Our April

Our April

I’ve recently seen a few people do the month in review Blog Posts and I love the idea. It’s so nice to have a record & see all the things you have got up to. All the little days out get forgotten so it’s lovely to look back on.

We started the month with Easter Sunday, we had dinner at my Mum & Dad’s and a park trip to burn off the millions of eggs Finn had ate.

We then had an amazing swimming lesson from Finn, which was a big turning point. He was really nervous and held onto his teacher when he first started but this was the point he slowly began to make progress and gain confidence m.

We had a trip to Bents Garden Centre in Warrington which Finn loved, there’s a fab park & a lovely cafe.

I then ended up in hospital for 2 nights with tonsillitis, I think though I was really run down. I’d been working loads & doing a lot of late nights & early starts. Luckily a few days later we went on our Amazing holiday to Costa Teguise in Lanzarote. We stayed at the HD Beach resort which you can read about here.

When we come home we met my Mum & Dad in Chorlton & went for food & a play in the park.

Another day another park visit, followed by Finn’s favourite coffee & cake.

We went to Messy Mallie’s which is about 20 minutes away from us in Buckley. It was brilliant and Finn loved painting his own money box.

After the Easter holidays we were entitled to more hours at nursery. I was sad in one way as Finn stared doing more days so we lost a day in the week together. It’s meant though that I’ve gone from doing 4/5 late nights a week to 1/2. I’ve loved the little things like us having tea together as a family & doing bath, story & bed time.

Finn’s first go at Crazy Golf, followed by a Wagamama’s.

A visit to Little Al’s Urban farm in Eastham. We love it here.

Yet more amazing swimming from Finn, he’s managing to swim now with just the woggle & not holding on to his teacher.

Finally a zoo trip, we are members of Chester Zoo so we go all the time. This time Finn played in the sand & water for over an hour.

Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

Costa Teguise, Lanzarote- The restaurants we loved

We have recently come back from a week in Costa Teguise and we went to some amazing restaurants. There was such a lot of choice & they were all really reasonably priced. We love Spanish food so we’re absolutely spoilt for choice.

El Navarro

We went here after a recommendation from a friend & reading good reviews on both trip advisor & Lonely Planet. It was a bit of a distance from our hotel but definitely worth it. When we first got there I thought it didn’t seem very child friendly but I was wrong, the staff were brilliant with Finn. I went for the prawn, spinach & ricotta ravioli to start followed by hake & mussels in a butter & lemon sauce. Both were amazing! I love mussels & I’d say these were the freshest & tastiest I’ve ever had. I had a creme brûlée for dessert which was lovely as well. Stu had the porks cheek & really enjoyed it. This was the most expensive meal we had at around €80 but was so worth it.

El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

El Navarro, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

La Tabla

I found La Tabla on trip advisor & it was highly rated for Tapas. Again we weren’t disappointed. It’s on a little courtyard tucked away but it was lovely & peaceful. The tapas was brilliant value at €21 for 7 dishes and we enjoyed them all. It was so busy with people being turned away on a Tuesday evening so definitely book (the number is on trip advisor and you can send them a WhatsApp).

La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, LanzaroteLa Tabla, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

La Aulaga Casa Felix

Another tapas restaurant we found on trip advisor, although they did a wide range of meals here which all looked really good. This was again excellent value with each Tapa priced at €3. This is some of the best tapas we’ve ever ate and we are big Tapas fans.

Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Casa Felix, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

La Pardela Restaurant

We fancied Paella one night and La Pardela came highly recommend on trip advisor. We opted for the seafood & it was amazing, packed with fish & seafood. The staff were brilliant with Finn and really made you feel welcome. We had starters as well but really didn’t need them as the paella was massive. It’s in a lovely location as well over looking the sea.

La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote La Pardela, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

Beach Bar Melia Salinas

We never ate here but I’ve got to mention the Beach Bar, we loved it. Perfect surroundings, amazing cocktails & chill out music. We loved going at nap time and some evenings with Finn as he loved playing in the sand.

Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote Beach Bar Melia Salinas, Costa Teguise, Lanzarote

HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

HD Beach Resort, Costa Teguise Lanzarote

We have just returned from a fab week at the HD resort in Costa Teguise Lanzarote. I thought I’d do a quick review of the hotel, we really enjoyed our stay and I’d definitely recommend this hotel to anyone looking to stay in Costa Teguise.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

The first impressions of the hotel were really good, it was really bright & modern and on a beautiful beach front location. The Staff were all lovely, especially the staff in the restaurant they were so friendly & spent time chatting to us and made a big effort with Finn.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

We stayed in a Junior Suite with sea view, I always get a sea view where possible as I normally find I’m up before Finn in the morning so it’s nice to sit out there and have a coffee & it’s nice at the evening as well if he’s in bed. The views from the balcony were amazing and really peaceful. The room was really big with a double bed and pull out sofa bed. There was a fridge, kettle, toaster, coffee machine & microwave so everything you needed even though it’s all inclusive. The bathroom was big as well with a large walk in shower & 2 sinks.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

The hotel was is a good location right on the beach and about a 10/15 minute walk down the prom to the main centre with bars & restaurants along the way. There was a few supermarkets & shops close by as well. One night we got a taxi to the centre as well and it was only €3. There’s a taxi stand right by the hotel on the main road. It took about 40 minutes on the transfer bus to get to and from the airport but if we we were to go again I’d just get a taxi as I found out when we were there that it’s only €21.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

We stayed all inclusive and on the whole really enjoyed the food but we did eat out 4 of the 7 nights. We do this anyway when we go away as we like to try the local restaurants, especially in Spain as Spanish food is our favourite . The restaurant was on the ground floor and was quite big, there was a section with a semi open room so if felt a bit more airy. I think my one disappointment with the hotel is there was no outside eating area which is a shame given the beautiful views. The food was good with loads of choice, the breakfast was really good with plenty of fruit, cereal, pancakes, pastry’s, hot & cold items. Lunch there was always lots of choice of salads, paella, meat fish etc.. The evening meal was similar to the lunch & had different themes, as I say we only ate there twice So I can’t really comment, but Finn loved the chocolate fountain. We also ate in the A la Carte one evening which was really nice. There was a good choice of drinks as well with juice, fizzy drinks, wine, beer, spirits, cocktails & cava. There was a self service bar around the main pool.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

There was 2 pools which Finn loved, there was a big pool with a smaller kids pool this pool had lovely views out to sea. There was also a splash pool with slides and sprinklers. The only downside to this pool is there was minimum seating around it. The pools were quite cold but the adults seemed to mind more than the kids. There was also a park & pool table.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

We didn’t really go to the entertainment but there is a kids club & mini disco and various acts on each night. We just preferred to go for a walk in the evening but the bits we did see looked really good.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

All in all we loved our stay and would definitely return it’s a perfect hotel for families in a fab location.

HD Beach Resort Lanzarote

Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

Finn was about 27 months the first time we went to Disneyland and turned 3 the second time we were there. These are the main rides, attractions & shows he loved & were the most suitable for his age.

Alice’s Curious Labyrinth- We all loved this where you work your way around Alice’s labyrinth to get to the Queen of heart castle. The view from the top around the park are amazing.

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast- Finn’s a big toy story fan so this was one of his favourites. The queues can get quite big so we went in this using a fast pass and during extra magic hours.

Cars quatre rallye- Finn loved the cars theming of this one, I get quite travel sick so sat this one out. Queues were normally about 10/15 minutes.

Casey Jr. – this is a lovely little train ride, It was really quiet whenever we went on this.

Disneyland Railroad- We loved this, we went all the way round the park on it and you get some really good views. You can also use it to get to the different areas of the park. It always seemed to be really busy even in quiet times but we went on first thing one morning and the queues weren’t as big.

Dumbo- Finn loved flying round on the elephant, the queues never seemed to be really big for this.

It’s a small world- My favourite, even though you end up stuck with the tune in your head for days. The queues were never massive but if you stand near here to watch the parade you get a good view for that & can then walk pretty much on it’s a small world.

Le Carrousel de Lancelot- a traditional merry-go- round, Finn really enjoyed this and there was rarely a big queue.

Flying carpets over Agrabah- this was in the Studio’s you fly on a magic carpet on an Aladdin themed rides. It can get busy.

