Birthday trip to London 

Birthday trip to London 

We’ve just returned from 2 days (child free) in London to celebrate my birthday so I thought I’d share my favourite places we visited. 

Hotel Indigo Tower Hill 

We stayed at The Hotel Indigo about 5 minutes walk from The Tower of London and a few minutes from Aldgate Tube Station. I wanted to be close to the City/ Southbank area and this was in a good location. We got a good deal with it being a Sunday and were really lucky to get an upgrade, the views were amazing. The room was fairly big with a super comfy bed, amazing  rainfall shower and even a complimentary mini bar with Water, soft drinks & cereal bars (especially appreciated after sampling the Gin bars around Bermondsey the evening before). 

I’d definitely recommend this hotel for exploring this area of London and hopefully we will be able to return soon.

View from our room
View from our room
Hotel Room


Maltby Street Market 

The first place we headed to was Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey. This is a street food market with a few bars that let you eat your food at their tables if you are having a drink there. We loved it! There was such a wide variety of food and a great atmosphere. We had an amazing burrito, Gyozo from ‘ the Gyozo Guys’ & sampled some Gins from Jensen and Little Bird Gin both of which I loved. If you love street food Maltby Street is definitely one to put on your list. 

Maltby Street Market
The Gyozo Guys
Little Bird Gin
Little Bird Gin

José Tapas Bar  

On Saturday evening we went to José tapas bar on Bermondsey Street. We love tapas so I’d researched the tapas bars in the area and I wasn’t disappointed. Every dish we tried was extremely tasty & Fresh. We had the Croquetas Caseras, Mussels ,Mixed Cheese with quince & Jamón Ibérico. The portions were quite big so we found this plenty. Along with the food, two glasses of Rioja and two beers the bill come to £56 (including service charge) which was really good considering we both agreed it was some of the best tapas we’ve had both here and in Spain. It’s quite small and you can’t book so be prepared to wait but it’s definitely worth it. 

José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
214 Bermondsey

After our Tapas we went to 214 Bermondsey, on Bermondsey Street a few minutes from José. As part of their Sunday Social offer they have a gin flight for £11 (usually £18). I’m a recent convert to gin so loved the idea of tasting different gins and guessing the different flavours in each.We had the Orient Express, you are given 3 different gins (Colombo, Ophir and Star of Bombay) and Bermondsey tonic water without being told which is which. The answers are in an envelope to be opened once you have made your guesses. It was a fun way to taste the different drinks. The staff were really knowledgable and friendly and their was a really good choice of drinks. 

214 Bermondsey

The Breakfast Club 

On Monday morning we headed to The  Breakfast Club on Southwark Street, near London Bridge. We visited 2 of their other restaurants when were in London last time so definitely wanted to try this one. There was a big queue even on a Monday morning, it was definitely worth the wait though and shows how good the food is. I had the Huevos Al Benny with Home style potatoes & Stu The full Monty, we were both really impressed. It was Definitely needed after sampling the gins the evening before. 

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club

Borough Market 

We visited on a Monday so Borough wasn’t fully open but what we did see we loved. There was a street food market with lots of different stalls, but we visited just after breakfast. Next time we go to London we will make sure we visit when everything is open as the range and quality of stalls is amazing. 

Borough Market
Borough Market

Monmouth Coffee 

I’m a coffee lover and quite a few people recommend Monmouth to me, I loved their coffee and the range is so wide. We went for the blend of the day and really enjoyed it. Well worth a visit if you are a coffee fan. 

Monmouth Coffee

Tate Modern

We then headed along the Southbank to the Tate to check out their new viewing terrace on the top floor or the Blavatnik building.The views across London are amazing I’d definitely say it’s must visit. It’s free to enter the Tate but their is donation points around the building. 

Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace

Sky Garden

We went to the Sky Garden twice we were that impressed by it. Once at our pre booked slot of 3pm (book a week in advance) and once in the evening where you can just walk up. Although booking for a table in the evening needs to be done in advance so I’d recommend checking out the website for the best advice on how far in advance to book. There are also restaurants that are bookable. The views are incredible and we were lucky enough to see sunset which was amazing, we then went back a few hours later to see London at night. The bar was expensive a glass of prosecco & a pint was around £16 but I think the views more than make up for this and it’s worth it as a treat. You obviously don’t have to buy any food or drink while you are there but it was a lovely way to toast my birthday. 

