Family Travel Times

Family Travel Times: February 2014

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

We love this blog (and please nominate us!)

Sarah, Jess and Rob outside Buckingham Palace
We love writing this blog. It's so lovely to do something together, as a family. In fact, when we started it, my daughter and I didn't realise how much fun it would be to share what we do with other people, or how keen Robert (who's 8) would be to get involved.

The children write what they really think on here and I don't go through and edit it with a fine toothcomb - although I do correct spelling mistakes (once a journalist, always a journalist). I sometimes find that the children are harsher critics than me - or that they have picked out something which I would not have emphasised. That is part of the joy of doing this together.

It's also lovely to recommend places for other people to visit, which is why we like writing about holidays abroad as well as days out at home. We like reading other travel blogs and family websites too, and are very happy that through Family Travel Times we have met (in person, I mean) such lovely people as Gretta over at MumsdotravelTrish at mumsgoneto , Kirsty at the Family Adventure Project and Mari at Mari's World (as well, of course, as many, many more!) We've also made many virtual contacts (and we would love to turn those into real humans one day...).

We have had such a great time over the last year. America was outstanding, but we also loved our summer holiday to Bristol and searching for Gromits. Robert really enjoyed Dr Johnson's House and I felt spoilt rotten to be lucky enough to take a trip to Jamaica with Jessica.

We write the blog because we enjoy it, and we are delighted that you are reading it too. We are also extremely happy that some kind souls have nominated us for the MAD blog awards - the awards for mum and dad bloggers (and family ones too!)

We would be absolutely thrilled, honoured and delighted if you would also take the time to please nominate and vote for us. We think that we fit best into the category of family travel blog and new blog, but we are very happy to be up in any category you think might suit us (so, not best pregnancy blog then....)

You can vote by clicking on the following link, travelling over to the MADs nomination page, and then following the instructions. The first page has a slot for best overall blog, so we will leave that up to you. We're crossing our fingers that you might pop us down on the next page.

Thank you so much, and we hope you don't mind us asking.

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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Drake Fun Day at the Golden Hinde (by Robert)

The Drake Fun Day was awesome, funny, interesting and overall, a great day out.

It took place on the Golden Hinde II, which is a replica of the ship which Sir Francis Drake used to sail all round the world and attack Spanish ships with. It was the first ever English ship that circumnavigated (that means went all around) the world, and this happened when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne. The voyage took place from 1577 to 1580 and before Drake left, the Queen said to him " Sail around the world for England's glory."

We played games and learned facts from the Captain and his stupid, disgusting  assistant, Fart, who even wiped his finger (that he had used to scratch his his bottom) on me!

We played rock, paper scissors, Tudor sailing style. Captain was paper, officer was rock and sailor was scissors.

We also played hide and seek. We were trying to find the Spanish who Francis Drake hated. I was one of the people who hid and no one found me.
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Brighton In The Winter (By Jessica)

Me ice-Skating At The Royal Pavilion
I was lucky enough to spend a few days at my friend's grandparents' house in Brighton recently and had a great time. Here is what we did...

Ice Skating
First of all, we took the bus to Brighton's Royal Pavilion to go ice-skating. One problem - I can't ice-skate AT ALL! After putting on skates, I slowly went out onto the ice and did a few laps, soon realizing that I wasn't as bad as I thought. Although I definitely wasn't the best person on the rink, an hour was enough for me to (kind of) learn to skate. 

The Pavilion in itself was beautiful - the grass was green, there were loads of flowers and the building looked like a miniature Taj Mahal. It created the perfect atmosphere. The open-air rink is open only in winter, and is somewhere you should really go to, whether you can skate or not... 
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

This one's for mums (& dads!) Rafayel on the Left Bank - a 5 star spa hotel

The Rafayel spa
My friend Beverlie Summers is a woman of many talents, including writing, and being the mum of four. She is also the first person to guest post on our blog, and her post is about a wonderful sounding hotel which would be just perfect for a few days without the kids in tow! With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it seemed a good time to run her piece.

Over to Beverlie:

"Iqbal Latif - polymath, weaver of stories, social scientist, owner of one of the world's first environmentally-conscious luxury hotels.... I am just a little bit in love with him!  What he has created at Falcon Wharf, Battersea is nothing short of incredible. From the second you walk into the lobby you know that this is going to be an amazing experience.

The lobby

The Rafayel is one of the world’s first environmentally-conscious luxury hotels, managing to minimize its environmental impact without comprising on 5-star luxury, quality or comfort. Personally I really like having the choice of just having the bed remade or having all the bed linen changed every single day – similarly with the towels. I always find it somewhat wasteful to throw perfectly usable towels on the floor each day to be replaced.

The bedrooms themselves have MediaHub panels to connect mp3 players, laptops and digital cameras to the TV and audio system. The beds are really comfortable and the linen is luxurious. The bathrooms are spacious and full of top spec equipment – gorgeous power shower and a separate bath (complete with TV).

The Rafayel is in Battersea close to The London Heliport and with views of the Thames. There is a free Shuttle Service running every 30 minutes to and from nearest transport links. (Clapham Junction & Clapham Common) or if you prefer, there is car parking in the hotel car park for £15 per day. I chose to drive in as it gave me the freedom to travel the next day, but actually the hotel is so central I could easily have relied on public transport.

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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Where shall we go in the summer (it's tricky!)?

We went to Paris in October. Where's next?
Where should we go in the summer? That's our burning question for now. It may only be January, but you can never think about your next trip too early!

I gave advice on summer family holidays in this post on Top Cashback and realised there there were so many things to take into account...It's not easy.

Firstly, of course, there's a budget. Like most people we know, we don't have a great cache of money hanging around waiting to be used, so although we would love a fly drive trip to the USA, that's not going to happen.

Which leaves the UK and Europe.

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