The January round-up

Thank god. The most depressing month of the year is almost over – finally. Needless to say, between Christmas spending, my December wardrobe overhaul and a mahoosive tax bill, my purchases have been more limited than usual.

But there are still a few things I’ve bought, tried and added to my list as contenders for my suitcase in January – here’s my pick.

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Do let me know your own top finds in the comments. Continue reading

Six degrees of separation – and a world trip competition

The theory of the six degrees of separation apparently dates back to 1929. These days, with the internet on side, I can’t help wonder if the number hasn’t shrunk.

After only a bit of frenzied effort on Friday, I discovered I knew people from Asia to the Americas who would retweet my random hashtags, including Phuket, Brazil and New York, leaving aside a handful in Australia who were fast asleep at the time.

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Stating that everyone and everything is six or fewer steps away from any other person in the world, the theory has inspired a Kevin Bacon-themed game, a charity project and now a competition to win a round-the-world trip. Continue reading

Thursday Travel Treat: Malta

In London today it’s 3C (and that seems warm compared to the snowy landscapes across the country). A few hours away in Malta, it’s 17C. If it wasn’t for the looming tax bill, I’d be tempted to book a flight this minute.

Instead I’ve dug through my photos from two trips to the island for today’s #thursdaytraveltreat on Instagram.malta-marsaxlokk-fishing-harbour-boats

I’ve never quite understood why Malta has a bit of a dated image – there’s temples older than the pyramids, great diving and the stunning blue lagoon on sister island Comino, historic walled cities, fantastic seafood and lots of quirky touches.

That’s before you even consider laid-back Gozo, a ferry ride away from Mellieha in the north where I’ve stayed both times. And it’s very family-friendly.

I really am cursing that tax bill today…

Do join in with the #thursdaytraveltreat hashtag on Instagram or Flickr, and add your links in the comments below.

11 things travel has taught me about parenting

On each trip with Minnie, I learn more lessons about travelling with a baby or toddler – and a few sneak previews of what the future might hold.

But with 55 countries under my belt, it suddenly occurred to me that there were a few things travel has taught me about how to be a parent.

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1. Always carry wet wipes
Enough said. Continue reading

Why charging for babies on planes is a bad idea

At the end of a nine-hour flight, with a 22-month sitting on my knees the entire way, the thought of a separate seat for my daughter was distinctly tempting. But the huge upside to cramp the whole way to St Lucia was knowing her ticket had cost almost nothing.

With a maximum of 10% applied by airlines, used to cover admin or taxes, it often comes in at even less – easyJet’s fixed fee of £22 for example.

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But according to a story I saw on Parentdish, airlines in Brazil are considering scrapping the 10% limit. And where one airline starts, others aren’t usually shy about following. Unless they’ve got any sense that is.

Continue reading