Sunset at Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sunset at Sky Garden
Sunset at Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden at Night
Sky Garden
Sky Garden

Pizza Union

We wanted something quick for tea before our train home and after a quick look on trip advisor decided on the Spitalfields branch of Pizza Union. We loved the Pizza and it was extremely good value at around £21 for 2 12 inch pizzas, a Nutella dough ring dessert & a large Peroni. The ingredients were really fresh & both pizzas were full of flavour. The service was extremely quick as well. Definitely worth a visit if you fancy a pizza and are close by. 

Pizza Union
Pizza Union

Toddler Flying Tips

Toddler Flying Tips

Following on from my blog about Baby Flying Tips  I thought I’d do the same for flying with toddlers. We recently travelled to Rome with Finn, he was 14 months at the time and is definitely more active than the last time we flew. Here’s our Rome Blog if you fancy taking a look. 
Booking flights- A lot of advice I’ve read says to book flights around your toddlers sleep times. We’ve always tended to just go with what’s  cheapest and more convenient and I’ve not found it’s made a massive difference. I find there’s usually too much going on for Finn to sleep. That said we haven’t done long haul yet, so maybe if we did long haul I’d work around bed time. My advice would be to go with the flow, but you know yourself how adaptable your toddler is. 
Airport- We flew from terminal 3 at Manchester and they had a kids area with soft play and CBeebies. I said to Stu we must have walked past this loads of time pre Finn so it’s definitely worth hunting one out.  It was brilliant, Finn was able to run around and burn some energy before the flight. 

Ready to take off
Food & Drink- My number 1 tips is snacks and lots of them. I took raisins and then once we were through security I bought crisps, some fruit pouches, cereal bars, a sandwich, fruit and crackers.  I know this isn’t the healthiest snack choices  but it’s just for a few hours and these were a great distraction on the flight. Finn is now on cows milk so we were also able to buy this after security. I then gave him this in his sippy cup for take off and landing to help with his ears. On passing security I just made sure we got everything else in the trays and then took his cup away last minute to avoid a meltdown. 

Plane Bag- We took Finn’s Trunki with us, he loved pushing it around and playing with it at the airport. I bought a few new toys for the plane and the things we found most useful were: stickers (these kept him occupied for ages), a colouring book, crayons, 3 new toy cars, a pull back Thomas train that rolled when you released it he laughed at this for ages, a new teddy and the travel Aquadoodle! The travel Aqua doodle was brilliant both on the plane and when we were Eating out on holiday. I’ve read on other blogs to go to the pound shop and buy 10 toys and wrap them up then space them out for the flight, which is something I might try next time. 

Watching Bing

Changing Bag- As well as the trunki we also took a separate changing bag. I packed (for a 3 and a half hour flight) 2 Muslins, 2 packs of wipes, a spare change of clothes, 2 Blankets (but Finn loves these for comfort), 6 nappys & Calpol just incase his ears really bothered him. I always prefer to take more just incase of delays.

Ipad- We bought some child friendly headphones and loaded the iPad with Thomas the tank Finn loved this on the plane. I think the headphones were a massive novelty as well. 

Softplay area at the airport

Boarding and leaving the Plane- We tried to make sure we were the last on the plane just to minimise the time we spent waiting. We also found it best for me to leave as soon as possible with Finn and for Stu to hang back and check under the seat for dropped items and bring the bags. 

Walking- whenever possible I let Finn walk up and down the aisles, he loved all the attention and it was perfect when he was getting fed up of being sat down. 

Sleep- On the flights we’ve been on with Finn he’s always struggled to sleep so I think what works best  for us is letting him just have some chill time with the iPad. I’d say if possible try not to stress too much about nap time and routine as I’ve always found it soon falls back into place. 
 

Trunki ready to go

What are your top tips for flying with a toddler? 

Fuerteventura- Finn’s  first holiday abroad

Fuerteventura- Finn’s  first holiday abroad

We took Finn on his first holiday abroad to Fuerteventura when he was Just over 7 months old. We went in September for a week to Caleta de Fuste and stayed in the Barcelo Thalasso Spa.



As I have mentioned previously I am a massive overpacker and worried we wouldn’t have enough for Finn so I did take about 4 spare of everything clothes wise, about 40 nappys etc… But when we were there I had a look around and everything was cheap enough to buy.

Finn enjoying some melon round the pool
I have covered the flight and airport separately in a previous blog Baby Flying tips.

We got a taxi from the airport as I had read on trip advisor that they had car seats and it was only a short transfer. This was the easiest option with the pushchair and all the luggage.