Mad Hatter’s tea cups- this was another of Finn’s favourites, the cup of tea ride he called it. This was another quiet ride.

Orbitron- Here you can ride in a rocket, the queues for this one always seem longer than they say so be prepared to wait but Finn loved it.

Peter Pan’s flight – this is a lovely ride but can get really busy. We got fast passes for this which I’d definitely recommend doing.

Pirates of the Caribbean – I was really nervous about this one as I though Finn would be scared but apart from a few drops it was quite gentle & we all loved it. We were quite lucky to just walk on this a few times.

Ratatouille- this was another favourite of ours, it gets busy but you can get fast pass. There is WiFi in the studios so we used the Disneyland app to check wait times and managed to just walk onto this one day.

Slinky Dog- Finn loved this being a toy story fan and we managed to just walk on it quite a few times. I suffer with motion sickness and this did make me feel a bit sick.

Thunder Mesa riverboat Landing- I loved this boat ride & definitely recommend you go on this. It’s a lovely little ride round which you don’t expect & has loads of little things to look at.

Toy soldiers parachute drop- I thought this would be really scary but we all loved it, you also get a fab but quick view of the castle! It can get busy.

Moteurs Action Stunt Show- This was a massive hit, Finn’s face when lightening came out was one of the highlights of our trip.

Mickey and the Magician- This is a lovely show and definitely worth going to if it’s on, true Disney magic.

Mickey presents Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris- a fab show located on the stage near the castle. Finn loved all the Characters and them all waving.

Disneyland Paris, My top 10 tips

Disneyland Paris, My top 10 tips

The first time we went I read loads on Facebook groups and got advice of people who had already been. It can feel really overwhelming before you go as you want to cram everything possible in. Here’s a list of my top ten tips, there’s probably loads I’ve not covered but it’s just a few things we found useful.

Parade – the best place we found to stand for the parade Is outside the Pizzeria Bella Notte in Fantasyland or near start of the parade near it’s a small world. That way once it’s finished you can get on a few of the rides in Fantasyland with no queues. I think it’s absolutely worth getting there just one day 30/45 minutes early to get to the front as you get brilliant interaction.

Illuminations – Again I’d say just one day get there 30 minutes or so early for the fireworks just to get the best view. We sat on a bench just behind the statue of Goofy & Pluto and had an amazing view. We were there about 45 minutes early but Stu just took Finn off to a ride & for popcorn so he didn’t get too fed up. Another good spot was by the rope near the castle stage.

Snack packs/ drinks – we took quite a few snacks with us & little things for Finn to have in the queues. We also took water bottles to fill up as drinks can be quite dear. We took little sachets of coffee to have in the room as well as there’s none provided. Things we took for snack packs were crisp,cereal bars, raisins, little sweets, mini cookies, individually wrapped brioche etc.

Layers/ waterproofs – This obviously depends what time of year you go but we went in April & January and have had really changeable weather. At one point in January it was warm enough for just a jumper. Definitely take plenty of layers as it can get hot in queues if you’re all wrapped up and take waterproofs. The ponchos they sell are really expensive, we took Finn’s puddle suit.

Rough plan/ list – some people say go without a plan but I found it useful to make a note of what shows I wanted to see and the times. Also what rides we wanted to do in each of the different lands or areas of the studios so we wasn’t doing too much walking about between rides or meet & greets.

The picture – I’d seen loads of people getting a picture of the castle & an empty Main Street after the illuminations and was desperate to get one. We hung around after the illuminations had finished for about half an hour and just went in the shops. We were then able to get the picture.

App- the Disneyland app was brilliant, we were able to check the queue times and a few times just walked on the main rides.

Take fancy dress from home – we took all Finn’s costumes from home as they were so much cheaper than buying them in the parks. You also get brilliant character intervention when they are dressed up and all the cast members make a fuss. It’s also fab for pictures.

Personalised autograph book & pen- I ordered Finn a personalised autograph book from eBay and it’s lovely to keep for the memories. Take your own pen as well as these were expensive on the parks, a sharpie is easier for the characters to hold.

Spare battery for camera & a portable charger for phone – I took millions of pictures so made sure I had a spare battery for my camera & a portable phone charger was really handy as we spent really long days in the park.

