows trotting along unconcerned. As it turns out, Minnie feels pretty much the same way.

new-forest-pony-toddlerWe spent a long weekend staying just outside the lovely village of Brockenhurst in a great cottage booked through New Forest Cottages (review to come), exploring by bike, canoe and horse and carriage. Continue reading

Getting scammed: when travel doesn’t go according to plan

I travel a lot. So it goes without saying that I book a lot of holidays – accommodation, flights, trains, the whole kit and caboodle.

And no-one can travel a lot, or work in travel, without knowing about the holiday scams about – villas which don’t exist, hotels which aren’t quite built yet, photos which don’t look anything like the reality, and cyber fraud.

A different kind of fishing...

A different kind of fishing…

While I don’t think I was cocky (who knows, maybe I was), I knew the ways to protect myself, to spot a scam. At least, I thought I did. As it turns out… I didn’t. Continue reading

AirBNB’s million experiences: From family-friendly to a floating house

I’d heard about AirBNB years before I first tried it, on our trip to Copenhagen almost two years ago. And while I think it’s fantastic for families, having rebooked via the site for Paris and now an Amsterdam trip on the cards, I am slightly regretting not making the most of the more unusual possibilities pre-motherhood.

Take a floating house, for example. No, really. And yesterday I was invited along to Canary Wharf to come on board.

BUCK_Airbnb_House_Thames02

It feels faintly like walking into a cartoon. The 70-tonne pastel blue house has its own garden with a tree growing over the door, two bedrooms, a bathroom, living room and views of the Thames (or city commuters depending which window you looked through). Continue reading

Kids’ clubs – how to tell your toddler

I do love travelling with my daughter. I also love having the occasional break on our trips, especially if it’s just the two of us. And that means checking out the kids’ club.

We’ve had great experiences (at least twice I’ve struggled to persuade her to leave this magical room full of toys on my return) and not so great experiences, including a rather bare room and a mild language barrier.

Because she goes to nursery part-time at home, it’s not quite such a weird experience for her. Which is fortunate because on almost every occasion my departure is greeted with wails. Temporary wails, thankfully, but heart-wrenching, guilt-inducing ones all the same.

child-boy-tantrum-cry-sob

Which got me thinking about the best way to handle leaving your child at a kids’ club, especially when they’re two or three.

Continue reading