Finn loved the Pool

The hotel was beautiful with plenty of facilities. We had decided to go all inclusive as we thought it would be easier with Finn being new to food we could just pick bits up for him whenever. We also wanted a little bit of luxury with it being our honeymoon. The food was really good but we did eat out quite a few times for a change  at tea time as we knew we would  get bored of just one buffet. The breakfast was lovely with lots of choice. Lunch suited us as there was a snack bar so we could just get bits of food during the day. We had chosen an upgraded room and it was huge, with a beautiful sea view. We All all the rooms looked lovely though. There was 2 big pools, with one really shallow bit which was ideal for a baby. He loved splashing in the pool or floating in his rubber  ring.



My big worries were keeping Finn cool and food, which after speaking to a few friends about going abroad with babies this was their main worry too. I will briefly cover some tips I picked up.

Food– As I’ve mentioned previously in blog posts we did partly Baby Led Weaning so at this stage Finn was happy to eat a variety of food. There was plenty of salad bits, fruit & pasta for him. Plus he was happy to try bit of what we were eating. I do think all inclusive was perfect for a baby at this stage of weaning . That said I did take a lot of ready made food & snacks. I ordered pouches and packets of baby snacks to Boots at the airport , just so I knew we would definitely have something for him.

Heat- We have the the Armadillo City and this was perfect as it has a really large sun canopy. We also kept Finn in the shade whenever we could  apart from in the pool. He lived in swim stuff in the day as it was too hot for anything else. One thing he loved and kept him cool was a blow up paddling pool under an umbrella, we filled this up with pool water and bought a few toys to go in it. He really enjoyed this.

Siesta in the Shade

 View from our room

The area was really good for children, we didn’t venture really far as we just wanted a relaxing holiday. But around the hotel there was plenty of parks,play areas and child friendly places to eat. One restaurant I would definitely recommend is La Taberna del Capitan, this is probably the best tapas we have ever tasted! From the outside you wouldn’t think so but this place is amazing. We returned twice something we don’t normally do on holiday but it was that good. Fado rock was  another restaurant we loved as well, I had a beautiful   seafood mixed grill. We never really stayed out too late but early evening all of the bars were child friendly and reasonable prices.

We would definitely like to return to this area one day.

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. 

Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge 

Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge 

 I thought I’d share with you our favourite UK mini break, the Swan Hotel in Newby Bridge Cumbria. We absolutely love this hotel, we’ve already been with Finn twice with more visits planned for this year. 

The hotel is right next to the river Leven which was lovely when we visited in the summer to sit outside. In the grounds there is an adventure trail and park which is brilliant for children. We visited when I was pregnant and again when Finn was 3 months and 11 months old and both times we felt really comfortable and welcome with a baby. 


My absolute favourite part of the hotel is the various lounges, there is a library and a lounge with open fires. The library has plenty of toys, books and board games for children and we loved sitting in there in the afternoon with a coffee or in the evening with a drink knowing Finn could play and we could relax. There is also other lounges with open fires, when I was pregnant we spent hours there one afternoon reading and relaxing and when we returned with Finn we made the most of nap time to do the same.


The hotel also has a pool with jacuzzi, steam room and sauna. Finn really enjoyed the pool as it was always quiet enough for him not to feel overwhelmed. When I was pregnant I had 2 spa treatments and they were both amazing (and I’m very fussy with being a beauty therapist.)

 The rooms are all decorated really homely they have a shabby chic feel but are still modern. They are big enough to fit a travel cot in​ as well and plenty of room for all the baby stuff you inevitably have to take. 


The food is also always really good. I think it’s difficult to find a hotel that does good quality but reasonable priced food. The Swan definitely does this though, we have enjoyed every meal we have had there and always choose to eat at the hotel  when we stay. It is traditional pub food with a twist.  The Breakfast is also lovely with a wide selection made to order.
The hotel is that relaxing we don’t always venture out but we have visited other areas of the lakes including Cartmel,   Bowness and Ambelside. Which are all within easy reach. One day out we really enjoyed was getting the steam train from the stop a few minutes walk away to Lakeside where we visited the Aquarium. We then went on the boat on Lake Windermere to Bowness, this was a lovely way to see more of the Lake District. 
I honestly can’t recommend this hotel enough, every time we have been we feel like we have been away for a week as we are so relaxed. 
Here’s a link if you want to have a look for yourself. Swan Hotel