Disneyland Paris, Our favourite restaurants

Disneyland Paris, Our favourite restaurants

One thing I really worried about before we went to Disneyland Paris the first time was the price of food. I’d heard people say they had spent £1000+ in a few days and this just wasn’t in the budget for us. There was no dining plan offer when we went and it was expensive to add one so we decided to just go with it and hope for the best. Both times we’ve been we’ve spent around £400 (excluding a few pre booked meals) including drinks etc.. It’s obviously not the cheapest place but you can do it without spending the huge amounts people say. We could have done it on even more of a budget if we tried as well. Here’s the places we ate at and enjoyed.

Breakfast – the first time we stayed we had breakfast included at Santa Fe, I personally wouldn’t go for this unless you get it included as I found it quite crowded & chaotic. We made do with a coffee in the room and then just grabbed something in the park when we were up the second time we went.

Annette’s- We really enjoyed Annette’s, it’s themed around an old school American diner with the staff on roller-skates. This is definitely the place We queued the longest and it was always busy after the fireworks so be prepared to queue for a while. The portions are massive, we shared 2 of the Jukebox menu’s between the 3 of us and there was more than enough food. This is €29 and included a starter, main and brownie for pudding. Finn loved the brownie.

McDonald’s breakfast – the second time we visited we didn’t have Breakfast included and Finn choose McDonald’s for his birthday breakfast as they did pancakes. I know it’s not the healthiest but we were really surprised how good value it was. It cost us €16 and for that me and Stu had meal each with a bacon & egg muffin, pancakes, coffee and juice and Finn had pancakes, hot chocolate & juice and it definitely kept us going for a while.

Rainforest cafe – We all loved the theming of the Rainforest Cafe. Finn especially loved the fish & monkeys. It is a little on the expensive side, they do have some set menus though which are a bit cheaper. We all really enjoyed our food though and would say it’s worth the expense once on your visit. Our bill came to around €80 for a children’s meal with drink & dessert, a beer, a cocktail, a shared starter and 2 mains.

Vapianos- We love Vapiano’s and find it really fresh & tasty and good value. The portions are quite big so Finn shared with us we had a pasta & pizza dish and with 3 drinks it came to about €35. The ordering system can be a little chaotic as you have to go up separately for pizza & pasta and then get buzzed when your food is ready but it’s well worth it.

Five Guys – this is another restaurant located in Disney village. We shared again between the 3 of us and 2 burgers, a large chips and 2 drinks was €40, a bit on the expensive side for a burger but they are really fresh & big portions.

Inventions, Disneyland Hotel – This is by far my favourite Dining experience we have done at Disney. We went for lunch for Finn’s birthday and Mickey, Minnie and the staff brought out a cake and sang to his (I Pre booked this for about €25) it was such a special moment. Inventions is expensive at €65 for an adult and €35 for a child but we added it at the time of booking so we could spread the cost. The character interaction was brilliant and they came round a few times. We got plenty of photos and Finn’s booked signed. The food was lovely as well there was Beef, king prawns, loads of salad, cheese, desserts etc.. definitely the one to do if you do one character meal.

Caseys’s Corner- This is on Main St with an area to eat inside or an outdoor eating area. The hot dogs are really nice traditional American ones & it came to around £35 for 2 hot dogs, 2 chips, nuggets & 2 drinks.

Glowtini- I loved the Glowtini cocktails which are quite fruity & come with a light up ice cube. We stayed in Santa Fe and apparently this is the cheapest place to have one.

Fuento del Orto- we ate here on the last day by chance as we were in Frontierland and had time before we had to head back for our taxi. I’m really glad we did as it was really nice Mexican food. It came to €32 and we had Nachos and 2 set meals including drinks & a side or yogurt. This was plenty for the 3 of us.

Toad Hall- this is a fish & chip restaurant in Fantasyland. We all really enjoyed it and got the Double to share with a few extra sides.

Cable car bake shop- this is on Main Street and Finn loved the Nutella muffins. They do all sorts of Disney themed cakes & snacks.

Plaza Gardens- on our first visit we had the character breakfast here. I really enjoyed it but after doing the lunch at inventions I’d say that’s definitely the better of the two. You still get the characters coming to your table but it just felt a little rushed compared to inventions and they only seem to come round once. The breakfast was really good though with an amazing selection. I’d still do the breakfast again if we got a deal but would definitely pick the lunch if we could.

Buffalo Bills- On our first visit we did Buffalo Bills Wild West show and loved it, Finn was just over 2 and he really enjoyed it but it is really noisy. The show was brilliant with character appearances and we all really enjoyed the food. You get drinks re fills as well. It’s definitely a fun experience and is really interactive.

Earl of Sandwich- We love Earl of Sandwich and normally end up eating here a few times. They do really nice sandwiches with loads of options and it’s always really quick & reasonable prices. They do a meal deal for about €12 or you can just get the sandwiches on there own.

Baby Flying Tips 

Baby Flying Tips 

We took Finn on his first flight when he was just over 6 months old. I was really worried before hand about how he would cope with the flight. As usual I did plenty of research so thought it would be useful to write down my top flying tips. 

Bring Spare Clothes- I took 2 outfit changes for Finn, 1 top for me and 1 for Finn. A friend laughed as I’m a massive over packer but once Finn had been sick on me, himself and his Daddy I was really glad we did. 

Pack more milk than you think you’ll need- There’s a theme here, I like to plan and pack for every eventuality but I found Finn drank a lot on the flight. I took powder for 3 bottles and cooled boiled water filled to the correct amount. I also packed a few ready made milks ready to put in an empty bottle once he had used the others. The flight was only 4 hours but I didn’t want to panick incase of any delays. I ordered milk and food from boots a week before we went as we were struggling for luggage allowance, we then collected this after security. 

Dummy clips- At the time Finn was using dummy’s and a dummy clip was something I really wish I’d packed. Within 10 minutes of take off he had thrown 4 on the floor and they were a real struggle to find with limited space. 

Bottle for take off and landing- try to feed your baby on take off and landing or give some cool boiled water as this helps with their ears. 

Food- Finn had only just started on solids, so didn’t eat much food. For convenience though I just used pouches and pre packed snacks I’d ordered from boots. It was so much easier and less messy. 

Changing table- As our flight was really packed and had limited leg room (think budget airline) whenever Finn got restless and there wasn’t a queue for the toilet I took advantage of the changing table. He loved being able to kick his legs and the bright lights in there. Just make sure you take your travel changing mat. 

Toys – Finn was at an age where he wasn’t really interested in many toys but I just took a few: his Sophie the giraffe, a few books & Teddys  and his pram toy with a mirror just to give him a few distractions. 

Don’t rush on or off the plane- A lot of people say to take advantage of the chance to board first but we prefer to hold back meaning less time on the plane. It also means less time queuing and holding a heavy baby after you’ve give the buggy in. We also learnt for one of us to hold back and check the seat area and underneath after we lost a favourite teddy on our first flight. 

Blankets- Finn loves blankets for comfort so we made sure we had a few of these, they were also handy for when it got cold and for him to lie on on our knees when napping. 

Pyjamas  for flight – if we have an early flight I keep Finn in his pyjamas for comfort and so he has a nice clean outfit when we get to our destination. I also like to put him in lightweight layers as I find planes can get cold. 

Aisle seat at the back- The best seat I found was an aisle seat right at the back, making it easier to get up and down. I also found it better at the back as there was a bit more room to walk round with Finn when he needed settling. 

Change nappy before take off- I found it best to do this as late as possible to minimise the nappy changes on board. 

Don’t worry about routine- I read a lot before we went away  saying try to fly around nap time or bedtime , but this didn’t work for us. Finn was more unsettled on our late evening flight than any other. I think because he was overtired. I found the best thing was to just forget routine and go with the flow of naps and feeds (I did this on the holiday too). 

Pack double- for out 4 hour flight I packed double what I’d normally take in my changing bag in a day. So about 10 nappys, 2 packs of wipes, 2 Muslins and about 5 bibs. As I mentioned I am a massive over packer but I felt more relaxed knowing we had plenty of things. 

I hope you’ve found these tips useful and I’d love to hear others top tips for flying with a baby.